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Phalaris - The Source Material

Phalaris (Greek: Φάλαρις) was the tyrant of Acragas (now Agrigento) in Sicily, from approximately 570 to 554 BC. Phalaris developed a reputation for being a proactive leader and building up a prosperous city, yet was alleged to have been cannibalistic and brutal. His best known story is of him and the brazen bull, which was used to execute individuals by burning them to death inside the bull. Read more about Phalaris below. The listings are ordered by how many times Phalaris is mentioned in the text.

Diodorus Siculus: Fragments of Book 9

The sculptor Perilaus made a brazen bull for Phalaris the tyrant to use in punishing his own people, but he was himself the first to make trial of that terrible form of punishment. For, in general, those who plan an evil thing aimed at others are usually snared in their own devices. Const. Exc. 4, p. 286.

This Phalaris burned to death Perilaus, the well-known Attic worker in bronze, in the brazen bull. Perilaus had fashioned in bronze the contrivance of the bull, making small sounding pipes in the nostrils and fitting a door for an opening in the bull's side and this bull he brings as a present to Phalaris. And Phalaris welcomes the man with presents and gives orders that the contrivance be dedicated to the gods. Then that worker in bronze opens the side, the evil device of treachery, and says with inhuman savagery, “If you ever wish to punish some man, O Phalaris, shut him up within the bull and lay a fire beneath it; by his groanings the bull will be thought to bellow and his cries of pain will give you pleasure as they come through the pipes in the nostrils.” When Phalaris learned of this scheme, he was filled with loathing of the man and says, “Come then, Perilaus, do you be the first to illustrate this; imitate those who will play the pipes and make clear to me the working of your device.” And as soon as Perilaus had crept in, to give an example, so he thought, of the sound of the pipes, Phalaris closes up the bull and heaps fire under it. But in order that the man's death might not pollute the work of bronze, he took him out, when half-dead, and hurled him down the cliffs. This tale about the bull is recounted by Lucian of Syria, by Diodorus, by Pindar, and countless others beside them. Tzetz. Hist. 1. 646-668.

Phalaris, seeing a multitude of doves being pursued by a single hawk, remarked, “Do you observe, sirs, how fear will make so great a multitude flee before a single pursuer? And yet if they should summon the courage to turn about, they would easily overcome their pursuer.” (But it was Phalaris himself who was falsifying; for the victory was won by courage and not by superiority of numbers.) And as a result of this speech Phalaris lost his dominion, as it is recorded in the section “On the Succession of Kings.” 1)

Lucian: Phalaris, I

This oration, as well as Phalaris II, seems to be merely declamatory, written by Lucian as a rhetorical piece. It's object is to say as much in favour of the tyrant of Agrigentum, Phalaris, as possible given his tyrranical reputation. The piece can be considered as an argumentative oration not without merit as a rhetorical piece. Lucian pleads the cause with warmth and energy and supports Phalaris as best as a character like Phalaris can be. - Based on Francklin

We are sent to you, Priests of Delphi, by Phalaris our master, with instructions to present this bull to the God, and to speak the necessary words on behalf of the offering and its donor. Such being our errand, it remains for us to deliver his message, which is as follows:

‘It is my desire above all things, men of Delphi, to appear to the Greeks as I really am, and not in that character in which Envy and Malice, availing themselves of the ignorance of their hearers, have represented me: and if to the Greeks in general, then most of all to you, who are holy men, associates of the God, sharers (I had almost said) of his hearth and home. If I can clear myself before you, if I can convince you that I am not the cruel tyrant I am supposed to be, then I may consider myself cleared in the eyes of all the world. For the truth of my statements, I appeal to the testimony of the God himself. Methinks he is not likely to be deceived by lying words. It may be an easy matter to mislead men: but to escape the penetration of a God — and that God Apollo — is impossible.

‘I was a man of no mean family; in birth, in breeding, in education, the equal of any man in Agrigentum. In my political conduct I was ever public-spirited, in my private life mild and unassuming; no unseemly act, no deed of violence, oppression, or headstrong insolence was ever laid to my charge in those early days. But our city at that time was divided into factions: I saw myself exposed to the plots of my political opponents, who sought to destroy me by every means: if I would live in security, if I would preserve the city from destruction, there was but one course open to me — to seize upon the government, and thereby baffle my opponents, put an end to their machinations, and bring my countrymen to their senses. There were not a few who approved my design: patriots and men of cool judgement, they understood my sentiments, and saw that I had no alternative. With their help, I succeeded without difficulty in my enterprise.

‘From that moment, the disturbances ceased. My opponents, became my subjects, I their ruler; and the city was freed from dissension. From executions and banishments and confiscations I abstained, even in the case of those who had plotted against my life. Such strong measures are indeed never more necessary than at the commencement of a new rule: but I was sanguine; I proposed to treat them as my equals, and to win their allegiance by clemency, mildness, and humanity. My first act was to reconcile myself with my enemies, most of whom I invited to my table and took into my confidence.

‘I found the city in a ruinous condition, owing to the neglect of the magistrates, who had commonly been guilty of embezzlement, if not of wholesale plunder. I repaired the evil by means of aqueducts, beautified the city with noble buildings, and surrounded it with walls. The public revenues were easily increased by proper attention on the part of the fiscal authorities. I provided for the education of the young and the maintenance of the old; and for the general public I had games and spectacles, banquets and doles. As for rape and seduction, tyrannical violence or intimidation, I abhorred the very name of such things.

‘I now began to think of laying down my power; and how to do so with safety was my only concern. The cares of government and public business had begun to weigh upon me; I found my position as burdensome as it was invidious. But it was still a question, how to render the city independent of such assistance for the future. And whilst I— honest man! — was busied with such thoughts, my enemies were even then combining against me, and debating the ways and means of rebellion; conspiracies were forming, arms and money were being collected, neighbour states were invited to assist, embassies were on their way to Sparta and Athens. The torments that were in store for me, had I fallen into their hands, I afterwards learnt from their public confession under torture, from which it appeared that they had vowed to tear me limb from limb with their own hands. For my escape from such a fate, I have to thank the Gods, who unmasked the conspiracy; and, in particular, the God of Delphi, who sent dreams to warn me, and dispatched messengers with detailed information.

‘And now, men of Delphi, I would ask your advice. Imagine yourselves today in the perilous situation in which I then stood; and tell me what was my proper course. I had almost fallen unawares into the hands of my enemies, and was casting about for means of safety. Leave Delphi for a while, and transport yourselves in spirit to Agrigentum: behold the preparations of my enemies: listen to their threats; and say, what is your counsel? Shall I sit quietly on the brink of destruction, exercising clemency and long-suffering as heretofore? bare my throat to the sword? see my nearest and dearest slaughtered before my eyes? What would this be but sheer imbecility? Shall I not rather bear myself like a man of spirit, give the rein to my rational indignation, avenge my injuries upon the conspirators, and use my present power with a view to my future security? This, I know, would have been your advice.

