previous next


The first statue of massive gold, without any hollowness within, and anterior to any of those statues of bronze even, which are known as "holosphyratæ,"1 is said to have been erected in the Temple of the goddess Anaïtis. To what particular region this name belongs, we have already2 stated, it being that of a divinity3 held in the highest veneration by the nations in that part of the world. This statue was carried off during the wars of Antonius with the people of Parthia; and a witty saying is told, with reference to it, of one of the veterans of the Roman army, a native of Bononia. Entertaining on one occasion the late Emperor Augustus at dinner, he was asked by that prince whether he was aware that the person who was the first to commit this violence upon the statue, had been struck with blindness and paralysis, and then expired. To this he made answer, that at that very moment Augustus was making his dinner off of one of her legs, for that he himself was the very man, and to that bit of plunder he had been indebted for all his fortune.4

As regards statues of human beings, Gorgias of Leontini5 was the first to erect a solid statue of gold, in the Temple at Delphi, in honour of himself, about the seventieth6 Olympiad: so great were the fortunes then made by teaching the art of oratory!

1 "Solid hammer-work," in opposition to works in metal, cast and hollow within.

2 In B. v. c. 20, most probably. See also B. xvi. c. 64.

3 The worship of Anaitis was probably a branch of the Indian worship of Nature. The Greek writers sometimes identify this goddess with their Artemis and their Aphrodite.

4 Holland has strangely mistaken the meaning of the veteran's reply; "Yea, sir, that it is; and that methinks you should know best, for even now a leg of his you have at supper, and all your wealth besides is come unto you by that saccage." He then adds, by way of Note, "For Augustus Cæsar defeited Antonie, and was mightily enriched by the spoile of him."

5 In Sicily. According to Valerius Maximus and other writers, a statue of solid gold was erected by the whole of Greece, in the temple at Delphi, in honour of Gorgias, who was distinguished for his eloquence and literary attainments. The leading opinion of Gorgias was, that nothing had any real existence.

6 The ninetieth Olympiad, about the year 420 B.C., is much more probably the correct reading; as it was about the seventieth Olympiad, or somewhat later, that Gorgias was born.

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 Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
420 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: