Thomas Stanley, translator (1665) Claudius Aelianus His Various History. Book XII (pages 212-257)
The Twelfth Book.
Aspasia a Phocian,1 Daughter of Hermotimus, was brought up an Orphan, her Mother dying in the pains of Child-birth. She was bred up in poverty, but modestly and vertuously. She had many times a Dream which foretold her that she should be married to an excellent person. Whilest she was yet young, she chanced to have a swelling under her chin, loathsome to sight, whereat both the Father and the Maid were much afflicted. Her Father brought her to a Physician : he offered to undertake the Cure for three Staters ; the other said he had not the Money. The Physician replied, he had then no Physick for him. Hereupon Aspasia departed weeping ; and holding a Looking-glass on her knee, beheld her face in it, which much increased her grief. Going to rest without Supping, by the reason of the trouble she was in, she had an opportune Dream ; a Dove seemed to appear to her as she slept, which being changed to a Woman, said, "Be of good courage, and big a long farewel to Physicians and their Medicines : Take of the dried Rose of Venus Garlands, which being pounded apply to the swelling." After the Maid had understood and made trial of this, the tumor was wholly asswaged ; and Aspasia recovering her beauty by means of the most beautiful goddess, did once again appear the fairest amongst her Virgin-companions, enriched with Graces far above any of the rest. Of hair yellow, locks a little curling, she had great eyes, somewhat hawk-nosed, ears short, skin delicate, complexion like Roses ; whence the Phocians, whilest she was yet a child, called her Milto.2 Her lips were red, teeth whiter then snow, small insteps, such as of those Women whom Homer calls καλλισφύρους.3 Her voice was sweet and smooth, that whosoever heard her might justly say he heard the voice of a Siren. She was averse from Womanish curiosity in dressing : Such things are to be supplied by wealth. She being poor, and bred up under a poor Father, used nothing superfluous or extravagant to advantage for her Beauty. On a time Aspasia came to Cyrus, Son of Darius and Parysatis, Brother of Artaxerxes, not willingly nor with the consent of her Father, but by compulsion, as it often happens upon the taking of Cities, or the violence of Tyrants and their Officers. One of the Officers of Cyrus brought her with other Virgins to Cyrus, who immediately preferred her before all his Concubines, for simplicity of behaviour, and modesty ; whereto also contributed her beauty without artifice, and her extraordinary discretion, which was such, that Cyrus many times asked her advice in affairs, which he never repented to have followed. When Aspasia came first to Cyrus, it happened that he was newly risen from Supper, and was going to drink after the Persian manner : for after they have done eating, they betake themselves to Wine, and fall to their cups freely, encountring Drink as an Adversary. Whilest they were in the midst of their drinking, four Grecian Virgins were brought to Cyrus, amongst whom was Aspasia the Phocian. They were finely attired ; three of them had their heads neatly drest by their own Women which came along with them, and had painted their faces. They had been also instructed by their Governesses how to behave themselves towards Cyrus, to gain his favour ; not to turn away when he came to them, not to be coy when he touched them, to permit him to kiss them, and many other amatory instructions practised by Women who exposed their beauty to sale. Each contended to outvie the other in handsomeness. Onely Aspasia would not endure to be clothed with a rich Robe, nor to put on a various-coloured Vest, nor to be washed ; but calling upon the Grecian and Eleutherian Gods, she cried out upon her Father's name, execrating herself to her Father. She thought the Robe which she should put on was a manifest sign of bondage. At last being compelled with blows she put it on, and was necessitated to behave herslf with greater liberty then beseemed a Virgin. When they came to Cyrus, the rest smiled, and expressed chearfulness in their looks. But Aspasia looking on the ground, her eyes full of tears, did every way express an extraordinary bashfulness. When he commanded them to sit down by him, the rest instantly obeyed ; but the Phocian refused, until the Officer caused her to sit down by force. When Cyrus looked upon or touched their eyes, cheeks and fingers, the rest freely permitted him ; but she would not suffer it : For if Cyrus did but offer to touch her, she cried out, saying, he should not goe unpunished for such actions. Cyrus was herewith extremely pleased ; and when upon his offering to touch her breast, she rose up, and would have run away, Cyrus much taken with her native ingenuity, which was not like the Persians, turning to him that bought [sic] them, "This Maid onely, saith he, of those which you have brought me is free and pure ; the rest are adulterate in face, but much more in behaviour." Hereupon Cyrus loved her above all the Women he ever had. Afterwards there grew a mutual love between them, and their friendship proceeded to such a height that it almost arrived at parity, not differing from the concord and modesty of Grecian Marriage. Hereupon the fame of his affection to Aspasia was spread to Ionia and throughout Greece ; Peloponnesus also was filled with discourses of the love betwixt Cyrus and her. The report went even to the great King [of Persia,] for it was conceived that Cyrus, after his acquaintance with her, kept company with no other Woman. From these things Aspasia recollected the remembrance of her old Apparition, and of the Dove, and her words, and what the Goddess foretold her. Hence she conceived that she was from the very beginning particularly regarded by her. She therefore offered Sacrifice of thanks to Venus. And first caused a great Image of Gold to be erected to her, which she called the Image of Venus, and by it placed the picture of a Dove beset with Jewels, and every day implored the favour of the Goddess with Sacrifice and Prayer. She sent to Hermotimus her Father many rich Presents, and made him wealthy. She lived continently all her life, as both the Grecian and Persian Women affirm. On a time a Neck-lace was sent as a Present to Cyrus from Scopas the younger, which had been sent to Scopas out of Sicily. The Neck-lace was of extraordinary workmanship, and variety. All therefore to whom Cyrus shewed it admiring it, he was much taken with the Jewel, and went immediately to Aspasia, it being about noon. Finding her asleep, he lay down gently by her, watching quietly whilest she slept. As soon as she awaked, and saw Cyrus, she imbraced him after her usual manner. He taking the Neck-lace out of a Boxe, said, "This is a worthy either the Daughter or the Mother of a King." To which she assenting ; "I will