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Philostratros’ Life of Apollonios of Tyana and its Literary Context

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Nikoletta Kanavou

Chapter 2: Wise Lives

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Ἑπτἀ τῶν Ελλήνων σοφοὶ ὲν δὸμω τινὶ τῶν Ἀθηναὶων πρὸς ἀλλήλους συνεδριἀσαντες λὸγον σοφῶτατον καὶ απὸρρητον κεκινήκασιν· ... Ὧν τἀ ονὸματα εὶσὶ ταῦτα· Ἀπολλῶνιος, Σὸλων, Θουκυδὶδης, Πλοὑταρχος, Ἀριστοτὲλης, Πλἀτων, Χὶλων ὸ φιλὸλογος.

  • 1 This Byzantine theosophical fragment – in which Apollonios foretells the virgin birth of Christ – n (...)

Seven wise men of the Greeks came and sat among each other in a house of the Athenians, and stirred up a most wise and secret conversation;... Their names are the following: Apollonios, Solon, Thoukydides, Plutarch, Plato, Chilon the lover of words. (ThGrF p. 123)1

I. Apollonios Among the Wise Men

  • 2 See Schirren (2005, 12) for examples and references (and ibid., 69-211 for the philosophos bios as (...)
  • 3 On the affinities between these two works, see Jouanno (2002, 208-209).
  • 4 See Tiede (1982); Talbert (1978, 1646) on philosophers revered as gods (he mentions the Tyanean and (...)
  • 5 See Konstan and Ramelli (2014, 192-193). These features are shared between the VA and pseudo-biogra (...)

1As mentioned in the Introduction, the VA belongs to a complex narrative tradition that may be defined and described in varied terms and ways. Aside from the ‘novel’, the VA’s literary context includes the tradition of stories about holy men and wonder-workers (such as we find in pagan philosophical biographies2 and in the apocryphal Christian literature), of fictitious biography more generally (including popular narratives, such as the lives of Aisop and Alexander,3 who both display wise-men features), and even of a ‘gospel genre’, associated with ‘spreading the word’ about the life and works of a holy man, chiefly as a form of religious propaganda.4 These narratives have a number of distinct common features: they narrate lives, they are structured in episodes (some of which are thought more or less independent), they employ various forms of storytelling (e.g. letters, mythical and proverbial stories), and they present heroes of exceptional spiritual gifts, who are called to face powerful opponents, over whom they duly prevail.5

  • 6 See Hägg (2012, 19-30) who also discusses Plato’s Apology and Phaido as Socratic works with biograp (...)
  • 7 On the paradigmatic function of Sokrates in ancient biography, see De Temmerman (2016, 22); Konstan (...)

2In particular, the opening of the VA, which discusses Pythagoras, places the work firmly within the tradition of narratives centered on wise-men lives. These compel comparisons with the VA, and indeed recent scholarship often draws attention to points of contact between the VA and other philosophical and hagiographical lives. Scholarship also emphasises the influence of Sokrates, whose sōphrosynē is repeatedly praised in Xenophon’s Memorabilia, a work that provides a rich biographical sketch of its subject, even if it is not a biography stricto sensu.6 We saw in the previous chapter that Sokrates’ virtue, which largely defies convention, is inherently linked with that of Apollonios; it arguably also sets the tone of praise of further idiosyncratic wise-men figures.7

  • 8 On the difficulty of defining ‘hagiography’ as a genre, see Van Uytfanghe (2009, 348-349), to whom (...)

3Focusing on the imperial period, the present chapter looks at the contexts of sōphrosynē in pagan philosophical lives, as well as in early Christian biographical texts. These texts, which differ in substantial ways, share a number of common formal elements that allow us to treat them together: they all concentrate on special men who are supposed to have rare philosophical and/or spiritual gifts and a connection to the divine; they all have a footing in history; they aim to praise, idealise and make an example of their subjects; and they use a number of common thematic motifs in order to achieve their purpose.8 It is my aim here to explore sōphrosynē as one of those motifs. Having established the importance of this virtue for the story and the character of Apollonios, I now ask how it was treated by other authors of philosophical lives, and whether it may be used to reinforce assumptions of textual affinities. The narratives in question possess an extremely varied literary, philosophical and religious motivation, but this chapter will suggest that they all employ sōphrosynē as an ideological and rhetorical strategy, which in the end signposts the versatile category of stories labeled as ‘wise-men biographies’. Again using sōphrosynē as a tool of comparison, the next chapter will look at connections between the VA and the other important cluster of texts, which is related to Apollonios’ biography, namely the romantic novels.

  • 9 See De Pourcq and Roskam (2016, 163).
  • 10 As noted by Momigliano (1986, 41-42).
  • 11 Cf. Whitmarsh (2004, 435).
  • 12 Cf. Bowie (2009a, 30); Kemezis (2014, 156). Not all notices function as ‘biographies’ strictly spea (...)

4A decision about which wise-men tales to include in our survey is not an easy one, and is bound to stumble on ultimately insoluble questions regarding the degree of historicity of each tale. The realisation that historical accuracy is not a primary interest of ancient biographical writing makes manifest the difficulty of isolating a group of pseudo-biographical texts at the exclusion of others.9 Among ancient Lives, Apollonios’ status as a pagan sage, invites comparisons initially with other Greco-Roman biographical works that focus on pagan philosopher-figures. A good place to start is Philostratos’ other work of a biographical turn, the Lives of the sophists (VS). The VS, which contains the first appearance of the notion of a ‘second sophistic’ (1.481), is admittedly a work of rather different scope than the VA. It does not share the latter’s central religious focus;10 and in comparison with the multi-voiced and multi-layered storytelling of the VA, it is a simpler, more straightforward narrative.11 It consists of a succession of numerous brief biographical notices (59 in total), thus it features many ‘heroes’, while the VA only has one hero. The lives of the heroes of the VS, which mostly fall between the late first and early third century, are also to an extent fictionalised, but their footing in factual reality is by all means stronger than the VA’s.12 Still, the opening of the VS (479-480) makes it hard to escape the feeling that one is about to read fictitious literature:

Τοὑς φιλοσοφήσαντας ὲν δὸξη τοῦ σοφιστεῦσαι καὶ τοὑς οὕτω κυρὶως προσρηθὲντας σοφιστἀς ὲς δὑο βιβλὶα ἀνὲγραψἀ σοι… καὶ ἂλλως οὺκ εὑτυχὲς τῷ βουλομἐνῳ πολλἀ εὶδὲναι πατὲρα μὲν τοῦ δεινὸς ὲξεπὶστασθαι καὶ μητὲρα, τἀς δὲ περὶ αὑτὸν ἀρετἀς τε καὶ κακὶας οὑ γιγνῶσκειν, μῃδ’ ὄ τι κατῶρθωσὲ τε οὖτος καὶ ὲσφἀλη ἢ τὑχη ή γνῶμη. Τὸ δὲ φρὸντισμα τοῦτο, ἂριστε ἀνθυπὰτων, καὶ τὰ ἂχθη σοι κουφιεῖ τῆς γνῶμης, ὥσπερ ό κρατρ τῆς Ελὲνης τοῖς Ἀὶγυπτὶοις φαρμἀκοις.

I have written for you in two books an account of certain men who, though they pursued philosophy, ranked as sophists, and also of the sophists properly so called… And further it would be no great piece of luck for one who desired to be really well informed, to know precisely who was So-and-so’s father and mother, yet fail to learn what was the man’s own virtues and vices, and in what he succeeded or failed, whether by luck or judgement. This essay of mine, best of proconsuls, will help to lighten the weight of cares on your mind, like Helen’s cup with its Egyptian drugs.

  • 13 On the problem of the dedicatee’s identity, see Bowie’s brief summary (2009a, 29), and cf. Civilett (...)
  • 14 As touched on in the Introduction, see above. Cf. D. L. 1.12: οὶ δὲ σοφοὶ κα: σοφιστα ἐκαλοῦντο’ κα (...)
  • 15 See Dzielska (1986, 52-55), who doubted that these were features of the real Apollonios, drawing at (...)
  • 16 See further Whitmarsh (2004, 435-437).

5Philostratos’ explicit wish, expressed in the proem, that the Lives will help to lift the weight of cares from the mind of the dedicatee (Gordian III?),13 may seem to undermine the seriousness of the work and at the same time encourage its treatment as a piece of entertainment literature. But the proem also states that one of the main aims of the biographical accounts offered is a presentation of the sophists’ virtues and vices. As the proem’s carefully chosen wording implies, and despite the emphasis on the careers of the biographees as rhetors, some of these sophists apparently pursued philosophy proper, a remark that alerts us to the fraught issue of the distinction between ‘philosopher’ and ‘sophist’,14 as well as the question of the potential relationship between the heroes of the VS and Apollonios. Although Philostratos’ character is no sophist strictly speaking, he seems to have absorbed sophistic traits, as is evident in his oratorical skills and the ease with which he addresses both crowds and the emperor.15 What is more, like the narrator of the VA, the narrator of the VS employs a didactic tone that suits the nature of his subject.16

  • 17 Note especially his Euboikos (Or. 7), whose affinities to fiction have often been noted (e.g. Bowie (...)
  • 18 See Dzielska (1986, 11, with bibliography; 41-44).

6Apollonios does not receive a biography in the VS, but is mentioned there a few times (1.488, as a contemporary of Dio Chrysostom and Euphrates; 1.521, where he is praised for his sophia; 2.570, an affirmation of his chastity). Apollonios addresses Dio in three letters (9; 10; 90). As mentioned earlier, Dio’s writings are concerned with virtue, in particular with sōphrosynē, to which he alludes frequently in his speeches.17 He also features in the VA and is widely considered as a source of inspiration for the shaping of the Philostratean Apollonios.18 The connection between Apollonios and Dio in both biographical works is presumably based on their shared features, which include their common association with sōphrosynē. Sōphr- vocabulary is used sporadically in the VS, and most examples are reminiscent of the manner in which the same vocabulary is used in the VA. There are a total of seven examples of sōphrosynē cognates in the VS, though only one of the abstract noun, in a context more relevant to sophistic talent than to moral virtue:

Ταῦτα μὲν οὗν φρὸνημα ὲνδεὶκνυται τοῦ ἀνδρὸς καὶ, νή Δὶα, σοφὶαν, ῃ ὲς τήν ὲκπληξιν ὲχρήσατο, ὲκεἳνα δὲ σωφροσύνην τε καὶ κὸσμον· ἀφικὸμενον γἀρ ὲς τήν ὲπὶδειξιν ὲδὲξατο ὲπαὶνω μακρω καὶ ὲπαξὶω τῶν Ἡρῶδου λὸγων τε καὶ ἔργων.

  • 19 Better: ‘spirit’; note especially Polemo’s appearance at Athens (1.535), which exemplifies his extr (...)

This incident illustrates Polemo’s pride19 and, by Zeus, the cleverness with which he was wont to dazzle his hearers, but the following shows equally his modesty and sense of propriety. For when the other arrived to hear him declaim, he received him with a long and appropriate panegyric on the words and deeds of Herodes. (VS 1.537)

  • 20 He is termed as a ‘sophist’ instead of the more appropriate ‘rhetor’ (cf. Philostr. Dial. 1, where (...)

7The passage is from the life of the sophist Polemo. The author first praises the sophist’s spirited attitude (φρὸνημα) and rhetorical skills (a manifestation of sophistic sophia), demonstrated in his dealings with consul Herodes Attikos, a pivotal political figure. Polemo is then given credit for a declamation, which allegedly consisted in a long praise of Herodes. At the invitation of the latter, the sophist was not only able to deliver on the spot, but chose the most appropriate subject for his speech: Herodes himself. This choice of subject, says the narrator, showed the sophist’s sōphrosynē as modesty and sense of propriety, expressed in his honouring a member of his audience and a distinguished man. Herodes’ own biography opens the second Book of the VS,20 and is the longest and most substantial life contained in this work.

  • 21 VS 1.489; 1.517; 2.599; see also Bowie (2006a, 143-144). On Favorinos’ ‘mixed’ sophistic and philos (...)
  • 22 Further examples of sōphr- vocabulary in the VS include the adverb used tor the sensible reaction o (...)

8Other uses of the sōphr- vocabulary in the VS, however, constitute perfect parallels to Apollonios’ moral virtue. The adverb σωφρόνως occurs for the Assyrian sophist Isaios (1.513), who converted, when he reached adulthood, from the life of pleasure and frivolity which he led as a youth, to a sōphrosynē reminiscent of Apollonios’: specifically the sophist lost interest in drink, food, luxury clothing and erotic affairs. His pupil, Donysios of Miletos, was sōphrōn to the extreme, having never been associated with ‘licentious and insolent conduct’ during his many travels, and being ‘most temperate and sedate in his behaviour’ (οὓτε ὲρωτικήν ποτε αὶτὶαν ἔλαβα οὕτε ἀλαζὸνα ὑπὸ τοῦ σωφρονὲστατὸς τε φαὶνεσθαι καὶ ὲφεστηκῶς; 1.524) This formulation not only reflects the wider meaning of sōphrosynē, since it is contrasted with both arrogance and promiscuity, but also affirms the familiar antithesis between sōphrosynē and erōs. The first part of this antithesis is not an absolute winner in the Lives: the VS narrator describes the sexual misconduct of Skopelian of Klazomenai, Apollonios of Naukratis, and even Favorinos of Arelatai, a pupil of Dio Chrysostom, ‘who passed for a sophist, although he pursued philosophy’ (1.492), and who was a reported eunuch, though he stood trial for adultery – one of his life’s paradoxes.21 A sophist’s status is clearly not synonymous with chastity, which adds fodder to the differentiation between Apollonios and the sophists.22

  • 23 This point is elaborated on by Schirren (2005, 113-137). See also Momigliano (1986, 36-41).
  • 24 E.g. Hippon. fr. 63 West; E. Bacch. 317; Lyc. fr. 3 TGrF 1 (Snell).
  • 25 See Hägg (2012, 305-318) for a concise appreciation of the work reflecting current scholarly consen (...)
  • 26 D. L. 1.12 (on Pyth.); 8.61-62; 8.67 (on Emp.), quoting Herakleides of Pontos. Empedokles’ teaching (...)
  • 27 On this highly important text, see Laks (2013 and 2014, 370-377). Cf. Long (2013) on Alexander’s Py (...)
  • 28 On this conception, expounded in Epict. Diatr. 4.1, see Trapp (2007a, 127- 128); Willms (2011/2012, (...)

9The lives of Pythagoras and Empedokles, the two philosophers mentioned by Philostratos at the beginning of the VA as having been most influential on Apollonios, open the eighth book of Diogenes Laertios’ Lives of eminent philosophers – a work that is mostly concerned with figures of the past, unlike Philostratos’ VS that engages strongly with the author’s own time. However, both works display a clear interest in the ethical qualities of its subjects.23 The work of Diogenes, probably a contemporary of Philostratos, contains no fewer than 25 examples of sōphr-related vocabulary, about one-third of which belong to quotations from other works.24 Diogenes’ work, despite its literary shortcomings,25 is remarkable in that it covers a broad chronological spectrum of wise lives, from Thales and Anaximander to the imperial period, and a number of different philosophical schools. Sōphrosynē does not feature as a term in the accounts of the lives of either Pythagoras or Empedokles (although similarly to Philostratos’ Apollonios, the former receives high praise for his ancient wisdom, and the latter is said to have raised a woman from the dead).26 Apollonios does not receive a biographical sketch. However, the Πυθαγορικἀ ὑπομνή μα (‘Pythagorean memoirs’), of Hellenistic origin, which Diogenes quotes from Alexander Polyhistor (8.25-33),27 echo the importance of purity and piety as we know it from the life of Philostratos’ hero; and the scattered examples of uses of sōphrosynē in the whole of the work highlight its importance for the characterisation of Diogenes’ philosophers, as well as the diachronic and universal value of this virtue. Sōphrosynē is defined in the context of Diogenes’ presentation of Plato’s teachings, as one of four elements of virtue (the other three being phronēsis, dikaiosynē, andreia), signifying ‘control of desires’ (3.91) – an important aspect of the philosophical conception of ‘inner’ freedom:28

Ἡ δὲ σωφροσύνη τοῦ κρατεν τῶν επιθυμιῶν καὶ ὑπὸ μηδεμιἀς ήδονής δουλοῦσθαι ἀκοσμὶως ζῆν.

Temperance causes mastery over desires, so that we are never enslaved by any pleasure, but lead an orderly life.

  • 29 But there is some doxographical evidence on his teaching; see Steinmetz (1994, 662-665).
  • 30 See further Jedan (2009, 55; 57). Cf. Philo’s attribution of the virtues, including sōphrosynē, to (...)

10Diogenes (3.80) presents the Platonic and Aristotelian diairesis in goods (ἀγαθἀ) of the mind (ψυχή) and the body and the cardinal virtues as belonging to the former category. The work contains a number of further references to sōphrosynē, marked by Platonic overtones (7.92; 7.102; 7.126). This attention to Plato is in tune with the dedication of the work to an (unnamed) woman of Platonic interests (3.47), but Diogenes further mentions the Stoic Hekato’s essay On the virtues. Hekato, whose work (dated to the first century BC) has completely perished,29 allegedly distinguished between intellectual and non-intellectual virtues30 and treated sōphrosynē as being of the former kind; he also saw it as inherently linked with the non-intellectual virtue of ὑγὶεια ‘health’ (Diogenes Laertios 7.90). A similar idea is implied in a passage from the VA that links self-control with the cure of illness in the Assyrian youth, who seeks Apollonios’ help during the latter’s stay at the sanctuary of Asklepios (1.9): abstinence from drink and controlled food intake will restore the Assyrian to health according to Apollonios’ advice. Though the term sōphrosynē is not mentioned, Apollonios’ sophia is said to have provided healing, ‘by expressing wise counsels in simple form’ (ὸ δ’ ἢγαγεν ὲς ὑγὶειαν τὸ μειρἀκιου τἀ σοφἀ σαφῶς ὲρμηνεὑσας, 1.9.2).

  • 31 On Antisthenes, see SSR II, 137-225. See Prince (2015, 544) on the image of Cynic philosophers as o (...)

11Examples relevant to other philosophers from the Lives include Pittakos’ (one of the Seven Sages) advice ‘Love temperance’ (σωφροσὑνην φιλεῖν, 1.78); the transformation of the badly-behaved young Polemo (future head of the Academy) after hearing Xenokrates’ discourse on sōphrosynē (4.16; the legendary story is also in Plutarch, How to tell a flatterer from a friend, 71e); the Cynic Diogenes’ description of paideia as ‘controlling grace’ to the young (6.68); a seemingly anti-intellectualist contrast between sōphrosynē and grammata (6.103: ‘Antisthenes used to say that those who had attained discretion had better not study literature, lest they should be perverted by alien influences’ – obviously not a concern for Philostratos’ Apollonios);31 the Stoic Zeno’s exhortation of the young to virtue and temperance (7.10; he himself received a golden crown ἔνεκα ὰρετῆς καὶ σωφροσὑνης, 7.11). The following saying, also attributed to Zeno, evokes an idea inherent in the moral universe of the romantic novel (7.23):

Τὸ κἀλλος εἶπε τῆς σωφροσύνης ἂνθος εἴναι· οὶ δἐ τοῦ κἀλλους τἡν σωφροσύνην.

  • 32 But note the textual problem, explained in Hicks’ Loeb edition (pp. 134- 135). On reported sayings/(...)

Beauty he called the flower of chastity, while according to others it was chastity which he called the flower of beauty.32

II. On Pythagoras and Sekoundos

  • 33 The sections of Porphyry’s work whose provenance can be assigned to Diogenes are printed in Stephen (...)
  • 34 See Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 2); further Francis (1995, 105) on Apollonios’ resemblances with Py (...)
  • 35 Arguably possible either of Paris or of Helen – the author does not specify whom he means! The pass (...)
  • 36 On Pythagorean Lives, see further Dzielska (1986, 130-132); Huffman (2014; he notes that certain se (...)

12Biographical accounts of Pythagoras, the explicit model of Apollonios, are of particular interest to the present study. In his Life of Pythagoras, the only surviving part of a larger work on the history of philosophy, Porphyry claims to have drawn on ‘information’ about Pythagoras included in the novel of Antonios Diogenes The incredible things beyond Thoule.33 His work thus betrays its link to the novelistic tradition in sketching Pythagoras’ career and wisdom, but it contains no examples of the term sōphrosynē. Conversely, sōphrosynē and its cognates are strongly present in lamblichos’ On the Pythagorean way of life, a work that, like Porphyry’s, was not meant as an independent biography, but as an introduction to a diatribe describing how the Pythagoreans should live, for which the life of the master – an account mixing history and legend – provides the obvious basis. lamblichos’ Pythagoras is explicitly said to have practiced and taught sōphrosynē (the term and its cognates occur 27 times). He is called sōphrōn, ‘sound-minded’, a man who knows human limitations and trusts gods (a description that combines religious and ethical aspects and would clearly also fit Apollonios).34Sōphrosynē is mentioned at 8.32, along with other virtues, which thanks to Pythagoras’ teaching became ‘worthy of desire and much sought after’. The treatment of this virtue at 8.41, complete with a mythological paradigm (the incontinence of a single person35 caused the Trojan war), which stresses the benefits of self-restraint especially in erotic matters, is especially reminiscent of the definition provided by Apollonios at VA 1.34.1. The weight of the theme of sōhrosynē reinforces the ties between lamblichos’ work and the VA, which also share generic similarities that fit the sub-genre sometimes termed as ‘gospel’. These similarities, along with the likeness of their ethical discourse, encourages the possibility that they are to also be connected on the level of sources: an older Life of Pythagoras, mentioned by lamblichos (35.254) and Porphyry (2) as written by an Apollonios, possibly the Tyanean, may have been used by both lamblichos and Philostratos.36

  • 37 Cf. Rademaker’s remarks (2005, 262-266) on silence (and more broadly ‘quiet behaviour’, hēsychia) a (...)

13A further meeting point between the VA, its Pythagorean background and other wise-men lives is suggested by the theme of silence, which as a manifestation of self-control is diachronically connected with sōphrosynē; indeed several Greek literary contexts suggest silence as a form of sōphrosynē.37 The connection between self-control and silence is made explicit in lamblichos’ On the Pythagorean way of life (16.68):

... κατὲδειξεν [ὲν] τοἳς ὲταὶροις, ὲχεμυθὶαν τε καὶ παντελή σιωπήν, πρὸς τὸ γλῶσσης κρατεῖν συνασκοῦσαν ὲπὶ ἔτη πολλἀ.

… he taught his disciples... reserve and absolute silence which helped them to practice mastery of the tongue for many years. (Transl. Dillon and Hershbell)

  • 38 On Pythagorean secrecy, see e.g. recently Zhmud (2012, 150-158).
  • 39 Cf. also 2.34: ‘We shall worship [god] in pure silence’ (transl. G. Clark).
  • 40 See Xenophontos (2016, 191-193) on the significance of silent moments (intervals without verbal com (...)
  • 41 Cf. Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 93 n.2), who mention silence as ‘a good shamanistic and yogic pract (...)

14Indeed σιωπή is first introduced in the VA (1.3) as a practice of Pythagorean followers, who – like Eleusinian mystics – refrained from divulging sacred secrets on celestial matters, to which they had become privy (this is equal to ὲχεμυθὶα).38 These obedient followers had learned that ‘even silence is a form of discourse’ (καὶ τὶ σιωπᾶν λὸγος), in other words that silence does not signify lack of loςos: ‘the gods communicate with us in silence’, as Porphyry notes in his On abstinence (3.5) in advocating religious silence.39 Silence was certainly seen as a form of philosophy, as noted by Plutarch (ρ́ητορεύουσι μἐν ἂνθρωποι διἀ λὸγου, φιλοσοφοῦσι δὲ καὶ σιωπῶντες..., Table talk 613f).40 Its most important context was Pythagorean philosophy, where it held central stage as a form of asceticism, provoking admiration (as suggested by Isokrates, 11.29); as a practice, it was also known to Eastern philosophies.41

  • 42 On the link between silence and memory, with broader implications for the reading of Apollonios’ wi (...)
  • 43 Perry (1964, 1); Hagg (2012, 301); Overwien (2004, 105-106). The protagonist, of uncertain identity (...)

15Apollonios’ resolve to go into a five-year silent period (1.14) is curiously introduced after a question by his teacher Euxenos, ‘why he did not become a writer when his ideas were noble and his diction pure and alert,’ to which Apollonios responds: ‘Because I have not yet fallen silent.’ This seems to suggest silence as a kind of spiritual exercise, which, as the narrator relates, made the sage’s eyes and mind more alert and his memory stronger (1.14.1).42 This exchange also invites comparisons to another Greek philosophical biography, where silence notably provides the central theme: that of Sekoundos the Silent, an anonymous short account of the main life events and contemplations of a philosopher supposed to have lived at the time of Hadrian. This work was probably composed in the second half of the second century and later found significant popularity, as is to be inferred from its numerous translations (Latin, Arabic etc.).43

  • 44 Cf. Perry (1964, 7-8), who notes that silence is in fact the only Pythagorean element in a context (...)

16Some specific elements of resemblance between Sekoundos’ story and Apollonios’ invite our further attention. Although Sekoundos is, like Apollonios, introduced as a Pythagorean, and his choice to pursue a life of silence should therefore need no further explanation, both sages are said to fall silent after a particular external trigger. For Apollonios, as we have seen, it is the question of Euxenos, why he did not become a writer, that causes him to enter a period of silence (VA 1.14.1); for Sekoundos, it is a story of how he tested his mother’s chastity and then verbally confronted her, which led to her suicide, and in turn to his subsequent sōphrōn decision never to utter speech again (the verbal confrontation of his mother having been proven an act of aphrosynē). The causal link between that event and the philosopher’s silence admittedly appears rather clearer than in the version given for Apollonios; but the mother’s story is most likely brought in for the sake of a sensational effect.44 On the other hand, Sekoundos’ silence, presumably as a form of self-punishment for indirectly causing his mother’s death, may be paralleled with an account from the Christian Gospels, which introduces silence as punishment for impious disbelief: in Luke’s Gospel, Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, suffers temporary loss of speech for doubting the news of the God’s angel that his aged wife would give birth to a son; he uses a writing tablet to announce the newborn’s name (Luke 1: 17-20; 1: 63).

  • 45 Sekoundos: Perry (1964, 74-75); Apollonios: VA 1.15. On the Aspendos incident, see further below, c (...)
  • 46 On the role of gesture in non-verbal communication, see further Montiglio (2000, passim; esp. 185-1 (...)
  • 47 This is likely to be authentic; see above, ch. 1 n. 9. The διαθῆκαι of Apollonios (also mentioned a (...)
  • 48 Further affinities between other biographies and the life of Sekoundos, noted by Hägg (2012, 303), (...)
  • 49 Seemingly nor did Pythagoras; cf. Porph. VP 57.
  • 50 See MacCulloch (2013) for a comprehensive study of the motif of silence in the Christian tradition; (...)

17Although sōphrosynē does not appear as a term in the narrative about Sekoundos, his egkrateia, as demonstrated in his persistent silence despite the threat to his life, is explicitly said to win Hadrian’s admiration. Sekoundos converses with Hadrian using the help of a writing tablet, just as Apollonios did at Aspendos during his time of silence.45 Indeed the narrator does not allow silence to pose an obstacle to Apollonios’ social role, and he depicts his sage as communicating with the help of his eyes and gestures; his written reproach to the com merchants responsible for the famine in Pamphylian Aspendos saves the city. Before that, during his travels in Pamphylia and Kilikia, he would visit cities in need of guidance, which he would give by means of hand gestures and facial expressions;46 as a result of the sage’s godlike aura, his audience would also fall silent ’as if at the Mysteries’ (VA 1.15.1). But whereas Apollonios does not permanently replace speaking by writing, as he eventually resumes the spoken word, Sekoundos remains silent and produces written answers to the philosophical questions posed by Hadrian. Apollonios too is said to have produced writings of philosophical interest. His comment to Euxenos just before falling silent may imply that the heightened perception associated with not speaking led him to emerge as a ‘writer’: according to Damis, the sage’s cosmological conversations with the Indian larchas resulted in four books on planetary prophecy (which are allegedly also mentioned by Moiragenes, VA 3.41.1), and to his work on sacrifices (mentioned in the VA twice, at 3.41.1 and 4.19).47But unlike the wisdom of Apollonios, which was articulated in his oral teaching as well as his books, Sekoundos’ wisdom exists only in a written record of his teachings: his philosophical answers take up a good part of the short text, which ends with the information that Hadrian ordered the philosopher’s books to be deposited in the sacred library under the name of Sekoundos.48 In this sense they both differ from Sokrates and from Christianity’s Jesus, who both left no writings.49 But Jesus’ characterisation in the Synoptic Gospels also includes embracing silence (most famously during his trial by Pilate). Silence recurs in various stages of the Christian literary tradition, especially in monastic contexts.50

  • 51 On the significance of the philosopher’s beard, see Sellars (2003, 15-19; esp. 18 on Apollonios); H (...)
  • 52 Dio speaks of a forced exile (Or. 13); cf. Synesius, Dio. On the matter’s unclear historicity and i (...)
  • 53 Or. 6.72d. Plato was allegedly sold into slavery by Dionysios, ruler of Syrakuse (D. L. 3.19; D. S. (...)
  • 54 See Perry (1964, 6): ‘there are different kinds of martyrs, according to the cause or principle to (...)

18Significantly, both Sekoundos and Apollonios come face to face with an emperor and show self-control in their dealings with authority. Incidentally, both heroes display martyr-like features: Sekoundos is tortured so as to give up his silence, and Apollonios is thrown to prison and interrogated (Books 7 and 8 of the VA). His declared willingness to die for his philosophical beliefs (7.14 and 7.31), and his lack of fear of physical pain, even when he is imprisoned, his leg chained and his hair and beard – one of the symbols of his philosophical identity – shaved (7.34-36), prove that he is made of the stuff of martyrs.51 Sekoundos and Apollonios arguably form part of a group of ‘philosopher-martyrs’, which includes Plato’s Sokrates and the Democritean philosopher Anaxarchos, who suffered at the hands of the tyrant Nikokreon (Diogenes Laertios 9.10). The VA itself contains a digression about philosophers who confronted tyrants and were subjected to torture (Zeno of Elea, Phyton), in the context of Apollonios’ arrest and trial, at the beginning of Book 7; our hero’s struggle against Domitian is judged as superior to the trials of these other philosophers, given the power of the emperor, whom he faced, and the harshness of his tyranny (7.2-3; Apollonios’ superiority to other philosophers, including Pythagoras himself, is a fixed element of his praise). These toils further set him apart from another major philosophical presence in the VA, Dio Chrysostom, who, according to Philostratos, left Domitian’s Rome to avoid persecution (VS 1.488). Whether accurately or not,52 this piece of information may indirectly add to the praise of Apollonios in the VA. Incidentally, Philostratos’ depiction of Apollonios’ sufferings had an enduring influence: the orator Themistios (fourth century) mentions Apollonios alongside Plato and Musonios as victims of mistreatment by a political ruler.53 Of course this is a description that would also fit Christianity’s Jesus. It is interesting to note that martyrs are apparently found in pagan, Jewish and Christian literary traditions alike.54

III. Sōphrosynē in the Wise-Men Biographies of Plutarch and Lucian

  • 55 On contact and commensurability between Plutarch, Apollonios and Philostratos, see further Van der (...)
  • 56 Little survives of a Life of the Cynic philosopher Krates (mentioned along with Diogenes in De cap. (...)
  • 57 As amply demonstrated by Duff (1999).

19The conception of sōphrosynē as control of the appetites is central to Plutarch’s biographical work. Plutarch is mentioned in one of Philostratos’ letters (73), where he is called ‘boldest of the Greeks’ and is strongly criticised for his anti-sophistic sentiments. But the works of the two authors, who have both served ‘biography’ as a literary genre (broadly conceived), do not lack elements of convergence.55 Although Plutarch never mentions Apollonios, their chronological proximity (Plutarch was an older contemporary of the Tyanean sage, probably writing the Lives at the time of Trajan and Hadrian), and the fact that they both clearly took an interest in philosophical and theological matters encourage further the inclusion of Plutarch in the present survey. True, the Lives of Plutarch, who wrote about a century before Philostratos, offer moral portraits of political rather than philosophical figures,56 but they nevertheless strongly reflect the author’s interest in ethics as a mark of human character and behaviour.57

  • 58 See further Pelling (2002, 152-156) on the relationship between the Lives and historical truth; als (...)
  • 59 See Frazier (1996, 177-195), Beneker (2012, passim) and Alexiou’s useful note (2007, 243).
  • 60 On this dimension, see the next chapter. Ancient biography more generally takes an interest in sexu (...)
  • 61 Examples of this exchange are surveyed in the present book; some are discussed more thoroughly by S (...)
  • 62 Opsomer (2016, 105-113) elaborates on this point. See also Pelling 2004.
  • 63 See Van der Stockt (2009, 206-208) and further Cancik (1977).
  • 64 See de Blois (1997), who sees Plutarch’s depiction of Dio the ‘wise man’ as rather anachronistic an (...)
  • 65 See Pelling (2004).

20Like the VA, the Plutarchan Lives constitute a mix of events narrated in chronological order and anecdotal sections (although Plutarch is admittedly much less inclined to invent stories than the author of the VA, and adopted a higher standard of historical responsibility).58 Moreover, the ethical content of the Plutarchan Lives, like that of the VA, places a considerable focus on sōphrosynē. Plutarch’s conception of sōphrosynē, which largely follows Plato and Aristotle, has been studied before.59 Like Philostratos and the romantic novelists, Plutarch sometimes treats sōphrosynē as a counterpart of erōs;60 unlike the novelists and more like Philostratos, he is ultimately more interested in the historical and public actions of his subjects, while references to family and private life are included to throw additional light upon the personalities of the biographees. Significantly in the VA exhortations to sōphrosynē form part of Apollonios’ exchange with major political figures, emperors and kings.61 Similarly in Plutarch, a background in philosophy (Platonic or Aristotelian) is linked with a beneficial role in public life (although the Lives take the realistic view that philosophical tenets are not always fully and consistently transferable onto the field of politics).62 There is criticism of Epicurean and Stoic attitudes, but the Life of the legendary Roman king Numa, who allegedly lived a strict, ascetic life, has a strong Pythagorean colouring.63 The life of one philosophically minded biographee, Dio of Syrakuse, a disciple of Plato (Dion 4.3-4), and his struggle against Dionysios II, thematises the conflict between philosophy and tyranny, which occupies central place in the VA.64 The substantial differences in the heroes’ characterisation (Dio, as presented by Plutarch, is unable to realise the clash between philosophy and political pragmatism, which leads up to his murder;65 Apollonios is an invincible higher being) reflect the different concerns of the two authors. On the one hand, Plutarch in Dion is interested in the relation between philosophy and politics, in Dio as a ‘philosopher-king’, and in his ability to govern in the right way; the primary focus is statesmanship. On the other hand, in Philostratos’ VA the focal point is the praise of Apollonios and the glorification of his life; the hero is heavily idealised.

21Elsewhere Plutarch’s description of sōphrosynē seems perfectly suited to Apollonios:

Ἡ μὲν οὑν σωφροσύνη βραχὑτης τὶς ὲστιν ὲπιθυμιῶν καὶ τἀξις, αναιροῦσα μὲν τἀς ὲπεισἀκτους καὶ περιττἀς καιρῷ δὲ καὶ μετριὸτητι κοσμοῦσα τἀς ἀναγκαίας.

Sophrosyne then is a sort of curtailment and arrangement of desires, which removes those that are superfluous and excessive, and enhances those that are necessary with proportion and moderation. (On the fact that beasts are rational, 989b)

  • 66 See Woolf (2009); cf. Asmis’ discussion (2011).

22The distinction between ‘necessary’ and ‘superfluous’ desires goes back to Plato (Republic 559a11-c7) and is also found in Epikouros.66 ‘Desire’ (epithumia) need not always be of a sexual nature, and the same can be said for sōphrosynē, as we saw in respect to Apollonios in the previous chapter.

  • 67 Note that in Plutarch’s essay De virt. mor., sōphrosynē, though related to natural character, is al (...)
  • 68 Cf. Plotinos’ search for the right teacher (Porph. Plot. 3). While Porphyry’s biographee expressed (...)
  • 69 Alex. ibid.; cf. VA 1.13.3.
  • 70 This is the implication of the epideictic praise of Alexander as a ‘philosopher’ in De Al. magn. fo (...)

23Further thoughts on the nature of virtue expressed in Plutarch’s works and his depiction of moral character invite comparisons with the ideal virtue as construed by the narrator of the VA. What follows is just one example from the vast field of Plutarchan moral characterisation, namely the depiction of the character of Alexander the Great in Alexander, who is of particular interest here for combining the status of a Plutarchan biographee with novelistic pedigree (a subject which is to be discussed further below). Alexander seems to have a kind of natural, inborn sōphrosynē, similar to what the VA’s narrator ascribes to Apollonios – that is virtue which is not acquired through education or habituation.67 In his Life, Alexander was sōphrōn while still a boy (Ἔτι δ’, ὄντος αὺτοῦ παιδὸς ἢ τε σωφροσὑνη διεφαὶνετο, 4.7); and Apollonios’ virtue at the age of fifteen was higher than that of his teacher Euxenos (which the author attributes to the influence of ‘some higher power’, VA 1.7.3).68 Alexander’s sōphrosynē is initially described in similar terms to that of Apollonios: ‘he was unmoved by pleasures of the body’;69 he shows sexual self-restraint in his treatment of Dareios’ daughters (21.7) and later enters a sōphrōn marriage to Roxane (47.7-8). In addition, the Macedonian’s virtue, his time as Aristotle’s student (8.5, etc.) and his success on the political and military front confirm the inner ties between the philosophical and the political bios’,70 Philostratos’ sōphrōn sage claims no official political role, but his advisees do. Finally, unlike the VA, Plutarch’s Lives are no hagiographical portraits. Plutarch offers a realistic depiction of virtue as alternating with vice (the former is meant to be emulated, the latter avoided), and the sōphrosynē of his heroes is less than perfect (as Alexander’s frivolous kissing of Bagoas demonstrates, 67.8) – so is the character of everybody else in the VA with the exception of Apollonios. While the VA’s aims were primarily encomiastic, Plutarch’s were more lifelike; but if the moral perfection of the object of Philostratos’ encomium is set aside, Plutarch’s conception of sōphrosynē places it within a similar literary and intellectual universe to that of the VA.

  • 71 See Bowie (2009a, 27).
  • 72 The group discussed by Clay (1992) includes Nigrinos, a letter containing a dialogue with the philo (...)
  • 73 Demonax’s historicity is doubted by Bowie (2009a, 27; cf. Clay 1992, 3410; Schlapbach 2016, 142), b (...)
  • 74 Cf. his ironical comments on Pythagoras (Alex. 4) and of course his mockery of Apollonios (Alex. 5, (...)

24Lucian’s writings of biographical interest form part of the literary background to Philostratos’ work71 and are further relevant here because they take holy-men and philosopher figures as their subjects. The Lucianic corpus is permeated by an interest in philosophy, mostly – but not solely – with the aim of debunking fraudsters and charlatans. There are three quasi-biographies of varying narrative styles: the rather serious-minded Demonax and the satirical Alexander or the False prophet and On the death of Peregrinos. 72 These three characters, to whom these works refer, share undeniable similarities with Apollonios in terms of their personality, abilities and actions. Demonax’s philosophy, like Apollonios’, is encapsulated in his way of life (Demonax 66; see further below). Alexander, a high priest at Abonuteichos in Paphlagonia, and the itinerant Peregrinos, who is described as a Cynic, both acquired a following, like Apollonios did; they are (albeit satirically) credited with ‘divine’ characteristics, and they interacted with emperors, mirroring the traditional encounter of ‘philosopher’ with ‘ruler’. At least two of them were, like Apollonios, historical characters (Demonax’s historicity is disputed),73 and Alexander was attributed Pythagorean features (to some extent also Peregrinos, who was ‘honoured as a god’, Peregrinos 11). However, Lucian’s satirical tone in the account of their life and days, which is very different from Philostratos’ solemn style, the immorality he ascribes to them, and his obvious contempt for the religious philosophy represented by the Neopythagoreans,74 does not allow comparisons to be pushed too far.

