Apollonius of Tyana
(circa 217 A.D.
1. I am aware that the conduct of philosophers under despotism is the truest touchstone of their character, and am in favor of inquiring in what way any one man displays more courage than another. And my argument also constrains me to consider the point; for during the reign of Domitian, Apollonius was beset by accusations and writs of information, the several origins, sources and counts of which I shall presently enlarge upon; and as I shall be under the necessity of specifying the language which he used and the role which he assumed, when he left the court after convicting the tyrant rather than being himself convicted, so I must first of all enumerate all the feats of wise men in the presence of tyrants which I have found worthy of commemoration, and contrast them with the conduct of Apollonius. For this I think is the best way of finding out the truth.
2. Zeno then of Elea, who was the father of dialectic, was convicted of an attempt to overthrow the tyranny of Nearchus the Mysian; and being put to the rack he refused to divulge the names of his accomplices, though he accused of disloyalty those who were loyal to the tyrant, with the result that, whereas they were put to death on the assumption that his accusations were true, he effected the liberation of the Mysians, by tripping despotism up over itself.
And Plato declares that he took up the cause of the liberation of the people of Sicily, and associated himself in this enterprise with Dion.
And Phyton, when he was banished from Rhegium, fled to Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily; but being treated with more honor than an exile might expect, he realized that the tyrant had designs also upon Rhegium; and he informed the people there of this by letter. But he was caught doing so by the tyrant, who forthwith fastened him to one of his siege engines alive, and then pushed it forward against the walls, imagining that the inhabitants of Rhegium would not shoot at the machine in order to spare Phyton. He, however, cried out to them to shoot, for, said he: "I am the target of your liberty."
And Heraclides and Python who slew Cotys the Thracian were both of them young men, and they embraced the principles of the Academy and made themselves wise and so free men.
And who does not know the story of Callisthenes of Olynthus? He on one and the same day delivered himself of a panegyric and of an attack upon the Macedonians, just at the time when they were at the acme of their power; and they put him to death for exciting their displeasure.
Then there were Diogenes of Sinope and Crates of Thebes, of whom the former went direct to Chaeronea, and rebuked Philip for his treatment of the Athenians, on the ground that, though asserting himself to be a descendant of Heracles he yet was destroying by force of arms those who had taken up arms in defense of the descendants of Heracles.
The other Crates, when Alexander declared that he would rebuild Thebes for his sake, replied that he would never stand in need of a country or of a city, which anyone could raze to the ground by mere force of arms.
Many more examples of this kind can be adduced, but my treatise does not allow me to prolong them. It is indeed incumbent upon me to criticize these examples, not in order to show that they were not as remarkable as they are universally famous, but only to show that they fell short of the exploits of Apollonius, in spite of their being the best of their kind.
3. About the conduct of Zeno of Elea then, and about the murder of Cotys there is nothing very remarkable; for as it is easy to enslave Thracians and Getae, so it is an act of folly to liberate them; for indeed they do not appreciate freedom, because, I imagine, they do not esteem slavery to be base.
I will not say that Plato somewhat lacked wisdom when he set himself to reform the affairs of Sicily rather than those of Athens, or that he was sold in all fairness when, after deceiving others, he found himself deceived, for I fear to offend my readers.
But the despotic sway of Dionysius over Sicily was not solidly based when Phyton of Rhegium made his attempt against him, and in any case he would have been put to death by him, even if the people of that city had not shot their bolts at him; his achievement, then, I think, was by no means wonderful: he only preferred to die in behalf of the liberty of others rather than to endure the death penalty of being himself a slave.
And as for Callisthenes, even today he cannot acquit himself of baseness; for in first commending and then attacking one and the same set of people, he either attacked those whom he felt to be worthy of praise, or he praised those whom he ought to have been openly attacking. Moreover a person who sets himself to abuse good men cannot escape the charge of being envious, while he who flatters the wicked by his very praises of them draws down upon his own head the guilt of their misdeeds, for evil men are only rendered more evil when you praise them.
And Diogenes, if he had addressed Philip in the way he did before the battle of Chaeronea instead of after it, might have preserved him from the guilt of taking up arms against Athens; but instead of doing so he waited till harm was done, when he could only reproach him, not reform him.
As for Crates, he must needs incur the censure of every patriot for not seconding Alexander in his design of recolonizing Thebes.
But Apollonius had not to fear for any country that was endangered, nor was he in despair of his own life, nor was he reduced to silly and idle speeches, nor was he championing the cause of Mysians or Getae, nor was he face to face with one who was only sovereign of a single island or of an inconsiderable country, but he confronted one who was master both of sea and land, at a time when his tyranny was harsh and bitter; and he took his stand against the tyrant in behalf of the welfare of the subjects, with the same spirit of purpose as he had taken his stand against Nero.
4. Some may think that his attitude towards Nero was a mere bit of skirmishing, because he did not come to close quarters with him, but merely undermined his despotism by his enocuragement of Vindex, and the terror with which he inspired Tigellinus. And there are certain braggarts here who foster the tale that it required no great courage to assail a man like Nero who led the life of a female harpist or flautist. But what, I would ask, have they to say about Domitian?
For he was vigorous in body, and he abjured all those pleasures of music and song which wear away and soften down ferocity; and he took pleasure in the sufferings of others and in any lamentations they uttered. And he was in the habit of saying that distrust is the best safeguard of the people against their tyrants and of the tyrant against the multitude; and though he thought that a sovereign ought to rest from all hard work during the night, yet he deemed it the right season to begin murdering people in.
And the result was that while the Senate had all its most distinguished members cut off, philosophy was reduced to cowering in a corner, to such an extent that some of its votaries disguised themselves by changing their dress and ran away to take refuge among the western Celts, while others fled to the deserts of Libya and Scythia, and others again stooped to compose orations in which his crimes were palliated.
But Apollonius, like Tiresias, who is represented by Sophocles as addressing to Oedipus the word:
For 'tis not in your slavery that I live, but in that of Loxias [Sophocles, Oedipus 410]
chose wisdom as his mistress, and escaped scot-free from paying tribute to Domitian.
Applying to himself, as if it were an oracle, the verse of Tiresias and of Sophocles, and fearing nothing for himself, but only pitying the fate of others, he set himself to rally round him all the younger men of the Senate, and husband such intelligence as he saw discerned in many of them; and he visited the provinces and in the name of philosophy he appealed to the governors, pointing out to them that the strength of a tyrant is not immortal, and that the very fact of their being dreaded exposes them to defeat. And he also reminded them of the Panathenaic festival in Attica, at which hymns are sung in honor of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, and of the sally that was made from Phyle, when thirty tyrants at once were overthrown; and he also reminded them of the ancient history of the Romans, and of how they too had been a democracy, after driving out despotism, arms in hand.
5. And on occasion when a tragic actor visited Ephesus and came forward in the play called the Ino, and when the governor of Asia was one of the audience, a man who was though still young and of very distinguished rank among the consuls, was nevertheless very nervous about such matters, just as the actor finished the speech in which Euripides describes in his iambics how tyrants after long growth of their power are destroyed by little causes, Apollonius leapt up and said: "But yonder coward understand neither Euripides nor myself!"
6. When moreover the news was brought how notable a purification of the goddess Hestia of the Romans [Vesta] Domitian had carried out, by putting to death three of the Vestal virgins who had broken their vows and incurred the polution of marriage, when it was their duty to minister in purity to the Athena of Ilion and to the fire which was worshipped in Rome, he exclaimed: "O Sun, would that thou couldst too be purified of the unjust murders with which the whole world is now filled."
Nor did he do all this in private, as a coward might, but he proclaimed his sentiments and aspirations amidst the crowd and before all.
7. On another occasion when after the murder of [Flavius] Sabinus, one of his own relations, Domitian was about to marry Julia, who was herself the wife of the murdered man, and Domitian's own niece, being one of the daughters of Titus, Ephesus was about to celebrate the marriage with sacrifice, Apollonius interrupted the rites, by exclaiming: "O thou night of the Danaids of yore, how unique thou wast!"
8. The following then is the history of his acts in Rome.
Nerva was regarded as a proper candidate for the throne which after Domitian's death he occupied with so much wisdom, and the same opinion was entertained of Orfitus and of Rufus. Domitian accused the two latter of intriguing against himself, and they were confined in islands, while Nerva was commanded to live in Tarentum.
Now Apollonius had been intimate with them all the time that Titus shared the throne with his father, and also reigned after his father's death; and he [Apollonius] was in constant correspondence with them on the subject of self-control, being anxious to enlist them on the side of the sovereigns whose excellence of character he esteemed. But he did his best to alienate them from Domitian, on account of his cruelty, and encouraged them to espouse the cause of the freedom of all.
Now it occurred to him that his epistles conveying advice to them were fraught with danger to them, for many of those who were in power were betrayed by their own slaves and friends and womankind, and there was not at the time any house that could keep a secret; accordingly he would take now one and now another of the discreetest of the companions, and say to them: "I have a brilliant secret to entrust to you; for you must betake yourself as my agent to Rome to so and so," mentioning the party, "and you must hold converse with him and do the utmost I could do to win him over."
But when he heard that they were banished for having displayed a tendency to revolt against the tyrant, and yet had from timidity abandoned their plans, he delivered a discourse on the subject of the Fates and of Destiny in the grove of Smyrna in which stands the statue of the river Meles.
9. And being aware that Nerva would before long become sovereign, he went on to explain in his oration that not even tyrants are able to force the hand of destiny, and directing the attention of his audience to the brazen statue of Domitian which had been erected close by that of Meles, he said: "Thou fool, how much art thou mistaken in thy views of Destiny and Fate. For even if thou shouldst slay the man who is fated to be despot after thyself, he shall come to life again."
This saying was reported to Domitian by the malevolence of Euphrates, and though no one knew to which of the personages above mentioned this oracle applied, yet the despot in order to allay his fears determined to put them to death.
But in order that he might seem to have an excuse for doing so, he summoned Apollonius before him to defend himself on the charge of holding secret relations with them. For he considered that if he came, he could get a sentence pronounced against him, and so avoid the imputation of having put people to death without trial, seeing that they would have been convicted through Apollonius, or in the alternative case, if the latter by some ruse avoided an open trial, then the fate of the others would all the more certainly be sealed, because sentence would have been passed on them by their own accomplice.
10. Moved by these considerations Domitian had already written to the governor of Asia, directing the man of Tyana to be arrested and brought to Rome, when the latter foreseeing in his usual way through a divine instinct what was coming, told his companions that he needed to depart on a mysterious voyage; and they were reminded of the opinion enunciated by [the legendary sage] Abaris of old, and felt that he was intent upon some such scheme.
Apollonius however, without revealing his intention even to Damis, set sail in his company for Achaea, and having landed at Corinth and worshipped the Sun about midday, with his usual rites, embarked in the evening for Sicily and Italy. And falling in with a favorable wind and a good current that ran in his direction, he reached Dicaearchia [Puteoli] on the fifth day.
There he met Demetrius who passed for being the boldest of the philosophers, simply because he did not live far away from Rome, and knowing that he had moved to get out of the way of the tyrant, yet said by way of amusing himself: "I have caught you in your luxury, dwelling here in the most blessed part of happy Italy, if indeed she be happy, here where Odysseus is said to have forgotten in the company of Calypso the smoke of his Ithacan home."
Thereupon Demetrius embraced him and after sundry pious ejaculations said: "O ye gods, what will come upon philosophy, if she risks the loss of such a man as yourself?"
"And what risks does she run?" asked he.
"Those, surely, a foreknowledge of which brought you here," said the other; "for if I do not know what is in your mind, then I do not know what is in my own. But let us not conduct our conversation here, but let us retire where we can talk together alone, and let only Damis be present whom, by Heracles, I am inclined to consider an Iolaus [companion of Heracles] of your labors."
11. With these words, Demetrius led them to the villa in which Cicero lived of old, and it is close by the city. There they sat down under a plane tree where the grasshoppers were chirping to the soft music of the summer's breeze, when Demetrius glancing up at them, remarked: "O ye blessed insects and unfeignedly wise, it would seem then that the Muses have taught you a song which is neither actionable, nor likely to be informed against; and they made you superior to all wants of the belly, and settled you far above all human envy to live in these trees, in which you sit and sing in your blessedness about your own and the Muses' prerogative of happiness."
Now Apollonius understood the drift of this apostrophe, but it jarred upon him as inconsistent with the strenuous professions of his friend. "It seems then," he said, "that, though you only wanted to sing the praises of grasshoppers, you could not do it openly, but came cowering hither, as if there were a public law against anyone praising the grasshoppers."
"I said what I did," he replied, "not by way of praising them, but of signifying that while they are left unmolested in their concert halls, we are not allowed even to mutter; for wisdom has been rendered a penal offense. And whereas the indictment of Anytus and Meletus ran: Socrates commits wrong in corrupting youth and introducing a new religion, we are indicted in such terms as these: So and so commits wrong by being wise and just and gifted with understanding of the gods no less than of men, and with a wide knowledge of the laws.
And as for yourself, so far forth as you are cleverer and wiser than the rest of us, so much the more cleverly is the indictment against you drawn up; for Domitian intends to implicate you in the charges for which Nerva and his associates were banished."
"But for what crime," said Apollonius, "are they banished?"
"For what is reckoned by the persecutor to be the greatest of latter-day crimes. He says that he has caught these persons in the act of trying to usurp his throne, and accuses you of instigating their attempt by mutilating, I think, a boy."
"What, as if it were by an eunuch, that I want his empire overthrown?"
"It is not that," he replied, "of which we are falsely accused; but they declare that you sacrificed a boy to divine the secrets of futurity which are to be learned from an inspection of youthful entrails; and in the indictment your dress and manner of life are also impugned, and the fact of your being an object of worship to some. This then is what I have heard from our Telesinus, no less your intimate than mine."
"What luck," exclaimed Apollonius, "if we could meet Telesinus: for I suppose you mean the philosopher who held consular rank in the reign of Nero."
"The same," he said, "but how are we to come across him? For despots are doubly suspicious of any man of rank, should they find him holding communication with people who lie under such an accusation as you do. And Telesinus, moreover, gave way quietly before the edict which has lately been issued against philosophers of every kind, because he preferred to be in exile as a philosopher, to remain in Rome as a consul."
"I would not have him run any risks on my account anyhow," said Apollonius, "for the risks he runs in behalf of philosophy are serious enough.
12. But tell me this, Demetrius, what do you think I had better say or do in order to allay my own fears?"
"You had better not trifle," said the other, "nor pretend to be afraid when you foresee danger; for if you really thought these accusations terrifying, you would have been away by now and evaded the necessity of defending yourself from them."
"And would you run away," said Apollonius, "if you were placed in the same danger as myself?"
"I would not," he replied, "I swear by Athena, if there were someone to judge me; but in fact there is no fair trial, and if I did offer a defense, no one would even listen to me; or if I were listened to, I should be slain all the more certainly because I was known to be innocent. You would not, I suppose, care to see me choose so cold-blooded and lavish a death as that, rather than one which befits a philosopher.
"And I imagine that it behoves a philosopher to die in the attempt to liberate his city or to protect his parents and children and brothers and other kinsfolk, or to die struggling for his friends, who in the eyes of the wise are more precious than mere kinsfolk, or for favorites that have been purchased by love. But to be put to death not for true reasons, but for fancy ones, and to furnish the tyrant with a pretext for being considered wise, is much worse and more grievous than to be bowed and bent high in the sky on a wheel, as they say Ixion was.
"But it seems to me the very fact of your coming here will be the beginning of your trial; for though you may attribute your journey hither to your quiet conscience, and to the fact that you would have never ventured upon it if you were guilty, Domitian will credit you with nothing of the kind; but will merely believe that you ventured on so hardy a course because you possess some mysterious power. For think, ten days, they say, have not elapsed since you were cited to appear, and you turn up at the court, without even having heard as yet that you were to undergo a trial.
"Will not that be tantamount to justifying the accusation, for everyone will think that you foreknew the event, and the story of the boy will gain credit therefrom? And take care that the discourse which they say you delivered about the Fates and Necessity in Ionia does not come true of yourself; and that, in case destiny has some cruelty in store, you are not marching straight to meet it with your hands tied, just because you won't see that discretion is the better part of valor.
And if you have not forgotten the affairs of Nero's reign, you will remember my own case, and that I showed no coward's dread of death. But then one gained some respite: for although Nero's harp was ill attuned to the dignity that befits a king, and clashed therewith, yet in other ways its music harmonized not unpleasantly with ours, for he was induced thereby to grant a truce to his victims, and stay his murderous hand. At any rate he did not slay me, although I attracted his sword to myself as much by your discourses as by my own, which were delivered against the bath; and the reason why he did not slay me was that just then his voice improved, and he achieved, as he thought, a brilliant melody.
"But where's the royal nightingale, and where the harp to which we can today make our peace-offerings? For the outlook of today is unredeemed by music, and full of spleen, and this tyrant is as little likely to be charmed by himself, as by other people. It is true that Pindar says in praise of the lyre that it charms the savage beast of [the war god] Ares and stays his hand from war; but this ruler, although he has established a musical contest in Rome, and offers a civic crown for those who win therein, nevertheless slew some of them, for whom it was the proverbial swan-sung that they piped or sang.
"And you should also consider our friends and their safety, for you will certainly ruin them as well as yourself, if you make a show of being brave, or use arguments which will not be listened to.
"But your life lies within your reach; for here are ships -- you see how many there are -- some about to sail for Libya, others for Egypt, others for Phoenicia and Cyprus, others direct to Sardinia, other still for places beyond Sardinia. It were best for you to embark on one of these provinces; for the hand of tyranny is less heavy upon these distinguished men, if it perceives that they only desire to live quietly and not put themselves forward."
13. Damis was so impressed by the arguments of Demetrius that he exclaimed: "Well, you anyhow are a friend and by your presence you can do a very great service to my master here. As for me, I am of little account, and if I advised him not to throw somersaults upon naked swords, nor expose himself to risks with tyrants, than whom none were ever yet deemed harsher, he would not listen to me. As a matter of fact I should never have known, if I had not met you, what he meant by his journey hither; for I follow him more readily, more blindly, than another man would follow himself; and if you asked me where I am bound or for what, I should merely excite your laughter by telling you that I was traversing the seas of Sicily and the bays of Etruria, without knowing in the least why I took ship.
"And if only I were courting these dangers after I had received open warning, I could then say to those who asked me the question, that Apollonius was courting death, and that I was accompanying him on board ship because I was his rival in his passion. But as I know nothing of this matter, it's time for me to speak of what I do know; and I will say it in the interests of my master.
"For if I were put to death, it would not do much harm to philosophy, for I am like the esquire of some distinguished soldier, and am only entitled to consideration because I am of his suite. But if someone is going to be set on to slay him, and tyrants find it easy to contrive plots and to remove obstacles from their path, then I think a regular trophy will have been raised over the defeat of philosophy in the person of the noblest of her human representatives; and as there are many people lurking in our path, such as were Anytus and Meletus, writs of information will be scattered from all quarters at once against the companions of Apollonius; one will be accused of having laughed when his master attacked tyranny, another of having encouraged him to talk, a third of having suggested to him a topic to talk about, a fourth of having left his lecture-room with praise on his lips for what he had heard.
