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Grand Festival At Daphne

When this same king (Antiochus Epiphanes) heard of the
The grand festival held by Antiochus Epiphanes at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, sacred to Apollo.
games in Macedonia held by the Roman proconsul Aemilius Paulus, wishing to out do Paulus by the splendour of his liberality, he sent envoys to the several cities announcing games to be held by him at Daphne; and it became the rage in Greece to attend them. The public ceremonies began with a procession composed as follows: first came some men armed in the Roman fashion, with their coats made of chain armour, five thousand in the prime of life. Next came five thousand Mysians, who were followed by three thousand Cilicians armed like light infantry, and wearing gold crowns. Next to them came three thousand Thracians and five thousand Gauls. They were followed by twenty-thousand Macedonians, and five thousand armed with brass shields, and others with silver shields, who were followed by two hundred and forty pairs of gladiators. Behind these were a thousand Nisaean cavalry and three thousand native horsemen, most of whom had gold plumes and gold crowns, the rest having them of silver. Next to them came what are called "companion cavalry," to the number of a thousand, closely followed by the corps of king's "friends" of about the same number, who were again followed by a thousand picked men; next to whom came the Agema or guard, which was considered the flower of the cavalry, and numbered about a thousand. Next came the "cataphract" cavalry, both men and horses acquiring that name from the nature of their panoply; they numbered fifteen hundred. All the above men had purple surcoats, in many cases embroidered with gold and heraldic designs. And behind them came a hundred six-horsed, and forty four-horsed chariots; a chariot drawn by four elephants and another by two; and then thirty-six elephants in single file with all their furniture on.

The rest of the procession was almost beyond description, but I must give a summary account of it. It consisted of eight hundred young men wearing gold crowns, about a thousand fine oxen, foreign delegates to the number of nearly three hundred, and eight hundred ivory tusks. The number of images of the gods it is impossible to tell completely: for representations of every god or demigod or hero accepted by mankind were carried there, some gilded and others adorned with gold-embroidered robes; and the myths, belonging to each, according to accepted tradition, were represented by the most costly symbols. Behind them were carried representations of Night and Day, Earth, Heaven, Morning and Noon. The best idea that I can give of the amount of gold and silver plate is this: One of the king's friends, Dionysius his secretary, had a thousand boys in the procession carrying silver vessels, none of which weighed less than a thousand drachmae;1 and by their side walked six hundred young slaves of the king holding gold vessels. There were also two hundred women sprinkling unguents from gold boxes; and after them came eighty women sitting in litters with gold feet, and five hundred in litters with silver feet, all adorned with great costliness. These were the most remarkable features of the procession.

1 A drachma may be taken as between a sixth and a seventh of an ounce.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.49
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.51
  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), AGE´MA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CALPIS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CATAPHRACTI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PHA´LERAE
    • Smith's Bio, Cleitus
    • Smith's Bio, COPHEN
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