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Philostratros’ Life of Apollonios of Tyana and its Literary Context

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Nikoletta Kanavou

Chapter 4: Journeys of Knowledge

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I. Travel and the Wise Man

Μετἀ δὲ ταῦτα λογισμὸν ὲαυτφ διδοὑς αποδημὶας μεὶζονος, ἐνθυμεῖται τὸ Ινδικὸν ἔθνος καὶ τοὐς ὲν αὐτῷ σοφοὑς, όἴ λὲγονται Βραχµᾶνἐς τε καὶ ·Υρκἀνιοι εἶναι, προσήκειν φήσας νὲω ἀνδρὶ ἀποδημεῖν τε καὶ ὑπερορὶφ αἴρεσθαι. Εὕρημα δὲ τοὑς μἀγους ἐποιεῖτο, οἴ Βαβυλῶνα καὶ Σοῦσα οὶκοῦσι, καὶ γἀρ ἂν καὶ τἀ ὲκεὶνων διαμαθεἳν ὸδφ χρῶμενος. Καὶ προ τοὑς ὸμιλητἀς ἑπτἀ ὄντας ἀνἑφηνε τἡν γνῶμην. Πειρωμὲνων δὲ αὐτῶν ξυμβουλεὑειν ἔτερα, εἴ πῃ ἀφελχθεὶη τῆς όρμῆς ταὑτης, ʽἐγὼ μἐν θεοὺς’ ἔφη Συμβοὑλους πεποὶημαι καὶ τἀ δεδογμὲνα εἔρηκα, ὑμῶν δὲ βἀσανον ὲποιοὑμην, εὶ πρὸς ἂπερ ὲγῶ ὲρρωσθε· ὲπεὶ τοὶνυν μαλακῶς ἔχετε, ὐμεῖς μὲν ὑγιαὶνετε’ ἔφη καὶ φιλοσοφεὶτε· ὲμοὶ δὲ βαδιστὲα, οἳ σοφὶα τε καὶ δαὶμων με ἂγει.’ Ταῦτα είπὼν ὲξελαὑνει τῆς Ἀντιὸχειας μετἀ δυοῖν θεραπὸντοιν, οἴπερ αὑτω πατρικῶ ἢστην, ὸ μὲν ὲς τἀχος γρἀφων, ὸ δὲ ὲς κἀλλος.

After this he [i.e. Apollonios] pondered making a great journey, and decided on the country of India and the wise men there called Brahmans and Hyrcanians. He said that a young man ought to travel and be off to foreign parts. He considered the Magi that live in Babylon and Susa an extra dividend, for he would learn their ways too in the course of his journey. When he revealed his decision to his disciples, who were seven in number, they tried to urge some other plan in the hope of diverting him from this resolution. ‘I’, he replied, ‘have taken advice from the gods, and have told you my decision. I was testing you to see if you had the same strength as I do. But since you are weak, I wish you health and love of knowledge, but I must go where wisdom (sophia) and my guardian spirit (daimori) lead me.’ Saying this, he left Antioch with two family servants, of whom one was a shorthand writer and the other a calligrapher. (VA 1.18)

  • 1 See further IK Tyana 2, 495-499 (‘Die in den Testimonia zusammengestellten Zeugnisse fur Tyana ließ (...)
  • 2 On rhetors and philosophers as educators of the young in the Greco-Roman period, see e.g. Trapp (20 (...)
  • 3 ήσυχὶα τε πρὸσφορος τω φιλοσοφήσοντι. Hēsychia is associated with sōphrosynē; see ch. 2. Spending t (...)
  • 4 On Apollonios’ link to Tarsos, most famous as the birthplace of the Apostle Paul, cf. Dzielska (198 (...)

1Apollonios’ decision to ‘make a greater journey’ comes early in the narrative, halfway through the very first Book. By that time he had already left his birthplace, Tyana (in Kappadokia, near the Kilikian Gates). Tyana was Kappadokia’s second largest city in the Hellenistic period (after Kaisareia), though apparently rather insignificant before it was made famous through its association with the sage (Strabo calls it polisma ‘little town’, 12.2.7),1 a fact that confirms Apollonios’ own assertion that the movement of ‘good men’ makes their city of origin larger in proportion (4.7). According to the narrator, Apollonios’ father – in accordance with social habit – arranged for the young sage, who had already displayed extraordinary intellectual gifts (1.7.1), to study with a Phoinikian rhetor, Euthydemos, in Tarsos;2 Apollonios was at the time only fourteen years of age. Tarsos was Kilikia’s capital city, particularly rich in cultural life and home to numerous philosophers and schools, as Strabo reports (14.5). It is then Apollonios himself, probably still a teenager, who decided to move with his teacher to Aigai (also in Kilikia), a place he considered to be more congenial to philosophy than Tarsos for its quietness (hēsychia).3 The presumably young and booming population was probably responsible for the ‘frivolity’ of Tarsos, which the sage, older and more mature than his years, found so bothersome (1.7.1, cf. 6.34.1).4 He had a second teacher at Aigai, Euxenos, who taught him Pythagoreanism, but the pupil soon surpassed the teacher (who was not a very good man or philosopher to begin with) in his Pythagorean qualities. The narrative conveys this with a vivid simile, taken from the natural world:

ὸ δὲ, ὥσπερ οὶ νὲοι των ἀετῶν ὲν ἀπαλῶ μὲν τῶ πτερῷ παραπὲτονται το γειναμὲνοις αὑτοὑς μελετῶμενοι ὑπ’ αὑτῶν τήν πτήσιν, ὲπειδἀν δὲ αἔρεσθαι δυνηθῶσιν, ὑπερπὲτονται τοὑς γονὲας ἂλλως τε κἂν λὶχνους ασθωνται καὶ κνὶσης ἴνεκα πρδ τή γῃ πετομὲνους...

But Apollonius was like those young eagles with wings still underdeveloped that fly beside their parents as they practice flight under their guidance; when they are able to soar they rise higher than their parents, especially if they see them to be gluttons that keep near the ground to gorge themselves. (174 1.7.3)

  • 5 E. fr. 1047 TGrF 5 (Kannicht).
  • 6 Maximos’ work should cover the early part of Apollonios’ biography (possibly up to 1.16). If real, (...)

2This flying higher than his parents, an obvious metaphor for Apollonios’ spiritual superiority both to his family and his teachers, may be felt to foreshadow the young sage’s future intrepid journeys. After all, ‘just as the whole heaven is open to an eagle’s crossing, so the whole earth is his fatherland to a man of nobility.’5 He would not stay in Aigai for much longer. He was probably not much older than twenty (1.13) when he took the Pythagorean vow of silence for five years (1.14.2), which he spent in Pamphylia and Kilikia (1.15). He then visited Antioch the Great, where he made his debut as public teacher, lecturing on the subject of gods (1.16). The VA’s narrator names Maximos of Aigai as his source for these early journeys;6 the travels that follow were recorded by ‘Damis’.

  • 7 The Hyrkanians do not appear again in the story; see Swain’s relevant remark (1999, 186).
  • 8 This view of India goes back to the Achaimenid period (when it attracted Greek interest as a Persia (...)
  • 9 Dio Chrysostom claims to have followed Delphic advice to travel to the end of the earth (Or. 13.9). (...)
  • 10 Cf. e.g. the portent of the slain lioness that reveals the length of the sage’s stay in Babylon (1. (...)

3The narrator of the VA develops the theme of travel within a well-organised literary scheme. As implied already, Apollonios’ early propensity to geographical movement serves as preparation for the greater voyage to follow. Indeed, after the account of the sage’s early mobility, the announcement of the new, longer trip should not surprise the reader. He chooses India because of its wise men, the Brahmans and Hyrkanians.7 India had a rooted presence in the Roman imagination as a land of holiness, wisdom and wonders, which made it quite an appropriate choice as the main destination for Philostratos’ wisdom-seeking hero and as the location of a substantial segment of the VA’s narrative.8 The purpose of the journey is implied in Apollonios’ expectation that he will learn from the Magi: his purpose is to accumulate (more) wisdom, much as his juvenile sojourns in Tarsos and Aigai served the purposes of his education. Apollonios states that his decision to travel was supported by divine advice (‘I... have taken advice from the gods’, 1.18), which also guided similar decisions by other philosophers.9 At the same time, the gods’ involvement in this vital stage of Apollonios’ life course, and their intervention during his travels in the form of portents,10 is another manifestation of his proximity to them, which was made possible, as we have already seen, by his sōphrosynē.

  • 11 Clem. Al. Strom. 1.15.69-70; he cites Alexander Polyhistor as his source.
  • 12 VP 4.18-19. See further Zhmud (2012, 83-84).
  • 13 Empedokles claims, however, almost in a protosophistic way, that he visited ‘cities’ (fr. 112, 13 D (...)
  • 14 Cf. Pl. Ep. 7. The treatment of travel in Plato’s work is complex and ambivalent. His teacher, Sokr (...)
  • 15 Like Empedokles, Demokritos claims to have wandered (‘over most of the earth’, fr. 299, 6-8 DK). Se (...)

4Travel, a feature that distinctly marks the lifestyle of orators and sophists in the empire, is also a common theme in literature about philosophers’ lives. But while orators and sophists furthered their careers by moving across cities, philosophers embarked on remote journeys in pursuit of wisdom. The biographical tradition about the life of Pythagoras, the closest model of the Philostratean Apollonios, refers to journeys made by that sage to most of the known world: Egypt, the Phoinikians, the Babylonians, the Syrians, the Jews, the Arabs, the Ethiopians, the Indians, the Iberians, and the Thrakians. Pythagoras is also said to have kept company with the Magi of Persia, the Celtic Druids and the Brahmans,11 and to have both taught philosophy during his travels and studied it, as is reported, for example, by lamblichos in relation to the philosopher’s stay in Egypt.12 The VA’s narrator implies that Empedokles too had travelled to the Magi (1.2.1), a datum which is not reported elsewhere,13 and mentions Plato’s (historically doubted) trip to Egypt in the same context. This trip is also mentioned by Diogenes Laertios in his biographical account of Plato (cf. Strabo 17.29), which further recounts the philosopher’s visit to Magna Graecia.14 Cicero mentions Plato together with Pythagoras and Demokritos,15 who ‘in their passion for learning travelled through the remotest parts of the earth’ (On ends 5.19).

