[§1] The votaries of Pythagoras of Samos have this story to tell of him, that he was not an Ionian at all, but that, once on a time in Troy, he had been Euphorbus, and that he had come to life after death

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Book 1.
[§1] The votaries of Pythagoras of Samos have this story to tell of him, that he was not an Ionian at all, but that, once on a time in Troy, he had been Euphorbus, and that he had come to life after death, but had died as the songs of Homer relate. And they say that he declined to wear apparel made from dead animal products and, to guard his purity, abstained from all flesh diet, and from the offering of animals in sacrifice. For that he would not stain the altars with blood; nay, rather the honey-cake and frankincense and the hymn of praise, these they say were the offerings made to the Gods by this man, who realized that they welcome such tribute more than they do the hecatombs and the knife laid upon the sacrificial basket.

For they say that he had of a certainty social intercourse with the gods, and learnt from them the conditions under which they take pleasure in men or are disgusted, and on this intercourse he based his account of nature. For he said that, whereas other men only make conjectures about divinity and make guesses that contradict one another concerning it, -in his own case he said that Apollo had come to him acknowledging that he was the god in person; and that Athena and the Muses and other gods, whose forms and names men did not yet know, had also consorted with him though without making such acknowledgment.

And the followers of Pythagoras accepted as law any decisions communicated by him, and honored him as an emissary from Zeus, but imposed, out of respect for their divine character, a ritual silence on themselves. For many were the divine and ineffable secrets which they had heard, but which it was difficult for any to keep who had not previously learnt that silence also is a mode of speech.

Moreover they declare that Empedocles of Acragas  had trodden this way of wisdom when he wrote the line

"Rejoice ye, for I am unto you an immortal God, and no more mortal."

And this also:

"For erewhile, I already became both girl and boy."

And the story that he made at Olympia a bull of pastry and sacrificed it to the god also shows that he approved of the sentiments of Pythagoras. And there is much else that they tell of those sages who observe the rule of Pythagoras; but I must not now enter upon such points, but hurry on to the work which I have set myself to complete.

[§2] For quite akin to theirs was the ideal which Apollonius pursued, and more divinely than Pythagoras he wooed wisdom and soared above tyrants; and he lived in times not long gone by nor quite of our own day, yet men know him not because of the true wisdom, which he practiced as sage and sanely; but one man singles out one feature for praise in him and another another; while some, because he had interviews with the wizards of Babylon and with the Brahmans of India, and with the nude ascetics of Egypt, put him down as a wizard, and spread the calumny that he was a sage of an illegitimate kind, judging of him ill. For Empedocles and Pythagoras himself and Democritus consorted with wizards and uttered many supernatural truths, yet never stooped to the black art; and Plato went to Egypt and mingled with his own discourses much of what he heard from the prophets and priests there; and though, like a painter, he laid his own colors on to their rough sketches, yet he never passed for a wizard, although envied above all mankind for his wisdom.

For the circumstance that Apollonius foresaw and foreknew so many things does not in the least justify us in imputing to him this kind of [black] wisdom; we might as well accuse Socrates of the same, because, thanks to his familiar spirit, he knew things beforehand, and we might also accuse Anaxagoras because of the many things which he foretold. And indeed who does not know the story of how Anaxagoras at Olympia in a season when least rain falls came forward wearing a fleece into the stadium, by way of predicting rain, and of how he foretold the fall of the house - and truly, for it did fall; and of how he said that day would be turned into night, and stones would be discharged from heaven round Aegospotami, and of how his predictions were fulfilled? Now these feats are set down to the wisdom of Anaxagoras by the same people who would rob Apollonius of the credit of having predicted things by dint of wisdom, and say that he achieved these results by art of wizardry.

It seems to me then that I ought not to condone or acquiesce in the general ignorance, but write a true account of the man, detailing the exact times at which he said or did this or that, as also the habits and temper of wisdom by means of which he succeeded in being considered a supernatural and divine being.

And I have gathered my information partly from the many cities where he was loved, and partly from the temples whose long-neglected and decayed rites he restored, and partly from the accounts left of him by others and partly from his own letters. For he addressed these to kings, sophists, philosophers, to men of Elis, of Delphi, to Indians, and Ethiopians; and in his letters he dealt with the subjects of the gods, of customs, of moral principles, of laws, and in all these departments he corrected the errors into which men had fallen. But the more precise details which I have collected are as follows.

