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The War in Coele-Syria

It seems to me to be at once just and proper to
B.C. 201. Valour of the people of Gaza.
give the people of Gaza1 the praise which they deserve. For though they do not differ as to bravery in war from the rest of the inhabitants of Coele-Syria, yet as parties to an international agreement, and in their fidelity to their promises, they far surpass them, and show altogether a courage in such matters that is irresistible. In the first place, when all the other people were terrified at the invasion of the Persians,2 in view of the greatness of their power, and one and all submitted themselves and their countries to the Medes, they alone faced the danger and stood a siege.
B. C. 332.
Again, on the invasion of Alexander, when not only did the other cities surrender, but even Tyre was stormed and its inhabitants sold into slavery; and when it seemed all but hopeless for any to escape destruction, who resisted the fierce and violent attack of Alexander, they alone of all the Syrians withstood him, and tested their powers of defence to the uttermost. Following the same line of conduct on the present occasion, they omitted nothing within their power in their determination to keep faith with Ptolemy. Therefore, just as we distinguish by special mention in our history individuals of eminent virtue, so ought we, in regard to states as such, to mention with commendation those which act nobly in any point from traditional principles and deliberate policy. . . .

1 Ptolemy Philopator had made Gaza his chief depot of war material; see 5, 68. Antiochus destroyed it in B. C. 198 for its loyalty to the King of Egypt.

2 Syria was conquered by the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pilezer about B.C. 747, and was afterwards a part of the Babylonian and Persian empires. It does not seem certain to what invasion Polybius is here referring.

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