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the marvellous parts, at least, of Philostratus's narrative to his ingenuity, or his credulity.


Different opinions have been entertained concerning the character of Apollonius. Some have supposed the whole series of extraordinary events related concerning him to have been the mere invention of Philostratus and others, for the purpose of obstructing the progress of Christianity, and providing a temporary prop for the falling edifice of paganism. Others, remarking that Apollonius had acquired a high degree of celebrity long before the time of his biographer, refer the origin of these tales to the philosopher himself: but with respect to the manner in which this is to be done, they are not agreed. Some apprehend, that he was intimately acquainted with nature, and deeply skilled in medicinal arts; and that he applied his knowledge and skill to the purposes of imposture, that he might pass among a credulous multitude for something more than human: while others imagine, that he accomplished his fraudulent designs by means of a real intercourse with evil spirits. The truth probably is, that Apollonius was one of those impostors, who professed to practise magical arts, and perform other wonders, for the sake of acquiring fame, influence, and profit, among the vulgar. In this light, even according to his own biographer, he was regarded by his contemporaries, particularly by the priests of the Eleusinian and Trophonian mysteries, and by Euphrates, an Alexandrian philosopher. Lucian, who lived in the time of Trajan, and Apuleius,16 who flourished under Antoninus Pius, rank him among the most celebrated magicians. Origen, who had seen a life of Apollonius, now lost, which was written by Maragenes, prior to that of Philostratus, writes thus:47 "Concerning magic, we shall only say, that whoever is desirous of knowing whether philosophers are to be imposed upon by this art, let him read the memoirs of Apollonius, written by Maragenes, who, though a philosopher, and not a Christian, says, that philosophers of no mean repute were deceived by the magical arts of Apollonius, and visited him as a person capable of pre

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45 Pseudomant. t. ii. p. 529. 46 Apolog. p. 248.
47 Contra Celsum, 1. vi. p. 311. ed Hoesch.

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dicting future events." Eusebius, in his answer to Heirocles, who wrote a treatise, in which he drew a comparison between Jesus Christ and Apollonius Tyanæus, speaks of the latter as a man who was eminently skilled in every kind of human wisdom, but who affected powers beyond the reach of philosophy, and assumed the Pythagorean manner of living as a mask for his impostures. The narrative of his life, by Philostratus, though, doubtless, abounding with fictions, serves at least to confirm this opinion.49

How successfully Apollonius practised the arts of imposture, sufficiently appears from the events which followed. That dominion over the minds of men, which he found means to establish during his life, remained and increased after his death, so that he long continued to be ranked among the divinities. The inhabitants of Tyana, proud of the honour of calling him their fellow citizen, dedicated a temple to his name; and the same privileges were granted to them, as had usually been conferred upon those cities where temples were raised, and sacred rites performed, in honour of the emperors. Aurelian, out of respect to his memory, shewed the Tyaneans peculiar favour.50 Adrian took great pains to collect his writings, and preserve them in his library: 51 Caracalla dedicated a temple to him, as to a divinity among men: 52 and Alexander Severus, in his domestic temple, kept the image of Apollonius, with those of Abraham, Orpheus, and Christ, and paid them Divine honours. The common people, in the mean time, ranked Apollonius in the number of deified men, and made use of his name in incantations : and even among the philosophers of the Eclectic sect he was regarded as a being of a superior order, who partook of a middle nature between gods and men.53

Of the writings ascribed to Apollonius, none remain, except his "Apology to Domitian," and his "Epistles." The former is perhaps in substance genuine, but is strongly

43 C. 4, 5. 432. ed Olear. Conf. Plin. Hist. N. 1. xxx. de Magia. Conf. Olearum in Philost. ed Lips. 1709. fol.

* Vopiscus in Aureliano. c. 24.

Dio. l. lxxvii. p. 878. Lamprid. in Al. Sev. c. 29.

53 Euseb. Prop. I. iv. c. 13. p. 150. Mosheim. Diss. de Apoll. ap. Observat. Hist. Crit.

51 Phil. 1. viii. c. 20.

marked with the sophistic manner of Philostratus. The latter abound with philosophical ideas and sentiments, and are written in a laconic style, which is a presumption in favour of their authenticity.54

The doctrine of these epistles is for the most part Pythagoric. Apollonius appears, however, not to have adhered to the genuine system of Pythagoras concerning the nature and origin of things, according to which God and matter are primary independent principles; but to have adopted the notion of the Heraclitean school, that the primary Essence of all things, is one endued with certain properties by which it assumes various forms; and that all the varieties of nature are modifications of this universal essence, which is the first cause of all things, or God. Hence Apol lonius taught, that all things arise in nature according to one necessary and immutable law, and that a wise man, being acquainted with the order of nature, can predict future events.55 In this manner it was that Apollonius connected superstition with impiety, and made both subservient to imposture.

Concerning other philosophers of this period, who followed the Pythagorean doctrine, little remains to be related. The only names which require distinct notice are Secundus the Athenian, and Nicomachus. Secundus 56 (whom Suidas, with his usual negligence, confounds with Plinius Secundus) is said in one respect to have carried the Pythagorean discipline further than it was ever carried by any other philosopher: preserving, from the time when he commenced Pythagorean, to the end of his life, perpetual silence. He is chiefly celebrated on account of his Sententiæ, or answers to questions proposed to him by the Emperor Adrian, the authenticity of which, however, there is some reason to question. They are published in Gale's Opuscula Mythologica. Nicomachus,58* a native of Gerasa, in Colo

$4 Fabric. Bibl. Gr. v. iv. p. 61. 39.82.90. 98. 117. 120. 133. 224. 278.

