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This webpage reproduces the essay
Parallela Graeca et Romana

purported to be by

as published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1936

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

(Vol. IV) Plutarch, Moralia

 p253  Greek and Roman Parallel Stories

Loeb Edition Introduction

The Greek and Roman Parallel Stories (sometimes called the Parallela Minora) are a puzzle. The use of some strange and barbarous forms, the substitution of "the aforesaid"1 for the usual pronoun of reference (though this is, to be sure, a prominent characteristic of the work of Polybius), and above all the atrocious style in which the work is written make it impossible that this could reasonably be regarded as the work of Plutarch,2 though some scholars, fortunately unknown to Hartman, have actually regarded this work as one of the sins of Plutarch's otherwise stainless youth.

Yet a work of this name is included in Lamprias's list, No. 128 under the title Διηγήσεις Παράλληλοι Ἑλληνικαὶ καὶ Ῥωμαϊκαί and several of these tales are quoted in full3 in almost the exact words of our MS. text by Joannes Stobaeus. But the excessive ineptitude of the language quite excludes the possibility that the work before us can be Plutarch's, if indeed he ever wrote a book of this sort.

S. Luria, in Rheinisches Museum, LXXVIII (1929) p94,  p254 has suggested that the Parallela and the De fluviis4 are parodies after the manner of Lucian's True History; and both Hercher and Hartman have expressed the opinion that both works are by the same anonymous author, chiefly because it is difficult to imagine that two such fools as the author of each discloses himself to be could ever have lived! The confusion that the author (ingeniously?) introduces, the forced simplicity of the glaring misnomers, his many references to authorities that Hercher5 has attempted to show never existed,6 all have been thought to suggest that the Parallela is a parody of the comparisons in the Lives; but J. Schlereth, in his excellent dissertation De Plutarchii quae feruntur Parallela Minora (Freiburg, 1931) has with great learning and acumen attempted to disprove this thesis.7 His work may be consulted by anyone who may be curious about the sources, the language, or purpose of the Parallela Minora.

Wilhelm Schmid (Philologische Wochenschrift 1932, coll. 625‑634) has reviewed Schlereth's work with great care. Both Schmid and Nachstädt hold that the citations from otherwise unknown authors are  p255 genuine, not falsifications of the compiler. Nachstädt, accordingly in the Teubner edition of 1934, gives all the references, and also adds, for convenient comparison, the most important passages from Stobaeus, Lydus, and a gnomologicum Parisinum, published by Sternbach in 1893, which seem to have the same original as the text of the present work.

305The greater part of mankind think that tales of ancient events are inventions and myths because of the incredible elements which they contain. bBut since I have discovered that similar events have happened in this modern era, I have singled out crises of Roman history; and, to parallel each ancient happening, I have subjoined a more modern instance. I have also recorded my authorities.

1 1 Datis, the Persian satrap, came to Marathon, a plain of Attica, with an army of three hundred thousand, encamped there, and declared war on the inhabitants of the country. The Athenians, however, contemning the barbarian host, sent out nine thousand men, and appointed as generals Cynegeirus, Polyzelus, Callimachus, and Miltiades. cWhen this force had engaged the enemy, Polyzelus, having seen a supernatural vision, lost his sight, and became blind. Callimachus was pierced with so many spears that, dead though he was, he stood upright;8 and Cynegeirus, seizing hold of a Persian ship that was putting out to sea, had his hand chopped off.9

Hasdrubal the king seized Sicily and declared war on the Romans. Metellus was elected general by the Senate and was victor in the battle in which Lucius Glauco, a patrician, seizing hold of Hasdrubal's ship, lost both his hands. dThis Aristeides the Milesian relates in the first book of his Sicilian History; from him Diodorus Siculus learned the facts.

2 1 Xerxes with five million men anchored near Artemisium and declared war on the inhabitants. The Athenians were in confusion and sent Agesilaüs, the brother of Themistocles, as a spy, although his father Neocles had seen in a dream his son deprived of both his hands. Agesilaüs, arriving among the barbarians in Persian garb, slew Mardonius, one of the king's bodyguards, supposing him to be Xerxes. eHe was arrested by the bystanders and led in bonds to the king. The aforesaid king was about to offer sacrifice at the altar of the Sun, and Agesilaüs placed his right hand upon the altar; and when he had endured the cruel torture without a groan, he was freed from his bonds, whereupon he declared, "All we Athenians are men of this sort; if you do not believe me, I will place my left hand also on the altar." Xerxes was frightened and gave command that he be kept under guard.10 This Agatharchides the Samian relates in the second book of his Persian History.

Porsenna, king of the Etruscans, made a foray on the other side of the river Tiber and warred against the Romans; fhe intercepted the abundant supply  p261 of grain and oppressed the aforesaid with famine.11 The senate was in confusion; but Mucius one of the nobles, with the consuls' authorization, took four hundred men of his own age in civilian dress, and crossed the river. He observed one of the tyrant's bodyguards distributing provisions to the officers and, supposing him to be Porsenna, killed him. When he was led to the king, he put forth his right hand into the sacrificial fire; 306and dissembling his torments with a stout heart, he said with a smile, "Ruffian, I am free, whether you will or no. Know that there are against you even now in your camp four hundred of us that seek to slay you." Porsenna was frightened, and made a truce with the Romans.12 This Aristeides the Milesian relates in the third book of his Histories.

3 1 When Argives and Spartans were contending for the Thyreatis, the Amphictyonic Assembly decreed that three hundred of each should fight, and the country should belong to the victors. The Spartans accordingly made Othryades their general, and the Argives made Thersander theirs. In the battle two of the Argives survived, bAgenor and Chromius, who brought to their city the report of their victory. But when the battlefield was deserted, Othryades revived and, supporting himself on spear-shafts broken in two, despoiled and stripped the corpses of their shields; and when he had erected a trophy, he wrote  p263 with his own blood upon it: 'To Zeus, Guardian of Trophies.' And when the two peoples still disputed over the victory, the Amphictyonic Assembly, after a personal inspection of the battlefield, decided in favour of the Spartans.13 Thus Chrysermus in the third book of his Peloponnesian History.

