Apollonius of Tyana
(circa 217 A.D.
1. The votaries of Pythagoras of Samos have this story to tell of him, that he was not an Ionian at all, but that, once on a time in Troy, he had been Euphorbus, and that he had come to life after death, but had died as the songs of Homer relate. And they say that he declined to wear apparel made from dead animal products and, to guard his purity, abstained from all flesh diet, and from the offering of animals in sacrifice. For that he would not stain the altars with blood; nay, rather the honey-cake and frankincense and the hymn of praise, these they say were the offerings made to the Gods by this man, who realized that they welcome such tribute more than they do the hecatombs and the knife laid upon the sacrificial basket.
For they say that he had of a certainty social intercourse with the gods, and learnt from them the conditions under which they take pleasure in men or are disgusted, and on this intercourse he based his account of nature. For he said that, whereas other men only make conjectures about divinity and make guesses that contradict one another concerning it, in his own case he said that Apollo had come to him acknowledging that he was the god in person; and that Athena and the Muses and other gods, whose forms and names men did not yet know, had also consorted with him though without making such acknowledgment.
And the followers of Pythagoras accepted as law any decisions communicated by him, and honored him as an emissary from Zeus, but imposed, out of respect for their divine character, a ritual silence on themselves. For many were the divine and ineffable secrets which they had heard, but which it was difficult for any to keep who had not previously learnt that silence also is a mode of speech.
Moreover they declare that Empedocles of Acragas had trodden this way of wisdom when he wrote the line
"Rejoice ye, for I am unto you an immortal God, and no more mortal."
And this also:
"For erewhile, I already became both girl and boy."
And the story that he made at Olympia a bull of pastry and sacrificed it to the god also shows that he approved of the sentiments of Pythagoras. And there is much else that they tell of those sages who observe the rule of Pythagoras; but I must not now enter upon such points, but hurry on to the work which I have set myself to complete.
2. For quite akin to theirs was the ideal which Apollonius pursued, and more divinely than Pythagoras he wooed wisdom and soared above tyrants; and he lived in times not long gone by nor quite of our own day, yet men know him not because of the true wisdom, which he practiced as sage and sanely; but one man singles out one feature for praise in him and another another; while some, because he had interviews with the wizards of Babylon and with the Brahmans of India, and with the nude ascetics of Egypt, put him down as a wizard, and spread the calumny that he was a sage of an illegitimate kind, judging of him ill. For Empedocles and Pythagoras himself and Democritus consorted with wizards and uttered many supernatural truths, yet never stooped to the black art; and Plato went to Egypt and mingled with his own discourses much of what he heard from the prophets and priests there; and though, like a painter, he laid his own colors on to their rough sketches, yet he never passed for a wizard, although envied above all mankind for his wisdom.
For the circumstance that Apollonius foresaw and foreknew so many things does not in the least justify us in imputing to him this kind of wisdom; we might as well accuse Socrates of the same, because, thanks to his familiar spirit, he knew things beforehand, and we might also accuse Anaxagoras because of the many things which he foretold. And indeed who does not know the story of how Anaxagoras at Olympia in a season when least rain falls came forward wearing a fleece into the stadium, by way of predicting rain, and of how he foretold the fall of the house -- and truly, for it did fall; and of how he said that day would be turned into night, and stones would be discharged from heaven round Aegospotami, and of how his predictions were fulfilled? Now these feats are set down to the wisdom of Anaxagoras by the same people who would rob Apollonius of the credit of having predicted things by dint of wisdom, and say that he achieved these results by art of wizardry.
It seems to me then that I ought not to condone or acquiesce in the general ignorance, but write a true account of the man, detailing the exact times at which he said or did this or that, as also the habits and temper of wisdom by means of which he succeeded in being considered a supernatural and divine being.
And I have gathered my information partly from the many cities where he was loved, and partly from the temples whose long-neglected and decayed rites he restored, and partly from the accounts left of him by others and partly from his own letters. For he addressed these to kings, sophists, philosophers, to men of Elis, of Delphi, to Indians, and Ethiopians; and in his letters he dealt with the subjects of the gods, of customs, of moral principles, of laws, and in all these departments he corrected the errors into which men had fallen. But the more precise details which I have collected are as follows.
3. There was a man, Damis, by no means stupid, who formerly dwelt in the ancient city of Nineveh. He resorted to Apollonius in order to study wisdom, and having shared, by his own account, his wanderings abroad, wrote an account of them. And he records his opinions and discourses and all his prophecies. And a certain kinsmen of Damis drew the attention of the empress Julia to the documents containing these documents hitherto unknown.
Now I belonged to the circle of the empress, for she was a devoted admirer of all rhetorical exercises; and she commanded me to recast and edit these essays, at the same time paying more attention to the style and diction of them; for the man of Nineveh had told his story clearly enough, yet somewhat awkwardly.
And I also read the book of Maximus of Aegae, which comprised all the life of Apollonius in Aegae; and furthermore a will was composed by Apollonius, from which one can learn how rapturous and inspired a sage he really was. For we must not pay attention anyhow to Moeragenes, who composed four books about Apollonius, and yet was ignorant of many circumstances of his life.
That then I combined these scattered sources together and took trouble over my composition, I have said; but let my work, I pray, redound to the honor of the man who is the subject of my compilation, and also be of use to those who love learning. For assuredly, they will here learn things of which as yet they were ignorant.
4. Apollonius' home, then, was Tyana, a Greek city amidst a population of Cappadocians. His father was of the same name, and the family descended from the first settlers. It excelled in wealth the surrounding families, though the district is a rich one.
To his mother, just before he was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer, in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened, but asked him what sort of child she would bear. And he answered: "Myself."
"And who are you?" she asked.
"Proteus," answered he, "the god of Egypt."
Well, I need hardly explain to readers of the poets the quality of Proteus and his reputation as regards wisdom; how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form, and defying capture, and how he had a reputation of knowing both past and future. And we must bear Proteus in mind all the more, when my advancing story shows its hero to have been more of a prophet than Proteus, and to have triumphed over many difficulties and dangers in the moment when they beset him most closely.
5. Now he is said to have been born in a meadow, hard by which there has been now erected a sumptuous temple to him; and let us not pass by the manner of his birth. For just as the hour of his birth was approaching, his mother was warned in a dream to walk out into the meadow and pluck the flowers; and in due course she came there and her maids attended to the flowers, scattering themselves over the meadow, while she fell asleep lying on the grass.
Thereupon the swans who fed in the meadow set up a dance around her as she slept, and lifting their wings, as they are wont to do, cried out aloud all at once, for there was somewhat of a breeze blowing in the meadow. She then leaped up at the sound of their song and bore her child, for any sudden fright is apt to bring on a premature delivery.
But the people of the country say that just at the moment of the birth, a thunderbolt seemed about to fall to earth and then rose up into the air and disappeared aloft; and the gods thereby indicated, I think, the great distinction to which the sage was to attain, and hinted in advance how he should transcend all things upon earth and approach the gods, and signified all the things that he would achieve.
6. Now there is near Tyana a well sacred to Zeus, the god of paths, so they say, and they call it the well of Asbama. Here a spring rises cold, but bubbles up like a boiling cauldron. This water is favorable and sweet to those who keep their paths, but to perjurers it brings hot-footed justice; for it attacks their eyes and hands and feet, and they fall the prey of dropsy and wasting disease; and they are not even able to go away, but are held on the spot and bemoan themselves at the edge of the spring, acknowledging their perjuries.
The people of the country, then, say that Apollonius was the son of this Zeus, but the sage called himself the son of Apollonius.
7. On reaching the age when children are taught their letters, he showed great strength of memory and power of application; and his tongue affected the Attic dialect, nor was his accent corrupted by the race he lived among. All eyes were turned upon him, for he was, moreover, conspicuous for his beauty. When he reached his fourteenth year, his father brought him to Tarsus, to Euthydemus the teacher from Phoenicia.
Now Euthydemus was a good rhetor, and began his education; but, though he was attached to his teacher, he found the atmosphere of the city harsh and strange and little conducive to the philosophic life, for nowhere are men more addicted than here to luxury; jesters and full of insolence are they all; and they attend more to their fine linen than the Athenians did to wisdom; and a stream called the Cydnus runs through their city, along the banks of which they sit like so many water-fowl. Hence the words which Apollonius addresses to them in his letter:
"Be done with getting drunk upon your water."
He therefore transferred his teacher, with his father's consent, to the town of Aegae, which was close by, where he found a peace congenial to one who would be a philosopher, and a more serious school of study and a temple of Asclepius, where that god reveals himself in person to men.
There he had as his companions in philosophy followers of Plato and Chrysippus and peripatetic philosophers. And he diligently attended also to the discourses of Epicurus, for he did not despise these either, although it was to those of Pythagoras that he applied himself with unspeakable wisdom and ardor. However, his teacher of the Pythagorean system was not a very serious person, nor one who practiced in his conduct the philosophy he taught; for he was the slave of his belly and appetites, and modeled himself upon Epicurus. And this man was Euxenus from the town of Heraclea in Pontus, and he knew the principles of Pythagoras just as birds know what they learn from men; for the birds will wish you "farewell," and say "Good day" or "Zeus help you," and such like, without understanding what they say and without any real sympathy for mankind, merely because they have been trained to move their tongue in a certain manner.
Apollonius, however, was like the young eagles who, as long as they are not fully fledged, fly alongside of their parents and are trained by them in flight, but who, as soon as they are able to rise in the air, outsoar the parent birds, especially when they perceive the latter to be greedy and to be flying along the ground in order to snuff the quarry; like them Apollonius attended Euxenus as long as he was a child and was guided by him in the path of argument, but when he reached his sixteenth year he indulged his impulse towards the life of Pythagoras, being fledged and winged thereto by some higher power.
Notwithstanding he did not cease to love Euxenus, nay, he persuaded his father to present him with a villa outside the town, where there were tender groves and fountains, and he said to him: "Now you live there your own life, but I will live that of Pythagoras."
8. Now Euxenus realized 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, 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. And 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 all 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.
9. Now it is well that I should not pass over what happened in the Temple, while relating the life of a man who was held in esteem even by the gods. For an Assyrian stripling came to Asclepius, and though he was sick, yet he lived the life of luxury, and being continually drunk, I will not say he lived, rather he was ever dying. He suffered then from dropsy, and finding his pleasure in drunkenness took no care to dry up his malady. On this account then Asclepius took no care of him, and did not visit him even in a dream.
The youth grumbled at this, and thereupon the god, standing over him, said, "If you were to consult Apollonius you would be easier."
He therefore went to Apollonius, and said: "What is there in your wisdom that I can profit by? for Asclepius bids me consult you."
And he replied: "I can advise you of what, under the circumstances, will be most valuable to you; for I suppose you want to get well."
"Yes, by Zeus," answered the other, "I want the health which Asclepius promises, but never gives."
"Hush," said the other, "for he gives to those who desire it, but you do things that irritate and aggravate your disease, for you give yourself up to luxury, and you accumulate delicate viands upon your water-logged and worn-out stomach, and as it were, choke water with a flood of mud."
This was a clearer response, in my opinion, than Heraclitus, in his wisdom, gave. For he said when he was visited by this affection that what he needed was someone to substitute a drought for a rainy weather, a very unintelligible remark, it appears to me, and by no means clear; but the sage restored the youth to health by a clear interpretation of the wise saw.
10. One day he saw a flood of blood upon the altar, and there were victims laid out upon it, Egyptian bulls that had been sacrificed and great hogs, and some of them were being flayed and others were being cut up; and two gold vases had been dedicated set with jewels, the rarest and most beautiful that India can provide. So he went to the priest and said: "What is all this; for someone is making a very handsome gift to the god?"
And the priest replied: "You may rather be surprised at a man's offering all this without having first put up a prayer in our fane, and without having stayed with us as long as other people do, and without having gained his health from the god, and without obtaining all the things he came to ask for. For he appears to have come only yesterday, yet he is sacrificing on this lavish scale. And he declares that he will sacrifice more victims, and dedicate more gifts, if Asclepius will hearken to him. And he is one of the richest men in existence; at any rate he owns in Cilicia an estate bigger than all the Cilicians together possess. And he is supplicating the god to restore to him one of his eyes that has fallen out."
But Apollonius fixed his eyes upon the ground, as he was accustomed to do in later life, and asked: "What is his name?"
And when he heard it, he said: "It seems to me, O Priest, that we ought not to welcome this fellow in the Temple: for he is some ruffian who has come here, and that he is afflicted in this way is due to some sinister reason: nay, his very conduct in sacrificing on such a magnificent scale before he has gained anything from the god is not that of a genuine votary, but rather of a man who is begging himself off for the penalty of some horrible and cruel deed."
This was what Apollonius said: and Asclepius appeared to the priest by night, and said: "Send away so and so at once with all his possessions, and let him keep them, for he deserves to lose the other eye as well."
The priest accordingly made inquiries about the Cilician and learned that his wife by a former marriage borne a daughter, and he had fallen in love with the maiden and had seduced her, and was living with her in open sin. For the mother had surprised the two in bed, and had put out both her eyes and one of his by stabbing them with her brooch-pin.
11. Again he inculcated the wise rule that in our sacrifices or dedications we should no go beyond the just mean, in the following way. On one occasion several people had flocked to the Temple, not long after the expulsion of the Cilician, and he took the occasion to ask the priest the following questions: "Are then," he said, "the gods just?"
"Why, of course, most just," answered the priest.
"Well, and are they wise?"
"And what," said the other, "can be wiser than the godhead?"
"But do they know the affairs of men, or are they without experience of them?"
"Why," said the other, "this is just the point in which the gods excel mankind, for the latter, because of their frailty, do not understand their own concerns, whereas the gods have the privilege of understanding the affairs both of men and of themselves."
"All your answers," said Apollonius, "are excellent, O Priest, and very true. Since then, they know everything, it appears to me that a person who comes to the house of God and has a good conscience, should put up the following prayer:
'O ye gods, grant unto me that which I deserve.'
"For," he went on, "the holy, O Priest, surely deserve to receive blessings, and the wicked the contrary. Therefore the gods, as they are beneficent, if they find anyone who is healthy and whole and unscarred by vice, will send him on his way, surely, after crowning him, not with golden crowns, but with all sorts of blessings; but if they find a man branded with sin and utterly corrupt, they will hand him over and leave him to justice, after inflicting their wrath upon him all the more, because he dared to invade their Temple without being pure."
