LCL 186: 328-329
Aegyptii crocodillis et aspidibus, quando eos qui ab istis mordentur et a crocodillis rapiuntur felices et 87deo dignos arbitrantur. Sed sunt apud nos asini quod apud alios sapientes uiros onera sibimet imposita sustinentes, et licet ad areas accedentes comedant aut uiam propositam non adimpleant, multas ualde plagas accipiunt, quippe operibus et ad agriculturam 88rebus necessariis ministrantes. Sed aut omnium gurdissimus fuit Apion ad componendum uerba fallacia aut certe ex rebus initia sumens haec implere non ualuit, quando nulla potest contra nos blasphemia prouenire.
89(8) Alteram uero fabulam derogatione nostra plenam de Graecis apposuit, de quo hoc dicere sat erit, quoniam qui de pietate loqui praesumunt oportet eos non ignorare minus esse inmundum per templa transire quam sacerdotibus scelesta uerba confingere. 90Isti uero magis studuerunt defendere sacrilegum regem quam iusta et ueracia de nostris et de templo conscribere. Uolentes enim Antiocho praestare et infidelitatem ac sacrilegium eius tegere, quo circa gentem nostram est usus propter egestatem pecuniarum, detrahentes nobis etiam quae in futuro sunt1 91dicenda mentiti sunt. Propheta uero aliorum factus est Apion et dixit Antiochum in templo inuenisse lectum et hominem in eo iacentem et propositam ei mensam maritimis terrenisque et uolatilium dapibus 92plenam, et2 obstipuisset his homo. Ilium uero mox adorasse regis ingressum tamquam maximum ei solacium praebiturum ac procidentem ad eius genua
Against Apion II
ascribed to crocodiles and asps by Egyptians, who regard persons bitten by a viper or mauled by a crocodile as blessed souls found worthy of God. With us, as with other sensible people, asses are beasts that carry loads on their backs, and if they invade our threshing-floors and eat the corn, or stop short on the road, they are soundly beaten, as humble ministers for labour and agriculture. Either Apion was the greatest blockhead as a writer of fiction, or, to say the least, he could draw no just conclusion from such facts as he had to start from;a for every one of his calumnies upon us is a failure.
(8) He adds a second story, of Greek origin,bAnother calumnious story: the annual murder of a Greek. which is a malicious slander upon us from beginning to end. On this it will suffice to remark that persons who venture upon religious topics ought to be aware that there is less profanity in violating the precincts of a temple than in calumniating its priests. But these authors are more concerned to uphold a sacrilegious king than to give a fair and veracious description of our rites and temple. In their anxiety to defend Antiochus and to cover up the perfidy and sacrilege practised upon our nation under pressure of an empty exchequer, they have further invented, to discredit us, the fictitious story which follows. Apion, who is here the spokesman of others, asserts that:—
Antiochus found in the temple a couch, on which a man was reclining, with a table before him laden with a banquet of fish of the sea, beasts of the earth, and birds of the air, at which the poor fellowc was gazing in stupefaction. The king’s entry was instantly hailed by him with adoration, as about to procure him profound relief; falling at the