Table of Contents:
But Clearchus the Solensian, in the fourth book of his Lives, having previously spoken about the luxury of the [p. 825] Medes, and having said that on this account they made eunuchs of many citizens of the neighbouring tribes, adds, “that the institution of the Melophori was adopted by the Persians from the Medes, being not only a revenge for what they had suffered themselves, but also a memorial of the luxury of the bodyguards, to indicate to what pitch of effeminacy they had come. For, as it seems, the unseasonable and superfluous luxury of their daily life could make even the men who are armed with spears, mere mountebanks.” And a little further on he says—“And accordingly, while he gave to all those who could invent him any new kind of food, a prize for their invention, he did not, while loading them with honours, allow the food which they had invented to be set before them, but enjoyed it all by himself, and thought this was the greatest wisdom. For this, I imagine, is what is called the brains of Jupiter and of a king at the same time.” But Chares of Mitylene, in the fifth book of his History of Alexander, says—“The Persian kings had come to such a pitch of luxury, that at the head of the royal couch there was a supper-room laid with five couches, in which there were always kept five thousand talents of gold; and this was called the king's pillow. And at his feet was another supper-room, prepared with three couches, in which there were constantly kept three thousand talents of silver; and this was called the king's footstool. And in his bed-chamber there was also a golden vine, inlaid with precious stones, above the king's bed.” And this vine, Amyntas says in his Posts, had bunches of grapes, composed of most valuable precious stones; and not far from it there was placed a golden bowl, the work of Theodorus of Samos. And Agathocles, in the third book of his History of Cyzicus, says, that there is also among the Persians a water called the golden water, and that it rises in seventy springs; and that no one ever drinks of it but the king alone, and the eldest of his sons. And if any one else drinks of it, the punishment is death.
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.