1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arsenius

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ARSENIUS (c. 354–450), an anchorite, said to have been born of a noble Roman family, who achieved a high reputation for his knowledge of Greek and Roman literature. He was appointed by Theodosius the Great, tutor of the young princes Arcadius and Honorius, but at the age of forty he retired to Egypt, where for forty years he lived in monastic seclusion at Scetis in the Thebais, under the spiritual guidance of St John the Dwarf. He is said to have gained the admiration of his fellows by the extreme rigour of his asceticism. The remainder of his life he spent at Canopus, and Troë near Memphis, where he died at the age of ninety-five. Of his writings two collections of admonitory maxims are extant: the first, Διδασκαλία καὶ παραίνεσις, containing instructions for monks, is published with a Latin version by Fr. Combefis in Auctarium biblioth. patr. novissim. (Paris, 1672), pp. 301 f.; the second is a collection of forty-four wise sayings put together by his friends under the title of Ἀποφθέγματα (see Cotelerius, Eccl. graec. monum., 1677, i. pp. 353-372). In the Roman Catholic Church his festival is on the 19th of July, in the Orthodox Eastern Church on the 8th of May. His biography by Simeon Metaphrastes is largely fiction.