[§3] There was a man, Damis, by no means stupid, who formerly dwelt in the ancient city of Nineveh. He resorted to Apollonius in order to study wisdom, and having shared, by his own account, his wanderings abroad, wrote an account of them.[3] And he records his opinions and discourses and all his prophecies. And a certain kinsmen of Damis drew the attention of the empress Julia [Domna, wife of Septimius Severus] to the documents containing these documents hitherto unknown.

Now I belonged to the circle of the empress, for she was a devoted admirer of all rhetorical exercises; and she commanded me to recast and edit these essays, at the same time paying more attention to the style and diction of them; for the man of Nineveh had told his story clearly enough, yet somewhat awkwardly.

And I also read the book of Maximus of Aegae, which comprised all the life of Apollonius in Aegae; and furthermore a will was composed by Apollonius, from which one can learn how rapturous and inspired a sage he really was. For we must not pay attention anyhow to Moeragenes, who composed four books about Apollonius, and yet was ignorant of many circumstances of his life.

That then I combined these scattered sources together and took trouble over my composition, I have said; but let my work, I pray, redound to the honor of the man who is the subject of my compilation, and also be of use to those who love learning. For assuredly, they will here learn things of which as yet they were ignorant.

[§4] Apollonius' home, then, was Tyana, a Greek city amidst a population of Cappadocians. His father was of the same name [i.e., Apollonius], and the family descended from the first settlers. It excelled in wealth the surrounding families, though the district is a rich one.

To his mother, just before he was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer, in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened, but asked him what sort of child she would bear. And he answered: "Myself."

"And who are you?" she asked.

"Proteus," answered he, "the god of Egypt."

Well, I need hardly explain to readers of the poets the quality of Proteus and his reputation as regards wisdom; how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form, and defying capture, and how he had a reputation of knowing both past and future. And we must bear Proteus in mind all the more, when my advancing story shows its hero to have been more of a prophet than Proteus, and to have triumphed over many difficulties and dangers in the moment when they beset him most closely.

[§5] Now he is said to have been born in a meadow, hard by which there has been now erected a sumptuous temple to him; and let us not pass by the manner of his birth. For just as the hour of his birth was approaching, his mother was warned in a dream to walk out into the meadow and pluck the flowers; and in due course she came there and her maids attended to the flowers, scattering themselves over the meadow, while she fell asleep lying on the grass.

Thereupon the swans who fed in the meadow set up a dance around her as she slept, and lifting their wings, as they are wont to do, cried out aloud all at once, for there was somewhat of a breeze blowing in the meadow. She then leaped up at the sound of their song and bore her child, for any sudden fright is apt to bring on a premature delivery.

But the people of the country say that just at the moment of the birth, a thunderbolt seemed about to fall to earth and then rose up into the air and disappeared aloft; and the gods thereby indicated, I think, the great distinction to which the sage was to attain, and hinted in advance how he should transcend all things upon earth and approach the gods, and signified all the things that he would achieve.

[§6] Now there is near Tyana a well sacred to Zeus, the god of paths, so they say, and they call it the well of Asbama. Here a spring rises cold, but bubbles up like a boiling cauldron. This water is favorable and sweet to those who keep their paths, but to perjurers it brings hot-footed justice; for it attacks their eyes and hands and feet, and they fall the prey of dropsy and wasting disease; and they are not even able to go away, but are held on the spot and bemoan themselves at the edge of the spring, acknowledging their perjuries.

The people of the country, then, say that Apollonius was the son of this Zeus, but the sage called himself the son of Apollonius.

[§7] On reaching the age when children are taught their letters, he showed great strength of memory and power of application; and his tongue affected the Attic dialect, nor was his accent corrupted by the race he lived among. All eyes were turned upon him, for he was, moreover, conspicuous for his beauty. When he reached his fourteenth year, his father brought him to Tarsus, to Euthydemus the teacher from Phoenicia.

