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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4458
Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 32.35


nan But to take just that topic which I mentioned in the beginning, see how important it is. For how you dine in private, how you sleep, how you manage your household, these are matters in which as individuals you are not at all conspicuous; on the other hand, how you behave as spectators and what you are like in the theatre are matters of common knowledge among Greeks and barbarians alike. For your city is vastly superior in point of size and situation, and it is admittedly ranked second among all cities beneath the sun. <


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1. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 17.52.5, 40.3.1-40.3.8 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

17.52.5.  The city in general has grown so much in later times that many reckon it to be the first city of the civilized world, and it is certainly far ahead of all the rest in elegance and extent and riches and luxury.
2. Strabo, Geography, 14.2.5, 16.2.5, 16.2.35-16.2.39, 17.1.6-17.1.10, 17.1.12 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

14.2.5. The city of the Rhodians lies on the eastern promontory of Rhodes; and it is so far superior to all others in harbors and roads and walls and improvements in general that I am unable to speak of any other city as equal to it, or even as almost equal to it, much less superior to it. It is remarkable also for its good order, and for its careful attention to the administration of affairs of state in general; and in particular to that of naval affairs, whereby it held the mastery of the sea for a long time and overthrew the business of piracy, and became a friend to the Romans and to all kings who favoured both the Romans and the Greeks. Consequently it not only has remained autonomous. but also has been adorned with many votive offerings, which for the most part are to be found in the Dionysium and the gymnasium, but partly in other places. The best of these are, first, the Colossus of Helius, of which the author of the iambic verse says,seven times ten cubits in height, the work of Chares the Lindian; but it now lies on the ground, having been thrown down by an earthquake and broken at the knees. In accordance with a certain oracle, the people did not raise it again. This, then, is the most excellent of the votive offerings (at any rate, it is by common agreement one of the Seven Wonders); and there are also the paintings of Protogenes, his Ialysus and also his Satyr, the latter standing by a pillar, on top of which stood a male partridge. And at this partridge, as would be natural, the people were so agape when the picture had only recently been set up, that they would behold him with wonder but overlook the Satyr, although the latter was a very great success. But the partridge-breeders were still more amazed, bringing their tame partridges and placing them opposite the painted partridge; for their partridges would make their call to the painting and attract a mob of people. But when Protogenes saw that the main part of the work had become subordinate, he begged those who were in charge of the sacred precinct to permit him to go there and efface the partridge, and so he did. The Rhodians are concerned for the people in general, although their rule is not democratic; still, they wish to take care of their multitude of poor people. Accordingly, the people are supplied with provisions and the needy are supported by the well-to-do, by a certain ancestral custom; and there are certain liturgies that supply provisions, so that at the same time the poor man receives his sustece and the city does not run short of useful men, and in particular for the manning of the fleets. As for the roadsteads, some of them were kept hidden and forbidden to the people in general; and death was the penalty for any person who spied on them or passed inside them. And here too, as in Massalia and Cyzicus, everything relating to the architects, the manufacture of instruments of war, and the stores of arms and everything else are objects of exceptional care, and even more so than anywhere else. 16.2.5. Antioch is the metropolis of Syria. A palace was constructed there for the princes of the country. It is not much inferior in riches and magnitude to Seleuceia on the Tigris and Alexandreia in Egypt.[Seleucus] Nicator settled here the descendants of Triptolemus, whom we have mentioned a little before. On this account the people of Antioch regard him as a hero, and celebrate a festival to his honour on Mount Casius near Seleuceia. They say that when he was sent by the Argives in search of Io, who first disappeared at Tyre, he wandered through Cilicia; that some of his Argive companions separated from him and founded Tarsus; that the rest attended him along the sea-coast, and, relinquishing their search, settled with him on the banks of the Orontes; that Gordys the son of Triptolemus, with some of those who had accompanied his father, founded a colony in Gordyaea, and that the descendants of the rest became settlers among the inhabitants of Antioch. 