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VI.234C‑248C

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae

of
Athenaeus

published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1929

The text is in the public domain.

This page has not been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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VI.262B‑275B

(Vol. III) Athenaeus
Deipnosophistae

Book VI
(Part 4 of 5)

p119 When Plutarch had finished this long account of parasites,1 Democritus took up the discussion and said: "But I too shall have something to tell about flatterers, 'like plank glued firmly to plank,' as the Theban poet has it.2 'The flatterer, indeed, fares best of all,' the noble Menander once said,3 and the p121meaning of flatterer is not remote from that of parasite. Take Cleisophus, for instance. He is mentioned in all records as the flatterer of Philip, king of Macedon, and was a native of Athens, as Satyrus the Peripatetic declares in his Life of Philip.4 But Lynceus of Samos in his reminiscences calls him a parasite in these words: 'When Cleisophus, Philip's parasite, was chided by Philip because he was always begging, he replied, "It's because I don't want to be forgotten." EOnce Philip gave him a damaged horse, which he sold. And when, after a while, he was asked by the king where the horse was, he said, "It's been sold for damages." And when Philip, amid loud applause, perpetrated a joke at his expense, he said, "After that, ought I not to be the one to keep you?" '5

"Hegesander of Delphi narrates the following of Cleisophus in his Commentaries:6 'When Philip announced that letters had been brought to him from Cotys, king of Thrace, Cleisophus, who was present, exclaimed, "Good news, by the gods!" And when Philip asked him, "What do you know about what he has written?" he replied, "Zeus the All-Highest is my witness, that's a neat rebuke." ' Satyrus, in his Life of Philip,7 says that when Philip had his eye knocked out Cleisophus went along with him with his own eye bandaged in the same way.8 Again, when Philip was wounded in the leg, Cleisophus marched limping along with the king. And whenever Philip tasted any food that was bitter, Cleisophus also made a wry face as if he had eaten it too. p123In the country of the Arabs people used to do this sort of thing not by way of flattery, but through a polite convention. If a king was hurt in any of his limbs they acted out the pretence of having the same disability, since they think it absurd to take so much pains to be buried with him if he dies, but not to do him the favour of the same honour for his hurt if he is made lame. Nicolas of Damascus (he was of the Peripatetic School) in his bulky History (for there are one hundred and forty-four books) says, in the one hundred and sixteenth book,9 Bthat Adiatomus, the king of the Sotiani,10 which is a Celtic tribe, had six hundred picked men as a body-guard, called by the Celts in their native tongue 'siloduri'; this in Greek means 'bound by a vow.' 'These men the kings keep to live and die with them, since that is the vow which the picked men make. In return for this they exercise power with him, wearing the same dress and having the same mode of life, and they are absolutely bound to die with him, whether the king dies of disease or in battle or in any other manner. And no one can tell of any case where one of these men played the coward or evaded death whenever it came to the king.'

C"Theopompus in the forty-fourth book of his Histories11 says that Philip established Thrasydaeus of Thessaly as tyrant over his compatriots; he was a man of small intelligence, but a very great flatterer. But Arcadion the Achaean was no fighter; an account of him is given by the same Theopompus and by Duris in the fifth book of his Macedonian p125History.12 This Arcadion detested Philip and went into voluntary exile from his native land. He was very talented, and several of his sayings are remembered. It happened, anyhow, that once when Philip was staying in Delphi Arcadion was also there; the Macedonian caught sight of him, and summoning him to his presence asked him, 'How long, Arcadion, are you going to remain in exile?' And he replied,13 'Until I am come unto them who know not — Philip.' Phylarchus, in the twenty-first book of his Histories,14 says that Philip laughed at this retort, and inviting Arcadion to dinner so put an end to his hostility.

"Concerning Nicesias, Alexander's15 parasite, Hegesander records the following: When Alexander complained of being bitten by flies, and was energetic ally shooing them away, Nicesias, one of his parasites present, said, 'Surely these flies have much the better of all other flies in having tasted your blood.' Hegesander also says that cheirisophus, the parasite of Dionysius, seeing Dionysius laughing in company with some acquaintances, laughed too, although he was some distance away from them, so that he could not overhear. And when Dionysius asked him why he laughed when he could not overhear what they said, he replied, 'I put my trust in you, that whatever was said was laughable.' His son Dionysius also kept a large number of persons who flattered him, whom the people used to call 'Dionysokolakes.'16 FThese persons pretended at dinner that they were near-sighted, since Dionysius did not have p127good eyesight; and they would feel for the viands set before them as if they could not see, until Dionysius guided their hands toward the dishes.17 When Dionysius spat, they would often present their faces to be spat upon, and as they licked the spittle, or even his vomit, they declared that it was sweeter than honey. Timaeus, in the twenty-second book of his Histories,18 tells about Democles, the parasite of Dionysius the Younger. He says that it was customary throughout Sicily to offer sacrifices to the Nymphs from house to house, spending the night in a drunken condition round their statues, and dancing round the goddesses. But Democles, disregarding the Nymphs, and declaring that men should not bother with lifeless divinities, went and danced round Dionysius. BSome time later Democles went on an embassy with others, all being transported on board a trireme. He was accused by the others of stirring up sedition during the journey, and injuring Dionysius's negotiations involving the public interest. at this Dionysius became very angry, but Democles said that the quarrel between himself and his colleagues on the embassy had arisen because, after dinner, the latter, taking some of the sailors into their company, used to sing the paeans of Phrynichus and Stesichorus or again Pindar, whereas he himself, in company with volunteers, Cused to render the paeans composed by Dionysius. Moreover, he promised that he would make clear the proof of this; for the accusers could not even remember the number of his songs, while he was prepared to sing them p129all himself in their proper order. When the anger of Dionysius was thus allayed, Democles resumed: 'You would do me a favour, Dionysius, if you would command someone who knows it19 to teach me the paean composed in honour of Asclepius; for I hear that you have been occupied with that.' Once, when some friends Dhad been invited to dinner by Dionysius, Dionysius, as he entered the room, said, 'Letters have been sent to us, my friends, from the officers who were dispatched to Naples.' Whereupon Democles broke in and said, 'By the gods, Dionysius, that's good!' Dionysius looked at him and said, 'How do you know that what they have written is satisfactory or the reverse?' And Democles replied, 'By the gods, Dionysius, that's good — reproof.'20 Satyrus is another parasite of both Dionysiuses, mentioned by Timaeus in his writings.

