previous next

But Clearchus, relating the history of the king of Persia, says that—“in a very prudent manner he proposed prizes for any one who could invent any delicious food. For this is what, I imagine, is meant by the brains of Jupiter and the king. On which account,” continues he, “Sardanapalus was the most happy of all monarchs, who during his whole life preferred enjoyment to everything else, and who, even after his death, shows by his fingers, in the figure carved on his tomb, how much ridicule all human affairs deserve, being not worth the snap of his fingers which he makes . . . . . . . . anxiety about other things.”

However, Sardanapalus does not appear to have lived all his life in entire inaction; for the inscription on his tomb says—-

Sardanapalus
The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
In one day built Anchiale and Tarsus;
But now he's dead.
And Amyntas, in the third book of his Account of the Posts, says that at Nineveh there is a very high mound, which Cyrus levelled with the ground when he besieged the city, and raised another mound against the city; and that this mound was said to have been erected by Sardanapalus the son of King Ninus; and that on it there was said to be inscribed, on a marble pillar and in Chaldaic characters, the following inscription, which Chærilus translated into Greek, and reduced to metre. And the inscription is as follows—
I was the king, and while I lived on earth,
And saw the bright rays of the genial sun,
I ate and drank and loved; and knew full well
[p. 849] The time that men do live on earth was brief,
And liable to many sudden changes,
Reverses, and calamities. Now others
Will have th' enjoyment of my luxuries,
Which I do leave behind me. For these reasons
I never ceased one single day from pleasure.
But Clitarchus, in the fourth book of his History of Alexander, says that Sardanapalus died of old age after he had lost the sovereignty over the Syrians. And Aristobulus says— "In Anchiale, which was built by Sardanapalus, did Alexander, when he was on his expedition against the Persians, pitch his camp. And at no great distance was the monument of Sardanapalus, on which there was a marble figure putting together the fingers of its right hand, as if it were giving a fillip. And there was on it the following inscription in Assyrian characters—
Sardanapalus
The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
In one day built Anchiale and Tarsus.
Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth e'en this,—
by “this” meaning the fillip he was giving with his fingers.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
load focus Greek (Kaibel)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: