Sadhus & Yogis of India
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The life of Apollonius of Tyana.
Philostratus, Flavius.
F.C. Conybeare - English Translation
London, 1960. (repr. 1912)
First Book
[I] VIII asceticism
[I] XIII rejects marriage
[I] XIV keeping silent
[I] XIV the formulation of the journey to India
[I] XX the tax registrar at the Mesopotamian border
[I] XXXII asceticism
[II] XXV the Indian king Phroates, a vegetarian
[II] XXXIII of Alexander the Great and gymnosophists
[II] XXXV on water, wine and dreams
[II] XL departure from Phroates - his Letter to Iarchas
[II] XLII the limit of Alexander the Great
[III] IX the city Paraca
[III] X the castle of the sages
[III] XI tilak and trishul
[III] XV sages’ paraphernalia
[III] XVI first meetings with Iarchus and Prescience
[III] XVIII of self-knowledge and of Man and Gods
[III] XIX of the soul and of Pythagoras
[III] XXVI the sages receive the king
[III] XXVIII the king’s low opinion of philosophy
[III] XXX number of sages
[III] XXXI further quarrels with the king
[III] XXXIII nature & the cosmos
[III] XXXVII the healings of the Sages
[III] XLI divination & medicine
[III] L the departure from the sages of India
[V] XXIV Alexandria
Second Book
[VI] V the murderer
[VI] VI the Egyptian gymnosophists
[VI] XI Apollonius discourses to Thespesion the Egyptian gymnosophist
[VI] XVI story of Nilus
[VII] XXXII Apollonius’ Interview with Domitian
[VIII] VII his defense in court
[VIII] XXIX his death
[v] The Life of Apollonius of Tyana has been once translated in its entirety into English, as long ago as the year 1811, by an Irish clergyman of the name of E. Berwick. It is to be hoped therefore that the present translation will be acceptable to the English reading public; for there is in it much that is very good reading, and it is lightly written. 

Of its author, Philostratus, we do not know much apart from his own works, from which we may gather that he was born in the island of Lemno about the year 172 of our era, that he went to Athens as a young man to study rhetoric, and later on to Rome. Here he acquired a reputation as a sophist, and was drawn into what we may call the salon of the literary and philosophic Empress Julia Domna, the wife of Septemius Severus. She put into his hands certain memoirs of Apollonius, the sage of Tyana, who had died in extreme old age [vi] nearly 100 years before during the reign of the Emperor Nerva, and she begged him to use them for the composition of a literary life of the sage in question.
These memoirs had been composed by a disciple and companion of Apollonius named Damis, a native of the city of Ninevah, whose style, Philostatus says, like that of the most Syrian Greeks, was heavy and wanted in polish. Besides these memoirs Philostratus used for his work a history of the career of Apollonius at Aegae, written by an admirer of the name of Maximus. He also used the many letters of Apollonius which were in circulation. His collection of these agreed partly but not wholly, with those which are preserved to us and translated below. He tells us further that the Emperor Hadrian had a collection of these letters in his villa at Antium. Philostratus also possessed various treatises of Apollonius which have not come down to us. Beside making use of the written sources here enumerated Phiostratus had travelled about, not only to Tyana, where there was a temple specially dedicated to the cult of Apollonius, but to other cities where the sage's memory was held in honour in order to collect such traditions of the sage as he found still current.

From these sources then the work before us was drawn, for although Philostratus [vii] also knew the four books of a certain Moeragenes upon Apollonius, he tells us he paid no attention to them, because they displayed an ignorance of many things which concerned the sage. The learned Empress seems never to have lived to read the work of Philostratus, for it was not dedicated to her and cannot have been published before the year 217.

It has been argued that the work of Damis never really existed, and that he was a mere man of straw invented by Philostratus. This view was adopted as recently as the year 1910 by Professor Brigg, in his history on the origins of Christianity. But it seems unnecessarily skeptical. It is quite true that Philostratus puts into the mouth of the sage, on the authority of Damis, conversations and ideas which, as they recur in the Lives of the Sophists of Philostratus, can hardly have been reported by Damis. But because he resoted to this literary trick, it can hardly have been invented as late as the year 217, when the life was completed and given to the literary world

It is rather to be supposed that Damis himself was not altogether a credible writer, but one who, like the so-called [viii] aretalogi of that age, set himself to embellish the life of his master, to exaggerate his wisdom and his supernatural powers; if so, more than one of the striking stories told by Philostratus may have already stood in the pages of Damis.

However this is to be, the evident aim of Philostratus is to rehabilitate the reputation of Apollonius, and defend him from the charge of having been a charlatan or wizard addicted to evil magical practices. This accusation had been levelled against the sage during his lifetime by a rival sophist Euphrates, and not long after his death by the author already mentioned, Moeragenes. Unfortunately the orations of Euphrates have perished, and we know little of the work of Moeragenes. Origen, the Christian father, in his work against Celsus, written about the year 240, informs us that he had read it, and that it attacked Apollonius as a magician addicted to sinister practices. It is certain also that the accusations of Euphrates were of a similar tendency, and we only need to read a very few pages of this work of Philostratus to see that his chief interest is to prove to the world that these accusations were ill-founded, and that Apollonius was a divinely-inspired sage and prophet, and a reformer along [ix] Pythagorean lines of the Pagan religion. It is possible that some of the stories told by Byzantine writers of Apollonius, notably by John Tzetzes, derived from Moeragenes.

The story of the life of Apollonius as narrated by Philostratus is briefly as follows. He was born towards the beginning of the Christian era at Tyana, in Cappadocia, and his birth was attended according to popular tradition with miracles and portents. At the age of sixteen he set himself to observe in the most rigid fashion the almost monastic rule ascribed to Pythagoras, renouncing wine, rejecting the married estate, refusing to eat any sort of flesh, and in particular condemning the sacrifice of animals to the gods, which was in the ancient world furnished the occasion, at any rate for the poor people, of eating meat.

For we must not forget that in antiquity hardly any meat was eaten which had not previously been consecrated by sacrifice to a god, and that subsequently the priest was the butcher of a village and the butcher the priest. Like other votaries of the Neo-Pythagorean philosophy or discipline, Apollonius went without shoes or only wore shoes of bark, he allowed his hair to grow long, and never let a razor touch his chin, and he took care to wear on his person nothing but linen, for it was accounted by him, as by Brahmans, an impurity to allow any [x] dress made of the skin of dead animals to touch the person.

Before long he set himself up as reformer, and betaking himself to the town of Aegae, he took up his abode in the temple of Aesculapius, where he rapidly acquired such a reputation for sanctity that sick people flocked to him asking him to heal them. On attaining his majority, at the death of his father and mother, he gave the greater part of his patrimony to his elder brother, and what was left to his poor relations. He then set himself to spend five years in complete silence, traversing, it would seem, Asia Minor, in all directions, but never opening his lips.

The more than Trappist vow of silence which he thus enforced upon himself seems to have further enhanced his reputation for holiness, and his mere appearance on the scene was enough to hush the noise of warring factions in the cities of Cilicia and Pamphylia. If we may believe his biographer he professed to know all languages without having learned them, to know the inmost thoughts of men, to understand the language of birds and animals, and to have the power of predicting the future. He also remembered his former incarnation, for he shared the Pythagorean belief of the migration of human souls from body to body, both of animals and of human beings. He preached [xi] a rigid asceticism, and condemned all dancing and other diversions of the kind; he would carry no money on his person and recommended to others to spend their money in the relief of the poorer classes.

He visited Persia and India, where he consorted with the Brahmans; he subsequently visited Egypt, and went up the Nile in order to acquaint himself with those precursors of the monks of the Thebaid called in those days the Gymnosophists or n@ked philosophers. He visited the cataracts of the Nile, and returning to Alexandria held long conversations with Vespasian and Titus soon after the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the latter. He had a few years before, in the course of a visit to Rome, incurred the wrath of Nero, whose minister Tigellinus however was so intimidated by him as to set him at liberty. After the death of Titus he was again arrested, this time by the Emperor Domitian, as a fomenter of sedition, but was apparently acquitted. He died at an advanced age in the reign of Nerva, who befriended him; and according to popular tradition he ascended bodily to heaven, appearing after death to certain persons who entertained doubts about future life.

Towards the end of the third century when the struggle between Christianity and decadent Paganism [xii] had reached its last and bitterest stage, it occurred to some of the enemies of the new religion to set up Apollonius, to whom temples and shrines had been erected in various parts of Asia Minor, as a rival to the founder of Christianity. The many miracles which were recorded of Apollonius, and in particular his eminent power over evil spirits or demons, made him a formidable rival in the minds of Pagans to Jesus Christ.

And a certain Hierocles, who was a provincial governor under Emperor Diocletian, wrote a book to show that Apollonius had been as great a sage, as remarkable a worker of miracles, and as potent an exorcist as Jesus Christ. His work gave great offence to the missionaries of the Christian religion, and Eusebius the Christian historian wrote a treatise in answer, in which he alleges that Apollonius was a mere charlatan, and if a magician at all, then one of very inferior powers; he also argues that if he did achive any remarkable results, it was thanks to the evil spirits with whom he was in league. Eusebius is careful, however, to point out that before Hierocles, no anti-Christian writer had thought of putting forward Apollonius as the rival or equal of Jesus of Nazareth.

It is possible of course that Hierocles took his cue from the emperor Alexander Severus (AD 205-235), who instead of setting up [xiii] images of the gods in his private shrine, established therein, as objects of his veneration, statues of Alexander the Great, Orpheus, Apollonius of Tyana, Abraham, and Christ. This story however in no way contradicts the statement of Eusebius, and it is a pity that this significant caution of the latter has been disregarded by Christian writers of the last three centuries, who have unanimously adopted a view that is utterly unwarranted, namely, that Philostratus intended his life of Apollonius as a counterblast to that of the Christian gospel.

The best scholars of the present generation [Ed: 1912] are opposed to this view, for they realise that demoniac possession was a common feature in the ancient landscape, and that the exorcist driving demons out of the afflicted human beings by the use of threats and invocations of mysterious names was as familiar a figure in old Pagan society as he was in the early church.

We read that wherever Apollonius travelled, he visited the temples, and undertook to reform the cults which he there found in vogue. His reform seems to have been consistent in this, that he denounced as derogatory to the gods the practice of sacrificing to them animal victims and tried to persuade the priests to abandon it. In this respect he prepared the ground for Christianity and was working along [xiv] the same lines as many of the Christian missionaries. In the third century Porphyry the philosopher and the enemy of Christianity was as zealous in his condemnation of blood-offerings, as Apollonius had been in the first. Unquestionably the neo-Pythagorean propaganda did much to discredit ancient paganism, and Apollonius and its other missionaries were all unwittingly working for that ideal of bloodless sacrifice which, after the destruction of the Jewish Temple, by an inexorable logic imposed itself on the Christian church.

It is well to conclude this all too brief notice of Apollonius with a passage cited by Eusebius from his lost work concerning sacrifice. There is no good reason for doubting its authenticity, and it is an apt summary of his religious beliefs:-

"In no other manner, I believe, can one exhibit a fitting respect for the divine being, beyond any other men make sure of being singled out as an object of his favour and good-will, than by refusing to offer to God whom we termed First, who is One and separate from all, as subordinate to whom we must recognise all the rest, any victim at all; to Him we must not kindle fire or make promise unto him of any sensible object whatsoever.
For He needs nothing even from beings higher than ourselves.
Nor is there any plant or animal which earth sends up or nourished, to which some pollution is not incident.
We should make use in relation to him solely of the higher speech, I mean of that which issues not by the lips; and from the noblest of beings we must ask for blessings by the noblest faculty we possess, and that faculty is intelligence, which needs no organ.
On these principals then we ought not on any account to sacrifice victims to the mighty and supreme God."

First Book
[I] VIII asceticism

Now Euxenus realised 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, [20] 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. All 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 al! 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. [He might even be a vegan rather than a vegetarian.]

[I] XIII rejects marriage
[] So when all was well between him 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 vigour, 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 Euphrates ever accused the sage of venery, though he traduced him otherwise and composed lying treatises against him, as we shall shew 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 [37] love of filthy lucre and of huckstering his wisdom. But these matters I must defer to the times to which they belong.
[I] XIV keeping silent
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 very many were being stored in his memory. Indeed, when he reached the age of a hundred, he still surpassed 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 hand and nodding his head; nor did he strike men as gloomy or morose; for he retained his fondness for company and his cheerfulness. This part of his life he says was the most uphill work he knew, since he practised 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 of ten when he was moved and inclined to break out in a rebuke to others, he said to himself: “Bear up then, my heart [39] and tongue;" and when reasoning offended him he had to give up for the time the refuting of it.
[I] XIV the formulation of the Journey to India
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 [sramanas]; for he said that it was a young man's duty to go abroad to embark upon foreign travel. But he made a great deal of the Magi, who live in Babylon and Susa. For, he said, he was determined to acquaint himself thoroughly with their lore, even if it cost him a journey. And he announced his intention to his followers, who were [51] 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.
[I] XX the Tax Registrar at the Mesopotamian Border
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, valour, 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."
[I] XXXII asceticism
And he quitted the scene of sacrifice in order not to be present at the shedding of blood. But after the sacrifice was over he approached and said: "O king, do you know the Greek tongue thoroughly, or have you a smattering of it perhaps, in order to be able to express yourself and appear polite in [91] case any Greek arrives?" "I know it thoroughly," replied the king, "as well as I do my native language; so say you what you like, for this I suppose is the reason why you put the question to me." "It was my reason," said the other; "so listen. The goal of my voyage is India, but I had no intention of passing you by; for I heard that you were such a man as from a slight acquaintance I already perceive you to be, and was desirous also of examining the wisdom which is indigenous among you and is cultivated by the Magi, and of finding out whether they are such wise theologians as they are reported to be.

