Thomas Stanley, translator (1665) Claudius Aelianus His Various History. Book XIII (pages 258-287)
The Thirteenth Book.
The Arcadian relation concerning Atalanta Daughter of Jasion1 is this ; Her Father exposed her as soon as born, for he said he had not need of Daughters but Sons. But he to whom she wsa given to be exposed did not kill her, but going into the Mountain Parthenius laid her down by a Spring, where there was a Rock with a Cave, over which there was a place full of Oaks ; thus the Infant was destined to death, but not deserted by Fortune : For soon after a she-Bear robbed by Huntsmen of her Whelps, her Udder swoln and opprest with fulness of Milk, came by a certain divine providence, taking delight in the Child gave it suck ; whereby at once the Beast eased her own pain, and nourished the Infant : and came again, being opprest with Milk ; and being no longer Mother of her own, became Nurse to one that nothing belonged to her. The same Huntsmen who before had taken her Whelps watch'd her, and searching every part of the Thicket, when the Bear according to her custome was gone to the Pastures to get food, stole away Atalanta, not yet so called (for they gave her that name afterwards) and she was bred up amongst them with wild food : And by degrees her stature encreased with her years, and she affected Virginity, and shunned the conversation of men, and delighted in the desart, making choice of the highest of the Arcadian Mountains, where there was a Valley well furnished with water and tall Oaks, as also fresh gales and a thick wood. Why should it seem tedious to hear the description of Atalanta's Cave, more then that of Calypso in Homer?2 In the hollow of the cliff there was a Cave very deep fortified at the entrance with a great precipice ; along it crept Ivy, and twined about the young Trees, upon which it climbed. Saffron also grew about the place in a young thick Grove,3 with which also sprung up the Hyacinths, and many other flowers of various colours, which not onely feasted the eye, but the odours which they exhaled round about into the air, did afford a banquet also to the smell. Likewise there were many Laurels, which being ever verdant were very delightful to the sight ; Vines also growing thick and full of Bunches before the Cave, attested the industry of Atalanta, springs ever running clear and cool to the touch and tast flowed there abundantly. These contributed much benefit to the Trees we speak of, watering them and enlivening them continually. In fine, the place was full of beauty and majesty, such as argued the prudence of the Virgin.
The skins of Beasts were Atalanta's bed, their flesh her food, her drink water. She wore a careless Vest, such as Diana not disdained. For she said that she imitated her as well in this as in determining to live alwaies a Virgin. She was exceeding swift of foot, so that not any Beast could run away from her, nor any man that layed wait for her, was able (if she would run away) to overtake her. She was beloved, not onely of all those who saw her, but also of those who heard the report of her. If therefore it be not tedious we will describe her person. But tedious it cannot be, since hereby we may arrive at some degree of skill in Rhetorick. Whilest she was yet a child, she exceeded in stature those who were Women grown ; for Beauty she went beyond all other of the Peloponnesian Virgins of that time. Her look was masculine and fierce, occasioned partly by eating the flesh of wild Beasts, (for she was very couragious) partly by her exercise on the Mountains. She had nothing of an effeminate loose disposition, neither did she come out of the Thalamus4 [where Virgins are educated] nor was one of those who are brought up by Mothers or Nurses. She was not corpulent ; for by Hunting and other Exercise she preserved herself in a good Constitution. Her Hair was Yellow, not by any Womanish Art or Die, but by Nature. Her Face was of a ruddy Complexion, somewhat tanned by the Sun. What Flower is so beautiful as the countenance of a modest Virgin? She had two admirable properties, an irresistible Beauty, and an awfulness. No timid person could fall in love with her, for such durst not look upon her, so much did her splendour dazle the beholders.5 That which caused her to be admired, besides other things, was her reservedness. For she exposed not her self to view, unless accidentally in following the chase, or defending herself from some man ; in which action she broke forth like lightning, then immediately hid herself in the thickest of the wood. On a time it happened that two bold young-men of the neighbouring Country, Centaurs, Hyleus and Rhecus, in love with her, came in a frolick to her. They had no players on the Flute in this frolick, nor such things as the young men use in Cities upon the like occasion, but took with them lighted Torches, the sight whereof might have frighted a multitude, much more a lone Maiden. Then breaking boughs from the Pine trees, they twined them about them, and made themselves Garlands of them, and with continual clashing of Weapons as they went along the Mountains, set fire on the Trees in their way to her, presenting her with injuries instead of Nuptial Gifts. She was aware of their Plot, for she beheld the fire from her Cave, and knowing who those revellers were, was nothing terrified with the sight : but drawing her Bow, and letting fly an Arrow, chanced to kill the first, who falling down, the other assaulted her, not in mirth, but as an Enemy to revenge his friend and satisfie his passion. But he met with another vindictive Arrow from her hand. Thus much of Atalanta Daughter of Jasion.