  • 16 Sol. 25.26-28.6; Lyc. 4.1.
  • 17 De def. or. 410a. See Harland (2011, 130).
  • 18 On Aisop and Alexander, see also chs 2 and 5.

5Imperial literature provides further, varied examples of philosophical travel. Porphyry in his biography of Plotinos has his sage join the expedition of the emperor Gordian in the hope of coming in contact with Persian and Indian philosophy (Life of Plotinos 3.13-21). In Plutarchan biographies of such wise men as Solon and the lawgiver Lykourgos, travel is mentioned as an experience that enriches the knowledge and wisdom of his respective subjects.16 Plutarch mentions in the Morals the less-known Kleombrotos as a holy man who travels, like Apollonios, in search of higher divine truths.17 The heroes of popular biographies also travel far and wide: the Alexander romance is no philosophical life, but the hero is endowed with wise-man features that unfold in a narrative of travels, including a visit to the wise Brahmans; and the adventures of Aisop in his novelistic bios bring him to Babylon and Nektanebo’s Egypt, where he acts as wise adviser.18

  • 19 The broad distinction proposed by Montiglio (2005, 100-101) between ‘wise men’ who display superior (...)

6During his travels, Apollonios, just like his model Pythagoras and other philosophical travellers, both accumulates knowledge and serves as a source of wisdom. According to the VA’s narrator, his hero travelled ‘as a student and the subject of study’ (σπουδἀζοντἀ τε καὶ σπουδαζὸμενον, 6.35.1). Characteristically, he tells the Gymnosophists that he learned from the Indians, whom he calls his ‘teachers’ (διδἀσκαλοι) and that he instills this knowledge in others (διδἀσκων), promising also to teach what he will learn from the Gymnoi, in person (to the Greeks) or by letter (to the Indians, 6.18).19

  • 20 See Petzke (1970, 79-93); he notes the doubtful historicity of both Apollonios’ and Jesus’ travels (...)
  • 21 Van den Bosch (2001). See also Pervo (2014passim).

7Apollonios’ divine motivation and the role of teacher, which he assumes on several occasions during his voyage, shares similarities with the role of wise men from the Christian tradition, above all the role of Jesus (whose ministry, placed around Galilee and Jerusalem, is geographically more limited than Apollonios’ travels) and his Apostles, most famously Paul and his missionary journeys.20 Relevant texts include the canonical New Testament, but also apocryphal literature; for instance, St. Thomas in the Acts of Thomas (early third century) travels on an evangelic mission as far away as India (albeit reluctantly).21 During his travels, Apollonios acquires a following in numerous cities that leads to the establishment of cults in his honour. Similarly, Paul’s and the other Apostles’ mobility lays the foundations for the worship of Jesus (they famously also taught by letters). Despite the differences in the religious framework, mobility is in both cases connected with the preaching of the gospel of a virtuous life. Both Apollonios and the Christian travellers are presented as being very conscious of this missionary aim, while Apollonios’ numerous self-validating statements are comparable to such a claim as made by Paul: ‘ I speak words of truth and sōphrosynē’ (Acts 26: 25).

  • 22 See Montiglio (2013, 216-217); Pervo (1996). Travel is also essential in the Ps.-Clementines, one o (...)

8As mentioned already, Apollonios as a traveller progresses in wisdom. Christian novelistic narratives also exploit travel as a metaphor for spiritual progression. In the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, Polyxena goes through a series of travel adventures, which see her progress to a higher morality culminating in the Christian faith, while the Acts of Paul of Thekla describe the transformation of Thekla, who follows Paul in his travels, into an evangelist.22 Indeed, the Christian reception of the VA noticed the value of the journeys narrated in this work for the main character’s spiritual development. In the late fourth century, St. Jerome, summarising Philostratos’ work in one of his letters (53, To Paulinus), points out the importance of travel for the increase of the sage’s wisdom.

Invenit ille vir ubique quod disceret: et semper proficens, semper se melior fieret.

Everywhere he found something to learn, and as he was always going to new places, he became constantly wiser and better.

II. Wise Travellers, Romantic Adventurers

  • 23 Iamb. VP 2.11-12.

9Such is the background of the relationship between wisdom-focused narratives and the motif of travel. Now it is striking that the passage cited at the beginning of this chapter does not allude to this background, and instead only mentions young age as an appropriate time for travelling. Pythagoras too travelled from his youth,23 but Philostratos makes no direct connection between his hero and Pythagoras in this context, or with any other sophoi or philosophers. Apollonios is conversely said to have stressed the importance of travel generally ‘for young men’.

  • 24 See e.g. Pretzier (2007a, 37-38) on mobility as an important factor in acquiring higher (especially (...)
  • 25 India is present in the romantic novels nevertheless: Xenophon’s heroine, Anthia, is in risk of bei (...)

10What ‘young men’ was Apollonios (or Philostratos) thinking of here? Young males in the Greco-Roman period were expected to travel to places like Athens and Rome, or to Asia Minor cities, where good education was on offer;24 but India, which was also visited by Pythagoras according to his biographers, is by no means a young man’s standard destination. There is, however, another, distinct category of travellers that leaps to mind: the young novelistic heroes. These are indeed the ‘young men’ who travel by default; they do not make it as far as India,25 but like Apollonios, they find themselves on long, exciting journeys early on in their stories, and they often end up in remote Eastern locations.

  • 26 See Romm (2008) for an overview of the theme and for a useful distinction between ‘outward-moving, (...)
  • 27 Cf. Elsner (1997, 32-34) on Rome as the tyrannical centre, from which the periphery offers refuge. (...)
  • 28 Cf. e.g. the incredible description of Indian snakes in the VA (3.7.2), part of a longer account of (...)
  • 29 See e.g. Elsner (1997, 25, with bibliography); Koskenniemi (2006, 73-74); Romm (2008, 112).

11Travel has long been recognised as a generic feature of the ancient novel. Spatial movement in the novels can range from within the limits of the familiar Greek environment to an extremely broad geographical spectrum, including less familiar, foreign destinations; the latter are of central importance to the bulk of both the romantic novelistic plots and the VA.26 Relevant scholarly studies are rich and versatile. A recent tendency – related to the connection between travel and wisdom that concerns us in this chapter – is to analyse the ‘foreignness’ of travel especially in the later (sophistic) novels and the VA, and to argue that this ‘foreignness’ has a political significance that reaffirms Hellenic identity in the multi-ethnic Roman (and later Christian) world. In the novels, this is done by means of introducing the different, and sometimes indeed barbaric ‘other’, and setting this ‘otherness’ against classical ideas and models of Greekness. The VA occasionally brings forward uncultured barbarians (such as the inhabitants of certain Spanish cities, who had no knowledge of the Olympic games, tragedy or the lyre, and who are said to have reacted with terror to a tragic actor’s performance, 6.8-9). But the ‘other’ is clearly not always barbaric: the high praise of Indian culture and philosophy encountered by the Tyanean sage in the course of his journey may be felt to blur the boundaries between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ in the VA (Indian ‘periphery’ plays a major part in the life of Philostratos’ Apollonios and contributes to his wisdom, thus also forms part of the VA’s ideological ‘centre’).27 But whereas cultural ideals and politics were probably included in the authors’ agenda, novelists and authors of fictitious biographies primarily aimed at producing attractive narratives: the main function of the travel motif was to impress readers by adding colour, variety and exoticism to the stories. The exotic Eastern world (especially Egypt) clearly held a particular appeal to readers, and novelistic authors capitalised on it. Narratives of exotic travels, which often contained paradoxographical elements, were mocked by Lucian in his True History, but they were no doubt popular, and their appeal is felt both in the romantic novels and in the VA, which include quaint descriptions and encounters during travel.28 Indeed scholars seeking to trace the roots of the theme, in particular of its latter, ‘exotic’ manifestation, refer to a long narrative tradition which goes back to Herodotos and even the Odyssey, was still active in the Hellenistic period and apparently popular in the second sophistic.29

  • 30 See Montiglio (2005, 221-222); Casson (1974, 115-196).
  • 31 A recent analysis of papyrological data from Roman Egypt suggests that long-distance movement was u (...)

12Excessive travel, of the type undertaken by novelistic characters, is a signpost of their fictionality. The realities of travel in the Greco-Roman period may have allowed an increase in mobility,30 but still far from recommended long foreign journeys as a safe experience (Apollonios is praised by the VA’s narrator for the courage which he showed in travelling through barbaric lands, 1.20.3), and successful completion of a dangerous, faraway journey is part of the stuff of which novelistic heroes are made. This is especially true for heroines, since in reality women were far less likely to embark on long, complex and dangerous journeys than men.31 The merits of travel as a plot element further encompass characterisation. Travel adventures play a vital part in the emergence of the romantic men and women of the Greek novel as memorable literary characters, who are characterised – as we shall see below – not just by their passions, but also by good sense, boldness and wisdom. And it is largely by means of travel stories that the narrator of the VA transforms his hero from a local wonder-worker, historically perhaps only relevant to the Eastern provinces of the Roman empire, to a semi-divine wise man of mythic dimensions and world-wide fame.

  • 32 Pirates do appear in Apollonios’ account of his first incarnation: as the captain of an Egyptian sh (...)
  • 33 As Billault notes (2000, 111); cf. Montiglio (2005, 217).
  • 34 Morgan (2007b, 141).
  • 35 Probably the Syrian Hierapolis (and not Nineveh), see Jones (2001, 187- 190).

