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Headword: *)apollw/nios
Adler number: alpha,3420
Translated headword: Apollonios, Apollonius
Vetting Status: high
Of Tyana, philosopher, son of Apollonios and a mother from that town, members of the gentry. With him in her womb, his mother saw a genius standing near saying that he himself was the child she was carrying, and that he was Proteus, the Egyptian;[1] therefore, he was thought to be Proteus' son. He flourished during the rule of Claudius, Gaius [Caligula], and Nero until Nerva's reign, during which he did indeed pass away.[2] Following Pythagoras' example he kept absolute silence all through five years.[3] He set out for Egypt, then went to Babylon to meet the Magi, and then met the Arabs. He collected from all of them the numberless conjurations widely ascribed to him. So many works he composed: the Initiations or On Sacrifices, the Testament, the Oracles, the Epistles, the Life of Pythagoras. Philostratos of Lemnos wrote a biography[4] that pays respect to this man as a true philosopher. According to Philostratos, Apollonios of Tyana had more self-restraint than Sophocles, who used to say that only after reaching old age did he escape a raging and savage beast of a master.[5] Apollonios, on the contrary, with his virtue and temperance was not overcome by these urges, even in his youth. According to Philostratos, he approached wisdom in a more godlike way[6] than Pythagoras because Apollonios bested tyrannies, and his was an era not so long ago.[8] Men do not yet grant him recognition for the truth of his philosophy, which he practised both wisely and soundly. But some praise one aspect of the man, others another. Yet others, given that he consulted with the magi of Babylon, the Brahmins of India and the naked ascetics[9] of Egypt, regard him as a magus and unfairly claim that he was not a true philosopher, misapprehending him. For Empedocles[10] and Pythagoras[11] himself and Democritus[12] too, though they associated with magicians and spoke many marvellous and divine things, were never drawn to magic.[13] Though Plato was in Egypt[14] and, just like a painter adding color to a sketch, blended in his dialogues many teachings of the prophets and priests of that country, he was never regarded as a magus and yet was the most envied of men for his wisdom. Nor should we slur Apollonios' intuition and prescience in the things he predicted with this kind of wisdom any more than Socrates[15] might be accused for his predictions and so Anaxagoras,[16] who at Olympia, when there was not the slightest sign of rain, went out into the stadium under a fleece, so suggesting that it would rain.[17] Though many attribute such to Anaxagoras, they turn right around to deny Apollonios the prescience that was intrinsic to his wisdom. So I think one should not heed the nonsense of the many, but should investigate what Apollonios said and did according to the times and the special character of the skill through which he succeeded in being thought supernatural and divine. I have collected information from the cities devoted to him; other information comes from sanctuaries whose lapsed rites he restored, and from what others wrote to him and he to others. He corresponded with kings, sophists, philosophers, Eleans, Delphians, Indians and Egyptians on gods, customs, and laws. We can know in more detail what he was doing among them through Damis, his student and witness.[18]
This Apollonius of Tyana[19] had an excellent memory, if anyone did. He truly kept his vow of silence but gathered much information, and when a hundred years old he had a sharper memory than Simonides.[20] He composed and used to sing a hymn to Memory, in which he says that Time causes everything to waste away but Time itself through Memory is both ageless and immortal. With regard to Apollonius, look for other predictions of his under "Timasion".[21]
[Philostratos also reports][22] that this Apollonius said the following about Anaxagoras: he was from Clazomenae and he said his teachings were meant for cattle and camels, and that he would rather philosophize with beasts than men [23]. The Theban Crates threw his property into the sea, so ensuring that it was of no use either to beasts or men [24].
