Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Thick Envenomed Froth

I was reading in LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS about Apollonius of Tyana, who once defeated some guy who turned into "an enormous black dog, of the size of a lion, and whose mouth and jaws were covered with a thick envenomed froth." And the footnote told me that this story comes down to us by way of Philostratus, and no, I had no idea who that was. But I was like, "I'm gonna walk up to Square Books, and if they have any Philostratus I'm gonna buy it! I want to read more about magic evil dogs!" But part of me was like, "They won't have any Philostratus, ha ha ha, I'll save some money." But then they HAD IT. So I had to buy it. Godwin writes that Apollonius was born "nearly at the same time as Jesus Christ... The publicity of Apollonius and his miracles has become considerably greater, from the circumstance of the early enemies of the Christian religion having instituted a comparison between the miracles of Christ and of this celebrated philosopher." My new Philostratus book flap confirms his life story to be "a pagan counterstroke against the New Testament." It's not Apollonius's fault! He also confronted a mysterious bride (pictured) who "at length owned that she was an empuse (a sort of vampire)," writes Godwin, "and that she had determined to cherish and pamper Menippus, that she might in the conclusion eat his flesh, and lap up his blood." (!)