History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 5-7


As the king saw that Apollonius had discovered the solution to the riddle, he said to him, “You are wrong, lad! None of this is true! You should, indeed, be beheaded, but you have a space of thirty days to re-think your answer. And when you have returned and discovered the solution to my riddle, you will take my daughter’s hand in marriage.’ Apollonius’ mind was anxious as he boarded his ship to return to Tyre.


After Apollonius had left, king Antiochus summoned his most faithful chancellor, named Taliarchus, and said to him, ‘Taliarchus, minister of my most confidential affairs, I want to let you know that Apollonius of Tyre has solved my little riddle. Therefore, embark immediately upon a ship so that you can pursue him, and once you get to Tyre, try to find some enemy of his who would kill him by violence or poison. After you get back, you may have your freedom.’ Once he heard this, Taliarchus took up the money and the poison, and embarked upon a ship to seek Apollonius’ country. The harmless Apollonius, however, arrived there first, went into his house, and opened a scroll to study the riddles of all of the philosophers and all of the Assyrian astrologists. And when he found nothing except what he had originally thought to be the answer, he spoke to himself, saying, “What are you doing, Apollonius? You solved the king’s riddle, but didn’t get his daughter, but were put off for a while so that you can be killed!” He  therefore  ordered the ships to be loaded with grain, and Apollonius himself, with a few of his most trusted servants as his companions, boarded the ship in secret. He brought with him a huge mass of gold and silver, and a richly embroidered raiment too, and in the third, most silent hour of the night, he gave himself over to the deep sea.


The next day, however, he was sought by his countrymen in his own city, who wished to salute him, but he was nowhere to be found. There was a commotion, and the grief resounded loudly throughout the entire city. For, his citizens cherished such love for him, that for a long time no one cut their hair, public shows were put off, and the baths were closed. While these things were going on at Tyre, Taliarchus arrived, who was on a mission to kill Apollonius. When he saw that everything was closed, he said to a boy, “Tell me, if you can, for what reason is the city so bound up by grief?” The boy responded to him, “Oh, you reprobate! He knows, yet asks such a question! For, who is there who does not know that this city is in mourning because the prince of this land, Apollonius, never appeared  after his return voyage from Antioch?” Then, the chancellor, who upon hearing this was filled with joy, returned to his ship, and after a three-day journey was back in Antioch, where he approached the king and said, “My lord, my king, rejoice and delight! That young Apollonius, fearing the power of your kingdom, never showed himself!” The king then responded, “He may certainly run, but he cannot escape!” Without interruption, he proposed a declaration of this sort: “Whoever brings Apollonius of Tyre to me alive will receive a hundred talents of gold; whoever brings me his head will receive two hundred!” Once this declaration was made public, not only the enemies of Apollonius, but his friends, too, were led on by greed and hastened to track him out. Apollonius was sought in fields, in mountains, in forests, in every possible hunting spot, yet he was not found.

5 Rex ut vidit iuvenem quaestionis solutionem invenisse, sic ait ad eum: “Erras, iuvenis, nihil verum dicis. Decollari quidem mereberis, sed habes triginta dierum spatium: recogita tecum. Et dum reversus fueris et quaestionis meae propositae solutionem inveneris, accipies filiam meam in matrimonium.” Iuvenis conturbatum habebat animum, paratamque habens navem ascendit, tendit ad patriam suam Tyrum.

6 Et post discessum adulescentis Antiochus rex vocat ad se dispensatorem suum fidelissimum nomine Taliarchum et dicit ei: “Taliarche, secretorum meorum fidelissime minister, scias quia Tyrius Apollonius invenit quaestionis meae solutionem. Ascende ergo navem confestim ad persequendum iuvenem, et dum veneris Tyrum in patriam eius, inquires inimicum eius, qui eum aut ferro aut veneno interimat. Postquam reversus fueris, libertatem accipies.”

Taliarchus vero hoc audito adsumens pecuniam simulque venenum, navem ascendens petiit patriam Apollonii. Pervenit innocens tamen Apollonius prior ad patriam suam et introivit domum et aperto scrinio codicum suorum inquisivit quaestiones omnium philosophorum omniumque Chaldaeorum. Et dum aliud non invenisset nisi quod cogitaverat, ad semet ipsum locutus est dicens: “Quid agis, Apolloni? Quaestionem regis solvisti, filiam eius non accepisti, sed ideo dilatus es, ut neceris.”

Atque ita onerari praecepit naves frumento. Ipse quoque Apollonius cum paucis comitantibus fidelissimis servis navem occulte ascendit, deferens secum multum pondus auri atque argenti sed et vestem copiosissimam, et hora noctis silentissima tertia tradidit se alto pelago.

7 Alia vero die in civitate sua quaeritur a civibus suis ad salutandum et non inventus est. Fit tremor, sonat planctus ingens per totam civitatem. Tantus namque amor civium suorum erga eum erat, ut per multa tempora tonsores privarentur a publico, spectacula tollerentur, balnea clauderentur.

Et cum haec Tyri aguntur, supervenit ille Taliarchus, qui a rege Antiocho missus fuerat ad necandum iuvenem. Qui ut vidit omnia clausa, ait cuidam puero: “Indica mihi, si valeas, quae est haec causa, quod civitas ista in luctu moratur?” Cui puer ait: “O hominem inprobum! Scit et interrogat! Quis est enim, qui nesciat ideo hanc civitatem in luctu esse, quia princeps huius patriae nomine Apollonius reversus ab Antiochia subito nusquam conparuit?” Tunc Taliarchus dispensator regis hoc audito gaudio plenus rediit ad navem et tertia navigationis die attigit Antiochiam. Ingressusque ad regem ait: “Domine rex, laetare et gaude, quia iuvenis ille Tyrius Apollonius timens regni tui vires subito nusquam conparuit.” Rex ait: “Fugere quidem potest, sed effugere non potest.” Continuo huiusmodi edictum proposuit: “Quicumque mihi Tyrium Apollonium, contemptorem regni mei, vivum exhibuerit, accipiet auri talenta centum, qui vero caput eius attulerit, accipiet ducenta.” Hoc edicto proposito non tantum eius inimici, sed etiam amici eius cupiditate ducebantur et ad indagandum properabant. Quaeritur Apollonius per terras, per montes, per silvas, per universas indagines, et non inveniebatur.

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