Now my own system of wisdom is that of Pythagoras, a man of Samos, who taught me to worship the gods in the way you see, and to be aware of them whether they are seen or not seen, and to be frequent in my converse with them, and to dress myself in this land-wool; for it was never worn by sheep, but is the spotless product of spotless parents, the gift of water and of earth, namely linen. And the very fashion of letting my hair grow long, I have learnt from Pythagoras as part of his discipline, and also it is a result of his wisdom that I keep myself pure from animal food. I cannot therefore become either for you or for anybody else a companion in drinking or an associate in idleness and luxury; but if you have problems of conduct that are difficult and hard to settle, I will furnish you with solutions, for I not only know matters of practice and duty, but I even know them beforehand." Such was the conversation which Damis declares the sage to have held; and Apollonius himself composed a letter containing them, and has sketched out in his epistles much else of what he said in conversation. 

[II] XXV the Indian King Phroates, a vegetarian
And in the palace they say that they saw no magnificent chambers, nor any bodyguards or sentinels, but, as is the case in the houses of the upper class, a few servants; and only three or four of them, who required to converse with the king. And they say that they admired this arrangement more than they did the pompous splendour of Babylon, and their esteem was enhanced when they went within. For the men's chambers and the porticoes and the whole of the vestibulae were in a very chaste style.
So the Indian was regarded by Apollonius as a philosopher, and addressing him through an interpreter, he said:
"I am delighted, O king, to find you living like a philosopher. And," said Apollonius, "is this customary among you, or was it you yourself established your government on so modest a scale?"
"Our customs," said the king, "are dictated by moderation, and I am still more moderate in my carrying them out; and though I have more than other men, yet I want little, for I regard most things as belonging to my own friends."
"Blessed are you then in your treasure," said Apollonius, "if you rate your friends more highly than gold and silver, for out of them grows up for you a harvest of blessings."
"Nay more," said the king, "I share my wealth also with my enemies. For the barbarians who live on the [185] border of this country were perpetually quarrelling with us and making raids into my territories, but I keep them quiet and control them with money, so that my country is patrolled by them, and instead of their invading my dominions, they themselves keep off the barbarians that are on the other side of the frontier, and are difficult people to deal with."
And when Apollonius asked him, whether Porus also had paid them subsidy, he replied: "Porus was as fond of war as I am of peace."
By expressing such sentiments he quite disarmed Apollonius, who was so captivated by him, that once, when he was rebuking Euphrates for his want of philosophic self-respect, he remarked: "Nay, let us rather reverence Phraotes the Indian," for this was the name of the Indian.
And when a satrap, for the great esteem in which he held the monarch, desired to bind on his brow a golden mitre adorned with various stones, he said: "Even if I were an admirer of such things, I should decline them now, and cast them off my head, because I have met with Apollonius. And how can I now adorn myself with ornaments which I never before deigned to bind upon my head, without ignoring my guest and forgetting myself?"
Apollonius also asked him about his diet, and he replied: "I drink just as much wine as I pour out in libation to the Sun; and whatever I take in the chase I give to others to eat, for I am satisfied with the exercise I get.
But my own meal consists of vegetables and of the pith and fruit of date palms, and of all that a well-watered garden yields in the way of fruit. And a great deal of fruit is yielded to me by the trees which I cultivate with these hands."
When Apollonius heard this, he was more than gratified, and kept glancing at Damis.
[II] XXXIII of Alexander the Great and gymnosophists
Here Apollonius interrupted and said: […] "But tell me this about these sages: were they not once actually subject to Alexander, and were they not brought before him [205] to philosophise about the heavens?"
"Those were the Oxydrakae," he said, "but this race has always been independent and well equipped for war [this could very well indicate that these Oxydrakae (gymnosophists) were some kind of Nagas, or “warrior-ascetics. Not Buddhists or Jains, for sure.]; and they say that they attempted, yet never acquired any real knowledge of wisdom.
But the genuine sages live between the Hyphasis and the Ganges, in a country which Alexander never reached; not I imagine because he was afraid of what was in it, but, I think, because the omens warned him against it. But if he had crossed the Hyphasis, and had been able to take the surrounding country, he could certainly never have taken possession of their castle in which they live, not even if he had had ten thousand like Achilles, and thirty thousand like Ajax behind him; for they do not do battle with those who approach them, but they repulse them with prodigies and thunderbolts which they send forth, for they are holy men and beloved of the gods.
It is related, anyhow, that Hercules of Egypt and Dionysus after they had overrun the Indian people with their arms, at last attacked them in company, and that they constructed engines of war, and tried to take the place by assault; but the sages, instead of taking the field against them, lay quiet and passive, as it seemed to the enemy; but as soon as the latter approached they were driven off by rockets of fire and thunderbolts which were hurled obliquely from above and fell upon their armour."
It was on that occasion, they say, that Hercules lost his golden shield, and the sages dedicated it as an offering, partly out of respect for Hercules' reputation, and partly because of the reliefs upon the shield. For in these Hercules is represented fixing the frontier of the world at Gadira, and turning the mountains into pillars, and confining the ocean within its bounds.
Thence it is clear that it was not the Theban Hercules, but the Egyptian one, that came to Gadira, and fixed the limits of the world." []
[II] XXXV on water, wine and dreams
[207] … when the day had dawned, the king himself went to the chamber in which Apollonius and his companions were sleeping, and gently stroking the bed he addressed the sage, and asked him what [209] he was thinking about. "For," he said, "I don't imagine you are asleep, since you drink water and despise wine."
Said the other: "Then you don't think that those who drink water go to sleep?"
"Yes," said the king, "they sleep, but with a very light sleep, which just sits upon the tips of their eyelids, as we say, but not upon their minds."
"Nay with both do they sleep," said Apollonius, "and perhaps more with the mind than with the eyelids. For unless the mind is thoroughly composed, the eyes will not admit of sleep either. For note how madmen are not able to go to sleep because their mind leaps with excitement, and their thoughts run coursing hither and thither, so that their glances are full of fury and morbid impulse, like those of the dragons who never sleep.
Since then, O king," he went on, "we have clearly intimated the use and function of sleep, and what it signifies for men, let us examine whether the drinker of water need sleep less soundly than the drunkard."
"Do not quibble," said the king, "for if you put forward the case of a drunkard, he, I admit, will not sleep at all, for his mind is in a state of revel, and whirls him about and fills him with uproar. All, I tell you, who try to go to sleep when in drink seem to themselves to be rushed up on the roof, and then to be dashed down to the ground, and to fall into a whirl, as they say happened to Ixion. Now I do not put the case of a drunkard, but of a man who has merely drunk wine, but remains sober; I wish to consider whether he will sleep, and how much better he will sleep than a man who drinks no wine." 
[211] Apollonius then summoned Damis, and said:
"’T is a clever man with whom we are discussing and one thoroughly trained in argument."
"I see it is so, " said Damis, "and perhaps this is what is meant by the phrase 'catching a Tartar'.
But the argument excites me very much, of which he has delivered himself; so it is time for you to wake up and finish it."
Apollonius then raised his head slightly and said:
"Well I will prove, out of your own lips and following your own argument, how much advantage we who drink water have in that we sleep more sweetly. For you have clearly stated and admitted that the minds of drunkards are disordered and are in a condition of madness; for we see those who are under the spell of drink imagining that they see two moons at once and two suns, while those who have drunk less, even though they are quite sober, while they entertain no such delusions as these, are yet full of exultation and pleasure; and this fit of joy often falls upon them, even though they have not had any good luck, and men in such a condition will plead cases, although they never opened their lips before in a law-court, and they will tell you they are rich, although they have not a farthing in their pockets.
Now these, O king, are the affections of a madman. For the mere pleasure of drinking disturbs their judgment, and I have known many of them who were so firmly convinced that they were well off, that they were unable to sleep, but leapt up in their slumbers, and this is the meaning of the saying that 'good fortune itself is a reason for being anxious.' [213]
Men have also devised sleeping draughts, by drinking or anointing themselves with which, people at once stretch themselves out and go to sleep as if they were dead; but when they wake up from such sleep it is with a sort of forgetfulness, and they imagine that they are anywhere rather than where they are. Now these draughts are not exactly drunk, but I would rather say that they drench the soul and body; for they do not induce any sound or proper sleep, but the deep coma of a man half dead, or the light and distracted sleep of men haunted by phantoms, even though they be wholesome ones; and you will, I think, agree with me in this, unless you are disposed to quibble rather than argue seriously.
But those who drink water, as I do, see things as they really are, and they do not record in fancy things that are not; and they were never found to be giddy, nor full of drowsiness, or of silliness, nor unduly elated; but they are wide awake and thoroughly rational, and always the same, whether late in the evening or early in the morning when the market is crowded; for these men never nod, even though they pursue their studies far into the night.
For sleep does not drive them forth, pressing down like a slave-holder upon their necks, that are bowed down by the wine; but you find them free and ere+t, and they go to bed with a clear, pure soul and welcome sleep, and are neither buoyed up by the bubbles of their own private luck, nor scared out of their wits by any adversity.
For the soul meets both alternatives with equal clam, if it be sober and not overcome by either feeling; and that is why it can sleep a delightful sleep untouched by the sorrows which startle others from their couches. [215]
And more than this, as a faculty of divination by means of dreams, which is the divinest and most god-like of human faculties, the soul detects the truth all the more easily when it is not muddied by wine, but accepts the message unstained and scans it carefully. Anyhow, the explainers of dreams and visions, those whom the poets call interpreters of dreams, will never undertake to explain any vision to anyone without having first asked the time when it was seen.
For if it was at dawn and in the sleep of morning-tide, they calculate its meaning on the assumption that the soul is then in a condition to divine soundly and healthily, because by then it has cleansed itself of the stains of wine. But if the vision was seen in the first sleep or at midnight, when the soul is still immersed in the lees of wine and muddied thereby, they decline to make any suggestions, if they are wise.
And that the gods also are of this opinion, and that they commit the faculty of oracular response to souls which are sober, I will clearly show. There was, O king, a seer among the Greeks called Amphiaraus."
"I know," said the other; "for you allude, I imagine, to the son of Oecles, who was swallowed up alive by the earth on his way back from Thebes."
"This man, O king," said Apollonius, "still divines in Attica, inducing dreams in those who consult him, and the priests take a man who wishes to consult him, and they prevent his eating for one day, and from drinking wine for three, in order that he may imbibe the oracles with his soul in a condition of utter transparence. But if wine were [217] a good drug of sleep, then the wise Amphiaraus would have bidden his votaries to adopt the opposite regimen, and would have had them carried into his shrine as full of wine as leathern flagons.
And I could mention many oracles, held in repute by Greeks and barbarians alike, where the priest utters his responses from the tripod after imbibing water and not wine. So you may consider me also as a fit vehicle of the god, O king, along with all who drink water. For we are rapt by the nymphs and are bacchantic revellers in sobriety."
"Well, then," said the king, "you must make me too, O Apollonius, a member of your religious brotherhood."
"I would do so," said the other, "provided only you will not be esteemed vulgar and held cheap by your subjects. For in the case of a king a philosophy that is at once moderate and indulgent makes a good mixture, as is seen in your own case; but an excess of rigour and severity would seem vulgar, O king, and beneath your august station; and it might be construed by the envious as due to pride."
[II] XL departure from Phroates - his letter to Iarchas
[223] When the law-suit had been thus disposed of, Apollonius approached the Indian, and said: "This the third day, O king, that you have made me your guest; and at dawn to-morrow I must quit your land in accordance with the law."
"But," said the other, "the law does not yet speak to you thus, for you can remain on the morrow, since you came after midday.
"I am delighted," said Apollonius, "with your hospitality, and indeed you seem to me to be straining the law for my sake."
"Yes indeed,: and I would I could break it," said the king, "in your behalf; but tell me this, Apollonius, did not the camels bring you from Babylon which they say you were riding ?"
"They did," he said, "and Vardan gave them us."
"Will they then be able to carry you on, after they have come already so many stades from Babylon?"
Apollonius made no answer, but Damis said: "O king, our friend here does not understand anything about our journey, nor about the races among which we shall find ourselves in future; but he regards our passage into India as mere child's play, under the impression that he will everywhere have you and Vardan to help him. I assure you, the true condition of the camels has not been acknowledged to you; for they are in such an evil state that we could carry them rather than they us, and we must have others. For if they collapse anywhere in the wilderness of India, we," he continued, "shall have to sit down and drive off the vultures and wolves from the camels, and as no one will drive them off from [225] us we shall perish too."
The king answered accordingly and said: "I will remedy this, for I will give you other camels, and you need four I think, and the satrap ruling the Indus will send back four others to Babylon. But I have a herd of camels on the Indus, all of them white."
"And," said Damis, " will you not also give us a guide, O king?"
"Yes, of course," he answered, "and I will give a camel to the guide and provisions, and I will write a letter to Iarchas, the oldest of the sages, praying him to welcome Apollonius as warmly as he did myself, and to welcome you also as philosophers and followers of a divine man."
And forthwith the Indian gave them gold and precious stones and linen and a thousand other such things. And Apollonius said that he had enough gold already, because Vardan had given it to the guide on the sly; but that he would accept the linen robes, because they were like the cloaks worn by the ancient and genuine inhabitants of Attica.
And he took up one of the stones and said: "O rare stone, how opportunely have I found you, and how providentially!" detecting in it, I imagine, some secret and divine virtue. Neither would the companions of Damis accept for themselves the gold; nevertheless they took good handfuls of the gems, in order to dedicate them to the gods, whenever they should regain their own country.
So they remained the next day as well, for Indian would not let them go, and he gave them a letter for Iarchas, written in the following terms:- [227]
"King Phroates to Iarchus his master and to his companions, all hail !
Apollonius, wisest of men, yet accounts you still wiser than himself, and is come to learn your lore. Send him away therefore when he knows all that you know yourselves, assured that nothing of your teachings will perish, for in discourse and memory he excels all men. And let him also see the throne, on which I sat, when you, Father Iarchas, bestowed on me the kingdom. And his followers too deserve commendation for their devotion to such a master. Farewell to yourself and your companions."
[II] XLII the limit of Alexander the Great
And they rode out of Taxila, and after a journey of two days reached the plain, in which Porus is said to have engaged Alexander: and they say they saw gates therein that enclosed nothing, but had been erected to carry trophies. For there was set up on them a statue of Alexander standing in a four-poled chariot, as he looked when at Issus he confronted the Satraps of Darius. And at a short distance from one another there are said to have been built two gates, carrying the one a statue of Porus, and the other one of Alexander, of both, as I imagine, reconciled to one another after the battle; for the one is in the attitude of one man greeting another, and the other of one doing homage. [229]
And having crossed the river Hydraotes and passed by several tribes, they reached the Hyphasis, and thirty stades away from this they came on altars bearing this inscription:
"To Father Ammon and Heracles his brother, and to Athena Providence and to Zeus of Olympus
and to the Cabeiri of Samothrace and to the Indian Sun and to the Delphian Apollo."
And they say there was also a brass column dedicated, and inscribed as follows:
"Alexander stayed his steps at this point." The altars we may suppose to be due to Alexander who so honoured the limit of his Empire; but I fancy the lndians beyond the Hyphasis erected the column, by way of expressing their pride at Alexander's having gone no further.
[III] IX the city Paraca
[247] They tell us that the city under the mountain is of great size and is called Paraca [this can certainly not be interpreted as the country of Bharata], and that in the centre of it are enshrined a great many heads of dragons, for the Indians who inhabit it are trained from their boyhood in this form of sport. And they [249] are also said to acquire an understanding of the language and ideas of animals by feeding either on the heart or the liver of the dragon.
And as they advanced they thought they heard the pipe of some shepherd marshalling his flock, but it turned out to be a man looking after a herd of white hinds, for the Indians use these for milking, and find their milk very nutritious.
[III] X the castle of the sages
From this point their road led for four days across a rich and well cultivated country, till they approached the castle of the sages, when their guide bade his camel crouch down, and leapt off it in such an agony of fear that he was bathed in perspiration. Apollonius however quite understood where he was come to, and smiling at the panic of the Indian, said:
"It seems to me that this fellow, were he a mariner who had reached harbour after a long sea voyage, would worry at being on land and tremble at being in dock."
And as he said this he ordered his camel to kneel down, for indeed he was by now well accustomed to do so. And it seems that what scared the guide so much was that he was now close to the sages; for the Indians fear these people more than they do their own king, because the very king to whom the land is subject consults them about everything that he has to say or do, just as people who send to an oracle of a god; and the sages indicate to him what it is expedient for him to do, and what is inexpedient, and dissuade and warn him off with signs. [251]
[III] XI tilak and trishul
And they were about to halt in the neighbouring village, which is hardly distant a single stade from the eminence occupied by the sages, when they saw a youth run up to them, the blackest Indian they ever saw; and between his eyebrows was a crescent shaped spot which shone brightly. [This is a a tilak, a sectarian mark, and it being crescent shaped indicates this boy might be a ‘Shivaite’], But I learn that at a later time the same feature was remarked in the case of Menon the pupil of Herod the Sophist, who was an Ethiop; it showed while he was a youth, but as he grew up to man's estate its splendour waned and finally disappeared with his youth. But the Indian also wore, they say, a golden anchor, [this could be a bronze trishul, or trident, another indication that he might be a ‘Shivaite’] which is affected by Indians as a herald's badge, because it holds all things fast.
Then he ran up to Apollonius and addressed him in the Greek tongue [!!!]; and so far this did not seem so remarkable, because all the inhabitants of the village spoke the Greek tongue. But when he addressed him by name and said " Hail so and so," the rest of the party were filled with astonishment, though our sage only felt the more confidence in his mission: for he looked to Damis and said:
"We have reached men who are unfeignedly wise, for they seem to have the gift of foreknowledge."
And he at once asked the Indian what he must do, because he was already eager for an interview: and the Indian replied: [253] "Your party must halt here, but you must come on just as you are, for the Masters themselves issue this command."
The word Masters at once had a Pythagorean ring for the ears of Apollonius and he gladly followed the messenger.
Now the hill the summit of which is inhabited by the sages is, according to the account of our travellers, of about the same height as the Acropolis of Athens; and it rises: straight up from the plain, though its natural position equally secures it from attack for the rock surrounds it on all sides. On many parts of this rock you see traces of cloven feet and outlines of beards and of faces, and here and there impressions of backs as of persons who had slipt - and rolled down. For they say that Dionysus, when he was trying to storm the place together with Hercules, ordered the Pans to attack it, thinking that they would be strong enough to take it by assault; but they were thunderstruck by the sages and fell one, one way, and another, another; and the rocks as it were took the print of the various postures in which they fell and failed. And they say that they saw a cloud floating round the eminence on which the Indians live and render themselves visible or invisible at will. Whether there were any other gates to the eminence they say they did not know; for the cloud around it did not anywhere allow them to be seen, whether there was an opening in the rampart, or whether on the other hand it was a close-shut fortress. [It somehow reminds me of Junagadh in Gujarat, in the centre of the town, Uparkot (now a ruined castle), where there are ancient Buddhist caves with its own water-holes, deep step-wells, a rather bare rock presumably in those days, and with Girnar in the distance. Also the fact that they travel with camels, which would be quite normal in Gujarat or the Punjab, but definitely abnormal in the Ganges plains, seems to indicate the western part of India.] [255]
Apollonius says that he himself ascended mostly on the south side of the ridge, following the Indian, and that the first thing he saw was a well four fathoms deep, above the mouth of which there rose a sheen of deep blue light; and at midday when the sun was stationary about it, the sheen of light was always drawn up on high by the rays, and in its ascent assumed the look of a glowing rainbow. But he learnt afterwards that the soil underneath the well was composed of realgar, but that they regarded the water as holy and mysterious, and no one either drank it or drew it up, but it was regarded by the whole land of India all around as binding in oaths. And near this there was a crater, he says, of fire, which sent up a lead-coloured flame, though it emitted no smoke or any smell, nor did this crater ever overflow, but emitted just matter enough not to bubble over the edges of the pit. It is here that the Indians purify themselves of involuntary sins, wherefore the sages call the well, the well of testing, and the fire, the fire of pardon. And they say that they saw there two jars of black stone, of the rains and of the winds respectively. The jar of the rains, they say, is opened in case the land of India is suffering from drought, and sends up clouds to moisten the whole country; but if the rains should be in excess they are stopped by the jar being shut up. But the jar of the winds plays, I imagine, the same role as the bag of Aeolus: for when they open this jar ever so little, they let out one of the winds, which creates a seasonable breeze [257] by which the country is refreshed. And they say that they came upon statues of Gods, and they were not nearly so much astonished at finding Indian or Egyptian God as they were by finding the most ancient of the Greek Gods, a statue of Athene Polias and of Apollo of Delos and of Dionysus of Limnae and another of him of Amyclae, and others of similar age. These were set up by these Indians and worshipped with Greek rites. And they say that they are met with in the heart of India. Now they regard the summit of this hill as the navel of the earth, and on it they worship fire with mysterious rites, deriving the fire, according to their own account, from the rays of the sun; and to the Sun they sing a hymn every day at midday.
[III] XV sages’ paraphernalia
Apollonius himself describes the character of these sages and of their settlement upon the hill; for in one of his addresses to the Egyptians he says:
"I saw Indian Brahmans living upon the earth and yet not on it, and fortified without fortifications, and possessing nothing, yet having the riches of all men."
He may indeed be thought to have here written with too much subtlety; but we have anyhow the account of Damis to the effect that they made a practice of sleeping on the ground, and that they strewed the ground with such grass as they might themselves prefer; and, what is more, he says that he saw them levitating themselves two cubits high from the ground, not for the sake of' miraculous display, for they disdain any such ambition; but they [259] regard any rites they perform, in thus quitting earth and walking with the Sun, as acts of homage acceptable to the God. Moreover, they neither burn upon an altar nor keep in stoves the fire which they extract from the sun's rays, although it is a material fire; but like the rays of sunlight when they are refracted in water, so this fire is seen raised aloft in the air and dancing in the ether. And further they pray to the Sun who governs the seasons by his might, that the latter may succeed duly in the land, so that India may prosper; but of a night they intreat the ray of light not to take the night amiss, but. to stay with them just as they have brought it down. Such then was the meaning of the phrase of Apollonius, that "the Brahmans are upon earth and yet not upon earth."
And his phrase "fortified without fortifications or walls," refers to the air or vapour under which they bivouac, for though they seem to live in the open air, yet they raise up a shadow and veil themselves in it, so that they are not made wet when it rains and they enjoy the sunlight whenever they choose.
And the phrase "without possessing anything they had the riches of all men," is thus explained by Damis: All the springs which the Bacchanals see at leaping up from the ground under their feet, whenever Dionysus stirs them and earth in a common convulsion, spring up in plenty for these Indians also when they are entertaining or being entertained. Apollonius therefore was right in saying that people provided as they are with all they want offhand and without having prepared anything, possess what they do not possess. And on principle they grow their hair long, as the [261] Lacedaemonians did of old and the people of Thunum and Tarentum, as well as the Melians and all who set store by the fashions of Sparta; and they bind a white turban on their heads, and their feet are n‰ked for walking and they cut their garments to resemble the exomis. But the material of which they make their raiment is a wool that springs wild from the ground [cotton?], white like that of the Pamphylians, though it is of softer growth, and a grease like olive oil distils from off it. This is what they make their sacred vesture of, and if anyone else except these Indians tries to pluck it up, the earth refuses to surrender its wool. And they all carry both a ring and a staff [this danda suggests ‘Shivaites’. The white turbans would rather be ‘Vaishnava’, the ring ‘Nath’.], of which the peculiar virtues can effect all things, and the one and the other, so we learn, are prized as secrets.
[III] XVI first meetings with Iarchus and Prescience
When Apollonius approached, the rest of the sages welcomed him and shook hands; but Iarchas [Mead suggests this name might be derived from arhat. Assuming this is a Buddhist sect, the derivation of the name could be correct. But there is no reason to assume it is a Buddhist sect. It’s rather ‘Shivaite’, see above. So I’d suggest yar-chas, ya-char, char-ya, acharya, i.e. ‘teacher’] sat down on a high stool—and this was of black copper and chased with golden figures, while the seats of the others were of copper, but plain and not so high, for they sat lower down than Iarchas—and when he saw Apollonius, Iarchas greeted him in the Greek tongue [hard to believe!!!] and asked for the Indian's letter. And as Apollonius showed astonishment at his gift of prescience, he took pains to add that a single letter was missing in the epistle, namely a delta, which had escaped the writer; and this was found [263] to be the case. Then having read the epistle, he said " What do you think of us, O Apollonius?"
"Why," replied the latter, "how can you ask, when it is sufficiently shown by the fact that I have taken a journey to see you which was never till now accomplished by any of the inhabitants of my country."
"And what do you think we know more than yourself?"
"I," replied the other, "consider that your lore is profounder and much more divine than our own; and if I add nothing to my present stock of knowledge while I am with you, I shall at least have learned. that I have nothing more to learn."
Thereupon the Indian replied and said: "Other people ask those who arrive among them, who they are that come, and why, but the first display we make of our wisdom consists in showing that we are not ignorant who it is that comes. And you may test this point to begin with." And to suit his word he forthwith recounted the whole story of Apollonius' family both on his father's and his mother's side, and he related all his life in Aegae, and how Damis had joined him, and any conversations that they had had on the road, and anything they had found out through the conversation of others with them. All this, just as if he had shared their voyage with them, the Indian recounted straight off, quite clearly and without pausing for breath. And when Apollonius was astounded and asked him how he came to know it all, he replied: "And you too are come to share in this wisdom, but you are not yet an adept."
"Will you teach me, then," said the other, "all this wisdom?"
"Aye, and gladly, for that is a wiser course than grudging and hiding matters of interest; and moreover, O Apollonius, [265] I perceive that you are well endowed with memory, a goddess whom we love more than any other of the divine beings."
"Well," said the other, "you have certainly discerned by your penetration my exact disposition."
"We," said the other, "O Apollonius, can see all spiritual traits, for we trace and detect them by a thousand signs. But as it is nearly midday, and we must get ready our offerings for the Gods, let us now employ ourselves with that, and afterwards let us converse as much as you like; but you must take part in all our religious rites."
"By Zeus," said Apollonius, "I should be wronging the Caucasus and the Indus; both of which I have crossed in order to reach you, if I did not enjoy your rites to the full."
"Do so," said the other, "and let us depart."
Accordingly they betook themselves to a spring of water, which Damis, who saw it subsequently, says resembles that of Dirce in Boeotia; and first they stripped, and then they anointed their heads with an amber-like drug, which imparted such a warmth to these Indians, that their bodies steamed and the sweat ran off them as profusely as if they were washing themselves with fire; next they threw themselves into the water and, having so taken their bath, they betook themselves to the temple with wreaths upon their heads and full of sacred song. And they stood round in the .form of a chorus, and having chosen Iarchas as conductor they struck the earth, uplifting their rods, and the earth arched itself [267] like a billow of the sea and raised them up two cubits high into the air. But they sang a song resembling the paean of Sophocles which they sing at Athens in honour of Asclepius. But when they had alighted upon the ground, Iarchas called the stripling who carried the anchor and said: "Do you look after the companions of Apollonius." And he went off swifter than the quickest of the birds, and coming back again said: "I have looked after them." Having fulfilled then the most of their religious rites, they sat down to rest upon their seats, but Iarchas said to the stripling: "Bring out the throne of Phraotes for the wise Apollonius that he may sit upon it to converse with us."
[III] XVIII of Self Knowledge and of Man and Gods
And when he had taken his seat, he [Iarchas] said:
"Ask whatever you like, for you find yourself among people who know everything."
Apollonius then asked him whether they knew themselves also, thinking that he, like the Greeks, would regard self-knowledge as a difficult matter.
But the other, contrary to Apollonius' expectations, corrected him and said: "We know everything, just because we begin by knowing ourselves; for no one of us would be admitted to this philosophy unless he first knew himself."
And Apollonius remembered what he had heard Phraotes say, and how he who would become a philosopher must examine himself before he undertakes the task; and he therefore acquiesced in this answer, for he was convinced of its truth in his own case also.
He accordingly asked a fresh question, [269] namely, who they considered themselves to be; and the other answered, "We consider ourselves to be Gods."
Apollonius asked afresh: "Why ?"
"Because," said the other, "we are good men."
This reply struck Apollonius as so instinct with trained good sense that he subsequently mentioned it to Domitian in his defence of himself.
[III] XIX of the Soul and of Pythagoras
He therefore resumed his questions and said: "And what view do you take of the soul ? "
"That," replied the other, "which Pythagoras imparted to you, and which we imparted to the Egyptians."
"Would you then say," said Apollonius, "that as Pythagoras declared himself to be Euphorbus, so you yourself, before you entered your present body, were one of the Trojans or Achaeans or someone else? "
And the Indian replied: "Those Achaean sailors were the ruin of Troy, and your talking so much about it is the ruin of you Greeks. For you imagine that the campaigners against Troy were the only heroes that ever were, and you forget other heroes both more numerous and more divine, whom your own country and that of the Egyptians and that of the Indians have produced. Since then you have asked me about my earlier incarnation, tell me, whom you regard as the most remarkable of the assailants or defenders of Troy."
"I," replied Apollonius, "regard Achilles, the son of Peleus and Thetis, as such, for he and no other is celebrated by Homer as excelling all the Achaeans in personal [271] beauty and size, and he knows of mighty deeds of his. And he also rates very highly such men as Ajax and Nireus, who were only second to him in beauty and courage, and are celebrated as such in his poems."
"With him," said the other, "O Apollonius, I would have you compare my own ancestor, or rather my ancestral body, for that was the light in which Pythagoras regarded Euphorbus.
[III] XXVI the Sages receive the king
While they were still discussing this topic, a hubbub down below in the village struck their ears, for it seems the king had arrived equipped in the height of Median fashion and full of pomp. Iarchas then, not too well pleased, remarked: " If it were Phraotes who was halting here, you would find a dead silence prevailing everywhere as if you were attending a mystery."
From this remark Apollonius realised that the king in question was not only inferior to Phraotes in a few details, but in the whole of philosophy; and as he saw that the sages did not bestir themselves to make any preparations or provide for the king's wants, though he was come at midday, he said: "Where is the king going to stay?"
"Here," they replied, "for we shall discuss by night the objects for which he is come, since that is the best time for taking counsel."
"And will a table be laid for him when he comes," said Apollonius.
"Why, of course," they answered, "a rich table too, furnished with everything which this place provides".
"Then," said he, "you live richly?"
"We," they answered, "live in a slender manner, for although we might eat as much as we like, we are contented with little; but the king requires a great [289] deal, for his pleasure. But he will not eat any living creature, for it is wrong to do here, but only dried fruits and roots and the seasonable produce of the Indian land at this time of year, and whatever else the new year's seasons will provide."