And at the same moment he looked towards Asclepius, and said: "O Asclepius, the philosophy you teach is secret and congenial to yourself, in that you suffer not the wicked to come hither, not even if they pour into your lap all the wealth of India and Sardes. For it is not out of reverence for the divinity that they sacrifice these victims and suspend these offerings, but in order to purchase a verdict, which you will not concede to them in your perfect justice."
And much similar wisdom he delivered himself of in this Temple, while he was still a youth.
12. This tale also belongs to the period of his residence in Aegae. Cilicia was governed at the time by a ruffian addicted to infamous forms of passion. No sooner did he hear the beauty of Apollonius spoken of, than he cast aside the matters he was busy upon (and he was just then holding a court in Tarsus), and hurrying off to Aegae pretended he was sick and must have the help of Asclepius.
There he came upon Apollonius walking alone and prayed him to recommend him to the god. But he replied: "What recommendation can you want from anyone if you are good? For the gods love men of virtue and welcome them without any instructions."
"Because, to be sure," said the other, "the god, O Apollonius, has invited you to be his guest, but so far has not invited me."
"Nay," answered Apollonius, "'tis my humble merits, so far as a young man can display good qualities, which have been my passport to the favor of Asclepius, whose servant and companion I am. If you too really care for uprightness, go boldly up to the god and tender what prayer you will."
"By heaven, I will," said the other, "if you will allow me to address you one first."
"And what prayer," said Apollonius, "can you make to me?"
"A prayer which can only be offered to the beautiful, and which is that they may grant to others participation in their beauty and not grudge their charms."
This he said with a vile leer and voluptuous air and all the usual wriggles of such infamous debauchees; but Apollonius with a stern fierce glance at him, said: "You are mad, you scum."
The other not only flamed up at these words, but threatened to cut off his head, whereat Apollonius laughed at him and cried out loud, "Ha," naming a certain day. And in fact it was only three days later that the ruffian was executed by the officers of justice on the high road for having intrigued with Archelaus the king of Cappadocia against the Romans.
These and many similar incidents are given by Maximus of Aegae in his treatise, a writer whose reputation won him a position in the emperor's Secretariat.
13. Now when he heard that his father was dead, he hurried to Tyana, and with his own hands buried him hard by his mother's sepulcher, for she too had died not long before; and he divided the property, which was very ample, with his brother, who was an incorrigibly bad character and given to drunk.
Now the latter had reached his twenty-third year; Apollonius, on the other hand, was only twenty, and the law subjected him to guardians. He therefore spent afresh some time in Aegae, and turned the temple into a Lyceum and Academy, for it resounded with all sorts of philosophical discussions.
After that he returned to Tyana, by this time grown to manhood and his own master. Someone said to him that it was his duty to correct his brother and convert him from his evil ways; whereupon he answered: "This would seem a desperate enterprise; for how can I who am the younger one correct and render wise an older man? but so far as I can do anything, I will heal him of these bad passions."
Accordingly he gave to him the half of his own share of the property, on the pretense that he required more than he had, while he himself needed little; and then he pressed him and cleverly persuaded him to submit to the counsels of wisdom, and said: "Our father has departed this life, who educated us both and corrected us, so that you are all that I have left, and I imagine, I am all that you have left. If therefore I do anything wrong, please advise me and cure me of my faults; and in turn if you yourself do anything wrong, suffer me to teach you better."
And so he reduced his brother to a reasonable state of mind, just as we break in skittish and unruly horses by stroking and patting them; and he reformed him from his faults, numerous as they were, for he was the slave of play and of wine, and he serenaded courtesans and was vain of his hair, which he dressed up and dyed, strutting about like an arrogant dandy.
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 vigor, 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 show 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 love of filthy lucre and of huckstering his wisdom. But these matters I must defer to the times to which they belong.
14. 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 most things 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 hands and nodding his head; nor did he strike men as gloomy or morse; for he retained his fondness for company and cheerfulness.
This part of his life he says was the most uphill work he knew, since he practiced 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 often when he was moved and inclined to break out in a rebuke to others, he said to himself: "Bear up then, my heart and tongue;" [Homer Odyssey 20.18] and when reasoning offended him he had to give up for the time the refuting of it.
15. These years of silence he spent partly in Pamphylia and partly in Cilicia; and though his paths lay through such effeminate races as these, he never spoke nor was even induced to murmur.
Whenever, however, he came on a city engaged in civil conflict (and many were divided into fractions over spectacles of a low kind), he would advance and show himself, and by indicating part of his intended rebuke by manual gesture or by look on his face, he would put an end to all the disorder, and people hushed their voices, as if they were engaged in the mysteries.
Well, it is not so very difficult to restrain those who have started a quarrel about dances and horses, for those who are rioting about such matters, if they turn their eyes to a real man, blush and check themselves and easily recover their senses; but a city hard pressed by famine is not so tractable, nor so easily brought to a better mood by persuasive words and its passion quelled. But in the case of Apollonius, mere silence on his part was enough for those so affected.
Anyhow, when he came to Aspendus in Pamphylia (and this city is built on the river Eurymedon, lesser only than two others about there), he found vetches on sale in the market, and the citizens were feeding upon this and on anything else they could get; for the rich men had shut up all the grain and were holding it up for export from the country.
Consequently an excited crowd of all ages had set upon the governor, and were lighting a fire to burn him alive, although he was clinging to the statues of the Emperor, which were more dreaded at that time and more inviolable than the Zeus in Olympia; for they were statues of Tiberius, in whose reign a master is said to have been held guilty of impiety, merely because he struck his own slave when he had on his person a silver drachma coined with the image of Tiberius.
Apollonius then went up to the governor and with a sign of his hand asked him what was the matter; and he answered that he had done no wrong, but was indeed being wronged quite as much as the populace; but, he said, if he could not get a hearing, he would perish along with the populace.
Apollonius then turned to the bystanders, and beckoned to them that they must listen; and they not only held their tongues from wonderment at him, but they laid the brands they had kindled on the altars which were there.
The governor then plucked up courage and said: "This man and that man," and he named several, "are to blame for the famine which has arisen; for they have taken away the grain and are keeping it, one in one part of the country and another in another." The inhabitants of Aspendus thereupon passed the word to one another to make for these men's estates, but Apollonius signed with his head, that they should do no such thing, but rather summon those who were to blame and obtain the grain from them with their consent.
And when, after a little time the guilty parties arrived, he very nearly broke out in speech against them, so much was he affected by the tears of the crowd; for the children and women had all flocked together, and the old men were groaning and moaning as if they were on the point of dying by hunger. However, he respected his vow of silence and wrote on a writing board his indictment of the offenders and handed it to the governor to read out aloud; and his indictment ran as follows:
"Apollonius to the grain dealers of Aspendus. The earth is mother of us all, for she is just; but you, because you are unjust have pretended that she is your mother alone; and if you do not stop, I will not permit you to remain upon her."
They were so terrified by these words, that they filled the market-place with grain and the city revived.
16. After the term of his silence was over he also visited the great Antioch, and passed into the Temple of Apollo of Daphne, to which the Assyrians attach the legend of Arcadia. For they say that Daphne, the daughter of Ladon, there underwent her metamorphosis, and they have a river flowing there, the Ladon, and a laurel tree is worshipped by them which they say is the one substituted for the maiden; and cypress trees of enormous height surround the Temple, and the ground sends up springs both ample and placid, in which they say Apollo purifies himself by ablution.
And there it is that the earth sends up a shoot of cypress, they say in honor of Cyparissus, an Assyrian youth; and the beauty of the shrub lends credence to the story of his metamorphosis.
Well, perhaps I may seem to have fallen into a somewhat juvenile vein to approach my story by such legendary particulars as these, but my interest is not really mythology. What then is the purport of my narrative? Apollonius, when he beheld a Temple so graceful and yet the home of no serious studies, but only of men half-barbarous and uncultivated, remarked: "O Apollo, change these dumb dogs into trees, so that at least as cypresses they may become vocal."
And when he saw the Ladon, he said: "It is not your daughter alone that underwent a change, but you too, so far as one can see, have become a barbarian after being a Hellene and an Arcadian."
And when he was minded to converse, he avoided the frequented regions and the disorderly, and said, that it was not a rabble he wanted but real men; and he resorted to the more solemn places, and lived in such Temples as were not shut up. At sunrise, indeed, he performed certain rites by himself, rites which he only communicated to those who had disciplined themselves by a four years' spell of silence; but during the rest of the day, in case the city was a Greek one, and the sacred rituals familiar to a Greek, he would call the priests together and talk wisely about the gods, and would correct them, supposing they had departed from the traditional forms. If, however, the rites were barbarous and peculiar, then he would find out who had founded them and on what occasion they were established, and having learnt the sort of cult it was, he would make suggestions, in case he could think of any improvement upon them, and then he would go in quest of his followers and bid them ask any questions they liked. For he said that it was the duty of philosophers of his school to hold converse at the earliest dawn with the gods, but as the day advanced, about the gods, and during the rest of the day to discuss human affairs in friendly intercourse.
And having answered all the questions which his companions addressed to him, and when he had enough of their society, he would rise and give himself up for the rest to haranguing the general public, not however before midday, but as far as possible just when the day stood still. And when he thought he had enough of such discussion, he would be anointed and rubbed, and then fling himself into cold water, for he called hot baths the old age of men.
At any rate when the people of Antioch were shut out of them because of the enormities committed there, he said: "The emperor, for your sins, has granted you a new lease of life."
And when the Ephesians wanted to stone their governor because he did warm their baths enough he said to them: "You are blaming your governor because you get such a sorry bath; but I blame you because you take a bath at all."
17. The literary style which he cultivated was not dithyrambic or tumid and swollen with poetical words, nor again was it far-fetched and full of affected Atticisms; for he thought that an excessive degree of Atticising was unpleasant. Neither did he indulge in subtleties, nor spin out his discourses; nor did anyone ever hear him dissembling to an ironical way, nor addressing to his audience methodical arguments; but when he conversed he would assume an oracular manner and use the expressions, "I know," or "It is my opinion," or, "Where are you drifting to?" or, "You must know."
And his sentences where short and crisp, and his words were telling and closely fitted to the things he spoke of, and his words had a ring about them as of the dooms delivered by a sceptred king. And when a certain quibbler asked him, why he asked himself no questions, he replied: "Because I asked questions when I was a stripling; and it is not my business to ask questions now, but to teach people what I have discovered."
"How then," the other asked him afresh, "O Apollonius, should the sage converse?"
"Like a law-giver," he replied, "for it is the duty of the law-giver to deliver to the many the instructions of whose truth he has persuaded himself."
This was the line he pursued during his stay in Antioch, and he converted to himself the most unrefined people.
18. 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; for he said that it was a young man's duty to go abroad to embark upon foreign travel. But he made quite a windfall of the Magi, who live in Babylon and Susa. For he would take the opportunity to acquaint himself thoroughly with their lore while he was on his way.
And he announced his intention to his followers, who were 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.
19. And he reached the ancient city of Nineveh, where he found an idol set up of barbarous aspect, and it is, they say, Io, the daughter of Inachus, and horns short and, as it were, budding project from her temples. While he was staying there and forming wiser conclusions about the image than could the priests and prophets, one Damis, a native of Nineveh, joined him as a pupil, the same, as I said at the beginning, who became the companion of his wanderings abroad and his fellow-traveller and associate in all wisdom, and who has preserved to us many particulars of the sage.
He admired him, and having a taste for the road, said: "Let us depart, Apollonius, you follow God, and I you; for I think you will find that I can serve you. I can't say you how much more, but at least I've been to Babylon, and I know all the cities there are, because I have been up there not long ago, and also the villages in which there is much good to be found; and moreover, I know the languages of the various barbarous races, and there are several, for example the Armenian tongue, and that of the Medes and Persians, and that of the Kadusii, and I am familiar with all of them."
"And I," said Apollonius, "my good friend, understand all languages, though I never learnt a single one."
The native of Nineveh was astonished at this answer, but the other replied: "You need not wonder at my knowing all human languages; for, to tell you the truth, I also understand all the secrets of human silence."
Thereupon the Assyrian worshipped him, when he heard this, and regarded him as a demon; and he stayed with him increasing in wisdom and committing to memory whatever he learnt. This Assyrian's language, however, was of a mediocre quality, for he had not the gift of expressing himself, having been educated among the barbarians; but to write down a discourse or a conversation and to give impressions of what he heard or saw and to put together a journal of such matters -- that he was well able to do, and carried it out as well as the best. At any rate the volume which he calls his scrap-book, was intended to serve such a purpose by Damis, who was determined that nothing about Apollonius should be passed over in silence, nay, that his most casual and negligent utterances should also be written down.
And I may mention the answer which he made to one who caviled and found fault with this journal. It was a lazy fellow and malignant who tried to pick holes in him, and remarked that he recorded well enough a lot of things, for example, the opinions and ideas of his hero, but that in collecting such trifles as these he reminded him of dogs who pick up and eat the fragments which fall from a feast. Damis replied thus: "If banquets there be of gods, and gods take food, surely they must have attendants whose business it is that not even the parcels of ambrosia that fall to the ground should be lost."
20. 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, valor, 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."
Now Mesopotamia is bordered on one side by the Tigris, and on the other by the Euphrates, rivers which flow from Armenia and from the lowest slopes of Taurus; but they contain a tract like a continent, in which there are some cities, though for the most part only villages, and the races that inhabit them are the Armenian and the Arab. These races are so shut in by the rivers that most of them, who lead the life of nomads, are so convinced that they are islanders, as to say that they are going down to the sea, when they are merely on their way to the rivers, and think that these rivers border the earth and encircle it. For they curve around the continental tract in question, and discharge their waters into the same sea.
But there are people who say that the greater part of the Euphrates is lost in a marsh, and that this river ends in the earth. But some have a bolder theory to which they adhere, and declare that it runs under the earth to turn up in Egypt and mingle itself with the Nile.
Well, for the sake of accuracy and truth, and in order to leave out nothing of the things that Damis wrote, I should have liked to relate all the incidents that occurred on their journey through these barbarous regions; but my subject hurries me on to greater and more remarkable episodes. Nevertheless, I must perforce dwell upon two topics: on the courage which Apollonius showed, in making a journey through races of barbarians and robbers, which were not at that time even subject to the Romans, and at the cleverness with which after the matter of the Arabs he managed to understand the language of the animals.
For he learnt this on his way through these Arab tribes, who best understand and practice it. For it is quite common for the Arabs to listen to the birds prophesying like any oracles, but they acquire this faculty of understanding them by feeding themselves, so they say, either on the heart or liver of serpents.