How Macareus was punished for Cruelty.
A Mitylenæan, by name Macareus, Priest of Bacchus, was of a mild and good look, but the most impious of all men. A stranger coming to him, & giving him a great summe of money to lay up, in the inner part of the Temple ; Macareus digging a hole, hid the Gold in the ground. Afterwards the stranger returning, demanded his Money ; he leading him in as if he meant to restore it murdered him, digging up the Gold buried the man in the place, thinking that what he did was hid as well from God as from men ; but it proved otherwise, for not long after, within a few daies came the triennial solemnity. Whilest he was busied in the celebrating the Rites of Bacchus in much state, his two Sons that were left at home, imitating their Father's sacrificing, went to the Altar, where the brands were yet burning. The younger held out his neck, the elder finding a knife left there by accident, slew his brother as a Victim. They of the family seeing this cried out. The Mother hearing the cry, rushed forth, and seeing one of her Sons slain, the other standing by with a bloudy Sword, snatched a brand from the Altar, and kill'd her surviving Son. The news was brought to Macareus, who giving over sacrifice, with all speed and eagerness ran to his own house, and with the Thyrsus which he had in his hand, kill'd his Wife. This wickedness was publickly known : Macareus was taken, and being tortured, confessed what he had perpetrated in the Temple. In the midst of these tortures he gave up the Ghost. But the other who was murdered unjustly, had publick honour, and was interred by the appointment of God. Thus Macareus suffered due revenge, as the Poet saith,6 with his own head, and his Wives, and his Childrens.7
Of the Monument of Belus, and the unfortunate sign which happened to Xerxes there.
Xerxes Son of Darius, breaking up the Monument of ancient Belus, found an Urn of glass in which his dead body lay in Oil ; but the Urn was not full, it wanted a hand-breadth of the top : Next the Urn there was a little Pillar, on which it was written, "That whosoever should open the Sepulchre, and not fill up the Urn, should have ill fortune." Which Xerxes reading, grew afraid, and commanded that they should pour Oil into it with all speed ; notwithstanding, it was not filled : Then he commanded to pour into it the second time, but neither did it increase at all thereby ; so that at last failing of success, he gave over ; and shutting up the Monument departed very sad. Nor did the event foretold by the Pillar deceive him ; for he had an Army of fifty Myriads against Greece, where he received a great defeat, and returning home, died miserably, being murthered in his bed by his own Son, in the night time.8
Of Euripides drunk at a Feast.
King Archelaus made a great entertainment for his friends. And when they fell to drink, Euripides took off unmixt Wine so freely, that by degrees he became drunk. Then embracing Agathon the Tragick Poet, who lay on the couch next him, he kissed him, who was at that time fourty years of age. Archelaus asking him whether he seemed amiable at those years, "Yes, said he, of the beautiful not the Spring onely, but even the Autumn also is fair."9
They say that Laius fell in love with Chrysippus Son of Pelops. **10
The properties of Arcadian, Thatian, and Achæan Wines.
At Heræa in Arcadia, I am informed there are Vines from which is made Wine, which bereaveth men of the use of reason, and maketh the Arcadians mad, but causeth fruitfulness in the Women.