"But see," said he, "here he is."
And just then the king advanced together with his brother and his son, ablaze with gold and jewels. And Apollonius was about to rise and retire, when Iarchas checked him from leaving his throne, and explained to him that it was not their custom for him to do so. Damis himself says that he was not present on this occasion, because on that day he was staying in the village, but he heard from Apollonius what happened and wrote it in his book. He says then that when they had sat down, the king extended his hand as if in prayer to the sages and they nodded their assent as if they were conceding his request; and he was transported with joy at the promise, just as if he had come to the oracle of a God. But the brother of the king and his son, who was a very pretty boy, were not more considered than if they had been the slaves of the others, that were mere retainers. After that the Indian rose from his place, and in a formal speech bade the king take food, and he accepted the invitation and that most cordially. Thereupon four tripods stepped forth like those of the Pythian Temple, but of their own accord, like those which advanced in Homer's poem, and upon them were cupbearers of black brass resembling the figures of [291] Ganymede and of Pelops among the Greeks.
And the earth strewed beneath them grass softer than any mattress. And dried fruits and bread and vegetables and the dessert of the season all came in, served in order, and set before them more agreeably than if cooks and waiters had provided it; now two of the tripods flowed with wine, but the other two supplied, the one of them a jet of warm water and the other of cold. Now the precious stones imported from India are employed in Greece for necklaces and rings because they are so small, but among the Indians they are turned into decanters and wine coolers, because they are so large, and into goblets of such size that from a single one of them four persons can slake their thirst at midsummer. But the cupbearers of bronze drew a mixture, he says, of wine and water made in due proportions; and they pushed cups round, just as they do in drinking bouts. The sages, however, reclined as we do in a common banquet, not that any special honour was paid to the king, although great importance would be attached to him among Greeks and Romans, but each took the first place that he chanced to reach.

