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Headword: *filopoi/mhn
Adler number: phi,409
Translated headword: Philopoimen, Philopoemen
Vetting Status: high
Cavalry-commander of the Achaeans, who was one of the most impressive men in Arkadia. First, he was well-born, and was brought up and educated by Kleandros of Mantineia, who happened to be a paternal guest-friend to them. Then, coming to adulthood, he became a devotee of Ekdemos and Demophanes, who were from Megalopolis but had fled the tyrants and came to live with the philosopher Arkesilaos.[1] They collaborated in the deposition of Neokles, tyrant of the Sikyonians. And he was careful about his way of life and plain in his external appearance. He had received from the aforesaid men opinions such as that it is not possible for a man who neglects the affairs of his own life to be a good leader in communal matters; nor, indeed, for a man who lives more luxuriously than his own availability of resource to refrain from grasping at the fatherland. Taking over a force of cavalrymen who were in every manner run down, and in which the very souls of the men were being defeated, he made them not only better than themselves, but also stronger than the enemy in a short time, embarking them upon real training and successful zeal. For most of the men appointed to this office -- [2] well, some through their personal lack of ability in cavalary matters do not even dare to give appropriate leadership in any matters to those around them,[3] while others, aspiring to reach the generalship by way of this office, canvass support among the young men and prepare benevolent partisans for the future, not criticizing the man who needs it (by which practice communal interests are secured), [but] conniving at the covering up of mistakes and, through small-scale generosity, causing large-scale harm to those trusting in them. But if ever any of the rulers might be both capable in terms of bodily service[4] and eager to refrain from grasping at the community's property, they commit more wrongs upon the infantry through their misplaced zeal than those who are neglectful, and even more to the cavalry.[5]
The Arkadians hold the memory of Philopoimen especially dear, because of both his wisdom and the deeds he dared. His father was Kraugis, a man second to none of the Arkadians in Megalopolis in the fame of his lineage. When he died, he [Philopoimen] kept company with, among other teachers, Megalophanes and Ekdelos, pupils of Arkesilaos of Pitane.[6] In size and in bodily strength he was second to none of the Peloponnesians, but in facial appearance he was ugly. He thought himself above training for contests for which garlands were awarded, but in working the land he owned he did not neglect to remove the wild beasts. He also used to read books by the distinguished wise men of the Hellenes, and those to do with war, and any that he knew contained teaching about stratagems, wishing to make his entire life an imitation of the wisdom of Epameinondas and of that man's deeds,[7] though he was not able to equal him in all things: for Epameinondas, among other things, had a soul that was particularly mild in the matter of anger, but the Arkadian had a certain tendency towards rage. When Kleomenes[8] captured Megalopolis, Philopoimen was not at all stricken by the unexpected nature of the calamity, but rescued about two parts[9] of the adult males, plus women and children, and took them to Messene. When Kleomenes announced that he was now repenting of his daring act and wished to lead the Megalopolitans back to their own land, Philopoimen persuaded them to make good their return by means of weapons and not a truce. When the battle against Kleomenes took place, Philopoimen, though assigned to the cavalry, saw that the infantry was being left behind[10] and voluntarily became a hoplite. As he faced danger in a valorous manner one of the Lakedaimonians pierced him through both thighs. But Philopoimen, even though handicapped in this way, bent his knees and made his way forwards by force, with the result that he actually snapped the spear by the movement of his legs. After the victory, when he was carried to the camp, the doctors there drew it out of both thighs: the butt-spike in one direction, the blade in the other. And Antigonos, when he saw Philopoimen's daring acts, was eager to take him to Macedonia. Philopoimen was not interested in him at all, but crossed to Crete as a mercenary leader, returned again to Megalopolis, and was chosen to lead the Achaians.
