When Zeno the philosopher1
was suffering the agonies of the torture because of the conspiracy he had entered into against
the tyrant Nearchus and was being asked by Nearchus who his fellow conspirators were, he
replied, "Would that I were as much the master of my body as I am of my tongue!"Const. Exc. 4, pp. 296-297.
When Zeno's native city was being ground down by the tyranny of Nearchus,
Zeno formed a conspiracy against the tyrant. But he was found out, and when he was asked by
Nearchus, while suffering the agonies of the torture, who his fellow conspirators were, he
replied, "Would that I were as much the master of my body as I am of my tongue!"
And when the tyrant made the torture more and more severe, Zeno still
withstood it for a while; and then, being eager to be rid at last of the agony and at the same
time to be revenged upon Nearchus, he devised the following plan.
During the greatest intensity of the torture, pretending that his spirit was yielding
to his bodily pains, he cried out, "Relax it! I will tell the whole truth." And when they did
so, he asked Nearchus to come near and listen to him privately, asserting that many matters he
was about to disclose would best be kept secret.
tyrant came up to him readily and placed his ear close to Zeno's lips, Zeno took the tyrant's
ear into his mouth and sank his teeth into it. And when the attendants quickly approached and
applied every torment to make Zeno relax his hold, he held on all the tighter.
Finally, being unable to shake the fortitude of the man, they stabbed
him to death that they might in this way break the hold of his teeth. By this device Zeno got
release from the agonies he was suffering and exacted of the tyrant the only punishment within
his grasp.Const. Exc. 2 (1), pp. 225-226.
[Many generations later Dorieus2
Lacedaemonian came to Sicily
, and taking back the land
founded the city of Heracleia.3
Since the city grew rapidly, the Carthaginians, being jealous
of it and also afraid that it would grow stronger than Carthage
and take from the Phoenicians their sovereignty, came up against it with
a great army, took it by storm, and razed it to the ground. But this affair we shall discuss in
detail in connection with the period in which it falls.]Diod.