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Yesterday we forgot, it seems, to remark that the age of Alexander had the good fortune to produce both many artistic achievements and many men of great talent. Perhaps, however, this was not part of Alexander's good fortune, but rather that of the artists, to have obtained as witness and spectator of their achievements the man who was both best able to judge of their success and to reward them most liberally. At any rate, it is said that, when Archestratus, a poet of a later age, who, though an accomplished writer, was passing his days in poverty and neglect, someone remarked to him, ‘If you had been born in Alexander's time, for every verse he would have given you a Cyprus or a Phoenicia.’ And I think that the foremost of the artists of that age became so, not because they lived in Alexander's day, but through what Alexander did for them. For a good climate and a lightness of the surrounding air produces a bountiful harvest; and likewise the favour, esteem, and benignity shown by a king evokes a rich increase in the arts and in men of talent. And, conversely, through jealousy [p. 425] and parsimony or emulous rivalry on the part of monarchs all artistic production is quenched and perishes.

Thus the despot Dionysius,1 as the story goes, while listening to a celebrated harper, engaged to give him a talent.2 Next day, when the man asked for the fulfilment of the promise, Dionysius said, ‘Yesterday I was delighted with your performance, and during the time that you were singing I also delighted you with hopes ! The result is that at that very time you were receiving full pay for the pleasure you gave by having your pleasure too!’ Alexander,3 the tyrant of Pherae (this last should be his only appellation ; he should not be permitted to disgrace the name of Alexander), as he watched a tragic actor, felt himself much moved to pity through enjoyment of the acting. He jumped up, therefore, and left the theatre at a rapid pace, exclaiming that it would be a dreadful thing, if, when he was slaughtering so many citizens, he should be seen to weep over the sufferings of Hecuba and Polyxena. And he came near visiting punishment upon the actor because the man had softened his heart, as iron in the fire.

Archelaüs4 was thought to be somewhat niggardly in his favours, and Timotheus liked to hint at this by often chanting this refrain :

Over the earth-born silver you rave.
But Archelaüs, with some wit, chanted in reply :
That, however, is what you crave.
[p. 427]

Ateas, the Scythian king, took the flute-player Ismenias captive, and ordered him to play at a banquet. The rest were delighted, and applauded, but Ateas swore his horse's neighing was sweeter to his ear.5 So far from the Muses' habitation did he allow his ears to dwell, and his soul he kept in the mangers,better attuned to hear, not horses' neigh,but asses ' bray ! At the court of monarchs such as these what advancement or esteem could there be for Art, or for Poetry and Music of excellence? Nor, again, could artistic endeavour flourish at the court of those who wish to be rival performers in these arts, and thus through malice and ill-will suppress the true artists. Such a prince was Dionysius (to use him again as an example), who threw the poet Philoxenus6 into the stone-quarries ; for when Dionysius ordered him to correct a tragedy of his, Philoxenus cancelled the whole piece from the very beginning to the final flourish.7

Philip also was in these matters somewhat more petty and childish than became him, since he had acquired his knowledge late in life. Thus they tell the tale that Philip8 once argued with a certain harp-player about the technique of his instrument, and even thought he was confuting the man; but the harp-player smiled gently and said, ‘God forbid, your Majesty, that you should ever fall so low as to know more of these matters than I.’

1 Cf. Moralia, 41 d-e.

2 £200, or $1000.

3 Cf. Life of Pelopidas, xxix. (293 f); Aelian, Varia Historia, xiv. 40.

4 Cf. Moralia, 177 b, and the note.

5 Cf. Moralia, 174 f, and the note.

6 Ibid. 471 e; Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, v. 22 (63); Aelian, Varia Historia, xii. 44; Diodorus, xv. 6.

7 The coronis at the end of the roll.

8 Cf. Moralia, 67 f, 179 b, 634 d.

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