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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae


published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. II) Athenaeus

Book V
(Part 2 of 5)

 p377  (193C) What, then, dear friends, shall we call the symposium
which was given​1 by Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes ("Illustrious"), but because of his acts renamed Epimanes ("Insane")?​2 He was king of Syria, and one of the Seleucidae. Concerning him Polybius says​3 this: "He would sometimes slip out of the palace without the knowledge of his attendants, and would appear wandering about in some quarter of the city with one or two companions; usually he was found near the shops of the silversmiths and goldsmiths talking glibly, and airing his views on art before the workmen engaged in making reliefs as well as before other artisans. Then he would condescend to men of the common people and converse with anybody, no matter whom, and he used to drink with travellers of the meanest sort who came to town. EWhenever he learned that any young men were feasting together, he would appear without any announcement to join in the revel with hornpipe and symphony;​4 the result was that most of the party got up and fled at the unexpected apparition. And often he would lay aside his royal robes, and putting on a toga he would walk up and down the market-place​5 as though he were canvassing for votes; with some he shook  p379 hands, while others he embraced and invited to cast their vote for him, sometimes for the office of aedile, sometimes for that of tribune of the people. FAnd having won the office, he would seat himself on the ivory​6 chair, according to the Roman custom; he would hear quotes involving contracts in the market, and would give decisions with great earnestness and zeal. As a result he would reduce decent men to perplexity; for some supposed that he was just an artless person, while others thought him mad. And he was like that also in giving presents; 194 for to some he would give dice made from gazelles' bones, to others dates, to others again money in gold. On occasion, also, meeting persons whom he had never seen, he would give them unexpected presents. In benefactions to cities and in honours paid to the gods he outdid all who had ever been kings before him. One might draw this conclusion merely from the Olympieium at Athens and the statues round the altar in Delos. He used also to bathe in the public baths Bwhen the baths were crowded with common people, having jars of the most costly scented oils brought in for his use. On one occasion a man said to him, "Happy are you kings, who can use these perfumes and smell so sweet!" Without answering the fellow he came in next day where the man was bathing, and caused a very large jar of most costly scented oil, the kind which is called stacta,​7 to be poured over the man's head; the result was that all, after standing up, rolled about  p381 bathed in the oil, and roused laughter by sprawling on the slippery floor, Cas even the king himself did."

This same king,​8 hearing about the games instituted in Macedonia by Aemilius Paulus, the Roman general, and wishing to outdo Paulus in magnificence, dispatched envoys and delegates​9 to the city to proclaim the games which were to be given by him near Daphne; hence great interest arose on the part of the Greeks in meeting him. As a beginning to the meeting he got up a parade which was carried out in the following manner. DIt was led by certain men in the prime of their youth, five thousand in number, who wore Roman armour of chain-mail; after them came five thousand Mysians; close to these were three thousand Cilicians equipped in the fashion of light-armed troops, and wearing gold crowns. After these came three thousand Thracians and five thousand Celts. These were followed by twenty thousand Macedonians, ten thousand of them with gold shields, five thousand with bronze shields, and the rest with silver shields; close upon these came two hundred and forty pairs of gladiators. EBehind them were one thousand Nisaean horsemen and three thousand citizen soldiers, of whom the majority wore gold cheek-coverings and gold crowns, the rest had cheek-coverings of silver. After them came the so‑called "mounted companions"; there were about a thousand of these, all with gold cheek-pieces. Next to these was the division made up of his friends, equal in numbers and  p383 in beauty of equipment. After them were a thousand picked men, followed by the so‑called Agema ("Guard"),​10 which has the reputation of being the best organization of horsemen, numbering about a thousand. FLast of all was the armoured cavalry, both horses and men being completely covered with armour in accordance with their name. And all these mentioned wore purple cloaks, many also cloaks woven with gold and embroidered with figures. After them were a hundred chariots drawn by six horses, and forty drawn by four horses; next a chariot drawn by four elephants, and another by a pair of elephants; 195and in single file followed thirty-six caparisoned elephants.