21. He left Ctesiphon behind, and passed on to the borders of Babylon; and here was a frontier garrison belonging to the king, which one could not pass by without being questioned who one was, and as to one's city, and one's reason for coming there. And there was a satrap in command of this post, a sort of "Eye of the King", I imagine; for the Mede had just acceded to the throne, and instead of being content to live in security, he worried himself about things real and imaginary and fell into fits of fear and panic.
Apollonius then and his party were brought before this satrap, who had just set up the awning on his wagon and was driving out to go somewhere else. When he saw a man so dried up and parched, he began to bawl out like a cowardly woman and hid his face, and could hardly be induced to look up at him. "Whence do you come to us," he said, "and who sent you?" as if he was asking questions of a spirit.
And Apollonius replied: "I have sent myself, to see whether I can make men of you, whether you like it or not."
He asked a second time who he was to come trespassing like that into the king's country, and Apollonius said: "All the earth is mine, and I have a right to go all over it and through it."
Whereupon the other said: "I will torture you, if you don't answer my questions."
"And I hope," said the other, "that you will do it with your own hands, so that you may be tested by the touchstone of a true man."
Now the eunuch was astonished to find that Apollonius needed no interpreter, but understood what he said without the least trouble or difficulty. "By the gods," he said, "who are you?" this time altering his tone to a whine of entreaty.
And Apollonius replied: "Since you have asked me civilly this time and not so rudely as before, listen, I will tell you who I am: I am Apollonius of Tyana, and my road leads me to the king of India, because I want to acquaint myself with the country there; and I shall be glad to meet your king, for those who have associated with him say that he is no bad fellow, and certainly he is not, if he is this Vardanes who has lately recovered the empire which he had lost."
"He is the same," replied the other, "O divine Apollonius; for we have heard of you a long time ago, and in favor of so wise a man as you he would, I am sure, step down off his golden throne and send your party to India, each of you mounted on a camel. And I myself now invite you to be my guest, and I beg to present you with these treasures."
And at the moment he pointed out a store of gold to him saying: "Take as may handfuls as you like, fill your hands, not once, but ten times."
And when Apollonius refused the money he said: "Well, at any rate you will take some of the Babylonian wine, which the king bestows on us, his ten satraps. Take a jar of it, with some roast steaks of bacon and venison and some meal and bread and anything else you like. For the road after this, for many stades, leads through villages which are ill-stocked with provision."
And here the eunuch caught himself up and said: "Oh! ye gods, what have I done? For I have heard that this man never eats the flesh of animals, nor drinks wine, and here I am inviting him to dine in a gross and ignorant manner."
"Well," said Apollonius, "you can offer me a lighter repast and give me bread and dried fruits."
"I will give you," said the other, "leavened bread and palm dates, like amber and of good size. And I will also supply you with vegetables, the best which the gardens of the Tigris afford."
"Well," said Apollonius, "the wild herbs which grow free are nicer than those which are forced and artificial."
"They are nicer," said the satrap, "I admit, but our land in the direction of Babylon is full of wormwood so that the herbs which grow in it are disagreeably bitter."
In the end Apollonius accepted the satrap's offer, and as he was on the point of going away, he said: "My excellent fellow, don't keep your good manners to the end another time, but begin with them."
This by way of rebuking him for saying that he would torture him, and for the barbaric language which he had heard to begin with.
22. After they had advanced twenty stades they chanced upon a lioness that had been slain in a chase; and the brute was bigger than any they had ever seen; and the villagers rushed and cried out, and to tell the truth, so did the huntsmen, when they saw what an extraordinary thing lay before them. And it really was a marvel; for when it was cut asunder they found eight whelps within it.
And the lioness becomes mother in this way. They carry their young for six months, but they bring forth young only three times; and the number of the whelps at the first birth is three and at the second two, and if the mother makes a third attempt, it bears only one whelp, but I believe a very big one and preternaturally fierce. For we must not believe those who say that the whelps of a lioness make their way out into the world by clawing through their mother's womb; for nature seems to have created the relationship of offspring to mother for their nourishment with a view to the continuance of the race.
Apollonius then eyed the animal for a long time, with attention, and then he said: "O Damis, the length of our stay with the king will be a year and eight months; for neither will he let us go sooner than that, nor will it be to our advantage to quit him earlier. And you may guess the number of months from that of the whelps, and that of the years from the lioness; for you must compare wholes with wholes."
And Damis replied: "But what of the sparrows of Homer, what do they mean, the ones which the dragon devoured in Aulis, which were eight in number, when he seized their mother for a ninth? [Homer, Iliad 2.303ff] Calchas surely explained these to signify nine years and predicted that the war with Troy would last so long; so take care that Homer may not be right and Calchas, too, and that our stay may not extend to nine years abroad."
"Well," replied Apollonius, "Homer was surely quite right in comparing the nestlings to years, for they are already hatched out and in the world; but what I had in mind were incomplete animals that were not yet born, and perhaps never would have been born; how could I compare them to years? For things that violate nature can hardly come to be; and they anyhow quickly pass to destruction, even if they do come to existence. Follow my arguments, and let us go, first praying to the gods who reveal thus much to us."
23. And as he advanced into the Cissian country and was already close to Babylon, he was visited by a dream, and the god who revealed it to him fashioned its imagery as follows: there were fishes which had been cast up from the sea on to the land, and they were gasping, and uttering a lament almost human, and bewailing that they had quitted their element; and they were begging a dolphin that was swimming past the shore to help them in their misery, just like human beings who are weeping in a foreign land.
Apollonius was not in the least frightened by his dream, and proceeded to conjecture its meaning and drift; but he was determined to give Damis a shock, for he found that he was the most nervous of men. So he related his vision to him, and feigned as if it foreboded evil.
But Damis began to bellow as if he had seen the dream himself, and tried to dissuade Apollonius from going any further, "Lest," he said, "we also like fishes get thrown out of our element and perish, and have to weep and wail in a foreign land. Nay, we may even be reduced to straits, and have to go down on our knees to some potentate or king, who will flout us as the dolphins did the fishes."
Then Apollonius laughed and said: "You've not become a philosopher yet, if you are afraid of this sort of thing. But I will explain to you the real drift of the dream. For this land of Cissia is habited by the Eretrians, who were brought up here from Euboea by Darius five hundred years ago, and they are said to have been treated at their capture like the fishes that we saw in the dream; for they were netted in, so they say, and captured one and all.
It would seem then that the gods are instructing me to visit them and tend their needs, supposing I can do anything for them. And perhaps also the souls of the Greeks whose lot was cast in this part of the world are enlisting my aid for their land. Let us then go and diverge from the highroad and ask only about the well, hard by where the settlement is."
Now this well is said to consist of a mixture of pitch and oil and water, and if you draw up a bucket and pour it out, these three elements divide and part themselves from one another.
That he really did visit Cissia, he himself acknowledges in a letter which he wrote to the sophist of Clazomenae [Scopelianus]; for he was so kind and loyal, that when he saw the Eretrians, he remembered the sophist and wrote to him an account of what he had seen, and of what he had done for them; and all through this letter he urges the sophist to take pity on the Eretrians, and prays him, every time that he is declaiming a discourse about them, not to deprecate even the shedding of tears over their fate.
24. And the record which Damis left about the Eretrians is in harmony with this. For they live in the country of the Medes, not far distant from Babylon, a day's journey for a fleet traveler; but their country is without cities; for the whole of Cissia consists of villages, except for a race of nomads that also inhabits it [Cossaeans], men who seldom dismount from their horses. And the settlement of the Eretrians is in the center of the rest, and the river is carried round it in a trench, for they say that they themselves diverted it round the village in order to form a rampart of defense against the barbarians of the country.
But the soil is drenched with pitch, and is bitter to plant in; and the inhabitants are very short lived, because the pitch in the water forms a sediment in most of their bowels. And they get their sustenance off a bit of rising ground on the confines of their village, where the ground rises above the tainted country; on this they sow their crops and regard it as their land.
And they say that they have heard from the natives that 780 of the Eretrians were captured, not of course all of them fighting men; for there was a certain number of women and old men among them; and there was, I imagine, a certain number of children too, for the greater portion of the population of Eretria had fled to Caphereus and to the loftiest peaks of Euboea. But anyhow the men who were brought up numbered about 400, and there were ten women perhaps; but the rest, who had started from Ionia and Lydia, perished as they were marching up.
And they managed to open a quarry on the hill; and as some of them understood the art of cutting stone, they built temples in the Greek style and a market-place large enough for their purpose; and they dedicated various altars, two to Darius, and one to Xerxes, and several to Daridaeus. But up to the time of Daridaeus, 88 years after their capture, they continued to write in the manner of the Greeks, and what is more, their ancient graves are inscribed with the legend: "So and so, the son of so and so." And though the letters are Greek, they said that they never yet had seen the like.
And there were ships engraved on the tombstones, to show that the various individuals had lived in Euboea, and engaged either in seafaring trade, or in that of purple, as sailors or as dyers; and they say that they read an Elegiac inscription written over the sepulcher of some sailors and seafarers, which ran thus:
Here, we who once sailed over
the deep-flowing billows of the Aegaean Sea
are lying in the midst of the plain of Ecbatana.
Farewell, once-famed fatherland of Eretria,
Ye neighbor of Euboea, farewell thou darling sea.
Well, Damis says that Apollonius restored the tombs that had gone to ruin and closed them up, and that he poured out libations and made offering to their inmates, all that religion demands, except that he did not slay or sacrifice any victim; then after weeping and in an access of emotion, he delivered himself of the following apostrophe in their midst: "Ye Eretrians, who by the lot of fortune have been brought hither, ye, even if ye are far from your own land, have at least received burial; but those who cast you hither perished unburied round the shores of your island ten years after yourself; for the gods brought about this calamity in the Hollows of Euboea."
And Apollonius at the end of his letter to the sophist writes as follows: "I also attended, O Scopelianus, to your Eretrians, while I was still a young man; and I gave what help I could both to their dead and their living."
What attention then did he show to their living? This -- the barbarians in the neighborhood of the hill, when the Eretrians sowed their seed upon it, would come in summertime and plunder their crops, so that they had to starve and see the fruits of their husbandry go to others. When therefore he reached the king, he took pains to secure for them the sole use of the hill.
25. I found the following to be an account of the sage's stay in Babylon, and of all we need to know about Babylon. The fortifications of Babylon extend 480 stadia [85 km] and form a complete circle, and its wall is three half plethrons [44¼ m] high, but less than a plethron [29½ m] in breadth. And it is cut asunder by the river Euphrates, into halves of similar shape; and there passes underneath the river an extraordinary bridge which joins together by an unseen passage the palaces on either bank.
For it is said that a woman, Medea, was formerly queen of those parts, who spanned the river underneath in a manner in which no river was ever bridged before; for she got stones, it is said, and copper and pitch and all that men have discovered for use in masonry under water, and she piled these up along the banks of the river. Then she diverted the stream into lakes; and as soon as the river was dry, she dug down two fathoms, and made a hollow tunnel, which she caused to debouch into the palaces on either bank like a subterranean grotto; and she roofed it on a level with the bed of the stream. The foundations were thus made stable, and also the walls of the tunnel; but as the pitch required water in order to set as hard as stone, the Euphrates was let in again on the roof while still soft, and so the junction stood solid.
And the palaces are roofed with bronze, and a glitter goes off from them; but the chambers of the women and of the men and the porticos are adorned partly with silver, and partly with golden tapestries or curtains, and partly with solid gold in the form of pictures; but the subjects embroidered on the stuffs are taken by them from Hellenic story, Andromedas being represented, and Amymonae, and you see Perseus frequently. And they delight in Orpheus, perhaps out of regard for his peaked cap and breeches, for it cannot be for his music or the songs with which he charmed and soothed others.
And woven into the pattern you perceive Datis tearing up Naxos out of the sea, and Artaphernes beleaguering Eretria, and such battles of Xerxes as he said he won. For there is, of course, the occupation of Athens and Thermopylae, and other pictures still more to the Median taste, such as rivers drained from off the land and a bridge over the sea and the piercing of Athos.
But they say that they also visited a man's apartment of which the roof had been carried up in the form of a dome, to resemble in a manner the heavens, and that it was roofed with lapis lazuli, a stone that is very blue and like heaven to the eye; and there were images of the gods, which they worship, fixed aloft, and looking like golden figures shining out of the ether. And it is here that the king gives judgment, and golden wrynecks are hung from the ceiling, to remind him of Adrastea, the goddess of justice, and to engage him not to exalt himself above humanity. These figures the Magi themselves say they arranged; for they have access to the palace, and they call them the tongues of the gods.
26. With respect to the Magi, Apollonius has said all there is to be said, how he associated with them and learned some things from them, and taught them others before he went away.
But Damis is not acquainted with the conversations which the sage held with the Magi, for the latter forbade him to accompany him in his visits to them; so he tells us merely that he visited the Magi at mid-day and about midnight, and he says that he once asked his master: "What of the Magi?" and the latter answered: "They are wise men, but not in all respects."
27. But of this later on. When then he arrived at Babylon, the satrap in command of the great gates, having learnt that he had come to see the country, held out a golden image of the king, which everyone must kiss before he is allowed to enter the city. Now an ambassador coming from the Roman Emperor has not this ceremony imposed upon him, but anyone who comes from the barbarians or just to look at the country, is arrested with dishonor unless he has first paid his respect to this image. Such are the silly duties committed to satraps among the barbarians. When therefore Apollonius saw the image, he said: "Who is that?"
And on being told that it was the king, he said: "This king whom you worship would acquire a great boon, if I merely recommended him as seeming honorable and good to me."
And with these words he passed through the gate. But the satrap was astonished, and followed him, and taking hold of his hand, he asked him through an interpreter his name and his family and what was his profession and why he came thither; and he wrote down the answers in a book and also a description of his dress and appearance, and ordered him to wait there.
28. But he himself ran off to the persons whom they are pleased to call "Ears of the King", and described Apollonius to them, after first telling them both that he refused to do homage and that he was not the least like other men. They bade him bring him along, and show him respect without using any violence; and when he came the head of the department asked him what induced him to flout the king, and he answered: "I have not yet flouted him."
"But would you flout him?" was the next question.
"Why, of course I will," said Apollonius, "if on making his acquaintance I find him to be neither honorable nor good."
"Well, and what presents do you bring for him?"
