Biography of
Apollonius Sophistes
(John Opsopaus)

Brief Biography

Apollonius Sophistes is a life-long Pagan dedicated to the Gods of the Greek, Roman and Etruscan pantheons; his fiction, nonfiction, poetry and translations have appeared in a number of Pagan publications. He lives in a remote area, on a tor almost completely surrounded by the waters of a very deep lake, where his (corporeal) companions include goats, cats, dogs, birds and snakes. On his father's side Apollonius traces his descent to one of the Blue Man of the Minch, who live in caves under the waters between the Hebrides and the Scottish Highlands. His mother's family name reflects their status as hereditary tenders of the Beall Fire and priestesses of Hyperborean Apollo.

Full Biography

Apollonius Sophistes is a life-long Pagan dedicated to the Gods of the Greek, Roman and Etruscan pantheons; his fiction, nonfiction, poetry and translations have appeared in a number of Pagan publications. He lives in a remote area, on a tor almost completely surrounded by the waters of a very deep lake, where his (corporeal) companions include goats, cats, dogs, birds and snakes.

Apollonius was born on the first day of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian new year, when Sirius, the Sacred Star of Isis, rises with the Sun. He was born at the stroke of the Chime Hour of the Nighttide, a time considered auspicious for the Second Sight (Dha Shealladh).

On both sides, Apollonius is descended from the Boreads, the priests and priestesses of Hyperborean Apollo. The ancestors of his maternal grandfather were named "Beall-tein," because they were hereditary tenders of the Fire of Beall, for that is the name by which the Hyperboreans knew Apollo (cf. Belenos).

One of these ancestors was the Boread Henry de Beletun, from Dunbar (Scotland), who knew the secrets of spirit flight passed down from Abaris, his ancestor, and taught them to the sorcerer Michael Scot. In 1231 Henry deeded his land in Kingside to Melrose Abbey for the sorcerer's use when he returned to Scotland. Later he assisted Michael in compiling his grimoire, the Liber Potestatis, until Michael died in 1235, and was buried on the Abbey's grounds. (The Liber Potestatis was not buried with him.)

Henry was descended from Apollonios ho Tuaneus, a great wizard, wiseman and healer, born in Tuana in 4 BCE. Apollonios was known to later ages as Belinus, Bolemus, Belenius, Balinas, Bellus and Bonellus.

Late in life Apollonios decided to journey to Lebadeia (in Boiotia) to visit the shrine of Trophonios, a Son of Apollo, as he was. The shrine is a cave in the hill above the temple, and people go down into it to receive an oracle from the God. When Apollonios arrived, the priests informed him that he could not enter the cave at that time, which was a lie, for they had told the people there that they would not allow such a wizard into the shrine. So during the day he spoke at Herkune Spring about the origin of the shrine, but at night went to the cave with his disciples. There he pulled out four of the standing stones that blocked the entrance, and was drawn down in a sitting position, as was usual. He was clothed in white, as was the custom, and took honey cakes to appease the Guardians of the Cave. As he went down, he prayed, "Tell me, O Trophonios, what do you consider to be the most complete and purest philosophy."

[image] Trophonios was so pleased with Apollonios' arrival, that He later appeared to the priests and chastized them for their deceit. He further instructed them to go to Aulis, where Apollonios would emerge from the earth. (Those who descended to Trophonios always emerged at some distance, usually beyond Locri or Phokis, but none had ever emerged so far away as Aulis.) Indeed, in seven days (longer than anyone else had stayed underground), Apollonios emerged bearing a large book. He said that he had come to Trophonios' image (phantasma), which held the book, and had taken it from His hands. The book contained the teachings of Pythagoras, and was in answer to his prayer. Later the book was given to Emperor Hadrian, along with some of Apollonios' correspondence, and the book was kept at the Emperor's palace at Antium, where it was inspected by many scholars over the years. Part of the book has come to be known as the Tabula Smaragdina (Emerald Tablet), on account of the book's color. [In ancient times, the term "emerald" (smaragdus) could apply to any green stone, or even to green glass.]

This Apollonios was descended from Abaris, who was a Boread born in the Caucasus. Abaris was also a iatromantes (healer-prophet, or shaman), famous for curing many people and preventing plagues, who traveled in many lands and used the golden arrow of Apollo to fly in the spirit world. He initiated Pythagoras, son of Mnesarchus the amulet-maker, at Massalia in the sixth century BCE and, in exchange, was allowed to bring back to Hyperborea the secrets of Pythagoras, which came from his travels among the Phoenicians, the Chaldeans, the Magi, and the Minoans, who also brought him to the Orculi (Dactyls) in the Idaean cave. Abaris also preserved what Pythagoras had learned from Pherecydes, a man of Syros (Lesbos), and from Hermodamas of Samos, a descendant of Creophylus. Later Pythagoras brought the worship of Hyperborean Apollo to Croton and Metapontum, where he went into a hidden cavern to learn from the Orculi and Janae magicians (i.e. the Gianae of Sardinia). Eventually Pythagoras married a student, Theano (daughter of Brontinus of Croton), who was also a Janae sorceress from Metapontum. Abaris married Damo, the daughter of Pythagoras, who inherited her father's grimoir, which he had instructed should never leave the family, and so it has not.