The Romans in a war with the Samnites elected Postumius Albinus general.14 He was ambushed at a place called the Caudine Forks (it is a very narrow pass) cand lost three legions, and himself fell mortally wounded. But in the dead of night he revived for a little and despoiled the enemy's corpses of their shields. With these he set up a trophy and, dipping his hand in his blood, wrote upon it: "The Romans from the Samnites to Jupiter Feretrius." But Maximus, surnamed the Glutton,15 was dispatched as general and when he had come to the place and had seen the trophy, he gladly accepted the omen. He attacked the enemy and conquered, and taking their king prisoner, sent him to Rome. Thus Aristeides the Milesian in the third book of his Italian Histories.

4 1 When the Persians were marching with five million men against Greece, Leonidas dwas sent by the Spartans to Thermopylae with three hundred men. While they were eating and drinking there, the barbarian host attacked them; and when Leonidas saw  p265 the barbarians, he said, "Eat your lunch now as if you were to dine in the other world."16 And when he rushed against the barbarians, and was pierced by many a spear, he made his way up to Xerxes and snatched off his crown. When he was dead the barbarian king cut out his heart and found it covered with hair.17 So Aristeides in the first18 book of his Persian History.

When the Romans were at war with the Carthaginians, they dispatched three hundred men and Fabius Maximus as their general. eHe attacked the enemy and lost all his men, but he himself, although mortally wounded, with a mad rush reached Hannibal and knocked down his crown, and so died with him.a This Aristeides the Milesian relates.

5 1 At the city of Celaenae in Phrygia the earth yawned open, together with a heavy rain, and dragged down many homesteads with their inhabitants into the depths. Midas the king received an oracle that if he should throw his most precious possession into the abyss, it would close. He cast in gold and silver, but this availed nothing. fBut Anchurus, the son of Midas, reasoning that there is nothing in life more precious than a human life, embraced his father and his wife Timothea, and rode on his horse into the abyss. When the earth had closed, Midas made an altar of Idaean Zeus golden  p267 by a touch of his hand.19 This altar becomes of stone at that time of the year when this yawning of the earth occurred; but when this limit of time has passed, it is seen to be golden.20 So Callisthenes in the second book of his Metamorphoses.

Because of the wrath of Jupiter Tarpeius21 the Tiber coursed through the middle of the Forum, broke open a very large abyss and engulfed many houses. An oracle was given that this would end if they threw in their precious possession. As they were casting in gold and silver, 307Curtius, a youth of noble family, apprehended the meaning of the oracle, and, reasoning that human life is more precious, he hurled himself on horseback into the abyss, and saved his people from their miseries.22 So Aristeides in the fortieth bookb of his Italian History.

6 1 When the captains that accompanied Polyneices were feasting, an eagle swooped down and carried the spear of Amphiaraüs up to a height and then let it drop. The spear became fixed in the earth and was changed into a laurel. The next day, when the captains were fighting, at that very spot Amphiaraüs was swallowed up with his chariot, where now is the city that is called Harma.23 So Trisimachus in the third book of his Founding of Cities.

bWhen the Romans were fighting against Pyrrhus of Epeirus, Aemilius Paulus received an oracle that he should be victorious if he would build an altar where  p269 he should see a man of the nobles with his chariot swallowed up in an abyss. Three days later Valerius Conatus in a dream saw a vision which commanded him to don his priestly raiment (he was, in fact, an expert augur). When he had led forth his men and slain many of the enemy, he was swallowed up by the earth. Aemilius built an altar, gained a victory, and sent back an hundred and sixty turreted elephants to Rome. The altar delivers oracles at that time of year when Pyrrhus was vanquished. This Critolaüs relates in the third book of his Epeirote History.

7 1 Pyraechmes, king of the Euboeans, was at war with the Boeotians. cHeracles, while still a youth, vanquished him. He tied Pyraechmes to colts, tore his body into two parts, and cast it forth unburied. The place is called "Colts of Pyraechmes." It is situated beside the river Heracleius, and it gives forth a sound of neighing when horses drink of it. So in the third book of Concerning Rivers.24

Tullus Hostilius, King of the Romans, waged war with the Albans, whose king was Metius Fufetius. And Tullus repeatedly postponed battle. But the Albans, assuming his defeat, betook themselves to feasting and drinking. When they were overcome by wine, Tullus attacked them, and, tying their king to two colts, tore him apart.25 So Alexarchus in the fourth book of his Italian History.

8 1  dPhilip wished to plunder Methonê and Olynthus and, while he was attempting to force a crossing at  p271 the Sandanus river, his eye was pierced by an arrow from the bow of a certain Olynthian named Aster, who uttered these words:

Aster to Philip sends this deadly shaft.

But Philip swam back to his friends and was saved, although he lost his eye.26 So Callisthenes in the third book of his Macedonian History.

Porsenna, king of the Etruscans, made a foray on the other side of the river Tiber and warred against the Romans, and, by intercepting their abundant supply of grain, he oppressed the aforesaid with famine.27 But Horatius Cocles, who was elected general, etook possession of the Wooden Bridge and checked the barbarian horde that sought to cross. But as he was being worsted by the enemy, he ordered his subordinates to cut down the bridge, and so thwarted the barbarian horde that sought to cross. When his eye was struck by an arrow, he threw himself into the river and swam across to his friends. So Theotimus in the second book of his Italian History.28

9 1 The story of Icarius who entertained Dionysus: Eratosthenes in his Erigonê.29

Saturn, when once he was entertained by a farmer30 who had a fair daughter named Entoria, seduced her and begat fJanus, Hymnus, Faustus, and Felix. He then taught Icarius the use of wine and viniculture,  p273 and told him that he should share his knowledge with his neighbours also. When the neighbours did so and drank more than is customary, they fell into an unusually deep sleep. Imagining that they had been poisoned, they pelted Icarius with stones and killed him; and his grandchildren in despair ended their lives by hanging themselves. 308When a plague had gained a wide hold among the Romans, Apollo gave an oracle that it would cease if they should appease the wrath of Saturn and the spirits of those who had perished unlawfully. Lutatius Catulus, one of the nobles, built for the god the precinct which lies near the Tarpeian Rock. He made the upper altar with four faces, either because of Icarius's grandchildren or because the year has four parts; and he designated a month January. Saturn placed them all among the stars. The others are called harbingers of the vintage,31 but Janus rises before them. His star is to be seen just in front of the feet of Virgo. So Critolaüs in the fourth book of his Phaenomena.

b 10 1 When the Persians were plundering Greece, Pausanias, the Spartan general, accepted five hundred talents of gold from Xerxes and intended to betray Sparta. But when he was detected, Agesilaüs,32 his father, helped to pursue him to the temple of Athena of the Brazen House; the father walled up the doors of the shrine with bricks and killed his son by starvation.33  p275 His mother also cast his body forth unburied.34 So Chrysermus in the second book of his Histories.

