Philostratus of Athens, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana

LCL 16: 32-33

Go To Section
Go To Section

Apollonius of Tyana


1. Οἱ τὸν Σάμιον Πυθαγόραν ἐπαινοῦντες τάδε ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ φασιν· ὡς Ἴων μὲν οὔπω εἴη, γένοιτο δὲ ἐν Τροίᾳ ποτὲ Εὔφορβος, ἀναβιοίη τε ἀποθανών, ἀποθάνοι δέ, ὡς ᾠδαὶ Ὁμήρου, ἐσθῆτά τε τὴν ἀπὸ θνησειδίων παραιτοῖτο καὶ καθαρεύοι βρώσεως, ὁπόση ἐμψύχων, καὶ τοῦ θῦσαι· μὴ γὰρ αἱμάττειν τοὺς βωμούς, ἀλλὰ ἡ μελιττοῦτα καὶ ὁ λιβανωτὸς καὶ τὸ ἐφυμνῆσαι, φοιτᾶν ταῦτα τοῖς θεοῖς παρὰ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τούτου, γιγνώσκειν τε, ὡς ἀσπάζοιντο τὰ τοιαῦτα οἱ θεοὶ μᾶλλον ἢ τὰς ἑκατόμβας καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν ἐπὶ τοῦ κανοῦ.

2Ξυνεῖναι γὰρ δὴ τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ μανθάνειν παρ᾿ αὐτῶν, ὅπῃ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις χαίρουσι καὶ ὅπῃ ἄχθονται, περί τε φύσεως ἐκεῖθεν λέγειν· τοὺς μὲν γὰρ ἄλλους τεκμαίρεσθαι τοῦ θείου καὶ δόξας ἀνομοίους ἀλλήλαις περὶ αὐτοῦ δοξάζειν, ἑαυτῷ δὲ τόν τε Ἀπόλλω ἥκειν ὁμολογοῦντα, ὡς αὐτὸς εἴη, ξυνεῖναι δὲ καὶ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντας τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν καὶ τὰς Μούσας καὶ θεοὺς ἑτέρους, ὧν τὰ εἴδη καὶ τὰ ὀνόματα οὔπω τοὺς ἀνθρώπους γιγνώσκειν.

3Καὶ ὅ τι ἀποφήναιτο ὁ Πυθαγόρας, νόμον τοῦτο οἱ


Book I

Book I

1. According to his admirers, Pythagoras of Samos was not really an Ionian, but was born as Euphorbus at Troy, and after dying as the poems of Homer relate came to life again. He shunned clothing made from animal skins, and abstained from all food or sacrifices of living creatures, since he never defiled altars with blood; instead honey cakes, frankincense, and hymns were this Master’s offerings to the gods. He knew that such things were more welcome to them than hecatombs and the basket surmounted by the knife.1

Being conversant with the gods, he had learned what2 makes them angry or pleased with mankind, and on this he based his teachings about nature. Others, he said, merely guessed about the divine and had contradictory views about it, whereas he had been visited by Apollo, who fully admitted his identity, and also (though they did not confess it) by Athena, the Muses, and other gods, whose shapes and names were quite unknown to humanity.

All Pythagoras’s revelations his disciples considered3

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.philostratus_athens-life_apollonius_tyana.2005