Greek Original:
*filopoi/mhn, *)axaiw=n i(ppa/rxhs: o(\s h)=n e)c a)ndrw=n tw=n e)pifanesta/twn e)n *)arkadi/a|: o(\s prw=ta me\n e)/fu kalw=s, trafei\s kai\ paideuqei\s u(po\ *kle/andron to\n *mantine/a, patriko\n me\n au)toi=s ce/non u(pa/rxonta: parageno/menos de\ ei)s h(liki/an e)ge/neto zhlwth\s *)ekdh/mou kai\ *dhmofa/nous, oi(\ h)=san e)k *mega/lhs po/lews, feu/gontes de\ tou\s tura/nnous kai\ sumbiw/santes *)arkesi/la| tw=| filoso/fw|: oi(\ sunepela/bonto th=s katalu/sews *neokle/ous tou= *sikuwni/wn tura/nnou. h)=n de\ kai\ peri\ to\n bi/on e)pimelh\s kai\ lito\s kata\ th\n perikoph/n, pareilhfw\s para\ tw=n proeirhme/nwn a)ndrw=n ta\s toiau/tas do/cas w(s ou)x oi(=o/n te tw=n koinw=n prostatei=n kalw=s to\n o)ligwrou=nta tw=n kata\ to\n i)/dion bi/on, ou)/te mh\n a)posxe/sqai th=s patri/dos, o(/stis polutele/steron zh=| th=s kata\ th\n i)di/an u(/parcin xorhgi/as. paralabw\n de\ tou\s i(ppei=s panti\ tro/pw| katefqarme/nous kai\ ta\s yuxa\s tw=n a)ndrw=n h(tthme/nas ou) mo/non au)tou\s e(autw=n belti/ous, a)lla\ kai\ tw=n u(penanti/wn krei/ttous e)n o)li/gw| xro/nw| kateskeu/ase, pa/ntas ei)s a)lhqinh\n a)/skhsin kai\ zh=lon e)piteuktiko\n e)mbiba/sas. tw=n me\n ga\r a)/llwn oi( plei=stoi tw=n kaqistame/nwn e)pi\ th\n a)rxh\n tau/thn, oi( me\n dia\ th\n oi)kei/an a)dunami/an e)n toi=s i(ppikoi=s ou)de\ toi=s plhsi/on tolmw=sin ou)de/nwn kaqh/kein prostatei=n, oi( de\ th=s strathgi/as o)rego/menoi dia\ tau/ths th=s a)rxh=s e)ceriqeu/ontai tou\s ne/ous kai\ paraskeua/zousin eu)/nous sunagwnista\s ei)s to\ me/llon, ou)k e)pitimw=ntes tw=| deome/nw|, di' ou(= tro/pou sw/|zetai ta\ koina/, sumperiste/llontes ta\s a(marti/as kai\ mikra=| xa/riti mega/la bla/ptontes tou\s pisteu/ontas. ei) de/ pote kai\ ge/nointo tw=n a)rxo/ntwn tine\s th=| te kata\ sw=ma xrei/a| dunatoi\ pro/s te to\ tw=n koinw=n a)pe/xesqai pro/qumoi, plei/w kaka\ tw=n o)ligwrou/ntwn dia\ th\n kakozhli/an a)perga/zontai tou\s pezou/s, e)/ti de\ ma=llon tou\s i(ppei=s. *filopoi/menos *)arka/des ma/lista e)/xousi mnh/mhn, gnw/mhs te e(/neka kai\ e)/rgwn w(=n e)to/lmhse. path\r me\n ou)=n h)=n au)tw=| *krau=gis, ou)deno\s *)arka/dwn tw=n e)n *mega/lh| po/lei ta\ e)s ge/nous do/can leipo/menos: ou(= teleuth/santos, didaska/lois te a)/llois w(mi/lhse kai\ *megalofa/nei te kai\ *)ekdh/lw|, toi=s *)arkesila/ou tou= *pitanai/ou maqhtou=. me/geqos me\n dh\ kai\ sw/matos r(w/mhn a)pe/dei *peloponnhsi/wn ou)deno/s, to\ de\ ei)=dos h)=n tou= prosw/pou kako/s. kai\ e)pi\ me\n tou\s stefani/tas a)gw=nas u(perefro/nhsen a)skh=sai, gh=n de\ h(\n e)ke/kthto e)rgazo/menos ou)de\ ta\ qhri/a h)me/lei ta\ a)/gria e)cairei=n. e)pele/geto de\ kai\ bibli/a sofw=n te tw=n eu)doki/mwn par' *(/ellhsi kai\ o(/sa e)s pole/mwn mnh/mhn kai\ ei)/ ti h)/|dei e)/xein didaskali/an strathghma/twn: katasth/sasqai de\ to\n bi/on pa/nta qe/lwn gnw/mhs th=s *)epaminw/nda kai\ e)/rgwn ei)=nai tw=n e)kei/nou mi/mhsin, ou) pa/nta h)=n e)ciswqh=nai dunato/s: *)epaminw/nda| ga\r ta/ te a)/lla h( yuxh\ kai\ pra=os ma/lista ta\ e)s o)rgh/n, tw=| de\ *)arka/di meth=n ge qumou=. katalabo/ntos de\ *kleome/nous *mega/lhn po/lin, *filopoi/mhn ou)/te th=s sumfora=s e)cepla/gh to\ a)prosdo/khton, kai\ tw=n e)n h(liki/a| ta\ du/o ma/lista me/rh kai\ gunai=kas kai\ pai=das a)pe/swsen e)s *messh/nhn. e)pikhrukeuome/nou de\ *kleome/nous, w(s metaginw/skontos e)pi\ tw=| tolmh/mati kai\ qe/lontos kata/gesqai *megalopoli/tas ei)s th\n e(autw=n, *filopoi/mhn e)/peise meq' o(/plwn kai\ ou) meta\ spondw=n th\n ka/qodon poih/sasqai: genome/nhs de\ pro\s *kleome/nhn ma/xhs, o( *filopoi/mhn e)n toi=s i(ppeu=si tatto/menos, o(rw=n to\ pezo\n leipo/menon o(pli/ths e(kw\n e)ge/neto kai\ au)to\n lo/gou a)ci/ws kinduneu/onta tw=n tis *lakedaimoni/wn di' a)mfote/rwn e)/peire tw=n mhrw=n. o( de\ kai/toi ou(/tws pepedhme/nos ta/ te go/nata e)ne/kline kai\ e)s to\ pro/sw xwrei=n e)bia/zeto, w(/ste kai\ u(po\ tw=n podw=n tou= kinh/matos to\ do/ru e)/klase: meta\ de\ th\n ni/khn e)s to\ strato/pedon a)xqe/ntos e)ntau=qa e)c a)mfote/rwn au)tw=n tw=n mhrw=n oi( i)atroi\ th=| me\n to\n saurwth=ra e)cei=lkon, th=| de\ th\n ai)xmh/n. *)anti/gonos de/, w(s ei)=den au)tou= ta\ tolmh/mata, e)/speuden a)gagei=n au)to\n e)s *makedoni/an. *filopoi/meni de\ tou/tou me\n ou)de\n e)me/lhse: peraiwqei\s de\ e)s *krh/thn misqofo/ros h(gemw\n au)=qis e)panh=ken e)s *mega/lhn po/lin kai\ h(|re/qh a)/rxein tw=n *)axaiw=n.
c.253-182 BCE. Primary source (besides the two used here): Plutarch, Life of Philopoimen.
P's modern biographer [see Bibliography below] has contributed the entry in OCD3/4 s.v. Philopoemen.
[1] alpha 3950.
[2] The syntax is interrupted: the subject 'most' governs no main verb.
[3] Again the syntax seems faulty; the standard text of Polybios [see n. 5 below] reads ou)de\ toi=s plhsi/on tolmw=sin ou)de\n w(=n kaqh/kei prosta/ttein, 'do not even dare to give those around them any of the orders that are appropriate', which seems sounder.
[4] i.e. military service.
[5] From the start to this point, the Suda follows Polybios 10.22.1-10 (with omissions: see web address 1); cf. epsilon 1647. Thereafter, the entry closely follows Pausanias 8.49.1-7 (web address 2).
[6] The plural 'pupils' is from Pausanias; the Suda mss transmit the singular.
[7] epsilon 1949.
[8] Kleomenes III of Sparta (c.235-222).
[9] i.e. two-thirds.
[10] In place of leipo/menon the standard text of Pausanias reads lhyo/menon th\n kri/sin, 'was about to seize the judgement' (i.e. decide the issue).
R.M. Errington, Philopoemen (1969)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: agriculture; athletics; biography; children; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; medicine; military affairs; philosophy; politics; women; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 11 July 2003@04:23:22.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keyword; added bibliography; cosmetics) on 11 July 2003@05:40:04.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 11 July 2003@17:47:02.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics; raised status) on 11 December 2013@08:36:19.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 7 August 2014@03:20:29.
Catharine Roth (Greek typo) on 19 February 2018@01:46:57.
Catharine Roth (added links) on 25 February 2023@00:39:16.


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