History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 30-32


Tharsia said to her, “Dear nurse, I call God as my witness, that if some downfall had befallen me before you could tell me these things, I would have been ignorant of my own lineage!” While they were relating their stories in turn, the nurse died in the girl’s lap. The girl provided for her nurse’s funeral, and grieved over her for a year. Once she set aside her grief, she resumed her previous dignity. She then sought out her old school, and returning to a study of the liberal arts, did not eat until she entered the nurse’s tomb, where she brought a vial and garlands. There, she called upon the spirits of her parents.

Continue reading “History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 30-32”

History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 25-26


The king, once he heard this, was overjoyed, and immediately ordered that the ships be led upon the shore and filled with all the necessary supplies. Further, he ordered that the nurse, named Lycoris, and well experienced in assisting childbirth, should sail with them for the event of the birth. Once the farewell feast was given, he led them to the shore, kissing his daughter and son in law, and wishing them a favorable wind. The king then returned to his palace. Apollonius then boarded the ship with a large attendance of servants, along with an ample supply of provisions, and they sailed along their certain course with a blowing wind. They were detained for some days and nights on the sea because of the East Wind’s gusts, and under the compulsion of her ninth month, the princess gave birth. However, her afterbirth receded, the girl’s blood was congealed, and once her breath was constricted, she died. The servants saw this with a great clamor and cry of grief, at which point Apollonius ran and saw his wife lying lifeless. He ripped his shirt from his chest with his nails, tore out the beard of his early youth, and with his tears pouring forth, he threw himself over her body, and began to weep and say bitterly, “Dear wife, sole daughter of the king, what happened to you? How shall I respond about you to your father, or what shall I say, since he took me up as a poor and needy shipwreck?”

When he was weeping over these and similar things in a manly way, the captain entered, and said to him, “Master, you are doing the pious thing indeed, but the ship cannot bear the burden of a corpse. Order that the body be thrown into the sea, so that we can avoid the swelling of the waves. Apollonius did not bear this suggestion well, and said to him, “What sayst thou, vilest knave?  Does it please you that I should throw her body into the sea, though she rescued me when I was poor and shipwrecked?”

Apollonius had among his servants some carpenters, who were summoned and ordered to cut some boards and join them together, while filling with cracks and holes with pitch; with this they were to make an ample coffin joined over with lead leaf.

Once this was done, he decked her out in royal ornaments, put her together in her little spot, and placed twenty sesterces of gold upon her head. He gave her a kiss, poured out tears upon her, and ordered that the child be taken up and nourished, so that he could, in the midst of all his troubles, grant some solace to the king in exchange for his dead daughter.


He ordered that the coffin be thrown into the sea with the bitterest tears. On the third day, the waves tossed out the coffin. It came to the shore of Ephesus, not far from the estate of a certain doctor, who was walking along that day with his students near the shore, and when he saw the coffin so beaten about by the waves laying there, he ordered his servants to take up the coffin and bear it with all becoming diligence to his villa. Once the servants had done this, the doctor opened it and saw a wonderfully beautiful girl decked in regal ornaments, laying in a sort of false death, and said, “Oh, what tears this girl must have left to her parents!” He suddenly saw the money placed upon her head, and some note written underneath; he then said, “Let us find out grief demands or entreats.” Once he had broken the seal, he found written, “Whoever finds this coffin, which has within it twenty sesterces of gold, I ask that he take ten for himself, and use the other ten for a funeral, for this body has left behind many tears and the bitterest grief. If he does ought otherwise than my grief demands, may he die the last of his line, and may there be no one who would commit his body to burial.”

Once he had read the note, he said to his servants, “Give to the body what grief demands! Thus have I sworn by the hope of my own life that I will provide more for this funeral than grief demands!” Saying this, he ordered that a pyre be drawn up. While the pyre was being built in a diligent and solicitous fashion, a student of the doctor came upon them who looked like an adolescent, but was an old man if measured by his genius. Once he had seen the body of the girl placed upon the pyre, he looked at his teacher and said, “From whence comes this new funereal fashion?” His teacher said, “Ah, you have come just in time! Take an ampule of oil, and pour it over the highest point of the body of the dead girl.”

The young man pulled out the ampule, and went to the couch of the girl; he drew her clothes away from her chest, poured out the unguent, and traced over all her limbs with a careful hand; he then sensed that there was a languid silence in her heart. He stood dumbstruck, because he realized that the girl was in a state of false death. Palpitation in her veins gave indications of life, as did the air coming from her nostrils. He tested her lips with his, and sensed that life was struggling with death, and then said, “Place the torches into four corners.” Once this was done, he began to draw his hands back over the limbs which were laid out, and the blood, which had coagulated, became liquid again through the influence of the unguent.