It would be difficult to pursue the description of the rest of the procession, and it must be described summarily. Young men who had just come of age, to the number of eight hundred, and wearing gold crowns, marched in the line; fatted oxen, about one thousand; sacrificial tables,​11 little short of three hundred; elephants' tusks, eight hundred. It is not possible to enumerate the quantity of sacred images; for statues of all beings who are said or held to be gods, demigods or even heroes among mankind were borne along, some gilded, others draped in garments of gold thread. And beside all of them lay the sacred myths pertaining to each, according to the traditional accounts, in sumptuous editions. BThey were followed by representations of Night and Day, Earth and Heaven, and Dawn and Noon. One might guess how great was the number of gold and silver vessels in the following  p385 way: of only one of the king's friends, the secretary Dionysius, one thousand slaves marched in the procession carrying silver vessels, none of which weighed less than a thousand drachms.​12 Then came six hundred royal slaves with gold vessels. After them nearly two hundred women sprinkled scented oil from gold pitchers. CClose upon these in the procession were eighty women seated in litters having gold supports, and five hundred in litters with silver supports, all richly dressed. These were the most conspicuous features of the parade. The games, gladiatorial contests, and hunts took thirty days to conclude; during the first five days in which spectacles were carried out, all persons in the gymnasium anointed themselves with saffron oil from golden basins; Dthese numbered fifteen, and there was an equal number of bowls with oil of cinnamon and nard. Similarly there were brought in, on the succeeding days, oil of fenugreek, marjoram, and orris, all of them rare in their fragrance. For a banquet on one occasion there were spread a thousand triclinia, on another fifteen hundred, with the most extravagant deckings. The management of these matters was undertaken by the king himself. Riding on a poor horse, he ran up and down the procession, commanding one division to advance, another to halt. EAt the symposia he stood at the entrance introducing some, assigning couches to others, and he himself brought in the servants who carried in the dishes served. And going round he would seat himself in one place, or throw himself down in another.  p387 At one moment he would throw aside a morsel or a cup just as he had put them to his lips, and jumping up suddenly, he would change his place or walk round among the drinkers, receiving toasts standing sometimes by one, sometimes by another, at the same time laughing at the entertainments. FWhen the party had been going on a long time and many had already withdrawn, the king was brought in by the mime-performers entirely wrapped up, and deposited on the ground as though he were one of the performers. When the symphony​13 sounded the challenge, he would leap up and dance naked and act with the clowns, so that every one departed in shame. All these celebrations were paid for partly from funds which he had appropriated in Egypt when he broke his treaty with King Ptolemy Philometor, who was then a lad, and partly from contributions by his friends. He had also plundered most of the temples.