16.2.35. An Egyptian priest named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called the Lower [Egypt] * * * *, being dissatisfied with the established institutions there, left it and came to Judaea with a large body of people who worshipped the Divinity. He declared and taught that the Egyptians and Africans entertained erroneous sentiments, in representing the Divinity under the likeness of wild beasts and cattle of the field; that the Greeks also were in error in making images of their gods after the human form. For God [said he] may be this one thing which encompasses us all, land and sea, which we call heaven, or the universe, or the nature of things. Who then of any understanding would venture to form an image of this Deity, resembling anything with which we are conversant? on the contrary, we ought not to carve any images, but to set apart some sacred ground and a shrine worthy of the Deity, and to worship Him without any similitude. He taught that those who made fortunate dreams were to be permitted to sleep in the temple, where they might dream both for themselves and others; that those who practised temperance and justice, and none else, might expect good, or some gift or sign from the God, from time to time. 16.2.36. By such doctrine Moses persuaded a large body of right-minded persons to accompany him to the place where Jerusalem now stands. He easily obtained possession of it, as the spot was not such as to excite jealousy, nor for which there could be any fierce contention; for it is rocky, and, although well supplied with water, it is surrounded by a barren and waterless territory. The space within [the city] is 60 stadia [in circumference], with rock underneath the surface.Instead of arms, he taught that their defence was in their sacred things and the Divinity, for whom he was desirous of finding a settled place, promising to the people to deliver such a kind of worship and religion as should not burthen those who adopted it with great expense, nor molest them with [so-called] divine possessions, nor other absurd practices.Moses thus obtained their good opinion, and established no ordinary kind of government. All the nations around willingly united themselves to him, allured by his discourses and promises. 16.2.37. His successors continued for some time to observe the same conduct, doing justly, and worshipping God with sincerity. Afterwards superstitious persons were appointed to the priesthood, and then tyrants. From superstition arose abstinence from flesh, from the eating of which it is now the custom to refrain, circumcision, excision, and other practices which the people observe. The tyrannical government produced robbery; for the rebels plundered both their own and the neighbouring countries. Those also who shared in the government seized upon the property of others, and ravaged a large part of Syria and of Phoenicia.Respect, however, was paid to the acropolis; it was not abhorred as the seat of tyranny, but honoured and venerated as a temple. 16.2.38. This is according to nature, and common both to Greeks and barbarians. For, as members of a civil community, they live according to a common law; otherwise it would be impossible for the mass to execute any one thing in concert (in which consists a civil state), or to live in a social state at all. Law is twofold, divine and human. The ancients regarded and respected divine, in preference to human, law; in those times, therefore, the number of persons was very great who consulted oracles, and, being desirous of obtaining the advice of Jupiter, hurried to Dodona, to hear the answer of Jove from the lofty oak.The parent went to Delphi, anxious to learn whether the child which had been exposed (to die) was still living;while the child itself was gone to the temple of Apollo, with the hope of discovering its parents.And Minos among the Cretans, the king who in the ninth year enjoyed converse with Great Jupiter, every nine years, as Plato says, ascended to the cave of Jupiter, received ordices from him, and conveyed them to men. Lycurgus, his imitator, acted in a similar manner; for he was often accustomed, as it seemed, to leave his own country to inquire of the Pythian goddess what ordices he was to promulgate to the Lacedaemonians. 