The Romans in their war with the inhabitants of Latium elected Publius Decius general. A certain poor, but noble, youth cnamed Cassius Brutus wished to open the gates at night for a stated sum of money. He was detected and fled to the temple of Minerva Auxiliaria. Cassius Signifer, his father, shut him in, killed him by starvation, and cast him forth unburied. So Cleitonymus in his Italian History.

11 1 When Darius the Persian had fought with Alexander at the Granicus, and had lost seven satraps and five hundred and two scythe-bearing chariots, he intended to attack again on the next day. But Ariobarzanes, his son, who was kindly disposed toward Alexander, promised to betray his father. But the father fell into a rage and cut off his head. So Aretades of Cnidus in the third book of his Macedonian History.

dBrutus, unanimously elected consul, drove into exile Tarquin the Proud, who was comporting himself despotically. Tarquin went to the Etruscans and began to wage war against the Romans. But Tarquin's sons wished to betray their father. But they were detected, and Tarquin cut off their heads. So Aristeides the Milesian in his Italian History.

12 1 Epameinondas, the Theban general, when he  p277 was waging war against the Spartans, returned home at the season of the elections, giving orders to his son Stesimbrotus not to engage the enemy. But the Spartans learned of Epameinondas's absence and taunted the youth with lack of manliness. He became indignant and, forgetting his father's command, engaged the enemy and conquered. eBut his father being deeply offended, crowned the youth35 and cut off his head. This Ctesiphon relates in the third book of his Boeotian History.

When the Romans were engaged in war against the Samnites, they appointed Manlius, called Imperiosus, general. As he was journeying to Rome for the consular elections, he ordered his son not to engage the enemy. But the Samnites learned of this and insultingly called the youth a nobody. He was provoked and defeated them, but Manlius cut off his head. This Aristeides the Milesian relates.

f 13 1 Heracles failed in his suit for Iolê's hand and sacked Oechalia. Iolê threw herself down from the wall; but it came about, since her garment was billowed out by the wind, that she suffered no harm. This Nicias of Mallus relates.

When the Romans were warring against the Etruscans, they elected Valerius Torquatus general. When he beheld the king's daughter, whose name was Clusia, he asked the Etruscan for his daughter; but when he failed to obtain her, he attempted to sack the city. Clusia threw herself down from the battlements; 309but by the foresight of Venus her garment billowed out, and she came safely to the ground. The  p279 general violated her, and for all these reasons was banished by public decree of the Romans to Corsica, an island off Italy. So Theophilus in the third book of his Italian History.

14 1 When the Carthaginians and Siceliots were negotiating an alliance against the Romans, bVesta was the only divinity to whom Metellus, the general, did not sacrifice. She, accordingly, sent a contrary wind against his ships. Gaius Julius, the augur, said that it would abate if Metellus should sacrifice his daughter. Forced by necessity, he brought forward his daughter Metella. But Vesta took pity, substituted a heifer, transported the maiden to Lanuvium,36 and appointed her priestess of the serpent that is worshipped by the people there. So Pythocles in the third book of his Italian History.

The like fate of Iphigeneia at Aulis in Boeotia Menyllus relates in the first book of his Boeotian History.

15 1 Brennus, king of the Gauls, when he was ravaging Asia, came to Ephesus and fell in love with a maiden Demonicê. She promised to satisfy his desires and also to betray Ephesus, if he would give her the Gauls' bracelets and feminine ornaments. cBut Brennus required his soldiers to throw into the lap of the avaricious woman the gold which they were wearing. This they did, and she was buried alive by  p281 the abundance of gold.37 This Cleitophon relates in the first book of his Gallic History.

Tarpeia, one of the maidens of honourable estate, was the guardian of the Capitol when the Romans were warring against the Sabines. She promised Tatius that she would give him entry to the Tarpeian Rock if she received as pay the necklaces38 which the Sabines wore for adornment. The Sabines understood the import and buried her alive. So Aristeides the Milesian in his Italian History.

16 1 When a war between the Tegeans and the Pheneans had continued for a long time, dit was agreed to send triplet brothers to determine the victory by their fighting. The Tegeans accordingly chose to represent them the sons of Rheximachus, and the Pheneans the sons of Demostratus. When battle was joined, two of Rheximachus's sons were slain. But the third, Critolaüs by name, by a stratagem succeeded in surviving his two brothers. For he devised the ruse of simulated flight, and so killed one after another of his pursuers. And when he came home all the rest rejoiced with him; but his sister Demodicê alone did not rejoice, for he had slain her betrothed, Demodicus. Critolaüs, smarting under such undeserved treatment, killed her. He was prosecuted for murder by his  p283 mother, ebut was acquitted of the charge.39 So Demaratus in the second book of his Arcadian History.

When the Romans and the Albans were at war, they chose triplets as their champions, the Albans the Curiatii, the Romans the Horatii. When the battle was joined, the Curiatii killed two of their opponents; but the survivor made use of simulated flight to help him, and killed one after another of his pursuers. Amid the universal rejoicing his sister Horatia alone did not rejoice with him; for he had slain her betrothed, Curiatius. So Horatius killed his sister.40 This fAristeides the Milesian narrates in his Italian History.

17 1 When the shrine of Athena in Ilium was in flames, Ilus rushed up and seized the Palladium, a statue which had fallen from heaven, and was blinded: for the Palladium might not be looked upon by man. But later, when he had placated the goddess, he regained his sight. So Dercyllus in the first book of his Foundations of Cities.

