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Philostratros’ Life of Apollonios of Tyana and its Literary Context

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Nikoletta Kanavou

Chapter 1: The Sōphrosynē of Apollonios of Tyana

Texte intégral

Πἀντα μἐν οἔν ὲμοιγε δοκεῖ τὰ καλἀ καὶ τἀγαθἀ ἀσκητἀ εἴναι, οὑχ ἢκιστα δἐ σωφροσὑνη. Ἔν γἀρ τῷ αὺτῷ σῶματι συμπεφυτευμὲναι τῆ ψυχῆ αὶ ήδοναἳ πεὶθουσιν αυτἡν μἡ σωφρονεῖν, αλλἀ τήν ταχὶστην ἐαυταῖς τε καὶ τῷ σῶματι χαρὶζεσθαι.

To me indeed it seems that whatever is honourable, whatever is good in conduct is the result of training, and that this is especially true of prudence. For in the same body along with the soul are planted the pleasures which call to her: ‘Abandon prudence, and make haste to gratify us and the body.’ (Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.2.23)

I. A Neopythagorean Sophist

  • 1 See Riedweg (2007, 75-76); Zhmud (2012, passim); Kingsley (1995, passim).
  • 2 Some names that leap to mind: Epimenides (D. L. 1.109-115), Pherekydes (D. L. 1.116-122), Abaris (b (...)
  • 3 This implies a low view of Epicureanism compared to Stoicism, reminiscent of the anecdote found in (...)
  • 4 On ancient testimonies for Pythagoreanism as a way of life, see Huffman (2014). Cornell! (2013, 58) (...)
  • 5 The story goes back to Herakleides of Pontos (Cic. Tusc. 5.3.8; D. L. 1.12). See Dillon (2014, 258- (...)

1Philostratos’ fictionalised account of the life of Apollonios begins with a summary of the philosophical influences allegedly exercised on the sage (1.1): firstly that of Pythagoras (who is believed, like Apollonios, to have had a special relationship with the gods and to have survived his physical death), secondly of Empedokles, ‘who followed the same school of wisdom’ (his philosophy was clearly influenced by Pythagoreanism),1 and thirdly that of other wise men of Pythagoras’ kind, whom the author does not have the time or space to mention.2 Apollonios is then said to have studied philosophy together with followers of Plato, of the Stoic Chrysippos and at the Peripatos, while ‘he also heard the doctrines of Epikouros, considering not even these unworthy of his attention’ (1.7.2).3 The doctrines of Pythagoras were, however, the ones to absorb him the most, and he decided to follow the Pythagorean way, which as Plato remarked (Republic 600b), brought distinction to its followers. But Pythagoras was credited not only with teaching a new way of life (circumscribed by a set of distinct religious and ethical prescriptions),4 but also with founding philosophy in Italy (as Diogenes Laertios notes, 1.13), and with inventing no less than the word (φιλοσοφία itself.5

  • 6 Cf. Ep. Apoll. 70, where the blame for the decline of Athens is put on the absence of philosophers (...)
  • 7 Cf., characteristically, Ps.-Plu. Lib. ed. 7d-e. There is perhaps the exception of the Sceptics, on (...)
  • 8 See Koskenniemi (2009, 333-334, with references); Anderson (1986, 135- 138). Cf. Praet (2009) for a (...)
  • 9 Such as some of Apollonios’ letters and his book On sacrifice (Περὶ θυσιῶν) twice mentioned in the (...)
  • 10 On these, see Lauwers (2015, 44-45; 130-131 on VA 4.2, the summary of Apollonios’ dialexis to the E (...)

2Philosophy is of primary importance in the VA. Characteristically, Apollonios states explicitly that there is nothing greater than ‘a true man who pursues wisdom (φιλοσοφοῦντα) honestly and sincerely’; a philosopher has more greatness than the Rhodian statue of Kolossos (5.21.1).6 Philosophy is also presented as the highest form of wisdom in an ‘Aesopic’ context, with reference to the distribution of intellectual skills by Hermes – philosophy stands at the top, followed, significantly, by oratory (5.15.2). What is more, philosophical discourses have healing powers (king Vardanes recovers from an illness after hearing Apollonios’ expositions on the soul, 1.38.3). The glorification of philosophy is inextricably linked with the emphasis on virtue in Philostratos’ work, and the common interest in virtue ethics in the teachings of Greco-Roman philosophical schools,7 despite their disagreement on a number of topics. The VA is of course no philosophical treatise, and scholars have often noted the contradictions and inaccuracies that characterise the eclectic blend of ideas that are adopted, taught and propagated by Apollonios (but the lack of philosophical consistency in Philostratos’ hero should not create doubts about the predominantly Pythagorean vocation of the historical sage).8 Moreover, the VA’s account of Apollonios’ philosophy is occasionally supplanted (or even contradicted) by other sources, which may reflect more accurately the historical Apollonios.9 The narrator of the VA notably appears less keen on elaborating on the ethical and ontological content of his hero’s beliefs and teachings than on applying sophistic and rhetorical strategies10 to attract and please a wide readership, and to offer some congenial moralising. Here the apt term ῥητορικἡ φιλοσοφοῦσα, used by Philostratos himself in the Lives of the sophists (1.480), leaps to mind: the narrator indeed repeatedly refers to discourses held by his hero (in the manner of itinerant sophists) in various cities.

  • 11 On this letter, see further Goldhill (2009, 303-305); Hodkinson (2017, 513), with bibliography.
  • 12 Casperius Aelianus (PIR2 C 462; D. C. 68.3.3), praetorian prefect; see Jones (1992, 59-61).
  • 13 The same is also true for the description of his philosophical identity to Thespesion, leader of th (...)
  • 14 On Dio, see further Swain (ed. 2000) and Hahn (1989, 156-171), who notes a difference in his self-p (...)
  • 15 Cf. VS 1.484; for a more detailed discussion, see Jones (1974, 12-14).
  • 16 On the connection between the VA and the second sophistic, see Gyselinck and Demoen (2009); on the (...)
  • 17 Maximos is considered a ‘semi-philosopher’ by Trapp (2007a, 25); on Favorinos more later.
  • 18 Cf. especially the bitter quarrel between sophistic rhetoric and philosophy in Gorgias; ʽnoble’ rhe (...)
  • 19 See, characteristically, De Her. mal. 857f.
  • 20 Note his criticism of rhetors in the Euboikos (he implies the superiority of the philosopher, 7.102 (...)
  • 21 Luc. Peregr. 13 (τòν δε άνεσκολοπισμένον σοφιστήν).

3Philostratos may have linked his name with the term ‘second sophistic’ (VS 1.481; 1.507) and have written a whole book about ‘sophists’, but he treats these in a rather contradictory spirit. In one of his letters (73, addressed to Julia Domna and apparently dedicated to the sophists’ defence), Plato is said to have regarded sophists as noble competition, and Gorgias is praised;11 in the VA, Apollonios does not appear to distinguish between philosophers and sophists as teachers of wisdom (6.36.3). On the other hand, the sage is described as not given ‘to logic-chopping or to long discourses’, or to a heavily ornamented style of speech (1.17; he accordingly refrains from turning Vespasian’s joyous arrival at Egypt into a subject of declamation, ‘considering that style of discourse to be too rhetorical’, 5.27.2); and he contrasts the σοφισταὶ who feign wisdom, with the σοφοὶ, who are truly wise (4.29). The issue becomes particularly relevant at the time of Apollonios’ trial: the prefect Aelianus,12 conversing with the emperor Domitian before the hearing, defines sophists as superficial bubblers (7.16.2) and then pretends to apply the term to Apollonios (7.17.2), while the Syrakusan visitor to the sage’s prison cell praises him as ‘the greatest of philosophers’ (ὐπερφιλοσοφοῦντα, 7.37) The sage’s apology in Book 8 is important for his characterisation not just as philosopher, but also as orator in the spirit of the second sophistic.13 Philostratos’ treatment of Dio Chrysostom, whose status oscillates between ‘sophist’ and ‘philosopher’ (VS 1.486- 487), and whose ‘philosophy’ is described as ῥητορικωτὲρα (‘rather rhetorical’ VA 5.40), is another case in point. Notably Dio is described as one of Apollonios’ firm friends (8.7.7), but, it is implied, the less rhetorically-minded Apollonios is the ‘truer’ philosopher of the two.14 The VS, with its distinction between two classes of sophists, some of whom are also called ‘philosophers’, while some (e.g. Isokrates, who is treated as a ‘sophist’), would be better called ‘rhetors’,15 does not contribute much in the way of clear definitions. While the similarities and differences between sophists, philosophers and rhetors in the imperial age often remained vague,16 it seems that one role did not exclude the other, as is also clear in the cases of ‘philosophical’ orators such as Maximos of Tyre and Favorinos of Arelatai.17 Still, a tendency to downgrade sophists (familiar from before Plato’s time and often noted in his dialogues)18 clearly persists in the imperial period – for example in Plutarch19 and somewhat curiously, in sophistic literature itself, not just in Philostratos, but also in the works of the aforementioned Dio.20 Interestingly the term is also used derogatorily of Jesus.21

  • 22 A revival of Pythagoreanism from the 1st c. BC, after its original phase ended in the 4th c. BC, is (...)
  • 23 Cf. Thom (1995, 35-58), who argued for a date as early as the 4th c. BC on uncertain grounds (ibid. (...)
  • 24 See Centrone’s summary (2014, 329-333): phronēsis and justice are variously considered by the autho (...)
  • 25 Quoted as early as Aristotle, in his now lost treatise on the Pythagoreans. Later tradition include (...)
  • 26 See Praet (2009, 317-318), who notes that Apollonios asks a question related to the number of the s (...)
  • 27 As North’s survey shows (1966, esp. 211-242).

4Apollonios’ sophistic associations and their potentially negative implications are kept in check by his prominent association in the narrative with the philosophy of Pythagoras (note Apollonios’ own striking claim at VA 6.11). Pythagoreanism in this era represented an old philosophical and religious tradition presumably approached by the narrator – as by modern scholars – through Neopythagorean sources.22 These are home to a number of ethical notions and features encountered also in the VA. In particular, the Golden verses, a poetic exhortation to the Pythagorean manner of life (of uncertain authorship and date),23 reflect several aspects of the characterisation of Philostratos’ hero, including his virtue (ll. 9-12 provide a good description of sōphrosynē) and his close relationship with the gods. Further relevant ethical content can be located in the pseudo-Pythagorean treatises,24 which bear the mark of Platonic and Aristotelian doctrines. Notably Apollonios’ life as recounted by Philostratos mostly echoes the ‘acusmatic’ tradition, which emphasised Pythagoras’ acusmata, oral instructions on ritual practice and general life-commandments25 – although Apollonios also shows ‘scientific’ interest in the natural world and the universe, particularly in his discussions with the Indian sages in Book 3, which allegedly provided material for his cosmological writings (3.34-37; 3.41; but on the whole the depiction of these sages and their ’Pythagorean’ way of life also reflects the narrator’s predominantly moral interest in Pythagoreanism).26 The virtue of sōphrosynē, arguably the single most important component of Apollonios’ moral characterisation, suggests however a broader philosophical platform, since it holds a place not just in Pythagorean ethical thinking but indeed in every Greco-Roman philosophical school.27 As we shall see in the proceeding chapters, it also features in Philostratos’ sophistic lives and references to it adorn sophistic literature. The praise of this virtue supersedes philosophical conflicts and the philosopher-sophist divide.

  • 28 See now further Becker (2016, 390-392).
  • 29 See Dzielska (1986, 171): ‘The Greeks in Hierocles’ time... needed somebody who would “compete” wit (...)
  • 30 Augustine mentions Apollonios together with Apuleius, another ‘wonder-worker’ (cf. Lact. Inst. 5.3. (...)
  • 31 ‘... a man who… was sought after by the rich, but was not seeking riches for himself; greedy for kn (...)

5Sōphrosynē has finally provided an additional solid basis also for the literary Nachleben of Apollonios’ story – one of the story’s functions presumably being that of a narrative of model sōphrosynē – and has further served as a balancing element in the reception of the pagan sage in both pagan and Christian contexts, which as we shall see in more detail later, also thematised, praised and encouraged sōphrosynē. On the pagan side, Porphyry affirms the Tyanean’s philosophical qualities and virtue in his fragmentary Against the Christians (μή τὶ γε ’Ἀπολλῶνων τὸν Τυανὲα φήσετε ἂνδρα φιλοσοφὶα πἀση κεκοσμημὲνον; fr. 60 Hamack).28 Pagan reaction to the rise of Christianity seems to have played a part in preserving the fame of Apollonios’ virtue,29 but it is a testimony to the effect of this virtue (despite the mixed reviews of the VA’s portraiture of its hero as a philosopher) that not all Christian writers were hostile to Apollonios. For example, St. Jerome offers a positive appreciation of the sage as a wise man in one of his letters (53). Additionally, St. Augustine in his own letters (138.18), whilst being generally dismissive of Apollonios as a magician and a poor comparison to Jesus, admits that he was in terms of virtue ‘a much worthier character’ (melior) with respect to virtue than other pagan idols, including Zeus (‘the perpetrator of innumerable gross acts of immorality’).30 Later, in the fifth century, Sidonius Apollinaris translated the VA into Latin and, writing to a friend, accorded to the virtue of Apollonios the highest praise.31

II. Aspects of Sōphrosynē

  • 32 See further Swain (1999, 163-169; 170: ‘The steadily increasing importance of Pythagorean thinking. (...)
  • 33 See recently Miles (2016, 140-141); cf. De Temmerman (2014, 30-31) on metaphorical characterisation
  • 34 Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 1); du Toit (1997, 283, on Apollonios’ analogies with Pythagoras). See (...)
  • 35 See Elsner (2009a, 15-16). Sophia is also one of Plato’s four cardinal virtues. Its central treatme (...)

6As mentioned already, the nature of Apollonios’ sophia and virtue in the VA is rooted in the philosophical background sketched at the beginning of the work – a few more words about this background are in order here. Apollonios’ standing as a Pythagorean associates Philostratos’ sage with one of the top-standing authorities of Hellenic wisdom in the second sophistic: Pythagoras.32 The short description of Pythagoras’ way of life at the start of the VA is especially important, as often noted by scholars, since it is his own bios – having been used by Philostratos as a model for his hero – that provides the rough outlines of Apollonios’ life, which are to be recounted in detail in the rest of the work. To put this point differently, before the start of the narrative proper, Apollonios is already characterised ‘by paradigm’.33 Pythagoras’ depiction by the VA’s narrator further evokes the tradition of ‘divine’ or ‘holy’ man,34 to which Apollonios also belongs. Pythagoras was indeed praised and remembered first and foremost for his special relationship with the gods: his piety and his understanding of divine will, to which he also conformed – in perfect and total self-control – his eating and dress habits and his general behaviour. ‘Self-mastery’ is what the Greeks called egkrateia, which counts as a form of sōphrosynē (to be discussed below). Notably neither sōphrosynē nor egkrateia are named in the opening section of the VA – the term used by Philostratos is sophia, a term of central importance in the Philostratean corpus as a whole, and of such wide signification as to include a number of diverse themes.35

  • 36 Note that he routinely surpassed every important figure to which the narrative compares him: e.g. h (...)
  • 37 Cf. Pl. Phlb. (45d-e; ‘μηδεν άγαν’) in relation to the sōphrōn bios; Plt. 283d-e on the metrion as (...)
  • 38 Timpe and Boyd (2014, 7).
  • 39 Note, e.g., the presentation of Plato’s sophia at the beginning of the work (1.2.1) as a mixture of (...)
  • 40 North only mentions Apollonios in a footnote (1966, 236).

7Apollonios is said to excel Pythagoras in his pursuit of soηhia; as a philosophos he had ‘more divine’ status than his model (καὶ θειὸτερον ἥ ὸ Πυθαγὸρας τῇ σοφὶα, 1.2.1).36 He was also famous for his associations with foreign philosophies – a piece of information which is deemed important enough to be mentioned right at the start, if only to refute the charge of sorcery and fraud that accompanied these associations (the following books will indeed present foreign models of wisdom, especially Indian ones, as perfectly sincere and substantial). Far from indicating a practice of sorcery, says our author, Apollonios’ religious and metaphysical proclivities (including his presentiments) should be seen as a genuine element of his sophia (1.2.2). The special relevance of sophia to sōphrosynē is also implied at 1.2.3, where the author purports to observe ‘the special character of [Apollonios’] wisdom’, clearly implying not only intellectual faculties, but also a broad moral outlook, a point which is also reflected in his discourse on μἡ ὑπερβἀλλειν τὸ µὲτριον (‘not to overstep the middle/moderate’, 1.11)37 in sacrifices and dedications to the gods. This implies the belief (familiar from Plato, especially his early dialogues, but also prevalent in modem discussions of virtue)38 that there is a connection between the intellect (sophia as knowledge and reasoning) and ethical virtue. The narrator indeed often alludes to his philosopher-hero’s sophia (214 occurrences in the VA) and his talent in philosophia (70 examples); contexts of these terms’ use reflect the work’s concern with an ideal way of life, as well as with various theoretical topics, and reveal a blend of philosophical, religious and sophistic thinking,39 which is typical of this period. But Apollonios is explicitly also said to possess sōphrosynē, the preeminent Greek virtue which encompasses both intellectual and moral properties. The VA mentions sōphrosynē 23 times (57 if we count cognates such as σῶφρων, σωφρὸνως, σωφρονεῖν and σωφρονὶζειν) These occurrences have so far received no systematic scholarly treatment,40 although they deserve a place in the study of the term in the Greco-Roman era, and sōphrosynē is an important element in the discourse regarding the generic affinities of Philostratos’ work and the characterisation of its central hero.

8Sōphrosynē (the abstract noun) occurs in the VA in the following passages: 1.13, 1.20, 1.34 (twice), 1.37; 2.5, 2.20; 3.43; 4.16, 4.28, 4.31, 4.38; 6.3 (twice), 6.11, 6.21, 6.29 (twice); 7.8, 7.42 (twice), and 8.7.23. These instances stand at the centre of this chapter’s attention, but discussion below also refers to cognates. The semantic potential of the term is, as hinted already, quite broad, and instances in the VA reflect this breadth. As will become apparent, the following categorisation (which falls into two sections, the first of which focuses on sōphrosynē in its more general sense as ‘prudence’, and the second of which on its more particular meaning, ‘chastity’) does not indicate a true dichotomy, but mostly a differing semantic emphasis: each section centers on a prevalent sense of the term.

1. Prudence

  • 41 On the sophistic value of this image, see Anderson (1986, 127-128); he also compares it to the noti (...)
  • 42 See Casson (1974, 290-291); Jones (2001, 191). Meetings with toll collectors in ancient literature (...)
  • 43 Jones sensibly translates ‘prudence’ (similarly Conybeare: ‘temperance’, Mumprecht: Besonennheit, D (...)
  • 44 On the philosophical background to egkrateia and its relationship with sōphrosynē, see North (1966, (...)

9Perhaps the most memorable mention of sōphrosynē in the VA is in the first Book, where it features in personified form among the despoinai that Apollonios wishes to export over the Zeugma in Mesopotamia on his way to visit India (1.20.1). The narrator turns an incident from Apollonios’ passage to India into a powerful metaphor for the virtues that he himself embodies.41 At the crossing, the travelling sage is asked the standard question, what he is carrying with him, as all goods were subject to duty payable at all frontiers.42 He responds: ‘Continence, Justice, Virtue, Temperance, Courage, Perseverance.’ The toll officer misinterprets the holy man’s use of feminine nouns, which he understands to be the names of slave women, whose transport should incur charges according to the law. Apollonios retorts that these ‘women’ are in fact ‘his governesses’, that is the virtues that dictate to him his way of life. Sōphrosynē holds first place in the group and is followed by δικαιοσὑνη, ἀρετή, ὲγκρἀτεια, ἀνδρεὶο and ἂσκησις. It is fair to assume that the list is headed by the principle of sōphrosynē that is broadly conceived.43 This is notably the only mention of egkrateia in the VA; ‘self-mastery’ is presumably otherwise regarded as an integral part of sōphrosynē.44

  • 45 The connection between vices (excessive eating, drinking and sexual indulgence) occurs often in Mus (...)
  • 46 Cf. the reference to the contrast between akolastoi ‘licentious’ and sōphrones ‘sober’ musical rhyt (...)
  • 47 A lack of discipline (but not of morality) is implied by the ἀκὸλαστον ἦθος of untamed horses, whic (...)
  • 48 The contrast between vice and self-control is also a feature of the romantic novels, one that enric (...)

