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Choricius of Gaza

Choricus, of Gaza, Greek sophist and rhetorician, flourished in the time of Anastasius I (AD 491-518).

He was the pupil of Procopius of Gaza, who must be distinguished from Procopius of Caesarea, the historian. A number of his declamations and descriptive treatises have been preserved. The declamations, which are in many cases accompanied by explanatory commentaries, chiefly consist of panegyrics, funeral orations and the stock themes of the rhetorical schools. The wedding speeches, wishing prosperity to the bride and bridegroom, strike out a new line.

Choricius was also the author of descriptions of works of art after the manner of Philostratus. The moral maxims, which were a constant feature of his writings, were largely drawn upon by Macanus Chrysocephalas, metropolitan of Philadelphia (middle of the 14th century), in his Rodonia (rose-garden), a voluminous collection of ethical sayings.

The style of Choricius is praised by Photius as pure and elegant, but he is censured for lack of naturalness. A special feature of his style is the persistent avoidance of hiatus, peculiar to what is called the school of Gaza.

Editions by JF Boissonade (1846, supplemented by C Graux in Revue de philologie, 1877) and R Forster (1882?1894); see also C Kirsten, "Quaestiones Choricianae," in Breslauer philologische Abhandlungen, vii. (1894), and article by W Schmid in Pauly Wissowa's Realencyclopädie, iii. 2 (1899). On the Gaza school see K Seitz, Die Schule von Gaza (Heidelberg, 1892).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.