And I know, my messmates, of some men who were proud, not so much of their wealth in money as of the possession of many cups of silver and gold; one of whom is Pytheas the Arcadian, of the town of Phigalea, who, even when dying, did not hesitate to enjoin his servants to inscribe the following verses on his tomb:—
This is the tomb of Pytheas, a manAnd Harmodius the Lepreatian mentions this fact in his treatise on the Laws and Customs subsisting in Phigalea. And Xenophon, in the eighth book of his Cyropædia, speaking of the Persians, writes as follows—“And also they pride themselves exceedingly on the possession of as many goblets as possible; and even if they have acquired them by notorious malpractices, they are not at all ashamed of so doing; for injustice and covetousness are carried on to a great degree among them.” But Œdipus cursed his sons on account of some drinking-cups (as the author of the Cyclic poem called [p. 735] the Thebais says), because they set before him a goblet which he had forbidden; speaking as follows:—
Both wise and good, the fortunate possessor
Of a most countless number of fine cups,
Of silver made, and gold, and brilliant amber.
These were his treasures, and of them he had
A store, surpassing all who lived before him.
But the divine, the golden-hair'd hero,
Great Polynices, set before his father first
A silver table, beautifully wrought,
Whilome the property of th' immortal Cadmus;
And then he fill'd a beauteous golden cup
Up to the brim with sweet and fragrant wine;
But Œdipus, when with angry eyes he saw
The ornaments belonging to his sire
Now set before him, felt a mighty rage,
Which glow'd within his breast, and straightway pour'd
The bitterest curses forth on both his sons,
(Nor were they by the Fury all unheard,)
Praying that they might never share in peace
The treasures of their father, but for ever
With one another strive in arms and war.