When Antylus,41 one of the noblemen, was on his way to the outskirts of the city, he was checked by crows which struck at him with their wings. Frightened by the omen, he returned to Rome. 310He saw that the shrine of Vesta was on fire, seized the Palladium, and was blinded. But later he regained his sight when he had placated the goddess. So Aristeides the Milesian in his Italian History.

 p285  18 1 When the Thracians were at war with the Athenians, they received an oracle that they would be victorious if they should spare Codrus; but Codrus took a scythe and, in the guise of a poor man, went to meet the enemy. He slew one and was killed by the second, and thus the Athenians gained the victory.42 So Socrates in the second book of his Thracian History.

When Publius Decius, a Roman, was warring against the Albans, he saw in a dream that, if he should die, his death would bring strength to the Romans. bHe went into the thick of the battle, slew many, and was himself slain. In like manner did his son Decius also save the Romans in the war against the Gauls.43 So Aristeides the Milesian.

19 1 To Dionysus alone did Cyanippus, a Syracusan, omit to sacrifice. The god was angry and cast upon him a fit of drunkenness, in which he violated his daughter Cyanê in a dark place. She took off his ring and gave it to her nurse to be a mark of recognition. When the Syracusans were oppressed by a plague, and the Pythian god pronounced that they should sacrifice the impious man to the Averting Deities, the rest had no understanding of the oracle; cbut Cyanê knew, and seized her father by the hair and dragged him forth; and when she had herself cut her father's throat, she killed herself upon his body in the same manner. So Dositheüs in the third book of his Sicilian History.

When the Bacchanalian revels were being celebrated at Rome, Aruntius, who had been from birth a water-drinker, set at naught the power of the god. But Dionysus cast a fit of drunkenness upon him, and  p287 he violated his daughter Medullina. But she recognized from a ring his relationship and devised a plan wiser than her years; making her father drunk, and crowning him with garlands, she led him to the altar of Divine Lightning,44 and there, dissolved in tears, she slew the man who had plotted against her virginity. So Aristeides in the third book of his Italian History.

20 d When Erechtheus was at war with Eumolpus,45 he learned that he would conquer if he sacrificed his daughter before the battle, and, communicating this to his wife Praxithea, he sacrificed his daughter.46 Euripides47 records this in the Erechtheus.

When Marius was fighting the Cimbri and was being worsted, he saw in a dream that he would conquer if he sacrificed his daughter before the battle; for he had a daughter Calpurnia. Since he placed his fellow-citizens before the ties of nature, he did the deed and won the victory. And even to this day there are two altars in Germany which at that time of year send forth the sound of trumpets. eSo Dorotheüs in the fourth book of his Italian History.48

21 1 Cyanippus, a Thessalian by birth, used continually to go forth to hunt, but his wife, whom he had but lately wed, suspected him of intimacy with another woman, because of his habit of frequently passing the night in the forest, and she followed on the track of Cyanippus. Hiding herself in a thicket,  p289 she awaited events. But some branches were shaken by her movements, and the dogs, thinking that she was a wild animal, rushed upon her and tore to pieces the loving wife like a brute beast. Cyanippus was a witness of this unexpected event and slew himself.49 So the poet Parthenius.50

fIn Sybaris, a city of Italy, a young man Aemilius, greatly admired for his beauty, was very fond of hunting. But his wife, whom he had but lately wed, thought that he was consorting with another woman and entered the dell. The trees were shaken by her movements and the dogs rushed upon her and tore her to pieces; and her husband slew himself. So Cleitonymus in the second book of his History of Sybaris.

22 1 Through the wrath of Aphroditê, Smyrna, the daughter of Cinyras, fell in love with her father, and revealed to her nurse 311the all-compelling force of her love. The nurse led on her master by a trick; for she declared that a neighbouring maiden was in love with him and was too modest to approach him openly; and Cinyras consorted with her. But on one occasion, wishing to learn the identity of his mistress, he called for a light; but when he saw her, sword in hand he pursued this most wanton woman. But by the foresight of Aphroditê she was changed into the tree that bears her name.51 So Theodorus in his Metamorphoses.

Through the wrath of Venus, Valeria Tusculanaria  p291 fell in love with her father Valerius, and imparted her secret to her nurse. The nurse deceived her master by a trick, saying that there was someone who was too modest to consort with him openly, but that she was a maiden of the neighbourhood. bThe father, sodden with wine, kept calling for a light; but the nurse was quick enough to wake the daughter, who went to the country, since she was with child. Once on a time she threw herself down from a cliff, but the child still lived. Returning home, she found her pregnancy inescapable, and in due time gave birth to Aegipan, called in the Roman tongue Silvanus. But Valerius, in a fit of despair, hurled himself down the same cliff. So Aristeides the Milesian in the third book of his Italian History.

23 1 After the sack of Troy Diomedes was cast upon on the Libyan coast where Lycus was king, whose custom it was to sacrifice strangers to his father Ares. But Callirhoê, the king's daughter, cfell in love with Diomedes and betrayed her father: loosing Diomedes from his bonds, she saved him. But he, without regard for his benefactor, sailed away, and she ended her life with a halter. So Juba in the third book of his Libyan History.

Calpurnius Crassus, one of the noblemen who had campaigned with Regulus, was dispatched against the Massylians to sack a certain stronghold by name Garaetium, a place difficult to capture. He was taken captive and was destined to be sacrificed to Saturn; but Bisaltia, daughter of the king, dfell in love with him, betrayed her father, and gave her lover the  p293 victory. But when he returned home, the maiden slew herself. So Hesianax in the third book of his Libyan History.

24 1 Priam sent away Polydorus with gold to Thrace to his son-in‑law Polymestor, because the city was on the point of being sacked. But, after its capture, Polymestor killed the child that he might gain the gold. Hecuba, however, came to the country and, tricking him with the promise of gold, put out his eyes with her own hands, assisted by the captive women. So Euripides52 the tragedian.

When Hannibal was ravaging Campania, Lucius Tiberis placed his son Rustius together with his possessions in the hands of Valerius Gestius, who was his son-in‑law; ebut Hannibal was victorious. When the Campanian heard this, through his love of money he violated the rights of nature and slew the child. But when Tiberis was journeying through the country-side and came upon the body of his son, he sent to his son-in‑law, pretending that he would show him treasures; but when he came, Tiberis put out his eyes and nailed him to a cross. So Aristeides in the third book of his Italian History.

