Diodorus Siculus, Book 33

    ( fragments covering the period 145 - 135 B.C. )

See table of contents for some information about how this translation has been produced, and key to translations for an explanation of the format.

[1] G   The Lusitanians at first, not having a skilled general, were easily vanquished by the Romans; but after Viriathus became their general, they did them much harm. He was one of the inhabitants of the sea-coasts, a shepherd upon the mountains from his childhood; by nature of a healthy constitution, in strength and agility of body far exceeding all the Iberians; 2 for he had inured himself to a sparing diet, much labour and toil, and to no more sleep than was absolutely necessary. He always carried weapons, and was famous for his conflicts both with wild beasts and robbers. At length he was chosen to be leader of the people, and soon a whole drove of bandits came to join him. Being very successful in many battles, he was admired not only for his other excellencies, but also for his prowess as a general. 3 Besides, in distribution of the spoils he was very just, allotting to every man in proportion to his merits and deserts. Still proceeding and prospering, he established himself as a chieftain, rather than a thief and a robber. He fought several battles with the Romans and came off the victor, insomuch as he utterly routed Vitellius the Roman general and his army; after taking the general prisoner, he put him to death. And he performed many other brave exploits, until Fabius was appointed to go out as general against him, 4 and from that time he began to decline. But not long afterwards he rallied his men, and fought bravely against Fabius, who was forced to accept terms dishonourable to the Roman name. But Caepio, who was afterwards general against Viriathus, disregarded the former treaty as invalid, and often routed Viriathus, whom (now being reduced to such straits, that he sued for terms of peace) he caused to be treacherously assassinated by some of his own kinsmen: and striking terror into Tautamus his successor, and all his army, he imposed what terms and conditions he pleased upon them, and in the end granted them the city and land about for their habitation.

5 G   Viriathus, the leader of the Lusitanian robbers, was just and exact in distributing the spoils, and those who had conducted themselves valiantly in battle, he would liberally reward according to their several merits; and he never appropriated any of the public property to his own private use. Therefore the Lusitanians never shrank or drew back from any hazardous undertaking, when he commanded them and was their leader, honouring him as the common benefactor and saviour of their country.

[2] G   Plautius the Roman praetor greatly misgoverned his province, and being therefore condemned by the people, because he had dishonoured his government, he left Rome and went into exile.

[3] G   In Syria, king Alexander, being completely unfit to govern a kingdom, on account of his feebleness of spirit, gave up the government of Antioch to Hierax and Diodotus.

[4] G   Now that the kingdom of Egypt had been brought low, Demetrius, as the only surviving member of the Syrian royal family, believed himself to be out of all danger, and disregarded the conduct of the former kings, who had ingratiated themselves into the good opinion of their people by their affable behaviour. But he, growing every day more and more insufferable, fell at length to downright cruelty, and all sorts of heinous enormities. The cause of this is not only to be attributed to his own corrupt disposition, but also to one of his friends, who had the management of all the affairs of the kingdom; for being an impious and rash fellow, by his flattery he incited the young man to all manner of wickedness. 2 At first therefore, he punished all that had sided against him in the war, with unusual sorts of cruelty. Afterwards, when the Antiochians taunted and jeered at him, in their usual manner, he got together a company of mercenary soldiers against them, and commanded that the citizens should be disarmed. Since the Antiochians refused to hand over their weapons, he killed some of them as they fell into his hands, and others he murdered in their own houses, together with their wives and children. When this caused a great uproar in the city, he burnt down most of the city to the ground. 3 Many that were accused of leading this commotion, were put to death; their property was confiscated, and given to the royal treasury. Therefore many of the citizens, out of both fear and hatred of Demetrius, fled out of the city and wandered up and down all Syria, watching for a fit time and an opportunity for revenge. In the mean time Demetrius, hated by everybody, raged notwithstanding in slaughters, banishments, and confiscations, far exceeding even his father in cruelty; 4 for his father, instead of ruling with royal clemency and kindness, had exercised a tyrannical and arbitrary power, oppressing his subjects with most grievous and unbearable calamities. As a result, the kings of this family, for their oppressions, were hated by all, while those of the other were as much beloved for their moderation and clemency; so that the mutual plots of the leaders of both these families, one against another, filled Syria was with continual wars and commotions. The common people themselves were so affected by the flattery and fair promises of those kings, who sought to succeed the others, that they still delighted in change.

