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[8arg] Some noteworthy anecdotes of King Alexander and of Publius Scipio.

APION, a Greek, called Pleistoneices, 1 possessed a fluent and lively style. Writing in praise of king [p. 115] Alexander, he says: 2 “He forbade the wife of his vanquished foe, a woman of surpassing loveliness, to be brought into his presence, in order that he might not touch her even with his eyes.” We have then the subject for a pleasant discussion—which of the two shall justly be considered the more continent: Publius Africanus the elder, who after he had stormed Carthage, 3 a powerful city in Spain, and a marriageable girl of wonderful beauty, the daughter of a noble Spaniard, had been taken prisoner and brought to him, restored her unharmed to her father; or king Alexander, who refused even to see the wife of king Darius, who was also his sister, when he had taken her captive in a great battle and had heard that she was of extreme beauty, but forbade her to be brought before him.

But those who have an abundance of talent, leisure and eloquence may use this material for a pair of little declamations on Alexander and Scipio; I shall be satisfied with relating this, which is a matter of historical record: Whether it be false or true is uncertain, but at any rate the story goes that your Scipio in his youth did not have an unblemished reputation, and that it was all but generally believed that it was at him that the following verses were aimed by the poet Gnaeus Naevius: 4

E'en he who oft-times mighty deeds hath done,
Whose glory and exploits still live, to whom
The nations bow, his father once led home,
Clad in a single garment, from his love.
I think it was by these verses that Valerius Antias was led to hold an opinion opposed to that of all [p. 117] other writers about Scipio's character, and to write, 5 contrary to what I said above, that the captured maiden was not returned to her father, but was kept by Scipio and possessed by him in amorous dalliance.

1 “Of many quarrels,” a word coined in imitation of the epithet applied to famous athletes: πλειστονίκης, “of many victories.”

2 F.H.G. iii. 515.

3 Really New Carthage, captured in 210 B.C.; the story is told by Livy, xxvi. 50.

4 ii. 108, Ribbeck3.

5 Fr. 25, Peter2.

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