I want now to pursue the relation between Apollonius and Hellenism and the East by looking at Apollonius’ relations with the sages and some other matters. In the court of the Persian king Vardanes, Apollonius lectures Damis on the difference between Hellenic and barbarian morals. ‘To a wise man Hellas is everywhere’ (i. 35). The origin of the tag is Isocrates, Panegyric, 50 (‘the name ‘‘Hellenes’’ [is the name of] those who share our culture rather than a common nature’). Isocrates was speaking of Athenian culture in particular; but he was well aware of the power of Hellenic culture to civilize barbarians (such as Cyprians/ Phoenicians at Evagoras, 47—50). Second-sophistic Greeks took the outlook of Isocrates very much to heart. For Philostratus, it is essential to present Hellenism as a universally appreciated ideal. Thus the court of Vardanes is thoroughly philhellenic (i. 29, 32; 2. 17, etc.), and the statement of Hellenism’s appeal follows Apollonius’ exposition of Pythagoreanism (I. 32).

The ‘indigenous’ wisdom of the Mages is respected by Apollonius (1. 32), though not totally (1. 79). For Vardanes and the Persians are mere preparation for the Indians, their philhellenic king Phraotes, and for the wisest men of them all, the Brahmins and their leader, Iarchas (books 2 and 3). The account begins with a description of the royal city of Taxila, giving Apollonius a chance to discourse in sub-Platonic mode on art theory with reference to engravings of the deeds of Porus and Alexander (2. 22). He and Phraotes recognize each other as philosophers (2. 25 ff.). Greek and the Greek character command the king’s highest respect. Phraotes explains that his studies with the Brahmins were aided by his fluency in Greek, since they regarded him on this basis as one of their own (2. 29 ff., esp. 31). ‘Black-arse’, as Damis calls him (2. 36, a proverbial reference to a doughty opponent), holds his own in philosophical discussion, and sends Apollonius off to the Brahmins with a commendation as ‘the wisest’ (2. 41). Their possession of Greek and their respect for Greek culture is fundamental to Philostratus’ presentation (e.g. 3. 12, 14, 16). Apollonius says that his stay with them will at least teach him that he has nothing more to learn (3. 16). Since the Brahmins are referred to in Pythagorean style as autoi (‘themselves’), we expect them to discourse on metempsychosis (3. 13, 19). Their opinion is ‘what Pythagoras imparted to you, and we to the Egyptians’ (3. 19). The claim that Indian wisdom is the source of Egyptian wisdom, and therefore of Pythagoreanism, is Philostratus’ invention.

Contemporary interest in India and Indian religion is assured by an Indian embassy which visited Elagabal. The ambassadors happened to meet with the Edessan courtier and intellectual Bardaisan, who recorded his discussions with them about Hindu (Brachmanes) and Buddhist (Samanaioi) holy men. Philostratus has Apollonius plan to visit the Brachmanes and the Hurkanioi (I. 18), but nothing more is heard of the latter (the form of which is best considered a scribal corruption forSamanaioi or something similar). It is not implausible to suggest that Philostratus’ contacts at court mean that ‘we can assume interest in these matters is high places’. Against this may be the fact that Apollonius’ voyage to India follows the traditional route of Alexander, as several reminiscences show. If Philostratus was thinking as a contemporary, he would (it is argued) have sent Apollonius by sea from the Euphrates to the Indus, which is how St Thomas travels in the Acts of Thomas.The traditional route and the restriction of contact to the Brahmins suit Philostratus’ Hellenic agenda. Apollonius follows the most famous honorary Greek, and outdoes him in his contacts with the most famous Indian sages. Moreover, in so doing, his ‘progress in wisdom is more divine than Pythagoras’, as Philostratus puts it earlier (I. 2), since Apollonius visits the sages whose wisdom was the ultimate source of his own hero’s, but from whom he himself has little to learn. In one go the acknowledged influence of the East is neutralized and brought safely within Hellenism.

Apollonius, assured of his merits, returns to the Greeks to lecture them on Hellenic standards (4. I ff., 21 ff., 28 ff.). Several miracles are performed: three exorcisms, including that of a plague demon (10, 20, 25), a raising from the dead (45), a ‘bilocation’ (10: ‘doing, I think, exactly what Pythagoras did when he was in Thurii and Metapontum at the same moment’). There is an interview with Achilles and other ‘heroic’ material (II—16), which is to be seen not simply as sophistic cliche or

Homerkritik (a somewhat misleading term anyway), but part also of an appeal to the royal house. The end of book 4 takes Apollonius to Rome for a confrontation with Nero’s henchman, Tigellinus, ‘on behalf of philosophy’ (33—47). This is further preparation for Domitian and the apologia in books 7 and 8.

Apollonius’ next voyages to the ‘barbarians’ of the West and to Egypt. He is pleased to find that some of the former are ‘Hellenic’, and ‘are educated in the fashion of our country’ (3. 4), again an advertisement of the wide appeal of Hellenism. A journey to Alexandria via Rhodes brings Apollonius into contact with Vespasian, and allows him to offer advice on how to be a good king (26—41). Apollonius deals with his competitors, Dio of Prusa and Euphrates, and gives the advice a Roman emperor wants to hear: monarchy is best (33). When he turns to details, he emphasizes amongst other things the need to behave well towards the Greeks (36); Vespasian is rebuked when he later fails to follow the spirit of what Apollonius has said (41). The stress on Hellenism here must be borne in mind when we consider this advice. Christian apologists may (Justin, Melito, Athenagoras) or may not (Theophilus, Tatian) stress their loyalty to the empire, or at least advert to the coincidence between the birth of empire and the life of Jesus. In this they naturally have their own agenda. Greeks’ advice to the emperor is again an expression of loyalty on their own terms. Apollonius is not simply ‘on the side of the established Roman order’. He supports what supports him, and Vespasian receives his blessing, because he accepts Hellenic advice and values Apollonius as much as Vardanes and Phraotes.

Book 6 takes Apollonius to the ‘Naked Sages’ of Upper Egypt and Ethiopia. It appears that the Gumnoi of Ethiopia (they are never called Gumnosophistai) are another Philostratean invention. Their main role is to restate the superiority of Indian wisdom (6. 6, II, 16). They are disrespectful to Apollonius, and are consequently shown the limits of their learning. Apollonius’ reply to their leader’s attack on him (ii) is a highly wrought production, which is used to confirm his devotion to Pythagoreanism, a philosophy designed, he says, for ‘an endless and incalculable time’. He finishes his speech by hailing the power of Helios. A denunciation of the animal gods of Egypt (19) leads to a final talk on the soul, following the arguments of the Timaeus (22; cf. II). The book finishes with (amongst other things) Apollonius’ favourable relations with the emperor Titus (29—34), a selection of incidents which recall ‘the visits paid to us by the children of Asclepius’, and a final statement of the words and deeds of a Pythagorean life, which summarizes the first part of the work (43).

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