Malakōtate

Hasdrubal

Κἀν τούτῳ λαθὼν ὁ Ἀσδρούβας ἔφυγε πρὸς τὸν Σκιπίωνα μετὰ θαλλῶν· καὶ αὐτὸν ὁ Σκιπίων ἐκάθισε πρὸ ποδῶν ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ τοῖς αὐτομόλοις ἐπεδείκνυεν. οἱ δ’ ὡς εἶδον, ᾔτησαν ἡσυχίαν σφίσι γενέσθαι, καὶ γενομένης Ἀσδρούβᾳ μὲν ἐλοιδορήσαντο πολλὰ καὶ ποικίλα, τὸν δὲ νεὼν ἐνέπρησάν τε καὶ κατεκαύθησαν. τὴν δὲ γυναῖκα τοῦ Ἀσδρούβα λέγουσιν, ἀπτομένου τοῦ πυρὸς ἀντικρὺ τοῦ Σκιπίωνος γενομένην, κατακοσμήσασθαί τε ὡς ἐν συμφοραῖς ἐδύνατο, καὶ παραστησαμένην τὰ τέκνα εἰπεῖν ἐς ἐπήκοον τοῦ Σκιπίωνος: “σοὶ μὲν οὐ νέμεσις ἐκ θεῶν, ὦ Ῥωμαῖε· ἐπὶ γὰρ πολεμίαν ἐστράτευσας· Ἀσδρούβαν δὲ τόνδε πατρίδος τε καὶ ἱερῶν καὶ ἐμοῦ καὶ τέκνων προδότην γενόμενον οἵ τε Καρχηδόνος δαίμονες ἀμύναιντο, καὶ σὺ μετὰ τῶν δαιμόνων.” εἶτ’ ἐς τὸν Ἀσδρούβαν ἐπιστρέψασα εἶπεν· “ὦ μιαρὲ καὶ ἄπιστε καὶ μαλακώτατε ἀνδρῶν, ἐμὲ μὲν καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς παῖδας τόδε τὸ πῦρ θάψει· σὺ δὲ τίνα κοσμήσεις θρίαμβον ὁ τῆς μεγάλης Καρχηδόνος ἡγεμών; τίνα δ᾽ οὐ δώσεις δίκην τῷδε ᾧ παρακαθέζῃ;” τοσαῦτ’ ὀνειδίσασα κατέσφαξε τοὺς παῖδας, καὶ ἐς τὸ πῦρ αὐτούς τε καὶ ἑαυτὴν ἐπέρριψεν. ὧδε μέν φασι τὴν Ἀσδρούβα γυναῖκα, ὡς αὐτὸν ἐχρῆν Ἀσδρούβαν, εἰποῦσαν ἀποθανεῖν.
(Appian, Rhōmaïka 8.131-132)

Thereupon Hasdrubal secretly presented himself to Scipio, bearing an olive branch. Scipio commanded him to sit at his feet and there showed him to the deserters. When they saw him, they asked silence, and when it was granted, they heaped all manner of reproaches upon Hasdrubal, then set fire to the temple and were consumed in it. It is said that as the fire was lighted the wife of Hasdrubal, in full view of Scipio, arrayed in the best attire possible under such circumstances, and with her children by her side, said in Scipio’s hearing, “For you, Roman, the gods have no cause of indignation, since you exercise the right of war. Upon this Hasdrubal, betrayer of his country and her temples, of me and his children, may the gods of Carthage take vengeance, and you be their instrument.” Then turning to Hasdrubal, “Wretch,” she exclaimed, “traitor, most effeminate of men, this fire will entomb me and my children. Will you, the leader of great Carthage, decorate a Roman triumph? Ah, what punishment will you not receive from him at whose feet you are now sitting.” Having reproached him thus, she slew her children, flung them into the fire, and plunged in after them. Such, they say, was the death of the wife of Hasdrubal, which would have been more becoming to himself. (tr. Horace White)