25 1 Telamon led out to hunt Phocus, the beloved son of Aeacus by his wife Psamathê. When a boar appeared, Telamon threw his spear at his hated brother and killed him. But his father drove him into exile.53 So Dorotheüs in the first book of his Metamorphoses.

fGaius Maximus had two sons, Similius and Rhesus,  p295 of whom this Rhesus, whom he begat from Ameria out of wedlock, killed his brother during a hunt; and when he returned home, he declared that the mischance was accidental, not deliberate. But his father recognized the truth and banished him. So Aristocles in the third book of his Italian History.

312 26 1 Ares consorted with Althaea and begat Meleager. . . .54 So Euripides in his Meleager.55

Septimius Marcellus, who was wedded to Silvia, was much given to hunting. Mars, in the guise of a shepherd, violated the young bride, and got her with child. He acknowledged his identity and gave her a spear-shaft, declaring that with it the life of her child that was to be born was inseparably united. She duly bore for Septimius a son Tuscinus. Now the only divinity that Mamercus neglected when he was sacrificing to the gods for a bountiful harvest was Ceres, and she sent a wild boar. But Tuscinus assembled many huntsmen, slew it band presented the head and the hide to his affianced bride; but Scymbrates and Muthias, his mother's brothers, took them away from the maiden. Tuscinus was enraged and slew his kinsmen, but his mother burned the spear-shaft. So Menyllus in the third book of his Italian History.

27 1 Telamon, the son of Aeacus and Endeïs, came to Euboea, violated the daughter of Alcothoüs, Eriboea56 and escaped by night. But when her  p297 father discovered the matter and suspected someone of the citizens, he gave the girl to one of his guardsmen to be cast into the sea. But the guardsman took pity on her, and sold her into slavery. When the ship on which she was put in at Salamis, Telamon bought her, and she bore Ajax. So Aretades the Cnidian in the second book of his History of the Islands.

cLucius Troscius had by Patris a daughter Florentia. Calpurnius, a Roman, violated her, and Lucius delivered over the maiden to be thrown into the sea. But she was pitied by the guardsman and sold into slavery; and by chance her ship put in at Italy, Calpurnius bought her, and had from her Contruscus.

28 1 Aeolus, king of the Etruscans, begat from Amphithea six daughters and the like number of sons. Macareus, the youngest, for love violated one of his sisters and she became pregnant. Her plight was discovered and her father sent her a sword; dshe judged herself a law-breaker and made away with herself. Macareus also did likewise.57 So Sostratus in the second book of his Etruscan History.

Papirius Tolucer married Julia Pulchra and begat six daughters and the like number of sons. The eldest, Papirius Romanus, fell in love with his sister Canulia and got her with child. Their father learned of it and sent his daughter a sword. She killed  p299 herself; Romanus also did the same. So Chrysippus in the first book of his Italian History.

29 1 Aristonymus of Ephesus, the son of Demostratus, hated women and used to consort with an ass; and in due time the ass gave birth to a very beautiful maiden, Onoscelis58 by name. So Aristocles in the second book of his Strange Events.

eFulvius Stellus hated women and used to consort with a mare and in due time the mare gave birth to a beautiful girl and they named her Epona. She is the goddess that is concerned with the protection of horses. So Agesilaüs in the third book of his Italian History.

30 1 The people of Sardis, when they were engaged in war against the people of Smyrna, encamped round about the walls, and sent word through ambassadors that they would never retire unless the people of Smyrna would agree to let their wives consort with them. The Smyrnaeans, because of the compelling necessity, were in a fair way to suffer grievously; fbut there was a certain maid-servant to one of the better class who ran up to her master Philarchus and said, "You must dress up the maid-servants and send them in place of free-born women." And this, in fact, they did. The men of Sardis were quite exhausted by the serving-maids, and so were taken captive; whence even now the people of Smyrna have a festival called Eleutheria 313in which the maid-servants wear the adornments of free women. So Dositheüs in the third book of his Lydian History.

When Atepomarus, king of the Gauls, was at war with the Romans, he said he would never retire unless the Romans should surrender their wives for intercourse. But the Romans, on the advice of their maid-servants, sent slave-women; and the barbarians, exhausted by unremitting intercourse, fell asleep. But Rhetana (for she had been the author of this advice), by taking hold of a wild fig-tree, climbed upon the wall and informed the consuls; and the Romans attacked and conquered. From this the Servants' Festival takes its name.59 So Aristeides the Milesian bin the first book of his Italian History.

31 1 When the Athenians were engaged in a war against Eumolpus,60 and their supply of food was insufficient, Pyrander, the treasurer of the public funds, secretly reduced the unit of measure and distributed food very sparingly. But his countrymen suspected that he was a traitor and stoned him to death. So Callisthenes in the third book of his Thracian History.

When the Romans were waging war against the Gauls, and their supply of food was insufficient, Cinna secretly reduced the distribution of grain to the people. But the Romans stoned him to death on the suspicion that he had designs on the kingship. So Aristeides in the third book of his Italian History.

32 1 During the Peloponnesian War Peisistratus of Orchomenus chated the aristocracy and strongly favoured the poorer citizens. The members of the Council plotted to kill him; they cut him up into bits, thrust these into the folds of their garments, and scraped the earth clean. But the crowd of commoners  p303 caught a suspicion of this deed and hurried to the Council. Tlesimachus, however, the younger son of the king, was privy to the plot and drew the crowd away from the assembly by declaring that he had seen his father, endowed with more than mortal stature, being swiftly borne toward mount Pisa and thus the crowd was deceived. So Theophilus in the second book of his Peloponnesian History.

Because of the wars with neighbouring States the Roman Senate dhad done away with the distribution of grain to the people; but Romulus the king could not brook this, restored the dole to the people, and punished many of the more prominent men. They slew him in the Senate, cut him into bits, and thrust these into the folds of their garments; but the Roman people ran with fire to the Senate-house. Julius Proculus, however, one of the prominent men, declared that on a mountain he had seen Romulus with greater stature than any mortal's and that he had become a god. The Romans believed him and withdrew.61 So Aristobulus in the third book of his Italian History.

