previous next

What then, my friends, shall we call the entertainment which Antiochus, who was surnamed Epiphanes, (but who was more rightly called Epimanes1 from his actions,) gave [p. 309] Now he was king of the Syrians, being one of the Seleucidæ. And Polybius says of him, "He, escaping out of the palace without the knowledge of the attendants, was often found with one or two companions wandering about the city wherever he might chance to take it into his head to go. And he was, above all other places, frequently found at the shops of the engravers of silver and of the goldsmiths, conversing on the subject of their inventions with, and inquiring into the principles of their art from, the engravers and other artists. And besides this, he often used to go among the common people, conversing with whomsoever he might chance to meet; and he would drink with the lowest and poorest strangers. And whenever he heard of any young men having a banquet, without having given any notice of his intention, he would come to join in their feast with a flute and music, behaving in a most lascivious manner; so that many used to rise up and depart, being alarmed at his strange behaviour. Often, also, he would lay aside his royal robes, and put on a common cloak, and so go round the market, like a man who was a candidate for some office: and taking some people by the hand, and embracing others, he would solicit them to vote for him, sometimes begging to be made ædile, and sometimes tribune; and when he was elected, sitting in his ivory curule chair, according to the fashion which prevails among the Romans, he would hear all the causes which were pleaded in the forum, and decide them with great attention and earnestness, by which conduct he greatly perplexed sensible men, For some thought him a man of very simple tastes, and others considered him mad. And his conduct with respect to presents was very much the same. For he would give some people dice of antelope's bones, and some he would present with dates, and to others he would give gold. And even if he met people in the street whom he had never seen, he would give them presents unexpectedly. And in his sacrifices, which were offered up in the different cities, and in the honours offered to the gods, he surpassed all the kings who had ever existed. And any one may conjecture his from the temple raised to Olympian Jupiter at Athens, and from the statues around the altar at Delos. And he used to bathe in the public baths, often when they were complete y full of the citizens, and then he would have earthen pairs of the [p. 310] most expensive perfumes brought to him. And on one of these occasions, when some one said to him, “Happy are you kings, who use all these things and smell so sweet,” he made the man no answer at the time; but coming the next day to the place where he was bathing, he caused him to have a pan of the largest size of that most precious ointment called στακτὴ poured over his head, so that when that had been done, every one near got up and hastened to get a little of the ointment, and as they fell down in their haste, by reason of the slipperiness of the floor, every one laughed, as did the king himself.

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.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: