almost done

Alright, so I’m on the final stretch for my thesis. For my final analysis I focused on how Philostratus models the Indian Wise Men on the Greek understanding of the Brachmanes and the Ethiopian Naked Ones on the Greek understanding of the Gymnosophistai. He does this because the Gymnosophistai, in Greek literature, were heavily influenced by Cynics, who were not so respected in the time of Philostratus (and centuries earlier in the time of Apollonius). As a result, Philostratus depicts the Naked Ones as these Cynic Gymnosophistai, whom Apollonius subsequently defeats in philosophical debate, distancing him from any criticism for his asceticism (which would have associated him with the radically ascetic Cynics). Furthermore, by┬áseparating┬áthe “bad” attributes and the “good” attributes associated with Indian sages as a result of the Greek tradition concerning Indians and placing them in two separate groups, one of which Apollonius reveres, the other which he condemns, Philostratus cleanly elevates Apollonius through his association with the all-good Indian Wise Men. Had Philostratus not done this, the negative attributes associated with the Indian Gymnosophistai would have implicitly tainted the ideal Wise Men.

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Each year the Roy R. Charles Center provides research funding in a variety of disciplines for William and Mary undergraduates. This summer 57 students will devote 7 weeks to a project and blog about their experience. Follow their progress, ask questions, and get to know what exciting research W&M students are conducting!