It is said that in Thasus there are two sorts of Wines ; one being drunk procureth sleep, profound, and consequently sweet ; the other is an enemy to life, and causeth wakefulness and disturbance.
In Achæa about Ceraunia there is a kind of Wine, which causeth Women to miscarry.
Of the taking of Thebes by Alexander, and of Pindar.
When Alexander took Thebes, he sold all the Free-men except the Priests. And those who had formerly entertained his Father as their Guest, he set at liberty (for Philip, when a child lived there in Hostage) and such as were a-kin to them.11 He also respected those who were descended from Pindar, and permitted his house onely to stand. He slew of the Thebans ninety thousand, the Captives were thirty thousand.12
They say that Lysander the Lacedemonian living in Ionia, and rejecting the Laws of Lycurgus as burthensome, led a luxurious life.
Lamia the Attick Curtezan said, "The Lions of Greece coming to Ephesus become Foxes."13
Of Dionysius marrying two Wives in one Day.
In one Day Dionysius married two Wives, Doris the Locrian, and Aristæneta14 Daughter of Hipparinus, Sister of Dio, and bedded them by turns : One accompanied him in the Army, the other entertained him when he came home.
Of the conquest over the Persians, and of Isocrates.
It was related to me that Isocrates the Oratour was occasion of the conquest of the Persians, whom the Macedonians subdued.15 For the fame of the Panegyrick Oration which Isocrates made to the Grecians, coming to Macedonia, first excited Philip against Asia, and he dying, it also instigated Alexander his Son and heir to prosecute the design of his Father.16
How Meton freed himself from an expedition ; and of the madneß of Ulysses.
Meton the Astronomer, when the Athenian Souldiers were upon an expedition against Sicily, was registred amongst them in the Catalogue. But clearly foreseeing the future disasters, he through fear shunned the Voyage, endeavouring to be quit of the expedition. But when that nothing availed, he counterfeited madness, and amongst other things, to procure a belief of his infirmity, fired his own house which was next the Pœcile. Hereupon the Archons dismissed him, and in my opinion, Meton much better counterfeited madness then Ulysses the Ithacian ; for Palamedes discovered him,17 but none of the Athenians Meton.
Of the Munificence of Ptolemee.
They say that Ptolemee Son of Lagus took great delight in making his friends rich ; for he said, "’Tis better to enrich others, then be rich our selves."
Of the Verses and Poetry of Homer.
The Ancients sung the Verses of Homer, divided into several parts, to which they gave particular names ; as the Fight at the Ships, and the Dolonia, and the Victory of Agamemnon, and the Catalogue of the Ships. Moreover the Patroclea, and the Lytra, [or redemption of Hector's Body] and the Games instituted for Patroclus, and the breach of Vows. Thus much of the Iliads. As concerning the other, [the Odysseis] the actions at Pytas, and the actions at Lacedemon, and the Cave of Calypso, and the Boat, the Discourses of Alcinous, the Cyclopias, the Necuia18 and the washings of Circe, the death of the Woers, the actions in the Field, and concerning Laertes.
But long after Lycurgus the Lacedemonian brought all Homer's Poetry first into Greece from Ionia whether he travelled. Last of all Pisistratus compiling them, formed the Iliads and Odysseis.19
Of some persons extraordinary foolish.
The Comick Poets say that one Polydorus, had a very gross understanding, and a skin scarce penetrable : also that there was another by name Cæcylian, who, through excessive folly endeavoured to number the Waves. There is a report that there was one Sannyrion like these, who sought Ladder-rounds in a glass.20 They say also that Corœbus and Meltitides were very blockish.
Of the Apolloniats and of their Country, and of Epidamnum.