16.2.39. What truth there may be in these things I cannot say; they have at least been regarded and believed as true by mankind. Hence prophets received so much honour as to be thought worthy even of thrones, because they were supposed to communicate ordices and precepts from the gods, both during their lifetime and after their death; as for example Teiresias, to whom alone Proserpine gave wisdom and understanding after death: the others flit about as shadows.Such were Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, and Musaeus: in former times there was Zamolxis, a Pythagorean, who was accounted a god among the Getae; and in our time, Decaeneus, the diviner of Byrebistas. Among the Bosporani, there was Achaicarus; among the Indians, were the Gymnosophists; among the Persians, the Magi and Necyomanteis, and besides these the Lecanomanteis and Hydromanteis; among the Assyrians, were the Chaldaeans; and among the Romans, the Tyrrhenian diviners of dreams.Such was Moses and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated. 17.1.6. As Alexandreia and its neighbourhood occupy the greatest and principal portion of the description, I shall begin with it.In sailing towards the west, the sea-coast from Pelusium to the Canobic mouth of the Nile is about 1300 stadia in extent, and constitutes, as we have said, the base of the Delta. Thence to the island Pharos are 150 stadia more.Pharos is a small oblong island, and lies quite close to the continent, forming towards it a harbour with a double entrance. For the coast abounds with bays, and has two promontories projecting into the sea. The island is situated between these, and shuts in the bay, lying lengthways in front of it.of the extremities of the Pharos, the eastern is nearest to the continent and to the promontory in that direction, called Lochias, which is the cause of the entrance to the port being narrow. Besides the narrowness of the passage, there are rocks, some under water, others rising above it, which at all times increase the violence of the waves rolling in upon them from the open sea. This extremity itself of the island is a rock, washed by the sea on all sides, with a tower upon it of the same name as the island, admirably constructed of white marble, with several stories. Sostratus of Cnidus, a friend of the kings, erected it for the safety of mariners, as the inscription imports. For as the coast on each side is low and without harbours, with reefs and shallows, an elevated and conspicuous mark was required to enable navigators coming in from the open sea to direct their course exactly to the entrance of the harbour.The western mouth does not afford an easy entrance, but it does not require the same degree of caution as the other. It forms also another port, which has the name of Eunostus, or Happy Return: it lies in front of the artificial and close harbour. That which has its entrance at the above-mentioned tower of Pharos is the great harbour. These (two) lie contiguous in the recess called Heptastadium, and are separated from it by a mound. This mound forms a bridge from the continent to the island, and extends along its western side, leaving two passages only through it to the harbour of Eunostus, which are bridged over. But this work served not only as a bridge, but as an aqueduct also, when the island was inhabited. Divus Caesar devastated the island, in his war against the people of Alexandreia, when they espoused the party of the kings. A few sailors live near the tower.The great harbour, in addition to its being well enclosed by the mound and by nature, is of sufficient depth near the shore to allow the largest vessel to anchor near the stairs. It is also divided into several ports.The former kings of Egypt, satisfied with what they possessed, and not desirous of foreign commerce, entertained a dislike to all mariners, especially the Greeks (who, on account of the poverty of their own country, ravaged and coveted the property of other nations), and stationed a guard here, who had orders to keep off all persons who approached. To the guard was assigned as a place of residence the spot called Rhacotis, which is now a part of the city of Alexandreia, situated above the arsenal. At that time, however, it was a village. The country about the village was given up to herdsmen, who were also able (from their numbers) to prevent strangers from entering the country.When Alexander arrived, and perceived the advantages of the situation, he determined to build the city on the (natural) harbour. The prosperity of the place, which ensued, was intimated, it is said, by a presage which occurred while the plan of the city was tracing. The architects were engaged in marking out the line of the wall with chalk, and had consumed it all, when the king arrived; upon which the dispensers of flour supplied the workmen with a part of the flour, which was provided for their own use; and this substance was used in tracing the greater part of the divisions of the streets. This, they said, was a good omen for the city. 17.1.7. The advantages of the city are of various kinds. The site is washed by two seas; on the north, by what is called the Egyptian Sea, and on the south, by the sea of the lake Mareia, which is also called Mareotis. This lake is filled by many canals from the