Apollonius answered afresh that he brought courage and justice and so forth. "Do you mean," said the other, "to imply that the king lacks these qualities?"
"No, indeed," he answered, "but I would fain teach him to practice them, in case he possesses them."
"And surely it was by practicing these qualities," said the other, "that he has recovered the kingdom, which you behold, after he had lost it, and has restored his house,-- no light task this nor easy."
"And how many years is it since he recovered his kingdom?"
"This is the third year since," answered the other, "which year began about two months ago."
Apollonius, then as was his custom, upheld his opinion and went on: "O bodyguard, or whatever I ought to call you, Darius[II Nothus] the father of Cyrus and Artaxerxes[II Mnemon] was master of these royal domains, I think, for sixty years, and he is said, when he felt that his end was at hand, to have offered a sacrifice to Justice [Ahuramazda] and to have addressed her thus: 'O lady mistress, or whosoever thou art.' This shows that he had long loved justice and desired her, but as yet knew her not, nor deemed that he had won her; he brought up his two sons so foolishly that they took up arms against one another, and one was wounded and the other killed by his fellow. Well, here is a king perhaps who does not even know how to keep his seat on the throne, and you would have me believe that he combines already all virtues, and you extol him, though, if he does turn out fairly good, it is you and not I that will gain thereby".
The barbarian then glanced at his neighbor and said: "Here is a windfall! 'tis one of the gods who has brought this man here; for as one good man associating with another improves him, so he will much improve our king, and render him more temperate and gracious; for these qualities are conspicuous in this man."
They accordingly ran into the palace and told everybody the good news, that there stood at the king's gates a man who was wise and a Hellene, and a good counselor.
29. When these tidings were brought to the king, he happened to be sacrificing with the Magi, for religious rites are performed under their supervision. And he called one of them and said: "The dream is come true, which I narrated to you when you visited me in my bed."
Now the dream which the king had dreamed was as follows: he thought that he was Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, and that he had altered and assumed the latter's form; and he was very much afraid lest some change should come over his affairs, for so he interpreted his change of appearance. But when he heard that it was a Hellene, and a wise man, that had come, he remembered about Themistocles of Athens, who had once come from Greece and had lived with Artaxerxes, and had not only derived great benefit from the king, but had conferred great benefit himself. So he held out his right hand and said: "Call him in, for it will make the best of beginnings, if he will join with me in my sacrifice and prayer."
30. Accordingly Apollonius entered escorted by a number of people, for they had learnt that the king was pleased with the newcomer and thought that this would gratify him; but as he passed into the palace, he did not glance at anything that others admired, but he passed them by as if he was still traveling on the highroad, and calling Damis to him he said: "You asked me yesterday what was the name of the Pamphylian woman who is said to have been intimate with Sappho, and to have composed the hymns which they sing in honor of Artemis of Perga, in the Aeolian and Pamphylian modes."
"Yes, I did ask you," said Damis, "but you did not tell me her name."
"I did not tell you it, my good fellow, but I explained to you about the keys in which the hymns are written, and I told you about the names; and how the Aeolian strains were altered into the highest key of all, that which is peculiar to the Pamphylians. After that we turned to another subject, for you did not ask me again about the name of the lady. Well, she is called -- this clever lady is -- Damophyle, and she is said, like Sappho, to have had girlfriends and to have composed poems, some of which were love-songs and others hymns. The particular hymn to Artemis was transposed by her, and the singing of it derives from Sapphic odes."
How far then he was from being astonished at the king and his pomp and ceremony, he showed by the fact that he did not think such things worth looking at, but went on talking about other things, as if he did not think the palace worth a glance.
31. Now the king caught sight of Apollonius approaching, for the vestibule of the Temple was of considerable length, and insisted to those by him that he recognized the sage; and when he came still nearer he cried out with a loud voice and said: "This is Apollonius, whom Megabates, my brother, said he saw in Antioch, the admired and respected of serious people; and he depicted him to me at that time just such a man as now comes to us."
And when Apollonius approached and saluted him, the king addressed him in the Greek language and invited him to sacrifice with him; and it chanced that he was on the point of sacrificing to the Sun as a victim a horse of the true Nisaean breed, which he had adorned with trappings as if for a triumphal procession. But Apollonius replied: "Do you, O king, go on with your sacrifice, in your own way, but permit me to sacrifice in mine."
And he took up a handful of frankincense and said: "O thou Sun, send me as far over the earth as is my pleasure and thine, and may I make the acquaintance of good men, but never hear anything of bad ones, nor they of me."
And with these words he threw the frankincense into the fire, and watched to see how the smoke of it curled upwards, and how it grew turbid, and in how many points it shot up; and in a manner he caught the meaning of the fire, and watched how it appeared of good omen and pure. Then he said: "Now, O king, go on with your sacrifice in accordance with your own traditions, for my traditions are such as you see."
32. 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 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.
33. Since the king said that he was more pleased and delighted with his arrival than if he had added to his own possessions the wealth of Persia and India, and added that Apollonius must be his guest and share with him the royal roof, Apollonius remarked: "Supposing, O king, that you came to my country of Tyana and I invited you to live where I live, would you care to do so?"
"Why no," answered the king, "unless I had a house to live in that was big enough to accommodate not only my escort and bodyguard, but myself as well, in a handsome manner."
"Then," said the other, "I may use the same argument to you; for if I am housed above my rank, I shall be ill at ease, for superfluity distresses wise men more than deficiency distresses you. Let me therefore be entertained by some private person who has the same means as myself, and I will visit with you as often as you like."
The king conceded this point, lest he should be betrayed into doing anything that might annoy him, and Apollonius took up his quarters with a gentleman of Babylon of good character and besides high-minded.
But before he had finished dinner one of the eunuchs presented himself and addressed him thus: "The king," he said, "bestows upon you ten presents, and leaves you free to name them; but he is anxious that you should not ask for small trifles, for he wishes to exhibit to you and to us his generosity."
Apollonius commended the message, and asked: "Then when am I to ask for them?"
And the messenger replied: "To-morrow," and at once went off to all the king's friends and kinsmen and bade them be present when the sage should prefer his demand and receive the honor.
But Damis says that he expected him to ask for nothing, because he had studied his character and knew that he offered to the gods the following prayer: "O ye gods, grant unto me to have little and to want nothing."
However, as he saw him much preoccupied and, as it were, brooding, he determined that he was going to ask and anxiously turning over in his mind, what he should ask. But at eventide: "Damis," said Apollonius, "I am thinking over with myself the question of why the barbarians have regarded eunuchs as men sufficiently chaste to be allowed the free entry of the women's apartments."
"But," answered the other, "O Apollonius, a child could tell you. For inasmuch as the operation has deprived them of the faculty, they are freely admitted into those apartments, no matter how far their wishes may go."
"But do you suppose the operation has removed their desires or the further aptitude?"
"Both," replied Damis, "for if you extinguish in a man the unruly member that lashes the body to madness, the fit of passion will come on him no more."
After a brief pause, Apollonius said: "To-morrow, Damis, you shall learn that even eunuchs are liable to fall in love, and that the desire which is contracted through the eyes is not extinguished in them, but abides alive and ready to burst into a flame; for that will occur which will refute your opinion. And even if there were really any human art of such tyrannical force that it could expel such feelings from the heart, I do not see how we could ever attribute to them any chastity of character, seeing that they would have no choice, having been by sheer force and artificially deprived of the faculty of falling in love. For chastity consists in not yielding to passion when the longing and impulse is felt, and in the abstinence which rises superior to this form of madness."
Accordingly Damis answered and said: "Here is a thing that we will examine another time, O Apollonius; but we had better consider now that answer you can make to-morrow to the king's magnificent offer. For you will perhaps ask for nothing at all, but you should be careful and be on your guard lest you should seem to decline any gift the king may offer, as they say, out of mere empty pride, for you see the land that you are in and that we are wholly in his power. And you must be on your guard against the accusation of treating him with contempt, and understand, that although we have sufficient means to carry us to India, yet what we have will not be sufficient to bring us back thence, and we have no other supply to fall back upon."
34. And by such devices he tried to wheedle Apollonius into not refusing to take anything he might be offered; but Apollonius, as if by way of assisting him in his argument, said: "But, O Damis, are you not going to give me some examples? Let me supply you with some: Aeschines, the son of Lysanias, went off to Dionysius in Sicily in quest of money, and Plato is said thrice to have traversed Charybdis in quest of the wealth of Sicily, and Aristippus of Cyrene, and Helicon of Cyzicus, and Phyton of Rhegium, when he was in exile, buried their noses so deep in the treasure-houses of Dionysius, that they could barely tear themselves away.
Moreover they tell of how Eudoxus of Cnidus once arrived in Egypt and both admitted that he had come there in quest of money, and conversed with the king about the matter. And not to take away more characters, they say that Speusippus, the Athenian, was so fond of money, that he reeled off festal songs, when he romped off to Macedonia, in honor of Cassander's marriage, which were frigid compositions, and that he sang these songs in public for the sake of money.
Well, I think, O Damis, that a wise man runs more risk than do sailors and soldiers in action, for envy is ever assailing him, whether he holds his tongue or speaks, whether he exerts himself or is idle, whether he passes by anything or takes care to visit anyone, whether he addresses others or neglects to address them. And so a man must fortify himself and understand that a wise man who yields to laziness or anger or passion, or love of drink, or who commits any other action prompted by impulse and inopportune, will probably find his fault condoned; but if he stoops to greed, he will not be pardoned, but render himself odious with a combination of all vices at once. For surely they will not allow that he could be the slave of money, unless he was already the slave of his stomach or of fine raiment or of wine or of riotous living.
But you perhaps imagine that it is a lesser thing to go wrong in Babylon than to go wrong at Athens or at the Olympian or Pythian games; and you do not reflect that a wise man finds Hellas everywhere, and that a sage will not regard or consider any place to be a desert or barbarous, because he, at any rate, lives under the eyes of virtue, and although he only sees a few men, yet he is himself looked at by ten thousand eyes.
Now if you came across an athlete, Damis, one of those who practice and train themselves in wrestling and boxing, surely you would require him, in case he were contending in the Olympic games, or went to Arcadia, to be both noble in character and good; nay, more, of the Pythian or Nemean contest were going on, you would require him to take care of his physique, because these games are famous and the race-courses are made much of in Hellas; would you then, if Philip were sacrificing with Olympic rites after capturing certain cities, or if his son Alexander were holding games to celebrate his victories, tell the man forthwith to neglect the training of his body and to leave off being keen to win, because the contest was to be held in Olynthus or in Macedonia or in Egypt, rather than among the Hellenes, and on your native race-courses?"
These then were the arguments by which Damis declares that he was so impressed as to blush at what he had said, and to ask Apollonius to pardon him for having through imperfect acquaintance with him, ventured to tender him such advice, and use such arguments. But the sage caught him up and said: "Never mind, for it was not by way of rebuking and humbling you that I have spoken thus, but in order to give you some idea of my own point of view."
35. Now when the eunuch arrived and summoned him before the king, he said: "I will come as soon as I have duly discharged my religious duties."
Accordingly he sacrificed and offered his prayer, and then departed, and everyone looked at him and wondered at his bearing. And when he had come within, the king said: "I present you with ten gifts, because I consider you such a man as never before has come hither from Hellas."
And he answered and said: "I will not, O king, decline all your gifts; but there is one which I prefer to may tens of gifts, and for that I will most eagerly solicit."
And he at one told the story of the Eretrians, beginning it from the time of Datis. "I ask then," he said, "that these poor people should not be driven away from their borders and from the hill, but should be left to cultivate the span of earth, which Darius allowed them; for it is very hard if they are not to be allowed to retain the land which was substituted for their own when they were driven out of the latter."
The king then consented and said: "The Eretrians were, until yesterday, the enemies of myself and of my fathers; for they once took up arms against us, and they have been neglected in order that their race might perish; but henceforth they shall be written among my friends, and they shall have, as a satrap, a good man who will judge their country justly. But why," he said, "will you not accept the other nine gifts?"
"Because," he answered, "I have not yet, O king, made any friends here."
"And do you yourself require nothing?" said the king.
"Yes," he said, "I need dried fruits and bread, for that is a repast which delights me and which I find magnificent."
36. While they were thus conversing with one another a hubbub was heard to proceed from the palace, of eunuchs and women shrieking all at once. And in fact an eunuch had been caught misbehaving with one of the royal concubines just as if he were an adulterer. The guards of the harem were now dragging him along by the hair in the way they do royal slaves. The senior of the eunuchs accordingly declared that he had long before noticed he had an affection for this particular lady, and had already forbidden him to talk to her or touch her neck or hand, or assist her toilette, though he was free to wait upon all the other members of the harem; yet he had now caught him behaving as if he were the lady's lover.
Apollonius thereupon glanced at Damis, as if to indicate that the argument they had conducted on the point that even eunuchs fall in love, was now demonstrated to be true; but the king remarked to the bystanders: "Nay, but it is disgraceful, gentlemen, that, in the presence of Apollonius, we should be enlarging on the subject of chastity rather than he. What then, O Apollonius, do you urge us to do with him?"
"Why, to let him live, of course," answered Apollonius to the surprise of them all.
Whereon the king reddened, and said: "Then you do not think he deserves to die may times for thus trying to usurp my rights?"
"Nay, but my answer, O king, was suggested not by any wish to condone his offense, but rather to mete out to him a punishment which will wear him out. For if he lives with this disease of impotence on him, and can never take pleasure in eating or drinking, nor in the spectacles which delight you and your companions, and if his heart will throb as he often leaps up in his sleep, as they say is particularly the case of people in love, -- is there any form of consumption so wasting as this, any form of hunger so likely to enfeeble his bowels? Indeed, unless he be one of those who are ready to live at any price, he will entreat you, O king, before long even to slay him, or he will slay himself, deeply deploring that he was not put to death straight away this very day."
Such was the answer rendered on this occasion by Apollonius, one so wise and humane, that the king was moved by it to spare the life of his eunuch.
37. One day the king was going to hunt the animals in the parks in which the barbarians keep lions and bears and leopards, and he asked Apollonius to accompany him on the chase, but the latter replied: "You have forgotten, O king, that I never attend you, even when you are sacrificing. And moreover, it is no pleasure to me to attack animals that have been ill-treated and enslaved in violation of their nature."
And the king asking him what was the most stable and secure way of governing, Apollonius answered: "To respect many, and confide in few."
And on one occasion the governor of Syria sent a mission about two villages, which, I think, are close to the Bridge [Zeugma], alleging that these villages had long ago been subject to Antiochus and Seleucus, but at present they were under his sway, and belonged to the Romans, and that, whereas the Arabians and Armenians did not disturb these villages, yet the king had traversed so great a distance in order to exploit them, as if they belonged to himself, rather than to the Romans. The king sent the embassy aside, and said: "O Apollonius, these villages were given to my forefathers by the kings whom I mentioned, that they might sustain the wild animals, which are taken by us in our country and sent to theirs across the Euphrates, and they, as if they had forgotten this fact, have espoused a policy that is new and unjust. What then do you think are the intentions of the embassy?"
Apollonius replied: "Their attention, O king, is moderate and fair, seeing that they only desire to obtain from you, with your consent, places which, as they are in their territory, they can equally well retain without it." And he added his opinion that it was a mistake to quarrel with the Romans over villages so paltry that probably bigger ones were owned even by private individuals; he also said that it was a mistake to go to war even over large issues.
And when the king was ill he visited him, and discoursed so weightily and in such a lofty strain of the soul, that the king recovered, and said to his courtiers, that Apollonius had so wrought upon him that he now felt a contempt, not only for his kingdom, but also for death.
38. One day the king was showing to him the grotto under the Euphrates, and asked him what he though of so wonderful a thing. Apollonius in answer belittled the wonder of the work, and said: "It would be a real miracle, O king, if you went dry-shod through a river as deep as this and as unfordable."
And when he was shown the walls of Ecbatana, and was told that they were the dwelling-place of gods, he remarked: "They are not the dwelling place of gods at all, and I am not sure that they are of real men either; for, O king, the inhabitants of the city of Lacedaemon do not dwell within walls, and have never fortified their city."
Moreover, on one occasion the king had decided a suit for some villages and was boasting to Apollonius of how he had listened to the one suit for two whole days. "Well," said the other, "you took a mighty long time, anyhow, to find out what was just."
And when the revenues from the subject country came in on one occasion in great quantities at once, the king opened his treasury and showed his wealth to the sage, to induce him to fall in love with wealth; but he admired nothing that he saw and said: "This, for you, O king, represents wealth, but to me it is mere chaff."
"How, then," said the other, "and in what manner can I best make use of it?"
"By spending it," he said, "for you are king."
39. He had addressed many such sayings to the king, and found him ready to do what he advised him; when finding out that he had enough of the society of the Magi, he said to Damis: "Come, let us start for India. For the people who visited the lotus-eaters in their ships were seduced from their own home-principles by the food; but we, without tasting any of the victuals of this land, have remained here a longer time than is right and fitting."
"And I," said Damis, "am more than of your opinion; but as I bore in mind the period of time which you discovered by the help of the lioness, I was waiting on for it to be completed. Now it has not yet all of it expired, for we have so far only spent a year and four months; however, if we can depart at once, would it be as well?"
"But," said the other, "the king will not let us go, O Damis, before the eighth month has passed; for you, I think, see that he is a worthy man and too superior a person to be ruling over barbarians."
40. When at last they were resolved on their departure and the king had consented that they should go away, Apollonius remembered the presents, which he had put off till he should have acquired friends, and he said: "O excellent king, I have in no way remunerated my host and I owe a great reward to the Magi; do you therefore attend to them, and oblige me by bestowing your favors on men who are both wise and wholly devoted to yourself."
The king then was more than delighted, and said: "For you I will to-morrow make their estate enviable and will see that they have been granted great favors; but since you ask for nothing that is mine, I hope you will at least allow these gentlemen to accept from me money and what else they like", and he pointed to Damis and his companions.
And when they too declined the offer, Apollonius said: "You see, O king, how many hands I have, and how closely they resemble one another."
"But do you anyhow take a guide," said the king, "and camels on which to ride; for the road is too long by far for you to walk the whole of it."
"Be it so," said Apollonius, "O king: for they say that the road is a difficult one for him who is not mounted, and moreover this animal is easily fed and finds his pasture easily where there is no herbage. And, methinks, we must lay in a supply of water also, and take it in bottles, like wine."
"Yes," said the king, "for three days the country is waterless, but after that there are plenty of rivers and springs; but you must take the road over the Caucasus, for there you will find plenty of the necessities of life and the country is friendly."
And the king then asked him what he would bring back to him from his destination; and he answered: "A graceful gift, O king, for if I am turned into a wiser man by the society of people yonder, I shall return to you here a better man than I now am."
When he said this the king embraced him and said: "May you come back, for that will indeed be a great gift."
1. In the summer our travelers, together with their guide, left Babylon and started out, mounted on camels; and the king had supplied them with the camel-driver, and plenty of provisions, as much as they wanted. The country through which they traveled was fertile; and the villages received them very respectfully, for the leading camel bore upon his forehead a chain of gold, to intimate to all who met them that the king was sending on their way some of his own friends. And as they approached the Caucasus they say that they found the land becoming more fragrant.
2. We may regard this mountain as the beginning of the Taurus, which extends through Armenia and Cilicia as far as Pamphylia and Mycale, and it ends at the sea on the shore of which the Carians live, and we may regard this as the extreme end of the Caucasus, and not as its beginning, as some people say. For the height of Mycale is not very great, whereas the peaks of the Caucasus are so lofty that the sun is cloven asunder by them. And it encompasses with the rest of the Taurus the whole of Scythia which borders on India, and skirts Maeotis and the left side of the Pontus, a distance almost of 20,000 stades; for no less than this is the extent of land enclosed by the elbow of the Caucasus.
As to the statement made about such part of the Taurus as is in our country, to the effect that it projects beyond Armenia, -- it was long disbelieved, but has received definite confirmation from the conduct of the [leo]pards, which I know are caught in the spice-bearing region of Pamphylia. For these animals delight in fragrant odors, and scenting their smell from afar off they quit Armenia and traverse the mountains in search of the tear or gum of the Styrax, whenever the winds blow from its quarter and the trees are distilling.
And they say that a pard was once caught in Pamphylia which was wearing a chain round its neck, and the chain was of gold, and on it was inscribed in Armenian lettering:
"The king Arsaces to the Nysian god."
Now the king of Armenia was certainly at that time Arsaces, and he, I imagine, finding the pard, had let it go free in honor of Dionysus because of its size. For Dionysus is called Nysian by the Indians and by all the Oriental races from Nysa in India.
And this animal had been for a time under the restraint of a man, and would let you pat with your hand and caress it; but when it was goaded to excitement by the springtime, for in that season pards begin to rut, it would rush into the mountains, from longing to meet the male, decked as it was with the ring; and it was taken in the lower Taurus whither it had been attracted by the fragrance of the gum.
And the Caucasus bounds India and Media, and stretches down by another arm [the Zagros] to the Red Sea.
3. And legends are told of this mountain by the barbarians, which also have an echo in the poems of the Greeks about it, to the effect that Prometheus, because of his love of man, was bound there, and that Heracles -- another Heracles, for of course the Theban is not meant -- could not brook the ill-treatment of Prometheus, and shot the bird which was feeding upon his entrails. And some say that he was bound in a cave, which as a matter of fact is shown in a foot-hill of the mountain; and Damis says that his chains still hung from the rocks, though you could not easily guess at the material of which they were made, but others say that they bound him on the peak of the mountain; and it has two summits, and they say that his hands were lashed to them, although they are distant from one another not less than as stade, so great was his bulk.
But the inhabitants of the Caucasus regard the eagle as a hostile bird, and burn out the nests which they build among the rocks by hurling into them fiery darts, and they also set snares for them, declaring that they are avenging Prometheus; to such an extent are their imaginations dominated by the fable.
4. Having passed the Caucasus our travelers say they saw men four cubits height, and they were already black, and that when they passed over the river Indus they saw others five cubits high. But on their way to this river our wayfarers found the following incidents worth of notice. For they were traveling by bright moonlight, when the figure of an empusa or hobgoblin appeared to them, that changed from one form into another, and sometimes vanished into nothing. And Apollonius realized what it was, and himself heaped abuse on the hobgoblin and instructed his party to do the same, saying that this was the right remedy for such a visitation. And the phantasm fled away shrieking even as ghosts do.
5. And as they were passing over the summit of the mountain, going on foot, for it was very steep, Apollonius asked of Damis the following question. "Tell me," he said, "where we were yesterday."
And he replied: "On the plain."
"And today, O Damis, where are we?"
"In the Caucasus," said he, "if wholly I mistake not."
"Then when were you lower down than you are now?" he asked again, and Damis replied: "That's a question hardly worth asking. For yesterday we were traveling through the valley below, while today we are close up to heaven."
"Then you think," said the other, "O Damis, that our road yesterday lay low down, whereas our road today lies high up?"
"Yes, by Zeus," he replied, "unless at least I'm mad."
"In what respect then," said Apollonius, "do you suppose that our roads differ from one another, and what advantage has todays' path for you over that of yesterday?"
"Because," said Damis, "yesterday I was walking along where a great many people go, but today, where are very few."
"Well," said the other, "O Damis, can you not also in a city turn out of the main street and walk where you will find very few people?"
"I did not say that," replied Damis, "but that yesterday we were passing through villages and populations, whereas today we are ascending through an untrodden and divine region: for you heard our guide say that the barbarians declare this tract to be the home of the gods."
And with that he glanced up to the summit of the mountain. But Apollonius recalled his attention to the original question by saying: "Can you tell me then, O Damis, what understanding of divine mystery you get by walking so near the heavens?"
"None whatever," he replied.
"And yet you ought," said Apollonius. "When your feet are placed on a platform so divine and vast as this, you ought henceforth to publish more accurate conceptions of the heaven and about the sun and moon, since you think, I suppose, that you will even lay a rod to them as you stand as close to the heavens here."
"Whatever," said he, "I knew about God's nature yesterday, I equally know today, and so far no fresh idea has occurred to me concerning him."
"So then," replied the other, "you are, O Damis, still below, and have won nothing from being high up, and you are as far from heaven as you were yesterday. And my question which I asked you to begin with was a fair one, although you thought that I asked it in order to make fun of you."
"The truth is," replied Damis, ''that I thought I should anyhow go down from the mountain wiser than I came up it, because I had heard, O Apollonius, that Anaxagoras of Clazomenae observed the heavenly bodies from the mountain Mimas in Ionia, and Thales of Miletus from Mycale which was close by his home; and some are said to have used as their observation mount Pangaeus and others Athos. But I have come up a greater height than any of these, and yet shall go down again no wiser than I was before."
"For neither did they," replied Apollonius: "and such lookouts show you indeed a bluer heaven and bigger stars and the sun rising out of the night; but all these phenomena were manifest long ago to shepherds and goatherds, but neither Athos will reveal to those who climb up it, nor Olympus, so much extolled by the poets, in what way God cares for the human race and how he delights to be worshipped by them, nor reveal the nature of virtue and of justice and temperance, unless the soul scan these matters narrowly, and the soul, I should say, if it engages on the task pure and undefiled, will soar much higher than this summit of Caucasus."
6. And having passed beyond the mountain, they at once came upon elephants with men riding on them; and these people dwell between the Caucasus and the river Cophen, and they are rude in their lives and they are nomad riders on the herds of elephants; some of them however rode on camels, which are used by Indians for carrying dispatches, and they will travel 1,000 stades a day without ever bending the knee or lying down anywhere.
One of the Indians, then, who was riding on such a camel, asked the guide where they were going, and when he was told the object of their voyage, he informed the nomads thereof; and they raised a shout of pleasure, and bade them approach, and when they came up they offered them wine which they had made out of palm dates and honey from the same tree, and steaks from the flesh of lions and leopards which they had just flayed. And our travelers accepted everything except the flesh, and then started off for India and betook themselves eastwards.
7. And as they were taking breakfast by a spring of water, Damis poured out a cup of the Indians' wine, and said: "Here's to you, Apollonius, on the part of Zeus the Savior; for it is a long time since you have drunk any wine. But you will not, I am sure, refuse this as you do wine that is made from the fruit of the vine."
And withal he poured out a libation, because he had mentioned the name of Zeus. Apollonius then gave a laugh and said: "Do we not also abstain from money, O Damis?"
"Yes, by Zeus," said the other, "as you have often demonstrated to us."
"Shall we then," said the other, "abstain from the use of a golden drachma and a silver piece, and be proof against temptation by any such coin, although we see not private individuals only, but kings as well, agape for money, and then if anyone offers us a brass coin for a silver coin, or a gilded one and a counterfeit, shall we accept it, merely because it not what it pretends to be, and what the many itch to have? And be sure the Indians have coins of orichalcus and black brass, with which, I suppose, all who come the Indian haunts must purchase everything; what then?
Supposing the nomads, good people as they are, offered us money, would you in that case, Damis, seeing me decline it, have advised me better and have explained that what is coined by the Romans or by the king of Media is really money, whereas this is another sort of stuff polished up among the Indians?
And what would you think of me, if you could persuade me of such things? Would you not think I was a cheat and abandoned my philosophy as thoroughly as cowardly soldiers do their shields? And yet, when you have thrown away your shield you can procure another that is quite as good as the first, in the opinion of [the poet] Archilochus. But how can one who has dishonored and cast away philosophy, ever recover her?
And in this case Dionysus might well pardon one who refuses all wine whatever, but if I chose date wine in preference to that made of grapes, he would be aggrieved, I am sure, and say that this gift had been scorned and flouted. And we are not far away from this god, for you hear the guide saying that the mountain of Nysa is close by, upon which Dionysus works, I believe, a great many miracles.
Moreover, drunkenness, Damis, invades men not from drinking the wine of grapes alone, for they are equally well roused to frenzy by date wine. Anyhow we have seen a great many Indians overcome by this wine, some of them dancing till they fell, and others singing drowsily, just like the people among us, who end drinking bouts at night and don't go home till dawn. And that you yourself regard this drink as genuine wine, is clear from the fact that you poured out a libation of it to Zeus and offered up the prayers which usually accompany wine.
And this, Damis, is the defense which I have to make of myself against you; for neither do I wish to dissuade you from drinking, nor these companions of ours either; nay, I would allow you also to eat meat; for the abstinence from these things has, I perceive, profited you nothing, though it has profited me in the philosophic profession which I have made from my boyhood."
The companions of Damis welcomed this speech and took to their good cheer with a will, thinking that they would find the journey easier if they lived rather better.
