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Timaeus Blinded by Personal Malignity

For my part I cannot feel satisfied with his abuse of
Agathocles defended against the aspersions of Timaeus.
Agathocles either, even admitting him to have been the worst of men. I refer to the passage at the end of his History in which he asserts that in his youth Agathocles was "a common stale, extravagantly addicted to every unnatural vice," and that "when he died, his wife in the course of her lamentations exclaimed Ah, what have I not done for you I what have you not done to me?" To such language one can only repeat what has been already said in the case of Demochares, and express one's astonishment at such extravagant virulence. For that Agathocles must have had fine natural qualities is evident from the narrative of Timaeus itself. That a man who came as a runaway slave to Syracuse, from the potter's wheel and smoke and clay, at the early age of eighteen, should have within a short time advanced from that humble beginning to be master of all Sicily, and after being a terror to the Carthaginians, should have grown old in office and died in enjoyment of the royal title,—does not this prove that Agathocles had some great and admirable qualities, and many endowments and talents for administration? In view of these the historian ought not to have recounted to posterity only what served to discredit and defame this man, but those facts also which were to his honour. For that is the proper function of history. Blinded, however, by personal malignity, he has recorded for us with bitterness and exaggeration all his defects; while his eminent achievements he has passed over in entire silence: seeming not to be aware that in history such silence is as mendacious as misstatement. The part of his history, therefore, which was added by him for the gratification of his personal spite I have passed over, but not what was really germane to his subject. . . .

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