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For the late antique Egyptian family, see Apion (family).

Apion (Greek: Ἀπίων; 30-20 BC – c. AD 45-48[1]), also known as Plistonices,[2] a Hellenized Egyptian[3] grammarian, sophist and commentator on Homer, was born at the Siwa Oasis, and flourished in the first half of the 1st century AD.

Apion studied at Alexandria. He settled in Rome at an unknown date. Apion taught rhetoric until the reign of Claudius.[4] He wrote several works, none of which has survived. The well-known story "Androclus and the Lion", which is preserved in Aulus Gellius[5] is from his work: Aegyptiaca ("Wonders of Egypt"). The surviving fragments of his work are printed in the Etymologicum Gudianum, ed. Sturz, 1818.

Following intra and inter-communal violence in Alexandria a deputation of Greeks and a deputation of Jews was sent to Rome to argue community interests before Caligula (in 40) in response to conflict between Greeks, Jews and Egyptians. Apion's criticisms of Jewish culture and history were replied to by Josephus in Against Apion.


  1. ^ Adler, et al. (Eds.) Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), retrieved from JewishEncyclopedia.com, "Apion."
  2. ^ Aulus Gellius. 'Attic Nights' Book V, XIV(1)
  3. ^ David Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria By David Dawson, (University of California Press, 1992), 117.
  4. ^ Hazel, John Who's who in the Roman World books.google.com. Accessed 2009-4-10.
  5. ^ Aulus Gellius. Attic Nights V.xiv


  • Cynthia Damon, "'The Mind of an Ass and the Impudence of a Dog:' A Scholar Gone Bad," in Ineke Sluiter and Ralph M. Rosen (eds), Kakos: Badness and Anti-value in Classical Antiquity (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008) (Mnemosyne: Supplements. History and Archaeology of Classical Antiquity, 307),

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