[III] XXVIII the king's low opinion of philosophy
And when the wine had circulated, Iarchas said: "I pledge you to drink the health, O king, of a Hellene," and he pointed to Apollonius, who was reclining just below him, and he made a gesture with his hand to indicate that he was a noble man and divine. But the king said: "I have heard that [293] he and the persons who are halting in the village belong to Phraotes".
"Quite, right," he answered, "and true is what you heard: for it is Phraotes who entertains him here also."
"What," asked the king, "is his mode of life and pursuit?"
"Why, what else," replied Iarchas, "except that of that king himself?"
"It is no great compliment you have paid him," answered the king, "by saying that he has embraced a mode of life which has denied even to Phraotes the chance of being a noble man."
Thereupon Iarchas remarked: "You must judge more reasonably, O king, both about philosophy and about Phraotes: for as long as you were a stripling, your youth excused in you such extravagances. But now that you have already reached man's estate, let us avoid foolish and facile utterances."
But Apollonius, who found an interpreter in Iarchas said:
"And what have you gained, O king, by refusing to be a philosopher?"
"What have I gained? Why, the whole of virtue and the identification of myself with the Sun."
Then the other, by way of checking his pride and muzzling him, said:
"If you were a philosopher, you would not entertain such fancies."
"And you," replied the king, "since you are a philosopher, what is your fancy about yourself, my fine fellow ?"
"That I may pass," replied Apollonius, "for being a good man, if only I can be a philosopher."
Thereupon the king stretched out his hand to heaven and exclaimed:
"By the Sun, you come here full of Phraotes."
But the other hailed this remark as a godsend, and catching him up said:
"I have not taken this long journey in vain, if I am become full of Phraotes. But if you should meet him presently, [295] you will certainly say that he is full of me; and he wished to write to you in my behalf, but since he declared that you were a good man, I begged him not to take the trouble of writing, seeing that in his case no one sent a letter commending me."
This put a stop to the incipient folly of the king for having heard that he himself was praised by Phraotes he not only dropped his suspicions, but lowering his tone he said: "Welcome, goodly stranger."
But Apollonius answered: "And my welcome to you also, O king, for you appear to have only just arrived."
"And who," asked the other, "attracted you to us ?"
"These gentlemen here, who are both Gods and wise men."
"And about myself, O stranger"; said the king, "what is said among Hellenes?"
"Why, as much," said Apollonius, "as is said about the Hellenes here."
"As for myself, I find nothing in the Hellenes," said the other, "that is worth speaking of."
"I will tell them that," said Apollonius, "and they will crown you at Olympia."
[III] XXX number of sages
And stooping towards Iarchas he said:
"Let him go on like a drunkard, but do you tell me why do you not invite to the same table as yourself, nor hold worthy of other recognition those who accompany this man, though they are his brother and son, as you tell me?"
"Because," said Iarchas", they reckon to be kings [297] one day themselves, and by being made, themselves a to suffer disdain they must be taught not to distain others."
And remarking that the sages were eighteen in number, he again asked Iarchas, what was the meaning of their being just so many and no more.
"For," he said, "the number eighteen is not a square number, nor is it one of the numbers held in esteem and honour, as are the numbers ten and twelve and sixteen and so forth."
Thereupon the Indian took him up and said: "Neither are we beholden to number nor number to us, but we owe our superior honour to wisdom and virtue; and sometimes we are more in number than we now are, and sometimes fewer. And indeed I have heard that when my grandfather was enrolled among these wise men, the youngest of them all, they were seventy in number but when he reached his 130th year, he was left here all alone, because not one of them survived him at that time, nor was there to be found anywhere in India a nature that was either philosophic or noble.
The Egyptians accordingly wrote and congratulated him warmly on being left alone for four years in his tenure of this throne, but he begged them to cease reproaching the Indians for the paucity of their sages. Now we, O Apollonius, have heard from the Egyptians of the custom of the Elians, and that the Hellanodicae, who preside over the Olympic games, are ten in number; but we do not approve of the rule imposed in the case of these men; for they leave the choice of them to the lot, and the lot has no discernment, for a worse man might be as easily chosen by lot as a better one. On the other hand would they not make a mistake; if they had made merit the qualification [299] and chosen them by vote? Yes, a parallel one, for if you are on no account to exceed the number ten, there may more than ten just men, and you will deprive some of the rank which their merits entitle them to, while if on the other hand there are not so many as ten, then restriction of the number is meaningless. Wherefore the Elians would be much wiser-minded if they allowed the number to fluctuate, merely insisting on justice as a qualification for all alike".
[III] XXXI further quarrels with the king
While they were thus conversing, the king kept trying to interrupt them, constantly breaking off their every sentence by his silly and ignorant remarks. He accordingly again asked them what they were conversing about, and Apollonius replied:
"We are discussing matters important and held in great repute among the Hellenes; though you would think of them but slightly, for you say that you detest everything Hellenic."
"I do certainly detest them," he said, "but nevertheless I want to hear; for I imagine you are talking about those Athenians, the slaves of Xerxes."
But Apollonius replied: "Nay we are discussing other things; but since you have alluded to the Athenians in a manner both absurd and false, answer me this question: Have you, O King, any slaves?"
"Twenty thousand," said the other, "and not a single one of them did I buy myself, but they were all born in my household."
Thereupon Apollonius, using Iarchas as his interpreter, asked him afresh whether he was in the habit of running away from his slaves or his slaves from him. [301]
And the king by way of insult answered him: "Your very question is worthy of a slave, nevertheless I will answer it: a man who runs away is not only a slave but a bad one to boot, and his master would never run away from him, when he can if he likes both torture and card him."
"In that case," said Apollonius, "O king, Xerxes has been proved out of your mouth to have been a slave of the Athenians, and like a bad slave to have run away from them; for when he was defeated by them in the naval action in the Straits, he was so anxious about his bridge of boats over the Hellespont that he fled in a single ship.
"Yes, but he anyhow burned Athens with his own hands," said the king.
And Apollonius answered: "And for that act of audacity, O king, he was punished as never yet was any other man. For he had to run away from those whom he imagined he had destroyed; and when I contemplate the ambitions with which Xerxes set out on his campaign I can conceive that some were justified in exalting him and saying that he was Zeus; but when I contemplate his flight, I arrive at the conviction that he was the most ill-starred of men. For if he had fallen at the hands of the Hellenes, no one would have earned a brighter fame than he. For to whom would the Hellenes have raised and dedicated a loftier tomb? What jousts of armed men, what contests of musicians would not have been instituted in honour of him? For, if men like Melicertes and Pilaemon and Pelops the Lydian immigrant, the former of whom died in childhood at the breast, while Pelops enslaved Arcadia and Argolis and the land within the Isthtus, and if these were commemorated by the Greeks as Gods, what would not [303] have been done for Xerxes by men who are by nature more enthusiastic admirers of the virtues, and who consider that they praise themselves in praising those whom they have defeated?"
These words of Apollonius caused the king to burst into tears, and he said: "Dearest friend, in what an heroic light do you represent these Hellenes to me."
"Why then, O king, were you so hard upon them?"
"The visitors who come hither from Egypt, O guest," replied the king, "malign the race of Hellenes, and while declaring that they themselves are holy men and wise, and the true law-givers who fixed all the sacrifices and rites of initiation which are in vogue among the Greeks, they deny to the latter any and every sort of good quality, declaring them to be ruffians, and a mixed herd addicted to every sort of anarchy, and lovers of legend and miracle mongers, and though indeed poor, yet making their poverty not a title of dignity, but a mere excuse for stealing. But now that I have heard this from you and understand how fond of honour and how worthy the Hellenes are, I am reconciled for the future to them and I engage both that they shall have my praise and that I will pray all I can for them, and will never set trust in another Egyptian."
But Iarchas remarked: "I too, O king, was aware that your mind had been poisoned by these Egyptians; but I would not take the part of the Hellenes until you met some such counselor as this. But since you have been put right by a wise man, let us [305] now proceed to quaff the good cheer provided by Tantalus, and let us sleep over the serious issues which we have to discuss tonight. But at another time I will fill you full with Hellenic arguments, and no other race is so rich in them; and you will delight in them whenever you come hither."
And forthwith he set an example to this fellow guests, by stooping the first of them all to the goblet which indeed furnished an ample draught for all; for the stream refilled itself plenteously, as if with spring waters welling up from the ground; and Apollonius also drank, for this cup is instituted by the Indians as a cup of friendship; and they feign that Tantalus is the wine-bearer who supplies it, because he is considered to have been the most friendly of men. [It could also have been something different than wine; for instance bhang, or even soma.]
[III] XXXIII Nature & the Cosmos
And when they had drunk, the earth received them on the couches which she had spread for them; but when it was midnight they rose up and first they sang a hymn to the ray of light, suspended aloft in the air as they had been at midday; and then they attended the king, as long as he desired. Damis, however, says that Apollonius was not present at the king's conversation with them, because he thought that the interview had to do with secrets of state. Having then at daybreak offered his sacrifice, the king approached Apollonius and offered him the hospitality of his palace, declaring that he would send him back to Greece an object of envy to all.
But he commended him for his kindness, nevertheless he excused himself from [307] inflicting himself upon one with whom he was on no sort of equality; moreover, he said that he had been longer abroad than he liked, and that he scrupled to give his friends at home cause to think they were being neglected.
The king thereupon said that he entreated him, and assumed such an undignified attitude in urging his request, that Apollonius said:
"A king who insists upon his request in such terms at the expense of his dignity, is laying a trap."
Thereupon Iarchas intervened and said:
"You wrong, O king, this sacred abode by trying to drag away from it a man against his will; and moreover, being one of those who can read the future, he is aware that his staying with you would not conduce to his own good, and would probably not be in any way profitable to yourself."
The king accordingly went down into the village, for the law of the sages did not allow a king to be with them more than one day; but Iarchas said to the messenger: " We admit Damis also hither to our mysteries; so let him come; but do you look after the rest of them in the village."
And when Damis arrived, they sat down together, as they were wont to do, and they allowed Apollonius to ask questions; and he asked them of what they thought the cosmos was composed; but they replied:
"Of elements."
"Are there then four" he asked.
"Not four," said Iarchas, "but five."
"And how can there be a fifth," said Apollonius, "alongside of water and air [309] and earth and fire?"
"There is the ether", replied the other, "which we must regard as the stuff of which gods are made; for just as all mortal creatures inhale the air, so do immortal and divine natures inhale the ether."
Apollonius again asked which was the first of the elements, and Iarchas answered:
"All are simultaneous, for a living creature is not born bit by bit."
"Am I," said Apollonius, "to regard the universe as a living creature?"
"Yes," said the other, "if you have a sound knowledge of it, for it engenders all living things."
"Shall I then," said Apollonius, "call the universe female, or of both the male and the opposite gender?"
"Of both genders," said the other, "for by commerce with itself it fulfils the role both of mother and father in bringing forth living creatures; and it is possessed by a love for itself more intense than any separate being has for its fellow, a passion which knits it together into harmony. And it is not illogical to suppose that it cleaves unto itself; for as the movement of an animal is obtained by use of its hands and feet, and as there is a soul in it by which it is set in motion, so we must regard the parts of the universe also as adapting themselves through its inherent soul to all creatures which are brought forth or conceived.
For example, the sufferings so often caused by drought are visited on us in accordance with the soul of the universe, whenever justice has fallen into disrepute and is disowned by men; and this animal shepherds itself not with a single hand only, but with many mysterious ones, which it has at its disposal; and though from its immense size it is controlled by no others yet it moves obediently to the rein and is easily guided."
[311] "And the subject is so vast and so far transcends our mental powers, that I do not know any example adequate to illustrate it; but we will take that of a ship, such as the Egyptians construct for our seas and launch for the exchange of Egyptian goods against Indian wares. For there is an ancient law in regard to the Red Sea, which the king Erythras laid down, when he held sway over that sea, to the effect that the Egyptians should not enter it with a vessel of war, and indeed should employ only a single merchant ship.
This regulation obliged the Egyptians to contrive a ship equivalent to several at once of those which other races have; and they ribbed the sides of this ship with bolts such as hold a ship together, and they raised its bulwarks and its mast to a great height, and they constructed several compartments, such as are built upon the timber balks which run athwart a ship, and they set several pilots in this boat and subordinated them to the oldest and wisest of their number, to conduct the voyage; and there were several officers on the prow and excellent and handy sailors to man the sails; and in the crew of this ship there was a detachment of armed men, for it is necessary to equip the ship and protect it against the savages of the Gulf that live on the right hand as you enter it, in case they should ever attack and plunder it on the high seas. Let us apply this imagery to the universe, and regard it in the light of a naval construction; for then you must apportion the first and supreme position to God. the begetter of this animal and subordinate posts to the gods [313] who govern its parts; and we may well assent to the statements of the poets, when they say that there are many gods in heaven and many in the sea, and many in the fountains and streams, and many round about the earth, and that there are some even under the earth. But we shall do well to separate from the universe the region under the earth, if there is one, because the poets represent it as an abode of terror and corruption.
As the Indian concluded this discourse, Damis says that he was transported with admiration and applauded loudly; for he could never have thought that a native of India could show such mastery of the Greek tongue, nor even that, supposing he understood that language, he could have used it with so much ease and elegance. And he praises the look and smile of larchas, and the inspired air with which he expressed his ideas, admitting that Apollonius, although he had a delivery as graceful as it was free from bombast, nevertheless gained a great deal by contact with this Indian, and he says that whenever he sat down to discuss a theme, as he very often did, he resembled Iarchas.
As the rest of the company praised, no less, the contents of Iarchas' speech than the tone in which he spoke, Apollonius resumed by asking him which they considered the bigger, the sea or the land; and [315] Iarchas replied:
"If the land be compared with the sea it will be found to be bigger, for it includes the sea in itself; but if it be considered in relation to the entire mass of water, we can show that the earth is the lesser of the two, for it is upheld by the water."
[III] XXXVII the healings of the Sages
This discussion was interrupted by the appearance among the sages of the messenger bringing in certain Indians who were in want of succour. And he brought forward a poor woman who interceded in behalf of her child, who was, she said, a boy of sixteen years of age, but had been for two years possessed by a devil. Now the character of the devil was that of a mocker and a liar. Here one of the sages asked, why she said this, and she replied:
"This child of mine is extremely good-looking, and therefore the devil is amorous of him and will not allow him to retain his reason, nor will he permit him to go to school, or to learn archery, nor even to remain at home, but drives him out into desert places and the boy does not even retain his own voice, but speaks in a deep hollow tone, as men do; and he looks at you with other eyes rather than with his own. As for myself I weep over all this and I tear my cheeks, and I rebuke my son so far as I well may; but he does not know me. And I made my mind to repair hither, indeed I planned to, do so a year ago; only the demon discovered himself using my child as a mask, and what he told me was this, that he was the ghost of man, who fell long ago in battle, but that at death he was passionately attached [317] to his wife. Now he had been dead for only three days when his wife insulted their union by marrying another man, and the consequence was that he had come to detest the love of women, and had transferred himself wholly into this boy. But he promised, if I would only not denounce him to yourselves, to endow the child with many noble blessings. As for myself, I was influenced by these promises; but he has put me off and off for such a long time now, that he has got sole control of my household, yet has no honest or true intentions."
Here the sage asked afresh, if the boy was at hand; and she said not, for, although she had done all she could to get him to come with her, the demon had threatened her with steep places and precipices and declared that he would kill her son, "in case", she added, "I haled him hither for trial."
"Take courage," said the sage, "for he will not slay him when he has read this"
And so saying he drew a letter out of his bosom and gave it to the woman; and the letter, it appears, was addressed to the ghost and contained threats of an alarming kind.
There also arrived a man who was lame. He already thirty years old was a keen hunter of lions; but a lion had sprung upon him and dislocated his hip so that he limped with one leg. However when they massaged with their hands his hip, the youth immediately recovered his upright gait. And another man had had his eyes put out, and he went away having recovered the sight of both of them. [319]
Yet another man had his hand paralysed; but left their presence in full possession of the limb. And a certain woman had suffered in labour already seven times, but was healed in the following way through the intercession of her husband. He bade the man, whenever his wife should be about to bring forth her next child, to enter her chamber carrying in his bosom a live hare; then he was to walk once round her and at the same moment to release the hare; for that the womb would be expelled together with the fetus, unless the hare was at once driven out.
And again a certain man who was a father said that he had had several sons, but, that they had died the moment they began to drink wine.
Iarchas took him up and said:
"Yes, and it is just as well they did die; for they would inevitably have gone mad, having inherited, as it appears, from their parents too warm a temperament. Your children," he added, " must therefore abstain from wine, but in order that they may be never led even to desire wine, supposing you should have another boy, and I perceive you had one only six days ago, you must carefully watch the hen owl and find where it builds its nest; then you must snatch its eggs and give them to the child to chew after boiling them properly; for if it is fed upon these, before it tastes wine, a distaste for wine will be bred in it, and it will keep sober by your excluding from its temperament any but natural warmth."
With such lore as this then they surfeited [321] themselves, and they were astonished at the many sided wisdom of the company, and day after day they asked all sorts of questions, and were themselves asked many in turn.
[III] XLI divination & medicine
BOTH Apollonius and Damis then took part in the interviews devoted to abstract discussions; not so with the conversations devoted to occult themes, in which they pondered the nature of astronomy or divination, and considered the question of fore-knowledge, and handled the problems of sacrifice and of the invocations in which the gods take pleasure. In these Damis says that Apollonius alone partook of the philosophic discussion together with Iarchas, and that he embodied the results in four books concerning divination by the stars, a work which Moiragenes has mentioned. And Damis says that he composed a work on the way to offer sacrifice to the several gods in a manner suitable and pleasing to them. Not only then do I regard the work on the science of the stars and the whole subject of such divination as transcending human nature, but I do not even know if anyone has these works; but I found the treatise on sacrifices in several temples, and in several cities, and in the houses of several learned men; moreover if anyone who should translate it, he would find it to be a grave and dignified composition, and one that rings of the author's personality. And Damis says that [323] Iarchus gave seven rings to Apollonius named after the seven stars, and that Apollonius wore each of these in turn on the day of the week which bore its name.
As to the subject of foreknowledge, they presently had a talk about it, for Apollonius was devoted to this kind of lore, and turned most of their conversations on to it. For this Iarchas praised him and said:
"My good friend Apollonius, those who take pleasure in divination, are rendered divine thereby and contribute to the salvation of mankind. For here we have discoveries which we must go to a divine oracle in order to make; yet these, my good friend we foresee of our unaided selves and foretell to others things which they know not yet. This I regard as the gift of one thoroughly blessed and endowed with the same mysterious power as the Delphic Apollo. Now the ritual insists that those who visit a shrine with a view to obtaining a response, must purify themselves first, otherwise they will be told to "depart from the temple." Consequently I consider that one who would foresee events must be healthy in himself, and must not have his soul stained with any sort of defilement nor his character scarred with the wounds of any sins; so he will pronounce his predictions with purity, because he will understand himself and the sacred tripod in his breast, and with ever louder and clearer tone and truer import will he utter his oracles.
Therefore you need not be surprised, if you comprehend the science, seeing that you carry in your soul so much ether." [325]
And with these words he turned to Damis and said playfully:
"And you, O Assyrian, have you no foreknowledge of anything, especially as you associate with such a man as this ?"
"Yes, by Zeus,!" answered Damis, "at any rate of the things that are necessary for myself; for when I first met with Apollonius here, he at once struck me as full of wisdom and cleverness and sobriety and of true endurance; but when I saw that he also had a good memory, and that he was very learned and entirely devoted to the love of learning, he became to me something superhuman; and I came to the conclusion that if I stuck to him I should be held a wise man instead of an ignoramus and a dullard, and an educated man instead of a savage; and I saw that, if I followed him and shared his pursuits, I should visit the Indians and visit you, and that I should be turned into a Hellene by him and be able to mix with the Hellenes. Now of course you set your oracles, as they concern important issues, on a level with those of Delphi and Dodona and of any other shrine you like; as for my own premonitions, since Damis is the person who has them, and since his foreknowledge concerns himself alone, we will suppose that they resemble the guesses of an old beggar wife foretelling what will happen to sheep and such like."
All the sages laughed of course at this sally, and when their laughter had subsided, Iarchas led back the [327] argument to the subject of divination, and among the many blessings which that art had conferred upon mankind, he declared the gift of healing to be the most important.
"For," said he, "the wise sons of Asclepius would have never attained to this branch of science, if Asclepius had not been the son of Apollo; and as such had not in accordance with the latter's responses and oracles concocted and adapted different drugs to different diseases; these he not only handed on to his own sons, but he taught his companions what herbs must be applied to running wounds, and what to inflamed and dry wounds, and in what doses to administer liquid drugs for drinking by means of which dropsical patients are drained and bleeding is checked, and diseases of decay and the cavities due to their ravages are put an end to. And who," he said, "can deprive the art of divination of the credit of discovering simples which heal the bites of venomous creatures, and in particular of using the virus itself as a cure for many diseases? For I do not think that men without the forecasts of a prophetic wisdom would ever have ventured to mingle with medicines that save life these most deadly of poisons."
[III] L the departure from the Sages of India
In suchconversations with the sages Apollonius spent the four months which he passed there [it is hard to believe that after such an arduous journey he only spent four months in India, and visited only one group of sages of the many that must have been there; that he must have encountered even by chance. According to Mead this ‘short’ duration is the result of Damis’ condensing of the real period they stayed and the real number of (groups of) sages they met], and he acquired all sorts of lore both profane and mysterious. But when he was minded to go on his way they persuaded him to send back to Phroates with a letter his guide and the camels; and they themselves gave him another guide and camels, and sent him forth on his way, congratulating both themselves and him.
And having embraced Apollonius and declared that he would be esteemed a god by the many, not merely after his death, but while he was still alive, they turned back to their place of meditation, though ever and anon they turned towards him, and showed by their action that they parted from him against their will.
And Apollonius keeping the Ganges on his right hand, but the Hyphasis on his left, went down towards the sea a journey of ten days from the sacred ridge. And as they went down they saw a great many ostriches, and many wild bulls, and many asses and lions and pards and tigers, and another kind of apes than those which inhabit the pepper trees, for these were black and bushy-haired and were dog-like in features and as big as small men. And in the usual discussion of what they saw they reached the sea, where small factories had been built, and passenger [337] ships rode in them resembling those of the Tyrrhenes. And they say that the sea called Erythra or "red" is of a deep blue colour, but that it was so named from a king Erythras, who gave his own name to the sea in question.
Having reached this point, Apollonius sent back the camels to Iarchas together with the following letter:

Apollonius to Iarchas and the other sages greeting.
I came to you on foot, and yet you presented me with the sea;
but by sharing with me the wisdom which is yours,
you have made it mine even to travel through the heavens.
All this I shall mention to the Hellenes;
and I shall communicate my words to you as if you were present,
unless I have in vain drunk the draught of Tantalus.
Farewell, ye goodly philosophers."

