Philostratus of Athens, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana

LCL 16: 230-231

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Apollonius of Tyana

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1. Περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ὑφάσιδος καὶ ὁπόσος τὴν Ἰνδικὴν διαστείχει καὶ ὅ τι περὶ αὐτὸν θαῦμα, τάδε χρὴ γιγνώσκειν. αἱ πηγαὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ τούτου βλύζουσι μὲν ἐκ πεδίου ναυσίποροι αὐτόθεν, προϊοῦσαι δὲ καὶ ναυσὶν ἤδη ἄποροί εἰσιν. ἀκρωνυχίαι γὰρ πετρῶν παραλλὰξ ὑπανίσχουσι τοῦ ὕδατος, περὶ ἃς ἀνάγκη τὸ ῥεῦμα ἑλίττεσθαι καὶ ποιεῖν τὸν ποταμὸν ἄπλουν. εὖρος δὲ αὐτῷ κατὰ τὸν Ἴστρον, ποταμῶν δὲ οὗτος δοκεῖ μέγιστος, ὁπόσοι δι᾿ Εὐρώπης ῥέουσι. δένδρα δέ οἱ προσόμοια φύει παρὰ τὰς ὄχθας, καί τι καὶ μύρον ἐκδίδοται τῶν δένδρων, ὃ ποιοῦνται Ἰνδοὶ γαμικὸν χρίσμα, καὶ εἰ μὴ τῷ μύρῳ τούτῳ ῥάνωσι τοὺς νυμφίους οἱ ξυνιόντες ἐς τὸν γάμον, ἀτελὴς δοκεῖ καὶ οὐκ ἐς χάριν τῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ ξυναρμοσθείς.

2Ἀνεῖσθαι δὲ τῇ θεῷ ταύτῃ λέγουσιν αὐτό τε τὸ περὶ τῷ ποταμῷ νέμος καὶ τοὺς ἰχθῦς τοὺς ταώς, οὓς οὗτος μόνος ποταμῶν τρέφει. πεποίηνται δὲ αὐτοὺς ὁμωνύμους τοῦ ὄρνιθος, ἐπεὶ κυάνεοι μὲν αὐτοῖς οἱ λόφοι, στικταὶ δὲ αἱ φολίδες, χρυσᾶ δὲ τὰ οὐραῖα καί, ὁπότε βούλοιντο, ἀνακλώμενα. ἔστι δέ τι θηρίον ἐν τῷ ποταμῷ τούτῳ σκώληκι εἰκασμένον λευκῷ. τοῦτο οἱ τήκοντες

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Book III

Book III

1. About the Hyphasis,1 its size as it crosses India and its remarkable features, one should know the following. The headwaters of this river emerge from a level plain and are navigable from their source, though as they proceed they become impassible for boats. Jagged rocks rise out of the water on each side in turn, and the current as it twists around them necessarily makes the river unnavigable. In breadth it equals the Danube, which is considered the largest river to traverse Europe. Trees of a corresponding size grow along the banks, giving off a kind of balm which the Indians use as a marriage perfume, and if those invited to the wedding omit to sprinkle this perfume on the couple, the ceremony is considered to be invalid and contracted without the favor of Aphrodite.

They say that the woods on the banks of the river are2 dedicated to this goddess, as are the famous peacock fish, which breed only in this river. These have received the same name as the bird because of their blue dorsal fins, spotted scales, and golden tail fins which they can spread at will. There is another creature in this river that resembles a white worm, and is melted down to produce an oil. This oil

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philostratus_athens-life_apollonius_tyana.2005