Anaxiōs

Philip_II_of_Macedon
Philip II of Macedon

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Ἀρχή τε οὐδεμία προῆλθέ πω μέχρι νῦν εἰς τοσοῦτο μεγέθους καὶ χρόνου. οὔτε γὰρ τὰ Ἑλλήνων, εἴ τις ὁμοῦ τὰ Ἀθηναίων καὶ Λακεδαιμονίων καὶ Θηβαίων, δυναστευσάντων παρὰ μέρος, ἀπὸ τῆς Δαρείου στρατείας, ὅθεν αὐτοῖς ἐστιν ἐλλαμπρύνεσθαι μάλιστα, ἐς τὴν Φιλίππου τοῦ Ἀμύντου τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἡγεμονίαν συναγάγοι, πολλὰ ἂν ἔτη φανείη. οἵ τε ἀγῶνες αὐτοῖς ἐγένοντο οὐκ ἐπὶ ἀρχῆς περικτήσει μᾶλλον ἢ φιλοτιμίᾳ πρὸς ἀλλήλους, καὶ οἱ λαμπρότατοι περὶ τῆς αὐτῶν ἐλευθερίας πρὸς ἀρχὰς ἄλλας ἐπιούσας. οἳ δέ τινες αὐτῶν ἐς Σικελίαν πλεύσαντες ἐπὶ ἀρχῆς ἑτέρας ἐλπίδι προσέπταισαν, ἤ, εἴ τις ἐς τὴν Ἀσίαν διῆλθεν, μικρὰ καὶ ὅδε δράσας εὐθὺς ἐπανῄει. ὅλως τε ἡ Ἑλληνικὴ δύναμις, καίπερ ἐκθύμως ὑπὲρ ἡγεμονίας ἀγωνισαμένων, οὐ προῆλθεν ὑπὲρ τὴν Ἑλλάδα βεβαίως, ἀλλὰ δεινοὶ μὲν ἐγένοντο ἀδούλωτον αὐτὴν καὶ ἀήττητον κατασχεῖν ἐπὶ πλεῖστον, ἀπὸ δὲ Φιλίππου τοῦ Ἀμύντου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ Φιλίππου καὶ πάνυ μοι δοκοῦσι πρᾶξαι κακῶς καὶ ἀναξίως αὑτῶν.
(Appian, Rhōmaïka prooem. 8)

No government down to the present time ever attained to such size and duration. That of the Greeks, even if we count the mastery of Athens, Sparta, and Thebes successively from the invasion of Darius, which was the beginning of their glory, to the hegemony of Greece held by Philip, the son of Amyntas, lasted comparatively but few years. Their wars were not for conquest abroad but rather for preeminence among themselves, and they were most distinguished for the defense of their freedom against foreign invaders. Those of them who invaded Sicily with the hope of extending their dominion made a failure, and whenever they marched into Asia they accomplished small results and speedily returned. In short the Greek power, although ardent in fighting for the Grecian hegemony, never advanced steadfastly beyond the boundaries of Greece, but took pride in holding itself unenslaved and seldom conquered, and from the time of Philip the son of Amyntas, and of Alexander the son of Philip, they seem to me to have done very badly and to have been unworthy of themselves. (tr. Horace White)

Eudaimonian

roman empire

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Καὶ ἔστι καὶ τοῖσδε τοῖς αὐτοκράτορσιν ἐς τὸν παρόντα χρόνον ἐγγυτάτω διακοσίων ἐτῶν ἄλλων, ἐν οἷς ἥ τε πόλις μάλιστα κατεκοσμήθη καὶ ἡ πρόσοδος ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ηὐξήθη καὶ πάντα ἐν εἰρήνῃ μακρᾷ καὶ εὐσταθεῖ προῆλθεν εἰς εὐδαιμονίαν ἀσφαλῆ. καί τινα καὶ τοῖς προτέροις ἔθνεσιν οἵδε οἱ αὐτοκράτορες ἐς τὴν ἡγεμονίαν προσέλαβον καὶ ἀφιστάμενα ἄλλα ἐκρατύναντο. ὅλως τε δι’ εὐβουλίαν τὰ κράτιστα γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης ἔχοντες σώζειν ἐθέλουσι μᾶλλον ἢ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐς ἄπειρον ἐκφέρειν ἐπὶ βάρβαρα ἔθνη πενιχρὰ καὶ ἀκερδῆ, ὧν ἐγώ τινας εἶδον ἐν Ῥώμῃ πρεσβευομένους τε καὶ διδόντας ἑαυτοὺς ὑπηκόους εἶναι καὶ οὐ δεξάμενον βασιλέα ἄνδρας οὐδὲν αὐτῷ χρησίμους ἐσομένους. ἔθνεσί τε ἄλλοις, ἀπείροις τὸ πλῆθος, αὐτοὶ διδόασι τοὺς βασιλέας, οὐδὲν αὐτῶν ἐς τὴν ἀρχὴν δεόμενοι· καὶ τῶν ὑπηκόων ἐνίοις προσαναλίσκουσιν, αἰδούμενοι καίπερ ἐπιζημίους ὄντας ἀποθέσθαι. τήν τε ἀρχὴν ἐν κύκλῳ περικάθηνται μεγάλοις στρατοπέδοις καὶ φυλάσσουσι τὴν τοσήνδε γῆν καὶ θάλασσαν ὥσπερ χωρίον.
(Appian, Rhōmaïka prooem. 7)

