Metabalein

battle_of_carthage_iii_by_radojavor-d6i0i6x
(C) RadoJavor

Ὁ δὲ Σκιπίων πόλιν ὁρῶν ἑπτακοσίοις ἔτεσιν ἀνθήσασαν ἀπὸ τοῦ συνοικισμοῦ, καὶ γῆς τοσῆσδε καὶ νήσων καὶ θαλάσσης ἐπάρξασαν, ὅπλων τε καὶ νεῶν καὶ ἐλεφάντων καὶ χρημάτων εὐπορήσασαν ἴσα ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ταῖς μεγίσταις, τόλμῃ δὲ καὶ προθυμίᾳ πολὺ διασχοῦσαν, ἥ γε καὶ ναῦς καὶ ὅπλα πάντα περιῃρημένη τρισὶν ὅμως ἔτεσιν ἀντέσχε πολέμῳ τοσῷδε καὶ λιμῷ, τότε ἄρδην τελευτῶσαν ἐς πανωλεθρίαν ἐσχάτην, λέγεται μὲν δακρῦσαι καὶ φανερὸς γενέσθαι κλαίων ὑπὲρ πολεμίων, ἐπὶ πολὺ δ’ ἔννους ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῦ γενόμενός τε, καὶ συνιδὼν ὅτι καὶ πόλεις καὶ ἔθνη καὶ ἀρχὰς ἁπάσας δεῖ μεταβαλεῖν ὥσπερ ἀνθρώπους δαίμονα, καὶ τοῦτ’ ἔπαθε μὲν Ἴλιον, εὐτυχής ποτε πόλις, ἔπαθε δὲ ἡ Ἀσσυρίων καὶ Μήδων καὶ Περσῶν ἐπ’ ἐκείνοις ἀρχὴ μεγίστη γενομένη, καὶ ἡ μάλιστα ἔναγχος ἐκλάμψασα ἡ Μακεδόνων, εἴτε ἑκὼν εἴτε προφυγόντος αὐτὸν τοῦδε τοῦ ἔπους,
“ἔσσεται ἦμαρ ὅταν ποτ’ ὀλώλῃ Ἴλιος ἱρὴ
καὶ Πρίαμος καὶ λαὸς ἐϋμμελίω Πριάμοιο.” [Hom., Il. 6.448-449]
Πολυβίου δ’ αὐτοῦ ἐρομένου σὺν παρρησίᾳ (καὶ γὰρ ἦν αὐτοῦ καὶ διδάσκαλος) ὅ τι βούλοιτο ὁ λόγος, φασὶν οὐ φυλαξάμενον ὀνομάσαι τὴν πατρίδα σαφῶς, ὑπὲρ ἧς ἄρα, ἐς τἀνθρώπεια ἀφορῶν, ἐδεδίει.(Appian, Rhomaïka 8.132)

Scipio, beholding this city, which had flourished 700 years from its foundation and had ruled over so many lands, islands, and seas, rich with arms and fleets, elephants and money, equal to the mightiest monarchies but far surpassing them in bravery and high spirit (since without ships or arms, and in the face of famine, it had sustained continuous war for three years), now come to its end in total destruction – Scipio, beholding this spectacle, is said to have shed tears and publicly lamented the fortune of the enemy. After meditating by himself a long time and reflecting on the rise and fall of cities, nations, and empires, as well as of individuals, upon the fate of Troy, that once proud city, upon that of the Assyrians, the Medes, and the Persians, greatest of all, and later the splendid Macedonian empire, either voluntarily or otherwise the words of the poet escaped his lips: –
“The day shall come in which our sacred Troy
And Priam, and the people over whom
Spear-bearing Priam rules, shall perish all.”
Being asked by Polybius in familiar conversation (for Polybius had been his tutor) what he meant by using these words, he said that he did not hesitate frankly to name his own country, for whose fate he feared when he considered the mutability of human affairs. And Polybius wrote this down just as he heard it. (tr. Horace White)

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