"I admit that one ought to die in the cause of philosophy in the sense of dying for one's temples, one's own walls, and one's sepulchers; for there are many famous heroes who have embraced death in order to save and protect such interests as those; but I pray that neither I myself may die in order to bring about the ruin of philosophy, and that no one else either may die for such an object who loves philosophy and loves Apollonius."
14. Apollonius answered thus: "We must make allowance for the very timid remarks which Damis has made about the situation; for he is a Syrian and lives on the border of Media, where tyrants are worshipped, and hence does not entertain a lofty idea of freedom; but as for yourself, I do not see how you can defend yourself at the bar of philosophy from the charge of trumping up fears, from which, even if there were really any reason for them, you ought to try to wean him; instead of doing so you try to plunge into terror a man who was not even afraid of such things as were likely to occur.
"I would indeed have a wise man sacrifice his life for the objects you have mentioned, but any man without being wise should equally die for them; for it is an obligation of law that we should die in behalf of our freedom, and an injunction of nature that we should die in behalf of our kinsfolk or of our friends or darlings.
"Now all men are the slaves of nature and of law; the willing slaves of nature, as the unwilling ones of law. But it is the duty of the wise in a still higher degree to lay down their lives for the tenets they have embraced. Here are interests which neither law has laid upon us, nor nature planted in us from birth, but to which we have devoted ourselves out of mere strength of character and courage. In behalf therefore of these, should anyone try to violate them, let the wise man pass through fire, let him bare his neck for the axe, for he will not be overcome by any such threats, nor driven to any sort of subterfuge; but he will cleave to all he knows as firmly as if it were a religion in which he had been initiated.
"As for myself, I am acquainted with more than other human beings, for I know all things, and what I know, I know partly for good men, partly for wise ones, partly for myself, partly for the gods, but for tyrants nothing. But that I am not come on any fool's errand, you can see if you will; for I run no risk of my life myself, nor shall I die at the hands of a despot, however much I might wish to do so; but I am aware that I am gambling with the lives of those whom I bear such relation as the tyrant chooses, whether he count me their leader or their supporter.
"But if I were to betray them by holding back or by cowardly refusal to face the accusation, what would good men think of me? Who would not justly slay me, for playing with the lives of men to whom was entrusted everything I had besought of heaven? And I would like to point out to you, that I could not possibly escape the reputation of being a traitor.
"For there are two kinds of tyrants; the one kind put their victims to death without trial, the other after they have been brought before a court of law. The former kind resemble the more passionate and prompt of wild beasts, the other kind resemble the gentle and more lethargic ones. That both kinds are cruel is clear to everybody who takes Nero as an example of the impetuous disposition which does not trouble about legal forms, Tiberius, on the other hand of the tardy and lurking nature; for the former destroyed his victims before they had any suspicion of what was coming, and the other after he had tortured them with long drawn-out terror.
"For myself I consider those crueler who make a pretense of legal trial, and of getting a verdict pronounced in accordance with the laws; for in reality they set them at defiance, and bring in the same verdict as they would have done without any real trial, giving the name of law to the mere postponement of their own spleen. The very fact of their being put to death in legal form does not deprive the wretches so condemned to death of that compassion on the part of the crowd, which should be tendered like a winding sheet to the victims of injustice.
"Well, I perceive that the present ruler cloaks his tyranny under legal forms. But it seems to me that he ends by condemnation without trial; for he really sentences men before they enter the court, and then brings them before it as if they had not yet been tried. Now one who is formally condemned by a verdict in court, can obviously say he perished owing to an illegal sentence, but how can he that evades his trial escape the implied verdict against himself? And supposing, now that the fate of such distinguished persons also rests on me, I do manage to run away from the crisis which equally impends over them and myself, what can save me no matter where I go on all the earth from the brand of infamy?
"For let us suppose that you have delivered yourself of all these sentiments, and that I have admitted their correctness and acted on them, and that in consequence our friends have been murdered, what prayers could I offer in such a case for a favorable voyage? What haven could I cast anchor in? To whom could I set out on any voyage? For methinks I should have to steer clear of any land over which the Romans rule, and should have to seek men who are my friends, and yet do not live in sight of the tyrant, and that would be Phraotes, and the Babylonian, and the divine Iarchas, and the noble Thespesion.
"Now supposing I set out for Ethiopia, what, my excellent friend, could I tell Thespesion? For if I concealed this episode, I should prove myself a lover of falsehood, nay worse, a slave; while if I frankly confessed all to him, I could only use such words as these: O Thespesion, Euphrates slandered me to you and accused me of things that are not on my conscience; for he said that I was a boaster and a miracle-monger, and one that violated wisdom, especially that of the Indians; but while I am none of these things, I am nevertheless a betrayer of my own friends, and their murderer, and utterly unreliable and so forth; and if there is any wreath for virtue, I come to wear it, because I have ruined the greatest of the Roman houses so utterly, that henceforth they are left desolate.
"You blush, Demetrius, to hear such words; I see that you do so. What then, if you turn from Thespesion to Phraotes and imagine me fleeing to India to take refuge with such a man as he? How should I look him in the face? how should I explain the motive of my flight? Should I not have to say that when I visited him before, I was a gentleman not too faint-hearted to lay down my life for my friends; but that after enjoying his society, I had at your bidding thrown away with scorn this divinest of human privileges.
"And as for Iarchas, he surely would not ask me any questions at all when I arrived, but just as Aeolus once bade Odysseus quit his island with ignominy, because he had made a bad use of the gift of a good wind which he had bestowed on him, so Iarchas, I imagine, would drive me from his eminence, and tell me that I had disgraced the draught I there had from the cup of Tantalus. For they require a man who stoops and drinks of that goblet, to share the dangers of his friends.
"I know, Demetrius, how clever you are at chopping logic, and this, I believe, is why you will tender me some further advice, such as this: But you must not resort to those you have named, but to men with whom you have never had anything to do, and then your flight will be secure; for you will find it easier to lie hidden among people who do not know you.
"Well, let me examine this argument too, and see whether there is anything in it. For this is how I regard it: I consider that a wise man does nothing in private nor by himself alone; I hold that not even his inmost thoughts can be so devoid of witness, that he himself at least is not present with himself; and whether the Pythian inscription was suggested by Apollo himself, or by some man who had a healthy conscience, and was therefore minded to publish it as an aphorism for all, I hold that the sage who 'knows himself,' and has his own conscience as his perpetual companion, will never cower before things that scare the many, nor venture upon courses which others would engage upon without shame. For being the slaves of despots, they have been ready at times to betray to them even their dearest; because just as they trembled at imaginary terrors, so they felt no fear where they should have trembled.
"But Wisdom allows of none these things. For beside the Pythian epigram, she also praises Euripides who regarded 'conscience in the case of human beings as a disease which works their ruin, whenever they realize that they have done wrong.' [Euripides, Orestes 396.] For it was such conscience that brought up before Orestes and depicted in his imagination the shapes of the Eumenides, when he had gone mad with wrath against his mother; for whereas reason decides what should be done, conscience revises the resolutions taken by reason.
"If then reason chooses the better part, conscience forthwith escorts a man to all the temples, into all the by-streets, into all groves of the gods, and into all haunts of mankind, applauding him and singing his praises. She will even hymn his merits as he sleeps, and will weave around him a chorus of angels from the world of dreams; but if the determination of reason trip and fall into evil courses, conscience permits not the sinner to look others in the face, nor to address them freely and boldly with his lips; and she drives him away from temples and from prayer.
"For she suffers him not even to uplift his hands in prayer to the images, but strikes them down as he lifts them, as the law strikes down those who rebel against it; and she drives such men from every social meeting, and terrifies them in their sleep; and while she turns into dreams and windy forms all that they see by day, and any things they think they hear or say, she lends to their empty and fantastic flutterings of heart truth and substantial reality of well-found terror.
"I think then that I have clearly shown you, and that truth itself will convince you, that my conscience will convict me wherever I go, whether to people that know me, or to people that do not, supposing I were to betray my friends; but I will not betray even myself, but I will boldly wrestle with the tyrant, hailing him with the words of the noble Homer: Ares is as much my friend as thine." [Homer, Iliad 18.302.]
15. Damis was so impressed by this address, he tells us, that he took fresh resolution and courage, and Demetrius no longer despaired of Apollonius, but rather praising and agreeing with his appeal, wished godspeed to him in his perilous enterprise and to his mistress Philosophy for whose sake he braved so much.
And he led them, Damis says, to where he was lodging; but Apollonius declined and said: "It is now eventide, and about the time of the lighting up of the lamps and I must set out for the port of Rome, for this is the usual hour at which these ships sail. However we will dine together another time, when my affairs are on a better footing; for just now some charge would be trumped up against yourself of having dined with an enemy of the Emperor. Nor must you come down to the harbor with us, lest you should be accused, merely for having conversed with me, of harboring criminal designs."
Demetrius accordingly consented, and after embracing them he quitted them, though he often turned back to look towards them and wiped tears from his eyes. But Apollonius looked at Damis and said: "If you are firmly resolved, and as courageous as myself, let us both embark upon the ship; but if you are dispirited it is better for you to remain here, for you can live with Demetrius during the interval, since he is as much your friend as mine."
But Damis took him up and said: "What could I think of myself, if after you have so nobly discoursed today about the duty of sharing the dangers of one's friends, when they fall upon them, I let your words fall on deaf ears, and abandoned you in the hour of danger, and this although until now I have never shown cowardice where you are concerned?"
"You speak rightly," said Apollonius, "so let us depart; I will go as I am, but you must needs disguise yourself as a man of the people, nor must you wear your hair long as you do now, and you must exchange your philosopher's cloak for this linen garment, and you must put away the shoes you wear. But I must tell you what my intention is in this; for it were best to hold out as long as we can before the trial: then I do not wish that you should be a sharer of my fate through being detected by your dress, which will certainly betray you and lead to your arrest; but I would rather that you followed me in the guise of one not sworn to my philosophy, but just attached to me for other reasons, and so accompanying me in all I do."
This is the reason why Damis put off his Pythagorean garb; for he says he did not do it through cowardice, nor through any regret at having worn it, but merely because he approved of a device to which he accommodated himself to suit the expedience of the moment.
16. They sailed from Dicaearchia, and on the third day they put in to the mouth of the Tiber from which it is a fairly short sail up to Rome.
Now the Emperor's sword was at that time in the keeping of Aelianus, a person who long ago had been attached to Apollonius, because he once met him in Egypt. And although he said nothing openly in his favor to Domitian, for that his office did not allow of his doing -- for how could he have praised to his sovereign's face one who was supposed to be an object of detestation any more than he could intercede in his behalf as for a friend of his own?-- nevertheless whatever means there were of helping him in an unobtrusive way, he resorted to in his behalf; and accordingly at the time when, before he arrived, Apollonius was being calumniated to Domitian, he would say: "My sovereign, sophists are all prattle and flippancy; and their art is all show, and they are so eager to die because they get no good out of life; and therefore they don't wait for death to come of itself, but try to anticipate and draw it on themselves by provoking those who hold the sword.
"This I think was the reason which weighed with Nero and prevented his being drawn on by Demetrius into slaying him. For as he saw that he was anxious for death, he let him off not because he wished to pardon him, but because he disdained to put him to death. Moreover in the case of Musonius the Tyrrhenian, who opposed his rule in many ways, he only kept him in the island called Gyara; and Hellenes are so fond of sophists, that at that time they were all making voyages by ship to visit him, as they now do to visit the spring; for until Musonius went there, there was no water in the island, but he discovered a spring, which the Greeks celebrate as loudly as they do the horse's spring at Helicon."
17. In this way Aelian tried to put off the king until Apollonius arrived, and then he began to use more address; for he ordered Apollonius to be arrested and brought into his presence. And when the counsel for the prosecution began to abuse him as a wizard and an adept at magic, Aelian remarked, "Keep yourself and your charges against him for the Royal Court."
But Apollonius remarked: "If I am a wizard, how is it I am brought to trial? And if I am brought to trial, how can I be a wizard? Unless indeed the power of slander is so great that even wizards cannot get the better of it."
Then when the accuser was about to say something still more foolish, Aelian cut him short and said: "Leave me the time that will elapse until his trial begins; for I intend to examine the sophist's character privately, and not before yourselves; and if he admits his guilt, then the pleadings in the court can be cut short, and you can depart in peace, but if he denies his guilt, the emperor will try him."
He accordingly passed into his secret court where the most important accusations and causes were tried in strict privacy, and said to the company: "Do you depart hence, and let no one remain to listen, for such is the will of the Emperor."
18. And when they were alone, he said: "I, O Apollonius, was a stripling at the time when the father of the present sovereign came to Egypt to sacrifice to the gods, and to consult you about his own affairs. I was a tribune only then, but the Emperor took me with him because I was already versed in war; while you were so friendly with myself, that when the Emperor was receiving deputations from the cities, you took me aside and told me of what country I was and what was my name and parentage; and you foretold to me that I should hold this office which is accounted by the multitude the highest of all, and superior to all human positions at once, although to myself it means much trouble and much unhappiness.
"For I am the sentinel of the harshest of tyrants, whom if I betray, I am afraid of the wrath of heaven. But I have shown you how friendly I am towards yourself, for in reminding you how our friendship began, I have surely made it clear to you that it can never cease, as long as we can remember those beginnings.
[possibly a lacuna]
"If I have said I would question you in private about the charges which your accuser has drawn up against you, it was only a good-natured pretext on my part for obtaining an interview with you, in order to assure you of my own good will, and to warn you of the Emperor's designs. Now what his verdict will be in your case I do not know; but his temper is that of people who are anxious to condemn a person, but are ashamed to do so except upon some real evidence, and he wishes to make you an excuse for destroying these men of consular rank.
"So his wishes you see are criminal, but he observes a certain formality in his actions in order to preserve a semblance of justice. And I, too, in my turn, must pretend to be exasperated with you; for if he suspects me of any leniency, I do not know which of us will be the first to perish."
19. Apollonius replied: "Since we are talking without any restraint and you have told me all that is in your heart, I in turn am bound to tell you no less; and since you also take a philosopher's view of your own position, as one might do who has most thoroughly studied philosophy in my society, and, by Heaven, inasmuch as you are so kindly disposed towards us as to imagine you run a common risk with myself, I will tell you exactly what I think.
"It was in my power to run away from you to many parts of the earth, where your authority is not recognized, and where I should have found myself among wise men, men much wiser than myself, and where I might have worshipped the gods in accordance with the principles of sound reason. I had only to go to the haunts of men who are more beloved of the gods than are the people of this city, men among whom such things as informers and writs or accusation are unknown, because, since they neither wrong one another nor are wronged, they stand in no need of law-courts.
"But I am come to offer my defense, because I fear to be branded as a traitor; for, if I ran away instead of stating and defending myself, those who are running risks on my account would be brought to ruin. But I would have you tell me what are the accusations against which I have to defend myself."
20. "The counts of the indictment," replied the other, "are as varied as they are numerous; for your style of dress is assailed in them and your way of living in general, and your having been worshipped by certain people, and the fact that in Ephesus once you delivered an oracle about the famine; and also that you have uttered certain sentiments to the detriment of the sovereign, some of them openly, some of them obscurely and privately, and some of them on the pretense that you learned them from heaven.
"But the charge which most appeals to the credulity of the Emperor, although I cannot credit it in the least, for I know that you are opposed even to shedding the blood of victims, is the following: they say that you visited Nerva in the country, and that you cut up an Arcadian boy for him when he was consulting the auspices against the Emperor; and that by such rites as these you roused his ambitions; and that all this was done by night when the moon was already on the wane. This is the accusation as compared with which we need not consider any other, because it far outweighs them all.
"For if the accuser attacks your dress and your mode of life and your gift of foreknowledge, it is only by way, I assure you, of leading up to this charge; and it was moreover these peculiarities which prompted you to commit the crime of conspiring against the Emperor, so he says, and emboldened you to offer such a sacrifice. You must then be prepared to defend yourself upon these counts, and I would only ask you in what you say to show great respect for the sovereign."
And Apollonius replied: "That I shall show no disrespect, you may clearly gather from the fact that I am come here to justify myself; and even if my circumstances were such as to embolden me to treat a despot in a haughty manner, I should anyhow submit myself to a man like yourself who also loves me.
"For though it does not so much matter if you merely fall into the bad graces of an enemy -- for your enemies will hate you not for reasons which make you an object of public suspicion, but for private causes of offense which you have given them -- nothing is graver than to give a friend reason to think ill of you: this is worse than all your enemies put together can effect, for no man can avoid being disliked by the public too for his ill conduct."
21. These words impressed Aelian as very sensible; and he bade him be of good courage, while he himself formed the conviction that here was a man whom nothing could terrify or startle, and who would not flinch, even if the head of the Gorgon were brandished over him. He accordingly summoned the jailors who had charge of such cases and said: "My orders are to detain this man, until the Emperor be informed of his arrival and learn from his lips all he has said to me."
And he said this with the air of a man very much enraged; and then he went into the palace and began to attend to the duties of his office.
At this point Damis records an incident which in a way resembles and in a way is unlike the episode related of Aristides long ago at Athens. For they were ostracizing Aristides because of his virtue, and he had no sooner passed the gates of the city than a rustic came up to him and begged him to fill up his voting sherd against Aristides. This rustic knew no more to whom he was speaking than he knew how to write; he only knew that Aristides was detested because he was so just.
Now on this occasion a tribune who knew Apollonius perfectly well, addressed him and asked him in an insolent manner, what had brought him to such a pass. Apollonius replied that he did not know.
"Well," said the other, "I can tell you: for it is allowing yourself to be worshipped by your fellow-men that has led you to be accused of setting yourself on a level with the gods."
"And who is it," asked the other, "that has paid me this worship?"
"I myself," said the other, "when I was still a boy in Ephesus, at a time when you stayed our epidemic."
"Lucky it was both for you, and for the city of Ephesus that was saved."
"Well this is a reason," said the other, "why I have prepared a method of defense for yourself, which will rid you of the charge against you. For let us go outside the gates, and if I cut your head off with my sword, the accusation will have defeated itself and you will go scot free; but if you terrify me to such an extent that I drop my sword, you must needs be thought a divine being, and then it will be seen that there is a basis of truth in the charges made against you."
So much coarser and ruder was this fellow than the man who wished to banish Aristides, and he uttered his words with grimace and mocking laughter, but Apollonius affected not to have heard him, and went on with his conversation with Damis about the delta, about which they say the Nile is divided into two branches.
22. Aelian next summoned him and ordered him into prison, where the captives were not bound, "until," he said, "the Emperor shall have leisure, for he desires to talk with you privately before taking any further steps."
Apollonius accordingly left the law-court and passed into the prison, where he said: "Let us talk, Damis, with the people here. For what else is there for us to do until the time comes when the despot will give me such audience as he desires?"
"Will they not think us babblers," said Damis, "and bores, if we interrupt them in the preparation of their defense, and moreover, it is a mistake to talk philosophy with men so broken in spirit as they."
"Nay," said Apollonius, "they are just the people who most want someone to talk to them and comfort them. For you may remember the verses of Homer in which he relates how Helen mingled in the bowl of wine certain drugs from Egypt to drown the heartache of the heroes [Homer, Odyssey 4.219]; well, I think that Helen must have picked up the lore of the Egyptians, and have sung spells over the dejected heroes through their bowl of wine, so healing them by a blending of words and wine."
"And that is likely enough," said Damis, "seeing that she came to Egypt and was escorted by Proteus; or, if we prefer Homer's account, was well acquainted with Polydamna, the daughter of Thon. However let us dismiss these topics for the moment, for I want to ask you something."
"I know," said Apollonius, "what you are going to ask me, for I am sure you wish me to tell you what my conversation was about with the consul, and what he said, and whether he was formidable and severe or gentle to me."
And forthwith he told Damis all that had passed. Thereupon Damis prostrated himself before him and said: "Now I am ready to believe that Leucothea did really once give her veil to Odysseus, after he had fallen out of his ship and was paddling himself over the sea with his hands. [Homer, Odyssey 5.333.] For we are reduced to just as awful and impossible a plight, when some god, as it seems to me, stretches out his hand over us, that we fall not away from all hope of salvation."
But Apollonius disapproved of the way he spoke, and said: "How long will you continue to cherish these fears, as if you could never understand that wisdom amazes all that is sensible of her, but is herself not amazed by anything."
"But we," said Damis, "are brought here before one who is quite insensible, and who not only cannot be amazed by us, but would not allow anything in the world to amaze him."
"Seest thou not," said Apollonius, "O Damis, that he is maddened with pride and vanity?"
"I see it, how can I not?" said the other.
"Well," said Apollonius, "you have got to despise the despot just in proportion as you get to know him."
23. They were talking like this, when someone, a Cilician I think, came up and said: "I, gentlemen, am brought to this pass by my wealth."
And Apollonius replied: "If your wealth was acquired by other than holy methods, for example by piracy and administration of deadly drugs, or by disturbing the tombs of ancient kings which are full of gold and treasure, you deserve not only to be put on your trial, but also to forfeit your life; for these things are wealth no doubt, but of an infamous and inhuman kind. But if you acquired your wealth by inheritance or by commerce such as befits free men and not by petty traffic, who could be so cruel as to deprive you under color of law of what you have acquired with its venerable sanction?"
"My property," said the other, has accrued to me from several of my relations, and has centered itself in my single household; and I use it, not as if it belonged to other people, for it is my own; yet not as my own, for I share it freely with all good men. But the informers accused me of having acquired my wealth to the prejudice of the despot; for they say that, if I attached myself to another as his accomplice, my wealth would weigh heavily in his favor.
"And there is actually an oracular air about the charges made against us, such as that all excess of wealth engenders insolence, or that more than ordinary wealth makes its owner carry his head too high and rouses in him a spirit of pride; and that it prevents him from being a good subject and obeying the laws and rulers who are sent to the provinces; they say indeed that it is very nearly tantamount to giving them a box on the ears, because they grovel to wealthy men or connive at their crime, on account of the influence which wealth gives.
"Now when I was a stripling, before I had as much as a hundred talent to call my own, I used to think such apprehensions as ridiculous and I had small anxiety on the score of my property; but when my paternal uncle died and in a single day I came in for a reversion of five hundred talents, my mind underwent such a change as those who break horses effect, when they cure them of being unruly and intractable. And as my riches increased and flowed in to me by land and by sea, I became so much the slave of anxiety about them, that I poured out my substance, partly upon sycophants whom I had to flatter in order to stop their mouths by means of such blackmail, and partly upon governors whose influence I wished to to enlist on my side against those who plotted against me, and partly on my kinsmen, to prevent them being jealous of my wealth, and partly on my slaves for fear they should become worse than they were and complain of being neglected. And I also had to support a magnificent flock of friends, for the latter were full of solicitude for me; and some insisted on helping me with their own hands, and others with their warnings and advice.
"But although I thus fenced my wealth about, and surrounded myself so securely with fortifications, I now am imperiled by it, and I am not yet sure that I shall escape with my life."
And Apollonius answered: "Take heart, for you have your wealth to go surety for your life; for if it is your wealth which has led to your being confined in bonds, it is your wealth also which, when it is dissipated, will not only release you from this prison, but from the necessity of cherishing and flattering those sycophants and slaves whose yoke it has imposed upon your neck."
24. Another man came and said that he was being prosecuted, because at a public sacrifice in Tarentum, where he held office, he had omitted to mention in the public prayers that Domitian was the son of Athena. Said Apollonius: "You imagined that Athena could not possibly have a son, because she is a virgin for ever and ever; but you forgot, methinks, that this goddess once on a time bore a dragon to the Athenians."
25. Another man was confined in the prison on the following charge: He had a property in Acarnania near the mouth of the Achelous; and he had been in the habit of sailing about the islands called the Echinades in a small boat, and he noticed that one of them was already joined to the mainland; and he planted it all over with fruitful trees and vines producing sweet wine. So he made it a convenient habitation for himself, for he also brought in water in sufficient quantities for the island from the mainland.
In consequence, an accusation was trumped up against him, that he had a guilty conscience, and that it was because he was conscious of having committed crimes beyond description, that he transported himself and quitted all other land, feeling that he polluted it, and at the same time had chosen for himself the same form of release as Alcmaeon the son of Amphiareus had done, when after his mother's murder he went and lived on the delta of the Achelous. Even if he had not committed the same crime as Alcmaeon, he must yet, they said, have on his conscience horrible deeds, not falling short of his.
Although he denied these insinuations, and declared that he only went to live there for the sake of peace and quiet, he had nevertheless, they said, been accused and brought to justice, and for this reason he was cast into prison.
26. Several prisoners, for there were about fifty of them in this prison, approached Apollonius inside it, and uttered such lamentations as the above. Some of them were sick, some of them had given way to dejection, some of them expected death with certainty and with resignation, some of them bewailed and called upon their children and their parents and their wives.
Whereupon, "O Damis," said Apollonius, affected by the spectacle, "it seems to me that these people need the drug which I alluded to when I first entered. Whether it be an Egyptian remedy, or whether it grows in every land and only needs wisdom enough to cut it from its root out of her own gardens, let us administer some of it to these poor people, lest their own feelings destroy them before Domitian can do it."
"Let us do so," said Damis, "for they seem in need of it."
Accordingly Apollonius called them all together and said: "Gentlemen, who are sharing with me the hospitality of this poor roof, I am wrung with pity for you, because I feel that you are undoing yourselves, before you know in the least whether the accuser will undo you. For it seems to me that you are ready to put yourselves to death and anticipate the death sentence which you expect will be pronounced against you; and so you show actual courage where you should feel fear, and fear where you should be courageous.
"This should not be; but you should bear in mind the words of [the poet] Archilochus of Paros who says that the patience under adversity which he called endurance was a veritable discovery of the gods; for it will bear you up in your misery, just as a skillful pilot carries the bow of his ship above the wash of the sea, whenever the billows are raised higher than his bark. Nor should you consider as desperate this situation into which you have been brought against your wills, but I myself of my own accord.
"For if you admit the charges brought against you, you ought rather to deplore the day when your judgment and impulses betrayed you into unjust and cruel courses of action. But if you, my friend yonder, deny that you took up your residence in the island of Achelous for the reason which your accuser alleges; and you there, that you ever raised your wealth to the peril and endangering of the sovereignty; and you again that you of set purpose deprived the sovereign of his pretension to be called the son of Athena, -- if, I say, you can prove that the several reasons alleged for your being, each of you, here in such parlous plights, are unfounded, what then is the meaning of all this lamentation about things which have no existence or reality? For instead of crying after your friends and relatives, you ought rather to feel just as much courage as you now feel despair; for such I imagine are the rewards of the endurance I have described.
"But perhaps you would argue that confinement here and life in a prison are hard to bear in themselves? Or do you look upon them as the mere beginning of what you expect to suffer? Or do you think that they are punishment sufficient in themselves, even if you are exposed to nothing else in the way of penalty?
"Well, I understand human nature, and I will preach you a sermon which is very unlike the prescriptions of physicians, for I shall implant strength in you and will avert death from you. We men are in a prison all that time which we choose to call life. For this soul of ours, being bound and fettered in a perishable body, has to endure many things, and be the slave of all the affections which visit humanity; and the men who first invented a dwelling seem to me not to have known that they were only surrounding their kind in a fresh prison; for, to tell you the truth, all those who inhabit palaces and have established themselves securely in them, are, I consider, in closer bonds in them than any whom they may throw into bonds.
"And when I think of cities and walls, it seems to me that these are common prisons, so that the merchants are in chains, in chains no less than the members of the Assembly, and the frequenters also of spectacles, as well as those who organize public processions.
"Then there are the Scythians who go about upon wagons; they are just as much in chains as ourselves; for rivers like the Ister [Danube] and the Thermodon and the Tanais hem them in, and they are very difficult to cross, except when they are hard frozen; and they fix up their houses on their wagons, and they imagine they are driving about, when they are merely cowering in them.
"And if you don't think it too silly a thing to say, there are those who teach that the ocean also encompasses the earth in order to chain it in. Come, O ye poets, for this is your domain. Recite your rhapsodies to this despondent crowd, and tell them how Kronos was once put in bonds by the wiles of Zeus; and Ares, the most warlike of gods, was first enchained in heaven by Hephaestus, and later upon earth by the sons of Aloeus.
"When we think of these things, and reflect on the many wise and blessed men who have been thrown into prison by wanton mobs, or insulted by despots, let us accept our fate with resignation, that we may not be found inferior to those who have accepted the same before us."
Such were the words which he addressed to his companions in the prison, and they had such an effect upon them that most of them took their food and wiped away their tears, and walked in hope, believing that they could never come to harm as long as they were in his company.
27. On the next day he was haranguing them in a discourse of the same tenor, when a man was sent into the prison privately by Domitian to listen to what he said. In his deportment this person had a downcast air and, as he himself admitted, looked as if he ran a great risk. He had great volubility of speech, as is usually the case with sycophants who have been chosen to draw up eight or ten informations.
Apollonius saw through the trick and talked about themes which could in no way serve his purpose; for he told his audience about rivers and mountains, and he described wild animals and trees to them, so that they were amused, while the informer gained nothing to his purpose. And when he tried to draw him away from these subjects, and get him to abuse the tyrant, "My good friend," said Apollonius, "you say what you like, for I am the last man in the world to inform against you; but if I find anything to blame in the Emperor, I'll say it to his face."
28. There followed other episodes in this prison, some of them insidiously contrived, and others of mere chance, and not of sufficient importance to merit my notice. But Damis, I believe, has recorded them in his anxiety to omit nothing; I only give what is to the point.
It was evening, and it was already the fifth day of his imprisonment, when a certain person entered the prison, who spoke the Hellenic tongue, and said: "Where is the man of Tyana?"
And taking Apollonius aside he said: "It is tomorrow that the Emperor will give you an audience." And this he appeared to have heard direct from Aelian.
"I will keep your secret," said Apollonius, "for it is only Aelian, I think, who can know so much."
"Moreover," said the other, "word has been given to the chief jailer to supply you with everything which you may want."
"You are very kind," said Apollonius, "but I lead exactly the same life here as I would outside; for I converse about casual topics, and I do not need anything."
"And do you not, O Apollonius, need someone to advise you how to converse with the Emperor?"
"Yes by heaven," he replied, "if only he will not try to get me to flatter him."
"And what if he merely advised you not to slight him nor flout him?"
"He could give no better advice," said Apollonius, "and it is what I have made up my own mind to do."
"Well, it was about this that I am come," said the other, "and I am delighted to find you so sensibly disposed; but you ought to be prepared for the way in which the Emperor speaks, and also for the disagreeable quality of his face; for he talks in a deep voice, even if he is merely engaged in a gentle conversation, and his eyebrows overhang the sockets of his eyes and his cheeks are so bloated with bile, that this distinguishes him more than anything else. We must not be frightened, O man of Tyana, by these characteristics, for they rather belong to nature than to anything else, and they always are the same."
And Apollonius replied: "If Odysseus could go into the cave of Polyphemus, without having been informed beforehand either of the giant's size, or what he ate, or of how he thundered with his voice, and yet did not lose his presence of mind, though he was in some trepidation to begin with; and if he left his cave after acquitting himself like a man, I too shall be quite satisfied if I get off with my own life and with that of my companions, in whose behalf I incur this risk."
Such were the words that passed between him and his visitor, and after reporting them to Damis he went to sleep.
29. And about dawn a notary came from the Royal court, and said: "It is the Emperor's orders, O Apollonius, that you should repair to his court at the time when the market-place is full; not indeed as yet to make your defense, for he wants to see you and find out who you are, and to talk with you alone."
"And why," said Apollonius, "do you trouble me with these details?"
"Are you not then Apollonius?" said the other.
"Yes, by Heaven," he said, "and of Tyana too."
"To whom then," said the other, "should I give this message?"
"To those who will take me thither," he replied, "for I suppose that I shall have to get out of this prison somehow."
"Orders have already been given," replied the other, "to them, and I will come here in good time, and I only came to give you the message now, because the orders were issued late last night."
30. He accordingly went away: but Apollonius after resting himself a little while on his bed said, "Damis, I need sleep, for I have had a bad night trying to remember what Phraotes once told me."
"Well," said the other, "if you had to keep awake, you had much better have occupied yourself in preparing for so great an occasion as now is announced to you."
"And how could I prepare myself," said Apollonius, "when I do not even know what questions he will ask of me?"
"Then are you going to defend your life extempore?" said Damis.
"Yes, by Heaven," he replied, "for it is an extempore life that I have always led. But I want to tell you what I could remember of the conversation with Phraotes, for I think you will find it very profitable under the circumstances. Phraotes enjoined the tamers of lions not to strike them, for he said that they bear you a grudge if they are struck; but also not to flatter them, because that tends to make them proud and fierce; but he advised them rather to stroke them with the hand at the same time that they threatened them, as the best way of reducing them to obedience and docility.
"Well, he made these remarks not really about lions -- for we were not interested about how to keep lions and wild beasts -- but he was really supplying a curb and rein for tyrants of such a kind as he thought would in practice keep them within the lines of good sense and moderation."
"This story," said Damis, "is indeed most apposite to the manners of tyrants; but there is also a story in Aesop about a certain lion who lived in a cave, and Aesop says that he was not sick, but only pretended to be so, and that he seized on other wild animals who went to visit him; and accordingly the fox made the remark: 'What are we to do with him, for no one ever quits his residence, nor are any tracks to be seen of his visitors going out again?'"
And Apollonius remarked: "Well, as for myself I should have regarded your fox as a cleverer animal, if he had gone in to see the lion, and instead of being caught had issued from the cave safely and left clear tracks behind him."
31. After making this remark, he took a short nap, just enough to close his eyes, and when day came he offered his prayers to the Sun, as best as he could in prison, and then he conversed with all who came up and asked him questions; and so about the time when the market fills a notary came and ordered him to repair at once to court, adding: "Lest we should not get there in time for the summons in his presence."
And Apollonius said: "Let us go," and eagerly went forth. And on the way four bodyguards followed him, keeping at a greater distance from him than would an escort merely to guard him. And Damis also followed in his train, in some trepidation indeed, but apparently plunged in thought.
Now the eyes were all turned upon Apollonius, for not only were they attracted by his dress and bearing, but there was a godlike look in his eyes, which struck them with astonishment; and moreover the fact that he had come to Rome to risk his life for his friends conciliated the good wishes even of those who were evilly disposed to him before.
When he halted at the Palace and beheld the throng of those who were either being courted or were courting their superiors, and heard the din of those who were passing in and out, he remarked: "It seems to me, O Damis, that this place resembles a bath; for I see people outside hastening in, and those within, hastening out; and some of them resemble people who have been thoroughly washed, and others those who have not been washed at all."
This saying is the inviolable property of Apollonius, and I wish it to be reserved to him and not ascribed to this man and that, for it is so thoroughly and genuinely his, that he has repeated it in one of his letters.
There he saw a very old man who was trying to get an appointment, and in order to do so was groveling before the Emperor and fawning upon him. "Here is one," he said, "O Damis, whom not even Sophocles so far has been able to persuade to run away from a master who is raging mad."
"Yes, a master," said Damis, "that we ourselves, Apollonius, have chosen for our own; for that is why we are standing here at such gates as these."
"It seems to me, O Damis," said the other, "that you imagine Aeacus to be warden of these gates, as he is said to be of the gates of Hades; for verily you look like a dead man."
"Not dead yet," said Damis, "but shortly to be so."
And Apollonius answered: "O Damis, you do not seem to me to take very kindly to death, although you have been with me some time, and have studied philosophy from your first youth. But I had imagined that you were prepared for it, and had also acquainted yourself with all the strategy and tactical resources that I have at my command; for just as men in battle, no matter how heavily armed they are, require not merely pluck, but also a knowledge of tactics to interpret to them the right opportunities of battle, so also philosophers must wait for the right opportunities when to die; so that they be not taken off their guard, nor like suicides rush into death, but may greet their enemies upon ground of their own good choosing. But that I made my choice well of a moment to die in and found an occasion worthy of a philosopher, supposing anyone wants to kill him, I have both proved to others before whom I defended myself in your presence, and am tired of teaching yourself the same."
32. So far these matters then; but when the Emperor had leisure, having got rid of all his urgent affairs, to give an audience to our sage, the attendants whose office it was conducted him into the palace, without allowing Damis to follow him. And the Emperor was wearing a wreath of olive leaves, for he had just been offering a sacrifice to Athena in the hall of Adonis and this hall was bright with baskets of flowers, such as the Syrians at the time of the festival of Adonis make up in his honor, growing them under their very roofs.
Though the Emperor was engaged with his religious rites, he turned round, and was so much struck by Apollonius' appearance, that he said: "O Aelian, it is a demon that you have introduced to me."
But Apollonius, without losing his composure, made free to comment upon the Emperor's words, and said: "As for myself, I imagined that Athena was your tutelary goddess, O sovereign, in the same way as she was Diomede's long ago in Troy; for she removed the mist which dulls the eyes of men from those of Diomede, and endowed him with the faculty of distinguishing gods from men. But the goddess has not yet purged your eyes as she did his, my sovereign; yet it were well, if Athena did so, that you might behold her more clearly and not confuse mere men with the forms of demons."
"And you," said the Emperor, "O philosopher, when did you have this mist cleared away from your eyes?"
"Long ago," said he, "and ever since I have been a philosopher."
"How comes it then," said the Emperor, "that you have come to regard as gods persons who are most hostile to myself?"
"And what hostility," said Apollonius, "is there between yourself and Iarchas or Phraotes, both of them Indians and the only human beings that I regard as gods and meriting such a title?"
"Don't try to put me off with Indians," said the Emperor, "but just tell me about your darling Nerva and his accomplices."
"Am I to plead his cause," said Apollonius, "or--?”
"No, you shall not plead it," said the Emperor, "for he has been taken red-handed in guilt; but just prove to me, if you can, that you are not yourself equally guilty as being privy to his designs."
"If," said Apollonius, "you would hear how far I am in his counsel, and privy to his designs, please hear me, for why should I conceal the truth?"
Now the Emperor imagined that he was going to hear Apollonius confess very important secrets, and that whatever transpired would conduce to the destruction of the persons in question.
33. But Apollonius seeing him on tip-toe with expectation, merely said: "For myself, I know Nerva to be the most moderate of men and the gentlest and the most devoted to yourself, as well as a good ruler; though he is so averse to meddling in high matters of State, that he shrinks from office. And as for his friends, for I suppose you refer to Rufus and Orphitus -- these men also are discreet, so far as I know, and averse from wealth, somewhat sluggish to do all they lawfully may; while as for revolution, they are the last people in the world either to plan it or to take part with another who should do so."