From the advent of the emperors to the present time is nearly two hundred years more, in the course of which the city has been greatly embellished, its revenue much increased, and in the long reign of peace and security everything has moved toward a lasting prosperity. Some nations have been added to the empire by these emperors, and the revolts of others have been suppressed. Possessing the best part of the earth and sea they have, on the whole, aimed to preserve their empire by the exercise of prudence, rather than to extend their sway indefinitely over poverty-stricken and profitless tribes of barbarians, some of whom I have seen at Rome offering themselves, by their ambassadors, as its subjects, but the chief of the state would not accept them because they would be of no use to it. They give kings to a great many other nations whom they do not wish to have under their own government. On some of these subject nations they spend more than they receive from them, deeming it dishonorable to give them up even though they are costly. They surround the empire with great armies and they garrison the whole stretch of land and sea like a single stronghold. (tr. Horace White)

Epimochthōs

caesar

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Τούτων τοσούτων καὶ τηλικούτων ἐθνῶν ὄντων τὸ μέγεθος, Ἰταλίαν μὲν αὐτὴν ἐπιμόχθως τε καὶ μόλις ἐν πεντακοσίοις ἔτεσι κατειργάσαντο βεβαίως. καὶ τούτων τὰ ἡμίσεα βασιλεῦσιν ἐχρῶντο, τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ τοὺς βασιλέας ἐκβαλόντες καὶ ἐπομόσαντες οὐκ ἀνέξεσθαι βασιλέων ἀριστοκρατίᾳ τε ἐχρήσαντο ἀπὸ τοῦδε καὶ προστάταις ἄρχουσιν ἐτησίοις. διακοσίοις δὲ μάλιστα ἑξῆς ἐπὶ τοῖς πεντακοσίοις ἐπὶ μέγα ἦλθεν ἡ ἀρχή, καὶ ξενικῆς τε δυνάμεως ἐκράτησαν ἀπείρου καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα τῶν ἐθνῶν τότε ὑπηγάγοντο. Γάιός τε Καῖσαρ, ὑπὲρ τοὺς τότε δυναστεύσας, καὶ τὴν ἡγεμονίαν κρατυνάμενός τε καὶ διαθέμενος ἐς φυλακὴν ἀσφαλῆ, τὸ μὲν σχῆμα τῆς πολιτείας καὶ τὸ ὄνομα ἐφύλαξεν, μόναρχον δ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐπέστησε πᾶσι. καὶ ἔστιν ἥδε ἡ ἀρχὴ μέχρι νῦν ὑφ’ ἑνὶ ἄρχοντι, οὓς βασιλέας μὲν οὐ λέγουσιν, ὡς ἐγὼ νομίζω, τὸν ὅρκον αἰδούμενοι τὸν πάλαι, αὐτοκράτορας δὲ ὀνομάζουσιν, ὃ καὶ τῶν προσκαίρων στρατηγῶν ὄνομα ἦν· εἰσὶ δὲ ἔργῳ τὰ πάντα βασιλεῖς.
(Appian, Rhōmaïka prooem. 6)

Although holding the empire of so many and so great nations, the Romans labored five hundred years with toil and difficulty to establish their power firmly in Italy itself. Half of this time they were under kings, but having expelled them and sworn to have kingly rule no longer, they adopted aristocracy, and chose their rulers yearly. In the two hundred years next succeeding the five hundred their dominion increased greatly, they acquired unexampled foreign power, and brought the greater part of the nations under their sway. Gaius [Julius] Caesar having got the upper hand of his rivals possessed himself of the sovereignty, holding it in a firm grasp, and preserved the form and name of the republic but made himself the absolute ruler of all. In this way the government, from that time to this, has been a monarchy; but they do not call their rulers kings, out of respect, as I think, for the ancient oath. They call them imperators [emperors], that being the title also of those who formerly held the chief command of the armies for the time being. Yet they are very kings in fact. (tr. Horace White)