10A little later in the narrative, during their visit to the Persian court, Apollonios rejects Damis’ advice to accept gifts from the king and provides justification for his attitude by naming a list of evil states (anger, sexual desire, drunkeness, love for money, gluttony, love for fine clothing),45 which a sophos (being by default sōphrōn) ought to stay clear from (1.35.2). Sōhrosynē is not explicitly named here, but the triggers of immoral habits (which are interconnected, in the sense than the victim of one will also fall into another) are clearly those vices that are contrary to sōphrosynē; the implied vices are no other than akolasia and akrasia, named by Aristotle in his Nikomachean ethics (1117b23-27; 1145al 5-18) as the opposites of sōphrosynē and egkrateia respectively.46 The narrator of the VA alludes to these vices on various other occasions. The adverb ἀκολἀστως describes an outrageous menage à trois (a Kilikian man sleeping with both mother and daughter, 1.10.2); the adjective ἀκὸλαστος characterises Apollonios’ ‘debauched and drunken brother’ (1.13.1); finally, ἀκρατής occurs among the undesired features in an aspiring philosopher according to the Indians (2.30.1).47 From the point of view of narrative, the antithesis between sōphrosynē and the vices provides a structure that serves both the glorification of sōphrosynē as a moral ideal and the entertainment value of the story, which is spiced up by seedy characters and either the mere implication or the actual commitment of immoral acts.48

11During the Indian journey, Apollonios, conversing with Damis, wonders about the essence of the virtues (2.5.3):

… ἂ τὶ τε ὰρετἡ καὶ ὄ τι δικαιοσὑνη τε καὶ σωφροσύνη, οὓτε Ἄθως ὲκδεὶξει τοῖς ἀνελθοῦσιν οὕτε ὸ θαυμαζὸμενος ὑπδ των ποιητῶν Ὀλυμπος, εὶ μή διορῴη αὑτἀ ή ψυχή, ἢν, εὶ καθαρἀ καὶ ἀκήρατος αὐτῶν ἂπτοιτο, πολλῷ μεἳζον ὲγωγ’ ἂν φαὶην ἂττειν τουτουὶ τοῦ Καυκἀσου.

… what virtue is and justice and prudence, all this Athos will not reveal to those who climb it, nor will the famous Olympus so admired by the poets, unless the soul discerns them. If it is pure and unblemished when it apprehends them, in my opinion it soars much higher than the Caucasus here.

  • 49 There is no particular reason to translate ‘chastity’ (thus Jones) or ‘Enthaltsamkeit’ (Mumprecht). (...)
  • 50 See further Schofield (2003, 248); cf. the agglomeration of virtues in Ps.– Arist. W 1250bl2-13. D. (...)
  • 51 The famous chariot ride, where souls (conceived as chariots) journey towards the Forms with varying (...)

12Aretē (as a generic term) is mentioned here alongside justice and sōphrosynē, here presumably in the general sense ‘prudence’.49 The passage is rich in philosophical allusions. To begin with, the grouping of dikaiosyne and sōphrosynē seems in keeping with the unitary perception of virtues in both Plato (Protagoras) and Stoic thought:50 the virtues accompany each other, and individual virtues are facets of one broader concept in different circumstances. Apollonios’ musing is further reminiscent of Platonic discussions about the possibility (or impossibility) of defining virtue (cf. Meno 73a4-5 and the attempts to define justice in the first Book of the Republic). The sage stresses the absence of external clues, such as one might seek in nature and the kosmos; virtues reveal themselves only to the pure, uncontaminated soul. This philosophical contemplation, occurring as it does in the frame of an exotic trip and during a mountain climb, is exploited by the narrative for its vivid metaphorical connection with the natural world and for the metapoetic value entailed in the mention of Olympos, the much-sung mountain; but the literary representation of some of the highest virtues here also provides a vehicle for the emergence of a conceptual image reminiscent of the Platonic journey of the soul in Phaidros.51

  • 52 Arr. An. 5.8-19; D. S. 17.87-89; N. Pauly s.v. Porus (3) (K. Karttunen). A different version appear (...)

13In a more prosaic context, and as a character trait of the satrap Poros, sōphrosynē must refer widely to ‘prudence’, ‘sound-mindedness’ (VA 2.20.3). The narrator remarks that sōphrosynē is an essential virtue for a satrap (ὥσπερ σατρἀπης σωφροσὑνης μεστὸς εἶναι, ʻlike a viceroy, he was full of modesty’). But the PA’s sōphrōn Poros is not just the stereotypical viceroy. He is also the reflection of a historical character whose depiction in literature had acquired standardised features: Poros was an Indian king who fought Alexander the Great at the battle of Hydaspes (326 BC), but later became his ally and ruled as a satrap in India. His bravery and his majestic behaviour became a topos in ancient literature,52 and the narrator of the VA (who also provides a summary of the events, to which Poros owed his literary fame) ascribes to him precisely the virtue suggested by these historical and literary intertexts.

  • 53 Not strictly ‘abstinence’, as Jones translates. Conybeare has ‘sobriety’, Mumprecht ‘Besonnenheit’ (...)
  • 54 On this feature (which was presumably held significant in the context of the Pythagorean life and l (...)

14The sōphrosynē that Damis attributes to Apollonios at 3.43 must also be of a holistic character, i.e. ‘prudence’ or ‘modesty’.53 The context seems to point to this direction: ἐπειδἡ γἀρ πρῶτω ὲνὲτυχον τῷ Ἀπολλωνὶω τοὑτω καὶ σοφὶας μοι ὲδοξε πλὲως δεινὸτητἀς τε καὶ σωφροσὑνης καὶ τοῦ καρτερεῖν ὸρθῶς..., ‘Why, the first time I met Apollonius here, I realised that he was full of wisdom, cleverness, modesty, and the proper kind of endurance.’ Damis sketches a moral portrait of his master for the Indian wise man larchas, which escalates to the point of praising Apollonios as ‘a supernatural being’ (δαιμὸνιὸν τι) with extraordinary abilities, such as the gift of prophecy. Necessary ingredients to this portrait are also the sage’s memory (μνήμη/μνημοσὑνη),54 great learning and love of learning: the narrator depicts a sage who combines high moral and intellectual qualities, and who is essentially perfect in every way.

15In the supernatural scene of Apollonios’ meeting with Achilles at the hero’s tomb in the Troad, the latter praises the sōphrosynē of Palamedes (4.16.6), a Trojan hero who finds no mention in Homer:

Καὶ ὲπολοφυρἀμενος αὐτῷ ὸ Ἀχιλλεὑς ῶς μεγὶστω τε καὶ καλλὶστφ νεωτἀτω τε καὶ πολεμικωτἀτω σωφροσύνη τε ὑπερβαλομὲνω πἀντας καὶ πολλἀ ξυμβαλομὲνω ταῖς Μοὑσαις.

Achilles then lamented Palamedes as the greatest, handsomest, noblest, and bravest man, who surpassed all in prudence and made many contributions to the Muses.

  • 55 See Kim (2010passim)’, Zeitlin (2001, 247-255).
  • 56 Jones’ translation ‘chastity’ provides an unnecessarily limited sense here. Palamedes does not feat (...)
  • 57 Inventor: Pl. Phdr. 261d; Hyg. Fab. 277; on his innocence and unjust treatment: Gorg. Pal.; see als (...)
  • 58 On Palamedes’ tomb, cf. Her. 33.48-49. On the inscription, see also ch. 5.

16The scene has often been discussed for its place in the imperial trend of correcting and criticising Homer: the poet’s mistreatment of Palamedes is also a concern in the Heroikos, which conveys a similar positive view of the hero.55 Here we focus on the nature of Palamedes’ virtue as reflected in Achilles’ lament. Sophrosyne in this context no doubt implies a wide range of mental and moral qualities, perhaps including, but not limited to erotic self-restraint.56 We may infer this from Palamedes’ characterisation in the VA, which reflects his traditional image as an intelligent hero, an inventor and unjustly accused wise man – a positive image which can be traced back to older literature.57 Several passages, which hint at his sophia, high intellect and moral integrity, build this portrait: the statue found by Apollonios by Palamedes’ grave bears the inscription θείῳ Παλαμήδη,58 making him appear to share in the same ‘divine man’ status as Apollonios (the VA’s main sōphrōn character) enjoys. Found reincarnated among the Indians, Palamedes is presented as having a natural gift for philosophia, even if he spurns it because it failed to protect him from being mistreated by Odysseus and Homer (3.22; his unjust fate is also implied at 6.21). He is finally remembered as the inventor of writing (4.33).

  • 59 Downie (2016, 67).
  • 60 See Gyselinck and Demoen (2009, 116) on this highly allusive passage; cf. Zeitlin (2001,254-255).
  • 61 Sokrates says he would love to meet Palamedes in Hades (Pl. Ap. 41a-b).
  • 62 See below, ch. 3.
  • 63 See Zeitlin (2001, 252) and below, ch. 3. Contrast the defensive wrath attributed to Palamedes by A (...)

17The narrative’s reading of Palamedes as sōphrōn and his overall positive evaluation is rounded up by the restoration of his tomb by Apollonios, a scene which has recently been read as a symbolic ‘repatriation’ of the hero (unjustly exorcised from Homeric poetry) in Greek culture.59 Apollonios’ initiative affirms his own virtue (respect for noble heroes is dictated by the Pythagorean Golden verses, 2-3). On the other hand, with the exception of his warrior and artistic skills, the description of Palamedes in the above-quoted passage is not too distant from the depiction of Apollonios himself: significantly, Apollonios praises him for his virtue (aretē) and delivers a prayer to him as ‘the source of language, of the Muses, of myself’ (4.13.2).60 The similarity between the two men’s virtue is not the only point of contact: because of his clash with the Roman authorities, Apollonios shares Palamedes’ status of being ‘unjustly accused virtuous man’, something which stands additionally as an echo of Sokrates.61 Apollonios and Palamedes are further aligned with the heroes of the romantic novels, insofar as they are all similarly praised for their youth, beauty and sōphrosynē.62 Like the Trojan hero, Chariton’s Chaireas is to some extent also warlike (he fights a war and wins a naval battle against the Persians, 7.6.1); and Achilles Tatios’ Kleitophon gives a rhetorical exposition as part of his courtship of Leukippe (1.17) – a courtship fueled by the sound of music (1.5, 2.1). The ‘novelistic’ features of Palamedes are the contribution of the Cl’s narrator to the image of this multi-faceted figure. Striking beauty is also a feature of the intermediary in the Apollonios-Palamedes connection, the hero Achilles. What is more, Achilles, like Apollonios, wears his hair long (4.16.2); but Achilles’ long-haired appearance (in honour of the river god Spercheios) does not signify philosophical asceticism or a virtue like sōphrosynē. The hero is defined by his mēnis, which was uncontrollable during his Trojan career (as the Brahman sage complained to Apollonios in Book 3) and which seems to remain so after his death, only it now threatens the Thessalians who have neglected his tomb (4.16.3).63

  • 64 On this passage, cf. also Miles (2009, 135-138).
  • 65 Thus translated by Jones. Conybeare employs two words here: ‘temperance and sobriety’. Mumprecht tr (...)
  • 66 See König (2005, 126) for examples and references (esp. Ps.-D. H. Rh. 7.292).
  • 67 This phrase acknowledges the wisdom of the Olympian and Arkadian λὸγοι ‘stories’ (or λὸγιοι ‘schola (...)
  • 68 On the history and uses of mitra, see Brandenburg (1966, 67-68 for winners of athletic contests; ib (...)

18After the visit to Troy, the sage journeys to Hellas. Apollonios’ Greek travels include a visit to Olympia, where he admires the statue of the famous sixth century BC athlete, Milo of Kroton (4.28)64 – a statue which is also described by Pausanias (6.14.5-8). Philostratos makes special mention of a ribbon (ταινὶα), presumably on the statue’s head, which is believed by ‘the scholars at Olympia and in Arcadia’ to symbolise sōphrosynē. An athlete’s sōphrosynē should be synonymous with ‘self-control’65 in a broad sense, as a virtue that enables him to adhere to strict training regimes and to a disciplined routine in order to excel in sport. Pausanias too mentions the ταινὶα, but his notably more detailed account of the statue makes no allusion to sōphrosynē and instead emphasises the athlete’s strength (6.14.7). The introduction of sōphrosynē in the description of the statue in the VA may be seen as a strong indicator of this virtue’s importance in this work; it also clearly reflects the importance attributed to this virtue as an athlete’s ethical quality in Greco-Roman rhetoric, as well as nodding to its central role in the praise of athletes, above all in agonistic inscriptions.66 Indeed Apollonios regards the traditional interpretation of Milo’s statue and its ribbon as ‘wise’ (ὸ δὲ Ἀπολλῶνιος σοφῶς μὲν εἳπεν ὲπινενοήσθαι ταῦτα),67 but he offers a ‘truer’ and thus ‘wiser’ alternative (σοφῶτερα δἐ εἶναι τἀ αληθὲστερα): the athlete had been appointed priest of Hera, and his status as priest explains the ribbon, which Apollonios now calls μὶτρα (4.28.2). The mitra is worn by priests as well as athletes, and the term has a long history. The Pindaric athlete’s ribbon is called mitra (Olympian 9.82-84; Isthmian 5.62); Heliodoros’ heroes, Theagenes and Charikleia also receive white mitres as symbols of their priesthood at the end of the novel (10.41).68 Priests, like athletes, are praised for their sōphrosynē on inscriptions. What is more, as they enjoy a privileged relationship with the divine (and in the VA, with Apollonios), they presumably possess sōphrosynē by default – this is perhaps why Apollonios feels he does not need to explain the ribbon on the statue of Milo ‘the priest’.

  • 69 Thus Jones. Conybeare has ‘temperance’; Mumprecht ‘Selbstbeherrschung’; Del Como ‘temperanza’. Cf. (...)
  • 70 Jones translates this time ‘moderation’. Cf. Conybeare’s ‘temperance’, Mumprecht’s ‘Selbstbeherrsch (...)

19Meanwhile in Olympia, Apollonios lectures on sōphrosynē and other virtues (sophia and andreia 4.31.1; note that here arete is meant as a generic term for virtue). The inclusion of sophia may imply that this virtue takes over the more general aspects of sōphrosynē, which can now serve as a designation of chastity69 – but this is not necessary; it can also refer more broadly to ‘self-control’ or ‘modesty’ or ‘prudence’. Apollonios refers to this virtue again (4.38.4),70 together with sophia, in the context of an empowering speech to his disciples before their arrival at Rome, where they expect to face the hostility of the emperor Nero. The holy man proclaims that the two virtues combined ensure a good relationship with the gods, and empower those who have them against such men as Nero, who is associated with hybris. The narrator comments that Apollonios’ speech had the desired effect.

20The use of sōphrosynē in the passage relating to Timasion (6.3.5) was noted above for encompassing different layers of meaning: Timasion has the ‘chastity’ of a Hippolytos but, unlike Hippolytos, he also has the ‘prudence’ to respect Aphrodite, and indeed all gods. This type of sōphrosynē, Apollonios implies, which combines chastity and prudence, is the superior form.

  • 71 Schom’s essay on the VA (2016) brings out the importance of sōphrosynē in these contexts well.

21Several of its contexts throw into relief the importance of sōphrosynē as a character trait of political rulers.71 Apollonios praises the sōphrosynē of the emperor Titus in a letter (6.29.2):

Ἀπολλῶνιος Τὶτω στρατηγῶ ·Ρωμαὶων χαὶρειν. Μή βουληθὲντι σοι ὲπ’ αιχμῇ κηρὑττεσθαι, μῃδ’ ὲπι δηὶω αἴματι δὶδωμι ὲγῶ τὸν σωφροσύνης στὲφανον, ὲπειδή ὲφ’ οἶς δει στεφανοῦσθαι, γιγνῶσκεις. Ἔρρωσο.

‘Apollonius greets Titus, the general of the Romans. Since you did not want to be proclaimed for military prowess or for enemy blood, I give you the crown for modesty, because you know what deeds merit crowning. Goodbye.’

  • 72 J. BJ 6.128; 6.241 (cf. 6.327: παραγγεὶλας δὲ τοῖς στρατιῶταις Τὶτος θυμοῦ τε καὶ βελῶν μὲνειν ἐγκρ (...)
  • 73 Hadas-Lebel (2006, 93; 151; 412). Suetonius (Tit. 7-8) suggests that Titus had acquired notoriety i (...)

22The content of Apollonios’ letter adds to the narrator’s immediately preceding comment, namely that Titus did not accept crowns for his victory ‘believing that he had not accomplished all this personally, but had only lent his aid when heaven displayed its wrath’ (6.29.1). Titus’ alleged recognition of the role of the divine reveals a form of sōphrosynē. Apollonios further attributes to him modesty and restraint, which the sage believes he showed in not accepting crowns of victory for the conquest of Jerusalem, because it had involved bloodshed. Sōphrosynē here refers to the rejection of excessive violence. The VA’s narrator further characterises him as ‘gentle and good’ (6.32.2). Titus’ moderation in the VA may be paralleled with his depiction by the Jewish historian Flavius Joseph in the first century, who offers an account of the siege of Jerusalem during the Jewish-Roman war (in the year 70), led by Titus, and credits him with urging soldiers to restrain themselves and respect the Temple (albeit unsuccessfully);72 but on the whole Titus is a rather controversial figure in ancient sources and has come down as impious and immoral in the rabbinic tradition.73 His idealisation in the VA as a Roman leader who fulfills Apollonios’ model of the ideal governor sets him in contrast with his brother, Domitian, and puts him on a par with the romanticised version of their father, Vespasian (on whom see below). Indeed Apollonios advises Titus ‘to surpass your father in virtues’ (6.32.2). The role of Apollonios as a teacher of sōphrosynē (generally as ‘moderation’ – thus Jones – or ‘prudence’) to Roman politicians is made explicit later in the narrative: ἀεὶ τι ύπἐρ σωφροσὑνης ὲπὲστελλε τοὶς ἀνδρἀσι ʽ [He] was in constant communication with them about moderation.’ (7.8.1)

  • 74 On Herakles’ famous choice between Virtue and Vice (X. Mem. 2.1.21-34; going back to a parable of P (...)
  • 75 See further Jordan (1986) on the role of rhetoric (especially protreptic) in winning students for p (...)

23Two further occurrences of the term are found in contexts that highlight the philosophical dimension of sōphrosynē and its significance as a component of Apollonios’ character in the VA. Addressing Thespesion and the Gymnosophists in Book 6, the sage recounts an event from his youth, a personified meeting with different philosophies, which (in a manner strongly reminiscent of Herakles’ choice)74 led to his choosing the kind of sophia endorsed by Pythagoras. Sophistic in style, this account is reminiscent of the earlier narrative of Apollonios’ crossing the Zeugma with his lady-virtues. The scene (especially 6.11.4) strikes the reader furthermore as an aesthetically and ideologically richer alternative of the choice between two philosophies, the Indian and the Egyptian-Gymnosophist (the latter austere, the former supposedly rather hedonistic) that has just been presented by Thespesion (6.10.6), who verbalises an imagined rhetorical contest between the two. Apollonios settles this competition by claiming that Indian philosophy ranks as superior to that of the Ethiopian Gymnosophists because it is divinely inspired and was constituted in the Pythagorean way even before the time of Pythagoras (6.11.12); but the sage’s speech also provides a vivid image of competing personifications of Pythagorean and other philosophies with cynical and hedonistic features. Both this image and the speech-contest of Thespesion’s philosophies may be further seen as a kind of enactment of the rhetorical competition of philosophical schools,75 although Pythagorean philosophy is the only school that is explicitly named. Indeed in the centre of Apollonios’ version of how he chose his path stands a speech by the Pythagorean Sophia, who, speaking vividly in the first person, mentions sōphrosynē as an integral part of her demands (6.11.5-6):

‘... κἂν Ἀφροδισὶων ήττηθὲντας αἴσθωμαι, βἀραθρἀ ὲστὶ μοι, καθ’ ὧν Σοφὶας οπαδὸς, Δίκη, φὲρει τε αὐτοὺς καὶ ώθεῖ… ἂ δ’ ὲστὶ σοι καρτερήσαντι ταῦτα, ἐμοῦ μἀθε· σωφροσύνη μὲν καὶ δικαιοσύνη αὑτὸθεν, ζηλωτὸν δὲ ήγεῖσθαι μηδὲνα τυρἀννοις τε φοβερὸν εἶναι μᾶλλον ή ὑπ’ αὑτοῖς κεσθαι, θεο τε ήδὶω φαὶνεσθαι μικρἀ θὑσαντα ή οὶ προχὲοντες αὐτοῖς τὸ τῶν ταὑρων αἶμα, καθαρω δὲ ὄντι σοι καὶ προγιγνῶσκειν δῶσω καὶ τοὑς οφθαλμοὑς οῦτω τι ἐμπλήσω ἀκτῖνος, ῶς διαγιγνῶσκειν μἐν θεὸν, γιγνῶσκειν δὲ ἥρωα, σκιοειδή δ’ ὲλὲγχειν φαντἀσματα, ὄτε ψεὑδοιντο εἴδη ἀνθρῶπων.’

‘If I see him yield to love, I have abysses to which Justice, the servant of Wisdom, takes him and pushes him down… But let me tell you what you will gain by enduring all this. You will of course be self-controlled and just. You will think no one worth envying. You will terrify tyrants rather than being in their power. You will give greater pleasure to the gods with humble sacrifices than those who spill the blood of bulls for them. Being pure, you will receive from me the gift of foreknowledge, and I will so fill your eyes with radiance that you will recognize gods, know heroes, and unmask insubstantial ghosts when they disguise themselves in human form.’