13It is no wonder that this mythic man is untouched by the important side effects of novelistic travel: shipwrecks and pirates. The sage’s sea travels are not threatened by pirates;32 Apollonios is further deemed superior to storm (4.13.1) and is able to predict shipwrecks and thus avoid them and also protect his friends (5.18; 7.41).33 An additional major point of difference between the VA and the Greek romance is that in the latter, succumbing to generic requirements, travel is built around the erotic theme: love provides cause, motive and telos for the heroes’ wanderings. Morgan has emphasised the narratological significance of travel in the novel, as a generator of narrative forms rather than content.34 The theme of travel indeed provides material for filling a formulaic structure of episodes that constitute the frame of the romantic story (‘exile and return’, ‘quest’, usually for a person). In the VA, travel is associated with episodic wisdom narrative, which serves the story’s main interest in praising Apollonios’ virtue. Travel also has a meta-narrative function. In the novel of Achilles Tatios, there is a connection between travel and how Kleitophon’s story becomes known. At the beginning of the novel, the plot’s narrative setting places Kleitophon in Sidon, away from his home city; he is looking at a pictorial journey over sea (the painting of Europa, who travels from Phoinike on the back of the bull-Zeus), meets a stranger (who is newly arrived after a dangerous sea voyage), and is about to tell him the travel-and-adventure story that forms the novel’s basic plot. This internal narrattee is presented as the novel’s future author; it is thus thanks to travel (of both narrator/hero and narratee/author) that the story becomes known in the first place and gets written down. Travel has a similar meta-narrative value in the VA, where it is an important factor in the creation of a written record of Apollonios’ story. Damis, the most important source for Apollonios’ life, on whose writings Philostratos claims to rely, enters the picture once the sage has already begun his journey. He importantly – and plausibly, if he is to cover the full length of the hero’s adventures – meets Apollonios early in his journey, but not before he arrives in Old Ninos (1.19).35 It is thus Apollonios’ journey itself that has provided the travel-story with its best source.

  • 36 On Apollonios as a pilgrim, see Elsner (1997, 25-28). On Greek pilgrimage literature, see further R (...)
  • 37 A similar sense is repeated two more times: ‘a festival... attracts and assembles the most virtuous (...)
  • 38 Lucian’s Syr. D. offers an account of a pilgrimage to the Syrian Hierapolis (see Lightfoot 2003, pa (...)
  • 39 On the vivid representation of the pilgrims’ arrival at Delphi and the rich imagery of the processi (...)

14A special form of travel narrative used by Philostratos in the VA is associated with a type of religious practice, which is broadly termed as pilgrimage. In the course of Book 4, Apollonios visits a number of sanctuaries and temples in Asia Minor and the Aigean islands, including Crete; this pattern is continued during his visit to Egypt (5.43.3).36 At one point in the narrative of Apollonios’ stay at Olympia, the sage spells out the importance of pilgrimage for the essence of a religious festival: ‘a festival (πανήγυρις) incorporates sacred enclosures, sanctuaries, walkways, a stage, and every race of humanity, some from nearby, others from abroad and across the sea.’ (8.18.1)37 This remark reflects the religious background on which literary accounts of pilgrimage draw. Pilgrimage accounts clearly constituted a popular narrative trope, as suggested by their frequent presence in Greco-Roman literature: Pausanias’ Description of Greece is a dedicated story of a journey with emphasis on sacred monuments. In the period of the second sophistic, religious ‘tourists’ include Aelius Aristides and Lucian, both of whom convey relevant experiences in their writings.38 The romantic novel also shows interest in the theme of pilgrimage. In Achilles Tatios, Byzantium sends delegations to Tyre, to sacrifice in honour of Herakles (2.14-18). Heliodoros describes the four-year pilgrimage of the Thessalian Ainianians to the tomb of Neoptolemos at Delphi (2.34-3.6): the account is of seminal importance to the story, as the pilgrimage brings Theagenes to the same place as Charikleia, thus allowing the two to meet and fall in love. From a narrative point of view, the arrival of the pilgrims is presented as a story within a story within a story: it interrupts Charikles’ story of how he brought the heroine to Delphi, which is incorporated in Kalasiris’ narrative to Knemon about the meeting and the adventures of the romantic pair. The accounts of this highly spiritual form of travel lend narrative variation to their contexts.39

  • 40 Elsner (1997, 27).
  • 41 Acts 21-28; VA 7. See Elsner (ibid., 27; 33).

15Our authors further exploit narratives of pilgrimage stories for characterisation. Again in Heliodoros, it is in the context of Theagenes’ appearance at Delphi as one of the pilgrims that the readers are treated to a striking description of his beauty (2.35.1); the young man then shows his piety in remembering the planned sacrifice (while the mention of Charikleia by Charikles redirects attention to the story’s central love theme). Apollonios as a pilgrim, on the other hand, is still the hero who travels exclusively for wisdom. He comes ‘not as a suppliant but as a master’,40 he instructs the people whom he meets, and he corrects the rites at some of the shrines that he visits (most notably in Greece, VA 4.24). In this respect he resembles Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles (who is also not a pilgrim stricto sensu), during his travels as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, which, like Apollonios’ travels, culminate in his reaching Rome.41 Both Apollonios (whose cult we have already mentioned) and Paul finally became the objects of pilgrimage, the latter most famously in Rome, where his legendary tomb is located.

III. Travel and Wisdom

  • 42 See Morgan (2007b, 150): ‘The journey informing the story at the mechanical level becomes a metapho (...)

16In the VA and the other narratives under discussion, travel has a pervasive metaphorical function. It opens a range of possibilities for plot development and characterisation, which are laden with philosophical and moral significance; especially in the sophistic novels, travel is depicted as an enriching experience, which adds to the travellers’ knowledge and wisdom.42 Even if as a rule the heroes do not travel by personal choice, even if Tyche reigns and motivation is more related to the demands of eros than to a yearning for wisdom, the experience is depicted as spiritually beneficial; this is where the movement of romantic heroes and the journey of Apollonios converge. Travel involves enquiry by default, as sophistic descriptions of foreign experiences in the VA and the later novels amply demonstrate. There is an unmistakable connection between travel and wisdom, which in its turn affects our interpretation of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot.

  • 43 Based on the examination of evidence, Dzielska (1986, 85) linked Apollonios with three cities outsi (...)
  • 44 On the geographical difficulties of Apollonios’ journey in the VA (which are related to the confusi (...)
  • 45 There is little description of this process in the pre-sophistic novels, though the situation chang (...)

17While Apollonios certainly visited a number of cities, especially in the East,43 travel narratives in the VA are clearly no accurate reflections of those visits and should largely belong to the work’s fictional baggage.44 As implied earlier, the narrator of the VA does not reconstruct a historical map of travels, but instead capitalises on the benefits of the travel theme for his story by depicting travel as a process filled with exotic encounters and the thrills of the unknown; Achilles Tatios’ and Heliodoros’ purely fictitious narratives do the same. The discussion that follows will additionally show that the narrative interest of the journeys of both Apollonios and the romantic heroes is not limited to the actual process of travel45 or to its value as entertainment. The authors’ accounts of how their heroes experience movement, the different stages and the culmination of their travels, enrich the narrative and suggest a multiply layered philosophical universe. In what follows, it is further argued that the VA and the romantic novels employ similar means to convey the relationship between travel and wisdom, which is expressed both on a verbal level (with the use of the terms sophia, philosophia and sōphrosynē) and in the construction of plot and characters. The focus of the discussion lies in the VA and in the novels of Achilles Tatios and Heliodoros.

  • 46 Cf. Elsner’s description of Apollonios’ voyage as an ‘experiential journey’ (1997, 22; 29-32).

18Travel adds to Apollonios’ experience of people and places, opens up for him a broad field of self-expression, and indeed gives rise to a large and colourful array of opportunities for the sage to voice his wisdom and display his sōphrosynē.46 Several passages illustrate this point; the following excerpt, from the beginning of Apollonios’ journey, articulates a link between travel and the sage’s special intellectual gifts (his mastery of the languages of all peoples and of animals, 1.19-20), as well as his andreia:

... οὺ μν ῶς δυοῖν γε ἀμελῆσαι τοὑτοιν, τῆς τε ἀνδρείας, ᾗ χρῶμενος ὸ Ἀπολλῶνιος διεπορεὑθη βἀρβαρα ἔθνη καὶ ληστρικἀ, οὑδ’ ὑπὸ ·Ρωμαὶοις πω ὄντα, τῆς τε σοφίας, ᾗ τὸν Ἀράβιον τρόπον ἐς ξύνεσιν τῆς τῶν ζῴων φωνῆς ἦλθεν. Ἔμαθε δἐ τοῦτο ἀτουτωνὶ τῶν Ἀραβὶων πορευὸμενος ἂριστα γιγνωσκὸντων τε αὺτό καὶ πραττὸντων.

... I cannot neglect these two points: the courage that Apollonius showed in travelling among barbarous and rapacious tribes, not yet subject even to Rome, and the wisdom whereby he attained understanding of the language of animals, in the Arabian way. He learned this too through these Arabs, who are excellent in the knowledge and practice of this science. (VA 1.20.3)

  • 47 Elsner (1997, 29). See Parker (2008, 289-294) for a useful summary of Apollonios’ Indian travels.
  • 48 See also Koskenniemi (2009, 324) on Apollonios as a pupil of the Indian Brahmans.
  • 49 A skill also attributed to Greek holy men (Iamblichos and Chrysanthios, Eun. VS 458; 504) and to Je (...)

