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. 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 naked sages, naked 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 For what is there to wonder at it 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 1, tell me, be guilty of any hardihood?
The life of Apollonius of Tyana
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. They the anim" accordingly greeted one another, and sitting down gy s pt together in the grove they began a conversation in which Apollonius led as follows : " How important it is," said he, " not to conceal wisdom, is proved by our conversation of yesterday ; for because the Indians taught me as much of their wisdom as I thought it proper for me to know, I not only remember my teachers, but I go about instilling into others what I heard from them.
And you too will be richly rewarded by me, if you send me away with a knowledge of your wisdom as well ; for I shall not cease to go about and repeat your teachings to the Greeks, while to the Indians I shall write them. In a few cases, do I say? I woidd rather say that in very few are the gods images fashioned in a wise and god-like manner, for the mass of your shrines seem to have been erected in honour rather of irrational and ignoble animals than of gods. Bel Be ttov Ato9 fiev iv6vp. When you entertain a notion of Zeus you must, I suppose, envisage him along with heaven and seasons and stars, as Phidias in his day endeavoured to do, and if you would fashion an image of Athene you must image in your mind armies and cunning, and handicrafts, and how she leapt out of Zeus himself.
But if you make a hawk or an owl or a wolf or a dog, and put it in your temples instead of Hermes or Athene or Apollo, your animals and your birds may be esteemed and of much price as likenesses, but the gods will be very much lowered in their dignity. Is it not likely that perjurers and X1X temple-thieves and all the rabble of low jesters will despise such holy objects rather than dread them ; and if they are to be held august for the hidden meanings which they convey, surely the gods in Egypt would have met with much greater reverence, if no images of them had ever been set up at all, and if you had planned your theology along other lines wiser and more mysterious.
For I imagine you might have built temples for them, and have fixed the altars and laid down rules about what to sacrifice and what not, and when and on what scale, and with what liturgies and rites, without introducing any image at all, but leaving it to those who frequented the temples to imagine the images of the gods ; for the mind can more or less delineate and figure them to itself better than can any artist; but you have denied to the gods the privilege of beauty both of the outer eye and of inner suggestion.
Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Volume 1 Books I-IV by Philostratus
And how is it that you did not reform this abuse? For they say that you interested yourself in the affairs of the Lacedaemonians, as of other people. Now the custom of scourging is a ceremony in honour of the Scythian Artemis, so they say, and was prescribed by oracles, and to oppose the regulations of the gods is in my opinion utter madness. But they, although they enforced this policy of excluding strangers, corrupted their institutions, and were found doing exactly the same as did those of the Greeks whom they most detested.
Anyhow, their And the very fact that the goddess was introduced from Taurus and Scythia was the action of men who embraced alien customs. But if an oracle prescribed this, what want was there of a scourge? What need to feign an endurance only fit for slaves? Had they wanted to prove the disdain that Lacedaemonians felt for death, they had I think done better to sacrifice a youth of Sparta with his own consent upon the altar.
For this would have been a real proof of the superior courage of the Spartans, and would have disinclined Hellas from ranging herself in the opposite camp to them. But you will say that they had to save their young men for the battlefield ; well, in that case the law which prevails among the Scythians, and sentences all men of sixty years of age to death, would have been more suitably introduced and followed among the Lacedaemonians than among the Scythians, supposing that they embrace death in its grim reality and not as a mere parade.
These remarks of mine are directed not so much against the Lacedaemonians, as against yourself, O Apollonius.
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For if ancient institutions, whose hoary age defies our understanding of their origins, are to be examined in an unsympathetic spirit, and the reason why they are pleasing to heaven subjected to cold criticism, such a line of speculation will produce a crop of odd conclusions ; Let us choose, therefore, any other topic you like, but respect the sentiment of Pythagoras, which is also our own ; for it is better, if we can t hold our tongues about everything, at any rate to preserve silence about such matters as these. For I related to them how I had once been the captain of a large ship, in the period when my soul was in command of another body, and how I thought myself extremely just because, when robbers offered me a reward, if I would betray my ship by running it into roads where they were going to lie in wait for it, in order to seize the cargo, I agreed and made the promise, just to save them from attacking us, but intending to slip by them and get beyond the place agreed upon.
For because a thing, no matter what, is equi-distant between praise and punishment, it is not on that account to be reckoned off-hand to be virtue. But you know from the account which I gave of him yesterday that the man is a drunkard and an enemy of all philosophy. What need therefore was there to inflict on him the trouble? Why should we try to win credit for ourselves in the presence of a sybarite who thinks of nothing but his own pleasures?
But inasmuch as it is incumbent upon wise men like ourselves to explore and trace out justice, more so than on kings and generals, let us proceed to examine the absolutely just man. For though I thought myself just in the affair of the ship, and thought others just too, because they do not practise i7iiustice, you deny that this in itself constitutes them just or worthy of honour. Who then is the just man and what are his actions?
For neither did I ever hear of anyone being crowned merely for his justice, nor of a decree being proposed over a just man to the effect that so and so shall be crowned, because such and such actions of his show him to be just. For anyone who considers the fate of Palamedes in Troy or of Socrates in Athens, Mill discover that even justice is not sure of success And I am sure that justice will appear in a very ridiculous light ; for having been appointed by Zeus and by the Fates to prevent men being unjust to one another, she has never been able to defend herself against injustice.
