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Headword: *da/mis
Adler number: delta,46
Translated headword: Damis
Vetting Status: high
A man not without learning, an inhabitant of ancient Nineveh. This man was a philosophical associate of Apollonius and wrote up his travels, which he says he, too, shared. He wrote up his opinions and words and whatever he said by way of prophecy.
Now Apollonius had come from Antioch to Nineveh. Damis the Ninevite came to him and was with him, remembering[1] whatever he learned. But the Assyrian had a moderately effective voice, for he did not have a command of the language, being educated among barbarians. He was very capable at writing up their activity and association together and whatever he heard or saw, and at describing it and compiling memoirs of this sort. And he did not neglect these two qualities, the boldness which Apollonius employed when he traveled through barbarian and bandit-ridden races, nor those subject to the Romans, and he did not neglect the skill with which he came in the Arabic way to an understanding of the language of animals. He learned this as he traveled among these Arabs.
Greek Original:
*da/mis, a)nh\r ou)k a)/sofos, th\n a)rxai/an oi)kw=n *ni=non. ou(=tos tw=| *)apollwni/w| prosfilosofh/sas a)podhmi/as te au)tou= a)nage/grafen, w(=n koinwnh=sai kai\ au)to/s fhsi: kai\ gnw/mas kai\ lo/gous kai\ o(po/sa e)s pro/gnwsin ei)=pen. o( ga\r *)apollw/nios a)po\ *)antioxei/as h(=ken ei)s *ni=non. prosefoi/thse de\ au)tw=| *da/mis o( *ni=nos kai\ sunh=n au)tw=|, o(/ ti ma/qoi mnhmoneu/wn. fwnh\ de\ h)=n tw=| *)assuri/w| cumme/trws pra/ttousa. to\ ga\r logoeide\s ou)k ei)=xen, a(/te paideuqei\s e)n barba/rois: diatribh\n de\ a)nagra/yai kai\ cunousi/an kai\ o(/ ti h)/kousen h)\ ei)=den a)natupw=sai kai\ u(pomnh/mata toia/de cunqei=nai sfo/dra i(kano\s h)=n. ou) mh\n w(s duoi=n ge a)melh=sai tou/toin, th=s te a)ndri/as, h(=| xrw/menos *)apollw/nios dieporeu/qh ba/rbara e)/qnh kai\ lh|strika/, ou)d' u(po\ *(rwmai/ous pw o)/nta, th=s te sofi/as, h(=| to\n *)ara/bion tro/pon e)s cu/nesin th=s tw=n zw/|wn fwnh=s h)=lqen. e)/maqe de\ tou=to dia\ toutwni\ tw=n *)arabi/wn poreuo/menos.
Damis was a student and colleague of Apollonius of Tyana, the first century CE Neo-Pythagorean who, after his death and in the era of the Severi (late second-early 3rd century CE) won the reputation of a wonder-worker, largely through Philostratus' biography of the man; see generally alpha 3420, phi 421, pi 2180. A relative of Damis is supposed to have supplied Damis' notes to the empress Julia Domna, who commissioned Philostratus to cast them in literary form. All this has been the subject of extensive scholarly debate, some of which may be found in the bibliography below.
This Suda entry consists of material from Philostratus' Life of Apollonius 1.3, 1.19, and 1.20, not very adroitly joined together. The account of the presentation of Damis' notes to Julia Domna is found in 1.3.
[1] Or perhaps, "taking notes on."
Eduard Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen, 5. 131, note.
RE 4. 2056-57, s.v. "Damis von Nineve."
Alfred von Gutschmid, "Apollonius von Tyana und seine Biographen, in Kleine Schriften (1894), 5.543-47. Skeptical about Damis.
E. L. Bowie. "Apollonius of Tyana: tradition and reality," ANRW II.16.2, pp. 1652-99. Accepts Damis as historical and gives an extensive bibliography of the whole discussion.
Keywords: biography; ethics; geography; history; philosophy; religion; rhetoric; women; zoology
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 4 November 2001@06:23:23.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 4 September 2002@04:43:32.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 14 June 2012@06:10:19.
Catharine Roth (another cross-reference) on 21 October 2021@01:19:28.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 22 October 2021@00:40:08.


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