History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 19-20


After a few days, however, the king was walking hand in hand with Apollonius to the forum. Three of the noblest scholars around, who had been seeking his daughter in marriage for a long time, saluted him at the same time. The king smiled when he saw them and said, “Why do you all salute me at the same time, and in one voice?” One of them responded, “Because, when we have individually sought your daughter’s hand, you have put us off by delaying: on that account, we have today all come at the same time. Select from among us the one whom you would have as a son-in-law.”

The king said, “You have not interrupted me at the best time: my daughter is not engaged in her studies now, and is laid up feebly because of her love of them. However, lest I should appear to put you off any longer, write your names and the amount of your required dowry on a little piece of paper; I will present them to my daughter, and she will select whom she would wish to have as a husband.”

The three youths then wrote down their names and the amount of the required dowry. The king took the notes and marked them with his ring; he then gave them to Apollonius, saying, “Take these, professor, ignoring the fact that it is below your station, and bring them to your student; this is a position which requires your service.”


Apollonius took the papers, headed to the royal house, entered the room, and handed them over. The girl recognized her father’s seal. She looked at her beloved and said, “Professor, what is it that caused you to come to my room alone?” Apollonius responded, “Mistress, you are not yet a woman yet you bear this ill! Take these notes from your father and read the names of your three suitors.” The girl unfolded the note, and looked it over thoroughly, but did not find the name she was hoping for. She looked back to Apollonius and said, “Professor Apollonius, does it not bother you that I shall be married?” He responded, “On the contrary, I am delighted, because you have been educated by an abundance of studies which I have opened up to you, and – god willing – you may marry whomever your heart desires.” She responded, “Oh professor, if you loved me, you would regret your teaching!”

She wrote out a note and sealed them with her own ring, whereupon she gave it over to Apollonius. Apollonius brought it to the forum and gave it to the king. The king took the note, broke the seal, and opened it. In the note, his daughter had written, “Good king, best of fathers, since the indulgence of your kind mercy permits me, I shall speak truly: I want that man as a husband, who was deprived of his patrimony by shipwreck. And should you wonder, father, that I should write so shamelessly despite being a modest girl, I have written this in wax, which has no shame.”

19 Rex autem post paucos dies tenens Apollonium manu forum petit et cum eo deambulavit. Iuvenes scolastici III nobilissimi, qui per longum tempus filiam eius petebant in matrimonium, pariter omnes una voce salutaverunt eum. Quos videns rex subridens ait illis: “Quid est hoc, quod una voce me pariter salutastis?” Unus ex ipsis ait: “Petentibus nobis filiam vestram in matrimonium tu saepius nos differendo fatigas: propter quod hodie una simul venimus. Elige ex nobis, quem vis habere generum.”

Rex ait: “Non apto tempore me interpellastis; filia enim mea studiis vacat et prae amore studiorum imbecillis iacet. Sed ne videar vos diutius differre, scribite in codicellos nomina vestra et dotis quantitatem; et dirigo ipsos codicellos filiae meae, et illa sibi eligat, quem voluerit habere maritum.” Illi tres itaque iuvenes scripserunt nomina sua et dotis quantitatem. Rex accepit codicellos anuloque suo signavit datque Apollonio dicens: “Tolle, magister, praeter tui contumeliam hos codicellos et perfer discipulae tuae: hic enim locus te desiderat.”

20 Apollonius acceptis codicellis pergit domum regiam et introivit cubiculum tradiditque codicellos. Puella patris agnovit signaculum. Quae ad amores suos sic ait: “Quid est, magister, quod sic singularis cubiculum introisti?” Cui Apollonius respondit: “Domina, es nondum mulier et male habes! Sed potius accipe codicellos patris tui et lege trium nomina petitorum.” Puella vero reserato codicello legit, perlectoque nomen ibidem non legit, quem volebat et amabat. Et respiciens Apollonium ait: “Magister Apolloni, ita tibi non dolet, quod ego nubam?” Apollonius dixit: “Immo gratulor, quod habundantia horum studiorum docta et a me patefacta, deo volente et cui animus tuus desiderat, nubas.” Cui puella ait: “Magister, si amares, utique doleres tuam doctrinam.”

Et scripsit codicellos et signatos suo anulo iuveni tradidit. Pertulit Apollonius in forum tradiditque regi. Accepto codicello rex resignavit et aperuit illum. In quibus rescripserat filia sua: “Bone rex et pater optime, quoniam clementiae tuae indulgentia permittis mihi, dicam: illum volo coniugem naufragio patrimonio deceptum. Et si miraris, pater, quod tam pudica virgo tam impudenter scripserim: per ceram mandavi, quae pudorem non habet.”

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