[§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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[§14] Apollonius answered thus: "We must make allowance for the very timid remarks which Damis has made about the situation; for he is a Syrian and lives on the border of Media, where tyrants are worshipped, and hence does not entertain a lofty idea of freedom; but as for yourself, I do not see how you can defend yourself at the bar of philosophy from the charge of trumping up fears, from which, even if there were really any reason for them, you ought to try to wean him; instead of doing so you try to plunge into terror a man who was not even afraid of such things as were likely to occur.

I would indeed have a wise man sacrifice his life for the objects you have mentioned, but any man without being wise should equally die for them; for it is an obligation of law that we should die in behalf of our freedom, and an injunction of nature that we should die in behalf of our kinsfolk or of our friends or darlings.

Now all men are the slaves of nature and of law; the willing slaves of nature, as the unwilling ones of law. But it is the duty of the wise in a still higher degree to lay down their lives for the tenets they have embraced. Here are interests which neither law has laid upon us, nor nature planted in us from birth, but to which we have devoted ourselves out of mere strength of character and courage.  In behalf therefore of these, should anyone try to violate them, let the wise man pass through fire, let him bare his neck for the axe, for he will not be overcome by any such threats, nor driven to any sort of subterfuge; but he will cleave to all he knows as firmly as if it were a religion in which he had been initiated.

As for myself, I am acquainted with more than other human beings, for I know all things, and what I know, I know partly for good men, partly for wise ones, partly for myself, partly for the gods, but for tyrants nothing.  But that I am not come on any fool's errand, you can see if you will; for I run no risk of my life myself, nor shall I die at the hands of a despot, however much I might wish to do so; but I am aware that I am gambling with the lives of those whom I bear such relation as the tyrant chooses, whether he count me their leader or their supporter.

But if I were to betray them by holding back or by cowardly refusal to face the accusation, what would good men think of me? Who would not justly slay me, for playing with the lives of men to whom was entrusted everything I had besought of heaven? And I would like to point out to you, that I could not  possibly escape the reputation of being a traitor.

For there are two kinds of tyrants; the one kind put their victims to death without trial, the other after they have been brought before a court of law. The former kind resemble the more passionate and prompt of wild beasts, the other kind resemble the gentle and more lethargic ones. That both kinds are cruel is clear to everybody who takes Nero as an example of the impetuous disposition which does not trouble about legal forms, Tiberius, on the other hand of the tardy and lurking nature; for the former destroyed his victims before they had any suspicion of what was coming, and the other after he had tortured them with long drawn-out terror.

For myself I consider those crueler who make a pretense of legal trial, and of getting a verdict pronounced in accordance with the laws; for in reality they set them at defiance, and bring in the same verdict as they would have done without any real trial, giving the name of law to the mere postponement of their own spleen. The very fact of their being put to death in legal form does not deprive the wretches so condemned to death of that compassion on the part of the crowd, which should be tendered like a winding sheet to the victims of injustice.

Well, I perceive that the present ruler cloaks his tyranny under legal forms. But it seems to me that he ends by condemnation without trial; for he really sentences men before they enter the court, and then brings them before it as if they had not yet been tried. Now one who is formally condemned by a verdict in court, can obviously say he perished owing to an illegal sentence, but how can he that evades his trial escape the implied verdict against himself? And supposing, now that the fate of such distinguished persons also rests on me, I do manage to run away from the crisis which equally impends over them and myself, what can save me from no matter where I go on all the earth from the brand of infamy?

For let us suppose that you have delivered yourself of all these sentiments, and that I have admitted their correctness and acted on them, and that in consequence our friends have been murdered, what prayers could I offer in such a case for a favorable voyage? What haven could I cast anchor in? To whom could I set out on any voyage? For methinks I should have to steer clear of any land over which the Romans rule, and should have to seek men who are my friends, and yet do not live in sight of the tyrant, and that would be Phraotes, and the Babylonian, and the divine Iarchas, and the noble Thespesion.

Now supposing I set out for Ethiopia, what, my excellent friend, could I tell Thespesion? For if I concealed this episode, I should prove myself a lover of falsehood, nay worse, a slave; while if I frankly confessed all to him, I could only use such words as these: O Thespesion, Euphrates slandered me to you and accused me of things that are not on my conscience; for he said that I was a boaster and a miracle-monger, and one that violated wisdom, especially that of the Indians; but while I am none of these things, I am nevertheless a betrayer of my own friends, and their murderer, and utterly unreliable and so forth; and if there is any wreath for virtue, I come to wear it, because I have ruined the greatest of the Roman houses so utterly, that henceforth they are left desolate.

You blush, Demetrius, to hear such words; I see that you do so. What then, if you turn from Thespesion to Phraotes and imagine me fleeing to India to take refuge with such a man as he? How should I look him in the face? how should I explain the motive of my flight? Should I not have to say that when I visited him before, I was a gentleman not too faint-hearted to lay down my life for my friends; but that after enjoying his society, I had at your bidding thrown away with scorn this divinest of human privileges.

And as for Iarchas, he surely would not ask me any questions at all when I arrived, but just as Aeolus once bade Odysseus quit his island with ignominy, because he had made a bad use of the gift of a good wind which he had bestowed on him, so Iarchas, I imagine, would drive me from his eminence, and tell me that I had disgraced the draught I there had from the cup of Tantalus. For they require a man who stoops and drinks of that goblet, to share the dangers of his friends.

I know, Demetrius, how clever you are at chopping logic, and this, I believe, is why you will tender me some further advice, such as this: But you must not resort to those you have named, but to men with whom you have never had anything to do, and then your flight will be secure; for you will find it easier to lie hidden among people who do not know you.

Well, let me examine this argument too, and see whether there is anything in it. For this is how I regard it: I consider that a wise man does nothing in private nor by himself alone; I hold that not even his inmost thoughts can be so devoid of witness, that he himself at least is not present with himself; and whether the Pythian inscription was suggested by Apollo himself, or by some man who had a healthy conscience, and was therefore minded to publish it as an aphorism for all, I hold that the sage who 'knows himself,'[1] and has his own conscience as his perpetual companion, will never cower before things that scare the many, nor venture upon courses which others would engage upon without shame. For being the slaves of despots, they have been ready at times to betray to them even their dearest; because just as they trembled at imaginary terrors, so they felt no fear where they should have trembled.

But Wisdom allows of none these things. For beside the Pythian epigram, she also praises Euripides who regarded 'conscience in the case of human beings as a disease which works their ruin, whenever they realize that they have done wrong.'[2] For it was such conscience that brought up before Orestes and depicted in his imagination the shapes of the Eumenides, when he had gone mad with wrath against his mother; for whereas reason decides what should be done, conscience revises the resolutions taken by reason.

If then reason chooses the better part, conscience forthwith escorts a man to all the temples, into all the by-streets, into all groves of the gods, and into all haunts of mankind, applauding him and singing his praises. She will even hymn his merits as he sleeps, and will weave around him a chorus of angels from the world of dreams; but if the determination of reason trip and fall into evil courses, conscience permits not the sinner to look others in the face, nor to address them freely and boldly with his lips; and she drives him away from temples and from prayer.

For she suffers him not even to uplift his hands in prayer to the images, but strikes them down as he lifts them, as the law strikes down those who rebel against it; and she drives such men from every social meeting, and terrifies them in their sleep; and while she turns into dreams and windy forms all that they see by day, and any things they think they hear or say, she lends to their empty and fantastic flutterings of heart truth and substantial reality of well-found terror.

I think then that I have clearly shown you, and that truth itself will convince you, that my conscience will convict me wherever I go, whether to people that know me, or to people that do not, supposing I were to betray my friends; but I will not betray even myself, but I will boldly wrestle with the tyrant, hailing him with the words of the noble Homer: Ares is as much my friend as thine."[3]



[§15] Damis was so impressed by this address, he tells us, that he took fresh resolution and courage, and Demetrius no longer despaired of Apollonius, but rather praising and agreeing with his appeal, wished godspeed to him in his perilous enterprise and to his mistress Philosophy for whose sake he braved so much.

And he led them, Damis says, to where he was lodging; but Apollonius declined and said: "It is now eventide, and about the time of the lighting up of the lamps and I must set out for the port of Rome, for this is the usual hour at which these ships sail. However we will dine together another time, when my affairs are on a better footing; for just now some charge would be trumped up against yourself of having dined with an enemy of the Emperor. Nor must you come down to the harbor with us, lest you should be accused, merely for having conversed with me, of harboring criminal designs."



[§38] Damis says that though Apollonius uttered many more discourses of the same kind, he was himself in despair of the situation, because he saw no way out of it except such as the gods have vouchsafed to some in answer to prayer, when they were in even worse straits. But a little before midday, he tells us that he said: "O man of Tyana," -for he took a special pleasure, it appears, in being called by that name,- "what is to become of us?"

"Why what has become of us already," said Apollonius, "and nothing more, for no one is going to kill us."

"And who," said Damis, "is so invulnerable as that? But will you ever be liberated?"

"So far as it rests with the verdict of the court," said Apollonius, "I shall be set at liberty this day, but so far as depend upon my own will, now and here." And with these words he took his leg out of the fetters and remarked to Damis: "Here is proof positive to you of my freedom, to cheer you up."

Damis says that it was then for the first time that he really and truly understood the nature of Apollonius, to wit that it was divine and superhuman, for without sacrifice -and how in prison could he have offered any?- and without a single prayer, without even a word, he quietly laughed at the fetters, and then inserted his leg in them afresh, and behaved like a prisoner once more.

[§39] Now simple-minded people attribute such acts as this to wizardry, and they make the same mistake in respect of many purely human actions. For athletes resort to this art, just as do all who have to undergo a contest in their eagerness to win; and although it contributes nothing to their success, nevertheless these unfortunate people, after winning by mere chance as they generally do, rob themselves of the credit and attribute it to this art of wizardry.

Nor does any amount of failure in their enterprises shake their faith in it, they merely say such things as this: "If I had only offered this sacrifice or that, if I had only burnt that perfume in place of another, I should not have failed to win." And they really believe what they say.

Magic also besieges the doors of merchants no less, for we shall find them too attributing their successes in trade to the wizard or magician, no less than they ascribe their losses to their own parsimony and to their failure to sacrifice as often as they should have done.

But is especially lovers who are addicted to this art; for as the disease which they suffer from in any case renders them liable to be deluded, so much so that they go to old hags to talk about it, it is no wonder, I think, that they resort to these impostors and give ear to their quackeries. They will accept from them a magic girdle to wear, as well as precious stones, some of the bits of stone having come from the depths of the earth and others from the moon and stars; and then they are given all the spices which the gardens of India yield; and the cheats exact vast sums of money from them for all this, and yet do nothing to help them at all.

For let their favorites only give them the least encouragement, or let the attractions of the lover's presents advance his suit in the very least, and he at once sets out to laud the art as able to achieve anything; while if the experiment does not come off, he is as ready as ever to lay the blame on some omission, for he will say that he forgot to burn the spice, or to sacrifice or melt up that, and that everything turned upon that and it was impossible to do without it.

Now the various devices and artifices by which they work signs from heaven and all other miracles on a wide scale, have been actually recorded by certain authors, who laugh outright at the art in question. But for myself I would gladly denounce such arts in order to prevent young men from resorting to its professors, lest they become accustomed to such things even in fun. This digression has led me far enough from my subject; for why should I attack any further a thing which is equally condemned by nature and by law?



[§40] After Apollonius had thus revealed himself to Damis, and held some further conversation, about midday someone presented himself to them and made the following intimation verbally: "The Emperor, Apollonius, releases you from these fetters by the advice of Aelian; and he permits you to take up your quarters in the prison where criminals are not bound, until the time comes for you to make your defense, but you will probably be called upon to plead your cause five days from now."

