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PHILAENI

(Group Φίλαινοι), two brothers, citizens of Carthage, of whom the following story is told. A dispute between the Carthaginians and Cyrenaeans, about their boundaries, had led to a war, which lasted for a long time and with varying success. Seeing no probability of a speedy conclusion to it, they at length agreed that deputies should start at a fixed time front each of the cities,--or rather perhaps from Leptis Magna and Hesperides or Berenice, the most advanced colonies of Carthage and Cyrene, respectively, on the Great Syrtis,--and that the place of their meeting, wherever it might be, should thenceforth form the limit of the two territories. The Philaeni were appointed for this service, on the part of the Carthaginians, and advanced much further than the Cyrenaean party. Valerius Maximus accounts for this by informing us that they fraudulently set forth before the time agreed upon, a somewhat singular preface to his admiring declamation on their virtuous patriotism. Sallust merely tells us that they were accused of the trick in question by the Cyrenaean deputies, who were afraid to return home after having so mismanaged the affair, and who, after much altercation, consented to accept the spot which they had reached as the boundary-line, if the Philaeni would submit to be buried alive there in the sand. Should they decline the offer, they were willing, they said, on their side, if permitted to advance as far as they pleased, to purchase for Cyrene an extension of territory by a similar death. The Philaeni accordingly then and there devoted themselves for their country, in the way proposed. The Carthaginians paid high honours to their memory, and erected altars to them where they had died; and from these, even long after all traces of them had vanished, the place still continued to be called "The Altars of the Philaeni" (Sal. Jug. 75; V. Max. 5.6, ext. 4; Pomp. Mel. 1.7; Oros. 1.2; Solin. Polyhist. 27; Sil. Ital. Bell. Pun. 15.704; Plb. 3.39, 10.40; Strab. iii. p.171, xvii. p. 836 ; Plin. Nat. 5.4; Thrige, Res Cyrenensium, §§ 49-51). Without intending to throw discredit upon the whole of the above story, we may remark that our main authority for it is Sallust, and that he probably derived his information from African traditions during the time that he was proconsul of Numidia, and at least three hundred years after the event. We cannot, therefore, accept it unreservedly. The Greek name by which the heroic brothers have become known to us,--Φίλαινοι,, or lovers of praise,--seems clearly to have been framed to suit the tale. The exact date of the occurrence we have no means of fixing. Thrige supposes it to have taken place not earlier than 400, nor later than 330 B. C., at which lastmen-tioned period, or rather in 331, Cyrene appears to have become subject to Alexander the Great. (Arr. Anab. 7.9; Diod. 17.49; Curt. 4.7; Thrige, § 53.)

[E.E]

hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 17.49
    • Polybius, Histories, 10.40
    • Polybius, Histories, 3.39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.4
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 75
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.9
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.7
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 5.6
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