E"Hegesander records21 that the tyrant Hieron was also rather near-sighted, and that the friends whom he had to dine with him purposely missed reaching their food in order that their hands might be guided by him, and he might appear to be more sharp-sighted than the rest of them. And Hegesander says that Eucleides, nicknamed the Beet (he, too, was a parasite), when somebody set before him several nettles22 at dinner, said, 'Capaneus, who is brought on the scene by Euripides in The Suppliant Women,23 showed his polish in "loathing the man who p131gets nettled24 too much at the table." ' The popular leaders at Athens, in the time of the Chremonidean War,25 as Hegesander says, used to declare by way of flattering the Athenians that while all other things were common property of the Greeks, the road which led men to Heaven was known only to the Athenians. Satyrus in his Lives26 says that Anaxarchus, the philosopher of Eudaemonism, was one of Alexander's parasites. On one occasion when he was travelling with the king there came a violent clap of thunder so extraordinary that everybody cowered in fear, and he said, 'Can it be that you, Alexander, the son of Zeus, did that?' Alexander laughed and said, 'No, for I don't want to be so terrifying as you would have me, when you urge me to have the heads of satraps and kings brought to me when I am dining.' And Aristobulus of Cassandreia says27 that the Athenian pancratiast Dioxippus, when Alexander was wounded and his flowing, quoted the line,28 'Ichor, such as floweth in the blessed gods.'

"Epicrates of Athens, according to Hegesander,29 when he went on the embassy to the Persian king, Baccepted many bribes from him, and never scrupled to flatter the king so openly and boldly that he would declare the Athenians ought to choose annually, not nine archons, but nine envoys to send to the king. I wonder, for my part, how the Athenians could have let him go without bringing him to trial, seeing that they fined Demades ten talents for proposing a p133decree naming Alexander a god, and actually put to death Timagoras because when ambassador to the Persian king he made obeisance to him. ETimon of Phlius, in the third book of his Satires,30 says that Ariston of Chios, an acquaintance of Zeno of Citium, was a parasite of the philosopher Persaeus, because he was a close friend of King Antigonus.31 Phylarchus, in the sixth book of his Histories,32 says that Nicesias, the parasite of Alexander,33 seeing the king writhing with the effects of some medicine which he had taken, said, 'O King, what are we to do, when even you gods suffer such agonies?' And Alexander scarcely looking up at him, answered, 'Gods indeed! I'm afraid we are such as the gods hate.' In the twenty-eighth book the same Phylarchus says34 that Antigonus, called Guardian,35 who conquered the Lacedaemonians, had a parasite named Apollophanes, the one who said that Antigonus's luck was on the side of Alexander.

"Euphantus in the fourth book of his Histories36 says that Ptolemy, the third of that name who ruled over Egypt, had a parasite named Callicrates, who was so clever that he carried a picture of Odysseus in his seal-ring,37 and even went so far as to give to his children the names Telegonus and Anticleia. Polybius, in the thirteenth book of the Histories,38 says that a parasite of Philip, the one who was disastrously p135defeated by the Romans,39 was Heracleides of Tarentum; he caused the overthrow of his entire kingdom. In the fourteenth book he mentions40 Philon, parasite of Agathocles, the son of Oenanthe, and intimate friend of King Philopator. Baton of Sinope, in his work On the Tyranny of Hieronymus,41 records a parasite of the Syracusan tyrant Hieronymus, Thrason surnamed the Biter. He says that he always drank a great deal of unmixed wine. FAnother parasite named Sosis caused Thrason to be murdered by Hieronymus; he also persuaded Hieronymus himself to assume the crown and the purple and all the other frippery which the tyrant Dionysius had worn. Agatharchides, in the thirtieth book of his Histories,42 says of the Spartan Haeresippus that he was no ordinary rascal, not even pretending to be decent, and yet in his parasitism he possessed a persuasive eloquence, and was clever at currying favour with the rich so long as their luck lasted. nnnSuch also was Heracles of Maroneia, the parasite of the Thracian king Seuthes, mentioned by Xenophon in the seventh book of the Anabasis.43 Theopompus, in the eighteenth book of his Histories,44 speaking of Nicostratus of Argos and how he played the flatterer to the Persian king, among other things writes this: 'Why should we not regard Nicostratus of Argos as a rascal? Why! Although he was the chief man in the Argive state, and although he had inherited from his forebears good birth and money and a large estate, yet in flattery and obsequious behaviour he p137surpassed all the men who joined with him in the expedition45 at that time, and all other men before him as well. For in the first place he prized so highly the favour of the Persian that in his desire to please him and to enjoy more of his confidence he took his son up to the king's court — a thing which, it can be shown, nobody else ever did. Then, secondly, every day, as often as he began dinner, he would set a special table, naming it for the genius46 of the king, heaping it with food and all other necessaries, since he heard that this is what the Persians did who spent their time at court, and because he thought that by this obsequiousness he should gain more material rewards from the king; for he was avaricious, and a slave to wealth to a degree such as no one else known to me ever was.' As for King Attalus, he had a parasite and teacher in Lysimachus, whom Callimachus records47 as a pupil Theodorus, but Hermippus includes him among the disciples of Theophrastus. This man has compiled books on the education of Attalus which display every kind of flattery. DPolybius, in the eighth book of the Histories,48 says that Cavarus, the Gaul, though he had been a good man, was perverted by the parasite Sostratus, who was a native of Chalcedon.