[4a] G   A certain Diodotus, called Tryphon, who had a high reputation amongst the friends of the king, when he saw the fervour of the masses and how they hated their ruler, defected from Demetrius and soon found many others to share in his enterprise. [He gained the support of] the men of Larissa, who were noted for their courage and had been allowed to dwell in this place as a reward for their brave conduct. They were settlers from Larissa in Thessaly, and had served as allies to the kings from Seleucus Nicator onwards, in the first ranks of the cavalry force . . . He also made an alliance with Iamblichus, a chieftain of Arabia, who happened to have been entrusted with the care of Antiochus, called Epiphanes; this Antiochus was the son of Alexander, and still a child. Tryphon placed a diadem on the boy's head, and gave him a retinue suitable for a king, with the intention of restoring him to his ancestral throne. For he assumed (which was reasonable) that the masses were eager for a change, and would willingly receive back the boy, because of the virtuous conduct of the [previous] kings and the lawlessness of the current ruler. And first, after collecting a moderate number of men, he encamped near the city of Chalcis, which was situated on the borders of Arabia, and was capable of supporting a force staying there in safety. Using this place as a base, he won over the neighbouring peoples and prepared all the necessary supplies for war. At first Demetrius regarded him with contempt as a mere bandit, and ordered his soldiers to arrest him. But later, when Tryphon had gathered an unexpectedly large body of supporters and was using the restoration of the boy to the throne as the pretext for his aggression, Demetrius decided to send a general against him.

[5] G   The Aradians, supposing they had got an opportunity to destroy the Marathenes, sent privately to Ammonius, the viceroy of the kingdom, and, with a bribe of three hundred talents, prevailed upon him to deliver up Marathus. Ammonius sent Isodorus to Marathus, who by his speech was to pretend some other matters, but in truth intended to seize the city, and to deliver it up to the Aradians. 2 The Marathenes were unaware that they were intended for destruction, but observed that the Aradians were higher in the king's favour than themselves. They refused the king's soldiers entrance into their city, and resolved to address themselves as suppliants to the Aradians. They forthwith therefore sent ten of the most eminent of their elder citizens as ambassadors to Aradus, who brought with them humble supplications, and the oldest images of their gods which they had in their city, hoping that on account of their kinship and the reverence due to their gods, the Aradians would be appeased, and their anger diverted. 3 As soon as they landed, according to the commands given, they addressed themselves as suppliants to the people: but the Aradians, who had become incensed, ignored the usual and common laws of suppliants, and cast off all reverence for their kindred's images, and their gods. Therefore they broke the images, and trampled them most shamefully under their feet, and attempted to stone the ambassadors. The crowd was with difficulty restrained by some of the elders, who prevented them from stoning the ambassadors, while they were still in a rage; but they commanded the ambassadors to be conveyed to prison.

4 G   The Aradians, growing insolent, abused the ambassadors from Marathus, who crying out against their impiety, called upon the sacred regard that ought to be shown to suppliants, and the security and protection due to ambassadors, upon which some of the audacious young fellows were provoked to slay them. Then these murderers and their accomplices got together in a general assembly, and adding one piece of wickedness to another, contrived an impious and vile design against the Marathenes; 5 for taking the rings off the fingers of the murdered men, they wrote letters to the Marathenes, as if from the ambassadors, in which they informed them, that the Aradians would within a short time send them aid. The intention was that the Marathenes would receive the Aradian soldiers into their city, and so be captured by stealth, when they thought that the soldiers had really, and without fraud, been sent to them as auxiliaries. 6 But the Aradians failed in their wicked design, for although they had removed all the ships, so that no-one might reveal their treachery to the Marathenes, a certain seaman, who was a pious and upright man, and well disposed towards the Marathenes, took pity on their plight. Being accustomed to sail in the neighbouring sea, even though his own ship had been seized, at night he swam across the narrow strait, about eight stades in breadth, and revealed the fraud of the Aradians to the Marathenes. Therefore the Aradians, when they heard from spies that their plot had been discovered, abandoned the ruse of sending the letters.

[5a] G   In Pisidia a certain Molcestes, who was a native of Bubo and had a very good reputation amongst the people of that area, was appointed to be general on account of his renown. His power increased so much that he was given a bodyguard, and began to behave openly as a tyrant. Some time later, his brother Semias, seeking to seize power for himself and taking advantage of the trust he was given as a brother, killed Molcestes and became tyrant in his place. But the sons of the dead man, who were still in their childhood, were secretly taken away to Termessus by one of their relatives. There they were raised and, upon reaching manhood, set out to avenge the murder of their father. They killed the tyrant, but did not seek to take over his power for themselves; instead, they restored democracy to their homeland.

[6] G   Ptolemy Physcon, the brother of Philometor, began his reign most wickedly. He put many of his subjects to death, with most cruel torments, after falsely charging them with plots against his life; he banished others and confiscated their estates, for pretended crimes invented by himself. In a short time, his subjects were so enraged by these cruelties, that they all detested him; however, he reigned for fifteen years.

[6a] G   The younger Ptolemy reigned for fifteen years after the death of his elder brother. He committed many lawless acts: he married his own sister Cleopatra, and unjustly blamed many men for plotting against him. Some of these he killed; he drove the others into exile by false accusations, and confiscated their property.

[7] G   At the wedding of Viriathus many gold and silver cups, and all sorts of rich carpets of exquisite workmanship, were set forth to grace the ceremony. But Viriathus, supporting himself on a lance, regarded them not with admiration of such a rich and splendid display, but rather in scorn and contempt. On this occasion he spoke many things with much wisdom and prudence, and concluded with many emphatic remarks, on the subject of ingratitude towards benefactors and of the folly [. . . of] trusting in the gifts of fortune, which are so uncertain; especially, since it was apparent, that all those highly esteemed riches of his father-in-law were liable to be a prey to whoever could them away upon his spear's point. He further added, that his father-in-law ought rather to thank him, because he had not needed to give anything of his own to him {Viriathus} who was lord and owner of all. 2 Viriathus therefore at that time, neither washed nor sat down, although he was earnestly entreated so to do. And although the table was plentifully furnished with rich dishes of meat, he only distributed some bread and flesh amongst them that came along with him. After he had little more than tasted the food himself, he ordered his bride to be brought to him, and having sacrificed after the manner of the Spaniards, he mounted her on horseback, and forthwith carried her away to his residence in the mountains. 3 He regarded sobriety and temperance the greatest riches; liberty as his homeland; and outstanding valour as the surest possession. In conversation he spoke plainly and sincerely what he thought; his own unblemished character led him (without any formal education) to express himself faultlessly.

4 G   At the wedding of Viriathus, a lot of wealth was displayed. After casting his eyes over this, Viriathus asked Astolpas: "How have the Romans, seeing so much wealth spread in feasts, declined to take possession of the things, although they had the power?" Astolpas replied that many Romans had seen them, but no one had thought to take nor to ask for them. "Why then have you forsaken those that let you enjoy your property quietly, to join me, who am poor and ignoble?" 5Viriathus was direct in his manner of speech, drawing on a self-taught and unspoilt nature. The people of Tucca gave their support inconsistently, sometimes to the Romans, sometimes to Viriathus, and as they continued in this manner, Viriathus taunted their inconsistency and lack of judgment, 6 reciting a fable: "A middle-aged man took two wives, of which the younger, wanting her husband to be the same age as her, pulled out his grey hair, while the older one pulled out his black hair, and finally thanks these two women pulling at it, his head became completely bald. A similar fate awaits the people of Tucca: the Romans kill their enemies, the Lusitanians kill theirs, so that your city will soon be deserted." 7 There are a lot of other pithy sayings attributed to this man, who had no formal education, but was tutored by common sense. A man who lives according to the principles of nature has concise speech, strengthened by the practice of virtue. By a brief and simple saying, this speaker can utter a maxim, which the hearer will readily recall.

[8] G   A poor and humble position in life leads to self-sufficiency and love of justice, but wealth has as its companions greed and injustice.

[9] G   Demetrius, while he was staying at Laodiceia, spent his time in banqueting, and such like luxury; and he still behaved cruelly towards many in the mean time, because his character was not at all improved by his afflictions.

[10] G   The Cnossians contended for the sovereignty of the island, which they alleged belonged to them, on account of both the ancient dignity of the city, and the glory and renown of their ancestors in the heroic age. For some say that Zeus was brought up amongst them, and that Minos, who had the dominion of the seas, was educated by Zeus at Cnossus, and excelled all other men in virtuous accomplishments.

[11] G   According to tradition, Agamemnon had cursed the warriors who remained in Crete; and there is an old saying in use among the Cretans, which in a single verse warns of the present disaster: "Alas! the men of Pergamus paid no regard to misfortune."

[12] G   In Egypt, king Ptolemy was hated by all his subjects because of his cruelty. His manners were not to be compared with his brother Philometor's; for his brother was of a mild and gentle nature, but he himself was fierce and cruel. Therefore the people longed for a change and earnestly waited for a suitable opportunity to revolt.