give it you, said he, for your own use, let me see your neck adorned with it." But she received not the Gift, prudently and discreetly answering, "How will Parysatis your Mother take it, this being a Gift fit for her that bare you? Send it to her, Cyrus, I will shew you a Neck handsome enough without it." Aspasia from the greatness of her minde acted contrary to other Royal Queens, who are excessively desirous of rich Ornaments. Cyrus being pleased with this answer, kissed Aspasia. All these actions and speeches Cyrus writ in a Letter which he sent together with the Chain to his Mother ; and Parysatis receiving the Present was no less delighted with the News then with the Gold, for which she requited Aspasia with great and Royal Gifts ; for this pleased her above all things, that though Aspasia were chiefly affected by her Son, yet in the love of Cyrus she desired to be placed beneath his Mother. Aspasia praised the Gifts, but said she had no need of them ; (for there was much money sent with the Presents) but sent them to Cyrus, saying, "To you who maintain many men this may be useful : For me it is enough that you love me and are my ornament." With these things, as it seemeth, she much astonished Cyrus. And indeed the Woman was without dispute admirable for her personal beauty, but much more for the nobleness of her mind. When Cyrus was slain in the fight against his Brother, and his Army taken Prisoners, with the rest of the prey she was taken ; not falling accidentally into the Enemies hands, but sought for with much diligence by King Artaxerxes, for he had heard her fame and vertue. When they brought her bound, he was angry, and cast those that did it into Prison. He commanded that a rich Robe should be given her : which she hearing, intreated with tears and lamentation that she might not put on the Garment the King appointed, for she mourned exceedingly for Cyrus. But when she had put it on, she appeared the fairest of all Women, and Artaxerxes was immediately surprised and inflamed with love of her. He valued her beyond all the rest of his Women, respecting her infinitely. He endeavoured to ingratiate himself into her favour, hoping to make her forget Cyrus, and to love him no less then she had done his Brother ; but it was long before he could compass it. For the affection of Aspasia to Cyrus had taken so deep impression, that it could not easily be rooted out. Long after this, Teridates the Eunuch died, who was the most beautiful youth in Asia. He had full surpassed his childhood, and was reckoned among the youths. The King was said to have loved him exceedingly : he was infinitely grieved and troubled at his death, and there was an universal mourning throughout Asia, every one endeavouring to gratify the King herein ; and none durst venture to come to him and comfort him, for they thought his passion would not admit any consolation. Three daies being past, Aspasia taking a mourning robe as the King was going to the Bath, stood weeping, her eyes cast on the ground. He seeing her, wondred, and demanded the reason of her coming. She said, "I come, O King, to comfort your grief and affliction, if you so please ; otherwise I shall goe back." The Persian pleased with this care, commanded that she should retire to her Chamber, and wait his coming. As soon as he returned, he put the Vest of the Eunuch upon Aspasia, which did in a manner fit her : And by this means her beauty appeared with greater splendour to the King's eye, who much affected the youth. And being once pleased herewith, he desired her to come alwaies to him in that dress, until the height of his grief were allayed : which to please him she did. Thus more then all his other Women, or his own Son and Kindred, she comforted Artaxerxes, and relieved his sorrow ; the King being pleased with her care, and prudently admitting her consolation.4
Of the Muses.
No Statuary or Painter did ever represent the Daughters of Jupiter armed. This signifies that the life which is devoted to the Muses ought to be peaceable and meek.5
Of Epaminondas, and Daiphantus, and Iolaidas.
Epaminondas having received a mortal wound at Mantinea, and being brought (yet alive) to the Tents, called for Daiphantus, that he might declare him General. When they told him that he was slain, he called to Iolaidas. When they said that he also was dead, he counselled them to make peace and friendship with their Enemies, because the Thebans had no longer any General.
The Ægyptians say that Sesostris received learning and counsel from Mercury.
Lais the Curtezan was called (as Aristophanes the Byzantine reports) Axine, [ ... ]6 which surname impleads the Cruelty of her disposition.
Of the Parents of Marius and Cato.
They deserve to be laughed at who are proud of their Ancestors, since among the Romans we know not the Father of Marius, yet admire him for his parts. To know the Father of Cato the elder would require much scrutiny.
Of Alexander and Hephæstion.
Alexander Crowned the Tomb of Achilles, and Hephæstion that of Patroclus ; signifying that he was as dear to Alexander as Patroclus to Achilles.
Of the Treachery of Cleomenes to Archonides.
Cleomenes the Lacedemonian taking to him Archonides one of his friends, made him partaker of his design ; whereupon he swore to him that if he accomplished it he would doe all things by his head. Being possessed of the Government, he killed his Friend, and cutting off his Head put it into a Vessel of Honey. And whensoever he went to doe any thing, he stooped down to the Vessel, and said what he intended to doe ; affirming that he had not broken his promise, nor was forsworn, for he advised with the Head of Archonides.
How Timesias forook his Country voluntarily.
Timesias the Clazomenian governed the Clazomenians uprightly ; for he was a good man : but Envy, which useth to oppugn such persons, assaulted him also. At first he little valued the Envy of the common people, but at last forsook his Countrey upon this occasion. On a time he passed by the School just as the Boyes were dismissed of their Master to play. Two boyes fell out about a Line. One of them swore, "So may I break the head of Timesias." Hearing this, and imagining that he was much envied and hated of the Citizens, and that if the boyes hated him, the men did much more, he voluntarily forsook his Country.
That the Æginetæ first coyned Money.
The Æginetæ were once most powerful among the Greeks, having a great advantage and opportunity ; for they had a great command at Sea, and were very powerful. They also behaved themselves valiantly in the Persian Warre, whereby they gained the chief prize of valour. Moreover, they first stamped Money, and from them it was called Æginean Money.
Of the Pallantian Hill, and of the Temple and Altar dedicated to Feaver.
The Romans erected a Temple and Altar to Feaver under the Pallantian Hill.7
Of an Adulterer apprehended in Crete.