"Nicolas, in the 114th book,49 says that Andromachus of Carrhae was a parasite of Licinius Crassus, who made the partisan against the Parthians; Crassus shared all his counsels with him, but was betrayed to the Parthians by him and destroyed. p139But Andromachus was not allowed exemption from the punishment of Heaven. For having received as a reward for his treasonable act the supreme rule over his native city of Carrhae, through his cruelty and violence he and his entire household were destroyed by fire at the hands of Carrhenians. Poseidonius of Apameia, but later known as a Rhodian, says in the fourth book of his Histories50 that Hierax of Antioch, who had earlier played flute-accompaniments for women who impersonate men,51 later became an accomplished parasite of Ptolemy the seventh king, who also bore the name Euergetes, and that he enjoyed the greatest influence with him, as he also did with Ptolemy Philometor, though he was afterwards killed by him. And Nicolas the Peripatetic records52 a parasite of Mithridates named Sosipater, who was a juggler. Theopompus, in ninth book of the Hellenica, says53 that Athenaeus of Eretria was a parasite and henchman of Sisyphus of Pharsalus.

"Even the Athenian populace became notorious for flattery. Demochares, at any rate, a relative of the orator Demosthenes, tells a story in the twentieth book54 of his Histories of the flattering conduct of the Athenians toward Demetrius Poliorcetes, and says that it was not to his liking. He writes as follows: 'Some of these things, it is plain, annoyed him, but other acts were downright disgraceful and humiliating, such as temples to Aphrodite Leaena and Aphrodite Lamia, also altars, shrines, and libations to Burichus, Adeimantus, and Oxythemis, his parasites. p141To every one of these, paeans were chanted, so that even Demetrius himself was amazed at these actions, Band declared that not a single Athenian of his time had shown himself great and fine in soul.' The Thebans also, in their adulation of Demetrius, founded a temple of Aphrodite Lamia, as Polemon says in his work On the Painted Porch in Sicyon.55 Lamia was a mistress of Demetrius, as was also Leaena. What is there, then, surprising in what that Athenians, flatterers of flatterers, did in composing paeans and processionals in honour of Demetrius himself? Says Demochares, at any rate, writing in the twenty-first book:56 C'When Demetrius returned57 from Leucas and Corcyra to Athens, not only did the Athenians welcome him with offerings of incense and crowns and libations, but processional choruses also, and mummers with the elevated phallus met him with dancing and song; and as they took their places in the crowds they sang and danced, repeating the refrain that he was the only true god, while all the others were asleep or making a journey or non-existent;58 he, however, was sprung from Poseidon and Aphrodite, pre-eminent in beauty and embracing all in his benevolence. They supplicated him with entreaty, Demochares says, and offered prayers to him.' This is the amazing account of Athenian flattery which Demochares has given. And Duris of Samos cites59 the mummers' song itself in the twenty-second book of his p143Histories:60 . . . 'For the highest and dearest of the gods are come to our city. Hither, indeed, the time61 hath brought together Demeter and Demetrius. She comes to celebrate the solemn mysteries of the Daughter,62 but he, as is meet for the god, is here in gladness, fair and smiling. Something august he seemeth, all his friends about him, Eand he himself in their midst, his friends the stars, even as he is the sun. O son of the most mighty god Poseidon and of Aphrodite, hail! For other gods are either far away, or have not ears, or are not, or heed us not at all; but thee we can see in very presence, not in wood and not in stone, but in truth. And so we pray to thee. First bring peace, thou very dear! For thou hast the power. That Sphinx which crushes, not Thebes but all Hellas — the Aetolian63 who sits upon the cliff, even as the Sphinx of old, and snatches up and carries off all our men — against it I cannot fight. For it is the Aetolian way to carry off the things more distant. Best were it that thou thyself punish him; p145but if not, find some Oedipus who shall either send him hurtling down, or turn him to rock.'

"This was the song sung by the Victors of Marathon, not merely in public, but even in their homes — those men who had put to death the man who did obeisance to the Persian king, the heroes who had slaughtered countless myriads of the barbarians! Alexis, at any rate, in The Apothecary, or Crateias,64 brings on the scene a character drinking the health of one of his companions in the symposium, and represents him as saying the following: 'Slave! hand me the large beaker, first ladling into it four measures for my companions here, in friendship's name; three will I give as an offering due to the Saviour gods, one for King Antigonus's victory — happy omen! — and a measure for the sturdy lad Demetrius. . . . . Bring the third for Aphrodite Phila.65 Hail, ye comrades of the symposium, Bhow full of blessings is the cup that I shall drink!'

