[also known as Abaris the Hyperborean]

, a celebrated sage, or impostor, whose history has been the subject of much learned discussion. Jamblicus, in his credulous Life of Pythagoras, mentions Abaris as a disciple of that philosopher, and relates the wonders | he performed by means of an arrow which he received from Apollo. He also gives the particulars of a conversation which he had with Pythagoras, whilst the latter was detained prisoner by Phalaris, the tyrant. But this narration is filled with so many marvellous circumstances, and chronological errors, that it deserves little credit. Brucker, whom we principally follow in this article, gives the following instance. It is said that, in the time of a general plague, Abaris was sent from the Scythians on an embassy to the Athenians. This plague happened in the third olympiad. Now, it appears, from the learned contest between Bentley and Boyle, on the subject of Phalaris, that this tyrant, in whose presence Abaris is said to have disputed with Pythagoras, did not exercise his tyranny, at the most, longer than twenty-eight-years, and that his death happened not earlier than the fourth year of the fifty-seventh olympiad, which is the opinion of Bentley, nor later than the first year of the sixty-ninth olympiad, which is the date fixed by Dodwell. It is evident, therefore, that Abaris could not have lived, both at the time of the general plague mentioned above, and during the reign of Phalaris. The time when he flourished may, with some degree of probability, be fixed about the third olympiad; and there seems little reason to doubt, that he went from place to place imposing upon the vulgar by false pretensions to supernatural powers. He passed through Greece, Italy, and many other countries, giving forth oracular predictions, pretending to heal diseases by incantation, and practising other arts of imposture. Hence the fabulous tales concerning Abaris grew up into an entire history, written by Heraclides. Some of the later Platonists, in their zeal against Christianity, collected these and other fables, and exhibited them, not without large additions from their own fertile imaginations, in opposition to the miracles of Christ1


Bayle in Gen. Dict.—Brucker Hist. Philos. abridged by Enfield.—Fabric. Bibl. Græc.