An Adulterer being apprehended at Gortyne in Crete, was brought to Trial, and being convicted, was crowned with Wooll. This kind of crowning argued that he was unmanly, effeminate, studious to please Women. He was by the general vote fined fifty Staters, degraded from honour, and made incapable of publick Office.
How Gnathæna the Curtizan silenced a great Talker.
A Lover came from Hellespont to Gnathæna the Athenian Curtizan, invited by her fame. He talked much in his drink, and was impertinent. Gnathæna hereupon interposing, said, "Did you not affirm you came from Hellespont?" He assenting ; "And how then, said she, happens it that you know not the chief City there?" He asking which that was, she answered, Sigeum.8 By which name she ingeniously silenced him.
Of persons excellent in Beauty.
They say that the most amiable and beautiful amongst the Greeks was Alcibiades ; amongst the Romans, Scipio. It is reported also that Demetrius Poliorcetes contended in Beauty. They affirm likewise that Alexander Son of Philip was of a neglectful handsomness : For his Hair curled naturally, and was yellow ; yet they say there was something stern in his countenance. Homer speaking of handsome persons, compares them to Trees,9
——— he shoots up like a Plant.
Of certain excellent persons who delighted to play with Children.
They say that Hercules alleviated the trouble of his Labours by play. The Son of Jupiter and Alcmena sported much with Children ; which Euripides hints to us, making the God say,
I play to intermit my Toils :
this he speaks holding a Child. And Socrates was on a time surprised by Alcibiades, playing with Lamprocles, as yet a Child.
Agesilaus bestriding a Reed, rid with his Son a Child, and to one that laughed at him, said, "At this time hold your peace ; when you shall be a Father your self, then you may give counsel to Fathers." Moreover Archytas the Tarentine, a great States-man and Philosopher, having many servants, took great delight in their Children, and played with them, chiefly delighting to sport with them at Feasts.
Persons whom Alexander hated for their Vertue.
Alexander hated Perdiccas because he was Martial ; Lysimachus, because he was excellent in commanding an Army ; Seleucus, because he was Valiant. The Liberality of Antigonus displeased him, the Conduct of Attalus, the Fortune of Ptolomee.
Of Demetrius going to the House of a Curtizan.
Demetrius, Lord over so many Nations, went to the House of Lamia a Curtizan in his Armour, and wearing his Diadem. To have sent for her home had been very dishonourable, [much more was it that]10 he went amorously to her. I preferre Theodorus the Player on the Flute before Demetrius ; for Lamia invited Theodorus, but he contemned her invitation.
That Phaon was beautiful.
Phaon, being the most beautiful of all men, was by Venus hid among Lettices. Another saies he was a Ferry-man, and exercised that employment. On a time Venus came to him, desiring to pass over : he received her courteously, not knowing who she was, and with much care conveyed her whither she desired ; for which the Goddess gave him an Alabaster Box of Ointment, which Phaon using, became the most beautiful of men, and the Wives of the Mitylenæans fell in love with him. At last being taken in Adultery he was killed.
Sappho the Poetress, Daughter of Scamandronymus, is (by Plato son of Aristo11) reckoned among the Sages. I am informed that there was another Sappho in Lesbos, a Curtizan, not a Poetress.
Of the Nightingale and Swallow.
Hesiod saith that the Nightingale above all Birds cares not for sleep, but wakes continually ; and that the Swallow wakes not alwaies, but half the night onely. This punishment they suffer for the horrid actions committed in Thrace at the abominable Supper.12
Of the Lacedemonian Women.
The Lacedemonian Matrons, as many as heard that their Sons were slain in fight, went themselves to look upon the wounds they had received before and behind : and if of the wounds they had received the greater number were before, triumphing and looking proudly, they attended their Sons to the Sepulchres of their Parents ; but if they received wounds otherwise, they were ashamed and lamented, and hastened away as privately as they could, leaving the dead to be buried in the common Sepulchre, or caused them to be brought away secretly, and buried at home.
Of the Strength of Titormus and Milo, and of a certain Proverb.
They say that Milo the Crotonian, proud of his Strength,13 happened to meet Titormus a Neatherd ; and seeing that Titormus was of an extraordinary bigness, would make a trial of strength with him. Titormus pleaded that he was not very strong ; but going down to Euenus, and putting off his Garment, he laid hold of an extraordinary great stone, and first drew it to him, then thrust it from him ; this he did two or three times : After which he lifted it up to his knees ; and lastly, lifting it up upon his shoulders, carried it eight paces, and then threw it down. But Milo the Crotonian could hardly stirre the stone. The second trial of Titormus was this ; He went to his Herd, and standing in the midst of them, took hold of the greatest Bull amongst them by the leg, who endevoured to get away, but could not. Another passing by, he catch'd him by the leg with the other hand, and held him also. Milo beholding this, & stretching forth his hands to heaven, said, "O Jupiter, hast thou not begotten another Hercules?" Whence they say came this Proverb, "He is another Hercules."
Of the Boldneß of the Celtæ.
I am informed that the Celtæ are of all men most addicted to engage themselves in dangers. Such person as die gallantly in fight, they make the subjects of Songs. They fight crowned, and erect Trophies, triumphing in their actions, and leaving Monuments of their valour, after the Greek manner. They esteem it so dishonourable to flie, that many times they will not goe out of their Houses when they are falling or burning, though they see themsevles surrounded with fire. Many also oppose themselves to Inundations of the Sea. There are also who taking their Arms fall upon the waves, and resist their force with naked Swords, and brandishing their Lances, as if able to terrifie or wound them.
Of the luxurious Diet and Gluttony of Smindyrides.
They say that Smindyrides the Sybarite was so Luxurious in Diet, that when he went to Sicyon, as a suitor to Agarista Daughter of Clisthenes, he carried with him a thousand Cooks, and as many Fowlers, and a thousand Fishermen.
Many who improv'd and benefitted the most excellent persons.
