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A Built on Rock Website Witness of Apollonius

Witness of Apollonius a famous Greek traveller and philosopher


What follows are the writings of Lucius Flavius Philostratus, a Greek sophist. He wrote about the life and travels of Apollonius. Philostratus is a writer quoted by the historian Tom Holland in his BBC TV program Dinosaurs Myths and Monsters. Holland is an evolutionist and quoted Philostratus from his writing about the travels and opinions of Apollonius to strengthen his argument: which was that early man only knew of dinosaurs (dragons and serpents) from the discovery of their bones. Presumably Holland regards Philostratus as a reliable witness. Why quote him if he does not. However Holland failed to relate any of the following; probably because this account by Apollonius is fatal to Holland's main contention: man and dinosaurs never co-existed.

The following is quoted from the Life of Apollonius of Tyana: by Philostratus {220 AD}


On the Existence of Dragons.


'Now as they descended the mountain, they say they came in for a dragon hunt, which I must needs describe. For it is utterly absurd for those who are amateurs of hare-hunting to spin yarns about the hare as to how it is caught or ought to be caught, and yet that we should omit to describe a chase as bold as it is wonderful, and in which the sage (Apollonius) was careful to assist; so I have written the following account of it: The whole of India is girt with dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but the mountains as well, and there is not a single ridge without one. Now the marsh kind are sluggish in their habits and are thirty cubits long, (45 feet) and they have no crest standing up on their heads, but in this respect resemble the she-dragons. Their backs however are very black, with fewer scales on them than the other kinds; and Homer has described them with deeper insight than have most poets, for he says that the dragon that lived hard by the spring in Aulis had a tawny back; but other poets declare that the congener of this one in the grove of Nemea also had a crest, a feature which we could not verify in regard to the marsh dragons.


And the dragons along the foothills and the mountain crests make their way into the plains after their quarry, and prey upon all the creatures in the marshes; for indeed they reach an extreme length, and move faster than the swiftest rivers, so that nothing escapes them. These actually have a crest, of moderate extent and height when they are young; but as they reach their full size, it grows with them and extends to a considerable height, at which time also they turn red and get serrated backs. This kind also have beards, and lift their necks on high, while their scales glitter like silver; and the pupils of their eyes consist of a fiery stone, and they say that this has an uncanny power for many secret purposes. The plain specimen falls the prize of the hunters whenever it draws upon itself an elephant; for the destruction of both creatures is the result, and those who capture the dragons are rewarded by getting the eyes and skin and teeth. In most respects they resemble the largest swine, but they are slighter in build and flexible, and they have teeth as sharp and indestructible as those of the largest fishes.'