The guests​14 expressed their wonder at the state of the king's mind, judging that he was not illustrious, 196but really insane,​15 . . . Masurius then added an account of the procession which was arranged in Alexandria by the most excellent king Ptolemy Philadelphus; this is recorded by Callixeinus of Rhodes in the fourth book of his work on Alexandria. He says:​16 "Before I begin I will describe the pavilion which was set up inside the enclosure of the citadel, at a distance from the place where the soldiers, artisans, and tourists were entertained.  p389 For it proved to be extraordinarily beautiful and well worth hearing about. BAs for its size, it could hold one hundred and thirty couches in a circle, and its decoration was as follows. Wooden columns were set up at regular intervals, five on each long side, rising fifty cubits in height, but four on each of the other sides;​17 upon these was fitted a square epistyle which held up the entire roof sheltering the symposium. This roof was draped with a circular canopy in scarlet edged with white, covering the middle of it; while on either side it had beams concealed by tapestries with white stripes draped voluminously​18 about them; Cbetween the beams were painted panels set in order. Of the columns four​19 were shaped like palm-trees, but those which stood in the middle had the appearance of Bacchic wands. Outside the columns, on three sides, was a portico with a peristyle, having a vaulted roof, and here the retires of the guests could stand. Inside, the pavilion was surrounded with Phoenician​20 curtains, except that the spaces between columns were hung with the pelts of animals, Dextraordinary in variety and in size. The outer side of the enclosing curtains, exposed to the air, was roofed with branches of myrtle and laurel and other boughs that were suitable. The floor was entirely strewn with all sorts of flowers. For Egypt, both because of the temperate quality of its atmosphere, and also because its gardeners can grow plants which are either rare or found only at a regular season in other regions, produces flowers in abundance and throughout the whole year,  p391 and it is not easy, as a rule, for the rose or the wall-flower of any other flower to fail entirely. Therefore, since the entertainment which was given at that time took place in the middle of winter, the scene which presented itself to the eyes of the guests passed belief. EFor flowers which, in any other city, could have been found only with difficulty to make up a single wreath, were lavished without stint in a wealth of wreaths upon the multitude of reclining guests, and, moreover, lay scattered profusely on the floor of the pavilion, truly presenting the picture of an extraordinary beautiful meadow. At the columns​21 which supported the pavilion were placed marble figures, a hundred in all, the work of the foremost artists. In the intercolumniations were paintings by artists of the Sicyonian school,​22 alternating with a great variety of selected portraits; also there were tunics of cloth of gold and most beautiful military cloaks, Fsome having portraits of the kings woven in them, others depicting subjects taken from mythology. Above these oblong shields were hung all round, alternately of silver and of gold. And in the spaces above these again, each measuring eight cubits, recesses were constructed, six on each of the longer sides of the pavilion, and four on the narrower sides;​23 and in these recesses were representations of drinking-parties arranged to face one another, composed of figures taken from tragedy, comedy, and satyric drama, 197wearing real clothing, and beside them lay cups of gold. In the spaces between the recesses were left niches,24  p393 in which were set up Delphic tripods of gold, with supports beneath.​25 Along the topmost space in the ceiling gold eagles faced each other, fifteen cubits in length. On the two sides​26 were set a hundred gold couches with feet shaped like Sphinxes; for the apse facing the entrance was left open. BOn the couches were spread purple rugs made of wool of the first quality, with pile on both sides; and over them were counterpanes embroidered with exquisite art. Smooth​27 Persian carpets covered the space in the middle trodden by the feet, having beautiful designs of figures woven in them with minute skill. Beside the guests, as they reclined, were set three-legged tables of gold, two hundred in number, making two to each couch; they were setting silver rests. Behind them, ready for the hand-washing, were a hundred silver basins and the same number of pitchers. CIn full sight of the company was built another couch also for the display of the goblets and cups and all the rest of the utensils appropriate to use on the occasion; all of these were of gold and studded with gems, wonderful in their work. Now it clearly appeared to me that it would be tedious to explain the materials and styles of all these vessels; but the weight of them all, taken together in a single mass, was about ten thousand silver talents.28