  • 76 Cf. e.g. Sen. Ep. 73.15: ‘This is “the way to the stars”; this is the way, by observing thrift, sel (...)

24Sophia’s speech starts with a description of continence, which is marked as the ability to refrain from the pleasures and comforts of life in order to please gods and to attain virtue and spiritual power which are great enough to ensure self-sufficiency and to belittle tyrants. This is a ‘promise’, of which the narrative of Apollonios’ life, rich in manifestations of the sage’s self-control and triumph over the mighty, provides an extended fulfillment. The personified Sophia also mentions sōphrosynē and justice as desirable traits of the wise. Sophrosyne seems to include ‘chastity’ in this context, as a basic requirement of both sophia and justice. The passage indeed provides a description in a nutshell of Apollonian sōphrosynē as a virtue that is inextricably linked with divine favour, purity (both sexual and ritual) and spiritual gifts.76

  • 77 See Bowie (1978, 1665 n. 50); Schwartz (2003); Kanavou and Papathomas (2016). The VS (2.555-556) al (...)
  • 78 A fact duly expressed in the interpretive pattern ‘from bedroom to courtoom’, applied by Schwartz ( (...)
  • 79 See Alexander (2002, 243-244). Cf. Schirren (2005, 79-85) on Plato’s Apology as a concretisation of (...)

25Another occurrence of the term with prevailing philosophical overtones is found in Apollonios’ long defence speech, composed for his trial (8.7.23); this is the final mention of the abstract noun in the VA and is found in one of the philosophically richest contexts in this work. Accounts of trials were clearly a popular narrative form, with close connections to the novelistic and biographical genre.77 As expected, courtroom scenes adjust to the thematic focus of their broader contexts (in the romantic novels, they reflect the plots’ focus on the erotic theme)78 and further provide appropriate contexts for rhetorical performance (the trial speeches in Achilles Tatios and in Chariton are an example of this) and philosophical expression.79 Apollonios’ speech is indeed an elaborate summary of the hero’s values and beliefs as demonstrated in the main events of his life – it is to be expected that his basic virtue would find a mention. More specifically, the narrator has his hero complain that the world lacks sōphrosynē (‘temperance’). The passage in question provides an overview of the different aspects of human life touched by sōphrosynē and hints at the need for a wise councilor to channel human souls towards this virtue:

Ἀὶ ψῦχαι ἀτακτοῦσαι μανικῶτερον ἂπτονται παντὸς σχήματος, και ἔωλοι μἐν αὐταῖς νὸμοι, σωφροσύνη δ’ οὑδαμοῦ, θεῶν δἐ τιμαὶ ἂτιμοι, λαλιᾶς δ’ ὲρῶσι καὶ τρυφής, ὲξ ῶν ἀργὶα φὑεται πονηρἀ ξὑμβουλος ὲργου παντὸς. Ἀὶ δὲ μεθὑουσαι ψῦχαι πηδῶσι μὲν ὲπὶ πολλἀ, τὸ δὲ σκὶρτημα τοῦτο ἴσχει οὺδἐν, οὺδ’ εὶ πἀντα πὶνοιεν, ὸπὸσα, ὥσπερ ὸ μανδραγὸρας, ὑπνηλἀ ὲνομὶσθη. Ἀλλἀ δει ἀνδρὸς, δ ὲπιμελήσεται τοὑ περὶ αὑτἀς κὸσμου, θεὸς ὐπὸ σοφίας ἢκων. Οὑτοσὶ γἀρ ἀπὸχρη αὑτἀς ὲρῶτων τε ἀπἀγειν, ὲφ’ οὓς ἀγριῶτερον τῆς ξυνήθους όμιλίας ὲκφὲρονται, καὶ φιλοχρηματὶας, δι’ ήν οῦπω παν ὲχειν φασὶν, ὲπεὶ μή καὶ τὸ στὸμα ὑπὲχουσιν ὲπιρρὲοντι τῶ πλοὑτω. Φὸνων γἀρ ἀνασχεῖν μὲν αὑτἀς μή προσἀπτεσθαι οὑκ ἀδὑνατον ἴσως ἀνδρὶ τοιοὑτω, ἀπονῖψαι δὲ οὕτε ὲμοὶ δυνατὸν οὓτε τῷ πἀντων δημιουργῷ θεῷ·

Souls that are disordered madly attack every dignity, and for them the laws are obsolete, temperance is of no account, the honors due to the gods are no honors. They adore gossip and extravagance, from which issues the wicked indolence that prompts their every course. Souls that are drunken leap in many directions, and nothing restrains their skittishness, not even if they drank every soporific that was ever imagined, such as mandrake. A true man is needed to see to the ordering of these souls, a God sent by wisdom. Only he has the power to divert them, first from passions to which they are swept with a frenzy too great for normal society, and second from avarice, in which they say they always lack something until they put their lips to a stream of wealth. As for restraining souls from attempting murder, that is perhaps not impossible for such a man, but to absolve them from it is what neither I nor the God who made the world can do.

  • 80 Iamb. VP 6.30, with von Albrecht et al. (2002, 224-225). On the divine component of this function, (...)
  • 81 In itself a complex topic, and, like his philosophy, an eclectic one: pagan, but with curious monot (...)
  • 82 Cf. the Stoic Kleanthes’ prayer (Sen. Ep. 107.11); Just. Mart. Dial. 2.5-6. Even Epikouros stated t (...)

26The field of action affected by (the lack of) sōphrosynē is vast: it affects obedience to laws (hence justice), and respect for gods; morality and religion are closely intertwined (as Apollonios claimed early in the VA, the gods are δικαιότατοι ‘entirely just’, 1.11.1). Moreover, the absence of sōphrosynē opens the way to all sorts of undignified behaviour, of which ‘gossip’ and ‘extravagance’ are typical examples. To rectify such evil, says Apollonios, a saviour figure is needed, who must possess sophia, and indeed who heralds originally from god. This ‘saviour’ mirrors of course Apollonios and his function (mentioned above) as a teacher of sōphrosynē – a function that parallels Pythagoras’ fashioning as the god-sent deliverer of humanity, who is armed with the saving grace of philosophy.80 The description of souls needing guidance may seem to contradict the earlier claim that souls need to discover sōphrosynē for themselves; but the passage otherwise functions as a good summary of the eclectic affinities of sōphrosynē with religiosity and justice, which is hinted at several times in the VA. There are particularly notable similarities between this passage and what Apollonios says in respect to sōphrosynē at 6.11.5-6: major themes, such as one’s relationship with the divine, the relationship with political power (anarchism), behaviour (self-control as abstinence from sex, drinking, and even speaking) are repeated. Sōphrosynē is not only part of a moral landscape, but also of Apollonios’ politics and theology,81 just as religiosity forms a component of Stoic philosophy (despite its rationalist tendency), as it does of Platonism.82 This virtue holds a central place in the philosophical portrait of the hero projected in Philostratos’ narrative, even if this portrait is not wholly consistent or wholly satisfactory. As we shall see in more detail later, sōphrosynē is also a feature of the novelistic influence on Philostratos’Apollonios.

  • 83 He is remarkably said to have won his brother’s trust by giving him half of his own inheritance (mo (...)
  • 84 Cf. his advice to Menippos ‘to pardon the gods for enjoying the capers of buffoons.’ (VA ibid.)
  • 85 See also ch. 3 on a murderous erotic satyr, who was beaten by Apollonios in the same manner.

27Several cognates of sōphrosynē in the VA convey meanings related to broader notions of ‘prudence’. The verb σωφρονὶζειν is used for Apollonios’ handling of his reckless brother (1.13, three times);83 and for his restraining one of his followers, Menippos, a pupil of the philosopher Demetrios, from expressing annoyance at the crowds’ praying for Nero’s health (Apollonios too saw the people’s behaviour as anoia ‘madness’, 4.44.1, but thought of protest against prayer, whatever its subject, as unwise).84 The prevalence of this vocabulary eventually implies that the field of prudence exceeds the human realm. The verb σωφρονεῖν features in the tale, which is told by Apollonios to exemplify the behaviour of satyrs, who ‘behave and settle down’ after drinking wine and falling asleep (6.27.2); this trick, he says, was once used by king Midas.85 Apollonios allegedly wrote in a letter about σωφρονὶζειν a satyr-demon in Ethiopia (6.27.4).

  • 86 ὑπὲρφρων is opposed to σῶφρων. Pride – a sin in Christian thought – was treated as an undesirable c (...)
  • 87 See e.g. 7.23; 5.22; 6.2. Contrast the praise of the simplicity of life of the Indian king Phraotes (...)

28The adjective is used for the king of Persia, who is to be made ‘more moderate’ by consorting with Apollonios (1.28.3). The adverb describes the Indian king’s (Phraotes’) running of his kingdom (‘Our customs are modest, and I observe them even more modestly’; 2.26.1); it is then used again in the wise man larchas’ rebuke of another Indian king’s disregard for philosophy (3.28.1); and again by larchas to refer to the sober temperament guaranteed by the avoidance of wine (3.40). The adjective recurs for a character trait one wishes for in an emperor, and which Vespasian already possesses (5.28.1), while the adverb is found at short distance, again for Vespasian, in his self-characterisation (‘so moderately and reasonably did I manage the offices and honors... that I was never thought either proud [ὑπὲρφρων]86 or on the contrary cowardly’; 5.29.2); in this context we also hear of his immunity to the desirability of wealth, a feature mentioned earlier by Apollonios (1.35.2) as necessary in the character of the wise man (Apollonios’ own indifference to Persian luxury gives an example of this, and indeed the deceptive value and corrupting power of wealth is a recurring notion in the E4).87

  • 88 Thus Billault (2000, 99), who notes its loose historical relevance. Vespasian’s visit to Alexandria (...)
  • 89 On the politics of the historical Dio, who supported an enlightened form of monarchy, see Swain (ed (...)
  • 90 See Schom (2016), who discusses Apollonios’ contributions to the moral edification of rulers; sōphr (...)

29Sōphrosynē is a salient theme of the soon-to-be emperor’s meeting with Dio, Apollonios and Euphrates in Egypt, where they debate about the future constitution of Rome. This fictitious occasion, ‘un symbole de la souverainete du sage sur le pouvoir politique’,88 provides the narrator with an excellent opportunity for contextualising the basic moral implications of his hero’s characterisation. In Dio Chrysostom’s speech, σῶφρονες designate ‘the wise’, and they are defined as those who prefer aristocracy to tyranny and oligarchy (5.34.2).89 Sōphrosynē cognates are also used in Apollonios’ speeches at that meeting, which shower Vespasian with Pythagorean advice:90 the adverb, about Vespasian’s need to use his advantages ‘wisely’ (5.35.1); the adjective (‘prudent’), for the emperor (5.35.2); a third time, in the comparison between statesman and shepherd (‘I do not think that the human herd should perish for lack of a just and reasonable herdsman’; 5.35.4). The adverb occurs again in Apollonios’ advice to the emperor in the proverbial statements ‘Fear your power to do anything you please, for thus you will use it with more restraint’; ‘You will be a wiser lawgiver if you do not despise the laws’ (5.36.2), while in a further piece of advice, he evokes τὸ σῶφρον ‘it is difficult to convert people to sudden temperance.’ (5.36.4)

  • 91 Cf. Epp. Apoll. 42f-h. Pausanias (7.17.3-4) reports that Vespasian abolished the freedom bestowed b (...)
  • 92 See Billault (2000, 101, with references).
  • 93 Salvidienius Orfitus (Suet. Dom. 10; PIR2 C 1445) and (?) L. Verginius Rufus. See Jones (1992, 183- (...)
  • 94 One of the ‘good’ passions that shields from loss of virtue; see D. L. 7.116 and further e.g. Sella (...)

30The narrator also refers to exchanges between Apollonios and Vespasian that took place after their meeting in Egypt. We first hear that Nero’s decision to set Greece free was ‘wiser’ than Nero’s usual self, while Vespasian is reprimanded by the sage for re-enslaving the country (5.41).91 Conversely, sōphrosynē cognates are repeatedly used to praise Nerva, the future emperor, and his associates: the adverb, for Nerva’s exercise of power (7.8.1), then the abstract noun and the superlative form of the adjective (the ‘most temperate’ followers of Apollonios, who could be trusted to keep secrets) within a few lines (7.8.2). Nerva is characterised by Apollonios as the ‘most temperate and moderate of men’ (7.33.1) – which does not contradict the way he is viewed in historical sources92 – while the former’s associates, Rufus and Orfitus are described as ‘moderate’ (also at 8.7.32, τοὺς δικαὶους μἐν καὶ σῶφρονας).93 Nerva showed great moderation in his ruling (σωφρονὲστατος) according to the narrator (8.27). The adjective is finally used by Apollonios in his apology to Domitian generally for sensible citizens who practice watchfulness in such an oppressive city as Domitian’s Rome (τοὺς δ’ εὺλαβεστἐρους τε καὶ σῶφρονας, 8.7.40); eulabeia ‘caution’ has Stoic connotations.94

2. Erotic Self-Control; Chastity

  • 95 For the correlation between arete and individual virtues, see the previous section.

31The very first mention of sōphrosynē in the VA concerns Apollonios’ ability to refrain from sexual activity (τὰ ἀφροδίσια). Apollonios’ resistance to this ‘raging, wild master’, whom Sophokles only managed to escape in his old age according to Plato (Republic 329c), was made possible by his arete ‘virtue’ and sōphrosynē ‘self-mastery’ (1.13.3).95 Later in the first Book Apollonios provides a definition of the latter in relation to erotic behaviour:

Σωφροσύνη γἀρ τὸ ὸρεγὸμενὸν τε καὶ ὸρμῶντα μή ήττἀσθαι αφροδισὶων, ἀλλ’ ἀπὲχεσθαι καὶ κρεὶττω φαὶνεσθαι τῆς λὑττης ταὑτης.

Self-control means that someone in a state of desire and excitement is not overcome by the sexual urge, but instead uses restraint, and shows himself to be the master of this madness. (1.34.1)

  • 96 See North (1966, 215). On the exceptional character of Apollonios’ sōphrosynē, see also the next ch (...)

32This is a clear description of erotic self-restraint. Its extreme form (emphasised at 6.42, when the sage exclaims that he doesn’t need genitals) sets him apart from his model, Pythagoras, who prescribed fidelity in marriage, but not total abstinence (as noted also by Philostratos in the VA, 1.13.3). Philostratos qua narrator idealises Apollonios by attributing to him an exceptional form of sōphrosynē, comparable to the Stoic restraint of passions96 and the virginity embraced by Christian saints.

  • 97 See also Schom (2016, 166-167), who frames the incident within the sage’s role in shaping the virtu (...)
  • 98 Note that a similar contrast between asceticism and compliance with necessity affects the ethical i (...)

33Sōphrosynē recurs with a similar sense in the narrative of Apollonios’ visit to the Persian court. During his visit to the king, Apollonios is asked to pass judgement in a matter related to sōphrosynē (περὶ σωφροσὑνης… ἀποφαίνεσθαι, 1.37.2) with regard to a eunuch, who has been accused of unlawful sexual behaviour. The incident comes as confirmation of Apollonios’ view that eunuchs are not deprived of sexual urges; the narrator has him express this view to Damis at an earlier discussion about eunuch sexuality, which culminated in the above-mentioned definition of sōphrosynē (1.34).97 This definition constitutes a noteworthy observation about the relationship between lust and self-control, namely that it is the presence of sexual passion that glorifies one’s ability to remain chaste. In the absence of a sexual urge, chastity is not an ascetic choice but a necessity and, moreover, one cannot fathom the challenge posed by the demands of chastity, if not affected by the power of its opposite: erōs.98

34The affirmation of sōphrosynē as a powerful opponent of eros attracts new attention as a narrative theme when it resurfaces in the account of Apollonios’ exchange with the Egyptian youth (VA 6.3.5). Apollonios recommends that the youth, Timasion, be crowned for his sōphrosynē. In praising the youth, whom he compares to the archetypically chaste Hippolytos, he offers a detailed account of what sōphrosynē entails:

Ὑπερησθεὶς οὖν ὸ Ἀπολλῶνιος, ‘ψηφισῶμεθα,’ ὲφη ‘ῶ ἀνδρες, ἐστεφανῶσθαι αὑτὸν ὲπἳ σωφροσύνη καὶ πρὸʽΙππολὐτου τοῦ Θησὲως, ὸ μἐν γἀρ ἐς τἡν Ἀφροδὶτην ὓβρισε καὶ διἀ τουτὶ ἴσως οὺδἐ ἀφροδισίων ἥττητο, οὐδἐ ἔρως ὲπ’ αὺτὸν οὺ δείς ἐκώμαζεν, ἀλλ’ ἦν τῆς ἀγροικοτἑρας τε καὶ ἀτὲγκτου μοὶρας, οὑτοσὶ δὲ ήττασθαι τῆς θεοῦ φἀσκων οὺδἐν πρὸς τήν ἐρῶσαν ἔπαθεν, ἀλλ’ αὐτῆν δεὶσας τἡν θεὸν, εὶ τὸ κακῶς ὲρἀσθαι μή φυλἀξοιτο, καὶ αὑτὸ δὲ τὸ διαβεβλήσθαι προ ὸντιναδή τῶν θεῶν, ὥὥσπερ πρὸς τήν Ἀφροδὶτην ὸ ʽΙππόλυτος, οὑκ ἀξιῶ σωφροσύνης, σωφρονὲστερον γἀρ τὸ περὶ πἀντων θεῶν εὖ λὲγειν καὶ ταῦτα Ἀθήνησιν, οὖ καὶ ἀγνώστων δαιμὸνων βωμοὶ δρῦνται.’

Overjoyed, Apollonius said, ‘Gentlemen, let us vote him a crown for chastity above even Hippolytus, the son of Theseus. He insulted Aphrodite, and hence perhaps he did not fall victim to sexual passion, or feel the waywardness of love, but was a rather boorish and heartless sort. But this youth admits that while obedient to the goddess he was unmoved by this woman’s passion, and left, fearing the goddess herself if he did not escape being the object of an evil passion. Indeed, I do not think it a sign of modesty to be on bad terms with any of the gods, as Hippolytus was with Aphrodite. It is more modest to speak well of every god, especially at Athens where there are altars set up to unknown divinities.’

  • 99 See e.g. the very first instruction in Carm. Aur. and Aristox. fr. 33 Wehrli.
  • 100 On eros as respect for Aphrodite, see further ch. 3.

35Apollonios is thrilled to hear that Timasion’s chaste way of life does not stop the youth from showing Aphrodite religious respect, which he does by means of sacrificing to her; it is necessary to honour all gods, a general religious principle of clear and explicit importance to the Pythagoreans,99 and the youth abides by this principle. Timasion’s sōphrosynē is first said to be manifest in his chastity and his self-control, such that it allows him to resist his stepmother’s advances; but this is then elevated to a more general virtue, a kind of wisdom or prudence, which ensures that his avoidance of eros does not come across as an insult to Aphrodite.100 His handling of the difficult situation, his piety and continuous veneration of the goddess, and especially the fact that by leaving home, he chose to remove himself from the source of trouble rather than remain and risk getting trapped in an impasse, highlights phronēsis as an aspect of his sōphrosynē. The triple schema σωφροσὐνῃ – σωφροσὑνης – σωφρονὲστερον reflects the merits of the holistic virtue and not just of ‘chastity’.

  • 101 See further ch. 3 on instances of bad erōs.
  • 102 Cf. the youth Timasion’s reaction to Apollonios’ praise of his virtue (6.3.3), which amounts to the (...)

36A similar initial focus on the erotic dimension of sōphrosynē is implied in the definition ex contrario at 6.21.2, a passage with a strong Platonic flavour, but this definition is immediately rejected. Apollonios has just related a saying of the Indians, that avoidance of injustice is not justice, only for his interlocutor, Thespesion, leader of the Gymnosophists, to reply: "οὕτε σωφροσὑνη τὸ μἡ ὲς τα τῶν μαχῶν ὲκπὶπτειν, ((it is not) self-control not to fall into adulterous habits.’ What exactly is meant by ‘adulterous habits’ is made clear several times in the narrative (not least in a passage that refers to a man caught by his wife in bed with her daughter from a previous marriage, 1.10).101 Thespesion’s comment also enriches the philosophical circumscription of sōphrosynē: moicheia and akolasia are of course the opposite of virtue; but, it is implied, a definition limited to sōphrosynē’s rejection of adultery is inadequate, since sōphrosynē, just like dikaiosynē, is a broad concept. Notably this context also features the only mention of φρóνῃσι in the VA: in Thespesion’s words, in the same series of non-definitions, ‘it is not prudence not to plan something foolish’.102 We may infer that sōphrosynē is broad enough to replace potential uses of phronēsis.

  • 103 Jones’ translation ‘was prudent’ evokes too general a sense of the key-term, as does Conybeare’s ‘w (...)
  • 104 On the link between aidōs and self-control (sōphrosynē and egkrateia) in Greek philosophical though (...)

37Related vocabulary used in the sense of ‘chaste’ and ‘erotically restrained’ includes an adjective and a participle in the passage connected with the ‘chaste’ eunuchs, where the abstract noun also occurs (1.34.1). The participle refers to the chaste youth Timasion (σωφρονοῦντι, 6.3.1), who is also characterised as sōphrōn by Apollonios (6.3.2). The verb ἐσωφρόνεɩ is used for the handsome youth from Arkadia, who as a student in Rome attracted even the attention of the emperor Domitian, but held onto his chastity nevertheless (7.42.1).103 The youth’s modesty (αὶδῶς)104 causes him to blush and makes him reluctant to speak when quizzed by Apollonios – but with the sage’s encouragement, he goes on to complain about the fact that laws punish τὸ σωφρονεῖν (‘self-restraint’; 7.42.2). In this context, we hear once more of the sōphrosynē of Hippolytos (7.42.2; cf. 7.42.6: Apollonios allegedly praised the youth’s sōphrosynē in a letter).

  • 105 Incidentally, see Bird (2016) on the focalisation of sōphrosynē in the romantic novels.
  • 106 See, summarily, Miles (2017, 211). He notes that they are either sexual beings, like Timasion’s ste (...)
  • 107 See further ch. 3.

38In sum, sōphrosynē in the sense of erotic self-restraint defines Apollonios from the start, while it is also a praised feature of some secondary characters and is evoked in a number of instances that showcase Apollonios’ views regarding erotic behaviour. Sōphr-vocabulary is used by Philostratos qua narrator both in theoretical contexts and to describe the ethical behaviour of his characters, while the view of sōphrosynē is often conveyed through characters commenting on their own behaviour or that of others.105 It is a virtue that is possessed exclusively by males; the few appearances of women in the VA are generally not presented in a positive light,106 and women are not associated with sōphrosynē but rather with the lack of it. This virtue is found in young men who also possess beauty (the two youths mentioned above are said to be exceptionally handsome, and so is Apollonios himself).107 Beauty attracts unwanted (predominantly male, but also some female) attention to the sōphrōn youth. Finally, erotic self-control is variously presented as a desired trait (the eunuch is punished for his lack of it) and as a quasi-revolutionary feature that endangers the life of the σῶφρονες (the case of the Arkadian youth suggests sōphrosynē almost as lying outside the social norm: the youth has to resist not just numerous suitors, but also the emperor himself and ends up in prison for that). But chastity-related uses are not to be considered in isolation from the more general sense of sōphrosynē as ‘prudence’: the survey shows this virtue’s properties to be intertwined. The range of sōphrosynē is felt particularly clearly in the Timasion story, where different nuances of the term (chastity and prudence) are found side by side (6.3.5).

  • 108 On the structure of the VA, see Praet’s useful general observations (2009, 285).

39All eight books of the VA contain references to sōphrosynē and/or its cognates. The above survey suggests this virtue as an integral part of the VA’s moral ideology (which is clearly indebted to classical philosophy, as the next section also shows); as a building block of characters (especially that of Apollonios, but also those of other figures involved in the action or mentioned by the narrator in connection with the plot – including a mythical hero with paradigmatic function, such as Palamedes); and as a recurring structural element in the variety of topics and subplots included in the complex structure of the work.108 It is used in a variety of contexts relevant to self-control, sometimes with an emphasis on erotic behaviour, but more often as a broader notion (‘temperance’, ‘prudence’) that can be applied to more than one aspect of ethical life. Different contexts invite different treatments of sōphrosynē, and the following section and chapters discuss a large array of ethical features and behaviour lying within this virtue’s range.

III. The Ideological Context

  • 109 For the VA as a ‘symbolic form’ that expresses the philosophical ideology incorporated in Apollonio (...)

40The VA’s emphasis of the theme of sōphrosynē has multiple functions, the most important of which is its strong contribution to the narrative’s symbolic value as an expression of a particular type of philosophical life. The frequent mentions of sōphr- cognates enhance a philosophical message centered on the exercise of sound-mindedness and control of one’s natural urges to pleasure.109 The sōphrosynē of Apollonios and of other characters in the VA emerges as a practical virtue, which is demonstrated in concrete examples of self-mastery and restraint of appetites. These manifestations of sōphrosynē, which were current in Greco-Roman literature and life, evoke Platonic definitions, and Plato is explicitly mentioned by Philostratos as an ideal philosopher-figure of the past (VA 1.2). But Philostratos’ treatment of sōphrosynē is rather rudimentary in comparison to the subtle, indeed versatile, analysis of this virtue in its numerous Platonic contexts. Although our author draws on philosophical capital in passages such as 8.7.23 (discussed above) and appears to exploit the opportunities opened by Platonic and Pythagorean connections for elaborating on the philosophical properties of his hero’s character, the narrative’s philosophical engagement rarely rises above the surface of sophistic veneer.

  • 110 See North (1966, 162-163).
  • 111 ΕΝ 1106b-1107a: µεσὸτης τις ἀρα ἐστὶν ή ἀρετή, στοχαστική γε οὖσα τοῦ µὲσου Aristotle describes vir (...)
  • 112 See also Beneker (2012, 10-11) and further Trapp (2007a, 64-71; 78-82). Note however that the Stoic (...)
  • 113 Cf. Porph. Plot. 23.4: καθαραν την ψυχην έχων καὶ άεὶ σπεὑδων πρὸς τὸ θεῖον…

41Still, the philosophical background in the VA’s treatment of sōphrosynē makes its presence felt. The virtue’s definition as a quality that harmonises the parts of a composite soul (Gorgias 504a-505c) may well be rooted in Pythagorean doctrine.110 A strong Platonic echo is present in the role of sōphrosynē in the incident concerning the infatuated eunuch. This fulfills the double function of invigorating the narrative and carrying a moral message, by providing support for the suggested thesis that a person may be tom between chastity and erōs, i.e. restraint and desire. This thesis evokes Platonic doctrine about the divisible nature (here bipartite, rather than tripartite) of the soul and the nature of moral virtue. Urges and impulses (including sexual desire) belong to the irrational part of the soul, and come into conflict with reason in a fight that leads to the rise of virtue as a state of character that relies on moderation. This view of virtue, which approaches Aristotelian definitions111 and Peripatetic metriopatheia, is also expressed by Plutarch in his essay On moral virtue (441b-d), a work ostensibly written in reply to the Stoic conception of a unified rational soul on which virtue rests and Stoic apatheia.112 The narrative suggests the sōphrosynē-ērōs dilemma as a philosophical choice, implying the relationship between soul and virtue (the narrative shows an interest individually in both). Other passages in the VA imply a unitary perception of the soul, for example the description of the ‘sober soul’ (ψυχή νήφουσα of a person who abstains from wine, also called καθαρἀ ‘pure’): the ‘soul’ of the non-drinker, which is spared the polluting effect of alcohol, and which possesses full intellectual capability (it is ‘full of reason’) and a form of apatheia (i.e. it is equally immune to both good fortune and misfortune, and subject to none of the emotions provoked by fortune, VA 2.36.3). This is the soul that receives divine gifts, such as prophetic power (2.37.1).113 But indeed Apollonios’ main interest in the soul concerns its immortality. Apollonios and the Gymnosophist Thespesion discuss ‘the immortality of the soul and nature in terms similar to Plato’ (6.22.1); the VA’s ending is dedicated to this theme.

  • 114 The study of ancient erotics has been influenced by Foucault’s History of Sexuality, which, interpr (...)
  • 115 The term sōphrosynē does not occur in the Handbook, though it does in the Diatribes. Sophrosyne fea (...)

42Among all the aspects of Apollonios’ sōphrosynē, his sexual asceticism has a noteworthy place (though often neglected in relevant studies)114 in the broader cadre of ancient ideas on the wise life, and within which cadre Stoicism looms especially large. Indeed Apollonios’ possession of a sōphrosynē, understood as the combined properties of ‘prudence’ and ‘erotic self-control’ is highly reminiscent of Stoic ethics that connect egkrateia with the achievement of reason and a ‘life of intellect’. A passage from Simplikios’ commentary on Epiktetos’ Handbook (117, 13- 53, partly cited below) articulates this belief:115

Πἀσης μἐν σωματικῆς ἡδονῆς ή ὲγκρἀτεια τήν μὲν λογικήν ψυχήν ὰναρ̀ρ̀ώννυσι, καὶ θαῤῤεῖν τή πεὶρα ποιεῖ, ὄτι δὑναται κρατεῖν τῆς ἀλογὶας· τἀς δὲ αλὸγους ορὲξεις συστὲλλει κατἀ δὑο τρὸπους, μαραινομὲνας τῇ τε αργὶα, καὶ συνεθιζομὲνας ἡττᾶσθαι τοῦ λὸγου. Ἡ δὲ ὲγκρἀτεια τῆς ἡδονῆς περὶ τἀς μὶξεις, ὄσῳ πληκτικωτὲρα τῶν ἀλλων ὲστὶ, τοσοὑτω χρησιμωτὲρα τὲ ὲστι τή ψυχή καὶ τιμιωτὲρα ἐκείνῃ.

Self-control over any kind of bodily pleasure has good effects both on the rational soul and on the irrational desires. The rational soul is strengthened by it, and the experience makes it confident that it can master irrationality; and the irrational desires are checked in two ways, because they are abated through inactivity and are habituated to be defeated by reason. Self-control over the pleasure of sexual intercourse, in so far as it is more socially relevant than others, is that much more useful to the soul and honourable.

  • 116 The topic is discussed at length by Gaca (2003), who however does not mention the Tyanean sage; but (...)
  • 117 See Mumprecht (1983, 981). See also Swain (1999, 165-174) for the links between Platonism and Pytha (...)
  • 118 On Apollonios’ relation to the different philosophical worlds see also Mumprecht (1983, 998-999); D (...)
  • 119 Dzielska (1986, 185) noted the lack of evidence to suggest that Apollonios met any of his contempor (...)
  • 120 Epict. Ench. 33.8; 41.3; Simp, in Epict. 117, 13-53. Contrast Plato’s ‘communal’ view of sexuality, (...)
  • 121 Iamb. VP 21.98; 24.109. Stricter rules applied to the spiritually advanced philosophers (and to Pyt (...)

43Apollonios’ sōphrosynē invites further comparison with Greco-Roman philosophical tendencies of viewing and regulating sexual behaviour.116 Though there is no doubt as to the strong Platonic flavour of Apollonios’ Pythagoreanism (a way of life defined by virtue, focused on the spiritual and not on the material, on the immortal soul and not on the material body, orientated towards god and the divine),117 the sage’s virtue appears to be an eclectic mix from a rich and varied field of views. This ‘mixing’ was not exclusive to Apollonios. Philostratos’ sage may be seen as an adherent of a type of a philosophical eclecticism, which was en vogue in his days,118 and had led to the shaping of an informal philosophical koinē, perhaps dominated by Stoicism. According to the VA’s narrator, Apollonios found a kindred soul in the Stoic Musonios, but another Stoic philosopher, Euphrates of Tyre, also a historical personage, is presented as a sworn enemy, whose characterisation in the story – in his alleged greed and philosophical insincerity and his unjust treatment of the Tyanean – is presumably meant to provide a contrast to Apollonios’ sōphrōn virtue.119 The sage is anyhow not to be attributed a uniform Stoic stance: unlike Apollonios, Stoic philosophers do not as a rule renounce the needs of the body or marriage, but rather advise control of the mind over the body. Virginity for both sexes before marriage and good measure in the enjoyment of all types of bodily pleasure are some of the elements of a life guided by the rational part of the soul – but tolerance of those who are less inclined towards self-control is also advised.120 Apollonios occasionally displays such tolerance, albeit more noticeably in connection with the consumption of meat and wine (VA 2.7.3), which notably occurs at Pythagorean dinners,121 than with matters of erotic behaviour, where his judgement is always harsh (as his treatment of the Kilikian adulterer in Book 1 and his approval of a strict punishment for the erotic eunuch show).

  • 122 Cf. the more flexible Stoic attitudes, on which see Ramelli (2009a, Ixxv; Ixxxiii-vi and passim), w (...)
  • 123 Cf. e.g. Apollonios’ adoption of the Epicurean motto λἀθε βιῶσας ‘live unobserved’ (8.28; cf. 7.12. (...)
  • 124 Cf. Plutarch’s anti-Epicurean polemic in Adv. Col. and Non posse (coming from a Platonist perspecti (...)
  • 125 Diogenes of Sinope was an advocate of the εὺτελἡς βὶος (D. L. 6.21); on him, see SSR II, 227-509, a (...)
  • 126 See Trapp (2007a, 164-165).
  • 127 E.g. Iamb. VP 16.68-69; D. L. 8.18-20.
  • 128 Cf. the Stoic view of happiness as dependent on virtue and independent from material goods, a point (...)
  • 129 On self-sufficiency as a Stoic and Cynic motif, see Desmond (2008, passim). On the differently nuan (...)

44The self-sufficient, unmarried, childless life was an Epicurean model, criticised by Epiktetos in one of his Diatribes (3.7.19);122 but although Apollonios did not exclude Epicureanism from his education (and the VA is not entirely devoid of Epicurean overtones),123 he nonetheless distances himself from Euxenos, a teacher with Epicurean tendencies (1.7.2), and he is clearly not to be seen as an Epicurean (this school’s emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure, its indifference to public affairs and its arguments againt an afterlife of any sort go against the core of Apollonios’ beliefs)124 – nor a Cynic for that matter: the frugal and self-sufficient Cynic lifestyle,125 inclined to celibacy (though not fully consistently, as the case of Krates of Thebes and Antisthenes’ position show),126 seems at first glance similar to Apollonios’ own (he emphasises his self-sufficiency – τὸ μηδενὸς δεῖσθαι- in his apologia, 8.7.12; 8.7.34); in fact the preference for a simple, modest life is a Pythagorean feature,127 but also a topos in many philosophical schools.128 The Cynics, however, were represented by the VA’s Ethiopians as weak imitators of the Pythagorean Indians and rejected for their contempt of everything ‘external’ (including good sophistic manners, which are central to the characterisation of the Philostratean sage).129

  • 130 See e.g. Iamb. VP 18.86: the bearing of children secures new worshippers for the gods.
  • 131 See further Mousourakis (2012, 42); Gloyn (2017, 76-77); Krenkel (1978, 200-203) on Roman legal str (...)
  • 132 Cf. Clement’s conception of a Christian marriage in his Paidagogos (references gathered in Gaca 200 (...)
  • 133 Cf. Wills (1995, 228). Note also Jos. 153, which mentions σωφροσὐνη among τῶν ἀναγκαιοτἀτωνand cf. (...)

45Neopythagoreans seem generally to have prescribed marriage for the sake of its social use – procreation.130 Incidentally, both were promoted by imperial Roman legislation, the lex lulia enacted in 18 BC, while another lex lulia of the same year criminalised adultery – though this probably reflected less of a moral concern and more an attempt to secure legitimate offspring.131 But adultery was morally condemned by novelists and philosophers alike. Pythagoras stressed the importance of fidelity to one’s spouse, a view we also find in the Greek romantic novels. Epiktetos saw in adultery a threat to individual and social morality (Diatribe 2A.2- 3). Homosexual relations become morally questionable, as Greco-roman philosophy favoured marriage between men and women, a dimension which was often placed in terms focused on procreation (a social duty) and – contrary to what we find in the romantic novels – entirely devoid of eroticism: a ‘chaste’ marriage that glorifies the woman’s modesty, subjugation and childbearing, and ignores erōs. This would more or less describe the Stoic attitude to marriage, as demonstrated for example by Musonios’ stance in his Diatribe 12, where we read that the only ‘just sexual activity’ takes place within marriage and for the sake of procreation.132 This was clearly a widespread view, shared between Stoic and Christian ethics, and is also present in the writings of the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo (On Joseph 43):133

Πρὸ δ συνὸδων νομὶμων ομιλὶαν ὲτὲρας γυναικὸς οὑκ σμεν, ἀλλ’ ἀγνοί γἀμων ἀγναῖς παρθὲνοις προσερχὸμεθα προτεθειμὲνοι τὲλος οὑχ ήδονήν ἀλλἀ γνησὶων παὶδων σπορἀν.

Before the lawful union we know no mating with other women but come as virgin men to virgin maidens. The end we seek in wedlock is not pleasure but the begetting of lawful children.

  • 134 See e.g. Ramelli (2009b); Rhee (2005, 121-128).
  • 135 See Karamanolis (2013, 223-224, with references).

46Virginity is further exalted as a Christian virtue.134 In fact, as in Stoic and Platonist contexts, early Christian literature preached the superiority of the contemplative life (whose purpose is to contemplate God and become similar to Him) and the need to control or banish the desires of the body as a prerequisite for this life.135 Accordingly Christian authors raised questions concerning the place of erotic love and marriage in the eyes of God, but gave no single answer. Jesus’ definition of moicheia in Matthew’s Gospel, which equates desire with adultery, teaches a strict morality:

Ἔγῶ δὲ λὲγω ὑμἳν ὄτι πᾶς ὸ βλὲπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὑτήν ήδη ὲμοὶχευσεν αὑτήν ὲν τῇ καρδὶα αὐτοῦ. Εὶ δὲ ὸ οφθαλμὸς σοῦ ὸ δεξιὸς σκανδαλὶζει σε, ὲξελε αυτὸν καὶ βἀλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· συμφὲρει γἀρ σοι ἴνα ἀπὸληται ἔν τῶν μελῶν σοῦ καὶ μή ὄλον τὸ σῶμἀ σοῦ βληθῇ είς γὲενναν.

  • 136 Cf. Mt. 19: 10 for a more conventional definition of adultery. Cf. also the punishment of the Kilik (...)

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5: 28- 30, NRSV)136

  • 137 See Brown (2008,40-41).
  • 138 See Hunter (2007, 124-125) on remaining celibate in marriage (referring to Origen’s commentary on 1 (...)
  • 139 To the point that it might appear heretical (a gnostic influence, see e.g. Gray 2016, 127-128). In (...)

47Marriage receives mixed reviews in the New Testament. The New Testament’s Jesus famously attends a wedding at Kana in Galilee (John 2: 1-11), where he contributes to the festivities by miraculously turning water into wine for the guests. His own celibacy was clearly attached to his ‘holy man’ status, but he seems to have embraced the concept of monogamous marriage.137 Other voices in Christianity’s early years introduced particular constraints: Tertullian’s On exhortation to chastity, which condemned remarriage for widows (a rule not embraced by the church in Rome), is a notable example. Most famously, Paul the Apostle preached celibacy as the ideal life (1 Corinthians 7: 1; 7: 8-9; but cf. 1 Timothy 2: 15; 5.14, where he approves of marriage). Marriage and chastity were not necessarily seen as mutually exclusive.138 But celibacy is also seen as a gift from God, which is not given to everyone (1 Corinthians 7: 7). It is not the standard expectation from a Christian life,139 but rather a vocation of a select few (ascetics and saints).

  • 140 Certain pagan religious functions imposed chastity, but mostly temporarily and rarely permanently; (...)
  • 141 E.g. Habrokomes and Charikleia are associated with Artemis (X. Eph. 1.1.2; Hld. 1.2.6), and the sam (...)
  • 142 See Cooper (1996, 20-44); cf. Haynes (2003, 156-162).
  • 143 Clem. Al. Strom. 7.3.13.3; see Karamanolis (2013, 227-228). But whereas Stoic apatheia is the resul (...)
  • 144 Epict. Diatr. 3.22 (praising the celibate status of Diogenes the Cynic, cf. Max. Tyr. Or. 32.9; 36. (...)

48Neither early Christianity, nor Greek and Roman religious contexts are strictly representative of extreme asceticism.140 As for the Greek novels, despite the fact that the virtue of some romantic heroes is presented as inspired by the gods141 and ocasionally mirrors ascetic ideals, their sōphrosynē eventually coexists with erōs and also finds expression in publicly celebrated marriages, which affirm a connection between romantic love, social acceptability and the common good.142 Apollonios’ erotic restraint, however, in parallel with his abstinence from meat and wine, needs to be seen as a manifestation of his purity/freedom from pollution within a divinely oriented life, in which chastity is deemed morally more advantageous than marriage. Apollonios’ chastity has religious motivation, in a way similar to what is implied for saints, the Apostles in the Apocryphal Acts and the Christian Gnostic sage: while Christians would generally strive towards temperance and avoidance of excess, the sage ought to possess apatheia (freedom from all emotions) as a higher form of virtue which promotes assimilation to God.143 Some pagan philosophical works idealise a similar sort of life and present erōs and marriage as obstacles to be avoided. Apollonios’ rejection of married life echoes views found in Epiktetos (and to some extent also in Seneca), who – though endorsing marriage under certain circumstances – seem to idealise a philosophical life free both from sexual passion and from the distractions and worries incurred by marriage and the begetting of children. In contrast to earlier Stoic teachings, which seem to have included the concept of a married sage, the sage in later Stoicism is inclined towards celibacy, which allows full dedication to the role of contemplative thinker and moral teacher.144 Still, the following passages illustrate the greater austerity of Apollonios’ sōphrosynē in comparison to such egkrateia as was recommended by Epiktetos:

... He refused the meat of animals as impure and dulling the mind, and lived off dried fruit and vegetables... Wine, he said, ... obstructed mental balance... he made going barefoot his way of dressing up, and wore linen clothes, refusing those made from animals. He also grew his hair long, and lived in the sanctuary... he was not going to marry or even have sexual intercourse. (VA 1.8; 1.13.3)

It is a mark of an ungifted man to spend a great deal of time in what concerns his body; as in much exercise, much eating, much drinking... much copulating. But these things are to be done in passing, and let your whole attention be devoted to the mind. (Handbook 41)

  • 145 Eros is praised in Plato’s Smp. (194e-197e) for possessing all four cardinal virtues. See also Trap (...)
  • 146 Its affective dimension and relation to apatheia is debated by scholars (Nussbaum 1995; Gaca 2003, (...)