Now Euthydemus was a good rhetor, and began his education; but, though he was attached to his teacher, he found the atmosphere of the city harsh and strange and little conducive to the philosophic life, for nowhere are men more addicted than here to luxury; jesters and full of insolence are they all; and they attend more to their fine linen than the Athenians did to wisdom; and a stream called the Cydnus runs through their city, along the banks of which they sit like so many water-fowl. Hence the words which Apollonius addresses to them in his letter:

"Be done with getting drunk upon your water."
He therefore transferred his teacher, with his father's consent, to the town of Aegae, which was close by, where he found a peace congenial to one who would be a philosopher, and a more serious school of study and a temple of Asclepius, where that god reveals himself in person to men.
There he had as his companions in philosophy followers of Plato and Chrysippus and peripatetic philosophers. And he diligently attended also to the discourses of Epicurus, for he did not despise these either, although it was to those of Pythagoras that he applied himself with unspeakable wisdom and ardor. However, his teacher of the Pythagorean system was not a very serious person, nor one who practiced in his conduct the philosophy he taught; for he was the slave of his belly and appetites, and modeled himself upon Epicurus. And this man was Euxenus from the town of Heraclea in Pontus, and he knew the principles of Pythagoras just as birds know what they learn from men; for the birds will wish you "farewell," and say "Good day" or "Zeus help you," and such like, without understanding what they say and without any real sympathy for mankind, merely because they have been trained to move their tongue in a certain manner.

Apollonius, however, was like the young eagles who, as long as they are not fully fledged, fly alongside of their parents and are trained by them in flight, but who, as soon as they are able to rise in the air, outsoar the parent birds, especially when they perceive the latter to be greedy and to be flying along the ground in order to snuff the quarry; like them Apollonius attended Euxenus as long as he was a child and was guided by him in the path of argument, but when he reached his sixteenth year he indulged his impulse towards the life of Pythagoras, being fledged and winged thereto by some higher power.

Notwithstanding he did not cease to love Euxenus, nay, he persuaded his father to present him with a villa outside the town, where there were tender groves and fountains, and he said to him: "Now you live there your own life, but I will live that of Pythagoras."

[§8] Now Euxenus realized that he was attached to a lofty ideal, and asked him at what point he would begin it. Apollonius answered: "At the point at which physicians begin, for they, by purging the bowels of their patients prevent some from being ill at all, and heal others."

And having said this he declined to live upon a flesh diet, on the ground that it was unclean, and also that it made the mind gross; so he partook only of dried fruits and vegetables, for he said that all the fruits of the earth are clean. And of wine he said that it was a clean drink because it is yielded to men by so well-domesticated a plant as the vine; but he declared that it endangered the mental balance and system and darkened, as with mud, the ether which is in the soul.

After then having thus purged his interior, he took to walking without shoes by way of adornment and clad himself in linen raiment, declining to wear any animal product; and he let his hair grow long and lived in the Temple. And the people round about the Temple were struck with admiration for him, and the god Asclepius one day said to the priest that he was delighted to have Apollonius as witness of his cures of the sick; and such was his reputation that the Cilicians themselves and the people all around flocked to Aegae to visit him. Hence the Cilician proverb: "Whither runnest thou? Is it to see the stripling?"

Such was the saying that arose about him, and it gained the distinction of becoming a proverb….

[§13] Now when he heard that his father was dead, he hurried to Tyana, and with his own hands buried him hard by his mother's sepulcher, for she too had died not long before; and he divided the property, which was very ample, with his brother, who was an incorrigibly bad character and given to drunk.

Now the latter had reached his twenty-third year; Apollonius, on the other hand, was only twenty, and the law subjected him to guardians. He therefore spent afresh some time in Aegae, and turned the temple into a Lyceum and Academy, for it resounded with all sorts of philosophical discussions.

After that he returned to Tyana, by this time grown to manhood and his own master. Someone said to him that it was his duty to correct his brother and convert him from his evil ways; whereupon he answered: "This would seem a desperate enterprise; for how can I who am the younger one correct and render wise an older man? but so far as I can do anything, I will heal him of these bad passions."

Accordingly he gave to him the half of his own share of the property, on the pretense that he required more than he had, while he himself needed little; and then he pressed him and cleverly persuaded him to submit to the counsels of wisdom, and said: "Our father has departed this life, who educated us both and corrected us, so that you are all that I have left, and I imagine, I am all that you have left. If therefore I do anything wrong, please advise me and cure me of my faults; and in turn if you yourself do anything wrong, suffer me to teach you better."