‘Now observe my procedure. I sent for the guilty persons, heard their defence, produced my evidence, established every point beyond a doubt; and when they themselves admitted the truth of the accusation, I punished them; for I took it ill, not that they had plotted against my life, but that on their account I was compelled to abandon my original policy. From that day to this, I have consulted my own safety by punishing conspiracy as often as it has shown itself.

‘And men call me cruel! They do not stop to ask who was the aggressor; they condemn what they think the cruelty of my vengeance, but pass lightly over the provocation, and the nature of the crime. It is as if a man were to see a temple-robber hurled from the rock at Delphi, and, without reflecting how the transgressor had stolen into your temple by night, torn down the votive-offerings, and laid hands upon the graven image of the God, were to exclaim against the inhumanity of persons who, calling themselves Greeks and holy men, could yet find it in them to inflict this awful punishment upon their fellow Greek, and that within sight of the holy place;— for the rock, as I am told, is not far from the city. Surely you would laugh to scorn such an accusation as this; and your cruel treatment of the impious would be universally applauded.

‘But so it is: the public does not inquire into the character of a ruler, into the justice or injustice of his conduct; the mere name of tyranny ensures men’s hatred; the tyrant might be an Aeacus, a Minos, a Rhadamanthus,— they would be none the less eager for his destruction; their thoughts ever run on those tyrants who have been bad rulers, and the good, because they bear the same name, are held in the like detestation. I have heard that many of your tyrants in Greece have been wise men, who, labouring under that opprobrious title, have yet given proofs of benevolence and humanity, and whose pithy maxims are even now stored up in your temple among the treasures of the God.

‘Observe, moreover, the prominence given to punishment by all constitutional legislators; they know that when the fear of punishment is wanting, nothing else is of avail. And this is doubly so with us who are tyrants; whose power is based upon compulsion; who live in the midst of enmity and treachery. The bugbear terrors of the law would never serve our turn. Rebellion is a many-headed Hydra: we cut off one guilty head, two others grow in its place. Yet we must harden our hearts, smite them off as they grow, and — like lolaus — sear the wounds; thus only shall we hold our own. The man who has once become involved in such a strife as this must play the part that he has undertaken; to show mercy would be fatal. Do you suppose that any man was ever so brutal, so inhuman, as to rejoice in torture and groans and bloodshed for their own sake, when there was no occasion for punishment? Many is the time that I have wept while others suffered beneath the lash, and groaned in spirit over the hard fate that subjected me to a torment more fierce and more abiding than theirs. For to the man who is benevolent by nature, and harsh only by compulsion, it is more painful to inflict punishment than it would be to undergo it.

‘Now I will speak my mind frankly. If I had to choose between punishing innocent men, and facing death myself, believe me, I should have no hesitation in accepting the latter alternative. But if I am asked, whether I had rather die an undeserved death than give their deserts to those who plotted against my life, I answer no; and once more, Delphians, I appeal to you: which is better — to die when I deserve not death, or to spare my enemies who deserve not mercy? [Footnote: Apparently the speaker intended to repeat the last pair of alternatives in different words: instead of which, he gives us one of those alternatives twice over. Lucian’s tautologic genius fails him for once.] No man surely can be such a fool that he would not rather live than preserve his enemies by his death. Yet in spite of this how many have I spared who were palpably convicted of conspiring against me; such were Acanthus, Timocrates, and his brother Leogoras, all of whom I saved out of regard for our former intercourse.

‘If you would learn more of me, apply to any of the strangers who have visited Agrigentum; and see what account they give of the treatment they received, and of my hospitality to all who land on my coasts. My messengers are waiting for them in every port, to inquire after their names and cities, that they may not go away without receiving due honour at my hands. Some — the wisest of the Greeks — have come expressly to visit me, so far are they from avoiding intercourse with me. It was but lately that I received a visit from the sage Pythagoras. The account that he had heard of me was belied by his experience; and on taking his departure he expressed admiration of my justice, and deplored the circumstances which made severity a duty. Now is it likely that one who is so benevolent to strangers should deal unjustly with his fellow citizens? is it not to be supposed that the provocation has been unusually great?

‘So much then in defence of my own conduct; I have spoken the words of truth and justice, and would persuade myself that I have merited your approbation rather than your resentment. And now I must explain to you the origin of my present offering, and the manner in which it came into my hands. For it was by no instructions of mine that the statuary made this bull: far be it from me to aspire to the possession of such works of art! A countryman of my own, one Perilaus, an admirable artist, but a man of evil disposition, had so far mistaken my character as to think that he could win my regard by the invention of a new form of torture; the love of torture, he thought, was my ruling passion. He it was who made the bull and brought it to me. I no sooner set eyes on this beautiful and exquisite piece of workmanship, which lacked only movement and sound to complete the illusion, than I exclaimed: “Here is an offering fit for the God of Delphi: to him I must send it.” “And what will you say,” rejoined Perilaus, who stood by, “when you see the ingenious mechanism within it, and learn the purpose it is designed to serve?” He opened the back of the animal, and continued: “When you are minded to punish any one, shut him up in this receptacle, apply these pipes to the nostrils of the bull, and order a fire to be kindled beneath. The occupant will shriek and roar in unremitting agony; and his cries will come to you through the pipes as the tenderest, most pathetic, most melodious of bellowings. Your victim will be punished, and you will enjoy the music.”

‘His words revolted me. I loathed the thought of such ingenious cruelty, and resolved to punish the artificer in kind. “If this is anything more than an empty boast, Perilaus,” I said to him, “if your art can really produce this effect, get inside yourself, and pretend to roar; and we will see whether the pipes will make such music as you describe.” He consented; and when he was inside I closed the aperture, and ordered a fire to be kindled. “Receive,” I cried, “the due reward of your wondrous art: let the music-master be the first to play.” Thus did his ingenuity meet with its deserts. But lest the offering should be polluted by his death, I caused him to be removed while he was yet alive, and his body to be flung dishonoured from the cliffs. The bull, after due purification, I sent as an offering to your God, with an inscription upon it, setting forth all the circumstances; the names of the donor and of the artist, the evil design of the latter, and the righteous sentence which condemned him to illustrate by his own agonized shrieks the efficacy of his musical device.