8. They crossed the river Cophen, themselves in boats, but the camels by a ford on foot; for the river has not yet reached its full size here. They were now in a continent subject to the king, in which the mountain of Nysa rises, covered to its very top with plantations, like the mounntain of Tmolus in Lydia, and you can ascend it, because paths been made by cultivators.
They say then that when they ascended it, they found the shrine of Dionysus, which it is said Dionysus founded in honor of himself, planting round it a circle of laurel trees which encloses just as much ground as suffices to contain a moderate sized temple. He also surrounded the laurels with a border of ivy and vines; and he set up inside an image of himself, knowing that in time the trees would grow together and make themselves into a kind of roof; and this had now formed itself, so that neither rain can wet nor wind blow upon the shrine. And there were sickles and wine-presses and their furniture dedicated to Dionysus, as if to one who gathers grapes, all made of gold and silver. And the image resembled a youthful Indian, and was carved out of polished white stone. And when Dionysus celebrates his orgies and shakes Nysa, the cities underneath the mountain hear the noise and exult in sympathy.
9. Now the Hellenes disagree with the Indians, and the Indians among themselves, concerning this Dionysus. For we declare that the Theban Dionysus made an expedition to India in the role both of soldier and of reveler, and we base our arguments, among other things, on the offering at Delphi, which is secreted in the treasuries there. And it is a disk of silver bearing the inscription:
"Dionysus the son of Semele and of Zeus,
from the men of India
to the Apollo of Delphi."
But the Indians who dwell in the Caucasus and along the river Cophen say that he was an Assyrian visitor when he came to them, who knew the religious rites of the Theban. But those who inhabit the district between the Indus and the Hydraotes and the continental region beyond, which ends at the river Ganges, declare that Dionysus was son of the river Indus, and that the Dionysus of Thebes having become his disciple adopted the thyrsus and devoted himself to the orgies; that this Dionysus on saying that he was the son of Zeus and had lived safe inside his father's thigh until he was born, gained from this Dionysus a mountain called Merus or "Thigh" on which Nysa borders, and planted Nysa in honor of Dionysus with the vine of which he had brought the suckers from Thebes; and that it was there that Alexander held his orgies.
But the inhabitants of Nysa deny that Alexander ever went up the mountain, although he was eager to do so, being an ambitious person and fond of old-world things; but he was afraid lest his Macedonians, if they got among vines, which they had not seen for a long time, would fall into a fit of home-sickness or recover their taste for wine, after they had become accustomed to water only. So they say he passed by Nysa, making his vow to Dionysus, and sacrificing at the foot of the mountain.
Well I know that some people will take amiss what I write, because the companions of Alexander on his campaigns did not write down the truth in reporting this, but I at any rate insist upon the truth, and hold that, if they had respected it more, they would never have deprived Alexander of the praise due to him in this matter; for, in my opinion, it was a greater thing that he never went up, in order to maintain the sobriety of his army, than that he should have ascended the mountain and have himself held a revel there, which is what they tell you.
10. Damis says that he did not see the rock called the "Birdless" (Aornus), which is not far distant from Nysa, because this lay off their road, and their guide feared to diverge from the direct path. But he says he heard that it had been captured by Alexander, and was called "Birdless", not because it rises 9,000 feet, for the sacred birds fly higher than that; but because on the summit of the rock there is, they say, a cleft which draws into itself the birds which fly over it, as we may see at Athens also in the vestibule of the Parthenon, and in several places in Phrygia and Lydia. And this is why the rock was called and actually is "Birdless".
11. And as they made their way to the Indus they met a boy of about thirteen years old mounted on an elephant and striking the animal. And when they wondered at the sight, Apollonius said: "Damis, what is the business of a good horseman?"
"Why, what else," he replied, "than to sit firm upon the horse, and then control it, and turn it with the bit, and punish it when it is unruly, and to take care that the horse does not plunge into a chasm or a ditch or a hole, especially when he is passing over a marsh or a clay bog?"
"And shall we require nothing else, Damis, of a good horseman?" said Apollonius.
"Why, yes," he said, "when the horse is galloping up a hill he must slacken the bit; and when he is going down hill he must not let the horse have his way, but hold him in; and he must caress his ears and mane; and in my opinion a clever rider is not always whipping, and I should commend any one who rode in this way."
"And what is needful for a soldier who rides a charger?"
"The same things," he said, "O Apollonius, and in addition the ability to hurl and avoid missiles and to pursue and to retire, and crowd the enemies together without letting his horse be frightened by the rattling of shields or the flashing of the helmets, or by the noise made when the men raise their war-cry and give a whoop; this, I think all belongs to good horsemanship."
"What then will you say of this boy who is riding on the elephant?"
"He is much more wonderful, Apollonius. For it seems to me a superhuman feat for such a tiny mite to manage so huge an animal and guide it with the crook, which you see him digging into the elephant like an anchor, without fearing either the look of the brute or its height, or its enormous strength; and I would not have believed it possible, I swear by Athena, if I had heard another telling it, and had not seen it."
"Well then," said Apollonius, "if anyone wanted to sell us this boy, would you buy him, Damis?"
"Yes, by Zeus," he said, "and I would give everything I have to possess him. For it seems to me the mark of a liberal and splendid nature, to be able to capture like a citadel the greatest animal which earth sustains, and then govern it as its master."
"What then would you do with the boy," said the other, "unless you bought the elephant as well?"
"I would set him," said Damis, "to preside over my household and over my servants, and he would rule them much better than I can."
"And are you not able," said Apollonius, "to rule your own servants?"
"About as able to do so," replied Damis, "as you are yourself, Apollonius. For I have abandoned my property, and am going about, like yourself, eager to learn and to investigate things in foreign countries."
"But if you did actually buy the boy, and if you had two horses, one of them a racer, and the other a charger, would you put him, O Damis, on these horses?"
"I would perhaps," he answered, "upon the racer, for I see others doing the same, but how could he ever mount a war-horse accustomed to carry armor? For he could not either carry a shield, as knights must do; or wear a breast-plate or helmet; and how could he wield a javelin, when he cannot use the shaft of a bolt or of an arrow, but he would in military matters be like a stammerer."
"Then," said the other, "there is, Damis, something else which controls and guides this elephant, and not the driver alone, whom you admire almost to the point of almost worshipping."
Damis replied: "What can that be, Apollonius? For I see nothing else upon the animal except the boy."
"This animal," he answered, "is docile beyond all others; and when he has once been broken in to serve man, he will put up with anything at the hands of man, and he makes it his business to be tractable and obedient to him, and he loves to eat out of his hands, in the way little dogs do; and when his master approaches he fondles him with his trunk, and he will allow him to thrust his head into his jaws, and he holds them as wide open as his master likes, as we have seen among the nomads. But of a night the elephant is said to lament his state of slavery, yes by heaven, not by trumpeting in his ordinary way, but by wailing mournfully and piteously. And if a man comes upon him when he is lamenting in this way, the elephant stops his dirge at once as if he were ashamed. Such control, O Damis, has he over himself, and it is his instinctive obedience which actuates him rather than the man who sits upon and directs him."
12. And when they came to the Indus, they saw a herd of elephants crossing the river, and they say they heard this account of the animals. Some of them are marsh elephants, others again mountain elephants, and there is third kind which belong to the plain: and they are captured for use in war. For indeed they go into battle, saddled with towers big enough to accommodate ten or fifteen Indians all at once; and from these towers the Indians shoot their bows and hurl their javelins, just as if they were taking aim from gate towers. And the animal itself regards his trunk as a hand and uses it to hurl weapons. And the Indian elephants are as much bigger as those of Libya, as these are bigger than the horses of Nisa.
And other authorities have dwelt on the age of the animals, and say that they are very long-lived; but our party too say that they came on an elephant near Taxila, the greatest city in India, who was anointed with myrrh by the natives and adorned with fillets. For, they said, this elephant was one of those who fought on the side of Porus against Alexander; and, as it had made a brave fight, Alexander dedicated it to the Sun. And it had, they say, gold rings around its tusks or horns, whichever you call them, and an inscription was on them written in Greek, as follows:
"Alexander the son of Zeus dedicates Ajax to the Sun."
For he had given this name to the elephant, thinking so great an animal deserved a great name. And the natives reckoned that 350 years had elapsed since the battle, without taking into account how old the elephant was when he went into battle.
13. And Juba, who was once sovereign of the Libyan race, says that formerly the knights of Libya fought with one another on elephants, and division of these had a tower engraved upon their tusks, but the others nothing. And when night interrupted the fray the animals which were so marked had, he says, got the worst of it, and fled into Mount Atlas; but he himself 400 years afterwards caught one of the fugitives and found the cavity of the stamp still fresh on the tusk and not yet worn away by time.
This Juba is of opinion that the tusks are horns, because they grow just where the temples are, and there is no grinding of one upon another, and they remain as they grew and do not, like teeth, fall out and then grow afresh.
But I cannot accept this view; for horns, if not all, at any rate those of stags, do fall out and grow afresh, but the teeth, although in the case of men those which may fall out, will every one of them grow again, on the other hand there is not a single animal whose tusk or dog-tooth falls out naturally, nor in which, when it has fallen out, it will come again. For nature implants these tusks in their jaws for the sake of defense. And moreover, a circular ridge is formed year by year at the base of the horns, as we see in the case of goats and sheep and oxen; but a tusk grows out quite smooth, and unless something breaks it, it always remains so, for it consists of a material and substance as hard as stone.
Moreover the carrying of horns is confined to animals with cloven hoofs, but this animal has five nails and the foot branches into more toes than two, and since these are not squeezed into a hoof, the elephant has a pliable sole.
And in the case of all animals that have horns, nature supplies cavernous bones and causes the horn to grow from outwards, whereas she makes the elephant tusk full and equally massive throughout; and when in the lathe you lay bare the interior, you find a very thin tube piercing the center of it, as is the case with teeth.
Now the tusks of the marsh elephants are dark in color and porous and difficult to work, because they are hollowed out into many cavities, and often knots are formed in them which oppose difficulties to the craftsman's tool; but the tusks of the mountain kind, though smaller than these, are pretty white and there is nothing about them difficult to work; but best of all are the tusks of the elephants of the plain, for these are very large and very white and so pleasant to turn and carve that the hand can shape them into whatever it likes.
If I may also describe the characters of these elephants; those which come from the marshes, and are taken there, are considered to be stupid and flighty by the Indians; but those which come from the mountains they regard as vicious and treacherous and, unless they want something, not to be relied upon by man; but the elephants of the plain are said to be good and tractable, and fond of learning tricks; for they will writhe and dance, and will sway themselves to and fro and leap up and down from the ground to the sound of the pipe.
14. And Apollonius saw a herd, I think, of about thirty elephants crossing over the River Indus, and they were following as their leader the smallest among them; but the bigger ones had picked up their young ones on their projecting tusks, where they held them fast by twining their trunks around them. Said Apollonius: "No one, O Damis, has instructed them to do this, but they act of their own instinctive wisdom and cleverness; and you see how, like baggage-porters, they have picked up their young, and have them bound fast on, and so carry them along."
"I see," he said, "Apollonius, how cleverly and with what sagacity they do this. What then is the sense of this silly speculation indulged in by those who idly dispute whether the affection that men feel for their young is natural or not, when these very elephants, by their conduct, proclaim that it is so, and that it comes to them by nature? For they have certainly not learnt to do so from men, as have other creatures; for these have never yet shared the life of men, but have been endowed by nature with their love of their offspring, and this is why they provide for them and feed their young."
"And," said Apollonius, "you need not, Damis, confine your remarks to elephants; for this animal is only second to man, in my opinion, in understanding and foresight; but I am thinking rather of bears, for they are the fiercest of all animals, and yet they will do anything for their whelps; and also of wolves, among which, although they are so addicted to plunder, yet the female protects its young ones, and the male brings her food in order to save the life of the whelps.
And I also equally have in mind the panther, which, from the warmth of its temperament, delights to become a mother, for that is the time when it is determined to rule the male and be mistress of the household; and the male puts up with anything and everything from her, subordinating everything to the welfare of the offspring.
And there is also told a story of the lioness, how she will make a lover of the panther and receive him in the lion's lair in the plain; but when she is going to bring forth her young she flees into the mountains to the haunts of the panthers; for she brings forth young ones that are spotted, and that is why she hides her young and nurses them in winding thickets, pretending that she is spending the day out hunting. For if the lion detected the trick, he would tear the whelps in pieces and claw her offspring as illegitimate. You have read no doubt, also, of one of Homer's lions, and of how he made himself look terrible in behalf of his own whelps and steeled himself to do battle for them.
And they say the tigress, although she is the cruelest animal, will in this country and also on the Read Sea approach the ships, to demand back her whelps; and if she gets them back, she goes off mightily delighted; but if the ships sail away, they say that she howls along the sea-coast and sometimes dies outright.
And who does not know the ways of birds, how that the eagles and the storks will not build their nests until they have fixed in them, the one an eagle-stone, and other a stone of light, to help the hatching out of the eggs and to drive away the snakes.
And if we look at creatures in the sea, we need not wonder at the dolphins loving their offspring, for they are superior creatures; but shall we not admire the whales and seals and the viviparous species? For I once saw a seal that was kept shut up at Aegae in the circus, and she mourned so deeply for her whelp, which had died after being born in confinement, that she refused food for three days together, although she is the most voracious of animals.
And the whale takes up its young ones into the cavities of its throat, whenever it is fleeing from a creature stronger than itself. And a viper has been seen licking the serpents which it had borne, and caressing them with her tongue, which she shoots out for the purpose.
But we need not entertain, Damis, the silly story that the young of vipers are brought into the world without mothers; for that is a thing which is consistent neither with nature nor with experience."
Damis then resumed the conversation by saying: "You will allow me then to praise Euripides, for this iambic line which he puts into the mouth of Andromache"
"And in the case of all men, then, their life lay in their children."
"I admit," said Apollonius, "that that is said cleverly and divinely; but much cleverer and truer would have been the verse, if it had included all animals."
"Then you would like," said Damis, "O Apollonius, to rewrite the line so that we might sing it as follows:
"And in the case of all animals, then, their life lay in their children."
and I agree with you, for it is better so."
15. "But tell me this: did we not, at the beginning our conversation, declare that the elephants display wisdom and intelligence in what they do?"
"Why certainly," he replied, "we did say so, Damis; for if intelligence did not govern this animal, neither would it subsist, nor the populations among which it lived."
"Why then," said Damis, "do they conduct their passage over the river in a way so stupid and inconvenient to themselves? For as you see, the smallest one is leading the way, and he is followed by a slightly larger one, then comes another still larger than he, and the biggest ones come last of all. But surely they ought to travel in the opposite fashion, and make the biggest ones a wall and rampart in front of themselves."