33 1 Pelops, the son of Tantalus and Euryanassa, married Hippodameia and begat Atreus and Thyestes; but by the nymph Danaïs he had Chrysippus, ewhom he loved more than his legitimate sons. But Laïus the Theban conceived a desire for him and carried him off; and, although he was arrested by Thyestes and Atreus, he obtained mercy from Pelops because of his love. But Hippodameia tried to persuade Atreus and Thyestes to do away with Chrysippus,  p305 since she knew that he would be a contestant for the kingship; but when they refused, she stained her hands with the pollution. For at dead of night, when Laïus was asleep, she drew his sword, wounded Chrysippus, and fixed the sword in his body. Laïus was suspected because of the sword, but was saved by Chrysippus, who, though half-dead, acknowledged the truth. Pelops buried Chrysippus and banished Hippodameia.62 So Dositheüs in his Descendants of Pelops.

fEbius Tolieix married Nuceria and had from her two sons; and he had also, from a freedwoman, Firmus, conspicuous for his beauty, whom he loved more than his legitimate sons. Nuceria was disposed to hate her stepson and tried to persuade her sons to kill him; but when they righteously refused, she herself effected the murder. 314By night she drew the sword of Firmus's body-guard and mortally wounded the boy as he slept, leaving the sword behind in his body. The guard was suspected, but the boy told the truth. Ebius buried his son and banished his wife. So Dositheüs in the third book of his Italian History.

34 1 Theseus, who was actually the son of Poseidon, begat a son Hippolytus from Hippolytê the Amazon and took a second wife, Phaedra, the daughter of Minos, who thus became a stepmother. Phaedra fell in love with her stepson, and sent her nurse to him; but he left Athens and, coming to Troezen, devoted himself to hunting. bBut when the wanton woman failed to obtain her cherished desire, she  p307 indited a false letter against the chaste youth and ended her life with a halter. Theseus believed the letter and asked from Poseidon the destruction of Hippolytus as fulfilment of one of the three wishes which he had as a concession from Poseidon. The god sent a bull to confront Hippolytus as he was driving along the shore in his chariot and terrified the horses, which crushed Hippolytus.63

Comminius Super of Laurentum begat a son Comminius from the nymph Egeria and took a second wife Gidica, who thus became a stepmother. She fell in love with her stepson and, failing to obtain her desire, put an end to her life with a halter, leaving behind her a lying letter. Comminius read the accusations, cbelieved the invidious charge, and called upon Neptune, who placed a bull in the youth's path as he was riding in a chariot; and the young man's horses ran away with him and killed him. So Dositheüs in the third book of his Italian History.

35 1 When a plague had overspread Sparta, the god gave an oracle that it would cease if they sacrificed a noble maiden each year. Once when Helen had been chosen by lot and had been led forward adorned for the sacrifice, an eagle swooped down, snatched up the sword, carried it to the herds of cattle, and let it fall on a heifer; wherefore the Spartans refrained from the slaying of maidens.64 So Aristodemus in his Third Collection of Fables.

dWhen a plague had gained a wide hold on the city of Falerii, and many perished of it, an oracle  p309 was given that the terror would abate if they sacrificed a maiden to Juno each year. This superstitious practice persisted and once, as a maiden chosen by lot, Valeria Luperca, had drawn the sword, an eagle swooped down, snatched it up, and placed a wand tipped with a small hammer upon the sacrificial offerings; but the sword the eagle cast down upon a certain heifer which was grazing near the shrine. The maiden understood the import: she sacrificed the heifer, took up the hammer, and went about from house to house, tapping the sick lightly with her hammer and rousing them, bidding each of them to be well again; whence even to this day this mystic rite is performed. So Aristeides in the nineteenth book eof his Italian History.

36 1 Phylonomê, the daughter of Nyctimus and Arcadia, was wont to hunt with Artemis; but Ares, in the guise of a shepherd, got her with child. She gave birth to twin children and, fearing her father, cast them into the Erymanthus; but by some divine providence they were borne round and round without peril, and found haven in the trunk of a hollow oak-tree. A wolf, whose den was in the tree, cast her own cubs into the stream and suckled the children. A shepherd, Gyliphus, was witness of this event and, taking up the children, reared them as his own, and named them Lycastus and Parrhasius, the same that later succeeded to the throne of Arcadia.65 fSo Zopyrus of Byzantium in the third book of his Histories.

Amulius, being despotically disposed toward his brother Numitor, killed his brother's son Aenitus  p311 in hunting, and his daughter Silvia, or Ilia, he made a priestess of Juno. But Mars got Silvia with child. She gave birth to twins and acknowledged the truth to the despot; he became frightened and threw both the children into the water by the banks of the Tiber. 315But they found a haven at a place where was the den of a wolf which had recently whelped. She abandoned her cubs and suckled the children. A shepherd Faustus was witness of this event and reared the children; he named them Remus and Romulus, who became the founders of Rome.66 So Aristeides the Milesian in his Italian History.

37 1 After the capture of Troy Agamemnon together with Cassandra was slain. But Orestes was reared in the house of Strophius, and took vengeance on the murderers of his father. So Pyrander in the fourth book of his Peloponnesian History.

Fabius Fabricianus, a kinsman of Fabius Maximus, sacked Tuxium,67 the chief city of the Samnites, band sent to Rome the statue of Venus Victrix, which was held in honour among the Samnites. His wife Fabia, debauched by a certain handsome youth whose name was Petronius Valentinus, slew her husband by treachery. But a daughter Fabia rescued from danger her brother Fabricianus, who was still a young child, and sent him away secretly to be reared elsewhere. When he reached manhood he slew his mother and her lover, and was absolved from guilt by the senate. This Dositheüs relates in the third book of his Italian History.

 p313  38 1 Busiris, the son of Poseidon and Anippê, daughter of the Nile, with treacherous hospitality was wont to sacrifice such persons as passed his way. But there came upon him vengeance for those that had perished by his hand. cFor Heracles attacked him with his club and slew him.68 So Agathon of Samos.

When Hercules was driving through Italy the cattle of Geryon, he was entertained by king Faunus, the son of Mercury, who was wont to sacrifice his guests to the god that was his father. But when he attacked Hercules, he was slain. So Dercyllus in the third book of his Italian History.