And so he reduced his brother to a reasonable state of mind, just as we break in skittish and unruly horses by stroking and patting them; and he reformed him from his faults, numerous as they were, for he was the slave of play and of wine, and he serenaded courtesans and was vain of his hair, which he dressed up and dyed, strutting about like an arrogant dandy.

So when all was well between him [Apollonius] and his brother, he at once turned his attention to his other relatives, and conciliated such of them as were in want by bestowing on them the rest of his property, leaving only a trifle to himself; for he said that Anaxagoras of Clazomenae kept his philosophy for cattle rather than for men when he abandoned his fields to flocks and goats, and that Crates of Thebes, when he threw his money into the sea benefited neither man nor beast.

And as Pythagoras was commended for his saying that "a man should have no intercourse except with his own wife," he declared that this was intended by Pythagoras for others than himself, for that he was resolved never to wed nor have any connexion whatever with women. In laying such restraint on himself he surpassed Sophocles, who only said that in reaching old age he had escaped from a mad and cruel master; but Apollonius by dint of virtue and temperance never even in his youth was so overcome. While still a mere stripling, in full enjoyment of his bodily vigor, he mastered and gained control of the maddening passion.

And yet there are those who accuse him falsely of an addiction to venery, alleging that he fell a victim of such sins and spent a whole year in their indulgence among the Scythians, the facts being that he never once visited Scythia nor was ever carried away by such passions. Not even [his rival] Euphrates ever accused the sage of venery, though he traduced him otherwise and composed lying treatises against him, as we shall show when we come to speak of him below. And his quarrel with Apollonius was that the latter rallied him for doing anything for money and tried to wean him of his love of filthy lucre and of huckstering his wisdom. But these matters I must defer to the times to which they belong.

[§14] On one occasion, Euxenus asked Apollonius why so noble a thinker as he and one who was master of a diction so fine and nervous did not write a book. He replied: "I have not yet kept silence".

And forthwith he began to hold his tongue from a sense of duty, and kept absolute silence, though his eyes and his mind were taking note of very many things, and though most things were being stored in his memory. Indeed, when he reached the age of a hundred, he still surpassed [the Greek poet] Simonides in point of memory, and he used to chant a hymn addressed to memory, in which it is said that everything is worn and withered away by time, whereas time itself never ages, but remains immortal because of memory.

Nevertheless his company was not without charm during the period of his silence; for he would maintain a conversation by the expression of his eyes, by gestures of his hands and nodding his head; nor did he strike men as gloomy or morse; for he retained his fondness for company and cheerfulness.

This part of his life he says was the most uphill work he knew, since he practiced silence for five whole years; for he says he often had things to say and could not do so, and he was often obliged not to hear things the hearing of which would have enraged him, and often when he was moved and inclined to break out in a rebuke to others, he said to himself: "Bear up then, my heart and tongue;" [Odyssey 20.18] and when reasoning offended him he had to give up for the time the refuting of it. 

[§15] These years of silence he spent partly in Pamphylia and partly in Cilicia; and though his paths lay through such effeminate races as these, he never spoke nor was even induced to murmur.

Whenever, however, he came on a city engaged in civil conflict (and many were divided into fractions over spectacles of a low kind), he would advance and show himself, and by indicating part of his intended rebuke by manual gesture or by look on his face, he would put an end to all the disorder, and people hushed their voices, as if they were engaged in the mysteries.

Well, it is not so very difficult to restrain those who have started a quarrel about dances and horses, for those who are rioting about such matters, if they turn their eyes to a real man, blush and check themselves and easily recover their senses; but a city hard pressed by famine is not so tractable, nor so easily brought to a better mood by persuasive words and its passion quelled. But in the case of Apollonius, mere silence on his part was enough for those so affected.

Anyhow, when he came to Aspendus in Pamphylia (and this city is built on the river Eurymedon, lesser only than two others about there), he found vetches on sale in the market, and the citizens were feeding upon this and on anything else they could get; for the rich men had shut up all the grain and were holding it up for export from the country.

Consequently an excited crowd of all ages had set upon the governor, and were lighting a fire to burn him alive, although he was clinging to the statues of the Emperor, which were more dreaded at that time and more inviolable than the Zeus in Olympia; for they were statues of Tiberius, in whose reign a master is said to have been held guilty of impiety, merely because he struck his own slave when he had on his person a silver drachma coined with the image of Tiberius.

