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Demetrius of Corinth

Tacitus, Histories 4.40

On the day when Domitian entered the senate, he spoke briefly and in moderate terms of his father's and brother's absence and of his own youth; his bearing was becoming; and since his character was as yet unknown, the confusion that frequently covered his face was regarded as a mark of modesty. When Domitian brought up the question of restoring Galba's honours, Curtius Montanus moved that Piso's memory also should be honoured. The senate passed both motions, but the one with regard to Piso was never carried into effect. Then a commission was selected by lot to restore property stolen during the war, to determine and replace the bronze tablets of the laws that had fallen down from age, to purge the public records of the additions with which the flattery of the times had defiled them, and to check public expenditures. His praetorship was given back to Tettius Julianus after it became known that he had fled to Vespasian for protection: Grypus retained his office. Then the senate decided to take up again the case between Musonius Rufus and Publius Celer; Publius was condemned and the shades of Soranus were appeased. That day which was marked by this act of public severity was not without its private glory also. Musonius was held to have carried through an act of justice, but public opinion took a different view of Demetrius the Cynic, because he had shown more selfish interest than honourable purpose in defending Publius, who was manifestly guilty: Publius himself in the hour of danger had neither the courage nor the eloquence to meet it. Now that the signal had been given for vengeance on the informers, Junius Mauricus asked Caesar to give the senate power to examine the imperial records that they might know who the informers were that had brought each accusation. Domitian replied that on a matter of such importance he must consult the emperor.

Dio Cassius, Epitome of Book 65

Mucianus made a great number of remarkable statements to Vespasian against the Stoics, asserting, for instance, that they are full of empty boasting, and that if one of them lets his beard grow long, elevates his eyebrows, wears his coarse brown mantle thrown back over his shoulder and goes barefooted, he straightway lays claim to wisdom, bravery and righteousness, and gives himself great airs, even though he may not know either his letters or how to swim, as the saying goes. They look down upon everybody and call a man of good family a mollycoddle, the low-born slender-witted, a handsome person licentious, an ugly person a simpleton, the rich man greedy, and the poor man servile.

And Vespasian immediately expelled from Rome all the philosophers except Musonius; Demetrius and Hostilianus he even deported to islands. Hostilianus, though he decidedly would not desist when he was told about the sentence of exile (he happened to be conversing with somebody), but merely inveighed all the more strongly against monarchy, nevertheless straightway withdrew. Demetrius, on the contrary, would not yield even then, and Vespasian commanded that this message should be given to him: “You are doing everything to force me to kill you, but I do not slay a barking dog.”

cynics/demetrius_of_corinth.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:20 (external edit)