APPOLLONIUS OF TYANA,
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF HIS
REMARKABLE MIRACLES, PROPHECIES, VISIONS, RELATIONS, &c. &c,
APPOLLONIUS Tyanæus, was one of the most extraordinary persons that ever appeared in the world. He was born at Tyana in Cappadocia, towards the beginning of the first century. At sixteen years of age he became a rigid disciple of Pythagoras, renouncing wine, flesh, and women, wearing no shoes, and letting his hair and beard grow long, and cloathing himself only in linen: soon after he became a reformer, and fixed his abode in a temple of Æsculapius, where many sick persons resorted to be cured by him. Being come to age, he gave part of his estate to his eldest brother, and distributed another part to his poor relations, and kept back only a very small share to himself. He lived six years without speaking a word, notwithstanding during this silence he quelled several seditions in Cecilia and Pamphilia; that which he put a stop to at Aspenda was the most difficult of all to appease, because the business was to make those hearken to reason whom famine had driven to revolt: the cause of this commotion was, some rich men having monopolized all the corn, occasioned an extraordinary scarcity in the city; Appollonius stopped this popular commotion, without speaking a word to the enraged multitude: Appollonius had no occasion for words; his Pythagoric silence did all that the finest figures of oratory could effect. He travelled much, professed himself a legislator; understood all languages, without having learned them: he had the surprising faculty of knowing what was transacted at an immense distance, and at the time the Emperor Domitian was stabbed, Appollonius being at a vast distance, and standing in the market-place of the city, exclaimed, "Strike! strike!--'tis done, the tyrant
is no more." He understood the language of birds; he condemned dancing, and other diversions of that sort; he recommended charity and piety; he travelled almost over all the countries of the world; and he died at a very great age. His life has been fully related by Philostratus; but it contains so many fabulous relations that we do not pretend to introduce them in this place. There are many who have very readily opposed the miracles of this man to those of Christ, and drew a parallel between them. It cannot be denied that this philosopher received very great honours, both during his life and after his death; and that his reputation continued long after paganism. He wrote four books of judicial Astrology, and a Treatise on Sacrifices, shewing what was to be offered to the Deity.
We must not omit a circumstance which tends to the honour of this venerable person. It is related that Aurelius had come to a resolution, and had publikly declared his intentions, to demolish the city of Tyana; but that Appollonius of Tyana, an ancient philosopher, of great renown and authority, a true friend of the gods, and himself honoured as a deity, appeared to him in his usual form as he retired into his tent, and addressed him thus:--"Aurelian, if you desire to be victorious, think no more of the destruction of my fellow-citizens!--Aurelian, if you desire to rule, abstain from the blood of the innocent!--Aurelian, if you will conquer, be merciful!" Aurelian being acquainted with the features of this ancient philosopher, having seen his image in several temples, he vowed to erect a temple and statues to him; and therefore altered his resolution of sacking Tyana. This account we have from men of credit, and have met with it in books in the Olpian library; and we are the more inclined to believe it on account of the dignity of Apollonius; for was there ever any thing among men more holy, venerable, noble, and divine than Apollonius? He restored life to the dead, he did and spoke many things beyond human reach; which whoever would be informed of, may meet with many accounts of them in the Greek histories of his life.' See Vopiscus in Aurelian, cap. 24.
Lastly, the inhabitants of Tyana built a temple to their Appollonius after his death; his statue was erected in several temples: the Emperor Adrian collected as many of his writings as he possibly could, and kept them very select, in his superb palace at Antium, with a rare but small book of this philosopher's, concerning the Oracle of Trophonius. This little book was to be seen at Antium during the life of Philostratus; nor did any curiosity whatever render this small town so famous as did this rare and extraordinary book of Appollonius.
It is reported that a wise prince of the Indians, well skilled in magic, made seven rings of the seven planets, which he bestowed upon Appollonius, one of which he wore every day; by which he always maintained the health and vigour of his youth, and lived to a very advanced age. His life was translated from the Greek of Philostratus into French, by Blaise de Vigners, with a very ample commentary by Artus Thomas, Lord of Embry, a Parisian; and some time since there has been made an English translation of his life, which was condemned, prohibited, and anathematized without reason.