Ulysses was improv'd by Alcinous, Achilles by Chiron, Patroclus by Achilles, Agamemnon by Nestor, Telemachus by Menelaus, and Hector by Polydamas ; the Trojans, as far as they followed him, by Antenor ; the Pythagorean Disciples by Pythagoras, the Democriteans by Democritus. If the Athenians had followed Socrates, they had been every way happy and skilful in Philosophy. Hiero Son of Dinomenes was delighted in Simonides the Cean, Polycrates in Anacreon, Proxenus in Xenophon, Antigonus in Zeno. And to mention those also who concern me no less then the Greeks, inasmuch as I am a Roman ; Lucullus profited by Antiochus the Ascalonite, Mecænas by Arius, Cicero by Apollodorus, Augustus by Athenodorus. But Plato, who far exceeded me in wisedome, saith that Jupiter himself had a Counsellor ; but whom and how, we learn from him.14
Of some persons addicted to Wine.
Persons, as 'tis said, most addicted to Drink were Xenagoras the Rhodian, whom they called * Amphoreus, and Heraclides the Wrastler, and Proteas the Son of Lanica, who was brought up with Alexander the King ; even Alexander himself is said to have drunk more then any man.15
That Hercules was mild towards his Adversaries.
They say that Hercules was extraordinary mild towards his Adversaries, for he is the first we know of who without any mediation freely gave back the bodies of the dead to be buried, the slain being at those times neglected, and left to be a feast for Dogs, for, as Homer saith,
He made them unto Dogs a prey ;
A feast to Dogs they were. —16
Of the Leocorium at Athens.
The Leocorium so call'd at Athens was a Temple of the Daughters of Leos, Praxithea, Theope, and Eubule. These, as is reported, were put to death for the City of Athens, Leos delivering them up according to the Delphian Oracle, which said, that the City could be no other way preserved17 then by putting them to death.
What Plato said of the Exceß of the Agrigentines.
Plato Son of Aristo, seeing that the Agrigentines built magnificently and feasted highly, said, that the Agrigentines build as if they were to live for ever, and feast as if they were to live no longer. Timæus affirms that the Vessels in which they put their Oil and their Rubbers18 were of Silver, and that they had Beds all of Ivory.
Of the Drunkenneß of the Tarentines, and the Luxury of the Cyrenæans.
The Tarentines used to fall a-drinking as soon as they rose, and to be drunk by that time the people met in the Forum. The Cyrenæans arrived at so great a height of Luxury, that when they invited Plato to be their Law-giver, he would not vouchsafe it, as they say, by reason of their habitual dissoluteness. Eupolis also mentioneth in his Comedy entituled Maricas, that the meanest of them had Seals of the value of ten Minæ. Their Rings also were graven to admiration.
Of several kinds of Greek Wines.
I will reckon to you the names of Greek Wines much esteemed by the Ancients. One sort they call'd Pramnian, which was sacred to Ceres ;19 another Chian, from the Island ; another Thasian and Lesbian : besides these, there was one sort called Glycys, Sweet, the Name agreeing with the Tast ;20 another Cretan, and at Syracuse a sort named Polian, from a King of the Country. They drunk also Coan Wine, and so called it, as also Rhodian, from the place.
Are not these Demonstrations of the Greek Luxury? They mix'd Perfumes with their Wine, and so drank it by a forced Composition, which Wine was called Myrrhinites. Philippides the Comick Poet mentions it.
Of the Vest and Shoes of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Hippias, and Gorgias.
Pythagoras the Samian wore a white Vest, and a golden Crown and Drawers.21 Empedocles the Agrigentine used a Sea-green Vest,22 and Shoes of Brass.23 Hippias and Gorgias, as is reported, went abroad in Purple Vests.
That the Romans would not allow the Treachery of Pyrrhus his Physician.
They say that Nicias, Physician to Pyrrhus, writ privately to the Roman Senate, and demanded a summe of Money for which he would undertake to poison Pyrrhus ; but they accepted not his offer (for the Romans know how to overcome by Valour, not by Art and Treachery to circumvent their Enemies,) but discovered the Design of Nicias to Pyrrhus.
Of the Loves of Pausanias, and of Apelles.
Many Affections among the Ancients are remembred, these not the least. Pausanias loved his Wife extraordinarily ; Apelles the Concubine of Alexander, by name Pancaste, by Country a Larissæan. She is said to be the first whom Alexander ever enjoyed.
Of the Perianders, Miltiades, Sibylls, and the Bacides.
There were two Perianders, the one a Philosopher, the other a Tyrant : Three Miltiades ; one who built Chersonesus, another the son of Cypsellus, the third a Son of Cimon : Four Sibylls ; the Erythræan, the Samian, the Ægyptian, and the Sardinian. Others adde six more, making them in all ten ; among which they reckon the Cumæan and the Jewish. There were three Bacides ; one of Hellas, another of Athens, and the third of Arcadia.24
Of the number of the Children of Niobe.
The Ancients seem not to agree with one another concerning the number of the Children of Niobe. Homer saith there were six Sons and as many Daughters ; Lasus twice seven ; Hesiod nineteen, if those verses are Hesiod's, and not rather, as many others, falsly ascribed to him. Alcman reckons them ten, Mimnermus twenty, and Pindar as many.
Of the want of Victual to which Alexander was reduced ; and that some Towns were taken by Smoke.
Alexander in pursuit of Bessus was reduced to extreme want of Victual, insomuch that they were forc'd to feed on their Camels, and other Beasts of Carriage ; and, being destitute of Wood, did eat the flesh raw. But much Silphium growing there,25 it did much avail them towards the digesting their Diet.
In Bactriana the Souldiers took several Towns, conjecturing by the Smoke that they were inhabited, taking away the Snow from their Doors.
Of the Horses, and some Customes of the Sacæ.
The Horses of the Sacæ26 have this quality, that if one of them casts his Rider, he stands still till he gets up again. If any of them intends to marry a Virgin, he fights with her ; and if she gets the better, she carries him away Captive, and commands and has dominion over him. They fight for victory, not to death. The Sacæ, when they mourn, hide themselves in caves and shady places.