"Such were the people the Athenians had become at that time, when flattery, like a ravening beast, had injected its madness into the city; that city which the Pythian god had proclaimed as the hearthstone of Hellas, the town-hall of Hellas.66 Theopompus, who was most inimical to it, has declared in another passage67 that Athens was full of Dionysus-flatterers,68 sailors, footpads, also perjurers and informers and p147endorsers of false warrants. These, I believe, all the adulation before described brought in, like a deluge or some dreadful visitation from a god. Concerning this city Diogenes was right in saying that it had far better go to the vultures rather than to the flatterers,69 for the latter devour good men while they are still alive. Anaxilas, at any rate, also testifies in . . .;70 'Flatterers are worms in rich men's property. Each worm bores his way into a man of simple character, and lodged there, eats him until he makes him as empty as a wheat-stalk. After that the rich man is a mere husk, while the flatterer bites another.' And so Plato says in the Phaedrus:71 'In the flatterer is a dreadful creature and a great nuisance; yet nature has none the less added a mixture of entertainment not wholly unrefined.' And Theophrastus, in the essay On Flattery,72 says that Myrtis of Argos, when Cleonymus the dancer and also parasite persisted often in seating himself beside Myrtis and his fellow-judges, being desirous of being seen in company with the distinguished men of the city, caught him by the ear, and as he dragged him out of the judgement-hall in full sight of the crowd, said, 'You shall not dance here, and you shall not hear our deliberations either.' Diphilus says in Marriage:73 'For the parasite upsets the general, the potentate, one's friends, and our cities with his malicious tongue, though he may have delighted them for a little while. But the fact is p149that to‑day an evil condition has made its insidious way into the mob; our judgements are awry, and anything to please is the rule.' FFor this reason the Thessalians were quite right in demolishing the town called Flattery inhabited by the Malians, as Theopompus says in the thirtieth book.74

"Flatterers, again, were the Athenians who settled in Lemnos, as Phylarchus declares in the thirteenth book of his Histories.75 For by way of showing their gratitude to the descendants of Seleucus and Antiochus, after Seleucus had rescued76 them from the bitter tyranny of Lysimachus and had also restored to them both of their cities, the Athenians of Lemnos erected temples, not merely to Seleucus, but also to his son Antiochus; and the added measure of wine poured out in their social gatherings they name for 'Seleucus the Saviour.'

"This 'flattery' certain persons, you a perverse use of the term, call 'willingness to oblige.'77 So also Anaxandrides in The Lady from Samos:78 B'For this business of flattering now goes by the name of being obliging. But the persons who engage in flattery are not aware that this profession is short-lived. Alexis, at any rate, says in The Deceiver:79 'A flatterer's life blooms only a little while; for nobody delights in a parasite whose temples are grey.' Clearchus of Soli says, in the first book of his Love Stories:80 'No flatterer last long when it comes to affection. For time undermines the falsehood which p151lies in their presence. And the lover is a flatterer seeking affection through youthful charm or beauty.' Among the flatterers, then, of King Demetrius, those associated with Adeimantus of Lampsacus81 erected a temple and set up statues at Thria, naming them from Aphrodite Phila; they also called the place Philaeum after Phila, the wife of Demetrius, as Dionysius the son82 of Tryphon says in the tenth book of his Onomasticon.

"Again, Clearchus of Soli, in the work entitled Gergithius,83 explains how it came about that the name of flatterer originated. He begins by representing Gergithius himself, from whom the book has its title, as having been one of Alexander's parasites. And then he goes on to explain that flattery renders base the characters of flatterers, necessary their associates look on them with contempt. And the proof is that flatterers will submit to anything, though well aware of the nature of the acts which people dare to perpetrate against them. Further, those who listen to flattery become inflated with it, and that makes them frivolous and conceited, and causes them to entertain an exaggerated opinion of their own endowments.84 Well, Clearchus goes on to tell about a lad who was a native of Paphos Eand a prince in rank. 'This lad,' he says, not mentioning his name, 'used to indulge in overweening luxury, lying at full length on a silver-footed couch spread with a smooth carpet85 of the most expensive kinds produced in Sardis. Over him was laid a purple robe with heavy nap on both sides, encased in a covering made of mallow p153fibres.86 Under his head he had three cushions of fine linen edged with purple, by means of which he avoided the heat;87 at his feet he had two crimson cushions of the kind called Doric; on these he lay at full length dressed in a white shirt. All the rulers in Cyprus have accepted the custom of having about them the class of "aristocratic parasites" as an institution useful to them. For to possess them is very much in the manner of despots. Of these parasites, like some Areopagites, no one knows the number or how they look, excepting the most conspicuous. The parasites in Salamis,88 from whom are derived all the others in Cyprus, are divided into classes according to family, and are called in the one case Gergini, in the other Promalanges. Of these two classes the Gergini mingle with the people in their city, in their workshops or in the markets, and listen like spies to what they say, and they make daily reports of what they hear to the bosses, as they are called. The Promalanges in turn make scrutiny, if anything reported by the Gergini appears to deserve scrutiny, being a kind of investigators. And the intercourse of these persons with all others is so skilful and plausible, that I am convinced, as they themselves declare, that the seed of those "aristocratic parasites" has been from them deported in foreign parts; what is more, they take no ordinary pride in the profession, merely because they enjoy honours at the hands of the kings, but they also say that one of the Gergini was a descendant of those p155Trojans whom Teucer received as his share of the captives and with whom he colonized Cyprus; and that he, sailing with a few men along the coast in the direction of Aeolis, in order to close and settle in the land of their forefathers, founded a city in the region of the Trojan Ida, taking along some of the Mysians with them; this city was in old times called Gergina after their race, but to‑day is called Gergitha. Some members of that expedition, it appears, were separated from it and settled in Cumae, since the inhabitants there are of Cyprian race; they did not come from the Thessalian Tricca, as some aver whose ignorance, I fancy, it is not given even to the sons of Asclepius to cure.89 There have also been in our part of the world, in the days of Glus the Carian, women called Kolakides,90 subject to female despots. A remnant of these crossed over to the mainland, being summoned to come to the wives of Artabazus and of Mentor, and had their names changed to "Ladder-lasses" from the following practice:91 in their desire to please the women who summoned them, they made ladders of themselves so that the women riding in carts could mount or dismount on their backs. To that pitch of luxury, not to call it abjectness, did they by their devices bring these very stupid women. Therefore they, borne by the turn of fate out of their luxurious circumstances, lived lives of hard necessity in their old age; while other women, of those who have taken over these manners that were in vogue in our country, were brought to Macedonia after they had fallen from their high p157estate, and it is not even decent to say how they affected by their intercourse the princesses and other women of rank in Macedonia; this much may be said, that by the reciprocal practice of their magic enchantments they became veritable "bull-chasers" and street-walkers, replete with every abomination.92 FThus flattery is the cause of many terrible evils to those who complacently allow it for the pleasure of being flattered.'