25 Rex vero, ut audivit omnia, gaudens atque exhilaratus est et continuo iubet naves adduci in litore et omnibus bonis impleri. Praeterea nutricem eius nomine Lycoridem et obstetricem peritissimam propter partum eius simul navigare iussit. Et data profectoria deduxit eos ad litus, osculatur filiam et generum et ventum eis optat prosperum. Reversus est rex ad palatium. Apollonius vero ascendit naves cum multa familia multoque apparatu atque copia, et flante vento certum iter navigant.

Qui dum per aliquantos dies totidemque noctes Austri ventorum flatibus diu pelago detinerentur, nono mense cogente Lucina enixa est puella. Sed secundis rursum redeuntibus coagulato sanguine conclusoque spiritu subito defuncta est.

Quod cum videret familia cum clamore et ululatu magno, cucurrit Apollonius et vidit coniugem suam iacentem exanimem, scidit a pectore vestes unguibus et primas suae adulescentiae discerpit barbulas et lacrimis profusis iactavit se super corpus eius et coepit amarissime flere atque dicere: “Cara coniunx et unica regis filia, quid fuit de te? Quid respondebo pro te patri tuo aut quid de te proloquar, qui me naufragum suscepit pauperem et egenum?”

Et cum haec et his similia defleret atque ploraret fortiter, introivit gubernius, qui sic ait: “Domine, tu quidem pie facis, sed navis mortuum sufferre non potest. Iube ergo corpus in pelagus mitti, ut possimus undarum fluctus evadere.” Apollonius vero dictum aegre ferens ait ad eum: “Quid narras, pessime hominum? Placet tibi, ut eius corpus in pelagus mittam, qui me naufragum suscepit et egenum?”

Erant ex servis eius fabri, quibus convocatis secari et conpaginari tabulas, rimas et foramina picari praecepit et facere loculum amplissimum et carta plumbea obturari iubet eum inter iuncturas tabularum. Quo perfecto loculo regalibus ornamentis ornat puellam, in loculo composuit, et XX sestertia auri ad caput eius posuit. Dedit postremo osculum funeri, effudit super eam lacrimas et iussit infantem tolli et diligenter nutriri, ut haberet in malis suis aliquod solatium et pro filia sua neptem regi ostenderet.

26 Iussit loculum mitti in mare cum amarissimo fletu. Tertia die eiciunt undae loculum: venit ad litus Ephesiorum, non longe a praedio cuiusdam medici, qui in illa die cum discipulis suis deambulans iuxta litus vidit loculum effusis fluctibus iacentem et ait famulis suis: “Tollite hunc loculum cum omni diligentia et ad villam afferte!” Quod cum fecissent famuli, medicus libenter aperuit et vidit puellam regalibus ornamentis ornatam, speciosam valde et in falsa morte iacentem et ait: “Quantas putamus lacrimas hanc puellam suis parentibus reliquisse!” Et videns subito ad caput eius pecuniam positam et subtus codicillos scriptos ait: “Perquiramus, quid desiderat aut mandat dolor.”

Qui cum resignasset, invenit sic scriptum ‘Quicumque hunc loculum invenerit habentem in eo XX sestertia auri, peto ut X sestertia habeat, X vero funeri impendat. Hoc enim corpus multas dereliquit lacrimas et dolores amarissimos. Quodsi aliud fecerit, quam dolor exposcit, ultimus suorum decidat, nec sit, qui corpus suum sepulturae commendet’.

Perlectis codicillis ad famulos ait: “Praestetur corpori, quod imperat dolor! Iuravi itaque per spem vitae meae in hoc funere amplius me erogaturum, quam dolor exposcit.” Et haec dicens iubet continuo instrui rogum.

Sed dum sollicite atque studiose rogus aedificatur atque componitur, supervenit discipulus medici, aspectu adulescens, sed, quantum ingenio, senex. Hic cum vidisset speciosum corpus super rogum poni, intuens magistrum ait: “Unde hoc novum nescio quod funus?” Magister ait: “Bene venisti, haec enim hora te expectat. Tolle ampullam unguenti et, quod est supremum, defunctae corpori puellae superfunde.”

