The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher - Translated from the Syriac.
Here follows the defence which Aristides the philosopher made before Hadrian the King on behalf of reverence for God.
...All-powerful Caesar Titus Hadrianus Antoninus, venerable and merciful, from Marcianus Aristides, an Athenian philosopher. 1
The superscription seems to be duplicate in the Syriac. It is absent from the Greek as we have it; the Armenian has "To the Emperor Caesar Hadrian from Aristides." Various explanations are offered. (a) Both emperors, as colleagues, may be meant. In support of this the Syriac adjectives for "venerable and merciful" are marked plural; the phrase "Your majesty" occurring later has a plural suffix; and two Imperatives, "Take and read," are plural. On the other hand "O King" occurs constantly in the singular; and the emperors were colleagues only for a few months in the year a.d. 138. (b) The longer heading is the true one--the shorter being due perhaps to a scribe who had a collection of works to copy. In that case the word "Hadrian" has been selected from the full title of Antonine, and the two adjectives "venerable and merciful" are proper names, Augustus Pius. (Harris.) (c) The shorter heading has the support of Eusebius and the Armenian version; and the translator into Syriac may have amplified. () Almighty is separated from the word for "God" by a pause, and is not an attribute which a Christian would care to apply to a Roman emperor. pantokrator may have been confounded with au tokrator. Raabe supplies giving the sense "qui imperium (postatem) habet," as an epithet of Caesar. If *** ="Renewed, or dedicated again to...Antoninus Pius," could be read, both headings might be retained. ↩