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Apollonius of Tyana
of Greece who acquired a reputation for his magical powers. He is considered a contemporary of Christ.
claimed him to be "one of the most extraordinary persons that ever
appeared in the world." Born at Tyana, in Asia Minor, he was educated
at Tarsus, and at the Temple of Aesculapius at Aegae, where at sixteen he
became an adherent of Pythagoras whose discipline he ascribed to all of
his life. He died during the second century AD. In his desire for knowledge
he traveled many Eastern countries and according to legend he performed
miracles where ever he went.
When in Ephesus he warned the citizens of a forthcoming plague. The people
disregarded his warning until the pestilence was upon them. Then they remembered
his words and sought further counsel of the mighty magician. He told them
that there was a wretched beggar among them who they should stone to death.
At first the people were hesitant to do such a drastic act, but the continued
appearance of the beggar and the magician's stern accusations changed their
minds. After the deed was done, the people removed the mound of stone under
which they thought the beggar laid. But a black dog appeared which Apollonius
pronounced was the caused of the plague.
When in Rome it is said he brought the daughter of a consular back to life.
(Even Apollonius' biographer was not certain whether this girl just appeared
to be dead or was actually dead.) However, this feat won Apollonius notoriety
for the girl was well liked among the people and betroth.
He is allegedly said to have prevented one of his former students, Menippus
of Corinth, from marrying a vampire. The young man had not heeded earlier
warnings. The wedding festivities had proceeded up to the banquet when Apollonius
appeared as a guest. He then made all the luxuries of the banquet and the
guests disappear, proving they were a hoax. After doing this he forced the
girl to confess as to being a lima, a type of a vampire.
Another legend has it that an Indian magician made seven rings representing
the seven planets and presented then to Apollonius who wore a different
one each day. It is said this enabled him to maintain his youthful vigor
well into old age. He is reputed to have live to one hundred.
Apollonius' death is a mystery. According to some he fell out of favor with
Emperor Severu, who put him on trail and had his hair cut off to eliminate
his magical powers. Apollonius simply disappeared from the courtroom never
to be seen again.
His followers admitted he died but said he was caught up and taken up into
heaven. Other people did not even know he had died. In Tyana a temple was
built and dedicated to him, and statues of him reside in other temples.
The only extensive work about Apollonius was written by Philostratus at
the insistence of Julia, the mother of the Emperor Severus.
However, Philostrstus' work is criticized for being based on the work of
"Dennis the Assyrian" who was a disciple of Apollonius. Some consider
the latter work could be literary fiction. But, Philostratus substantiated
the work by stating it described the life of Apollonius, showing him to
be an ascertic, and his personal knowledge was combined with revelations
which he received from the gods. Philostratus, continued by saying this
did not take away from Apollonius' integrity because other great Greek philosophers
such as Plato also claimed to have received divine revelation.
It is probable, however, some of the writings about Apollonius was borrowed
from Occidental philosophy and are more Brahminical than magical.
The occultist Eliphas Levi, in the 19th century, attempted to conjure the spirit
of Apollonius in a necromantic
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