Domninus of Larissa

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Domninus of Larissa (Greek : Δομνῖνος; c. 420 – c. 480 AD) was an ancient Hellenistic Syrian mathematician.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Hellenistic period Period of ancient Greek and Mediterranean history

The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas is the original word for Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived.

Demographics of Syria

Since the Syrian Civil War started in March 2011, it has been difficult to gain accurate counts of the Syrian population. In 2011, Syrian population was estimated at about 23 million permanent inhabitants, including people with refugee status from Palestine and Iraq. While most modern-day Syrians are commonly described as Arabs by virtue of their modern-day language and bonds to Arab culture and history, they are, in fact, largely a blend of the various Semitic-speaking groups indigenous to the region.



Domninus of Larissa, Syria was, simultaneously with Proclus, a pupil of Syrianus. Domninus is said to have corrupted the doctrines of Plato by mixing up with them his private opinions. This called forth a treatise from Proclus, intended as a statement of the genuine principles of Platonism. [1] Marinus writes about a rivalry between Domninus and Proclus about how Plato's work should be interpreted,

Shaizar Village in Hama, Syria

Shaizar is a town in northern Syria, administratively part of the Hama Governorate, located northwest of Hama. Nearby localities include, Mahardah, Tremseh, Kafr Hud, Khunayzir and Halfaya. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Shaizar had a population of 5,953 in the 2004 census.

Proclus Lycaeus, called the Successor, was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major classical philosophers. He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism. He stands near the end of the classical development of philosophy, and was very influential on Western medieval philosophy.

Syrianus was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, and head of Plato's Academy in Athens, succeeding his teacher Plutarch of Athens in 431/432. He is important as the teacher of Proclus, and, like Plutarch and Proclus, as a commentator on Plato and Aristotle. His best-known extant work is a commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle. He is said to have written also on the De Caelo and the De Interpretatione of Aristotle and on Plato's Timaeus.

[Syrianus] offered to discourse to them on either the Orphic theories or the oracles; but Domninus wanted Orphism, Proclus the oracles, and they had not agreed when Syrianus died... [2]

Orphism (religion) set of religious beliefs in the ancient Greek and Hellenistic world

Orphism is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the ancient Greek and Hellenistic world, as well as from the Thracians, associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus, who descended into the Greek underworld and returned. Orphics also revered Persephone and Dionysus or Bacchus. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus. Poetry containing distinctly Orphic beliefs has been traced back to the 6th century BC or at least 5th century BC, and graffiti of the 5th century BC apparently refers to "Orphics".

The Athenian academy eventually choose Proclus' interpretation over Domninus' and Proclus would later become the head of the Academy. After Proclus' promotion, Domninus left Athens and returned to Larissa.

The Academy was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC.

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

It is said that once when Domninus was ill and coughing up blood, he took to eating copious amounts of pork, despite the fact that he was Jewish, because a physician prescribed it as a treatment. [1] He is also said to have taught Asclepiodotus, until Asclepiodotus became so argumentative that Domninus no longer admitted him into his company. [1]

Blood specialized bodily fluid in animals

Blood is a body fluid in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells.

Pork meat from a pig

Pork is the culinary name for meat from a domestic pig. It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

Asclepiodotus of Alexandria was a Neoplatonic philosopher who lived in the second half of the 5th century. He was a native of Alexandria who studied under Proclus in Athens. He eventually moved to Aphrodisias where he maintained a philosophy school jointly with another man also called Asclepiodotus, whose daughter, Damiane, he married. He wrote a commentary on Plato's Timaeus, which is however lost.


Domninus is remembered for authoring a Manual of Introductory Arithmetic (Greek : Ἐγχειρίδιον ἀριθμητικῆς εἰσαγωγῆς), which was edited by Boissonade and had two articles by Tannery written about it. The Manual of Introductory Arithmetic was a concise and well arranged overview of the theory of numbers. It covered numbers, proportions and means. It is important since it is a reaction against Nicomachus' Introductio arithmetica and a return to the doctrine of Euclid.

Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie historian from France

Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie was a French classical scholar.

Paul Tannery French mathematician

Paul Tannery was a French mathematician and historian of mathematics. He was the older brother of mathematician Jules Tannery, to whose Notions Mathématiques he contributed an historical chapter. Though Tannery's career was in the tobacco industry, he devoted his evenings and his life to the study of mathematicians and mathematical development.

Nicomachus of Gerasa was an important ancient mathematician best known for his works Introduction to Arithmetic and Manual of Harmonics in Greek. He was born in Gerasa, in the Roman province of Syria, and was strongly influenced by Aristotle. He was a Neopythagorean, who wrote about the mystical properties of numbers.

Domninus is also believed to have authored a tract entitled how a ratio can be taken out of a ratio (Greek : Πῶς ἔστι λόγον ἐκ λόγου ἀφελεῖν), which studies the manipulation of ratios into other forms. Bulmer-Thomas believe that it was written, at least in part, by Domninus, but Heath casts some doubt on the authorship by stating that if it wasn't written by Domninus then it at least comes from the same period as him. [3] Domninus may have also written a work entitled Elements of Arithmetic as referred to near the end of his Manual of Introductory Arithmetic, although whether or not he ever wrote this book is unknown.

Citations and footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 Damascius, Life of Isidore in the Suda, Domninos
  2. Bulmer-Thomas (1970-1990)
  3. Heath p. 538, (1981)

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