[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Book XXX

This webpage reproduces a Book of
The Histories


published in Vol. VI
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1922 thru 1927

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!


[image ALT: link to next section]

(Vol. VI) Polybius
The Histories

 p165  Fragments of Book XXXI

I. Affairs of Italy

1 1 Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus subjected to the Romans the Cammani1 partly by force and partly by fraud.

Embassy from Eumenes

2 Several embassies arrived at Rome this year, and the senate dealt with that headed by Attalus and Athenaeus. 3 For Prusias had not only pushed the accusations he brought himself against Eumenes and Antiochus, but had instigated the Galatians, the people of Selge and other Asiatic peoples to bring similar complaints. 4 In consequence of this Eumenes had sent his brothers to defend him against all these charges. 5 When they appeared before the senate it was thought that they made a satisfactory defence against all the accusers, and finally having not only freed Eumenes from the charges but having received special marks of honour they returned to Asia. 6 The senate, however, did not cease to entertain suspicions of Eumenes and Antiochus, but appointed and  p167 dispatched Gaius Sulpicius and Manius Sergius as legates to observe the state of affairs in Greece, 7 to decide the question of the territory in dispute between Megalopolis and Lacedaemon, but chiefly to inquire diligently into the proceedings of Antiochus and Eumenes in case they were making any preparations to attack Rome and acting in concert against her.

Measures taken regarding Syria, Macedonia, and Egypt

2 1 Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, had now been held in hostage at Rome for many years, and it had long been thought that his detention was unjust, since he had been given by his father Seleucus as a hostage for his own good faith, and now that Antiochus had succeeded to the crown he should not be required to serve as hostage for the children of Seleucus. 3 He had, however, taken no steps previously, chiefly owing to want of capacity, as he was still a boy. 4 But now, having fully come to years of discretion, he appeared before the senate and addressing that house begged and entreated to be sent home to assume the crown, to which he said he had a better claim than the children of Antiochus. 5 When he had spoken at considerable length in this sense and especially appealed to his hearers by saying that Rome was his fatherland and his nurse, that the sons of the senators were all like brothers to him and the senators themselves like fathers, since he had come to Rome when quite an infant and was now twenty-three years of age, 6 they were all personally affected, but their public decision was to keep Demetrius in Rome and  p169 help to establish on the throne the surviving child of Antiochus IV. 7 The senate acted thus, in my opinion, because they were suspicious of a king in the prime of life like Demetrius and thought that the youth and incapacity of the boy who had succeeded to the throne would serve their purpose better. 8 This was made evident by what happened afterwards. 9 For they at once named as legates Gnaeus Octavius, Spurius Lucretius, and Lucius Aurelius and dispatched them to Syria to manage the affairs of that kingdom as the senate determined, 10 there being no one likely to oppose their orders, since the king was a child and the principal people were only too glad that the government had not been put in the hands of Demetrius, as they had been almost certain it would be. 11 Octavius and his colleagues thereupon left, with orders in the first place to burn the decked warships, next to hamstring the elephants, and by every means to cripple the royal power. 12 They were also ordered to look into the affairs of Macedonia; for the Macedonians, being unaccustomed to democratic and parliamentary government, were quarrelling among themselves. 13 The legates also had to report on the condition of Galatia and the kingdom of Ariarathes, 14 and shortly afterwards they received a dispatch from the senate ordering them to do all in their power to reconcile the kings in Alexandria.

Embassy from Ariarathes

3 1 At the same time envoys arrived from Ariarathes, who had recently succeeded to the throne of Cappadocia,  p171 to renew the previously existing alliance, 2 and to beg the senate in general to avail themselves of the friendship and goodwill borne by that king towards the Roman state and all its citizens. 3 The senate, after listening to their speech, renewed the alliance and replied in courteous terms, approving in general the king's attitude. 4 This was chiefly owing to the fact that Tiberius and the other legates, when they were sent to inquire into the conduct of the kings, had on their return reported favourably concerning this king's father and the general state of the kingdom. 5 Relying on this report the senate received the embassy courteously and approved the king's attitude.

II. Affairs of Greece

Rhodes and Caria

4 1 The Rhodians, delivered from their difficult position, now breathed freely and sent Cleagoras on an embassy to Rome 2 to beg that Calynda might be ceded to them and to ask the senate to allow those of their citizens who owned property in Lycia and Caria to hold possession of it as before. 4 They also voted to erect in the temple of Athena a colossal statue of the Roman People thirty cubits high.

5 1 Upon Calynda revolting from Caunus and the Caunians undertaking the siege of the city, the Calyndians at first appealed to Cnidus for help. 2 With the aid of the Cnidians they held out for a  p173 time against the enemy, 3 but fearing for the future decided to send an embassy to Rhodes, to put their city in the hands of the Rhodians. 4 The Rhodians, sending succour by sea and land, raised the siege and occupied the city, 5 the possession of which was secured to them by the senate.

