Tuesday 12 April 2016

Summary of the 8 books: "Life of Apollonius of Tyana" by Philostratus

Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise by Fyodor Bronnikov

Book one

1.1-3 Introduction.
1.4-17 Apollonius' birth, his education, formative religious practices including five years spent in silence
1.18-19 Journey to Mesopotamia and Iran. Meeting Damis.
1.23 Meeting the impoverished Eretrians
1.25-40 King Vardanes in Babylon and Ecbatana. They stay there one year and eight months. He gains considerable influence over the king. Social and political changes affected.

Coin of Gondophares I 
Source:  Ancient Indo-Parthian Kingdom that occupied the present regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan was founded by Gondophares I or Phraotes of Central Asian Iranian Tribe in ca 30 BC. The city of Taxila is thought to have been the capital of the Indo-Parthians as per excavations by Sir John Marshall in 1913.

Book two

Book 2. Apollonius' journey to India with a group of companions.

2.3 The "Caucasus" (Hindu Kush)
2.4 Drive away a hobgoblin
2.5 Apollonius and Damis discuss spiritual life.
2.8 Cross the river Cophen, visit the shrine of Dionysus and other sights.
2.11-16 Travelling to the Indus. Learned discussions about elephants !!
2.17-19 They cross the river
2.20 Continue on to Taxila.
2.23-34 Three-day stay with the Indian philosopher king Phraotes
2.35-37 Discussions about dream divination with the king
2.39 Advice given on a legal dispute
2.42 Depart to find the Indian sages, cross the Hydraotes and the Hyphasis


Book three

Book 3. Apollonius' journey to and stay with the Indian sages. 

3.5 Pepper trees. They reach the Ganges plain
3.6-8 Snake hunt (3.6-8).
3.10-15 With the sages, discussion, the environment.
3.18 Prophetic gifts
3.26 Reincarnation, Homeric and Indian heroes, justice, the Indian cult of Tantalus. Indian king arrives.
3.28-31 The king is disinterested in philosophy
3.32 The king's antipathy cured
3.34-37 Continuing discussion - the cosmos and other questions.
3.38-40 Acts of healing
3.41 Discussion of astrology and cultic practices
3.45-49 The wonders of nature in India
3.50 After four months, Apollonius and his companions begin the return journey
3.51-58 Return via the Persian gulf, Babylon and Antioch to Ionia

Book four

Book 4. Apollonius' visits Greek cities in Ionia and the mainland.

4.1-4  He condemns the idle amusement to which the Ephesians are addicted.
4.5-9  Smyrna. Apollonius also discusses how civic life should function.
4.11-14  Pergamon, Troy, to the Aeolian coast, Lesbos...
4.17  Arrival in Athens
4.19-22  Lectures on cultic practices and the effeminate manner, criticizes the gladiatorial shows
4:20  He expels a demon.
4:23  Thessalonia
4.24  He corrects religious practices during his visits to Greek shrines.
4.25  Corinth. He rescues the philosopher Demtrius' pupil Menippus from the claws of a female vampire.
4:27  On the way to Olympia. Apollonius comes across Spartan envoys; he criticizes their effeminate appearance, resulting in an ethical revival in Sparta
4.28-30  Olympia. He discusses a few of the statues, takes part in the religious ceremonies. His ethical exhortations meet with general admiration.
4.31-33  In Sparta he discusses religious and judicial affairs.
4.34  He sails from the Peloponnese to Crete.
4.35  Apollonius' first stay in Italy and his conflict with the regime of Nero.
4.36-38  Discusses philosophical resolution in the face of tyrants
4:39  Arrival in Rome. Conflict with a drunken harpist who sings Nero's songs
4.40  Telesinus gives Apollonius permission to stay in various temples in Rome (4.40).
4.42  Suspicion also falls on Apollonius regarding Nero's bath house.
4.43  Apollonius interprets an eclipse of the sun as an omen of Nero's narrow escape from being killed by lightning
4.44  Apollonius is arrested. When the scroll containing the indictment has been mysteriously erased. Apollonius is released out of fear of his supernatural powers
4.45  Apollonius brings a young woman, a member of a consular family, back to life
4.46  Sends messages to the philosopher Musonius Rufus, who has been imprisoned by Nero. Apollonius departs for Hispania (Spain)

Saint Tabitha, the widow raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter

Book five

Book 5.  Apollonius' stay in Hispania.

5.7  Apollonius and his companions discuss Nero's trip to Greece.
5.10  The governor of Andalusia has a private interview with Apollonius,
5.11  They travel through Sicily, Athens, Rhodes, and reach Alexandria.
5.13  Apollonius predicts the political and military events of the year
5.14-17  He discusses volcanic phenomena and the merits of the fables of Aesop
5.19  Initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries in Athens
5.20  Apollonius spends the winter in various Greek shrines
5.21-22  On Rhodes he pays a visit to the Colossus, discusses flute playing with Canus, a virtuoso flautist, and rebukes a young nouveau riche.
5.24  Alexandria, he rescues an innocent condemned man from the executioner
5.25  Voices his disapproval of the blood sacrifices in the temple
5.26  Reproves the Alexandrians for their vandalism at the horse races
5.27 Apollonius has contact with the new emperor Vespasian.
5:29 Discuss of the destruction of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome
5.31  Philosophers Dio and Euphratesare also admitted to the conversation
5.32  Vespasian asks advice of the philosophers
5.33  Euphrates argues for the abolition of the monarchy
5.34  Dio is in favor of a constitutional referendum
5.34-36  Apollonius rejects the arguments of these speakers as unrealistic sophistries and puts forward a vigorous plea for the monarchy
5.37  Euphrates reveals his true colors by attacking Pythagoreanism
5.39  The conflict between Apollonius and Euphrates reaches a climax
5.40  Dio is criticized by Apollonius for the rhetorical character of his philosophy
5.41  A rift comes between Apollonius and Vespasian. Apollonius' disapproval of the cancellation of the liberty which Nero had bestowed on Greece
5.42  After Apollonius has recognized a lion as a reincarnation of Egypt's last pharaoh Amasis, he sets out in the company of ten disciples for the Ethiopian gymnosophists.