Nile, both by those above and those at the sides, through which a greater quantity of merchandise is imported than by those communicating with the sea. Hence the harbour on the lake is richer than the maritime harbour. The exports by sea from Alexandreia exceed the imports. This any person may ascertain, either at Alexandreia or Dicaearchia, by watching the arrival and departure of the merchant vessels, and observing how much heavier or lighter their cargoes are when they depart or when they return.In addition to the wealth derived from merchandise landed at the harbours on each side, on the sea and on the lake, its fine air is worthy of remark: this results from the city being on two sides surrounded by water, and from the favourable effects of the rise of the Nile. For other cities, situated near lakes, have, during the heats of summer, a heavy and suffocating atmosphere, and lakes at their margins become swampy by the evaporation occasioned by the sun's heat. When a large quantity of moisture is exhaled from swamps, a noxious vapour rises, and is the cause of pestilential disorders. But at Alexandreia, at the beginning of summer, the Nile, being full, fills the lake also, and leaves no marshy matter which is likely to occasion maligt exhalations. At the same period, the Etesian winds blow from the north, over a large expanse of sea, and the Alexandrines in consequence pass their summer very pleasantly. 17.1.8. The shape of the site of the city is that of a chlamys or military cloak. The sides, which determine the length, are surrounded by water, and are about thirty stadia in extent; but the isthmuses, which determine the breadth of the sides, are each of seven or eight stadia, bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other by the lake. The whole city is intersected by roads for the passage of horsemen and chariots. Two of these are very broad, exceeding a plethrum in breadth, and cut one another at right angles. It contains also very beautiful public grounds and royal palaces, which occupy a fourth or even a third part of its whole extent. For as each of the kings was desirous of adding some embellishment to the places dedicated to the public use, so, besides the buildings already existing, each of them erected a building at his own expense; hence the expression of the poet may be here applied, one after the other springs. All the buildings are connected with one another and with the harbour, and those also which are beyond it.The Museum is a part of the palaces. It has a public walk and a place furnished with seats, and a large hall, in which the men of learning, who belong to the Museum, take their common meal. This community possesses also property in common; and a priest, formerly appointed by the kings, but at present by Caesar, presides over the Museum.A part belonging to the palaces consists of that called Sema, an enclosure, which contained the tombs of the kings and that of Alexander (the Great). For Ptolemy the son of Lagus took away the body of Alexander from Perdiccas, as he was conveying it down from Babylon; for Perdiccas had turned out of his road towards Egypt, incited by ambition and a desire of making himself master of the country. When Ptolemy had attacked [and made him prisoner], he intended to [spare his life and] confine him in a desert island, but he met with a miserable end at the hand of his own soldiers, who rushed upon and despatched him by transfixing him with the long Macedonian spears. The kings who were with him, Aridaeus, and the children of Alexander, and Roxana his wife, departed to Macedonia. Ptolemy carried away the body of Alexander, and deposited it at Alexandreia in the place where it now lies; not indeed in the same coffin, for the present one is of hyalus (alabaster ?) whereas Ptolemy had deposited it in one of gold: it was plundered by Ptolemy surnamed Cocce's son and Pareisactus, who came from Syria and was quickly deposed, so that his plunder was of no service to him. 17.1.9. In the great harbour at the entrance, on the right hand, are the island and the Pharos tower; on the left are the reef of rocks and the promontory Lochias, with a palace upon it: at the entrance, on the left hand, are the inner palaces, which are continuous with those on the Lochias, and contain numerous painted apartments and groves. Below lies the artificial and close harbour, appropriated to the use of the kings; and Antirrhodus a small island, facing the artificial harbour, with a palace on it, and a small port. It was called Antirrhodus, a rival as it were of Rhodes.Above this is the theatre, then the Poseidium, a kind of elbow projecting from the Emporium, as it is called, with a temple of Neptune upon it. To this Antony added a mound, projecting still further into the middle of the harbour, and built at the extremity a royal mansion, which he called Timonium. This was his last act, when, deserted by his partisans, he retired to Alexandreia after his defeat at Actium, and intended, being forsaken by so many friends, to lead the [solitary] life of Timon for the rest of his days.Next are the Caesarium, the Emporium, and the Apostaseis, or magazines: these are followed by docks, extending to the Heptastadium. This is the description of the great harbour. 17.1.10. Next after the Heptastadium is the harbour of Eunostus, and above this the artificial harbour, called Cibotus (or the Ark), which also has docks. At the bottom of this harbour is a navigable canal, extending to the lake Mareotis. Beyond the canal there still remains a small part of the city. Then follows the suburb Necropolis, in which are numerous gardens, burial-places, and buildings for carrying on the process of embalming the dead.On this side the canal is the Sarapium and other ancient sacred places, which are now abandoned on account of the erection of the temples at Nicopolis; for [there are situated] an amphitheatre and a stadium, and there are celebrated quinquennial games; but the ancient rites and customs are neglected.In short, the city of Alexandreia abounds with public and sacred buildings. The most beautiful of the former is the Gymnasium, with porticos exceeding a stadium in extent. In the middle of it are the court of justice and groves. Here also is a Paneium, an artificial mound of the shape of a fir-cone, resembling a pile of rock, to the top of which there is an ascent by a spiral path. From the summit may be seen the whole city lying all around and beneath it.The wide street extends in length along the Gymnasium from the Necropolis to the Canobic gate. Next is the Hippodromos (or race-course), as it is called, and other buildings near it, and reaching to the Canobic canal. After passing through the Hippodromos is the Nicopolis, which contains buildings fronting the sea not less numerous than a city. It is 30 stadia distant from Alexandreia. Augustus Caesar distinguished this place, because it was here that he defeated Antony and his party of adherents. He took the city at the first onset, and compelled Antony to put himself to death, but Cleopatra to surrender herself alive. A short time afterwards, however, she also put an end to her life secretly, in prison, by the bite of an asp, or (for there are two accounts) by the application of a poisonous ointment. Thus the empire of the Lagidae, which had subsisted many years, was dissolved. 17.1.12. At present Egypt is a (Roman) province, pays considerable tribute, and is well governed by prudent persons, who are sent there in succession. The governor thus sent out has the rank of king. Subordinate to him is the administrator of justice, who is the supreme judge in many causes. There is another officer, who is called Idiologus, whose business it is to inquire into property for which there is no claimant, and which of right falls to Caesar. These are accompanied by Caesar's freedmen and stewards, who are entrusted with affairs of more or less importance.Three legions are stationed in Egypt, one in the city, the rest in the country. Besides these there are also nine Roman cohorts, three quartered in the city, three on the borders of Ethiopia in Syene, as a guard to that tract, and three in other parts of the country. There are also three bodies of cavalry distributed in convenient posts.of the native magistrates in the cities, the first is the expounder of the law, who is dressed in scarlet; he receives the customary honours of the country, and has the care of providing what is necessary for the city. The second is the writer of records, the third is the chief judge. The fourth is the commander of the night guard. These magistrates existed in the time of the kings, but in consequence of the bad administration of affairs by the latter, the prosperity of the city was ruined by licentiousness. Polybius expresses his indignation at the state of things when lie was there: he describes the inhabitants of the city to be composed of three classes; the (first) Egyptians and natives, acute but indifferent citizens, and meddling with civil affairs. Tile second, the mercenaries, a numerous and undisciplined body ; for it was an ancient custom to maintain foreign soldiers, who, from the worthlessness of their sovereigns, knew better how to govern than to obey. The third were the Alexandrines, who, for the same reason, were not orderly citizens; but still they were better than the mercenaries, for although they were a mixed race, yet being of Greek origin, they retained the customs common to the Greeks. But this class was extinct nearly about the time of Euergetes Physcon, in whose reign Polybius came to Alexandreia. For Physcon, being distressed by factions, frequently exposed the multitude to the attacks of the soldiery, and thus destroyed them. By such a state of things in the city the words of the poet (says Polybius) were verified: The way to Egypt is long and vexatious.
3. Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 1.18, 1.23, 2.64, 3.6-3.7, 3.37, 6.16, 7.134, 11.51, 11.62-11.63, 12.11, 12.53, 20.20, 25.9, 31.149, 32.29, 32.36-32.37, 32.41, 32.47, 32.56, 36.5, 36.8-36.9, 36.25, 36.43, 38.33, 48.5, 49.9, 53.8, 62.1 (1st cent. CE

6.16.  That for which men gave themselves the most trouble and spent the most money, which caused the razing of many cities and the piti­ful destruction of many nations — this he found the least laborious and most inexpensive of all things to procure. 12.53.  For you see that the issue is no small one, nor the danger, for us. Since in times past, because we had no clear knowledge, we formed each his different idea, and each person, according to his capacity and nature, conceived a likeness for every divine manifestation and fashioned such likenesses in his dreams; and if we do perchance collect any small and insignificant likenesses made by the earlier artists, we do not trust them very much nor pay them very much attention. But you by the power of your art first conquered and united Hellas and then all others by means of this wondrous presentment, showing forth so marvellous and dazzling a conception, that none of those who have beheld it could any longer easily form a different one. 31.149.  You remember the notorious Acratus, who visited practically the whole inhabited world in this quest and passed by no village even — you recall how he came here likewise, and when you were, quite naturally, distressed, he said he had come to see the sights, for he had no authority to touch anything here. Therefore, apart from the beautiful sight which all the world may enjoy, the great number of your statues brings you a renown of another sort! For these things are manifestly a proof of your friendship for your rulers and of their respect for you. 32.36.  For not only does the mighty nation, Egypt, constitute the framework of your city — or more accurately its ')" onMouseOut="nd();"appendage — but the peculiar nature of the river, when compared with all others, defies description with regard to both its marvellous habits and its usefulness; and furthermore, not only have you a monopoly of the shipping of the entire Mediterranean by reason of the beauty of your harbours, the magnitude of your fleet, and the abundance and the marketing of the products of every land, but also the outer waters that lie beyond are in your grasp, both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, whose name was rarely heard in former days. The result is that the trade, not merely of islands, ports, a few straits and isthmuses, but of practically the whole world is yours. For Alexandria is situated, as it were, at the cross-roads of the whole world, of even the most remote nations thereof, as if it were a market serving a single city, a market which brings together into one place all manner of men, displaying them to one another and, as far as possible, making them a kindred people. 32.37.  Perhaps these words of mine are pleasing to your ears and you fancy that you are being praised by me, as you are by all the rest who are always flattering you; but I was praising water and soil and harbours and places and everything except yourselves. For where have I said that you are sensible and temperate and just? Was it not quite the opposite? For when we praise human beings, it should be for their good discipline, gentleness, concord, civic order, for heeding those who give good counsel, and for not being always in search of pleasures. But arrivals and departures of vessels, and superiority in size of population, in merchandise, and in ships, are fit subjects for praise in the case of a fair, a harbour, or a market-place, but not of a city; 32.41.  What, then, do you suppose those people say when they have returned to their homes at the ends of the earth? Do they not say: "We have seen a city that in most respects is admirable and a spectacle that surpasses all human spectacles, with regard both to beauty and sanctuaries and multitude of inhabitants and abundance of all that man requires," going on to describe to their fellow citizens as accurately as possible all the things that I myself named a short while ago — all about the Nile, the land, and the sea, and in particular the epiphany of the god; "and yet," they will add, "it is a city that is mad over music and horse-races and in these matters behaves in a manner entirely unworthy of itself. For the Alexandrians are moderate enough when they offer sacrifice or stroll by themselves or engage in their other pursuits; but when they enter the theatre or the stadium, just as if drugs that would madden them lay buried there, they lose all consciousness of their former state and are not ashamed to say or do anything that occurs to them. 36.5.  For that reason the fortunes of the Greeks in that region reached a very low ebb indeed, some of them being no longer united to form cities, while others enjoyed but a wretched existence as communities, and it was mostly barbarians who flocked to them. Indeed many cities have been captured in many parts of Greece, inasmuch as Greece lies scattered in many regions. But after Borysthenes had been taken on the occasion mentioned, its people once more formed a community, with the consent of the Scythians, I imagine, because of their need for traffic with the Greeks who might use that port. For the Greeks had stopped sailing to Borysthenes when the city was laid waste, inasmuch as they had no people of common speech to receive them, and the Scythians themselves had neither the ambition nor the knowledge to equip a trading-centre of their own after the Greek manner. 36.8.  