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Ἀπίων), a Greek grammarian. His name is sometimes incorrectly spelt Appion, and some writers, like Suidas, call him a son of Pleistoneices, while others more correctly state that Pleistoneices was only a surname, and that he was the son of Poseidonius. ((Gel. 6.8; Senec. Epist. 88; Euseb. Praep. Evang. 10.10.) He was a native of Oasis, but used to say that he was born at Alexandria, where he studied under Apollonius, the son of Archibius, and Didymus, from whom he imbibed his love for the Homeric poems. (Suid. s. v. Ἀπίων; Joseph. c. Apion. 2.3, &c.) He afterwards settled at Rome, where he taught rhetoric as the successor of the grammarian Theon in the reign of Tiberius and Claudius. He appears to have enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for his extensive knowledge and his versatility as an orator; but the ancients are unanimous in censuring his ostentatious vanity. (Gel. 5.14; Plin. H. N. Praef. and 30.6; Joseph. c. Apion. 2.12.) He declared that every one whom he mentioned in his works would be immortalized; he placed himself by the side of the greatest philosophers of ancient Greece, and used to say, that Alexandria ought to be proud of having a man like himself among its citizens. It is not unlikely that the Name " cymlbalum mundi," by which Tiberius was accustomed to call him, was meant to express both his loquacity and his boastful character. He is spoken of as the most active of grammarians, and the surname μόχθος which he bore, according to Suidas, is usually explained as describing the zeal and labour witll which he prosecuted his studies. In the reign of Caligula he travelled about in Greece, and was received everywhere with the highest honours as the great interpreter of Homer. (Senec. l.c.) About the same time, A. D. 38, the inhabitants of Alexandria raised complaints against the Jews residing, in their city, and endeavonred to curtail their rights and privileges. They sent an embassy to the emperor Caligula, which was headed by Apion, for He was a skilful speaker and known to entertain great hatred of the Jews. The latter also sent an embassy, which was headed by Philo. In this transaction Apion appears to have overstepped the limits of his commission, for he not only brought forward the complaints of his fellow-citizens, but endeavoured to excite the emperor's anger against the Jews by reminding him that they refused to erect statues to him and to swear by his sacred name. (J. AJ 18.10.) The results of this embassy, as well as the remaining part of Apion's life, are unknown; but if we may believe the account of his enemy Josephus (c. Apion. 2.13), he died of a disease which he had brought upon himself by his dissolute mode of life.


Apion was the author of a considerable number of works, all of which are now lost with the exception of some fragments.

1. Works about Homer

Upon Homer, whose poems seem to have formed the principal part of his studies, for he is said not only to have made the best recension of the text of the poems, but to have written explanations of phrases and words in the form of a dictionary (Λέξεις Ὁμηρικαί), and investigations concerning the life and native country of the poet. The best part of his Λέξεις Ὁμηρικαί are supposed to be incorporated in the Homneric Lexicon of Apollonius. (Villoison, Proleg. ad Apollon. p. ix. &c.) Apion's labours upon Homer are often referred to by Eustathius and other grammarians.

2. A work on Egypt (Αἰγυπτιακά

consisting of five books, which was highly valued in antiquity, for it contained descriptions of nearly all the remarkable objects in Egypt. It also contained numerous attacks upon the Jews. (Euseb. Praep. Evang. 10.10; Gel. 5.14; Plin. Nat. 37.19.)

3. A work against the Jews.

(Euseb. l.c. A reply to these attacks is made by Josephus, in the second book of his work usually called Κατὰ Ἀπίωνος, and this reply is the only source from which we learn anything about the character of Apion's work.

4. A work in praise of Alexander the Great.

Gel. 6.8.)

5. Histories of separate countries.

Ἱστορία κατὰ ἔθνος, Suid. s. v. Ἀπίων.)

6. On the celebrated glutton Apicius.

Athen. 7.294, xv. p. 680.)

7. Περὶ τῆς Πωμαϊκῆς διαλέκτου.

Athen. 7.294, xv. p. 680.)

8. De metallica discipline.

(Plin. Elench. lib. xxxv.)

Andoclus and the Lion
the Dolphin near Dicaearchia

The greatest fragments of the works of Apion are the story about Androclus and his lion, and about the dolphin near Dicaearchia.


Both of these stories are preserved in Gellius.


Suidas (s. vv. Ἀγύρτης, σπιλάδες, σφάραγον, and τρίγληνα) refers to Apion as a writer of epigrams, but whether he is the same as the grammarian is uncertain.

Further Information

Villoison, l.c. ; Burigny, in the Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscript. xxxviii. p. 171, &c.; Lehrs, Quaest. Epicae, Dissert. i., who chiefly discusses what Apion did for Homer.


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