Sunday, 10 April 2016

Apollonius' travels with companion: "Damis of Ninevah"

Image - mosaic of Apollonius of Tyana at the temple of Paphos in Cyprus (unconfirmed). The description on this image found on Ajit Vadkayil's blog post is unclear. The caption provided (near the bottom of the article) simply says: "His fresco is still there. I have seen it."
Please note:  Ajit Vadakayil has done research into the Indian records and found Apollonius to be an Indian sage named "Apalunyan" whose travelling companion Damis, renamed himself "Jesus Christ". I wonder how the Indian Apalunyan and the Greek Damis got to know each other? I wonder why Damis would have chosen such a name? - "Jesus the Christós" (i.e. Jesus, the anointed) - Wikipedia. This would have provided some conflict between the travelling companions, surely? - if it were true, that is. It's not logical... and I must ask: Where is the documentation Ajit? This is Ajit Vadakayil's current position anyway... Through Damis adopting this name, Damis ("Jesus Christ") became famous while the Indian Apalunyan paled into insignificance. This is the version given in Vadkayil's earlier overview of this subject, dated Tuesday, October 27, 2015.  

However, in his later article dated Thursday, April 7, 2016 Vadakayil writes: "The Pope can no longer hide the truth, that until 325 AD (First Council of Nicea ordered by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great), Christianity or the existence of a messiah named Jesus Christ was unknown."  Given that Damis ("Jesus Christ", ref: Vadakayil, October 2015) lived during the lifetime of Apollonius (4-97 AD), how is it that "the existence of a messiah named Jesus Christ was unknown" in 325 AD?  There are some holes in Vadakayil's methodologies. 
Personally, I don't think the Indian version of events as presented by Ajit Vadkayil is the correct one. There's too much evidence to the contrary that shows Apollonius to be from Tyana. The title of Philostratus' work, "Life of Apollonius of Tyana" (c.220 AD) is a bit of a give-away. However, Vadakayil's interpretations and research will be read with interest by me. I have no doubt whatsoever that the memory of Apollonius (Apalunyan) will be well-preserved in India. I was expecting to find him with an Indian name at some stage as I dipped into this topic. And here he is already, "Apalunyan", less than a week into my search for the true identity of the fictional character, "Jesus Christ".  
Thank you Ajit Vadakayil for posting this name in your October 2015 article. You now leave me a significant "arrow" to follow in future investigations.

Excerpts from  

"Damis of Nineveh"

Philostratus claims to have had access to Damis' memoirs, "Scraps from the manger" ...Philostratus states that his aim was just "to recast and edit Damis' essays, paying attention to the style and diction of them" ("Life" 1.2).

Many modern scholars think the memoirs are a literary fiction. This is not impossible.

Philostratus writes that Apollonius met his disciple in a town called Ninos... the capital of the legendary Assyrian empire, Nineveh. Note: Philostratus said that Damis remained with Apollonius until the end of his life ("Life" 1.19 and 8.28).

There are several additional arguments for the existence of the Damis source:
  1. Maximus of Aegae
  2. Damis correctly describes Babylon as a "living city" ... Greek and Roman texts of the time stated that it was in ruins.
  3. In India, Damis describes a new notion of the relationship between kings and philosophers. Philostratus was not a philosopher but such thought can be expected in texts of a Pythagorean character - indicating that such a discussion did not come from Philostratus, but from Damis.
  4. Damis is aware of the Alexander historians, especially Nearchus.

In an old Indian text, the Agamasâstra, Apalûnya, Damîça, Ayârcya and Prâvrti are mentioned.
ie: Apollonius, Damis, Iarchas and Phraotes - the main characters of Philostratus' Indian account.

"Scraps from the manger" were given to Philostratus by the empress Julia Domna.

Full article here:

Image - "War elephant"

Article:   Apollonius Tyaneus God's Philosopher  (excerpts)

The Travels of Apollonius

Apollonius departs Antioch and journeys on to Ninus (Nineveh). There he meets with Damis, who becomes his constant companion and faithful disciple. “Let us go together,” says Damis ("Life" 1.19).

... Damis was an enthusiast who loved Apollonius with a passionate affection. He saw in his master almost a divine being, possessed of marvellous powers at which he continually wondered, but which he could never understand... Damis advanced but slowly in comprehension of the real nature of spiritual science... he frequently states his ignorance of his master’s plans and purposes. See 3.15, 41; 5.5, 10; 7.10, 13; 8.28.

... It is very manifest that Damis was outside the circle of initiation, and this accounts both for his wonder-loving point of view and his general superficiality. Another fact that comes out prominently from the narrative is his timid nature. [See especially 7.13, 14, 15, 223]. He is continually afraid for himself or for his master...

Damis loves and wonders; seizes on unimportant detail and exaggerates it, while he can only report of the really important things what he fancies to have taken place from a few hints of Apollonius. As his story advances, it takes on a soberer tint...