At vero adulescens tulit ampullam unguenti et ad lectum devenit puellae et detraxit a pectore vestes, unguentum fudit et omnes artus suspiciosa manu retractat, sentitque a praecordiis pectoris torporis quietem. Obstupuit iuvenis, quia cognovit puellam in falsa morte iacere. Palpat venarum indicia, rimatur auras narium; labia labiis probat: sentit gracile spirantis vitam prope luctare cum morte adultera et ait: “Supponite faculas per IIII partes.” Quod cum fecissent, tentat lentas igne supposito retrahere manus, et sanguis ille, qui coagulatus fuerat, per unctionem liquefactus est.

History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 21-22


After the king had read this note, he looked back at the three men who had written their names and dowry requirements down and, not knowing who was meant by “the shipwreck,” he said, “Who among you has suffered a shipwreck?” One of them, named Ardalion, said, “I have.” Another said, “Silence! May a disease consume you, may you suffer ill health! I know that you are the same age as me, and we went to school together – you have never even left the city gates! Now, where could you have suffered a shipwreck?”

When the king was unable to determine who among the three had been shipwrecked, he gave Apollonius the note, and said, “Professor, take this note, and read: perhaps you may be able, though I wasn’t, to understand, since you yourself were there when it was written.” Apollonius took the note and read, and blushed when he realized that the princess loved him. The king took him by the hand, and the stepped away just a bit from the youths, whereupon he asked, “So, professor, did you figure out who was meant by ‘the shipwreck’? “ Apollonius responded, “Good king, begging your pardon, I believe that I have.”

Once Apollonius had said this, the king observed his face growing rosy, and understanding that Apollonius was the one referred to in the note, he joyfully said, “What my daughter desires is my wish, too. Indeed, nothing of this sort can happen without the divine will.” He looked back at the three youths, he said, “Truly I have already said that you three have come at a bad time. Run along, and when the time is right, I shall send for you.” Thus he dismissed them from his presence.


Now holding the hand of his son-in-law, formerly only his guest, the king entered his regal abode. Apollonius was left outside, and the king entered his daughter’s room alone, saying, “My sweet daughter, whom have you selected as your husband?” The girl prostrated herself at his feet and said, “Dearest father, since you want to hear the your daughter’s wish, I want and love him, despoiled of his patrimony and wrecked by the sea, my professor Apollonius; if you do not let me marry him, you will destroy your daughter straightaway!”

And, since the king was unable to bear up against his daughter’s tears, he lifted her up and said, “Sweet daughter, do not think of anything else: because you have taken up a love for that man whom I, from the moment I saw him, wished you to marry. Truly, I give you my consent, since I myself was made a father by love!” He went outside the doors and said to Apollonius, “Professor Apollonius, I have just asked my daughter what she had in mind regarding her marriage, and with tears gushing out, she told me at length (among other things), ‘You swore to my professor Apollonius that if he had obeyed my desires even in teaching, you would give him whatever the angry sea had taken from him. However, now that he has in his teaching duties he obeyed your precepts and injunctions, as well as my wishes, he does not seek gold or silver or beautiful raiment or servants or possessions, but rather, he desires to regain the kingdom which he had thought that he lost. So, according to your oath, by my own order, give me away to him!’ On this account, professor Apollonius, I entreat you not to consider marriage to my daughter lightly!” Apollonius said, “Whatever God wills, let it be; and if this is your wish, let it be fulfilled!”

21 Et perlectis codicellis rex ignorans, quem naufragum diceret, respiciens illos tres iuvenes, qui nomina sua scripserant vel qui dotem in illis codicellis designaverant, ait illis: “Quis vestrum naufragium fecit?” Unus vero ex iis Ardalio nomine dixit: “Ego”. Alius ait: “Tace, morbus te consumit nec salvus es, cum scio te coaetaneum meum et mecum litteris eruditum, et portam civitatis numquam existi! Ubi ergo naufragium fecisti?”

Et cum rex non inveniret, quis eorum naufragium fecisset, respiciens Apollonium ait: “Tolle, magister Apolloni, hos codicellos et lege. Potest enim fieri, ut, quod ego non inveni, tu intelligas, quia praesens fuisti.”

Apollonius accepto codicello legit et, ut sensit se a regina amari, erubuit. Et rex tenens ei manum paululum secessit ab eis iuvenibus et ait: “Quid est, magister Apolloni, invenisti naufragum?” Apollonius ait: “Bone rex, si permittis, inveni.” Et his dictis videns rex faciem eius roseo colore perfusam, intellexit dictum et ait gaudens: “Quod filia mea cupit, hoc est et meum votum. Nihil enim in huiusmodi negotio sine deo agi potest.” Et respiciens illos tres iuvenes ait: “Certe dixi vobis, quia non apto tempore interpellastis. Ite, et dum tempus fuerit, mittam ad vos.” Et dimisit eos a se.

