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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae


published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. II) Athenaeus

Book V
(Part 4 of 5)

 p449  (209E) So much, then, have we enumerated concerning the "Catalogue of Ships,"1 beginning not with the Boeotians, Fbut with great festival processions. And since I am sure that our noble Ulpian will again propound us a question as to what is that "vessel-stand" mentioned by Callixeinus,2 I answer him that there is even a speech ascribed to the orator Lysias, entitled On the Vessel-stand,3 beginning: "If, gentlemen of the court, Lysimenes were maintaining any just or reasonable claim." Proceeding further in the speech he says: "I should not be so concerned to argue about the vessel-stand itself, for that is not worth thirty shillings." 210 That the stand was of bronze he declares further: "Last year I wished to have it repaired, and I sent it out to the bronze-found year; for it is made up of different parts, and it has the faces of Satyrs, and the heads of bulls worked on it. . . . There is another one of the same size. For the same maker manufactures many articles of furniture in the same or similar style." In this passage Lysias mentions that the vessel-stand was of bronze, and so clearly shows, as Callixeinus also has said, that they are supports for cauldrons. In the same way, in fact, Polemon the Geographer also has spoken of it; Bin the third book of his work, Address to Adaeus and Antigonus,4 he describes the subject of a picture painted on the wall of the Polemarch's portico at Phlius; it was by Sillax of Rhegium, who is mentioned by Epicharmus5 and Simonides.6 Polemon says: "a vessel-stand, and upon it a cup." And Hegesander of Delphi, in  p451 the commentary entitled Statues of Men and of Gods7 says that the stand in Delphi made by Glaucus of Chios is a kind of vessel-stand of iron dedicated by Alyattes; Cit is mentioned by Herodotus,8 who calls it a "bowl-stand." This, then, is what Hegesander says of it. But I too have seen it where it stands as an offering in Delphi, truly worth seeing on account of the figures of insects worked in relief upon it, as well as other tiny creatures and plants; it is capable of holding upon it mixing-bowls and other vessels besides. But that which Alexandrians call "vessel-holder" is triangular, hollow in the middle, so that it can receive a jar placed inside it. The poor have one of wood; the rich, of bronze or silver.

Having, then, discussed the vessel-stand, I will next mention again kings who have been dinner-devotees. To begin with the king who bore the same name as the Antiochus before mentioned,9 Dand who was the son of Demetrius: Poseidonius records10 that he held receptions daily to great crowds; and not counting the heaps of food they consumed, he allowed every one of the feasters to carry home uncarved meat of land-animals, fowls, and creatures of the sea prepared whole, and capable of filling a cart; and after all that, quantities of honey-cakes and wreaths of myrrh and frankincense with matted fillets of gold as long as a man. EAnd another king  p453 Antiochus,11 when he celebrated the games at Daphne, also held brilliant receptions, according to the same Poseidonius:12 "at the beginning he made distributions, man by man, of uncarved meat; afterwards of live geese, hares, and gazelles. There were also distributed to the diners gold wreaths and a great quantity of silver vessels, slaves, horses, and camels. And it was the duty of each man, after mounting his camel, to drink a toast and accept the camel and everything upon it as well as the attending slave." — "And all the people of Syria," Poseidonius says,13 "because of the great plenty which their land afforded Fwere relieved of any distress regarding the necessities of life; hence they held many gatherings in order to feast continually, using the gymnasia as mere baths in which they anointed themselves with expensive oil and perfumes, and living in the 'bonds'14 — for this is the name by which they called the commons where the diners met — as though they were their private houses, and filling their bellies in them, during the greater part of the day, with wines and foods, even taking many things home besides; delighting their ears with sounds from a loudly-struck harp, so that the towns rang throughout with such noises."