‘And now, men of Delphi, you will be doing me no more than justice, if you join my ambassadors in making sacrifice on my behalf, and set up the bull in a conspicuous part of the temple; that all men may know what is my attitude towards evil-doers, and in what manner I chastise their inordinate craving after wickedness. Herein is a sufficient indication of my character: Perilaus punished, the bull consecrated, not reserved for the bellowings of other victims. The first and last melody that issued from those pipes was wrung from their artificer; that one experiment made, the harsh, inhuman notes are silenced for ever. So much for the present offering, which will be followed by many others, so soon as the God vouchsafes me a respite from my work of chastisement.’

Such was the message of Phalaris; and his statement is in strict accordance with the facts. You may safely accept our testimony, as we are acquainted with the circumstances, and can have no object in deceiving you on the present occasion. Must entreaty be added? Then on behalf of one whose character has been misrepresented, and whose severities were forced upon him against his will, we implore you,— we who are Agrigentines, Greeks like yourselves and of Dorian origin — to accept his offer of friendship, and not to thwart his benevolent intentions towards your community and the individuals of which it is composed. Take the bull into your keeping; consecrate it; and offer up your prayers on behalf of Agrigentum and of Phalaris. Suffer us not to have come hither in vain: repulse not our master with scorn: nor deprive the God of an offering whose intrinsic beauty is only equalled by its righteous associations. 2)

Aelian: Various History Book 2


Of the Friendship betwixt Chariton and Melanippus, and the Tyrant's mercy towards them.

I will relate to you an action of Phalaris not agreeing with his disposition : for it expresseth a great humanity, and therefore seemeth not to sute with him. Chariton an Agrigentine loved Melanippus passionately, who was also an Agrigentine, of a sweet disposition and excellent form. Phalaris had injured this Melanippus in a certain business ; for he having brought an Action against a Favourite of Phalaris, the Tyrant commanded him to surcease the Suit : He not obeying, the Tyrant threatned him with death unless he submitted. So being compelled he gave over the cause, and the Judges under Phalaris null'd the proceedings ; which the young man taking ill, said he was wronged, and discovered his resentment thereof to his friend, praying him to joyn with him in a Plot against the Tyrant, intending also to ingage some other young men, whom he knew proper and ready for such an attempt. Chariton seeing him inraged and inflamed with fury, and knowing that none of the Citizens would joyn in the design through fear of the Tyrant, said that he also had formerly the same intention, and should ever be ready above all things to free his Country from Slavery ; but it was dangerous to communicate such things to many persons : wherefore he intreated Melanippus to consider it more deliberately, and to permit him to finde out an opportunity proper for the attempt. The young man yielded. Chariton thereupon undertook the whole business himself, not willing to engage his friend in it ; that if he were taken and discovered, he alone might bear the punishment, and his friend not share in the danger. He provided himself of a Falchion to assault the Tyrant when he should see a fit occasion. This could not be carried so privately, but that he was apprehended by the Guard, watchful of such things. Being carried to Prison, and tortured to make discovery of his Complices, he couragiously endured the torment. But this continuing a long time, Melanippus went to Phalaris, and confessed that he was not onely a Conspirator, but Author of the Treason. The King demanding the cause that moved him to it, he declared the whole business from the beginning ; how he was obstructed in his Suit, and that this was it which provoked him. The Tyrant wondering hereat set them both at liberty ; but commanded them immediately to depart, not onely out of all Cities belonging to the Agrigentines, but quite out of Sicily. Yet he allowed them to receive the full benefit of their estates. These and their friendships Pythia afterwards commended in these Verses:

To men, true patterns of celestial love Blest Chariton and Melanippus prove.

The God calling this love of theirs a divine friendship.3)

Eusebius: Preparation for the Gospel Book 5

Chapter XXXV

“HAPPY the man who now to my sacred dwelling approacheth, Cypselus, son of Aetion, king of illustrious Corinth.”

'So then tyrants also are happy, and not only those who conspire against tyrants:

“Cypselus, who shall work full many misfortunes to Corinth,”

and Melanippus, who wrought many blessings for the city of Gela.

'But if Cypselus was “happy,” O thou miserable god, how could Phalaris fail to be liappy too, being of like character with Cypselus? So that your oracle would have run better in this other way:

“Phalaris, happy art thou, and Melanippus likewise, Leaders and guides of mankind in the pathways of heavenly discord.”

'But I have also heard an oracle of thine in prose concerning Phalaris, praising and honouring him, because after he had discovered their conspiracy and tortured them, he admired their endurance and released them. So Loxias and his father Zeus voted Phalaris a respite from death, because he behaved mercifully towards Chariton and Melanippus. But I wish thou hadst just taught us about death and life, that life is a most noble thing. To all this let us add the following:'4)

Marcus Aurelius: Meditations Book 3

16. The body, the animal soul, the intellectual. To the body belong the senses: to the animal soul, the appetites and passions: to the intellectual, the maxims of life. To have sensible impressions exciting imaginations, is common to us with the cattle. To be moved, like puppets, by appetites and passions, is common to us with the wild beasts, with the most effeminate wretches, Phalaris, and Nero, with atheists, and with traitors to their country. If these things, then, are common to the lowest and most odious characters, this must remain as peculiar to the good man; to have the intellectual part governing and directing him in all the occurring offices of life; to love and embrace all which happens to him by order of providence; to preserve the divinity placed in his breast, pure, undisturbed by a croud of imaginations, and ever calm and well-pleased, and to follow with a graceful reverence the dictates of it as of a God; never speaking against truth, or acting against justice. And, tho’ no man believe he thus lived, with simplicity, modesty, and tranquillity; he neither takes this amiss from any one; nor quits the road which leads to the true end of life; at which he ought to arrive pure, calm, ready to part with life, and accommodated to his lot without reluctance.5)

Aristotle: Rhetoric Book 2

[5] A fable, to give an example, is that of Stesichorus concerning Phalaris, or that of Aesop on behalf of the demagogue. For Stesichorus, when the people of Himera had chosen Phalaris dictator and were on the point of giving him a body-guard, after many arguments related a fable to them: “A horse was in sole occupation of a meadow. A stag having come and done much damage to the pasture, the horse, wishing to avenge himself on the stag, asked a man whether he could help him to punish the stag. The man consented, on condition that the horse submitted to the bit and allowed him to mount him javelins in hand. The horse agreed to the terms and the man mounted him, but instead of obtaining vengeance on the stag, the horse from that time became the man's slave. So then,” said he, “do you take care lest, in your desire to avenge yourselves on the enemy, you be treated like the horse. You already have the bit, since you have chosen a dictator; if you give him a body-guard and allow him to mount you, you will at once be the slaves of Phalaris.” [6] Aesop, when defending at Samos a demagogue who was being tried for his life, related the following anecdote. “A fox, while crossing a river, was driven into a ravine. Being unable to get out, she was for a long time in sore distress, and a number of dog-fleas clung to her skin. A hedgehog, wandering about, saw her and, moved with compassion, asked her if he should remove the fleas. The fox refused and when the hedgehog asked the reason, she answered: ‘They are already full of me and draw little blood; but if you take them away, others will come that are hungry and will drain what remains to me.’ You in like manner, O Samians, will suffer no more harm from this man, for he is wealthy; but if you put him to death, others will come who are poor, who will steal and squander your public funds.” [7] Fables are suitable for public speaking, and they have this advantage that, while it is difficult to find similar things that have really happened in the past, it is easier to invent fables; for they must be invented, like comparisons, if a man is capable of seizing the analogy; and this is easy if one studies philosophy. [8] Thus, while the lessons conveyed by fables are easier to provide, those derived from facts are more useful for deliberative oratory, because as a rule the future resembles the past.6)