And the history of Aristides is sufficient to me to show the difference between one who is not unjust and one who is really just. For, tell me, is not this the same Aristides of Avhom your Hellenic compatriots when they come here tell us that he undertook a voyage to the islands to fix the tribute of the allies, and after settling it on a fair basis, returned again to his country still wearing the same cloak in which he left it?
Vijcrois, Siea7rdcrdrj p,ev avrols? Do you not suppose that Aristides would himself have opposed the first of these resolutions, as an indignity to his entire life, seeing that it only honoured him for not doing injustice ; whereas, he might perhaps have supported the other resolution as a fair attempt to express his intentions and policy?
For I imagine it was with an eye to the interest of Athenians and subject states alike, that he took care to fix the tribute on a fair and moderate basis, and in fact his wisdom in this matter was conclusively proved after his death. For when the Athenians exceeded his valuations and imposed heavier tributes upon the islands, their naval supremacy at once went to pieces, though it more than anything else had made them formidable ; on the other hand the prowess of the Lacedaemonians passed on to the sea itself; and nothing was left of Athenian supremacy, for the whole of the subject states rushed into revolution and made good their escape.
It follows then, O Apollonius, that rightly judged, it is not the man who abstains from injustice that is just, but the man who himself does what is just, and also influences others not to be unjust ; and from such justice as his there will spring up a crop of other virtues, especially those of the law-court and of the legislative chamber. For such a man as he will make a much fairer judge than people who take their oaths upon the dissected parts of victims, and his 97 VOL. Lycurgus ; for assuredly these great legislators were inspired by justice to undertake their work.
They also with had a philosophic talk about the soul, proving its and nuus immortality, and about nature, along much the same inllis train lines which Plato follows in his Timaeus ; and after some further remarks and discussions of the laws of the Hellenes, Apollonius said : " For myself I have come all this way to see yourselves and visit the springs of the Nile ; for a person who only comes as far as Egypt may be excused if he ignores the latter, but if he advances as far as Ethiopia, as I have done, he will be rightly reproached if he neglects to visit them, and to draw as it were from their well-springs some arguments of his own.
But I imagine you will take as your guide Timasion, who formerly lived at Naucratis, but is now of Memphis ; for he is well acquainted with the springs of the Nile and he is not so impure as to stand in need of further lustrations. But as for you, O Nilus, we would like to have a talk to you by ourselves. XXIII cap. Tore Liev 8?
Tvlivovs irpoaenrovTes eiropevovro t? XXIV cap. And after a little time Nilus returned, hut did not tell them anything of what they had said to him, though he laughed a good deal to himself. And no one asked him what he was laughing ahout, but they respected his secret. The Catadupi are mountains formed of good soil, about the same size as the hill of the Lydians called Tmolus ; and from them the Nile flows rapidly down, washing with it the soil of which it creates Egypt ; but the roar of the stream, as it breaks down in a cataract from the mountains and hurls itself noisily into the Nile, is terrible and intolerable to the ears, and many of those who have approached it too close have returned with the loss of their hearing.
XXIV Apollonius, however, and his party pushed on till chap. Kpvov zeapirov rjyovuTat, eoipwv Be zeal Xeovjas ayyov t? XXV cap. And they also saw stags and gazelles, and ostriches and asses, the latter in great numbers, and also many wild bulls and ox-goats, so-called, the former of these two animals being a mixture of the stag and the ox, that latter of the creatures from which its name is taken. They found moreover on the road the hones and half-eaten carcases of these ; for the lions, when they have gorged themselves with fresh prey, care little for what is left over of it, because, I think, they feel sure of catching fresh quarry whenever they want it.
XXV It is here that the nomad Ethiopians live in a chap. And the Nasamones and the man-eaters and the pigmies and the shadow-footed people are also tribes of Ethiopia, and they extend as far as the Ethiopian ocean, which no mariners ever enter except castaways who do so against their will. And Timasion said : " A cataract is at hand, gentlemen, the last for those who are descending the.
And after fifteen stades they heard another cataract which this time was horrible and unbearable to the senses, for it was twice as loud as the first one and it fell from much higher mountains. And Damis relates that his own ears and those of one of his companions were so stunned by the noise, that he himself turned back and besought Apollonius not to go any further ; however he, along with Timasion and Nilus, boldly pressed on to the third cataract, of which he made the following report on their return.
Peaks there overhang the Nile, at the most eight stades in height ; but the eminence faces the mountains, namely a beetling brow of rocks mysteriously cut away, as if in a quarry, and the fountains of the Nile cling to the edge of the mountain, till they overbalance and fall on to the rocky eminence, from which they pour into the Nile as an expanse of whitening billows. But the effect produced upon the senses by this cataract, which is many times greater than the earlier ones, And the latter caught up sticks and stones and anything which came handy, and called upon one another to avenge the insult to their wives.
And it appears that for ten months the ghost of a satyr had been haunting the village, who was mad after the women and was said to have killed two of them to whom he was supposed to be specially attached. The companions, then, of Apoiionius were frightened out of their wits till Apoiionius said : " You need not be afraid, for it s only a satyr that is 1 Or "render investigation of the stream a trial to the ears. Well, Midas, I understand, had heard from his mother that when satyr is overcome by wine he falls asleep, and at such times comes to his senses and will make friends with you ; so he mixed wine which he had in his palace in a fountain and let the satyr get at it, and the latter drank it up and was overcome.
source site And when it was quite finished, Apollonius said : " Let us drink the satyr s health, for he is fast asleep.
Related Life of Apollonius of Tyana: Volume I & Volume II
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