22 Et tenens manum iam genero, non hospiti, ingreditur domum regiam. Ipso autem Apollonio relicto rex solus intrat ad filiam suam dicens: “Dulcis nata, quem tibi elegisti coniugem?” Puella vero prostravit se ad pedes patris sui et ait: “Pater carissime, quia cupis audire natae tuae desiderium: illum volo coniugem et amo, patrimonio deceptum et naufragum, magistrum meum Apollonium; cui si non me tradideris, a praesenti perdes filiam!” Et cum rex filiae non posset ferre lacrimas, erexit eam et alloquitur dicens: “Nata dulcis, noli de aliqua re cogitare, quia talem concupisti, ad quem ego, ex quo eum vidi, tibi coniungere optavi. Sed ego tibi vere consentio, quia et ego amando factus sum pater.”

Et exiens foras respiciens Apollonium ait: “Magister Apolloni, quia scrutavi filiam meam, quid ei in animo resideret nuptiarum causa, lacrimis fusis multa inter alia mihi narravit dicens et adiurans me ait: ‘Iuraveras magistro meo Apollonio, ut, si desideriis meis vel doctrinis paruisset, dares illi, quidquid iratum abstulit mare. Modo vero, quia paruit tuis praeceptis et obsequiis ab ipso tibi factis et meae voluntati in doctrinis, aurum, argentum, vestes, mancipia aut possessiones non quaerit, nisi solum regnum, quod putaverat perdidisse, tuo sacramento per meam iunctionem hoc ei tradas!’ Unde, magister Apolloni, peto, ne nuptias filiae meae fastidio habeas!” Apollonius ait: “Quod a deo est, sit, et si tua est voluntas, impleatur!”

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.”

History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 17-18


Amidst all of this, the king’s daughter saw that Apollonius possessed piles of skills and knowledge, and was taken by the savage fire of a wound: she fell headlong into love. Once the dinner was done, the girl said to her father, “You promised me just a little while ago that I could give to Apollonius anything I wished, even though it be yours.” The king said, “So I did, and so I do, and so I wish!” When she had received permission from her father to offer up what she wished, she looked at Apollonius and said, “Master Apollonius, accept, thanks to my father’s indulgence, two hundred talents of gold, forty masses of silver, twenty servants, and an elaborate wardrobe.” She then looked at the servants and said, “Bring everything which I promised here, and lay it out for everyone to see here in the dining room!” Everyone praised the girl’s generosity.

Once the feast was finished, everyone was felt refreshed; they said their farewells to the king and princess, and left. Apollonius himself said, “Good king, you who pity the wretched, and you, my princess, lover of the arts, farewell!” Once he said this, he looked back at the servants which the girl had given him and said, “Servants, take up all this which the princess has given me: this gold, this silver, these clothes; let us go and seek lodgings.” The girl, however, fearing that she would be tortured by the absence of her beloved, looked back at her father and said, “Good king, best of fathers, is it your wish that Apollonius, whom we just made rich today, should go away and be despoiled of his riches by criminals?” The king responded, “Well considered, my lady! Order that a room be given to him, where he can rest with dignity.” Apollonius, well received in this lodging, gave thanks to the god for not denying him a king as his consoler.


But the queen, now wounded by her care (Aen. 4.1) for Apollonius, fixed her words and countenance to her breast (4.4) and as she remembered his song, believed that he was of a godly stock (4.12). She did not give her eyes to sleep, nor did care grant peace unto her limbs. (4.5) She stayed awake, and at first light she broke into her father’s room. Her father, upon seeing her, said, “Sweet child, what is it which has kept you awake so far into the morning, beyond your usual habit?” The girl responded, “Yesterday’s activities stirred me up. I ask, therefore, father, that you give me to Apollonius so that he can teach me.”

The king was full of delight, and ordered that Apollonius be called to him. He said, “Apollonius, my daughter has seized upon a desire to learn from you and your wondrous fertility of skill. I ask, then, that you obey my daughter’s wish, and make you this promise by the strength of my whole kingdom: whatever the angry sea has taken from you, I shall return to you on land.” Apollonius then began to teach the girl, just as he himself had learned.

After a brief period of time had passed, and the girl could no longer bear up against the wound of love, she was seized by infirmity, her limbs slackened, and she began to lay feebly upon her bed. The king, seeing his daughter ‘s health decline so suddenly, solicitously summoned the doctors, who tapped her veins and inspected the individual parts of her body, yet were wholly unable to discover the cause of her illness.