The Apolloniats inhabit a City next Epidamnum in the Ionian Gulf : In the places next them, there is a vein of Brimstone, which springeth out of the ground as fountains cast up water. Not farre off there is shewed a continual fire. The Hill which burneth is but little, reacheth not farre, and hath but a small circumference, but smelleth of Sulphur and Alum. About it there are many Trees green and flourishing, nothing injured by the neighbouring fire, either as to the shooting out young ones, or to their own growth. The fire burns night and day, and never intermitted, as the Apolloniats affirm, until the War which they waged with the Illyrians.21
The Apolloniats according to the Lacedemonian Law prohibited foreiners. But the Epidamnians allowed any one that would to come and live amongst them.22
A Proverb, and of Phrynichus.
Phrynichus feareth a swarm of Wasps like a Cock. It is proverbially said of persons that are worsted ; for Phrynichus the Tragick Poet acting the taking of Miletus, the Athenians weeping made him quit the Stage, afraid and daunted.23
Dionysius Tyrant of Sicily, affected and commended Tragedy, and made Tragedies : but he was averse from Comedy, for he loved not laughter.
What Cleomenes said of Homer and Hesiod.
Cleomenes said Laconically according to the manner of his Country, that Homer was the Poet of the Lacedemonians, declaring how men should fight ; but Hesiod of the Slaves, declaring how men should till the ground.
Of one who died chearfully through willingneß to see some of the dead.
A Megalipolite of Arcadia named Cercidas, dying, said to his friends that he parted with his life willingly, for that he hoped to converse with Pythagoras of the Wise ; with Hecatæus of the Historians ; with Olympus of the Musicians ; and with Homer of the Poets, and as soon as he had said this, died.
Of Phrygian Harmony.
If at Celene any one play on the Flute before the skin of the Phrygian [Marsga,] the skin moves, but if any tune or Hymne of Apollo, it stirs not.24
Of the Temple and Statue of Homer.
Ptolemæus Philopator having built a Temple to Homer, erected a fair Image of him, and placed about the Image those Cities which contended for Homer. Galaton the Painter drew Homer vomiting, and the rest of the Poets gathering it up.
Of Lycurgus the Lacedemonian.
Lycurgus the Lacedemonian, son of Eunomus, willing to teach the Lacedemonians Justice, was not duly requited. For one of his eyes were put out by Alcander, as some think by a stone cast from an ambushment, or as others, by a blow with a stick. This is said to those who aim at one thing and receive another. Ephorus saith that he died of hunger in banishment.
Of some who have been harmed by Laws, which they themselves made.
Lycurgus the Oratour made a Law, that Women should not goe in Chariots at the festival solemnities call'd the Mysteries, and that she who did so should be fined at his pleasure. The first that transgressed this Law was his own Wife, who being convicted, payed the fine.
Pericles also made a Law, that none should be a free Athenian, but he whose Parents were both Athenians. Afterwards Pericles, losing his legitimate Children, had onely one natural Son left him. It is manifest that he designed one thing, and that the contrary befell him.25
Clisthenes the Athenian first brought in [the] way of banishment by Ostracism, and first felt the punishment of it.
Zaleucus, the Law-giver of the Locrians ordained, that whosoever was taken in Adultery should lose both his eyes. It fell out contrary to his expectation, for his Son being surprized in Adultery, was to suffer the punishment decreed by his Father. Hereupon, lest what was confirmed by general Votes should be violated, he suffered one of his own eyes to be put out, and one of his Sons, that the young man might not be quite blind.26
Of Pindar in a contest worsted by Corinna.
Pindar the Poet contending at Thebes, lighting upon ignorant Auditors, was worsted by Corinna five times. * * *27
How Diogenes in extreme indigence comforted himself.
Diogenes the Sinopean was left alone deserted by all men, not being able by reason of his indigence to entertain any man, nor would any one entertain him, all avoiding him because of his sower way of reprehension, and because he was morose in all his actions and sayings. Hereupon he became troubled, and did feed on the tops of leaves ; for this food was ready for him. But a Mouse coming thither, fed upon some crums of Bread which she found scattered there ; which Diogenes diligently observing, smiled, and becoming more chearful and pleasant to himself said ; "This Mouse requires not the plentiful diet of the Athenians, and art thou Diogenes troubled that thou dost not feast with them?" By this means he acquired tranquillity to himself.
