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Asia: King Attalus I

[They endeavoured] to prevent Antiochus from sailing along their coast, not from enmity to him, but from a suspicion that by giving support to Philip he would become an obstacle in the way of Greek liberty. . . .

King Antiochus was very desirous of possessing Ephesus, owing to its extremely convenient position; for it appeared to occupy the position of an Acropolis for expeditions by land and sea against Ionia and the cities of the Hellespont, and to be always a most convenient base of operations for the kings of Asia against Europe. . . .

Of King Attalus, who now died, I think I ought to

Death of King Attalus, who had fallen ill at Thebes, before the battle of Cynoscephalae, and had been brought home to die at Pergamum, autumn, B. C. 197. Livy, 33, 21.
speak a suitable word, as I have done in the case of others. Originally he had no other external qualification for royalty except money alone, which, indeed, if handled with good sense and boldness, is of very great assistance in every undertaking, but without these qualities is in its nature the origin of evil, and, in fact, of utter ruin to very many. For in the first place it engenders envy and malicious plots, and contributes largely to the destruction of body and soul. For few indeed are the souls that are able by the aid of wealth to repel dangers of this description. This king's greatness of mind therefore deserves our admiration, because he never attempted to use his wealth for anything else but the acquisition of royal power,—an object than which none greater can be mentioned. Moreover he made the first step in this design, not only by doing services to his friends and gaining their affection, but also by achievements in war. For it was after conquering the Gauls, the most formidable and warlike nation at that time in Asia, that he assumed this rank and first puts himself forward as king. And though he obtained this honour, and lived seventy-two years, of which he reigned forty-four, he passed a life of the utmost virtue and goodness towards his wife and children; kept faith with all allies and friends; and died in the midst of a most glorious campaign, fighting for the liberty of the Greeks; and what is more remarkable than all, though he left four grown-up sons, he so well settled the question of succession, that the crown was handed down to his children's children without a single dispute. . . .

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.20
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 21
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