III. Affairs of Asia

6 1 Gaius Sulpicius Gallus, besides the indiscretions I have just mentioned, upon reaching Asia posted up notices in the principal towns, 2 ordering all who wished to bring accusations against King Eumenes to present themselves at Sardis by a given date. 3 Afterwards, when he himself arrived at Sardis, he sat for about ten days in the gymnasium listening to the accusers, 4 admitting any kind of foul and abusive language about the king, and in general attaching weight to every fact and every accusation, 5 being a man whose mind was deranged and who gloried in his quarrel with Eumenes.

6 The harsher the conduct of the Romans to Eumenes the more attached to him did the Greeks become, since men naturally bestow their affections on any one who is in distress.

Ariarathes of Cappadocia

7 1 Ariarathes, the king of Cappadocia, on the return of the envoys he had sent to Rome, thinking from the answers he received that his kingdom was now on a safe footing, since he had succeeded  p175 in gaining the goodwill of the Romans, paid a thank-offering to the gods for his success and gave a banquet to his nobles. 2 After this he sent envoys to Lysias2 at Antioch, being anxious to recover the bones of his sister and mother. 3 He thought it better not to accuse Lysias of the crime, as he did not wish to irritate him for fear of being disappointed in his object, although he was deeply aggrieved, but dispatched the envoys with instructions simply to proffer the request. 4 Lysias granted it, and upon the bones being brought back to him, he gave them a splendid reception on their arrival and buried them reverently beside his father's tomb.

8 1 About this time legates arrived from Rome, in the first place Marcus Junius, to settle the difference between the Galatians and King Ariarathes. 2 For since the Trocmi could not succeed by their own efforts in obtaining a slice of Cappadocia, but when they ventured on the attempt at once met with the punishment they deserved, they appealed to Rome and attempted to traduce Ariarathes. 3 It was for this reason that Junius was sent. The king having addressed him in a suitable manner and behaved to him in other respects with every courtesy, was thanked by this legate before his departure; 4 and when in the next place Gnaeus Octavius and Spurius Lucretius arrived and again spoke to Ariarathes about his difference with the Galatians, 5 the king, after briefly touching on this matter and saying  p177 that he would be ready to bow to their decision, went on to talk about the affairs of Syria, as he knew that Octavius and his colleague were going on there. 6 He called their attention to the unsettled state of the kingdom and the unprincipled character of its rulers, and in addition he offered to accompany them with an armed force and wait to see what turn matters took until they returned safely from Syria. 7 The legates, while gratefully acknowledging the king's kindness and zeal in every respect, said that they did not require the escort for the present, 8 but as regards the future, if they had need of any such service they would have no hesitation in informing him, regarding him as they did, as one of the true friends of Rome.

Death of Antiochus Epiphanes

9 1 In Syria King Antiochus, wishing to provide himself with money, decided to make an expedition against the sanctuary of Artemis in Elymaïs. 2 On reaching the spot he was foiled in his hopes, as the barbarian tribes who dwelt in the neighbourhood would not permit the outrage, 3 and on his retreat he died at Tabae in Persia, smitten with madness, as some people say, 4 owing to certain manifestations of divine displeasure when he was attempting this outrage on the above sanctuary.

IV. Affairs of Italy

The Rival Ptolemies

10 1 After the two Ptolemies had partitioned the  p179 kingdom the younger brother arrived in Rome, wishing to annul the terms of the partition between himself and his brother, 2 saying that he had done what he was ordered not of his own free will, but forced to consent by the pressure of circumstances. 3 He begged the senate to assign Cyprus to him, for even with this addition his share would be much inferior to his brother's. 4 Canuleius and Quintus testified in favour of Menyllus the envoy of the elder brother, saying that the younger brother owed both Cyrene and his life to their own action, so great was the hostility and aversion with which the populace regarded him. 5 When, therefore, contrary to his expectations and hopes the sovereignty of Cyrene had been given to him, he had been only too glad to accept it and had exchanged oaths with his brother as to this over victims solemnly immolated. 6 All this was denied by the younger Ptolemy, and the senate, seeing that the division had been quite unfair and wishing to make an effective partition of the kingdom due to themselves, acceded to the request of the younger brother, which coincided with their own interests. 7 For many decisions of the Romans are now of this kind: availing themselves of the mistakes of others they effectively increase and build up their own power, at the same time doing a favour and appearing to confer a benefit on the offenders. 8 So, seeing as they did the size of the Egyptian kingdom, and fearing lest if it once fell into the hands of a ruler capable of protecting it, he might have too high an idea of himself, 9 they appointed Titus Torquatus and Gnaeus  p181 Merula as legates to accompany Ptolemy to Cyprus and carry out the purpose of that king and their own. 10 They dispatched them at once with orders to reconcile the brothers and establish the younger brother in Cyprus without war.

