Magic Men: Poets, Healers, Prophets and Mages, Another Wondrous Wednesday

Apollonios the Paradoxographer is credited with a text of 51 anecdotes usually dated to the 3rd or 2nd century BCE.

Apollonios Paradoxographus,  Historiae Mirabiles 3

1 Epimenides of Crete is said to have been sent by his father and uncles to the field to bring sheep to the city. Once night came upom him he varied his custom and slept for 57 years as many others have written and Theopompos records this in his histories about amazing things in regions.

After this it happened that Epimenides’ family believed he was dead in the intervening years. When he woke from sleep he went in search of the sheep he had been sent for. When he did not find it he went to the field. He was imagining that he had woken on the same day on which he went to sleep. When he came upon a ruined field and a a decaying shelter, he went to the city. After he arrived at he home he recognized everyone there among those who were there in the time when he disappeared.

The Cretans claim—as Theopompos says—that he lived 150 years and then died. There are not a few other impossible stories told about the same man.”

᾿Επιμενίδης ὁ Κρὴς λέγεται ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν τοῦ πατρὸς ἀποσταλεὶς εἰς ἀγρὸν πρόβατον ἀγαγεῖν εἰς τὴν πόλιν· καταλαβούσης αὐτὸν νυκτὸς παραλλάξαι τῆς τρίβου καὶ κατακοιμηθῆναι ἔτη ἑπτὰ καὶ πεντήκοντα, καθάπερ ἄλλοι τε πολλοὶ εἰρήκασιν, ἔτι <δὲ> καὶ Θεόπομπος ἐν ταῖς ἱστορίαις ἐπιτρέχων τὰ κατὰ τόπους θαυμάσια.

ἔπειτα συμβῆναι ἐν τῷ μεταξὺ χρόνῳ τοὺς μὲν οἰκείους τοῦ ᾿Επιμενίδου ἀποθανεῖν, αὐτὸν δὲ ἐγερθέντα ἐκ τοῦ ὕπνου ζητεῖν ἐφ’ ὃ ἀπεστάλη πρόβατον, μὴ εὑρόντα δὲ πορεύεσθαι εἰς τὸν ἀγρόν—ὑπελάμβανεν δὲ ἐγηγέρθαι τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ᾗπερ ἔδοξεν κεκοιμῆσθαι—καὶ καταλαβόντα τὸν ἀγρὸν πεπραμένον καὶ τὴν σκευὴν ἠλλαγμένην ἀπαίρειν εἰς τὴν πόλιν. καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν ἐκεῖθεν πάντα ἔγνω, ἐν οἷς καὶ τὰ περὶ τοῦ χρόνου, καθ’ ὃν ἀφανὴς ἐγένετο.

λέγουσι δὲ οἱ Κρῆτες, ὥς φησιν ὁ Θεόπομπος, ἔτη βιώσαντα αὐτὸν ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα <καὶ ἑπτὰ> ἀποθανεῖν.  λέγεται δὲ περὶ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τούτου καὶ ἄλλα οὐκ ὀλίγα παράδοξα.

Epimenides is famous for his sleeping trick in the ancient world–but he was also known for composing a Cretan Theogony.

2 “It is said that Aristeas the Prokonnesian died on some early morning in Prokennesos and on that same day and hour was seen by many in Sicily teaching reading. From there, because this sort of thing occurred with him and he appeared over many years and the phenomenon grew more frequent, the Sicilians built a temple to him an sacrificed to him as a god.”

2᾿Αριστέαν δὲ ἱστορεῖται τὸν Προκοννήσιον ἔν τινι γναφείῳ τῆς Προκοννήσου τελευτήσαντα ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ὥρᾳ ἐν Σικελίᾳ ὑπὸ πολλῶν θεωρηθῆναι γράμματα διδάσκοντα. ὅθεν, πολλάκις αὐτῷ τοῦ τοιούτου συμβαίνοντος καὶ περιφανοῦς γιγνομένου διὰ πολλῶν ἐτῶν καὶ πυκνότερον ἐν τῇ Σικελίᾳ φανταζομένου, οἱ Σικελοὶ ἱερόν τε καθιδρύσαντο αὐτῷ καὶ ἔθυσαν ὡς ἥρωϊ.

Aristeas is also believed to have been an epic poet who traveled great distances.

I have posted Apollonios’ similar tales about Hermotimos (Wonder 3) and Pythagoras (Wonder 7) before.

4 “Abaris was from the Hyperboreans and he himself was a theologer. He also composed oracles as he traveled around the lands, and these survive even to our times. That guy also prophesied earthquakes and famines and similar things and events in the sky.

It is said that he appeared in Lakedaimon and told the Lakonians to make some preventive sacrifices to the gods. And from that time on there was no famine in Lakedaimon.”

4῎Αβαρις δὲ ἐξ ῾Υπερβορέων ἦν μὲν καὶ αὐτὸς τῶν θεολόγων, ἔγραφε δὲ καὶ χρησμοὺς τὰς χώρας περιερχόμενος, οἵ εἰσιν μέχρι τοῦ νῦν ὑπάρχοντες· προέλεγεν δὲ καὶ οὗτος σεισμοὺς καὶ λοιμοὺς καὶ τὰ παραπλήσια καὶ τὰ γιγνόμενακατ’ οὐρανόν. λέγεται δὲ τοῦτον εἰς Λακεδαίμονα παραγενόμενον εἰρηκέναι τοῖς Λάκωσι κωλυτήρια θῦσαι τοῖς θεοῖς, καὶ ἐκ τούτου ὕστερον ἐν Λακεδαίμονι λοιμὸς οὐκ ἐγένετο.

Abaris was also a poet and healer.

5 “Some tales like the following are presented concerning Pherecydes. Once on the island Suros when he was thirsty he  asked for water from one of his relatives. While he was drinking, he said that there would be an earthquake on the island on the third day. Because this happened, the man earned great fame.

When he was returning to Samos to see the temple of Hera and his ship was being taken into the harbor, he said to his fellow passengers that the ship would not make it into the harbor.  As he was still saying this, the darkness fell all around and finally the ship disappeared.”

5 Τὰ δὲ περὶ Φερεκύδην τοιαῦτά τινα ἱστορεῖται. ἐν Σύρῳ ποτὲ τῇ νήσῳ διψῶντα ὑδάτιον αἰτῆσαι παρά τινος τῶν γνωρίμων· τὸν δὲ πιόντα εἰπεῖν σεισμὸν ἐσόμενον ἐν τῇ νήσῳ μετὰ τρίτην ἡμέραν. τούτου δὲ συμβάντος μεγάλην δόξαν αὐτὸν ἀπενέγκασθαι.

πάλιν δὲ εἰς Σάμον πορευόμενον εἰς τὸ τῆς ῞Ηρας ἱερὸν ἰδεῖν πλοῖον εἰς τὸν λιμένα καταγόμενον, καὶ εἰπεῖν τοῖς συνεστῶσιν, ὡς οὐκ εἰσελεύσεται ἐντὸς τοῦ λιμένος· ἔτι δὲ λέγοντος αὐτοῦ καταρραγῆναι γνόφον καὶ τέλος ἀφανισθῆναι τὴν ναῦν.

Like Epimenides, Pherecydes was credited with composing a cosmogony.



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