Aphairoumenōn

RP-P-OB-52.044

Καταλέγοντι δ’ αὐτῷ τὸν στρατὸν ἐς τὰς ἀποικίας καὶ τὴν γῆν ἐπινέμοντι δυσεργὲς ἦν. οἵ τε γὰρ στρατιῶται τὰς πόλεις ᾔτουν, αἳ αὐτοῖς ἀριστίνδην ἦσαν ἐπειλεγμέναι πρὸ τοῦ πολέμου, καὶ αἱ πόλεις ἠξίουν τὴν Ἰταλίαν ἅπασαν ἐπινείμασθαι τὸ ἔργον ἢ ἐν ἀλλήλαις διαλαχεῖν τῆς τε γῆς τὴν τιμὴν τοὺς δωρουμένους ᾔτουν, καὶ ἀργύριον οὐκ ἦν, ἀλλὰ συνιόντες ἀνὰ μέρος ἐς τὴν Ῥώμην οἵ τε νέοι καὶ γέροντες ἢ αἱ γυναῖκες ἅμα τοῖς παιδίοις, ἐς τὴν ἀγορὰν ἢ τὰ ἱερά, ἐθρήνουν, οὐδὲν μὲν ἀδικῆσαι λέγοντες, Ἰταλιῶται δὲ ὄντες ἀνίστασθαι γῆς τε καὶ ἑστίας οἷα δορίληπτοι. ἐφ’ οἷς οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι συνήχθοντο καὶ ἐπεδάκρυον, καὶ μάλιστα, ὅτε ἐνθυμηθεῖεν οὐχ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ σφίσιν αὐτοῖς καὶ τῇ μεταβολῇ τῆς πολιτείας τόν τε πόλεμον γεγονότα καὶ τὰ ἐπινίκια διδόμενα καὶ τὰς ἀποικίας συνισταμένας τοῦ μηδ’ αὖθις ἀνακῦψαι τὴν δημοκρατίαν, παρῳκισμένων τοῖς ἄρχουσι μισθοφόρων ἑτοίμων, ἐς ὅ τι χρῄζοιεν. ὁ δὲ Καῖσαρ ταῖς πόλεσιν ἐξελογεῖτο τὴν ἀνάγκην, καὶ ἐδόκουν οὐδ’ ὣς ἀρκέσειν. οὐδ’ ἤρκουν, ἀλλὰ ὁ στρατὸς καὶ τοῖς γείτοσιν ἐπέβαινε σὺν ὕβρει, πλέονά τε τῶν διδομένων σφίσι περισπώμενοι καὶ τὸ ἄμεινον ἐκλεγόμενοι. οὐδὲ ἐπιπλήσσοντος αὐτοῖς καὶ δωρουμένου πολλὰ ἄλλα τοῦ Καίσαρος ἐπαύοντο, ἐπεὶ καὶ τῶν ἀρχόντων, ὡς δεομένων σφῶν ἐς τὸ ἐγκρατὲς τῆς ἀρχῆς, κατεφρόνουν. καὶ γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἡ πενταετία παρώδευε, καὶ τὸ ἀσφαλὲς ἡ χρεία συνῆγεν ἀμφοτέροις παρ᾽ ἀλλήλων, τοῖς μὲν ἡγεμόσιν ἐς τὴν ἀρχὴν παρὰ τοῦ στρατοῦ, τῷ στρατῷ δὲ ἐς τὴν ἐπικράτησιν ὧν ἔλαβον, ἡ τῶν δεδωκότων ἀρχὴ παραμένουσα. ὡς γὰρ αὐτῶν οὐ βεβαίως ἐπικρατήσοντες, εἰ μὴ βεβαίως ἄρχοιεν οἱ δόντες, ὑπερεμάχουν ἀπ’ εὐνοίας ἀναγκαίου. πολλὰ δὲ καὶ ἄλλα τοῖς ἀπορουμένοις αὐτῶν ἐδωρεῖτο, δανειζόμενος ἐκ τῶν ἱερῶν, ὁ Καῖσαρ. ὅθεν τὴν γνώμην ὁ στρατὸς ἐς αὐτὸν ἐπέστρεφε, καὶ πλείων ὑπήντα χάρις ὡς γῆν ἅμα καὶ πόλεις καὶ χρήματα καὶ οἰκήματα δωρουμένῳ καὶ καταβοωμένῳ μὲν ἐπιφθόνως ὑπὸ τῶν ἀφαιρουμένων, φέροντι δὲ τὴν ὕβριν ἐς χάριν τοῦ στρατοῦ.
(Appian, Rhōmaïka 17.12-13)