211But I15 commend, my friends, the symposium held in the palace of Alexander, the king of Syria. This Alexander16 was son of Antiochus Epiphanes — pretended  p455 son . . . wherefore17 the whole world cherished hatred against Demetrius; concerning him our comrade Athenaeus has made record in his work On the Kings of Syria.18 This symposium, then, was held somewhat in the following wise: The Epicurean philosopher Diogenes, who had considerable command of the doctrines which he professed, Bwas by birth a native of Seleuceia in Babylonia, and he used to obtain a welcome at the court in spite of the fact that the king delighted it doctrines of the Stoics. Well, Alexander paid him high regard, although he lived a depraved life, and moreover had a slanderous and bitter tongue, not even sparing the royal house if he could provoke a laugh. And once he made request of a favour, strange for a philosopher, that he might wear a purple tunic and a gold crown bearing in the middle the face of Virtue, whose priest he demanded that he should be called; the king granted this, even adding the crown as a special gift. Then Diogenes, falling in love with an actress who played male rôles,19 presented these very things to her. CAlexander heard of this, and getting together a dinner party of philosophers and distinguished men, he summoned also Diogenes; when he arrived, the king demanded that he take his place on the couch with the crown and the dress given to him. Diogenes replied that that was  p457 inconvenient; whereupon the king with a nod bade the entertainers to be brought in, and among them was the actress of male rôles, crowned with the crown of out of, and clad in the purple tunic. A loud burst of laughter broke forth, but Diogenes never stirred,20 but praised the actress without ceasing. DAntiochus,21 who succeeded to the kingdom, would not tolerate the abusive manners of this Diogenes, and ordered his throat to be cut. But Alexander was gentle in all circumstances, and in his conversation fond of literary subjects; and he was not like Athenion, the Peripatetic philosopher, who had been the head of a philosophic school at Athens and in Messene and again at Larisa, in Thessaly, and afterwards usurped rule over the city of Athens. Concerning him Poseidonius of Apamea records detailed information which, though rather long, I will set forth, because I wish to scrutinize carefully Eall who profess to be philosophers and not put faith merely in their ragged coats and unshorn beards. For, as Agathon22 says: "If I speak sooth, I shall not give thee joy; but if I give the joy in any wise, I shall not speak sooth." But surely, as they say, truth is dear; and I will set forth the story of the man as it occurred.23

"To the school of the Peripatetic Erymneus resorted a man named Athenion, who devoted himself sedulously to the philosopher's doctrines.  p459 Having purchased an Egyptian slave girl, he lay with her. FA son of this woman, whom she bore either by Athenion or someone else, but named after Athenion, was brought up in her master's house. He was taught to read, and when the master grew old he used to lead him by the hand in company with his mother; when the elder Athenion died, the younger became his heir, and was illegally enrolled as a citizen of Athens. He then married a pretty wench, by whose aid he hunted up lads to form a school, and began to practise the profession of a sophist; and after a career as a sophist in Messene and at Larisa, in Thessaly, 212 he amassed a considerable fortune and returned to Athens. He was then elected an ambassador by the Athenians at the time when their interests were inclining to the side of Mithridates,24 and insinuating himself in the king's good graces he became one of his intimates, receiving the highest promotion. Wherefore he began through letters to unsettle the Athenians with false hopes, as though he possessed the greatest influence with the Cappadocian monarch — an influence which would enable them not only to live in peace and concord, but even to recover their democratic constitution and receive large doles individually and as a community. BAll this the Athenians were loudly boasting, convinced that the Roman rule had been completely overthrown. When, then, Asia Minor had gone over to the king, Athenion began his return to Athens, but bothered by foul weather he put in to Carystia. When the Cecropids25 learned  p461 that, they sent war-galleys and a litter with silver supports to bring him home. But now he is coming in! CMore than half the population of the town, nearly, poured out to take part in welcoming him; many others joined the running crowd as sight-seers, marvelling at the incredible turn of fortune, that this upstart Athenion26 should be conveyed back to Athens on a gold-footed litter and purple rugs — he, who in the earlier days of his ragged coat had never seen purple; and what is more, no Roman had ever insulted Attica by luxuriating in such display. And so they joined the running crowd to see this sight — men, women, children, with highest expectations of Mithridates' bounty, seeing that the poverty-stricken Athenion, who once gave lectures for such fees as he could collect,27 Dnow parades through town and country with insolent airs on account of the king's favour. He was also met by the artists of Dionysus summoning the messenger of the new Dionysus to come to the public feast and join in the prayers and libations connected therewith. he who had in former days gone forth from a hired house was conducted to the house of Diēs,28 the person who at that time enjoyed great wealthº from revenues in Delos; the house was decorated with couches elaborately spread, with paintings and statues and display of silver vessels. From it he emerged trailing a white riding-cloak, his finger encircled with a ring of gold Ewith the portrait of Mithridates engraved upon it; and many slaves  p463 preceded and followed him in the procession. In the precinct of the artists of Dionysus sacrifices were held in honour of Athenion's arrival, and libations were poured at the proclamation of a herald. On the next day many came to the house and waited for his coming forth; even the Cerameicus was filled with citizens and foreigners, and there was a spontaneous rush of the crowds to the Assembly. He made his way forward with difficulty, attended by bodyguard of persons who wished to seem great in the eyes of the populace, Feach one eager just to touch his garments.

