Apollonius of Tyre

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Then Apollonius took the letters and went to the royal hall. When the maiden saw Apollonius she said: ‘Master, why do you come alone?’ Apollonius said: ‘Lady, you are not yet a wicked woman. Take these letters which your father has sent you and read them.’ The maiden took them and read the three young men’s names, but she could not find the name she desired there. When she had looked over the letters, then she looked round at Apollonius and said: ‘Master, would it not offend you if I were to choose a husband in this way?’ Apollonius said: ‘No, but I would be much happier if you were able, because of the tuition that you have received from me, yourself reveal in writing which one of them you desire. My wish is that you choose a husband whom you desire for yourself. The maiden said: ‘Alas, master, if you loved me, you would grieve about this.’ After these words, determined of mind, she wrote another letter and sealed it and gave it to Apollonius. Then Apollonius took it out into the street and gave it to the king. That letter was written like this: ‘You good king, and my most beloved father, now that your loving kindness has given me leave that I myself might choose whichever husband I desired, I say to you in truth that I want the shipwrecked man. And if you wonder that such a modest woman wrote these words so unhesitatingly, then you should know that I have announced by means of wax, which does not know any shame, what for shame I could not tell you myself.’

When the king had read through the letter, he did not know which shipwrecked man she referred to. Then he looked round at the three young men and said: ‘Which of you is shipwrecked?’ Then said that one of them who was called Ardalius: ‘I was shipwrecked.’ The other answered him and said: ‘You shut up; a plague take you so that you become neither healthy nor sound. With me you studied scholarship, and you have never been outside the city gates without me. Where did you suffer a shipwreck?’

When the king could not discover which of them was shipwrecked, he looked round to Apollonius and said: ‘Take this letter, Apollonius, and read it. It may easily be the case that you know what I do not since you were present there.’ Then Apollonius took that letter and read it, and as soon as he perceived that he was loved by that young woman his face went completely red. When the king saw that, he took Apollonius’ hand and turned with him away from the young men, and said: ‘Do you know the shipwrecked man?’ Apollonius said: ‘You good king, if it is your wish, I do know him.’ When the king saw that Apollonius’ blushing had spread over his entire face, then he understood the comment and said this to him: ‘Be happy, be happy, Apollonius, for my daughter desires that which is my desire! In truth, nothing can happen in such things except with God’s will.’ Arcestrates looked round at the young men and said: ‘It is true what I said to you before, that you did not come at the right time to ask for my daughter; but when she may be at leisure from her studies, then I shall send you word.’ Then they went home with this answer.

So Arcestrates the king held Apollonius’ hand and led him home with him, not like he was a guest, but like he was his son in law. Then at last the king let go of Apollonius’ hand and went alone into the bedroom in which his daughter was and said this: ‘Beloved daughter, who have you chosen for your husband?’ The young woman then fell to her father’s feet and said: ‘You kind father, hear your daughter’s desire. I love the shipwrecked man who was betrayed by misadventure; but in case you hesitate about this statement, it is Apollonius that I want, my teacher, and if you will not give him to me you abandon your daughter.’ Then the king, in truth, could not stand his daughter’s tears, but raised her up and said to her: ‘Beloved daughter, do not be frightened about anything. You have chosen a man who is very pleasing to me.’ He went out then and looked at Apollonius and said: ‘Master Apollonius, I have thought about my daughter’s heart’s desire. She told me with tears these things, saying this, among other comments: “You promised Apollonius, if he would consent to my wish for tuition, that you would give back to him whatever the sea had taken from him. Now, because he was compliant to your command and my desire, I went after him…

Then it was revealed to her, there where she was the leader,2 that a king had arrived with his son-in-law and his daughter with splendid gifts. When she heard that, she adorned herself with regal clothes and with purple garments and decorated her head with gold and gemstones, and, surrounded by a substantial group of women, she came towards the king. She was truly very beautiful and, because of her great love of purity, they all said that no one there was as pleasing as she was to Diana. When Apollonius saw that, he ran to her with his son in law and daughter, and they all fell at her feet, and thought that she was Diana the goddess because of her great brightness and beauty. Then the temple was opened and the gifts were brought in; and then Apollonius began to speak and say: ‘From childhood I was called Apollonius, born in Tyre. When I arrived at full understanding, then there was no skill that was cultivated by kings or by noblemen that I did not know. I interpreted Antiochus the king’s riddle so that I could have his daughter as my wife; but he himself was associated with the foulest defilement there, and then contrived to kill me. When I fled from that, I became shipwrecked at sea and arrived at Cyrene. Then Arcestrates the king accepted me with so great a love that in time I earned his giving to me of his only born daughter as a wife. She travelled with me then to obtain my kingdom; and this daughter of mine, who is presented in front of you Diana, she gave birth to while at sea, and she gave up her spirit. Then I dressed her in noble clothes and I laid her in a chest with gold and a letter, so that the person who found her would be able to bury her honourably. And I put my daughter into the safe keeping of the most evil people. Then I travelled for fourteen years in the land of Egypt, in mourning. Then when I came back, they told me that my daughter had died, and my sorrow was entirely renewed for me.’