But the Emperor was inflamed with anger at what he heard and said: "Then you mean to say that I am guilty of slander in their cases, since you assert that they are good men, only sluggish, whom I have ascertained to be the vilest of mankind and usurpers of my throne. For I can imagine that they too, if I put the question to them about you, would in their turn deny that you were a wizard and a hot-head and a braggart and a miser, and that you looked down on the laws. And so it is, you accursed rascals, that you all hold together like thieves. But the accusation shall unmask everything; for I know, as well as if I had been present and taken part in everything, all the oaths which you took, and the objects for which you took them, and when you did it, and what was your preliminary sacrifice."
At all this Apollonius did not even blanch, but merely remarked: "It is not creditable to you, O sovereign, nor is it congruous with the law, that you should either pretend to try a case affecting persons about whom you have already made up your mind, or should have made it up before ever you have tried them. But if you will have it so, permit me at once to begin and plead my defense. You are prejudiced against me, my sovereign, and you do me a greater wrong than could any false informer, for you take for granted, before you hear them, accusations which he only offers to prove."
"Begin your defense," said the Emperor, "at any point you like, but I know very well where to draw the line, and with what it is best to begin."
34. From that moment he began to insult the sage, by cutting off his beard, and hair, and confining him among the vilest felons; and as regards his hair being shaved, Apollonius remarked: "It had not occurred to me, O sovereign, that I risked losing my hair."
And as regards his imprisonment in bonds, he remarked: "If you think me a wizard, how will you ever fetter me? And if you fetter me, how can you say that I am a wizard?"
"Yes," replied the Emperor, "for I will not release you until you have turned into water, or into some wild animal, or into a tree."
"I will not turn into these things," said Apollonius, "even if I could, for I will not ever betray men who, in violation of all justice, stand in peril and what l am, that I will remain; but I am ready to endure all you can inflict upon my vile body, until I have finished pleading the cause of these persons."
"And who," asked the Emperor, "is going to plead your cause?"
"Time," replied Apollonius, "and the spirit of the gods, and the passion for wisdom which animates me."
35. Such was the prelude of his defense, which he made in private to Domitian, as Damis outlines it. But some have, out of malignity, perverted the facts, and say that he first made his defense, and only then was imprisoned, at the same time that he was also shorn; and they have forged a certain letter in the Ionic dialect, of tedious prolixity, in which they pretend that Apollonius went down on his knees to Domitian and besought him to release him of his bonds.
Now Apollonius, it is true, wrote his testament in the Ionian style of language; but I never met with any letter of his composed in that dialect, although I have come across a great many of them; nor did I ever find any verbosity in any letter of the sage's, for they are laconically brief as if they had been unwound from the ferule of a herald. Moreover, he won his cause and quitted the court, so how could he ever have been imprisoned after the verdict was given? But I must defer to relate what happened in the law court. I had best narrate first what ensued after he was shaved and what he said in his discourses, for it is worthy of notice.
36. For after the sage had been confined for two days in prison, some one came to the prison, and said that he had purchased the right to visit him, and that he was come to advise him how to save his life. This person then was a native of Syracuse, and was mind and mouthpiece of Domitian; and he had been suborned, like the earlier one, by him. But he had a more plausible mission; for whereas the first one beat about the bush, this one took up his parable straight from what he saw before him, and said: "Heavens, who would ever have thought of Apollonius being thrown into chains?"
"The person who threw him," said Apollonius, "for surely he would not have done so, if he had not thought of it."
"And who ever thought that his ambrosial locks could be cut off?"
"I myself," said Apollonius, "who wore them."
"And how can you endure it?" said the other.
"As a man well may bear it who is brought to this pass neither with nor without his will."
"And how can your leg endure the weight of the fetters?"
"I don't know," said Apollonius, "for my mind is intent upon other matters."
"And yet the mind," said the other, "must attend to what causes pain."
"Not necessarily," said Apollonius, "for if you are a man like myself, your mind, will either not feel the pain or will order it to cease."
"And what is it that occupies your mind?"
"The necessity," answered Apollonius, "of not noticing such things."
Then the other reverted to the matter of his locks and led the conversation round to them again, whereupon Apollonius remarked, "It is lucky for you, young man, that you were not one of the Achaeans long ago in Troy; for it seems to me that you would have raised a terrible hullabaloo over the locks of Achilles, when he cut them off in honor of Patroclus, supposing he really did so, and you would at least have swooned at such a spectacle. For if as you say, you are full of pity for my locks which were all grey and frowzy, what would you not have felt over those of Achilles which were nicely curled and auburn?"
The other of course had only made his remarks out of malice, in order to see what would make Apollonius wince, and, by Heaven, to see whether he would reproach his sovereign on account of his sufferings. But he was so shut up by the answers he got that he said: "You have incurred the royal displeasure on several grounds, but in particular on those for which Nerva and his friends are being prosecuted, namely of injuring the government. For certain informations have been conveyed to him about your words in Ionia, when you spoke of him in hostile and embittered tones. But they say that he attaches little importance to that matter, because his anger is whetted by the graver charges, and this although the informer from whom he learnt those first charges is a very distinguished person of great reputation."
"A new sort of Olympic winner is this you tell me of," said Apollonius, "that pretends to win distinction by the weightiness of his slanders. But I quite realize that he is Euphrates, who, I know, does everything against me which he can; and these are far from being the worst injuries which he has done me. For hearing once on a time that I was about to visit the naked sages of Ethiopia, he set himself to poison their minds against me and if I had not seen through his malignant designs, I should probably have gone away without even seeing their company."
The Syracusan then, much astonished at this remark, said: "Then you think it a much lesser thing to be traduced to the Emperor than to forfeit your good repute in the eyes of the naked sages owing to the insinuations dropped against you by Euphrates?"
"Yes, by Heaven," he said, "for I was going there as a learner, whereas I am come here with a mission to teach."
"And what are you going to teach?" said the other.
"That I am," said Apollonius, "a good and honorable man, a circumstance this of which the Emperor is not yet aware."
"But you can," said the other, "get out of your scrape if you only will teach him things, which if you had told him before you came here, you would never have been cast into prison."
Now Apollonius understood that the Syracusan was trying to drive him into some such admission as the Emperor had tried to get out of him, and that he imagined that out of sheer weariness of his imprisonment he would tell some falsehood to the detriment of his friends, and, accordingly he answered: "My excellent friend, if I have been cast into prison for telling Domitian the truth, what would happen to me if I refrained from telling it? For he apparently regards truth as something to be punished with imprisonment, just as I regard falsehood."
37. The Syracusan was so much struck with the superiority of his philosophical talent (for after saying this he went away), that he promptly left the prison; but Apollonius glancing at Damis said: "Do you understand this Python?"
"I understand," said he, "that he has been suborned to trip you up; but what you mean by Python, and what is the sense of such a name, I do nor know."
"Python," replied Apollonius, "of Byzantium, was, they say, a rhetor skillful to persuade men to evil courses. He was sent in the interests of Philip, son of Amyntas, on an embassy to the Hellenes to urge their enslavement, and though he passed by other states, he was careful to go to Athens, just at a time when rhetoric most flourished there. And he told them that they did a great injury to Philip, and made a great mistake trying to liberate the Hellenic nation.
Python delivered these sentiments, as they say, with a flood of words, but no one save Demosthenes of the Paeanian deme spoke to the contrary and checked his presumption; and he reckons it amongst his achievements that he bore the brunt of his attack unaided.
Now I would never call it an achievement that I refused to be drawn into the avowals which he wanted. Nevertheless I said that he was employed on the same job as Python, because he has come here as a despot's hireling to tender me monstrous advice."
38. Damis says that though Apollonius uttered many more discourses of the same kind, he was himself in despair of the situation, because he saw no way out of it except such as the gods have vouchsafed to some in answer to prayer, when they were in even worse straits. But a little before midday, he tells us that he said: "O man of Tyana," -- for he took a special pleasure, it appears, in being called by that name,- "what is to become of us?"
"Why what has become of us already," said Apollonius, "and nothing more, for no one is going to kill us."
"And who," said Damis, "is so invulnerable as that? But will you ever be liberated?"
"So far as it rests with the verdict of the court," said Apollonius, "I shall be set at liberty this day, but so far as depend upon my own will, now and here." And with these words he took his leg out of the fetters and remarked to Damis: "Here is proof positive to you of my freedom, to cheer you up."
Damis says that it was then for the first time that he really and truly understood the nature of Apollonius, to wit that it was divine and superhuman, for without sacrifice -- and how in prison could he have offered any?-- and without a single prayer, without even a word, he quietly laughed at the fetters, and then inserted his leg in them afresh, and behaved like a prisoner once more.
39. Now simple-minded people attribute such acts as this to wizardry, and they make the same mistake in respect of many purely human actions. For athletes resort to this art, just as do all who have to undergo a contest in their eagerness to win; and although it contributes nothing to their success, nevertheless these unfortunate people, after winning by mere chance as they generally do, rob themselves of the credit and attribute it to this art of wizardry.
Nor does any amount of failure in their enterprises shake their faith in it, they merely say such things as this: "If I had only offered this sacrifice or that, if I had only burnt that perfume in place of another, I should not have failed to win." And they really believe what they say.
Magic also besieges the doors of merchants no less, for we shall find them too attributing their successes in trade to the wizard or magician, no less than they ascribe their losses to their own parsimony and to their failure to sacrifice as often as they should have done.
But is especially lovers who are addicted to this art; for as the disease which they suffer from in any case renders them liable to be deluded, so much so that they go to old hags to talk about it, it is no wonder, I think, that they resort to these impostors and give ear to their quackeries. They will accept from them a magic girdle to wear, as well as precious stones, some of the bits of stone having come from the depths of the earth and others from the moon and stars; and then they are given all the spices which the gardens of India yield; and the cheats exact vast sums of money from them for all this, and yet do nothing to help them at all.
For let their favorites only give them the least encouragement, or let the attractions of the lover's presents advance his suit in the very least, and he at once sets out to laud the art as able to achieve anything; while if the experiment does not come off, he is as ready as ever to lay the blame on some omission, for he will say that he forgot to burn the spice, or to sacrifice or melt up that, and that everything turned upon that and it was impossible to do without it.
Now the various devices and artifices by which they work signs from heaven and all other miracles on a wide scale, have been actually recorded by certain authors, who laugh outright at the art in question. But for myself I would gladly denounce such arts in order to prevent young men from resorting to its professors, lest they become accustomed to such things even in fun. This digression has led me far enough from my subject; for why should I attack any further a thing which is equally condemned by nature and by law?
40. After Apollonius had thus revealed himself to Damis, and held some further conversation, about midday someone presented himself to them and made the following intimation verbally: "The Emperor, Apollonius, releases you from these fetters by the advice of Aelian; and he permits you to take up your quarters in the prison where criminals are not bound, until the time comes for you to make your defense, but you will probably be called upon to plead your cause five days from now."
"Who then," said Apollonius, "is to get me out of this place?"
"I," said the messenger, "so follow me."
And when the prisoners in the free prison saw him again, they all flocked round him, as around one restored to them against all expectations; for they entertained the same affectionate longing for Apollonius as children do for a parent who devotes himself to giving them good advice in an agreeable and modest manner, or who tells them stories of his own youth; nor did they try to hide their feelings; and Apollonius continued incessantly to give them advice.
41. And on the next day he called Damis and said: "My defense has to be pleaded by me on the day appointed, so do you betake yourself in the direction of Dicaearchia, for it is better to go by land; and when you have saluted Demetrius, turn aside to the sea-shore where the island of Calypso lies; for there you shall see me appear to you."
"Alive," asked Damis, "or how?"
Apollonius with a smile replied: "As I myself believe, alive, but as you will believe, risen from the dead."
Accordingly he says that he went away with much regret, for although he did not quite despair of his master's life, yet he hardly expected him to escape death. And on the third day he arrived at Dicaearchia, where he at once heard news of the great storm which had raged during those days; for a gale with rain had burst over the sea, sinking some of the ships that were sailing thither, and driving out of their course those which were tending to Sicily and the straits of Messina. And then he understood why it was that Apollonius had bidden him to go by land.
42. The events which followed are related by Damis, he says, from accounts given by Apollonius, both to himself and Demetrius. For he relates that there came to Rome from Messene in Arcadia a youth remarkable for his beauty, and found there many admirers, and above all Domitian, whose rivals even the former did not scruple to declare themselves, so strong was their attachment.
The youth however was too high-principled and respected his honor. Now had it been gold that he scorned or possessions or horses, or such other attractions and lures as sundry persons seek to corrupt young people with, we had no call to praise him, for the seducer can hardly dispense with such preparations. But he was tempted with larger honors than all those put together who ever attracted the glances of sovereigns, yet he disdained them all for himself. In consequence, he was cast into prison by his own admirer's orders.
He came up to Apollonius, and made as if he would speak to him, but, being counseled by his modesty to keep silent, did not venture to. Apollonius noticed this and said: "You are confined here, and yet are not of an age to be a malefactor, like ourselves who are hardened sinners."
"Yes, and I shall be put to death," said the other; "for by our latter-day laws self-respect is honored with capital punishment."
"So it was in the time of Theseus," answered Apollonius, "for Hippolytus was murdered by his own sire for the same reason."
"And I too," said the other, "am my own father's victim. For though I am an Arcadian from Messene, he did not give me an Hellenic education, but sent me here to study law; and when I had come here for that purpose the Emperor cast an evil eye on me."
But Apollonius feigned not to understand what he meant and said: "Tell me, my boy, surely the Emperor does not imagine you have blue eyes, when you have, as I see, black ones? Or that you have a crooked nose, whereas it is square and regular, like that of a well executed [statue of] Hermes? or has he not made some mistake about your hair? For, methinks, it is sunny and gleaming, and your mouth too is so regular, that whether you are silent or talking, it is equally comely, and you carry your head freely and proudly. Surely the Emperor must be mistaking all these traits for others, or you would not tell me he has cast an evil eye on you."
"That is just what ruined me," said the other, "for he has condescended to favor me and instead of sparing what he praises is prepared to insult me as a woman's lovers might."
Apollonius admired the Arcadian too much to ply him with such question as what he thought of sleeping together, as whether it was disgraceful or not, and others of the sort, as he noticed that he blushed and was not decorous in his language; so he only put to him the question: "Have you any slaves in Arcadia?"
"Why yes, many," replied the lad.
"What conversation to them," said Apollonius, "do you consider yourself as holding?"
"That," he replied, "which the laws assign to me, for I am their master."
"And must slaves obey their masters or disdain the wishes of those who are masters of their persons?"
The other discerned the drift of his question and answered: "I know indeed how irresistible and harsh is the power of tyrants, for they are inclined to use it to overpower even free men, but I am master of my person and shall guard it inviolate."
"How can you do that," said Apollonius, "for you have to do with an admirer who is prepared to run amuck of your youth, sword in hand?"
"I shall simply hold out my neck, which is all his sword requires."
Whereupon Apollonius commended him, and said: "I perceive you are an Arcadian."
Moreover, he mentions this youth in one of his letters, and gives a much more attractive account of him than I have done in the above, and while praising him for his high principles to his correspondent, adds that he was not put to death by the tyrant. On the contrary, after exciting admiration by his firmness, he returned by ship to Malea, and was held in more honor by the inhabitants of Arcadia than the youths who among the Lacedaemonians surpass their fellows in their endurance of the scourge.
1. Let us now repair to the law court to listen to the sage pleading his cause; for it is already sunrise and the doors are thrown open to admit the celebrities. And the companions of the Emperor [Domitian] say that he had taken no food today, because, I imagine, he was so absorbed in examining the documents of the case. For they say he was holding in his hands a roll of writing of some sort, sometimes reading it with anger, and sometimes more calmly. And we must needs figure him as one who was angry with the law for having invented such things as courts of justice.
2. But Apollonius, as we meet him in this conjuncture seems to regard the trial as a dialectical discussion, rather than as a race to be run for his life; and this we may infer from the way he behaved before he entered the court. For on his way thither he asked the secretary who was conducting him, where they were going; and when the latter answered that he was leading him to the court, he said: "Whom am I going to plead against?"
"Why," said the other, "against the accuser of course, and the Emperor will be judge."
"And," said Apollonius, "who is going to judge between myself and the Emperor? For I shall prove that he is wronging philosophy."
"And what concern," said the other, "has the Emperor for philosophy, even if he does happen to be wrong?"
"Nay, but philosophy," said Apollonius, "is much concerned about the Emperor, that he should govern as he should."
The secretary commended this sentiment, for indeed he was already favorably disposed to Apollonius, as he proved from the very beginning. "And how long will your pleading last by the water-clock's reckoning? For I must know this before the trial begins."
"If," said Apollonius, "I am allowed to plead as long as the necesseties of the suit require me to, the whole of the Tiber might run through the meter before I should have done; but if I am only to answer the questions put to me, then it depends on the cross-examiner how long I shall be making my answers."
"You have cultivated," remarked the other, "contrary talents when you thus engage to talk about one and the same matter both with brevity and with prolixity."
"They are not contrary talents," said Apollonius, "but resemble each other. And moreover there is a mean composed between the two, which I should not myself allege to be a third, but a first requisite for a pleader; and for my own part I am sure that silence constitutes a fourth excellence much required in a law-court."
"Anyhow," said the other, "it will do you no good nor anyone who stands in great peril."
"And yet," said Apollonius, "it was of great service to Socrates of Athens, when he was prosecuted."
"And what good did it do him," said the other, "seeing that he died just because he would say nothing?"
"He did not die," said Apollonius, "though the Athenians thought he did."
3. This was how he prepared himself to confront the despot's maneuvers; and as he waited before the court another secretary came up and said: "Man of Tyana, you must enter the court with nothing on you."
"Are we then to take a bath," said Apollonius, "or to plead?"
"The rule," said the other, "does not apply to dress, but the Emperor only forbids you to bring in here either amulet, or book, or any papers of any kind."
"And not even a cane," said Apollonius, "for the back of the idiots who gave him such advice as this?"
Whereat the accuser burst into shouts: "O my Emperor," he said, "this wizard threatens to beat me, for it was I who gave you this advice."
"Then," said Apollonius, "it is you who are a wizard rather than myself; for you say that you have persuaded the Emperor of my being that which so far I have failed to persuade him that I am not."
While the accuser was indulging in this abuse, one of the freedmen of Euphrates was at his side, whom the latter was said to have sent from Ionia with news of what Apollonius had there said in his conversations, and also with a sum of money which was presented to the accuser.
4. Such were the preliminary skirmishes which preceded the trial, but the conduct of the trial itself was as follows: The court was fitted up as if for an audience listening to a panegyrical discourse; and all the illustrious men of the city were present at the trial, because the Emperor was intent upon proving before as many people as possible that Apollonius was an accomplice of Nerva and his friends.
Apollonius, however, ignored the Emperor's presence so completely as not even to glance at him; and when his accuser upbraided him for want of respect, and bade him turn his eyes upon the god of all mankind, Apollonius raised his eyes to the ceiling, by way of giving a hint that he was looking up to Zeus, and that he regarded the recipient of such profane flattery as worse than he who administered it.
