ליוויוס 41.20

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טקסט

Book 41, Fragment 20

c. . . Seated in Roman fashion on an ivory chair he used to administer justice and settle the most trifling disputes. Roaming through every phase of life, he was so far from remaining constant to any one form of it, that neither he himself nor any one else was at all clear as to his real character. He did not speak to his friends; he had a pleasant smile for those who were hardly known to him; he made himself and others ridiculous by his misplaced liberality. To some who were of high rank and set great value upon themselves he used to give childish presents of cakes and toys; others who expected nothing he enriched. Some people thought that he was at a loss to know what he meant by his actions; some said he was only playing the fool; some declared that he was undoubtedly mad. c

In two matters of great importance and redounding to his honour he showed a truly kingly spirit - his munificence to cities and his care for divine worship. He promised to build a wall round Megalopolis and gave the greater part of the money for it. At Tegea he began the construction of a magnificent marble theatre. At Cyzicus he furnished vessels of gold for one table in the Prytaneum, the central hall of the city, where those to whom the privilege has been granted dine at the public cost. In the case of the Rhodians he did not make them any single gift of surpassing value, but he gave them all sorts of things to suit their various requirements. The splendid munificence which he showed towards the gods is attested by the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, the only one in the world which has been begun on a scale proportionate to the greatness of the deity. Delos he adorned with splendid altars and a great array of statues. At Antioch he projected a magnificent temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, of which not only the ceiling was to be overlaid with gold, but the whole of the walls were to be covered with gold leaf. Many public edifices in other places he promised to build, but the shortness of his reign prevented him from fulfilling his promises. c

In the magnificence of public exhibitions of every kind he surpassed all former monarchs; they were with only one exception given by Greek performers, the one exception being a gladiatorial contest exhibited in Roman fashion, which frightened the spectators, who were unused to such sights, more than it pleased them. By frequently giving these exhibitions, in which the gladiators sometimes only wounded one another, and at other times fought to the death, he familiarised the eyes of his people to them and they learnt to enjoy them. In this way he created amongst most of the younger men a passion for arms, and whilst at first he used to hire gladiators from Rome at a great cost, now from his own. c

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