Apollonius of Tyre

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After this, it happened within a few months that Stranguillo and Dionysias his wife instructed Apollonius that he should travel by ship to the Pentapolis, the Cyrenaican town, and said that he might be hidden there and should stay there. And then the people led him to the ship with indescribable honour, and Apollonius bade them all farewell and boarded the ship. Once they had begun to sail and had gone forward on their way, the calmness of the sea quickly turned within two hours and became agitated by a great storm so that the sea beat against the heavenly stars and the swelling of the waves roared with winds. Furthermore, north-easterly winds came there and the horrible south-westerly wind stood against them, and the ship completely broke asunder.

In this awful storm all of Apollonius’ companions died, and, alone, by swimming, Apollonius came to Pentapolis in the Cyrenaican land, and there he went up onto the beach. Then on the beach he stood naked, and looked out to sea and said: ‘Alas you sea, Neptune, ravager of men and betrayer of the innocent, you are more bloodthirsty than Antiochus the king. You have saved this cruelty for my deeds so that because of you I would become poor and needy, and so that that savage king might destroy me more easily. Where can I go now? For what might I ask or who will give comfort to this unknown man?’ While he was saying these things to himself, suddenly he saw a fisherman advancing, at whom he looked, and sadly said this: ‘Have pity on me, you old man, whoever you may be; have pity on me, naked, shipwrecked, who was not born of low birth. And in order that you may clearly understand in advance on whom it is that you take pity, I am Apollonius, prince of Tyre.’ Then as soon as the fisherman saw that the young man lay at his feet, with kind-heartedness, he lifted him up and led him with him to his house and laid before him the delicacies that he could give him. Since he wanted to show him yet more kindness as much as was in his power, he then tore his cloak into two and gave a half part to Apollonius, saying this: ‘Take what I have to give you and go into the city. By chance you might meet a person who will pity you. If you do not find someone who will pity you, come back here and my few possessions can suffice for us both, and you can come with me in my fishing. Nevertheless, I exhort you, if with the help of God you return to your former honour, that you do not forget my poor garment.’ Then Apollonius said: ‘If I do not remember you when life is better for me, I wish that I might again be shipwrecked but do not meet one like you next time.’


After these words he went on the path that he had been shown until he came to the gate of the city, and he went in there. As he considered who he could ask for help in living, he saw a naked boy run through the street; he was smeared with oil and clothed by a towel and bore in his hands equipment for young men’s games belonging to the gymnasium, and called out in a loud voice and said: ‘Listen you citizens, listen you foreigners, free and enslaved, noble and low-born; the gymnasium is open.’ Then when Apollonius heard that, he took off the half a cloak that he had on and went into the bath, and as he looked at each one of them at their work, he sought his equal, but he was not able to find him there in that crowd. Then straightaway Arcestrates, king of all the people, came with a large host of his men and went into the bath. Then the king began to play with a ball with his companions; and Apollonius took part in the king’s game, just as God wished it, and running he caught the ball, and with swifter speed struck it and sent it back to the playing king. Again he sent it back; he quickly struck it so that he never let it fall. When the king could see the young man’s agility so that he perceived that he did not have his equal in that game, he said to his companions: ‘Go away from here. This young man, it seems to me, is my equal.’ When Apollonius heard that the king praised him, he ran quickly and got near to the king and with an accomplished hand he struck the top with such a great swiftness that it appeared to the king just like he had turned from old age to youth; and after that, on his throne, he served him agreeably. And then when he went out from the bath, he took him by the hand, and then went the way that he had come from before.


Then the king said to his men after Apollonius had gone: ‘I swear through common salvation that I have never bathed better than I did today, I know not through which young man's service.’ Then he looked at one of his men and said: ‘Go and discover who the young man might be who obliged me so well today.’ The man then went after Apollonius. As soon as he saw that he was clothed with a dirty cloak, he returned to the king and said: ‘The young man who you asked about is a shipwrecked man.’ Then the king said: ‘Through what do you know that?’ The man answered him and said: ‘Though he would conceal it himself, his garment clearly shows it.’ Then said the king: ‘Go quickly and tell him that the king asks that you come to his feast.’ When Apollonius heard that, he obeyed and went forward with the man until he came to the king’s hall. Then the man went in before him to the king and said: ‘The shipwrecked man after whom you sent has arrived, but he cannot, for shame, come in without clothes.’ Then the king immediately ordered him to be clothed with decent clothing and asked him to come in to the feast. Then Apollonius went in and sat where he was instructed, opposite the king. Then the dishes were carried in there, and after that a royal meal, and Apollonius did not eat anything though all the other men ate and were happy; but he looked at the gold and the silver and the precious clothes and the tables and the royal serving dishes. Then when he was looking at all of this with sadness, a certain old and somewhat envious ealdorman sat by the king. When he noticed that Apollonius sat so sorrowfully and looked at all the things and ate nothing, he said to the king: ‘You good king, look at this man whom you have behaved to so well; he is greatly envious because of your possessions.’ Then said the king: ‘You are wrong. Certainly, this young man does not envy anything that he sees here, but he makes it known that he has lost a great deal.’ Then Arcestrates the king looked towards Apollonius with a cheerful expression and said: ‘You young man, be happy with us and hope in God that you might arrive at better times yourself.’