17 Inter haec filia regis, ut vidit iuvenem omnium artium studiorumque esse cumulatum, vulneris saevo capitur igne. Incidit in amorem infinitum. Et finito convivio sic ait puella ad patrem suum: “Permiseras mihi paulo ante, ut, si quid voluissem, de tuo tamen, Apollonio darem, rex et pater optime!” Cui dixit: “Et permisi et permitto et opto.”

Permisso sibi a patre, quod ipsa ultro praestare volebat, intuens Apollonium ait: “Apolloni magister, accipe indulgentia patris mei ducenta talenta auri, argenti pondera XL, servos XX et vestem copiosissimam.” Et intuens famulos, quos donaverat, dixit: “Afferte quaequae promisi, et praesentibus omnibus exponite in triclinio!” Laudant omnes liberalitatem puellae. Peractoque convivio levaverunt se universi; vale dicentes regi et reginae discesserunt.

Ipse quoque Apollonius ait: “Bone rex, miserorum misericors, et tu, regina amatrix studiorum, valete.” Et haec dicens respiciens famulos, quos illi puella donaverat, ait: “Tollite, famuli, haec quae mihi regina donavit: aurum, argentum et vestem; et eamus hospitalia quaerentes.” Puella vero timens, ne amatum non videns torqueretur, respexit patrem suum et ait: “Bone rex, pater optime, placet tibi, ut hodie Apollonius a nobis locupletatus abscedat, et quod illi dedisti, a malis hominibus ei rapiatur?” Cui rex ait: “Bene dicis, domina; iube ergo ei dari unam zaetam, ubi digne quiescat.” Accepta igitur mansione Apollonius bene acceptus requievit, agens deo gratias, qui ei non denegavit regem consolatorem.

18 Sed ‘regina’ sui ‘iam dudum saucia cura’ Apolloni figit in ‘pectore vultus verbaque’, cantusque memor credit ‘genus esse deorum’. Nec somnum oculis nec ‘membris dat cura quietem’. Vigilans primo mane irrumpit cubiculum patris. Pater videns filiam ait: “Filia dulcis, quid est quod tam mane praeter consuetudinem vigilasti?” Puella ait: “Hesterna studia me excitaverunt. Peto itaque, pater, ut me tradas hospiti nostro Apollonio studiorum percipiendorum gratia.” Rex vero gaudio plenus iussit ad se iuvenem vocari. Cui sic ait: “Apolloni, studiorum tuorum felicitatem filia mea a te discere concupivit. Peto itaque, ut desiderio natae meae parueris, et iuro tibi per regni mei vires: quidquid tibi iratum abstulit mare, ego in terris restituam.” Apollonius hoc audito docet puellam, sicuti et ipse didicerat.

History of Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 14-15


The king, however, after he saw that Apollonius had departed, turned to his friends and said, “I swear to you my friends, by my life, that I have never bathed better than I did today with the assistance of one young man, whom I don’t even know! He looked at one of his servants and said, “Find out who that young man is, who did me such a gracious service.” The servant followed the young man, and as he saw him covered in a shabby cloak, he returned to the king and said, “Best of kings, the young man has been shipwrecked.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because, though he said nothing, his clothes indicated it,” the servant responded.

“Go to him at once and tell him that the king invites him to dinner.”

When the servant told Apollonius this, he agreed and followed him to the home of the king. The servant entered first and said, “The shipwrecked man is here, but hesitates to come in with such disgraceful clothing.” Immediately, the king ordered that he be decked out in worthy clothes and enter the dining room. Once Apollonius had come to the dining couch, the king said to him, “Take a load off, young man, and eat! The lord will give you anything: you will soon forget the travails of shipwreck!”

Immediately, Apollonius sat in the seat assigned to him, directly opposite the king. An appetizer was brought out, followed by the royal feast. While everyone else was dining, Apollonius alone did not eat, but rather looking at the gold, the silver, the feats, and the servants, he began weeping and looked at everything with a sense of sorrow. But one of the elder statesmen, who had his place next to the king, saw Apollonius looking at individual things in amazement, and looked back at the king to say, “Your good majesty, behold! The young man, to whom you showed such kindness of spirit, is jealous of your possessions and fortune!” The king responded to him, “Friend, your suspicions are unfounded: for the young man does not envy my possessions or fortune, but rather, as I imagine, demonstrates that he has lost a great deal.”

The king then looked at Apollonius with a merry countenance and said, “Young man, dine with us! Be merry, rejoice, and hope that the god will grant you better things!”