It is reported that Socrates was very temperate and continent, insomuch that when the Athenians part died, the rest were sick almost to death, Socrates alone escaped the disease. Now he whose body was so well tempered, what an excellent soul must he have!
Of the Servant of Diogenes torn in pieces by Dogs.
When Diogenes left his Country, one of his Servants followed him ; who not brooking his conversation run away. Some persuading Diogenes to make enquiry after him, he said, "Is it not a shame that Manes should not need Diogenes, and that Diogenes should need Manes?" But this Servant wandring to Delphos, was torn in pieces by Dogs, paying to his Masters name [Cynick] the punishment of his running away.
Plato said, That Hope is the Dream of men that are awake.
Of Olympias grieving for Alexander's death, and want of burial.
Olympias, Mother of Alexander, understanding that her Son lay long unburied,, grieving and lamenting exceedingly, said, "O Son, thou wouldest have had a share in Heaven, and didst endeavour it eagerly ; now thou canst not enjoy that which is equally common to all men, earth and burial." Thus she, bewailing her own misfortune, and reproving the pride of her Son.
That Xenocrates was Compaßionate.
Xenocrates the Chalcedonian was not onely kind to men, but often to irrational creatures also. On a time a Sparrow, pursued by a Hawk, flew to his bosome, he took it, much pleased, and hid it till the Enemy was out of sight ; and when he thought it was out of fear and danger, opening his bosome, he let it goe, saying, that he had not betrayed a suppliant.
How Socrates refelled the boasting of a Curtizan.
Xenophon relates that Socrates disputed with Theodota a Curtizan, a Woman of extraordinary beauty. He also argued with Calisto, who said, "I (ô Son of Sophronicus) excel you, for you cannot draw away any of my followers, but I can whensoever I please draw away all yours." He answered, "Very likely, for you draw them down a precipice, but i drive them to vertue, which is a steep and difficult ascent."
Of the fortune of Rhodopis a Curtizan.
The Egyptians relations affirm that Rhodopis was a most beautiful Curtizan ; and that on a time as she was bathing her self, Fortune, who loveth to doe extravagant and unexpected things, gave her a reward : sutable, not to her mind, but her beauty. For whilest she was washing, and her Maids look'd to her clothes, an Eagle stooping down, snatched up one of her Shoes, and carried it away to Memphis, where Psammetichus was sitting in Judgement, and let the Shoe fall into his lap. Psammetichus wondring at the shape of the Shoe, and neatness of the work, and the action of the Bird, sent throughout Ægypt to find out the Woman to whom the shoe belonged ; and having found her out, married her.28
Dionysius having given order that Leon should be put to death, did three times bid the Officers carry him away, and three times changed his mind. Every time that he sent for him back he kissed him, weeping, and execrating himself for that when he took the Sword to put him to death, he was overcome with fear.29 At last he commanded him to be slain, saying, "Leon, you must not live."
What natural remedies the Hart, being not well, useth.
Naturalists affirm that the Hart, when he would purge himself, eateth the Herb Seselis : and being bitten by Phalangies he eats Crabs.30
Of the death of Eurydice, Daughter of Philip.
Olympias to Eurydice, Daughter of Philip by an Illyrian Wife, sent Hemlock, a Rope and a Sword ; but she made choice of the Rope.31
Of Gelo, and those who conspired against him.
Gelo Tyrant of the Syracusians, behaved himself in the Government very mildly, yet some seditious persons conspired against him, which Gelo understanding, convocated all the Syracusians, and coming amongst them armed, declared what good things he had done for them, and revealed the Conspiracy. Then putting off his Armour, he said to them all, "Behold me now in my Coat, I stand unarmed before you, and give my self up to be disposed as you will." The Syracusians admiring his Courage, delivered the Conspirators into his hands, and gave the Regal power again to him. But Gelo remitted them to the people to be punished. Hereupon the Syracusians erected his Statue in a Coat ungirt, [unarmed] in memory of his Oration to the people, and for the instruction of those should reign after him.32
Alcibiades admired Homer exceedingly. On a time coming to a School of Boyes, he asked for the Rhapsody of the Iliads. The Schoolmaster answering, that he had nothing of Homer, he gave him a sound boxe on the ear, and went away, shewing that he was ignorant himself, and made his Scholars such.