Escape of Demetrius from Rome

11 1 At this time when the news arrived of the calamity that had happened to Gnaeus Octavius, 2 how he had been assassinated, and when the envoys sent by Lysias on behalf of King Antiochus appeared and were profuse in their assurances that the friends of the king had had no part in the deed, 3 the senate paid scant attention to the embassy, not wishing to pronounce any decision on the matter or to express in any manner their opinion. 4 But Demetrius, excited by the news, at once sent for Polybius and submitted to him his doubt as to whether or not he should address the senate again on the question of his own situation. 5 Polybius begged him not to stumble twice on the same stone, but to trust in himself and take some bold course worthy of a throne; for, he said, there were many opportunities for action suggested by the present situation. 6 Demetrius understood this advice and held his peace for the present, but shortly afterwards communicated with one of his intimate friends, Apollonius, about the same matter. 7 This man, being of an unsuspecting character and quite young, advised him to try the senate once more, for he felt sure, that as they had unjustly deprived him of his kingdom, they would at least release him from his  p183 position as hostage, 8 since it was quite unreasonable that now, when the young Antiochus had succeeded to the throne of Syria, Demetrius should serve as hostage for him. 9 Persuaded by this reasoning Demetrius again appeared before the senate and begged the house to release him at least from his obligation as hostage, as they had decided to secure the throne to Antiochus. 10 After he had spoken at some length in this sense, the senate adhered to its original resolve, as was only to be expected. 11 For on the former occasion it was not because Demetrius was not right in what he said that they had decided to keep the young king on the throne, but because it suited their own interest. 12 And as the conditions remained the same, it was to be expected that the decision of the senate should be based on the same policy.

12 1 But Demetrius, having sung his swan's song in vain and recognizing the soundness of Polybius's advice not to stumble twice on the same stone, 2 repented of what he had done, but, being naturally high-spirited and having courage adequate to carry out his designs, at once called Diodorus who had recently arrived from Syria and informed him of his position. 3 Diodorus had been the foster-father of Demetrius; he was an able man and had carefully studied the situation in Syria, and he now pointed out to Demetrius that since great disturbance prevailed there owing to the murder of Octavius, since Lysias and the populace mutually distrusted each other, and since the senate was convinced that the outrage on their envoys had been due to the king's friends, the time was very  p185 favourable for his appearing suddenly on the scene. 5 For the Syrians would at once transfer the crown to him, even if he appeared accompanied only by a single slave, while the senate would not go so far as to help and support Lysias after his conduct. 6 All that remained then was to escape from Rome secretly without anyone having any notion of his plan. 7 Having come to this decision, Demetrius sent for Polybius and communicated the project to him, begging him to assist him in it and join him in planning the best means of escape. 8 At that time it happened that there was a certain Menyllus of Alabanda present, on an embassy from the elder Ptolemy, with the object of confronting and answering the younger Ptolemy. Polybius had long been intimate with this Menyllus, and had great confidence in him. 9 So that, thinking him to be the proper person to engage in the present service, he introduced him to Demetrius, recommending him very cordially and warmly. 10 Menyllus consented to take part in the project, and engaged to have a ship ready and to provide all else that was required for the voyage. 11 Finding a Carthaginian ship that had carried sacred offerings anchored at the mouth of the Tiber, he hired it. 12 Such ships were specially selected at Carthage for the conveyance of the traditional offering of first-fruits to their gods that the Carthaginians send to Tyre. Menyllus chartered her openly to convey himself home; 13 so that he could without any suspicion send on board a month's stock of provisions and could speak openly to the ship's officers and make arrangements with them.

 p187  13 1 When the skipper had made all his preparations and it only remained for Demetrius to make his own arrangements, he first of all sent his foster-father off to Syria, to find out by listening to conversations and by what he observed what was the state of popular feeling there. 2 His foster-brother Apollonius had taken part in the project from the outset, and he also took the two brothers of Apollonius, Meleager and Menestheus, into his confidence, but no other member of his suite, though it was fairly numerous. 3 These brothers were really the sons of the Apollonius who had stood in high favour with Seleucus, but had removed to Miletus upon Antiochus succeeding to the crown. 4 The day agreed upon with the ship's officers was now approaching, and it became necessary to arrange for a party at the house of one of his friends in order to enable Demetrius to go out; 5 for it was impossible to dine at his own house, since he had been in the habit of scrupulously inviting all members of his suite. 6 Those who had been initiated into the plot were to dine at home and come on board the ship, each attended by one slave, having sent their other slaves on to Anagnia,º saying they would follow them on the following day. 7 Polybius happened at the time to be ill in bed, but he knew of all that was going on, as Menyllus kept him constantly informed. 8 So being very much afraid that if the banquet were unduly prolonged, as Demetrius was naturally fond of his cups and extremely young, he might find some difficulty in going out owing to the effects of drink, 9 he wrote and sealed a short note, and sent off a slave of his own with it shortly after dusk  p189 with orders to call out Demetrius's cup-bearer and deliver the note to him, not mentioning who he was, or from whom it was, but begging him to give it to Demetrius to read at once. 10 All was done as had been ordered, and Demetrius took it and read it. 11 The note contained the following saws:

12 The doer is away with all the tarrier's gear.

Night favours all alike but the most brave.3

13 Be brave and risk it, act to lose or win,

Anything but to give thyself away.