Since we have described the pavilion and its contents, we will now give an account of the procession. It was held in the city​29 stadium. At  p395 the head marched the 'division of the Morning Star'​30 because the procession began at the time that star appears. DThen came that part of the procession which was named from the parents of the king and queen.​31 After these came the divisions made from all the gods, having decorative symbols appropriate to the strict of each divinity. The last division, as it happened, was that of the Evening Star, since the season of the year brought the time consumed by the procession down to that point.​32 If anyone wishes to learn the details, let him take and study the records of the quadrennial games. EIn the Dionysiac procession, there marched at the head Sileni who kept back the crowds; they were dressed in purple riding-cloaks, some in red. These were closely followed by Satyrs, twenty at each end of the stadium, carrying torches ornamented with gilt ivy-leaves.​33 After these came Victories with gold wings. These carried censers nine feet high, ornamented with gilt ivy-sprays; the women had on embroidered tunics, and their persons were covered with much gold jewelry. FAfter them followed a double altar nine feet long, ornamented in high relief with gilt ivy-foliage, and having a gold crown of grape-leaves twined with striped white ribbons. Following this came one hundred and twenty boys in purple tunics, carrying frankincense and myrrh, and, moreover, saffron upon gold trenchers. After them marched forty Satyrs crowned with gold  p397 crowns in ivy pattern; their bodies were smeared in some cases with purple, in others with vermilion and other colours. 198 These also wore a gold crown wrought in grape and ivy patterns. After them came two Sileni in purple riding-cloaks and white shoes. One of them wore a broad-brimmed hat and held a herald's staff of gold, the other carried a trumpet. Between these walked a man over six feet tall, in tragic costume and mask, carrying a horn of plenty; he was called 'The Year.' He was followed by a very beautiful woman as tall as he, Bdressed in a striking tunic and adorned with much gold, and carrying in one hand a crown of Persea,​34 in the other a palm-branch; she was called 'Lustrum.'​35 She was closely followed by the four Seasons gaily dressed and each carrying the fruits appropriate to her. Next these were two censers, nine feet tall, ornamented with ivy pattern in gold; also a square altar between them, of gold. Again came Satyrs wearing gold ivy-crowns and clad in red tunics; some carried a gold wine-pitcher, others a gold goblet. After them marched the poet Philiscus, who was a priest of Dionysus, Cand all the guild of the artists of Dionysus.​36 Next were borne Delphic tripods, being prizes for the managers of the athletes; the one intended for the manager of the boys' class was thirteen and a half feet high, the other, for the manager of the adults' class, was eighteen feet.  p399 After these came a four-wheeled cart, twenty-one feet long and twelve feet wide, drawn by one hundred and eighty men; in this stood a statue of Dionysus, fifteen feet tall, pouring a libation from a gold goblet, and wearing a purple tunic extending to the feet, over which was a transparent saffron coat; but round his shoulders was thrown a purple mantle spangled with gold. DIn front of him lay a gold Laconian mixing-bowl holding one hundred and fifty gallons;​37 also a gold tripod, on which lay a gold censer and two saucers full of cassia and saffron. Over him stretched a canopy decorated with ivy, grape-vine, and the other cultivated fruits, and hanging to it also were wreaths, ribbons, Bacchic wands, tambourines, fillets, and satyric, comic, and tragic masks. EThe cart (was followed) by priests and priestesses and those who had charge of the sacred vestments,​38 sacred guilds​39 of every description, and women carrying the winnowing-fans.​40 Next came Macedonian bacchants, the so‑called 'Mimallones,' and 'Bassarae' and 'Lydian women,'​41 with hair streaming down and crowned with wreaths, some of snakes, others of smilax and vine-leaves and ivy; in their class some held daggers, others snakes. FAfter these women came a four-wheeled cart twelve feet wide and drawn by sixty men, in which was seated an image of Nysa, twelve feet high; she had on a yellow tunic with gold spangles, and was  p401 wrapped in a Laconian shawl. Moreover, this image could rise up automatically without anyone putting his hands to it, and after pouring a libation of milk from a gold saucer it would sit down again. It held in the left hand a Bacchic wand bound with fillets. Moreover, Nysa wore a crown of gold ivy-leaf and very rich grape-clusters of jewels. She also had a canopy, and at the corners of the cart were fastened four torches with gold bands 199Next there followed another four-wheeler, thirty​42 feet long, twenty-four feet wide, drawn by three hundred men; in this was set up a wine-press thirty-six feet long, twenty-two and a half feet wide, full of grapes. And sixty Satyrs trod them while they sang a vintage song to the accompaniment of pipes, and a Silenus superintended them. The new wine streamed through the whole line of march. Next came a four-wheeled cart thirty-seven and a half feet long, twenty-one feet wide, and drawn by six hundred men; in it was a wine skin holding thirty thousand gallons, stitched together from leopard pelts; Bthis also trickled over the whole line of march as the wine was slowly let out. Following the skin came a hundred and twenty crowned Satyrs and Sileni, some carrying wine-pitchers, others shallow cups, still others large deep cups — everything of gold. Immediately next to them passed a silver mixing-bowl holding six thousand gallons, in a cart drawn by six hundred men. It bore, beneath the brim and handles and under the base, figures of beaten metal, Cand round the middle ran a gold band, like a wreath, studded  p403 with jewels. Next were carried two silver stands for drinking-cups, eighteen feet long and nine feet in height; these had end-ornaments on top, and on the swelling sides all round as well as on the legs were carved figures, many in number, two and three feet high. And there were ten large basins and sixteen mixing-bowls, the larger of which held three hundred gallons, while the smallest held fifty. Then there were twenty-four cauldrons ornamented with an acorn boss, on which were twenty-four jars, Da table of solid silver eighteen feet long, and thirty more tables nine feet long. Added to these were four tripods, one of which had a circumference of twenty-four feet, plated throughout with silver, while the other three, which were smaller, were studded with jewels in the centre. After these were borne along Delphic tripods of silver, eighty in number, but smaller than those just mentioned; at their corners (were figures in beaten metal),​43a and the tripods had a capacity of forty gallons. There were twenty-six water-jars, sixteen Panathenaic amphoras, one hundred and sixty wine-coolers; Eof these the largest contained sixty gallons, the smallest twenty. All these vessels were of silver.