49Of course the link between sōphrosynē in the sense of controlling physical desires and philosophical activity (that culminates in the soul’s ability to reach a higher epistemic standard) goes back to Plato (e.g. Phaidros 256a-b). But the Platonic model of spiritual progress relied heavily on erōs, not as the kind of desire leading to marriage and procreation or as mindless physical pleasure, but in a philosophically idealised form, as an experience shared between males that strive in partnership for moral and intellectual improvement – a partnership that Plutarch extends to heterosexual relationships and to marriage.145 Somewhat contradictorily, eros (including male homoeroticism) also held a place in Stoic ethics.146 It is, however, absent from Apollonios’ model of the philosophical bios.

  • 147 Cf. North (1966, 170-3; 319 on the competition between the heroic and the gentle elements of aretē) (...)
  • 148 See Schom (2016).
  • 149 It thus appears inconsistent that Apollonios occasionally has an interpreter by his side, e.g. when (...)
  • 150 Cf. Porph. Abst. (3.3) on Apollonios’ knowledge of the language of the birds. See also Dzielska (19 (...)
  • 151 Apollonios further brings andreia, together with justice, as gifts to the king of Persia (1.28.3). (...)
  • 152 ‘After justice, you should extol the emperor’s temperance, which goes closely with it.’ The emperor (...)
  • 153 The Christian importance of justice is rooted in the New Testament. Cf. the emphasis on God’s justi (...)

50Another aspect of sōphrosynē deserving of comment is its connection with other virtues, especially justice (e.g. VA 2.5.3, 6.21.2 etc.). Sōphrosynē (as ‘prudence’) and justice are brought together by Philostratos following the Platonic tradition that links the two in several ways: ontological, epistemological and political. They are seen as ‘quiet’ virtues, in contrast with the more ‘loud’ and spirited andreia, which is notably allocated an inferior place in Plato’s hierarchical scheme of virtues (as most developed in his late work, the Laws).147 The VA does not visibly introduce such a hierarchy, and Apollonios’ courage is praised as an independent virtue, though it is less often mentioned than sōphrosynē; this virtue, dikaiosyne and andreia are all part of the moral profile which rulers and emperors should cultivate according to Apollonios.148 The narrator characteristically mentions his hero’s andreia as proven by his determination to travel to barbaric lands, together with his sophia, which is demonstrated in his knowledge of all human languages (1.19.2)149 and in his ability to understand the language of animals (a skill he learned from the Arabs, who were able to ‘hear birds predicting’).150 He furthermore has him lecture at Olympia on the virtues, including sophia, andreia and sdphrosyne (4.31.1). Apollonios’ exhortation to Vespasian’s son Titus to ‘surpass [his] enemies in arms’ (6.32.2) implies that the sage also valorises brute strength in war.151 Indeed when it comes to the emperor’s virtues, Menander Rhetor’s explicit hierarchy in his recommended rhetoric of praise in an imperial oration (Treatise II, esp. 376.2-13) places andreia (as courage in acts of war) first (372.30-31), and links sōphrosynē with justice (376.3-4)152 – a connection made earlier by Justin Martyr (1 Apologia 2.1-2), who composed a rhetorical reproach to Roman rulers for their lack of these virtues.153 The lack of virtue in an emperor is also a concern in the VA, for example in the narrative of Apollonios’ prison stay in Book 7, which culminates in his lecture to his fellow prisoners on the pain of the injustices inflicted by tyrants and on Stoic endurance (7.26); at the beginning of his apology, the sage urges Domitian to be fair (8.7.2; cf. 7.33.3 and 8.5.2 on this emperor’s injustice).

  • 154 E.g. R. 710a, with North (1966, 189 n. 83). Schom (2016) rightly notes the implied engagement with (...)
  • 155 On the VA’s emperors and on the relationship between philosophy, paideia and power, see further Fli (...)
  • 156 See e.g. Beneker’s analysis of Alexander (2012, ch. 5). Note also that Plutarch wrote essays entitl (...)

51In particular, the association of sōphrosynē and justice with political leaders and the exercise of power, which echoes the philosopher’s endorsement of this virtue as a feature of the ideal ruler, has a strong Platonic colouring.154 Apollonios’ many dealings with persons of authority, including emperors, enable a view of sōphrosynē as a political virtue – indeed as part of the philosophical paideia that should be expected from rulers.155 Plutarch further portrays statesmen, whose lives oscillate between self-control and the lack of it, and in whom sōphrosynē is linked with political and military success.156 A similar idea occurs in the work of Musonios in the early Empire (Diatribes 8.5), who stresses the need for a king to practice philosophy in order to achieve virtue and rule properly, and names explicitly and repeatedly sōphrosynē:

Ἔτι τοὶνυν δεῖ μἐν τὸν βασιλὲα σωφρονεῖν αὺτόν, δεῖ δἐ τοὺς ὺπηκόους σωφρονίζειν ἵν’ ὸ μἐν ἂρχη σωφρόνως, οὶ δ’ ἂρχωνται κοσμὶως, μηδὲτεροι δὲ τρυφῶσι· λυμαντικὸν γἀρ ἀρχοντὸς τε καὶ ὶδιῶτου παντὸς ἡ τρυφή. Πῶς δ’ ἂν ἢ αὑτδς σωφρονήσειἐ τις μἡ μελετήσας κρατεῖν τῶν ἐπιθυμιών, ἢ ακὸλαστος ὥν ἂλλους ποιήσετε σώφρονας; Τὶς μὲντοι ὲπιστήμη πρὸς σωφροσύνην ἄγει πλν φιλοσοφὶας, οὺκ ἔστιν εὶπεῖν· αὕτη γἀρ διδἀσκει μἐν ὲπἀνω ήδονής εἶναι, διδἀσκει δ’ ὲπἀνω πλεονεξὶας, διδἀσκει δὲ αγαπἀν εὑτὲλειαν, διδἀσκει δὲ φεὑγειν πολυτὲλειαν, ὲθὶζει δ’ αὶδῶ ὲχειν, ὲθὶζει δὲ γλῶττης κρατεἳν, τἀξιν δὲ καὶ κὸσμον καὶ εὑσχημοσὑνην περιποιεῖ καὶ ὄλως τὸ ὲν κινήσει καὶ σχὲσει πρὲπον. Ταῦτα δὲ ἀνθρῶπφ προσὸντα παρὲχεται σεμνὸν καὶ σώφρονα αὑτὸν. Καὶ δή καὶ βασιλεὑς, ὄτω ὲπἀρχει ταῦτα, μἀλιστα ἂν εἴη θεοπρεπής τε καὶ αίδοῦς ἀξιος.

Furthermore, a king must himself be self-controlled and must control his subjects, so that he rules with self-control and they are ruled properly, in which case neither acts laxly. Laxness destroys everyone, both ruler and private citizen. How could someone be self-controlled himself if he does not practice mastering his desires? Or how could one who is self-indulgent make others exhibit self-control? What knowledge except philosophy draws one to self-control? One cannot name any. Philosophy teaches that we should be above pleasure and greed. It teaches that we should love frugality and avoid extravagance. It accustoms us to be modest and to control our tongue. It brings about discipline, order, decorum, and on the whole fitting behavior in action and in habit. If these things are present in a human being, they make him dignified and self-controlled. Any king who has these qualities would be most god-like and worthy of reverence. (TransL C. King)

  • 157 Ironically, Lucian would no doubt have regarded the Tyanean as wrongly categrorised by Philostratos (...)
  • 158 Note the connection between political virtue and truth in Just. Mart. 1 Apol. 2.1-2. Apollonios pre (...)

52As a character trait of Apollonios and in its form combined with other virtues, sōphrosynē is strengthened by its association with ἀλήθεια ‘truth’. This link too goes back to Plato (Phaidon 114d-115a), where sōphrosynē is named among the ornaments of the soul, together with justice, courage, freedom and truth. It is again found personified in the company of Aletheia (as well as Arete, Dikaiosyne and Paideia) in Lucian’s Fisherman, a dialogue concerned with Philosophy’s misrepresentation by impostors (also parodied in Lives for sale). While Lucian implies that philosophy is suffering from its forced separation from its natural companion, truth, when in the hands of bad philosophers, Philostratos’ Apollonios is presented as a practitioner of ‘true philosophy’ (1.2.1);157 the narrative then provides repeated affirmations of the connection between philosophy, virtue and truth (e.g. 6.34.2). The sage’s adherence to truth makes him stronger than his adversaries (e.g. the philosopher Euphrates and the emperor Domitian), who resort to falsehood in order to cause him harm (6.13; 8.4).158

  • 159 On the philosopher’s parrhesia (the topic of a treatise by Philodemos), see Haake (2007, 94-97) for (...)
  • 160 Dzielska (1986, 83) argued that he did not; no contemporary Roman authors mention him, and the Seve (...)

53The courage demonstrated by Apollonios’ involvement in Roman dynastic history is thus mostly to be read as a result of the truth inherent in his philosophy, his wisdom and self-mastery. To these one might add parrhesia ‘freedom of speech’, which Apollonios, addressing Titus, praises in the latter’s prospective teacher, Demetrios the Cynic, as a type of sophia that combines truthfulness and fearlessness (6.31.2),159 and which the Tyanean clearly exercises himself. In the words of the narrator, ‘tyranny is the surest test of true philosophers’ (7.1) – a test that Apollonios is about to pass with flying colours, as foreshadowed early in the work (τυραννὶδων ὑπερἀραντο ‘he soared above tyrants’, 1.2.1). The philosopher expresses his abhorrence for the ‘beast generally called a tyrant’ on the eve of his arrival at Rome (4.38.3); he also expresses his lack of fear, strengthened as he is by philosophy (4.44.3; cf. 6.11.5-6). It is not known for sure whether the historical sage ever visited Rome.160 However, the gains of such a visit for the literary portrait of Apollonios were evidently too great to resist. In Rome, narrative tension peaks and the hero shines even more brightly than before.

  • 161 A real person (C. Luccius Telesinus, PIR2 L 366), fictionalised in the VA’s narrative as a friend o (...)
  • 162 Ofonius Tigellinus, prefect of the Praetorian Guard; presumably the same man that caused the noveli (...)
  • 163 On this section of the VA, which can be read as part of a wider tradition of ‘Kingship Literature’, (...)
  • 164 See Dillon (2002); Kemezis (2014, 193).
  • 165 Dio Chrysostom attacks him too (Or. 45.1). In reality, Domitian seems to have pursued all dissenter (...)
  • 166 See Bowie (1978, 1666) on the anachronisms; Koskenniemi (2009, 327) more generally on the historica (...)

54During his interaction with Roman authorities, Apollonios is empowered by sōphrosynē. This is evident already in his clash with Nero’s entourage at the end of Book 4: Apollonios impressed the consul Telesinus161 with his wise and composed conversation (4.40), avoided to show his anger at the Roman people’s exaggerated reaction to Nero’s illness, and his sovereign attitude finally instilled fear in Tigellinus,162 a man ‘who had already caused the deaths of many’ (4.44). The narrator’s focus on contexts severely lacking in sōphrosynē is presumably aimed to emphasise his hero’s virtue. Apollonios’ virtue becomes especially prominent in his role as adviser of the future emperor Vespasian163 and his confrontation with Domitian (at their meeting in Book 7, which leads up to the abuse and chaining of the sage, and the formal trial in Book 8). We have seen that Philostratos’ Vespasian (clearly an adapted version of the historical emperor, who was not an altogether positive figure and is known to have been hostile to philosophers)164 has sōphrosynē. While Philostratos’ readers would be aware of the true colours of Vespasian’s rule, his alleged sōphrosynē in the VA provides an opportunity to draw a contrast between a sōphrōn and non-sōphrōn ruler. It is indeed Domitian who is associated with the persecution of philosophers in the VA (7.11; cf. 7.4).165 The absence of sōphrosynē in him, implies the narrator, is not only to blame for the degeneration of his imperial power into a form of tyranny (instead of functioning as a wise monarchy subject to law, the form of governance recommended by Apollonios during the discussion about the ideal constitution, 5.35-36, and in his final apology, 8.7.2); the lack of sōphrosynē also makes the emperor much weaker than the sage who has this virtue. No wonder that Apollonios walks free, and Domitian comes to a fast and bitter end. These events – no doubt the products of Philostratos’ imagination166 – imply philosophy’s primacy in the face of tyranny; the VA is permeated by this idea (in the narrative of Apollonios’ Eastern journey, Phraotes considers Apollonios as his superior, ‘since wisdom is more kingly’, 2.27.2; and the Indians are said to fear the Wise Men more than their own king, 3.10.2). The juxtaposition between Apollonios and Domitian makes clear to the reader that virtue (in the VA mostly synonymous with sōphrosynē) is the philosopher’s most powerful weapon.

  • 167 He did, however, occasionally initiate teaching by asking a Socratic-style question (e.g. VA 1.11; (...)
  • 168 Ammianus Marcellinus (21.14.5) names both Sokrates and Apollonios among philosophers attended by ‘g (...)
  • 169 On this, see also the next chapter.
  • 170 For a detailed comparison between Apollonios and Sokrates, see Hunter (2012, 130-142). Cf. Ep. Apol (...)

55The above framework takes its cue from Plato and the Platonic Sokrates, who not only conducted dialectical discourse on virtue, but also stood as an example of sōphrosynē in the manner of his life, his dealings with authority and his death. Philostratos’ Apollonios may have been ‘un-Socratic’ in assuming the role of an omniscient teacher (cf. VA 1.17; 7.14.2; 4.2),167 but like Sokrates, he was also guided by a daimonion,168 he talked about the immortality of the soul, he made a case for philosophical freedom,169 and he was very Socratic in the penia that accompanied his sōphrosynē. The references to Sokrates in the VA, especially in the trial scene in Book 8, which echoes Sokrates’ own trial, and where Apollonios allegedly planned to deliver an extended apologia of a Platonic/Socratic flavour, confirm a conscious link between the two.170

  • 171 See Trapp (2007a, 215-225) for a useful overview, including the classical background.
  • 172 See Swain (1999, 168, with references).
  • 173 On these, see Rowett (2014).
  • 174 See Reydams-Schils (2016, 136). Note especially Or. 49.13: ἀλλὰ τοῦ γε ὄντως φιλοσόφου τò ὲργον οὑχ (...)
  • 175 One might think here of Solon, poet of moral and political philosophy, usually included in the Seve (...)
  • 176 On this role of Apollonios (which is also reflected in his epistles), see Koskenniemi (1999, 331). (...)
  • 177 See Alexander (2002, 241-243), with diverse examples (Plato’s visit to Dionysios’ court in Sicily, (...)

56There is no hint in the VA that a philosopher should formally participate in politics and exercise political power. The juxtaposition between the contemplative life and the life of action is an old topic, and its treatment by the philosophers is not uniform. A famous context is Plato’s Republic, in particular the claim that philosophers should become kings or kings should become philosophers (473c), which is revisited by Justin Martyr in his remark that both rulers and those ruled should practice philosophy (1 Apologia 3.3). Greco-Roman philosophical contexts, on the other hand, oscillate between views of the sage as an active participant in political affairs and as a detached presence who is concentrated on the theoretical life.171 Active participation in politics as a means of restraining vice and promoting virtue can make it seem a desirable feature in the life of a wise man. The biographical tradition about Apollonios’ model, Pythagoras, suggests that he was a more ‘political’ figure than Apollonios: Pythagoras is said to have risen to political prominence in southern Italy,172 especially in Kroton, where he founded a religious-philosophical society and played a role in the city’s governance – a role inherited by the subsequently formed Pythagorean hetaireiai,173 which influenced city policies in southern Italy. Dio Chrysostom, a pupil of Musonios and a friend of Apollonios in the VA, alluded to the political responsibility of the Stoic sage in his writings,174 while Marcus Aurelius famously combined the capacities of Stoic and emperor. But Apollonios expresses concern that too harsh an engagement with philosophy may not be compatible with the function of a king, since it could make him irksome to his subjects.175 This is his reply to the Indian Phraotes, who asks to join Apollonios’ conclave (2.37.3). Although the sage undertakes social responsibility and shows concern for the welfare of others, he makes clear that he wishes no direct involvement in politics; at the meeting with Vespasian in Egypt, discussing forms of government, he states characteristically: ‘to me no constitution matters, since I live as the gods’ subject’ (5.35.4). His ‘political’ activity, which peaks in Greece and Rome, but also manifests itself in Persia and India (e.g. 1.37; 2.39), consists in an advisory role to leaders, prospective leaders and cities.176 This function, traditionally associated with wise men, is presented in Greco-Roman literature as far from marginal: it provides opportunities for indirect influence on public life, whilst also posing a risk to the sage, whose parrhesia ‘freedom of speech’ may be perceived as offensive by the authorities.177

  • 178 We will not enter the topic of the tension between ‘Greek’ and ‘Roman’, on which see e.g. Swain (19 (...)
  • 179 On the complexities of Heliodoros’ relationship with the Greek cultural heritage and the place of H (...)
  • 180 On which see Swain (2009, 34-36, with references). The locus classicus for this idea is Isoc. 4.50: (...)
  • 181 Philostratos describes the Kappadokian accent as thick and ugly (VS 2.594, with Civiletti 2002, 597 (...)
  • 182 On these, see e.g. Whitmarsh (2007, 416-417).

57The repeated mentions of sōphrosynē in the VA finally accentuate the connections between Apollonios and the notion of Greekness, especially classical Greekness. Apollonios’ world is a hybrid cultural universe, in which the sage moves both within remote foreign places that mix exoticism with Hellenic traits, and the Greco-Roman centre.178 A similar cultural ‘mix’ is a telling feature also of the romantic novel, which reaches its more complex form in the novel of Heliodoros, whose entangled cultural politics reserve a special place for Hellenism.179 This is perhaps more strongly (and certainly more straightforwardly) true for the VA. Philostratos’ Hellenic agenda is a recurrent feature of his work and is also felt strongly in his other biographical piece, the VS, where ‘Greek’ is routinely used to signify ‘versed in Greek culture’ rather than ‘of Greek ethnicity’.180 A similar definition for ‘Greek’ is implied in the VA, where the Greek agenda is also served by the prominence of the archetypical Hellenic virtue. Sōphrosynē is a code name for Greek virtue, and its association with Apollonios is an integral part of the literary identity constructed by Philostratos for his hero as ‘Greek philosopher’. Apollonios’ non-Greek roots seem to make no difference, as he spoke Attic Greek with no local accent (VA 1.7.1)181 and (much like the celebrated author Lucian, who was also non-Greek by origin) he possessed a Greek paideia; this remains his crowning feature, despite the oriental and mystical aspects182 inherent in his holy-man identity.

  • 183 The moral decline of the former flagships of Hellenic culture is also the subject of Epp. Apoll. 63 (...)
  • 184 See Swain (2009, 38). Cf. Kemezis (2014, esp. 176-179) for a reading of Apollonios’ character as a (...)
  • 185 The Indian sages’ own critique of Hellenism is discussed below in ch. 3. Note that the Egyptians an (...)

58After all, Philostratos implies that in Apollonios’ days the highest manifestations of Greek virtue lie outside Greece itself. The VA’s narrator stages a contemporary Greek world marred by the decline of moral virtue, of which sōphrosynē was a major component. Apollonios’ encounter with the Athens and Sparta of his time (Book 4) exemplifies this decline, above all in the lack of sōphrosynē felt in the decadent Dionysian performances at Athens (a far cry from dignified classical drama) and in the effeminising Spartan customs (it is worth reminding that, ironically, sōphrosynē was the Spartan virtue par excellence).183 Apollonios – whose wisdom exceeds that of Pythagoras, the ultimate Greek sage – is due to repair this fault by reintroducing the fallen Greekness to its original, true self.184 It is this true Greekness that Apollonios sees as worth defending from the attack of a newly-arrived Indian king before the Brahmans (3.29; 3.31). This king’ pompous appearance and disregard for philosophy (3.28.1) undermine the value of his views, but he later also claims that he was misled by the Egyptians (3.32), whose wise men indeed express critique (of Greek religious practice, 6.19); both he (3.26.1) and the wise men of Egypt are seen as inferior in wisdom compared to Apollonios and to Phraotes and the Indian sages.185

  • 186 As the seat of the Panhellenion, it was the empire’s second capital; there, in the year 176, Marcus (...)
  • 187 The First Tarsian (Or. 33), the Rhodian (Or. 31), the Alexandrian (Or. 32). The Tarsian vice is ‘sn (...)
  • 188 Athens’ state of corruption is further lamented by Libanios in the 4th c. (Or.passim).
  • 189 Thus Bowersock (1994, 48).
  • 190 See Whitmarsh (1998, 123, with bibliography).
  • 191 See Morgan (2014, 260-263).
  • 192 E.g. 7.10.1; 7.31.1; 8.13.2. Cf. lamblichos’ remark on the Pythagoreans’ reverence for the sun’s ri (...)
  • 193 See also ch. 4 and further Morgan (2009), whose analysis does not require that one author knew the (...)
  • 194 Thus Morgan (2014, 272-274).
  • 195 See further ch. 4.
  • 196 Francis (1995, 83; 114; 101-102 on sōphrosynē); Bäbler and Nesselrath (2016, 12). See further Kemez (...)

