Polybius 9.23

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1 There are many previous instances a consideration of which will show that this is so. 2 Take Agathocles the tyrant of Sicily. Do not all historians tell us that after showing himself exceedingly cruel in his first enterprises and in the establishment of his power, afterwards, when once he thought that he had securely attached the Sicilians to his rule, he became to all appearance the gentlest and mildest of men? 3 Again, was not Cleomenes of Sparta at once a most excellent king and a most cruel tyrant, and then again in private intercourse most urbane and courteous? 4 Now we can hardly suppose that dispositions so diametrically opposite existed in the same natures. The fact is rather that some princes are compelled to change with the change of circumstances and often exhibit to others a disposition which is quite the opposite of their real nature, so that so far from men's natures being revealed by such means they are rather obscured. 5 And a like effect is usually produced by the suggestions of friends not only on generals, princes, and kings but on cities. 6 At Athens at least we find that during the government of Aristides and Pericles the state was the author of few cruel actions, but of many kind and praiseworthy ones, while under Cleon and Chares it was quite the reverse; 7 and again when the Lacedaemonians were supreme in Greece, all that King Cleombrotus did was done in the spirit of friendly alliance, but it was the reverse with Agesilaus; 8 so that the character of cities also changes with that of those who govern them. 9 And so with King Philip, when he had Taurion and Demetrius to act with him he was most wicked, but when he had Aratus and Chrysogonus he was most gentle.


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