"But," replied Apollonius, "in the first place they appear to be running away from men who are pursuing them, and whom we shall doubtless come across, as they follow the animals' tracks; and they must and ought to use their best strength to fortify their rear against attack, as is done in war; so that you may regard this maneuver as tactically excellent on the part of the brutes.
Secondly, as they are crossing a river, if their biggest ones went first, that would not enable the rest of the herd to judge whether the water is shallow enough for all to pass; for the tallest ones would find the passage practicable and easy, but the others would find it dangerous and difficult, because they would not rise above the level of the stream.
But the fact that the smallest is able to get across is a sign in itself to the rest that there is no difficulty. And moreover, if the bigger ones went in first, they would deepen the river for the small ones, for the mud is forced to settle down into ruts and trenches, owing to the heaviness of the animal and the thickness of his feet; whereas the larger ones are in no way prejudiced by the smaller ones, crossing in front, because they sink in less deeply."
16. "And I have read in the discourse of Juba that elephants assist one another when they are being hunted, and that they will defend one that is exhausted, and if they can remove him out of danger, they anoint his wounds with the tears of the aloe tree, standing round him like physicians."
Many such learned discussions were suggested to them as one occasion after another worth speaking of arose.
17. And the statements by Nearchus and Pythagoras, about the river Acesines, to the effect that it debauches into the Indus, and that snakes breed in it seventy cubits long, were, they say, fully verified by them; but I will defer what I have to say till I come to speak about dragons, on whose capture Damis gives an account.
But when they reached the Indus and were inclined to pass over the river, they asked the Babylonian [guide] whether he knew anything of the river, and questioned him about how to get across it. But he said that he had never navigated it, nor did he know whence he they could get a boat on it. "Why then," said they, "did you not hire a guide?"
"Because," he said, "I have one who will direct us." And with that, he showed them a letter, written to that effect, and this gave them occasion to marvel afresh at the humanity and foresight of Vardanes. For he had addressed the letter in question to the satrap of the Indus, although he was not subject to his dominion; and in it he reminded him of the good service he had done him, but declared that he would not ask any recompense for the same, "for", he said, "it is not my habit to ask for a return of favors." But he said he would be very grateful, if he could give a welcome to Apollonius and send him on wherever he wished to go. And he had given gold to the guide, so that in case he found Apollonius in want thereof, he might give it him and save him from looking to the generosity of anyone else.
And when the Indian received the letter, he declared that he was highly honored, and would interest himself in the sage as much as if the king of India had written in his behalf; and he lent his official boat for him to embark in and other vessels on which the camels were ferried across, and he also sent a guide to the whole of the country which is bordered by the Hydraotes, and he wrote to his own king, begging him not to treat with less respect than Vardanes a man who was a Greek and divine.
18. Thus they crossed the Indus at a point where it was nearly 40 stades broad, for such is the size of its navigable portion; and they write the following account of this river. They say that the Indus arises in the Caucasus and is bigger at its source than any of the other rivers of Asia; and as it advances it absorbs into itself several navigable rivers and, like the Nile, it floods the land of India and brings down soil over it, and so provides the Indians with land to sow in the manner of the Egyptians.
Now it is said that there is snow on the hills in Ethiopia and in the land of the Catadupi, and I do not choose to contradict, out of respect for the authorities; nevertheless, I cannot agree with them, when I consider how the Indus effects the same results as the Nile, without any snow falling on the country that rises behind and above it. And moreover I know that God has set the Ethiopian and the Indian at the two extremes or horns of the entire earth, making black the latter who dwell where the sun rises no less than the former who dwell where it sets; now how should this be the case of the inhabitants, unless they enjoyed summer heat even in the winter? But where the sun warms the earth all over through the year, how can one suppose that it ever snows? And how could it ever snow there so hard, as to supply the rivers there with water, and make them rise above their normal levels? But even if there were frequent snowfalls in regions so exposed to the sun, how could the melted snow ever cover such an expanse as to resemble a sea? And how could it ever supply a river which deluges the whole of Egypt?
19. And as they were being conveyed across the Indus, they say that they came across many river-horses [hippopotamuses] and many crocodiles; and they say that the vegetation on the Indus resembles that which grows along the Nile, and that the climate of India is sunny in winter, but suffocating in summer; but to conteract this Providence has excellently contrived that it should often rain in their country.
And they also say that they learned from the Indians that the king was in the habit of coming to this river when it rose in the appropriate seasons, and would sacrifice to the river black bulls and horses; for white is less esteemed by the Indians than black, because, I imagine, the latter is their own color; and when he has sacrificed, they say that he plunges into the river a measure of gold made to resemble that which is used in measuring wheat.
And why the king does this, the Indians, they say, have no idea; but they themselves conjectured that this measure was sunk in the river, either to secure the plentiful harvest, whose yield the farmers use such a measure to gauge, or to keep the river within its proper bounds and prevent it from rising to such heights as that it would drown the land.
20. And after they had crossed the river, they were conducted by the satrap's guide direct to Taxila, where the Indian had his royal palace. And they say that on that side of the Indus the dress of the people consists of native linen, with shoes of byblus and a hat when it rains; but that the upper classes there are appareled in byssus; and that the byssus grows upon a tree of which the stem resembles that of the white poplar, and the leaves those of the willow. And Apollonius says that he was delighted with the byssus, because it resembled his sable philosopher's cloak. And the byssus is imported into Egypt from India for many sacred uses.
Taxila, they tell us, is about as big as Nineveh, and was fortified fairly well after the manner of Greek cities; and here was the royal residence of the personage who then ruled the empire of Porus.
And they saw a Temple, they say, in front of the wall, which was not far short of 100 feet in size, made of porphyry, and there was constructed within it a shrine, somewhat small as compared with the great size of the Temple which is surrounded with columns, but deserving of notice. For bronze tablets were nailed into each of its walls on which were engraved the exploits of Porus and Alexander. But the pattern was wrought with orichalcus and silver and gold and black bronze, of elephants, horses, soldiers, helmets, shields, but spears, and javelins and swords, were all made of iron; and the composition was like the subject of some famous painting by Zeuxis or Polygnotus and Euphranor, who delighted in light and shade; and, they say, here also was an appearance of real life, as well as depth and relief. And the metals were blended in the design, melted in like so many colors; and the character of the picture was also pleasing in itself, for Porus dedicated these designs after the death of the Macedonian, who is depicted in the hour of victory, restoring Porus who is wounded, and presenting him with India which was now his gift.
And it is said that Porus mourned over the death of Alexander, and that he lamented him as generous and a good prince; and as long as Alexander was alive after his departure from India, he never used the royal diction and style, although he had license to do so, nor issued kingly edicts to the Indians, but figured himself as satrap full of moderation, and guided every action by the wish to please Alexander.
21. My argument does not allow me to pass over the accounts written of this Porus. For when the Macedonian [Alexander the Great] was about to cross the river [Hydaspes], and some of Porus' advisers wished him to make an alliance with the kings on the other side of the Hyphasis and the Ganges, urging that the invader would never face a general coalition against him of the whole of India, he replied: "If the temper of my subjects is such that I cannot save myself without allies, then for me it is better not to be king."
And when someone announced to him that Alexander had captured Darius, he remarked, "a king but not a man." And when the mule driver had caparisoned the elephant on which he meant to fight, he replied: "Nay, I shall carry him, if I prove myself the same man I used to be." And when they counseled him to sacrifice to the river, and induce it to reject the rafts of the Macedonians, and make it impassable to Alexander, he said: "It ill befits those who have arms to resort to imprecation."
And after the battle, in which his conduct struck Alexander as divine and superhuman, when one of his relations said to him: "If you had only paid homage to him after he had crossed, O Porus, you would not yourself have been defeated in battle, nor would so many Indians have lost their lives, nor would you yourself have been wounded," he said: "I knew from my report that Alexander was so fond of glory that, if I did homage to him, he would regard me as a slave, but if I fought him, as a king. And I much preferred his admiration to his pity, not was I wrong in my calculation. For by showing myself to be such a man as Alexander found me, I both lost and won everything that day."
Such is the character which historians give to this Indian, and they say that he was the handsomest of his race, and in stature taller than any man since the Trojan heroes, but that he was quite young, when he went to war with Alexander.
22. While he was waiting in the Temple -- and it took a long time for the king to be informed that strangers had arrived -- Apollonius said: "O Damis, is there such a thing as painting?"
"Why yes," he answered, "if there be any such thing as truth."
"And what does this art do?"
"It mixes together," replied Damis, "all the colors there are, blue with green, and white with black, and red with yellow."
"And for what reason," said the other, "does it mix these? For it isn't merely to get a color, like dyed wax."
"It is," said Damis, "for the sake of imitation, and to get a likeness of a dog, or a horse, or a man, or a ship, or of anything else under the sun; and what is more, you see the sun himself represented, sometimes borne upon a four horse car, as he is said to be seen here, and sometimes again traversing the heaven with his torch, in case you are depicting the ether and the home of the gods."
"Then, O Damis, painting is imitation?"
"And what else could it be?" said he: "for if it did not effect that, it would voted to be an idle playing with colors."
"And," said the other, "the things which are seen in heaven, whenever the clouds are torn away from one another, I mean the centaurs and stag-antelopes, yes, and the wolves too, and the horses, what have you got to say about them? Are we not to regard them as works of imitation?"
"It would seem so," he replied.
"Then, Damis, God is a painter, and has left his winged chariot, upon which he travels, as he disposes of affairs human and divine, and he sits down on these occasions to amuse himself by drawing these pictures, as children make figures in the sand."
Damis blushed, for he felt that his argument was reduced to such an absurdity. But Apollonius, on his side, had no wish to humiliate him, for he was not unfeeling in his refutations of people, and said: "But I am sure, Damis, you did not mean that; rather that these figures flit through the heaven not only without meaning, but, so far as providence is concerned, by mere chance; while we who by nature are prone to imitation rearrange and create them in these regular figures."
"We may, he said, "rather consider this to be the case, O Apollonius, for it is more probable, and a much sounder idea."
"Then, O Damis, the mimetic art is twofold, and we may regard the one kind as an employment of the hands and mind in producing imitations, and declare that this is painting, whereas the other kind consists in making likenesses with the mind alone."
"Not twofold," replied Damis, "for we ought to regard the former as the more perfect and more complete kind, being anyhow painting and a faculty of making likenesses with the help both of mind and hand; but we must regard the other kind as a department of that, since its possessor perceives and imitates with the mind, without having the delineative faculty, and would never use his hand in depicting its objects."
"Then," said Apollonius, "you mean, Damis, that the hand may be disabled by a blow or by disease?"
"No," he answered, "but it is disabled, because it has never handled pencil nor any instrument or color, and has never learned to draw."
"Then," said the other, "we are both of us, Damis, agreed that man owes his mimetic faculty to nature, but his power of painting to art. And the same would appear to be true of plastic art. But, methinks, you would not confine painting itself to the mere use of colors, for a single color was often found sufficient for this purpose by our older painters; and as the art advanced, it employed four, and later, yet more; but we must also concede the name of a painting to an outline drawn without any color at all, and composed merely of shadow and light. For in such designs we see a resemblance, we see form and expression, and modesty and bravery, although they are altogether devoid of color; and neither blood is represented, nor the color of a man's hair or beard; nevertheless these compositions in monochrome are likenesses of people either tawny or white, and if we drew one of these Indians with a pencil without color, yet he would be known for a negro, for his flat nose, and his stiff curling locks and prominent jaw, and a certain gleam about his eyes, would give a black look to the picture and depict an Indian to the eyes of all those who have intelligence.
And for this reason I should say that those who look at works of painting and drawing require a mimetic faculty; for no one could appreciate or admire a picture of a horse or of a bull, unless he had formed an idea of the picture represented. Nor again could one admire a picture of Ajax, by the painter Timomachus, which represents him in a state of madness, unless one had conceived in one's mind first an idea or notion of Ajax, and had entertained the probability that after killing the flocks in Troy he would sit down exhausted and even meditate suicide.
But these elaborate works of Porus we cannot, Damis, regard as works of brass founding alone, for they are cast in brass; so let us regard them as the chefs d' oeuvre of a man who is both painter and brass-founder at once, and as similar to the work of Hephaestus upon the shield of Achilles, as revealed in Homer. For they are crowded together in that work too men slaying and slain, and you would say that the earth was stained with gore, though it is made of brass."
23. While the sage was engaged in this conversation, messengers and an interpreter presented themselves from the king, to say that the king would make him his guest for three days, because the laws did not allow of strangers residing in the city for a longer time; and accordingly they conducted him into the palace. I have already described the way in which the city is walled, but they say that it was divided up into narrow streets in the same irregular manner as in Athens, and that the houses were built in such a way that if you look at them from outside they had only one story, while if you went into one of them, you at once found subterranean chambers extending as far below the level of the earth as did the chambers above.
24. And they say that they saw a Temple of the Sun in which was kept loose a sacred elephant called Ajax, and there were images of Alexander made of gold, and others of Porus, though the latter were of black bronze. But on the walls of the Temple there were red stones, and gold glittered underneath, and gave off a sheen as bright as sunlight. But the statue was compacted of pearls arranged in the symbolic manner affected by all barbarians in their shrines.
25. And in the palace they say that they saw no magnificent chambers, nor any bodyguards or sentinels, but, considering what is usual in the houses of magnates, a few servants, and three or four people who wished, so I suppose, to converse with the king. And they say that they admired this arrangement more than they did the pompous splendor of Babylon, and their esteem was enhanced when they went within. For the men's chambers and the porticoes and the whole of the vestibule were in a very chaste style.
26. 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, I" said the other, "am delighted that you should think of me thus."
"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 border of this country were perpetually quarreling 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 at least 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.
27. And when they had conversed a good deal about which road to take to the Brahmans, the king ordered the guide from Babylon to be well entertained, as it was customary so to treat those who came from Babylon; and the guide from the satrap, to be dismissed after being given provisions for the road.
Then he took Apollonius by the hand, and having bidden the interpreter to depart, he said: "You will then, I hope, choose me for your boon companion."
And he asked question of him in the Greek tongue. But Apollonius was surprised, and remarked: "Why did you not converse with me thus, from the beginning?"