Epist. Apoll. Stob. Serm.
56 Suid. in Sec.

67 Ed. Rom. 1638. Lugd. Bat. 1639. 12o. Fabr. B. Gr. v. xiii. p. 565.

* Vidend. Scheffer de Phil. Ital. Gaudentius de Phil. Rom. c. 66. 73. de Sectis, c. 21. § 8. Jons. Scrip.

58 Euseb. Hist. Ec. 1. vi. c. 19. Phot. Cod. 187. Fab. 1. c. Suid.
c. ult. Gale Præf. ad Sent. Sexti.
Siberus in Sext. Lips. 1725. Voss.
Hist. 1. iii. c. i. 5. Suidas Bayle.


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Syria, was the author of two mathematical works, Introductio in Arithmeticam," An Introduction to Arithmetic," and Enchiridion Harmonicum, "A Manual of Harmony," in which the principles of those sciences are explained upon Pythagoric principles. The exact time in which these philosophers flourished is uncertain; but there is no doubt that it was between the reigns of Augustus and Antoninus.


Of the State of the Platonic Philosophy under the
Roman Emperors.

THE Academic sect, which towards the close of the Roman republic had so many illustrious patrons, under the emperors, fell into general neglect; partly through the contempt with which it was treated by the Dogmatists, and partly through the reviving credit of the Sceptic sect, in which the peculiar tenets of the Middle Academy were embraced. At the same time, however, the true doctrine of Plato, which had formerly obtained such high esteem among philosophers, and which had lately been restored at Athens by Antiochus, resumed its honours. Among the genuine followers of Plato we find, at this period, several illustri

ous names.

Under the emperors Augustus and Tiberius flourished Thrasyllus, a Mendasian. Though, according to Porphyry, he was an eminent Platonist, he so far conformed to the practice of the Pythagoreans, as to become an adept in the art of astrology. He long imposed upon the credulity of Tiberius, and enjoyed his confidence, but at last fell a sacrifice to his jealousy.60

Moshem. Diss.
Tillamont Vit.

Cudworth. c. iv. § 14, 15. Pearson. Proleg. in Hierocl.
de Existimatione Apoll. Prideaux's Life of Apollonius.
Apol. Arpe de Talisman, p. 25. Naude Apologie, p. 238. Huet. Dem.
p. ix. c. 147. § 4. Nichols's Conf. with Deist. p. iii. p. 203. Voss.
de Math. p. 37.94.

* Schol. Juv. Sat. vi. v. 576. Porphyr. Vit. Plot. c. x. n. 9.

60 Suet. in Tib.. Tac. Annal. 1. vi. c. 20.

Not long after the time of Thrasyllus lived Theon of Smyrna. Ptolemy, the astronomer, who flourished under Antoninus Pius, refers to his astronomical observations. His mathematical treatises, which were written on purpose to elucidate the writings of Plato, sufficiently prove, that he is to be classed in the Platonic school. At the same time, his discourses, which treat of geometry, arithmetic, music, astronomy, and the harmony of the universe, may serve to cast some light upon the Pythagorean system.61

Alcinous, whose age is uncertain, but is commonly placed about the beginning of the second century, wrote an introduction to Plato, containing a summary of his doctrine, which shews him to have been well read in his philosophy. It is translated into Latin by Ficinus; and an English version of the work is given in "Stanley's Lives of the Philosophers." 62

Favorinus, a native of Arles, lived in the reigns of Trajan and Adrian. The latter esteemed him highly for his learning and eloquence, and frequently disputed with him, after his usual manner, upon subjects of literature and philosophy. To many other learned men, who were inclined to do justice to their own talents, this unequal contest proved injurious, and to some even fatal: but Favorinus, who perceived that it was the emperor's foible not to endure a defeat in disputation, upon every occasion of this nature prudently ceded to the purple the triumph of con quest. One of his friends, reproaching him for having so tamely given up the point in a debate with the emperor, concerning the authority of a certain word, (for the emperor was a great philologist,) Favorinus replied, "Would you have me contest a point with the master of fifty legions?" Favorinus was instructed in the precepts of philosophy by that illustrious ornament of the Stoical school, Epictetus; but his writings, and manner of living, proved him unworthy of so excellent a master. None of his works are extant:63

Theon. ed. Par. 1644.

Alcin. ed Par. 1573.

Suidas. Ptol. Math. Synt. I. ix. c. 9. l. x. c. 1. 2 Fabric. Bibl. v. iv. p. 40. Conf. v. ii. p. 42. Oxon. 1667. 63 Fabric. Bibl. v. iv. p. 40. Conf. v. li. p. 42. Alein. ed. Par. 1573. Oxon. 1667. Spartian in Hadrian. c. 15. Dio. l. 69. Philostr. Vit. Soph. I. i. c. 8. § 1. Suidas. Aul. Gell. 1. xi. c. 5,

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