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foot, and twenty-three thousand horse, all dressed and armed in a magnificent manner.
During the games and public combats, which continued for some days after this pompous solemnity, Ptolemy Soter presented the victors with twenty crowns of gold, and they received twenty-three from his consort Berenice. It appeared, by the registers of the palace, that these last crowns were valued at two thousand two hundred and thirty talents, and fifty minæ, about three hundred and thirty-four thousand four hundred pounds sterling: from whence some judgment may be formed of the immense sums to which all the gold and silver employed in this splendid ceremonial amounted.
Such was the magnificence (shall I call it religious, or rather theatrical and of the comic strain?) exhibibited by Ptolemy Philadelphus at his coronation. If Fabricius, the famous Roman, whom I have formerly mentioned, and who had rendered himself so remarkable for his contempt of gold and silver, had been a spectator of this procession, I am persuaded that the sight of it in all its parts, would have proved insupportable to him; and am inclined to think he would have thought and spoken like the emperor Vespasian, upon an occasion which had some resemblance to this. He and his son Titus made a triumphant entry into Rome, after the destruction of Jerusalem;' but finding himself fatigued with the excessive length of that pompous procession, he could not conceal his displeasure, and declared, that he was justly punished by that tedious ceremony, for his weakness in desiring a triumph at his advanced age*.
In this festival of Ptolemy Philadelphus, no part of it was conducted with any elegance, or had the
Adeo nihil ornamentorum extrinsecus cupide appetivit, ut triumphi die farigatus tarditate et ta dio pompe, non reticuerit meritò se plecti, qui triumphum-am ineptè senex concupisset. SUETON. in Vespas, c. xii.
least air of taste and genius. An amazing prodigality of gold and silver was displayed, which makes me recollect a passage in Sallust, the beauty and force of which I have the mortification not to be able to render in our language. Catiline intended to represent the immoderate luxury of the Romans his contemporaries, who lavished immense sums in the purchase of pictures, statues, wrought plate, and superb buildings. They draw out (says he) and “torment their gold and silver by all imaginable me“thods," (I must intreat the reader's excuse for this literal translation) “ and yet this excess of pro
digality is incapable of exhausting and overcoming " their riches,” Omnibus modis pecuniam trahunt, verant*; tamen summa lubidine divitias suas vine cere nequeunt. In such profusions as these, did the whole merit of Philadelphus consist on this occasion.
What could there be truly great or admirable in this vain ostentation of riches, and a waste of such immense treasure in a bottomless abyss, after they had cost the people so many fatiguing labours, and perhaps had been amassed by a long series of violent exactions? The spoils of whole provinces and cities were sacrificed to the curiosity of a single day, and displayed to public view only to raise the frivolous admiration of a stupid populace, without conducing to the least real advantage or utility. No thing ever argued a more profound ignorance of the true use of riches and solid glory, and of whatever else has any just pretensions to the esteem of mankind.
• These metaphorical terms, trahunt, vexant, vincere nequeunt, may possibly be derived from the combats of the Athleta, wherein, after one of them has thrown his adversary, and imagines himself victorious, he drags him along the Arena, in sight of the spectators, twists, shakes, and torments him, without being able to extort a confession from him of his defeat. In this contest, therefore, wherein the Roman author represents luxury and riches to be engaged, all the profusions of the former were incapable of exhausting and overcoming her riches
But what can we say, when we behold a sacred procession, and a solemnity of religion converted into a public school of intemperance and licentiousness, such as are only proper to excite the most shameful passions in the spectators, and induce an utter de. pravity of manners; by presenting to their view all the utensils of excess and debauch, with the most powerful allurements to indulge them, and that under pretext of paying adoration to the gods! What divinities must those be, that would exact, or so much as suffer so scandalous a pomp in their worship!
Secr. V. The commencement of the reign of Pto
lemy Philadelphus. The death of Demetrius Phalereus. Seleucus resigns his queen and part of his empire to his son Antiochus. The war between Scleucus and Lysimachus; the latter of whom is slain in a battle. Seleucus is assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus, on whom he had conferred a multitude of obligations. The two sons of Arsinoe are murdered by their Uncle Ceraunus, who also banishes that princess. Ceraunus is soon punished for those crimes by the irruption of the Gauls, by whom he is slain in a battle. The attempt of that people against the temple of Delphos. Antigonus establishes himself in Macedonia.
PTOLEMY Philadelphus, after the death of his
A. M, father, became sole master of all his doininions, 3721. which were composed of Egypt, and many provinces Ant. J. C. dependent on it, that is to say Phænicia, Colosy. 283. ria, Arabia, Libya, Ethiopia, the island of Cyprus, Pamphylia, Cilicia, Lycia, Caria, and the isles called the Cyclades.
Theocrit. Idyll. xvä.
During the life of Ptolemy Soter, Philadelphus had concealed his resentment against Demetrius Pha. lereys, for the advice he gave that prince, when he was deliberating on the choice of a successor. But when the sovereign power entirely devolved upon him, he caused that philosopher to be seized, and sent with a strong guard to a remote fortress, where he ordered him to be confined, till he should deter mine in what manner to treat him. But at last the bite of an aspic put a period to the life of that great man, who merited a better fate.
The testimonies in his favour of Cicero, Strabo, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, and many others, leave no room to doubt of the probity and wisdom of his government; we therefore shall only consider what has been observed with respect to his eloquence.
The characters of his writings, as Cicero observes in several places*, were sweetness, elegance, beauty, numbers and ornament, so that it was easy to distin: guish in them the disciple of Theophrastus. He excelled in that species of eloquence, which is called the temperate and florid. His style, in other respects gentle and calm, was adorned and ennobled with bold and shining metaphors, that exalted and enlivened his discourse, otherwise not dignified to any great degree with rich sentiments, and those beauties that constitute the great and the sublime. He was rather to be considered as a wrestler, formed
8 Diog. Laert. in Demetr. Cic. in orat. pro Rabir. Post. n. 23.
* Demetrius Pbalereus in hoc numero haberi potest : disputator fubtilis, orator parum vehemens, dulcis tamen, ut Theophrasti discipulum possis agnoscere. Offic. 1. i. n. 3.
Demetrius Phalereus, eruditissimus ille quidem, sed non tam armis institutus, quàm palastra. Itaque delectabat magis Athenienses, quam inflammabat. Processerat enim in solem et pulverem, non ut è militari tabernaculo, sed ut è Theophrasti, doctissimi hominis, umbraculis
Suavis videre maluit, quàm gravis ; sed suavitate ea, qua perfunderet animes, non qua perfringeret : et tantùm ut memoriam concinnitatis suæ, non (quem admodum de Pericle scripsit Eupolis) cum delectatione aculeos etiam relinqueret in animis corum à quibus esset auditus. De clar. Orat. n. 37 & 38.
in the shade and tranquillity, for public games and spectacles, than as a soldier inured to arms by exercise, and quitting his tent to attack an enemy. His discourse had, indeed, the faculty of affecting his hearers with something grateful and tender, but it wanted energy to inspire the force and ardour that inflame the mind, and only left in it at most an agreeable remembrance of some transient sweetness and graces, not unlike that we retain after hearing the most harmonious concerts.
It must be confessed, this species of eloquence has its merit, when limited to just bounds; but as it is very difficult and unusual to preserve the due mediocrity in this particular, and to suppress the sallies of a rich and lively imagination, not always guided by the judgment; this kind of eloquence is apt, therefore, to degenerate, and become, even from its own beauties, a pernicious delicacy, which at length vitiates and depraves the taste. This was the effect, according to Cicero and Quintilian, who were good judges in this point, of the florid and studied graces peculiar to the style of Demetrius. Athens, till his time*, had been accustomed to a noble and majestic eloquence, whose character was a natural beauty without paint and glitter. Demetrius was the first that revolted against this manly and solid eloquence, to which he substituted a soft and lan. guishing species, that abated the vigour of the mind, and at length rendered false taste predominant.
Two of Alexander's captains survived Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus, who, till then, had always been united by interest and friendship, and were engaged to each other by treaties and confederations: and as they were now advancing to the period of their days (for each of them had exceeded
* Hæc ætas effudit hanc copiam ; et, ut opinio mea fert, succus ille et sanguis incorruptus usque ad hanc ætatem or um fuit, in qua naturalis inesset, non fucatus, nitor-Hic (Phalereus) primus inflexit orationem, et eam mollem teneramque reddidit. De clar. Orat. p. 36–38.