When he had narrated all these things, Arcestrate, truly his wife, rose up and embraced him. Then Apollonius did not know nor did he believe that she was his wife, but he shoved her away from him. Then she cried out with a loud voice and said with tears: ‘I am Arcestrate your wife, Arcestrates the king’s daughter, and you are Apollonius, my teacher, who taught me; you are the shipwrecked man that I loved, not because of lust but because of wisdom. Where is my daughter?’ Then he looked round at Thasia and said: ‘This is she.’ And then they all cried and also rejoiced, and that word spread throughout the entire land that Apollonius, the glorious king, had found his wife; and there was huge joy, and the organs were played and the trumpets were blown, and a joyous feast was made ready between the king and the people. And she established her follower who served her as priestess; and to the joy and crying of all that region of Ephesus she travelled with her husband and son in law and daughter to Antioch, where the kingdom was held for Apollonius.

Then afterwards he travelled to Tyre and established Athenagoras, his son in law, there as king. Indeed, then he went from there to Tarsus with his wife and with his daughter and with a kingly army, and commanded Stranguillo and Dionysias3 to be captured immediately and brought before him where he sat on his throne. When they had been brought, he spoke in front of the entire gathered crowd: ‘You citizens of Tarsus, would you say that I Apollonius ever did you any harm?’ Then they all said with one voice: ‘We have always said that you were our king and father and that for you we would happily die, because you saved us from hunger.’ Then Apollonius said: ‘I put my daughter into the safe keeping of Stranguillo and Dionysias, and they have not given her back to me.’ That evil woman said: ‘Do you not recall well, lord, that you yourself read the lettering over her grave?’ Then Apollonius shouted out very loud and said: ‘Beloved daughter Thasia, if there might be any perception in hell, you leave that torturous hall and hear your father’s voice.’ That maiden then advanced clothed in noble robes and uncovered her head and said loudly to that evil woman: ‘Dionysias, be of good health. I greet you now, called upon from hell.’ That guilty woman then trembled throughout her limbs when she looked on her; and the citizens wondered and rejoiced. Then Thasia ordered Theophilus, Dionysias’ steward, to be brought before her, and she said to him: ‘Theophilus, so that you can protect your life, reveal with a loud voice who instructed you to murder me.’ The steward said: ‘Dionysias, my lady.’ Indeed then the citizens took Stranguillo and his wife and led them out of the city and stoned them to death, and they wanted to kill Theophilus too, but Thasia interceded for him and said: ‘Unless this man had given me the time so that I could pray to God, then I should not have come to this prosperous position.’ Then truly she reached out her hand to him and told him to go in safety; and Philothemian, the evil woman’s daughter, Thasia took to herself.


Truly then Apollonius gave the people many gifts to make them happy, and their walls were rebuilt. Then he remained there for six months and afterwards journeyed by ship to the Cyrenaican town Pentapolis, and came to Arcestrates the king; and the king in his elderly age rejoiced that he could see his granddaughter with her husband. They remained together for an entire year and afterwards Arcestrates the king died, very old, surrounded by them all, and he left half his kingdom to Apollonius and half to his daughter.

All of this having been done in this way, Apollonius, the renowned king, walked by the sea. Then he saw the old fisherman who had taken him in before when he had been naked. Then the king ordered him to be quickly taken and led to the royal hall. When the fisherman saw that the soldiers wanted to take him, he thought first of all the men were going to kill him; but then when he came into the king’s hall, the king instructed him to be brought before the queen, and he said this: ‘My blessed queen, this is my guide who took me in when I was naked, and directed me so that I came to you.’ Then Apollonius the king looked round at the fisherman and said: ‘Oh benevolent old man, I am Apollonius the Tyrenian, to whom you gave half your garment.’ Then the king gave him two hundred gold coins and kept him as a servant for as long as he lived. Then Hellanicus also came to him, the man who had revealed to him before what Antiochus the king had ordained concerning him, and he said to the king: ‘Lord king, remember Hellanicus, your servant.’ Then Apollonius took him by the hand and raised him up and kissed him, and made him wealthy and established him as one of his servants.

After all of this, Apollonius the king had a son by his wife, whom he established as king in the kingdom of Arcestrates his grandfather. And he himself lived happily with his wife for seventy seven years, and ruled the kingdom in Antioch and in Tyre and in Cyrene; and he lived in peace and in happiness throughout his lifetime after his misfortune. And he himself wrote two books about his journey, and put one in the temple of Diana, and the second in the library.

Here ends both the grief and the happiness of Apollonius the Tyrenian. Read it whoever wishes to. And if anyone does read it, I ask that he might not speak ill of the translation, but that he will keep quiet about whatever may be derided in it.

1 The female servant.

2 Arcestrate is now the high priestess at the temple of Diana.

3 The evil couple to whom Apollonius entrusted the care of Thasia.

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