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[p. 263] in their preparation; furthermore, that the king himself by the constant use of such remedies guarded against hidden plots at banquets; nay more, that lie often voluntarily and wittingly, to show his immunity, drank a swift and rapid poison, which yet did him no harm. Therefore, at a later time, when he had been defeated in battle, and after fleeing to the remotest bounds of his kingdom had resolved to take his own life, having vainly tried the most violent poisons for the purpose of hastening his death, he fell upon his own sword. the most celebrated antidote of this king is the one which is called “Mithridatian.”


[17arg] That Mithridates, king of Pontus, spoke the languages of twenty-five nations; and that Quintus Ennius said that he had three hearts, because he was proficient in three tongues, Greek, Oscan, and Latin.

QUINTUS ENNIUS used to say that he had three hearts, because he knew how to speak Greek, Oscan, and Latin. But Mithridates, the celebrated king of Pontus and Bithynia, who was overcome in war by Gnaeus Pompeius, 1 was proficient in the languages of the twenty-five races which he held under his sway. He never spoke to the men of all those nations through an interpreter, but whenever it was necessary for him to address any one of them, he used his language and speech with as much skill as if he were his fellow-countryman.

1 66–63 B.C.

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