"I was afraid," said the king, "of seeming presumptuous, seeming, that is, not to know myself and not to know that I am a barbarian by decree of fate; but you have won my affection, and as soon as I saw that you take pleasure in my society, I was unable to keep myself concealed. But that I am quite competent in the Greek speech I will show you amply."
"Why then," said Apollonius, "did you not invite me to the banquet, instead of begging me to invite you?"
"Because," he replied, "I regard you as my superior, for wisdom has more of the kingly quality about it."
And with that he led him and his companions to where he was accustomed to bathe. And the bathing-place was a garden, a stade in length, in the middle of which was dug out a pool, which was fed by fountains of water, cold and drinkable; and on each side there were exercising places, in which he was accustomed to practice himself after the manner of the Greeks with javelin and quoit-throwing; for physically he was very robust, both because he was still young, for he was only seven-and-twenty years old, and because he trained himself in this way. And when he had had enough exercise, he would jump into the water and exercised himself in swimming.
But when they had taken their bath, they proceeded into the banqueting chamber with wreaths upon their heads; for this is the custom of the Indians, whenever they drink wine in the palace.
28. And I must on no account omit to describe the arrangement of the banquet, since this has been clearly described and recorded by Damis. The king then banquets upon a mattress, and as many as five of his nearest relations with him; but all the rest join in the feast sitting upon chairs.
And the table resembles an altar in that it is built up to the height of a man's knee in the middle of the chamber, and allows rooms for thirty to dispose themselves around it like a choir in a close circle. Upon it laurels are strewn, and other branches which are similar to the myrtle, but yield to the Indians their balm. Upon it are served up fish and birds, and there are also laid upon it whole lions and gazelles and swine and the loins of tigers; for they decline to eat the other parts of this animal, because they say that, as soon as it is born, it lifts up its front paws to the rising Sun.
Next, the master of ceremonies rises and goes to the table, and he selects some of the viands for himself, and cuts off other portions, and then he goes back to his own chair and eats his full, constantly munching bread with it. And when they all have had enough, goblets of silver and gold are brought in, each of which is enough for ten banqueters, and out of these they drink, stooping down like animals that are being watered.
And while they are drinking, they have brought in performers of various dangerous feats, not undeserving of serious study. For a boy, like one employed by dancing-girls, would be tossed lightly aloft, and at the same moment an arrow is aimed at him, up in the air, and when he was a long way from the ground, the boy would, by a tumblers' leap, raise himself above the weapen, and if he missed his leap, he was sure to be hit. For the archer, before he let fly, went round the banqueters and showed them the point of his weapon, and let them try the missile themselves. Shooting through a ring, too, or hitting a hair with an arrow, or for a man to mark the outline of his own son with arrows, as he stands in front of a board, keeps them occupied at their banquets, and they aim straight, even when they are drinking.
29. Well, the companions of Damis marveled at the accuracy of their eye, and were surprised at the exactness with which they aimed their weapons; but Apollonius, who ate with the king, since they agreed in diet, was less interested in these feats and said to the king: "Tell me, O King, how you acquired such a command of the Greek tongue, and whence you derived all your philosophical attainments in this place? For I don't imagine that you owe them to teachers, for it is not likely that there are, in India, any who could teach it."
The king smiled and said: "In old days they would ask men who arrived by sea whether they were pirates, so common did they consider that way of living, hard though it is; but so far as I can make out, you Greeks ask your visitors whether they are not philosophers, so convinced you are that everyone you meet with must needs possess the divinest of human attainments. And that philosophy and piracy are one and the same thing among you, I am well aware; for they say that a man like yourself is not to be found anywhere; but that most of your philosophers are like people who have despoiled another man of his garment and then have dressed themselves up in it, although it does not fit them, and proceed to strut about trailing another man's garment. Nay, by Zeus, just as robbers live in luxury, well knowing that they lie at the mercy of justice, so are they, it is said, addicted to gluttony and riotous living and to delicate apparel.
"And the reason is this: you have laws, I believe, to the effect that if a man is caught forging money, he must die, and the same if anyone illegally enrolls a child upon the register, or there is some penalty, I know not what; but people who utter counterfeit philosophy or corrupt her are not, I believe, restrained among you by any law, nor is there any authority set to suppress them.
30. "Now among us few engage in philosophy, and they are sifted and tried as follows: A young man so soon as he reaches the age of eighteen, and this I think is accounted the time of full age among you also, must pass across the river Hyphasis to the men who you are set upon visiting, after first making a public statement that he will become a philosopher, so that those who wish to may exclude him, if he does not approach the study in a state of purity. And by pure I mean, firstly, in respect of his parentage, that no disgraceful deed can be proved against either his father or his mother; next that their parents in turn, and the third generation upwards, are equally pure, that there was no ruffian among them, no debauchee, nor any unjust usurer.
"And when no scar or reproach can be proved against them, nor any other stain whatever, then it is time narrowly to inspect the young man himself and test him, to see firstly, whether he has a good memory, and secondly, whether he is modest and reserved in disposition, and does not merely pretend to be so, whether he is addicted to drink, or greed, or a quack, or a buffoon, or rash, or abusive, to see whether he is obedient to his father, to his mother, to his teachers, to his school-masters, and above all, if he makes no bad use of his personal attractions.
"The particulars then of his parents and of their progenitors are gathered from witnesses and from the public archives. For whenever an Indian dies, there visits his house a particular authority charged by the law to make a record of him, and of how he lived. And if this officer lies or allows himself to be deceived, he is condemned by the law and forbidden ever to hold another office, on the ground that he has counterfeited a man's life.
"But the particulars of the youths themselves are duly learnt by inspection of them. For in many cases a man's eyes reveal the secrets of his character, and in many cases there is material for forming a judgment and appraising his value in his eyebrows and cheeks, for from these features the dispositions of people can be detected by wise and scientific men, as images are seen in a looking-glass. For seeing that philosophy is highly esteemed in this country, and it is held in honor by the Indians, it is absolutely necessary that those who take to it should be tested and subjected to a thousand modes of proof.
"Well then, that we study philosophy under direction of teachers, and that admission to philosophy is by examination among us, I have clearly explained; and now I will relate to you my own history.
31. [The king continued:] "My grandfather was king, and had the same name as myself; but my father was a private person. For he was left quite young and two of his relations were appointed guardians in accordance with the laws of the Indians. But they did not carry on the king's government honestly on his behalf. No, by the Sun, but so unfairly that their subjects found their regime oppressive and the government fell into bad repute. A conspiracy then was formed against them by some of the magnates, who attacked them and slew them when they were sacrificing to the river Indus. The conspirators than seized upon the reins of government and took control of the State.
Now my father's kinsmen entertained apprehensions of him, because he was not yet sixteen years of age, so they sent him across the Hyphasis to the king there. And he has more subjects than I have, and his country is much more fertile than this one. This monarch wished to adopt him, but this my father declined on the ground that he would not struggle with fate that robbed him of his kingdom; but he besought to allow him to take his way to the sages and become a philosopher, for he said that this would make it easier for him to bear the reverses of his house. The king however being anxious to restore him to his father's kingdom, my father said: "If you see that I am become a genuine philosopher, then restore me; but if not, let me remain as I am."
The king accordingly went in person to the sages, and said that he would lie under great obligation to them if they would take care of a youth who had already showed such nobility of character, and they, discerning in him something out of the common run, were delighted to impart to him their wisdom, and were glad to educate him when they saw how addicted he was to learning.
Now seven years afterwards the king fell sick, and at the very moment when he was dying, he sent for my father, and appointed him co-heir in the government with his own son, and promised his daughter in marriage to him as she was already of marriageable age. And my father, since he saw that the king's son was the victim of flatterers and of wine and of such like vices, and was also full of suspicions of himself, said to him: "Do you keep all this and swill down the whole Empire as your own; for it is ridiculous that one who could not even gain the kingdom which belonged to him should presume to meddle with one which does not; but give me your sister, for this is all I want of yours."
So having obtained her in marriage he lived hard by the sage in seven fertile villages which the king bestowed upon his sister as her pin-money. I then am the issue of this marriage, and my father after a Greek education brought me to the sages at an age somewhat too early perhaps, for I was only twelve at the time, but they brought me up like their own son; for any that they admit knowing the Greek tongue they are especially fond of, because they consider that in virtue of the similarity of his disposition he already belongs to themselves.
32. "And when my parents had died, which they did almost together, the sages bade me repair to the villages and look after my own affairs, for I was now nineteen years of age. But, alas, my good uncle had already taken away the villages, and didn't even leave me the few acres my father had acquired; for he said that the whole of them belonged to his kingdom, and that I should get more than I deserved if he spared my life. I accordingly raised a subscription among my mother's freedmen, and kept four retainers.
"And one day when I was reading the play [by Euripides]The Children of Heracles, a man presented himself from my own country, bringing a letter from a person devoted to my father, who urged me to cross the river Hydraotes and confer with him about my present kingdom; for he said there was a good prospect of recovering it, if I did not dawdle. I cannot but think that some god set me on reading this drama at the moment, and I followed the omen; and having crossed the river I learnt that one of the usurpers of the throne was dead, and that the other was besieged in this very palace.
"Accordingly I hurried forward, and proclaimed to the inhabitants of the villages through which I passed that I was the son of so and so, naming my father, and that I was come to take possession of my own kingdom; but they received me with open arms and escorted me, recognizing my resemblance to my grandfather, and they had daggers and bows, and our numbers increased from day to day. And when I approached the gates the population received me with such enthusiasm that they snatched up torches off the altar of the Sun and came before the gates and escorted me hither with many hymns in praise of my father and grandfather. But the drone that was within they walled up, although I protested against his being put to such death."
33. Here Apollonius interrupted and said: "You have exactly played the part of the restored sons of Heracles in the play, and praised be the gods who have helped so noble a man to come by his own and restored you by their noble intervention. But tell me this about these sages: were they not once actually subject to Alexander, and were they not brought before him to philosophize about the heavens?"
"Those were the Oxydracae," he said, "and a race that has always been independent and well equipped for war; and they assert that they deal in wisdom, though they know nothing of value. But the genuine sages live between the Hyphasis and the Ganges, in a country which Alexander never assailed; 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 Heracles of Egypt and Dionysus after they had overrun the Indian people with their arms, at last attached 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 armor.
"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 [Cadiz], 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."
34. While they were thus talking, the strain of the hymn sung to the pipe fell upon their ears, and Apollonius asked the king what was the meaning of their cheerful ode. "The Indians," he answered, "sing their admonitions to the king, at the moment of his going to bed; and they pray that he may have good dreams, and rise up propitious and affable towards his subjects."
"And how," said Apollonius, "do you, O king, feel in regard to this matter? For it is yourself I suppose that they honor with their pipes."
"I don't laugh at them," he said, "for I must allow it because of the law, although I do not require any admonition of the kind: for in so far as a king behaves himself with moderation and integrity, he will bestow, I imagine, favors on himself rather than on his subjects."
35. After this conversation they laid themselves down to repose; but when a new 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 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."
36. Apollonius then summoned Damis, and said: "'Tis 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.'
"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 stadholder upon their necks, that are bowed down by the wine; but you find them free and erect, 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 calm, 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.
37. "And more than this, as a faculty of divination by means of dreams, which is the divinest and most godlike 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, and 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 Amphiaros."
"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 transparency. But if wine were a good drug of sleep, then the wise Amphiaros would have bidden his votaries to adopt the opposite regimen, and would have had them carried into his shrine as full of wine as leather 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 revelers 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 rigor and severity would seem vulgar, O king, and beneath your august station; and, what is more, it might be construed by the envious as due to pride."
38. When they had thus conversed, for by this time it was daylight, they went out into the open. And Apollonius, understanding that the king had to give audience to embassies and such-like said: "You then, O king, must attend to the business of state, but let me go and devote this hour to the Sun, for I must needs offer up to him my accustomed prayer."
"And I pray he may hear your prayer," said the king, "for he will bestow his grace on all who find pleasure in your wisdom; but I will wait for you until you return, for I have to decide some cases in which your presence will very greatly help me."
39. Apollonius then returned, when the day was already far advanced and asked him about the cases which he had been judging; but he answered: "Today I have not judged any, for the omens did not allow me."
Apollonius then replied and said: "It is the case then that you consult the omens in such cases as these, just as you do when you are setting out on a journey or a campaign."
"Yes, by Zeus," he said, "for there is a risk in this case, too, of one who is a judge straying from the right line."
Apollonius felt that what he said was true, and asked him again what the suit was which he had to decide; "For I see," he said, "that you have given your attention to it and are perplexed what verdict to give."
"I admit," said the king, "that I am perplexed; and that is why I want your advice; for one man has sold to another land, in which there lay a treasure as yet undiscovered, and some time afterwards the land, being broken up, revealed a certain chest, which the person who sold the land says belongs to him rather than the other, for that he would never have sold the land, if he had known beforehand that he had a fortune thereon; but the purchaser claims that he acquired everything that he found in land, which thenceforth was his. And, both their contentions are just; and I shall seem ridiculous if I order them to share the gold between them, for any old woman could settle the matter in that way."
Apollonius thereupon replied as follows: "The fact that they are quarreling about gold shows that these two men are no philosophers; and you will, in my opinion, give the best verdict if you bear this in mind, that the gods attach the first importance and have most care for those who live a life of philosophy together with moral excellence, and only pay secondary attention to those who have committed no faults and were never found unjust. Now they entrust to philosophers the task of rightly discerning things divine and human as they should be discerned, but to those who merely are of good character they give enough to live upon, so that they may never be rendered unjust by actual lack of the necessaries of life. It seems then to me, O king, right to weight these men in the balance, as it were, and to examine their respective lives; for I cannot believe that the gods would deprive the one even of his land, unless he was a bad man, or that they would, on the other hand, bestow on the other even what was under the land, unless he was better than the man who sold it."
The two claimants came back the next day, and the seller was convicted of being a ruffian who had neglected the sacrifices, which it was his bounden duty to sacrifice to the gods on that land; but the other was found to be a decent man and a most devout worshipper of the gods. Accordingly, the opinion of Apollonius prevailed, and the better of the two men quitted the court as one on whom the gods had bestowed this boon.
40. 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 Vardanes 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 Vardanes 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 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 Vardanes 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.
41. So they remained the next day as well, for the Indian would not let them go, and he gave them a letter for Iarchas, written in the following terms:—
"King Phroates to Iarchas 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."
42. 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.
43. 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 honored the limit of his Empire; but I fancy the Indians beyond the Hyphasis erected the column, by way of expressing their pride at Alexander's having gone no further.