Gymnosophists - naked philosophers

Book six

Book 6. Apollonius and his followers spend time with the gymnosophists

6.2  Cross the border between the Roman province Egypt and independent Ethiopia with a young Egyptian as their guide.
6.4  Visit to the statue of Memnon
6.6  The abode of the gymnosophists
6.7-14  Euphrates has sent one of his disciples there to slander Apollonius
6.15-17  Thespesion defends the unpretentious philosophy and life-style of the gymnosophists. Apollonius replies how Pythagoreanism is superior in relation to the gymnosophists because of the Indian wisom in the philosophy. Nilus, is attracted by Apollonius' wisdom
6.18-21  A second conversation with the gymnosophists is held the following day including the immortality of the soul and cosmology.
6.22  Apollonius and his disciples set off for the source of the Nile
6.27  Return voyage - Apollonius overmasters a satyr in an Ethiopian village
6.28  The conflict with Euphrates grows more acute
6.29-34  Apollonius' contacts with Vespasian's son and crown prince Titus. Apollonius writes a letter of eulogy of Titus. Titus invites Apollonius for a discussion in Tarsus before returning to Rome.
6.31  Assigns Demetrius to the heir apparent as his philosophical advisor.
6.32  He issues a cryptic prophecy of Titus' death and brings about the immediate granting of a request made by the people of Tarsus.

6.36-43  Stories about Apollonius' activities in the cities of Asia Minor and Syria. He advises a rich but uneducated young man to study rhetoric, attacks a foolish myth that is current in Sardes, warns the citizens of Antioch of the divine wrath incurred by civil disobedience, helps to solve the dowry problem of a man with four daughters, cures a man of his passion for the famous statue of Aphrodite in Cnidus, recommends how to appease the divine anger which is evidenced in earthquakes, comments on the emperor Domitian's edicts against castration and viniculture, healing of a man with rabies in Tarsus.


Book seven

Book 7. Apollonius' confrontation with the tyrant Domitian

7.1-4  Introduction
7.5-8  Apollonius' public opposition to the tyrant and his exhortations to revolt against the tyrannical regime
7.9  Domitian issues a warrant for the arrest of Apollonius. Apollonius foresees this warrant and  leaves Smyrna for Dicaearchia (Puteoli), accompanied by Damis. He meets Demetrius there.
7.11-14   Apollonius resists Demetrius' attempts to deter him from engaging in a confrontation with Domitian.
7.15-21  Apollonius and Damis sail to Rome. Apollonius is arrested
7.22-26  Apollonius is incarcerated in a prison with a mild regime; he instills courage in Damis and his fellow prisoners.
7.27  Apollonius sees through the trickery of one of Domitian's spies
7.28  A servant of Aelianus advises him on the line to adopt with the emperor
7.32  Apollonius defends himself against the charges
7.34  The emperor orders him to be shaved and put in irons
7.35  Philostratus dismisses a letter attributed to Apollonius, in which the philosopher begs for Domitian's mercy, as a forgery.
7.36-38  Apollonius brushes off another of Domitian's spies and inspires Damis with new courage by miraculously shaking off his fetters.
7.40  Apollonius is transferred to the prison with a mild regime
7.41  Damis sent back to Dicaearchia


Book eight

Book 8.  Apollonius' trial before Domitian, his acquittal, and miraculous departure from the court.

8.7  The full text of the speech which Apollonius wrote for the defense
8.8  Domitian is astonished by Apollonius' inexplicable departure
8.10-14  After a mere half day's travel from Rome, Apollonius joins Damis and Demetrius in Dicaearchia and sets out for Greece.
8.15-19  Olympia. A visit to the oracle of Trophonius. He spends seven days there underground and returns with a book containing the teachings of Pythagoras.
8.20  Philostratus mentions that this book and a number of letters written by Apollonius are preserved in the emperor Hadrian's villa in Antium.
8.24  Stays in Greece for two years in Ionia, Smyrna, Ephesus and elsewhere
8.25-27  During his stay in Ephesus he miraculously witnesses the murder of Domitian in Rome
8.28  Apollonius sends Damis to the new emperor with his recommendations in writing
8.29  According to Philostratus, this is where the memoirs of Damis, which have served him as a main source for the adventures of Apollonius since the start of his journey to the East, come to an end.
8.30  Apollonius' earthly existence are ascertained from other sources, devoting the most attention to Apollonius' ascension from the Dictynna temple on Crete.
9.31 The sage of Tyana appears posthumously to a young man in a dream to confirm the immortality of the soul.

Apollonius of Tyana:

"There is no death of anyone but only in appearance, even as there is no birth of any save only in seeming. The change from being to becoming seems to be birth and the change from becoming to being seems to be death, but in reality no one is ever born nor does one ever die. It is simply a being visible and then invisible; the former through the density of matter and the latter because of the subtlety of being - being which is ever the same, it's only change being motion and rest."  

(See Apollonius of Tyana by GRS Mead.)


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