"Next to these in the procession came those who carried the gold utensils, four Laconian mixing-bowls with bands of vine-leaves . . .​43b others with a capacity of forty gallons; and two of Corinthian workman­ship, on stands; these had on the brim  p405 seated figures in beaten metal, very striking; and on the neck and round the bowl were figures in relief, carefully fashioned; the capacity of each was eighty gallons. There was also a press containing Ften wine-jars, two basins, each holding fifty gallons, two drinking-cups holding twenty gallons, twenty-two wine-coolers; of these the largest held three hundred gallons, the smallest ten. Four large gold tripods were carried in the procession; and there was a gold chest for gold vessels, studded with jewels and having a height of fifteen feet, with six shelves, on which stood a great number of figures carefully fashioned, four spans high; there were also two stands for cups, and two glass vessels studded with jewels; two gold stands six feet high, 200 beside three smaller ones, ten water-jars, an altar four and a half feet high, and twenty-five bread-plates. After all this there marched one thousand six hundred boys who had on white tunics and wore crowns, some of ivy, others of pine; two hundred and fifty of them carried gold pitchers, four hundred, silver pitchers; while another band of three hundred and twenty bore gold or silver wine-coolers. After them other boys carried jars intended to be used for sweetmeats; twenty of these were of gold, fifty of silver, and three hundred were adorned with encaustic paintings in all sorts of colours. BAnd since the mixtures had already been made in the water-jars and casks, all persons in the stadium were duly showered with sweetness."

Next to these in his​44 catalogue were six-foot tables on which were borne remarkable scenes lavishly represented.45  p407 Among these was included the bridal chamber of Semele in which certain characters wear tunics of gold bejewelled with the costliest gems And it would not be right to omit the following mention of the four-wheeled cart, in length thirty-three feet, in width twenty-one, drawn by five hundred men; Cin it was a deep cavern profusely shaded with ivy and yew. From this pigeons, ring-doves, and turtle-doves flew forth along the whole route, with nooses tied to their feet so that they could be easily caught by the spectators. And from it also gushed forth two fountains, one of milk, the other of wine. And all the nymphs standing round him​46 wore crowns of gold, and Hermes had a staff of gold, and all in rich garments. In another cart, which contained 'the return of Dionysus from India,' Dthere was a Dionysus measuring eighteen feet who reclined upon an elephant's back, clad in a purple coat and wearing a gold crown, of ivy and vine pattern; he held in his hands a gold wand-lance, and his feet were shod with shoes fastened by gold straps. Seated in front of him on the elephants neck was a Satyr measuring seven and a half feet, crowned with a gold pine-wreath, his right hand holding a goat-horn of gold, as though he were signalling with it. The elephant had trappings of gold and round its neck an ivy-crown in gold. EThis cart was followed by five hundred young girls dressed in purple tunics with gold girdles. Those who were in the lead, numbering one hundred and twenty, wore gold pine-crowns; following them  p409 came one hundred and twenty Satyrs, some in gold, some in silver, and some in bronze panoply. After them marched five troops of asses on which were mounted Sileni and Satyrs wearing crowns. Some of the asses had frontlets​47 and harness of gold, others, of silver. FAfter them were sent forth twenty-four elephant chariots, sixty teams of he-goats, twelve of saiga antelopes,​48a seven of beisa antelopes, fifteen of leucoryse, eight teams of ostriches, seven of Père David deer, four of wild asses, and four four-horse chariots. on all of these were mounted little boys wearing the tunics and wide-brimmed hats of charioteers, and beside them stood little girls equipped with small crescent shields and wand-lances, dressed in robes and decked with gold coins.​48b The lads driving the chariots wore pine crowns, the girls wore ivy. Next after them came six teams of camels, three on either side. these were immediately followed by carts drawn by mules. 201 These contained barbaric tents, under which sat Indian and other women dressed as captives. Then came camels, some of which carried three hundred pounds of frankincense, three hundred of myrrh, and two hundred of saffron, cassia, cinnamon, orris, and all other spices. Next to these were negro tribute-bearers, some of whom brought six hundred tusks, others two thousand ebony logs, others sixty mixing-bowls full of gold and silver coins and gold dust.  p411 BAfter these, in the procession, marched two​49 hunters carrying gilded hunting-spears. Dogs were also led along, numbering two thousand four hundred, some Indian, the others Hyrcanian or Molossian or of other breeds. Next came one hundred and fifty men carrying trees on which were suspended all sorts of animals and birds. Then were brought, in cages, parrots, peacocks, guinea-fowls, and birds from the Phasis​50 and others from Aethiopia, in great quantities."