Of the Boldeß of Perdiccas, and of the Lioneß.
Perdiccas the Macedonian, who fought under Alexander, was so bold, that on a time he went alone into a Cave where a Lioness had whelped, and seised not on the Lioness, but brought away her Whelps : for which action he deserved to be much admired. The Lioness is believed to be the most strong and most couragious of all Creatures, not onely by Grecians, but by the Barbarians also. They say that Semiramis the Assyrian [Queen] was very proud, not if she took a Lion, or kill'd a Leopard, or the like Beasts, but if she overcame a Lioness.
Of the Provisions which followed Xerxes.
Amongst the Provisions full of magnificence and ostentation which were carried after Xerxes, was some water of the River Choaspes.27 When they wanted drink in a desart place, and had nothing to allay their thirst, Proclamation was made in the Army, that if any one had some Water of Choaspes, he should give it to the King to drink. There was found one who had a little, and that putrid. Xerxes drank it, and esteemed the giver as his Benefactor ; for he should have died of thirst if this had not been found.
Of Protogenes the Painter.
Protogenes the Painter, as is said, bestowed seven years in drawing Ialysus, at last perfected the Piece : which Apelles seeing, at first stood mute, struck with admiration of the wonerful sight ; then looking off from it, said, "Great is the work and the workman ; but the grace is not equal to the pains bestowed upon it ; which if this man could have given it, the work would have reached to Heaven."
Of certain Men who were suckled by Beasts.
It is said that a Bitch gave suck to Cyrus, Son of Mandale28 ; a Hind to Telephus, Son to Agave and Hercules ; a Mare to Pelias, Son of Neptune and Tyro ; a Bear to Paris, son of Alope and Priam29 ; a Goat to Ægisthus, Son of Thyestes and Pelopia.
Certain persons who of obscure became very eminent.
I am informed that Darius Son of Hystapes was Quiver-bearer to Cyrus : The last Darius, who was vanquished by Alexander, was the Son of a Woman-slave ; Archelaus King of the Macedonians was son of Simicha, a Woman-slave : Menelaus Grandfather of Philip was registred among the Bastards ; his Son Amyntas was servant to Ærope, and believ'd to be a Slave : Perseus, whom Paulus the Roman conquer'd, was by Country Argive, the Son of some obscure person : Eumenes is believed to have been Son of a poor man, a Piper at Funerals : Antigonus, Son of Philip, who had but one eye, whence surnamed Cyclops, was Servant to Polysperchus and a Robber30 : Themistocles, who overcame the Barbarians at Sea, and who alone understood the meaning of the Oracle of the Gods, was Son of a Thracian Woman, his Mother was called Abrotonos : Phocion, surnamed the Good, had for Father a poor Mechanick. They say that Demetrius Phalereus was a Houshold-servant belonging to the Families of Timotheus and Conon. Though Hyperbolus,31 Cleophon and Demades were chief men in the Commonwealth of the Athenians, yet no man can easily say who were their Fathers. In Lacedemonia, Callicratidas, Gylippus and Lysander were called Mothaces, a name proper to the Servants of rich men, whom they sent along with their Sons to the places of exercise to be educated with them. Lycurgus, who instituted this, granted, that such of them as continued in the discipline of the Young men should be free of the Lacedemonian Commonwealth. The Father of Epaminondas was an obscure person. Cleon Tyrant of the Sicyonians was a Pirate.
Of those who lived a long time in the Quarries of Sicily.
The Quarries of Sicily were near the surface of the ground,32 in length a Furlong, in breadth two Acres ; there were in them some men who lived so long there, as to be Married and have children, and some of their children never saw the City, so that when they came to Syracuse, and beheld Horses in Chariots, they ran away crying out, being much affrighted. The fairest of those Caves did bear the name of Philoxenus the Poet, in which they say he dwelt when he composed his Cyclops, the best of his Poems, not valuing the punishment imposed upon him by Dionysius, but in that calamity he exercised Poetry.33
Of Midas, Plato, and Pindar, their infancy.
The Phyrgian Stories say thus ; Whilest Midas the Phyrgian, yet an infant, lay asleep, Ants crept into his mouth, and with much industry and pain brought thither some Corn. These34 wrought a Honey-comb in the mouth of Plato. Likewise Pindar being exposed from his Father's house, Bees became his Nurses, and gave him Honey instead of Milk.
Of a Sign which portended that Dionysius should be King.
They say that Dionysius, Son of Hermocrates, crossing a River on Horse-back, his Horse stuck in the Mire ; he leaped, and gained the Bank, going away, and giving his Horse for lost. But the Horse following, and Neighing after him, he went back, and as he was laying hold of his Main to get up, a Swarm of Bees setled on his hand. To Dionysius consulting what this portended, the ** Galetæ answered, that this signified Monarchy.
Of Aristomache Wife of Dio.
Dionyius banished Dio out of Sicily, but his Wife Aristomache and his Son by her he kept in custody : Afterwards he gave the Woman in Marriage against her will to Polycrates one of his Guard, in whom he most confided. He was by birth a Syracusian. When Dio took Syracuse, and Dionysius fled to the Locrians, Arete Sister of Dio saluted him ; but Aristomache followed aloof off through shame being veiled, and not daring to salute him as her Husband, because by constraint she had not kept the Matrimonial contract : but after Arete had pleaded for her, and declare the violence used to her by Dionysius, Dio received his Wife and his Son, and sent them to his own House.35
Of Homer's Poems.
The Indians sing the Verses of Homer translated into their own Language ; and not onely they, but the Persian Kings also, if we may believe those who relate it.
That Phocion forgave Injuries.
Phocion, Son of Phocus, who had been often General, was condemned to die ; and being in Prison ready to drink Hemlock, when the Executioner gave him the Cup, his Kinsmen asked him if he would say any thing to his Son. He answered, "I charge him that he bear no ill will to the Athenians for this Cup which I now drink." He who does not extol and admire the man, is, in my judgement, of little understanding.
