Synopses & Reviews
This biography of a first-century CE holy man has become one of the most widely discussed literary works of later antiquity. With an engaging style, Philostratus portrays a charismatic teacher and religious reformer from Tyana in Cappadocia (modern central Turkey) who travels across the known world, from the Atlantic to the Ganges. His miracles, which include extraordinary cures and mysterious disappearances, together with his apparent triumph over death, caused pagans to make Apollonius a rival to Jesus of Nazareth.
In a new three-volume Loeb Classical Library edition of Philostratus's third-century work, Christopher Jones provides a freshly edited Greek text and a stylish translation with full explanatory notes. Apollonius of Tyana is by far the longest biography that survives from antiquity. Jones in his Introduction asks how far it is history and how far fiction, and discusses its survival from Late Antiquity to modern times.
Jones has produced a superlative edition. Loebs are hard to get right. A good Loeb should (if we are honest) be easily usable as a clandestine crib for the (lazy, hurried, or linguistically challenged) reader who wants to translate the Greek with an eye on the English; at the same time, it should meet exacting standards of scholarship. Jones's is accessible and erudite. His discussion of how he has established his text is fuller and clearer than most, and allows the non-specialist to take some pleasure in the detective work involved in the process; in tracing, for example, Richard Bentley's marginalia preserved in his copy of a previous edition. The text is judicious and the translation stylishly capture's the sophist's rhetorical range. It is based on, but betters, Christopher Jones's abridged translation for Penguin Classics, published in 1970. It is a good read in its own right: no mean feat. Excellent introductory material and maps help chart Apollonius's imaginary journey. He may no longer be worshipped (except in the wackier corners of cyberspace), but nonetheless we can rightly say: Apollonius Lives! Helen Morales
In his Life of Apollonius, Philostratus (second to third century CE) portrays a first-century CE teacher, religious reformer, and perceived rival to Jesus. Apollonius's letters, ancient reports about him, and a letter by Eusebius (fourth century CE) that is now central to the history of Philostratus's work add to the portrait.
About the Author
Christopher P. Jones
is George Martin LaneProfessor of the Classics and of History, Harvard University.
Table of Contents
LIFE OF APOLLONIUS