Whereupon the accuser began to bellow and spoke somewhat as follows: "'Tis time, my sovereign, to apportion the water, for if you allow him to talk as long as he chooses, he will choke us. Moreover I have a roll here which contains the heads of the charges against him, and to these he must answer, so let him defend himself against them one by one."
5. The Emperor approved of this plan of procedure and ordered Apollonius to make his defense according to the informer's advice; however, he dropped out other accusations, as not worth discussion, and confined himself to four questions which he thought were embarrassing and difficult to answer. "What induces you, he said, "Apollonius, to dress yourself differently from everybody else, and to wear this peculiar and singular garb?"
"Because," said Apollonius, "the earth which feeds me also clothes me, and I do not like to bother the poor animals."
The emperor next asked the question: "Why is it that men call you a god?"
"Because," answered Apollonius, "every man that is thought to be good, is honored by the title of god." I have shown in my narrative of India how this tenet passed into our hero's philosophy.
The third question related to the plague in Ephesus: "What motived," he said, "or suggested your prediction to the Ephesians that they would suffer from a plague?"
"I used," he said, "O my sovereign, a lighter diet than others, and so I was the first to be sensible of the danger; and if you like, I will enumerate the causes of pestilences."
But the Emperor, fearful, I imagine, lest Apollonius should reckon among the causes of such epidemics his own wrong-doing, and his incestuous marriage, and his other misdemeanors, replied: "Oh, I do not want any such answers as that."
And when he came to the fourth question which related to Nerva and his friends, instead of hurrying straight on to it, he allowed a certain interval to elapse, and after long reflection, and with the air of one who felt dizzy, he put his question in a way which surprised them all; for they expected him to throw off all disguise and blurt out the names of the persons in question without any reserve, complaining loudly and bitterly of the sacrifice; but instead of putting the question in this way, he beat about the bush, and said: "Tell me, you went out of your house on a certain day, and you traveled into the country, and sacrificed the boy -- I would like to know for whom?"
And Apollonius as if he were rebuking a child replied: "Good words, I beseech you; for I did leave my house, I was in the country; and if this was so, then I offered sacrifice: and if I offered it, then I ate of it. But let these assertions be proved by trustworthy witnesses."
Such a reply on the part of the sage aroused louder applause than beseemed the court of an Emperor; and the latter deeming the audience to have borne witness in favor of the accused, and also not a little impressed himself by the answers he had received, for they were both firm and sensible, said: "I acquit you of the charges; but you must remain here until we have had a private interview."
Thereat Apollonius was much encouraged and said: "I thank you indeed, my sovereign, but I would fain tell you that by reason of these miscreants your cities are in ruin, and the islands full of exiles, and the mainland of lamentations, and your armies of cowardice, and the Senate of suspicion. Accord me also, if you will, opportunity to speak; but if not, then send someone to take my body, for my soul you cannot take. Nay, you cannot take even my body,
"For thou shalt not slay me, since -- I tell thee -- I am not mortal." [Homer, Iliad 22.13]
And with these words he vanished from the court, which was the best thing he could do under the circumstances, for the Emperor clearly intended not to question him sincerely about the case, but about all sorts of irrelevant matters. For he took great credit to himself for not having put Apollonius to death, nor was the latter anxious to be drawn into such discussions.
And he thought that he would best effect his end if he left no one in ignorance of his true nature, but allowed it to be known to all to be such that he had it in him never to be taken prisoner against his own will. Moreover he had no longer any cause for anxiety about his friends; for as the despot had not the courage to ask any questions about them, how could he possibly put them to death with any color of justice upon charges for which no evidence had been presented in court?
Such was the account of the proceedings of the trial which I found.
6. But inasmuch as he had composed an oration which he would have delivered by the clock in defense of himself, only the tyrant confined him to the questions which I have enumerated, I have determined to publish this oration also. For I am well aware, indeed, that those who highly esteem the style of buffoons will find fault in it, as being less chaste and severe in its style than they consider it should be, and as too bombastic in language and tone.
However, when I consider that Apollonius was a sage, it seems to me that he would have unworthily concealed his true character if he had merely studied symmetry of endings, and antithesis, clicking his tongue as if it had been a castanet. For these tricks suit the genius of rhetoricians, though they are not necessary even to them. For forensic art, if it be too obvious, is apt to betray him who resorts to it as anxious to impose upon the judges; whereas if it is well concealed, it is likely to carry off a favorable verdict; for true cleverness consists in concealing from the judges the very cleverness of the pleader.
But when a wise man is defending his cause -- and I need not say that a wise man will not arraign another for faults which he has the will and strength to rebuke -- he requires quite another style than that of the hacks of the law-court; and though his oration must be well-prepared, it must not seem to be so, and it should possess a certain elevation almost amounting to scorn, and he must take care in speaking not to throw himself on the pity of the judges. For how can he appeal to the pity of others who would not condescend to solicit anything? Such an oration will my hero's seem to those who shall diligently study both myself and him; for it was composed by him in the following manner:
7.i. "My prince, we are at issue with one another concerning matters of grave moment; for you run such a risk as never autocrat did before you, that namely of being thought to be animated by a wholly unjust hatred of philosophy; while I am exposed to a worse peril than was ever Socrates at Athens, for though the accusers taxed him in their indictment with introducing new beliefs about demons, they never went so far as to call him or think him a demon.
"Since, however, so grave a peril besets us both, I will not hesitate to tender you the advice of whose excellence I am myself convinced. For since the accuser has plunged us into this struggle, the many have been led to form a false opinion of both myself and of you. They have come to imagine that you will listen only to the counsels of anger, with the result that you will even put me to death, whatever death means, and that I in turn shall try to evade this tribunal in some of the ways there are -- and they were, my prince, myriad -- of escaping from it.
"Though rumors have reached my ears, I have not contracted any prejudice against you, nor have I done you the injury of supposing you will hear my cause otherwise than in accordance with the strictest principles of equity; for in conformity with the laws I submit myself to their pronouncement.
"And I would advise you also to do the same; for justice demands that you should neither prejudge the case, nor take your seat on the bench with your mind made up to the belief that I have done you any wrong. If you were told that the Armenian, the Babylonian and other foreign potentates were about to inflict some disaster on you, which must lead to the loss of your empire, you would, I am sure, laugh outright; although they have hosts of cavalry, all kinds of archers, a gold bearing soil and, as I know full well, a teeming population. And yet you distrust a philosopher, naked of means of offense, and are ready to believe he is a menace to the autocrat of the Romans -- all this on the mere word of an Egyptian sycophant.
"Never did you hear such tales from Athena, whom you allege to be your guardian spirit, unless indeed, great Heavens!, their flattering and falsely accusing others has so increased the influence of these miscreants, that you would pretend that whereas in insignificant matters, such as sore eyes, and avoidance of fevers and inflammation of the bowels, the Gods are your apt advisers, manipulating and healing you after the manner of physicians of anyone of these maladies you may be suffering from, they, nevertheless, in matters which imperil your throne and your life, give you no counsel either as to the persons you should guard against or as to the weapons you should employ against them, but, instead of coming to your aid, leave you to the tender mercies of false accusers, whom you regard as the Aegis of Athena or the hand of Zeus, just because they assert that they understand your welfare better even than do the gods, and that they watch over you in the hours of their waking and sleeping, if indeed these wretches can sleep after pouring out such wicked lies and compiling ever and anon whole Iliads such as this one.
"That they should keep horses and roll theatrically into the forum in chariots drawn by snowy teams, that they should gorge themselves off dishes of silver and gold, parade favorites that cost them two or three myriad sesterces, that they should go on committing adultery as long as they are not found out and then and not before, marry the victims of their lusts when they are caught red-handed, that their splendid successes should be hailed with applause, as often as some philosopher or consul, absolutely innocent, falls into their toils and is put to death by yourself -- all this I am willing to concede to the license of these accursed wretches and to their brazen indifference to the public eye and to law; but that they should give themselves the airs of superhuman beings and presume to know better than the gods, I cannot approve or allow; and the mere rumor of it fills me with horror. And if you allow such things to be, they will perhaps accuse even yourself of offending against established religion.
"I know that my tone is rather that of a censor than that of a defendant; if so, you must pardon me for thus speaking up in behalf of the laws, with the recognition of whose authority by yourself stands and falls that of your own.
7.ii. "Who then will be my advocate while I am defending myself? For if I called upon Zeus to help me, under whom I am conscious of having passed my life, they will accuse me of being a wizard and of bringing heaven down to earth. Let us then appeal in this matter to one whom I deny to be dead, although the many assert it, I mean your own father [Vespasian], who held me in the same esteem in which you behold him; for he made you, and was in turn made by me. He, my prince, shall assist my defense, because he knows my character much better than yourself; for he came to Egypt before he was raised to the throne, as much to converse with me about the Empire as to sacrifice to the gods of Egypt.
"And when he found me with my long hair and dressed as I am at this moment, he did not ask me a single question about my costume, because he considered that everything about me was well; but he admitted that he had come thither on my account, and after commending me and saying to me things which he would have said to no one else, and having heard from me what he would have heard from no one else, he departed.
"I most confirmed him in his aspirations for the throne, when others had already sought to dissuade him, -- in no unfriendly spirit, I admit, though you anyhow can not agree with them; for those who tried to persuade him not to assume the reins of Empire were assuredly on their way to deprive you of the succession to him by which you now hold.
"But by my advice he did not hold himself unworthy, he said, of the kingdom which lay within his grasp and of making you the heirs thereto; and he fully acknowledged the entire wisdom of my advice, and he was raised himself to the pinnacle of greatness, as in turn he raised yourselves. Now if he had looked upon me as a wizard, he would never have taken me into his confidence, for he did not come and say such things as this to me: Compel the Fates or compel Zeus to appoint me tyrant, or to work miracles and portents in my behalf, and show me the sun rising in the west and setting at the point where he rises. For I should not have thought him a fit person for empire in he had either considered me as an adept in such art, or resorted to such tricks in pursuit of a crown which it behoved him to win by his virtues alone.
"More than this my conversation with him was held publicly in a temple, and wizards do not affect temples of the gods as their places of reunion; for such places are inimical to those who deal in magic, and they cloak their art under the cover of night and every sort of darkness, so as to preclude their dupes from the use of their eyes and ears.
"It is true that he also had a private conversation with me, but there were present at it beside myself Euphrates and Dion, one of them my bitter enemy, but the other my firmest friend; for may there never come a time when I shall not reckon Dion among my friends. Now I ask you, who would begin to talk wizardry in the presence of wise men or of men anyhow laying claim to wisdom? And who would not be equally on his guard both among friends and among enemies of betraying his villainy?
"And moreover our conversation on that occasion was directed against wizards; for you surely will not suppose that your own father when he was aspiring to the throne set more confidence in wizards than in himself, or that he got me to put pressure upon heaven, that he might obtain his object, when, on the contrary, he was confident of winning the crown before ever he came to Egypt; and subsequently he had more important matters to talk over with me, namely the laws and the just acquisition of wealth, and how the gods ought to be worshipped, and what blessings they have in store for those monarchs who govern their people in accordance with the laws.
"These are the subjects which he desired to learn about, and they are all the direct opposite of wizardry; for if they count for anything at all, there will be an end of the black art.
7.iii. "And there is another point, my prince, which merits your attention. The various arts known to mankind, in spite of the differences of their functions and achievements, are yet all concerned to make money, some earning less, some earning more, and some just enough to live upon; and not only the base mechanic arts, but of the rest those which are esteemed liberal arts as well as those which only border upon being liberal, and true philosophy is the only exception. And by liberal arts I mean poetry, music, astronomy, the art of the sophist and of the orator, the merely forensic kinds excepted; and by the arts which border upon liberal I mean those of the painter, modeller, sculptor, navigator, agriculturist, in case the latter waits upon the seasons; for these arts are not very inferior to the liberal professions.
"And on the other hand, my prince, there are the pseudo-liberal arts of jugglers, which I would not have you confuse with divination, for this is highly esteemed, if it be genuine and tell the truth, though whether it is an art, I am not sure. But I anyhow affirm wizards to be professors of a pseudo-liberal art, for they have got men to believe that the unreal is real, and to distrust the real as unreal, and I attribute all such efforts to the imaginative fancy of the dupes; for the cleverness of this art is relative to the folly of the persons who are deceived by them, and who offer the sacrifices they prescribe; and its professors are given up wholly to filthy lucre, for all their parade of skill is devised by them in hope of gain, and they try to persuade people who are passionately attached to something or another that they are capable of getting everything for them.
"Do you then find me so opulent as to warrant me in supposing that I cultivate the sort of false and illiberal wisdom, the more so as your own father considered me to be above all pecuniary considerations? And to show you that I speak the truth, here is a letter to me from that noble and divine man, who in it praises me more especially for my poverty. It runs thus:
The autocrat Vespasian to Apollonius the philosopher sends greetings.
If all men, Apollonius, were disposed to be philosophers in the same spirit as yourself, then the lot no less of philosophy than poverty would be an extremely happy one; for your philosophy is pure and disinterested, and your poverty is voluntary. Farewell.
"Let this be your sire's pleading in my behalf, when he thus lays stress upon the disinterestedness of my philosophy, and the voluntariness of my poverty. For I have no doubt he had in mind the episode in Egypt, when Euphrates and several of those who pretended to be philosophers approached him, and in no obscure language begged for money; whereas I myself not only did not solicit him for money, but repudiated them as impostors for doing so.
"And I also showed an aversion from money from my first youth; for realizing that my patrimony, and it was a considerable property, was at best but a transitory toy, I gave it up to my brothers and to my friends and to the poorer of my relatives, so disciplining myself from my very home and hearth to want nothing.
"I will not dwell upon Babylon and the parts of India beyond the Causasus and the river Hyphasis, through which I journeyed ever true to myself. But in favor of my life here and no less of the fact that I have never coveted money, I will invoke the testimony of the Egyptian here; for he accuses me of every sort of evil deed and design, yet we hear nothing from him of how much money I made by these villainies, nor of how much gain I had in view; indeed he thinks me such a simpleton as to practice my wizardry for nothing, and whereas others only commit its crimes for much money, he thinks that I commit them for none at all.
"It is as if I cried my wares to the public in such terms as the following: Come, O ye Dupes, for I am a wizard; and I practice my art not for money, but free, gratis, and for nothing; and so you shall earn a great reward, for each of you will go off with nothing but dangers and writs of accusation.
7. iv. "But without descending to such silly arguments, I would like to ask the accuser which of his counts I ought to take first. And yet why need I ask him? for at the beginning of his speech he dwelt upon my dress, and by Zeus, upon what I eat and what I do not eat.
"O divine Pythagoras, do thou defend me upon these counts; for we are put upon our trial for a rule of life of which thou wast the discoverer, and of which I am the humble partisan.
"For the earth, my prince, grows everything for mankind; and those who are pleased to live at peace with the brute creation want nothing, for some fruits they can cull from earth, others they win from her furrows, for she is the nurse of men, as suits the seasons; but these men, as it were deaf to the cries of mother earth, whet their knife against her children in order to get themselves dress and food.
"Here then is something which the Brahmans of India themselves condemned, and which they taught the naked sages of Egypt also to condemn; and from them Pythagoras took his rule of life, and he was the first of Hellenes who had intercourse with the Egyptians. And it was his rule to give up and leave her animals to the earth; but all things which she grows, he declared, were pure and undefiled, and ate of them accordingly, because they were best adapted to nourish both body and soul. But the garments which most men wear made of the hides of dead animals, he declared to be impure; and accordingly clad himself in linen, and on the same principles had his shoes woven of byblus.
"And what were the advantages which he derived from such purity? Many, and before all the privilege of recognizing his own soul. For he had existed in the age when Troy was fighting about Helen, and he had been the fairest of the sons of Panthus, and the best equipped of them all, yet he died at so young an age as to excite the lamentations even of Homer. Well after that he passed into several bodies according to the decree of Adrastea, which transfers the soul from body to body, and then he again resumed the form of man, and was born to Mnesarchides of Samos, this time a sage instead of a barbarian, and an Ionian instead of a Trojan, and so immune from death that he did not even forget that he was Euphorbus.
"I have then told you who was the begetter of my own wisdom, and I have shown that it is no discovery of my own, but an inheritance come to me from another. And as for myself though I do not condemn or judge those who make it part of their luxury to consume the red-plumaged bird, or the fowls from Phasis or the land of the Paeones, which are fattened up for their banquets by those who can deny nothing to their bellies, and though I have never yet brought an accusation against anyone, because they buy fish for their tables at greater prices than grand seigneurs ever gave for their Corinthian chargers, and though I have never grudged anyone his purple garment nor his soft raiment and Pamphylian tissues -- yet I am accused and put upon my trial, O ye gods, because I indulge in asphodel and dessert of dried fruits and pure delicacies of that kind.
7. v. "Nor even is my mode of dress protected from their calumnies, for the accuser is ready to steal even that off my back, because it has such vast value for wizards. And yet apart from my contention about the use of living animals and lifeless things, according as he uses one or the other of which I regard a man as impure or pure, in what way is linen better than wool? Was not the latter taken from the back of the gentlest of animals, of a creature beloved of the gods, who do not disdain themselves to be shepherds, and, by Zeus, once held the fleece to be worthy of a golden form, if it was really a god that did so, and if it be not a mere story?
"On the other hand linen is grown and sown anywhere, and there is no talk of gold in connection with it. Nevertheless, because it is not plucked from the back of a living animal, the Indians regard it as pure, and so do the Egyptians, and I myself and Pythagoras on this account have adopted it as our garb when we are discoursing or praying or offering sacrifice. And it is a pure substance under which to sleep of a night, for to those who live as I do dreams bring the truest of their revelations.
7. vi. "Let us next defend ourselves from the attack occasioned by the hair which we formerly wore, for one of the counts of the accusation turns upon the squalor thereof. But surely the Egyptian is not entitled to judge me for this, but rather the dandies with their yellow and well-combed locks; and let them bring dangling along the company of their lovers and the mistresses of their revels. Let them congratulate and compliment themselves upon their locks and on the myrrh which drips from them; but think me everything that is unattractive, and if a lover of anything, of abstention from love.
"For I am inclined to address them thus: O ye poor wretches, do not falsely accuse an institution of the Dorians; for the wearing of your hair long has come down from the Lacaedemonians who affected it in the period when they reached the height of their military fame; and a king of Sparta, Leonidas, wore his hair long in token of his bravery, and in order to appear dignified to his friends, yet terrible to his enemies. For these reasons Sparta wears her hair long no less in his honor than in that of Lycurgus and of Iphitus.
"And let every sage be careful that the iron knife does not touch his hair, for it is impious to apply it thereto; inasmuch as in his head are all the springs of his senses, and all his intuitions, and it is the source from which his prayers issue forth and also his speech, the interpreter of his wisdom. And whereas Empedocles fastened a fillet of deep purple around his hair, and walked proudly about the streets of the Hellenes, composing hymns to prove that he would pass from humanity and become a god, I only wear my hair disheveled, and I have never needed to sing such hymns about it, yet am hailed before the law courts as a criminal. And what shall I say of Empedocles? Which had he most reason to praise, the man himself or his contemporaries for their happiness, seeing that they never leveled false accusation against him for such a reason?