19While the above passage gives impetus to the idea that travel instills knowledge, it is the narrative of Apollonios’ visit to India that makes clear the value of travel as a means of philosophical enrichment, and as leading to a kind of spiritual progress.47 Addressing the wise man larchas, the sage says explicitly that he expects the Indian experience to add to his wisdom: ‘It is my opinion… that your ways are wiser (σοφῶτεραζ and much more inspired (θειὸτερα).’ (VA 3.162)48 Book 3 of the VA contains further clear allusions to the notion of a ‘spiritual journey’. During his time with the Brahmans, Apollonios is said to witness a higher type of wisdom, which includes levitation (3.15.1)49 and prescience (3.16.2-3). He subsequently asks to share the superior Indian wisdom (3.16.4):

...‘καὶ σὺ μὲτοχος’ ἔφη ʽτῆς σοφίας ταὑτης ἢκεις, ἀλλ’ οὕπω πάσης.’ ‘Διδἀξη οἦν με’ ἔφη ‘τἡν σοφίαν πἀσαν;’ ‘Καὶ ἀφθὸνως γε,’ εἶπε ‘τουτὶ γἀρ σοφῶτερον τοῦ βασκαὶνειν τε καὶ κρὑπτειν τὰ σπουδῆς ἂξια...’

‘You have come with a part of this wisdom [said Iarchas], but not of all.’ ‘Will you let me learn it all, then?’ Apollonios asked. ‘Unstintingly’, larchas replied; ‘that is more philosophical than grudging and concealing what is important.’

  • 50 As noted by Downie (2016, 76). See also ch. 1.
  • 51 See Romm (2008, 114-117), who also draws attention to the wise and virtuous Queen Kandake of Meroe (...)
  • 52 Du Toit (1997, 285; Apollonios is connected with Indian philosophy above all else); Koskenniemi (20 (...)
  • 53 See, incidentally, Stephens and Winkler (1995, 11; 116) on possible Indian influence on the Greek n (...)

20The idea that it is wiser to share wisdom than to keep it under wraps is central to the sage’s social function as an adviser and healer; but amidst the Indian Wise Men, he too for once has the opportunity to benefit from other people’s wisdom. He proceeds to witness Indian rites (3.17) and to increase his awareness of the importance of self-knowledge, which is explained to him by larchas: ‘we know everything because we begin by knowing ourselves.’ (3.18; note here that larchas corrects Apollonios.) As Apollonios’ external knowledge of the world increases, so does the breadth of his wisdom. This wisdom empowers him and adds to his authority: after the Indian visit, he performs healing miracles (3.38-39) and goes on to assume the status of a reformer of Greek cities in Book 4.50 Apollonios’ ‘Greek’ adventures intensify the effect of his spiritual gains by making them shine in the glorious centre of wisdom and learning that is (or rather was) Greece. It is further implied that thanks to his Indian experience, the sage is authorised to suggest improvements to Egyptian rites (5.25) and castigate the Gymnosophists in Ethiopia (6.11) – itself another location commonly associated with virtue (most prominently in Heliodoros’ novel), but clearly not on a par with India.51 The sage is depicted to ascend further up the spiritual ladder, as his enriched wisdom brings him even closer to the divine: ‘ordinary people would regard him as god, in life as well as in death.’ (3.50.1) Addressing larchas in a letter, Apollonios writes: ‘you shared your special wisdom with me, and showed me a path through heaven.’ (3.51) We saw in chapter 1 that the philosophy of Philostratos’ Indians is similar to Greek philosophical models of self-restraint and prevalence of spirit over matter and frugality, and thus in this respect Indian philosophy essentially overlaps with Apollonios’ own.52 But the much-discussed ties between Apollonios’ figure and Indian philosophy are also linked to the sage’s Romanesque features.53 Indian philosophy is indeed bestowed with a bonus element of exoticism (a feature of novelistic travel accounts) and supernatural qualities; these are no doubt meant to add to the appeal of the narrative and to enrich the characterisation of Apollonios, as well as to contribute to a reinterpretation of his rumoured ‘magical’ skills, which were routinely attacked by his accusers, as elements of a higher form of wisdom. Moreover, however sturdy Apollonios’ virtue and sōphrosynē might be, he is not presented as entirely static, but appears to undergo spiritual progression. Some sort of progress may also be diagnosed in the characters of the romantic heroes.

  • 54 An elaborate support of this view is found in De Temmerman (2014); Wills (1995, 229-232) discerns m (...)
  • 55 See Konstan and Ramelli (2014, 185-186, with bibliography), who compare this progression to religio (...)
  • 56 See Montiglio (2005, 221-261, esp. 223).
  • 57 This is not to deny the possibility of reading a link (even if a less pronounced one) between trave (...)

21Character development, which is central to modem perceptions of the novel as a genre, is a frequent topic in recent scholarship on the ancient novel, especially on the five extant romances. I take the view that there is a degree of progress and change in ancient novelistic characters, despite the admittedly strong elements of character typification,54 that this progress is of a philosophical/spiritual kind,55 and that on a narrative level it is triggered by the journeys undertaken by the heroes and heroines. Travel in the novel varies significantly in motivation and scope (as implied already, it is largely governed by Tyche and sometimes has no specified aim),56 but some novelistic journeys may have more in common with Apollonios’ travels than is immediately apparent. The rest of the chapter will present some artful examples of philosophising and character-forming journeys from Achilles Tatios and Heliodoros.57

  • 58 On egkrateia, see also above, ch. 1.

22A link between travel and spiritual progression is arguably implied in the narrative of the adventures of Achilles Tatios’ hero, Kleitophon. The author weaves an elaborate, if a little ironic connection between the hero’s travels and the notion of wisdom. The irony inherent in the character and journey of Kleitophon challenges serious engagement with travel as a form of philosophical enrichment, of the type found in other imperial prose narratives, such as in biographies of wise men and later in Heliodoros. Still, the relationship between travel, eros and philosophia as egkrateia (a basic property of sōphrosynē)58 is explicitly thematised by Achilles Tatios in two instances. The first instance belongs to the major sub-plot of Kleitophon’s affair with the widow from Ephesos, Melite. Melite is attracted to the hero, but he practices sōphrosynē (as egkrateia and fidelity to his lost love Leukippe) and repeatedly refuses her sexual advances. Still, in the end, when he is convinced that all hope to find Leukippe alive is lost, he is persuaded to marry Melite. Tension escalates during his and Melite’s sea journey to Ephesos – a journey not described in detail, except for the account of their conversation during travel. Kleitophon succeeds in postponing consummation of their relationship until they reach land:

‘Φιλοσοφήσωμεν, ‘ ειπον, ’ῶ γὑναι, μὲχρι λαβῶμεθα γής’ ·

‘Let us abstain’, I said, ‘like philosophers, dear lady, until we touch land.’ (5.16.7)

  • 59 Philosophia in this instance might also imply the act of talking (verbally theorising) about contin (...)

23This utterance suggests self-restraint, literally or ironically, as a deliberate ethical choice, dependent on philosophein.59 The irony emerges from the fact that this philosophia is not only proposed by the hero as a temporary state (presumably as an excuse and a way of buying time before being forced into something which [he pretends?] he does not really desire), but it also ends up being temporary: readers are soon afterwards treated to a description of how Kleitophon eventually yields to Melite’s passion (5.27), and indeed after he has learned the whereabouts of Leukippe, who is still alive. It remains true, however, that in the narrative of the sea voyage, the hero is presented as having formed or proposing to form an attitude of erotic self-restraint. Travelling thus becomes associated with practicing philosophia in the sense of identifying and respecting moral limits within a specific life situation.

24The second instance that expresses a connection between travel, philosophia and virtue is Kleitophon’s comment on his and Leukippe’s travels shortly before the novel’s closure (8.5.7):

ἐφιλοσοφήσαμεν, πἀτερ, τήν ἀποδημὶαν· ὲδιωξε γἀρ ήμας ὲρως, καὶ ήν ἐραστοῦ καὶ ὲρωμὲνης φυγή· ἀποδημήσαντες γεγὸναμεν ἀλλήλων αδελφοὶ.

[During our journey from Tyre] we practiced philosophy, my father; it was eros that drove us from our native land, and the flight was that of a lover and his mistress; but when we had once started we became no more than a brother and sister to each other.

  • 60 Morgan (2007a, 26) takes the term to refer to ‘unwilling sexual continence’ (though the context of (...)
  • 61 This is a less than perfect restraint, as befits this novel’s ironical attitude to chastity: Leukip (...)

25The verb (ὲφιλοσοφήσαμεν) is routinely taken to refer to the chastity maintained by the amorous couple during their voyage, despite the various threats and temptations they encountered.60 The Greek text, however, does not directly refer to chastity, but to a philosophical attitude, which presumably dictated and enabled erotic self-restraint: ‘During our journey, father, we practiced philosophy.’ A hint of irony is perceived in the fact that Kleitophon failed in this practice, even if with another partner in crime and not with Leukippe. In any case, philosophia thus conceived cannot be a permanent state for a romantic hero (Kleitophon’s union with Leukippe at the novel’s happy ending will of course be consummated), but the entitlement of the heroes to the ideal ending of marriage is, in the novel’s world, the pay-off which they receive for their earlier restraint (at least towards one another).61

  • 62 Uses of Plato in Achilles Tatios are studied in detail in Laplace (2007).
  • 63 See e.g. Seneca (Ep. 89.5, To Lucilius): ‘Sapientiam quidam itam finierunt ut dicerent divinorum an (...)
  • 64 Note, for example, the progress of Chaireas to military valour in Chariton’s novel (De Temmerman 20 (...)
  • 65 See Sellars (2003, passim) on the notion of philosophical exercise (practical and spiritual), its f (...)
  • 66 See Goldhill (1995, 94-100) and Morales (2004, 57-60).
  • 67 See Levick (2002, 145-148), especially with respect to practical philosophy for women (not necessar (...)
  • 68 See also Montiglio (2005, 268). On Kalasiris, see below.

