The Amazing Adventures of Apollonius of Tyanna
by Andrew Tomas
In the first century of our era a tall handsome Greek was asked by a guard at the frontier of Babylon:
“What gifts have you brought for the king?”
“All the virtues,” replied the Greek.
“Do you suppose our king does not have them?” queried the officer.
“He may have them but he does not know how to use them,” answered the bold raveller whose name was Apollonius of Tyana.
In spite of his provoking manner of speech, the traveller was allowed to cross the Babylonian border as the officials thought that the king himself might be interested in meeting so eccentric a visitor.
Apollonius was born in Cappadocia about 4 B.C. At fourteen his school teachers could no longer instruct him because of his inborn intelligence. The boy took the Pythagorean vows at the age of sixteen and attached himself to the temple of Aegae. His wisdom and cures had spread to such an extent that a saying appeared in Cappadocia:
“What’s the hurry? Rushing to see young Apollonius?”
One day a priest of Daphean Apollo brought him a copper map and told Apollonius that the chart showed the road to the City of the Gods. Soon Apollonius of Tyanna was travelling east. In Mespila (Nineveh) a man by the name of Damis offered his services as a guide. The life story of the Greek philosopher was later recorded by Philostratus on request of the Byzantine Empress Domna.
After a difficult trek from Babylon to India the two travellers turned north from the Ganges in the direction of the Himalayan Range. It can be assumed that their destination was Tibet because the journey took eighteen days.
As the Greek sage was approaching the Asiatic Olympus with his devoted companion, strange things began to take place. The path by which they had come, disappeared after them. The countryside shifted its position and they seemed to be in a place preserved by illusion.
On the boundary of this wonderland they were met by a boy who addressed them in Greek as if Apollonius had been expected. Apollonius of Tyana was then presented to the ruler of this land whom Philostratus calls Iarchas.
This fabulous country was full of scientific marvels. There were wells from which pillars of light projected upwards like searchlights. Radiant stones illuminated the town and turned night into day.
Then Apollonius and Damis saw demonstrations of levitation as men became weightless and floated in the air. Four tripods-automations walked into the dining room to serve food and drinks as the travellers sat down at the host’s table. Apollonius’ biographer borrows from Homer the description of these robots which “instinct with spirit, rolled from place to place around the blest abodes, self-moved, obedient to the beck of gods”.
The technological achievements and intellectual superiority of this community impressed Apollonius so much that he only nodded when King Iarchas stated an obvious fact: “You have come to men who know everything.”
According to the philosopher from Tyana, these learned men ‘were living on earth and at the same time not on it’. Does this phrase have an allegorical meaning or literal? If literal, then these people might have had communication with other worlds, particularly since they had mastered gravity. Then we can understand the words of Iarchas that ‘the universe is a living thing’.
Apollonius received a mission form the Adepts of Asia. He was to bury certain talismans or magnets in places of future historical meaning. Secondly, he was to shake the tyranny of Rome.
The Greek sage arrived in Rome at the unfavorable period of the persecution of philosophers by Nero, and was shortly summoned to a tribunal. As the prosecutor unrolled the scroll with the charges against Apollonius, it was uncannily turned into a blank! Without the charges against him, there was no indictment, and Apollonius of Tyana was set free. From that day on, the Roman authorities began to have a superstitious fear of the wise man of Tyana.
Under Vespasian he fared much better and was appointed counsellor to the Roman Emperor, and Emperor Titus said to him: “I have indeed taken Jerusalem but you Apollonius have captured me.”
During the reign of Domitian he was accused of ‘un-Roman’ activities. At the trial Apollonius looked with disdain at the Emperor whom he had known as a boy. The patricians felt anxiety, remembering the weird things that had gone on at the tribunal of Nero. Domitian and the judges made an attempt to whitewash themselves by withdrawing some of the charges on condition that Apollonius of Tyana would be convicted in the end.
Facing the Emperor of Rome, Apollonius drew his cloak around him saying: “You can detain my body but not my soul and, I will add, not even my body.” And then he vanished in a flash of light seen by hundreds in the court hall.
History does not mention the date of the Greek sage’s death. The centenarian Apollonius is traced to Ephesus and then chroniclers lose sight of this amazing personality.
The stay of Apollonius in Asia where he studied at the feet of those ‘who knew everything’, is of great historical interest. Apparently, our robots are not new if automatons served Apollonius and Damis in the palace of Iarchas. Anti-gravitation must have been used by those who could raise themselves and glide in the air. According to the story, the landscape shifted when Apollonius and Damis had arrived at the borders of this secret abode in Tibet. Bending light waves is more of a topic for science fiction rather than for science but this could explain the wavering scenes on the Tibetan border, and the Greek philosopher’s disappearance at the tribunal of Domitian. Brilliant light from wells or stones could have been produced by electricity or some other energy.
One has no right to reject the testimony of Philostratus who used numerous source data at Byzantium, any more than that of Herodotus, Virgil, Plutarch or any other writers of antiquity. Apollonius was so respected that Septimus Severus who ruled the Roman Empire from 193 to 211 of our era, had a statue of the Greek sage in his shrine together with those of Jesus Christ and Orpheus.
Excerpt from We Are Not The First
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