"Mounting, then, the platform built in front of the Portico of Attalus by the Roman generals, he took his stand upon this and glanced at the throng all about him; then looking upward, he spoke: 'Men of Athens, the situation of affairs and the interest of my native land compel me to report the facts which I know; and yet the enormous importance of what is to be said, on account of the unexpected turn of circumstances, embarrasses me.' When the crowds standing round shouted to him 213 to have no fear, but to speak out, he said: 'Very well, then; I speak of things never hoped for or even conceived of in a dream. King Mithradatesº is master of Bithynia and Upper Cappadocia; he is master of the whole continent of Asia as far as Pamphylia and Cilicia. And kings form his bodyguard, Armenian and Persian, and princes ruling over the tribes who dwell round the Maeotis and the whole of Pontus, making a circuit of three thousand six hundred miles. The Roman commander in Pamphylia, Quintus Oppius, has been delivered up and now follows in his train as a captive; BManius  p465 Aquilius, the ex-consul, who celebrated a triumph after his Sicilian campaign, bound hand and foot by a long chain to a Bastarnian seven and a half feet tall, is dragged along on foot by a man on horseback. Of all the other Roman citizens, some are prostrated before the images of the gods, while the rest have changed their dress to square cloaks29 and once more call themselves by the countries to which they originally belonged. And every community, greeting him with more than human honours, invokes the god-king; oracles from all quarters predict his supremacy over the civilized world. CWherefore he is dispatching great armies even to Thrace and Macedonia, and all parts of Europe have gone over to his side in a body. yes, ambassadors have come to him not only from Italic tribes, but even from the Carthaginians, demanding that they be allies to accomplish the destruction of Rome.'

"For a little while he paused after these remarks, and allowed the crowds to talk over these tidings, so unexpectedly proclaimed. Then he rubbed his forehead and said: 'What, now, an I to advise you? Tolerate no more the anarchical state of things Dwhich the Roman Senate has caused to be extended until such time as it shall decide what form of government we are to have. And let us not permit our holy places to be kept locked against us, our gymnasia in squalid decay, our theatre deserted by the Assembly, our courts voiceless, and  p467 the Pnyx,30 once consecrated to sacred uses by divine oracles, taken away from the people. Nor let us, men of Athens, permit the sacred voice of Iacchus to remain sealed in silence, the august temple of the two Divinities31 to remain closed, and the schools of the philosophers to stand voiceless.'