When the king had said these words, then suddenly there entered the king’s young daughter, and she kissed her father and those who sat around him. When she came to Apollonius, she turned back to her father and said: ‘Good king, and my most beloved father, who is this young man who sits opposite you in such an honoured position with a sorrowful expression? I do not know what troubles him.’ Then the king said: ‘Dear daughter, this young man is shipwrecked and he pleased me when he was the best man in the games; because of this I invited him to this feast of ours. I do not know who he is nor from where he came, but if you want to know who he may be, ask him, because it is reasonable that you should know.’ Then that young woman went to Apollonius and respectfully said: ‘Even though you are quiet and sad, I see in you your nobility. Now then, if you it does not seem too burdensome to you, tell me what your name is and tell me what happened to you.’ Then Apollonius said: ‘If because of some necessity you ask about my name, I can tell you that I lost it at sea. If you want to know about my nobility, know that I abandoned it in Tarsus.’ The maiden said: ‘Tell me more explicitly so that I might be able to understand.’


Apollonius then related to her all about his situation truly, and at the end of the speech tears fell from his eyes. When the king saw that, he turned to his daughter there and said: ‘Dear daughter, you have erred; by wanting to know his name and his situation, you have now renewed his original sorrow. But I pray that you give him whatever you desire.’ When the young woman heard that she was allowed by her father to do what she herself had already wished, then she said to Apollonius: ‘Apollonius, truly you are one of us. Forget your grief; and now I have my father's permission, I will make you wealthy.’ Apollonius thanked her for this, and the king was gladdened by his daughter’s goodness, and he said to her: ‘Beloved daughter, ask for your harp to be fetched and summon your friends and rid the young man of his sadness.’ Then she went out and asked her harp to be fetched; and as soon as she began to pluck the strings, she combined the sound of the harp with delightful singing. Then all the men began to praise her for her musical accomplishment, and Apollonius alone remained silent. Then the king said: ‘Apollonius, now you do wrong, because all the men praise my daughter for her musical accomplishment and you alone insult her by being silent.’ Apollonius said: ‘Alas, good king, if you can forgive me, I will say that I can see that truly your daughter has fallen into music-making, but she has not learned it well. But command the harp to be given to me now; then you will know what you do not yet know.’ Arcestrates the king said: ‘Apollonius, truly I know that you are well instructed in all things.’ Then the king commanded that the harp be given to Apollonius. Apollonius then went out and clothed himself and put a garland on his head, and took the harp in his hand and went in and then stood, so that the king and all those sitting about thought that he was not Apollonius but that he was Apollo, the god of the heathens. Then within the hall there was quiet and silence. And Apollonius took his harp-pluck and began to play the harp strings with skill, and he combined the sound of the harp with a delightful song. And the king himself and all of those who were present there called out with a loud voice and praised him. After this Apollonius put the harp down and played and performed many pleasing things there that were unknown and unusual to the people, and each of the things that he performed pleased them all very much.


Truly, when the king's daughter saw that Apollonius was so well instructed in all useful skills, then her mind fell in love with him. Then after feast’s end, the young woman said to the king: ‘Beloved father, you allowed a little while ago that I could give Apollonius whatever I wished from your hoard of treasure.’ Arcestrates the king said to her: ‘Give him whatever you wish.’ Then she went out very happily and said: ‘Master Apollonius, I give you, with my father’s acquiescence, two hundred pounds of gold and four hundred pounds of silver, and a substantial amount of precious clothing, and twenty servants.’ And then she said this to the servants: ‘Carry with you these things that I have promised to Apollonius, my master, and put them in the chamber in front of my friend.’ This was then done in the manner of the princess’ request, and all those men praised her gifts when they saw them. Then indeed the feast ended, and all the people rose up and greeted the king and the princess, and prayed that they would fare well, and went home. Likewise Apollonius said: ‘Good king and pitier of the wretched, and you princess, lover of learning, be of good health.’ He also looked towards the servants that the young woman had given him, and said to them: ‘Take these things that the princess has given me with you, and we can go and find our lodgings so that we can rest.

Then the maiden feared that she might not see Apollonius again as quickly as she desired, and she went to her father then and said: ‘Good king, are you happy that Apollonius, whom we have benefited today, has gone from here in this way, and that evil men might come and rob him?’ The king said: ‘You have spoken up well. Ask them to find him a place where he may rest the most comfortably. Then the young woman did as she had been asked, and Apollonius took the dwelling as he was instructed, and went in there thanking God who had not deprived him of his royal honour and comfort.

But that young woman had a disturbed night, excited by love of the words and songs that she heard from Apollonius, and she could wait no longer when it became day, but went immediately as soon as it was light and sat at the foot of her father’s bed. Then the king said: ‘Beloved daughter, why are you awake this early?’ The maiden said: ‘I was kept awake by the achievements that I heard yesterday. So now I ask of you that you commend me to our guest Apollonius for tuition.’ Then the king was very happy, and commanded Apollonius to be fetched and said to him: ‘My daughter is eager to be taught by you in the fortunate skills that you know, and if you would be amenable to this, I swear to you through the power of my kingdom that whatever you lost at sea I will replace for you on land.’ When Apollonius heard that, he accepted the young woman for tuition and taught her as well as he himself had been taught.


Then it happened within a few hours of this that Arcestrates the king held Apollonius by the hand and in this manner went out into the city street. Next then there came walking towards them three learned and noble men, who had previously for a long time desired the king's daughter. Then all three of them greeted the king in unison with one voice. Then the king smiled and looked at them and said this: ‘What is it that you greet me with one voice?’ Then one of them answered and said: ‘We asked for your daughter some time ago and you have frequently distressed us with delay. Because of this we come here today together in this way. We are your citizens, born of noble descent. Now we beseech you that you choose which one of us three you wish to have as a son in law.’ Then the king said: ‘You have not chosen a good time. My daughter is now very busy about her studies, but in case I should delay you any longer, write your names and her marriage gift in a letter; then I will send the letters to my daughter so that she herself can choose which of you she desires.’ Then the young men did just this, and the king took the letters and sealed them with his ring and gave them to Apollonius, saying this: ‘Take and carry these to your student now, Master Apollonius, as long as you this does not displease you.’

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