Of the Lacedmonians not addicting themselves to Learning.
The Lacedemonians were ignorant of Learning, they studied onely Exercise and Arms ; if at any time they needed the help of Learning, either in Sickness or Madness, or some other publick Calamity, they sent for Foreiners, as Physicians ; according to the Oracle of Apollo,36 they sent for Terpander, and Thales, and Tyrtæus, Nymphæus the Sidoniate, and Alcman, for he was a Player on the Flute. Thucydides implies that they were nothing addicted to Learning, in that which he delivers concerning Brasidas, for he saith that he was no good Orator, as being a Lacedemonian ; as if he had said, he was wholly illiterate.
Of the Pride of Menecrates, and how Philip derided him.
Menecrates the Physician grew so extremely proud, that he called himself Jupiter. On a time he sent a Letter to Philip King of the Macedonians on this manner ; "To Philip, Menecrates Jupiter well to doe"37 : Philip writ back, "Philip to Menecrates, Health ; I advise you to betake your self to the places about Anticyra" : hereby implying that the man was mad.38
On a time Philip made a magnificent Feast, and invited him to it, and commanded a Bed to be prepared apart for him alone ; and when he was laid down, a Censer was brought before him, and they burnt Incense to him. The rest feasted highly, and the Entertainment was magnificent. Menecrates held out a while, and rejoyced in the honour : but soon after hunger came upon him, and convinced him that he was a man, and foolish. He arose and went away, saying he was affronted ; Philip having most ingeniously discovered his folly.
To what kind of persons Isocrates compared Athens.
Isocrates the Orator said of Athens, that it resembled Curtezans : All that were taken with their beauty desired to enjoy them, but none would so much undervalue himself as to marry them. So Athens was pleasant to travel to, and excelled all the rest of Greece, but not secure to live in. He reflected on the many Sychophants there, and the danger from those who affected popularity.
Of several occasions of great Wars.
I am not ignorant that the greatest Wars have sprung from very slight occasions. They say that the Persian [War] began upon the falling out of Mæander the Samian39 with the Athenians ; The Peloponnesian War from a Tablet [or Picture] of the Megareans ;40 The War which was called Sacred, for the exacting the Mulcts adjudged by the Amphictyones ;41 The War at Chæronea from the dispute between Philip and the Athenians, they not willing to accept of the place by way of Gift [but of Restitution].42
How Aristotle endeavoured to appease Alexander's Anger.
Aristotle willing to appease Alexander's Anger, and to quiet him being much incensed, wrote thus to him ; "Rage and Anger is not towards Equals, but towards Superiours ; but to you no man is Equal."
Aristotle advising Alexander in such things as were fit to be done, did benefit many persons ; by this means he re-edified his own City, which had been razed by Philip.
Of those who among the Libyans were slain by Elephants, either in Hunting or in War.
Those who were slain by Elephants either in Hunting or in War, the Libyans bury honourably, and sing certain Hymns. The subject of the Hymns is this, That they were brave persons that durst oppose such a Beast : adding, That an honourable death was a Monument to the buried.
What Diogenes said of the Megareans.
Diogenes the Sinopean said many things in the reproof of the ignorance and want of discipline of the Megareans, and would rather chuse to be a Ram belonging to a Megarean, then his Son. He implied that the Megareans had great care of their Flocks, but none of their Children.
Of the Prodigies which appeared to the Thebans, when Alexander brought his Forces against their City.
When Alexander Son of Philip brought his Forces against Thebes, the Gods sent them many Signs and Prodigies, fore-shewing misfortunes greater then ever had happened ; (but they, thinking that Alexander died in Illyria, gave out many reproachful speeches against him.) For the Lake in Onchestus made a dreadful and continual noise, like the bellowing of a Bull. The Fountain which floweth by Ismenus and the Walls thereof, named Dirce, which ever until that time had run with clear and sweet Water, was then unexpectedly full of bloud. The Thebans believed that the Gods threatned the Macedonians. In the Temple of Ceres, within the City, a Spider made her Web over the face of the Image, working there as she useth to doe. The Image of Minerva, surnamed Alalcomeneis, was burnt of it self, no fire being put to it : and divers other things.
Dioxippus the Athenian, an Olympick Victor in Wrastling, was brought [*** in a Chariot] in Athens, according to the custome of Wrastlers. The multitude flocked together, and crowded to behold him. Amongst these a Woman of extraordinary beauty came to see the Shew. Dioxippus beholding her, was immediately overcome with her beauty, and looked fixedly upon her, and turned his head back, often changing colour, whereby he was plainly detected by the People to be taken extraordinarily with the Woman. But Diogenes the Sinopean did chiefly reprehend his passion thus ; A Gold † Tablet of Corinthian work being set to sale, "Behold, said he, your great Wrastler with his neck writhed about by a Girl."
Of Truth and Beneficence.
Pythagoras said that these two most excellent things are given by the Gods to Men ; To speak Truth, and to doe Good [to others :] He added, that each of these resembled the actions of the Gods.
Of Dionysius and Philip.
On a time Dionysius the Second and Philip Son of Amyntas conversed together. Besides many other discourses which (as is probable) happened between them, was this ; Philip asked Dionysius how it came to pass, that having so great a Kingdome left him by his Father, he did not keep it. He answered not improperly, "My Father indeed left me all the rest ; but the Fortune by which he obtained and kept them, he did not leave me."
Of honour given to the Wind Boreas.
Dionysius set out a Fleet against the Thurians, consisting of three hundred Ships full of armed Men : But, Boreas blowing contrary, broke the Vessels, and destroyed all his Sea-Forces. Hereupon the Thurians sacrified to Boreas, and by a publick Decree made the Wind free of their City, and allotted him an House and Estate, and every year performed sacred Rites to him. Therefore not the Athenians onely declared him their Patron, but the Thurians also registred him their Benefactour. Pausanias saith that the Megalopolites did so likewise.43
A Persian Law concerning those who give the King Advice.