Greek Original:
*)apollw/nios, *tuaneu\s, filo/sofos, ui(o\s *)apollwni/ou kai\ mhtro\s poli/tidos tw=n e)pifanw=n, o(\n ku/ousa h( mh/thr e)pista/nta dai/mona e)qea/sato le/gonta, w(s au)to\s ei)/h o(\n ku/ei, ei)=nai de\ *prwte/a to\n *ai)gu/ption: o(/qen u(peilh=fqai au)to\n *prwte/ws ei)=nai ui(o/n. kai\ h)/kmaze me\n e)pi\ *klaudi/ou kai\ *gai/+ou kai\ *ne/rwnos kai\ me/xri *ne/rba, e)f' ou(= kai\ meth/llacen. e)siw/phse de\ kata\ *puqago/ran e# e)/th. ei)=ta a)ph=ren ei)s *ai)/gupton, e)/peita ei)s *babulw=na pro\s tou\s ma/gous, ka)kei=qen e)pi\ tou\s *)/arabas, kai\ sunh=cen e)k pa/ntwn ta\ muri/a kai\ peri\ au)tou= qrulou/mena magganeu/mata. sune/tace de\ tosau=ta: *teleta\s h)\ peri\ qusiw=n, *diaqh/khn, *xrhsmou\s, *)epistola\s, *puqago/rou bi/on. ei)s tou=ton e)/graye *filo/stratos o( *lh/mnios to\n filoso/fw| pre/ponta bi/on. o(/ti *)apollw/nios o( *tuaneu\s e)s swfrosu/nhn u(pereba/lleto tou= *sofokle/ous. o( me\n ga\r luttw=nta e)/fh kai\ a)/grion despo/thn a)pofugei=n, e)lqo/nta e)s gh=ras, o( de\ *)apollw/nios u(p' a)reth=s kai\ swfrosu/nhs ou)de\ e)n meiraki/w| h(tth/qh tou/twn. o(/ti *filo/stratos le/gei peri\ *)apollwni/ou, qeio/teron h)\ o( *puqago/ras th=| sofi/a| proselqei=n turanni/dwn te u(pera/ranta kai\ geno/menon kata\ xro/nous ou)/t' a)rxai/ous ou)/t' au)= ne/ous. o(\n ou)/pw oi( a)/nqrwpoi ginw/skousin a)po\ th=s a)lhqinh=s filosofi/as, h(\n filoso/fws te kai\ u(giw=s e)ph/skhsen. a)ll' o( me\n to\, o( de\ to\ e)painei= ta)ndro/s: oi( de\, e)peidh\ ma/gois *babulwni/wn kai\ *)indw=n *braxma=si kai\ toi=s e)n *ai)gu/ptw| *gumnoi=s sunege/neto, ma/gon h(gou=ntai au)to\n kai\ diaba/llousin w(s mh\ sofo\n, kakw=s ginw/skontes. *)empedoklh=s te ga\r kai\ *puqago/ras au)to\s kai\ *dhmo/kritos o(milh/santes ma/gois kai\ polla\ daimo/nia ei)po/ntes ou)/pw u(ph/xqhsan th=| te/xnh|. *pla/twn de\ badi/sas e)s *ai)/gupton kai\ polla\ tw=n e)kei= profhtw=n te kai\ i(ere/wn e)gkatami/cas toi=s e(autou= lo/gois kai\ kaqa/per zwgra/fos e)skiagrafhme/nois e)pibalw\n xrw/mata ou)/pw mageu/ein e)/doce, kai/toi plei=sta a)nqrw/pwn fqonhqei\s e)pi\ sofi/a|. ou)de\ ga\r to\ ai)sqe/sqai polla\ kai\ prognw=nai diaba/lloi a)\n to\n *)apollw/nion, e)f' oi(=s prou)/legen, e)s th\n sofi/an tau/thn, w(s diabeblh/setai kai\ *swkra/ths e)f' oi(=s prou)/lege, kai\ *)anacago/ras, o(\s *)olumpi/asin, o(po/te h(/kista u(/oi, proelqw\n u(po\ kwdi/w| e)s to\ sta/dion e)pi\ prorrh/sei o)/mbrou. kai\ a)/lla tina\ u(pe\r *)anacago/rou protiqe/ntes a)fairou=ntai to\n *)apollw/nion to\ kata\ sofi/an proginw/skein. dokei= ou)=n moi mh\ perii+dei=n th\n tw=n pollw=n a)/noian, a)ll' e)cakribw=sai to\n a)/ndra toi=s te xro/nois, kaq' ou(\s ei)=pe/ ti h)\ e)/prace, toi=s te th=s sofi/as tro/pois, u(f' w(=n e)/yause tou= daimo/nio/s te kai\ qei=os nomisqh=nai. cunei/lektai de/ moi ta\ me\n e)k po/lewn, o(po/sai au)tou= h)/rwn, ta\ de\ e)c i(erw=n, o(po/sa u(p' au)tou= e)panh/xqh paralelume/na tou\s qesmou\s h)/dh, ta\ de\ e)c w(=n e(/teroi pro\s au)to\n h)\ au)to\s