The task of assigning the soldiers to their colonies and dividing the land was one of exceeding difficulty. The soldiers demanded the cities which had been selected for them before the war as prizes for their valor. The cities demanded that the whole of Italy should share the burden, or that the cities should cast lots with the other cities, and that those who gave the land should be paid the value of it; but there was no money. They came to Rome in crowds, young and old, women and children, to the forum and the temples, uttering lamentations, saying that they had done no wrong for which they, Italians, should be driven from their fields and their hearthstones, like people conquered in war. The Romans mourned and wept with them, especially when they reflected that the war had been waged, and the rewards of victory given, not in behalf of the commonwealth, but against themselves and for a change of the form of government; that the colonies were established so that democracy should never again lift its head,— colonies composed of hirelings settled there by the rulers to be in readiness for whatever purpose they might be wanted. Octavius explained to the cities the necessity of the case, but he knew that it would not satisfy them; and it did not. The soldiers encroached upon their neighbors in an insolent manner, seizing more than had been given to them and choosing the best lands; nor did they cease when Octavius rebuked them and made them numerous other presents. They were contemptuous in the knowledge that their rulers needed them to confirm their power, for the five years’ term of the triumvirate was passing away, and army and rulers needed the services of each other for mutual security. The chiefs depended on the soldiers for the continuance of their government, while, for the control of what they had received, the soldiers depended on the permanence of the government of those who had given it. Believing that they could not keep a firm hold unless the givers had a strong government, they fought for them with good-will, necessarily. Octavius made many other gifts to the indigent soldiers, borrowing from the temples for that purpose, for which reason the affections of the army were turned toward him. The greater thanks were bestowed upon him both as the giver of the land, the cities, the money, and the houses, and as the object of denunciation on the part of the despoiled, and as one who bore this contumely for the army’s sake. (tr. Horace White)

 

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, Rhōmaïka 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)

Ekekeleusto

copertina-iraq-seleucia

Φασὶ δὲ αὐτῷ τὰς Σελευκείας οἰκίζοντι, τὴν μὲν ἐπὶ τῇ θαλάσσῃ, διοσημίαν ἡγήσασθαι κεραυνοῦ, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο θεὸν αὐτοῖς κεραυνὸν ἔθετο, καὶ θρησκεύουσι καὶ ὑμνοῦσι καὶ νῦν κεραυνόν· ἐς δὲ τὴν ἐπὶ τοῦ Τίγρητος ἡμέραν ἐπιλέξασθαι τοὺς μάγους κελευομένους, καὶ τῆς ἡμέρας ὥραν, ᾗ τῶν θεμελίων ἄρξασθαι τῆς ὀρυχῆς ἔδει, ψεύσασθαι τὴν ὥραν τοὺς μάγους, οὐκ ἐθέλοντας ἐπιτείχισμα τοιόνδε σφίσι γενέσθαι. καὶ Σέλευκος μὲν ἐν τῇ σκηνῇ τὴν δεδομένην ὥραν ἀνέμενεν, ὁ δὲ στρατὸς ἐς τὸ ἔργον ἕτοιμος, ἀτρεμῶν ἔστε σημήνειεν ὁ Σέλευκος, ἄφνω κατὰ τὴν αἰσιωτέραν ὥραν δόξαντές τινα κελεύειν ἐπὶ τὸ ἔργον ἀνεπήδησαν, ὡς μηδὲ τῶν κηρύκων ἐρυκόντων ἔτι ἀνασχέσθαι. τὸ μὲν δὴ ἔργον ἐξετετέλεστο, Σελεύκῳ δὲ ἀθύμως ἔχοντι, καὶ τοὺς μάγους αὖθις ἀνακρίνοντι περὶ τῆς πόλεως, ἄδειαν αἰτήσαντες ἔλεγον οἱ μάγοι· “τὴν πεπρωμένην ὦ βασιλεῦ μοῖραν, χείρονά τε καὶ κρείσσονα, οὐκ ἔστιν οὔτε ἀνδρὸς οὔτε πόλεως ἐναλλάξαι. μοῖρα δέ τις καὶ πόλεών ἐστιν ὥσπερ ἀνδρῶν. καὶ τήνδε χρονιωτάτην μὲν ἐδόκει τοῖς θεοῖς γενέσθαι, ἀρχομένην ἐκ τῆσδε τῆς ὥρας ἧς ἐγένετο· δειμαίνοντες δ’ ἡμεῖς ὡς ἐπιτείχισμα ἡμῖν ἐσομένην, παρεφέρομεν τὸ πεπρωμένον. τὸ δὲ κρεῖσσον ἦν καὶ μάγων πανουργούντων καὶ βασιλέως ἀγνοοῦντος αὐτό. τοιγάρτοι τὸ δαιμόνιον τὰ αἰσιώτερα τῷ στρατῷ προσέταξεν. καὶ τοῦτο ἔνι σοι καταμαθεῖν ὧδε, ἵνα μή τι καὶ νῦν ἡμᾶς ἔτι τεχνάζειν ὑπονοῇς. αὐτός τε γὰρ ὁ βασιλεὺς σὺ τῷ στρατῷ παρεκάθησο, καὶ τὸ κέλευσμα αὐτὸς ἐδεδώκεις ἀναμένειν· καὶ ὁ εὐπειθέστατος ὤν σοι πρὸς κινδύνους καὶ πόνους οὐκ ἠνέσχετο νῦν οὐδὲ ἀναπαύσεως ἐπιτάγματος, ἀλλ’ ἀνέθορεν, οὐδὲ ἀνὰ μέρος ἀλλ’ ἀθρόως, ἐπιστάταις αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐνόμιζε κεκελεῦσθαι. καὶ ἐκεκέλευστο δή· διόπερ οὐδὲ σοῦ κατερύκοντος αὐτοὺς ἔτι ἐπείθοντο. τί ἂν οὖν βασιλέως ἐν ἀνθρώποις εἴη καρτερώτερον ἄλλο θεοῦ; ὃς τῆς σῆς γνώμης ἐπεκράτησε, καὶ ἡγεμόνευσέ σοι τῆς πόλεως ἀντὶ ἡμῶν, δυσμεναίνων ἡμῖν τε καὶ γένει παντὶ τῷ περιοίκῳ. ποῦ γὰρ ἔτι τὰ ἡμέτερα ἰσχύσει, δυνατωτέρου γένους παρῳκισμένου; ἡ μὲν δὴ πόλις σοι γέγονε σὺν τύχῃ καὶ μεγιστεύσει καὶ χρόνιος ἔσται: σὺ δὲ ἡμῖν, ἐξαμαρτοῦσιν ὑπὸ δέους οἰκείων ἀγαθῶν ἀφαιρέσεως, τὴν συγγνώμην βεβαίου.” (Appian, Rhōmaïka 11. [= Syr.] 58)