Apollonius then went up to the governor and with a sign of his hand asked him what was the matter; and he answered that he had done no wrong, but was indeed being wronged quite as much as the populace; but, he said, if he could not get a hearing, he would perish along with the populace.

Apollonius then turned to the bystanders, and beckoned to them that they must listen; and they not only held their tongues from wonderment at him, but they laid the brands they had kindled on the altars which were there.

The governor then plucked up courage and said: "This man and that man," and he named several, "are to blame for the famine which has arisen; for they have taken away the grain and are keeping it, one in one part of the country and another in another." The inhabitants of Aspendus thereupon passed the word to one another to make for these men's estates, but Apollonius signed with his head, that they should do no such thing, but rather summon those who were to blame and obtain the grain from them with their consent.

And when, after a little time the guilty parties arrived, he very nearly broke out in speech against them, so much was he affected by the tears of the crowd; for the children and women had all flocked together, and the old men were groaning and moaning as if they were on the point of dying by hunger. However, he respected his vow of silence and wrote on a writing board his indictment of the offenders and handed it to the governor to read out aloud; and his indictment ran as follows:

"Apollonius to the grain dealers of Aspendus. The earth is mother of us all, for she is just; but you, because you are unjust have pretended that she is your mother alone; and if you do not stop, I will not permit you to remain upon her."

They were so terrified by these words, that they filled the market-place with grain and the city revived. 

[§16] After the term of his silence was over he also visited the great Antioch, and passed into the Temple of Apollo of Daphne, to which the Assyrians attach the legend of Arcadia. For they say that Daphne, the daughter of Ladon, there underwent her metamorphosis, and they have a river flowing there, the Ladon, and a laurel tree is worshipped by them which they say is the one substituted for the maiden; and cypress trees of enormous height surround the Temple, and the ground sends up springs both ample and placid, in which they say Apollo purifies himself by ablution.

And there it is that the earth sends up a shoot of cypress, they say in honor of Cyparissus, an Assyrian youth; and the beauty of the shrub lends credence to the story of his metamorphosis.

Well, perhaps I may seem to have fallen into a somewhat juvenile vein to approach my story by such legendary particulars as these, but my interest is not really mythology. What then is the purport of my narrative? Apollonius, when he beheld a Temple so graceful and yet the home of no serious studies, but only of men half-barbarous and uncultivated, remarked: "O Apollo, change these dumb dogs into trees, so that at least as cypresses they may become vocal."

And when he saw the Ladon, he said: "It is not your daughter alone that underwent a change, but you too, so far as one can see, have become a barbarian after being a Hellene and an Arcadian."

And when he was minded to converse, he avoided the frequented regions and the disorderly, and said, that it was not a rabble he wanted but real men; and he resorted to the more solemn places, and lived in such Temples as were not shut up. At sunrise, indeed, he performed certain rites by himself, rites which he only communicated to those who had disciplined themselves by a four years' spell of silence; but during the rest of the day, in case the city was a Greek one, and the sacred rituals familiar to a Greek, he would call the priests together and talk wisely about the gods, and would correct them, supposing they had departed from the traditional forms. If, however, the rites were barbarous and peculiar, then he would find out who had founded them and on what occasion they were established, and having learnt the sort of cult it was, he would make suggestions, in case he could think of any improvement upon them, and then he would go in quest of his followers and bid them ask any questions they liked. For he said that it was the duty of philosophers of his school to hold converse at the earliest dawn with the gods, but as the day advanced, about the gods, and during the rest of the day to discuss human affairs in friendly intercourse.  
And having answered all the questions which his companions addressed to him, and when he had enough of their society, he would rise and give himself up for the rest to haranguing the general public, not however before midday, but as far as possible just when the day stood still. And when he thought he had enough of such discussion, he would be anointed and rubbed, and then fling himself into cold water, for he called hot baths the old age of men.

At any rate when the people of Antioch were shut out of them because of the enormities committed there, he said: "The emperor, for your sins, has granted you a new lease of life."

And when the Ephesians wanted to stone their governor because he did warm their baths enough he said to them: "You are blaming your governor because you get such a sorry bath; but I blame you because you take a bath at all."