14 Be sober and remember to distrust;

These are the sinews of the mind.4

14 1 Demetrius, having read this and understanding the purport of the lines and from whom they came, at once left the house pretending that he felt sick, escorted by his friends. 2 On arriving at a hut he sent off to Anagnia those of his slaves whom it did not suit him to keep, ordering them to bring the nets and dogs and meet him at Cerceii, 3 for that was where he used constantly to go and hunt the wild boar, which was in fact the beginning of his intimacy with Polybius. 4 In the next place he informed Nicanor and his friends of his plan, and begged them to throw in their lot with him. 5 Upon their all readily consenting, he asked them to return at once to their residences and order their slaves to proceed in the early morning to Anagnia, and joining the huntsmen meet them at Cerceii. 6 They themselves were to put  p191 on travelling dress and return to him, after telling their slaves that they would fetch Demetrius and join them next day at the above place. 7 All was managed as I have stated, and they went on by night to Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber. 8 Menyllus had preceded them and communicated with the officers of the ship, saying that he must himself remain in Rome for the present, but must send on to him in advance the most trustworthy of his young soldiers, who would give him all the news about his brother. 9 So he said he himself would not embark, but that the soldiers who were to make the voyage would arrive about midnight. 10 The ship's officers were not concerned at this, since the fare agreed upon had been prepaid, and they had made all their preparations for the voyage long ago. 11 Demetrius and those with him arrived at the end of the third watch of the night, being eight in number with five grown-up slaves and three slave boys. 12 After Menyllus had conversed with them, pointing out the provisions for the voyage, and recommending them very cordially to the skipper and his crew, 13 they went on board and the pilot heaved anchor just as it was getting light and set sail, having no idea at all of the truth, but fancying he was conveying some soldiers from Menyllus to Ptolemy.

15 1 In Rome no one was likely to look next day for Demetrius or those who left with him. 2 For those who remained on the spot supposed he had started for Cerceii, and those in Anagnia were going to meet him at the same spot, supposing he would come there.  p193 3 The consequence was that his escape was entirely unnoticed, until one of the slaves who had been scourged in Anagnia ran off to Cerceii, supposing he would meet Demetrius there, and when he failed to do so ran on again to Rome, 4 thinking he would meet him on the road. 5 But not finding him anywhere he informed the friends of Demetrius in Rome and the members of the household who were left behind. 6 When four days after his departure people began to look for Demetrius, a suspicion of the truth arose, 7 and on the fifth day, when Demetrius had already passed the Straits of Messina, a special meeting of the senate was held on the subject. 8 Any idea of pursuit was abandoned because on the one hand they supposed that he was well advanced on his voyage, as the wind was favourable, and on the other hand they saw that they could not prevent him even if they wished. 9 After a few days they appointed three commissioners, Tiberius Gracchus, Lucius Lentulus, and Servilius Glaucia to examine first of all into the state of Greece, and then, crossing to Asia, to await the result of Demetrius's action, and to inquire into the sentiments of the other kings, and decide the differences between the latter and the Galatians. 11 The reason why they appointed Tiberius Gracchus was that he had personal knowledge of all these subjects. 12 Such was the state of affairs in Italy.


13 Demetrius was anxiously expecting the arrival of the messenger who was to be sent to him.

 p195  V. Affairs of Asia

16 1 Artaxias wished to kill . . . but by the advice of Ariarathes instead of doing so held him in greater honour than formerly. 2 Such is the power of justice, and of the opinion and advice of good men that thereby not only our friends but our enemies are often saved and their natures changed for the better.