While the king was urging Apollonius on, suddenly the king’s daughter entered the room. She was beautiful, shining with gold, and indeed a fully mature young maiden. She gave a kiss to her father, and afterwards to each of her friends who were sitting there. In the process of her kisses, she arrived at the shipwreck, and returned to her father, saying, “Good king, best of fathers, who is this unknown stranger who reclines in the seat of honor opposite you, nursing some unknown sorrow with a sad countenance?” The king said to her, “This young man is a shipwreck and did me a most gracious service in the gymnasium today, for which I invited him to dinner. Who he is or where from, I do not know. But, if you wish, go ahead and ask him; for it is right, my wisest daughter, for you to know everything. Perhaps, if you learn his story, you will pity him.”

Since her father goaded her on so with such a true speech, she questioned Apollonius; she approached him and said, “Your silence may be rather sad, but your good bearing demonstrates that there is a certain nobility about you. If it is no trouble to you, tell me your name and all about your ill fortune.”

Apollonius responded, “If you are asking my name, I am called Apollonius; if you are asking about my treasure, I lost it in the sea.”

The girl then said, “Tell me a bit more openly, so that I may understand.”

14 Rex autem, ut vidit iuvenem discessisse, conversus ad amicos suos ait: “Iuro vobis, amici, per communem salutem, me melius nunquam lavisse nisi hodie, beneficio unius adolescentis, quem nescio.” Et intuens unum de famulis suis ait: “Iuvenis ille, qui mihi servitium gratissime fecit, vide, quis sit.” Famulus vero secutus est iuvenem, et ut vidit eum sordido tribunario coopertum, reversus ad regem ait: “Bone rex optime, iuvenis naufragus est.” Rex ait: “Et tu unde scis?” Famulus respondit: “Quia illo tacente habitus indicat.” Rex ait: “Vade celerius et dic illi: rogat te rex, ut ad cenam venias.”

Et cum dixisset ei, acquievit Apollonius et eum ad domum regis secutus est. Famulus prior ingressus dicit regi: “Adest naufragus, sed abiecto habitu introire confunditur.” Statim rex iussit eum dignis vestibus indui et ad cenam ingredi. Et ingresso Apollonio triclinium ait ad eum rex: “Discumbe, iuvenis, et epulare. Dabit enim tibi dominus, per quod damna naufragii obliviscaris!”

Statimque assignato illi loco Apollonius contra regem discubuit. Adfertur gustatio, deinde cena regalis. Cunctis epulantibus ipse solus non epulabatur, sed respiciens aurum, argentum, mensam et ministeria, flens cum dolore omnia intuetur.

Sed quidam de senioribus iuxta regem discumbens, ut vidit iuvenem singula quaeque curiose conspicere, respexit ad regem et ait: “Bone rex, vide, ecce, cui tu benignitatem animi tui ostendis, bonis tuis invidet et fortunae!” Cui ait rex: “Amice, suspicaris male: nam iuvenis iste non bonis meis aut fortunae meae invidet, sed, ut arbitror, plura se perdidisse testatur.” Et hilari vultu respiciens iuvenem ait: “Iuvenis, epulare nobiscum; laetare et gaude et meliora de deo spera!”

15 Et dum hortaretur iuvenem, subito introivit filia regis speciosa atque auro fulgens, iam adulta virgo; dedit osculum patri, post haec discumbentibus omnibus amicis. Quae dum oscularetur, pervenit ad naufragum. Retrorsum rediit ad patrem et ait: “Bone rex et pater optime, quis est hic iuvenis, qui contra te in honorato loco discumbit et nescio quid flebili vultu dolet?” Cui rex ait: “Hic iuvenis naufragus est et in gymnasio mihi servitium gratissime fecit; propter quod ad cenam illum invitavi. Quis autem sit aut unde, nescio. Sed si vis, interroga illum; decet enim te, filia sapientissima, omnia nosse. Et forsitan, dum cognoveris, misereberis illi.”

Hortante igitur patre verecundissimo sermone interrogatur a puella Apollonius, et accedens ad eum ait: “Licet taciturnitas tua sit tristior, generositas autem tuam nobilitatem ostendit. Sed si tibi molestum non est, indica mihi nomen et casus tuos.” Apollonius ait: “Si nomen quaeris, Apollonius sum vocatus; si de thesauro quaeris, in mari perdidi.” Puella ait: “Apertius indica mihi, ut intelligam.”

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.

