History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 8-9

Our hero one poor man offends,

but later makes a thousand friends.


Then the king ordered that fleets of ships be prepared for pursuing Apollonius. But while the men who were preparing the fleets were delaying, Apollonius came to the city of Tharsia. While he was walking down along the shore, he was spotted by a certain man named Helenicus, one of his citizens, who had come upon him that very hour. Hellincus approached him and said, “Greetings, king Apollonius!” He, upon being greeted, did as powerful men are wont to do: he ignored the low-born man. Then, the old man Hellenicus wexed wondrous wroth and again greeted him, saying “Greetings, Apollonius! Salute me in turn, and do not look back upon my poverty, which is adorned with noble habits. For, if you know how things stand, you need be careful, but if you do not know, then you are in need of advice! Listen, then, to what you perhaps do not know: you have been proscribed.” Apollonius said to him, “And who could proscribe me, the prince of my own country?” Hellenicus said, “King Antiochus.” Apollonius asked, “For what reason?” Hellenicus said, “Because you wished to be what he, the father, already is.” Apollonius said, “And what is the bounty on my head?” Hellenicus responded, “Whoever brings you in alive will receive a hundred talents of gold; but whoever makes off with your head will receive two hundred. Therefore, I advise you to commission a guard for your flight.” After Hellenicus had said these things, he departed. Then Apollonius ordered that Hellenicus be brought back to him and said, “You have done a most noble thing by informing me,” and ordered that a hundred talents of gold be brought forward, saying, “You, though the poorest of men, have furnished a most pleasing example; therefore, accept what you have earned, and pretend that you had chopped off my head and brought joy to the king. But here! You have the prize of a hundred talents AND hands unstained by blood.” Hellenicus responded to him, “Banish from your mind the notion that I could accept a payment for this service; for among good people, friendship does not spring from a purse.” Then, bidding the king farewell, he departed.


After all of this, when Apollonius was walking down along the same area before the shore, another man, this one named Stranguillio, encountered him. Apollonius said to him, “Greetings, my dear Stranguillio.” And Stranguillio responded, “Greetings, my lord Apollonius. Why are you turning about in this area with a troubled mind?” Apollonius said, “Because you’re looking at a man with a price on his head.”

“And who proscribed you?”

“King Antiochus.”

“For what reason?”

“Because I sought the hand of his daughter – or, to speak more truly, of his wife. But, if it is possible, I would like to hide out here in your city” said Apollonius.

Stranguillio said, “Lord Apollonius, our city is poor and unable to sustain the weight of your dignity; moreover, we are suffering from an oppressive famine and a harsh sterility of the grain crop, nor is there any hope of health for our citizens – rather, the cruelest sort of death is turned about before our very eyes.”

Apollonius, however, said to Stranguillio, “Therefore, give thanks to the god for making me a refugee in your land. For, I shall give your city a hundred thousand measures of grain, if you keep me hidden secretly here.”

When he heard this, Stranguillio laid himself at the feet of Apollonius, saying, “Oh my lord, king Apollonius, if you aid our city in its need, the citizens will not only hide you, but if the necessity should arise, they will also fight on your behalf.”

8 Tunc iussit rex classes navium praeparari ad persequendum iuvenem. Sed moras facientibus his, qui classes navium praeparabant, devenit Apollonius civitatem Tharsiam.

Et deambulans iuxta litus visus est a quodam nomine Hellenico, cive suo, qui supervenerat ipsa hora. Et accedens ad eum Hellenicus ait: “Ave, rex Apolloni!” At ille salutatus fecit, quod potentes facere consueverunt: sprevit hominem plebeium. Tunc senex indignatus iterato salutavit eum et ait: “Ave, inquam, Apolloni, resaluta et noli despicere paupertatem nostram honestis moribus decoratam. Si enim scis, cavendum tibi est, si autem nescis, admonendus es. Audi, forsitan quod nescis, quia proscriptus es.” Cui Apollonius ait: “Et quis patriae meae principem potuit proscribere?” Hellenicus ait: “Rex Antiochus.” Apollonius ait: “Qua ex causa?” Hellenicus ait: “Quia quod pater est, tu esse voluisti.” Apollonius ait: “Et quanti me proscripsit?” Hellenicus respondit: “Ut quicumque te vivum exhibuerit, centum auri talenta accipiat; qui vero caput tuum absciderit, accipiet ducenta. Ideoque moneo te: fugae praesidium manda.”

Haec cum dixisset Hellenicus, discessit. Tunc iussit Apollonius revocari ad se senem et ait ad eum: “Rem fecisti optimam, ut me instrueres.” Et iussit ei proferri centum talenta auri et ait: “Accipe, gratissimi exempli pauperrime, quia mereris; et puta te mihi caput a cervicibus amputasse et gaudium regi pertulisse. Et ecce habes pretium centum talenta auri, et puras manus a sanguine innocentis.” Cui Hellenicus ait: “Absit, domine, ut huius rei causa praemium accipiam. Apud bonos enim homines amicitia praemio non conparatur.” Et vale dicens discessit.

9 Post haec Apollonius dum deambularet in eodem loco supra litore, occurrit ei alius homo nomine Stranguillio. Cui ait Apollonius: “Ave, mi carissime Stranguillio.” Et ille dixit: “Ave, domine Apolloni. Quid itaque in his locis turbata mente versaris?” Apollonius ait: “Proscriptum vides.” Et Stranguillio ait: “Et quis te proscripsit?” Apollonius ait: “Rex Antiochus.” Stranguillio ait: “Qua ex causa?” Apollonius ait: “Quia filiam eius, sed ut verius dicam, coniugem in matrimonium petivi. Sed, si fieri potest, in civitate vestra volo latere.”

Stranguillio ait: “Domine Apolloni, civitas nostra pauper est et nobilitatem tuam ferre non potest: praeterea duram famem saevamque sterilitatem patimur annonae, nec est ulla spes salutis civibus nostris, sed crudelissima mors potius ante oculos nostros versatur.”

Apollonius autem ad Stranguillionem ait: “Age ergo deo gratias, quod me profugum finibus vestris applicuit. Dabo itaque civitati vestrae centum milia frumenti modiorum, si fugam meam celaveritis.”

Stranguillio ut audivit, prostravit se pedibus Apollonii dicens: “Domine rex Apolloni, si civitati esurienti subveneris, non solum fugam tuam celabunt, sed etiam, si necesse fuerit, pro salute tua dimicabunt.”

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