[Reminds me a little bit of Hymn 10,136 of the Rig Veda, the one about the “longhaired Sage.”]

[V] XXIV Alexandria
[515] SUCH Were his experiences in Rhodes, and others ensued in Alexandria, so soon as his voyage ended there. Even before he arrived Alexandria was in love with him, and its inhabitants longed to see Apollonius with the unique devotion of one friend for another; and as the people of Upper Egypt are intensely religious they too prayed him to visit their several societies. For owing to the fact that so many come hither and mix with us from Egypt, while an equal number pass hence to visit Egypt, Apollonius was already celebrated among them and the ears of the Egyptians were literally pricked up to hear him. It is no exaggeration to say that, as he advanced from [517] the ship into the city, they gazed upon him as if he was a god, and made way for him in the alleys, as they would for priests carrying the sacraments. As he was being thus escorted with more pomp than if he had been a governor of the country, he met twelve men who were being led to execution on the charge of being bandits, he looked at them and said: "They are not all guilty, for this one," and he gave his name, "has been falsely accused and will escape." And to the executioners by whom they were being led, he said: "I order you to relax your pace and bring them to the ditch a little more leisurely, and to put this one to death last of all, for he is guiltless of the charge; but you would anyhow act with more piety, if you spared them for a brief portion of the day, since it were better not to slay them at all." And withal he dwelt upon this theme at what was for him unusual length. And the reason for his doing so was immediately shown; for when eight of them had had their heads cut off, a man on horseback rode up to the ditch, and shouted: "Spare Pharion; for," he added, "he is no robber, but he gave false evidence against himself from fear of being racked, and others of them in their examination under torture have acknowledged that he is guiltless." I need not describe the exultation of Egypt, nor how the people, who were anyhow ready to admire him, applauded him for this action.
And when he had gone up into the temple, he was struck by the orderliness of its arrangements, and [519] thought the reason given for everything thoroughly religious and wisely framed. But as for the blood of bulls and the sacrifices of geese and other animals, he disapproved of them nor would he bring them to repasts of the gods. And when a priest asked him what induced him not to sacrifice like the rest: "Nay, you," he replied," should rather answer me what induces you to sacrifice in this way." The priest replied: "And who is so clever that he can make corrections in the rites of the Egyptians?" "Anyone," he answered, "with a little wisdom, if only he comes from India."
"And," he added, "I will roast a bull to ashes this very day, and you shall hold communion with us in the smoke it makes; for you cannot complain, if you only get the same portion which is thought enough of a repast for the gods." And as his image (a frankincense model of a bull) was being melted in the fire he said: "Look at the sacrifice.' "What sacrifice," said the Egyptian, "for I do not see anything there." And Apollonius said: "The Iamidae and the Telliadae and the Clytiadae and the oracle of the black-footed ones, have they talked a lot of nonsense, most excellent priest, when they went on at such length about fire, and pretended to gather so many oracles from it? For as to the fire from pine wood and from the cedar, do you think it is really fraught with prophecy and capable of revealing anything, and yet not esteem a fire lit from the richest and purest gum to be much preferable? If then you had really any acquaintance with the lore of fire worship, you would see that many things are revealed in the disc of the sun at the moment of its rising."
[VI] V the murderer
[17] On the way they met a man wearing the garb of the inhabitants of Memphis, but who was wandering about rather than wending his steps to a fixed point; so Damis asked him who he was and why he was roving about like that. But Timasion said: "You had better ask me, and not him; for he will never tell you what is the matter with him, because he is ashamed of the plight in which he finds himself; but as for me, I know the poor man and pity him, and I will tell you all about him. For he has slain unwittingly a certain inhabitant of Memphis, and the laws of Memphis prescribe that a person exiled for an involuntary offence of this kind, - and the penalty is exile, - should remain with the n‰ked philosophers until he has washed away the guilt of bloodshed, and then he may return home as soon as he is pure, though he must first go to the tomb of the slain man and sacrifice there some trifling victim. Now until he has been received by the n‰ked philosophers, so long he must roam about these marches, until they take pity [19] upon him as if he were a suppliant." Apollonius therefore put the question to Timasion: "What do the n‰ked philosophers think of this particular exile?" And he answered: "I do not know anything more than that this is the seventh month that he has remained here as a suppliant, and that he has not yet obtained redemption." Said Apollonius: "You don't call men wise, who refuse to purify him, and are not aware that Philiscus whom he slew was a descendant of Thamus the Egyptian, who long ago laid waste the country of these n‰ked philosophers." Thereat Timasion said in surprise: "What do you mean?" "I mean," said the other, "my good youth, what was actually the fact; for this Thamus once on a time was intriguing against the inhabitants of Memphis, and these philosophers detected his plot and prevented him; and he having failed in his enterprise retaliated by laying waste all the land upon which they live, for by his brigandage he tyrannised the country round Memphis. I perceive that Philiscus whom this man slew was the thirteenth in descent from this Thamus, [implying that the gymnosophists had been there already at least 300 years!] and was obviously an object of execration to those whose country the latter so thoroughly ravaged at the time in question. Where then is their wisdom? Here is a man that they ought to crown, even if he had slain the other intentionally; and yet they refuse to purge him of a murder which he committed involuntarily on their behalf.". The youth then was astounded and said: "Stranger, who are you?" And Apollonius replied: "He whom you shall find among these n‰ked philosophers. But as it is not allowed me by my religion to address one who [21] is stained with blood, I would ask you, my good boy, to encourage him, and tell him that he will at once be purged of guilt, if he will come to the place where I am lodging." And when the man in question came, Apollonius went through the rites over him which Empedocles and Pythagoras prescribe for the purification of such offences, and told him to return home, for that he was now pure of guilt.
[VI] VI the Egyptian Gymnosophists
Thence they rode out at sunrise, and arrived before midday at the academy of the n∞ked sages, who dwell, they relate, upon a moderate-sized hill a little way from the bank of the Nile; and in point of wisdom they fall short of the Indians rather more than they excel the Egyptians. And they wear next to no clothes in the same way as people do at Athens in the heat of summer. And in their district there are few trees, and a certain grove of no great size to which they resort when they meet for the transaction of common affairs; but they do not build their shrines in one and the same place, as Indian shrines are built, but one is in one part of the hill and another in another, all worthy of observation, according to the accounts of the Egyptians. The Nile is the chief object of their worship, for they regard this river as land and water at once. They have no need, however, of hut or dwelling, because they live in the open air directly under the heaven itself, but they have built an hospice to accommodate strangers, and it is a portico of no great size, about equal in length to those of Elis, beneath which the athletes await the sound of the midday trumpet.
[VI] XI Apollonius discourses to Thespesion the Egyptian Gymnosophist
[39] … teach you that I rightly chose this life of mine, than which no better one has ever suggested itself to me. For I discerned a certain sublimity in the discipline of Pythagoras, and how a certain secret wisdom enabled him to know, not only who he was himself, but also who he had been; and I saw that he approached the altars in purity, and suffered not his belly to be polluted by partaking of the flesh of animals and that he kept his body pure of all garments woven of dead animal refuse; and that he was the first of mankind to restrain his tongue, inventing a discipline of silence described in the proverbial phrase, "An ox sits upon it." I also saw that his philosophical system was in other respects oracular and true. So I ran to embrace his teachings, not choosing one form of wisdom rather than another of two presented me, as you, my excellent Thespesion, advise me to do. For philosophy marshalled before me her various points of view, investing them with the adornment proper to each and she commanded me to look upon them and make a sound choice. Now they were all possessed of an august and divine beauty; and some of them were of such dazzling brightness that you might well have closed your eyes. However I fixed my eyes firmly upon all of them, for they themselves encouraged me to do so by moving towards me, and telling me beforehand how much they would give me. Well, one of them professed that she would shower upon me a swarm of pleasures without any toil on my part and another [41] that she would give me rest after toil; and a third that she would mingle mirth and merriment in my toil; and everywhere I had glimpses of pleasures and of unrestrained indulgence in the pleasures of the table; and it seemed that I had only to stretch out my hand to be rich, and that I needed not to set any bridle upon my eyes, but love and loose desire and such-like feelings were freely allowed me. One of them, however, boasted that she would restrain me from such things, but she was bold and abusive and in an unabashed manner elbowed all others aside; and I beheld the ineffable form of wisdom which long ago conquered the soul of Pythagoras; and she stood, I may tell you, not among the many, but kept herself apart and in silence; and when she saw that I ranged not myself with the rest, though as yet I knew not what were her wares, she said: 'Young man, I am unpleasing and a lady full of sorrows; for, if anyone betakes himself to my abode, he must of his own choice put away all dishes which contain the flesh of living animals, and he must forget wine, nor make muddy therewith the cup of wisdom which is set in the souls of those that drink no wine; nor shall blanket keep him warm, nor wool shorn from a living animal But I allow him shoes of bark, and he must sleep anywhere and anyhow, and if I find my votaries yielding to sens-al pleasures, I have precipices to which justice that waits upon wisdom carries them and pushes them over; and I am so harsh to those who make choice of my discipline that I have bits ready to restrain their tongues. But learn from me what rewards you shall reap by enduring all this: Temperance and justice unsought and [43] at once, and the faculty to regard no man with envy, and to be dreaded by tyrants rather than cringe to them, and to have your humble offerings appear sweeter to the gods than the offerings of those who pour out before them the blood of bulls. And when you are pure I will grant you the faculty of foreknowledge, and I will so fill your eyes with light, that you shall distinguish a god, and recognise a hero, and detect and put to shame the shadowy phantoms which disguise themselves in the form of men.
This was the life I chose, ye wise of the Egyptians; it was a sound choice and in the spirit of Pythagoras, and in making it I neither deceived myself, nor was deceived; for I have become all that a philosopher should become, and all that she promised to bestow upon the philosopher, that is mine. For I have studied profoundly the problem of the rise of the art and whence it draws its first principles; and I have realised that it belongs to men of transcendent religious gifts, who have thoroughly investigated the nature of the soul, the well-springs of whose existence lie back in the immortal and in the unbegotten.
Now I agree that this doctrine was wholly alien to the Athenians; for when Plato in their city lifted up his voice and discoursed upon the soul, full of inspiration and wisdom, they cavilled against him and adopted opinions of the soul opposed thereto and altogether false. And one may well ask whether there is any city, or any race of men, where not one more and another less, but wherein men of all ages alike, will enunciate the same doctrine of the soul. And I myself, because my youth and inexperience so inclined me, began by looking up to [45] yourselves [i.e. the Egyptian gymnosophists], because you had the reputation of an extraordinary knowledge of most things; but when I explained my views to my own teacher, he interrupted me, and said as follows: 'Supposing you were in a passionate mood and being of an impressionable age were inclined to form a friendship; and suppose you met a handsome youth and admired his looks, and you asked whose son he was, and suppose he were the son of a knight or a general, and that his grand-parents had been furnishers of a chorus,- if then you dubbed him the child of some skipper or policeman, do you suppose that you would thereby be the more likely to captivate his affections, and that you would not rather make yourself odious to him by refusing to call him by his father's name, and giving him instead that of some ignoble and spurious parent? If then you were enamoured of the wisdom which the Indians discovered, would you call it not by the name which its natural parents bore, but by the name of its adoptive sires; and so confer upon the Egyptians a greater boon, than if that were to happen over again which their own poets relate, namely if the Nile on reaching its full were found to be with honey blent?'
It was this which turned my steps to the Indians rather than to yourselves; for I reflected that they were more subtle in their understanding, because such men as they live in contact with a purer daylight, and entertain truer opinions of nature and of the gods, because they are near unto the latter, and live on the edge and confines of that thermal essence which quickens all unto life. And when I came among them, their message made the same [47] impression upon me as the talent of Aeschylus is said to have made upon the Athenians. For he was a poet of tragedy, and finding the art to be rude and inchoate and as yet not in the least elaborated, he went to work, and curtailed the prolixity of the chorus, and invented dialogues for the actors, discarding the long monodies of the earlier time; and he hit upon a plan of killing people behind the stage instead of their being slain before the eyes of the audience. Well, if we cannot deny his talent in making all these improvements, we must nevertheless admit that they might have suggested themselves equally well to an inferior dramatist. But his talent was twofold. On the one hand as a poet he set himself to make his diction worthy of tragedy, on the other hand as a manager, to adapt his stage to sublime, rather than to humble and grovelling themes. Accordingly he devised masks which represented the forms of the heroes, and he mounted his actors on buskins so that their gait might correspond to the characters they played; and he was the first to devise stage dresses, which might convey an adequate impression to the audience of the heroes and heroines they saw. For all these reasons the Athenians accounted him to be the father of tragedy; and even after his death they continued to invite him to represent his plays at the Dionysiac festival, for in accordance with public decree the plays of Aeschylus continued to be put upon the stage and win the prize anew. And yet the gratification of a well-staged tragedy is insignificant, for its pleasures last a brief day, as brief as is the season of the Dionysiac festival; but [49] the gratification of a philosophic system devised to meet the requirements of a Pythagoras, and also breathing the inspiration in which Pythagoras was anticipated by the Indians, lasts not for a brief time, but for an endless and incalculable period. It is then not unreasonable on my part, I think, to have devoted myself to a philosophy so highly elaborated, and to one which, to use a metaphor from the stage, the Indians mount, as it deserves to be mounted, upon a lofty and divine mechanism, and then wheel it forth upon the stage. And that I was right to admire them, and that I am right in considering them to be wise and blessed, it is now time to convince you. I beheld men dwelling upon the earth, and yet not upon it, I beheld them fortified without fortifications, I beheld them possessed of nothing, and yet possessed of all things. You will say that I have taken to riddles, but the wisdom of Pythagoras allows of this; for he taught us to speak in riddles, when he discovered that the word is the teacher of silence. And there was a time when you yourselves took counsel with Pythagoras, and were advocates of this same wisdom; that was in the time when you could say nothing too good of the Indian philosophy, for to begin with and of old you were Indians. Subsequently because your soil was wrath with you, you came hither; and then ashamed of the reasons owing to which you quitted it, you tried to get men to regard you as anything rather than Ethiopians who had come from India hither, and you took every pains to efface your past. This is why you stripped yourselves of the apparel in which you came thence, as if you were anxious to doff along with it your Ethiopian nationality. This is why you [51] have resolved to worship the gods in the Egyptian rather than in your own fashion, and why you have set yourselves to disseminate unflattering stories of the Indians, as if in maligning. them you did not foul your own nest. And in this respect you have not yet altered your tone for the better; for only to-day you have given here an exhibition of your propensities for abuse and satire, pretending that the Indians are no better employed than in startling people and in pandering to their eyes and ears. And because as yet you are ignorant of my wisdom, you show yourself indifferent to the fame which crowns it. Well, in defence of myself I do not mean to say anything, for I am content to be what the Indians think me; but I will not allow them to be attacked. And if you are so sound and sane as to possess any tincture of the wisdom of the man of Himera, who composed in honour of Helen a poem which contradicted a former one and called it a palinode, it is high time for you also to use the words he used and say: 'This discourse of ours is not true,’ so changing your opinion and adopting one better than you at present entertain about these people. But if you have not the wit to recant, you must at least spare men to whom the gods vouchsafe, as worthy of them, their own prerogatives, and whose possessions they do not disdain for themselves.