26The philosophical significance of Kleitophon’s travels (notably in the context of a novel of strong Platonic relevance)62 becomes apparent if we consider the definition of sophia/philosophia in the Roman period, which includes ‘devotion to virtue’ and ‘knowledge of human matters’.63 The conception of virtue as knowledge is a Platonic echo; the novelistic heroes’ andreia ‘courage’ also appears as a talent to be learned.64Sōphrosynē (as ‘self-restraint’, ‘moderation’) is a virtue that is learned while journeying; travel is shown to provide opportunities for askēsis.65 Kleitophon appears to struggle with sōphrosynē, offending this virtue a few times (he is said to have had a mistress, he attempts to seduce Leukippe and he gives in to Melite), before presumably learning to be sōphrōn and settling for his conventional place next to his chaste leading lady after the end of their travels. But the subversive nature of Achilles’ narrative leads to a twist in the way wisdom and virtue are materialised: philosophia is also used in this novel to imply (ironically?) the works of erōs (e.g. 5.27.1). This suggests a corrupted version of the role of ‘philosophy’ as we know it from Apollonios’ life,66 and as conceived more broadly in imperial literature, which routinely paints a contrast between philosophical engagement and sexual misconduct.67 Kleitophon never emerges as a true philosophical authority. His final comment on his journey may even entail an indirect satire of the tradition of sages who travel for wisdom, such as Apollonios, Pythagoras and Empedokles.68

  • 69 See above, ch. 3.

27Kleitophon’s preoccupation with chastity, which is treated with irony by Achilles Tatios, is present in one form or other in all novelistic men, whose travels thus share similarities with the journey of Apollonios. Much like the sage, the young men of the novelistic canon are guided in their travels by the demands and limitations imposed by virtue, especially sōphrosynē as ‘prudence’ and primarily as ‘chastity’. Their experiences of course differ in one main respect: the journeys challenge the prudence and endanger the chastity of novelistic young men,69 who occasionally lose their self-control (as Kleitophon does), before they emerge wiser and victorious. But Apollonios’ sōphrosynē, guaranteed by his wise-man status, is never at risk: his philosophical journey is consistently chaste, and the essence of his wisdom is said to remain unchangeable (6.35).

28In comparison with the vivid, first-person allusion to the philosophical significance of travelling in Achilles Tatios’ novel, Philostratos’ summary of his hero’s travels (up to the end of Book 6) may seem a little blunt (VA 6.43.3):

Τοιαῦτα τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τἀ ὑπὲρ ιερῶν τε καὶ πὸλεων καὶ τἀ πρὸς δήμους καὶ ὑπὲρ δήμων καὶ τἀ ὑπὲρ τεθνεώτωνἢ νοσοὑντων καὶ τἀ πρὸς σοφοὑς τε καὶ μή σοφοὑς καὶ τἀ πρὸς βασιλὲας, οἳ ξὑμβουλον αὑτὸν ἀρετής ὲποιοῦντο.

These are the Master’s deeds on behalf of sanctuaries and cities, with regard to populaces and on their behalf, and on behalf of the dead and the sick, and with regard to the wise, the ignorant, and those emperors who made him their adviser on the subject of virtue.

29But clearly Apollonios’ experiences, which are collected during his travels, and the wisdom he shares with those he meets in the process, also touch on the world of the romantic novels. Some of the sage’s experiences may indeed help us to deepen our understanding of the psychological conflicts (and pretended conflicts) found in the romantic plots. This is particularly true for the episodes where the narrative of Apollonios’ life focuses on the superhuman force of erōs, in particular the stories and experiences of persons whom the sage (who is himself untouched by erōs) meets during his travels. Timasion’s fear of insulting Aphrodite, which leads him to run away from his potential seductress, is not that radically different – in terms of how it is presented and justified – from that of Kleitophon at the point of his surrender to Melite, despite the satirical tone of the latter incident, and of course its very different conclusions.

Ὡς οῦν με ἔλυσε καὶ περιὲβαλε κλαὶουσα, ἔπαθόν τι ἀνθρώπινον καὶ ἀληθῶς ὲφοβήθην τὸν Ἔρωτα, μή μοι γὲνηται μήνιμα ὲκ τοῦ θεοῦ...

As she loosed my fetters and threw her arms about me, now all in tears, I felt the claims of humanity too strong for me, and I was really afraid that the god of love would visit his wrath upon me... (Achilles Tatios 5.27.2)

  • 70 An earlier Persia, the Achaimenid empire, is a popular setting in the Greek novels (see further Rom (...)
  • 71 On this episode, see also the previous chapter.

30On the other hand, the different outcomes of Kleitophon’s journeys with Melite and Leukippe are a lesson in the demands and limits of sōphrosynē. Kleitophon’s experience also reflects ways in which an adventure tale motivated by love can be transformed into a (sophistic) enquiry and self-enquiry into love. The VA contains at least one instance of relevant enquiry. The eunuch episode, which occurs during the sage’s stay at the court of Vardanes of Parthia,70 has great value for the philosophy of love (hence while there is no doubt that Apollonios’ most important destination was India, philosophical enrichment has also come out of his visit to Persia).71 The conclusion of this episode, with its message of valorisation of sōphrosynē as a conscious ethical choice in those who experience the power of erōs, resonates with the experience of romantic heroes, namely the inner ‘fights’ of Achilles’ Kleitophon (that verge on the satirical) and the serious moral victory entailed in adoption of self-restraint by the heroes of Heliodoros.

  • 72 For example, she manages to control Theagenes, when his desire threatens to take the upper hand (Hi (...)
  • 73 Morgan (2007b, 155). See also Dowden (2007, 146-147).
  • 74 See Montiglio (2005, 240-241; ibid., 237-238 on possible analogies between Charikleia’s journey and (...)
  • 75 De Temmerman (2014, 266).

31Of the two members of Heliodoros’ pair of protagonists, the heroine, Charikleia, whose journey is laden with symbolic significance, deserves special attention. Like Apollonios’ virtue, Charikleia’s virtue is presented as perfect from the start (like Xenophon’s Habrokomes, she is initially inclined to a life of virginity and dedication to Artemis [2.33], which she only trades for a honourable marriage focused on a spiritual rather than a physical bond) and does not wither.72 She does not lack education, and, like Apollonios, she learned Greek at a young age (2.33; 4.7); but she lacks awareness of her origins and of all that these origins entail. Her travels provide her with the knowledge of her true identity and allow her to realise her potential as a royal heiress and as a spiritually superior figure, who eventually becomes a priestess of Selene.73 Charikleia’s journey, which she herself chooses to make out of erōs for Theagenes (4.13) – unlike other novelistic women who are forced to travel – enriches her characterisation with philosophical features:74 she learns from her travels and is called ‘wise’ (3.4.1).75

  • 76 See Montiglio (2005, 243 and n. 77) for the view that there is a certain progression in some charac (...)

32In the VA, as in Heliodoros and Achilles Tatios, travel seems to have a special philosophical significance for one main character, but less so for spouses or partners. Still, wandering enriches the characterisation of Apollonios’ companion, Damis, by providing opportunities for demonstrating virtue76 and for proving devotion. Damis openly declares his devotion in one instance: ‘... I follow him (= Apollonios) more closely than a man follows himself, … crossing Sicilian waters and Tyrrhenian Gulfs.’ (VA 7.13.1) This sets him in contrast with Apollonios’ earlier disciples, who shun the master’s daring travel plans (1.18). Damis is one of only eight disciples, out of the thirty-four that Apollonios had at that time, to remain with the master as the latter decides to visit Nero’s Rome, despite the threat posed by this emperor to philosophers (4.37.2-4.38.1); he is one of only ten to follow the master to Ethiopia (about twenty stayed behind, following Apollonios’ warning about the challenging nature of the voyage, 5.43). He even shares Apollonios’ imprisonment (7.36) and accompanies him to what prove to be the sage’s final trips (to Greece and Ionia, 8.14; 8.24). During their long journeys, master and pupil often engage in conversation, which enriches the narrative. Damis presumably profits from Apollonios’ example and instruction, though he is on the whole presented as a rather passive follower.

  • 77 This passage seems to have inspired the epigrammatist of AP 9.203, on Leukippe’s σωφρονὲστατος βὶος
  • 78 The light-hearted, carefree Leukippe of the novel’s start appears briefly as a self-conscious marty (...)

33Like Damis in comparison with Apollonios, Leukippe and Theagenes are less striking characters in comparison with Kleitophon and Charikleia. Leukippe’s voice is much less heard than Kleitophon’s, and Theagenes’ journey, from his native Greece to Ethiopia, does not match the significance of Charikleia’s journey for self-discovery; but these travels test the characters’ devotion to their romantic partners and affirm the resilience of their virtue. In particular, Leukippe claims in a letter to Kleitophon (5.18) that she suffered for his sake, and she tells a potential violator that the trials which she endured during her wanderings may have subdued her body, but not her freedom (6.22.4)77– an attitude comparable not only to Damis’ readiness to suffer for the sake of his master, but also to Apollonios’ Stoic endurance of his mistreatment while in prison and the preservation of his ‘inner freedom’.78 There is no allusion to Damis (his philosophical progress or his fate) at the end of the VA. In fact, the pair of the Aithiopika is rather unique in its symmetrical progression to a higher form of spirituality; the hero, whose chastity (unlike Kleitophon’s) and devotion to his beloved remain unscathed during his adventures, acquires new status as a priest of Helios (on the side of Charikleia, priestess of Selene) at the end of the novel.

  • 79 Eusebios’ attempt to ascribe Apollonios’ journeys to Fate (Moῖηα, Hierocl. 411) is clearly an effor (...)
  • 80 They may be seen as a character doublet (Whitmarsh 2011, 121).
  • 81 Note the varied function of Kalasiris’journey with respect to the plot and his characterisation (he (...)
  • 82 Similarly Chariton’s sōphrōn Dionysios expects to find comfort for losing Kallirhoe in the long jou (...)
  • 83 Morgan (2007b, 156). He ‘appears as the true representative of the Egyptian µαντεὶα and Neo-Platoni (...)
  • 84 Futre Pinheiro (2014, 79).