  • 75 Conversely, Peregrinos’ death, for which he seemingly sought Socratic justification, appears rather (...)

25While Lucian shows interest in exploring vice and virtue (Alexander 1; 3-4; Peregrinos 3; 8; Demonax 3-11), the respective works do not mention sōphrosynē. Of the three characters in question, only Demonax receives serious praise from the author. This work also makes the most frequent allusions to sophia and philosophia. Only the Demonax calls its hero a philosopher, and one who did not admit adherence to a particular school – although he resembled the Cynic Diogenes in appearance – and lived an immaculate bios (1 -5), to the point of being called an ὶσὸθεος ἀνή ρ (‘a man equal to the gods’, 7). Demonax, like Apollonios (and Sokrates), stands on trial (which ends with his acquittal, ll).75 Unlike Apollonios, he questions the need for temples and sacrifices altogether (11; 27); he does not engage in philosophical dialogue and preaches no dogma, though he does produce a number of edifying sayings.

  • 76 On this man, thought to be an Epicurean and the author of a treatise against sorcery, see Harmon’s (...)

26The praise of a virtuous life such as Demonax’s clearly has a didactic purpose, similar to the one noted for Plutarchan Lives, namely to inspire sōphrosynē in others, as the essence and guard of virtue. This virtue is part of the armour against fraudulent philosophy which Lucian so eagerly exposes. The author’s remark in Alexander 21 about the power of his addressee’s book, Kelsos,76 to ‘preserve common sense in its readers’ (σωφρονὶζειν τοὺς ὲντυγχἀνοντας) alludes to the ability of discernment associated with sōphrosynē – a much-needed defence against the effects of such impostors as Alexander.

IV. On Alexander the Great and Aisop

  • 77 See Gyselinck and Demoen (2009) on this passage’s metafictional character.
  • 78 See below, ch. 5.

27The contextual study of Apollonios’ sōphrosynē must include a comment on the popular biographies of Alexander the Great and Aisop. Both works allude to this virtue; and both heroes are mentioned in the VA. Alexander, who is mentioned several times, shares certain character traits with Apollonios, as we shall see; and so does Aisop, who is called a ‘lover of wisdom’, as well as a creator of edifying tales (VA 5.14-15).77 The comically subversive nature of the bios of the famous fabulist – in which a caricature of a philosopher, Xanthos, features as a main character – distracts attention from bestowing any moralising content, but the narrative retains echoes of the moral aspects associated with the function of Aisop’s tales, as for example in the admonition to his adoptive son: ὲπὶ σωφροσύνη μεγαλοφρóνει, μη επι χρήμασι (G 110). Nevertheless, the Aisop of the Life is by no means a representative of sōphrōn virtue, even though his characterisation stresses intellectual qualities of a kind that we also find in Apollonios.78

  • 79 See Jouanno’s conclusions (2002, 463-465); Nawotka (2017, 13-18) on genre (‘pagan hagiography’).
  • 80 See Jouanno (2002, 197-203, with references).
  • 81 Alexander had previously wished to be received by Zeus as the third mortal (after Dionysos and Hera (...)
  • 82 On this recension (more ‘historical’ than later ones, but also encomiastic) see, introductorily, Hä (...)
  • 83 See Konstan (2015, 47-48), who discusses the Testament as a ‘subversive biography’ but does not men (...)
  • 84 He further stresses the hero’s Greekness (2.3-4; see Nawotka 2017, 151- 154), a central feature als (...)
  • 85 In the end he marries Roxane, made to be a daughter of Dareios in the Romance (2.20; see Jouanno 20 (...)

28The novel of Pseudo-Kallisthenes, a compilation of stories on Alexander the Great,79 which (like the VA) has a strong Active element to serve the work’s encomiastic purpose, builds an image of Alexander that surpasses his traditional association with war and conquest. The romanticised Alexander is a semi-mythical monarch with exceptional wise-man features, who is continuously associated with the divine through parentage, his extraordinary powers and the effect of supernatural signs and portents that accompany the events of his life and his death.80 These even include a hint of divine ascent (3.33)81 before the narrative ends with details of his burial. Sophrosyne and its cognates are found in Greek versions of the Alexander romance, including the earliest recension (a), which was probably not composed before the third century, but which echoes earlier layers that must go back to the Hellenistic period.82 It is not accident, then, that the work has invited comparison to such texts as the Testament of Abraham, another Greek narrative probably composed in the first or second century, which describes the end of the life of Abraham by thematising the inevitability of death and human reluctance to die; Alexander is similar to Abraham in terms of his verbal skills, displayed in various episodes, and in terms of the role of supernatural elements in his life.83 Clearly Apollonios too shares in these features. Like Plutarch’s Alexander and Apollonios, the Romance’?, Alexander is associated with sōphrosynē, despite the occasional ambivalence. The repeated praise of Alexander’s wisdom and generosity weakens the effect of the accusation put forward by the Persian king Dareios, that the Macedonian has gone into a conquering frenzy and needs lessons in sōphrosynē (1.39; cf. 1.40). Similarly in the debate of the Athenian orators, Aischines presents Alexander as a σῶφρων conqueror with wise-man traits (2.4)84 in reply to Demades, who considers the brave warrior king too young to behave reasonably (δικαὶως σωφρονεῖν; 2.2). Alexander further shows respect for Dareios’ family (1.41).85

  • 86 See Stoneman (2012, xxv); Hägg (2012, 129; 400, with bibliography); cf. Nawotka (2017, 200). For fu (...)
  • 87 This comparison has been seen as reminiscent of the familiar juxtaposition between philosophers and (...)
  • 88 See Kemezis (2014, 76-77); Morgan (2009, 278).

29Narrative features of the Romance linked to Alexander’s wise-man persona include the episode where Alexander visits the naked sophoi after corresponding with them (3.5-6). This suggests a direct parallel to the meeting of Apollonios and the Gymnosophists in the VA. Some of the relevant legends were in circulation at the time of Philostratos, who was clearly aware of a story about Alexander’s meeting with the Wise Men;86 the VA’s narrator explicitly refers to such a meeting. Significantly, he emphasises that Alexander was not able to reach the ‘true Wise Men’, the Brahmans, who were visited by Apollonios, but only the inferior tribe of the Oxydrakai (2.33). A comparison between the two narratives furthermore suggests the philosophical supremacy of Apollonios, who surpasses Alexander in wisdom, as has been noticed by previous interpreters.87 Incidentally, it is no coincidence that Philostratos’ narrative creates links between Apollonios and Alexander: Alexander was – like Apollonios – greatly honoured by the Severans. Caracalla’s fascination with the Macedonian king in particular is well documented, and the last emperor of the Severan dynasty, Alexander, was named after him.88

V. Hellenistic Philosophy and the Judeo-Christian Tradition

30The ties between the VA and other philosophical lives as mediated by sōphrosynē are not limited to a Hellenic pagan background. Hellenistic moral philosophy as reflected in the biographical writings mentioned above also finds expression in a significant, relevant Jewish and Christian literary tradition, which gave voice and life to numerous holy men, who possess both similarities to and differences from Apollonios. What follows is a selection from the great reserves of this tradition and from its rich dialogue with Greek philosophical ideas.

  • 89 See further Lévy (2009).
  • 90 See Royse (2009) for a classification of Philo’s writings (esp. 45-48 on Lives).
  • 91 On Moses, see McGing (2006), who studied Philo’s reworking of the famous Bible story. He suggests ((...)
  • 92 Cf. Arr. An. 1.12.2-4, with Robiano (1996, 496); Arrian stresses the need to celebrate Alexander’s (...)
  • 93 As McGing notes (2006, 134), ‘we find strands of Greek philosophizing, and Hellenistic ideals of ki (...)
  • 94 Mos. 2.288-291 (but the context also refers to his burial). Cf. J. A J 4.326.

31As a Jewish philosopher who attempted a form of Jewish-Hellenistic syncretism, Philo of Alexandria (an older contemporary of the Tyanean) is of particular interest here. Philo, who combines a Platonic focus with Stoic elements (especially in his ethics),89 stresses the importance of the cardinal virtues in Jewish philosophical practice (On the special laws 2.62). His work includes pieces of biographical interest: his Exposition of the Law has a section on lives of virtuous men, the patriarchs of Judaism.90 In his Life of Moses,91 which was perhaps meant as an introduction to the Exposition of the Law, he draws on a traditional Jewish story to shape a literary character with noticeable similarities to Philostratos’ Apollonios. The programmatic introduction to Philo’s piece already resonates with Philostratos (VA 1.2.3): Philo intends to make Moses better known to the Greeks, who knew the laws but consciously ignored the man.92 Philostratos’ and Philo’s list of ‘sources’ also sound similar: the sacred books, the elders of the nation, readings and sayings (Life of Moses 1.4). Both Philo and Philostratos mould their subject into a form that suits their narratives: Apollonios is made to appear less of an Eastern magician and more of a Greek philosopher, while Moses is also Hellenised, becoming King and High Priest (which does not happen in the Bible). The account of his life includes a section on education and adolescence (1.20-33), and he is analysed as a king.93 Apollonios is no legislator or king, but he shares with Philo’s Moses a striking number of other features, which are suggestive of the ‘divine man’ type: temperance, control of appetites, asceticism (sōphrosynē is evoked in the Life of Moses several times); closeness to the divine; the capacity to perform miracles and foreknowledge (prophecy); priestly duties; and the evocation of divine ascension.94

  • 95 Swain (2009, 37-38); Perkins (2015, 288-289). See also my Introduction on the probability that Phil (...)
  • 96 See Malherbe (1992); Thorsteinsson (2010) and Karamanolis (2013, 217- 219; 221-223; 227) on similar (...)
  • 97 Mt. 12: 22-32. Cf. Tiede (1972, 241-292) on Jesus as a ‘divine man’. See Luck (2006, 21; 57; 62-78) (...)

32The most emblematic field which we might examine in relation to the Philostratean Apollonios’ sōphrōn virtue is no doubt that of the early Christian writings. Early Christianity had a rooted presence in the philosophical background on which Philostratos draws. Whatever his reasons for not explicitly mentioning Jesus, it would be odd to think that Philostratos was unaware of the new faith, though it would be hard to assess mutual influences.95 On the one hand, Philostratos’ work and early Christian writings rely on a common stock of philosophical ideas, especially influenced by Stoicism, about what is a good and virtuous life,96 while they also share common antipathies, for example a view of magic and the occult as evil in nature. Jesus, like Apollonios, was accused of using demonic power,97 and stood trial; Philostratos was as eager to release his hero from the charge of magic as Christian writers were to accuse him of it. On the other hand, mysticism apparently interfered with stories relating to Apollonios as much as to Jesus and his Apostles very soon after their deaths.

  • 98 Note, for example, Christianity’s official condemnation of homosexuality and its, in a sense, more (...)
  • 99 Cf. Malherbe (2007, 51). See also now Zeitlin (2016, 51): ‘No longer are these three belief systems (...)

33Uses of sōphrosynē underscore the relationship between the pagan and Christian traditions in terms of both their philosophies and their storytelling. Differences in morality exist,98 but basic Greco-Roman concepts of virtue and askēsis, such as control of the self and regulation of or abstinence from bodily pleasures, find equivalent (if not identical) manifestations in Christianity. The Greek roots of sōphrosynē notwithstanding, it is hard to track its evolution within Greco-Roman and Christian biographical narratives – but it is safe to say that the Greek cardinal virtues are ‘christianised’ in the sense that they are now used to express the kind of moderate, just and godly life wished on people by God (cf. Titus 2: 12). At the same time, it is sensible to study sōphrosynē contextually, as a virtue that marks Hellenism, Hellenistic Judaism and Christianity,99 and their respective literatures. In both pagan and Christian works, sōphrosynē may be thought of as a literary topos that holds narratives together.

  • 100 Cf. Mt. 8: 28. The VA contains two accounts of exorcisms and describes demonic possession as an att (...)
  • 101 See Malherbe (1985/1986, 193-210); Alexander (2002, 244).
  • 102 Heroes of wise-men narratives enjoy particular immediacy of access to the divine, but the gods’ gui (...)

34Early Christian contexts of sōphrosynē include the canonical Gospels, which however only use the participle σωφρονοῦντα, for a previously possessed man right after he has been freed from the controlling demonic spirit (Mark 5: 15; Luke 8: 35).100 We then hear the abstract noun from the imprisoned Paul of the final chapters of the Acts (26: 25):101 On μαίνομαɩ … κράτιστ Φη̃στε, αλλὰ ἀληθείας καὶ σωφροσύνης ρήματα ἀποφθἑγγομαι ʽ I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sōphrosynē’ (‘I am speaking the sober truth’, NRSV). Porcius Festus, the Roman procurator, had just accused Paul of madness caused by his great learning. Paul’s apologetic answer highlights the value of his mission as a preacher of truth and sound-mindedness (cf. the earlier mentioned Polemo’s conversion to the rational life by Xenokrates). The context is Paul’s speech of defence to Agrippa II, where he proclaims the Christian faith and refers to his own religious life. Like Philostratos’ hero, Paul too claims divine guidance.102 The passage, with its emphasis on sōphrosynē, expresses the philosophical quality of Paul’s ministry and places him firmly in the tradition of ‘divine’ sages, who are fearless in the face of rulers – the very tradition to which Apollonios also adheres.

  • 103 Thus Malherbe (1994, 204). Note Paul’s definition of sōphrosynē in Tit. 1: 8; 1 Tim. 3: 2.
  • 104 See 2 Tim. 1: 7: ‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self- (...)
  • 105 Cf. the role of God in the philosophy of Epiktetos, who equates him with Nature (the two are identi (...)

35Explicit mentions of sōphrosynē are found in the Pastoral Epistles, dated to ca. 100. Though not biographical, and hence not directly relevant to the focus of the present study, these writings suggest further similarities between the romanticised Apollonios of the VA and Paul, especially the aged Paul, as ‘the apostle of moderation’.103 They also reveal a more detailed portrait of Christian sōphrosynē. Titus’ list of communal responsibilities, as suggested to him by Paul, is permeated by mentions of this virtue with regard to all Christians, but especially women and slaves (Titus 2: 2-10). The term and its cognates are mentioned in the list four times to describe the qualities of self-control and reasoned behaviour which members of the Christian community should display.104 We have seen that Apollonios’ sōphrosynē also helps him get closer to god. The Christian sōphrosynē is presented as a gift from God: ‘it is God’s saving grace that trains us (παιδεύουσα) to live with moderation (σωφρὸνως), justice, and godliness’ (Titus 2: 12). God – who is called the father of δικαιοσὑνη and ococppoovvq (Justin Martyr 1 Apologia 6.1) – assumes the role assigned in Hellenistic moral philosophy to paideia.105

  • 106 See Wöhrle (2002); Nussbaum (2002); Willms (2011).
  • 107 Con. praec. 144b-d; 145b-f. The man’s leading role is not questioned, but he has a moral and emotio (...)
  • 108 On Justin Martyr’s representation of Christian chastity, see Knust (2007), who also draws attention (...)
  • 109 See e.g. Hid. 4.8.7 (Kanavou 2015, 947, with references). Seneca ascribed pudicitia (chastity) excl (...)
  • 110 Expressed e.g. in the fragments of Phintys (Περὶ γυναικὸς σωφροσὑνας Stob. 4.23.61) and in Ps.-Meli (...)
  • 111 See also above, ch. 1. Cf. Lucian’s satire of a woman’s pointless exposure to philosophy (too lustf (...)
  • 112 A product of narrative phantasy rather than fact. It is unlikely that Apollonios ever met Musonios (...)

36The discussion of the sōphrosynē of women in 1 Timothy 2: 9-15 betrays affinities with Hellenistic philosophy: Musonios emphasises the need for women to practice sōphrosynē (Diatribes 3), introducing platonising ideas in a Stoic framework;106 this viewpoint was deemed suitable for and hence transferred to Christian discourse. Incidentally, Musonios equally recommends this virtue to the men (Diatribes 4; 12) – that they should refrain from extra-marital relations – arguing that they ought to aim for a high moral standard, to serve as an example for women; similar views are found in Plutarch,107 while Justin Martyr (1 Apologia 15.1-2) cites the harsh message of Matthew 5: 28-30 about male adultery as the Lord’s instruction περὶ σωφροσὑνης before proceeding to celebrate chastity in both sexes.108 But the prevailing literary and philosophical association of sōphrosynē (the male civic virtue of classical Greece) as a sexual virtue with women,109 suggests a clear distance from Apollonios’ conception of an exclusively male sōphrosynē, which ignores contemporary gendered discussion of virtue. Apollonios indeed does not seem to share philosophical (Stoic but also Neopythagorean110) interest in female sōphrosynē; this is in keeping with the VA’s lurking misogyny, which reflects prejudices against female nature: the few female presences in the work – each of which is either sexualised and/or monstrous – are clearly incapable of this virtue.111 Stoicism is otherwise a strong influence on Philostratos’ conception of his hero’s virtue, and has also provided the narrative with Musonios as a secondary philosopher-hero who defies imperial authority, comes in contact with Apollonios and is respected by him.112

  • 113 Kittel and Friedrich ε.νν. σῶφρων, σωφρονὲω, σωφροσὑνη; ταπεινὸς etc.
  • 114 Sōphrosynē as ‘chastity’ recurs in early Christian biography, e.g. in the Life of Anthony (ὲξηρνεῖτ (...)
  • 115 On the relation of the Apocryphal Acts to the novel, cf. Cameron (1991, 117- 119), who notes the na (...)
  • 116 On these, see further my next chapter.
  • 117 As noted by Chew (2003), who studied accounts of martyrs of the late 3rd- early 4th c.
  • 118 Cf. Malherbe (2007) on Tim. 2: 9-15.
  • 119 Note also Philostr. VS 7.126, where ευταξὶα and κοσμιὸτης are named as the subordinates of sōphrosy (...)

37The use of sōphrosynē with the sense tapeinophrosynē ‘humility’ in some Christian contexts (a manifestation of a new ‘philosophical’ way of life valorising a servile disposition)113 finds no parallel in Philostratos’ story. In the Philostratean Life of Apollonios, sōphrosynē is rather associated with empowerment and domination (in that it makes the hero mentally stronger than others, even the emperor). But the chastity/virginity theme is a topos in early Christian literature,114 both canonical and apocryphal (which employs numerous novelistic motifs, such as travel, friendship, robbery, and the supernatural),115 though relevant texts do not often use the term sōphrosynē. Well-known Christian stories, such as the Acts of Paul and the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena (where the preservation of Polyxena’s hagneia ‘chastity’ is a central theme), contain no reference of the term, but there is no doubt that the chaste Apollonios and the protagonists of Christian narratives share a similar view of self-restraint (as do those of Jewish novels, such as Joseph and Aseneth and the Greek Esther).116 Notably sōphrosynē is used in martyr accounts (alongside egkrateia and hagneia) to refer to the chastity and virginity of their protagonists.117 Narrative affinities are foremost guaranteed by the ubiquitous presence of sōphrosynē, to which numerous pagan, Jewish and Christian fictitious narratives owe their literary coherence.118 Similarities also occur in the use of notions closely relevant to the virtue of sōphrosynē, for example in 1 Timothy: e.g. κοσμιὸτης, αὶδώς, σεμνὸτης. Back to Greek philosophy, according to Epiktetos (Handbook 40), young women should be honoured for being κὸσμιαι and αὶδήμονὲς (‘orderly’/‘well-behaved’ and ‘self-respecting’; these imply common Stoic virtues). The terms are also used in the VA: the Indian wannabe philosopher must be κατἀ φὑσιν αὶδήμων (‘self-respecting by nature’, 2.30.1); the Gymnoi walked behind their leader, Thespesion, at a ‘composed pace’ (κοσμὶω βαδὶσματι, 6.10.1).119

  • 120 For the term, see Pelling (2002, 154); this is a common practice of Plutarch.
  • 121 E.g. the Romance’s Alexander was an accomplished warrior already in his childhood (1.13-14); Diogen (...)
  • 122 But intellectual independence is recommended by Seneca and Epiktetos; the Stoic Chrysippos is said (...)
  • 123 As do other young prodigies, such as Alexander with regard to Aristotle (Ps.-Callisth. 1.16).
  • 124 Note the repetition (ἀπαιδεὑτως – ὲπαὶδευε – ἀπαὶδευτον) at 6.36.1.
  • 125 See further Perkins (2012).

