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 The Corinthians, when subject to Philip, espoused his party very zealously, and individually conducted themselves so contemptuously towards the Romans, that persons ventured to throw down filth upon their ambassadors, when passing by their houses. They were immediately punished for these and other offences and insults. A large army was sent out under the commaud of Lucius Mummius, who razed the city.1 The rest of the country, as far as Macedonia, was subjected to the Romans under different generals. The Sicyonii, however, had the largest part of the Corinthian territory. Polybius relates with regret what occurred at the capture of the city, and speaks of the indifference the soldiers showed for works of art, and the sacred offerings of the temples. He says, that he was present, and saw pictures thrown upon the ground, and soldiers playing at dice upon them. Among others, he specifies by name the picture of Bacchus2 by Aristeides, (to which it is said the proverb was applied, ‘Nothing to the Bacchus,’) and Hercules tortured in the robe, the gift of Deïaneira.3 This I have not myself seen, but I have seen the picture of the Bacchus suspended in the Demetreium at Rome, a very beautiful piece of art, which, together with the temple, was lately consumed by fire. The greatest number and the finest of the other offerings in Rome were brought from Corinth. Some of them were in the possession of the cities in the neighbourhood of Rome. For Mummius being more brave and generous than an admirer of the arts, presented them without hesitation to those who asked for them.4 Lucullus, having built the temple of Good Fortune, and a portico, requested of Mummius the use of some statues, under the pretext of ornamenting the temple with them at the time of its dedication, and promised to restore them. He did not, however, restore, but presented them as sacred offerings, and told Mummius to take them away if he pleased. Mummius did not resent this conduct, not caring about the statues, but obtained more honour than Lucullus, who presented them as sacred offerings. Corinth remained a long time deserted, till at length it was restored on account of its natural advantages by divus Cæsar, who sent colonists thither, who consisted, for the most part, of the descendants of free-men. On moving the ruins, and digging open the sepulchres, an abundance of works in pottery with figures on them, and many in brass, were found. The workmanship was admired, and all the sepulchres were examined with the greatest care. Thus was obtained a large quantity of things, which were disposed of at a great price, and Rome filled with Necro- Corinthia, by which name were distinguished the articles taken out of the sepulchres, and particularly the pottery. At first these latter were held in as much esteem as the works of the Corinthian artists in brass, but this desire to have them did not continue, not only because the supply failed, but because the greatest part of them were not well executed.5 The city of Corinth was large and opulent at all periods, and produced a great number of statesmen and artists. For here in particular, and at Sicyon, flourished painting, and modelling, and every art of this kind. The soil was not very fertile; its surface was uneven and rugged, whence all writers describe Corinth as full of brows of hills, and apply the proverb, “ Corinth rises with brows of hills, and sinks into hollows.
1 B. C. 146.
2 Aristeides of Thebes, a contemporary of Alexander the Great. At a public sale of the spoils of Corinth, King Attalus offered so large a price for the painting of Bacchus, that Mummins, although ignorant of art, was attracted by the enormity of the price offered, withdrew the picture, in spite of the protestations of Attalus, and sent it to Rome.
3 This story forms the subject of the Trachiniæ of Sophocles.
4 Mummius was so ignorant of the arts, that he threatened those who were intrusted with the care of conveying to Rome the pictures and statues taken at Corinth, to have them replaced by new ones at their expense, in case they should be so unfortunate as to lose them.
5 The plastic art was invented at Sicyon by Dibutades; according to others, at the island of Samos, by Rœcus and Theodorus. From Greece it was carried into Etruria by Demaratus, who was accompanied by Eucheir and Eugrammus, plastic artists, and by the painter Cleophantus of Corinth, B. C. 663. See b. v. c. ii. § 2.
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