34More points of comparison between Apollonios’ travels and the romantic novels, especially Heliodoros, suggest themselves. We have already noted (in the Introduction) the character of the sage’s journey as planned and wanted; it may be perceived as voluntary ‘exile and return’, in contrast with the involuntary version (of the ’Odyssey’ type), to which the journeys of romantic heroes generally belong.79 Tyche – a deified power in Hellenistic paganism – plays a much less significant role in Philostratos than in the romantic novels, whose heroes appear to go through a random set of travel adventures dictated by this goddess. The Aithiopika, however, differ from the other romantic novels in the treatment of the theme of travel, in that it contains examples of voluntary philosophical journey: in addition to Charikleia’s voluntary journey, which I have commented on above, there are the travels of the priests Charikles and Kalasiris. These characters, who are linked in their function as father-figures to Charikleia,80 both experience journeys which, like Apollonios’, are intrinsically connected with the novelistic virtue of sōphrosynē: like the VA’s Timasion, Kalasiris, the high priest at Memphis, undertakes travel after his chastity is threatened (by a Greek courtesan, 2.25.1-6; the feud between his sons was an additional reason). Like Apollonios, he received guidance from the gods, who inspired him to go on a journey (3.16.5).81 By travelling, Charikles seeks to balance his grief for the death of his wife and daughter; moderation and control of one’s emotions is also an aspect of sōphrosynē (2.29-33; note that Kalasiris had also lost a wife).82 Apart from the shared voluntary character of these journeys, the narrative suggests two distinctly different motivations. As Morgan notes, ‘the differences in their [i.e. Kalasiris’ and Charikles’] travel embody the differences in their wisdom.’ The Egyptian priest Kalasiris travels to Ethiopia in conscious pursuit of wisdom and receives honour on that account (4.12).83 Charikles’ journey, albeit not explicitly associated with wisdom, leads early in the story to his adoption of the infant heroine, and later to his pursuit of her until Meroe, the idealised capital of Ethiopia,84 where he finally attains a deeper understanding of events and of the role of the divine in these (10.41.2; cf. Kalasiris’ epiphany at 4.9).

  • 85 VA 6.17, 6.26 (Apollonios’ fruitless search for the source of the Nile); Hid. 2.28.2-3 (Kalasiris h (...)
  • 86 A kind of vagueness as to whether (and how) the hero’s journeys end is felt at the closing of Achil (...)
  • 87 Dzielska (1986, 56-60); see also ch. 2. Ep. Apoll. 47, where Apollonios expresses willingness to re (...)

35In the narratives of novelistic travels feature distinct geographical centres, which are associated with important points and interests of the plots. Egypt, where the beginning of the novel’s action is set, and Ethiopia, where it ends, both play a vital role in Heliodoros as centres of wisdom. In Philostratos’ narrative, an analogous part is played by India, but Apollonios also travels to Ethiopia and Egypt. Both Philostratos’ and Heliodoros’ respective travel narratives share an interest in the Nile, particularly in the question of the river’s sources, the answer which is symbolically associated with profound wisdom.85 It is further worthwhile to compare the various different directions of travel. Charikleia’s journey, we might say, begins from her birth land and – in the form of a nostos – ends with her return to it. Theagenes, on the other hand, leaves his native Greece to settle in a new, faraway land. Apollonios’ journey, though it has a clear departure point (his birthplace, Tyana, 1.4) may be perceived as open-ended: his trial at Rome is followed by vagueness as to the end of his physical life and his further whereabouts.86 The story at the narrative’s closure, however, of the young man who came to Tyana and met the already departed sage in his sleep, which is meant as a manifestation of Apollonios’ doctrine of the soul’s immortality, may suggest a kind of symbolic return to the journey’s start, the sage’s birthplace, and a place where he receives cult.87

  • 88 Homer is noted by Morales (2004, 64-65) among Achilles Tatios’ memorable intertextual relations; bu (...)
  • 89 As is made clear right at the poem’s start (πολλῶν δ’ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἂστεα καὶ νὸον ἔγνω, Od. 1.3).
  • 90 For example, Odysseus’ stay with Kalypso and her island are evoked in three passages in the VA (7.1 (...)
  • 91 Ἰλιὸθεν με φὲρεις (Hid. 2.21.5) // Ἰλιὸθεν με φὲρων (Od. 9.39).
  • 92 Heliodoros: Morgan (2014, 268); note the often-cited Odyssean guile of Kalasiris. The VA: van Dijk (...)
  • 93 Luc. DMort. 10. See further Johnston (2008, 95-96).
  • 94 On this passage see also Speyer (1982, 194-195). Cf. the meeting between Alexander in the Romance ( (...)

36It is finally significant that the narratives of both Heliodoros and Philostratos allude to the hero of the Odyssey and his adventures.88 Although Odysseus is no religious traveller, his wanderings are much about knowledge and wisdom.89 The Homeric hero finds several mentions in the VA in connection with points of high narrative importance.90 In Heliodoros’ novel, Kalasiris’ narrative is introduced with the exact same words uttered at the beginning of Odysseus’ narration in Scheria;91 the priest is later visited by the Homeric hero in a dream (5.22.1-3). Both the Aithiopika and the VA evoke episodes from Odysseus’ nostos,92 while allusions to certain episodes are common to both works. For example, the Nekyia is evoked in both the necromancy scene in Heliodoros (6.14.3-4) and in the meeting of Apollonios with the ghost of Achilles (VA 4.16) – and perhaps also in the sage’s descent to the oracle of Trophonios at Lebadea, which is elsewhere portrayed as a katabasis (descent into Hades),93 and where the god assumes the function of Teiresias when he answers the sage’s question about the purest and most perfect philosophy (8.19). Some stops in Apollonios’ Eastern journey are also comparable to the otherworldly nature of some of the places visited by Odysseus. In particular, the mystic character of the abode of the Indian Wise Men (the Brahmans) in the VA (3.13)94is reminiscent of the city of the Kimmerians in the Odyssey, which lies beyond the Okeanos, near the entrance to Hades: both places are covered with eerie cloud.

Around the hill they say they saw a cloud (νεφὲλην): and inside it the Indians live, visible or invisible as they please. (VA 3.13)

So we arrived in the city and country of the Kimmerians / wrapped in cloud (νεφὲλη) and mist. (Od. 11.14-15)

  • 95 See Montiglio (2005, passim); cf. e.g. Epict. Diatr. 3.24.13; D. Chr. Or. 13.9-11.

37The supernatural colour inherent in several of Apollonios’ travel experiences adds to their spiritual meaning, much like Odysseus’ visit to the Underworld and to other mystic places enriches the epic hero’s wisdom; and Heliodoros’ characterisation of Kalasiris is likewise enriched by Odyssean features. Novel and philosophical biography meet in the exploitation of Odysseus’ voyage – a prominent model for philosophical conceptions of travelling in imperial literature.95

  • 96 Goldhill (2008, 198) noted what appears to be an evolution of the theme of chastity in the love nov (...)

38This chapter has surveyed the thematic correlation between travel and sōphrosynē in stories concerning wise men and in the sophistic novels. It has suggested that the relationship between travel and other central narrative themes (such as virtue and erōs) increases awareness of the integral importance of the theme of travel in these narratives. We have observed similarities between Apollonios as a traveller and Heliodoros’ heroes, especially Charikleia and Kalasiris; the travels of these characters inform their characterisation as virtuous and open to spiritual growth. Travel in Achilles Tatios also emerges as a journey of love and knowledge, which unites traditional novelistic themes (such as eros and sōphrosynē), while functioning as a carrier of irony and a subverted topos. The role of travel in the plots qualifies the narratives in question as reading experience: Kleitophon’s battle with sōphrosynē and eros during his journey is clearly a source of amusement, but also a type of mirror for the experience of some Greco-Roman men (indeed some of Achilles’ readers; men were certainly allowed more sexual freedom than women), and a trigger for reflection. Heliodoros’ travelling romantic pair, which possesses a more refined virtue than Achilles’ pair, may have received the influence of wise travellers (perhaps including the Philostratean Apollonios), while sharing the generic proneness of romance heroes to erōs.96 Apollonios’ travel story, of course, suggests a remote model of idealised virtue – a hard, if not an impossible act to follow. Notably the ending of the VA, which celebrates the final stages of Apollonios’ life and his post-mortem existence, has no place for his old travelling companion. Apollonios (not Apollonios and Damis) is the narrator’s subject, and Damis is removed from the action once he has fulfilled his narrative and dramatic role; romantic novels, on the other hand, eventually celebrate the union (or reunion) of hero and heroine. But while wise men and enamoured heroes may look forward to rather different endings to their adventures, all travels considered here make readers aware of the struggle for virtue as a kind of journey.

Notes

1 See further IK Tyana 2, 495-499 (‘Die in den Testimonia zusammengestellten Zeugnisse fur Tyana ließen sich um etwa die Hälfte vermehren, wenn auch die bloßen Erwähnungen des “Apollonios von Tyana” Aufnahme fanden’).

2 On rhetors and philosophers as educators of the young in the Greco-Roman period, see e.g. Trapp (2007b, 12-14).

3 ήσυχὶα τε πρὸσφορος τω φιλοσοφήσοντι. Hēsychia is associated with sōphrosynē; see ch. 2. Spending time in quiet places is a standard need of the philosopher: see Porph. VP 32 (on Pythagoras); Abst. 1.36 (on Pythagoreans and Plato). Hēsychia is mentioned as central to Apollonios’ teaching, which prepared pupils for the quiet philosophical life (8.22).

4 On Apollonios’ link to Tarsos, most famous as the birthplace of the Apostle Paul, cf. Dzielska (1986, 71-73). The city is compared to a χαμαιτυπεῖον ‘brothel’ by Dio Chrysostom (Or. 33.36). Contrast the allusion to Smyrna in the VS (2.613): there, the busy character of the city (which was frequented by many foreigners in search for learning) is associated with sōphrosynē in civic matters. Contrast also Apollonios’ praise for Ephesos as a centre for philosophical studies and a city that pursues wisdom – capacities connected with that city’s deeply ingrained Greekness (8.7.25; his criticism of certain aspects of Ephesian life at 4.2 is similar to that of Athens at 4.21).

5 E. fr. 1047 TGrF 5 (Kannicht).

6 Maximos’ work should cover the early part of Apollonios’ biography (possibly up to 1.16). If real, this source not only preserved the sage’s first travels, but may also have contained an early depiction of a ‘sophistic’ Apollonios.

7 The Hyrkanians do not appear again in the story; see Swain’s relevant remark (1999, 186).

8 This view of India goes back to the Achaimenid period (when it attracted Greek interest as a Persian satrapy) and later to the conquests of Alexander the Great; India and Alexander are routinely connected in imperial literature (see further Parker 2008, 203-250).

9 Dio Chrysostom claims to have followed Delphic advice to travel to the end of the earth (Or. 13.9). Cf. Max. Tyr. Or. 36.5, on the Cynic Diogenes: ‘Counselled by Apollo, he... travelled freely about the world.’ Both differ from Apollonios as travellers: Dio presents himself as an exile, and Diogenes moved around as a wanderer, unattached to a notion of home or purpose (his wanderings were tantamount to a Cynic exercise in freedom). See Montiglio (2005, 180-220) on wandering (movement without specific destination or purpose) as expression of broader philosophical attitudes and as a conscious life choice.

10 Cf. e.g. the portent of the slain lioness that reveals the length of the sage’s stay in Babylon (1.22).

11 Clem. Al. Strom. 1.15.69-70; he cites Alexander Polyhistor as his source.

12 VP 4.18-19. See further Zhmud (2012, 83-84).

13 Empedokles claims, however, almost in a protosophistic way, that he visited ‘cities’ (fr. 112, 13 DK).

14 Cf. Pl. Ep. 7. The treatment of travel in Plato’s work is complex and ambivalent. His teacher, Sokrates, whose life has otherwise served as a model for philosophical biot, reportedly shunned travel (Cri. 52b9-10), which he associated with the sophists’ mobility for selfish gain (Ap. 37d). See Montiglio (2005, 151-163).

15 Like Empedokles, Demokritos claims to have wandered (‘over most of the earth’, fr. 299, 6-8 DK). See also Parker (2008, 260-264) for further examples of travels of wise men, especially from Diogenes Laertios and Plutarch; he notes that Egypt features more prominently in these accounts than India. On travel and wise men, see also Anderson (1994, 167-177).

16 Sol. 25.26-28.6; Lyc. 4.1.

17 De def. or. 410a. See Harland (2011, 130).

18 On Aisop and Alexander, see also chs 2 and 5.

19 The broad distinction proposed by Montiglio (2005, 100-101) between ‘wise men’ who display superior wisdom in their wanderings and ‘students’ who travel to earn wisdom is not as strict as that. For a concise description of Apollonios’ double function during his travels, see Scott (2011, 103-108). A comic version of the wise man as a subject of study features in the Life of Aisop (G 87), where the Samians call for an interpreter to interpret Aisop’s ugliness.

20 See Petzke (1970, 79-93); he notes the doubtful historicity of both Apollonios’ and Jesus’ travels (ibid., 91).

21 Van den Bosch (2001). See also Pervo (2014passim).

22 See Montiglio (2013, 216-217); Pervo (1996). Travel is also essential in the Ps.-Clementines, one of the most ancient Christian fictitious narratives (Pervo ibid., 706-707).

23 Iamb. VP 2.11-12.

24 See e.g. Pretzier (2007a, 37-38) on mobility as an important factor in acquiring higher (especially sophistic) education in the Greco-Roman period; Plutarch from Boiotia, Lucian from Syrian Samosata (who travelled to cultural centres such as Antioch, Alexandria and Athens) and Apuleius from North Africa are some examples. Plotinos travelled to Alexandria to study. Peregrinos, Lucian’s caricature sage, is also said to have travelled to Greece, Italy and Egypt (Lucian satirises the motif of educational travel, see e.g. Philops. 33 and further Harland [2011, 127-129]; as a narrator and hero in his VH, he satirically claims to travel out of intellectual curiosity and desire to learn new things, 1.5). Physical mobility was of course also motivated by commerce (as noted by Apollonios, VA 4.32, who however expresses contempt for seafaring merchants), as well as by more base motives, such as are reflected in the movement of novelistic robbers and pirates.

25 India is present in the romantic novels nevertheless: Xenophon’s heroine, Anthia, is in risk of being carried there after being sold to an Indian (4.3.3); India and its exotic connotations crop up several times in Ach. Tat. and Hid. (see also Parker 2008, 80-81). The heroine of the famous mime Charition (P. Oxy. 413; 2nd c.), whose plot bears similarities to the romances, is held captive in India.

26 See Romm (2008) for an overview of the theme and for a useful distinction between ‘outward-moving, margin-seeking’, mostly orientalising Greek fictions, and what he terms as the ‘circumscribed’ novels, to which the works of Longos, Apuleius and Petronius might be thought to belong (ibid., 111). Another Roman novel, the Story of Apollonius king of Tyre (which is as late as the 5th or 6th c., but probably derived from an earlier Greek model), thematises faraway travel and uses a topography that is similar to the Greek novels and the VA (Panayotakis 2012, 5).

27 Cf. Elsner (1997, 32-34) on Rome as the tyrannical centre, from which the periphery offers refuge. See further Abraham (2014), who argues for Indian periphery as the cultural ‘centre’, and Downie’s (2016, 68) sensible support of Greek culture as remaining at the centre (note that even the Indian criticism of the Greek heroic epic tradition at 3.19-20 fails to prevent the later appearance and praise of Achilles). See also ch. 1: Apollonios’ contact with other nations creates opportunities for emphasising the superiority of Hellenic virtue, which was admired and adopted also by non-Greeks (on the reinforcement of one’s cultural identity as a motive for pursuing travel, see Zwingmann 2012, 400-407). Cf. Morgan (2007b, 139-140) on the romantic novel: he rightly differentiates between the relatively unproblematised Greek assimilation of Chariton’s and Xenophon’s non-Greek periphery, and the more nuanced ethnic divisions of Heliodoros’ world.

28 Cf. e.g. the incredible description of Indian snakes in the VA (3.7.2), part of a longer account of Indian curiosities (which resumes at the end of Book 3), or the journey of Heliodoros’ protagonists up the Nile, where they observe a crocodile and a flamingo (6.1.2; 6.3.2). On exotic elements in the VA (including a ‘veritable zoo’), see Elsner (1997, 28-29). The book of Phlegon of Tralleis On marvels was also written during the second sophistic.

29 See e.g. Elsner (1997, 25, with bibliography); Koskenniemi (2006, 73-74); Romm (2008, 112).

30 See Montiglio (2005, 221-222); Casson (1974, 115-196).

31 A recent analysis of papyrological data from Roman Egypt suggests that long-distance movement was unusual for women (Foubert 2016, 294). While prostitution and slavery were common reasons for women’s travel, they also travelled for private and family reasons and (less frequently) for work; and they sometimes travelled unaccompanied (see Foubert ibid., with references to the rather limited scholarship on the topic of women’s mobility, especially in the Eastern provinces of the empire). Cf. Carucci (2016) on the dangers (and prejudices) met by travelling Roman women.

32 Pirates do appear in Apollonios’ account of his first incarnation: as the captain of an Egyptian ship he dealt with Phoinikian pirates in a manner that showed many virtues (3.24). This reads as a nod to the novelistic topos, if not as a parody (thus Bowie 1994, 190).

33 As Billault notes (2000, 111); cf. Montiglio (2005, 217).

34 Morgan (2007b, 141).

35 Probably the Syrian Hierapolis (and not Nineveh), see Jones (2001, 187- 190).

36 On Apollonios as a pilgrim, see Elsner (1997, 25-28). On Greek pilgrimage literature, see further Rutherford (2001); on the term ‘pilgrimage’, see the introduction of Rutherford and Elsner (2005).

37 A similar sense is repeated two more times: ‘a festival... attracts and assembles the most virtuous of the virtuous and the most famous of the famous’ (8.18.1); it is ‘a gathering of men’ (8.18.2).

38 Lucian’s Syr. D. offers an account of a pilgrimage to the Syrian Hierapolis (see Lightfoot 2003, passim). Aelius Aristides’ life and works are marked by his special relation to Asklepios; on pilgrimage in Aristides, see Petsalis-Diomidis (2010 passim).

39 On the vivid representation of the pilgrims’ arrival at Delphi and the rich imagery of the procession, see Bowie (2006b, 77-81); Hardie (1998). The narrative is noted for its metaliterary moments.

40 Elsner (1997, 27).

41 Acts 21-28; VA 7. See Elsner (ibid., 27; 33).

42 See Morgan (2007b, 150): ‘The journey informing the story at the mechanical level becomes a metaphor for some inner affective or spiritual development.’ See Cremonesi on the significance of travel for Apollonios’ characterisation (2005, 67-88). Cf. Mossman (2006) on travel and character development in the Plutarchan biographies.

43 Based on the examination of evidence, Dzielska (1986, 85) linked Apollonios with three cities outside his native Tyana: Aigai, Antioch and Ephesos, giving little credibility to Philostratos’ account of the sage’s Mediterranean tour, which, assuming that the sage’s fame may have reached Greece as late as the 4th c., she thought less likely than the Indian trip (cf. Hahn 1989, 120-121). On the latter, see Parker’s note (2008, 289 n. 177; as he points out, Eusebios does not deny that Apollonios made the trip), and cf. Bowie (1978, 1674-1676) on the view that it is a fiction. The inclusion of a visit to Troy (which was also visited by Caracalla) reflects its cultural significance; see, extensively, Zwingmann (2012, 31-106).

44 On the geographical difficulties of Apollonios’ journey in the VA (which are related to the confusion between the author’s and the hero’s time), see e.g. Jones (2001). It is widely accepted that Philostratos’ travel geography reflects literary habits of the second sophistic, and not the travels of the historical Apollonios; cf. Elsner (1997, 22-23, with references).