This was also a Persian Law ; If any one would give advice to the King in difficult and ambiguous Affairs, he stood upon a golden Brick ; and if it was conceived that his advice was good, he took the Brick in reward of his counsel, but was scourged for contradicting the King. To a free person, in my judgement, the reward did not countervalue the dishonour.
Of Archedice a Curtezan.
One fell in love with Archedice a Curtezan at Naucratis ; but she was proud and covetous, and demanded a great price ; which having received, she complied a little with the giver, and then cast him off. The young man who loved her, yet could not obtain her, because he was not very rich, dreamed that he embraced her, and was immediately quit of his affection.
Of Alexander dead.
Alexander, Son of Philip and Olympia, ending his daies at Babylon, lay there dead, who had said that he was the Son of Jupiter. And whilest they who were about him contested for the Kingdome, he remained without Burial, which the poorest persons enjoy, common Nature requiring that the dead should be interred ; but he was left thirty daies unburied, until Aristander the Telmißian, either through Divine instinct, or some other motive, came into the midst of the Macedonians, and said to them, "That Alexander was the most fortunate King of all Ages, both living and dead ; and that the Gods had told him, that the Land which should receive the Body in which his Soul first dwelt, should be absolutely happy and unvanquishable for ever." Hearing this, there arose a great emulation amongst them, every one desiring to send this Carriage to his own Countrey, that he might have this Rarity the Pledge of a firm undeclinable Kingdome. But Ptolemee, if we may credit Report, †† stole away the Body, and with all speed conveyed it to the City of Alexander in Ægypt. The rest of the Macedonians were quiet, onely Perdiccas pursued him ; not so much moved by love of Alexander, or pious care of the dead Body, as enflamed by the predictions of Aristander. As soon as he overtook Ptolemee there was a very sharp Fight about the dead Body, in a manner akin to that which happened concerning the Image [of Hellen] in Troy, celebrated by Homer,44 who saith that Apollo in defence of Æneas engaged amidst the Heroes ; for Ptolemee having made an Image like to Alexander clothed it with the Royal Robe, and with noble Funeral Ornaments, then placing it in one of the Persian Chariots, adorned the Bier magnificently with Silver, Gold, and Ivory ; but the true Body of Alexander he sent meanly ordered by obscure and private waies. Perdiccas seizing the Image of the dead man, and the richly-adorned Chariot, gave over the pursuit, thinking he had gained the prize. But too late he found that he was couzened, for he had not got that at which he aimed.45
Stanley's notes are marked by glyphs (e.g., *); other notes are numbered.
1. This Aspasia is different from the very famous mistress of Pericles. According to Plutarch, Pericles XXIV.7, the Phocaean Aspasia was originally named Milto; Cyrus renamed her after the more famous courtesan. Aelian (below) implies that Milto was a nick-name.
2. Milto = vermillion. Perhaps toned down a bit, since a vermillion person would hardly be very attractive.
3. "Fair ankled", as the online translation has it. Homer uses it several times: e.g., Iliad IX, 557 and again 560; XIV, 319; Odyssey, V.333, XI.603. She had pretty feet.
4. Though not for long; in the event, she was one of the sources of the struggles between Darius and Artaxerxes. She wound up being made a priestess of Artemis; see Plutarch Life of Artaxerxes.
5. The same point is made again in Book XIV, chap. 37.
6. I do not know why Stanley put this ellipsis here; nothing is missing. Perhaps he meant to translate Axine (= "axe" or "battle-axe"). Like many of the chapters in this book, this chapter is repeated in Book XIV, where Stanley does translate the word (putting the translation in square brackets).
7. In addition to the regular pantheon, the Romans personified various virtues (Virtus, Amicitia, etc.) and aspects of daily life (Cardea, Runcina, Numeria, etc.), and misfortunes (Fever, Malaria, and so on). Cicero criticizes the "worship" of these maleficent beings, though perhaps "propitiation" would be a better word for the practice. Pliny, Book II, mentions (and ridicules) the Temple of Fever on the Palatine Hill.
8. The city Σίγειον; σιγή = "silence".
9. Homer, Iliad XVIII.56.
10. The brackets contain Stanley's addition or gloss.
11. In Phaedrus.
12. Ovid, Metamorphoses VI.
13. Milo is also mentioned in Book II, Chap. 24.
14. Plato, Letters II, 311b: Prometheus is the counsellor.
* A great Wine-measure.
15. Lanica (Λανίκη) or Hellanice was Alexander's nurse. There is a more extended list of drinkers in Book II, Chap. 41.
16. Homer, Iliad XVII 255 and XVIII 179, both of Patroclus. In the first passage it is implicit and in the latter passage it is quite clear that this is not a common event.
17. From a plague that was ravaging the city.
18. That is, their strigils.
19. Though it would seem logical that Pramnian wine should come from Pramnos, a hill on the island presently called Icaria, where wine is still grown, ancient writers gave it various sources. Pliny, XIV.54, says it was grown in Smyrna near the temple of Cybele (which does not necessarily mean that it was not sacred to Ceres, but strongly implies otherwise). Perhaps it was something like champagne or sauternes: properly coming from only one region, but in name at least grown widely.
20. Contrary to received opinion, ancient Greek wines were not normally sweet. See the article on wine in Smith's Dictionary for a discussion of οἶνος γλυκύς.
21. αναξυρίδας, a kind of trousers worn by Persians. (Only the crown was golden, not the drawers.)
22. Sea-green: ἁλουργης, "made by the sea", always meaning purple, a dye that came from sea creatures.
23. One of which he supposedly left at the edge of the crater when he leapt into Mount Etna. According to some versions of the story, the sandal was blown back out as Empedocles fell in. Strabo, VI.2.8.5, expresses doubt about the story, reasoning that Empedocles probably could not have got close enough to leap in and that the shoe would not have survived the heat.
