aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 8.14.ext.5

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In 356 BC an arsonist by the name of Herostratus burned down the temple of Artemis at Ephesus (famous as one of the Seven Wonders). Needless to say, the Ephesians weren’t best pleased.

illa vero gloriae cupiditas sacrilega: inventus est enim qui Dianae Ephesiae templum incendere vellet, ut opere pulcherrimo consumpto nomen eius per totum terrarum orbem dissiceretur, quem quidem mentis furorem eculeo inpositus detexit. ac bene consuluerant Ephesii decreto memoriam taeterrimi hominis abolendo, nisi Theopompi magnae facundiae ingenium historiis eum suis conprehendisset.

Here is a case where the desire for glory was sacrilegious. For a man was found who wished to set fire to the temple of Diana at Ephesus, so that by the ruination of a most beautiful structure his name would be published across the entire world. This madness of his mind he disclosed while sitting on his colt. And the Ephesians had well decreed that the memory of this most repulsive man should be obliterated – but Theopompus, the genius of great eloquence, included him in his Histories

Note that Valerius piously avoids naming the man.

Written by aleatorclassicus

May 2, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Valerius Maximus

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