E"Well, after many other deliverances of a like tenor uttered by this gutter-snipe,32 the mob talked it over among themselves, and with a rush to the theatre all together, they cheese Athenion commander of the military forces. And this Peripatetic,33 coming forward in the theatre 'with a stride like that of Pythocles,'34 thanked the Athenians and said: 'To‑day you are your own commanders, although I am at your head. And if you will lend your assistance, I shall have the combined strength of all of you.' With these words, he appointed the other officers in his own interest, Fproposing by name those whom he desired. Not many days after, he made himself dictator — this philosopher who thus illustrated the Pythagorean doctrine regarding treachery,35 and the meaning of that philosophi system which the noble Pythagoras introduced, as recorded by Theopompus in the eighth book of his History of Philip,36 and by Hermippus, the disciple of Callimachus.37 214Then this scoundrel, contrary  p469 to the precepts of Aristotle and Theophrastus (how true is the proverb which says, 'Don't give a knife to a child!') proceeded immediately to put out of his way the more sober-minded citizens, and set guards at the gates; consequently many Athenians, apprehending what was in store for them, let themselves down over the walls with ropes by night and fled. Then Athenion sent out cavalry after them, killing some, but bringing back others as prisoners; for he had as a bodyguard many of those who are called 'completely armed.' BHe frequently convoked meetings of the Assembly and pretended to sympathize with the Roman cause. . . .38 Against many persons he brought accusations to the effect that they were engaged in communicating with those who had been outlawed, and were plotting revolution; so he murdered them. And closing39a the city gates, he posted thirty guards39b at each, and would not permit anyone, who desired to go out or to come in, to do so. He would also confiscate the estates of many persons, and amassed so much money that it filled several cisterns. He also sent out into the country persons who acted like highwaymen, intercepting those who came from town and dragging them before him. CThese he would put to death without trial, after first torturing and tearing them on the rack. Against many also he brought suits for treason, alleging that they were co-operating with the refugees to effect their return. Some of these, in their fear, took to flight before the day of the trial, others were condemned in the courts, he himself taking  p471 the votes.40 Moreover his conveys caused a scarcity of the necessaries of life in the city, and he had to ration barley and wheat in small quantities. He also sent out over the country heavy-armed troops to catch any of those who had withdrawn from the city and might still be within the borders, or any Athenian who was travelling to a refuge beyond the borders. DAnd anyone so caught was flogged to death, although some of them died under torture before they were flogged. he also proclaimed that all should stay indoors after sunset,41 and nobody might go out even with a lantern.

"And he seized not merely the property of citizens, but presently he took the goods of foreigners as well, reaching out his hands even for the property of the god at Delos. At any rate, he sent to the island Apellicon of Teos, who had been made an Athenian citizen and had run a chequered and novelty-seeking career. When, for example, he professed the Peripatetic philosophy, he bought up Aristotle's library and many other books (for he was very rich) Eand began surreptitiously to acquire the original copies of the ancient decrees in the Metroön,42 as well as anything else in other cities which was old and rare. Detected in these acts at Athens, he would have forfeited his life if he had not absconded. But after a short while he returned to Athens again, having won over the favour of many persons; he then enlisted in the cause of Athenion, as one who  p473 belonged to the same philosophic sect. Athenion, meanwhile, had forgotten the precepts of the Peripatetic school, Fand was rationing out a quart of barley every four days to the silly Athenians, giving them food fit for cocks, not human beings. And Apellicon, though he had set out with a military force to Delos, behaved as if he were attending a festival rather than as a true soldier, and, on the side toward the town of Delos, set a guard which was too negligent; as for the regions behind the island, he let them completely unguarded, and went to bed without even throwing up a palisade. 215When this came to the knowledge of Orbius, who was the Roman praetor in charge of Delos, he waited for a night when there was no moon; he then led out his troops and attacked the Athenians when they were asleep or carousing, and slaughtered them and their companions in arms like sheep, to the number of six hundred; he also took about four hundred prisoners. And this noble general Apellicon made off from Delos in secret flight. When Orbius observed many others fleeing together for refuge in farm-houses, he burned them up, houses and all, as well as all their appliances for a siege, including the siege-engine43 which Apellicon had constructed when he came to Delos. BSo Orbius raised a trophy over those regions and built an altar on which he inscribed: 'These dead which the tomb holds here are strangers who lost their lives in fighting round Delos on the sea, when the Athenians, making common cause with the king44 of the Cappadocians in battle, wasted the sacred island.' "45

 p475  Again, an Epicurean philosopher came to be tyrant of Tarsus his name was Lysias. He, once he had been chosen by his native city to be "crown-bearer," that is, priest of Heracles, refused to give up his office; on the contrary, laying aside his long robes, he made himself tyrant, Cputting on a purple tunic with white stripes, throwing round his shoulders a costly military cloak, putting on his feet white Laconian slippers, and crowning his head with a gold crown of laurel-pattern; he then distributed the goods of the rich among the poor, murdering many who did not offer them of their own accord.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Borrowing his title from the last part of Iliad II (484‑877), "Catalogue of the Ships," in which the Achaeans sailed to Troy. It began with the Boeotians.