"Who then," said Apollonius, "is to get me out of this place?"

"I," said the messenger, "so follow me."

And when the prisoners in the free prison saw him again, they all flocked round him, as around one restored to them against all expectations; for they entertained the same affectionate longing for Apollonius as children do for a parent who devotes himself to giving them good advice in an agreeable and modest manner, or who tells them stories of his own youth; nor did they try to hide their feelings; and Apollonius continued incessantly to give them advice.



Book 8.

[§1] Let us now repair to the law court to listen to the sage pleading his cause; for it is already sunrise and the doors are thrown open to admit the celebrities. And the companions of the Emperor [Domitian] say that he had taken no food today, because, I imagine, he was so absorbed in examining the documents of the case. For they say he was holding in his hands a roll of writing of some sort, sometimes reading it with anger, and sometimes more calmly. And we must needs figure him as one who was angry with the law for having invented such things as courts of justice.

[§2] But Apollonius, as we meet him in this conjuncture seems to regard the trial as a dialectical discussion, rather than as a race to be run for his life; and this we may infer from the way he behaved before he entered the court. For on his way thither he asked the secretary who was conducting him, where they were going; and when the latter answered that he was leading him to the court, he said: "Whom am I going to plead against?"

"Why," said the other, "against the accuser of course, and the Emperor will be judge."

"And," said Apollonius, "who is going to judge between myself and the Emperor? For I shall prove that he is wronging philosophy."

"And what concern," said the other, "has the Emperor for philosophy, even if he does happen to be wrong?"

"Nay, but philosophy," said Apollonius, "is much concerned about the Emperor, that he should govern as he should."

The secretary commanded this sentiment, for indeed he was already favorably disposed to Apollonius, as he proved from the very beginning. "And how long will your pleading last by the water-clock's reckoning? For I must know this before the trial begins."

"If," said Apollonius, "I am allowed to plead as long as the necessities of the suit require me to, the whole of the Tiber might run through the meter before I should have done; but if I am only to answer the questions put to me, then it depends on the cross-examiner how long I shall be making my answers."

"You have cultivated," remarked the other, "contrary talents when you thus engage to talk about one and the same matter both with brevity and with prolixity."

"They are not contrary talents," said Apollonius, "but resemble each other. And moreover there is a mean composed between the two, which I should not myself allege to be a third, but a first requisite for a pleader; and for my own part I am sure that silence constitutes a fourth excellence much required in a law-court."

"Anyhow," said the other, "it will do you no good nor anyone who stands in great peril."

"And yet," said Apollonius, "it was of great service to Socrates of Athens, when he was prosecuted."

"And what good did it do him," said the other, "seeing that he died just because he would say nothing?"

"He did not die," said Apollonius, "though the Athenians thought he did."

[§3] This was how he prepared himself to confront the despot's maneuvers; and as he waited before the court another secretary came up and said: "Man of Tyana, you must enter the court with nothing on you."

"Are we then to take a bath," said Apollonius, "or to plead?"

"The rule," said the other, "does not apply to dress, but the Emperor only forbids you to bring in here either amulet, or book, or any papers of any kind."

"And not even a cane," said Apollonius, "for the back of the idiots who gave him such advice as this?"

Whereat the accuser burst into shouts: "O my Emperor," he said, "this wizard threatens to beat me, for it was I who gave you this advice."

"Then," said Apollonius, "it is you who are a wizard rather than myself; for you say that you have persuaded the Emperor of my being that which so far I have failed to persuade him that I am not."

While the accuser was indulging in this abuse, one of the freedmen of Euphrates was at his side, whom the latter was said to have sent from Ionia with news of what Apollonius had there said in his conversations, and also with a sum of money which was presented to the accuser.

[§4] Such were the preliminary skirmishes which preceded the trial, but the conduct of the trial itself was as follows: The court was fitted up as if for an audience listening to a panegyrical discourse; and all the illustrious men of the city were present at the trial, because the Emperor was intent upon proving before as many people as possible that Apollonius was an accomplice of Nerva and his friends.

Apollonius, however, ignored the Emperor's presence so completely as not even to glance at him; and when his accuser upbraided him for want of respect, and bade him turn his eyes upon the god of all mankind, Apollonius raised his eyes to the ceiling, bu way of giving a hint that he was looking up to Zeus, and that he regarded the recipient of such profane flattery as worse than he who administered it.

Whereupon the accuser began to bellow and spoke somewhat as follows: "'Tis time, my sovereign, to apportion the water, for if you allow him to talk as long as he chooses, he will choke us. Moreover I have a roll here which contains the heads of the charges against him, and to these he must answer, so let him defend himself against them one by one."

[§5] The Emperor approved of this plan of procedure and ordered Apollonius to make his defense according to the informer's advice; however, he dropped out other accusations, as not worth discussion, and confined himself to four questions which he thought were embarrassing and difficult to answer. "What induces you, he said, "Apollonius, to dress yourself differently from everybody else, and to wear this peculiar and singular garb?"

"Because," said Apollonius, "the earth which feeds me also clothes me, and I do not like to bother the poor animals."

The emperor next asked the question: "Why is it that men call you a god?"

"Because," answered Apollonius, "every man that is thought to be good, is honored by the title of god." I have shown in my narrative of India how this tenet passed into our hero's philosophy.

The third question related to the plague in Ephesus: "What motived," he said, "or suggested your prediction to the Ephesians that they would suffer from a plague?"

"I used," he said, "O my sovereign, a lighter diet than others, and so I was the first to be sensible of the danger; and if you like, I will enumerate the causes of pestilences."

But the Emperor, fearful, I imagine, lest Apollonius should reckon among the causes of such epidemics his own wrong-doing, and his incestuous marriage, and his other misdemeanors, replied: "Oh, I do not want any such answers as that."

And when he came to the fourth question which related to Nerva and his friends, instead of hurrying straight on to it, he allowed a certain interval to elapse, and after long reflection, and with the air of one who felt dizzy, he put his question in a way which surprised them all; for they expected him to throw off all disguise and blurt out the names of the persons in question without any reserve, complaining loudly and bitterly of the sacrifice; but instead of putting the question in this way, he beat about the bush, and said: "Tell me, you went out of your house on a certain day, and you traveled into the country, and sacrificed the boy - I would like to know for whom?"

And Apollonius as if he were rebuking a child replied: "Good words, I beseech you; for I did leave my house, I was in the country; and if this was so, then I offered sacrifice: and if I offered it, then I ate of it. But let these assertions be proved by trustworthy witnesses."

Such a reply on the part of the sage aroused louder applause than beseemed the court of an Emperor; and the latter deeming the audience to have borne witness in favor of the accused, and also not a little impressed himself by the answers he had received, for they were both firm and sensible, said: "I acquit you of the charges; but you must remain here until we have had a private interview."

Thereat Apollonius was much encouraged and said: "I thank you indeed, my sovereign, but I would fain tell you that by reason of these miscreants your cities are in ruin, and the islands full of exiles, and the mainland of lamentations, and your armies of cowardice, and the Senate of suspicion. Accord me also, if you will, opportunity to speak; but if not, then send someone to take my body, for my soul you cannot take. Nay, you cannot take even my body,

For thou shalt not slay me, since -I tell thee- I am not mortal."[Homer, Iliad 22.13]

And with these words he vanished from the court, which was the best thing he could do under the circumstances, for the Emperor clearly intended not to question him sincerely about the case, but about all sorts of irrelevant matters. For he took great credit to himself for not having put Apollonius to death, nor was the latter anxious to be drawn into such discussions.

And he thought that he would best effect his end if he left no one in ignorance of his true nature, but allowed it to be known to all to be such that he had it in him never to be taken prisoner against his own will. Moreover he had no longer any cause for anxiety about his friends; for as the despot had not the courage to ask any questions about them, how could he possibly put them to death with any color of justice upon charges for which no evidence had been presented in court?

Such was the account of the proceedings of the trial which I found.




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