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The Stoic philosophers Antipater, Archedemus, and Nestor were natives of Tarsus: and besides these, the two Athenodori, one of whom, Cordylion, lived with Marcus Cato, and died at his house; the other, the son of Sandon, called Cananites, from some village, was the preceptor of Cæsar,1 who conferred on him great honours. In his old age he returned to his native country, where he dissolved the form of government existing there, which was unjustly administered by various persons, and among them by Boëthus, a bad poet and a bad citizen, who had acquired great power by courting the favour of the people. Antony contributed to increase his importance by having in the first instance commended a poem which he had composed on the victory at Philippi; his influence was still augmented by the facility which he possessed (and it is very general among the inhabitants of Tarsus) of discoursing at great length, and without preparation, upon any given subject. Antony also had promised the people of Tarsus to establish a gymnasium; he appointed Boëthus chief director of it, and intrusted to him the expenditure of the funds. He was detected in secreting, among other things, even the oil, and when charged with this offence by his accusers in the presence of Antony, he deprecated his anger by this, among other remarks in his speech, that as Homer had sung the praises of ‘Achilles, Agamemnon, and Ulysses, so have I sung yours. I therefore ought not to be brought before you on such a charge.’ The accuser answered, ‘Homer did not steal oil from Agamemnon2 nor Achilles; but you have stolen it from the gymnasium, and therefore you shall be punished.’ Yet he contrived to avert the displeasure of Antony by courteous offices, and continued to plunder the city until the death of his protector.

Athenodorus found the city in this state, and for some time attempted to control Boëthus and his accomplices by argument; but finding that they continued to commit all kinds of injustice, he exerted the power given to him by Cæsar, condemned them to banishment, and expelled them. They had previously caused to be written upon the walls, ‘Action for the young, counsel for the middle-aged, discharging wind for the old;’ but Athenodorus, accepting it as a jest, gave orders to inscribe by the side of it, ‘Thunder for the old.’ Some one, however, in contempt for his good manners, having a lax state of body, bespattered the gate and wall of his house as he passed by it at night. Athenodorus, in an assembly of the people, accusing persons of being factiously disposed, said, ‘ We may perceive the sickly condition of the city, and its bad habit of body, from many circumstances, but particularly from its discharges.’

These men were Stoics, but Nestor, of our time, the tutor of Marcellus, son of Octavia, the sister of Cæsar, was of the Academic sect. He was also at the head of the government, having succeeded Athenodorus, and continued to be honoured both by the Roman governors and by the citizens.

1 Augustus.

2 Groskurd, with some probability, supposes the name of Achilles to be here omitted.

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