38Conversely, a theme that receives a significantly different treatment in the VA (and other pagan novelistic literature) compared to Jesus-related narratives is paideia, which is often identified by narrators – as we have seen – as a formative process leading to the acquisition of virtue. Apollonios and Jesus have in common the display of extraordinary features in their young years, regardless of the onset of any education. Such narrative portraits are clearly the result of a ‘creative reconstruction’120 (the biographer’s creation of childhood stories and features for his biographee, on the basis of the latter’s adult image), and a rather commonplace theme in stories of great philosophers and great men in general, in both the Greek and the Jewish tradition.121 Education, however, is a necessary feature of the Greek or Hellenised philosopher,122 though not of the preacher of the early Christian gospel. While both Apollonios and Jesus are clearly conceived of as charismatic individuals who possess inbred wisdom and both challenge their teachers,123 Apollonios (who learns the Greek language and literature) absorbs what appears to be a standard sophistic paideia and later seeks a superior philosophical education, which corresponds to his inner calling to lead a virtuous, sōphrōn life (VA 1.7). His scolding of the young man, who preferred to build a luxurious house than spend money on education and teachers (5.22), and of another uneducated young man, who used a poor version of Greek to teach birds while neglecting his own education (6.36),124 further suggests the importance of paideia to the VA’s hero. On the other hand, the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas depicts a child Jesus who doubts the use of any education.125

  • 126 This view of Apollonios is also found in his letters (Epp. Apoll. 26; 65-67). See also above, ch. 1
  • 127 Apollonios fights off demons in others but is never ‘tempted’ by one himself; but the various (fail (...)
  • 128 See Koskenniemi (2009).
  • 129 See Trapp (2007b, 3-4, with references).
  • 130 On whom see Koskenniemi (2009, 325-326); their most enthusiastic mention in the VA is at 8.21, wher (...)
  • 131 A passage from Eusebios’ Hierocl. (372) foreshadows the overall much greater prominence of Jesus in (...)

39Regardless of their different attitudes to paideia, the narrators of the VA and the Gospels present both their heroes as advocates for the sort of ascetic ideals enveloped in the notions of sōphrosynē and egkrateia. Apollonios sticks to his strict regime at all times and responds frugally to offers of food and gifts (e.g. VA 1.33-34; 1.41; 2.6).126 Jesus practices fasting, resists the Devil in the desert (Matthew 4: 1-11),127 and refuses wine mixed with myrrh on the cross (Mark 15: 23). Apollonios is further presented as a source of ethical teaching,128 which resonates with Greco-Roman views of the role of the philosopher, who not only lives virtuously and reflects normatively on the best moral life, but also helps others who strive towards it.129 This capacity is also an obvious central point in comparisons between narratives about him and Jesus. Both masters had pupils, who play a substantial role in narratives – though admittedly in the case of Jesus’ pupils much more so. Neither in the VA nor in other sources do Apollonios’ pupils,130 although they are frequently mentioned and significantly involved in the biography of the master, seem to have become the focus of independent stories, or to have formed a proper school or opened the way for their master’s perennial fame, in the way that Jesus’ disciples did.131

  • 132 On the connection between self-control as a form of caring of oneself (a personal philosophy, on wh (...)
  • 133 Incidentally, Apollonios is presented to reject hostile emotions (Ep. Apoll. 43). The Gospels’ conc (...)
  • 134 Apollonios’ tears are rather untypical of his character, which is generally calm and contained and (...)
  • 135 Note larchas’ comparison of the kosmos to a ship (such as constructed, incidentally, by Egyptians) (...)
  • 136 Philanthropy is further ascribed to the Parthian king Vardanes (2.17.2), to the officer Aelianus (7 (...)

40Like Jesus and his disciples, Apollonios is credited with a concern for humanity and a strong social role, whereby he combines harmoniously his desire to help others with reason and self-control, thus recalling Aristotle’s description of the accordance between reason and emotions in the virtuous person (Nikomachean ethics 1102b28).132 Several episodes in the VA illustrate Apollonios’ philanthropy: for example, his treatment of Euxenos, his teacher of Pythagorean doctrine, whom Apollonios ‘loved’ (οὐ µὴν … ἐπαύσατο ὰγαπῶν) and to whom he made his father donate land, although he was rather disappointing as a philosopher and as a person (1.7.2-3);133 his already-mentioned concern for the citizens of Aspendos who were deprived of com (1.15.2-3); and his request to king Vardanes that the Eretrians of Susa, whose plight had earlier moved the sage to tears (1.24),134 be treated well. Responding to the king’s offer of ten honorary gifts, the sage tells him that he would prefer to receive this favour over ‘many tens of gifts’ (1.36). Apollonios further advises Vespasian to adopt a similar philanthropic stance, one that consists in not imposing oppressive taxation and in using imperial wealth to help those in need (5.36.2). The sage explicitly names φιλανθρωπὶα as a motive for his actions when he refers to his first incarnation as an Egyptian ship’s captain (3.24.3; this story is of broader importance for his characterisation, as it may suggest an analogue to his role as captain of souls and to his spiritual leadership, which is implied at 8.7.23 and perhaps also in the later discussion in Book 3 that elaborates on the cosmological significance of piloting).135 Moreover, Apollonios makes a case for sharing (περὶ κοινωνὶας) and for supporting one another in his Ephesian discourses, notably with the help of an Aisop-like image from the bird world: during one discourse, a sparrow willingly shares some barley with his fellows, causing Apollonios to contrast and lament the egotism of men (4.3).136

  • 137 See Jouanno (2002, 195-196); Nawotka (2017, 126-127).
  • 138 On allusions to philanthropy in Hellenistic Jewish authors, see McCruden (2008, 70-97), who discuss (...)
  • 139 Aem. 28.1. See Martin (1961) for a discussion of uses of the term in Plutarch (as ‘generosity’, ‘ch (...)
  • 140 Martin (1961, 174; 168-171). See also Frazier (1996, 191; 233-236); Schom (2016, 166) on philanthro (...)
  • 141 As divine benevolence towards humans; cf. e.g. Ep. Apoll. 75; Plu. Amat. 758a. See also McCruden (2 (...)
  • 142 See Reydams-Schils (2005, 80, with references). The concept – also important to Aristotle – is rele (...)
  • 143 Mediator: e.g. VA 1.15, the Aspendos episode. Healer: e.g. 1.9, from his time at the sanctuary of A (...)
  • 144 [οὗτο]ς Ἀπ[ὸ]λλωνος µὲν ὲπῶνυμος, ὲκ Τυἀ- ***cv [vo 5] e | Alpy/ac dvOpwirmv eapsaev dpTtz.aKiac. | (...)
  • 145 Cf. Brown (1971, 92) on the late antique holy man as mediator in times of crisis; St Ephraim’s cont (...)
  • 146 See further Karamanolis (2013, 223-225), who also notes the similarity in the use of hamartia ‘sin’ (...)

41Manifestations of philanthropy are ubiquitous in imperial biographical writing. They constitute an important feature of the characterisation of the Alexander of the Romance, for instance in the way he treats the defeated Dareios and his people;137 they are attributed to Moses by Philo (Life of Moses 2.163);138 and they form part of the depiction of Plutarch’s biographees, for example of the Roman consul and general Aemilius Paullus, who after defeating Perseus in the Third Macedonian War toured Greece and alleviated the people’s distress by distributing grain and olive oil.139 Φιλανθρωπὶα indeed deserves to be called a central concept in the Lives, one ideally associated with men in leading positions. Its purview includes liberality in political attitudes, which may be used to the advantage of those exercising ‘the virtue par excellence of the civilised, educated man’.140Apollonios’ advice to Vespasian to give the Roman people free choice of constitution (VA 5.34) falls within this definition. Φιλανθρωπὶα a central virtue of the Hellenistic ruler, was associated with Roman emperors and with the divine itself.141 It also has a firm place in Greek philosophical thinking, especially in the Stoic school, which valorised affection in relations with other people and was strongly oriented towards the common good.142 One example of this latter sort in the VA is the social function of Musonios during his exile on the island of Gyara, where he received visitors and discovered a spring that solved the problem of draught (7.16.2). But Apollonios’ philanthropy, expressed further in his function as mediator in disputes and healer, and which is connected both with his wisdom and his supernatural abilities,143 is also anchored within the holy-man tradition, to which Christian heroes too have ties. The narratives about Apollonios find an echo in a famous epigram from a fourth century temple in Kilikia dedicated to the Tyanean sage; the poem not only places his origins in the heavens, but also describes him as soother of human pain.144 Concern for the well-being of cities, to which a holy man may have special ties, is also a common feature of narratives about Apollonios and Christian saints.145 Significantly, Apollonios further claims to work towards the ‘salvation’ of others in contexts that may imply a spiritual sense (e.g. VA 8.7.30; cf. larchas’ comment that holy men act ‘for the salvation of mankind’, 3.42.1); this must be relevant to his role as guide of the souls (8.7.23). Notably the term sotēria features in late antique pagan philosophy (Porphyry and Iamblichos) for the salvation of the soul as an intellectual state that allows closeness to the divine already in this life, but is particularly dominant in Christian ethics, mainly in relation to the afterlife.146

  • 147 Cf. Pythagoras’ simultaneous appearance at Tauromenium in Sicily and Metapontium in Italy (Porph. V (...)
  • 148 See Weaver (2004). The Christian apologist Lactantius’ (Inst. 5.3.10) reproach of Apollonios (writi (...)
  • 149 On this, see further Koskenniemi (2006, 77). Apollonios does pray in other instances (e.g. 1.36.1) (...)
  • 150 Cf. Sen. Ep. 41.1: ‘it is foolish to pray for this [i.e. sound understanding] when you can acquire (...)

42Miracle stories (which have no place in the Stoa) are equally associated with Apollonios and Christian heroes; a type of such stories concerns prison escapes. In a striking incident in the VA (7.38.2), the jailed Apollonios shows his ability to free himself from his chains ‘without sacrifice, or prayer, or a single word’. In the end he chooses to remain in prison, only to disappear miraculously from his final trial in Book 8. On the one hand, the sage’s supernatural departure can be read in the context of narratives of mythological disappearances (and reappearances).147 On the other hand, this kind of narrative – which sets the hero apart from the paradigmatic wise man Sokrates – may suggest a link to the Christian tradition (miraculous prison escapes also feature in the Acts).148 The narrative presents Apollonios’ supernatural feat and generally his extraordinary skills – which, as we have seen, are the products of his exceptional virtue and closeness to the divine – as being not dependent on an appeal to an external power, which stands in sharp contrast with the significance attributed to prayer in Christian contexts.149 The VA’s narrator, though he does not allude to Jesus, may have been aware of this contrast (i.e. as part of the broader divide between pagan faith in man’s ability to achieve spiritual progress largely – even if not exclusively – by his own power, and Christian appeal to God’s grace)150 and perhaps exploits it consciously in his narrative in order to magnify the praise of his biographee, who unlike Jesus appears to be physically as well as spiritually indomitable.

  • 151 Konstan (2015); cf. Konstan and Walsh (2016), who suggest Xenophon’s Sokrates as the origin of the (...)
  • 152 Not all would of course merit the characterisation ‘philosophers’.
  • 153 Mt. 22: 17-22; Tert. Apol. 30.4. See also Karamanolis (2013, 231-232); Rhee (2005, 4-5 and passim) (...)
  • 154 Contemporary philosophy in general does not reject the imperial system, as Trapp’s survey shows (20 (...)
  • 155 See, more broadly, Trapp (2007a, 249-256) on philosophy’s clash with the ‘mainstream’ (education, a (...)
  • 156 Francis’ analysis (which also considers Peregrinos and Jesus) sets the limits of Apollonios’ unconv (...)

43Finally, the study of the function of virtue in Philostratos’ narrative of the life of Apollonios and in Judeo-Christian wise-men narratives is suggestive of the mixed relationship between these narratives and established culture. The stories clearly share ‘subversive’ features,151 as their heroes deviate from the social norm and challenge aspects of conventional ideology, but at the same time the ‘otherness’ and flawless morality of these heroes recommends them as instructors of their fellow men. Significantly, however, the lives and days of Jesus and his followers152 in the relevant literary tradition are often associated with social and political upheaval – even if we also hear that Christians respect the society they live in, its laws, and the Roman emperor.153 While retaining features of stereotypical ‘civic’ virtue (Apollonios essentially respects the imperial Roman establishment and traditional religion, and aims to criticise and alter bad manifestations),154 Apollonios also subverts norms, for example by propagating social and religious reforms (e.g. with regard to animal sacrifice, which he abhors, and which was a civic habit) and by standing up against authorities. His preaching of an austerely virtuous life, guided by an extreme sōphrosynē and free from frivolous enjoyments and the need for material goods, is presented as a radical opposite to established habits.155 Still, his questioning of authority is balanced with concern for humanity and society, and his extreme celibacy (in line with that of the Christian ascetics) is associated with a rare form of virtue, which may inspire moral improvement among his fellow men, but which does not seek to impose itself as a universal ethical requirement.156

VI. Sōphrosynē and the Divinity of Apollonios

  • 157 See further Dillon (2006), who notes the Life of Proklos by Marinos of Neapolis as an exception: Pr (...)
  • 158 See Elsner (2009b, 657-658), who implies that a synkrisis between Jesus and Apollonios is undermine (...)
  • 159 I do not address here the ideological factors often involved in the use of this term in scholarship (...)
  • 160 Weber (1964, 841-866).

44The above-described narratives are not altogether aligned in the nature of praise given to their subjects. For example, while the subjects of the VS are clearly less than perfect, Apollonios is depicted as free from fault. Late antique philosophical biographies (Eunapios on lamblichos, Damaskios’ Life of Isidore – a theios anēr!) place their emphasis on the praise of virtue and on the divine and supernatural features of their stories, but are not always purely hagiographical either.157 Conversely, Philostratos’ narrative, like the Gospel accounts of Jesus and the majority of the hagiographies, idealises its subject (a basic difference between Jesus and the saints is of course that the former was perceived as god, and the latter not quite). While Apollonios too is presented as constantly drawn to the divine, much in the VA, including mention of Apollonios’ exceptional virtue and the narrative’s ending, further suggests a higher-than-human status for its hero.158 Because of his rare spiritual gifts Apollonios is perceived as almost ‘divine’, a theios anēr,159 a status that translates into his ‘charismatic authority’ (in Max Weber’s well-known phrase)160 and arguably has considerable bearing on the definition of his literary identity. After a survey of Apollonios’ superhuman qualities, this section shows that this superior and exceptional status is closely associated with the sage’s sōphrosynē.

  • 161 See also Talbert (1978, 1647-1648) for a summary of references to his supernatural conception in th (...)
  • 162 On the connection between Apollonios and Apollo, also on the level of cult, see Dzielska 1986, 57 ( (...)
  • 163 Later supporters of Apollonios in the debate against the Christians seem also to have held the view (...)
  • 164 Diogenes Laertios (8.4) mentions successive reincarnations, citing Herakleides Pontikos as his sour (...)
  • 165 E.g. 8.7.14. Cf. the relevant exchange between Apollonios and the Brahmans (3.19).
  • 166 On the importance of Proteus for Apollonios’ characterization, see further Miles (2016).

45Like Jesus in the Gospels, who is celebrated as the son of God,161 novelistic (and other) literature illustrious characters of the Greek past are often associated with the divine through their parentage. Alexander the Great was famously hailed as a son of God; Heliodoros’ Kalasiris reinvents Homer as a son of the god Hermes (3.14.2-4); and Apollonios, in addition to owing his name to Apollo,162 is also seen as a direct offspring of the father of the gods, despite his own objection (VA 1.6: ‘Now the locals say that Apollonius was the son of Zeus, but the Master calls himself son of Apollonius’; cf. 8.7.21).163 The sage is also associated with Proteus early in the narrative, when the deity informs Apollonios’ mother in a dream that she will give birth to Proteus himself (VA 1.4). This may suggest metaphorically that the soon to-be-born philosopher would share Proteus’ features, e.g. his changeability, wisdom and foreknowledge, but in the context of the VA, which opens with a reference to Pythagoras’ previous incarnation as Euphorbos164 and repeatedly mentions metempsychosis,165 it might also suggest Apollonios as a Proteus incarnate.166

  • 167 Although coexistent in the imperial period, the relevant traditions are seemingly not of contempora (...)
  • 168 Starting with Meyer (1917, 373; 384), who termed the VA a ‘Reiseroman’ and compared it to Gulliver’ (...)
  • 169 This suspiciousness lies in the background of Euphrates’ malicious criticism of the sage in his add (...)

46But Apollonios’ status is not limited to divinity through parentage. Apollonios’ theios anēr status is suggestive of a range of qualities and abilities included in the hero’s characterisation, which constitutes the narrator’s complex response to a tradition that termed his hero as a μάγος. As a ‘divine man’, Philostratos’ Apollonios retains the supernatural gifts associated with magic: he performs miracles – like other holy men in the Hellenistic, Jewish and Christian tradition167 – and does not seem to be bound by natural laws. These abilities were an integral part of Apollonios’ identity and may have been at the centre of pre-Philostratean stories,168 which the VA’s narrator considered worth retelling both for their value as entertainment and for their contribution to his hero’s extraordinariness, as a central feature of Apollonios’ characterisation. Instead of excluding the sage’s supernatural features, the VA’s narrator placed them within a frame of divinely inspired virtue, and thus hoped to exonerate his hero from a practice that clearly had negative connotations. Indeed the attitude of the Greco-Roman world towards magic and magicians, even if not entirely consistent, was marked by suspiciousness and legal prohibitions.169

  • 170 See above, n. 26.
  • 171 Cf. Reimer (2002), who argues that miracle-workers such as Apollonios and the Apostles in the Acts, (...)
  • 172 See Dickie (2001, 131) on the Persian magi and the not so clear-cut distinction in Greek between ‘P (...)
  • 173 See Petsalis-Diomidis (2010, 55).
  • 174 Cf. the contrast between ‘miracle worker’ and ‘holy philosopher’ in Cox (1983, 20-30; the latter’s (...)
  • 175 See further Rothe (1988, 119-121).

47Admittedly, the VA’s narrative makes a less than perfect case for the attribution of Apollonios’ features to ‘divine wisdom’ rather than to magic: the narrator does not avoid an overlap between his heroes’ powers (e.g. against illness, death, nature and the demons) and a magician’s skills, which results in some contradiction. The hero’s claim in his apology (where his response to charges of magic occupies a central place) that he was unable to raise his pupil Philiskos from the dead (8.7.41), with the implication that such an act falls within the field of magic, contradicts the account of the resurrection (if this is what it was) of the Roman official’s daughter earlier in the work.170 But the contrived theios anēr identity in the VA, with its emphasis on virtue, shields the hero to a considerable extent by linking his ‘magic’ to this virtue. The reader is indeed led to assume that there are different kinds of ‘magicians’. This same notion is also implied in two brief letters of the sage (16 and 17), where Apollonios, in an exchange with Euphrates, presents his relationship with magic in a philosophical and religious light.171 Divine wisdom as the source of Apollonios’ powers can be linked to his relationship with Zeus, Apollo and Asklepios (note that the latter god’s healing powers are described as the product of prophetic wisdom, 3.44), but is also not to be separated from his Pythagoreanism and his visit to the Persian magi (VA 1.26; 1.39), which are associated with notions of magic in the Greek consciousness.172 The portrayal of Apollonios’ much-admired Indians also harbours such notions (despite the narrative’s emphasis on their superior philosophy and sōphrōn virtue, they are accused by the Gymnosophists of performing pretentious miracles, 6.10.3). Apollonios’ bid for initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is refused by a hierophant who insultingly calls him a γὸης ‘sorcerer’, but he is publicly put to shame by the sage’s show of wisdom and his prediction that he will be initiated some years later by someone else (4.18). Finally, Apollonios visits the oracle of Trophonios (8.19),173 a place of mixed repute, where he is again accused of being a γόης but nevertheless manages to ask a number of questions about philosophy and receives a book with the teachings of Pythagoras. The narrative presumably hopes to guide reception of dubious aspects of Apollonios’ character in the older tradition by presenting them as the heirloom of a divine philosopher rather than a magician; but the Philostratean Apollonios ends up appearing as both at different times.174 Philostratos similarly denies the designation ‘magician’ for his highly gifted sophists (Dionysios of Miletos and Hadrian of Tyre, VS 1.523; 2.590);175 to be fair, the fact that philosophers and rhetors could also be faced with a similar accusation, shows the difficulty of the task of the VA’s narrator.

  • 176 Du Toit (1997, 280); Anderson (1986, 9-10; 124). On Apollonios’ similarities to the sophists, see a (...)
  • 177 See further Tiede (1972, 43-70).
  • 178 See Most (2003, 317-319). Cf. earlier Tiede (1972, 14-23) on shamanistic features in the traditions (...)
  • 179 Both D. L. (8.4-5) and Porphyry (VP 2) attribute to him some sort of divine origin; the latter also (...)
  • 180 See VA 1.1.3 and further Inwood (2001, 58).
  • 181 See further Edwards (2000). Cox (1983, 34-44) introduced a distinction between philosophers viewed (...)
  • 182 As noted by Elsner (1997, 28). There is the account of the supernatural circumstances of his birth (...)
  • 183 Θειον γὲνος ἐστὶ βροτοῖσιν on this notion, which was popular in Greek thought, see Thom (1995, 207- (...)

48A sophist can be a theios anēr (‘divinely inspired’, VS 2.616; cf. 1.533, on Polemo); Apollonios has been seen as an ‘ideal sophist’.176 The work of philosophers and sophists shares common topics, but as implied in the proem of the VS, sophists are more concerned with style and performance than with truth and consistency. On the other hand, the VA’s narrator presents an Apollonios who combines rhetorical and performance skills with philosophical gravitas. Philosophers were frequently and variously associated with the divine. To offer a sample of relevant ideas, the wise man lives ‘as [a] god among men’ according to Epikouros (Diogenes Laertios 10.135), who was venerated as god in cult; Diogenes the Cynic was an imitator of the gods (ibid., 6.31); and the Stoic sage appropriates the divine by means of his rational virtue.177 Moreover, philosophers such as Pythagoras, Empedokles, Plotinos and lamblichos were seen as ‘holy men’, suggesting that there was more to the praise of a theios anēr than merely being ‘a trivial phenomenon of popular culture’.178 ‘Divinity’ is often named as a wise-man feature, claimed for many: for Apollonios (quite explicitly by Eunapios in the fourth century, Lives of the philosophers and the sophists 454: οὑκὲτι φιλὸσοφος· ἀλλ’ ἦν τι θεῶν τι καὶ ἀνθρώπου μὲσον ‘not merely a philosopher but a demi-god, half man, half god’), for Pythagoras (by his biographers)179 and Empedokles, who – if somewhat ambiguously – alluded to his own immortality in his poetry (ἐγὼ δ’ ὑμἳν θεὸς ἂμβροτος, οὑκὲτι θνητὸς, fr. 112, 10 DK),180 and for Plotinos by his biographer, Porphyry (Life of Plotinos, an introduction to Porphyry’s edition of Plotinos’ treatises).181 Unlike Empedokles, Apollonios does not claim divine status, which creates an ambivalence; but hints to his divinity only seem to increase as the narrative progresses,182 and become unmistakable towards the end of his earthly life (with the sage’s ascension to heaven, VA 8.30.3), apparently in accordance with the Pythagorean premise of the Golden verses. These end with the message that man can become divine after having lived a worthy Pythagorean life (after all, ‘mortals have a divine origin’, 63);183 a sōphrōn life, oriented towards the five cardinal virtues, is presented as a necessary preparation and a prerequisite for immortality.

  • 184 See further Sfameni Gasparro (2007).
  • 185 The ability to foresee the future and read other people’s minds is a recurrent feature of the ‘holy (...)
  • 186 This image features also in the Tyanean’s reception. See ThGrF p. 29 §44 (a fragment from the Tübin (...)

49In keeping with the above premise, Apollonios’ theios anēr status, which is explicitly stated at VA 2.40.3 (theios anēr ‘holy’?; also at 8.15.3: theion ‘superhuman’), has inherent connections with the narrative representation of the hero’s virtue. This seems to guarantee him near-divinity already in this life. During his trial, in response to the emperor’s question, why he is called ‘god’, the sage answers that it is because ‘god’ is used as honorary title for the good man (‘ὄτι πᾶς’ εἶπεν ‘ἂνθρωπος αγαθὸς νομιζὸμενος θεοῦ ὲπωνυμὶα τιμἀται’, 8.5.1). Apollonios’ divinity is connected in particular with his sōphrosynē, and occasionally also with his Greekness: the narrator says from the start that his hero came close to be thought daimonios and theios (‘divine’ or ‘divinely inspired’? VA 1.2.3), and he is also called ‘Greek and divine’ (2.17.3), ‘Greek, virtuous (gennaios) and godly’ (3.28.1). These references affirm the hero’s place in the Hellenic cultural and religious tradition,184 in which Apollonios’ ethical and supernatural qualities find themselves equally at home. Apollonios is further characterised as gennaios ‘excellent’ and theios anēr (8.7.11). Notably other characters in the VA receive similar praise: e.g. Poros, 2.21.2 (theios and superhuman); the sackers of Troy (3.19.1). Those who love prophecy become ‘divine’ (3.42.2).185 The designation theios applies also to the Indians more generally (6.11.17; ‘inspired’? Apollonios admits to considering them ‘gods’, 7.32.3); to Iarchas (7.14.6 ‘divine’); and to Sokrates, according to Apollonios (6.19.5). Finally, it is noted in the sage’s apology (his philosophical summary) that all mankind partakes in the divine (8.7.20), and all virtue comes from god (8.7.21). Such uses affirm the notion of theios as a stereotypical part of the literary and conceptual image of the Tyanean (and other praised characters) in Philostratos’ narrative, and underline the connection between virtue and divinity as parts of that same image.186

  • 187 See North (1966, 193-195). The idea of ὸμοὶωσις θεω, which is rooted in Plato (Tht. 176b-c), was ad (...)
  • 188 Note Musonios’ use of sōphrōn for god (and his view of a sbphrdn king as godlike, Diatr. 8.5). Cf. (...)
  • 189 See Talbert (1978, 1627 and n. 37 for further references). Cf. Max. Tyr. Or. 38 on virtue as derivi (...)

50There is substantial philosophical and rhetorical background to this connection. Indeed the designation of virtue as divine goes back to Plato: virtue is considered a divine gift in Meno (99d-e; cf. Republic 492a- 493a). In the Laws, a distinction is made between Divine and Human goods, with virtues belonging to the former (human goods are health, beauty, strength and wealth; 631b-c); in particular sōphrosynē is repeatedly associated with the divine (906a-b; 716c-d) and plays a role in the process of assimilation to god.187 The Stoics and the Cynics also appear to have related the virtuous life to the divine, and to have believed in the divine or quasi-divine nature of sages (including, in some cases, in evolution towards divine or semi-divine status).188 In Dio Chrysostom’s Fourth Kingship Oration, Diogenes, talking to Alexander the Great, presents moral qualities (particularly sōphrosynē) as a criterion for recognising a man’s proximity to the divine – a more important one than parentage (4.18-23).189

  • 190 For a summary of the debate, see Van Uytfanghe (2009, 339-342), who follows Du Toit in interpreting (...)
  • 191 See further IK Tyana 1, 80; 2, passim’, Dzielska (1986, 51-84). See also Morgan (2009).
  • 192 Talbert (1978, 1632-1635) stressed the common use of mythical motifs in the lives of rulers and in (...)
  • 193 The seeds of this may be in VA 4.10; see Dzielska (1986, 79). On the use of Herakles in early Chris (...)
  • 194 Cf. Flinterman (2009, 163-165; 170-175). Note in comparison that early in Philostr. Her. (1-2), the (...)
  • 195 Clairvoyance as a feature of the ‘divine philosopher’ appears in late antiquity; apart from Apollon (...)
  • 196 On this passage, see also above, ch. 1. Miles (2016, 150) has recently described the ambiguity of A (...)

51As the focus of the narrator’s praise, Apollonios is of course not quite in the same boat as the other persons designated in the VA as ‘divine’, and it is fair to wonder about the exact nature of his divinity in the narrative. Are we, as readers, to think of him as ‘god’ or just as a man with unusual spiritual gifts? Although there can be no doubt about Apollonios’ ‘divinity’ as spiritual superiority, the VA’s rather ambiguous treatment of the matter prevents a definite conclusion about the hero’s presumed ontological status in the narrative190 – though it may be significant that historically he was perceived as a god at least by some, judging by the emergence of a cult at Tyana and other cities after his demise.191 The ambiguity in Philostratos’ narrative is relevant to the more general lack of a sharp distinction in Greek religion between ‘gods’ and extraordinary human beings (‘heroes’) who received divine honours; the Romans inherited this attitude in the practice of deification/veneration of persons of highest political status (emperors) – a practice paralleled by the literary treatment of rulers in biographical narratives, which assigned divine connections to their subjects.192 What is more, Greek heroes and traditions associated with them were then duly used or even integrated in religious practice, both pagan and Christian: Apollonios may have been worshipped as Herakles Apotropaios at Ephesos, a practice of inherent syncretism.193 The Christian Apostles were likewise received as gods and were even offered sacrifices (Acts 14: 11-13). But divine worship is associated with the VA’s Apollonios rather as something he practices, not as something that he receives. The VA indeed stresses a type of philosophical divinity, closely associated with the hero’s sōphrosynē as ‘purity’, which clearly allows him to get much closer to the gods than it is normally possible for humans,194 to communicate with the divine and to foretell the future – a rare gift.195 A ‘good’ man, who resembles god, has the mission to bring order to souls that have strayed from the path of virtue (souls that disrespect gods, as well as the laws of society and temperance, engage in drinking, gossip and every passion). Such a reformer of souls can be seen as ‘a god sent by wisdom’. This describes the way Philostratos’ Apollonios sees himself and his role (8.7.22-23).196

  • 197 On Alexander as theios anēr, see Jouanno (2002, 197-203), who notes that this dimension ‘n’apparait (...)
  • 198 Each novel mentions a central divinity and cult: of Aphrodite (Chariton), Artemis (Xenophon Ephesio (...)
  • 199 Baumbach (2008). See also Montiglio (2005, 238 and n. 57, with bibliography).
  • 200 See further Slaveva-Griffin (2015), who sees in her a Neoplatonic allegory of the divine.
  • 201 Slaveva-Griffin (ibid., 319).
  • 202 On Heliodoros’ holy men, see also Hunter (1998, 56-59).

52As implied already, Apollonios’ quasi-divinity places him in a broader literary context of fictionalised and fictitious heroes, to whom this feature is also applied. Heroes in both novelistic and biographical narratives with a strong religious element pose particularly close parallels for Apollonios. These include not just Pythagoras, whom Philostratos used as model, and who is depicted as a divine person and wonder-worker, as well as a philosopher and a moralist; or Alexander the Great, to whom the novelistic tradition attributes divine origins, piety and divine wisdom,197 but also heroes and perhaps also heroines from the romantic novels, especially Heliodoros’ Aithiopika. The main hero and heroine of the Greek romance are routinely described as higher beings than the average mortals, especially in that they possess superhuman beauty (as we will see in the next chapter), and admittedly all five extant romances thematise virtue and the role of the divine.198 But religiosity has a much stronger presence in the Aithiopika than in the other romances. The religious substratum and philosophical interests of this novel undercut the characterisation of its heroes. Notably Kalasiris, an Egyptian high priest who resembles a Greek philosopher of Pythagorean habits and Platonist thought, has the features of a theios anēr;199 the depiction of the heroine, Charikleia, a priestess (originally of Artemis and in the end, of Selene), and the daughter of a family which traces its origins to gods (Helios and Dionysos) and heroes (Aithiopika 4.8.3), is laden with religious connotations;200 eventually the main hero, Theagenes, also becomes a priest (of Helios); the pair of protagonists, Charikleia and Theagenes, appear together as physical manifestations of Artemis and Apollo in Kalasiris’ vision;201 and apart from Kalasiris, there are two more ‘holy men’, the Ethiopian holy man Sisimithres, leader of the Gymnosophists, who saved the life of Charikleia when she was exposed at birth, and Charikles, priest of Apollo at Delphi, to whom she was entrusted.202

  • 203 E.g. Ach. Tat. 3.17.6 (the ‘magician’ Menelaos); Hid. 4.7.13; 6.14-15 (γοητεὶα/µαγγανεὶα); Chariton (...)

53Like Apollonios in the VA, these higher-than-human novelistic heroes are protected from a too-close association with magic (which is not absent from the romantic novels).203 The clear distinction in Heliodoros, in the voice of Kalasiris, between two kinds of σοφὶα, the ‘vulgar’ (δημῶδης), which is related to magical practices, and the ‘true wisdom’ of the priests, is a good reflection of the wisdom ideology that underlies the narrative of Apollonios’ life. This is Kalasiris’ response to the old prejudice against Egyptian wisdom, resulting from the fact that it is often falsely considered a uniform thing:

There is one kind that is of low rank and, you might say, crawls upon the earth; it waits upon ghosts and skulls around dead bodies; it is addicted to magic herbs, and spells are its stock-in-trade; no good ever comes of it; no benefit ever accrues to its practitioners; generally it brings about its own downfall, and its occasional successes are paltry and mean-spirited – the unreal made to appear real, hopes brought to nothing; it devises wickedness and panders to corrupt pleasures. But there is another kind, my son, true wisdom, of which the first sort is but a counterfeit that has stolen its title; true wisdom it is that we priests and members of the sacerdotal caste practice from childhood; its eyes are raised towards heaven; it keeps company with the gods and partakes of the nature of the Great Ones; it studies the movement of the stars and thus gains knowledge of the future; it has no truck with the wicked, earthly concerns of the other kind, but all its energies are directed to what is good and beneficial for mankind. (Aithiopika 3.16.3-4)

  • 204 Note that Kalasiris, as προφήτης, foresees his own death (Hid. 7.11.3-4); and Charikleia is in poss (...)
  • 205 On this, see also Feuillâtre (1966, 128-132), who was cautious about assuming a Neopythagorean back (...)
  • 206 Despite the moral decline implied for Athens, as reflected in Knemon’s story in Books 1 and 2; see (...)
  • 207 See above, ch. 1. Note also that Apollo, the god behind Apollonios’ name, is identified with Helios (...)
  • 208 Note the testimony of the church historian Sokrates Scholastikos (HE 5.22), that Heliodoros introdu (...)

54Apollonios of course differs from Kalasiris and Charikleia in his relation to the supernatural: the Tyanean sage performs miracles (thanks to his good divine associations and not to evil magic), while Heliodoros’ heroes are generally not granted this ability (although they display some extraordinary qualities);204 they further do not ascend into heaven, like Apollonios does. Still, the above-cited passage is very strongly reminiscent of the prejudice affecting the reception of Apollonios’ wisdom, which the VA’s narrator sets out to fight. In this as well as in other respects, Heliodoros’ novel has a particular proximity to the philosophical and religious milieu of the VA,205 and expresses a similar longing for an ideal way of life. This proximity is further seen in the emphasis on Greek elements (e.g. Aithiopika 2.26-27);206 in the role of the Gymnosophists, whom Heliodoros (like Philostratos) places in Ethiopia, who live in a temple, consult the gods before acting, receive from them predictions about the future (Aithiopika 10.4.2-3) and show respect for souls incarnated in human bodies (2.31.1); in the role of the Sun cult;207 in the conception of a spiritual image of gods who desire only prayers and incense and not sacrifices (human or animal), in the words of Sisimithres (10.9.6); and in the later tradition that Heliodoros (who is said to have become a bishop) denounced marriage.208

VII. A Note on Endings

  • 209 On the paratextual elements of the VA’s ending, of. Fusillo (1997, 211-213), who collected examples (...)
  • 210 There is no description of the manner of the hero’s physical death. In avoiding to give his hero a (...)

55As a crowning feature of its intratextual and intertextual significance, sōphrosynē arguably finds an echo in the Life’s ending. Endings are important, as the VA’s narrator realizes. Speaking authorially in propria persona, he emphasises the need to provide one that stands up to the high standards of his story: δε γάρ που τὸν λόγον ὲχειν τὸ έαυτοῦ) πέρας (‘my account surely must have its proper ending’, 8.29).209 After relating a version, according to which Apollonios died in Ephesos at an unknown (but certainly old) age,210 he creates a supernatural image of how the sage passed into eternity – an image that gains additional credibility by the suggestion that the sage has no known final resting place. In the narrative’s closing lines, the departed Apollonios conveys – in a dream – the doctrine of the soul’s immortality to a disbelieving student.

  • 211 See Pelling’s study (1997).
  • 212 Such as is expressed by the narrator in Thes. 1.5: εἴη µὲν οὗν ἡμῖν ὲκκαθαιρὸμενον λὸγφ τὸ µυθῶδες (...)
  • 213 On these lines, see further Thom (1995, 223-228) who notes the analogy with Empedokles’ claim to im (...)
  • 214 See Panayotakis (2012, 130). In the novelistic tradition, the hero of the Story of Apollonius king (...)

56This twist to the ‘cradle-to-grave’ pattern of biographical narratives suits the claim made by the VA for Apollonios’ quasi-divinity, which is closely connected to his perfect virtue – in this sense it is an appropriate ending. True, consideration of the endings of biographical narratives such as Plutarch’s Lives211 shows the flexibility of the ‘standard’ pattern; yet while these conform to a rationalising spirit,212 the VA’s ending reflects its flirtation with fictionality and mystifies its subject. In particular, the image of the sage entering the sanctuary of Diktynna in the accompaniment of a chorus singing ‘proceed to heaven’ (8.30.3) bears a distinct similarity to the end of the Pythagorean life as depicted in the Golden verses (movement of the soul to the free aithēr, the highest region of the sky, where it is immortal, 70-71).213 In comparison, lamblichos’ On the Pythagorean way of life ends rather prosaically with lists of names of men and women who inherited Pythagoras’ philosophy after the master died (35.255; cf. Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras 57). The physical disappearance of the sage at the end of the narrative of his life further constitutes a point of contact with gospel narratives about the fate of Christ (Jesus’ burial is described in the canonical Gospels, but his body then disappears) and with stories about legendary figures (such as the Roman kings Romulus and Aeneas), whose bodies disappear, implying – in the narratives’ universe – that they crossed from the human to the divine side.214

  • 215 On ‘openness’ and ‘closeness’, see Fusillo (1997); Kanavou (2015) on the difficulties of the ending (...)
  • 216 See e.g. Seddon (2005, passim) on the links between virtue and happiness in Stoic thought, especial (...)

57It is also worth comparing the endings of the romantic novels in this connection, since most do not have simple endings and do not bring perfect closure, often leaving strands of the plot hanging and unresolved. They also seem to share two main features, largely unaffected by ‘open-endedness’: they are generally meant as ‘happy’ endings,215 and they aim to affirm the merits of the main hero and of the described way of life or culture. This dual function is present in a somewhat nuanced form in biographies of wise men, which do not culminate in a triumph of love and marriage, as do romances, but apparently aim to trigger positive emotions by conveying – in gospel spirit – a good life message. After all, a virtuous life is regarded by philosophers as a happy life, as allegorically expressed in the engaging Tablet of Kebes (20.3), where a personified Sophrosyne is presented as a daughter of Happiness (Eudaimonia).216

  • 217 The notion of ‘conversion’ as entry into a philosophical school goes back to Nock (1933, 164-186). (...)
  • 218 As Achilles Tatios’ Kleitophon implies: εἴ τις ἂρα ἔστω ἀνδρὸς παρθενὶα... ‘if there be any such th (...)
  • 219 ‘A reform for men?’; thus Johne (1996, 159). See Chew (2015) on conversion in the novel. Bird (2016 (...)