After he has spoken of very many other things, and enumerated many droves of animals he adds: "One hundred and thirty Aethiopian sheep, Cthree hundred Arabian, twenty Euboean; also twenty-six Indian zebus entirely white, eight Aethiopian, one large white​51 she-bear, fourteen leopards, sixteen genets, four caracals, three bear-cubs, one giraffe, one Aethiopian rhinoceros. Next in a four-wheeled cart was Dionysus at the altar of Rhea, having found refuge there while being pursued by Hera; he had on a gold crown, and Priapus stood at his side, with a gold ivy-crown. The statue of Hera had a gold diadem. DThen there were statues of Alexander and Ptolemy, crowned with ivy-crowns made of gold. The statue of Goodness which stood beside Ptolemy had a gold olive-crown. Priapus stood beside them also wearing an ivy-crown made of gold. The city of Corinth,​52 standing beside Ptolemy, was crowned with a gold band.  p413 Beside all these figures were placed a stand for cups, full of gold vessels, and a gold mixing-bowl of fifty gallons capacity. Following this cart Ewere women who wore very rich robes and ornaments; they bore the names of cities, some from Ionia, while all the rest were the Greek cities which occupied Asia and the islands and had been under the rule of the Persians; they all wore gold crowns. In other carts, also, were carried a Bacchic wand of gold, one hundred and thirty-five feet long, and a silver spear ninety feet long; in another was a gold phallus one hundred and eighty feet long, painted in various colours and bound with fillets of gold; it had at the extremity a gold star, the perimeter of which was nine feet."

