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Plunder and Sacrilege At Thermus

Up to this point everything was right and fair by the
Sacrilege committed at Thermus. Was it justifiable?
laws of war; but I do not know how to characterise their next proceedings. For remembering what the Aetolians had done at Dium1 and Dodona,2 they burnt the colonnades, and destroyed what were left of the dedicated offerings, some of which were of costly material, and had been elaborated with great skill and expense. And they were not content with destroying the roofs of these buildings with fire, they levelled them to their foundations; and threw down all the statues, which numbered no less than two thousand; and many of them they broke to pieces, sparing only those that were inscribed with the names or figures of gods. Such they did abstain from injuring. On the walls also they wrote the celebrated line composed by Samus, the son of Chrysogonus, a foster-brother of the king, whose genius was then beginning to manifest itself. The line was this— “"Seest thou the path the bolt divine has sped?"
” And in fact the king and his staff were fully convinced that, in thus acting, they were obeying the dictates of right and justice, by retaliating upon the Aetolians with the same impious outrages as they had themselves committed at Dium.3 But I am clearly of an opposite opinion. And the readiest argument, to prove the correctness of my view, may be drawn from the history of this same royal family of Macedonia.

For when Antigonus, by his victory in a pitched battle over Cleomenes the King of the Lacedaemonians, had become master of Sparta, and had it absolutely in his own power to treat the town and its citizens as he chose, he was so far from doing any injury to those who had thus fallen into his hands, that he did not return to his own country until he had bestowed upon the Lacedaemonians, collectively and individually, some benefits of the utmost importance. The consequence was that he was honoured at the time with the title of "Benefactor," and after his death with that of "Preserver"; and not only among the Lacedaemonians, but among the Greeks generally, has obtained undying honour and glory.4

1 4, 62.

2 4, 67.

3 The pun disappears in translation. The line is ὁρᾷς τὸ δῖον οὗ βέλος διέπτατο.

4 Games in his honour were celebrated at Sicyon. See Plutarch, Arat. 45, Cleomenes, 16. supra, p. 147 n. Infra, 28, 19; 30, 23.

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