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APELLES OF ASCALON:

Counselor and companion of the emperor Caligula (37-41). After a career of debauchery he went on the stage and became a tragic actor (Philo, "De Legatione ad Cajum," xxx.). Apelles was imbued with a deep-seated hatred of the Jews, which, through constant companionship, he was enabled to transmit to Caligula. In this he was aided by another courtier, Helicon of Egypt, who was the emperor's fool, and who made a specialty of deriding and burlesquing the Jews (ib. xxvi. et seq.). When the embassy of Alexandrian Jews, headed by Philo, arrived at Rome to plead before Caligula for the equal rights on behalf of the Jewish community, it was opposed by Apelles and his companion, who lent their support to Apion and his anti-Jewish delegation. Philo and his friends were dismissed in anger by Caligula. Apelles, whom his eccentric master frequently submitted to whimsical tortures (Suetonius, "Caligula," xxxiii.), may, at length, have met his death on such an occasion (Philo, l.c. xxx.), though, on the other hand, it has been suggested that he may have been living in the reign of Vespasian (Suetonius, "Vespasian," xix.; where "Apollinari" or "Apellari" may really stand for "Apelli").

Bibliography:
  • Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyklopädie der Klassischen Alterthums Wissenschaft, i. 2688;
  • Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 3d ed., iii. 363 et seq.
H. G. E.
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