24. The number of Sibyls varies from list to list. Bacis was, according to Pausanias, a Boeotian "possessed by nymphs" (see 10.12). Stanley's "Hellas" is supported by the manuscripts' Ἕλλην, but should be emended to Ἐλεώνιος, of Eleon in Boeotia. For more on Sibyls and Bacides, see, e.g., Smith's Dictionary x.v.Divinatio. It is possible that the Miltiades who built Chersonesus is the same as the son of Cypsellus.
25. This probably was not true silphium, but one of the numerous species of Ferula that are native to the Middle East. I find it difficult to believe that anything would make raw camel edible (or safe to eat).
26. A Scythian nation.
27. See Herodotus, I.188, and following him Athenaeus, II, who say that "the king" of Persia would drink no water except from the Choaspes. "The king" presumably means any king rather than a particular individual king.
28. Mandale: thus the manucripts and editions. Herodotus I.117 (and Diodorus and Xenophon) give her name as Mandane.
29. a Mare ... Priam: this is a mistranslation; read, rather, a Mare to Pelias, Son of Neptune and Tyro, and also to the son of Alope; a Bear to Paris, son of Priam. Alope's son by Poseidon (her grandfather) was Hippothoon; Alope's father buried her alive (and then Poseidon turned her into a spring); thus the necessity for the mare to suckle Hippothoon. Paris, whose mother was of course Hecuba, was abandoned on Mt. Ida because of a prophecy that he would destroy Troy, hence the bear.
30. Read, rather, "Antigonus, son of Philip ... was a manual laborer; Polysperchus was a thief". Both Antigonus and Polysperchon were officers in Alexander's armies.
31. Hyperbolus is most famous for having been the last Athenian to suffer ostracism; because Hyperbolus was so base, says Plutarch, Life of Nicias, a punishment which had formerly been a sort of honor became dishonorable and was never again used.
32. Stanley reads Ἐπιπολὰς as an adverb "on the surface", "on the top". Read rather "were in Epipole". Ἐπιπολή is a rising plateau (whence the name) in and near Syracuse which constituted a large part of the city and parts of which served as a quarry. See The Rulers of the South, pp. 147-151 for a description and pictures.
33. Dionysius imprisoned Philoxenus in the quarry after the poet insulted him about his poetry; see, e.g., Plutarch Fortunes of Alexander, II. (Note that Philoxenus got the prettiest cave, so the punishment was not apparently very stringent.) But Phanais in Athenaeus Book I says that Dionysius punished Philoxenus for attempting to seduce Dionysius's mistress Galatea. Philoxenus also appears in his guise of glutton in Book X, Chap. 9.
34. Not, of course, "these" [ants], but bees. The same story is told in more detail in Book X Chap. 21.
** Sicilian sooth-sayers.
35. Cornelius Nepos, Life of Dion, says that Arete was Dion's wife and Aristomache his sister. Plutarch, Life of Dion (who also says that Arete was Dion's wife, and that Aristomache, Dion's sister, married Dionysius) says that the name of the forced second husband was Timocrates.
36. This phrase may belong with the previous list of reasons to send for foreigners: "In sickness, or in madness, or other public calamity, or when directed to by the Oracle of Apollo, they sent for foreigners as physicians...". "Physicians" widely considered: people who can help solve the problem in some way. Of those in the list that follows, only Thales was a physician properly speaking; the others were poets or musicians. Some believe that Tyrtaeus was in fact a Lacedemonian.
37. Menecrates of Syracuse had a cure for epilepsy. The entire text of his letter to Philip is found in the seventh book of Athenaeus:
Menecrates Zeus to Philippus, greeting. You reign in Macedonia, and I am king of Medicine. You can, when you please, put men to death, who are in health; I can save those who are sick, preserve health in those who are healthy and, if they only follow my advice, make them live to old age without being attacked by disease. Therefore you are attended by Macedonian body-guards; but all who wish to live attend me; for I, Zeus, give them life.
38. Anticyra was famous for the hellebore that grew there, used in the treatment of insanity. See the note on Pseudodoxia I.5.
39. Meandrius was a servant of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos; when Oretes murdered Polycrates, Meandrius seized power until he was in turn overthrown by Darius the son of Hystaspes. Meandrius took refuge in Lacedemonia, but was thrown out of there for trying to stir up the Spartans to make war against Persia. Only Aelian then has him go to Athens. In Hist. Anim. XI.27, Aelian attributes the war to Darius's wife Atossa, who wanted Attic and Ionian slaves.
40. Not exactly a Tablet [and not a Picture], but a decree or law or dispatch. The πινάκιον (diminutive of πίναξ) was the tablet on which the decree was written (it could also be a small board on which to paint). By this decree Megareans were forbidden to enter the land or the ports of Attica, and all commerce with them was forbidden to Athenians. Aristophanes (who is to be taken with a large grain of salt) implies that Pericles refused to suppress this decree because war would cover up his financial misdoings, or at least prevent the Athenians from having the opportunity to investigate them.
41. See Pausanias, X.2-3.
42. Philip regained and restored to the Athenians the island of Halonesus, which had been occupied by pirates. He restored it to them as a gift; whereupon someone (the speech is often ascribed to Demosthenes, but was probably by Hegesippus) convinced the Athenians that they were being insulted.
*** Plutarch de curiosit. [521b]
† Representing the Triumph. [Most translations make this a mirror. It is in any case a bizarre and incomprehensible intrusion into the story. Plutarch leaves it out and has Diogenes simply point out to the crowd how the beauty has Dioxippus twisting his neck — she has done what his wrestling opponents could not do. I don't have a critical edition of the work in front of me; somewhere between the early 19th century and the present, the Greek editions have lost the parenthetical phrase.]
43. Pausanias VIII.36.6
†† So Freinsh. [That is, following the emendation of Freinshemius, who reads ἐξέκλεψε "he stole" for έξεκάλυψε "he hid" the body.]
44. Homer, Iliad V.449. Not an image of Helen, but an image of Aeneas. Stanley is nodding here.
45. According to Strabo, XVII.1.8.7, Perdiccas was subsequently killed by his own mutinous soldiers.
This page is by James Eason.