58Both wise lives and the adventures of novelistic heroes and heroines indeed suggest ‘ideal’ ways of life – the common denominator being virtue, of which sōphrosynē is the most important manifestation. Such narratives, both romantic and non-romantic, often entail the conversion of characters with whom Apollonios and other virtuous heroes interact.217 It is worth pondering whether these stories and their virtuous endings may also result (whether intentionally or not) in the ‘conversion’ of their readers, who may be inspired to adopt the way of life praised in the stories, in preference over other alternatives. The adoption of sōphrosynē as a leading virtue of both pagan and Christian heroes should play a prominent part in this conversion. For readers of Apollonios’ story, this should signify the choice of a Pythagorean life of modesty and self-control within a pagan Greek cultural context, while a similar way of life, despite the different religious framework, is dictated in Christian narratives. (On the other hand, while ideal romance heroes are advocates of a more secular virtue, the novelists’ idealisation of male chastity, not a typical feature of men in the real world,218 may also be read as an attempt to promote this virtue as a male ideal).219

  • 220 His clairvoyance submits to them, while wizards try to alter fate (5.12); he lectures on them in Sm (...)
  • 221 On the Stoic coupling of the topics of providence and fate in this period, see Bobzien (1998, 5; 13 (...)
  • 222 Note that in the VA’s context, there is no hint of a distinction between ‘virtuous’ and ‘non-virtuo (...)
  • 223 See below, chs 4 and 5. On knowledge of the human nature and its importance for forming the right e (...)

59The theme of virtue is an explicit concern of the VA’s last few lines, where it finally becomes associated with the soul’s immortal journey. The allusion to Apollonios’ post-mortem existence and to his teachings on the immortality of the soul, ultimately constitutes a sōphron, happy and edifying ending. In particular the strong take-away message, which emphasises self-knowledge and virtue – salient themes of the narrative – and exudes existential optimism, guarantees the appropriateness of the story’s closure: ‘This is Apollonios’ clear pronouncement on the mysteries of the soul, enabling us with courage and knowledge of our own natures to journey to the place where the Fates station us’ (8.31.3; my emphasis). The final allusion to the Μοῖραɩ evokes their pervasive importance in the VA (Apollonios’ relationship with them is a tell-tale sign of his piety and wisdom)220 and also has a Stoic flavour (see e.g. Diogenes Laertios 7.149), as does the preceding mention of pronoia ‘providence’, in Apollonios’ poem on the soul’s immortality, which a sceptical young man hears in his dream (‘Immortal is the soul, and is not yours / But Providence’s… 8.31.3).221 This resonates with the account of a man’s philosophical preparation for death in Phaido (114e): after adorning his soul with the virtues (including sōphrosynē), he ‘awaits his departure to the other world, ready to go when fate calls him.’ Additionally, the mixture of virtues necessary for the life prescribed in the VA’s closing passage reflects the concept of inner progress familiar in canonical Greco-Roman philosophy; self-knowledge is a precondition of this progress, which leads to higher virtue and happiness.222 As a theme, self-knowledge further holds an important place in the philosophical career of Apollonios (at his meeting with the Indian sages and when he views the Delphic inscription).223 Thus the VA’s closure echoes one last time the philosophical capital which Philostratos infiltrates into his narrative and which defines the characterisation of his hero.

Notes

1 This Byzantine theosophical fragment – in which Apollonios foretells the virgin birth of Christ – not only places the sage as a prophet in a Christian context (as does the Apotelesmata, a Byzantine work, on which see Jones 2006, 57-58), but also affirms his reception as one of Greece’s wise men. He is pictured in the same company on a 16th c. church fresco from Ioannina island. See further Speyer (1974, 62); Dzielska (1986, 163; 182).

2 See Schirren (2005, 12) for examples and references (and ibid., 69-211 for the philosophos bios as a kind of genre).

3 On the affinities between these two works, see Jouanno (2002, 208-209).

4 See Tiede (1982); Talbert (1978, 1646) on philosophers revered as gods (he mentions the Tyanean and Epikouros). On the gospel as a sub-genre of biography, see the relevant remarks in the Introduction and further Ramelli and Perkins (2015, 2, with bibliography); Wills (1997, passim) compared the VA to the Christian Gospels; see König (2006, 230) on the influence of the Gospels and other Christian biography on pagan lives (citing Bowersock 1994 and focusing on Luc. Peregr); Taylor (2006) on the importance of biographical elements in the Acts (citing Talbert [1974], who discussed the links between the Acts and the work of Diogenes Laertios). But see Kemezis (2014, 162) for differences between the VA on the one hand, and philosophical lives and Christian Gospels on the other.

5 See Konstan and Ramelli (2014, 192-193). These features are shared between the VA and pseudo-biographical stories of undefined authorship (e.g. the Alexander romance and the Life of Aisop), which (unlike the VA) are additionally characterised by openness and survive in multiple versions.

6 See Hägg (2012, 19-30) who also discusses Plato’s Apology and Phaido as Socratic works with biographical elements.

7 On the paradigmatic function of Sokrates in ancient biography, see De Temmerman (2016, 22); Konstan and Walsh (2016, 32-35). On the reception of his virtue, see further Willms (2011/2012, 897-898, with bibliography). See also Hägg (2012, 69-77) on the idealisation of Sokrates in the Academic tradition, which eclipsed the more critical depiction of the philosopher in Peripatetic contexts, e.g. in the work of Aristoxenos of Tarentum.

8 On the difficulty of defining ‘hagiography’ as a genre, see Van Uytfanghe (2009, 348-349), to whom I owe the formal description of the ‘genre’ of texts to be considered here (ibid., 350-372). This chapter will present only a limited selection of what could fall into this broad generic category.

9 See De Pourcq and Roskam (2016, 163).

10 As noted by Momigliano (1986, 41-42).

11 Cf. Whitmarsh (2004, 435).

12 Cf. Bowie (2009a, 30); Kemezis (2014, 156). Not all notices function as ‘biographies’ strictly speaking, as Jones notes (1974, 11), comparing the VS to Suet. Gram, et rhet. (though the title may have been Philostratos’ own); and the author may have manipulated his material to an extent in order to protect his subjects from appearing in a negative light (ibid., 14-15). On the comparative dating of the VA and the VS, see Anderson (1986, 3); Elsner (2009a, 4 and n. 6). The VA is generally thought to be earlier, but both works may have been composed at roughly the same time (note the cross-reference of the VS to the VA at 2.570).

13 On the problem of the dedicatee’s identity, see Bowie’s brief summary (2009a, 29), and cf. Civiletti (2002, 357 n. 2).

14 As touched on in the Introduction, see above. Cf. D. L. 1.12: οὶ δὲ σοφοὶ κα: σοφιστα ἐκαλοῦντο’ και οὑ µὸνον, ἀλλἀ καὶ οὶ ποιῃτα σοφισταὶ... Bowie (2009a, 30) thinks of philosophers ‘whose presentation also earned them the title “sophist”.’

15 See Dzielska (1986, 52-55), who doubted that these were features of the real Apollonios, drawing attention to Ep. Apoll. 10, where he disavows public appearances and teaching. See also ch. 1 and more broadly Hahn (1989) on the versatile social role of the philosopher in the Roman empire.

16 See further Whitmarsh (2004, 435-437).

17 Note especially his Euboikos (Or. 7), whose affinities to fiction have often been noted (e.g. Bowie 2008, 23), and which attacks adultery (see esp. Or. 7.140-142). See also Houser’s study of Dio’s views on sexuality (2002), which emphasises his condemnation of hedonism and his concern with self-control.

18 See Dzielska (1986, 11, with bibliography; 41-44).

19 Better: ‘spirit’; note especially Polemo’s appearance at Athens (1.535), which exemplifies his extraordinary self-confidence. But cf. Civiletti (2002, 491-492) on the varying translations.

20 He is termed as a ‘sophist’ instead of the more appropriate ‘rhetor’ (cf. Philostr. Dial. 1, where the Tyanean and Dio are mentioned as ‘philosophers’).

21 VS 1.489; 1.517; 2.599; see also Bowie (2006a, 143-144). On Favorinos’ ‘mixed’ sophistic and philosophical allegiances, see Holford-Strevens (1997). Skopelian and Favorinos are mentioned in the VA (1.23.3; 1.24.3; 4.25.1), the former as a correspondent of the Tyanean (on which see also ch. 5).

22 Further examples of sōphr- vocabulary in the VS include the adverb used tor the sensible reaction of Dorio to a request made by Dionysios (1.525); the verb for Adrian the Phoinikian’s castigation of one of his students (2.590); the adjective for the ‘sober’ musical rhythms used by the otherwise unknown Apollonios of Athens (2.602; cf. Pythagoras’ use of music to harmonise the soul, mentioned by both Iamblichos [VP 15.64-65] and Porphyry [VP 33], and see also Rothe’s note [1988, 194]); finally, the adverb (twice) for the city of Smyrna, which is said to be ‘prudent and moderate’ in its running of councils and citizen assemblies (2.613). The idea of a virtuous city is also found in the novelist Chariton’s sōphrōn Sparta (5.2.8).

23 This point is elaborated on by Schirren (2005, 113-137). See also Momigliano (1986, 36-41).

24 E.g. Hippon. fr. 63 West; E. Bacch. 317; Lyc. fr. 3 TGrF 1 (Snell).

25 See Hägg (2012, 305-318) for a concise appreciation of the work reflecting current scholarly consensus.

26 D. L. 1.12 (on Pyth.); 8.61-62; 8.67 (on Emp.), quoting Herakleides of Pontos. Empedokles’ teachings reportedly included bringing the dead back to life (fr. 111 DK). Resurrection miracles were also performed by Apollonios (on the daughter of a Roman official who ‘died’ at the time of her wedding and was revived ‘like Alkestis by Herakles’, VA 4.45.1 – but the diction may imply a Scheintod, of the kind ‘cured’ by Asklepiades in Pliny the Elder, 7.37.124); in two cases of necromantic interest, by an old woman, well-versed in (black) magic (Hid. 6.14.3-4), and by the Egyptian propheta Zatchlas (Apu. Met. 2.28-30 – a work full of miracles and magic); and of course by Jesus in the Gospels (and his Apostles in the Apocryphal Acts). This type of miracle (present also in the Old Testament, 1 Kings 17) was of universal appeal: magic-religious rites were used by the Indians to revive the dead (Stutley 1980, 89). The task’s presumed connection with magic makes Apollonios doubt it in the context of his self-defence speech (VA 8.7.41, derogatorily citing Orpheus’ spells). Note Lucian’s satirical take on the theme (Philops. 11).

27 On this highly important text, see Laks (2013 and 2014, 370-377). Cf. Long (2013) on Alexander’s Pythagoreanism, which he reads as eclectic.

28 On this conception, expounded in Epict. Diatr. 4.1, see Trapp (2007a, 127- 128); Willms (2011/2012, 89-110).

29 But there is some doxographical evidence on his teaching; see Steinmetz (1994, 662-665).

30 See further Jedan (2009, 55; 57). Cf. Philo’s attribution of the virtues, including sōphrosynē, to the senior character of the soul; things like wealth, reputation, office and good birth are linked to its junior character (A hr 217- 223).

31 On Antisthenes, see SSR II, 137-225. See Prince (2015, 544) on the image of Cynic philosophers as opponents of culture. She notes that Antisthenes, sometimes regarded as the founder of Cynicism and a prolific writer, was certainly no opponent of literature; the context in D. L. is meant to stress the efficacy of Cynicism as a route to virtue. See further below on the correlation between paideia and virtue.

32 But note the textual problem, explained in Hicks’ Loeb edition (pp. 134- 135). On reported sayings/chreiai as an important structural element of Diogenes’ biographies, see Hägg (2012, 308-310).

33 The sections of Porphyry’s work whose provenance can be assigned to Diogenes are printed in Stephens and Winkler (1995, 133-147).

34 See Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 2); further Francis (1995, 105) on Apollonios’ resemblances with Pythagoras.

35 Arguably possible either of Paris or of Helen – the author does not specify whom he means! The passage in Iamb. VP refers to the need for sōphrosynē in both youths and maidens.

36 On Pythagorean Lives, see further Dzielska (1986, 130-132); Huffman (2014; he notes that certain sections in all three – D. L., Porph., Iamb. – derive from 4th c. BC sources, namely Aristotle’s pupils Dikaiarchos and Aristoxenos); on the one by ‘Apollonios’ (also included also in the Souda’s account of the sage’s works, but not mentioned by Philostratos), Staab (2002, 228-237) and FGrH 1064 fr. 1 (following the view that ‘perhaps about one third’ of lamblichos’ work may be derived from Apollonios’); Staab (2007) argued that the ‘Apollonios’ source should be identified with the Hellenistic orator Apollonios Molon. On the unclear correlation of sources, see Anderson (1986, 149 n. 9) and now Robiano (2016, 108).

37 Cf. Rademaker’s remarks (2005, 262-266) on silence (and more broadly ‘quiet behaviour’, hēsychia) as a component of the virtue of women. Hēsychia is of course an old political virtue, thought to protect from civic strife. The first definition of sōphrosynē in Plato’s Charmides is ἡσυχιότις (159b2; Rademaker ibid., 326-329). See also Montiglio (2000) on silence and its function in archaic and classical literature, in which it is often connected with sōphrosynē and egkrateia.

38 On Pythagorean secrecy, see e.g. recently Zhmud (2012, 150-158).

39 Cf. also 2.34: ‘We shall worship [god] in pure silence’ (transl. G. Clark).

40 See Xenophontos (2016, 191-193) on the significance of silent moments (intervals without verbal communication among the characters) in Plutarch’s works.

41 Cf. Dillon and Hershbell (1991, 93 n.2), who mention silence as ‘a good shamanistic and yogic practice’.

42 On the link between silence and memory, with broader implications for the reading of Apollonios’ wisdom and Hellenic paideia, see now further Downie (2016, 70-72; 80), who somewhat exaggeratedly, regards memory as ‘the defining feature of Apollonius’ wisdom’. If anything is, then it must be his sōphrosynē.

43 Perry (1964, 1); Hagg (2012, 301); Overwien (2004, 105-106). The protagonist, of uncertain identity and indeed historicity, is probably not the same man as the Athenian rhetorician Sekoundos sketched by Philostratos in the VS (1.544-545).

44 Cf. Perry (1964, 7-8), who notes that silence is in fact the only Pythagorean element in a context that otherwise appears to defy adherence to a particular philosophical system. Sekoundos is also said to have presented himself as a Cynic. Cf. Overwien (2004, 114-129).

45 Sekoundos: Perry (1964, 74-75); Apollonios: VA 1.15. On the Aspendos incident, see further below, ch. 5.

46 On the role of gesture in non-verbal communication, see further Montiglio (2000, passim; esp. 185-188; 33-34).

47 This is likely to be authentic; see above, ch. 1 n. 9. The διαθῆκαι of Apollonios (also mentioned at 1.3.2) are probably his will, ‘which gives an idea of how inspired he was in his philosophy’. A further piece, entitled Oracles, is mentioned in the Souda but is not mentioned by Philostratos.

48 Further affinities between other biographies and the life of Sekoundos, noted by Hägg (2012, 303), are also true for the VA: the erotic element (in the story about Sekoundos’ mother); the question-and-answer session (cf. also the Latin Altercatio Hadriani et Epicteti, a dialogue between an emperor and a philosopher); like Apollonios on some occasions, Sekoundos shows disrespect for women (note the saying that occurs only a few lines into the text: ‘every woman can be bought; the chaste [σῶφΡων] one is only she who has escaped notice’ – a proverbial idea; Perry 1964, 68-69).

49 Seemingly nor did Pythagoras; cf. Porph. VP 57.

50 See MacCulloch (2013) for a comprehensive study of the motif of silence in the Christian tradition; Montiglio (2000, 9-45) for comparisons between silence in pagan contexts and the Judeo-Christian tradition.

51 On the significance of the philosopher’s beard, see Sellars (2003, 15-19; esp. 18 on Apollonios); Hahn (1989, 36-37). Apollonios’ martyr features are summarised by Van Uytfanghe (2009, 347).

52 Dio speaks of a forced exile (Or. 13); cf. Synesius, Dio. On the matter’s unclear historicity and its repercussions for posterity’s appreciation of Dio, see Swain (2000, 23-24). In support for Dio’s version, see Salmeri (2000, 62); Montiglio (2005, 193-194).

53 Or. 6.72d. Plato was allegedly sold into slavery by Dionysios, ruler of Syrakuse (D. L. 3.19; D. S. 15.7). Musonios, like Apollonios, clashed with Nero (he was convicted to hard labour at the Isthmos, VA 5.19) – as did another philosopher figure from the VA, Demetrios; see Flinterman (1995, 168) for references.

54 See Perry (1964, 6): ‘there are different kinds of martyrs, according to the cause or principle to which they bear witness and for which they (are ready to) die.’ On Jewish martyrdom see Rajak (1997). A well-known example of pagan martyr stories is the so-called Acta Alexandrinorum; these remarkable records of the relationship between Alexandrian Greeks and the Roman administration contain speeches which function as ‘apologies’. See Bowersock (1970, 15), who suggested a literary connection between the Acta (which he placed in ‘the developing tradition of biography’) and the VA. The concept of philosopher-martyr finds a Christian expression in Eusebios’ Martyrs of Palestine, esp. in the life of Pamphylios, who is praised for his Greek paideia, philosophos politeia and askēsis (MP 11); see Urbano (2013, 148-149). See also Alexander (2002, 244-249).

55 On contact and commensurability between Plutarch, Apollonios and Philostratos, see further Van der Stockt (2009), who also identifies similarities of narrative technique between the VA and some Plutarchan Lives (note that both show the influence of historiography; see now Chrysanthou 2017 on Plutarch). Philostratos’ mention of the long-dead Plutarch in Ep. 73 may be read as a metaliterary game, as Hodkinson (2017, 513) notes.

56 Little survives of a Life of the Cynic philosopher Krates (mentioned along with Diogenes in De cap. ex inim. 87a, for a philosophical life that held material wealth in contempt).

57 As amply demonstrated by Duff (1999).

58 See further Pelling (2002, 152-156) on the relationship between the Lives and historical truth; also Hodkinson (2010, 17-21). Plutarch further seems to have been averse to superstition (see Num. 15 and his essay On superstition) – perhaps the reason why he decided to ignore Apollonios, whom tradition branded as a magos? (see Van der Stockt 2009, 207-208).

59 See Frazier (1996, 177-195), Beneker (2012, passim) and Alexiou’s useful note (2007, 243).

60 On this dimension, see the next chapter. Ancient biography more generally takes an interest in sexuality, as a field that illustrates the biographee’s capacity to control passions (a point made by Vout 2014). Note that in Plutarch this interest appears to be limited by historiographical generic constraints (see Duff 1999, 94-97).

61 Examples of this exchange are surveyed in the present book; some are discussed more thoroughly by Schom (2016).

62 Opsomer (2016, 105-113) elaborates on this point. See also Pelling 2004.

63 See Van der Stockt (2009, 206-208) and further Cancik (1977).

64 See de Blois (1997), who sees Plutarch’s depiction of Dio the ‘wise man’ as rather anachronistic and more at home in the imperial period. See also Hägg (2012, 261) and for a dedicated discussion of the role of philosophy in the Lives, Opsomer (2016). Note as further examples of relevant biographees, Cicero, who wished to be called a philosopher (Cic. 32.4), and whose behaviour is described as philosophical; and Cato the Younger, a follower of Stoicism, known for his moral integrity and for the Socratic connotations of his death (see Beck 2014, 470-473).

65 See Pelling (2004).

66 See Woolf (2009); cf. Asmis’ discussion (2011).

67 Note that in Plutarch’s essay De virt. mor., sōphrosynē, though related to natural character, is also linked to education; see Beneker (2012, 196-198) for comment on this seeming inconsistency. Cf. Thoukydides’ reference to Themistokles’ great power of mind as a gift from nature and not resulting from learning (1.138.3).

68 Cf. Plotinos’ search for the right teacher (Porph. Plot. 3). While Porphyry’s biographee expressed dissatisfaction with the search (that is, until he encountered Ammonios Sakkas), Apollonios exhibits no such feelings, but only kindness to the less than perfect Euxenos.

69 Alex. ibid.; cf. VA 1.13.3.

70 This is the implication of the epideictic praise of Alexander as a ‘philosopher’ in De Al. magn. fort., which clearly exaggerates the king’s philosophical virtue. See Opsomer (2016, 113-114).

71 See Bowie (2009a, 27).

72 The group discussed by Clay (1992) includes Nigrinos, a letter containing a dialogue with the philosopher. As noted by Hägg (2012, 284-300), this work lacks ‘the life-story component’ (the Peregrinos is also shaped as a letter, but it largely consists of an account of its hero’s deeds). Schlapbach’s essay (2016, esp. 130-131) discards Alexander (not a philosopher stricto sensu, but uses of the term are flexible in this period, as we have seen).