[13] G   At the time when Ptolemy, in the traditional manner of the Egyptians, was enthroned at Memphis, his queen Cleopatra was delivered of a son. Ptolemy was exceedingly pleased by this, and he called the boy Memphites, because he was born in the city Memphis at the time of his solemn inauguration. But while he was celebrating his son's birth, he did not forget his habitual cruelty; for be ordered some men from Cyrene, who had accompanied him back to Egypt, to be put to death, because they rebuked him somewhat too freely, on account of his concubine Eirenē.

[14] G   After Diēgylis came to the throne as king of Thrace, he was so puffed up with his prosperity, that he began to rule over his people not as his subjects and friends, but to domineer over then, as so many slaves and captives: for he put many good and honest Thracians to death by torture, and abused many others with the most extreme cruelty. He spared neither woman nor boy that was handsome and beautiful, and did not shrink from stripping men of all their possessions by force; so that he filled all his dominions with rapine and violence. 2 He also plundered and spoiled the neighbouring Greek cities, and abused some of the captives and put others to death with exquisite torments. After he had captured the city of Lysimacheia, which belonged to Attalus, he burnt it to the ground, and picked out the most eminent persons from amongst the captives, and put them to death with strange and unheard of tortures; 3 for he cut off the heads, hands, and feet of the children, and hung them about their parent's necks, and exchanged the members of men and women one with another. Of some he cut off their hands, and split them down the small of the back and sometimes would cause the sliced limbs to be carried about on the tips of spears, so that in his cruelty he far exceeded Phalaris and Apollodorus the tyrant of Cassandreia. His barbarity is made even more evident by the following instance. 4 When he was celebrating his wedding, in the traditional manner of the Thracians, he seized two young Greek men who were travelling from the kingdom of Attalus; they were brothers, both very handsome. The one had already reached manhood, and the other was near bordering on it; 5 Diegylis caused them both to be introduced crowned with garlands, after the manner of sacrificial victims. When the younger one was laid out and extended lengthways by the officer, as one ready to be split down the middle, the tyrant cried out, that kings and commoners ought not to offer the same sacrifices. Hereupon the older brother, offering loud lamentation, out of dear love for his brother, interposed himself between him and the sword; upon which Diēgylis commanded that he should be laid out in the same way, and then doubling his cruelty, at one stroke he despatched them both, while the spectators all applauded so noble a piece of dexterity. He committed many other wicked acts of a similar sort.

[15] G   When Attalus understood that Diēgylis was hated by all his subjects for his cruelty and greed, he took a quite contrary course; and therefore, after he had taken many Thracian prisoners captive, and freely released them all, there were many that spread abroad his fame for his generosity and clemency. When many of the Thracian nobility, out of hatred towards Diēgylis, fled to him, they were kindly received; but Diēgylis, when he heard of this, tortured the hostages left by those who had fled with the most grievous torments. Many of these, that were very young and of tender age, he pulled into pieces, limb from limb, and of others he cut off their hands, feet, and heads; some he crucified, and others he hung upon trees; 2 many women likewise were spread-eagled before they were put to death, and prostituted to the lust of every vile fellow, as in a most barbarous manner he gave up himself to all manner of filthiness. Just as this clearly evidenced his unparalleled cruelty, so it moved many spectators, who had but the least sense of humanity, with pity and commiseration.

[16] G   The Numantines and Termessians sent ambassadors to the Romans, to treat for a peace, which was granted to them upon these conditions. That they should each deliver up their cities to the Romans, three hundred hostages, nine thousand military cloaks, three thousand hides, eight hundred war-horses, and all their weapons; and that they should be friends and allies to the Romans. A day was set for the cities to comply with these conditions, and they acted according to the terms; 2 but when at last it came to delivering up of their weapons, there arose a noble regret and lamentation, and a courageous resolution in the populace to regain their liberties. Therefore they were angry one at another that they should ever have considered that they should, like women, strip themselves of their weapons. Repenting of what had been decided, the fathers reproached their sons, children their parents, and women their husbands; and so, coming to themselves again, and resolving not to deliver up their weapons, they renewed the war with Romans.

