Campbell Bonner, "Witchcraft in the Lecture Room of Libanius," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association
63 (1932) 34-44 (at 35-36):
But what professor's life is a bed of roses? We find in
the orations that Libanius addresses to his students sufficient
evidence of his troubles. In speciously receptive moments
his pupils plagued the weary old sophist to entertain them
with specimens of his epideictic oratory, and when he complied
he sometimes found that he had cast his pearls before swine.4
Nothing could be truer to life than his picture of those lubberly
youths tardily answering the summons to the lecture hall,
mincing in, as he says, at the pace of a bride, or a tightrope
walker, the late comers annoying those already seated, then
even in the progress of the speech exchanging nods and
whispers about horses and charioteers, actors and dancers, a
fight just past or impending, while some stood as if carved
out of stone, one hand crossed over the other, others fidgeted
with their noses, and so on through the catalogue of schoolboy
rudeness.5 In wilder moods they might seize upon one of the
pedagogues who attended them to school and toss him in a
carpet—a form of sport to which the emperor Otho was
addicted in his riotous youth thereby drawing down upon
themselves a lecture upon the heinousness of their sin.6
4 Or. 3.
5 Or. 3, 11-13. The passage has been translated or paraphrased by various
writers on the schools of the period: Sievers, op. cit. p. 29; Capes, University Life
in Ancient Athens, p. 143 f.; Walden, Universities of Ancient Greece, p. 321 f.;
Schemmel, "Der Sophist Libanios als Schüler und Lehrer" (Neue Jahrb. xx
[Pädagogik x], 65).
6 Or. 58, 18; Suet. Otho 2.
Id. (at 37-38):
In describing the discovery which convinced him that black
arts were in practice against him, Libanius says "there appeared in the audience hall, I know not whence, a chameleon—an old chameleon, dead for many months. Its head was
placed between its two hind feet, one of its forefeet was missing, the other was closing the mouth to impose silence."10 The
last clause shows clearly that Libanius saw in the wretched
body of the creature a token of the sufferings that some enemy
desired to inflict upon him.
10 Or. 1, 249.