Lucian: Phalaris, II

This piece seems to be meant by Lucian as a kind of satirical invective against the avarice and selfishness of those who presided over the business of oracles. - Based on Francklin

Men of Delphi: I stand in no public relation to the city of Agrigentum, in no private relation to its ruler; I am bound to him neither by gratitude for past favours, nor by the prospect of future friendship: but I have heard the just and temperate plea advanced by his emissaries, and I rise to advocate the claims of religion, the interests of our community, the duties of the priesthood; I charge you, thwart not the pious intention of a mighty prince, nor deprive the God of an offering which in the intention of the donor is already his, and which is destined to serve as an eternal threefold record,— of the sculptor’s art, of inventive cruelty, and of righteous retribution. To me it seems that only to have raised this question, only to have halted between acceptance and rejection, is in itself an offence against Heaven; nay, a glaring impiety. For what is this but a sacrilege more heinous than that of the temple-robber, who does but plunder those sacred things to which you would even deny consecration? I implore you,— your fellow priest, your partner in good report (if so it may be), or in evil (should that now befall us), implores you: close not the temple-doors upon the devout worshipper; suffer us not to be known to the world as men who examine jealously into the offerings that are brought, and subject the donor to the narrow scrutiny of a court, and to the hazard of a vote. For who would not be deterred at the thought that the God accepts no offering without the previous sanction of his priests?

Already Apollo has declared his true opinion. Had he hated Phalaris, or scorned his gift, it had been easy for him to sink the gift and the ship that bore it in mid-ocean; instead, we learn that he vouchsafed them a calm passage and a safe arrival at Cirrha. Clearly the monarch’s piety is acceptable in his sight. It behoves you to confirm his decision, and to add this bull to the glories of the temple. Strange indeed, if the sender of so magnificent a gift is to meet with rejection at the temple-door, and his piety to be rewarded with the judgement that his offering is unclean.

My opponent tells a harrowing tale of butchery and violence, of plunder and abduction; it is much that he does not call himself an eyewitness thereof; we might suppose that he was but newly arrived from Agrigentum, did we not know that his travels have never carried him on board ship. In matters of this kind, it is not advisable to place much reliance even on the assertions of the supposed victims; there is no knowing how far they are speaking the truth;— as to bringing allegations ourselves, when we know nothing of the facts, that is out of the question. Granting even that something of the kind did happen, it happened in Sicily: we are at Delphi; we are not called upon to interfere. Do we propose to abandon the temple for the law-court? Are we, whose office it is to sacrifice, and minister to the God, and receive his offerings,— are we to sit here debating whether certain cities on the other side of the Ionian sea are well or ill governed? Let other men’s affairs be as they may, it is our business, as I take it, to know our own: our past history, our present situation, our best interests. We need not wait for Homer to inform us that we inhabit a land of crags, and are tillers of a rocky soil; our eyes tell us that; if we depended on our soil, we must go hungry all our days. Apollo; his temple; his oracle; his worshippers; his sacrifices;— these are the fields of the Delphians, these their revenues, their wealth, their maintenance. I can speak the truth here. It is as the poets say: we sow not, we plough not, yet all things grow for our use; for a God is our husbandman, and gives us not the good things of Greece only; all that Phrygia, all that Lydia, all that Persia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Italy, and the far North can yield,— all comes to Delphi. We live in prosperity and plenty; in the esteem of mankind we are second to none but the God himself. So it was in the beginning: so it is now: and so may it ever be!

But who has ever heard before of our putting an offering to the vote, or hindering men from paying sacrifice? No one; and herein, as I maintain, is the secret of our temple’s greatness, and of the abundant wealth of its offerings. Then let us have no innovations now, no new-fangled institutions, no inquiries into the origin and nature and nationality and pedigree of a gift; let us take what is brought to us, and set it in the store-chamber without more ado. In this way we shall best serve both the God and his worshippers. I think it would be well if, before you deliberate further on the question before you, you would consider how great and how various are the issues involved. There is the God, his temple, his sacrifices and offerings, the ancient customs and ordinances, the reputation of the oracle; again, our city as a whole, our common interests, and those of every individual Delphian among us; lastly — and I know not what consideration could seem of more vital importance to a well-judging mind —, our own credit or discredit with the world at large.

I say, then, we have to deal not with Phalaris, not with a single tyrant, not with this bull, not with so much weight of bronze,— but with every king and prince who frequents our temple at this day; with gold and silver and all the precious offerings that should pour in upon the God; that God whose interests claim our first attention. Say, why should we change the old-established usage in regard to offerings? What fault have we to find with the ancient custom, that we should propose innovations? Never yet, from the day when Delphi was first inhabited, and Apollo prophesied, and the tripod gave utterance, and the priestess was inspired, never yet have the bringers of gifts been subjected to scrutiny. And shall they now? Consider how the ancient custom, which granted free access to all men, has filled the temple with treasures; how all men have brought their offerings, and how some have impoverished themselves to enrich the God. My mind misgives me that, when you have assumed the censorship of offerings, you will lack employment: men may refuse to submit themselves to your court; they may think it is enough to spend their money, without having to undergo the risk of a rejection for their pains. Would life be worth living, to the man who should be judged unworthy to offer sacrifice? 7)

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Book 7

Besides those things however which are naturally pleasant, of which some are pleasant generally and others pleasant to particular races of animals and of men, there are other things, not naturally pleasant, which become pleasant either as a result of arrested development or from habit, or in some cases owing to natural depravity. Now corresponding to each of these kinds of unnatural pleasures we may observe a related disposition of character. [2] I mean bestial characters, like the creature in woman's form35 that is said to rip up pregnant females and devour their offspring, or certain savage tribes on the coasts of the Black Sea, who are alleged to delight in raw meat or in human flesh, and others among whom each in turn provides a child for the common banquet; or the reported depravity of Phalaris. [3] These are instances of Bestiality. Other unnatural propensities are due to disease, and sometimes to insanity, as in the case of the madman that offered up his mother to the gods and partook of the sacrifice, or the one that ate his fellow slave's liver. Other morbid propensities are acquired by habit, for instance, plucking out the hair, biting the nails, eating cinders and earth, and also sexual perversion. These practices result in some cases from natural disposition, and in others from habit, as with those who have been abused from childhood. [4] When nature is responsible, no one would describe such persons as showing Unrestraint, any more than one would apply that term to women because they are passive and not active in sexual intercourse; nor should we class as Unrestraint a morbid state brought about by habitual indulgence. [5]

Now these various morbid dispositions in themselves do not fall within the limits of Vice, nor yet does Bestiality; and to conquer or yield to them does not constitute Unrestraint in the strict sense, but only the state so called by analogy; just as a man who cannot control his anger must be described as ‘unrestrained in’ that passion, not ‘unrestrained.’

