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Egypt — Character of Tlepolemus

Tlepolemus,1 the chief minister in the kingdom of
Character and extravagance of Tlepolemus.
Egypt, was a young man, but one who had spent all his life in the camp, and with reputation. By nature aspiring and ambitious, he had done much that was glorious in the service of his country, but much that was evil also. As a general in a campaign, and as an administrator of military expeditions, he was a man of great ability, high natural courage, and extremely well fitted to deal personally with soldiers. But on the other hand, for the management of complicated affairs, he was deficient in diligence and sobriety, and had the least faculty in the world for the keeping of money or the economical administration of finance. And it was this that before long not only caused his own fall, but seriously damaged the kingdom as well. For though he had complete control of the exchequer, he spent the greater part of the day in playing ball and in matches in martial exercises with the young men; and directly he left these sports he collected drinking parties, and spent the greater part of his life in these amusements and with these associates. But that part of his day which he devoted to business, he employed in distributing, or, I might rather say, in throwing away the royal treasures among the envoys from Greece and the Dionysian actors, and, more than all, among the officers and soldiers of the palace guard. He was utterly incapable of saying no, and bestowed anything there was at hand on any one who said anything to please him. The evil which he himself thus began continually increased. For every one who had received a favour expressed his gratitude in extravagant language, both for the sake of what he had got and of what he hoped to get in the future. And thus being informed of the universal praise which was bestowed on him, of the toasts proposed in his honour at banquets, of complimentary inscriptions, and songs sung in his praise by the public singers all through the town, he became entirely befooled, and grew daily more and more puffed up with conceit, and more reckless in squandering favours upon foreigners and soldiers.

1 See 15, 25.

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