[VI] XVI Story of Nilus
[67] So hen they had dined, "I," said Nilus, "until now have been camping together with the n‰ked sages, and joined my forces with them as [69] with certain light armed troops or slingers. But now l intend to put on my heavy armour, and it is your shield that shall adorn me." " But," said ApolIonius, "I think, my good Egyptian, that you will incur the censure of Thespesion and his society for two reasons; firstly, that after no further examination and testing of ourselves you have left them, and secondly that you give the preference to our manners and discipline with more precipitancy than is admissible where a man is making choice of how he shall live." "I agree with you," said the young man," but if I am to blame for making this choice, I might also be to blame if I did not make it ; and anyhow they will be most open to rebuke, if they make the same choice as myself. For it will be more justly reprehensible in them, as they are both older and wiser than myself, not to have made the choice long ago which I make now; for with all their advantages they will have failed to choose what in practice would so much redound to their advantage."
"A very generous sentiment indeed, my good youth, is this which you have expressed," said Apollonius; "but beware lest the mere fact of their being so wise and aged should give them an appearance, at any rate, of being right in choosing as they have done, and of having good reason for rejecting my doctrine; and lest you should seem to take up a very bold position in setting them to rights rather than in following them." But the Egyptian turned short round upon Apollonius and countering his opinion said: "So far as it was right for a young man to agree with his elders, I have been careful to do so; for so long as I thought that these gentlemen were possessed [71] of a wisdom which belonged to no other set of men, I attached myself to them; and the motive which actuated me to do so was the following: My father once made a voyage on his own initiative to the Red Sea, for he was, I may tell you, captain of the ship which the Egyptians send to the Indies. And after he had had intercourse with the Indians of the seaboard, he brought home stories of the wise men of that region, closely similar to those which you have told us. And his account which I heard was somewhat as follows, namely that the Indians are the wisest of mankind, but that the Ethiopians are colonists sent from India, who follow their forefathers in matters of wisdom, and fix their eyes on the institutions of their home.
Well, I, having reached my teens, surrendered my patrimony to those who wanted it more than myself, and frequented the society of these n‰ked sages, n‰ked myself as they, in the hope of picking up the teaching of the Indians, or at any rate teaching allied to theirs. And they certainly appeared to me to be wise, though not after the manner of India; but when I asked them point blank why they did not teach the philosophy of India, they plunged into abuse of the natives of that country very much as you have heard them do in their speeches this very day. Now I was still young, as you see, so they made me a member of their society, because I imagine they were afraid I might hastily quit them and undertake a voyage to the Red Sea, as my father did before me. And I should certainly have done so, yes, by Heaven, I would have pushed on until I reached the hill of the sages, unless some one of the gods had sent you hither to help me and enabled me without either [73] making any voyage over the Red Sea or adventuring to the inhabitants of the Gulf, to taste the wisdom of India. It is not to-day therefore for the first time that I shall make my choice, but I made it long ago, though I did not obtain what I hoped to obtain. For what is there to wonder at if a man who has missed what he was looking for, returns to the search? And if I should convert my friends yonder to this point of view, and persuade them to adopt the convictions which I have adopted myself, should I, tell me, be guilty of any hardihood? For you must not reject the claim that youth makes, that in some way it assimilates an idea more easily than old age; and anyone who counsels another to adopt the wisdom and teaching which he himself has chosen, anyhow escapes the imputation of trying to persuade others of things he does not believe himself. And anyone who takes the blessings bestowed upon him by fortune into a corner and there enjoys them by himself, violates their character as blessings, for he prevents their sweetness from being enjoyed by as many as possible."
[VII] XXXII Apollonius’ Interview with Domitian
[239] So far these matters then; but when the Emperor had leisure, having got rid of all his urgent affairs, to give an audience to our sage, the attendants whose office it was conducted him into the palace, without allowing Damis to follow him. And the Emperor was wearing a wreath of olive leaves, for he had just been offering a sacrifice to Athene in the hall of Adonis and this hall was bright with baskets of flowers, such as the Syrians at the time of the festival of Adonis make up in his honour, growing them under their very roofs. Though the Emperor was engaged with his religious rites, he turned round, and was so much struck by Apollonius' appearance, that he said: "O Aelian, it [241] is a demon that you have introduced to me."
But Apollonius, without losing his composure, made free to comment upon the Emperor's words, and said: "As for myself, I imagined that Athene was your tutelary goddess, O sovereign, in the same way as she was Diomede's long ago in Troy; for she removed the mist which dulls the eyes of men from those of Diomede, and endowed him with the faculty of distinguishing gods from men. But the goddess has not yet purged your eyes as she did his, my sovereign; yet it were well, if Athene did so, that you might behold her more clearly and not confuse mere men with the forms of demons."
"And you," said the Emperor, "O philosopher, when did you have this mist cleared away from your eyes?"
"Long ago," said he, "and ever since I have been a philosopher."
"How comes it then," said the Emperor, "that you have come to regard as gods persons who are most hostile to myself?"
"And what hostility," said Apollonius, "is there between yourself and larchas or Phraotes, both of them Indians and the only human beings that I regard as gods and meriting such a title?"
"Don't try to put me off with Indians," said' the Emperor, "but just tell me about your darling Nerva and his accomplices."
"Am I to plead his cause," said Apollonius, "or—?”
"No, you shall not plead it," said the Emperor, "for he has been taken red-handed in guilt; but just prove to me, if you can, that you are not yourself equally guilty as being privy to his designs."
"lf,” said Apollonius, " you would hear how far I am in his counsel, and privy to his designs, please hear me, for why should I conceal the truth?" Now the Emperor imagined that he [243] was going to hear Apollonius confess very important secrets, and that whatever transpired would conduce to the destruction of the persons in question.
But Apollonius seeing him on tip-toe with expectation, merely said: "For myself, I know Nerva to be the most moderate of men and the gentlest and the most devoted to yourself, as well as a good ruler; though he is so averse to meddling in high matters of State, that he shrinks from office. And as for his friends, for I suppose you refer to Rufus and Orphitus,- these men also are discreet, so far as I know, and averse from wealth, somewhat sluggish to do all they lawfully may; while as for revolution, they are the last people in the world either to plan it or to take part with another who should do so." But the Emperor was inflamed with anger at what he heard and said: "Then you mean to say that I am guilty of slander in their cases, since you assert that they are good men, only sluggish, whom I have ascertained to be the vilest of man kind and usurpers of my throne. For I can imagine that they too, if I put the question to them about you, would in their turn deny that you were a wizard and a hot-head and a braggart and a miser, and that you looked down on the laws. And so it is, you accursed rascals, that you all hold together like thieves. But the accusation shall unmask everything; for I know, as well as if I had been present and taken part in everything, all the oaths which you took, and the objects for [245] which you took them, and when you did it, and what was, your preliminary sacrifice." At all this Apollonius did not even blench, but merely remarked: “It is not creditable to you, O sovereign, nor is it congruous with the law, that you should either pretend to try a case affecting persons about whom you have already made up your mind, or should have made it up before ever you have tried them. But if you will have it so, permit me at once to begin and plead my defence. You are prejudiced against me, my sovereign, and you do me a greater wrong than could any false informer, for you take for granted, before you hear them, accusations which he only offers to prove." "Begin your defence," said the Emperor, "at any point you like, but I know very well where to draw the line, and with what it is best to begin."
From that moment he began to insult the sage, by cutting off his beard, and hair, and confining him among the vilest felons; and as regards his hair being shaved, Apollonius remarked: “It had not occurred to me, O sovereign, that I risked losing my hair." And as regards his imprisonment in bonds, he remarked: “If you think me a wizard, how will you ever fetter me ? And if you fetter me, how can you say that I am a wizard?"
"Yes," replied the Emperor, "for I will not release you until you have turned into water, or into some wild animal, or into a tree." “I will not turn into these things," said Apollonius, “even if I could, for I will [245] not ever betray men who, in violation of all justice, stand in peril and what lam, that I will remain; but I am ready to endure all you can inflict upon my vile body, until I have finished pleading the cause of these persons." “And who," asked the Emperor, "is going to plead your cause?” "Time," replied Apollonius, "and the spirit of the gods, and the passion for wisdom which animates me."
Such was the prelude of his defence, which he made in private to Domitian, as Damis outlines it. But some have, out of malignity, perverted the facts, and say that he first made his defence, and only then was imprisoned, at the same time that he was also shorn; and they have forged a certain letter in the Ionic dialect, of tedious prolixity, in which they pretend that Apollonius went down on his knees to Domitian and besought him to release him of his bonds. Now Apollonius, it is true, wrote his testament in the Ionian style of language; but I never met with any letter of his composed in that dialect, although I have come across a great many of them; nor did I ever find any verbosity in any letter of the sage's, for they are laconically brief as if they had been unwound from the ferule of a herald. Moreover, he won his cause and quitted the court, so how could he ever have been imprisoned after the verdict was given? But I must defer to relate what happened in the law court. I had best narrate first what ensued after he was shaved and what he said in his discourses, for it is worthy of notice [249]
FOR after the sage had been confined for two days in prison, some one came to the prison, and said that he had purchased the right to visit him, and that he was come to advise him how to save his life. This person then was. a native of Syracuse, and was mind and mouthpiece of Domitian; and he had been suborned, like the earlier one, by him. But he had a more plausible mission; for whereas the fÎrst one beat about the bush, this one took up his parable straight from what he saw before him, and said: "Heavens, who would ever have thought of Apollonius being thrown into chains?" "The person who threw him," said Apollonius, "for surely he would not have done so, if he had not thought of it." "And who ever thought that his ambrosial locks could be cut off?" "I myself," said Apollonius, "who wore them." "And how can you endure it? " said the other. As a man well may bear it who is brought to this pass neither with nor without his will." "And how can your leg endure the weight of the fetters?" "I don't know," said Apollonius, " for my mind is intent upon other matters." "And yet the mind," said the other, "must attend to what causes pain." "Not necessarily," said Apollonius, "for if you are a man like myself, your mind, will either not feel the pain or will order it to cease." " And what is it that occupies your mind?" "The necessity," answered Apollonius, "of not noticing such things." Then the other reverted to the matter of his locks and led the conversation round to them again, whereupon Apollonius remarked, [251] "It is lucky for you, young man, that you were not one of the Achaeans long ago in Troy; for it seems to me that you would have raised a terrible hullaballoo over the locks of Achilles, when he cut them off in honour of Patroclus, supposing he really did so, and you would at least have swooned at such a spectacle. For if as you say, you are full of pity for my locks which were all grey and frowzy, what would you not have felt over those of Achilles which were nicely curled and auburn?