3 Good looks are a better recommendation than any letter.

VI. Affairs of Africa

The Rival Ptolemies

17 1 After this the younger Ptolemy arriving in Greece with the legates, collected a powerful force of mercenaries, 2 among whom was the Macedonian Damasippus, who, after murdering the members of the council at Phacus fled from Macedonia with his wife and family. 3 Arriving in the Rhodian Peraea, the king was hospitably received there by the state, and proposed to sail for Cyprus. 4 Torquatus and his colleagues, seeing that he had got together this formidable force of mercenaries, reminded him of their instructions, which were that his return to Cyprus must be effected without war, 5 and finally persuaded him after proceeding as far as Side to dismiss the troops, and abandoning his attempt on Cyprus to meet them on the borders of Cyrene. 6 They themselves, they said, would sail to Alexandria, and after inducing the king to submit to the senate's request,  p197 would come to meet him on the frontier accompanied by his brother. 7 The younger Ptolemy, persuaded by these arguments, gave up his Cyprian project, disbanded his mercenary force, 8 and took ship first of all for Crete accompanied by Damasippus and one of the legates, Gnaeus Merula. After collecting in Crete a force of about a thousand soldiers he set sail and crossing to Africa landed at Apis. 18 1 Meanwhile Torquatus and the other legates on arriving at Alexandria attempted to induce the elder Ptolemy to be reconciled to his brother and cede Cyprus to him. 2 When the king kept on alternately promising and refusing and thus wasted time, 3 his younger brother, who, as had been agreed, remained encamped with his Cretans near Apis in Africa, and was exceedingly put out at receiving no information, at first sent Gnaeus to Alexandria, supposing that he would bring Torquatus and the others. 4 But when Gnaeus proved equally inactive, and time dragged on, forty days having passed without any news, he did not know what to make of the whole matter. 5 For the elder king by every kind of complaisance won over the legates and detained them with him rather against their will than otherwise. 6 At the same time news reached the younger Ptolemy that the Cyreneans had revolted, that the towns were in sympathy with them, and that Ptolemy Sympetesis, an Egyptian,  p199 7 whom he had placed in charge of the country when he left for Rome, had taken the part of the insurgents. 8 When he received this news, and when soon afterwards he heard that the Cyreneans had taken the field, fearing lest by trying to add Cyprus to his dominions he should lose Cyrene also, he treated all other matters as of lesser moment and at once marched on Cyrene. 9 Upon reaching the place known as the Great Slope he found the Libyans and Cyreneans occupying the pass. 10 Ptolemy, taken aback by this, embarked half of his force on the ships with orders to sail round the pass and take the enemy in the rear, while he himself with the other half advanced directly to force the ascent. 11 Upon the Libyans taking fright at this double attack and abandoning their position, he made himself master of the ascent and the place called the Four Towers beneath it, where there was plenty of water. 12 Setting out thence he arrived after six days' march through the desert. 13 The force under Mochyrinus coasted along parallel to him until they found the Cyreneans encamped eight thousand strong in foot and five hundred in cavalry. 14 For the Cyreneans had gained experience of Ptolemy's character from his behaviour at Alexandria, and, seeing that his government and his whole disposition were those of a tyrant rather than a king, 15 they were by no means disposed to submit willingly to his rule, but were resolved to suffer anything for the prospect  p201 of liberty. 16 They, therefore, on his approach, at once offered battle and in the end he was worsted.

19 1 At this time Gnaeus Merula also came from Alexandria and informed Ptolemy that his brother had not met any of the demands, but maintained that their original agreement must be adhered to. 2 The king, on learning this, at once appointed the brothers Comanus and Ptolemy his envoys, and dispatched them to Rome together with Gnaeus to inform the senate of his brother's selfish greed and contempt for their orders. 3 At the same time the elder Ptolemy dismissed Torquatus without his having achieved anything. 4 Such was the state of affairs at Alexandria and in Cyrene.

VII. Affairs of Italy

Embassies from the Ptolemies

20 1 At the time I am dealing with, Comanus and his brother arrived on an embassy from the younger Ptolemy and Menyllus of Alabanda from the elder one. They all entered the house together, where they had a long 2 and acrimonious dispute with each other; but when both Torquatus and Merula confirmed the statements of the younger brother and warmly supported him, 3 the senate decreed that Menyllus must leave Rome in five days, that their alliance with the elder Ptolemy was at an end, and that legates should be sent to the younger brother to inform him of their decision. 4 Publius  p203 Apustius and Caius Lentulus were appointed and at once took ship for Cyrene where they announced this important decision to Ptolemy. 5 The king, much elated by it, at once began to collect troops and was entirely occupied with his projected attempt on Cyprus. 6 Such was the state of affairs in Italy.

VIII. Affairs of Africa

Massanissa and Carthage

21 1 In Africa Massanissa, seeing the numbers of the cities founded on the coast of the Lesser Syrtis and the fertility of the country which they call Emporia, and casting envious eyes on the abundant revenue derived from this district, 2 had tried, not many years before the time I am dealing with, to wrest it from Carthage. 3 He easily made himself master of the open country as he could command it, owing to the Carthaginians, who had always been poor soldiers, having latterly become completely enervated in consequence of the long peace. 4 He could not, however, get hold of the towns as they were carefully guarded by the Carthaginians. 5 Both parties appealed to the senate about their differences, and numerous embassies had come from both on the subject, 6 but the Carthaginians always came off second best at Rome, not because they had not right on their side, but because the judges were convinced that it was in their own interest to decide against them. 7 Their claim to the country was evidently just; for Massanissa himself not many years previously, while pursuing with an army Aphther  p205 who had rebelled against him, had begged permission from them to pass through this district, thus acknowledging that he had no claim to it. 8 But nevertheless at the end the Carthaginians were in such straits owing to the decisions of the senate at the time I am speaking of, that they not only lost the country and the towns in it, but had to pay in addition five hundred talents for the mesne revenue of it since the dispute originated.

IX. Affairs of Italy

Aemilius Paullus and Scipio

22 1 The most striking and splendid proof of the integrity of Lucius Aemilius became manifest to all after his death; 2 for the same high reputation which he had possessed during his life continued when he had departed from it; and this we may say is the best proof there can be of virtue. 3 The man, I say, who had brought to Rome from Spain more gold than any of his contemporaries, who had had at his disposal the vast treasure of Macedonia, and had been at perfect liberty to use all this money as he chose, 4 died so poor that his sons could not pay his wife the whole of her jointure out of the personalty, and without selling some of the real property. Of this I have spoken in detail above. 5 We may say that the reputation of those most admired in this respect by the ancient Greeks has been put into shadow. 6 For it is an admirable thing to refuse to touch money offered in the interest of the giver, as Aristeides  p207 of Athens and Epaminondas of Thebes are said to have done, 7 how much more admirable is it for one who had a whole kingdom at his sole disposal, and had liberty to do what he wished with it, to covet none of it? 8 If this appears incredible to anyone, I beg him to consider that the present writer is perfectly aware that this work will be perused by Romans above all people, containing as it does an account of their most splendid achievements, 9 and that it is impossible either that they should be ignorant of the facts or disposed to pardon any departure from truth. 10 So that no one would willingly expose himself thus to certain disbelief and contempt. 11 And this should be borne in mind through this whole work, whenever I seem to make any startling statements about Romans.

