Aelian, Historical Miscellany

LCL 486: 216-217

Go To Section
Go To Section


4. Ὅτι ἀναθῆλαι λόγος ἐστὶ Δήλιος φυτὰ ἐν Δήλῳ ἐλαίαν καὶ φοίνικα, ὧν ἁψαμένην τὴν Λητὼ εὐθὺς ἀποκυῆσαι, τέως οὐ δυναμένην τοῦτο δρᾶσαι.

5. Ἐπαμεινώνδας ἕνα εἶχε τρίβωνα καὶ αὐτὸν ῥυπῶντα· εἴ ποτε δὲ αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν εἰς γναφεῖον, αὐτὸς ὑπέμενεν οἴκοι δι᾿ ἀπορίαν ἑτέρου. ἐν δὴ τούτῳ5 τῆς περιουσίας ὤν, τοῦ Περσῶν βασιλέως πέμψαντος αὐτῷ πολὺ χρυσίον, οὐ προσήκατο· καὶ εἴ γέ τι ἐγὼ νοῶ, μεγαλοφρονέστερος ἦν τοῦ διδόντος ὁ μὴ λαβών.

6. Ἄξιον δὲ καὶ τὸ Καλανοῦ τοῦ Ἰνδοῦ τέλος ἐπαινέσαι· ἄλλος δ᾿ ἂν εἶπεν ὅτι καὶ ἀγασθῆναι. ἐγένετο δὲ τοιοῦτον· Καλανὸς ὁ Ἰνδῶν σοφιστὴς μακρὰ χαίρειν φράσας Ἀλεξάνδρῳ καὶ Μακεδόσι καὶ τῷ βίῳ, ὅτε ἐβουλήθη ἀπολῦσαι αὑτὸν ἐκ τῶν τοῦ σώματος δεσμῶν, ἐγεγένητο6 μὲν ἡ πυρὰ ἐν τῷ καλλίστῳ προαστείῳ τῆς Βαβυλῶνος, καὶ ἦν τὰ ξύλα αὖα καὶ πρὸς εὐωδίαν εὖ μάλα ἐπίλεκτα κέδρου καὶ θύου7 καὶ κυπαρίττου καὶ μυρσίνης καὶ δάφνης, αὐτὸς δὲ γυμνασάμενος γυμνάσιον τὸ εἰωθός (ἦν δὲ καὶ αὐτὸ δρόμος), ἀνελθὼν ἐπὶ μέσης τῆς πυρᾶς ἔστη ἐστεφανωμένος καλάμου κόμῃ. καὶ ὁ μὲν ἥλιος αὐτὸν προσέβαλλεν, ὁ δὲ αὐτὸν προσεκύνει, καὶ τοῦτο ἦν τὸ σύνθημα εἰς τὸ ἐξάπτειν τὴν πυρὰν τοῖς Μακεδόσι. καὶ τὸ μὲν δέδρατο,8 ὁ δὲ περιληφθεὶς <ὑπὸ>9 τῆς


Book 5

4. Note the Delian tradition that the trees which flourish on Delos are the olive and the palm.3 When Leto took hold of them she immediately gave birth, which she had not been able to do before.

5. Epaminondas had just one coat, and a dirty one at that; and whenever he sent it to the cleaner’s, he stayed at home because he did not have another. Though he lived in these comfortable circumstances, when he was sent a large quantity of gold by the Persian king, he did not accept it. If my judgement is worth anything, the refusal was nobler than the gift.

6. It is right to praise the death of Calanus;4 one might even say, to marvel at it. This is how it happened. Calanus the Indian sage said goodbye to Alexander, the Macedonians and his life, wishing to free himself from the bonds of his body. The pyre was set up in the finest suburb of Babylon. The wood was dry, carefully selected for its fragrance, consisting of cedar, citron, cypress, myrtle, and laurel. Having taken his customary exercise—this was to run—he mounted to the middle of the pyre and stood there, his hair covered with a crown of reeds. The sun shone down upon him, and he knelt in respect for it. This was the cue for the Macedonians to light the pyre. When this was done the flames took hold of him, but he stood

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelian-historical_miscellany.1997