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This city, as we all know, has been the mother and kindly nurse of many other arts, some of which she was the first to discover and reveal, while to others she gave added strength and honour and advancement; not least of all,painting was enhanced and embellished by her. For Apollodorus the painter, the first man to discover the art of mixing colours and chiaroscuro, was an Athenian. Upon his productions is inscribed:
It were easier that you blame than try to make the same.1
[p. 497] Euphranor, Nicias, Asclepiodorus, and Panaenus, the brother of Pheidias, some of them painted conquering generals, others battles, and still others the heroes of old. As, for example, Euphranor compared his own Theseus with that of Parrhasius, saying that Parrhasius's Theseus2 had fed on roses, but his on beef; for in truth Parrhasius's portrait has a certain delicacy and subtlety in its execution, and it does somewhat resemble Theseus ; but someone, on seeing Euphranor's Theseus, exclaimed, not inaptly,
Race of the great-hearted hero Erechtheus, whom once Athena
Nurtured, the daughter of Zeus.3

Euphranor has painted also, not without some animation, the cavalry battle against Epameinondas at Mantineia. The action came about in this way:4 Epameinondas the Theban, after the battle of Leuctra, was greatly elated, and conceived the desire to trample upon the prostrate Sparta, and grind her pride and self-esteem into the dust. And first he attacked with an army of seventy thousand, pillaged the Spartans' territory, and persuaded the Perioeci to revolt from them. Then he challenged to battle the forces that were drawn up in the vicinity of Mantineia; but when they did not wish or even dare to risk an engagement, but continued to await reinforcements from Athens, he broke camp by night and, without being observed by anybody, descended into Lacedaemon and almost succeeded, by a sudden [p. 499] attack, in capturing and occupying the city, which was without defenders. But when the Spartan allies perceived this, and aid for the city quickly arrived, he retired as though he were again about totum to plundering and devastating the countryside. But when he had thus deceived his enemies and quieted their suspicions, he set forth by night from Laconia and, rapidly traversing the intervening territory, appeared to the Mantineans unexpectedly, while they also were engaged in discussing the right moment for sending aid to Sparta, and ordered the Thebans to arm straightway for the attack. Accordingly the Thebans, who took great pride in their skill at arms, advanced to the attack and encircled the city walls. There was consternation among the Mantineans, and shouting and running hither and thither, since they were unable to repulse this assembled force which was bursting upon them like a torrent, nor did any thought of possible succour occur to their minds. At this crucial and fateful moment the Athenians were descending from the heights to the plain of Mantineia, with no knowledge of this turn of fortune or of the keenness of the struggle, but were proceeding leisurely on their journey. However, when one of the Mantineans ran out with report of the danger, although the Athenians were few in comparison with the great numbers of their enemy, and although they were weary from their march, and none of their other allies was at hand, nevertheless they straightway took their places in battle-array with almost their whole number, while the cavalry donned their armour and rode ahead of [p. 501] the rest, and under the very gates and the wall of the eity engaged in a sharp cavalry encounter; the Athenians prevailed and rescued Mantineia from the clutches of Epameinondas.

This was the action which Euphranor depicted, and in his portrayal of the battle one may see the clash of conflict and the stout resistance abounding in boldness and courage and spirit. But I do not think you would award judgement to the painter in comparison with the general, nor would you bear with those who prefer the picture to the trophy of victory, or the imitation to the actuality.

1 Cf. Pliny, Natural History, xxxv. 9. 62, where the verse is ascribed to Zeuxis; for other references see Edmonds, Elegy and Iambus (in the L.C.L.), ii. p. 24.

2 Cf. Pliny, Natural History, xxxv. 9. 69.

3 Homer, Il. ii. 547.

4 Cf. Life of AgesilaĆ¼s, chaps. xxxiv.-xxxv. (615 c-616 a); Xenophon, Hellenica, vii. 5; Diodorus, xv. 82-84.

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