eklogai

polytheist extractions

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73

“And Ptolemy the seventh king of Egypt was a man of this sort, the same who caused himself to be styled Euergetes (‘Benefactor’) but who was called Kakergetes (‘Malefactor’) by the Alexandrians. Accordingly, Poseidonios the Stoic, who went with Scipio Africanus when he was sent to Alexandria, and who there saw this Ptolemy, writes thus, in the seventh book of his History (Fr. 6) ‘But owing to his luxury his whole body was eaten up with fat, and with the greatness of his belly, which was so large that no one could put his arms all round it; and he wore over it a tunic which reached down to his feet, having sleeves which reached to his wrists, and he never by any chance walked out except on this occasion of Scipio’s visit.’ And that this king was not averse to luxury he tells us when he speaks of himself, relating in the eighth book of his Commentaries how he was priest of Apollon at Kyrene, and how he gave a banquet to those who had been priests before him; writing thus: ‘The Artemitia is the great festival of Kyrene, on which occasion the priest of Apollon (and that office is one which lasts a year) gives a banquet to all those who have been his predecessors in the office; and he sets before each of them a separate dish. And this dish is an earthenware vessel, holding about twenty artabae, in which there are many kinds of game elaborately dressed, and many kinds of bread, and of tame birds, and of sea-fish, and also many species of foreign preserved meats and pickled-fish. And very often some people also furnish them with a handsome youth as an attendant. But we ourselves omitted all this, and instead we furnished them with cups of solid silver, each being of as much value as all the things which we have just enumerated put together; and also we presented each man with a horse properly harnessed, and a groom, and gilt trappings; and we invited each man to mount his horse and ride him home.’ And his son Alexander also became exceedingly fat,  the one, I mean, who put his mother to death who had been his partner in the kingdom. Accordingly Poseidonios, in the forty-seventh book of his History (Fr. 26), mentions him in the following terms: ‘But the king of Egypt being detested by the multitude, but flattered by the people whom he had about him, and living in great luxury, was not able even to walk, unless he went leaning on two friends; but for all that he would, at his banquets, leap off from a high couch, and dance barefoot with more vigour than even those who made dancing their profession.’ – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73

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