45 There is little description of this process in the pre-sophistic novels, though the situation changes in Achilles Tatios and Heliodoros; see Morgan (2007b).

46 Cf. Elsner’s description of Apollonios’ voyage as an ‘experiential journey’ (1997, 22; 29-32).

47 Elsner (1997, 29). See Parker (2008, 289-294) for a useful summary of Apollonios’ Indian travels.

48 See also Koskenniemi (2009, 324) on Apollonios as a pupil of the Indian Brahmans.

49 A skill also attributed to Greek holy men (Iamblichos and Chrysanthios, Eun. VS 458; 504) and to Jesus in the apocryphal Acts of John (93).

50 As noted by Downie (2016, 76). See also ch. 1.

51 See Romm (2008, 114-117), who also draws attention to the wise and virtuous Queen Kandake of Meroe from the Alexander romance (a fictitious character, see Nawotka 2017, 210-212; Jouanno 2002, 89 sees her as a representative of traditional Ethiopian justice and piety); and Romm (ibid., 120-122), for a discussion of Apollonios’ choice of the Indian over the Ethiopian spirituality.

52 Du Toit (1997, 285; Apollonios is connected with Indian philosophy above all else); Koskenniemi (2009, 324-325). See also Flinterman (2009, 161- 162) on sexual abstinence in Indian philosophy.

53 See, incidentally, Stephens and Winkler (1995, 11; 116) on possible Indian influence on the Greek novel as part of the discussion of its ties with the Orient.

54 An elaborate support of this view is found in De Temmerman (2014); Wills (1995, 229-232) discerns more individuality in the heroines of the Jewish novels than in those of the Greek novels. There is no doubt of course that characterisation in the ancient novel lacks the depth and complexity of modem narratives (excluding paraliterature), as Grethlein (2015) observes, and as has also been noted for ancient biography (see Taylor 2006, 82: the development of character was not of central importance to ancient biography, which rather treats its subject as a ‘finished product’). Grethlein rightly notes that the appeal of the ancient novel relies more on the pace and versatility of the plots than on the characters – but the latter have enough psychological content and personalised charm to secure a place in the reader’s ‘experience’.

55 See Konstan and Ramelli (2014, 185-186, with bibliography), who compare this progression to religious conversion.

56 See Montiglio (2005, 221-261, esp. 223).

57 This is not to deny the possibility of reading a link (even if a less pronounced one) between travel and character progression also in the narratives of Chariton and Xenophon Ephesios. See Montiglio (2005, 243) and cf. Tagliabue (2017, esp. 97-105) on ‘spiritual’ progression in Xenophon’s characters. On Longos, see above, Introduction, n. 94.

58 On egkrateia, see also above, ch. 1.

59 Philosophia in this instance might also imply the act of talking (verbally theorising) about continence; the verb philosophein may be associated with talking (see e.g. Luc. Demon. 48, with Schlapbach 2016, 132). Kleitophon is a keen talker.

60 Morgan (2007a, 26) takes the term to refer to ‘unwilling sexual continence’ (though the context of its use in Book 5 does not suggest unwillingness), noting that Achilles Tatios also uses it ironically and subversively as a ‘cloak for seduction’ (5.27.1); see below.

61 This is a less than perfect restraint, as befits this novel’s ironical attitude to chastity: Leukippe’s defloration by Kleitophon early in the novel (2.23) was only prevented by the appearance of her mother.

62 Uses of Plato in Achilles Tatios are studied in detail in Laplace (2007).

63 See e.g. Seneca (Ep. 89.5, To Lucilius): ‘Sapientiam quidam itam finierunt ut dicerent divinorum and humanorum scientiam’ (quoted in Ps.-Plu. Placit. 874e).

64 Note, for example, the progress of Chaireas to military valour in Chariton’s novel (De Temmerman 2014, 82; Kanavou 2015, 947).

65 See Sellars (2003, passim) on the notion of philosophical exercise (practical and spiritual), its function in Stoicism and its Platonic background; and Montiglio (2005, 191; 206) on wandering as a type of askēsis. Cf. Seneca’s remark that travel can be a worthless experience when not associated with a ‘change of soul’ (Ep. 28.1, To Lucilius).

66 See Goldhill (1995, 94-100) and Morales (2004, 57-60).

67 See Levick (2002, 145-148), especially with respect to practical philosophy for women (not necessarily dependent on doctrine).

68 See also Montiglio (2005, 268). On Kalasiris, see below.

69 See above, ch. 3.

70 An earlier Persia, the Achaimenid empire, is a popular setting in the Greek novels (see further Romm 2008, 112-113). On Vardanes as a historical character, the son of Artabanos II, see Jones (2001, 192-193), who notes the various relevant historical inaccuracies of the VA’s narrative.

71 On this episode, see also the previous chapter.

72 For example, she manages to control Theagenes, when his desire threatens to take the upper hand (Hid. 5.4.5); see Haynes (2003, 70-72) and Anderson’s useful note (1997, 314 n. 21).

73 Morgan (2007b, 155). See also Dowden (2007, 146-147).

74 See Montiglio (2005, 240-241; ibid., 237-238 on possible analogies between Charikleia’s journey and that of the soul in Plato); De Temmerman (2014, 270).

75 De Temmerman (2014, 266).

76 See Montiglio (2005, 243 and n. 77) for the view that there is a certain progression in some characters towards higher virtue.

77 This passage seems to have inspired the epigrammatist of AP 9.203, on Leukippe’s σωφρονὲστατος βὶος.

78 The light-hearted, carefree Leukippe of the novel’s start appears briefly as a self-conscious martyr-like figure. See De Temmerman (2014, 171 and n. 73, with bibliography) on her similarity to a Christian martyr at this point (martyrdom was a familiar Christian theme in the 2nd c.; Ramelli 2009b, 154). De Temmerman rightly notes, however, that Leukippe’s moral characterisation, like Kleitophon’s, remains on the whole ambiguous after her readiness to lose her virginity in Book 2.

79 Eusebios’ attempt to ascribe Apollonios’ journeys to Fate (Moῖηα, Hierocl. 411) is clearly an effort to show them as empty of any philosophical essence – an unfair judgement; see Montiglio (2005, 214-215), who rightly notes that Philostratos’ Apollonios is not a ‘wanderer’, but embarks on a purposeful educational journey.

80 They may be seen as a character doublet (Whitmarsh 2011, 121).

81 Note the varied function of Kalasiris’journey with respect to the plot and his characterisation (he guards his sōphrosynē, finds Charikleia and becomes wiser), which is in tune with the high narrative complexity of Heliodoros’ novel; Apollonios’ motivation is much simpler. Kalasiris’ dramatic reasons for leaving Memphis further align him with Homer, the poet par excellence, and a storyteller like himself: in Kalasiris’ digression about Homer’s life, the poet is made an Egyptian who left his native land on accusations of bastardy (Hid. 3.14).

82 Similarly Chariton’s sōphrōn Dionysios expects to find comfort for losing Kallirhoe in the long journey back to Miletos (8.5.15).

83 Morgan (2007b, 156). He ‘appears as the true representative of the Egyptian µαντεὶα and Neo-Platonic theosophy’ (Futre Pinheiro 2014, 78, with bibliography). See also Whitmarsh (2011, 122).

84 Futre Pinheiro (2014, 79).

85 VA 6.17, 6.26 (Apollonios’ fruitless search for the source of the Nile); Hid. 2.28.2-3 (Kalasiris has an answer, but he has found relevant information in holy books, a sacred source of knowledge). Aelius Aristides embarked on a similar search, as recorded in his Egyptian Discourse (36.23-26). See also Whitmarsh (2011, 120).

86 A kind of vagueness as to whether (and how) the hero’s journeys end is felt at the closing of Achilles Tatios’ novel, which (in subversive spirit?) implies that the hero does not settle like the protagonists of the other romantic novels do; see Montiglio (2005, 249-251).

87 Dzielska (1986, 56-60); see also ch. 2. Ep. Apoll. 47, where Apollonios expresses willingness to return to Tyana after honouring his native city with his travels, echoes a sophist’s mentality (see Montiglio 2005, 216-217), not the vision of the VA’s hero.

88 Homer is noted by Morales (2004, 64-65) among Achilles Tatios’ memorable intertextual relations; but other than an allusion to the Cyclops episode at 2.23.3 (unrelated to the heroes’ travels), Homeric allusions in this novel are to the Iliad.

89 As is made clear right at the poem’s start (πολλῶν δ’ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἂστεα καὶ νὸον ἔγνω, Od. 1.3).

90 For example, Odysseus’ stay with Kalypso and her island are evoked in three passages in the VA (7.10.2; 7.41; 8.11) as a metaphor for Dikaiarchia in South Italy, the place where Damis and the philosopher Demetrios ‘hide’ from the world during the time of Apollonios’ trial, and where the sage is eventually reunited with them.

91 Ἰλιὸθεν με φὲρεις (Hid. 2.21.5) // Ἰλιὸθεν με φὲρων (Od. 9.39).

92 Heliodoros: Morgan (2014, 268); note the often-cited Odyssean guile of Kalasiris. The VA: van Dijk (2009; not all intertextual connections which he assumes are equally convincing).

93 Luc. DMort. 10. See further Johnston (2008, 95-96).

94 On this passage see also Speyer (1982, 194-195). Cf. the meeting between Alexander in the Romance (3.24) and the Egyptian ruler Sesonchosis (himself the subject of a romance) in a location ‘where the gods dwelt’; the meeting imparts knowledge of the future prosperity of Alexandria.

95 See Montiglio (2005, passim); cf. e.g. Epict. Diatr. 3.24.13; D. Chr. Or. 13.9-11.

96 Goldhill (2008, 198) noted what appears to be an evolution of the theme of chastity in the love novels towards ‘a more austere world’. It has also been argued that Heliodoros’ treatment of the theme has Christian colour (see Konstan and Ramelli 2014, 190, who cite Fusillo’s 1998 article on Heliodoros in N. Pauly).

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