They say that when he was about to build the two Seleucias a portent of thunder preceded the foundation of the one by the sea, for which reason he consecrated thunder as a divinity of the place. Accordingly the inhabitants worship thunder and sing its praises to this day. They say, also, that when the Magians were ordered to indicate the propitious day and hour for beginning the foundations of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris they falsified as to the hour because they did not want to have such a stronghold built against themselves. While the king was waiting in his tent for the appointed hour, and the army, in readiness to begin the work, stood quietly till Seleucus should give the signal, suddenly, at the true hour of destiny, they seemed to hear a voice ordering them on. So they sprang to their work with such alacrity that the heralds who tried to stop them were not able to do so. When the work was brought to an end Seleucus, being troubled in his mind, again made inquiry of the Magians concerning his city, and they, having first secured a promise of impunity, replied, “That which is fated, o king, whether it be for better or worse, neither man nor city can change, for there is a fate for cities as well as for men. It pleases the gods that this city shall endure for ages, because it was begun on the hour on which it was begun. We feared lest it should be a stronghold against ourselves, and falsified the appointed time. Destiny is stronger than crafty Magians or an unsuspecting king. For that reason the deity announced the more propitious hour to the army. It is permitted you to know these things so surely that you need not suspect us of deception still, for you were presiding over the army yourself, as king, and you had yourself ordered them to wait; but the army, ever obedient to you in facing danger and toil, could not now be restrained, even when you gave them the order to stop, but sprang to their work, not a part of them merely, but all together, and their officers with them, thinking that the order had been given. In fact it had been given. That was the reason why not even you could hold them back. What can be stronger in human affairs than a king, unless it be a god, who overcame your intention and supplanted us in giving you directions about the city; for the god is in hostility to us and to all the people round about? What can our resources avail hereafter with a more powerful race settled along side of us? This city of yours has had a fortunate beginning, it will be great and enduring. We beg that you will confirm your pardon of our fault which we committed from fear of the loss of our own prosperity.” The king was pleased with what the Magians said and pardoned them. (tr. Horace White)