[§17] The literary style which he cultivated was not dithyrambic or tumid and swollen with poetical words, nor again was it far-fetched and full of affected Atticisms; for he thought that an excessive degree of Atticising was unpleasant. Neither did he indulge in subtleties, nor spin out his discourses; nor did anyone ever hear him dissembling to an ironical way, nor addressing to his audience methodical arguments; but when he conversed he would assume an oracular manner and use the expressions, "I know," or "It is my opinion," or, "Where are you drifting to?" or, "You must know."

And his sentences where short and crisp, and his words were telling and closely fitted to the things he spoke of, and his words had a ring about them as of the dooms delivered by a sceptred king. And when a certain quibbler asked him, why he asked himself no questions, he replied: "Because I asked questions when I was a stripling; and it is not my business to ask questions now, but to teach people what I have discovered."

"How then," the other asked him afresh, "O Apollonius, should the sage converse?"

"Like a law-giver," he replied, "for it is the duty of the law-giver to deliver to the many [i.e., the populace] the instructions of whose truth he has persuaded himself."

This was the line he pursued during his stay in Antioch, and he converted to himself the most unrefined people. 

[§18] After this he formed the scheme of an extensive voyage, and had in mind the Indian race and the sages there, who are called Brahmans and Hyrcanians; for he said that it was a young man's duty to go abroad to embark upon foreign travel. But he made quite a windfall of the Magi, who live in Babylon and Susa. For he would take the opportunity to acquaint himself thoroughly with their lore while he was on his way.

And he announced his intention to his followers, who were seven in number; but when they tried to persuade him to adopt another plan, in hopes of drawing him off from his resolution, he said: "I have taken the gods into counsel and have told you their decision; and I have made trial of you to see if you are strong enough to undertake the same things as myself. Since therefore you are so soft and effeminate, I wish you very good health and that you may go on with your philosophy; but I must depart whither wisdom and the gods lead me."

Having said this he quitted Antioch with two attendants, who belonged to his father's house, one of them a shorthand writer and the other a calligraphist. 

[§19] And he reached the ancient city of Nineveh, where he found an idol set up of barbarous aspect, and it is, they say, Io, the daughter of Inachus, and horns short and, as it were, budding project from her temples. While he was staying there and forming wiser conclusions about the image than could the priests and prophets, one Damis, a native of Nineveh, joined him as a pupil, the same, as I said at the beginning, who became the companion of his wanderings abroad and his fellow-traveller and associate in all wisdom, and who has preserved to us many particulars of the sage.

He admired him, and having a taste for the road, said: "Let us depart, Apollonius, you follow God, and I you; for I think you will find that I can serve you. I can't say you how much more, but at least I've been to Babylon, and I know all the cities there are, because I have been up there not long ago, and also the villages in which there is much good to be found; and moreover, I know the languages of the various barbarous races, and there are several, for example the Armenian tongue, and that of the Medes and Persians, and that of the Kadusii, and I am familiar with all of them."

"And I," said Apollonius, "my good friend, understand all languages, though I never learnt a single one."

The native of Nineveh was astonished at this answer, but the other replied: "You need not wonder at my knowing all human languages; for, to tell you the truth, I also understand all the secrets of human silence."

Thereupon the Assyrian worshipped him, when he heard this, and regarded him as a demon; and he stayed with him increasing in wisdom and committing to memory whatever he learnt. This Assyrian's language, however, was of a mediocre quality, for he had not the gift of expressing himself, having been educated among the barbarians; but to write down a discourse or a conversation and to give impressions of what he heard or saw and to put together a journal of such matters - that he was well able to do, and carried it out as well as the best. At any rate the volume which he calls his scrap-book, was intended to serve such a purpose by Damis, who was determined that nothing about Apollonius should be passed over in silence, nay, that his most casual and negligent utterances should also be written down.

And I may mention the answer which he made to one who caviled and found fault with this journal. It was a lazy fellow and malignant who tried to pick holes in him, and remarked that he recorded well enough a lot of things, for example, the opinions and ideas of his hero, but that in collecting such trifles as these he reminded him of dogs who pick up and eat the fragments which fall from a feast. Damis replied thus: "If banquets there be of gods, and gods take food, surely they must have attendants whose business it is that not even the parcels of ambrosia that fall to the ground should be lost."

