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Orophernes, Attalus, And Prusias

After reigning for a short time in Cappadocia in utter contempt of the customs of his
The evil rule of Orophernes.
country, Orophernes introduced the organised debaucheries of Ionia.1 . . .

It has happened to not a few, from the desire for increasing their wealth, to lose their life along with their money. It was from being captivated by such passions that Orophernes, king of Cappadocia, perished and was expelled from his kingdom. But having briefly narrated the restoration of this king (Ariarathes), I will now bring back my narrative to its regular course; for at present I have, to the exclusion of Greek affairs, selected from those of Asia the events connected with Cappadocia out of their proper order, because it was impossible to separate the voyage of Ariarathes from Italy from his restoration to his kingdom.2 I will therefore now go back to the history of Greece during this period, in which a peculiar and extraordinary affair took place in regard to the city of Oropus, of which I will give the whole story from beginning to end, going both backward and forward in point of time, that I may not render the history of an episode which was made up of separate events, and was not on the whole important, still more insignificant and indistinct by relating it under different years. For when an event as a whole does not appear to readers to be worth attention, I cannot certainly expect a student to follow its details scattered at intervals through my history.3 . . .

For the most part when things go well men generally get on together; but in times of failure, in their annoyance at events, they become sore and irritable with their friends. And this is what happened to Orophernes, when his affairs began to take a wrong turn in his relations with Theotimus,—both indulging in mutual recriminations. . . .

1 τὴν Ἰακὴν καὶ τεχνητικὴν ἀσωτίαν. The translation given above is in accordance with the explanation of Casaubon, who quoted Horace Odes 3, 6, 21),Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos matura virgo.” Orophernes had been sent to Ionia, when Antiochis had a real son (Ariarathes V.), that he might not set up a claim to the throne. He had been imposed by Antiochis on her husband Ariarathes IV. before she had a real son.

2 Orophernes was soon deposed, and Ariarathes V. restored, but we have no certain indication when this happened. See 3, 5.

3 The episode of Oropus here referred to, Polybius' s account of which is lost, was made remarkable by the visit of the three philosophers to Rome as ambassadors from Athens. The story, as far as Athens was concerned, is told by Pausanias, 7, 11, 4-7. The Athenians had been much impoverished by the events of the war with Perseus (B.C. 172-168), and had made a raid or raids of some sort upon Oropus. The Oropians appealed to Rome. The Romans referred the assessment of damages to an Achaean court at Sicyon. The Athenians failed to appear before the court at Sicyon, and were condemned by default to a fine of five hundred talents. Thereupon Carneades the Academician, Diogenes the Stoic, and Critolaus the Peripatetic were sent to plead for a remission of a fine which the Athenians were wholly unable to pay. They made a great impression on the Roman youth by their lectures, and Cato urged that they should get their answer and be sent away as soon as possible. The Senate reduced the fine to one hundred talents: but even that the Athenians could not collect; and they seem to have managed to induce the Oropians to allow an Athenian garrison to hold Oropus, and to give hostages for their fidelity to the Athenian government. This led to fresh quarrels and an appeal to the Achaean government. The Achaean Strategus, Menalcidas of Sparta, was bribed by a present of ten talents to induce an interference in behalf of Oropus. Thereupon the Athenians withdrew their garrison from Oropus, after pillaging the town, and henceforth took no part in the quarrels which ensued, arising from the demands of Menalcidas for his ten talents; which the Oropians refused to pay, on the ground that he had not helped them as he promised; quarrels which presently centred round the question of the continuance of Sparta in the Achaean league. The date of the original quarrel between Athens and Oropus is not fixed, but the mission of the philosophers was in B.C. 155. See Plutarch, Cato, 22; Pliny, N. H. 7, 112-113; Aulus Gellius, 6, 14; Cic. ad Att. 12, 23; Tusc. 4, § 5.

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155 BC (1)
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  • Cross-references to this page (4):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 12.23
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7.11.4
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 4.5
    • Plutarch, Cato Minor, 22
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