The modern Apollonius is descended through his maternal grandmother from Sicinius Pontianus, the son of Aemilia Pudentilla, a famous witch who lived in Tripoli in the second century CE and married the sorcerer Lucius Apuleius of Madaura (Africa), who was a descendant of the striga (owl-witch) Pamphile (the wife of Milo of Hypata) from Thessaly (famous for sorcery), and of Lucius of Patras, whom she seduced with her magic, and about whom there are many strange tales.

Pamphile was descended from Sagana, a Janae sorceress of the first century BCE who came from Cumae by Lake Avernus to live with others of her kind in Rome on the Suburra, the Avenue of Witches. Sagana was a descendant of Janus (it is said) and Crane, a striga of the Marsi, an owl-witch celebrated for her craft, which saved the infant Procas, who became king of Alba Longa, the most ancient town of Latium (early in the first millenium BCE). She was from the tribe of Janae (said to be descended from the gods Janus and Jana, i.e., Dianus and Diana), who have lived in caves in the mountains of Sardinia for ten thousand years (as recounted in their epic, The Janid).

Apollonius is descended through his paternal grandfather from Joannes Opsopoeus (1556-1596), who collected and edited the Sibyllene Oracles and other prophetic writings of his ancestors; he was son-in-law to Daniel Stibar, a city councilman of Wurtzburg, who assisted (c. 1536) Master George Sabellicus, known as the younger Faustus, a great magician from the Sabine Hills, a place famous for sorcery.

Through his paternal grandmother, Apollonius is descended from Logan, called Gille Fhinnein, slave to St. Finnian, in fifteenth century Scotland. He was the son of the Hunchback (Crotair) son of Giolla-Gorm, who was one of the "Blue Men" (Na Fir Ghorm), who were called "fallen angels." They live in caves under the waters of the Minch, the channel through the "Charmed Islands" (Na h-Eileinean) of the Hebrides. Crotair learned the magical arts from his mother Kerling, a priestess of Dana (Diana), who was taken captive after Giolla-Gorm was killed, and whose people lived in Kintail and the lands around Ben Attow and Loch Ness. She had become skilled in the Craft of the Blue Men, which she learned from Giolla-Gorm, her husband. [See Glaukidai: A Myth of the Blue Men for more on Giolla-Gorm.]

Kerling was descended from Sir Robert Logan, who in 1329 went with Sir James Douglas to take the heart of Robert Bruce to Palestine. Since Lord Douglas died in Spain, Sir Robert returned with the heart, which was buried in Melrose Abbey. He placed it in a lead cone and buried it under the Chapter House floor.

Sir Robert was descended from Kessanus M'Lenane, a master of the ways of the underworld. In 1217 Kessanus recruited Michael Scot in Toledo, where he was translating Arabic astrology texts, and brought him to the subterranean Schola Obscura in Salamanca, where he became acquainted with the Janae and the Orculi (Dactyls). After Michael's training was completed in 1220, Kessanus brought him out through Hades' Mouth at Lake Avernus (Italy), and took him to Bologna to be presented to Frederick II of Sicily. Thereafter the two performed occult services for Frederick, accompanied him on his peaceful crusade (1228-9), and assisted him in liberalizing Sicily's laws. Kessanus also introduced Michael to Theophilus, a Saracen leader in Tunis, who assisted the sorcerer in his translations. In 1231 Kessanus returned to Scotland to make further arrangements for Michael, who was back in Paris teaching. Later he led Michael back through the caverns that connect to the Mouth of Hades in Scotland, where he was met by Henry de Beletun.

Kessanus was descended on his father's side from Amurechach, great-grandson of Murechach (Murdock), grandson of Donnchach (Duncan), son of Nicail, son of Gillaagamnan, son of Cormac, son of Airbertach, son of Murechach, son of Fearchair (oig), son of Mic Beathaidh (Macbeth), son of Finlaeic, son of Fearchar the Tall (died, 697 CE) of Clan Lorn (one of the "Three Powerfuls"), who had been King of Dalriada (Scotland), and was the son of Fearadaig, son of Fergusa, son of Coluim, son of Boetain, son of Echdach, son of Muredaig, son of Loarn, son of Erc, King of the Dal Riata (Ireland), who came from Ireland in 498 CE.

Through his mother Kessanus was descended from Gebeleizis, who was called Zamolxis (Bear-spirit), of the Thracian tribe of Getae. He was apprenticed to Pythagoras in the sixth century BCE, where he met Abaris, and the two agreed to work together in the service of Apollo and the other Gods. Thus the two Boread lines, the Zamolxids and Abarids, established a link which has continued for two and one-half millenia. When Gebeleizis returned to the Getae, he became a smoke-dancer (kapnobate) and vanished into a cavern for three years, after which his people came to him to be cured by music and other means, and to be initiated into his mysteries.

The truth! What is the truth? One's private truth?
The mythic truth, which time and place transcends?
Perhaps poetic truth? The psyche's truths?
Or last, the petty truth of public facts?
But this account partakes of all of these!

-- Apollonius Sophistes

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Last updated: Wed Aug 27 17:51:41 EDT 1997