[§20] Such was the companion and admirer that he had met with, and in common with him most of his travels and life were passed. And as they fared on into Mesopotamia, the tax-gatherer who presided over the Bridge (Zeugma) led them into the registry and asked them what they were taking out of the country with them. And Apollonius replied: "I am taking with me temperance, justice, virtue, continence, valor, discipline."

And in this way he strung together a number of feminine nouns or names. The other, already scenting his own perquisites, said: "You must then write down in the register these female slaves."

Apollonius answered: "Impossible, for they are not female slaves that I am taking out with me, but ladies of quality."

Now Mesopotamia is bordered on one side by the Tigris, and on the other by the Euphrates, rivers which flow from Armenia and from the lowest slopes of Taurus; but they contain a tract like a continent, in which there are some cities, though for the most part only villages, and the races that inhabit them are the Armenian and the Arab. These races are so shut in by the rivers that most of them, who lead the life of nomads, are so convinced that they are islanders, as to say that they are going down to the sea, when they are merely on their way to the rivers, and think that these rivers border the earth and encircle it. For they curve around the continental tract in question, and discharge their waters into the same sea.

But there are people who say that the greater part of the Euphrates is lost in a marsh, and that this river ends in the earth. But some have a bolder theory to which they adhere, and declare that it runs under the earth to turn up in Egypt and mingle itself with the Nile.

Well, for the sake of accuracy and truth, and in order to leave out nothing of the things that Damis wrote, I should have liked to relate all the incidents that occurred on their journey through these barbarous regions; but my subject hurries me on to greater and more remarkable episodes. Nevertheless, I must perforce dwell upon two topics: on the courage which Apollonius showed, in making a journey through races of barbarians and robbers, which were not at that time even subject to the Romans, and at the cleverness with which after the matter of the Arabs he managed to understand the language of the animals.

For he learnt this on his way through these Arab tribes, who best understand and practice it. For it is quite common for the Arabs to listen to the birds prophesying like any oracles, but they acquire this faculty of understanding them by feeding themselves, so they say, either on the heart or liver of serpents.

[§26] With respect to the Magi, Apollonius has said all there is to be said, how he associated with them and learned some things from them, and taught them others before he went away.

But Damis is not acquainted with the conversations which the sage held with the Magi, for the latter forbade him to accompany him in his visits to them; so he tells us merely that he visited the Magi at mid-day and about midnight, and he says that he once asked his master: "What of the Magi?" and the latter answered: "They are wise men, but not in all respects."

[§27] But of this later on. When then he arrived at Babylon, the satrap in command the great gates, having learnt that he had come to see the country, held out a golden image of the king, which everyone must kiss before he is allowed to enter the city. Now an ambassador coming from the Roman Emperor has not this ceremony imposed upon him, but anyone who comes from the barbarians or just to look at the country, is arrested with dishonor unless he has first paid his respect to this image. Such are the silly duties committed to satraps among the barbarians. When therefore Apollonius saw the image, he said: "Who is that?"

And on being told that it was the king, he said: "This king whom you worship would acquire a great boon, if I merely recommended him as seeming honorable and good to me."

And with these words he passed through the gate. But the satrap was astonished, and followed him, and taking hold of his hand, he asked him through an interpreter his name and his family and what was his profession and why he came thither; and he wrote down the answers in a book and also a description of his dress and appearance, and ordered him to wait there.

[§28] But he himself ran off to the persons whom they are pleased to call "Ears of the King", and described Apollonius to them, after first telling them both that he refused to do homage and that he was not the least like other men. They bade him bring him along, and show him respect without using any violence; and when he came the head of the department asked him what induced him to flout the king, and he answered: "I have not yet flouted him."

  "But would you flout him?" was the next question.

"Why, of course I will," said Apollonius, "if on making his acquaintance I find him to be neither honorable nor good."

"Well, and what presents do you bring for him?"

Apollonius answered afresh that he brought courage and justice and so forth. "Do you mean," said the other, "to imply that the king lacks these qualities?"

"No, indeed," he answered, "but I would fain teach him to practice them, in case he possesses them."

"And surely it was by practicing these qualities," said the other, "that he has recovered the kingdom, which you behold, after he had lost it, and has restored his house, - no light task this nor easy."

"And how many years is it since he recovered his kingdom?"

"This is the third year since," answered the other, "which year began about two months ago."