(Indeed folly, cowardice, profligacy, and ill-temper, whenever they run to excess, are either bestial or morbid conditions. [6] One so constituted by nature as to be frightened by everything, even the sound of a mouse, shows the cowardice of a lower animal; the man who was afraid of a weasel was a case of disease. So with folly: people irrational by nature and living solely by sensation, like certain remote tribes of barbarians, belong to the bestial class; those who lose their reason owing to some disease, such as epilepsy, or through insanity, to the morbid.) [7]

With these unnatural propensities it is possible in some cases merely to have the disposition and not to yield to it: I mean, for instance, Phalaris might have had the desire to eat a child, or to practise unnatural vice, and refrained; or it is possible not merely to possess but to yield to the propensity. [8] As therefore with Vice, that natural to man is called simply vice, whereas the other kind is termed not simply vice, but vice with the qualifying epithet bestial or morbid, similarly with Unrestraint, it is clear that the bestial and morbid kinds are distinct from unrestraint proper, and that the name without qualification belongs only to that kind of unrestraint which is co-extensive with Profligacy of the human sort. [9] 8)

Polybius: Histories Book 12

General Remarks on Timaeus as an Historian

The story of the brazen bull is this. It was made by Phalaris at Agrigentum; and he used to force men to get into it, and then by way of punishment light a fire underneath. The metal becoming thus red hot, the man inside was roasted and scorched to death; and when he screamed in his agony, the sound from the machine was very like the bellowing of a bull. When the Carthaginians conquered Sicily this bull was removed from Agrigentum to Carthage. The trap door between the shoulders, through which the victims used to be let down, still remains; and no other reason for the construction of such a bull in Carthage can be discovered at all: yet Timaeus has undertaken to upset the common story, and to refute the declarations of poets and historians, by alleging that the bull at Carthage did not come from Agrigentum, and that no such figure ever existed there; and he has composed a lengthy treatise to prove this. . . . 9)

Plutarch: Parallels, or a Comparison Between the Greek and Roman Histories

39. Phalaris of Agrigentum, a cruel tyrant, was wont to put strangers and travellers to the most exquisite torment. Perillus, a brass-founder, made a cow of brass, and presented it to the king for a new invention, that he might burn strangers alive in it. Phalaris for this once was just, in making the first proof of it upon Perillus himself; and the invention was so artificial, that upon putting it in execution, the engine itself seemed to bellow. — Second Book of Questions or Causes. 10)

Lucian: The True History

Just after the Games were over, news came that the Damned had broken their fetters, overpowered their guard, and were on the point of invading the island, the ringleaders being Phalaris of Agrigentum, Busiris the Egyptian, Diomedes the Thracian, Sciron, and Pityocamptes. Rhadamanthus at once drew up the Heroes on the beach, giving the command to Theseus, Achilles, and Ajax Telamonius, now in his right senses. The battle was fought, and won by the Heroes, thanks especially to Achilles. Socrates, who was in the right wing, distinguished himself still more than in his lifetime at Delium, standing firm and showing no sign of trepidation as the enemy came on; he was afterwards given as a reward of valour a large and beautiful park in the outskirts, to which he invited his friends for conversation, naming it the Post-mortem Academy. 11)

Plotinus: The First Ennead

13. The characteristic activities are not hindered by outer events but merely adapt themselves, remaining always fine, and perhaps all the finer for dealing with the actual. When he has to handle particular cases and things, he may not be able to put his vision into act without searching and thinking, but the one greatest principle is ever present to him, like a part of his being- most of all present, should he be even a victim in the much-talked-of Bull of Phalaris. No doubt, despite all that has been said, it is idle to pretend that this is an agreeable lodging; but what cries in the Bull is the thing that feels the torture; in the Sage there is something else as well, The Self-Gathered which, as long as it holds itself by main force within itself, can never be robbed of the vision of the All-Good.12)

Diodorus Siculus: Library of History Volume 13

Himilcar, leading his army at dawn within the walls, put to death practically all who had been left behind; yes, even those who had fled for safety to the temples the Carthaginians hauled out and slew. And we are told that Tellias, who was the foremost citizen in wealth and honourable character, shared in the misfortune of his country: He had decided to take refuge with certain others in the temple of Athena, thinking that the Carthaginians would refrain from acts of lawlessness against the gods, but when he saw their impiety, he set fire to the temple and burned himself together with the dedications in it. For by one deed, he thought, he would withhold from the gods impiety, from the enemy a vast store of plunder, and from himself, most important of all, certain physical indignity. But Himilcar, after pillaging and industriously ransacking the temples and dwellings, collected as great a store of booty as a city could be expected to yield which had been inhabited by two hundred thousand people, had gone unravaged since the date of its founding, had been well-nigh the wealthiest of the Greek cities of that day, and whose citizens, furthermore, had shown their love of the beautiful in expensive collections of works of art of every description. Indeed a multitude of paintings executed with the greatest care was found and an extraordinary number of sculptures of every description and worked with great skill. The most valuable pieces, accordingly, Himilcar sent to Carthage, among which, as it turned out, was the bull of Phalaris, and the rest of the pillage he sold as booty. As regards this bull, although Timaeus in his History has maintained that it never existed at all, he has been refuted by Fortune herself; for some two hundred and sixty years after the capture of Acragas, when Scipio sacked Carthage,187 he returned to the Acragantini, together with their other possessions still in the hands of the Carthaginians, the bull, which was still in Acragas at the time this history was being written. 13)

