Open main menu

The New International Encyclopædia/Aristeas (magician)

ARISTEAS, A magician of antiquity who rose after his death, and whose soul left and reentered his body according to its pleasure. His earliest appearance is as the teacher of Homer. We also hear of him as having been born, at a period later than Homer, at Proconnesus, an island in the Propontis. He is said to have traveled through the countries north and east of the Euxine, and to have visited the Arimaspi, the Cimmierii, the Hyperborei, and other mythical nations, and after his return and subsequent disappearance to have written an epic poem in three books, called Arimaspia, a composition belonging probably to the Sixth Century B.C.. Aristeas is fabled to have entered a fuller's shop at Proconnesus and there died. Later a traveler appeared who said that he had met him on the road between Cyzicus and Artace. When the fuller's shop was entered no body was found. It was seven years after this strange disappearance that he reappeared at Proconnesus and wrote the Arimaspia. He then vanished once more, to reappear for the second time 240 years later at Metapontum, in Italy. He advised the people of Metapontum to build an altar to Apollo, and by its side a statue of himself, saying that he had been present, in the form of a raven, when the god founded the city. Later accounts tell other wonderful stories of Aristeas.