Philostratus is ever ready to supply from his own store of marvels, if chance offers... Apollonius was one of the greatest travellers known to antiquity. Among the countries and places he visited the following are the chief ones recorded by Philostratus:
  • From Ninus (2.19) Apollonius journeys to Babylon (1.21), where he stops one year and eight months (1.40) and visits surrounding cities such as -
  • Ecbatana, the capital of Media (1.39) 
  • from Babylon to the Indian frontier no names are mentioned
  • the Khaibar Pass (2.6)
  • the Imaus (Himavat) or Himâlayan Range, where was the great mountain Meros (Meru)
  • the first city mentioned is Taxila (Attock) (2.20)
  • they make their way across the tributaries of the Indus (2.43) 
  • to the valley of the Ganges (3.5)
  • finally arrive at the “monastery of the wise men” (3.10), where Apollonius spends four months (3.50) 
This monastery was presumably in Nepâl; it is in the mountains, and the “city” nearest it is called Paraca.The chaos that Philostratus has made of Damis’ account, and before him the wonderful transformations Damis himself wrought in Indian names, are presumably shown in this word. Paraca is perchance all that Damis could make of Bharata, the general name of the Ganges valley in which the dominant Âryas were settled. It is also probable that these wise men were Buddhists, for they dwelt in a τυρσις - a place that looked like a fort or fortress to Damis. I have little doubt that Philostratus could make nothing out of the geography of India from the names in Damis’ diary; they were all unfamiliar to him, so that as soon as he has exhausted the few Greek names known to him from the accounts of the expedition of Alexander, he wanders in the “ends of the earth,”and can make nothing of it till he picks up our travellers again on their return journey at the mouth of the Indus.

The salient fact that Apollonius was making for a certain community, which was his peculiar goal, so impressed the imagination of Philostratus (and perhaps of Damis before him) that he has described it as being the only centre of the kind in India. Apollonius went to India with a purpose and returned from it with distinct mission...

Philostratus embellishes the account of the voyage from the Indus to the mouth of the Euphrates (3.52-58) with the travellers’ tales and names of islands and cities he has gleaned from the Indica which were accessible to him, and so we again return to Babylon and familiar geography with the following itinerary:
  • Babylon
  • Ninus
  • Antioch
  • Seleucia
  • Cyprus
  • thence to Ionia (3.58), where he spends some time in Asia Minor -
  • Ephesus (4.1)
  • Smyrna (4.5)
  • Pergamus (4.9)
  • Troy (4.2)
  • Apollonius crosses over to Lesbos (4.13)
  • sails for Athens, where he spends some years in Greece (4.17-33) visiting the temples of Hellas, reforming their rites and instructing the priests (4.24)
  • Crete (4.34)
  • Rome in the time of Nero (iv 36-46)
  • In AD 66 Nero issued a decree forbidding any philosopher to remain in Rome. 
  • Apollonius set out for Spain and landed at Gades, the modern Cadiz. He seems to have stayed in Spain only a short time (4.47)
  • he crossed to Africa
  • by sea once more to Sicily, where the principal cities and temples were visited (5.11-14) 

Apollonius returned to Greece (5.18), four years having elapsed since his landing at Athens from Lesbos (5.19). According to some, Apollonius would be now about sixty-eight years of age. But if he were still young (say thirty years old or so) when he left for India, he must either have spent a very long period in that country, or we have a very imperfect record of his doings in Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and Spain, after his return.
  • From Piræus Appollonius sails for Chios (5.21)
  • Rhodes
  • Alexandria (5.24). At Alexandria he spends some time, and has several interviews with the future Emperor Vespasian (5.27-41)
  • he sets out on a long journey up the Nile 
  • Ethopia beyond the cataracts where he visits an interesting community of ascetics called loosely Gymnosophists (6.1-27)
  • returned to Alexandria (6.28) 
  • He was summoned by Titus, who had just become emperor, to meet him at Tarsus (6.29-34) 
  • returned to Egypt - Philostratus speaks vaguely of his spending some time in Lower Egypt
  • visits to the Phoenicians [likely one of the Phoenician colonies scattered along North Africa]
  • Cilicians [Asia Minor]
  • Ionians
  • Achæans
  • and also to Italy (6.35) 

Now Vespasian was emperor from 69 to 79, and Titus from 79 to 81. As Apollonius’ interviews with Vespasian took place shortly before the beginning of that emperor’s reign, it is reasonable to conclude that a number of years was spent in his Ethiopian journey... Therefore Damis’account is a most imperfect one.

In 81 Domitian became emperor, and just as Apollonius opposed the follies of Nero, so did he criticise the acts of Domitian. He accordingly became an object of suspicion to the emperor but instead of keeping away from Rome, he determined to brave the tyrant to his face. Crossing from:
  • Egypt to 
  • Greece
  • taking ship at Corinth
  • sailed by way of Sicily to Puteoli
  • thence to the Tiber mouth
  • so to Rome (7.10-16). Here Apollonius was tried and acquitted (7.17 - 8.10) 
  • sailed from Puteoli again 
  • returned to Greece (8.15), where he spent two years (8.24)
  • to Ionia at the time of the death of Domitian (8.25)
  • visiting Smyrna
  • Ephesus
  • Hereupon he sends away Damis on some pretext to Rome (8.28) and - disappears. That is to say... he undertook yet another journey to the place which he loved above all others:    
  • the “home of the wise men”  - India ?

Now Domitian was killed 96 A.D and one of the last recorded acts of Apollonius is his vision of this event at the time of its occurrence. The trial of Apollonius at Rome took place somewhere about 93 AD. We have a gap of twelve years from his interview with Titus in 81AD which Philostratus can only fill up with a few vague stories and generalities.

As to his age at the time of his mysterious disappearance from the pages of history, Philostratus tells us that Damis says nothing - but some, he adds, say he was eighty, some ninety, and some even a hundred. The estimate of eighty years seems to fit in best with the rest of the chronological indications, but there is no certainty in the matter...

Such then is the geographical outline, so to say, of the life of Apollonius, and even the most careless reader of the bare skeleton of the journeys recorded by Philostratus must be struck by the indomitable energy of the man, and his power of endurance.

Full article here:

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