23 1 Now that the progress of my narrative and the date call our special attention to this family, I wish in order to satisfy the reader's curiosity to execute a promise I made in the previous book and left unfulfilled, 2 and this was that I would tell how and why the fame of Scipio in Rome advanced so far and became so brilliant more quickly than it should, 3 and to tell also how his friendship and intimacy with the author grew so great that this report about them not only spread to Italy and Greece, but that even further afield their liking and intercourse were a matter of common knowledge. 4 Now I have already explained that their acquaintance took its origin in the loan of some books and conversation about them. 5 But as their intimacy grew, and when the Achaeans in  p209 detention were sent off to provincial towns, Fabius5 and Scipio, the sons of Lucius Aemilius, urgently begged the praetor to allow Polybius to remain in Rome. 6 This was done, and their intercourse now becoming much closer, the following incident took place. 7 On one occasion when they were all coming out together from the house of Fabius, the latter happened to take a turning leading to the forum, while Polybius and Scipio turned off in the opposite direction. 8 As they advanced Scipio, addressing Polybius in a quiet and gentle voice, and blushing slightly said: 9 "Why, Polybius, since there are two of us, do you constantly converse with my brother and address to him all your questions and explanations, but ignore me? 10 Evidently you also have the same opinions of me that I hear the rest of my countrymen have. 11 For, as I am told, I am believed by everybody to be a quiet and indolent man, with none of the energetic character of a Roman, because I don't choose to speak in the law courts. 12 And they say that the family I spring from does not require such a protector as I am, but just the opposite; and this is what I feel most."

24 1 Polybius was surprised at the way in which the young man opened the conversation; for he was then not more than eighteen years old. 2 "For goodness' sake, Scipio," he said, "don't talk in that way, or get any such notion into your head. 3 I don't, I assure you, do this because I have a low opinion of you or ignore you, but because your brother is your senior. I both begin conversation with him and finish  p211 with him, and as for any explanations and advice, I address myself especially to him in the belief that your opinions are the same as his. 4 However, now I admire you when you say that you are pained to think that you are of a milder character than becomes members of his family; for that shows that you have a high spirit. 5 I myself would be delighted to do all in my power to help you to speak and act in a way worthy of your ancestors. 6 For as those studies which I see now occupy and interest you, you will be in no want of those ready to help both of you; 7 so great is the crowd of such men that I see flocking here from Greece at present. 8 But as regards what you say now troubles you I don't think you could find anyone more efficient than myself to forward your effort and help you." 9 Before Polybius ceased speaking, Scipio, grasping his their hand in both his own and pressing it warmly, said: "Would I could see the day on which you, regarding nothing else as of higher importance, would devote your attention to me and join your life with mine; 10 for then I shall at once feel myself to be worthy of my house and my forefathers." 11 Polybius was on the one hand very happy to see the enthusiasm and affection of the young man, yet was embarrassed when he reflected on the high position of the family and the wealth of its members. 12 However, after this mutual explanation the young man never left his side, and preferred his society to anything else. 25 1 From that time onwards continuing in the actual conduct  p213 of life to give proof to each other of their worth, they came to regard each other with an affection like that of father and son or near relations.

2 The first direction taken by Scipio's ambition to lead a virtuous life, was to attain a reputation for temperance and excel in this respect all the other young men of the same age. 3 This is a high prize indeed and difficult to gain, but it was at this time easy to pursue at Rome owing to the vicious tendencies of most of the youths. 4 For some of them had abandoned themselves to amours with boys and others to the society of courtesans, and many to musical entertainments and banquets, and the extravagance they involve, having in the course of the war with Perseus been speedily infected by the Greek laxity in these respects. 5 So great in fact was the incontinence that had broken out among the young men in such matters, that many paid a talent for a male favourite and many three hundred drachmas for a jar of caviar. 5a This aroused the indignation of Cato, who said once in a public speech that it was the surest sign of deterioration in the republic when pretty boys fetch more than fields, and jars of caviar more than ploughmen. 6 It was just at the period we are treating of that this present tendency to extravagance declared itself, first of all because they thought that now after the fall of the Macedonian kingdom their universal dominion was undisputed, 7 and next because after the riches of Macedonia had been transported to Rome there was a great display of wealth both in public and in private. 8 Scipio,  p215 however, setting himself to pursue the opposite course of conduct, combating all his appetites and moulding his life to be in every way coherent and uniform, in about the first five years established his universal reputation for strictness and temperance.