pro\s a)/llous e)/grafen. e)pe/stelle de\ basileu=si, sofistai=s, filoso/fois, *)hlei/ois, *delfoi=s, *)indoi=s, *ai)gupti/ois, u(pe\r qew=n, u(pe\r h)qw=n, u(pe\r no/mwn, par' oi(=s o(/ ti a)\n pra/ttoi: ta\ de\ a)kribe/stera para\ *da/midos a)khkow/s. ou(=tos *)apollw/nios o( *tuaneu\s diamnhmoniko/s tis h)=n ei)/per tis a)/llos, o(\s th\n me\n fwnh\n siwph=| katei=xe, plei=sta de\ a)nele/geto, kai\ to\ mnhmoniko\n e(katontou/ths geno/menos e)/rrwto u(pe\r to\n *simwni/dhn. kai\ u(/mnos au)tw=| ti/s e)stin ei)s mnhmosu/nhn, o(\n h)=|den, e)n w(=| pa/nta me\n u(po\ tou= xro/nou marai/nesqai/ fhsin, au)to/n ge mh\n to\n xro/non a)gh/rw te kai\ a)qa/naton u(po\ th=s mnhmosu/nhs ei)=nai. zh/tei peri\ *)apollwni/ou kai\ e(/tera prognwstika\ au)tou= e)n tw=| *timasi/wn. o(/ti *)apollw/nios ou(=tos ta/de peri\ *)anacago/ra e)/fh: kai\ ga\r *klazome/nion o)/nta kai\ a)ge/lais kai\ kamh/lois ta\ e(autou= a)naqe/nta ei)pei=n, proba/tois ma=llon h)\ a)nqrw/pois filosofh=sai. o( de\ *qhbai=os *kra/ths katepo/ntwse th\n ou)si/an, ou)/te proba/tois poih/sas e)pith/deion, ou)/te a)nqrw/pois.
C1-2 AD. See generally OCD(4) p.124, under 'Apollonius(12)'. The present entry draws on the problematic "biography" of him by Philostratos, for whom see phi 421-423 (and OCD(4) p.1137, under 'Philostrati').
[1] Philostratos (1.4) follows the Homeric portrait of Proteus (Odyssey 4.349ff) as residing on the island of Pharos near the mouth of the Nile, contrasting with Vergil (Georgics 4.387), who places Proteus on the island of Carpathus, between Crete and Rhodes.
[2] The sense of meth/llaxen ranges from "he vanished" (in the sense of "transmuted") to "he died." Philostratos does not use the term, but at 8.29ff records various accounts of Apollonios' death and reappearance prefaced with the sober comment "if indeed he died" (ei)/ge e)teleu/ta).
[3] Diogenes Laertius 8.10 (Pythagoras).
[4] Literally, "a biography befitting a philosopher." The formal title The Memoirs of Apollonios of Tyana is given as ta\ e)s to\n *tuane/a *)apollw/nion (see OCD) and, distilled from Philostratos at 8.29, as ta\ e)s *)apollw/nion to\n *tuane/a.
[5] Philostratos 1.13. Plato, Republic 329C in reference to Sophocles' "natural force" in "service of Aphrodite."
[6] Or "more superbly."
[7] In contrast to Pythagoras fleeing the political tribulations of Samos and Croton, Apollonios confronted Tigellinus in the time of Nero (Philostratos 4), and returned to Rome despite foreknowledge that Domitian intended his arrest (Philostratos 7).
[8] Literally, "(he was) born not in the distant past nor recently."
[9] Or "Gymnosophists."
[10] Diogenes Laertius 8.59-62 (Empedocles).
[11] Diogenes Laertius 8.2-3, 20-21 (Pythagoras).
[12] Diogenes Laertius 9.34 (Democritus).
[13] Philostratos distinguishes between te/xnh (or w(s ma/gw| te/xnh| at 1.2) as black magic and sofi/a as sage wisdom.
[14] Diogenes Laertius 3.6 (Plato).
[15] Diogenes Laertius 2.32, 40 (Socrates).
[16] Diogenes Laertius 2.10, 12-13 (Anaxagoras).
