previous next
[27]

Also the Ilium of today was a kind of village-city when the Romans first set foot on Asia and expelled Antiochus the Great from the country this side of Taurus. At any rate, Demetrius of Scepsis says that, when as a lad he visited the city about that time, he found the settlement so neglected that the buildings did not so much as have tiled roofs. And Hegesianax says that when the Galatae crossed over from Europe they needed a stronghold and went up into the city for that reason, but left it at once because of its lack of walls. But later it was greatly improved. And then it was ruined again by the Romans under Fimbria, who took it by siege in the course of the Mithridatic war. Fimbria had been sent as quaestor with Valerius Flaccus the consul when the latter was appointed1 to the command against Mithridates; but Fimbria raised a mutiny and slew the consul in the neighborhood of Bithynia, and was himself set up as lord of the army; and when he advanced to Ilium, the llians would not admit him, as being a brigand, and therefore he applied force and captured the place on the eleventh day. And when he boasted that he himself had overpowered on the eleventh day the city which Agamemnon had only with difficulty captured in the tenth year, although the latter had with him on his expedition the fleet of a thousand vessels and the whole of Greece, one of the Ilians said: "Yes, for the city's champion was no Hector." Now Sulla came over and overthrew Fimbria, and on terms of agreement sent Mithridates away to his homeland, but he also consoled the Ilians by numerous improvements. In my time, however, the deified Caesar2 was far more thoughtful of them, at the same time also emulating the example of Alexander; for Alexander set out to provide for them on the basis of a renewal of ancient kinship, and also because at the same time he was fond of Homer; at any rate, we are told of a recension of the poetry of Homer, the Recension of the Casket, as it is called, which Alexander, along with Callisthenes and Anaxarchus, perused and to a certain extent annotated, and then deposited in a richly wrought casket which he had found amongst the Persian treasures.3 Accordingly, it was due both to his zeal for the poet and to his descent from the Aeacidae who reigned as kings of the Molossians—where, as we are also told, Andromache, who had been the wife of Hector, reigned as queen—that Alexander was kindly disposed towards the Ilians. But Caesar, not only being fond of Alexander, but also having better known evidences of kinship with the llians, felt encouraged to bestow kindness upon them with all the zest of youth: better known evidences, first, because he was a Roman, and because the Romans believe Aeneias to have been their original founder; and secondly, because the name Iulius was derived from that of a certain Iulus who was one of his ancestors,4 and this Iulus got his appellation from the Iulus who was one of the descendants of Aeneas. Caesar therefore allotted territory to them end also helped them to preserve their freedom and their immunity from taxation; and to this day they remain in possession of these favors. But that this is not the site of the ancient Ilium, if one considers the matter in accordance with Homer's account, is inferred from the following considerations. But first I must give a general description of the region in question, beginning at that point on the coast where I left off.

1 i.e., in 86 B.C. by Cinna the consul, the leader of the popular party at Rome.

2 Julius Caesar.

3 According to Plut. Alexander 8, "Alexander took with him Aristotle's recension of the poem, called the Iliad of the Casket, and always kept it lying beside his dagger under his pillow, as Onesicritus informs us"; and "the casket was the most precious of the treasures of Dareius" (ibid. 26).

4 i.e., of the Julians gens.

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 English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
load focus Greek (1877)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
86 BC (1)
hide References (6 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: