Apollonius of Tyana

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Apollonius of Tyana (c. 15 – c. 100 CE) was a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher from the town of Tyana in the Roman province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Little is known about him with certainty. Being a 1st-century orator and philosopher around the time of Christ, he was compared with Jesus of Nazareth by Christians in the 4th century[3] and by various popular writers in modern times.

In her Theosophical Glossary, Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

Apollonius of Tyana (Gr.). A wonderful philosopher born in Cappadocia about the beginning of the first century; an ardent Pythagorean, who studied the Phœnician sciences under Euthydemus; and Pythagorean philosophy and other studies under Euxenus of Heraclea. According to the tenets of this school he remained a vegetarian the whole of his long life, fed only on fruit and herbs, drank no wine, wore vestments made only of plant-fibres, walked barefooted, and let his hair grow to its full length, as all the Initiates before and after him. He was initiated by the priests of the temple of Æsculapius (Asclepios) at Ægæ, and learnt many of the "miracles" for healing the sick wrought by the god of medicine. Having prepared himself for a higher initiation by a silence of five years, and by travel, visiting Antioch, Ephesus, Pamphylia and other parts, he journeyed via Babylon to India, all his intimate disciples having abandoned him, as they feared to go to the "land of enchantments". A casual disciple, Damis, however, whom he met on his way, accompanied him in his travels. At Babylon he was initiated by the Chaldees and Magi, according to Damis, whose narrative was copied by one named Philostratus a hundred years later. After his return from India, he shewed himself a true Initiate, in that the pestilences and earthquakes, deaths of kings and other events, which he prophesied duly happened. At Lesbos, the priests of Orpheus, being jealous of him, refused to initiate him into their peculiar mysteries, though they did so several years later. He preached to the people of Athens and other cities the purest and noblest ethics, and the phenomena he produced were as wonderful as they were numerous and well attested. "How is it", enquires Justin Martyr in dismay—"how is it that the talismans (telesmata) of Apollonius have power, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves and the violence of the winds, and the attacks of the wild beasts; and whilst our Lord's miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous and actually manifested in present facts?". . . (Quæst, XXIV). But an answer is easily found to this in the fact that after crossing the Hindu Kush, Apollonius had been directed by a king to the abode of the Sages, whose abode it may be to this day, by whom he was taught unsurpassed knowledge. His dialogues with the Corinthian Menippus indeed give us the esoteric catechism and disclose (when understood) many an important mystery of nature. Apollonius was the friend, correspondent and guest of kings and queens, and no marvellous or “magic” powers are better attested than his. At the end of his long and wonderful life he opened an esoteric school at Ephesus, and died aged almost one hundred years.[1]

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  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 26-27.