[17] cf. Philostratos 1.2. In the Suda's slightly modified version, e)s is the instrumental ("by means of": Danker, 291.5), while referential ("for": Danker, 291.5) in Philostratos. The conjunctive h)/ in Philostratos reads "otherwise" (LSJ); the Suda's conjunctive w(s reads "as" (LSJ) with the sense "as [were this accusation accepted; so English "as" for "in the same way that it would be if"] Socrates should have been accused for..." The critical apparatus for Philostratos, with Suda variants marked, is: "Nor, then, as to (his) foreseeing and foreknowing many things, should one slur Apollonios for this kind of wisdom (Suda: for the things he predicted by means of this kind of wisdom); otherwise (Suda: as) then, Socrates should have been accused for the things he predicted with his miraculous foresight and Anaxagoras..." See Philostratos 8 (particularly 8.7.9ff.) in which the author has Apollonios extensively develop this argument via his undelivered (owing to prior acquittal) trial defense speech.
[18] Philostratos 1.3, 19. The verb a)kou/w here carries a dual sense. For the use of a)kou/w as "to be a student," see LSJ and Diogenes Laertius 9.21 (Parmenides). Philostratos does not use the term.
[19] Quoted from either alpha 2245 or sigma 439.
[20] Philostratos 1.14. Simonides was renowned for his excellent memory even into old age, reportedly dying at ago 90 or older. The Syracusans erected a monument to his mental faculty.
[21] tau 598. For Timasion, Apollonios' young Egyptian follower, see Philostratos 6.3, 9, 22ff.
[22] Quoted from alpha 1981.
[23] Ibid. 1.13.
[24] Ibid. See Plutarch, Moralia 4E for Crates' notion of poverty.
Primary Sources
Hamilton, E. and Cairnes, H. Plato: The Collected Dialogues, Including the Letters (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996)
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers (Cambridge: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library), 1995)
Penella, Robert J. The Letters of Apollonius of Tyana: A Critical Text (Leiden: E.J.Brill, 1979)
Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the Epistles of Apollonius, and the Treatise of Eusebius (Cambridge: Harvard University (Loeb Classical Library), 2000)
Plutarch, Moralia, Volume VI (Cambridge: Harvard University (Loeb Classical Library), 2000)
Secondary Sources
Blackburn, B. "Miracle Working THEOI ANDRES in Hellenism (and Hellenistic Judaism" in The Miracles of Jesus (Gospel Perspectives 6; Sheffield, JSOT, 1986) 185-218
Bowie, E. Ll. "Apollonius of Tyana: Tradition and Reality" ANRW 2.16.2 (1987) 1652-99
Danker, F.W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000)
Evans, Craig A. "Excursus Two: Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana" in Jesus and his Contemporaries: Comparative Studies (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995) 245-50 B.
Francis, James A. Subversive Virtue: Asceticism and Authority in the Second-Century Pagan World (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995)
Francis, James A. "Truthful Fiction: New Questions to Old Answers on Philostratus' Life of Apollonius", AJPh 119 (1998) 419-441
Harris, F. "Apollonius of Tyana: Fact or Fiction?" JRH 5 (1969)189-99
Petzke, G. Die Traditionen ueber Apollonius von Tyana und das Neue Testament (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1970)
Votaw, Clyde Weber. The Gospels and Contemporary Biographies in the Greco-Roman World (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1915; reprinted 1970)
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; meter and music; mythology; philosophy; poetry; religion; women
Translated by: Massimo Forconi on 2 December 2001@18:27:19.
Vetted by:
Craig Miller (Under editorial review as of this date.) on 29 June 2002@08:46:10.
Craig Miller (Translation modified; notes, keywords added. Bibliography adds, status, and cosmetics pending by editor.) on 21 July 2002@10:37:00.
Craig Miller on 21 July 2002@19:15:17.
Craig Miller (Bibliography standardized and augmented; status changed; cosmetics.) on 27 July 2002@08:06:51.
Craig Miller (Cosmetics.) on 27 July 2002@08:38:48.
Craig Miller on 27 July 2002@09:51:46.
David Whitehead (modified translation; added initial note; augmented other notes, and keywords; cosmetics) on 21 August 2002@06:56:35.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 3 April 2012@07:57:38.
David Whitehead (updated OCD refs) on 30 July 2014@08:14:38.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 10 December 2014@00:52:40.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 10 December 2014@00:57:51.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 21 January 2015@23:52:24.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 17 March 2015@09:40:58.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note 2) on 18 March 2015@22:53:11.


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