NEW PROJECT: Apollonius of Tyre, Chapters 1-5

Over the next few weeks, dear readers, I will be translating for you the anonymously-authored, History of Apollonius of Tyre. In his edition of 1595, Marcus Welser wrote, “If there is anyone in the world who is eager to pick gold and gems out of a pile of shit, then this is the book for him!” (Si quis aurum paratus et gemmas ex stercore legere, is demum aptus huic libello continget lector.)Not much is certainly known about this work, but the most important details can be summarized thus:

-It is a prose ‘history’ with many elements of romance which were highly popular in later Greek/Roman literature: pirates, kidnappings, completely fantastical coincidences, and so on. This is roughly equivalent to a short modern novel.

-It is a Latin translation of a Greek original which has been lost. The Greek original may have been composed in the 3rd Century A.D., but most of this is speculative. It bears many similarities to the prose romances popular at the time.

In any event, it is a thoroughly ridiculous work, and on that account quite a fun little read. I will try to translate and publish a few chapters a day; perhaps, at the end, I will collate them into one post for anyone who wants to read the story in a convenient format.

The History of Apollonius of Tyre


In the city of Antioch, there was a certain king by the name of Antiochus, from whom the city itself derived its name. He had one daughter, a most beautiful maiden, in creating whom nature made no error but for the fact that she was mortal. When she had reached a marriageable age and her beauty and attraction were increasing, many men sought her hand in marriage and rushed to her with promises of great dowries. Now, when her father debated with himself about whom he should marry his daughter to, the wicked and covetous flame of lust compelled him to fall for his own daughter, and he began to love her in a way which was more than appropriate to a father. He struggled with his madness, he fought against his grief, he was conquered by his lust; piety left him entirely, he forgot that he was a father, and he put on the part of a husband. And when he could no longer bear the wound in his heart, he one day – at first light, having laid awake all night – burst into his daughter’s room, ordered the servants to go far away (as if to have a secret talk with his daughter), and urged on by the madness of his desire he overcame her after a long struggle and snatched away her bond of maidenhood. Once the crime was committed, he left the room. But the girl stood and was shocked by the impiety of her wicked father, and tried to conceal the blood, but the scarlet drops fell upon the ground.


Suddenly, her nurse entered the room. As she saw the girl with a weeping countenance all rosy-red, and the ground covered with blood, she said, “What does your troubled mind need?” The girl responded, “Dear nurse, in this very room, two noble reputations were just destroyed.” The nurse, not understanding, said, “My lady, why do you say so?” The girl said, “You see me violated by a vicious crime before my wedding day.” As the nurse heard and saw these things, she was terrified and said, “Who was so bolstered by such audacity as to violate the bed of a princess?” The girl said, “Impiety has wrought this deed.” The nurse then responded, “Why do you not then inform your father?” The girl said, “And where is my father? Dear nurse, if only you know what has been done: my father’s reputation perishes in me. And so, lest I publicize the crime of my own begetter, death is a pleasing solution. I am terrified that this defilement could become known to all our race.” As the nurse saw that the girl desired death, she was hardly able to coax her, with a soothing bit of talk, to abandon the extremity of the proposed death, and urged her, though unwilling, to reconcile herself to her father’s will.


Her father, meanwhile, through some dissimulation presented himself as a pious parent to his own people, but within his own walls he boasted that he was his daughter’s husband. And since he was always delighting in the impious bed, he got into the habit of driving away his daughter’s suitors by proposing riddles, saying, “Whoever of you can discover the solution to my riddle will take my daughter as his wife; whoever fails will be decapitated..” And if by some chance a man had found the solution to the riddle thanks to his knowledge of the liberal arts, he was decapitated as though he had proposed no answer, and his head was suspended at the peak of the roof. And indeed, a an abundance of kings and princes came from all over because of the unbelievable beauty of the princess, which caused them to spurn the threat of death.


While Antiochus was giving his faculty of cruelty a thorough workout, a certain very rich young man, hailing from Tyre and named Apollonius, happened to land at Antioch in the course of a naval expedition, and making his way to the king saluted him and said, “Greetings, my lord, King Antiochus! Because you are such a pious father, I have come with some haste to fulfill your prayers; I am born of regal stock, and seek your daughter’s hand in marriage!” As the king heard what he hated most to hear, he looked back at the lad with an angry countenance and said to him, “Boy, do you know the conditions of the marriage?” He responded, “Yes, I know them and saw them hanging from the peak of your roof.” The king then said, “Then listen to this riddle: I am carried by wickedness, and feed on my mother’s flesh; I am looking for my brother, the husband of my mother, the son of my wife: yet I do not find him.” Apollonius, when he wisely thought over the riddle and discovered the answer with a bit of help from god, he marched up to the king and said, “My lord, you have proposed a riddle to me, so listen to the solution. You said ‘I am carried by wickedness,’ and you did not lie – just look at yourself. Nor did you lie when you said, ‘I feed on my mother’s flesh – look at your daughter!”


