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This webpage reproduces a Book of
The Histories


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

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
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(Vol. VI) Polybius
The Histories

 p233  Fragments of Book XXXII

I. Affairs of Italy

1 1 At this time arrived the envoys from Ariarathes, bringing the "crown" of ten thousand gold pieces, and informing the senate of the king's friendly mind towards Rome. 2 They appealed for this to the testimony of Tiberius, and when the latter confirmed what they said, the senate accepted the crown with many thanks and sent in return the most honourable gifts that they are used to bestow, the sceptre and the ivory chair. 4 These envoys were let go by the senate at once, before the beginning of winter, 5 and afterwards when the consuls had already entered on office, Attalus presented himself. When the Galatians sent by Prusias and several other envoys from Asia accused Attalus, 6 the senate, after giving them all a hearing, not only dismissed the charges, but sent Attalus back loaded with kindnesses. 7 For the greater their estrangement from Eumenes and their hostility to him, the more did they court the friendship of Attalus and strengthen his power.

 p235  Embassies from Demetrius

2 1 Envoys headed by Menochares also came from King Demetrius bringing the "crown" of ten thousand gold pieces dedicated to Rome, and with the assassin of Gnaeus Octavius in their custody. 2 The senate remained long in doubt as to how to deal with the matter, but nevertheless they received the crown and the envoys. 3 They did not, however, take over the men who were in custody. 4 And yet Demetrius had not only sent Leptines, the murderer of Gnaeus, but also Isocrates. 5 This man was one of those grammarians who declaim in public, and being by nature a chatterbox, a braggart, and a bore, had given offence in Greece also, where Alcaeus​1 had very cleverly taken him off and made fun of him in his Comparisons, and when he came to Syria and conceived a contempt for the inhabitants, he was not satisfied with holding forth on his own subjects, but gave vent to pronouncements on public affairs, saying that Gnaeus had met with his deserts, and that the other legates should have been killed also, so that not one should be left to report the matter to the Romans, and this would put a stop to their haughty orders and their unrestrained exercise of power. 8 It was by these incautious utterances that he got himself into trouble as I have stated.

3 1 What happened in regard to these two men is worth mentioning. 2 Leptines, after he had murdered Gnaeus, at once began to go about in Laodicea quite openly, saying that he had done rightly and with the  p237 favour of Heaven. 3 Upon the accession of Demetrius he approached the king and begged him to have no fear owing to the murder of Gnaeus, and to take no vigorous steps against the Laodiceans. 4 "For I, myself," he said, "will go to Rome and convince the senate that I did the deed by the will of the gods." 5 And finally, owing to his readiness and eagerness to go, he was brought to Rome unfettered and without a guard. 6 But Isocrates, as soon as he found himself accused, completely lost his wits, and after the collar with its chain had been put on his neck, seldom took any food and entirely left off taking any care of his person. 7 So that when he arrived in Rome he was a wonderful spectacle, and when one looked at him one could not but confess that there is nothing more terrible in body and soul than a man once he has become absolutely like a beast. 8 For both his aspect was strangely terrifying and beastlike, as for more than a year he had neither washed nor cut his nails and hair; 9 and the disorder of his mind, as was evident from the expression and rolling of his eyes, impressed one with such terror, that anyone who looked at him would have been readier to approach any beast than this man. 10 Leptines, however, maintaining his original attitude, was ready to appear before the senate, and confessed his crime quite simply to those who conversed with him, maintaining at the same time that the Romans would not deal severely with him. 11 And he proved to be quite right. For the senate, taking into consideration, as it seems to me, that the  p239 people would think that the murder was avenged, if those guilty of it were given up and punished, scarcely gave a reception to these envoys, but kept the grievance open so as to have the power to make use of the accusations when they wished. 13 The reply, therefore, that they gave to Demetrius was simply this, that he would meet with kindness from them, if his conduct during his reign was satisfactory to the senate.

14 There also came from Achaea an embassy consisting of Xenon and Telecles to plead in favour of the accused Achaeans and chiefly on behalf of Polybius and Stratius. 15 For most of the rest, at least those of any note, had already paid their debt to time. 16 The envoys came with orders simply to present a request to avoid anything like a dispute with the senate. 17 They appeared before the house and addressed it in suitable language, but even this had no result, the senate deciding on the contrary to leave matters as they were.

II. Affair of Greece

Aetolia after the Death of Lyciscus

4 1 Lyciscus the Aetolian was a turbulent and noisy man, and after he was slain, the Aetolians from this time forward lived in unison and concord, simply owing to the removal of this one man. 2 So great it seems is the power exercised by men's natures that not only armies and cities, but national groups and in fact all the different peoples which compose the  p241 whole world, experience the extremities sometimes of misfortune and sometimes of prosperity, owing to the good or bad character of a single man.

3 Lyciscus was a thoroughly bad man but he ended his life nobly, so that most people reasonably upbraid Fortune, in that she sometimes grants to the worst men that fine death which is the guerdon due to the good and brave.

Career of Charops in Epirus

5 1 The condition of Aetolia at once improved when their civil broils were extinguished after the death of Lyciscus, 2 and the state of affairs became much better also in Boeotia, when Mnasippus of Coronea had departed this life, and in Acarnania again the same took place when Chremas was removed. 3 We may almost say, in fact, that Greece underwent a sort of purgation by the deaths of these men who had been her curse. 4 For it happened that Charops of Epirus also ended his days at Brundisium during this year. 5 Epirus, however, remained still as in the preceding years in a very unsettled and disturbed state, all due to the cruelty and lawless violence exercised by Charops ever since the end of the war with Perseus. 6 For after the decision of Lucius Anicius and Lucius Aemilius to put some of the notables to death and transport to Rome all those who had incurred the least suspicion, 7 Charops, being now at liberty to do what he wished, 8 committed every kind of crime either personally or through his friends,  p243 being himself very young, and all the worst and most unprincipled characters having gathered about him in the hope of stealing other people's property. 9 A sort of support and colour for the belief that he did all he did for valid reason, and with the approval of Rome, lay in his previous close relations with the Romans and in his association with Myrton, an elderly man and his son Nicanor, both of them men of good character and supposed to be friends of the Romans. 10 They had been previously very far from being guilty of any wrong, but for some reason or other they now devoted themselves to the support of Charops and participation in his crimes. 11 After Charops had murdered some citizens openly in the market-place and others in their own houses, after he had sent emissaries to assassinate others at their country-seats and on the roads, and had confiscated the property of all who perished, he introduced a new device, which was to proscribe and sentence to exile all those who were well off, not only the men, but their wives. 13 Under the terror of this menace he went on extorting money himself from the men and from the women through his mother Philotis: 14 for she too was a great expert at this, and as regards the application of force more capable of helping him than one would expect from a woman.

6 1 After they had stripped them all, both men and women, to the utmost of their power, they nevertheless brought all the proscribed before the popular assembly. 2 The people of Phoenice by a majority, either terrorized or seduced by Charops, condemned all the accused not to exile, but to death as enemies  p245 of Rome. 3 So all these men went into exile; but Charops now left at once for Rome, taking plenty of money and Myrton into the bargain with him, wishing to obtain from the senate a sanction for his lawless violence. 4 This was an occasion of which the Romans gave a very fine example of their high principle and a splendid exhibition of it to all the Greeks resident in Rome, and especially to those in detention there. 5 For both Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who was pontifex maximus and princeps senatus, and Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who had conquered Perseus and possessed the highest credit and influence, when they learnt of what Charops had done in Epirus, forbade him to enter their houses; 6 and when this was noised abroad all the Greek residents were filled with joy, recognizing the Roman hatred of iniquity. 7 After this, when Charops appeared before the senate, that body neither accorded his requests nor consented to give him a definite answer, but said that they would give the legates they were sending instructions to inquire into what had taken place. 9 Charops, however, after his departure, suppressed this answer, but composed one that suited his own case and published it to make out that the Romans approved of his actions.

III. Affairs of Italy

7 1 Envoys arrived from Athens and Thearidas and Stephanus from Achaea on behalf of the Delians. 2 For after the cession of Delos to Athens, the Delians,  p247 having in response to an embassy been ordered by the Romans to evacuate the island, 3 taking their personal property with them, migrated to Achaea, and becoming Achaean citizens claimed that the procedure in suits brought by them against Athenians should be in accordance with the convention between Athens and the Achaeans. 4 When the Athenians denied that this convention applied in any way to them, the Delians demanded the right to make reprisals on the Athenians. 5 This was the reason of their embassy, and the answer received was that all arrangements about the Delians made by the Achaeans according to their laws should stand.

