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Cornelius Nepos

3laude digna ducuntur. Cum autem exprimere imaginem consuetudinis atque vitae velimus Epaminondae, nihil videmur debere praetermittere 4quod pertineat ad eam declarandam. Qua re dicemus primum de genere eius, deinde quibus disciplinis et a quibus sit eruditus, tum de moribus ingeniique facultatibus et si qua alia memoria digna erunt, postremo de rebus gestis, quae a plurimis animi1 anteponuntur virtutibus.

2. Natus igitur patre quo diximus, genere honesto, pauper iam a maioribus relictus est,2 eruditus autem sic ut nemo Thebanus magis. Nam et citharizare et cantare ad chordarum sonum doctus est a Dionysio, qui non minore fuit in musicis gloria quam Damon aut Lamprus, quorum pervulgata sunt nomina, cantare tibiis ab Olympiodoro, saltare a Calliphrone. 2At philosophiae praeceptorem habuit Lysim Tarentinum, Pythagoreum; cui quidem sic fuit deditus, ut adulescens tristem ac severum senem omnibus aequalibus suis in familiaritate anteposuerit; neque prius eum a se dimisit,3 quam in doctrinis tanto antecessit condiscipulos, ut facile intellegi posset pari modo superaturum omnes in ceteris artibus. 3Atque haec ad nostram consuetudinem sunt levia et potius contemnenda; at in Graecia, utique olim, magnae laudi erant.

4Postquam ephebus est factus et palaestrae dare operam coepit, non tam magnitudini virium servivit

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XV. Epaminondas

even praiseworthy. Since, then, I wish to portray the life and habits of Epaminondas, it seems to me that I ought to omit nothing which contributes to that end. Therefore I shall speak first of his family, then of the subjects which he studied and his teachers, next of his character, his natural qualities, and anything else that is worthy of record. Finally, I shall give an account of his exploits, which many writers consider more important than mental excellence.

2. Well then, he was born of the father whom I have mentioned; his family was an honourable one, but had been in moderate circumstances for some time; yet in spite of that he received as good an education as any Theban. Thus he was taught to play the lyre, and to sing with an instrumental accompaniment, by Dionysius, who in the musical world was equal in reputation to Damon or Lamprus, whose names are known everywhere. He learned to play the pipes from Olympiodorus and to dance from Calliphron. In philosophy he had as his master Lysis of Tarentum, the Pythagorean, and to him he was so attached that in his youth he was more intimate with that grave and austere old man than with any of the young people of his own age; and he would not allow his teacher to leave him until he so far surpassed his fellow-students in learning, that it could readily be understood that in a similar way he would surpass all men in all other accomplishments. Now these last, according to our views, are trivial, or rather, contemptible; but in Greece, especially in bygone days, they were highly esteemed.

As soon as Epaminondas attained military age and began to interest himself in physical exercise, he

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.cornelius_nepos-book_great_generals_foreign_nations_epaminondas.1929