2 Above, 199c; a stand or sideboard for holding vessels is meant.

3 Frag. 91 Turnebus.

4 Frag. 58 Preller.

5 Kaibel 120.

6 P. L. G.4 III frag. 194.

7 F. H. G. IV.421; in the title jjj is properly distinguished from jjj, though jjj may sometimes mean the statue of a man.

8 I.25.

9 Epiphanes, 19ed‑195f.

10 F. H. G. III.257; the Seleucidae here mentioned are Antiochus Sidetes, son of Demetrius I Soter, and Antiochus Grypus, son of Demetrius II Nicator.

11 Antiochus Grypus, Athen. 540A‑C.

12 F. H. G. III.263.

13 F. H. G. III.258.

14 jjj may mean a legal document of any kind. Here the word may refer to the letters (jjj) by which the several assembly-rooms were possibly designated.

15 Masurius.

16 Alexander Balas.

17 i.e. "foisted upon Antiochus because," etc. See critical note, and cf. Josephus, Ant. XIII.3. "They hated Demetrius because of his arrogance and lack of affability" (1 Macc. x). Of humble origin, Alexander Balas bore an extraordinary likeness to a son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and, aided by Attalus II of Pergamum, won the throne of Antiochus in 150 B.C. He was killed in battle and succeeded by Demetrius (II Nicator) here mentioned, 146 B.C.

18 F. H. G. III.656, and Introduction, Vol. I p. ix.

19 For jjj, "Lysis-singer," see 182c, note b (p305).

20 See critical note.

21 Antiochus VI Epiphanes, who reigned for four years over part of his father Alexander's kingdom.

22 T. G. F.2 766.

23 F. H. G. III.266; the name of this upstart was Aristion, not Athenion, according to Plut. Sulla, ch. xii passim, Moral. 809E. Cf. Appian, Mith. XXVIII (who may have read Poseidonius); Paus. I.20.3; Strab. 398.

24 ca. 87‑86 B.C., during the first Mithridatic War.

25 Ironical for Athenians.

26 The insertion of the proper name, which Kaibel thinks inopportune, is a play on the word jjj "this illicitly-enrolled Athenian."

27 i.e. from voluntary contributors, as in an jjj or picnic.

28 Identified from Delian inscriptions as of Tyrian origin; Dow, Class. Phil., XXXVII (1942), 311 ff.

29 The Greek cloak hung square, the Roman toga had a semi-circular effect. The idea of "turncoat," commonly said to have originated with a prince of the House of Savoy, is here seen to be much earlier. Still earlier was the epithet applied to Theramenes, jjj, a boot which fitted either foot.

30 The hill south-west of the Acropolis where the Assembly held meetings before the theatre was used for this purpose. The part played by oracles in choosing the site is not elsewhere attested, but is in accordance with all Greek custom.

31 In Athens, Demeter and Persephone.

32 lit. "house-born slave."

33 Punning on the original sense of "one who strolls or travels everywhere."

34 Demosthenes XIX.314; the phrase became a proverb of anyone whose manner of living was like that of the arrogant Pythocles.

35 Pythagoras is alleged to have plotted to make himself tyrant (Laert. Diog. Pyth. VIII.39).

36 F. H. G. I.288.

37 Ibid III.41.

38 The gap should be filled, probably, with "in order to betray those who did."

39a 39b Some such words probably filled the gap.

40 The expression in the original is inaccurate from the point of view of classical Greek idiom. In Attic jjj means to "cast votes"; here the meaning is "collecting and manipulating the votes."

41 The earliest record of a curfew?

42 Temple of the Mother of the Gods, where the archives were kept.

43 lit. "city-taker," the siege engine par excellence invented by Demetrius Poliorcetes.

44 Mithradates.

45 Here ends the citation from Poseidonius, begun at 211e.

Page updated: 19 Nov 12