Callistratus was about eighteen years of age, very tall and handsome, having much of the Ionian in his appearance. And it was said also that in matters pertaining to warfare he was a man of courage, and that many of the Sauromatians he had either slain or taken captive. He had become interested also in oratory and philosophy, so that he had his heart set on sailing away in my company. For all these reasons, then, he was in high repute with his fellow-townsmen, and not least of all because of his beauty, and he had many lovers. For this practice has continued among them as a heritage from the city of their origin — I refer to the love of man for man — so much so that they are likely to make converts of some of the barbarians, for no good end, I dare say, but rather as those people would adopt such a practice, that is to say, like barbarians and not without licentiousness. 36.9.  Knowing, then, that Callistratus was fond of Homer, I immediately began to question him about the poet. And practically all the people of Borysthenes also have cultivated an interest in Homer, possibly because of their still being a warlike people, although it may also be due to their regard for Achilles, for they honour him exceedingly, and they have actually established two temples for his worship, one on the island that bears his name and one in their city; and so they do not wish even to hear about any other poet than Homer. And although in general they no longer speak Greek distinctly, because they live in the midst of barbarians, still almost all at least know the Iliad by heart. 36.25.  As a usual thing those who come here are nominally Greeks but actually more barbarous than ourselves, traders and market-men, fellows who import cheap rags and vile wine and export in exchange products of no better quality. But you would appear to have been sent to us by Achilles himself from his holy isle, and we are very glad to see you and very glad also to listen to whatever you have to say. However, we do not believe that this visit of yours is to be of very long duration, nor do we desire it to be, but rather that you may have a prosperous voyage home as speedily as possible. 36.43.  "What follows regarding the horses and their driving I really am ashamed to tell in the manner in which the Magi set it forth in their narrative, since they are not very much concerned to secure consistency at all points in their presentation of the picture. In fact, quite possibly I may appear absurd when, in contrast with Greek lays of grace and charm, I chant one that is barbarian; but still I must make the venture. "According to the Magi, that one of the horses which is the highest in the heavens is immeasurably superior in beauty, size, and speed, since it has the outside track and runs the longest course, a horse sacred to Zeus himself. Furthermore, it is a winged creature, brilliant in colour with the brilliance of the purest flame; and in it Helius and Selenê are to be seen as conspicuous signs or marks — like, I fancy, the marks which horses bear here on earth, some crescent-shaped and some of other patterns. 38.33.  But you must also strive to give the provincial governors occasion to respect you, by continually making it manifest that you are not content with merely being well governed yourselves, but that you are concerned for the welfare of the whole Bithynian people, and that you are no less displeased over the wrongs inflicted upon the others than you are over those inflicted upon yourselves; moreover, that if any persons flee to you for succour, you aid them promptly and impartially. This line of conduct is what will yield you that primacy which is genuine, and not your squabble with Nicaeans over titles. 48.5.  Then what you do not tolerate from the lips of others will you yourselves say against yourselves? If ever a quarrel arises and your adversaries taunt you with having wicked citizens, with dissension, are you not put to shame? As for myself, I swear to you by all the gods, I was indeed violently angry when a certain person said to me, "Bring reconciliation to the city," and I was vexed with him. For may I never see the day when you need reconciliation, but, as the saying goes, may such things be diverted to the heads of our enemies, that is, to the accursed Getae, but not to any others, members of our own race. 53.8.  For in what respect is it a greater feat to cast a spell upon stones and trees and wild beasts and to make them follow than to have mastered so completely men of alien race who do not understand the Hellenic speech, men who have acquaintance with neither the poet's tongue nor the deeds of which his poem tells, but are, as I believe, simply enchanted by a lyre? Moreover, I believe that many barbarians who are still more ignorant than those men of India have heard of the name of Homer, if nothing more, though they have no clear notion what it signifies, whether animal or vegetable or something else still. 62.1. And indeed, if a person is not competent to govern a single man, and that too a man who is very close to him, in fact his constant companion, and if, again, he cannot guide a single soul, and that his own, how could he be king, as you are, over unnumbered thousands scattered everywhere, many even dwelling at the ends of the earth, most of whom he has not even seen and never could see, and whose speech he will not understand? Why, it is as if one were to say of the man with vision so impaired that he cannot see even what lies at his feet but needs some one to lead him by the hand, that he can reach with his eyes the most distant objects, like those who at sea behold from afar both the mountains and the islands; or as if one were to say of the man who cannot make himself heard even by those who stand beside him, that he is able to speak so as to be heard by whole communities and armies.
4. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2.385, 4.656 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.385. This country is extended as far as the Ethiopians, and Arabia the Happy, and borders upon India; it hath seven million five hundred thousand men, besides the inhabitants of Alexandria, as may be learned from the revenue of the poll tax; yet it is not ashamed to submit to the Roman government, although it hath Alexandria as a grand temptation to a revolt, by reason it is so full of people and of riches, and is besides exceeding large 4.656. 5. And now, as Vespasian was come to Alexandria, this good news came from Rome, and at the same time came embassies from all his own habitable earth, to congratulate him upon his advancement; and though this Alexandria was the greatest of all cities next to Rome, it proved too narrow to contain the multitude that then came to it.
5. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 7.97 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6. Tacitus, Annals, 15.45.1-15.45.2 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

15.45.1.  Meanwhile, Italy had been laid waste for contributions of money; the provinces, the federate communities, and the so‑called free states, were ruined. The gods themselves formed part of the plunder, as the ravaged temples of the capital were drained of the gold dedicated in the triumphs or the vows, the prosperity or the fears, of the Roman nation at every epoch. But in Asia and Achaia, not offerings alone but the images of deity were being swept away, since Acratus and Carrinas Secundus had been despatched into the two provinces. The former was a freedman prepared for any enormity; the latter, as far as words went, was a master of Greek philosophy, but his character remained untinctured by the virtues. Seneca, it was rumoured, to divert the odium of sacrilege from himself, had asked leave to retire to a distant estate in the country, and, when it was not accorded, had feigned illness — a neuralgic affection, he said — and declined to leave his bedroom. Some have put it on record that, by the orders of Nero, poison had been prepared for him by one of his freedmen, Cleonicus by name; and that, owing either to the man's revelations or to his own alarms, it was avoided by Seneca, who supported life upon an extremely simple diet of field fruits and, if thirst was insistent, spring water.
7. Achilles Tatius, The Adventures of Leucippe And Cleitophon, 5.1 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Aelius Aristides, Orations, 26.11-26.13, 26.61, 46.23 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Ammianus Marcellinus, History, 22.16.7 (4th cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

22.16.7. But the crown of all cities is Alexandria, which is made famous by many splendid things, through the wisdom of its mighty founder and by the cleverness of the architect Dinocrates. The latter, when laying out its extensive and beautiful walls, for lack of lime, of which too little could at the time be found, sprinkled the whole line of its circuit with flour, Cf. Strabo, xvii. 1, 6 (at end); Plutarch, Alex. 26, 5 f. which chanced to be a sign that later the city would abound with a plentiful store of food.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acratus Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
aelius aristides Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
ailios aristeides Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
alexandria (egypt) Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
alexandria v–vii Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
antioch Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21, 23
apameia Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
bithynia (roman province) Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
caesars, roman Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
chōra (egypt) Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
chōra (greek cities) Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
cicero Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
citizenship Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
city of alexandria, great harbor Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 23
city of alexandria, island of pharos Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 23
city of alexandria, royal quarters Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
diodorus siculus Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 23
dion of prousa Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76, 104
galba Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
greek/barbarian division Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
humankind, unity of Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76, 104
jews in alexandria, jewish district/delta quarter Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21, 23
josephus, on the city of alexandria Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21, 23
keil, bruno Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
nero Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
oikeiosis Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
oikoumene Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
panaitios of rhodes Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 104
pompeius magnus, cn. Stanton, Unity and Disunity in Greek and Christian Thought under the Roman Peace (2021) 76
population of alexandria' Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 23
population of alexandria Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
ptolemaic royal ideology vi Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
rhakotis Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
rome Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95; Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
sarapis/serapis, serapeum Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21
second sophistic Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95
strabo, description of alexandria Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 21, 23
wilamowitz-moellendorff, ulrich von Amendola, The Demades Papyrus (P.Berol. inv. 13045): A New Text with Commentary (2022) 95