9 In the next place he sedulously studied to distinguish himself from others in magnanimity and cleanhandedness in money matters. 10 In this respect the part of his life he spent with his real father6 was an excellent grounding for him, and he had good natural impulses towards the right; but chance too helped him much in carrying out this resolve.

26 1 The first occasion was the death of the mother of his adoptive father.7 She was the sister of his own father, Lucius Aemilius, and wife of his grandfather by adoption, the great Scipio. 2 He inherited from her a large fortune and in his treatment of it was to give the first proof of his high principle. 3 This lady whose name was Aemilia, used to display great magnificence whenever she left her house to take part in the ceremonies that women attend, having participated in the fortune of Scipio when he was at the height of his prosperity. 4 For apart from the richness of her own dress and of the decorations of her carriage, all the baskets, cups, and other utensils for the sacrifice were either of gold or silver, and were borne in her train on all such solemn occasions, 5 while the number of maids and men-servants in attendance was correspondingly large. 6 Immediately after Aemilia's funeral all these splendid appointments were given  p217 by Scipio to his mother,8 who had been for many years separated from her husband, and whose means were not sufficient to maintain a state suitable to her rank. 7 Formerly she had kept to her house on the occasion of such functions, and now when a solemn public sacrifice happened to take place, and she drove out in all Aemilia's state and splendour, and when in addition the carriage and pair and the muleteers were seen to be the same, 8 all the women who witnessed it were lost in admiration of Scipio's goodness and generosity and, lifting up their hands, prayed that every blessing might be his. 9 Such conduct would naturally be admired anywhere, but in Rome it was a marvel; for absolutely no one there ever gives away anything to anyone if he can help it. 10 This then was the first origin of his reputation for nobility of character, and it advanced rapidly, for women are fond of talking and once they have started a thing never have too much of it.

27 1 In the next place he had to pay the daughters of the great Scipio, the sisters of his adoptive father, the half of their portion. 2 Their father had agreed to give each of his daughters fifty talents, 3 and their mother had paid the half of this to their husbands at once on their marriage, but left the other half owing on her death. 4 Thus Scipio had to pay this debt to his father's sisters. 5 According to Roman law the part of the dowry still due had to be paid to the ladies in  p219 three years, the personal property being first handed over within ten months according to Roman usage. 6 But Scipio at once ordered his banker to pay each of them in ten months the whole twenty-five talents. 7 When the ten months had elapsed, and Tiberius Gracchus and Scipio Nasica, who were the husbands of the ladies, applied to the banker and asked him if he had received any orders from Scipio about the money, and when the banker asked them to receive the sum and made out for each of them a transfer of twenty-five talents, they said he was mistaken; 8 for according to law they should not at once receive the whole sum, but only a third of it. 9 But when he told them that these were Scipio's orders, they could not believe it, but went on to call on the young man, under the impression that he was in error. 10 And this was quite natural on their part; for not only would no one in Rome pay fifty talents three years before it was due, but no one would pay one talent before the appointed day; 11 so universal and so extreme is their exactitude about money as well as their desire to profit by every moment of time. 12 However, when they called on Scipio and asked him what orders he had given the banker, and he told them he had ordered him to pay the whole sum to his sisters, they said he was mistaken, 13 since he had the legal right to use the sum for a considerable time yet. 14 Scipio answered that he was quite aware of that, but that while as regards strangers he insisted on the letter  p221 of the law, he behaved as far as he could in an informal and liberal way to his relatives and friends. 15 He therefore begged them to accept the whole sum from the banker. 16 Tiberius and Nasica on hearing this went away without replying, astounded at Scipio's magnanimity and abashed at their own meanness, although they were second to none in Rome.

28 1 Two years later, when his own father Aemilius died, and left him and his brother Fabius heirs to his estate, he again acted in a noble manner deserving of mention. 2 Aemilius was childless, as he had given some of his sons to be adopted by other families and those whom he had kept to succeed him were dead, and he therefore left his property to Scipio and Fabius. 3 Scipio, knowing that his brother was by no means well off, gave up the whole inheritance, which was estimated at more than sixty talents, to him in order that Fabius might thus possess a fortune equal to his own. 4 This became widely known, and he now gave an even more conspicuous proof of his generosity. 5 His brother wished to give a gladiatorial show on the occasion of his father's funeral, but was unable to meet the expense, which was very considerable, and Scipio contributed the half of it out of his own fortune. 6 The total expense of such a show amounts to not less than thirty talents if it is done on a generous scale. 7 While the report of this was still fresh, his mother died, 8 and Scipio, far from taking back any of the  p223 gifts I mentioned above, gave the whole of it and the residue of his mother's property to his sisters, who had no legal claim to it. 9 So that again when his sisters had thus come into the processional furniture and all the establishment of Aemilia, the fame of Scipio for magnanimity and family affection was again revived.