59The VA is not unique in presenting a ‘fallen’ Greek world while idealising the classical era of Greece. The contrast between Hellas’ decline in the imperial period and its glorious past is thematised in rhetoric, despite the fact that, paradoxically, it fails to address the persisting role of Athens as the official capital of Hellenism.186 In some of his best-known speeches, which seem to have exercised an influence on Philostratos’ writings, Dio Chrysostom rebukes the immorality of Greek communities of his time and suggests ancient examples for emulation.187 In novelistic literature, Heliodoros’ treatment of the subject presents a good comparandum to the VA. Athens,188 as reflected in Knemon’s story in the first two books of the Aithiopika, a story featuring adultery and evil intrigue, is by no means a paradigm of morality. But in spite of a ‘pluralist and multicultural perspective’,189 which has been read as a challenge to traditional Hellenocentrism,190 this work too eventually impresses on the reader an idealisation of classical Hellenism. The hero and heroine return to Ethiopia (a non-Greek centre) in the end, but it is a Hellenised Ethiopia which is depicted in the novel’s last book: a city that abolishes human sacrifice, celebrates wrestling contests and speaks Greek.191 Even the Emesan theological connection, centered on the cult of the Sun, which was of significant importance both in the VA (Apollonios worships him)192 and in Heliodoros (whose hero, Theagenes, becomes a priest of Helios), was an object of Hellenisation.193 Heliodoros, like Philostratos, appears to give priority to the ‘assertion and reinforcement of Greekness in alien places,’ further staging a philosopher character, Kalasiris, who appears to be no less Greek than the Tyanean.194 The virtue of Heliodoros’ hero Theagenes, who rejects the advances of the Persian satrap’s wife Arsake, preferring (like the VA’s Arkadian youth) to risk his life than risk his sōphrosynē, shines in a non-Greek context (Ὀ δὲ ήν πλὲον ἀνήρ τὸτε καὶ πλὲον ἀπεμἀχετο προ τἀς πεὶρας, τὸ μὲν σῶμα καταπονοὑμενος τήν δὲ ψυχήν ὲπὶ σωφροσὑνη ρωννὑμενος; Aithiopika 7.19.2), and so does the heroine Charikleia’s.195 The attribution of sōphrosynē both to Apollonios and to Heliodoros’ heroes is further to be seen as part of a ‘rehabilitation into a model of classical ideals’; this virtue forms part of ‘Greekness’ – a ‘Greekness’ associated with good philosophical and religious practices irrespective of ethnicity.196

  • 197 See Bäbler and Nesselrath (2016, 3-13) for a summary of Apollonios’ encounters with elements of Gre (...)
  • 198 They are called ‘the Naked Ones of Egypt’ at 1.2.1 and ‘Egyptians’ in Book 6 (e.g. 6.12.1), but Apo (...)
  • 199 ‘There are some who say that the study of philosophy had its beginning among the barbarians. They u (...)
  • 200 D. L. 9.61. See further Kuzminski (2008, 36; 44; 109; he sees the Gymnosophists as ‘early Buddhists (...)
  • 201 Porphyry: e.g. Abst. 4.17 (on the Indians); Iamblichos (Myst. 7.4-5) implies that Egyptian wisdom i (...)

60Notably sōphrosynē features elsewhere in the VA in non-ethnic Greek contexts. Early in the narrative, the reader is struck by the motivation of Ninevan Damis, who follows Apollonios as his pupil, intending to learn from his master’s sophia and sōphrosynē, and in this connection, to become Greek (VA 3.43). Apollonios’ own programmatic maxim, addressed to Damis as an instruction on the difference between Greek and barbarian morals, foreshadows the universality of Greekness that the reader is to experience during the description of the sage’s travels: σοφῷ ἀνδρὶ ʽΕλλὰς πἀντα ‘to a wise man Greece is everywhere’ (1.35.2).197Sōphrosynē is further mentioned in the rhetoric of the two most important groups of sages that Apollonios meets during his voyage outside the boundaries of the Greco-Roman world: the Indians (represented by larchas) and the Gymnosophists, who are called ‘Egyptians’, though originally stemming from Indians (6.11.13), are placed by the narrator in Ethiopia (or somewhere in between Egypt and Ethiopia, 5.43.1),198 and are represented by Thespesion. The wisdom of the Gymnosophists is presented as an offshoot of the extremely ancient Indian wisdom and as an intermediary for Greek philosophy: Pythagoras learned from the Egyptians, who learned from the Indians (8.7.14). The importance of asceticism in those Eastern philosophies is not to be seen as the narrator’s projection – it is undoubtedly real. In fact, the narrator’s depiction of an Apollonios who submits to the ‘higher’ wisdom of the Indians stands alongside such accounts as Diogenes Laertios’, who mentioned in his prologue the old belief that the origins of philosophy lay outside Greece (albeit only to disprove it)199 and drew attention to the influence exercised on the philosophy of Pyrrho by the Gymnosophists.200 The value of philosophy and science as practiced in the East was an ancient premise (going back to Hekataios and Herodotos) and continues to be noted by such authors as Porphyry and lamblichos.201

  • 202 Plutarch alludes to Indian worship of Greek gods (De Al. magn.fort. 328c) and Dio Chrysostom (Or. 5 (...)
  • 203 Flinterman (1995, 102-103).
  • 204 Thus Swain (2009, 35). Note also that non-Greek characters of the VA, such as the wise men larchas (...)

61The strongly Hellenised portrait of the otherwise exotic foreigners encountered by Apollonios, who are generally fluent in Greek, well versed in Greek culture and converse in Greek philosophical terms, is not wholly realistic, and it certainly exaggerates the presence of the Greek language and culture in regions lying beyond the borders of the Roman empire, such as the Indian subcontinent.202 It has been convincingly argued that this Hellenisation includes among its functions the neutralising of any tension that may have been produced by the idealisation of oriental wisdom, which is made to appear simultaneously ‘foreign’ and ‘Greek’.203 This broad and convenient sense of Hellenism, which is more ‘cultural-ideological’ than ‘descriptive-ethnic’,204 is appropriately expressed in sōphrosynē as a virtue that is not ethnic-specific or religion-specific (it is glamorised in pagan and Christian contexts alike), as it is (in the context of Greek literary production) not genre-specific. The following chapter will discuss further literary contexts for the VA’s sōphrosynē that carry both cultural and generic significance.

Notes

1 See Riedweg (2007, 75-76); Zhmud (2012, passim); Kingsley (1995, passim).

2 Some names that leap to mind: Epimenides (D. L. 1.109-115), Pherekydes (D. L. 1.116-122), Abaris (briefly alluded to in VA 7.10.1; cf. Iamb. VP 28.140) and Zamolxis (Ep. Apoll. 28; Hdt. 4.95) – itinerant sophoi of the ‘charismatic’ tradition, with supernatural powers and Pythagorean and shamanistic connections; see Hubbard and Doerfler (2014, 168) and Riedweg (2007, passim). Another name that might seem relevant is Orpheus (whose shrine on Lesbos is visited by Apollonios in Book 4) – but despite the significant connections between Pythagoreanism and Orphism (ascetic life, belief in metempsychosis; see summarily Bernabé 2013), Orpheus is mentioned in the VA mainly as a poet and singer (1.25.2; 4.21.1), and as a magician (8.7.41), whose prophesying irritated Apollo (4.14).

3 This implies a low view of Epicureanism compared to Stoicism, reminiscent of the anecdote found in D. L. 4.43. The choice among philosophical schools during one’s formative years is a topos: Justin Martyr studied in a number of them (Dial. 2.1-8.3) before opting for Christianity. The historian Joseph had to choose among different Jewish sects (Jos. 10-13).

4 On ancient testimonies for Pythagoreanism as a way of life, see Huffman (2014). Cornell! (2013, 58) notes the similarities between Apollonios and the presocratic philosopher Philolaos, which he puts down to their conscious adherence to a lifestyle they identified as Pythagorean. See also below.

5 The story goes back to Herakleides of Pontos (Cic. Tusc. 5.3.8; D. L. 1.12). See Dillon (2014, 258-259).

6 Cf. Ep. Apoll. 70, where the blame for the decline of Athens is put on the absence of philosophers (many left Athens due to the political upheavals of the late Hellenistic period).

7 Cf., characteristically, Ps.-Plu. Lib. ed. 7d-e. There is perhaps the exception of the Sceptics, on whom see Long (1986, 75-106). Note the case of Pyrrho, who is said to have denied a moral distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘just’ and ‘unjust’ (D. L. 9.61; cf. S. E. P. 3.235-238. But Cicero has him claim that ‘virtue is the only good’, Fin. 3.12).

8 See Koskenniemi (2009, 333-334, with references); Anderson (1986, 135- 138). Cf. Praet (2009) for a positive appraisal of the VA as a philosophical text: inconsistencies may be read as a way of celebrating the different religious and philosophical traditions of antiquity. See also below on Apollonios ‘eclecticism’.

9 Such as some of Apollonios’ letters and his book On sacrifice (Περὶ θυσιῶν) twice mentioned in the VA (3.41.1; 4.19). A fragment is preserved in Eus. PE 4.12-13.1. See Dzielska (1986, 136-149), who supports the work’s connection with the historical Apollonios (it must reflect his views, even if not written by him) with convincing arguments. See also Dall’Asta (2008, 23-24, with bibliography) and n. 81 below. Note Pythagoras’ own interest in sacrifices (Isoc. 11.28), though unlike Apollonios, he probably did not entirely forbid animal sacrifice (Porph. VP 36, with Huffman 2014).

10 On these, see Lauwers (2015, 44-45; 130-131 on VA 4.2, the summary of Apollonios’ dialexis to the Ephesians, which – as commented on by the narrator – did not have a Socratic tone; it presumably combined a moral interest with a sophistic context and methodology).

11 On this letter, see further Goldhill (2009, 303-305); Hodkinson (2017, 513), with bibliography.

12 Casperius Aelianus (PIR2 C 462; D. C. 68.3.3), praetorian prefect; see Jones (1992, 59-61).

13 The same is also true for the description of his philosophical identity to Thespesion, leader of the Gymnosophists, at 6.11.4-5 (Koskenniemi 2009, 329). Cf. his brief self-presentation to the Persian king at 1.32.

14 On Dio, see further Swain (ed. 2000) and Hahn (1989, 156-171), who notes a difference in his self-presentation in his speeches at home and abroad (the latter tend to emphasise his philosophical vocation, while the former do not); on his role in the VA, see Billault (2000, 93-94), who asserts that the narrator made sure that Dio did not outshine Apollonios.

15 Cf. VS 1.484; for a more detailed discussion, see Jones (1974, 12-14).

16 On the connection between the VA and the second sophistic, see Gyselinck and Demoen (2009); on the broader topic of the relationship between sophistry, rhetoric and philosophy in the imperial period, see Sidebottom (2009), who uses symbolic methodology to demonstrate the separateness of roles of philosopher and sophist (see also Sidebottom ibid., 96-97 on the different treatment of the two groups by Flavian legislation); Lauwers (2013 [with bibliography, ibid., 332] and 2015, 15-40) on the lack of a stable distinction in the Roman empire; Flinterman (2004) on telling features of sophistic attitudes (sophists did not, as a rule, act as advisers); cf. Hahn (1989, esp. 46-53), who argued that contemporary observers could distinguish between the two groups.

17 Maximos is considered a ‘semi-philosopher’ by Trapp (2007a, 25); on Favorinos more later.

18 Cf. especially the bitter quarrel between sophistic rhetoric and philosophy in Gorgias; ʽnoble’ rhetoric does not exist in practice (503a-b).

19 See, characteristically, De Her. mal. 857f.

20 Note his criticism of rhetors in the Euboikos (he implies the superiority of the philosopher, 7.102) and in such passages as Or. 8.9. It is debated whether Dio in fact ‘converted’ to philosophy: see Swain (1996, 190) and Swain (ed. 2000, passim). On Philostratos as sophist, see e.g. Billault (2000, 9-31).

21 Luc. Peregr. 13 (τòν δε άνεσκολοπισμένον σοφιστήν).

22 A revival of Pythagoreanism from the 1st c. BC, after its original phase ended in the 4th c. BC, is commonly assumed. For a diachronic view of Pythagoreanism, see Kingsley (1995, 317-334), who argued for ‘an underlying similarity and continuity’ between earlier and later forms (ibid., 329). See also Riedweg (2007) and Huffman (ed. 2014).

23 Cf. Thom (1995, 35-58), who argued for a date as early as the 4th c. BC on uncertain grounds (ibid., 125-146 on the verses’ treatment of virtue). The first reference to the work by name belongs to the 3rd c. (Alciphr. 3.19.7). Philostratos must have been familiar with it.

24 See Centrone’s summary (2014, 329-333): phronēsis and justice are variously considered by the authors as the highest virtue.

25 Quoted as early as Aristotle, in his now lost treatise on the Pythagoreans. Later tradition includes Iamb. VP 18.82-86; see Riedweg (2007, 139-142; 163-164); and further Thom (2013). An ongoing scholarly debate concerns the relationship of the ‘acusmatic’ way of life to the Pythagorean ‘mathematical’ tradition; see Huffman (2014). Cornelli (2013) brought forward the holistic study of Pythagoreanism as a ‘historiographical category’, encompassing its varied aspects (religious, ethical, scientific) and their interpretations through the ages.

26 See Praet (2009, 317-318), who notes that Apollonios asks a question related to the number of the sages (a nod to the Pythagorean interest in numbers), only for larchas to reply (3.30.1-2): ‘we are not slaves of number ... but our honor comes from wisdom (sophia) and virtue (aretē).’

27 As North’s survey shows (1966, esp. 211-242).

28 See now further Becker (2016, 390-392).

29 See Dzielska (1986, 171): ‘The Greeks in Hierocles’ time... needed somebody who would “compete” with Christ... a religious and moral model of personality should be offered to passing pagan society.’ Dzielska usefully lists late antique authors and works concerned with Apollonios (some were mentioned in the Introduction to this study).

30 Augustine mentions Apollonios together with Apuleius, another ‘wonder-worker’ (cf. Lact. Inst. 5.3.21; Porph. Chr. fr. 4 Hamack; see Becker 2016, 384-385), who defended himself against charges of magic in his Apologia. On Apuleius’ superficial brushes with philosophy (he is the author of Platonist works), see Trapp (2007a, 24-26). He is better known as the author of the only Roman novel that survives in full: Metamorphoses. Augustine praises him for his eloquence (Ep. 138.19).

31 ‘... a man who… was sought after by the rich, but was not seeking riches for himself; greedy for knowledge but chary of money-making; abstemious in feasts, clad in plain linen among the purple-robed, severe as a censor amid luxurious perfumes; unkempt, hairy, and bristly in the midst of scented foreigners, and treasured for dignified squalor among the myrrh-scented, pumice-rubbed, cinnamon-soaked satraps of tiara’s kings; more respected than suspected in the Eastern kingdoms he traversed because he derived no article of food or clothing from an animal; and asking from the royal resources which were placed fully at his disposal only such boons as he was accustomed to accept for bestowal on others, not for retention by himself’ (Ep. 8.5)

32 See further Swain (1999, 163-169; 170: ‘The steadily increasing importance of Pythagorean thinking... stands directly behind Philostratus’ account of Apollonius’); Cremonesi (2005, 17-39).

33 See recently Miles (2016, 140-141); cf. De Temmerman (2014, 30-31) on metaphorical characterisation.

34 Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 1); du Toit (1997, 283, on Apollonios’ analogies with Pythagoras). See further the next chapter.

35 See Elsner (2009a, 15-16). Sophia is also one of Plato’s four cardinal virtues. Its central treatment in Book 6 of Aristotle’s Nikomachean ethics is as that of an intellectual virtue; elements of sophia featuring elsewhere in the Philostratean corpus (e.g. in the Gymnastikos) also belong to the intellectual sphere and are largely identified with the requirements of a sophistic paideia.

36 Note that he routinely surpassed every important figure to which the narrative compares him: e.g. he had ‘greater prescience’ than Proteus (1.4), his wisdom was ‘clearer’ to that of Herakleitos (1.9.2), and even at a hundred years of age, he had a better memory than the mnemonically-gifted poet Simonides (1.14.1). Note also the comparisons to Anaxagoras, Krates, Sophokles and once again to Pythagoras at 1.13, which demonstrate Apollonios’ superior virtue.

37 Cf. Pl. Phlb. (45d-e; ‘μηδεν άγαν’) in relation to the sōphrōn bios; Plt. 283d-e on the metrion as a superior concept; Arist. Pol. 12956: όμολογεῖταɩ τὸ μὲτρων ἂριστον καὶ τὸ μὲσον

38 Timpe and Boyd (2014, 7).

39 Note, e.g., the presentation of Plato’s sophia at the beginning of the work (1.2.1) as a mixture of his own doctrines and those which he learned from Egyptian prophets and priests.

40 North only mentions Apollonios in a footnote (1966, 236).

41 On the sophistic value of this image, see Anderson (1986, 127-128); he also compares it to the notion of Lucian’s marriage to Rhetoric in Bis Acc. 27. See also Parker (2008, 1-2).

42 See Casson (1974, 290-291); Jones (2001, 191). Meetings with toll collectors in ancient literature are often seen as a negative experience: see e.g. Plutarch (De cur. 518) and further Adams (2012, 232-233).

43 Jones sensibly translates ‘prudence’ (similarly Conybeare: ‘temperance’, Mumprecht: Besonennheit, Del Como: ‘saggezza’).

44 On the philosophical background to egkrateia and its relationship with sōphrosynē, see North (1966, 203; Plato seems to have held the former as a property of the latter, while Aristotle made a clear distinction); cf. Bedeker (2012, 16-17) on Plutarch (who proceeded to an ‘integrated’ system). Cf. also Men. Rh. Treatise II 385.22-23: τήν δὲ σωφροσὑνην ἀπὸ ὲγκρατεὶας ἐρεῖς (‘Temperance should be discussed in terms of self-control’) and Philo, who referred to egkrateia as a variation of sōphrosynē (Agr. 98-99; Levy 2009, 150-151).

45 The connection between vices (excessive eating, drinking and sexual indulgence) occurs often in Musonios’ Diatribes; cf. Ph. Agr. 37. Christian thought inherits this connection: gluttony, fornication, avarice and vanity are all included among the evil ‘thoughts’ that beleaguer the person in Evagrios’ Practical treatise, which betrays Stoic influence (see further Sorabji 2000, 358-371).

46 Cf. the reference to the contrast between akolastoi ‘licentious’ and sōphrones ‘sober’ musical rhythms in the VS (2.602). On akrasia, see further the essays in Bobonich and Destrée (2007).

47 A lack of discipline (but not of morality) is implied by the ἀκὸλαστον ἦθος of untamed horses, which is compared to a man’s character before the abrupt increase of his wealth (7.23.3). The rich man’s ‘taming’ equals moral decline (as he resorts to sordid means in order to maintain his wealth), unlike that of tyrants a little later (7.30.2), which is conceived of as a way of controlling their immoral urges, and which is compared to lion-taming.

48 The contrast between vice and self-control is also a feature of the romantic novels, one that enriches characterisation. Anger (cholē), e.g., is an enemy of the sōphrosynē of Chariton’s Chaireas. See Kanavou (2015, 946-947).

49 There is no particular reason to translate ‘chastity’ (thus Jones) or ‘Enthaltsamkeit’ (Mumprecht). Conybeare’s ‘temperance’ conveys a more general sense; cf. Del Como’s ‘saggezza’.

50 See further Schofield (2003, 248); cf. the agglomeration of virtues in Ps.– Arist. W 1250bl2-13. D. L. 7.125: Τἀς δ’ ὰρετἀς λὲγουσιν ὰντακολουθεῖν ἀλλήλαις καί τὸν μὶαν ἔχοντα πἀσας ἔχειν· εἶναι γἀρ αὺτῶν τἀ θεωρήματα κοινἀ... (the possessor of one virtue possesses all). See also Plu. De Stoic, rep. 1046e and Ph. Mos. 2.7. On the idea of the interdependence of virtues, cf. Eth. Pr. 8 (the work is attributed to the imperial Peripatetic philosopher Alexander of Aphrodisias; aretē is discussed as a generic term and as the sum of individual virtues, with reference to Aristotle); see Sharpies (1990, 33 and n. 85, with a list of relevant Aristotelian references).

