When Themistocles was archon at Athens,
at Rome Gaius Cornelius and Marcus Popilius succeeded to the consular office. During their term
of office the Boeotians, after sacking much of the Phocian territory about the city named
defeated their enemies and slew about seventy of them.
this the Boeotians, having come to grips near Coroneia with the Phocians, were defeated and
lost many men. When the Phocians now seized several cities of considerable size in Boeotia, the
Boeotians took the field and destroyed the grain in enemy territory, but were defeated on the
While these things were going on, Phalaecus,
the general of the Phocians, who was accused of stealing many of the sacred properties, was
removed from his command.3
Three generals having been chosen to replace him, Deinocrates, Callias,
and Sophanes, an investigation into the sacred property took place and the Phocians called upon
those who had administered it to render an accounting. The man who had been in charge of most
of it was Philon.
Since he was unable to render a proper
accounting, he was adjudged guilty, and after being tortured by the generals disclosed the
names of his accomplices in the theft, while he himself, after being subjected to the utmost
torments, obtained the kind of death that suited his impiety.
Those who had diverted the properties to their own use restored whatever balance they still
possessed of the stolen property and were themselves put to death as temple-robbers. Of the
generals who had been in office previously, the first to hold the office, Philomelus, had kept
his hands off the dedications,4
but the second, named Onomarchus, brother of Philomelus, squandered much
of the god's money, while the third, Phayllus, the brother of Onomarchus, when he became
general, struck into coin a large number of the dedications in order to pay the mercenaries.
For he coined for currency one hundred twenty gold bricks
which had been dedicated by Croesus5
king of the Lydians weighing two talents
each, and three hundred sixty golden goblets weighing two minae each, and golden statues of a
lion and of a woman, weighing in all thirty talents of gold, so that the sum total of gold that
was coined into money, referred to the standard of silver, is found to be four thousand
talents, while of the silver offerings, those dedicated by Croesus and all the others, all
three generals had spent more than six thousand talents' worth, and if to these were added the
gold dedications, the sum surpassed ten thousand talents.
of the historians say that the pillaged property was not less than the sums acquired by
in the treasure
chambers of the Persians. The generals on the staff of Phalaecus took steps even to dig up the
temple, because some one said that there was a treasure chamber in it containing much gold and
silver, and they zealously dug up the ground about the hearth and the tripod. The man who gave
information about the treasure offered as witness the most famous and ancient of poets Homer,
who says in a certain passage:“
Nor all the wealth beneath the stony floor that lies
Where Phoebus, archer god, in rocky Pytho dwells.
”Hom. Il. 9.404-405
But as the soldiers attempted
to dig about the tripod, great earthquakes occurred and roused fear in the hearts of the
Phocians, and since the gods clearly indicated in advance the punishment they would visit upon
the temple-robbers, the soldiers desisted from their efforts. The leader of this sacrilege, the
aforementioned Philon, was promptly punished as he deserved for his crime against the god.