Many and varied though the things are which have been mentioned​53 as belonging to these processions, yet I have selected for mention Fonly those things which contained gold and silver. For there were numerous articles worth mentioning, and quantities of wild beasts and horses, and twenty-four huge lions. "There were other carts besides, which carried images of kings and of gods as well, many of them. After them marched a choral band of six hundred men; among them three hundred harp-players performed together, carrying harps gilded all over, and wearing gold crowns. 202 After them two thousand steers, all of the same colour and with gilded horns, came by, having gold stars on their foreheads, wreaths between the horns, and necklaces and aegises on their breasts; all these were of gold. And after this came marching in the  p415 carnival a division in honour of Zeus and one of the other gods in great number, and following all one devoted to Alexander, whose effigy in gold was borne, Victory and Athena on either side, in a chariot drawn by live​54 elephants. In the procession also were many thrones constructed of ivory and gold; Bon one of these lay a gold diadem, on another a gilded horn, on still another a gold crown, and on another a horn of solid gold. upon the throne of Ptolemy Soter lay a crown made of ten thousand gold coins. In the procession also were three hundred and fifty gold censers, and gilded altars​55 wreathed with gold crowns; on one of these, four gold torches fifteen feet long were affixed. And two gilded braziers were also carried in the procession, of which one was eighteen feet in circumference and sixty in height, the other measured twenty-two and a half feet. CThere were also nine Delphic tripods of gold of six feet high, eight more of nine feet, another of forty-five feet; on this were figures in gold seven and a half feet high, and a vine-wreath of gold encircled it. There went by also seven gilded palm-trees twelve feet high and a gilded herald's staff sixty-seven and a half feet long, a gilded thunderbolt sixty feet long, also a gilded temple measuring sixty feet all round; there was a double horn in addition, twelve feet high. A very large number of gilded figures were in the procession, the most of which were eighteen feet high; Dand there were figures of wild beasts of extraordinary size and eagles thirty feet high.  p417 Three thousand two hundred gold crowns were shown in the procession, and there was another mystic​56 crown of gold one hundred and twenty feet in circumference, adorned with precious stones; this was hung round the portal of Berenice's shrine; there was similarly a gold aegis. And there were also very many gold diadems in the procession, carried by girls richly dressed; one diadem was three feet high, and it had a perimeter of twenty-four feet. There was paraded also a gold breastplate eighteen feet in length, Eand another of silver, twenty-seven feet, with two gold thunderbolts on it fifteen feet long, and an oak crown of gold studded with jewels. Twenty gold shields, sixty-four suits of armour in gold, two pairs of gold greaves four and a half feet long, twelve gold hods, saucer-shaped cups in very great number, thirty wine-pitchers, ten large ointment-holders, twelve water-jars, fifty bread-platters, various tables, five stands of gold vessels, Fa horn of solid gold forty-five feet long. And these articles of gold were exclusive of those carried by in the division of Dionysus. Further, there were four hundred cartloads of silver vessels, twenty of gold vessels, and eight hundred of spices. After all these marched the cavalry and infantry forces, all wonderfully armed cap-à‑pie. The infantry numbered 203 about 57,600, the cavalry 23,200. All of these marched dressed in the garments proper to each, and in their appropriate panoply. But beside the panoplies worn by all these troops, there were very many others stored in chests, of which it is not easy to set down even the number." Yet Callixeinus  p419 gave the list. "And in the games twenty persons were crowned with gold crowns; Ptolemy​57 was first, then Berenice, who were honoured with three portrait-statues in gold chariots, and with precincts at Dodona. The total expense, in currency,​58 amounted to Btwo thousand, two hundred and thirty-nine talents and fifty minas;​59 and all this sum was paid in to the managing officials before the exhibition was over, through the enthusiastic zeal of those who gave the crowns. And their son, Ptolemy Philadelphus, was awarded two gold portrait-statues, in gold chariots, mounted on columns, one of nine feet, five of seven and a half feet, and six of six feet."

What monarchy, fellow-banqueters, has ever been so rich in gold? Surely not any that appropriated the wealth of Persia or Babylon, Cor that had mines to work, or that owned the Pactolus river, washing down gold-dust. No; for it is only the Nile, the river truly called "gold-flowing," that with its boundless crops of food actually washes down unadulterated gold which is harvested with no risk, so that it can supply all men sufficiently;​60 being, like Triptolemus, sent forth into every land. For this reason the Byzantian poet by the name of Parmenon says​61 "Thou Nile, Egypt's Zeus!"  p421 Philadelphus surpassed many kings in wealth, and devoted himself with enthusiastic zeal to all his establishments, D so that he surpassed all others in the number of his ships as well. At any rate, the largest ships owned by him were: two with thirty banks​62 of oars, one with twenty, four with thirteen, two with twelve, fourteen with eleven, thirty with nine, thirty-seven with seven, five with six, and seventeen with five. But the number of ships with rowers ranging from four banks to one and a half was double the others. The ships dispatched to the islands and the other states over which he ruled, as well as to Libya, numbered more than four thousand. And concerning the number of books, the establishing of libraries, and the collection in the Hall of the Muses, why need I even speak, since they are in all men's memories?

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 See critical note.

2 Cf. 45C, 124E.

3 XXVI.10.

4 An unknown instrument; in Prudentius the word refers to the Egyptian sistrum, an instrument used in orgiastic worship, something like the triangle of a modern orchestra.

5 or "forum."

6 or "curule."

7 Oil that "trickles" (without pressing) from fresh myrrh or cinnamon; cf. 691D.

8 Polybius, XXXI.3. The citation extends to 195F.

9 The word jjj always refers to a mission sent to represent a state at a sacred festival.

10 jjj is an old military word meaning "division."

11 See critical note.

12 About 11½ pounds.

13 For the musical instrument thus named see 193E, note g.

14 At the dinner of Larensis.

15 Cf. 193D, note. See critical note.

16 F. H. G. III.58.

17 lit. "five on each side of longitude — but one less according to latitude."

18 lit. "tower-fashion."

19 Those at the corners.

20 or, "red."

21 jjj are terminal piers, Lat. antae.

22 There were three chief schools, Helladic, Asiatic, and Sicyonian, the last headed by Eupompus (Pliny, XXXV.10.36).

23 For jjj and jjj, "longitudinal" and "latitudinal," see 196B, note.

24 This meaning of jjj apparently occurs only here, but there is no reason, with Kaibel, to suspect it.

25 Of silver (jjj)? So Meineke.

26 Of the pavilion.

27 This word (jjj, "smooth,") is used as a substantive in late Greek, meaning "carpets."

28 Nearly three hundred tons.

29 Alexandria.

30 Venus.

31 Ptolemy Philadelphius married his sister Arsinoë (F. H. G. III.534, Athen. 621A). Their parents were Ptolemy Soter and Berenice.

32 i.e. it was the middle of winter, and the parade lasted from the morning to the evening star. The expression is clumsy, but not incorrect. See critical note.

33 See critical note.

34 An Egyptian plant (Mimusops Schimperi, Hort).

35jjj, here rendered 'lustrum,' was a period of four years, or a festival held once in that period.

36 The "artists of Dionysus" was a later name for actors.

37 Fifteen times the capacity of an Athenian amphora (jjj) or ordinary wine-jar. Though the Macedonian jjj was smaller, the figures here given are based on the Athenian, in order to avoid fractions.

38 See crit. note

39 See 186A, note a.

40 The mystica vannus Iacchi.

Thayer's Note: A picture is worth a thousand words — see the article Vannus in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities and its woodcut.

41 All names of female devotees of Dionysus.

42 See critical note.

43a 43b See critical note.

44 Callixeinus, 196A.

45 Probably like the "krippen" or "crèches" shown at Christmas on the Continent to‑day.

46 Probably the infant Dionysus.

47 Star-shaped ornaments on the forehead.

48a 48b See critical note.

49 See critical note.

50 i.e. "pheasants."

51 Polar bear, or albino Syrian bear.

52 Figures representing various Greek states are very common on reliefs.

53 By the authority quoted, Callixeinus; the pronoun in the next line refers to Athenaeus or his character Masurius, 196A, though Müller takes it of Callixeinus.

54 In contradistinction to the gold effigy!

55 See cr. note.

56 Or "myrtle"; see critical note.

57 Ptolemy Soter.

58 Or "in currency of our country" (Rhodes, Callixeinus being a Rhodian); see critical note.

59 About £720,000.

60 The meaning is that the fertilizing waters of the Nile are the cause of crops which equal gold in value. The only river that was called "gold-flowing" before the time of Athenaeus seems to have been the river of Damascus. Hence it is not to the point to quote Gregory Nazianzen, who lived in the century after Athenaeus (Or. XXI.1116 Migne): jjj. Athenaeus merely says that it should have been so called.

61 Frag. 3 Powell, cf. Athen. 221A, 563D.

62 The mechanical difficulties involved in assuming thirty or even three rowers seated or standing in a vertical line are obvious, and best discussed by Bauer, Griech. Kriegsaltertümer, 363 ff. The supposition that there were thirty men to an oar does not remove the difficulties, and is not supported by any ancient author. See C. Torr, Ancient Ships.

Page updated: 6 Apr 21k