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.

1 In civitate Antiochia rex fuit quidam nomine Antiochus, a quo ipsa civitas nomen accepit Antiochia. Is habuit unam filiam, virginem speciosissimam, in qua nihil rerum natura exerraverat, nisi quod mortalem statuerat.

Quae dum ad nubilem pervenisset aetatem et species et formositas cresceret, multi eam in matrimonium petebant et cum magna dotis pollicitatione currebant. Et cum pater deliberaret, cui potissimum filiam suam in matrimonium daret, cogente iniqua cupididate flamma concupiscentiae incidit in amorem filiae suae et coepit eam aliter diligere quam patrem oportebat. Qui cum luctatur cum furore, pugnat cum dolore, vincitur amore; excidit illi pietas, oblitus est se esse patrem et induit coniugem.

Sed cum sui pectoris vulnus ferre non posset, quadam die prima luce vigilans inrumpit cubiculum filiae suae, famulos longe excedere iussit, quasi cum filia secretum conloquium habiturus, et stimulante furore libidinis diu repugnanti filiae suae nodum virginitatis eripuit, perfectoque scelere evasit cubiculum. Puella vero stans dum miratur scelesti patris impietatem, fluentem sanguinem coepit celare: sed guttae sanguinis in pavimento ceciderunt.

2 Subito nutrix eius introivit cubiculum. Ut vidit puellam flebili vultu, asperso pavimento sanguine, roseo rubore perfusam, ait: “Quid sibi vult iste turbatus animus?” Puella ait: “Cara nutrix, modo in hoc cubiculo duo nobilia perierunt nomina.” Nutrix ignorans ait: “Domina, quare hoc dicis?” Puella ait: “Ante legitimam mearum nuptiarum diem saevo scelere violatam vides”. Nutrix ut haec audivit atque vidit, exhorruit atque ait: “Quis tanta fretus audacia virginis reginae maculavit thorum?” Puella ait: “Impietas fecit scelus.” Nutrix ait: “Cur ergo non indicas patri?” Puella ait: “Et ubi est pater?” Et ait: “Cara nutrix, si intellegis quod factum est: periit in me nomen patris. Itaque ne hoc scelus genitoris mei patefaciam, mortis remedium mihi placet. Horreo, ne haec macula gentibus innotescat.”

Nutrix ut vidit puellam mortis remedium quaerere, vix eam blando sermonis conloquio revocat, ut a propositae mortis immanitate excederet, et invitam patris sui voluntati satisfacere cohortatur.

3 Qui cum simulata mente ostendebat se civibus suis pium genitorem, intra domesticos vero parietes maritum se filiae gloriabatur. Et ut semper impio toro frueretur, ad expellendos nuptiarum petitores quaestiones proponebat dicens: “Quicumque vestrum quaestionis meae propositae solutionem invenerit, accipiet filiam meam in matrimonium, qui autem non invenerit, decollabitur.” Et si quis forte prudentia litterarum quaestionis solutionem invenisset, quasi nihil dixisset, decollabatur et caput eius super portae fastigium suspendebatur. Atqui plurimi undique reges, undique patriae principes propter incredibilem puellae speciem contempta morte properabant.

4 Et cum has crudelitates rex Antiochus exerceret, quidam adulescens locuples valde, genere Tyrius, nomine Apollonius, navigans attingit Antiochiam, ingressusque ad regem ita eum salutavit: “Ave, domine rex Antioche!” Et ait: “Quod pater pius es, ad vota tua festinus perveni; regio genere ortus peto filiam tuam in matrimonium.” Rex ut audivit quod audire nolebat, irato vultu respiciens iuvenem sic ait ad eum: “Iuvenis, nosti nuptiarum condicionem?” At ille ait: “Novi et ad portae fastigium vidi.” Rex ait: “Audi ergo quaestionem: scelere vehor, maternam carnem vescor, quaero fratrem meum, meae matris virum, uxoris meae filium: non invenio.” Iuvenis accepta quaestione paululum discessit a rege; quam cum sapienter scrutaretur, favente deo invenit quaestionis solutionem; ingressusque ad regem sic ait: “Domine rex, proposuisti mihi quaestionem; audi ergo solutionem. Quod dixisti ‘scelere vehor’, non es mentitus: te respice. Et quod dixisti ‘maternam carnem vescor’, nec et hoc mentitus es: filiam tuam intuere.”

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.