The same person being sent for by the Athenians out of Sicily to answer a capital inditement,33 refused to appear, saying, "It is a foolish thing for a man that is accused, if he can escape, to goe to a place whence he cannot escape." One saying to him, "Will you not trust your cause to your own Country?" "No, saith he, not to my own Master34 ; for I should fear lest through ignorance or mistake of the truth, he should cast in a black stone instead of a white." Hearing then that he was sentenced to death by the Citizens, "But we will shew, said he, that we are alive" : and going speedily to the Lacedemonians, he set on foot the Decelian War against the Athenians.35
He said, that it was nothing strange the Lacedemonians died fearless in War ; for so they escaped the severity of their Laws, and chearfully exchanged labours for death.
He used to say of his own actions, that he led the life of the Dioscuri, dying one day and reviving the next : for whilest he was favoured of the people, he was thought equal to the Gods, but losing their favour, he differed nothing from the dead.
Ephialtes, a certain Commander reproching him for Poverty, said, "Why doe you not adde the other thing, That I am Just."36
A golden Persian Chain lying by chance on the ground, Themistocles standing by, said to a servant, "Boy, why dost thou not take up this Foundling," pointing to the Chain ; "for thou art not Themistocles."
The Athenians having on a time dishonoured him, afterwards invited him to the Generalship. But he said, "I commend not those men who make use of the same Vessel for the meanest, & for the best Offices."
To Eurybiades he had said something unpleasing, who thereupon held up his staff. But he, strike so you hear ; for he knew what he was about to say was advantageous for the Commonwealth.
They who are to die with Phocion making lamentation ; Phocion said, "Then you are not proud, ô Thudippus, of dying with Phocion."37
Epaminondas returning from Lacedemonia, was arraigned for a capital offence, for having continued the office of Bœoatarch four Months longer then the Law allowed. He bad his partners38 lay the blame on him, as if they had been compelled thereto against their wills. Then coming into the Court, he said that he had not any arguments better then his actions, which if they approved not, he required that they would put him to death. But withall, that they should write upon a Pillar, that Epaminondas had forced the Thebans against their wills to lay Laconia wast, what had continued five hundred years unviolated by Enemies. And to restore Messenia, which had been three hundred and thirty years possessed by the Spartans. And that he had made the Arcadians their Allies, and restored to the Greeks their liberty. The Judges reverencing him for these things, acquitted him. At his going out of the Court, a little Melitean Dogge39 fawned upon him ; whereupon he said to the standers-by, "This thanks me gratefully for the good I have done it, but the Thebans, to whom I have often done good, arraigned me for my life."
Timotheus General of the Athenians, is reported to have been very successful ; he said that Fortune was the cause of all these, but Timotheus of none. Hereupon the Painters, abusing him, drew him sleeping in a Tent, and over his head stood Fortune drawing Cities into a Net.
Themistocles being asked, with what in his whole life he was most pleased, answered, "To see the whole Theatre at the Olympick Games turn their eyes upon me as I pass'd into the Stadium."40
Of the emulation betwixt Themistocles and Aristides.
Themistocles, and Aristides Son of Lysimachus, had the same Governours, they were also brought up together, and taught by one Master, but whilest yet Boyes, they were alwaies at variance ; and this emulation continued from their childhood, to extreme old age.41
Of the Cruelty of Dionysius.
Dionysius [the Younger] put his Mother to death by Poison. His Brother Leptines, whom in a Sea-fight he might have saved, he suffered to be slain.42
Of the Gratitude of a Dragon.