[17] G   When Pompeius was preparing to besiege the city of Lagni, the Numantines in their eagerness to assist their countrymen, sent to them in the night four hundred soldiers. The men of Lagni at first readily received the soldiers, and bountifully rewarded then as their saviours. But a few days later, dreading a siege, they negotiated with Pompeius, to deliver up the town upon terms, insisting only upon sparing their lives. 2 When Pompeius would accept no conditions, unless the Numantines were delivered up to him, the men of Lagni at first shrank from the thought of such a wicked act against their benefactors, and therefore resolved to resist to the utmost. But being afterwards reduced to the utmost extremity, they sent envoys to Pompeius to inform him that they were ready to redeem their own lives by the destruction of their allies. When the Numantines discovered this, they set upon the citizens unexpectedly in the night, and made a grievous slaughter amongst them. 2 Pompeius, learning of this tumult and hustle in the town, forthwith set scaling ladders to the walls, and captured the city. Then he put all the nobles of Lagni to the sword, but generously discharged all the Numantine auxiliaries, to the number of two hundred; because he both felt pity for men who had so unworthily been brought into great danger and distress, and likewise intended by this act to gain the good will of the Numantines towards the Romans. Afterwards he razed the city to the ground.

[18] G   Arsaces king of the Parthians, being a mild and gracious prince, was exceedingly prosperous and successful, and greatly enlarged the bounds of his empire. He conquered all before him, as far as to India, where Porus reigned formerly, with a great deal of ease; and though he he had achieved that degree of power and authority, yet he inclined not in the least to pride and luxury, as is common with princes in such cases. He was kind to his subjects, and valiant in warfare against his enemies; and having subdued many nations, he collected the best of their customs, and imparted them to the Parthians.

[19] G   The consul Popilius, when Viriathus requested an interview, decided to state his conditions one by one, for fear that if he declared them all at once, it would push Viriathus to despair and all-out war.

[20] G   There was a man from Athamania called Galaestes, the son of Amynander who had been king of the Athamanians; and he was pre-eminent amongst his compatriots in his family, his wealth and his reputation. He was a friend of Ptolemy Philometor, and commanded the forces from Alexandria in the battle against Demetrius. After the defeat and death of Ptolemy, Galaestes was falsely accused of deliberately yielding victory to the enemy, and Ptolemy who became the next king removed his privileges and treated him harshly. Therefore he took fear and went away to Greece. Since many others had been driven out of Egypt by the conflict against the mercenary soldiers, Galaestes provided a welcome to the exiles. He said that he had been entrusted by Ptolemy Philometor to be the guardian of the king's son by Cleopatra, who was destined to be the next king. He crowned the boy with a diadem, and with the support of many of the exiles, he prepared to lead the boy back to take over his father's kingdom.

[21] G   Audas, Ditalces and Nicorontes were relatives and friends of each other, from Urso. When they observed that the authority of Viriathus had been weakened by the Romans, they started to fear for themselves and decided to win some favour with the Romans, which would ensure their own safety . . . since they saw that Viriathus was keen to make an end of the war, they announced that they would persuade Caepio to agree to peace terms, if he sent them as envoys about a truce. The chieftain readily agreed to this, and they promptly went to Caepio, who was easily persuaded to promise them safety, when they told him that they would assassinate Viriathus. After giving and receiving pledges about this, they quickly returned to their camp. In order to divert Viriathus' thoughts as far as possible away from their true intentions, they told him that they had persuaded the Romans to agree to peace, which put him in good spirits. Then, taking advantage of the trust he had in them because of their friendship, they crept into his tent by night. After dispatching Viriathus with some well-aimed blows of the sword, they immediately escaped from the camp and, travelling by a remote route over the mountains, came safely to Caepio.

[21a] G   Viriathus was buried by the Lusitanians with great pomp and state; for two hundred pairs of gladiators were matched against each other, and fought duels at his sepulchre, in honour of the remarkable valour of this man. He was, as is agreed by all, valiant in dangers, prudent and careful in providing whatever was necessary; and, what was most noteworthy of all, while he commanded he was more beloved than ever any was before him. For in dividing the spoil he never served himself with any thing above any of the rest, and out of those things which fell to his share, he often rewarded those that had fought most valiantly, and relieved those soldiers that were most in need. He acted with incredible sobriety and vigilance, not sparing any labour, or drawing back from any hazard; he was not in the least overcome by ease or pleasures. His virtuous qualities are evident and easy to prove: for he was general of the Lusitanians for the space of eleven years, during which time his soldiers were not only well-disciplined without any mutinies, but also nearly unconquerable; but after his death the forces of the Lusitanians were soon broken and dispersed, being deprived of such a general.