39 1 Phalaris, the tyrant of Agrigentum, used to inflict most cruel torture upon the strangers that passed his way. Perillus, a bronze-founder by trade, made a bronze heifer and gave it to the king that he might burn the strangers in it alive. But Phalaris on this one occasion proved himself a just man and threw into it the artisan; the heifer seemed to give forth a sound of bellowing.69 dSo in the second book of Causes.70

In Segesta, a city of Sicily, there lived a certain cruel despot, Aemilius Censorinus, who used to reward with gifts those who invented more novel forms of torture; and a certain Arruntius Paterculus constructed a horse of bronze and gave it as a gift to the aforesaid that he might cast the citizens therein. But on this occasion, for the first  p315 time, the despot behaved in a just manner and thrust first the giver of the gift into the horse, so that he himself should be the first to experience the torment which he had devised for others. Then he seized the man and hurled him from the Tarpeian Rock.c It is believed that those who rule with great cruelty are called Aemilii from this Aemilius. eSo Aristeides in the fourth book of his Italian History.

40 1 Evenus, the son of Ares and Steropê, married Alcippê, the daughter of Oenomaüs, and begat a daughter Marpessa,71 whom he endeavoured to keep a virgin. Idas, the son of Aphareus, seized her from a band of dancers and fled. Her father gave chase; but, since he could not capture them, he hurled himself into the Lycormas72 river and became immortal. So Dositheüs in the first book of his Aetolian History.

Annius, king of the Etruscans, had a beautiful daughter named Salia, whom he endeavoured to keep a virgin. But Cathetus, one of the nobles, saw the maiden at play and fell in love with her; nor could he control his passion, but seized her and set out with her for Rome. fHer father gave chase, but since he could not capture them, he leaped into the river Pareüsium, and from him its name was changed to Anio. And Cathetus consorted with Salia and begat Latinus and Salius, from whom the most noble patricians traced their descent. So Aristeides the Milesian, and also Alexander Polyhistor in the third book of his Italian History.

41 1 Hegesistratus, an Ephesian, having murdered  p317 one of his kinsmen, fled to Delphi, and inquired of the god where he should make his home. And Apollo answered: "Where you shall see rustics dancing, garlanded with olive-branches." 316When he had come to a certain place in Asia and had observed farmers garlanded with olive-leaves and dancing, there he founded a city and called it Elaeüs.73 So Pythocles the Samian in the third book of his Treatise on Husbandry.

When Telegonus, the son of Odysseus and Circê, was sent to search for his father, he was instructed to found a city where he should see farmers garlanded and dancing. When he had come to a certain place in Italy, and had observed rustics garlanded with twigs of oak (prininoi) and diverting themselves with dancing, he founded a city, and from the coincidence named it Prinistum, which the Romans, by a slight change, call Praenestê. bSo Aristocles relates in the third book of his Italian History.

The Editor's Notes:

1 On προειρημένος see W. Schmid, Der Atticismus, III. pp147 ff.

2 Contrariwise see Parthenius, translated by S. Gaselee, in the L. C. L. p289 note.

3 Only the first, however, is assigned to Plutarch.

4 Bernardakis's ed. vol. VII pp282‑328.

5 Plutarchi libellus de fluviis (Leipzig, 1851). Schlereth, however, has severely criticized Hercher's conclusions. On the sources of De Fluviis see Atenstädt, Hermes, lvii pp219 ff.

6 Yet Müller receives them all as Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum. It has not been thought worth while to include in the notes the references to Müller, since no additional information is to be found there. All the references, however, will be found in the recent Teubner edition.

7 It must be noted that many of the points which Plutarch has selected for comparison in the Lives, that is, in the so‑called Συγκρίσεις, are very tenuous, not to say inept. They would lend themselves readily to parody. On the Συγκρίσεις see further F. Focke, Hermes, lviii pp327 ff.

8 Contrast Lucan, IV.787 "compressum turba stetit omne cadaver"; Ammianus Marcellinus, XVIII.8.12.

9 Cf. Herodotus, VI.114; Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.63 (III p328 Hense).

10 Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.64 (III p330 Hense).

11 This passage is repeated in 307D, infra.

12 Cf. Livy, II.12.

13 Cf. Herodotus, I.82; Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.68 (III p333, Hense); Valerius Maximus, III.2 ext.4. Stobaeus quotes the story on the authority of Theseus, and, while his account has quite the same context, there is a great difference in wording.

Thayer's Note: Othryades and the Spartan victory are also mentioned in passing in Strabo, VIII.6.17.

14 He was consul 321 B.C. according to Livy, IX.1 ff., but his death after his defeat was not so dramatic as is here depicted.

15 Gurges; cf. Macrobius, Saturnalia, III.13.6.

16 Cf. Moralia, 225D, and the note there (Vol. III p350).

17 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.65 (III.330 Hense); Lydus, De Mensibus 167 (p179 Wünsch).

18 Stobaeus says, "in the third."

19 The "golden touch" of Midas.

20 Cf. Stobaeus, VII.66 (III.331 Hense).

21 That is, Capitolinus (e.g. Ovid, FastiVI.34).

22 Cf. Livy, VII.6; or Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, XIV.11. The story is often referred to.

23 "City of the Chariot"; cf. Pausanias, IX.19.4, and the scholium on Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, II.11.1.

24 "Quis significetur, quaerere non est operae pretium" (p269)(Wyttenbach); at any rate not the author of the De Fluviis in Bernardakis, vol. VII.

25 Cf. Livy, I.28, ad fin. or Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, III.30, ad fin.

26 Cf. Diodorus, XVI.34.5; Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.67 (III p332 Hense).

27 Repeated from 305E-F, supra.

28 And Macaulay in Horatius at the Bridge.

29 Cf. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina, pp64 ff., for the fragments of the Erigonê. Powell is no doubt right in ignoring this passage, of which Wyttenbach remarks "Noster tenebrio omnia turbavit."

30 Presumably Icarius.

31 Cf. Aratus, Phaenomena, 138, who mentions only one star of this name, the Vindemiator, which ushers in the autumn.

32 A mistake for Cleombrotus.

33 Cf. Thucydides, I.134: what Ps.‑Plut. tells us here of Pausanias's father is related of his mother Theano in Diodorus, XI.45.6; Polyaenus, Strategemata, VIII.51; Cornelius Nepos, Life of Pausanias, 5.