7. vii. "But let us say no more about my hair, for it has been cut off, and the accusation has been forestalled by the same hatred which inspires the next count, a much more serious one from which I must now defend myself. For it is one calculated to fill not only you, my prince, but Zeus himself with apprehension. For he declares that men regard me as a god, and that those who have been thunderstruck and rendered stark-mad by myself proclaim this tenet in public.
"And yet before accusing me there are things which they should have informed us of, to wit, by what discourses, or by what miracles of word or deed I induced men to pray to me; for I never talked among Hellenes of the goal and origin of my soul's past and future transformations, although I knew full well what they were; nor did I ever disseminate such opinions about myself; nor came forth with presages and oracular strains, which are the harvest of candidates for divine honors.
"Nor do I know of a single city in which a decree was passed that the citizens should assemble and sacrifice in honor of Apollonius. And yet I have been much esteemed in the several cities which asked for my aid, whatever the objects were for which they asked it, and they were such as these: that their sick might be healed of their diseases, that both their initiations and their sacrifices might be rendered more holy, that insolence and pride might be extirpated, and the laws strengthened. And whereas the only reward which I obtained in all this was that men were made much better than they were before, they were all so many boons bestowed upon yourself by me.
"For as cow-herds, if they get the cows into good order earn the gratitude of their owners, and as shepherds fatten the sheep for the owner's profit, and as bee-keepers remove diseases from the hive, so that the owner may not lose his swarm, so also I myself, I think, by correcting the defects of their polities, improved the cities for your benefit. Consequently if they did regard me as a god, the deception brought profit to yourself; for I am sure they were the more ready to listen to me, because they feared to do that which a god disapproved of.
"But in fact they entertained no such illusion, though they were aware that there is between man and God a certain kinship, which enables him alone of the animal creation to recognize the Gods, and to speculate both about his own nature and the manner in which it participates in the divine substance. Accordingly man declares that his very form resembles God, as it is interpreted by sculptors and painters; and he is persuaded that his virtues come to him from God, and that those who are endowed with such virtues are near to God and divine.
"But we need not hail the Athenians as the teachers of this opinion, because they were the first to apply to men the titles of just and Olympic beings and the like, though they are too divine, in all probability, to be applicable to man, but we must mention the Apollo in the Pythian temple as their author. For when Lycurgus from Sparta came to his temple, having just penned his code for the regulation of the affairs of Lacedaemon, Apollo addressed him, and weighed and examined the reputation he enjoyed; and at the commencement of his oracle the god declares that he is puzzled whether to call him a god or a man, but as he advances he decides in favor of the former appellation and assigns it to him as being a good man. And yet the Lacedaemonians never forced a lawsuit on this account upon Lycurgus, nor threatened him on the ground that he claimed to be immortal; for he never rebuked the Pythian god for so addressing him, but on the contrary the citizens agreed with the oracle, for I believe they were already persuaded of the fact before ever it was delivered.
"And the truth about the Indians and the Egyptians is the following: The Egyptians falsely accuse the Indians of several things and in particular find fault with their ideas of conduct; but though they do so, they yet approve of the account which they have given of the creator of the Universe, and even have taught it to others, though originally it belonged to the Indians. Now this account recognizes God as the creator of all things, who brought them into being and sustains them; and it declares further that his motive in designing was his goodness.
"Since then these notions are kindred to one another, I carry the argument further and declare that good men have in their composition something of God. And by the universe which depends upon God the creator we must understand things in heaven and all things in the sea and on earth, which are equally open to all men to partake of, though their fortunes are not equal.
"But there is also a universe dependent on the good man which does not transcend the limits of wisdom, which I imagine you yourself, my prince, will allow stands in need of a man fashioned in the image of God. And what is the fashion of this universe? There are undisciplined souls which in their madness clutch at every fashion, and in their eyes laws are out of date and vain; and there is no good sense among them, but the honors which they pay to the gods really dishonor them; and they are in love with idle chatter and luxury which breed idleness and sloth, the worst of all practical advisers. And there are other souls which are drunken and rush in all directions at once, and nothing will repress their antics, nor could do so, even if they drank all the drugs accounted, as the Mandragoras is, to be soporific.
"Now you need a man to administer and care for the universe of such souls, a god sent down by wisdom. For he is able to wean them from the lusts and passions, which they rush to satisfy with instincts too fierce for ordinary society, and from their avarice, which is such that they deny they have anything at all unless they can hold their mouths open and have the stream of wealth flow into it. For perhaps such a man as I speak of could even restrain them from committing murder; however, neither I myself nor even the God who created all things, can wash off them the guilt of that.
7. viii. "Let me now, my prince, take the accusation which concerns Ephesus, since the salvation of that city was gained; and let the Egyptian be my judge, according as it best suits his accusation. For this is the sort of thing the accusation is. Let us suppose that among the Scythians or Celts, who live along the river Ister [Danube] and Rhine, a city has been founded every whit as important as Ephesus in Ionia. Here you have a sally-port of barbarians, who refuse to be subject to yourself; let us then suppose that it was about to be destroyed by a pestilence, and that Apollonius found a remedy and averted it.
"I imagine that a wise man would be able to defend himself even against such a charge as that, unless indeed the sovereign desires to get rid of his adversaries, not by use of arms, but by plague; for I pray, my prince, that no city may ever be wholly wiped out, either to please yourself or to please me, nor may I ever behold in temples a disease to which those who lie sick should succumb in them.
"But granted that we are not interested in the affairs of barbarians, and need not restore them to health, since they are our bitter enemies, and not at peace with our race; yet who would desire to deprive Ephesus of her salvation, a city which took the basis of its race from the purest Attic source, and which grew in size beyond all other cities of Ionia and Lydia, and stretched herself out to the sea outgrowing the land on which she is built, and is filled with studious people, both philosophers and rhetoricians, thanks to whom the city owes her strength, not to her cavalry, but to the tens of thousands of her inhabitants in whom she encourages wisdom?
"And do you think that there is any wise man who would decline to do his best in behalf of such a city, when he reflects that Democritus once liberated the people of Abdera from pestilence, and when he bears in mind the story of Sophocles of Athens, who is said to have charmed the winds when they were blowing unseasonably, and who has heard how Empedocles stayed a cloud in its course when it would have burst over the heads of the people of Acragas?
7. ix. "The accuser here interrupts me, you hear him yourself do so, my prince, and he remarks that I am not accused for having brought about the salvation of the Ephesians, but for having foretold that the plague would befall them; for this, he says, transcends the power of wisdom and is miraculous, so that I could never have reached such a pitch of truth if I were not a wizard and an unspeakable wretch.
"What then will Socrates say here of the lore which he declared he learned from his demonic genius? Or what would Thales and Anaxagoras, both Ionians, say, of whom one foretold a plenteous crop of olives, and the other not a few meteorological disturbances? Why, is it not a fact that they were brought before the law-courts upon other charges, but that no one ever heard among their accusations that of their being wizards, because they had the gift of foreknowledge? For that would have been thought ridiculous, and it would not have been a plausible charge to bring against men of wisdom even in Thessaly, where the women had a bad reputation for drawing the moon down to earth.
"How then did I get my sense of the coming disaster at Ephesus? You have listened to the statement made even by my accuser, that instead of living like other people, I keep to a light diet of my own, and prefer it to the luxury of others, and I began by saying so myself. This diet, my king, guards my senses in a kind of indescribable ether or clear air, and forbids them to contract any foul or turbid matter, and allows me to discern, as in the sheen of a looking glass, everything that is happening or is to be.
"For the sage will not wait for the earth to send up its exhalations, or for the atmosphere to be corrupted, in case the evil is shed from above; but he will notice these things when they are impending, not so soon indeed as the gods, yet sooner than the many. For the gods perceive what lies in the future, and men what is going on before them, and wise men what is approaching.
"But I would have you, my prince, ask of me in private about the causes of pestilence; for they are secrets of a wisdom which should not be divulged to the many.
"Was it then my mode of living which alone develops such a subtlety and keenness of perception as can apprehend the most important and wonderful phenomena? You can ascertain the point in question, not only from other considerations, but in particular from what took place in Ephesus in connection with that plague. For the genius of the pestilence -- and it took the form of a poor old man -- I both detected, and having detected took it captive: and I did not so much stay the disease as pluck it out.
"And who the god was to whom I had offered my prayers is shown in the statue which I set up in Ephesus to commemorate the event; and it is a temple of the Heracles who averts disease, for I chose him to help me, because he is the wise and courageous god, who once purged of the plague the city of Elis, by washing away with the river-tide the foul exhalations which the land sent up under the tyranny of Augias.
"Who then do you think, my prince, being ambitious to be considered a wizard, would dedicate his personal achievement to a god? And whom would he get to admire his art, if he gave the credit of the miracle to God? And who offer his prayers to Heracles, if he were a wizard? For in fact these wretches attribute such feats to the trenches they dig and to the gods of the under-earth, among whom we must not class Heracles, for he is a pure deity and kindly to men.
"I offered my prayer to him once on a time also in the Peloponnese, for there was an apparition of a lamia there too; and it infested the neighborhood of Corinth and devoured good-looking young men. And Heracles lent me his aid in my contest with her, without asking of me any wonderful gifts — nothing more than honey-cake and frankincense, and the chance to do a salutary turn to mankind; for in the case of Eurystheus also this was the only guerdon which he thought of for his labors.
"I would ask you, my prince, not to be displeased at my mention of Heracles; for Athena had him under her care because he was good and kind and a Savior of man.
7. x. "But inasmuch as you bid me vindicate myself in the matter of the sacrifice, for I observe you beckoning with your hand for me to do so, hear my defense. It shall set the truth before you.
"In all my actions I have at heart the salvation of mankind, yet I have never offered a sacrifice in their behalf, nor will I ever sacrifice anything, nor touch sacrifices in which there is blood, nor offer any prayer with my eyes fixed upon a knife or the kind of sacrifice that he [the accuser] means. It is no Scythian, my prince, that you have got before you, nor a native of some savage and inhospitable land; nor did I ever mingle with Massagetae or Taurians, for in that case I should have reformed even them and altered their sacrificial custom.
"But to what depth of folly and inconsequence should I have descended if, after talking so much about divination and about the conditions under which it flourishes or does not flourish, I, who understand better than anyone that the gods reveal their intentions to holy and wise men even without their possessing prophetic gifts, made myself guilty of bloodshed, by meddling with the entrails of victims, as unacceptable to myself as they are ill-omened? In that case the revelation of heaven would surely have abandoned me as impure.
"However, if we drop the fact that I have a horror of any such sacrifice, and just examine the accuser in respect to the statements which he made a little earlier, he himself acquits me of this charge. For if, as he says, I could foretell the Ephesians the impending pestilence without use of any sacrifice whatever, what need had I of slaying victims in order to discover what lay within my cognizance without offering any sacrifice at all? And what need had I of divination in order to find out things of which I myself was already assured as well as another?
"For if I am to be put upon my trial on account of Nerva and his companions, I shall repeat what I said to you the day before yesterday when you accused me of such matters. For I regard Nerva as a man worthy of the highest office and of all the consideration that belongs to a good name and fame, but as one ill-calculated to carry through any difficult plan; for his frame is undermined by a disease which fills his soul with bitterness, and incapacitates him even for his home affairs.
"As to yourself, certainly he admires your vigor of body no less than he admires your judgment; and in doing so I think he is not singular, because men are by nature more prone to admire what they themselves lack the strength to do. But Nerva is also animated towards myself by feelings of respect; and I never saw him in my presence laughing or joking as he is accustomed to do among his friends; but like young men towards their fathers and teachers, he observes a reverence in every thing that he says in my presence, nay he even blushes; and because he knows that I appreciate and set so high a value upon modesty, he therefore so sedulously cultivates that quality, as sometimes to appear even to me humbler than beseems him.
"Who then can regard it as probable that Nerva is ambitious of Empire, when he is only too glad if he can govern his own household; or that a man who has not the nerve to discuss with me the greatest of all, or would concert with me plans which, if he thought like myself, he would not even concert with others? How again could I retain my reputation for wisdom and interpreting a man's judgment, if I believed overmuch in divination, yet wholly distrusted wisdom?
"As for Orphitus and Rufus, who are just and sensible men though somewhat sluggish, as I well know to be the case, if they that they are under suspicion of aspiring to become despots, I hardly know over which they make the greater mistake, over them or over Nerva; if however they are accused of being his accomplices, then I ask, which you would most readily believe, that Nerva was usurping the throne, or that they had conspired with him.
7. xi. "I must confess that there are also other points which the accuser who brings me to the bar on these accounts should have entertained and considered: What sense was there in my aiding these revolutionists? For he does not say that I received any money from them, nor that I was tempted by presents to commit these crimes. But let us consider the point whether I might not have advanced great claims, but have deferred their recognition of them until the time came at which they expected to win the throne, when I might have demanded much and have obtained still more as my due.
"But how can you prove all this? Call to mind, my prince, your own reign and the reigns of your predecessors, I mean of your own brother [Titus], and of your father [Vespasian], and of Nero under whom they held office; for it was under these princes chiefly that I passed my life before the eyes of all, the rest of my time being spent on my visit to India. Well, of these thirty-eight years, for such is the period which has elapsed since then up to your own day, I have never come near the court of princes, except that once in Egypt, and then it was your father's, though he was not at that time actually Emperor; and he admitted that he came there on my account. Nor have I ever uttered anything base or humiliating either to emperors, or in behalf of emperors to peoples; nor have I made a parade of letters either when princes wrote them to me or otherwise by pretending that they wrote; nor have I ever demeaned myself by flattery of princes in order to win their largess.
"If then after long consideration of rich and poor, you should ask me in which class I register myself, I should say among the very rich, for the fact that I want nothing is worth to me all the wealth of Lydia and of Pactolus. Is it likely then that I who never would take presents from yourself whose throne I regarded as perfectly secure, should either have gone cadging to mere pretenders, and have deferred the receipt of my recompense from them until such time as I thought would find them emperors; or that I should plan a change of dynasty, who never once, for purposes of my advancement, resorted to that which was already established?
"And yet if you want to know how much a philosopher may obtain by flattery of the mighty, you have only got to look at the case of Euphrates. For why do I speak of his having got mere money out of them? Why, he has perfect fountains of wealth, and already at the banks he discusses prices as a merchant might, or a huckster, a tax-gatherer, a low money-changer, for all these roles are his if there is anything to buy or sell; and he clings like a limpet to the doors of the mighty, and you see him standing at them more regularly than any doorkeeper, indeed he has often been shut away by the doorkeepers as greedy dogs are; but he never yet bestowed a farthing upon any philosopher, but he walls up all his wealth within his own house, only supporting this Egyptian out of the money of others, and whetting against me a tongue which ought to have been cut out.
7. xii. "However I will leave Euphrates to yourself; for unless you approve of flatterers you will find the fellow worse than I depict him; and I only ask you to listen to the rest of my apology. What then is it to be, and from what counts is it to defend me?
"In the act of the accusation, my prince, a regular dirge is chanted over an Arcadian boy, whom I am accused of having cut up by night, perhaps in a dream, for I am sure I do not know. This child is said to be of respectable parentage and to have possessed all the good looks which Arcadians wear even in the midst of squalor. They pretend that I massacred him in spite of his entreaties and lamentations, and that after thus imbruing my hands in the blood of this child I prayed the gods to reveal the truth to me.
"So far they only attack myself in their charges, but what follows is a direct assault upon the gods; for they assert that the gods heard my prayers under such circumstances, and vouchsafed to me victims of good omen, instead of slaying me for my impiety. Need I say, O my prince, it is defiling even to listen to such stuff?
"But to confine my pleadings to the counts which affect myself, I would ask who is this Arcadian? For since he was not of nameless parentage, and by no means slave-like in appearance, it is time for you to ask what was the name of those who begot him and of what family he was, and what city in Arcadia had the honor of rearing him, and from what altars he was dragged away in order to be sacrificed here. My accuser does not supply this information, in spite of his ingenuity in the art of lying.
"Let us then suppose it was only a slave in whose behalf he accuses me. For by heaven, we surely must class among slaves one who had neither name of his own, nor parentage, nor city, nor inheritance, must we not? For not a name is supplied anywhere. In that case who was the slave merchant who sold him? Who was it that bought him from the Arcadians? For if this breed is specially suitable for the butchering kind of diviners, he must surely have purchased the boy for much money.
"And some messenger must have sailed straight to the Peloponnese in order to fetch this Arcadian and conduct him to us. For though one can buy here on the spot slaves from Pontus or Lydia or Phrygia -- for indeed you can meet whole droves of them being conducted hither, since these like other barbarous races have always been subject to foreign masters, and as yet see nothing disgraceful in servitude; anyhow with the Phrygians it is a fashion even to sell their children, and once they are enslaved, they never think any more about them -- yet the Hellenes retain their love of liberty, and no man of Hellas will ever sell a slave out of his country; for which reason kidnappers and slave-dealers never resort thither, least of all Arcadia; for in addition to the fact that they are beyond all other Hellenes jealous of liberty, they also require a great number of slaves themselves. For Arcadia contains a vast expanse of grass land and of timber, which covers not only the highlands, but all the plains as well. Consequently they require a great many laborers, many goat-herds and swineherds, and shepherds and drivers either for the oxen or for the horses; and there is much need in the land of woodcutters, a craft to which they are trained from boyhood.
"And even if the land of Arcadia were not such as I have described, so that they could in addition afford like other nations to sell their own slaves abroad, what advantage could the wisdom the accuser babbles of derive by getting a child from Arcadia to murder and cut up? For the Arcadians are not so much wiser than other Hellenes, that their entrails should convey more bowel-lore than those of other people. On the contrary they are the most boorish of men, and resemble hogs in other ways and especially that they can stomach acorns.
"It is possible that I have conducted my defense on more rhetorical lines than is my custom, in thus characterizing the habits of the Arcadians and digressing into the Peloponnese. What however is my right line of defense? This I think: I never sacrificed blood, I do not sacrifice it now, I never touch it, not even if it be shed upon an altar; for this was the rule of Pythagoras and likewise of his disciples, and in Egypt also of the Naked sages, and of the sages of India, from whom these principles of wisdom were derived by Pythagoras and his school.
"In adhering to this way of sacrifice they do not seem to the gods to be criminal; for the latter suffer them to grow old, sound in body and free from disease, and to increase in wisdom daily, to be free from tyranny of others, to be wanting in nothing. Nor do I think that it is absurd to ask the gods for benefits in exchange for pure sacrifices. For I believe that the gods have the same mind as myself in the matter of sacrifice, and that they therefore place those parts of the earth which grow frankincense in the purest region of the world, in order that we may use their resources for purposes of sacrifice without drawing the knife in their temples or shedding blood upon altars. And yet, it appears, I so far forgot myself and the gods as to sacrifice with rites which are not only unusual with myself, but which no human being would employ.
7. xiii. "Let me add that the very hour which my accuser alleges acquits me of this charge. For on that day, the day on which he says I committed this crime, I allow that, if I was in the country, I offered sacrifice, and that if I sacrificed, I ate of the victim. And yet, my prince, you repeatedly ask me if I was not staying in Rome at that time? And you too, O best of princes, were staying there; and yet you would not on that account admit you offered such a sacrifice; and my false accuser was there likewise, but he will not own on that account that he committed murder, just because he was living in Rome. And the same is the case of thousands of people, whom you would do better to expel as strangers, than expose to acts of accusation, if in these the mere fact of their having been in Rome is to be held to be a proof of their guilt.