"Proceeding, Clearchus again has this to say: 'But by this time one could find fault with the lad whom I have mentioned93 for his indulgence in these blandishments. For his slaves stood at a little distance from his couch, clad in short tunics; and there were three men, who are in fact the occasion of this entire discussion, and who have given rise to certain names which we use.94 One was seated at the foot of the couch, with the legs of the lad in his lap wrapped in a thin cloth; what he was doing is of course plain even without the telling. He is called by the natives "Stuffed‑in,"95 because even when they do not invite him he none the less manages most skilfully you his flattery to force himself into their parties. The second man was on a stool which lay right by the couch, and while the young man let his hand drop he clung to it, and as he embraced it he separated the fingers and stroked each of them in turn, pulling and stretching them out; the man, therefore, who first gave him the name of "Cucumber" appears to have spoken aptly. The third man, the noblest of all, was the "Beast," who was the chief p159actor in this degrading service. He stood next to the lad's head and shared in his cushions of fine linen, bending over into them very affectionately. With his left hand he added ornaments to the boy's locks, while with his right he ingratiated himself by moving back and forth and raising up and down a Phocaean fan, at the same time keeping off the flies!96 Wherefore, in my opinion, some god of decency got angry at him, and sent a fly against the lad — no other than that fly whose boldness, as Homer says,97 Athena inspired in Menelaus; so lusty it was and fearless of soul. Well, when the lad was stung the fellow cried out so loudly and became so angry in his behalf that for hatred of the one fly he proceeded to drive all the flies outdoors. Whence it became clear that he had posted himself for that duty.'

"Leucon, however, the tyrant of Pontus, was not of that sort;98 for when he observed that many of his friends had been robbed by one of the parasites at his court, and seeing at a glance that the fellow was falsely accusing one of his other friends, he said, D'By the gods, I should have killed you if a tyrant's government did not need rascals.' The comic poet Antiphanes, in The Soldier, has similar things to say about the luxury of the Cyprian kings. He represents a character inquiring thus of a soldier:99 'A. Tell me, you say that you stayed a long time in Cyprus? B. All the time the war lasted. A. In what place were you most? Tell me. B. In Paphos, where there was p161à practice extraordinarily luxurious to behold, and incredible besides. A. What was it? B. The king, when he dined, was panned by pigeons, ay, by nothing else. A. How could that be? I will let other questions go and ask you that. B. How, you ask? He would smear himself with Syrian perfume made of the kind of fruit which, they say, pigeons eat greedily. Attracted by the smell of this they came flying, ready to perch on his head; but slaves who sat by shooed them off. They would rise a little, not much — neither wholly this way nor yonder, as the saying is — and so would fan him in such a way that they made a breeze for him which was moderate and not too rough.'

nnn" 'The parasite of the lad mentioned above,' as Clearchus says,100 'must have been a voluptuous parasite. But there are other names for him; for, in addition to playing the flatterer as described, he obsequiously imitates the posture of those whom he flatters, now crossing his arms, now wrapping himself closely in his ragged cloak. Whence some call him "arm-crosser," others, "posture-magazine." In fact, the parasite, in one and the same person, is the very image of Proteus. At any rate, he assumes every kind of shape and of speech as well, so varied are his tones. BThe physician Androcydes used to say that flattery gets its name from the way in which the flatterer (kolax) glues himself (kollasthai) to the company; but I101 think that it comes from the easy good-nature (eukolia), that is to say, p163dexterity, with which he submits to any treatment, being the sort of person who takes on his own shoulders the burden of another's character, never restive under anything, no matter how degrading.' And so one would not go wrong if he called the manner of that Cyprian lad's life soft. There are many instructors in it at Athens, as Alexis in The Fire-lighter102 declares in these words: 'I wanted to get a taste of that other mode of life which is popularly called soft. After strolling about the Cerameicus for three days, I discovered instructors in the life I mean, perhaps thirty in a single shop.' And Crobylus, in The Woman who left her Husband:103 'Once more the softness of your mode of life has troubled me; for to‑day some people call prodigality softness.'

D"Antiphanes, in The Lemnian Women,104 assumes the existence of the flatterer's profession where he says: 'And so, is there, or can there be, a profession or other source of profit pleasanter than the gentle practice of flattery? Your painter works on something and only vexes himself. Your farmer . . . (And see) in what dangers (the soldier), again, must be involved. They are all beset with care and trouble. But our lives are lived amid mirth and luxury; our hardest job is child's-play — loud laughter, Ea joke at somebody's expense, a deep draught of wine — is it not pleasant? In my eyes it is second only to being rich.' Menander has drawn p165the character of a flatterer with the utmost possible skill in the play which bears that name,105 any as Diphilus has drawn the parasite in Telesias. And Alexis, representing a flatterer as uttering similar sentiments totos above, says in The falsifier:106 'Happy am I, so help me Olympian Zeus and Athena, because at the wedding, gentlemen, I shall not feast, but burst, if Heaven so please. May it be my luck to get that mode of death.' It seems to me, dear friends, that this doughty glutton would not have hesitated to repeat the line from the tragedian Ion's Omphalê:107 ' 'Tis mine to celebrate the holiday for the whole year.'

"Hippias of Erythrae, in the second book of his Inquiries (concerning his native country), relating how the monarchy of Cnopus was destroyed by his flatterers, says this108 also: 'As Cnopus was consulting an oracle about his personal safety, the god told him to offer sacrifices to Hermes the Crafty. After this he set out for Delphi, accompanied on the voyage by those who wanted to destroy his monarchy in order to establish an oligarchy. These men were Ortyges, Irus, and Echarus, who bore the title Fawning Dogs, i.e. Flatterers, because of the attentions they bestowed on eminent persons. When, I say, they were at a great distance from the land on their voyage, they tied up Cnopus hand and foot and threw him into the sea; and landing at Chios, where they obtained forces from the tyrants there, p167Amphiclus and Polytecnus, they sailed according to by night to Erythrae. About the same time the body of Cnopus was cast up on the beach of Erythrae which to‑day is called Leopodum. While the wife of Cnopus, Cleonice, was engaged in the mourning-rites for the body (it was a holiday, and an assemblage had gathered in honour of Artemis Strophaea), the sound of a troop was suddenly heard; the town had been seized by the partisans of Ortyges and many of Cnopus's friends were killed; Cleonice, learning this, fled to Colophon. Ortyges and the other usurpers, having at their disposal the forces from Chios, destroyed those who opposed their interest, and after abolishing the city's laws they managed the city's affairs, allowing none of the populace109 to come inside the walls. On the contrary, they set up a court and tried cases outside the gates, wrapped in purple cloaks and dressed in tunics with purple borders. They also shod their feet in summer with sandals of many lacings, while in winter they always made a practice of walking about in feminine footgear; they affected long hair and took pains to have it curly; their heads were distinguished by yellow and purple fillets; they also wore solid gold jewelry, like women. Further, they compelled the citizens to serve them in some cases as their stool-bearers, in others as wand-bearers; others still they compelled to clean the streets thoroughly. They summoned the sons of some to their joint gatherings, others they commanded to bring their own wives and daughters; and they visited with extreme penalties those who disobeyed. EIf any member of p169their clique died, they would collect the citizens with their wives and children and compel them to sing dirges for the dead, to beat their breasts under compulsion, and to cry shrilly and loudly with their voices, while a lash-bearer who forced them to do this stood over them. this went on until Hippotes, the brother of Cnopus, came upon Erythrae with an armed force during a festival, and reinforced by the Erythraeans attacked the tyrants; and after putting to the torture many of their partisans, they stabbed Ortyges to death while he was attempting to escape, but their wives and children they tortured terribly, and so set free their native land.'

"in the light of all these facts, therefore, it is easy for us, friends, to see how great are the evils in life caused by flattery. Theopompus also testifies to this in the ninth book of his History of Philip.110 He says: 'Agathocles had been a slave, one of the Thessalian penestae.111 He enjoyed great power with Philip on account of his flattery and because, when he was with him at drinking-bouts, he danced and caused mirth. Philip dispatched him to destroy the Perrhaebi and to take charge of affairs in that quarter. For the Macedonian always had that kind of men about him, in whose company he usually spent the greater part oohs time because of their love of drinking and their vulgarity, and with them he used to hold deliberations on the most important matters.' Concerning him Hegesander of Delphi relates also this,112 that he used to send a large quantity of small coin113 to the wits assembled in the precinct of Diomean Heracles in Athens, Band would order certain p171persons to write down what they said and report it to him. Theopompus, again, in the twenty-sixth book of the Histories,114 says that 'Philip, knowing that the Thessalians were licentious and wanton in their mode of life, got up parties them and tried to amuse them in every way, dancing and rioting and submitting to every kind of licentiousness; he was himself naturally vulgar, getting drunk every day and delighting in those pursuits which tended in that direction and in those men, the so‑called gallants, who said and did laughable things. And so he won most Thessalians who consorted with him by parties rather than by presents.' The Siceliot Dionysius behaved similarly, as the comic poet Eubulus represents him in the play bearing the same name as the tyrant:115 'Yet, toward the dignified and toward all flatterers he is rather stern, but toward those who jest at his expense he is good-tempered; and so thinks that only these are free men, even if they be slaves.'

"Nevertheless Dionysius was not the only one who patronized those who wasted their property in drunken revels and gambling and similar licence, but Philip did it as well. Theopompus gives an account of both, writing as follows in the forty-ninth book:116 'Philip spurned those who were of decent character and who were careful of their property, but he honoured with praise the extravagant and those who spent their lives in dicing and drinking. Therefore he p173took pains that they should have these amusements, and even made them competitors in every kind of wickedness and disgusting conduct. For what scandalous or appalling act was not in their programme? Or what honourable and upright act was not missing? Did they not in some cases, grown men though they were, go shaved and depilated, in other cases even go so far as to consort infamously with each other, though they were bearded In fact each had in his train two or three prostitute companions, and they themselves granted to others the same favours. Hence one may rightly assume that they were not companions, but 'mistresses,' and might rightly call them not soldiers, but harlots; for they were man-killers by nature, man-harlots by habit. In addition, they loved drunkenness instead of soberness, they were eager to plunder and murder instead of living decent lives. Truth-telling and keeping promises they regarded as no part of their duty, whereas they readily assumed the odium of perjury and cheating in the most august sanctuary.117 Careless of what they had, they itched for what they had not,118 though they owned a whole section of Europe. For I believe that though these companions numbered at that time not more than eight hundred, yet they enjoyed the profits of as much land as any ten thousand Greeks possessing the richest and most extensive territory.' And with reference to Dionysius, Theopompus fights a similar account in the twenty-first book:119 'Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, patronized those who wasted their property in drunken revels and gambling and similar licence; p175for he wanted all to be utterly abandoned and degenerate, and these he treated well.'

