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Chapter XXVI.

Let us see what Celsus says next, when he adduces from history marvellous occurrences, which in themselves seem to be incredible, but which are not discredited by him, so far at least as appears from his words.  And, in the first place, regarding Aristeas of Proconnesus, of whom he speaks as follows:  “Then, with respect to Aristeas of Proconnesus, who disappeared from among men in a manner so indicative of divine intervention,35123512    οὕτω δαιμονίως. and who showed himself again in so unmistakeable a fashion, and on many subsequent occasions visited many parts of the world, and announced marvellous events, and whom Apollo enjoined the inhabitants of Metapontium to regard as a god, no one considers him to be a god.”  This account he appears to have taken from Pindar and Herodotus.  It will be sufficient, however, at present to quote the statement of the latter writer from the fourth book of his histories, which is to the following effect:  “Of what country Aristeas, who made these verses, was, has already been mentioned, and I shall now relate the account I heard of him in Proconnesus and Cyzicus.  They say that Aristeas, who was inferior to none of the citizens by birth, entering into a fuller’s shop in Proconnesus, died suddenly, and that the fuller, having closed his workshop, went to acquaint the relatives of the deceased.  When the report had spread through the city that Aristeas was dead, a certain Cyzicenian, arriving from Artace, fell into a dispute with those who made the report, affirming that he had met and conversed with him on his way to Cyzicus, and he vehemently disputed the truth of the report; but the relations of the deceased went to the fuller’s shop, taking with them what was necessary for the purpose of carrying the body away; but when the house was opened, Aristeas was not to be seen, either dead or alive.  They say that afterwards, in the seventh year, he appeared in Proconnesus, composed those verses which by the Greeks are now called Arimaspian, and having composed them, disappeared a second time.  Such is the story current in these cities.  But these things I know happened to the Metapontines in Italy 340 years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as I discovered by computation in Proconnesus and Metapontium.  The Metapontines say that Aristeas himself, having appeared in their country, exhorted them to erect an altar to Apollo, and to place near it a statue bearing the name of Aristeas the Proconnesian; for he said that Apollo had visited their country only of all the Italians, and that he himself, who was now Aristeas, accompanied him; and that when he accompanied the god he was a crow; and after saying this he vanished.  And the Metapontines say they sent to Delphi to inquire of the god what the apparition of the man meant; but the Pythian bade them obey the apparition, and if they obeyed it would conduce to their benefit.  They accordingly, having received this answer, fulfilled the injunctions.  And now, a statue bearing the name of Aristeas is placed near the image of Apollo, and around it laurels are planted:  the image is placed in the public square.  Thus much concerning Aristeas.”35133513    Herod., book iv. chaps. 14 and 15 (Cary’s transl.).

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