Ope virginea, nullis iterata priorum,
Janua difficilis filo est inventa relecto.
Ov., Metam. viii. 172.
1 "Basilii et Libanii epistolae mutuae, quas magni facit Tillemontius, probatque ut genuinas, maxime dubiae videntur Garuier, in Vit. Bas. cap. 39, p. 172 seqq., is tamen illas spartim edidit. . . . Schroeckh Garn. dubitationi deomnium illarum epist. mutuarum nuqei/a quaedam opponit." Fabricius. Harles., Tom. ix.
Maran (Vit. Bas. xxxix. 2) thinks that the Libanian correspondence, assuming it to be genuine, is to be assigned partly to the period of the retreat, partly to that of the presbyterate, while two only, the one a complaint on the part of Libanius that bishops are avaricious, and Basil's retort, may perhaps have been written during the episcopate. He would see no reason for rejecting them on the ground merely of the unlikelihood of Basil's corresponding with a heathen philosopher, but he is of opinion that the style of most of them is unworthy both of the sophist and of the archbishop. Yet there seems no reason why they should have been invented. It is intelligible enough that they should have been preserved, considering the reputation of the writers; but they suggest no motive for forgery. The life of Libanius extended from 314 to nearly the end of the fourth century. J.R. Mozlev, in D. C. B. (iv. 712) refers to G. R. Siever (Das Leben des Libanius, Berlin, 1868) as the fullest biographer.
4 The story that Xerxes had made a canal through the isthmus of Athos was supposed to be an instance of gross exaggeration. cf. Juv. x. 174: Creditur olim Velificatus Athos et quidquid Graecia mendax Audlet in historia," and Claudian iii. 336: "Remige Medo solicitatus Athos." But traces of the canal are said to be still visible.