"On the hand, the fact of my coming to Rome is in itself a disproof of the charge of revolutionary plotting; for to live in a city, where there are so many eyes to see and so many ears to hear things which are and which are not, is a serious handicap for anyone who desires to play at revolution, unless he be wholly intent upon his own death. On the contrary it prompts prudent and sensible people to walk slowly even when engaged in wholly permissible pursuits.
7. xiv. "What then, O sycophant, was I really doing on that night? Suppose I were yourself and was being asked this question, inasmuch as you are come to ask questions, why then the answer would be this: I was trumping up actions against decent and respectable people, and I was trying to ruin the innocent, and to persuade the Emperor by dint of hard lying, in order that while I myself climbed to fame, I might soil him with the blood of my victims. If again you ask me as a philosopher, I was praising the laughter with which Democritus laughed at all human affairs. But if you asked me as being myself, here is my answer: Philiscus of Melos, who was my fellow-pupil in philosophy for four years, was ill at the time; and I was sleeping out at his house, because he was suffering so terribly that he died of his disease.
"Ah, many are the charms I would have prayed to obtain, if they could have saved his life. Fain would I have known of any melodies of Orpheus, if any there are, to bring back the dead to us. Nay I verily think I would have made a pilgrimage even to the nether world for his sake, if such things were feasible; so deeply attached was I to him by all his conduct, so worthy of a philosopher and so much in accord with my own ideals.
"Here are facts, my prince, which you may learn also from Telesinus the consul; for he too was at the bedside of the man of Melos, and nursed him by night like myself. But if you do not believe Telesinus, because he is of the number of philosophers, I call upon the physicians to bear me witness, and they were the following: Seleucus of Cyzicus and Stratocles of Sidon. Ask them whether I tell the truth.
"And what is more, they had with them over thirty of their disciples, who are ready, I believe, to witness to the same fact; for if I were to summon hither the relatives of Philiscus, you might probably think that I was trying to interpose delays in the case; for they have lately sailed from Rome to the Melian country in order to pay their last sad respects to the dead. Come forward, O ye witnesses, for you have been expressly summoned to give your testimony upon this point."
(The witnesses give their evidence.)
"With how little regard then for the truth this accusation has been drawn up, is clearly proved by the testimony of these gentlemen; for it appears that it was not in the suburbs, but in the city, not outside the wall, but inside a house, not with Nerva, but with Philiscus, not slaying another, but praying for a man's life, not thinking of matters of State, but of philosophy, not choosing a revolutionist to supplant yourself, but trying to save a man like myself.
7. xv. "What then is the Arcadian doing in this case? What becomes of the absurd stories of victims slain? What is the use of urging you to believe such lies? For what never took place will be real, if you decide that it did take place.
"And how, my prince, are you to rate the improbability of the sacrifice? For of course there have been long ago soothsayers skilled in the art of examining slain victims, for example I can name Megistias of Acarnania, Aristandrus of Lycia, and Silanus who was a native of Ambracia, and of these the Acarnanian was sacrificer to Leonidas the king of Sparta, and the Lycian to Alexander of Macedonia, and Silanus to Cyrus the Pretender; and supposing there had been found stored in the entrails of a human being some information truer or more profound or surer than usual, such a sacrifice was not difficult to effect; inasmuch as there were kings to preside over it, who had plenty of cup-bearers at their disposal, besides plenty of prisoners of war as victims; and moreover these monarchs could violate the law with impunity, and they had no fear of being accused, in case they committed so small a murder.
"But I believe, these persons had the same conviction which I also entertain, who am now in risk of my life of such accusation, namely that the entrails of animals which we slay while they are ignorant of death, are for that reason, and just because the animals lack all understanding of what they are about to suffer, free from disturbance. A human being however has constantly in his soul the apprehension of death, even when it does not as yet impend; how therefore is it likely that when death is already present and stares him in the face, he should be able to give any intimation of the future through his entrails, or be a proper subject for sacrifice at all?
"In proof that my conjecture is right and consonant with nature, I would ask you, my prince, to consider the following points. The liver, in which adepts at this art declare the tripod of their divination to reside, is on the one hand not composed of pure blood, for all unmixed blood is retained by the heart which through the blood-vessels sends it flowing as if through canals over the entire body; the bile on the other hand lies over the liver, and whereas it is excited by anger, it is on the other hand driven back by fear into the cavities of the liver. Accordingly if, on the one hand, it is caused to effervesce by irritants, and ceases to be able to contain itself in its own receptacle, it overflows the liver which underlies it, in which case the mass of bile occupies the smooth and prophetic parts of the bowels; on the other hand, under the influence of fear and panic it subsides, and draws together into itself all the light which resides in the smooth parts; for in such cases even that pure element in the blood recedes to which the liver owes its spleen-like look and distension, because the blood in question by its nature drains away under the membrane which encloses the entrails and floats upon the muddy surface. Of what use then, my prince, is it to slay a human victim, if the sacrifice is going to furnish no presage?
"And human nature does render such rites useless for purposes of divination, because it has a sense of impending death; and dying men themselves meet their end, if with courage, then also with anger, and, if with despondency, then also with fear. And for this reason the art of divination, except in the case of the most ignorant savages, while recommending the slaying of kids and lambs, because these animals are silly and not far removed from being insensible, does not consider cocks and pigs and bulls worthy vehicles of its mysteries, because these creatures have too much spirit.
"I realize, my prince, that my accuser chafes at my discourse, because I find so intelligent a listener in yourself, for indeed you seem to me to give your attention to my discourse; and if I have not clearly enough explained any point in it, I will allow you to ask me any questions about it.
7.xvi. "I have then answered this Egyptian's act of accusation; but since I do not think I ought altogether to pass by the slanders of Euphrates, I would ask you, my prince, to judge between us, and decide which of us is more of a philosopher. Well then, whereas he strains every nerve to tell lies about myself, I disdain to do the like about him; and whereas he looks upon you as a despot, I regard you as a constitutional ruler; and while he puts the sword into your hand for use against me, I merely supply you with argument.
"But he makes the basis of his accusation the discourses which I delivered in Ionia, and he says that they contain matter much to your disadvantage. And yet what I said concerned the topic of the Fates and of Necessity, and I only used as an example of my arguments the affairs of kings, because of your rank is thought to be the highest of human ranks; and I dwelt upon the influence of the Fates, and argued that the threads which they spin are so unchangeable, that, even if they decreed to someone a kingdom which at the moment belonged to another, and even it that other slew the man of destiny, to save himself from ever being deprived by him of his throne, nevertheless the dead man would come to life again in order to fulfill the decree of the Fates.
"For we employ hyperbole in our arguments in order to convince those who will not believe in what is probable, and it is just as if I had used such an example as this: He who is destined to become a carpenter, will become one even if his hands have been cut off: and he who has been destined to carry off the prize for running in the Olympic games, will not fail to win even if he broke his leg: and a man to whom the Fates have decreed that he shall be an eminent archer, will not miss the mark, even though he has lost his eyesight. And in drawing examples from Royalty I had reference I believe to the Acrisii and the house of Laïus, and to Astyages the Mede, and to many other monarchs who thought that they were well-established in their kingdoms, and of whom some slew their own children as they imagined and others their descendants, and yet were subsequently deprived by them of their thrones when they issued forth from obscurity in accordance with the decrees of fate.
"Well, if I were inclined to flattery, I should have said that I had your own history in my mind, when you were blockaded in this city by Vitellius, and the temple of Jupiter was burnt on the brow of the hill overlooking the city [the Capitol], and Vitellius declared that his own fortune was assured, so long as you did not escape him, this although you were at the time quite a stripling and not the man you are now; and yet, because the Fates had decreed otherwise, he was undone with all this counsels, while you are now in possession of his throne.
"However, since I abhor the concords of flattery, for it seems to me that they are everything that is out of time and out of tune, let me cut the string out of my lyre, and request you to consider that on that occasion I had not your fortunes in my mind, but was talking exclusively of questions of the Fates and of Necessity for it was in speaking of them that they accused me of having assailed yourself.
"And yet such an argument as mine is tolerated by most of the gods; and even Zeus himself is not angry when he hears from the poet [Homer] in "the story of Lycia" this language:
Alas for myself, when Sarpedon... [Homer, Iliad 16.433]
"And there are other such strains referring to himself, such as those in which he declares that he yields the cause of his son to the Fates; and in the weighing of souls again the poets tell you that, although after his death he presented Minos the brother of Sarpedon with a golden scepter, and appointed him judge in the court of Aidoneus, yet he could not exempt him from the decree of the Fates.
"And you, my prince, why should you resent my argument when the gods put up with it, whose fortunes are forever fixed and assured, and who never slew poets on that account? For it is our duty to follow the Fates and obey them, and not take offense with the changes of fortune, and to believe in Sophocles when he says:
For the gods alone there comes no old age, nay, nor even death; but all other things are confounded by all-mastering time...[Sophocles, Oedipus in Colonus 607-609.]
"No man ever put the truth so well. For the prosperity of men runs in a circle, and the span of happiness, my prince, lasts for a single day. My prosperity belongs to another and his to another, and his again to a third; and each in having hath not.
"Think of this, my prince, and put a stop to your decrees of exile, stay the shedding of blood, and have recourse to philosophy in your wishes and plans; for true philosophy feels no pangs. And in doing so wipe away men's tears; for at present echoes reach us from the sea of a thousand sighs, and they are redoubled from the continents, where each laments over his peculiar sorrows. Thence is bred an incalculable crop of evils, all of them due directly to slanderous tongues of informers, who render all men objects of hatred to yourself, and yourself, O prince, to all."
8. Such then was the oration which the sage had prepared beforehand, at the end whereof I found the last words of the earlier speech, namely:
"For thou shalt not kill me, since I tell thee I am not mortal,"
together with the words which preceded and led up to this quotation. [Homer, Iliad 22.13] But the effect upon the despot of his quitting the court in a matter so godlike and inexplicable was quite other than that which the many expected; for they expected him to make a terrific uproar and institute a hunt for the man, and to send forth proclamations over his empire to arrest him wherever they should find him. But he did nothing of the kind, as if he set himself to defeat man's expectations; or because he now at last realized that as against the sage he had no resources of his own. But whether he acted from contempt, let us conjecture from what ensued, for he will be seen confounded with astonishment rather than filled with contempt.
9. For he had to hear another case after that of Apollonius, an action brought, I think, in connection with a will by some city against a private individual; and he had forgotten not only the names of the parties, but also the matter at issue in the suit; for his questions were without meaning and his answers were not relevant to the case -- all which argued the degree of astonishment and perplexity under which the despot labored, the more so because his flatterers had persuaded him that nothing could escape his memory.
10. Such was the condition to which Apollonius reduced the despot, making him a plaything of his philosophy who had been the terror of the Hellenes and the barbarians; and before midday he [Apollonius] left the court, and at dusk appeared to Demetrius and Damis at Dicaearchia [Puteoli]. And this accounts for his having instructed Damis to go by land to Dicaearchia, without waiting to hear his defense. For he had given no previous notice of his intentions, but had merely told the man who was mostly in his intimacy to do what best accorded with his plans.
11. Now Damis had arrived the day before and had talked with Demetrius about the preliminaries of the trial; and the account filled the latter, when he listened to it, with more apprehension than you might expect of a listener when Apollonius was in question. The next day also he asked him afresh about the same particulars, as he wandered with him along the edge of the sea, which figures in the fables told about Calypso; for they were almost in despair of their master coming to them, because the tyrant's hand was hard upon all; yet out of respect for Apollonius' character they obeyed his instructions.
Discouraged, then, they sat down in the chamber of the nymphs, where there is the cistern of white marble, which contains a spring of water which neither overflows its edges, nor recedes, even if water be drawn for it. They were talking about the quality of the water in no very serious manner; and presently, owing to the anxiety they felt about the sage, brought back their conversation to the circumstances which preceded the trial.
12. Damis' grief had just broken out afresh, and he had made some such exclamation as the following: "Shall we ever behold, O ye gods, our noble and good companion?" when Apollonius, who had heard him -- for as a matter of fact he was already present in the chamber of the nymphs -- answered: "Ye shall see him, nay, ye have already seen him."
"Alive?" said Demetrius, "For if you are dead, we have anyhow never ceased to lament you."
Hereupon Apollonius stretched out his hand and said: "Take hold of me, and if I evade you, then I am indeed a ghost come to you from the realm of Persephone, such as the gods of the underworld reveal to those who are dejected with much mourning. But if I resist your touch, then you shall persuade Damis also that I am both alive and that I have not abandoned my body."
They were no longer able to disbelieve, but rose up and threw themselves on his neck and kissed him, and asked him about his defense. For while Demetrius was of opinion that he had not even made his defense -- for he expected him to be destroyed without any wrong being proved against him -- Damis thought that he had made his defense, but perhaps more quickly than was expected; for he never dreamed that he had made it only that day.
But Apollonius said: "I have made my defense, gentlemen, and have gained my cause; and my defense took place this very day not so long ago, for it lasted on even to midday."
"How then," said Demetrius, "have you accomplished so long a journey in so small a fraction of the day?"
And Apollonius replied: "Imagine what you will, flying ram or wings of wax excepted, so long as you ascribe it to the intervention of a divine escort."
"Well," said Demetrius, "I have always thought that your actions and words were providently cared for by some god, to whom you owe your present preservation, nevertheless pray tell us about the defense you made, what it consisted of and what the accusation had to say against you, and about the temper of the judge, and what questions he put, and what he allowed to pass of your pleas and what not -- tell us at once in order that I may tell everything in turn to Telesinus, for he will never leave off asking me about your affairs; for about fifteen days back he was drinking with me in Antium, when he fell asleep at table, and just as the middle cup in honor of the good genius was being passed round he dreamed a dream; and he saw a fire spreading like a sea over the land, and it enveloped some men, and caught up others as they fled; for it flowed along, he said, exactly like water, but you alone suffered not the fate of the rest, but swam clean through it as it divided to let you through. And in honor of the gods who inspire such happy presages he poured out a libation in consequence of this dream, and he bade me be of good cheer on your account."
And Apollonius said: "I am not surprised at Telesinus dreaming about me, for in his vigils, I assure you, he long ago occupied his mind about me; but as regards the trial, you shall learn everything, but not in this place; for it is already evening and it is time for us to proceed to the town; and it is pleasant too to talk as you go along the road, for conversation assists you on your way like an escort.
"Let us then start and discuss your questions as we go along, and I will certainly tell you of today's events in the court. For both of you know the circumstances which preceded the trial, the one of you because he was present, and the other because I am sure, by Zeus, he has not heard it once only, but again and again, if I know you well, my Demetrius. But I will relate to you what you do not know yet, beginning with my being summoned into the Emperor's presence, into which I was ushered naked."
And he proceeded to detail to them his own words, and above all at the end of them the citation: "For thou shalt not kill me," and he told them exactly how he vanished from the seat of judgment.
13. Whereupon Demetrius cried out: "I thought you had come hither because you were saved; but this is only the beginning of your dangers, for he will proscribe you, seize your person, and cut off all means of escape."
Apollonius, however, told Demetrius not to be afraid and encouraged him by saying; "I only wish that you were both no more easy for him to catch than I am. But I know exactly in what condition of mind the tyrant is at this moment; hitherto he has never heard anything except the utterances of flatterers, and now he had had to listen to the language of rebuke; such language breaks despotic natures down and enrages them. But I require some rest, for I have not bent the knee since I had this struggle."
And Damis said: "Demetrius, my own attitude towards our friend's affairs was such that I tried to dissuade him from taking the journey which he has taken, and I believe you too gave him the same advice, namely that he should not rush of his own accord into dangers and difficulties; but when he was thrown into fetters, as I saw with my own eyes, and I was perplexed and in despair of his case, he told me that it rested with himself to release himself and he freed his leg from the fetters and showed it to me.
Well, it was then for the first time that I understood our master to be a divine being, transcending all our poor wisdom and knowledge. Consequently, even if I were called upon to expose myself to still greater risks than these, I should not fear anything, as long as I was under his protection. But since the evening is at hand, let us go into the inn and minister to and take care of him."
And Apollonius said: "Sleep is all I want, and everything else is a matter of indifference to me, whether I get it or whether I do not."
And after that, having offered a prayer to Apollo and also to the Sun, he passed into the house in which Demetrius lived, and having washed his feet, and instructed Damis and his friend to take their supper, for he saw that they were fasting, he threw himself upon the bed, and having intoned some verses of Homer as a hymn to sleep, he took his repose, as if his circumstances gave him no just cause whatever for anxiety.
14. About dawn Demetrius asked him where on earth he would turn his steps, for there resounded in his ears the clatter of imaginary horsemen who he thought were already in hot pursuit of Apollonius on account of the rage of the tyrant, but Apollonius merely replied: "Neither he nor anyone else is going to pursue me, but as for myself I shall take sail for Hellas."
"That is anyhow a dangerous voyage," said the other, "for the region is most exposed and open; and how are you going to be hid out in the open from one whom you cannot escape in the dark?"
"I do need need to lie hid," said Apollonius; "for if, as you imagine, the entire earth belongs to the tyrant, it is better to die out in the open than to live in the dark and in hiding."
And turning to Damis he said: "Do you know of a ship that is starting for Sicily?"
"I do," he replied, "for we are staying on the edge of the sea, and the crier is at our doors, and a ship is just being got ready to start, as I gather from the shouts of the crew, and from the exertions they are making over weighing anchor."
"Let us embark," said Apollonius, "upon this ship, O Damis, for we will now sail to Sicily, and thence on to the Peloponnese."
"I am agreeable," said the other; "so let is sail."
15. They then said farewell to Demetrius, who was despondent about them, but they bade him hope for the best, as one brave man should for others as brave as himself, and then they sailed for Sicily with a favorable wind, and having passed Messina they reached Tauromenium on the third day. After that they arrived at Syracuse and put out for the Peloponnese about the beginning of the autumn; and having traversed the gulf they arrived after six days at the mouth of the Alpheus, where that river pours its waters, still sweet, into the Adriatic and Sicilian Sea.
Here then they disembarked, and thinking it well worth their while to go to Olympia, they went and stayed there in the temple of Zeus, though without ever going further away than Scillus. A rumor as sudden as insistent now ran through the Hellenic world that the sage was alive and had arrived at Olympia. At first the rumor seemed unreliable; for besides that they were humanly speaking unable to entertain any hope for him inasmuch as they heard that he was cast into prison, they had also heard such rumors as that he had been burnt alive, or dragged about alive with grapnels fixed in his neck, or cast into a deep pit, or into a well. But when the rumor of his arrival was confirmed, they all flocked to see him from the whole of Greece, and never did any such crowd flock to any Olympic festival as then, all full of enthusiasm and expectation.
People came straight from Elis and Sparta, and from Corinth away at the limits of the Isthmus; and the Athenians too, although they are outside the Peloponnese; nor were they behind the cities which are at the gates of Pisa, for it was especially the most celebrated of the Athenians that hurried to the temple, together with the young men who flocked to Athens from all over the earth. Moreover there were people from Megara just then staying at Olympia, as well as many from Boeotia, and from Argos, and all the leading people of Phocis and Thessaly.
Some of them had already made Apollonius' acquaintance anxious to pick up his wisdom afresh, for they were convinced that there remained much to learn, more striking than what they had so far heard; but those who were not acquainted with him thought it a shame that they should seem never to have heard so great a man discourse.