IV. Affairs of Pergamus

8 1 King Eumenes had lost all his bodily vigour, but his brilliant mental qualities were unimpaired. 2 He was a man in most matters second to none of the princes his contemporaries, but he was greater and more brilliant than any of them in all that was most important and honourable. 3 In the first place while the kingdom, as he inherited it from his father, was confined to a few wretched little towns, he made his own dominions such as to rival the greatest contemporary powers, 4 not for the most part helped by Fortune or by any revolution of circumstance, but by his own acuteness, industry, and energy. 5 Next he was most eager to win reputation, and not only conferred more benefits than any king of his time on Greek cities, but established the fortunes of more individual men. 6 Thirdly, having three brothers not  p249 far behind him in age and activity, he kept them all in the position of his obedient satellites and guardians of the dignity of his throne, 7 a thing for which one can find few parallels.

V. Affairs of Italy

Mission of Fannius to Dalmatia

9 1 As the people of Issa had often sent emissaries to Rome to complain that the Dalmatians continued to raid their territory and the cities in league with them, Epetium and Tragyrium, and as similar accusations had been brought by the Daorsi, the senate dispatched a commission under Gaius Fannius to inquire into the state of Illyria and especially into the conduct of the Dalmatians. The latter, as long as Pleuratus lived, submitted to him, but when he died and Genthius succeeded to the throne, revolting from him they took to making war on the tribes on their borders and reduced the neighbouring peoples, some of whom even paid them tribute in the shape of cattle and corn.º 5 This was the object of the mission of Fannius.

10 1 King Ariarathes arrived in Rome while it was yet summer; 2 and then after the consuls Sextus Julius Caesar and Lucius Aurelius Orestes had entered on office, he occupied himself with private interviews, adapting his dress and retinue to his present distressed circumstances. 3 Miltiades also arrived on a mission from Demetrius, tuned to speak in either sense; for he was ready to defend Demetrius against  p251 Ariarathes, and to accuse the latter with the utmost bitterness. 4 Orophernes too had sent Timotheus and Diogenes as envoys bringing a crown dedicated to Rome and charged to renew the alliance, but chiefly to confront Ariarathes and both to defend themselves and to accuse him. 5 In the private interviews Diogenes and Miltiades and their colleagues made a greater impression, being many against one, and having also all the outward appearance of a prosperity that contrasted with the king's distress. 6 They also possessed over him a decided advantage in the statement of their case; 7 for they had the courage to assert anything and to meet every kind of argument, with an utter disregard for truth, and they took no responsibility for what they said, as there was no one to confute them. 8 So that as falsehood had no trouble in gaining the day, their business seemed to be going on as they wished.

VI. Affairs of Asia

11 1 Not a few men from lust for gain have sacrificed even their lives for money, among them Orophernes, the king of Cappadocia, who falling a victim to this passion perished himself and lost his kingdom. 2 Now having given this brief account of the restoration of Ariarathes, I shall resume that regular course of my narrative which I follow throughout the whole of this work. 3 For in the present instance, passing over the affairs of Greece, I appended those Asiatic affairs  p253 which relate to Cappadocia, as I found no justifiable means of separating the departure of Ariarathes from Italy from his return to power. 4 I will, therefore, now go back to the events that happened in Greece at the same date. 5 Among these that which befell the city of Oropus​2 was especially singular and strange. 6 I will give a succinct account of the whole of this matter, partly recurring to the past and partly anticipating the future, so that, the separate details of it being by no means striking, I may not by relating them under different dates produce a narrative both obscure and insignificant. 7 For when the whole seems scarcely worth close attention what chance is there of any student really making it an object of study when it is told disjointedly under different dates?

8 For the most part when men are successful they get on well together, but when unsuccessful they get vexed with things and become irritable and fretful with their friends. 9 This was the case with Orophernes when things went against him and Theotimus, and each blamed the other.

(From Athen. X.440B.)

10 Polybius says that Orophernes reigned for a short time in Cappadocia, and despising their traditional customs introduced the refined debauchery of Ionia.