"Demetrius Poliorcetes was also fond of merry-making, as Phylarchus relates in the tenth book of his Histories.120 And in the fourteenth he writes as follows:121 'Demetrius used to allow those who wanted to flatter him at drinking-bouts even to drink to him as sole king, whereas to Ptolemy they drank as commander of the fleet, to Lysimachus as custodian of the treasury, and to Seleucus as master of the elephants. And this drew upon him no little hatred.' Herodotus says122 that Amasis, king of Egypt, was playful and jested at his bon-companions, and even, he says, 'when he was a private citizen, he was a drink-lover and a joke-lover, and not a man of serious purpose.' And Nicolas, in the one hundred and seventh book of the Histories,123 says that the Roman commander Sulla took such delight in mimes and clowns, being very fond of merry-making, that he lavished many acres of public lands upon them. The satirical comedies written by him in his native tongue reveal his delight in these things.124

"Theophrastus, in his work On Comedy,125 says that the people of Tiryns were so mirth-loving that they were useless in more serious business, and so they had recourse to the oracle at Delphi, desiring to be rid of that disability. The god gave answer to them that they should be freed if they sacrificed a p177bullet to Poseidon by casting it into the sea without a smile. Fearing that they might fail to realize the promise of the oracle, they forbade the children to attend the sacrifice. but one boy learned what was going on, and mingling with the crowd he cried out just as they were shouting and trying to drive him away, 'What's the matter with you? Are you afraid that I shall upset your victim?' They burst into laughter at this, and so learned in fact that the god meant to show them that an inveterate habit is desperately hard to cure. Sosicrates, in the first book of his Cretan History,126 says that the people of Phaestus enjoy a peculiar distinction. For it is known that they cultivate the habit of saying laughable things from their earliest boyhood; hence it has come to pass that they often say things that are pat because of their early habit. And so all the inhabitants of Crete ascribe mirth to them.

F"A station next to flattery is given to bragging by the comic poet Anaxandrides in The Drug-Prophet127 when he says: 'Do you find fault because I am a braggart? But why? That art, surely, can beat all the other arts by a long distance, next to flattery; this, to be sure is superior.' A 'crumb-flatterer'128 is mentioned by Aristophanes in Gerytades thus: 'You used to be called a slanderer and a crumb-flatterer.' Also by Sannyrion in Io:129 'To perdition with you, you sneaking crumb-flatterers!' Philemon in She who renewed her Youth:130 'This fellow is a p179crumb-flatterer.' And Philippides in The Fountain of Youth:131 'Always crumb-flattering and sneaking in.' This is the proper use of the word kolax ('flatterer'); for kolon means food, whence come the boukolos ('cow-feeder') and also the dyskolos ('peevish man'), since the latter is hard to please and squeamish; further koilia ('hollow,' 'belly') is the receptacle for food.132 The word 'crumb-cuffed'133 is used by Diphilus in Theseus thus: 'You they call a crumb-cuffed runaway.' "


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Begun at 234C.

2 Pindar, frag. 241, P. L. G.5 478.

3 Kock III.64, Allinson 358.

4 F. H. G. III.161.

5 i.e., the rôles of king and jester are reversed.

6 F. H. G. IV.413; cf. below, 250D.

7 F. H. G. III.161; cf. Eustath. ad Il. 995.224, Dem. De cor. 67 and Schol.

8 Lit. "with the same eye bandaged."

9 F. H. G. III.418.

10 Caesar gives the forms Adiatunnus and Sontiates. See critical note.

11 F. H. G. I.317.

12 F. H. G. II.471.

13 Od. XI.122, where jjj, "the sea," stands in place of jjj.

14 F. H. G. I.344.

15 King of Epeirus, so F. H. G. IV.414; cf. Athen. 251C.

16 Properly, "courtiers of Dionysus," i.e. "actors." See Athen. 588F, 435E, and 254B.

17 Cf. Athen. 435E.

18 F. H. G. I.224.

19 Implying that no one knew it so well as he.

20 He adds a word of apology in such a way as to make it appear that he had intended this last sentence from the beginning, thus giving more point to the anecdote here told than in the similar one at 248E‑F. See critical note.

21 F. H. G. IV.415.

22 Lit. "sow-thistles," sonci; the verb in the quotation is so pronounced as to sound like ec‑soncoito.

23 l. 864; cf. Athen. 159A.

24 Lit. "is puffed up."

25 268 or 267‑263 B.C., unsuccessfully waged by Athens against Antigonus Gonatas.

26 F. H. G. III.164; Plut. Alex. 28.

27 Frag. 28B Müller.

28 Il. V.340; the "spirit fluid" in the gods' veins was called "ichor," not blood.

29 F. H. G. IV.414. See Athen. 229F.

30 Frag. 64 Wachsmuth, 186 Diels.

31 Antigonus Gonatas. See 140B, 162D.

32 F. H. G. I.336; cf. Athen. 249D.

33 Of Epeirus (so Müller, Pape).

34 F. H. G. I.348.

35 This Antigonus, nephew of Gonatas, was also known as Doson. Before he became king he acted as regent (hence the epithet Guardian) for Philip, a minor, son of Demetrius II, king of Macedonia. The defeat of Cleomenes of Sparta at the hands of Antigonus occurred at the battle of Sellasia, in the summer of 222 B.C. The Alexander here mentioned was captain of the young Philip's guard.