51 The famous chariot ride, where souls (conceived as chariots) journey towards the Forms with varying degrees of success, depending on the extent of their intellectual and moral purity (the souls are adjudicated on the basis of their affinity to the divine, ‘which has beauty, wisdom, goodness and everything of that sort’, Phdr. 246e).

52 Arr. An. 5.8-19; D. S. 17.87-89; N. Pauly s.v. Porus (3) (K. Karttunen). A different version appears in the Alexander romance, where he displays arrogant fearlessness and is killed by Alexander in single combat, despite his much greater height (3.2-4). On another famous element of Poros’ story, his elephant, see ch. 5.

53 Not strictly ‘abstinence’, as Jones translates. Conybeare has ‘sobriety’, Mumprecht ‘Besonnenheit’ and Del Como ‘senno’.

54 On this feature (which was presumably held significant in the context of the Pythagorean life and learning, Iamb. VP 29.164), see also below, ch. 2. Its importance in the VA (despite Downie 2016) should not be exaggerated: it is not on ‘memory’ alone that Apollonios’ supernatural capacity relies, but on the combined presence in him of exceptional ethical qualities and intellectual power.

55 See Kim (2010passim)’, Zeitlin (2001, 247-255).

56 Jones’ translation ‘chastity’ provides an unnecessarily limited sense here. Palamedes does not feature anywhere as a paradigm of chastity. Cf. Conybeare’s ‘sobriety’, Mumprecht’s ‘sittliche Kraft’ and Del Como’s ‘saggezza’.

57 Inventor: Pl. Phdr. 261d; Hyg. Fab. 277; on his innocence and unjust treatment: Gorg. Pal.; see also Downie (2016) for further references. Contrast Palamedes’ mythical epic version, as known to us from the Cypria and other texts, which is that of a trickster and even a potential betrayer of his people. He used trickery to ensure Odysseus’ participation in the Trojan war (Cypria, EpGrF p. 31, 41-43); betrayer: E. Palamedes, frr. 578-590 TGrF 5 (Kannicht); cf. Ar. Th. 769-784; Apollod. Epit. 3.8; Hyg. Fab. 105.

58 On Palamedes’ tomb, cf. Her. 33.48-49. On the inscription, see also ch. 5.

59 Downie (2016, 67).

60 See Gyselinck and Demoen (2009, 116) on this highly allusive passage; cf. Zeitlin (2001,254-255).

61 Sokrates says he would love to meet Palamedes in Hades (Pl. Ap. 41a-b).

62 See below, ch. 3.

63 See Zeitlin (2001, 252) and below, ch. 3. Contrast the defensive wrath attributed to Palamedes by Apollonios, which the hero may set aside after his reinstation (4.13.3). Achilles shows concern for the restoration of Palamedes’ statue in the VA (4.16.6); the two are connected also in Her: 33.34-36, where Palamedes’ plight is named as the reason for Achilles’ mēnis in the course of the Trojan war. The image of Achilles in this work also includes glimpses of a hero whose aggression lacks moderation (see e.g. 56.6-57.17). See also Grossardt (2006, 597).

64 On this passage, cf. also Miles (2009, 135-138).

65 Thus translated by Jones. Conybeare employs two words here: ‘temperance and sobriety’. Mumprecht translates ‘die sittliche Wiirde’ and Del Como ‘saggezza’,

66 See König (2005, 126) for examples and references (esp. Ps.-D. H. Rh. 7.292).

67 This phrase acknowledges the wisdom of the Olympian and Arkadian λὸγοι ‘stories’ (or λὸγιοι ‘scholars’ in Jones’ text, who adopts Reiske’s conjecture); cf. Conybeare’s rendition ‘this account was wisely conceived’ and Del Como’s ‘queste spiegazioni erano sapientemente escogitate’. Jones’ ‘clever conceit’ or Mumprecht’s ‘es sei dies alles ganz klug ersonnen’ emphasise the cleverness inherent in sophia.

68 On the history and uses of mitra, see Brandenburg (1966, 67-68 for winners of athletic contests; ibid., 30; 57 etc. for priests, mostly with oriental associations).

69 Thus Jones. Conybeare has ‘temperance’; Mumprecht ‘Selbstbeherrschung’; Del Como ‘temperanza’. Cf. also VA 3.43.

70 Jones translates this time ‘moderation’. Cf. Conybeare’s ‘temperance’, Mumprecht’s ‘Selbstbeherrschung’ and Del Como’s ‘saggezza’.

71 Schom’s essay on the VA (2016) brings out the importance of sōphrosynē in these contexts well.

72 J. BJ 6.128; 6.241 (cf. 6.327: παραγγεὶλας δὲ τοῖς στρατιῶταις Τὶτος θυμοῦ τε καὶ βελῶν μὲνειν ἐγκρατεῖς...). See also Hadas-Lebel (2006, 80-89); Joseph portrays him as merciful and praises his philanthropy (BJ 1.10-11; 6.324).

73 Hadas-Lebel (2006, 93; 151; 412). Suetonius (Tit. 7-8) suggests that Titus had acquired notoriety in Rome for cruel and immoral acts, although his account of Titus’ reign is on the whole a positive one.

74 On Herakles’ famous choice between Virtue and Vice (X. Mem. 2.1.21-34; going back to a parable of Prodikos) and the broader theme of life choice in ancient Greek and Latin literature, see Harbach (2010, 386-389 on the relevant VA passage, with a comparison between Apollonios’ decision among several philosophies and Plato’s Myth of Er; both contexts include more than two options to choose from. Philostratos uses Platonic diction in a further context relevant to the issue of life choice, at 6.16.1 [R. 617e]). Herakles’ parable is mentioned as suitable for Christian edification by Just. Mart. (2 Apol. 11.2-8) and was adapted by Philo (Sacr. 21-45, where the choice is between virtue and hēdonē ‘pleasure’). Other Greco-Roman manifestations of the theme are the choice between Basileia and Tyrannis in Dio Chrysostom (Or. 1.50-84) and Lucian’s decision in Dream in favour of Paideia instead of Technē. The choice of the right path in life is also the main subject of the Tablet of Kebes; see Introduction and further Hirsch-Luipold et al. (2005, 18-22).

75 See further Jordan (1986) on the role of rhetoric (especially protreptic) in winning students for philosophical schools. Jordan collected examples from different periods and schools, including a memorable satire by Lucian (Lives for sale).

76 Cf. e.g. Sen. Ep. 73.15: ‘This is “the way to the stars”; this is the way, by observing thrift, self-restraint (temperantiam), and courage!’ On ‘purity’ as an essential aspect of the Philostratean Apollonios’ Pythagorean way of life and wisdom, see further Cremonesi’s study (2005). Cf. Iamb. VP 24.106- 109 on the role of self-control (especially in dietary matters) in attaining familiarity with the gods, and see also Cox (1983, 25-30).

77 See Bowie (1978, 1665 n. 50); Schwartz (2003); Kanavou and Papathomas (2016). The VS (2.555-556) also contains a memorable example of trial narrative, concerning the famous Herodes Attikos, who is tried for the alleged murder of his wife, a charge vehemently denied by the narrator; cf. Whitmarsh (2004, 438-439).

78 A fact duly expressed in the interpretive pattern ‘from bedroom to courtoom’, applied by Schwartz (2007) to the romantic novels and the Apocryphal Acts (on the former, see now more extensively Schwartz 2017).

79 See Alexander (2002, 243-244). Cf. Schirren (2005, 79-85) on Plato’s Apology as a concretisation of the philosophos bios.

80 Iamb. VP 6.30, with von Albrecht et al. (2002, 224-225). On the divine component of this function, inherent in the theios anēr status shared by both philosophers, see below, ch. 2. The image of the philosopher as a messenger of God, sent to save humans from their fallacies, echoes Cynic views: see Epict. Diatr. 3.22.23. It is also of course reminiscent of Jesus (see further von Albrecht et al. ibid., 225 n. 12).

81 In itself a complex topic, and, like his philosophy, an eclectic one: pagan, but with curious monotheistic overtones reconcilable with Christianity (cf. the fragment of his treatise On sacrifices [Eus. PE 4.12-13.1], which speaks of the divine in terms of a single, ‘first’ entity, and Porph. Abst. 2.34 about the unnamed ‘wise man’ – Apollonios in Eusebios’ understanding – who spoke of the ‘supreme god’); and averse to animal sacrifices (which were common in the Greek and Jewish traditions). See Swain (1999, 165) on the concept of the ‘Supreme God’, which has its roots in Platonism and features also in pseudo-Pythagorean treatises (Centrone 2014, 326-328); J. Ap. 2.168 on philosophical convergence about the nature of god; and Koskenniemi (1991, 71-72) for a concise reconstruction of Apollonios’ religious baggage. Note further Ep. Apoll. 58 on a theological approach to death that takes distance from the VA’s emphasis on metempsychosis. On the ties between religion and sōphrosynē, see also the next chapter.

82 Cf. the Stoic Kleanthes’ prayer (Sen. Ep. 107.11); Just. Mart. Dial. 2.5-6. Even Epikouros stated that belief in God stands at the roots of philosophical study, according to D. L. 10.123. On the strong link between philosophy and religion in this period, see the contributions in Hirsch-Luipold et al. (eds 2009); Lauwers (2015, 224-225) with reference to the second sophistic, who draws attention to relevant content in the discourses of Maximos of Tyre.

83 He is remarkably said to have won his brother’s trust by giving him half of his own inheritance (most of the rest he gave to relatives, 1.13.1-2). This behaviour is not an absolute topos in wise and saintly lives. In the Latin Vita Malchi (4th c.), Malchus insists on keeping his inheritance, which leads to a quarrel with his abbot (on this work, which exists also in a Greek translation, see further Gray 2016).

84 Cf. his advice to Menippos ‘to pardon the gods for enjoying the capers of buffoons.’ (VA ibid.)

85 See also ch. 3 on a murderous erotic satyr, who was beaten by Apollonios in the same manner.

86 ὑπὲρφρων is opposed to σῶφρων. Pride – a sin in Christian thought – was treated as an undesirable character trait by philosophers (see Sorabji 2000, 25-26; 334-336 on the Epicurean Philodemos and on relevant views in Plotinos). While there is no doubting Apollonios’ philosophical self-confidence (cf. esp. VA 6.11 and 8.7), he seemingly guards himself against arrogance and reproaches it in others (1.13.1; 4.2; 4.15.2; 8.7.5; cf. 7.23.2).

87 See e.g. 7.23; 5.22; 6.2. Contrast the praise of the simplicity of life of the Indian king Phraotes (2.25-26). Cf. also Epp. Apoll. 15; 35.

88 Thus Billault (2000, 99), who notes its loose historical relevance. Vespasian’s visit to Alexandria, after he was proclaimed emperor by his troops, is mentioned by Tacitus (Hist. 4.82), but there is no allusion to Apollonios; see also Levick (2017, 100-101). The narrator may have drawn inspiration for this event from Hdt. 3.80-82 (the famous Persian constitutional debate). The imagined Agrippa-Maecenas debate before Octavian in D. C. 52 bears further testimony to the theme’s literary appeal.

89 On the politics of the historical Dio, who supported an enlightened form of monarchy, see Swain (ed.) 2000, passim.

90 See Schom (2016), who discusses Apollonios’ contributions to the moral edification of rulers; sōphrosynē forms a great part of this programme. Apart from exhorting Vespasian to a Pythagorean type of virtue (with emphasis on moderation, self-control and respect for the gods), Apollonios favours monarchy, a tendency also found in pseudo-Pythagorean writings (see Centrone 2014, 336) and in contemporary philosophical discourse more generally (Trapp 2007a, 166-184).

91 Cf. Epp. Apoll. 42f-h. Pausanias (7.17.3-4) reports that Vespasian abolished the freedom bestowed by Nero on Achaia. The reference to Nero’s liberation of Greece in the VA poses problems to interpreters, not least because of the flaw it bestows on the otherwise harmonious relationship between Apollonios and Vespasian, and because Roman rule is otherwise not questioned (see Flinterman 1995, 124-126).

92 See Billault (2000, 101, with references).

93 Salvidienius Orfitus (Suet. Dom. 10; PIR2 C 1445) and (?) L. Verginius Rufus. See Jones (1992, 183-184).

94 One of the ‘good’ passions that shields from loss of virtue; see D. L. 7.116 and further e.g. Sellars (2006, 118-119); Sorabji (2000, 47-48). The εὺλαβεῖς of the VA do not always appear to experience a positive emotion: Damis (1.23.1; 7.14; but the latter example has the negative sense of fear) and Nerva (7.33.1; 8.7.31).

95 For the correlation between arete and individual virtues, see the previous section.

96 See North (1966, 215). On the exceptional character of Apollonios’ sōphrosynē, see also the next chapter, and on chastity and erōs, see further below and ch. 3.

97 See also Schom (2016, 166-167), who frames the incident within the sage’s role in shaping the virtue of rulers, in this case particularly δικαιοσὑνη and σωφροσὐνη, the foremost kingly virtues.

98 Note that a similar contrast between asceticism and compliance with necessity affects the ethical interpretation of the Gymnosophists’ nakedness: according to Apollonios, their renouncement of clothes is not dictated by ascetic virtue, but rather the demands of a warm climate (VA 6.8).

99 See e.g. the very first instruction in Carm. Aur. and Aristox. fr. 33 Wehrli.

100 On eros as respect for Aphrodite, see further ch. 3.

101 See further ch. 3 on instances of bad erōs.

102 Cf. the youth Timasion’s reaction to Apollonios’ praise of his virtue (6.3.3), which amounts to the following idea: ‘it is not goodness to avoid doing wrong.’ The sage duly recognises in this point an echo of Indian wisdom.

103 Jones’ translation ‘was prudent’ evokes too general a sense of the key-term, as does Conybeare’s ‘was too high-principled’. Cf. Mumprecht’s ‘war sittsam’ and Del Como’s ‘era di casti costumi’.

104 On the link between aidōs and self-control (sōphrosynē and egkrateia) in Greek philosophical thought, see North (1966, passim); Cairns (1993, 404; 419-420). One of the definitions of sōphrosynē considered in Pl. Chrm. (160e) is sōphrosynē as aidōs. Aristotle describes aidōs as a pathos that contributes to sōphrosynē (EE 1234a24-33).

105 Incidentally, see Bird (2016) on the focalisation of sōphrosynē in the romantic novels.

106 See, summarily, Miles (2017, 211). He notes that they are either sexual beings, like Timasion’s stepmother (6.3) and the women in the story of the Kilikian ruler (1.10) or monsters (the most prominent being the deceitful Korinthian lamia, 4.25). This portrayal of women echoes Aristotle’s negative verdict on the female sex in HA 608b 11 -15: females are lacking in aidōs and honesty in comparison to men.

107 See further ch. 3.

108 On the structure of the VA, see Praet’s useful general observations (2009, 285).

109 For the VA as a ‘symbolic form’ that expresses the philosophical ideology incorporated in Apollonios’ life, cf. Schirren (2005). The emphasis on virtue matches the work’s encomiastic style.

110 See North (1966, 162-163).

111 ΕΝ 1106b-1107a: µεσὸτης τις ἀρα ἐστὶν ή ἀρετή, στοχαστική γε οὖσα τοῦ µὲσου Aristotle describes virtue as a kind of μὲσον (‘golden mean’, EN 1106a), an intermediate state that lies between excess and deficiency.

112 See also Beneker (2012, 10-11) and further Trapp (2007a, 64-71; 78-82). Note however that the Stoic stance was not entirely uniform: Poseidonios rejected the concept of a unitary soul and adopted Plato’s notion of a soul with irrational parts (see further Sorabji 2000, 94-98).

113 Cf. Porph. Plot. 23.4: καθαραν την ψυχην έχων καὶ άεὶ σπεὑδων πρὸς τὸ θεῖον…

114 The study of ancient erotics has been influenced by Foucault’s History of Sexuality, which, interpreting sexuality as a social construct, drew attention to ancient texts that canonise human erotic behaviour. In the History’s third volume, which deals with prose texts from the Greco-Roman period, there is no mention of Philostratos or Apollonios (although some ideological relatives, namely the Stoics, are discussed), but Apollonios is mentioned briefly in volume two (Foucault 1985, 20) among pagan ‘models of abstention’ (that include Xenophon’s Agesilaos and Plato’s Sokrates). Foucault’s views are still strongly debated by classicists, as shown for example by the contributions in a recent volume by Hubbard (ed. 2014).

115 The term sōphrosynē does not occur in the Handbook, though it does in the Diatribes. Sophrosyne features in the Stoically-influenced Tablet of Kebes (20), together with Egkrateia, among the personified virtues whose mother is Eudaimonia (Happiness), and who are reached by the ones who arrive at Ἀληθινή Παιδεὶα (True Education).

116 The topic is discussed at length by Gaca (2003), who however does not mention the Tyanean sage; but see Finn (2009, esp. 29-32).

117 See Mumprecht (1983, 981). See also Swain (1999, 165-174) for the links between Platonism and Pythagoreanism in the Greco-Roman period, and Kingsley (1995, 330-334) more generally on the diversity of philosophical components absorbed in Pythagoreanism.

118 On Apollonios’ relation to the different philosophical worlds see also Mumprecht (1983, 998-999); Dzielska (1986, 129-152). On eclecticism (in particular in the late Hellenistic era), see introductorily Hatzimichali (2011, 1-8) who distinguishes between adherence to a primary philosophical authority with parallel acceptance of ideas of other sects, and the formation of a new alternative sect (as done by Potamo of Alexandria). The case of Apollonios fits the former model. See also Karamanolis (2013, 43-44) on Clement’s conception of Christianity as eclectic philosophy.

119 Dzielska (1986, 185) noted the lack of evidence to suggest that Apollonios met any of his contemporary philosophers mentioned in the VA, except for Euphrates, who was probably active in the same area as Philostratos’ hero, and who in all likelihood thought poorly of the Tyanean (cf. Hahn 1989, 117-118). The letters of Apollonios to Euphrates, probably invented, must echo the tradition of a real conflict between the two men (Dzielska ibid., 43- 45), but the VA’s negative depiction of Euphrates most likely carries a degree of fictionality: he is praised by Epiktetos for his eloquence and for avoiding extreme and pretentious asceticism (Diatr. 4.8.15-21; Ench. 29.4) and by Pliny the Younger (Ep. 1.10); see Billault (2000, 92-93), Hahn (ibid., 25) and further Frede (1997) for an appreciation of Euphrates as a philosopher and his conflict with Apollonios. On Musonios, see also the next chapter.

120 Epict. Ench. 33.8; 41.3; Simp, in Epict. 117, 13-53. Contrast Plato’s ‘communal’ view of sexuality, which he links to the sōphrōn organisation of the state (R. 457b-d) – a view criticised by Aristotle (Po/. 1261a-b) and Cicero (Rep. 4.5), who notably read the Platonic model as the opposite of sōphrosynē (Nulla erit in viris continentia, nulla in feminis pudicitia?) and spoke in favour of ‘amor coniugalis’. A similar model is attributed to the obscure Epiphanes, criticised by Clement, who however manages to exonerate Plato (see Gaca 2003, 287).

121 Iamb. VP 21.98; 24.109. Stricter rules applied to the spiritually advanced philosophers (and to Pythagoras himself), who abstained from eating anything animate (VP 24.107-108; cf. D. L. 8.13; Porph. Abst. 1.2). Apollonios describes wine as hostile to reason and divination (VA 2.35-37), and the Indian wise man larchas advises against drinking (3.40). See further Cremonesi (2005, 17-22; 89-103 on abstinence from wine as a feature of Apollonios’ purity). But Apollonios permits Damis and his other companions to consume meat and wine (2.7.3), and the philosopher Demetrios drinks with Telesinus (8.12.3). Drinking is not excluded from the life of the Stoic sage, but drunkenness is (cf. Sen. Ep. 83.17; 83.27).

122 Cf. the more flexible Stoic attitudes, on which see Ramelli (2009a, Ixxv; Ixxxiii-vi and passim), with reference to Hierokles, Musaios and Antipater, who held positive views of marriage and family. See also D. L. 7.121 on Zeno, and Epict. Diatr. 1.23.

123 Cf. e.g. Apollonios’ adoption of the Epicurean motto λἀθε βιῶσας ‘live unobserved’ (8.28; cf. 7.12.5, where the speaker is Demetrios the Cynic); see Grossardt (2006, 41-43), and cf. Schirren (2005, 307; 311).

124 Cf. Plutarch’s anti-Epicurean polemic in Adv. Col. and Non posse (coming from a Platonist perspective). Maximos of Tyre criticises Epicureanism in his Or. 29-33 (see summarily Trapp 1997, 236-239).

125 Diogenes of Sinope was an advocate of the εὺτελἡς βὶος (D. L. 6.21); on him, see SSR II, 227-509, and on his pupil Krates of Thebes, SSR II, 523- 575. Krates’ Hymn to Euteleia (‘Frugality’) (SH 361 = SSR II, 554 fr. 77) named Σωφροσὑντ as the mother of Εὑτελὶα.

