All that we know about Damis comes from Apollonius' biographer Philostratus who wrote his Life of Apollonius of Tyana between 217 and 238. Some scholars[who?] believe the notebooks of Damis are an invention of Philostratus, others think it was a real book forged by someone else and used by Philostratus. And some scholars think that Damis never existed at all. F.C. Conybeare, however, points out the extreme and unnecessary sceptism of this theory.
E. Rabinovitch even advocates a high probability of the real existence of Damis' notebooks. It is possible that Philostratus did use a biography of Apollonius by Damis, who was however, not trustworthy (that is, he was like the so-called aretalogi, sought to embellish the life of his master.
According to Philostratus, Apollonius met Damis in a city which Philostratus calls "Old Ninos", which from its location cannot be Nineveh, but is in fact the "holy city" of Hierapolis Bambyce (Manbij) in Syria. Damis admired Apollonius so much that he became his disciple, and kept a record of Apollonius' actions and sayings, the so-called Memoirs (or Diary) of Damis. These notes came into the possession of the empress Julia Domna, and it was she who commissioned Philostratus to write a biography of Apollonius, the extant Life of Apollonius of Tyana. That's what Philostratus asserts.
Damis also called himself "The Assyrian," scribe of Apollonius, who is compared to both Jesus and Paul by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock in "Apollonius, Jesus and Paul: Men or Myths?" Jesus has also been compared to Lucifer, thus Damis may be "The Assyrian" mentioned in Isaiah 14, Isaiah 10, and elsewhere in the Bible. Paul traveled with a Damis, and an Apollos. The Authors contend Apollonius made many of the same journeys as Paul, only in reverse order. This is expected to have the same connotation as Peter crucified upside down, as a reverse mirror of Jesus.
- F.C. Conybeare, Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the Epistles of Apollonius and the Treatise of Eusebius (1912), introduction, page vii
- E. G. Rabinovitch, Flavius Philostratus and his hero, p. 217-247 in Philostratus: The Life of Appollonius of Tiana , Nauka, Moscow, 1985
- F.C. Conybeare, Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the Epistles of Apollonius and the Treatise of Eusebius (1912), introduction, page vii-viii)
- Christopher P. Jones: Apollonius of Tyana's Passage to India, in: Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 42 (2001) p. 185-199, especially p. 187-190.
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