In answer to their questions then, of how he had escaped the clutches of the tyrant, he did not deem it right to say anything boastful; but he merely told them that he had made his defense and got away safely. However when several people arrived from Italy, who bruited abroad the episode of the lawcourt, the attitude of Hellas came near to that of actual worship; the main reason why they thought him divine was this, that he never made the least parade about the matter.
16. Among the arrivals from Athens there was a youth who asserted that the goddess Athena was very well disposed to the Emperor, whereupon Apollonius said to him: "In Olympia please to stop your chatter of such things, for you will prejudice the goddess in the eyes of her father."
But as the youth increased their annoyance by declaring that the goddess was quite right, because the Emperor was Archon Eponym of the city of Athens, he said: "Would that he also presided the Panathenaic festival."
By the first of his answers he silenced him, for he showed that he held a poor opinion of the gods, if he considered them to be well disposed to tyrants: by his second he showed that the Athenians would stultify the decree which they passed in honor of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, if after seeing fit to honor these two citizens with statues in the market place for the deed they committed at the Panathenaic festival, they ended by conferring on tyrants the privilege of being elected to govern them.
17. Damis approached him at this time to ask him about money, because they had so very little left to defray the expense of their journey. "Tomorrow," said Apollonius, "I will attend to this."
And on the next day he went into the temple and said to the priest: "Give me a thousand drachmas out of the treasury of Zeus, if you think he will not be too much annoyed."
And the priest answered: "Not at that; what will annoy him will be if you do not take more."
18. There was a man of Thessaly, named Isagoras, whom he met in Olympia and said: "Tell me, Isagoras, is there such a thing as a religious fair or festival?"
"Why yes," he replied, "and by heaven there is nothing in the world of men, so agreeable and so dear to the gods."
"And what is the material of which it is composed?" asked Apollonius. "It is as if I asked you about the material of which this image is made, and you answered me that it was composed of gold and ivory."
"But," said the other, "what material, Apollonius, can a thing which is incorporeal be composed of?"
"A most important material," replied Apollonius, "and most varied in character; for there are sacred groves in it, and race-courses and, of course, a theater, and tribes of men, some of them from neighboring countries, and others from over the borders, and even from across the sea. Moreover," he added, "many arts go to make up such a festival, and many designs, and much true genius, both of poets, and of civil counselors, and of those who deliver harangues on philosophic topics, and contests between naked athletes, and contests of musicians, as is the custom in the Pythian festival."
"It seems to me," said the other, "O Apollonius, that the festival is not only something corporeal, but is made up of more wonderful material than are cities; for there is summoned together into one community on such occasions the best of the best, and the most celebrated of the celebrated."
"Then," said Apollonius, "O Isagoras, are we to consider the people we meet there in the same light as some people regard walls and ships, or do you need some other opinion of the festival?"
"The opinion," answered the other, "which we have formulated, is quite adequate and complete, O man of Tyana, and we had better adhere to it."
"And yet," said the other, "it is neither adequate nor complete to one who considers about it as I do; for it appears to me that ships are in need of men and men of ships, and that men would never have thought about the sea at all if they had not had a ship; and men are kept safe by walls and walls by men; and in the same way I consider a festival to be not only the meeting of human beings, but also the place itself in which they have to meet, and the more so, because walls and ships would never have come into being, unless there had been men's hands to build them, while these places, so far forth as they are deprived of their natural and original characteristics, are by the hands of men spoiled; for it was owing to their natural advantages that they were held worthy of being made their meeting-places; for though the gymnasiums and porticoes and fountains and houses have been all created by human art, just like the walls and the ships, yet this river Alpheus with the hippodrome and the stadium and the groves, existed, I suppose, before men came here, the one providing water for drinking and for the bath, and the second a broad plain for the horses to race in, and the third provided just the space required for the athletes to raise the dust in as they run along in their races, namely a valley a stadium in length, and the groves supplied wreaths for the winners and served the athletes who were runners as a place to practice in. For I imagine that [the legendary founder of the Olympic Games] Heracles considered these facts, and because he admired the natural advantages of Olympia, he found the place worthy of the festival and games which are still held here."
19. After forty days, given up to discussions in Olympia, in which many topics were handled, Apollonius said: "I will also, O men of Hellas, discourse to you in your several cities, at your festivals, at your religious processions, at your mysteries, your sacrifices, at your public libations, and they require the services of a clever man; but for the present I must go down to Lebadea, for I have never yet had an interview with [the oracular deity] Trophonius, although I once visited his shrine." And with these words he at once started for Boeotia attended by every one of his admirers.
Now the cavern in Lebadea is dedicated to Trophonius, the son of Apollo, and it can only be entered by those who resort thither in order to get an oracle, and it is not visible in the temple, but lies a little above it on a mound; and it is shut in by iron spits which surround it, and you descend into it as it were sitting down and being drawn down. Those who enter it are clad in white raiment, and are escorted thither with honey-cakes in their hands to appease the reptiles which assail them as they descend. But the earth brings them to the surface again, in some cases close by, but in other cases a long way off; for they are sent up to the surface beyond Locri and beyond Phocis, but most of them about the borders of Boeotia.
Accordingly Apollonius entered the shrine and said: "I wish to descend into the cave in the interests of philosophy."
But the priests opposed him and though they told the multitude that they would never allow a wizard like him to examine and test the shrine, they pretended to the sage himself that there were forbidden days and days unclean for consulting. So on that day he delivered a discourse at the springs of Hercyne, about the origin and conduct of the shrine; for it is the only oracle which gives responses through the person himself who consults it.
And when the evening approached, he went to the mouth of the cave with his train of youthful followers, and having pulled up four of the obelisks [i.e. the spits], which constitute a bar to the passage, he went down below ground wearing his philosopher's mantle, having dressed himself as if he were going to deliver an address upon philosophy -- a step which the god Trophonius so thoroughly approved of, that he appeared to the priests and not only rebuked them for the reception they had given Apollonius, but enjoined them all to follow him to Aulis, for he said it was there that he [Apollonius] would come to surface in such a marvelous fashion as no man before.
And in fact he emerged after seven days, a longer period than it had taken anyone of those who until then had entered the oracle, and he had with him a volume thoroughly in keeping with the questions he had asked: for had gone down saying: "What, O Trophonius, do you consider the most complete and purest philosophy?" And the volume contained the tenets of Pythagoras, a good proof this, that the oracle was in agreement with this form of wisdom.
20. This book is preserved in Antium, and the village in question, which is on the Italian seaboard, is much visited for the purpose of seeing it. I must acknowledge that I only heard these details from the inhabitants of Lebadea; but in regard to the volume in question I must set on record my conviction, that it was subsequently conveyed to the Emperor Hadrian at the same time as certain letters of Apollonius, though by no means all of them; and it remained in the palace at Antium, which was that one of his Italian palaces in which this Emperor took most pleasure.
21. From Ionia also there came to see him the band of companions who were named in Hellas the company of Apollonius; and mixing with the people of the place they formed a band of youths, remarkable for their number and for their philosophical enthusiasm. For the science of rhetoric had been left neglected and little attention was paid to the professors of the art, on the ground that their tongue was their only teacher; but now they were all impelled to study his philosophy. But he, like Gyges and Croesus, who they left the door of their treasures unlocked, in order that all who needed might fill their pockets from them, threw open the treasures of his wisdom to those who loved it, and allowed them to ask him questions upon every subject.
22. But certain persons accused him of avoiding attendance on governors at their visits, and of influencing his hearers rather to live in retirement instead; and one of them uttered the jest that he drove away his sheep as soon as he found any forensic orator approaching. "Yes, by Zeus," said Apollonius, "lest these wolves should fall upon my flock."
What was the meaning of this sally? He saw these forensic orators looked up to by the multitude as they made their way up from poverty to great riches; and he saw that they so welcomed the feuds of others, that they actually conducted a traffic in hatred and feud; accordingly he tried to dissuade these young men from associating with them, and those that did so associate with them he sharply reproved, as if to wash off them a monstrous stain.
For he had been long before on bad terms with them; and his experience of the prisons in Rome, and of the persons who were confined and perishing in them, so prejudiced him against the forensic art, as that he believed all these evils were due to sycophants and lawyers puffed up by their own cleverness, rather than to the despot himself.
23. Just at the time when he was holding these conversations with the people of Hellas, the following remarkable portent overspread the heavens. The orb of the sun was surrounded by a wreath which resembled a rainbow, but dimmed the sunlight.
That the heavenly sign portended a revolution was of course clear to all. However, when the governor of Hellas summoned Apollonius from Athens to Boeotia, and said: "I hear that you have a talent for understanding things divine," he replied: "Yes, and perhaps you have heard that I have some understanding of human affairs."
"I have heard it," he replied, "and quite agree."
"Since then," said Apollonius, "you are of one opinion with me, I would advise you not to pry into the intentions of the gods; for this is what human wisdom recommends you to do."
And when he besought Apollonius to tell him what he thought, for he said he was afraid lest night should ensue and swallow up everything. "Be of good cheer," said Apollonius, "for there will be some light following such a night as this."
24. After this, seeing that he had enough of the people of Hellas, after living for two years among them, he set sail for Ionia, accompanied by his society; and the greater part of his time he spent teaching philosophy at Smyrna and Ephesus, though he also visited the rest of the cities; and in none of them was he found to be an unwelcome guest, indeed they all considered him to be worth their regret when he left them, and to the better class of people he was a great boon.
25. And now the gods were about to cast down Domitian from his presidency of mankind. For it happened that he had just slain [Flavius] Clemens, a man of consular rank, to whom he had lately given his own sister [Flavia Domitilla] in marriage; and he issued a command about the third or fourth day after the murder, that she also should follow her husband and join him.
Thereupon Stephanus, a freed man of the lady, he who was signified by the form of the late portent, whether because the latest victim's fate rankled in his mind, or the fate of all others, made an attempt upon the tyrant's life worthy of comparison with the feats of the champions of Athenian liberty [i.e., Harmodius and Aristogeiton]. For he concealed a dagger against his left fore-arm, and carrying his hand in a bandage, as if it were broken, he approached the Emperor as he left the law-court, and said: "I would have a private interview with you, my prince, for I have important news to communicate to you."
The latter did not refuse him the audience, but took him apart into the men's apartment where he transacted business of state. Whereupon the assassin said: "Your bitter enemy, Clemens, is not dead, as you imagine, but he lives and I know where he is; and he is making ready to attack you."
When the emperor uttered a loud cry over this information, before he could recover his composure, Stephanus threw himself upon him and drawing the dagger from the hand which he had trussed up, he stabbed him in the thigh, inflicting a wound which was not immediately mortal, though it was well-timed in view of the struggle that followed.
The Emperor was still strong and full of bodily vigor, although he was about five and forty years of age; and in spite of the wound he closed with his assailant, and throwing him down, kneeled upon him and dug out his eyes and crushed his cheeks with the stand of a gold cup which lay thereby for use in sacred ceremonies, at the same time calling upon Athena to assist him. Thereupon his bodyguard, realizing that he was in distress, rushed into the room pell-mell, and dispatched the tyrant, who had already swooned.
26. Although this deed was done in Rome, Apollonius was a spectator of it in Ephesus. For about midday he was delivering an address in the groves of the colonnade, just at the moment when it all happened in the palace at Rome; and first he dropped his voice, as if he were terrified, and then, though with less vigor than was usual with him, he continued his exposition, like one who between his words caught glimpses of something foreign to his subject, and at last he lapsed into silence, like one who has been interrupted in his discourse. And with an awful glance at the ground, and stepping forward three or four paces from his pulpit, he cried: "Smite the tyrant, smite him" -- not like one who derives from some looking glass a faint image of the truth, but as one who sees things with his own eyes, and is taking part in a tragedy.
All Ephesus -- for all Ephesus was at his lecture -- was struck dumb with astonishment; but he, pausing like those who are trying to see and wait until their doubts are ended, said: "Take heart, gentlemen, for the tyrant has been slain this day; and why do I say today? Now it is, by Athena, even now at the moment I uttered my words, and then lapsed into silence."
The inhabitants of Ephesus thought that this was a fit of madness on his part; and although they were anxious that it should be true, yet they were anxious about the risk they ran in giving ear to his words, whereupon he added: "I am not surprised at those who do not yet accept my story, for not even all Rome as yet is cognizant of it. But behold, Rome begins to know it: for the rumor runs this way and that, and thousands now are convinced of it; and they begin to leap for joy, twice as many as before, and twice as many as they, and four times as many, yea the whole of the populace there. And this news will travel hither also; and although I would have you defer your sacrifices in honor thereof to the fitting season, when you will receive this news, I shall proceed at once to pray to the gods for what I have seen."
27. They were still skeptical, when swift runners arrived with the good news, and bore testimony to the sage's wisdom; for the tyrant's murder, and the day which brought the event to birth, the hour of midday and the murderers to whom he addressed his exhortation, everything agreed with the revelation which the gods had made to Apollonius in the midst of his harangue.
And thirty days later Nerva sent a letter to him to say that he was already in possession of the Empire of the Romans, thanks to the goodwill of the gods and to his good counsels; and he added that he would more easily retain it, if Apollonius would come to advise him. Whereupon at the moment the latter wrote to him the following enigmatically sentence:
"We will, my prince, enjoy one another's company for a very long time during which neither shall we govern others, nor others us."
Perhaps he realized, when he wrote thus, that it was not to be long before he himself should quit this human world, and that Nerva was only to retain the throne for a short time; for his reign lasted but one year and four months, when he left behind him the reputation of having been a sober and serious ruler.
28. But as he did not wish to seem to neglect so good a friend and ruler [i.e., Nerva], he composed later on for him a letter giving him advice about matters of state; and calling Damis to him, he said: "You are wanted here, for this letter which I have written to the king contains secrets, and though it is written, they are of such a kind that they must be communicated orally either by myself or through you."
And Damis declares that he only understood his master's device much later; for that the letter was composed in admirable style, and though it treated of important subjects, yet it might equally well have been sent through anyone else.
What then was the sage's device? All though his life, he is said often to have exclaimed: "Live unobserved, and if that cannot be, slip unobserved from life." His letter then, and Damis' visit to Rome were of the nature of an excuse for getting the latter out of the way, in order that he might have not witness of his dissolution.
Damis accordingly says that, though he was much affected at leaving him, in spite of his having no knowledge of what was coming, yet Apollonius, who knew full well, said nothing of it to him, and far from addressing him after the manner of those who are never to see one another again, so abundant was his conviction that he would exist forever, merely pledged him in these words: "O Damis, even if you have to philosophize by yourself, keep your eyes upon me."
29. The memoirs then of Apollonius of Tyana which Damis the Assyrian composed, end with the above story; for with regard to the manner in which he died, if he did actually die, there are many stories, though Damis has repeated none.
But as for myself I ought not to omit even this, for my story should, I think, have its natural ending. Neither has Damis told us anything about the age of our hero; but there are some who say that he was eighty, others that he was over ninety, others again who say that his age far exceeded a hundred. He was fresh in all his body and upright, when he died, and more agreeable to look at than in his youth. For there is a certain beauty even in wrinkles, which was especially conspicuous in his case, as is clear from the likenesses of him which are preserved in the temple at Tyana, and from accounts which praise the old age of Apollonius more than was once praised the youth of Alcibiades.
30. Now there are some who relate that he [Apollonius] died in Ephesus, tended by two maid servants; for the freedmen of whom I spoke at the beginning of my story were already dead. One of these maids he emancipated, and was blamed by the other one for not conferring the same privilege upon her, but Apollonius told her that it was better for her to remain the other's slave, for that would be the beginning of her well-being.
Accordingly after his death this one continued to be the slave of the other, who for some insignificant reason sold her to a merchant, from whom she was purchased. Her new master, although she was not good-looking, nevertheless fell in love with her; and being a fairly rich man, made her his legal wife and had legitimate children with her.
Others again say that he died in Lindus, where he entered the temple of Athena and disappeared within it. Others again say that he died in Crete in a much more remarkable manner than the people of Lindus relate. For they say that he continued to live in Crete, where he became a greater center of admiration than ever before, and that he came to the temple of Dictynna late at night. Now this temple is guarded by dogs, whose duty it is to watch over the wealth deposited in it, and the Cretans claim that they are as good as bears or any other animals equally fierce. None the less, when he came, instead of barking, they approached him and fawned upon him, as they would not have done even with people they knew familiarly.
The guardians of the shrine arrested him in consequence, and threw him in bonds as a wizard and a robber, accusing him of having thrown to the dogs some charmed morsel. But about midnight he loosened his bonds, and after calling those who had bound him, in order that they might witness the spectacle, he ran to the doors of the temple, which opened wide to receive him; and when he had passed within, they closed afresh, as they had been shut, and there was heard a chorus of maidens singing from within the temple, and their song was this. "Hasten thou from earth, hasten thou to Heaven, hasten." In other words: "Do thou go upwards from earth."
31. And even after his death, he continued to preach that the soul is immortal; but although he taught this account of it to be correct, he discouraged men from meddling in such high subjects.
For there came to Tyana a youth who did not shrink from acrimonious discussions, and would not accept truth in argument. Now Apollonius had already passed away from among men, but people still wondered at his passing, and no one ventured to dispute that he was immortal. This being so, the discussions were mainly about the soul, for a band of youth were there passionately addicted to wisdom. The young man in question, however, would on no account allow the tenet of immortality of the soul, and said: "I myself, gentlemen, have done nothing now for over nine months but pray to Apollonius that he would reveal to me the truth about the soul; but he is so utterly dead that he will not appear to me in response to my entreaties, nor give me any reason to consider him immortal."
Such were the young man's words on that occasion, but on the fifth day following, after discussing the same subject, he fell asleep where he was talking with them, and of the young men who were studying with him, some were reading books, and others were industriously drawing geometrical figures on the ground, when on a sudden, like one possessed, he leapt up still in a half sleep, streaming with perspiration, and cried out: "I believe thee."
And, when those who were present asked him what was the matter; "Do you not see," said he, "Apollonius the sage, how that he is present with us and is listening to our discussion, and is reciting wondrous verses about the soul?"
"But where is he?" the others asked, "For we cannot see him anywhere, although we would rather do so than possess all the blessings of mankind."
And the youth replied: "It would seem that he is come to converse with myself alone concerning the tenets which I would not believe. Listen therefore to the inspired argument which he is delivering:
"The soul is immortal, and 'tis no possession
of thine own, but of Providence,
And after the body is wasted away,
like a swift horse freed from its traces,
It lightly leaps forward
and mingles itself with the light air,
loathing the spell of harsh and painful servitude
which it has endured.
But for thee, what use is there in this? Some day,
when thou art no more, thou shalt believe it.
So why, as long as thou art among living beings,
dost thou explore these mysteries?"
Here we have a clear utterance of Apollonius, established like an oracular tripod, to convince us of the mysteries of the soul, to the end that cheerfully, and with due knowledge of our own true nature, we may pursue our way to the goal appointed by the Fates.
With any tomb, however, or cenotaph of the sage I never met, that I know of, although I have traversed most of the earth, and have listened everywhere to stories of his divine quality. And his shrine in Tyana is singled out and honored with royal officers: for neither have the Emperors denied to him the honors of which they themselves were held worthy.