previous next
21. When Marcellus was recalled by the Romans to the war in their home territories, he carried back with him the greater part and the most beautiful of the dedicatory offerings in Syracuse, that they might grace his triumph and adorn his city. For before this time Rome neither had nor knew about such elegant and exquisite productions, nor was there any love there for such graceful and subtle art; [2] but filled full of barbaric arms and bloody spoils, and crowned round about with memorials and trophies of triumphs, she was not a gladdening or a reassuring sight, nor one for unwarlike and luxurious spectators. Indeed, as Epaminondas called the Boeotian plain a ‘dancing floor of Ares,’ and as Xenophon1 speaks of Ephesus as a ‘work-shop of war,’ so, it seems to me, one might at that time have called Rome, in the language of Pindar, ‘a precinct of much-warring Ares.’ 2 [3] Therefore with the common people Marcellus won more favour because he adorned the city with objects that had Hellenic grace and charm and fidelity; but with the elder citizens Fabius Maximus was more popular. For he neither disturbed nor brought away anything of this sort from Tarentum, when that city was taken, but while he carried off the money and the other valuables, he suffered the statues to remain in their places, adding the well-known saying: [4] ‘Let us leave these gods in their anger for the Tarentines.’ 3 And they blamed Marcellus, first, because he made the city odious, in that not only men, but even gods were led about in her triumphal processions like captives; and again, because, when the people was accustomed only to war or agriculture, [5] and was inexperienced in luxury and ease, but, like the Heracles of Euripides, was
Plain, unadorned, in a great crisis brave and true,
4 he made them idle and full of glib talk about arts and artists, so that they spent a great part of the day in such clever disputation. Notwithstanding such censure, Marcellus spoke of this with pride even to the Greeks, declaring that he had taught the ignorant Romans to admire and honour the wonderful and beautiful productions of Greece.

1 Hell. iii. 4,17.

2 Pyth. ii. 1 f.

3 Cf. the Fabius Maximus, xxii. 5.

4 A fragment of the lost Licymnius of Euripides (Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.2 p. 507).

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 Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1917)
hide References (6 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: