Apollonius Tyaneus

, a noted impostor, was a native of Tyana, in Cappadocia, and born some years before the Christian sera. He studied the philosophy of Pythagoras in his infancy, and professed it during his | whole life. He practised every rigid precept of abstinence, gave his property to the poor, lived in the temples, quelled seditions, and instructed the people with persuasive force and suavity. He affected a preciseness and mystery when he spoke, which made a wonderful impression on the vulgar; all the world, we are told, followed him: artizans quitted their employments; cities sent deputations to him, and even the oracles chaunted his praises. He made disciples even-where: he conversed with the brachmans of India, the magi of Persia, and the gymnosophists of Egypt, compelling all to admire him. At Nineveh, at Ephesus, at Smyrna, at Athens, at Corinth, and other cities of Greece, he preached his doctrines, condemning amusements, visiting the temples, correcting the public morals, and recommending the reformation of all abuses. At Rome, wfcere he said he came to see what sort of an animal a tyrant was, he inveighed against the bagnios with great severity. Having accidentally met the funeral of a young lady of consular family, he approached the bier, and after speaking some words in a low voice, the dead arose and went back to her father’s house. Her parents offered him a large sum, which he refused. Here also he pretended to utter prophecies. The emperor Vespasian was so much his dupe, as to ask his advice, which he gave in his usual imposing manner. This he had done at. other courts, and most absurd stones are told of his wisdom, and prophetic gifts. Domitian, however, confined him for some time in prison, and after his release he died, about the end of the first century. Statues were erected, and divine honours paid to him. One Datnis, the partner in his impositions, wrote his life, but it was more fully written by Philostratus, who lived 200 years after. It is among Philostratns’s works, with some letters attributed to Apollonius. The heathens were fond of opposing the pretended miracles of this man to those of our Saviour: and by a treatise which Eusebius wrote against one Hierocles, we find that the drift of the latter, in the treatise which Eusebius refutes, had been to draw a parallel betwixt Jesus Christ and Apollonius, in which he gives the preference to this philosopher.

Mr. Du Pin has written a confutation of “Pbilostratus’s Life of Apollonius,” in which he proves, 1. That the history of this philosopher is destitute of such proofs as can be credited. 2. That Philostratus has not written a | history, but a romance. 3. That the miracles ascribed tier Apollonius carry strong marks of falsehood; and that there is not one which may not be imputed to chance or artifice. 4. That the doctrine of this philosopher is in many particulars opposite to right sense and reason.

Apollonius is said to have written four books on judicial astrology, and a treatise upon sacrifices, which are now lost. His general character seems to have been that he added the arts of an impostor to the learning of a philosopher. Those who are curious, however, in his history, may meet with copious information in his Life by Philostratus, in Bayle, Brucker, Lardner, and Du Pin. A new edition of his life was recently published by the rev. Dr Edward Berwick of Ireland, 1810, 8vo.