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However, mighty deeds of Semiramis are celebrated among the Assyrians, and mighty deeds of Sesostris in Egypt, and the Phrygians, even to this day, call brilliant and marvellous exploits ‘manic’ because Manes,1 one of their very early kings, proved himself a good man and exercised a vast influence among them. Some give his name as Masdes. Cyrus led the Persians, and Alexander the Macedonians, [p. 59] in victory after victory, almost to the ends of the earth ; yet these have only the name and fame of noble kings. ‘But if some, elated by a great self-conceit,’ as Plato2 says, ‘with souls enkindled with the fire of youth and folly accompanied by arrogance,’ have assumed to be called gods and to have temples dedicated in their honour, yet has their repute flourished but a brief time, and then, convicted of vain-glory and imposture,
Swift in their fate, Jike to smoke in the air, rising upward they flitted,3
and now, like fugitive slaves without claim to protection, they have been dragged from their shrines and altars, and have nothing left to them save only their monuments and their tombs. Hence the elder Antigonus, when a certain Hermodotus in a poem proclaimed him to be ‘the Offspring of the Sun and a god,’ said, ‘the slave who attends to my chamberpot is not conscious of any such thing !’ 4 Moreover, Lysippus the sculptor was quite right in his disapproval of the painter Apelles, because Apelles in his portrait of Alexander had represented him with a thunderbolt in his hand, whereas he himself had represented Alexander holding a spear, the glory of which no length of years could ever dim, since it was truthful and was his by right.

1 Cf. Herodotus, i. 94, iv. 45, and W. M. Ramsay, Mitteilungen des deutsch. arch. Institutes in Athen, viii. 71.

2 Adapted from Plato, Laws, 716 a.

3 From Empedocles: cf. H. Diels, Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta, p. 106, Empedocles, no. 2. 4.

4 Plutarch tells the same story with slight variations in Moralia, 182 c.

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