36 F. H. G. III.19.

37 As if to identify himself with Odysseus; Telegonus was the son of Odysseus and Circe, Anticleia was the mother of Odysseus.

38 Polyb. XIII.4.

39 Under Flamininus, at the battle of Cynoscephalae, 197 B.C. On Philip see note f on p132.

40 Polybius XIV.11.

41 F. H. G. IV.349.

42 Ibid III.194.

43 VII.3.16.

44 F. H. G. I.301.

45 Against Egypt, 351 B.C., in the interest of Artaxerxes Ochus; Diodorus XVI.44.

46 This obsequious practice offended the Greeks because it was to them an irreverent imitation of the jjj; see 82E note c, 237E note a.

47 Frag. 100 D12 Schneider.

48 VIII.24.

49 F. H. G. III.418.

50 F. H. G. III.254; cf. Diodorus XXXIII.23.

51 See 182C, 211B, 620C.

52 F. H. G. III.415.

53 Ibid I.280.

54 Ibid II.449. Demochares was the nephew (jjj) of Demosthenes, not his cousin (jjj). Yet jjj may possibly denote consanguinity in general, and in Modern Greek it means "nephew." It recurs 610F.

55 Frag. 15 Preller.

56 F. H. G. II.449.

57 290 B.C.

58 Cf. 1 Kings xviii.27, "Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth." Epicurea 103 Usener.

59 Hulleman supplies jjj.

60 F. H. G. II.476; P. L. G.4 III.674; cf. Athen. 697A, from which it has been inferred that this hymn was written by Hermocles.

61 The time of the Eleusinian Mysteries, intention month Boëdromion (late September).

62 Persephone.

63 The Aetolian League, which had won some successes.

64 Kock II.336.

65 wife of Demetrius Poliorcetes, mother of Antigonus Gonatas.

66 See 187D.

67 F. H. G. I.328, perhaps from Book XXV.

68 See 249F and note e.

69 Punning on korakas, "crows," and kolakas, "flatterers." "Go to the crows" was the usual expression for "go to the devil."

70 Kock II.274; the title of the play is lost. See critical note.

71 240B.

72 Frag. 83 Wimmer.

73 Kock II.547.

74 F. H. G. I.310.

75 Ibid 341.

76 281 B.C.

77 For similar euphemisms see Thuc. III.82.4 (in time of war), Plat. Rep. 560E (in a democracy generally), Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1108 A28, Athens 258C å

78 Kock II.155.

79 Ibid 392.

80 F. H. G. II.313.

81 Cf. 253A.

82 Or, possibly, pupil.

83 F. H. G. II.310; the quotation extends to 257C.

84 See critical note.

85 For jjj, "smooth" meaning "carpet," see 197B.

86 Or, "silk." Cf. Aristoph. Nub. 10 jjj, "wrapped in five goatskin rugs," of a young dandy.

87 Substituting one for the other as they grew too warm. See critical note.

88 Not the island, but the city in Cyprus.

89 The ironical criticism is suggested by the fact that Tricca was the birthplace of Asclepius.

90 Quasi "Flatteresses."

91 Cf. Plutarch, De Adul. 30E.

92 Referring sens. obs. to the ancient customs of the Taurobolium in honour of Artemis Tauropolus, apparently involving also licentious rites such as were practised in honour of Cotyto.

93 255D‑E.

94 Apparently referring to some Cyprian authority consulted by Clearchus.

95 Cf. 243D.

96 See critical notes.

97 Il. XVII.570.

98 Viz., like the Paphian prince just described.

99 Kock II.97.

100 F. H. G. II.312.

101 Clearchus, borrowing from Plato. See critical note.

102 Kock II.372.

103 Kock III.380; for the euphemism in the text cf. Athen. 255A and note d.

104 Kock II.70.

105 Cf. Athen. 659D; Ter. Eunuch. prol. 30 "Colax Mendrist; in east parasitus colax et miles gloriosus."

106 Kock II.381.

107 T. G. F.2 736.

108 F. H. G. IV.431.

109 Lit., townsmen, or democratic party.

110 F. H. G. I.301; cf. Athen. 167A‑B.

111 A class of serfs like the Helots of Sparta; see 263E.

112 F. H. G. IV.413.

113 jjj is purposely contemptuous.

114 F. H. G. I.308.

115 Kock II.173.

116 F. H. G. I.320; see Polybius VIII.11.7.

117 See critical note.

118 A proverb; Lysias XII.78 jjj.

119 F. H. G. I.303.

120 F. H. G. I.359; cf. Athen. 614E.

121 F. H. G. I.341.

122 II.173, 174.

123 F. H. G. III.416.

124 Teuffel, Gesch. d. röm. Literatur, 157.3, thinks that this statement is due to some misunderstanding, since it was in Sulla's time, but not by him, that the Atellanae began to be written.

125 Frag. 124 Wimmer.

126 F. H. G. IV.500.

127 Kock II.157.

128 One who flatters to get a morsel of bread: Kock I.432.

129 Kock I.795.

130 Kock II.480.

131 Kock III.303.

132 It is hardly necessary to say that these etymologies are wrong.

133 One who submits to blows and other indignities for the sake of food, cf. 250A; Kock II.537.

Page updated: 16 May 12