73 Demonax’s historicity is doubted by Bowie (2009a, 27; cf. Clay 1992, 3410; Schlapbach 2016, 142), but see Hägg (2012, 299) and now Beck (2016, 95- 96), who thinks it likely that we are dealing with a true biography of a real man and not a fictional account. On Alexander and Peregrinos, see the Testimonia gathered by Clay (1992, 3430-3445) and Jones’ relevant chapters (1986, 117-148).

74 Cf. his ironical comments on Pythagoras (Alex. 4) and of course his mockery of Apollonios (Alex. 5, perhaps also Demon. 31). Alexander is very much depicted as a mock version of a Pythagorean sage (see e.g. Schlapbach 2016, 131), and Peregrinos is, like Apollonios, compared to Proteus (Peregr. passim) – but with negative implications (see Hägg 2012, 289-290; 292 n. 19). Contrast the positive mention of him (as Proteus) by Philostratos (VS 2.563). See also Scott (2011, 118-119).

75 Conversely, Peregrinos’ death, for which he seemingly sought Socratic justification, appears rather as a farcical version of the true philosopher’s end (see Hägg 2012, 292).

76 On this man, thought to be an Epicurean and the author of a treatise against sorcery, see Harmon’s note in the Loeb edition.

77 See Gyselinck and Demoen (2009) on this passage’s metafictional character.

78 See below, ch. 5.

79 See Jouanno’s conclusions (2002, 463-465); Nawotka (2017, 13-18) on genre (‘pagan hagiography’).

80 See Jouanno (2002, 197-203, with references).

81 Alexander had previously wished to be received by Zeus as the third mortal (after Dionysos and Herakles, 3.30). An echo of this mythology is found in Arr. An. 7.27.

82 On this recension (more ‘historical’ than later ones, but also encomiastic) see, introductorily, Hägg (2012, 117-134); more extensively, Jouanno (2002, 13-55; 26-28 on the issue of the Romance’s genesis); and now Nawotka (2017, 3; 18-27). References to the Romance here follow this version.

83 See Konstan (2015, 47-48), who discusses the Testament as a ‘subversive biography’ but does not mention Apollonios. The Testament includes no mention of sōphrosynē. On Alexander’s rhetorical ability, see also Jouanno (2002, 206-207).

84 He further stresses the hero’s Greekness (2.3-4; see Nawotka 2017, 151- 154), a central feature also of Apollonios’ character, as we have seen.

85 In the end he marries Roxane, made to be a daughter of Dareios in the Romance (2.20; see Jouanno 2002, 152-153 and Nawotka 2017, 183). Note also his moral castigation of his parents about their marriage (1.22).

86 See Stoneman (2012, xxv); Hägg (2012, 129; 400, with bibliography); cf. Nawotka (2017, 200). For further literary associations between Apollonios and Alexander the Great in the VA, see below, ch. 5.

87 This comparison has been seen as reminiscent of the familiar juxtaposition between philosophers and tyrants, a familiar literary theme (see Reger 2015, 148-151 and the previous chapter); but the Romance’s Alexander is a composite character (see Jouanno’s analysis [2002, 191-243], who includes the dimensions of ‘roi idéal’, ’theios anēr’ and ‘héros à mētis’). The sophistic nature of both Apollonios’ and Alexander’s exchange with the Gymnoi reminds of the philosopher – sophist divide, which Reger does not consider.

88 See Kemezis (2014, 76-77); Morgan (2009, 278).

89 See further Lévy (2009).

90 See Royse (2009) for a classification of Philo’s writings (esp. 45-48 on Lives).

91 On Moses, see McGing (2006), who studied Philo’s reworking of the famous Bible story. He suggests (ibid., 118-119) that the work belongs to the tradition of Greco-Roman biography, though it is ignored in relevant discussions (Hägg [2012, 381] only mentions the work in passing); and that the plot is closer to ‘holy men’ lives than to the political/literary biographies of Nepos, Suetonius or Plutarch. A Moses was also composed by St. Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th c. See also Pervo (1996, 687-688) for some background to the novelistic treatment of Moses and more extensively Tiede (1972, 101-240) for a survey of his depictions in Hellenistic Judaism.

92 Cf. Arr. An. 1.12.2-4, with Robiano (1996, 496); Arrian stresses the need to celebrate Alexander’s exploits, which were yet to receive deserving praise.

93 As McGing notes (2006, 134), ‘we find strands of Greek philosophizing, and Hellenistic ideals of kingship mixed with the holy man in partnership with god.’ Cf. Finn (2009, 34-36) on Moses as a Platonic sage.

94 Mos. 2.288-291 (but the context also refers to his burial). Cf. J. A J 4.326.

95 Swain (2009, 37-38); Perkins (2015, 288-289). See also my Introduction on the probability that Philostratos was familiar with the Christian movement.

96 See Malherbe (1992); Thorsteinsson (2010) and Karamanolis (2013, 217- 219; 221-223; 227) on similarities between Stoic and Christian ethics (note that Origen expressed openness to all aspects of Greek philosophy, except Epicureanism). As noted by Taylor (2006, 78), Jesus (‘son of God’) can be seen as the founder of a philosophical school, and pagan authors often stressed the philosophers’ closeness to the divine.

97 Mt. 12: 22-32. Cf. Tiede (1972, 241-292) on Jesus as a ‘divine man’. See Luck (2006, 21; 57; 62-78) who also collects examples of the theme of magic from the novels, esp. Petronius and Apuleius (cf. Stephens and Winkler 400-408, on the fragmentary Tinouphis). The Apostles of the Apocryphal Acts have been compared to sorcerers (Pervo 1996, 692); but in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, Peter is juxtaposed with Simon ‘the magician’.

98 Note, for example, Christianity’s official condemnation of homosexuality and its, in a sense, more liberal treatment of women, to whom it gave the option of freedom through askēsis, instead of marriage; see Swain (1997, 14-15); Haynes (2003, 34) and more broadly on the origins of Christian sexual morality, Cancik (1976); Brown (1990; 2008, with bibliographical survey, xliv-xlviii), who connects the differences between Christian and pagan sexual ethics with different perceptions of the kosmos and of the role of the human body in it.

99 Cf. Malherbe (2007, 51). See also now Zeitlin (2016, 51): ‘No longer are these three belief systems [i.e. paganism, Judaism and Christianity] to be walled off in their separate domains, or arranged in distinct hierarchy or influence. Rather, they are seen both as sites of contested authority and as a marketplace for the trading of ideas in a multicultural (and polyglot) world that transcends national boundaries.’

100 Cf. Mt. 8: 28. The VA contains two accounts of exorcisms and describes demonic possession as an attack on the nous (3.38.1) or the physis (4.20.3). A Palestinian magician-exorcist features in Luc. Philops. 16.

101 See Malherbe (1985/1986, 193-210); Alexander (2002, 244).

102 Heroes of wise-men narratives enjoy particular immediacy of access to the divine, but the gods’ guidance is also available to other heroes of the novelistic tradition (e.g. through dreams); in the Story of Apollonius king of Tyre, the hero receives divine assistance to solve a riddle (on which Panayotakis 2012, 102).

103 Thus Malherbe (1994, 204). Note Paul’s definition of sōphrosynē in Tit. 1: 8; 1 Tim. 3: 2.

104 See 2 Tim. 1: 7: ‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control (σωφρονισμοῦ).’

105 Cf. the role of God in the philosophy of Epiktetos, who equates him with Nature (the two are identified in Stoic thought); see Long (2002, esp. 142- 147). On paideia, see above, and cf. D. Chr. Or. 13.31-32 (Παιδεὶα instructs the practice of σωφροσὑνη, ανδρεὶα, δικαιοσὑνη); Luc. Somn. 10 (Παιδεὶα promises to adorn the soul with σωφροσὑνη, δικαιοσὑνη, εὑσὲβεια). See Jones (2012, 20-91) on the association of paideia with virtue in the Greek novel; Jones (1986, 149) on its central role in Lucian. See also Duff (1999, 76-77) on the link between paideia and sōphrosynē in Plutarch; his works of course constitute a very rich repository of ideas on ethical education (on which see now Xenophontos 2016). Philo of Alexandria notes the role of instruction in the formation of virtue (Abr. 23-24); cf. the three factors named at Jos. 1: μἀθησις, φὑσις, ασκῃσι.

106 See Wöhrle (2002); Nussbaum (2002); Willms (2011).

107 Con. praec. 144b-d; 145b-f. The man’s leading role is not questioned, but he has a moral and emotional duty to the woman who submits to him (142e). On sōphrosynē as a female virtue, see also De mul. virt. (257e, 261d) and further Wiemer (2005, 435-440). Cf. Aristotle’s distinction between male and female sōphrosynē: the man’s virtue is that of a ‘master’, the woman submits to the control of the man (Pol. 1260a20-24; cf. 1277bl6-25).

108 On Justin Martyr’s representation of Christian chastity, see Knust (2007), who also draws attention to Mt. 19: 12 and Apoc. 14: 4, both of which relevant to male chastity.

109 See e.g. Hid. 4.8.7 (Kanavou 2015, 947, with references). Seneca ascribed pudicitia (chastity) exclusively to women (on which see Reydams-Schils 2005, 168; Gloyn 2017, 89-94).

110 Expressed e.g. in the fragments of Phintys (Περὶ γυναικὸς σωφροσὑνας Stob. 4.23.61) and in Ps.-Melissa, Letter to Kleareta, dated to the early empire (see Malherbe 2007, 61-62).

111 See also above, ch. 1. Cf. Lucian’s satire of a woman’s pointless exposure to philosophy (too lustful to profit from a lecture on chastity!) in Merc. Cond. (with Levick 2002, 144-146).

112 A product of narrative phantasy rather than fact. It is unlikely that Apollonios ever met Musonios (see Dzielska 1986, 185). See also above, ch. 1, and Bowie (1978, 1656-1657): ‘Philostratos has infiltrated his sage into a circle of Stoic philosophers where he has no proper place.’ See also Billault (2000, 94-95) on Musonios’ presence in the VAs narrative as symbolic of the persecution of philosophy.

113 Kittel and Friedrich ε.νν. σῶφρων, σωφρονὲω, σωφροσὑνη; ταπεινὸς etc.

114 Sōphrosynē as ‘chastity’ recurs in early Christian biography, e.g. in the Life of Anthony (ὲξηρνεῖτο τἀς ήδονἀς, καὶ ήγἀπα σωφροσὑνην, 965) a mid-4th c. work thought to bear the influence of the pagan philosophical genre; see also Clark (2000a, 45).

115 On the relation of the Apocryphal Acts to the novel, cf. Cameron (1991, 117- 119), who notes the narratives’ fictionality, but also their supposition that they are ‘in some sense true’ (which also applies to pagan philosophical lives, if not to the romantic novels).

116 On these, see further my next chapter.

117 As noted by Chew (2003), who studied accounts of martyrs of the late 3rd- early 4th c.

118 Cf. Malherbe (2007) on Tim. 2: 9-15.

119 Note also Philostr. VS 7.126, where ευταξὶα and κοσμιὸτης are named as the subordinates of sōphrosynē.

120 For the term, see Pelling (2002, 154); this is a common practice of Plutarch.

121 E.g. the Romance’s Alexander was an accomplished warrior already in his childhood (1.13-14); Diogenes Laertios’ Epikouros started practising philosophy at the age of twelve (10.14); Moses did not need any teachers (Ph. Mos. 1.23-24); cf. Jos. 1, where the virtue of Isaac is associated with φὑσις ‘nature’ (but the virtue of Abraham with learning and of Jacob with practice). See Koskenniemi (2009, 323-324) and De Temmerman (2016, 19) for further examples. On the proleptic nature of childhood features, which foreshadow the sage’s adult self, see Whitmarsh (2007b, 423-424, on Apollonios).

122 But intellectual independence is recommended by Seneca and Epiktetos; the Stoic Chrysippos is said to have disagreed with his teacher Kleanthes (see Reydams-Schils 2015, 132, with references).

123 As do other young prodigies, such as Alexander with regard to Aristotle (Ps.-Callisth. 1.16).

124 Note the repetition (ἀπαιδεὑτως – ὲπαὶδευε – ἀπαὶδευτον) at 6.36.1.

125 See further Perkins (2012).

126 This view of Apollonios is also found in his letters (Epp. Apoll. 26; 65-67). See also above, ch. 1.

127 Apollonios fights off demons in others but is never ‘tempted’ by one himself; but the various (failed) attacks on his virtue suggest an analogue to the biblical notion of temptation (πειρασμὸς). See Kittel and Friedrich s.v. πεῖρα etc. Reception of the Tyanean in modem European literature turned him into a temptation: in Flaubert’s Tentation de saint Antoine, the sage tries (and fails) to tempt St. Anthony away from the his faith in Christ.

128 See Koskenniemi (2009).

129 See Trapp (2007b, 3-4, with references).

130 On whom see Koskenniemi (2009, 325-326); their most enthusiastic mention in the VA is at 8.21, where ‘Apollonians’ from Greece and Ionia are said to have formed ‘a young band, remarkable for its numbers and its zeal for philosophy’. On the level of individuals, no one matches the prominence of Damis (but see Miles and Demoen 2009, 29 on the attention bestowed on Menippos).

131 A passage from Eusebios’ Hierocl. (372) foreshadows the overall much greater prominence of Jesus in history: ‘ [Jesus] even to this day attracts countless numbers from everywhere to his divine teaching; [and] after being attacked for very many years by almost all humankind, one may say, both rulers and subjects, proved himself mightier and far stronger than the unbelievers who cruelly persecuted him.’

132 On the connection between self-control as a form of caring of oneself (a personal philosophy, on which see Sellars [2003, 36-39; 168-169] on Plato and the Stoics) and caring for others, cf. Foucault’s analysis (1986, passim). See further Annas (1993, esp. 249-290).

133 Incidentally, Apollonios is presented to reject hostile emotions (Ep. Apoll. 43). The Gospels’ conception of ‘love’ notably goes further (to include love of enemies); see Kittel and Friedrich s.v. ἀγαπὰω etc. for a discussion of the term’s significance in the Bible and pagan Greek contexts. See also Osborne (1994, 24-51).

134 Apollonios’ tears are rather untypical of his character, which is generally calm and contained and lives up to the Stoic precept of holding back emotions. This does not signify lack of caring (cf. Epict. Diatr. 3.2.4: οὑ δεῖ γἀρ με εἶναι ἀπαθῆ ῶς ἀνδριἀντα), but emotional sovereignty and the ability to control a situation – features routinely displayed by Apollonios. In the Stoic view, emotional self-restraint in all contexts, including bereavement, serves others better than passion. See Reydams-Schils (2005, 80, citing Seneca Clem, and Vit. Beat.); more broadly on Stoic apatheia and ataraxia, Trapp (2007a, 78-82; 84); on emotional metriopatheia in Neopythagorean contexts, Thom (2008). Cf. the destabilising effect of Philolaos’ emotional reaction to the fearful prospect of a clash with Nero, which causes some of Apollonios’ disciples to run, in contrast with the sage’s subsequent calm and rational speech, which successfully prepares the remaining disciples for Rome (VA 4.36-38).

135 Note larchas’ comparison of the kosmos to a ship (such as constructed, incidentally, by Egyptians) governed by god (3.35; references to ships can be highly connotative, see also 4.9).

136 Philanthropy is further ascribed to the Parthian king Vardanes (2.17.2), to the officer Aelianus (7.19) and to the mythical heroes Prometheus and Tantalos (2.3; 3.25.2).

137 See Jouanno (2002, 195-196); Nawotka (2017, 126-127).

138 On allusions to philanthropy in Hellenistic Jewish authors, see McCruden (2008, 70-97), who discusses its role in Christology; cf. Levy (2009, 149; 168) with respect to Philo.

139 Aem. 28.1. See Martin (1961) for a discussion of uses of the term in Plutarch (as ‘generosity’, ‘charity’ and ‘clemency’) and for further examples.

140 Martin (1961, 174; 168-171). See also Frazier (1996, 191; 233-236); Schom (2016, 166) on philanthropy as a desired feature in a ruler.

141 As divine benevolence towards humans; cf. e.g. Ep. Apoll. 75; Plu. Amat. 758a. See also McCruden (2008, 70-82); Osborne (1994, 164-184) on the philanthropy of the Christian god.

142 See Reydams-Schils (2005, 80, with references). The concept – also important to Aristotle – is relevant to philia (see e.g. Osborne 1994, 139- 163) and to the Stoic notion of oikeiōsis (a balancing act between concern for others and the Stoic ideal of apatheia’, see Trapp 2007a, 134-144). See Ferguson (1958, 102-117) for an overview of the development of philanthropia from Greco-Roman into Christian thought.

143 Mediator: e.g. VA 1.15, the Aspendos episode. Healer: e.g. 1.9, from his time at the sanctuary of Asklepios (see also above). Some of Apollonios’ letters (e.g. Ep. Apoll. 13) also express his philanthropy.

144 [οὗτο]ς Ἀπ[ὸ]λλωνος µὲν ὲπῶνυμος, ὲκ Τυἀ- ***cv [vo 5] e | Alpy/ac dvOpwirmv eapsaev dpTtz.aKiac. | [yaia tpo] φpdc Tuavcov TO 5’ erpTupov oupavog auxov | [ysivaO’, o] ncωc. 0vr] Tῶv c & Adoφc>ic novoug. | See IK Tyana 2, 420-422 (Test. 112 = ICilicie 88); Bowie (1978, 1687- 1688); Dzielska (1986, 10-11). Cf. Jones (2006, 56 and n. 24, with bibliography), who notes that it might be as late as the 5th c.

145 Cf. Brown (1971, 92) on the late antique holy man as mediator in times of crisis; St Ephraim’s contribution to the alleviation of the famine of Edessa echoes Apollonios’ role in the Aspendos episode. A late 4th c. story is highly reminiscent of accounts about Christian saints: Apollonios appeared to the emperor Aurelian and stopped him from conquering Tyana (Hist. Aug. [Vopiscus], Aur. 24.2-9; IK Tyana 2, 379-383 [Test. 56]).

146 See further Karamanolis (2013, 223-225), who also notes the similarity in the use of hamartia ‘sin’ in Christian and pagan philosophical contexts (among occurrences of this and cognate terms in the VA, note especially larchas’ teaching that one needs to be free from sin [ἀµαΡτήματαζ in order to approach the divine, 3.42.2).

147 Cf. Pythagoras’ simultaneous appearance at Tauromenium in Sicily and Metapontium in Italy (Porph. VP 27; Iamb. VP 28.134), mentioned also in the VA, where it seems to have inspired the similar miraculous transfer of Apollonios from Smyrna to Ephesos (4.10). Cf. also the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of Aristeas of Prokonnesos, which earned him divine honours (Orig. Cels. 3.26).

148 See Weaver (2004). The Christian apologist Lactantius’ (Inst. 5.3.10) reproach of Apollonios (writing about a century after Philostratos) for attempting to escape punishment in such a way should be set against this context.

149 On this, see further Koskenniemi (2006, 77). Apollonios does pray in other instances (e.g. 1.36.1) and refers to the need of praying (1.11.2; 4.38.1).

150 Cf. Sen. Ep. 41.1: ‘it is foolish to pray for this [i.e. sound understanding] when you can acquire it from yourself.’ See Karamanolis (2013, 224-225), who notes, however, the importance of purification rituals and sacrifice in pagan religious practice, citing Iamb. Myst. 1.3.9. Apollonios’ spiritual path, which brings him close to the divine, includes these stages. See also Frede (1997, 4-5), who contrasts Apollonios’ divinely-inspired philosophy with the preference of his enemy, Euphrates, for a rational philosophy based on nature (174 5.37.1); cf. n. 169 below.

151 Konstan (2015); cf. Konstan and Walsh (2016), who suggest Xenophon’s Sokrates as the origin of the subversive current.

152 Not all would of course merit the characterisation ‘philosophers’.

153 Mt. 22: 17-22; Tert. Apol. 30.4. See also Karamanolis (2013, 231-232); Rhee (2005, 4-5 and passim) on the contradictory ways in which early Christianity related to established culture; further Cooper (1996, 56-62) on the early Christian message of radical celibacy as disruptive to social order.

