Said to be the teacher of Pythagoras, Abaris was a legendary sage, magician, diviner and hermeticist of Scythia, an ancient culture on the north shore of the Black Sea.
Abaris, also known as Abaris the Hyperborean, was the son of Seuthes, and supposedly learned his legendary skills in his homeland of Hyperborea, near the Caucasus.
Abaris claimed to possess a golden arrow the "dart of Abaris" given to him by Apollo (Abaris was one of his priests), by means of which he could travel through the air and become invisible. Pythagoras stole some accounts say that it was freely given this arrow from him, and accomplished many wonderful feats by its aid. lamblichus states that Abaris was a disciple of Pythagoras, and performed many wonders with this arrow received from Apollo. Herodotus informs us that Abaris was carried on this arrow over the whole earth without tasting food. Creuzer alludes to Abaris and Zamolxis, stating that Abaris was a Druid of the North, and the country of the Hyperboreans, the Hebrides. The doctrines of the Druids, as well as those of Zamolxis, resemble the tenets of the Pythagorean school, and in this way may explained the part of the story of Abaris which connects him with Pythagoras.
Abaris was also said to have lived without eating or drinking, besides foretelling the future, pacifying storms and banishing disease. He was also said to be able to see the future.
With the help of Apollo, Abaris fled from Scythia to Greece, apparently to evade a deadly plague. In fact, in apocryphal legends, he is said to have visited Greece several times around 770 BC.
Abaris was mentioned by several Greek celebrities, including Plato (in connection with the "Thracian" physicians, which he insisted knew the secrets of immortality and cured all disease with incantations, ointments and plants), Herodotus and Pindar. He was surnamed 'the Hyperborean'. Later neoplatonists, including Porphyry and lamblichus Chalcidensis, also wrote about Abaris.
According to other legends, with the bones of Pelops Abaris made a statue of Minerva, which he sold to the Trojans as a talisman descended from heaven. This was the famous Palladium, which protected and rendered impregnable the town wherein it was lodged.
A temple to Persephone at Sparta was also attributed to Abaris by Pausanias. Suidas as well credits Abaris with several works: the Scythian oracles, the visit of Apollo to the Hyperboreans, expiatory formulas and a prose named Theogony.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Randi, James, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, St. Martin's Griffin; (3) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (4) Plato, Platonis Opera Omnia, Garland Publishing; (5) Higgins, Godfrey, The Celtic Druids, Kessinger Publishing.
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