Reference edition: The story of Apollonius, King of Tyre: a study of its Greek origin and an edition of the two oldest Latin recensions, by G. A. A. Kortekaas, Leiden 2004.
The oldest manuscripts of the Story of Apollonius, King of Tyre, dating to the ninth century AD, transmit two different versions of the text (Recensio A and Recensio B). The two versions are probably independent from each other. The later manuscripts (about a hundred of them) variously contaminate the two versions. It is impossible to identify the author of the Story of Apollonius, nor is it possible to reach a secure conclusion about the date when a first version of the text was put into writing. The reasonable hypothesis has been advanced that this first version dated to the third century AD, but it is debated whether this was written in Greek or in Latin. The hypothesis that the Latin text dates to the third century AD is based on the language and content of the extant versions. The language, especially that of the recensio A, shows clear traits of late-antique Latinity. As for content, the Story of Apollonius is written in the taste and according to the thematic typologies which are typical of late-antique narrative, oscillating between history and legend: see e.g. King Antiochus' incestuous love for his daughter; Apollonius' solution to the riddle he asks of her suitors; his flight and long peregrinations; the love of the daughter of king Archistratus for Apollonius and her (apparent) death while giving birth to their daughter Tarsia; Tarsia's misadventures as a young woman; the happy ending (Apollonius is reunited with his daughter and his wife; she had not died after all, and bears him a son in the end). Chapters 42-43 of the Story of Apollonius cite the Aenigmata by Symphosius. This mention does not provide a firm terminus post quem, since the date of Symphosius himself is uncertain: scholars have placed him as early as the second or as late as the fifth and sixth century AD. Venantius Fortunatus (who lived in the sixth and seventh centuries AD) and a lemma from the treatise De dubiis nominibus, written in Gaul at the end of the sixth century AD, quote the Story of Apollonius, offering a clear terminus ante quem. The quotation in the treatise De dubiis nominibus suggests that the Story of Apollonius was written in a Gallic-Roman environment. Later manuscripts tend to transform Apollonius into a saint, even if they keep several references to pagan gods and rituals and to astrology; it is not possible to claim that the text was subject to a thorough Christianisingrevision. [R. Tabacco; trad. L. Battezzato]