10 Having thus from his earliest years laid the foundations of it, Publius Scipio advanced in his pursuit of this reputation for temperance and nobility of character. 11 By the expenditure of perhaps sixty talents — for that was what he had bestowed from his own property — his reputation for the second of these virtues was firmly established, and he did not attain his purpose so much by the largeness of the sums he gave as by the seasonableness of the gift and the gracious manner in which he conferred it. 12 His reputation for temperance cost him nothing, but by abstaining from many and varied pleasures he gained in addition that bodily health and vigour which he enjoyed for the whole of his life, 13 and which by the many pleasures of which it was the cause amply rewarded him for his former abstention from common pleasures.

29 1 It remained for him to gain a reputation for courage, nearly the most essential virtue in all states and especially so in Rome; and for this the training required of him was correspondingly severe. 2 Chance, however, assisted him also in this determination. 3 For the members of the royal house of Macedon had always been devoted to hunting, and the Macedonians had reserved the most suitable  p225 areas for breeding game. 4 These districts during the war had been as carefully preserved as formerly, but had never been hunted for four years owing to the exigencies of the times, so that there was an abundance of big game of every kind. 5 When the war had been brought to a conclusion, Aemilius, thinking that hunting was the best training and amusement for the young men, placed the royal huntsmen at Scipio's disposal, and gave him complete control over the preserves. 6 Scipio, availing himself of this and regarding himself as being nearly in the position of king, spent the whole time that the army remained in Macedonia after the battle of Pydna in this pursuit, 7 and, as he became a very enthusiastic sportsman, being of the right age and physique for such an exercise, like a well-bred dog, this taste of his for hunting became permanent. 8 So that when he arrived in Rome and when he found in Polybius one equally devoted to the chase, all the time that other young men gave up to law affairs and greetings, spending the whole day in the forum and thus trying to court the favour of the populace, 9 Scipio was occupied by the chase, and by his brilliant and memorable exploits, acquired a higher reputation than anyone. 10 For the others could not win praise except by injuring some of their fellow-citizens, this being the usual consequence of prosecutions in the law courts; 11 but Scipio, without ever vexing a soul, gained this  p227 universal reputation for courage, matching his deeds against their words. 12 So that in a short space of time he had outstripped his contemporaries more than is recorded of any other Roman, although the path he pursued to gain glory was quite the opposite of that followed by all others in accordance with Roman usage and custom.

30 1 I have spoken at such length of the development of Scipio's character from his earliest years partly because I thought the story would be agreeable to those advanced in years and salutary for the young, 2 but chiefly in order to secure credence for all I shall have to tell of him in the Books which follow, 3 so that readers may neither hesitate to accept as true anything in his subsequent life that seems astonishing nor depriving the man himself of the credit of his meritorious achievements put them down to chance from ignorance of the true cause of each. There were some few exceptions which we may assign to good luck and chance.

4 After this long digression I will now resume my regular narrative.

X. Affairs of Greece

The Rhodians and Eumenes

31 1 The Rhodians, while in other respects maintaining the dignity of their state, slightly deviated from it at this time, in my opinion, by accepting from Eumenes 280,000 medimni of cornº for the purpose of lending out the proceeds and applying the interest to  p229 the payment of the salaries of the tutors and teachers their sons. 2 Such a gift might perhaps be accepted from his friends by a private person who found himself in temporary straits in order not to allow his children to remain untaught through poverty, but the last thing that anyone in affluent circumstances would submit to would be to go a-begging among his friends for money to pay teachers. 3 And, as a state should have more pride than a private person, more strict propriety of conduct should be observed in public transactions than in private, and especially by the Rhodians owing to the wealth of the community and their noted sense of dignity.

XI. Affairs of Asia

32 1 In Asia, Prusias and the Galatians dispatched envoys to Rome to accuse Eumenes, 2 and that prince sent his brother Attalus to defend him against the charges. 3 Ariarathes sent a "crown" of a thousand gold pieces to the goddess Rome and envoys to inform the senate of his reply to Tiberius, begging them to point out to him what they required of him, as he was ready to comply with all the commands of the Romans.

Submission of Demetrius

33 1 When Menochares reached Demetrius at Antioch and informed him of his interview with Tiberius Gracchus in Cappadocia, the king, thinking that the most urgent thing for the present was to  p231 talk over Tiberius as far as he could, 3 treated other matters as of secondary importance and sent messages to Tiberius first to Pamphylia and next to Rhodes, engaging to submit entirely to Rome, and finally succeeded in getting himself recognized as king. 4 Tiberius indeed was very kindly disposed to Demetrius, and therefore contributed much to the success of his efforts and his establishment on the throne. 5 Demetrius having thus gained his object, at once sent envoys to Rome conveying a present of a "crown," as well as the murderer of Gnaeus Octavius and the critic Isocrates.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 An Asiatic people.

2 The minister of Antiochus Eupator.

3 Euripides, Phoen. 633.

4 By Epicharmus. Cp. Bk. XVIII.40.

5 The brother of Scipio who was adopted by Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator.

6 Lucius Aemilius Paulus.

7 Aemilia, wife of the great Scipio and mother of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, who adopted his cousin the son of L. Aemilius Paulus.

8 Her name was Papiria.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 18 Feb 10