The other of course had only made his remarks out of malice, in order to see what would make Apollonius wince, and, by Heaven, to see whether he would reproach his sovereign on account of his sufferings. But he was so shut up by the answers he got that he said: "You have incurred the royal displeasure on several grounds, but in particular on those for which Nerva and his friends are being prosecuted, namely of injuring the government. For certain informations have been conveyed to him about your words in Ionia, when you spoke of him in hostile and embittered tones. But they say that he attaches little importance to that matter, because his anger is whetted by the graver charges, and this although the informer from whom he learnt those first charges is a very distinguished person of great reputation.” "A new sort of Olympic winner is this you tell me of," said Apollonius, "that pretends to win distinction by the weightiness of his slanders. But I quite realise that he is Euphrates, who, I know, does everything against me which he can; and these are far from being the worst injuries which he has done me. For hearing once on a time that I was about to visit the n‰ked sages of Ethiopia, he set himself to poison [253] their minds against me and if I had not seen through his malignant designs, I should probably have gone away without even seeing their company." The Syracusan then, much astonished at this remark, said: "Then you think it a much lesser thing to be traduced to the Emperor than to forfeit your good repute in the eyes of the n‰ked sages owing to the insinuations dropped against you by Euphrates?" " Yes, by Heaven," he said, "for I was going there as a learner, whereas I am come here with a mission to teach." "And what are you going to teach?" said the other. "That l am," said Apollonius," a good and honourable man, a circumstance this of which the 'Emperor is not yet aware." "But you can," said the other, " get out of your scrape if you only will teach him things, which if you had told him before you came here, you would never have been cast into prison." Now Apollonius understood that the Syracusan was trying to drive him into some such admission as the Emperor had tried to get out of him, and that he imagined that out of sheer weariness of his imprisonment he would tell some falsehood to the detriment of his friends, and, accordingly he answered: "My excellent friend, if I have been cast into prison for telling Domitian the truth, what would happen to me if I refrained from telling it? For he apparently regards truth as something to be punished with imprisonment, just as I regard falsehood."
[VIII] VII His defense in court
[] [303] (iv) But without descending to such silly arguments, I would like to ask the accuser which of his counts I ought to take first. And yet why need I ask him? for at the beginning of his speech he dwelt upon my dress, and by Zeus, upon what I eat and what I do not eat. O divine Pythagoras, do thou defend me upon these counts; for we are put upon our trial for a rule of life of which thou wast the discoverer, and of which I am the humble partisan. For the earth, my prince, grows everything for mankind; and those who are pleased to live at peace with the brute creation want nothing, for some fruits they can cull from earth, others they win from her furrows, for she is the nurse of men, as suits the seasons ; but these men, as it were deaf to the cries of mother earth, whet their knife against her children in order to get themselves dress and food. Here then is something which the Brahmans of India themselves condemned, and which they taught the n‰ked sages of Egypt also to condemn; and from them Pythagoras took his rule of life, and he was the first of Hellenes [305] who had intercourse with the Egyptians. And it was his rule to give up and leave her animals to the earth; but all things which she grows, he declared, were pure and undefiled, and ate of them accordingly, because they were best adapted to nourish both body and soul. But the garments which most men wear made of the hides of dead animals, he declared to be impure; and accordingly clad himself in linen, and on the same principles had his shoes woven of byblus. And what were the advantages which he derived from such purity? Many, and before all the privilege of recognizing his own soul. For he had existed in the age when Troy was fighting about Helen, and he had been the fairest of the sons of Panthus, and the best equipped of them all, yet he died at so young an age as to excite the lamentations even of Homer. Well after that he passed into several bodies according to the decree of Adrastea, which transfers the soul from body to body, and then he again resumed the form of man, and was born to Mnesarehides of Samos, this time a sage instead of a barbarian, and an Ionian instead of a Trojan, and so immune from death that he did not even forget that he was Euphorbus. I have then told you who was the begetter of my own wisdom, and I have shown that it is no discovery of my own, but an inheritance come to me from another. And as for myself though I do not condemn or judge those who make it part of their luxury to consume the red-plumaged bird, or the fowls from Phasis or the land of the Paeones, which are fattened up for their banquets by those who can deny nothing to their bellies, and though I have never yet brought an accusation [307] against anyone, because they buy fish for their tables at greater prices than grand seigneurs ever gave for their Corinthian chargers, and though I have never grudged anyone his purple garment nor his soft raiment and Pamphylian tissues - yet I am accused and put upon my trial, O ye gods, because I indulge in asphodel and dessert of dried fruits and pure delicacies of that kind.
(v) Nor even is my mode of dress protected from their calumnies, for the accuser is ready to steal even that off my back, because it has such vast value for wizards. And yet apart from my contention about the use of living animals and lifeless things, according as he uses one or the other of which I regard a man as impure or pure, in what way is linen better than wool? Was not the latter taken from the back of the gentlest of animals, of a creature beloved of the gods, who do not disdain themselves to be shepherds, and, by Zeus, once held the fleece to be worthy of a golden form, if it was really a god that did so, and if it be not a mere story? On the other hand linen is grown and sown anywhere, and there is no talk of gold in connection with it. Nevertheless, because it is not plucked from the back of a living animal, the Indians regard it as pure, and so do the Egyptians, and I myself and Pythagoras on this account have adopted it as our garb when we are discoursing or praying or offering sacrifice. And it is a pure substance under which to sleep of a night, for to those who live as I do dreams bring the truest of their revelations.
(vi) Let us next defend ourselves from the attack occasioned by the hair which we formerly wore, for one of the counts of the accusation turns upon [309] the squalor thereof. [I wonder if he was wearing some kind of jata? Like the Indian holy men. Uncombed, twisted braids of hair, undoubtedly dirty looking.] But surely the Egyptian is not entitled to judge me for this, but rather the dandies with their yellow and well-combed locks; and let them bring dangling along the company of their lovers and the mistresses of their revels. Let them congratulate and compliment themselves upon their locks and on the myrrh which drips from them; but think me everything that is unattractive, and if a lover of anything, of abstention from love. For I am inclined to address them thus: O ye poor wretches, do not falsely accuse an institution of the Dorians; for the wearing of your hair long has come down from the Lacaedemonians who affected it in the period when they reached the height of their military fame; and a king of Sparta, Leonidas, wore his hair long in token of his bravery, and in order to appear dignified to his friends, yet terrible to his enemies. For these reasons Sparta wears her hair long no less in his honour than in that of Lycurgus and of Iphitus. And let every sage be careful that the iron knife does not touch his hair, for it is impious to apply it thereto; inasmuch as in his head are all the springs of his senses, and all his intuitions, and it is the source from which his prayers issue forth and also his speech, the interpreter of his wisdom. And whereas Empedocles fastened a fillet of deep purple around his hair, and walked proudly about the streets of the Hellenes, composing hymns to prove that he would pass from humanity and become a god, I only wear my hair dishevelled, [again, indicative of jata] and I have never needed to sing such hymns about it, yet am hailed before the law-courts as a criminal. And what shall I say of Empedocles ? Which had he most reason to praise, [311] the man himself or his contemporaries for their happiness, seeing that they never levelled false accusation against him for such a reason?
(vii) But let us say no more about my hair, for it has been cut off, and the accusation has been forestalled by the same hatred which inspires the next count, a much more serious one from which I must now defend myself. For it is one calculated to fill not only you, my prince, but Zeus himself with apprehension. For he declares that men regard me as a god, and that those who have been thunderstruck and rendered stark-mad by myself proclaim this tenet in public. And yet before accusing me there are things which they should have informed us of, to wit, by what discourses, or by what miracles of word or deed I induced men to pray to me; for I never talked among Hellenes of the goal and origin of my soul's past and future transformations, although I knew full well what they were; nor did I ever disseminate such opinions about myself; nor came forth with presages and oracular strains, which are the harvest of candidates for divine honours. Nor do I know of a single city in which a decree was passed that the citizens should assemble and sacrifice in honour of Apollonius. And yet I have been much esteemed in the several cities which asked for my aid, whatever the objects were for which they asked it, and they were such as these: that their sick might be healed of their diseases, that both their initiations and their sacrifices might be rendered more holy, that insolence and pride might be extirpated, and the laws strengthened. And whereas the only reward which I obtained in all this was that men were made much better than they were [313] before, they were all so many boons bestowed upon yourself by me. For as cow-herds, if they get the cows into good order earn the gratitude of their owners, and as shepherds fatten the sheep for the owner's profit, and as bee-keepers remove diseases from the hive, so that the owner may not lose his swarm, so also I myself, I think, by correcting the defects of their polities, improved the cities for your benefit. Consequently if they did regard me as a, god; the deception brought profit to yourself; for I am sure they were the more ready to listen to me, because they feared to do that which a god disapproved of. But in fact they entertained no such illusion, though they were aware that there is between man and God a certain kinship ,which enables him alone of the animal creation to recognise the Gods, and to speculate both about his own nature and the manner in which it participates in the divine substance. Accordingly man declares that his very form resembles God, as it is interpreted by sculptors and painters; and he is persuaded that his virtues come to him from God, and that those who are endowed with such virtues are near to God and divine. But we need not hail the Athenians as the teachers of this opinion, because they were the first to apply to men the titles of just and Olympic beings and the like, though they are too divine, in all probability, to be applicable to man, but we must mention the Apollo in the Pythian temple as their author. For when Lycurgus from Sparta came to his temple, having just penned his code for the regulation of the affairs of Lacedaemon, Apollo addressed him, and weighed and examined the [315] reputation he enjoyed; and at the commencement of his oracle the god declares that he is puzzled whether to call him a god or a man, but as he advances he decides in favour of the former appellation and assigns it to him as being a good man. And yet the Lacedaemonians never forced a lawsuit on this account upon Lycurgus, nor threatened him on the ground that he claimed to be immortal; for he never rebuked the Pythian god for so addressing him, but on the contrary the citizens agreed with the oracle, for I believe they were already persuaded of the fact before ever it was delivered. And the truth about the Indians and the Egyptians is the following: The Egyptians falsely accuse the Indians of several things and in particular find fault with their ideas of conduct; but though they do so, they yet approve of the account which they have given of the creator of the Universe, and even have taught it to others, though originally it belonged to the Indians. Now this account recognises God as the creator of all things, who brought them into being and sustains them; and it declares further that his motive in designing was his goodness. Since then these notions are kindred to one another, I carry the argument further and declare that good men have in their composition something of God. And by the universe which depends upon God the creator we must understand things in heaven and all things in the sea and on earth, which are equally open to all men to partake of, though their fortunes are not equal. But there is also a universe dependent on the good man which does not transcend the limits of wisdom, which I imagine you yourself, my prince, will allow stands [317] in need of a man fashioned in the image of God. And what is the fashion of this universe? There are undisciplined souls which in their madness clutch at every fashion, and in their eyes laws are out of date and vain; and there is no good sense among them, but the honours which they pay to the gods really dishonour them; and they are in love with idle chatter and luxury which breed idleness and sloth, the worst of all practical advisers. And there are other souls which are drunken and rush in all directions at once, and nothing will repress their antics, nor could do so, even if they drank all the drugs accounted, as the Mandragoras is, to be soporific. Now you need a man to administer and care for the universe of such souls, a god sent down by wisdom. [Sounds a bit like he’s talking about Jesus Christ, or would he mean himself?] For he is able to wean them from the lusts and passions, which they rush to satisfy with instincts too fierce for ordinary society, and from their avarice, which is such that they deny they have anything at all unless they can hold their mouths open and have the stream of wealth flow into it. For perhaps such a man as I speak of could even restrain them from committing murder; however, neither I myself nor even the God who created all things, can wash off them the guilt of that.
[339] … I never sacrificed blood, I do not sacrifice it now, I never touch it, not even if it be shed upon an altar; for this was the rule of Pythagoras and likewise of his disciples, and in Egypt also of the Naked sages, and of the sages of India, from whom these principles of wisdom were derived by Pythagoras and his school. In adhering to this way of sacrifice they do not seem to the gods to be criminal; for the latter suffer them to grow old, sound in body and free from disease, and to increase in wisdom daily, to be free from tyranny of others, to be wanting in nothing. Nor do I think that it is absurd to ask the gods for benefits in exchange for pure sacrifices. For I believe that the gods have the same mind as myself in the matter of sacrifice, and that they therefore place those parts of the earth which grow frankincense in the purest region of the world, in order that we may use their resources for purposes of sacrifice without drawing the knife in their temples or shedding blood upon altars. And yet, it appears, I so far forgot myself and the gods as to sacrifice with rites which are not only unusual with myself, but which no human being would employ.
[VIII] XXIX His death
The memoirs then of Apollonius of Tyana which Damis the Assyrian composed, end with the above story; for with regard to the manner in which he died, if he did actually die, there are many stories, though, Damis has repeated none. But as for myself I ought not to omit even this, for my story should, I think, have its natural ending. Neither has Damis told us anything about the age of our hero; but there are some who say that he was eighty, others that he was over ninety, others again who say that his age far exceeded a hundred. He was fresh in all his body and upright, when he died, and more agreeable to look at than in his youth. For there is a certain beauty even in wrinkles, which was especially conspicuous in his case, as is clear from the likenesses of him which are preserved in the temple at Tyana, and from accounts which praise the old age of Apollonius more than was once praised the youth of Alcibiades.
XV.— TO THE SAME. [Euphrates]
Plato has said that true virtue recognises no master. And supposing anyone fails to honour this answer and delight therein, and instead of doing so sells himself for filthy lucre, I say that he but gives himself many masters.
You think it your duty to call philosophers who follow Pythagoras magicians, and likewise also those who follow Orpheus. For my own part I think that those who follow no matter whom, ought to be called magicians, if only they are determined to be divine and just men.
The Persians give the name of magi to divine beings. A magus then is either a worshipper of the gods or one who is by nature divine. Well, you are no magus, but a man without god.

For comments: Dolf Hartsuiker