34 Stobaeus, Florilegium, XXXIX.31 (III p728 Hense).

35 Thus recognizing him as victorious.

36 Cf. Propertius, IV.8.3.

37 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, X.70 (III p426 Hense).

38 The usual specification was "what they bore on their left arms" (cf. Life of Romulus, xvii (27F-28D); Livy, I.11), but, to judge from Stobaeus's version of the preceding paragraph, its source probably contained "necklaces," and so a strict parallelism requires "necklace" here!

39 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, XXXIX.32 (III p729 Hense).

40 Cf. Livy, I.24‑26.

41 Some would write "Metellus" and make it refer to Caecilius Metellus, the Pontifex Maximus; cf. Seneca Rhetor, Controversiae, IV.2; Plin. H. N. VII.43 (141); cf. also Livy, PeriochaXIX and Ovid, Fasti, VI.437 ff.

42 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, VII.67 (III p332 Hense).

43 Cf. Livy, VIII.9; X.28; also Moralia, 499B.

44 Fulgora; Cf. Moralia, 499B-C. The garlands marked him as a victim for sacrifice.

45 Cf. 313B and the note.

46 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, XXXIX.33 (III p730 Hense); Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, III.42; Eusebius, Praepar. Evang. IV.16.12.

47 Cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. pp464 ff.

48 Cf. Eusebius, l.c. and Lydus, De Mensibus, 147 (p165 Wünsch).

49 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, LXIV.33 (IV p471 Hense).

50 Love Romances, x, with Gaselee's note (in L. C. L. p289).

51 Stobaeus, Florilegium, LXIV.34 (IV p472 Hense): cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, X.298 ff.; Apollodorus, III.14.3, with Frazer's note (L. C. L. vol. II p84).

52 In the Hecuba.

53 Cf. Frazer on Apollodorus, III.12.6 (L. C. L. vol. II p57).

54 There is obviously something omitted here.

55 Cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. pp525 ff.; Frazer on Apollodorus, I.8.2 (L. C. L. vol. I p64).

56 Conjecturally restored; there is a lacuna in the MSS.; cf. Frazer on Apollodorus, III.12.7 (L. C. L. vol. II p60).

57 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, LXIV.35 (IV p427 Hense); Ovid, Heroïdes, xi.

58 "The girl with ass's legs": cf. the scholium on Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, 1048; Stobaeus, Florilegium, LXIV.37 (IV p473 Hense).

59 Cf. Life of Romulus, xxix (36E-F); Life of Camillus, xxxiii (145F ff.); Macrobius, Saturnalia, I.11.35‑39.

60 Cf. 310D, supra; Frazer on Apollodorus, III.15.4 (L. C. L. vol. II p110).

61 Cf. Life of Romulus, xxviii (35A ff.); Life of Numa, chap. ii (60C ff.); Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, II.63; Livy, I.16; Cicero, De Republica, 1.10.20.

62 Cf. Pausanias, VI.20.7; Apollodorus, III.5.5; Athenaeus, (p305)602F; scholium on Euripides, Phoenissae, 1760; Aelian, Varia Historia, XIII.5.

63 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, LXIV.38 (IV.474 Hense), and Euripides, Hippolytus.

64 Cf.  Lydus, De Mensibus, 147 (p165 Wünsch); Tzetzes, Scholia on Lycophron, II.63 and 92 ed. Scheer. For human victims at Sparta cf. Porphyry, De Abstinentia, II.55.

65 Cf. Lydus, De Mensibus, 150 (p168 Wünsch).

66 Contrast 320D, infra.

67 Bovianum?

68 Cf. Life of Theseus, xi (5B); Frazer's note on Apollodorus, II.5.11 (L. C. L. vol. I pp224‑225). "Quis . . . inlaudati nescit Busiridis aras?" (Virgil, Georgics, III.4‑5).

69 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, XLIX.49 (IV p318 Hense).

70 Probably, as Bentley conjectured, the Aetia of Callimachus (cf. Mair's edition, L. C. L. p203). Schneider's objections Schlereth has shown to be irrelevant.

71 Cf. Pseudo-Plutarch, De Fluviis, VIII.1 (Bernardakis, (p315)vol. VII p296); Frazer's note on Apollodorus, I.7.8 (L. C. L. vol. I p62).

72 An earlier name for the river Evenus in Aetolia.

73 "City of Olives."

Thayer's Notes:

a If the gentle reader needs proof that these Parallel Things are some kind of joke or burlesque, this is it. Fabius Maximus died of illness in 203 B.C., not on a battlefield, nor anywhere near Hannibal (see Plutarch's own Life of Fabius Maximus, 27.1); and Hannibal died twenty years later, in Bithynia, of poison (see Plutarch's own Life of Flamininus, 20.2). It's as though an American writer were to state that Robert E. Lee died while he was slaughtering General Grant on the battlefield of Shiloh: our author and his readers, and indeed every schoolchild, would have known this was a whopper.

b For the statistically minded, this is the outlier. Our author who is so careful to tell us from the outset that he's going to give his sources, 61 times cites individual books by number, of which 33 are the "third book" of various works; but for good measure, he tosses in a Book 19 and a Book 40. It is a suspicious collection: of any one author, just maybe such stories might all be stashed in Book 3, but not, I think, across all of them; and just maybe most of these works only had three books; but the one authority he cites most often, Aristeides' Italian History, was purportedly a work in at least forty books, where one would definitely expect a more balanced distribution than 5 citations out of 9 from Book 3.

In graphic guise:

[image ALT: A bar chart illustrating the preceding paragraph.]

c in Rome, where it was used to punish those so condemned by the Roman government — but our hero is the ruler of Segesta, several hundred miles distant.

There is, that I know of, no indication elsewhere that cruel rulers might have been generically called Aemilii; that looks to me like a garbled version, retrofitted with its own aetiological tale, of the idiom reported a few years later by Gellius (Noctes AtticaeIX.13.20) that harsh leaders were referred to as "Manlian".


The work appears in pp251‑317 of Vol. IV of the Loeb Classical Library's edition of the Moralia, first published in 1936. The Greek text and the English translation (by F. C. Babbitt) are now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1964 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

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