12 1 The first example given by Attalus of his principles and policy after he succeeded his brother Eumenes was to restore Ariarathes to his kingdom.

 p255  VII. Affairs of Italy

War with Dalmatia resolved on

13 1 On the return of Gaius Fannius and the other legates from Illyria, they reported that the Dalmatians were so far from consenting to set right any of the constant abuses complained of by their accusers, that they would not even listen to them, saying that they had nothing in common with the Romans. 2 They also reported that they had neither been given a residence nor supplied with food, and that the Dalmatians had even taken away from them by force the horses they had brought from another town, 3 and were ready to lay violent hands on the legates themselves, had they not yielded to circumstances and left quite quietly. 4 The senate heard them with much attention and were highly indignant at the stubbornness and rudeness of the Dalmatians; but their chief motive for action was that for several reasons they thought the time a suitable one for making war on the Dalmatians. 5 For to begin with they had never once set foot in those parts of Illyria which face the Adriatic 6 since they expelled Demetrius of Pharos, and next they did not at all wish the Italians to become effeminate owing to the long peace, 7 it being now twelve years since the war with Perseus and their campaigns in Macedonia. 8 They, therefore, resolved by undertaking a war against the Dalmatians both to recreate, as it were, the spirit and zeal of their own troops, and by striking terror into the Illyrians to compel them to obey their behests.  p257 9 These, then, were the reasons why the Romans went to war with the Dalmatians, but to the world at large they gave out that they had decided on war owing to the insult to their ambassadors.

14 1 At this time envoys came from Epirus both on behalf of those in possession of the city of Phoenice and of the exiled party. 2 After they had spoken in the presence of each other the senate answered that they would give instructions on the subject to the commissioners they were sending to Illyria under Gaius Marcius.

VIII. The War of Prusias with Attalus

15 1 Prusias on approaching Pergamus after his victory over Attalus prepared a magnificent sacrifice which he brought to the temple of Asclepius, 2 and having offered the oxen and obtained favourable omens, returned on that day to his camp; 3 but on the next day directing his army to the Nicephorium, he destroyed all the temples and sacred precincts of the gods, and carried off the bronze and marble statues; 4 finally removing and carrying off for himself the statue of Asclepius, an admirable work of art by Phyromachus, 5 that very Asclepius to whom on the previous day he had offered libations, sacrifices and prayers, supplicating him of course to be in every way merciful and gracious to him. 6 On a previous occasion, in speaking of Philip, I have described such conduct as that of a madman. 7 For at one and the same time to sacrifice and thus to sue for the favour  p259 of the god, worshipping and adoring most devoutly his tables and altars, as Prusias used to do with genuflexions and womanish mummery, and then to spoil these very objects and by their destruction to inflict an outrage on the divinity, cannot be otherwise described than as the act of a man frenzied by passion and with his mind unhinged — 9 as was actually the case with Prusias then. For after doing nothing worthy of a man in his attacks on the town, but behaving in a cowardly and womanish manner both to gods and men, he marched his army back to Elaea. 10 After making an attempt on Elaea and delivering a few assaults, which were quite ineffectual, as Sosander the king's foster-brother had entered the town with some troops and frustrated his attempts, he withdrew to Thyateira, 11 attacking and despoiling on his retreat the temple of Artemis at Hiera Come. 12 Similarly he not only despoiled, but burnt to the ground the sanctuary of Apollo Cynneius near Temnus, and after those exploits returned to his own country, having waged war not only on men but on gods. 14 His infantry also suffered much on the retreat from hunger and dysentery, so that it seemed that the vengeance of heaven visited him instantly for these misdeeds.

16 1 Attalus, when defeated by Prusias appointed his brother Athenaeus as his envoy and sent him off together with Publius Lentulus to inform the senate of the fact. 2 For in Rome, when Andronicus arrived  p261 and informed them of the first attack by the enemy, 3 they paid no attention to him, but suspected that Attalus, intending himself to attack Prusias, was preparing a pretext and anticipating the protest of Prusias by bringing false accusations against him. 4 And as Nicomedes and the envoy of Prusias Antiphilus assured them that there was no truth in it, they were still less inclined to believe this report about Prusias. 5 But after a short time, when further information to the same effect arrived, the senate, in doubt what to believe, dispatched as legates Lucius Apuleius and Gaius Petronius to inquire into the relations of the two kings.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Probably an Epicurean philosopher and writer of this name.

2 For some account of this matter see Pausanias VII.11.4‑7.

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