He was born in the city of Tyana, in the Roman Empire province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Educated in the nearby city of Tarsus, his life took on nearly legendary proportions when, it is said, he visited Rome and raised the daughter of a senator from the dead. He wrote many books and treatises on a wide variety of subjects during his life, including science, medicine, and philosophy.
His scientific theories were ultimately applied to the earth-centered Ptolemaic idea that the sun revolved around the earth. A few decades after his death, the Emperor Hadrian collected his works and ensured their publication throughout his realm.
Some scholars, both ancient and comtemporary, believe that Apollonius was actually the Christian Apostle Paul, as many of his teachings coincide with those of Paul, and Apollonius is said to have done many of the same things Paul did. But there is no concrete evidence of this.
His fame was still evident in 272, when the Emperor Aurelian besieged Tyana, which had rebelled against Roman rule. In a dream or vision, Aurelian claimed to have seen Apollonius speak to him, beseeching him to spare the city of his birth. In part, Aurelian said Apollonius told him "Aurelian, if you desire to rule, abstain from the blood of the innocent! Aurelian, if you will conquer, be merciful!" Aurelian, who admired Apollonius, spared Tyana.