154 Contemporary philosophy in general does not reject the imperial system, as Trapp’s survey shows (2007a, 226-233).

155 See, more broadly, Trapp (2007a, 249-256) on philosophy’s clash with the ‘mainstream’ (education, administration, culture). Cf. the concept of ‘subversive virtue’, associated by Francis (1995) with philosophers whose radical views and practices could be perceived as a threat to Roman social order. See also Cooper (1996, 58-59).

156 Francis’ analysis (which also considers Peregrinos and Jesus) sets the limits of Apollonios’ unconventionality (1995, 83-129). But cf. Cooper (1996, 62- 67) on the sexual renunciation of heroines of the Apocryphal Acts as a model for emulation for female readership.

157 See further Dillon (2006), who notes the Life of Proklos by Marinos of Neapolis as an exception: Proklos is guided by the divine and exemplifies all virtues of the Neoplatonic canon. Porphyry’s Neoplatonist Life of Plotinos is similarly hagiographical. Incidentally, Damaskios is the first author to use the term βιογραφὶα.

158 See Elsner (2009b, 657-658), who implies that a synkrisis between Jesus and Apollonios is undermined by the fact that they are not quite ‘in the same league’; but despite its ambiguity, Apollonios’ divinity is an important enough feature in his story to suggest a comparandum to Jesus narratives.

159 I do not address here the ideological factors often involved in the use of this term in scholarship, which also affect Christology; but note for instance Koskenniemi (1998, 456-464), who hesitates to associate Apollonios with a Hellenistic ‘divine man’ hypothesis, which he finds theoretically muddled and historically weak; similarly Kemezis (2014, 160-163). I take the term rather to be suggestive of various divine-related features of characterisation (as surveyed e.g. in Billault 2000, 113-126), without probing adherence to one or the other ideological system or to a chronological period. On the concept of the holy man as a continuum, stretching from the classical period to late antiquity, and on the conflated images of theios anēr, philosopher and magician, see Francis (1995, 122-123, with references); Brown (1971) on the function of the late antique holy man; Cox (1983) on the divine sage in Greco-Roman biography.

160 Weber (1964, 841-866).

161 See also Talbert (1978, 1647-1648) for a summary of references to his supernatural conception in the Synoptic Gospels.

162 On the connection between Apollonios and Apollo, also on the level of cult, see Dzielska 1986, 57 (the pun between the two names is further exploited in the Story of Apollonius king of Tyre, see Panayotakis 2012, 90; but the contexts are very different, and a connection between the two namesakes is highly speculative). Pythagoras too was connected with Apollo (in many ways, including being called the ‘Hyperborean Apollo’ by the people of Kroton; for references, see Riedweg 2007, 98-99 and passim). Another god to whom our sage was especially close was Asklepios, in whose sanctuary at Aigai he spent some of his early years (VA 1.8-12; he also visits other Asklepieia: in Pergamon, 4.11; Epidaurus, 4.18; and Crete, 4.34.3-4).

163 Later supporters of Apollonios in the debate against the Christians seem also to have held the view that he was a gifted human being, but not a god: οὑ θεὸν, ἀλλα θεοἳς κεχαρισμὲνον ἀνδρα ήγοὑμεθα (Eus. Hierocl. 371). Note also that his letters, which to an extent reflect non-Philostratean perceptions of the sage, are not as rich in supernatural elements as the VA, and they do not mention any of the sage’s miracles, only his ability to foresee the future.

164 Diogenes Laertios (8.4) mentions successive reincarnations, citing Herakleides Pontikos as his source.

165 E.g. 8.7.14. Cf. the relevant exchange between Apollonios and the Brahmans (3.19).

166 On the importance of Proteus for Apollonios’ characterization, see further Miles (2016).

167 Although coexistent in the imperial period, the relevant traditions are seemingly not of contemporaneous origins (as Koskenniemi notes, 1998, 462-466). Jewish miracle workers are already present in the Old Testament, while their Greek and Roman counterparts seem to gain popularity in the late 2nd c. (two notable examples of the latter are Alexander of Abonuteichos and Peregrinos). We should add the miracles of the rulers (Koskenniemi ibid., 462 n. 34), including Vespasian (Suet. Vesp. 7).

168 Starting with Meyer (1917, 373; 384), who termed the VA a ‘Reiseroman’ and compared it to Gulliver’s Travels, scholars have emphasised the factor of Philostratos’ invention in his shaping of Apollonios (see Dzielska 1986, 185), but miracles may well have had a place in a previous tradition relating to a magos (see Introduction).

169 This suspiciousness lies in the background of Euphrates’ malicious criticism of the sage in his address to Vespasian: ‘avoid the kind [of philosophy] that claims to be inspired (θεοκλυτεῖν). For by misrepresenting the gods, such people prompt us to many foolish schemes.’ (5.37.1) As implied in the VA (7.39.3), sorcery came to be prosecuted under Roman law, see Dickie (2001, 137-152); but not all practice was forbidden (Koskenniemi 2006, 86).

170 See above, n. 26.

171 Cf. Reimer (2002), who argues that miracle-workers such as Apollonios and the Apostles in the Acts, who play a spiritual role characterised by selflessness, gain religious legitimacy (but some of the components assumed by Reimer for this legitimacy, such as itinerancy – a feature of wandering charlatans – are dubious). Cf. also the distinction between low-rank magical knowledge and true wisdom in Heliodoros (3.16, Kalasiris’ voice); see below and further Jones (2005).

172 See Dickie (2001, 131) on the Persian magi and the not so clear-cut distinction in Greek between ‘Persian priest’ and generally ‘sorcerer’; ibid., passim on the association between Pythagoreanism and magic.

173 See Petsalis-Diomidis (2010, 55).

174 Cf. the contrast between ‘miracle worker’ and ‘holy philosopher’ in Cox (1983, 20-30; the latter’s character is based on wisdom and concern for others) and between ‘miracle worker’ and ‘rational philosopher’ in Tiede (1972, 41-42; 23-29 on Apollonios); the origin of these types is hard to trace, but it is right to assume a mixing of forms in ‘divine men’ portraits. See further Dzielska’s chapter on Apollonios’ magic (1986, 85-127) and Whitmarsh (2001, 228-230) on the ambiguity of his status as a practitioner of magic and sophistry, which is intensified by his association with Proteus, who was linked to both. On Apollonios’ miracles, see Koskenniemi (2006), who notes that the borderline between permissible ‘divine skills’ and ‘bad magic’ was too fine (ibid., 76). See also Anderson (1986, 138-139) and Ogden (2007, 462-466). Apollonios appears as a magician on a 4th c. papyrus (Preisendanz 1931, 54 no. Ila).

175 See further Rothe (1988, 119-121).

176 Du Toit (1997, 280); Anderson (1986, 9-10; 124). On Apollonios’ similarities to the sophists, see also Francis (1995, 85). On the relationship between sophistry and philosophy, see also above, ch. 1.

177 See further Tiede (1972, 43-70).

178 See Most (2003, 317-319). Cf. earlier Tiede (1972, 14-23) on shamanistic features in the traditions about Pythagoras and Empedokles, which he contrasts to the rational focus of the ascription of divine traits to other philosophers (ibid., 59-61).

179 Both D. L. (8.4-5) and Porphyry (VP 2) attribute to him some sort of divine origin; the latter also lists his miracles, while references to his superhuman nature (including the famous golden thigh) go back to Aristotle (fr. 191 Rose). See further Swain (1999, 167); Hägg (2012, 365-368). lamblichos offers contradictory views of Pythagoras as human and god (see von Albrecht et al. 2002, 267, 288-289 and passim).

180 See VA 1.1.3 and further Inwood (2001, 58).

181 See further Edwards (2000). Cox (1983, 34-44) introduced a distinction between philosophers viewed as ‘sons of god’ (like Apollonios) and as ‘godlike’ in a metaphorical sense (like Plotinos); as the case of Apollonios shows, literary representations of a philosopher’s ‘divine nature’ are more ambigious and less rigid than Cox allowed.

182 As noted by Elsner (1997, 28). There is the account of the supernatural circumstances of his birth at the beginning of the work (VA 1.4-5); a number of miracles in the course of the story; other people sense superhuman abilities in him – e.g. Tigellinus, prosecuting the sage for impiety towards Nero, ends up feeling that he is fighting a god (θεομαχεῖν, 4.44.4); and the final ascension, on which see also ch. 5.

183 Θειον γὲνος ἐστὶ βροτοῖσιν on this notion, which was popular in Greek thought, see Thom (1995, 207-210), who provides parallels.

184 See further Sfameni Gasparro (2007).

185 The ability to foresee the future and read other people’s minds is a recurrent feature of the ‘holy man’, pagan and Christian; see Mumprecht (1983, 1034) for some examples.

186 This image features also in the Tyanean’s reception. See ThGrF p. 29 §44 (a fragment from the Tübingen Theosophy, a 5th c. Christian work, which mentions Apollonios, together with Moses, as having come close to God δι’ ὲπιμελεὶας βὶου); see also Speyer (1974, 62).

187 See North (1966, 193-195). The idea of ὸμοὶωσις θεω, which is rooted in Plato (Tht. 176b-c), was adopted by the Stoa and the Garden (see Willms 2011/2012, 427-433). Philo too linked the virtuous life with the notion of kinship with God (Lévy 2009, 148-149). According to larchas, the Indian Wise Men see themselves as ‘gods’ because they are good men (VA 3.18; cf. Pl. Men. 99d, where the very term theios anēr is used, and D. L. 6.51: Τοὺς ὰγαθοὺς ἂνδρας θεῶν εὶκόνας εἶναι. ‘Good men he called images of the gods’, of Diogenes the Cynic).

188 Note Musonios’ use of sōphrōn for god (and his view of a sbphrdn king as godlike, Diatr. 8.5). Cf. Seneca’s words at Const, sap. 6.8: ‘ [the perfect person is] full of virtues human and divine, can lose nothing. His goods are girt by strong and insurmountable defenses... The walls which guard the wise man are safe from both flame and assault, they provide no means of entrance, are lofty, impregnable, godlike.’ See Malherbe (1978, 45-51) for a concise presentation of the relevant views, on the occasion of discussing the pseudo-Heraclitean epistles (probably of imperial date). In Ep. 4, the author makes an explicit connection between human virtue and deification: Herakles was bom human, but his virtue made him a god; Herakleitos too has triumphed over vice, which means he has risen above human status.

189 See Talbert (1978, 1627 and n. 37 for further references). Cf. Max. Tyr. Or. 38 on virtue as deriving from god (with Trapp 1997, 298-305).

190 For a summary of the debate, see Van Uytfanghe (2009, 339-342), who follows Du Toit in interpreting Apollonios divinity as a feature of sophia and not in an ontological sense; Kemezis (2014, 160-163).

191 See further IK Tyana 1, 80; 2, passim’, Dzielska (1986, 51-84). See also Morgan (2009).

192 Talbert (1978, 1632-1635) stressed the common use of mythical motifs in the lives of rulers and in philosophical biographies, citing the case of Augustus, who was styled as a son of Apollo and was rumoured to have ascended to heaven (D. C.; Suet. Aug.). There were also satirical takes (e.g. Sen. Apocol.). Cf. the claim of the VA’s Domitian to be the son of Athena (7.24; he may also have enjoyed being called ‘god’, 8.4); see Jones (1992, 100; 108-109).

193 The seeds of this may be in VA 4.10; see Dzielska (1986, 79). On the use of Herakles in early Christianity, see Malherbe (1986, 175, with references). Note also that Apollonios’ home province, Kappadokia, which had become christianised by the late 4th c., was home to prominent church fathers and became a centre of Christian monasticism.

194 Cf. Flinterman (2009, 163-165; 170-175). Note in comparison that early in Philostr. Her. (1-2), the vinedresser, who has little regard for money and great knowledge of ancient stories, admits to being a philosopher thanks to Protesilaos (who also makes him adopt simpler clothes than his original Ionian outfit, 4.8-9); towards the end of the dialogue the Phoinikian concludes that his interlocutor’s wisdom emerges from his good relationship with the gods (58).

195 Clairvoyance as a feature of the ‘divine philosopher’ appears in late antiquity; apart from Apollonios, the skill is also attributed to Eunapios’ Sosipatra, who is characterised as ‘divine’. See further Johnston (2012, 106- 112).

196 On this passage, see also above, ch. 1. Miles (2016, 150) has recently described the ambiguity of Apollonios’ ontological status as intended.

197 On Alexander as theios anēr, see Jouanno (2002, 197-203), who notes that this dimension ‘n’apparait... que par eclipse’, so that the hero does not seem too remote to readers.

198 Each novel mentions a central divinity and cult: of Aphrodite (Chariton), Artemis (Xenophon Ephesios), Dionysos (Longos).

199 Baumbach (2008). See also Montiglio (2005, 238 and n. 57, with bibliography).

200 See further Slaveva-Griffin (2015), who sees in her a Neoplatonic allegory of the divine.

201 Slaveva-Griffin (ibid., 319).

202 On Heliodoros’ holy men, see also Hunter (1998, 56-59).

203 E.g. Ach. Tat. 3.17.6 (the ‘magician’ Menelaos); Hid. 4.7.13; 6.14-15 (γοητεὶα/µαγγανεὶα); Chariton 5.9.4 (Persian magi). On the treatment of magic in (and outside of) the novelistic ‘canon’, see Ruiz-Montero (2007) and cf. n. 97 above.

204 Note that Kalasiris, as προφήτης, foresees his own death (Hid. 7.11.3-4); and Charikleia is in possession of a ring (the pantarbe) that protects her from fire (8.9-11; see Jones 2005, 92-93). Her miraculous immunity, which earns her the malicious accusation of sorcery, is connected in the narrative with her virtue and purity and with the gods’ favour (cf. Habrokomes’ escape from crucifixion and fire with divine help, X. Eph. 4.2). On the light-hearted associations between Leucippe and magic in Ach. Tat., see Baker (2016).

205 On this, see also Feuillâtre (1966, 128-132), who was cautious about assuming a Neopythagorean background for Heliodoros. On the possibility that Heliodoros may have used the VA for his own composition, see Reardon (1971, 334 n. 57; he may also have drawn on the Heroikos and the Eikones, see Futre Pinheiro 2014, 82). Bowie (1994, 195) allows for the reverse, that Philostratos’ narrative responds to the image of Ethiopia in Heliodoros (if an earlier date for him is accepted). Cf. Futre Pinheiro (2014, 77), who claims that the ‘coincidences’ between the VA and Heliodoros’ novel may be used to suggest a terminus post quem for the latter.

206 Despite the moral decline implied for Athens, as reflected in Knemon’s story in Books 1 and 2; see also above, ch. 1.

207 See above, ch. 1. Note also that Apollo, the god behind Apollonios’ name, is identified with Helios in the Aithiopika (1.36.3).

208 Note the testimony of the church historian Sokrates Scholastikos (HE 5.22), that Heliodoros introduced the custom of clerical celibacy in Thessaly. But cf. the author’s sphragis at the end of the novel, which suggests that he may have been a follower of the Sun God (τῶν ἀφ’ ·Ηλὶου γὲνος... ʽΗλιόδωρος); see Futre Pinheiro (2014, 78). See also Ramelli (2001, 125-142; 2009b, 158- 165) on the possibility of Christian influence on the Aithiopika.

209 On the paratextual elements of the VA’s ending, of. Fusillo (1997, 211-213), who collected examples from novelistic narratives (but does not mention the VA).

210 There is no description of the manner of the hero’s physical death. In avoiding to give his hero a martyr’s death, the narrator may have been influenced by the derogatory treatment of Christ’s crucifixion in pagan philosophy (see e.g. Cook 2014, 274-281).

211 See Pelling’s study (1997).

212 Such as is expressed by the narrator in Thes. 1.5: εἴη µὲν οὗν ἡμῖν ὲκκαθαιρὸμενον λὸγφ τὸ µυθῶδες ὐπακοῦσαι καὶ λαβεν ὶστορὶας δψικ ‘May I therefore succeed in purifying Fable, making her submit to reason and take on the semblance of History.’

213 On these lines, see further Thom (1995, 223-228) who notes the analogy with Empedokles’ claim to immortality (fr. 112, 4-5 DK). A memorable satire of this notion of ‘ascension’ is found in Lucian (Peregr. 39).

214 See Panayotakis (2012, 130). In the novelistic tradition, the hero of the Story of Apollonius king of Tyre vanishes miraculously from Antioch early in the novel and is presumed to obtain divine status. While the Gospels’ Jesus famously returned in the flesh (Lk 24: 36-43; Jn 20: 24), the VA’s reference to Apollonios’ ‘transfiguration’ (µεταβολή, 8.31.1) is vague as to the exact form of the sage’s post-mortem existence and evokes the traditional Greek philosophical belief in the immortality of the soul. Note that before his final departure from the world, Apollonios had vanished from the emperor’s court in a similar supernatural manner (VA 8.8).

215 On ‘openness’ and ‘closeness’, see Fusillo (1997); Kanavou (2015) on the difficulties of the ending of Chariton’s novel (with more general reference to novelistic endings); Grethlein (2016, 326) on the necessity of happy endings.

216 See e.g. Seddon (2005, passim) on the links between virtue and happiness in Stoic thought, especially in Epiktetos; cf. Jedan (2009, 110-118) on the philosopher’s being close to the divine as tantamount to being happy. For Stoics and Platonists, rational virtue guarantees happiness, which is perceived as a state of fulfillment of man’s higher nature (akin to the divine), which is his intellect (Trapp 2007a, 28-36). See further Annas’ book-length study (1993) of the concept of happiness in ancient ethics.

217 The notion of ‘conversion’ as entry into a philosophical school goes back to Nock (1933, 164-186). Conversion is a frequent topic in philosophical lives (see Cancik’s useful discussion, 1998) and undercuts tales that feature a marked change in the protagonist’s religious piety (Lipsett 2011). Cf. Hahn (1989, 59-60) on philosophical conversion and the VA (the work’s sophistic style and occasional playfulness do not preclude a serious philosophical undercurrent, despite Hägg 2012, 320).

218 As Achilles Tatios’ Kleitophon implies: εἴ τις ἂρα ἔστω ἀνδρὸς παρθενὶα... ‘if there be any such thing as virginity among us men.’ (8.5.7)

219 ‘A reform for men?’; thus Johne (1996, 159). See Chew (2015) on conversion in the novel. Bird (2016) argues for a metaliterary sōphrosynē that regulates the erotic impetus in readers of the romances (she also reasonably posits that readers must appreciate this virtue to begin with, in order to fully empathise with romantic protagonists). On the ‘normative’ function of the ancient novel’s erotics and its engagement of reader-response, see also Goldhill’s discussion of Longos’ novel (1995, 1-45). Cf. Cameron (1991, 115-116) on the role of Christian narratives of asceticism in shaping Christian lives.

220 His clairvoyance submits to them, while wizards try to alter fate (5.12); he lectures on them in Smyrna, noting that not even a tyrant can guide their hand (7.9) – a fact proven in the way Domitian meets his end – and refers to them again at the end of his apology (8.7.48-49), thus underlining their significance.

221 On the Stoic coupling of the topics of providence and fate in this period, see Bobzien (1998, 5; 13; 45-47). But an individual’s ‘journey’ through life surely also involves personal initiative. See Trapp (2007a, 129-130), with comment on the combination of fate and freedom in Stoic thought, and further Bobzien (1998).

222 Note that in the VA’s context, there is no hint of a distinction between ‘virtuous’ and ‘non-virtuous’ souls at the journey’s end, or of a notion of ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’, such as we find in other pagan contexts (already in Pl. Grg., Phd., R.) and in early Christian thought; see Karamanolis (2013, 229-230). Additionally, Apollonios’ poem, which sketches the soul’s post-mortem state, is silent about metempsychosis (as is Ep. Apoll. 58); see Schirren (2005, 309-312), who discerns in these verses an Epicurean ring. The soul’s mingling ‘with light air’ in the poem may be paralleled with the ‘light substance’ which it acquires after death in the philosophical account of Ep. Apoll. 58.

223 See below, chs 4 and 5. On knowledge of the human nature and its importance for forming the right expectations from the future, cf. Carm. Aur. 49-53 with Thom (1995, 180-194). On ideas of self-advancement expressed by the different philosophical schools, see Trapp (2007a, 28-62). Cf. the conception of self-knowledge as the highest form of knowledge and as a condition for knowing God in Clem. Al. Paed. 3.1.1.

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