Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 3.51-55

Philostratus' Life of Apollonius: third-century biography of a charismatic teacher and miracle worker from the first century CE, who is often likened to Jesus of Nazareth.

In the Life of Apollonius, Athenian author Philostratus (a sophist who lived from c.170 to c.247) tells the story of Apollonius of Tyana, a charismatic teacher and miracle worker from the first century CE. (A summary of this work can be found here.) It is an apologetic vie romancée, in which Philostratus tries to prove that Apollonius was a man with divine powers, but not a magician.

The translation was made by F.C. Conybeare and was published in 1912 in the Loeb Classical Library.

[3.51] Having reached this point, Apollonius sent back the camels to Iarchas together with the following letter:

"Apollonius to Iarchas and the other sages greeting. I came to you on foot, and yet you presented me with the sea; but by sharing with me the wisdom which is yours, you have made it mine even to travel through the heavens. All this I shall mention to the Hellenes; and I shall communicate my words to you as if you were present, unless I have in vain drunk the draught of Tantalus. Farewell, ye goodly philosophers."

[3.52] He then embarked upon the ship and was borne away by a smooth and favorable breeze, and he was struck at the formidable manner in which the Hyphasis discharges itself into the seanote at its mouth; for in its later course, as I said before, it falls into rocky and narrow places and over precipices, and breaking its way through these to the sea by a single mouth, presents a formidable danger to those who hug the land too closely.

[3.53] They say, moreover, that they saw the mouth of the Indus, and that there was situated on it the city of Patala, round which the Indus flows. It was to this city that the fleet of Alexander came, under the command of Nearchus, a highly trained naval captain. But as for the stories of Orthagoras about the sea called Erythra, to the effect that the constellation of the bear is not to bee seen in it, and that the mariners cast no reckoning at midday, and that the visible stars there vary from their usual positions, this account is endorsed by Damis; and we must consider it to be sound and based on local observations of the heavens.

The also mention a small island, of the name of Biblus,note in which there is the large cockle, and where there are mussels and oysters and such like organisms, clinging to the rocks and ten times as big as those which we find in Greece. And there is also taken in this region a stone, the pearl in a white shell, wherein it occupies the place of he heart of the oyster.

[3.54] And they say they also touched at Pegadaenote in the country of the Oreitae. As for these people, they have rocks of bronze and sand of bronze, and the dust which the rivers bring down is of bronze. But they regard their land as full of gold because the bronze is of such high quality.

[3.55] And they say that they came across the people called the Fish-Eaters, whose city is Stobera;note and they clothe themselves in the skins of very large fishes, and the cattle there look like fish and eat extraordinary things; for the shepherds feed them upon fish, just as in Caria the flocks are fed on figs. But the Indians of Carman are a gentle race, who live on the edge of a sea so well stocked with fish, that they neither lay them in by stores, not salt them as is done in Pontus, but they just sell a few of them and throw back most they catch panting into the sea.