Polybius: Histories Book 7

Fall of Heronymus

Some of the historians who have described the fall of Hieronymus have written at great length and in terms of mysterious solemnity. They tell us of prodigies preceding his coming to the throne, and of the misfortunes of Syracuse . They describe in dramatic language the cruelty of his character and the impiety of his actions; and crown all with the sudden and terrible nature of the circumstances attending his fall. One would think from their description that neither Phalaris, nor Apollodorus, nor any other tyrant was ever fiercer than he. Yet he was a mere boy when he succeeded to power, and only lived thirteen months after. In this space of time it is possible that one or two men may have been put to the rack, or certain of his friends, or other Syracusan citizens, put to death; but it is improbable that his tyranny could have been extravagantly wicked, or his impiety outrageous. It must be confessed that he was reckless and unscrupulous in disposition; still we cannot compare him with either of the tyrants I have named. The fact is that those who write the histories of particular episodes, having undertaken limited and narrow themes, appear to me to be compelled from poverty of matter to exaggerate insignificant incidents, and to speak at inordinate length on subjects that scarcely deserve to be recorded at all. There are some, too, who fall into a similar mistake from mere want of judgment. With how much more reason might the space employed on these descriptions,—which they use merely to fill up and spin out their books,—have been devoted to Hiero and Gelo, without mentioning Hieronymus at all! It would have given greater pleasure to readers and more instruction to students.14)

Plutarch: That a Philosopher Ought Chiefly to Converse with Great Men

If then it is so pleasant to do good to a few, how are their hearts dilated with joy who are benefactors to whole cities, provinces, and kingdoms? And such benefactors are they who instil good principles into those upon whom so many millions do depend. On the other hand, those who debauch the minds of great men — as sycophants, false informers, and flatterers, worse than both, manifestly do — are the centre of all the curses of a nation, as men who do not only infuse deadly poison into the cistern of a private house, but into the public springs of which so many thousands are to drink. The people therefore laughed at the hangers-on of Callias, whom, as Eupolis says, neither fire nor brass nor steel could keep from supping with him; but as for the favorites of those execrable tyrants Apollodorus, Phalaris, and Dionysius, they racked them, they flayed them alive, they roasted them at slow fires, they looked on them as the very pests of society and disgraces of human nature; for to debauch a simple person is indeed an ill thing, but to corrupt a prince is an infinite mischief. In like manner, he who instructs an ordinary man makes him to pass his life decently and with comfort; but he who instructs a prince, by correcting his errors and clearing his understanding, is a philosopher for the public, by rectifying the very mould and model by which whole nations are formed and regulated. It is the custom of all nations to pay a peculiar honor and deference to their priests; and the reason of it is, because they do not only pray for good things for themselves, their own families and friends, but for whole communities, for the whole state of mankind. Yet we are not so fond as to think that the priests cause the Gods to be givers of good things, or inspire a vein of beneficence into them; but they only make their supplications to a being which of itself is inclinable to answer their requests. But in this a good tutor hath the privilege above the priests, — he effectually renders a prince more disposed to actions of justice, moderation, and mercy, and therefore hath a greater satisfaction of mind when he reflects upon it. 15)

Plutarch: Political Precepts

Now the first greatest benefit which is in the reputation of statesmen is the confidence that is had in them, giving them an entrance into affairs; and the second is, that the good-will of the multitude is an armor to the good against those that are envious and wicked; for,

As when the careful mother drives the flies
From her dear babe, which sweetly sleeping lies,

it chases away envy, and renders the plebeian equal in authority to the nobleman, the poor man to the rich, and the private man to the magistrates; and in a word, when truth and virtue are joined with it, it is a strange and favorable wind, directly carrying men into government. And on the other side behold and learn by examples the mischievous effects of the contrary disposition. For those of Italy slew the wife and children of Dionysius, having first violated and polluted them with their lusts; and afterwards burning their bodies, scattered the ashes out of the ship into the sea. But when one Menander, who had reigned graciously over the Bactrians, died afterwards in the camp, the cities indeed by common consent celebrated his funeral; but coming to a contest about his relics, they were difficulty at last brought to this agreement, that his ashes being distributed, every one of them should carry away an equal share, and they should all erect monuments to him. . Again, the Agrigentines, being got rid of Phalaris, made a decree, that none should wear a blue garment; for the tyrant’s attendants had blue liveries. But the Persians, because Cyrus was hawk-nosed, do to this day love such men and esteem them handsomest. 16)

Pindar: Pythian Odes

I. For Hieron of Aitna, Winner in the Chariot-Race


Friend, be not deceived by time-serving words of guile. The voice of the report that liveth after a man, this alone revealeth the lives of dead men to the singers and to the chroniclers: the loving-kindness of Craesus fadeth not away; but him who burned men with fire within a brazen bull, Phalaris that had no pity, men tell of everywhere with hate, neither will any lute in hall suffer him in the gentle fellowship of young boys' themes of songs. 17)

Plutarch: Of Common Conceptions, Against the Stoics

13. But who can complain of this, that shall remember what he has written in his Second Book of Nature, declaring that vice was not unprofitably made for the universe? But it is meet I should set down his doctrine in his own words, that you may understand in what place those rank vice, and what discourses they hold of it, who accuse Xenocrates and Speusippus for not reckoning health indifferent and riches useless. “Vice,” saith he, “has its limit in reference to other accidents. For it is also in some sort according to the reason of Nature, and (as I may so say) is not wholly useless in respect of the universe; for otherwise there would not be any good.” Is there then no good among the Gods, because there is no evil? And when Jupiter, having resolved all matter into himself, shall be alone, other differences being taken away, will there then be no good, because there will be no evil? But is there melody in a choir though none in it sings faultily, and health in the body though no member is sick; and yet cannot virtue have its existence without vice? But as the poison of a serpent or the gall of an hyena is to be mixed with some medicines, was it also of necessity that there must have been some conjunction of the wickedness of Meletus with the justice of Socrates, and the dissolute demeanor of Cleon with the probity of Pericles? And could not Jupiter have found a means to bring into the world Hercules and Lycurgus, if he had not also made for us Sardanapalus and Phalaris? It is now time for them to say that the consumption was made for the sound constitution of men’s bodies, and the gout for the swiftness of their feet; and that Achilles would not have had a good head of hair if Thersites had not been bald. For what difference is there between such triflers and ravers, and those who say that intemperance was not brought forth unprofitably for continence, nor injustice for justice, so that we must pray to the Gods, there may be always wickedness,

Lies, fawning speeches, and deceitful manners,

if, when these are taken away, virtue will also vanish and be lost?

Plutarch: How to Know a Flatterer from a Friend

12. They tell us that gad-flies creep into the ears of bulls, and ticks into those of dogs. But I am sure the parasite lays so close siege and sticks so fast to the ears of the ambitious with the repeated praises of their worth, that it is no easy matter to shake him off again. And therefore it highly concerns them to have their apprehensions awake and upon the guard, critically to remark whether the high characters such men lavish out are intended for the person or the thing they would be thought to commend. And we may indeed suppose them more peculiarly designed for the things themselves, if they bestow them on persons absent rather than present; if they covet and aspire after the same qualities themselves which they magnify in others; if they admire the same perfections in the rest of mankind as well as in us, and are never found to falter and belie, either in word or action, the sentiments they have owned. And, what is the surest criterion in this case, we are to examine whether or no we are not really troubled at or ashamed of the commission of those very things for which they applaud us, and could not wish that we had said or acted the quite contrary; for our own consciences, which are above the reach of passion and will not be put upon by all the sly artifices of flattery, will witness against us and spurn at an undeserved commendation. But I know not how it comes to pass, that several persons had rather be pitied than comforted in adversity; and when they have committed a fault, look upon those as enemies and informers who endeavor to chide and lecture them into a sense of their guilt, but caress and embrace them as friends who soothe them up in their vices. Indeed they who continue their applauses to so inconsiderable a thing as a single action, a wise saying, or a smart jest, do only a little present mischief; but they who from single acts proceed to debauch even the habits of the mind with their immoderate praises are like those treacherous servants who, not content to rob the common heap in the granary, filch even that which was chosen and reserved for seed. For, whilst they entitle vice to the name of virtue, they corrupt that prolific principle of action, the genius and disposition of the soul, and poison the fountain whence the whole stream of life derives. Thucydides observes, that in the time of war and sedition the names of good and evil are wont to be confounded according to men’s judgment of circumstances; as, fool-hardiness is called a generous espousal of a friend’s quarrel, a provident delay is nicknamed cowardice, modesty a mere pretext for unmanliness, a prudent slow inspection into things downright laziness. In like manner, if you observe it, a flatterer terms a profuse man liberal, a timorous man wary, a mad fellow quick and prompt, a stingy miser frugal, an amorous youngster kind and good-natured, a passionate proud fool stout, and a mean-spirited slave courteous and observing. As Plato somewhere remarks, that a lover who is always a flatterer of his beloved object styles a flat nose lovely and graceful, an hawk nose princely, the black manly, and the fair the offspring of the Gods; and observes particularly that the appellation of honey-pale is nothing but the daub of a gallant who is willing to set off his mistress’s pale complexion. Now indeed an ugly fellow bantered into an opinion that he is handsome, or a little man magnified into tall and portly, cannot lie long under the mistake nor receive any great injury by the cheat; but when vice is extolled by the name of virtue, so that a man is induced to sin not only without regret but with joy and triumph, and is hardened beyond the modesty of a blush for his enormities, this sort of flattery, I say, has been fatal even to whole kingdoms. It was this that ruined Sicily, by styling the tyranny of Dionysius and Phalaris nothing but justice and a hatred of villanous practices. It was this that overthrew Egypt, by palliating the king’s effeminacy, his yellings, his enthusiastic rants, and his beating of drums, with the more plausible names of true religion and the worship of the Gods. It was this that had very nigh ruined the stanch Roman temper, by extenuating the voluptuousness, the luxury, the sumptuous shows, and public profuseness of Antony, into the softer terms of humanity, good nature, and the generosity of a gentleman who knew how to use the greatness of his fortune. What but the charms of flattery made Ptolemy turn piper and fiddler? What else put on Nero’s buskins and brought him on the stage? Have we not known several princes, if they sung a tolerable treble, termed Apollos; when they drank stoutly, styled Bacchuses; and upon wrestling, fencing, or the like, immediately dubbed by the name of Hercules, and hurried on by those empty titles to the commission of those acts which were infinitely beneath the dignity of their character? 18)

Plutarch: How a Man May be Sensible in his Progress in Virtue

2. It is very good advice, Measure the stone by your rule, and not your rule by the stone. But the Stoics have not observed it; for they, not applying principles to things, but forcing things which have no foundation of agreement in nature to agree to their principles, have filled philosophy with a number of difficulties. One of the hardest to be solved is this, that all men whatsoever (except him who is absolutely perfect) are equally vicious. Hence is that enigma, called progress or proficiency, which, though it has puzzled the learned to solve, is in my opinion very foolish; for it represents those that have advanced a little, and are partly free from inordinate passions and distempers of mind, to be as unhappy as those that are guilty of the most heinous enormities. And indeed the assertion is so absurd, that their own actions are enough to confute it; for while they maintain in their schools that Aristides and Phalaris are equally unjust, that Brasidas and Dolon are equal cowards, and that Plato and Meletus are equally senseless, still in all affairs of life they seem to reject and avoid the latter of these, as too harsh and severe to be softened into compliance, but credit and quote the former in all their writings, as persons of extraordinary worth and esteem. This is what the Stoics assert. 19)

Plutarch: Concerning such whom God is Slow to Punish

7. Now to come to another part of our discourse, do you not believe that some of the Greeks did very prudently to register that law in Egypt among their own, whereby it is enacted that, if a woman with child be sentenced to die, she shall be reprieved till she be delivered? All the reason in the world, you will say. Then, say I, though a man cannot bring forth children, yet if he be able, by the assistance of Time, to reveal any hidden action or conspiracy, or to discover some concealed mischief, or to be author of some wholesome piece of advice, — or suppose that in time he may produce some necessary and useful invention, — is it not better to delay the punishment and expect the benefit, than hastily to rid him out of the world? It seems so to me, said I. And truly you are in the right, replied Patrocleas; for let us consider, had Dionysius at the beginning of his tyranny suffered according to his merits, never would any of the Greeks have re-inhabited Sicily, laid waste by the Carthaginians. Nor would the Greeks have repossessed Apollonia, nor Anactorium, nor the peninsula of the Leucadians, had not Periander’s execution been delayed for a long time. And if I mistake not, it was to the delay of Cassander’s punishment that the city of Thebes was beholden for her recovery from desolation. But the most of those barbarians who assisted at the sacrilegious plunder of this temple, following Timoleon into Sicily, after they had vanquished the Carthaginians and dissolved the tyrannical government of that island, wicked as they were, came all to a wicked end. So the Deity makes use of some wicked persons as common executioners to punish the wickedness of others, and then destroys those instruments of his wrath, — which I believe to be true of most tyrants. For as the gall of a hyena and the rennet of a sea-calf — both filthy monsters — contain something in them for the cure of diseases; so when some people deserve a sharp and biting punishment, God, subjecting them to the implacable severity of some certain tyrant or the cruel oppression of some ruler, does not remove either the torment or the trouble, till he has cured and purified the distempered nation. Such a sort of physic was Phalaris to the Agrigentines, and Marius to the Romans. And God expressly foretold the Sicyonians how much their city stood in need of most severe chastisement, when, after they had violently ravished out of the hands of the Cleonaeans Teletias, a young lad who had been crowned at the Pythian games, they tore him limb from limb, as their own fellow-citizen. Therefore Orthagoras the tyrant, and after him Myro and Clisthenes, put an end to the luxury and lasciviousness of the Sicyonians; but the Cleonaeans, not having the good fortune to meet with the same cure, went all to wreck. To this purpose, hear what Homer says:

From parent vile by far the better son
Did spring, whom various virtues did renown

And yet we do not find that ever the son of Copreus performed any famous or memorable achievement; but the offspring of Sisyphus, Autolycus, and Phlegyas flourished among the number of the most famous and virtuous princes. Pericles at Athens descended from an accursed family; and Pompey the Great at Rome was the son of Strabo, whose dead body the Roman people, in the height of their hatred conceived against him when alive, cast forth into the street and trampled in the dirt. Where is the absurdity then, — as the husbandman never cuts away the thorn till it injures the asparagus, or as the Libyans never burn the stalks till they have gathered all the ladanum, — if God never extirpates the evil and thorny root of a renowned and royal race before he has gathered from it the mature and proper fruit? For it would have been far better for the Phocians to have lost ten thousand of Iphitus’s horses and oxen, or a far greater sum in gold and silver from the temple of Delphi, than that Ulysses and Aesculapius should not have been born, and those many others who, of wicked and vicious men, became highly virtuous and beneficial to their country. 20)

Lucian: The Death of Peregrine

'Finally, Proteus arrives in Greece; and what does he do there? He makes himself offensive in Elis; he instigates Greece to revolt against Rome; he finds a man of enlarged views and established character, a public benefactor in general, and in particular the originator of the water-supply to Olympia, which saved that great assembly from perishing of thirst–and he has nothing but hard words for him; “Greece is demoralized,” he cries; “the spectators of the games should have done without water, ay, and died if need be,”–and so many of them would have done, from the violence of the epidemics then raging in consequence of the drought. And all the time Proteus was drinking of that very water! At this there was a general rush to stone him, which pretty nearly succeeded; it was all our magnanimous friend could do, for the time being, to find salvation at the altar of Zeus. He spent the four following years in composing a speech, which he delivered in public at the next Olympic games; it consisted of encomiums on the donor of the water-supply and explanations of his flight on the former occasion. But by this time people had lost all curiosity about him; his prestige was quite gone; everything fell flat, and he could devise no more novelties for the amazement of chance-comers, nor elicit the admiration and applause for which he had always so passionately longed. Hence this last bold venture of the funeral-pyre. So long ago as the last Olympic Games he published his intention of cremating himself at the next. That is what all this mystification is about, this digging of pits we hear of, and collecting of firewood; these glowing accounts of fortitude hereafter to be shown. Now, in the first place, it seems to me that a man has no business to run away from life: he ought to wait till his time comes. But if nothing else will serve, if positively he must away still there is no need of pyres and such-like solemn paraphernalia: there are plenty of ways of dying without this; let him choose one of them, and have done with it. Or if a fiery end is so attractively Heraclean, what was to prevent his quietly selecting some well-wooded mountain top, and doing his cremation all by himself, with Theagenes or somebody to play Philoctetes to his Heracles? But no; he must roast in full concourse, at Olympia, as it might be on a stage; and, so help me Heracles, he is not far out, if justice is to be done on all parricides and unbelievers. Nay, if we look at it that way, this is but dilatory work: he might have been packed into Phalaris's bull years ago, and he would have had no more than his deserts,–a mouthful of flame and sudden death is too good for him. For by all I can learn burning is the quickest of deaths; a man has but to open his mouth, and all is over. 21)

Titian: Address to the Greeks

Chapter 34 - Ridicule of the Statues Erected by the Greeks

Worthy of very great honour, certainly, was the tyrant Phalaris, who devoured sucklings, and accordingly is exhibited by the workmanship of Polystratus the Ambraciot, even to this day, as a very wonderful man! The Agrigentines dreaded to look on that countenance of his, because of his cannibalism; but people of culture now make it their boast that they behold him in his statue! Is it not shameful that fratricide is honoured by you who look on the statues of Polynices and Eteocles, and that you have not rather buried them with their maker Pythagoras? Destroy these memorials of iniquity! Why should I contemplate with admiration the figure of the woman who bore thirty children, merely for the sake of the artist Periclymenus? One ought to turn away with disgust from one who bore off the fruits of great incontinence, and whom the Romans compared to a sow, which also on a like account, they say, was deemed worthy of a mystic worship. Ares committed adultery with Aphrodite, and Andron made an image of their offspring Harmonia. Sophron, who committed to writing trifles and absurdities, was more celebrated for his skill in casting metals, of which specimens exist even now. And not only have his tales kept the fabulist Aesop in everlasting remembrance, but also the plastic art of Aristodemus has increased his celebrity. How is it then that you, who have so many poetesses whose productions are mere trash, and innumerable courtezans, and worthless men, are not ashamed to slander the reputation of our women? What care I to know that Euanthe gave birth to an infant in the Peripatus, or to gape with wonder at the art of Callistratus, or to fix my gaze on the Neaera of Calliades? For she was a courtezan. Lais was a prostitute, and Turnus made her a monument of prostitution. Why are you not ashamed of the fornication of Hephaestion, even though Philo has represented him very artistically? And for what reason do you honour the hermaphrodite Ganymede by Leochares, as if you possessed something admirable? Praxiteles even made a statue of a woman with the stain of impurity upon it. It behoved you, repudiating everything of this kind, to seek what is truly worthy of attention, and not to turn with disgust from our mode of life while receiving with approval the shameful productions of Philaenis and Elephantis. 22)

1) , 13) Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus of Sicily in Twelve Volumes with an English Translation by C. H. Oldfather. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1989.
2) SOURCE: The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1905.
3) Claudius Aelianus (Aelian). His Various History. Rendered into English by Thomas Stanley. London, printed for Thomas Dring, 1665.
4) Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparationis. Libri XV. Ad codiced manuscriptos denuo collatos recensuit anglice nunc primum reddidit notis et indicibus instruxit. E. H. Gifford, S. T. P. Olim Archidiaconus Londinensis. Tomus III. Pars prior OXONII.
5) The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, trans. Francis Hutcheson and James Moor, edited and with an Introduction by James Moore and Michael Silverthorne (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
6) Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 22, translated by J. H. Freese. Aristotle. Cambridge and London. Harvard University Press; William Heinemann Ltd. 1926.
7) , 11) , 21) SOURCE: The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Translated by Fowler, H W and F G. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1905.
8) Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 19, translated by H. Rackham. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1934.
9) , 14) Histories. Polybius. Evelyn S. Shuckburgh. translator. London, New York. Macmillan. 1889. Reprint Bloomington 1962.
10) , 15) , 16) , 18) , 19) , 20) Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).
12) The Six Enneads by Plotinus translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page. London, 1917.
17) The Extant Odes of Pindar. Translated into English with Introduction and Short Notes by Ernest Myers, M.A. 1904. First Edition printed 1874.
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