[22] G   Ptolemy [was hated by all] on account of his cruelty, murders, filthy lusts and deformed body, whence he was called Physcon. But his general Hierax, being an expert soldier, and popular in all general meetings, and a man of a great spirit, sustained the government by himself. When Ptolemy lacked money, and the soldiers for want of pay were ready to revolt to Galaestes, he put a stop to their mutiny by paying off their arrears out of his own purse.

[23] G   The Egyptians altogether condemned Ptolemy when they saw him so childish in his speeches, drowned in filthy lusts, and his body emasculated by his intemperance.

[24] G   The city known as Contobris sent envoys with instructions to order the Romans to leave the territory of Contobris immediately, or expect some catastrophe; for all those who had ever dared to invade this country with a hostile army had perished. The consul said to the envoys: "The Lusitanians and Celtiberians make great threats and ambitious claims, but the Romans know how to punish the guilty and despise their threats. It is better to show one's courage in action than by threats, and the natives will learn this at their expense."

[25] G   He thought it was better to die gloriously in battle than surrender their weapons and undergo the most shameful slavery.

[26] G   Junius exhorted his soldiers, saying that they must now, more than ever, be courageous, and be worthy of their previous victories . . . their souls must withstand fatigue and their intelligence overcome bodily weakness.

2 G   The implacable vengeance with which the Romans pursued their enemies became universally known, as well as their outstanding leniency towards those who submitted.

[27] G   Aemilius the consul, being of a heavy and ungainly body as he was very fat with masses of flabby flesh, was totally unfit for conducting a war.

[28] G   In Syria, Diodotus called Tryphon killed Antiochus son of Alexander, who was a mere child and was being raised to be king. He then put on the royal diadem, and as the throne was empty, he proclaimed himself king, and prepared to fight against the satraps and generals of the royal family. In Mesopotamia there was Dionysius the Mede; in Coele Syria there were Sarpedon, Palamedes and their associates; in Seleuceia by the sea there was Aeschron, accompanied by queen Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius who had been captured by Arsaces.

[28a] G   Tryphon, who had risen from being a private citizen to become a king, did all he could to obtain a decree of the senate that would strengthen his position. Therefore, preparing a golden statue of Victory weighing ten thousand gold pieces, he sent ambassadors to Rome, to present it to the people, fully expecting that he would obtain from them the title of king, considering that the present which he sent was not only extremely valuable in itself, but also its very name was a portent of victory. But he found the senate far more subtle than himself; for their prudence prompted them to a dislike of anyone who deceitfully circumvented others. They received the present, and the good omen, together with the profit; but, instead of Tryphon's name, the senate decreed that the title of the king who was treacherously murdered should be engraved upon it. By so doing, they showed that they hated Tryphon's wickedness in murdering the child, and that they would not accept the presents of wicked men.

[28b] G   Scipio Africanus came to Alexandria along with other ambassadors, to view the whole kingdom of Egypt. Ptolemy met them in pomp and state, with a great retinue, and feasted them sumptuously, and, going about with them, showed them his palace and treasury. 2 But they, being persons eminent for virtue, contented themselves with a spare and wholesome diet, and scorned the rich food they were given, as prejudicial both to mind and body. As for those things which the king esteemed as rarities and admirable, they only glanced their eyes upon them, and looked on them as things of no value; but they observed most carefully those things which were really worth their viewing; such as the situation of the city, and its prosperity, and particularly the features of the Pharos. From there they sailed to Memphis, and took notice of the goodness of the land, the advantages provided by the river Nile, the number of the cities, the infinite thousands of inhabitants, the strong defences of Egypt, the excellence of the country, and how well it was provided to support and defend a large empire. 3 Having admired both the populousness of Egypt, and the advantages of the county, they were of opinion that the kingdom of Egypt could easily swell into a vast empire, if it once had worthy masters. After the ambassadors had viewed all they needed of Egypt, they went to Cyprus, and thence on to Syria. In short, they passed through most parts of the inhabited world: and, carrying themselves soberly, to admiration in all places wherever they came, they gained exceeding honour and reputation. By the time they returned home, they had earned the unanimous praise of everyone. 4 For those that were in conflict, they reconciled one to another; and others they persuaded to do right and justice to those that complained against them. Those that were impudently obstinate, they were obliged to curb and restrain by force; and such disputes as were difficult to be resolved, they referred to the senate. Conferring both with kings and their people, and renewing all former treaties, they increased the goodwill felt towards the Roman government; and so all the states, being brought to a friendly disposition, sent ambassadors to Rome and highly applauded Scipio and the other delegates, and the senate for employing such men.

Book 34

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