previous next
[23]

The Corinthians, when they were subject to Philip, not only sided with him in his quarrel with the Romans, but individually behaved so contemptuously towards the Romans that certain persons ventured to pour down filth upon the Roman ambassadors when passing by their house. For this and other offences, however, they soon paid the penalty, for a considerable army was sent thither, and the city itself was razed to the ground by Leucius Mummius;1 and the other countries as far as Macedonia became subject to the Romans, different commanders being sent into different countries; but the Sicyonians obtained most of the Corinthian country. Polybius, who speaks in a tone of pity of the events connected with the capture of Corinth, goes on to speak of the disregard shown by the army for the works of art and votive offerings; for he says that he was present and saw paintings that had been flung to the ground and saw the soldiers playing dice on these. Among the paintings he names that of Dionysus by Aristeides,2 to which, according to some writers, the saying, "Nothing in comparison with the Dionysus," referred;3 and also the painting of Heracles in torture in the robe of Deianeira. Now I have not seen the latter, but I saw the Dionysus, a most beautiful work, on the walls of the temple of Ceres in Rome; but when recently the temple was burned,4 the painting perished with it. And I may almost say that the most and best of the other dedicatory offerings at Rome came from there; and the cities in the neighborhood of Rome also obtained some; for Mummius, being magnanimous rather than fond of art, as they say, readily shared with those who asked.5 And when Leucullus built the Temple of Good Fortune and a portico, he asked Mummius for the use of the statues which he had, saying that he would adorn the temple with them until the dedication and then give them back. However, he did not give them back, but dedicated them to the goddess, and then bade Mummius to take them away if he wished. But Mummius took it lightly, for he cared nothing about them, so that he gained more repute than the man who dedicated them. Now after Corinth had remained deserted for a long time,6 it was restored again, because of its favorable position, by the deified Caesar, who colonized it with people that belonged for the most part to the freedmen class. And when these were removing the ruins and at the same time digging open the graves, they found numbers of terra-cotta reliefs, and also many bronze vessels. And since they admired the workmanship they left no grave unransacked; so that, well supplied with such things and disposing of them at a high price, they filled Rome with Corinthian "mortuaries," for thus they called the things taken from the graves, and in particular the earthenware. Now at the outset the earthenware was very highly prized, like the bronzes of Corinthian workmanship, but later they ceased to care much for them, since the supply of earthen vessels failed and most of them were not even well executed. The city of the Corinthians, then, was always great and wealthy, and it was well equipped with men skilled both in the affairs of state and in the craftsman's arts; for both here and in Sicyon the arts of painting and modelling and all such arts of the craftsman flourished most. The city had territory, however, that was not very fertile, but rifted and rough; and from this fact all have called Corinth "beetling," and use the proverb, “"Corinth is both beetle-browed and full of hollows."”Source unknown

1 Cf. 8. 4. 8 and footnote.

2 According to Pliny Nat. Hist. 35.39, Aristeides of Thebes (fl. about 360 B.C.) was by some believed to be the inventor of painting in wax and in encaustic. See also Pliny N.H. 35.98 f

3 i.e., in speaking of the paintings of other artists. But the more natural meaning of the saying is, "That has nothing to do with Dionysus"; and it appears, originally at least, to have been a protest of spectators against the omission of Dionysus and his satyrs, or of merely the dithyrambs, from a dramatic performance (see Tozer, Selections, p. 221).

4 31 B.C.

5 According to Vell. Pat. 1.13.4, Mummius told the men who were entrusted with taking these pictures and statues to Rome that, if they lost them, they would have to replace them with new ones!

6 From 146 to 44 B.C.

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 (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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.
44 BC (1)
360 BC (1)
31 BC (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: