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[17arg] That Mithridates, king of Pontus, spoke the languages of twenty-five nations; and that Quintus Ennius said that he had three hearts, because he was proficient in three tongues, Greek, Oscan, and Latin.


QUINTUS ENNIUS used to say that he had three hearts, because he knew how to speak Greek, Oscan, and Latin. But Mithridates, the celebrated king of Pontus and Bithynia, who was overcome in war by Gnaeus Pompeius, 1 was proficient in the languages of the twenty-five races which he held under his sway. He never spoke to the men of all those nations through an interpreter, but whenever it was necessary for him to address any one of them, he used his language and speech with as much skill as if he were his fellow-countryman.

[p. 265]

1 66–63 B.C.

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