previous next

When Aemilianus had said this, Pontianus said—For formerly gold was really exceedingly scarce among the Greeks; and there was not indeed much silver; at least, not much which was extracted from the mines; on which account Duris the Samian says that Philip, the father of the great king Alexander, as he was possessed of one flagon of gold, always put it under his pillow when he went to bed. And Herodorus of Heraclea says, that the Golden Lamb of Atreus, which was the pregnant cause of many eclipses of the sun, and changes of kings, and which was, moreover, the subject of a great many tragedies, was a golden flagon, having in the centre a figure of a golden lamb. And Anaximenes of Lampsacus, in the first of those works of his, called Histories, says that the necklace of Eriphyle was so notorious because gold at that time was so rare among the Greeks; for that a golden goblet was at that time a most unusual thing to see; but that after the taking of Delphi by the Phocians, then all such things began to be more abundant. But formerly even those men who were accounted exceedingly rich used to drink out of brazen goblets, and the repositories where they put them away they called χαλκόθηκαι.

And Herodotus says that the Egyptian priests drink out of brazen goblets; and he affirms that silver flagons could not be found to be given to all the kings, even when they sacrificed in public; and, accordingly, that Psammetichus, who was later than the other kings, performed his libations with a brazen flagon, while the rest made their offerings with silver ones. But after the temple at Delphi had been plundered by the tyrants of Phocis, then gold became common among the Greeks, and silver became actually abundant; and afterwards, when the great Alexander had brought into Greece all the treasures from out of Asia, then there really did shine forth what Pindar calls “wealth predominating far and wide.”

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