Patræ is a City in Achaia. A Boy there had bought a young Dragon,43 and brought it up with care, and when it was grown bigger, used to talk to it as to one that understood him, and played, and slept with it. At last the Dragon growing to an extraordinary bigness, the Citizens turned it loose into the Wilderness. Afterwards the Boy being grown to a youth, returning from some Show with other youths his Companions, fell among Theeves, and crying out, behold, the Dragon came and slew them ; which stung some, slew others, but preserved him.
Stanley's notes are marked by glyphs (e.g., *); other notes are numbered.
1. There were two Atalantas, this, the less famous Arcadian, and the Boeotian Atalanta of the three golden apples, daugther of Schoenus. Some suggest the two are the same, but it seems that, though the ancients did sometimes confuse the two, they were usually careful to separate them; hence the "Arcadian" and "Daughter of Iasion".
2. Homer, Odyssey V.55 ff.
3. This is not quite correct; in the thick meadow, thick grass (perhaps Stanley is thinking of a clearing in a grove). Aside from the fact that crocuses and hyacinths won't normally grow in a thick grove, that isn't what Aelian writes.
4. θάλαμος, among other similar meanings, an inner chamber of a house, used by the women of the house; the term sometimes means the bedroom of the lady of the house. We might write that she was not brought up in the boudoir [or maybe kitchen], nor raised by mothers and nurses.
5. Like Jane Austen's Charles Adams, of a beauty so dazzling that "none but Eagles could look him in the face" -- Jack & Alice.
6. Homer, Iliad IV, 162, "and with a heavy price do men make atonement, even with their own heads and their wives and their children."
7. This story, where injustice is tempered only by complete improbability, sounds like a parody of one of the bloodier plays of Shakespeare.
8. The accounts of Xerxes' death vary. Some say that he was killed by his son-in-law; others by his son; others yet by one of his generals, who managed to cast the blame on Xerxes' eldest son Darius.
9. At the time, Euripides would have been in his late 70's, if it was after he moved to Pella from Athens. Compare Book II, chap. 21.
10. Stanley does not give the entire chapter, marking this by "**". "They say that Laius, when he stole away Chrysippus, son of Pelops, was the first to introduce the practice of loving noble boys. [It's not clear whether this means that before this men used only slaves or whether this means that he is the first pederast; from what follows, probably the latter. Anyway...] Since Laius, the Thebans consider this taste one of the finest things in life." After Chrysippus's suicide, Pelops cursed Laios and the royal house of Thebes. That the curse was a notable success is an understatement.
11. Philip's "hosts" were Epaminondas and Pelopidas. Alexander destroyed Thebes in 335 B.C.
12. Read 6,000 slain and 30,000 captive. I do not know if this is a mistake of Stanley's or a reading of the texts of his day.
13. This is clearly related to the previous chapter and some translators combine the two. But it isn't uncommon in the Varia Historia for two adjacent stories to be related.
14. Aristæneta is the reading of old editions of Aelian (which have Ἀρισταινέτην), but Dio's sister's name was Aristomache. See also Book XII, Chap. 47 for another set of apparent mistakes.
15. Rather, the text has enslavement of the Persians, though it is easier to see how Isocrates' speech might prompt Philip to conquer Persia than to see how it might convince him to enslave Persians.
16. According to pseudo-Plutarch, Lives of Ten Orators, Isocrates, this panegyric took Isocrates 10 (or some say 15) years to write.
17. By placing Ulysses's son Telemachus in harm's way; Hyginus, Fab. 95.
18. Or Necyomantia, Ulysses's descent into the underworld in Book XI.
19. See Book VIII, Chap. 2.
20. That is, he looked for a ladder in an olive-oil cruet.
21. It would be closer to the spirit to say the war that the Illyrians, under their queen Teuta, waged against the Apollonians and others along the Adriatic coast. According to Polybius, Book II, her raids and piracies inspired such terror that Apollonia placed itself under Roman protection. In the end the Romans defeated Teuta.
22. Epidamnos (modern Durros) is on the Adriatic coast about 30 miles from Apollonia.
23. Some editions of Aelian, following the suggestion of Perisonius and many other editors and commentators, remove the phrase concerning the wasps from this expression, leaving only "he trembles like a cock". The circumstances would seem to indicate that the phrase should be in there, but the saying as commonly recorded does not have it. In any case, Phrynichus staged his play about Miletus only a couple of years after its destruction by the Persians; the outraged Athenians chased him from the stage and fined and publicly censured him. See Herodotus VI.xxi.2.
24. The skin of the Phrygian Marsyas, flayed alive by Apollo after losing a musical contest to the god. The tears of his brothers and sisters formed the river Marsyas.
25. This story was also told in Book VI Chap. 10.
26. This improbable result defeats both the spirit and letter of the law: why not instead get rid of it openly and outright? For another of Zaleucus's "excellent laws", see also Book II, Chap. 37. For another such story from antiquity, see Columella, R.R. I.3.11 on Gaius Licinius.
27. Stanley has left out the end of the chapter: "And for this Pindar called her the Bœotian sow"; there is an implication that she traded favors for applause.
28. This cannot be the same Rhodopis of whom Herodotus tells stories in Book II Chap. 134-136, who would have lived about half a century later. Possibly there were two or more courtesans named Rhodopis, Ælian has the wrong king, or Psammetichus here is not the pharaoh but another Psammetichus, or the story is pure fable, or some combination of these things.
29. This translation follows the received text of Aelian in Stanley's day; but it is possible that it should read "cursing himself for ever having given Leon his sword". "Leon" is not elsewhere recorded in history, but he may be the unnamed young man of Cicero's Tusculan Disputations V XX.60 (why not?)
30. Seselis: probably one of the hartworts, though its exact identification is not easy. [Interestingly, the Oxford dictionary gives the etymology of hartwort as coming from "heartwort"; but given this chapter of Ælian, perhaps "hartwort" is right after all.] Crabs: the animal, not the plant. How the hart comes by the crabs is another mystery.
31. The story of Eurydice is confusing. According to one likely version, she was the grand-daughter, not the daughter, of Philip; her mother was Alexander's half-sister sister Cynna or Cynane. She and her husband came to, or seized, the throne of Macedonia after Alexander's death, but her troops defected to Olympias (or she just lost) and was imprisoned, then the rest of the story. Unfortunately, there is another Eurydice, one of Philip's many wives, of whom it is also said that Olympias forced her to hang herself. It seems a bit much of a bad thing to have two of these.
32. The same story is found in Book VI, Chap. 11.
33. The charge was of violating the Eleusynian mysteries by celebrating them in his own house. The real fear was that he had used religious ceremonies as a cloak for some kind of conspiracy.
34. This is a mistranslation of a hard-to-translate joke. "Not to my Mother". Underneath there is an understanding that "mother" may be understood as "motherland". "Would you not trust to your fatherland? No, not to my motherland...".
35. We have run into the Decelia of the Decelian wars in Book II, Chapter 5.
36. The career and character of Ephialtes is touched on in Book XI, Chap. 9, Book II, Chap. 43, and Book III, Chap. 1.
37. See Book III, Chap. 47 and note.
38. There were seven Boeotarchs.
39. A small lap-dog from the island of Melita.
40. See Plutarch's Themistocles.
41. Emulation here has its obsolete meaning of "ambitious rivalry" (and perhaps also its (equally obsolete) meaning of "disdain"). One translator notes that Themistocles died in exile far from Athens, so that, he says, the rivalry could not have extended into old age. Those subject to the sins here described are aware that distance is no barrier to their operation.
42. Diodorus Siculus (Book XV) says that Leptines died at war with the Carthaginians, probably on land, at an unidentified place called "Cronium". One comentator notes that there is no proof that Dionysius killed his mother; we may, since we are in a Jane Austen mood in this chapter, add that there is no proof that he didn't kill his mother.
43. Dragon, δράκων, a serpent. Or dragon.
This page is by James Eason.