Apollonius, then as was his custom, upheld his opinion and went on: "O bodyguard, or whatever I ought to call you, Darius[II Nothus] the father of Cyrus and Artaxerxes[II Mnemon] was master of these royal domains, I think, for sixty years, and he is said, when he felt that his end was at hand, to have offered a sacrifice to Justice [Ahuramazda] and to have addressed her thus: 'O lady mistress, or whosoever thou art.' This shows that he had long loved justice and desired her, but as yet knew her not, nor deemed that he had won her; he brought up his two sons so foolishly that they took up arms against one another, and one was wounded and the other killed by his fellow. Well, here is a king perhaps who does not even know how to keep his seat on the throne, and you would have me believe that he combines already all virtues, and you extol him, though, if he does turn out fairly good, it is you and not I that will gain thereby".

The barbarian then glanced at his neighbor and said: "Here is a windfall! 'tis one of the gods who has brought this man here; for as one good man associating with another improves him, so he will much improve our king, and render him more temperate and gracious; for these qualities are conspicuous in this man."

They accordingly ran into the palace and told everybody the good news, that there stood at the king's gates a man who was wise and a Hellene, and a good counselor.

[§29] When these tidings were brought to the king, he happened to be sacrificing with the Magi, for religious rites are performed under their supervision. And he called one of them and said: "The dream is come true, which I narrated to you when you visited me in my bed."

Now the dream which the king had dreamed was as follows: he thought that he was Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, and that he had altered and assumed the latter's form; and he was very much afraid lest some change should come over his affairs, for so he interpreted his change of appeareance. But when he heard that it was a Hellene, and a wise man, that had come, he remembered about Themistocles of Athens, who had once come from Greece and had lived with Artaxerxes, and had not only derived great benefit from the king, but had conferred great benefit himself. So he held out his right hand and said: "Call him in, for it wake the best of beginnings, if he will join with me in my sacrifice and prayer."

[§30] Accordingly Apollonius entered escorted by a number of people, for they had learnt that the king was pleased with the newcomer and though that this would gratify him; but as he passed into the palace, he did not glance at anything that others admired, but he passed them by as if he was still traveling on the highroad, and calling Damis to him he said: "You asked me yesterday what was the name of the Pamphylian woman who is said to have been intimate with Sappho, and to have composed the hymns which they sing in honor of Artemis of Perga, in the Aeolian and Pamphylian modes."

"Yes, I did ask you," said Damis, "but you did not tell me her name."

"I did not tell you it, my good fellow, but I explained to you about the keys in which the hymns are written, and I told you about the names; and how the Aeolian strains were altered into the highest key of all, that which is peculiar to the Pamphylians. After that we turned to another subject, for you did not ask me again about the name of the lady. Well, she is called -this clever lady is- Damophyle, and she is said, like Sappho, to have had girlfriends and to have composed poems, some of which were love-songs and others hymns. The particular hymn to Artemis was transposed by her, and the singing of it derives from Sapphic odes."

How far then he was from being astonished at the king and his pomp and ceremony, he showed by the fact that he did not think such things worth looking at, but went on talking about other things, as if he did not think the palace worth a glance.

[§31] Now the king caught sight of Apollonius approaching, for the vestibule of the Temple was of considerable length, and insisted to those by him that he recognized the sage; and when he came still nearer he cried out with a loud voice and said: "This is Apollonius, whom Megabates, my brother, said he saw in Antioch, the admired and respected of serious people; and he depicted him to me at that time just such a man as now comes to us."

And when Apollonius approached and saluted him, the king addressed him in the Greek language and invited him to sacrifice with him; and it chanced that he was on the point of sacrificing to the Sun as a victim a horse of the true Nisaean breed, which he had adorned with trappings as if for a triumphal procession. But Apollonius replied: "Do you, O king, go on with your sacrifice, in your own way, but permit me to sacrifice in mine."

And he took up a handful of frankincense and said: "O thou Sun, send me as far over the earth as is my pleasure and thine, and may I make the acquaintance of good men, but never hear anything of bad ones, nor they of me."

And with these words he threw the frankincense into the fire, and watched to see how the smoke of it curled upwards, and how it grew turbid, and in how many points it shot up; and in a manner he caught the meaning of the fire, and watched how it appeared of good omen and pure. Then he said: "Now, O king, go on with your sacrifice in accordance with your own traditions, for my traditions are such as you see."

Book 2.

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