126 See Trapp (2007a, 164-165).

127 E.g. Iamb. VP 16.68-69; D. L. 8.18-20.

128 Cf. the Stoic view of happiness as dependent on virtue and independent from material goods, a point of disagreement with the Peripatetics (see Trapp 2007a, 32-35).

129 On self-sufficiency as a Stoic and Cynic motif, see Desmond (2008, passim). On the differently nuanced Epicurean self-sufficiency, see Warren (2002, 56-57). Note that Demetrios the Cynic recommends dying in defence of one’s children and other kin as the kind of death that befits a philosopher (VA 7.12.1).

130 See e.g. Iamb. VP 18.86: the bearing of children secures new worshippers for the gods.

131 See further Mousourakis (2012, 42); Gloyn (2017, 76-77); Krenkel (1978, 200-203) on Roman legal strategies to boost marriage and birth rates.

132 Cf. Clement’s conception of a Christian marriage in his Paidagogos (references gathered in Gaca 2003, 269). Gaca (ibid., esp. 271-272; 293) draws attention to the differences between the earlier, more liberal Stoic sexual ethics and later Stoicism (perhaps influenced by Neopythagoreanism); and between the ‘encratite’ Christian teaching and its pagan Greek counterpart. Further bibliography is available in Miles (2017, 205 n. 28).

133 Cf. Wills (1995, 228). Note also Jos. 153, which mentions σωφροσὐνη among τῶν ἀναγκαιοτἀτωνand cf. Philo’s De virt. 14; 39; 167; 174; 182; 189; 194. See further D’Angelo (2007). Note that by the 2nd c., Judaism and Christianity differed in their conception of sexual discipline; see Brown (2008, 61-64) who notes the rabbis’ rejection of radical celibacy, which was gaining ground in Christian contexts.

134 See e.g. Ramelli (2009b); Rhee (2005, 121-128).

135 See Karamanolis (2013, 223-224, with references).

136 Cf. Mt. 19: 10 for a more conventional definition of adultery. Cf. also the punishment of the Kilikian man, whose wife tore out one of his eyes for sleeping with her daughter from a previous marriage (VA 1.10).

137 See Brown (2008,40-41).

138 See Hunter (2007, 124-125) on remaining celibate in marriage (referring to Origen’s commentary on 1 Cor.). On marriage in early Christianity (a much-studied topic), see Brown (2008, passim) and the essays in Cantalamessa (ed. 1976).

139 To the point that it might appear heretical (a gnostic influence, see e.g. Gray 2016, 127-128). In the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, celibacy is presented as a requirement of eastern Syrian Christianity after baptism (Pervo 1996, 705; see further Most 2005, esp. 87-88). A message of radical celibacy is also present in other Apocryphal Acts, which bear gnostic features. Other relevant contexts include the Pseudo-Clementines, which place an emphasis on chastity, and the writings of Tertullian, who – influenced by Montanist asceticism – thought of celibacy as a higher state than marriage (Monog. 17). On sexual renunciation and its varied expressions in early Christianity, see further Brown’s in-depth study (2008).

140 Certain pagan religious functions imposed chastity, but mostly temporarily and rarely permanently; see e.g. Cancik (1977) on Roman and Hubbard and Doerfler (2014, 167-170) on Greek religion. The priesthoods of Heliodoros’ heroes do not impend their marriage. Sexual purity is connected with ritual purity (note the use of μιαρός at VA 1.10; a Pythagorean context thematically organised around the idea of purity are the ‘Pythagorean memoirs’ quoted by D. L., 8.25-33, on which see below).

141 E.g. Habrokomes and Charikleia are associated with Artemis (X. Eph. 1.1.2; Hld. 1.2.6), and the same goddess dictates chastity to Leukippe in a dream (Ach. Tat. 4.1).

142 See Cooper (1996, 20-44); cf. Haynes (2003, 156-162).

143 Clem. Al. Strom. 7.3.13.3; see Karamanolis (2013, 227-228). But whereas Stoic apatheia is the result of personal philosophical development, the Christian relies on his/her faith in God’s transcendent power; cf. Levy (2009, 160-161) on the notion of apatheia in Philo.

144 Epict. Diatr. 3.22 (praising the celibate status of Diogenes the Cynic, cf. Max. Tyr. Or. 32.9; 36.5-6); Sen. Matr. (SVF III 727, against Chrysippos) and Ep. 116.4-5 (advice against surrendering to erōs). See Ramelli (2009a, 114); Gaca (2003, 87-90), with further references. See also Malherbe (2007, 63). Epiktetos was popular with Christian authors, and his Handbook gave rise to Christian adaptations (see Boter 1999). On a nuanced discussion of Seneca’s views on marriage (he was married himself), see now Gloyn (2017, 76-106; cf. also her Appendix with the text of Matr. and comments on the fraught issue of the transmission and authenticity of the fragments). The philosophical debates on eros and marriage are usefully summarised by Trapp (2007a, 94-96; 155-165).

145 Eros is praised in Plato’s Smp. (194e-197e) for possessing all four cardinal virtues. See also Trapp (2007a, 94-96), who notes Plutarch’s adoption of the Platonic model in his Amat., and Trapp (1997, 156-159) on the Platonic analysis of eros in Max. Tyr. Or. 18-21.

146 Its affective dimension and relation to apatheia is debated by scholars (Nussbaum 1995; Gaca 2003, 59-93; Bartsch 2005; Gill 2013). Note the Stoic quotation in D. L. 7.129, which connects the wise man’s physical attraction to the young with the latter’s disposition to virtue (see Inwood 1997, esp. 59, with Platonic context; cf. Schofield 1999 on the role of eros in Zeno’s Republic). Stoicism does not always expel physical love, though cf. Sen. Ep. 123 (rejecting pederasty), and see also Gloyn (2017, 96-97); Trapp (2007a, 157). Note also the reception of Stoic philosophers in certain literary contexts (mainly in Juvenal and Martial), which accuse them of pathic homosexuality (see Bartsch 2005, with references; she attempts to explain this on the basis of Stoic patientia, which might have made philosophers tolerant of bodily degradation).

147 Cf. North (1966, 170-3; 319 on the competition between the heroic and the gentle elements of aretē). See Annas (1993, 312-316) on the link between justice and temperance in Aristotle (cf. Pol. 1323b32-36).

148 See Schom (2016).

149 It thus appears inconsistent that Apollonios occasionally has an interpreter by his side, e.g. when talking to Phraotes, king of Babylon (2.26.1). Polyglossia features in the New Testament as a divine gift obtained by the Christian Apostles on the Pentecost (Acts 2).

150 Cf. Porph. Abst. (3.3) on Apollonios’ knowledge of the language of the birds. See also Dzielska (1986, 97), who assumed that Porphyry knew the VA. Talking animals – speaking in human voice! – feature in the Apocryphal Acts.

151 Apollonios further brings andreia, together with justice, as gifts to the king of Persia (1.28.3). Before meeting the ‘Greek wise man’ Apollonios, the king thinks of him as an analogue to Themistokles (1.29), ‘the naval fighter’ who, incidentally, was admired by the Hellenised Gadeirans for his sophia and andreia (5.4). Similarly Herakles is called wise and brave (8.7.28). Andreia is mentioned in the VA a total of eleven times.

152 ‘After justice, you should extol the emperor’s temperance, which goes closely with it.’ The emperor’s praise ought to include also the remaining virtue of the Platonic canon: φρὸνησις (‘wisdom’; ibid., 373).

153 The Christian importance of justice is rooted in the New Testament. Cf. the emphasis on God’s justice as a model for human behaviour in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (see Thorsteinsson 2010, 89-104).

154 E.g. R. 710a, with North (1966, 189 n. 83). Schom (2016) rightly notes the implied engagement with this virtue in the contexts of Apollonios’ interaction with rulers, even when it is not explicitly mentioned, as for example in his meeting with the (imaginary?) philosophising king Phraotes (2.26-40); on him and his philosophical pedigree, see Schom (ibid. 174-187 and n. 52).

155 On the VA’s emperors and on the relationship between philosophy, paideia and power, see further Flinterman’s useful analysis (1995, 128-230). The virtues desired in a sovereign concern Dio Chrysostom in his Kingship Orations’, he too includes sōphrosynē and paideia.

156 See e.g. Beneker’s analysis of Alexander (2012, ch. 5). Note also that Plutarch wrote essays entitled On the fact that the philosopher ought most of all to converse with leaders and To an uneducated ruler.

157 Ironically, Lucian would no doubt have regarded the Tyanean as wrongly categrorised by Philostratos. See Gascó (1986; but the view of the Pythagorean Arignotos of Luc. Philops. as a parody of the Tyanean is a little too speculative).

158 Note the connection between political virtue and truth in Just. Mart. 1 Apol. 2.1-2. Apollonios predicts that the depraved emperor Nero will leave Greece in fear ‘if the truth still exists’ (VA 5.7.4). See further Rowe (2016) on truth as a basic element of Stoic and Christian ideals of life. Apollonios also makes the point that moralising tales may use falsehood to express truth, if Aisop’s invented but instructive stories are anything to go by (5.14).

159 On the philosopher’s parrhesia (the topic of a treatise by Philodemos), see Haake (2007, 94-97) for a historical/epigraphical perspective; Alexander (2002, 243-244), who notes its use also for Paul the Apostle in the Acts: Paul claims to speak freely to king Agrippa during his trial (26: 26). See also Hahn (1989, 190; 206), in particular with respect to Cynic parrhēsia.

160 Dzielska (1986, 83) argued that he did not; no contemporary Roman authors mention him, and the Severan interest in him seems to have been limited to their court. See also ch. 4, n. 43.

161 A real person (C. Luccius Telesinus, PIR2 L 366), fictionalised in the VA’s narrative as a friend of philosophy who ended up going in exile and remained friendly with Apollonios’ circle (5.7.1; 7.11.4; 8.12.3); see also Billault (2000, 96-97).

162 Ofonius Tigellinus, prefect of the Praetorian Guard; presumably the same man that caused the novelist Petronius’ fall from Nero’s grace and his subsequent death, at least according to Tacitus (Ann. 16.17-20). See PIR2 O 91.

163 On this section of the VA, which can be read as part of a wider tradition of ‘Kingship Literature’, see Kemezis (2014, 192-195 and n. 105). Kemezis draws attention to Philostratos’ choice to implicate his hero in the short-lived and largely negatively portrayed Flavian dynasty, rather than the subsequent, positively received rule of Nerva (who is indeed praised as sōphrōn but receives far less attention than the Flavians) and Trajan (completely absent from the VA); for Kemezis, ‘Apollonius’ heroic qualities are better suited to a world of tyranny and resistance’.

164 See Dillon (2002); Kemezis (2014, 193).

165 Dio Chrysostom attacks him too (Or. 45.1). In reality, Domitian seems to have pursued all dissenters, not just philosophers (see Jones 1992, 119-124). It seems that the latter were generally not held in great esteem by imperial administration (Trapp 2007b, 15-17; a more nuanced discussion in Trapp 2007a, 226-257).

166 See Bowie (1978, 1666) on the anachronisms; Koskenniemi (2009, 327) more generally on the historical unreliability of Apollonios’ closeness to powerful men (although recourse to holy men is attested for emperors, see e.g. D. C. 71.8.4 on the Egyptian magician in the company of Marcus Aurelius during a military campaign to the empire’s north, and the rain miracle; see further Anderson 1994, 153-157). Domitian’s assassination (a historical event) is recounted in Suet. Dom. 17.

167 He did, however, occasionally initiate teaching by asking a Socratic-style question (e.g. VA 1.11; 2.22; 5.14; 5.21-23), a method also found in Epiktetos’ Diatribes; see Koskenniemi (2009, 328-329). On Apollonios’ omniscience (linked to his gift of prophecy), see Whitmarsh (2007, 428- 429).

168 Ammianus Marcellinus (21.14.5) names both Sokrates and Apollonios among philosophers attended by ‘guardian spirits’ (the list includes Numa, Pythagoras and Plotinos).

169 On this, see also the next chapter.

170 For a detailed comparison between Apollonios and Sokrates, see Hunter (2012, 130-142). Cf. Ep. Apoll. 42 on Apollonios’ refusal to take money for his teaching – a significant point of difference between him and the sophists or lawyers (the ayopaior, VA 8.22) and between him and his enemy Euphrates (1.13.3; 5.38.3; 6.13.1). See also Paschalis (2015) for an interpretation of Apollonios’ trial as a show of philosophical persuasion with Protean features.

171 See Trapp (2007a, 215-225) for a useful overview, including the classical background.

172 See Swain (1999, 168, with references).

173 On these, see Rowett (2014).

174 See Reydams-Schils (2016, 136). Note especially Or. 49.13: ἀλλὰ τοῦ γε ὄντως φιλοσόφου τò ὲργον οὑχ ἔτερόν ὲστιν ἢ ἀρχη ἀνθρώπων ‘the function of the real philosopher is nothing else than to rule over human beings’. Cf. D. L. 7.121, citing Chrysippos. But neither he nor other Stoics, like Zeno or Kleanthes, were active in politics (Plutarch accuses them of inconsistency between word and actions in De Stoic, rep.; see Opsomer 2016, 110-112). On the topic of the discrepancy between views of philosophers and their public activity, see, more broadly, Haake (2007).

175 One might think here of Solon, poet of moral and political philosophy, usually included in the Seven Sages, whose statesmanship (at the end of which he left the city) had a mixed reception by the people of Athens (the main source for his life is Plu. So/.); see also section III of the next chapter.

176 On this role of Apollonios (which is also reflected in his epistles), see Koskenniemi (1999, 331). On philosophers as advisers of political leaders and the community more generally, see Trapp (2007a, 219-224), drawing on the writings of Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch and Seneca among others. Cf. Hahn (1989, 182-191) on philosophers and rulers.

177 See Alexander (2002, 241-243), with diverse examples (Plato’s visit to Dionysios’ court in Sicily, Philodemos’ stay with Piso, and the attempts of Paul the Apostle to influence powerful men in the Acts).

178 We will not enter the topic of the tension between ‘Greek’ and ‘Roman’, on which see e.g. Swain (1996); Anderson (1993, 101-131). In brief, Philostratos’ works portray a world which is culturally and spiritually Greek, although Roman in political-administrative terms (Swain ibid., 380); but Romanisation is condemned by Apollonios, who describes the use of Roman nomina in a decree of the lonians of Smyrna as a βαρβαρισµὸς (VA 4.5 and Epp. Apoll. 71-72; Flinterman 1995, 94-95; Penella 1979, 127-128; see also below, ch. 5).

179 On the complexities of Heliodoros’ relationship with the Greek cultural heritage and the place of Hellenism in the politics and poetics of his narrative, see Whitmarsh (1998). The romantic novels (unlike the VA and other prose narratives of that period) are ‘a world without Rome’ (Swain 1996, 130; cf. Goldhill 2008, 196).

180 On which see Swain (2009, 34-36, with references). The locus classicus for this idea is Isoc. 4.50: ‘... The name “Hellenes” suggests no longer a race but an intelligence, and... the title “Hellenes” is applied rather to those who share our culture than to those who share a common blood’.

181 Philostratos describes the Kappadokian accent as thick and ugly (VS 2.594, with Civiletti 2002, 597 n. 7). In yet another show of moderation, Apollonios condemned extreme Atticism (VA 1.17), which was clearly not beneficial to a speaker, as did Lucian (see further Swain 1996, 82; Schmitz 1997, 148); he also avoided an exuberant, overly poetic style (cf. the similar praise of the sophist Kritias’ style in VS 1.502-503).

182 On these, see e.g. Whitmarsh (2007, 416-417).

183 The moral decline of the former flagships of Hellenic culture is also the subject of Epp. Apoll. 63 (Sparta) and 70 (Athens). See further Giannakopoulos (2016, 211-213, with bibliography) with respect to the criticism of Athens in the VA and Ep. Apoll. 70.

184 See Swain (2009, 38). Cf. Kemezis (2014, esp. 176-179) for a reading of Apollonios’ character as a ‘giver of Greekness’ and as a medium of establishing connections between the Greco-Roman cultural present and its classical past.

185 The Indian sages’ own critique of Hellenism is discussed below in ch. 3. Note that the Egyptians and the Ethiopians appear morally superior to the Greeks in their attitude to material goods and wealth (6.2).

186 As the seat of the Panhellenion, it was the empire’s second capital; there, in the year 176, Marcus Aurelius established chairs for the major philosophical schools (D. C. 72.31.3; Philostr. VS 2.566). See also Trapp (2007a, 246); Giannakopoulos (2016, 214-215).

187 The First Tarsian (Or. 33), the Rhodian (Or. 31), the Alexandrian (Or. 32). The Tarsian vice is ‘snorting’; the Rhodians enrich themselves in an ethically questionable manner; the Alexandrians behave uncontrollably at festivals. See further Salmeri (2000, 81-86); Bowie (1978, 1668-1669; 1681) on Dio’s influence on Philostratos. Giannakopoulos (2016) collects further examples of anti-Athenian imperial discourse. Second sophistic literature shows a sentimental attachment to classical Athens (see e.g. Swain 1996, 20; 68).

188 Athens’ state of corruption is further lamented by Libanios in the 4th c. (Or.passim).

189 Thus Bowersock (1994, 48).

190 See Whitmarsh (1998, 123, with bibliography).

191 See Morgan (2014, 260-263).

192 E.g. 7.10.1; 7.31.1; 8.13.2. Cf. lamblichos’ remark on the Pythagoreans’ reverence for the sun’s rising (VP 35.256). Sun worship is also mentioned in the VA for the Indian Brahmans (3.15); see now Bäbler and Nesselrath (2016, 87) on sun worship in Taxila. On possible connections with the Emesan Sun cult thematised in Heliodoros, cf. Morgan (2009).

193 See also ch. 4 and further Morgan (2009), whose analysis does not require that one author knew the work of the other. See also now Morgan (2014, 266-267). The worship of the Sun (as Sol invictus, with syncretic features) had reached the status of official religion by the late Roman empire (see Futre Pinheiro 2014, 78, with bibliography).

194 Thus Morgan (2014, 272-274).

195 See further ch. 4.

196 Francis (1995, 83; 114; 101-102 on sōphrosynē); Bäbler and Nesselrath (2016, 12). See further Kemezis (2014), passim on the role of the Greek cultural milieu in the VA.

197 See Bäbler and Nesselrath (2016, 3-13) for a summary of Apollonios’ encounters with elements of Greek culture during his travels.

198 They are called ‘the Naked Ones of Egypt’ at 1.2.1 and ‘Egyptians’ in Book 6 (e.g. 6.12.1), but Apollonios appears to meet them in ‘Ethiopia’; of. VS 1.484, and see further Reger (2015, 142-144) and Manolaraki (2013, 23) on the murky geography of Apollonios’ visit to the ‘Naked Ones’ and its symbolism as a philosophical confluence. Ethiopia and India were often fused into a single region (see Schneider 2004; Parker 2008, 54-55). Heliodoros’ Gymnosophists are also in Ethiopia, and he notes the similarities between the two regions (9.22.1-7). The Indian Gymnosophists are discussed in some detail by Philo (Prob.), who presents them as resistant to acculturation.

199 ‘There are some who say that the study of philosophy had its beginning among the barbarians. They urge that the Persians have had their Magi, the Babylonians or Assyrians their Chaldaeans, and the Indians their Gymnosophists... These authors forget that the achievements which they attribute to the barbarians belong to the Greeks, with whom not merely philosophy but the human race itself began.’

200 D. L. 9.61. See further Kuzminski (2008, 36; 44; 109; he sees the Gymnosophists as ‘early Buddhists’).

201 Porphyry: e.g. Abst. 4.17 (on the Indians); Iamblichos (Myst. 7.4-5) implies that Egyptian wisdom is more ancient than the Greek. See also Zhmud (2012, 83-86 and passim) on early contacts between Greek philosophy and the Orient, and Swain (1999, 170-171) on the Greco-Roman period; he places views of the Orient’s primacy in the context of tensions between Hellenism and the different ethnic groups that came in contact with it (Swain ibid., 159-162).

202 Plutarch alludes to Indian worship of Greek gods (De Al. magn.fort. 328c) and Dio Chrysostom (Or. 53.6) to Indian familiarity with Homer through translation, but the Greekness of Philostratos’ Indians is unique (note in particular the description of the settlement of the Wise Men at 3.12-17, which is filled with comparisons to landmarks of Greek geography and religion). On the evidence for a Greek presence in the India from the Achaimenid period onwards, see Parker (2008, 14-65). Numerous coins inscribed in Greek have been found, but hardly any Greek inscriptions have come to light (at least not in India proper; substantial finds come from Baktria). The material is now accessible in IK Estremo Oriente and in CI I II/2.

203 Flinterman (1995, 102-103).

204 Thus Swain (2009, 35). Note also that non-Greek characters of the VA, such as the wise men larchas and Thespesion, but also kings (Vardanes and Phraotes) quote from Greek authors, as noticed by Bowie (2009b, 63); but no Roman emperor or official is allowed to do so!

© C.H.Beck, 2018

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