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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Fall of Corinth
By Polybius (c. 200–c. 118 B.C.)
 
From the ‘Histories’: Translation of Evelyn S. Shuckburgh

THE INCIDENTS of the capture of Corinth were melancholy. The soldiers cared nothing for the works of art and the consecrated statues. I saw with my own eyes, pictures thrown on the ground and soldiers playing dice on them.  1
  Owing to the popular reverence for the memory of Philopœmen, they did not take down the statues of him in the various cities. So true is it, as it seems to me, that every genuine act of virtue produces in the mind of those who benefit by it an affection which it is difficult to efface….  2
  There were many statues of Philopœmen, and many erections in his honor, voted by the several cities; and a Roman, at the time of the disaster which befell Greece at Corinth, wished to abolish them all, and to formally indict him, laying an information against him, as though he were still alive, as an enemy and ill-wisher to Rome. But after a discussion, in which Polybius spoke against this sycophant, neither Mummius nor the commissioners would consent to abolish the honors of an illustrious man….  3
  Polybius, in an elaborate speech, conceived in the spirit of what has just been said, maintained the cause of Philopœmen. His arguments were that “this man had indeed been frequently at variance with the Romans on the matter of their injunctions, but he only maintained his opposition so far as to inform and persuade them on points in dispute; and even that he did not do without serious cause. He gave a genuine proof of his loyal policy and gratitude by a test as it were of fire, in the periods of the wars with Philip and Antiochus. For, possessing at those times the greatest influence of any one in Greece, from his personal power as well as that of the Achæans, he preserved his friendship for Rome with the most absolute fidelity; having joined in the vote of the Achæans in virtue of which, four months before the Romans crossed from Italy, they levied a war from their own territory upon Antiochus and the Ætolians, when nearly all the other Greeks had become estranged from the Roman friendship.” Having listened to this speech, and approved of the speaker’s view, the ten commissioners granted that the complimentary erections to Philopœmen in the several cities should be allowed to remain. Acting on this pretext, Polybius begged of the consul the statues of Achæus, Aratus, and Philopœmen, though they had already been transported to Acarnania from the Peloponnesus: in gratitude for which action, people set up a marble statue of Polybius himself….  4
  After the settlement made by the ten commissioners in Achaia, they directed the quæstor, who was to superintend the selling of Diæus’s property, to allow Polybius to select anything he chose from the goods and present it to him as a free gift, and to sell the rest to the highest bidders. But so far from accepting any such present, Polybius urged his friends not to covet anything whatever of the goods sold by the quæstor anywhere;—for he was going a round of the cities, and selling the property of all those who had been partisans of Diæus, as well as of those who had been condemned, except such as left children or parents. Some of these friends did not take his advice; but those who did follow it earned a most excellent reputation among their fellow-citizens.  5
 
 
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