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Headword: *)/attalos
Adler number: alpha,4316
Translated headword: Attalos, Attalus
Vetting Status: high
A king, brother of Eumenes,[1] to whom no other external resource[2] was available for the purpose of kingship, but only wealth, which, when handled with intelligence and daring, truly offers great utility for every initiative, but without the aforesaid things has for most men become the partial cause of misfortunes and, in short, of destruction. For it gives birth both to feelings of envy and to plots, and exercises great influence in the direction of corruption of body and soul; and there are [only] a few particular souls[3] able to repulse these things by the power of wealth. But he undertook to use his resources for no other end than kingly acquisition,[4] than which nothing greater or finer can be mentioned. He put in place the beginning of the aforesaid initiative not only through his beneficence and generosity towards his friends, but also through his deeds in wartime.[5] For having reigned and lived for two and seventy years, and having reigned for forty-four of these,[6] he lived his life with extreme moderation and respectfulness towards his wife and children, and preserved his faith to all his allies and friends, and died in the midst of his finest deeds.[7] And he so arranged his rule that the kingship was handed on to his children's children without internecine strife.[8] This Attalos, upon inheriting power, first brought forth a demonstration of his policy and power of action by restoring Ariarathes to the kingship.[9]
[Note] that [when] Attalos, husband of Apollonia [and] king of Asia, departed this life, the Pythia was proved right about him, for in delivering an oracle to Attalos the Great she said, 'Be of good heart, bull-horned one. You shall have kingly honour, and your children's children, though their children after them shall not'.[10]
Greek Original:
*)/attalos, basileu\s, a)delfo\s *eu)menou=s: w(=| a)/llo ou)de\n e)fo/dion u(ph=rce pro\s basilei/an tw=n e)kto\s, plou=tos de\ mo/non, o(\s meta\ nou= me\n kai\ to/lmhs xeirizo/menos a)lhqw=s mega/lhn pare/xetai xrei/an pro\s pa=san e)pibolh/n, a)/neu de\ tw=n proeirhme/nwn toi=s plei/stois kakw=n parai/tios pe/fuke gi/nesqai kai\ sullh/bdhn a)pwlei/as. kai\ ga\r fqo/nous genna=| kai\ e)piboula\s kai\ pro\s diafqora\n sw/matos kai\ yuxh=s mega/las e)/xei r(opa/s. o)li/gai de/ tine/s ei)si yuxai\, ai( tau=ta duna/menai diwqei=sqai th=| tou= plou/tou duna/mei. o( de\ pro\s ou)de\n a)/llo e)peba/leto xrh/sasqai toi=s xorhgi/ois a)ll' h)\ pro\s basilikh\n a)na/kthsin, ou(= mei=zon ou)de\ ka/llion ou)de\n oi(=o/n te e)sti\n ei)pei=n: o(\s th\n a)rxh\n e)nesth/sato th=s proeirhme/nhs e)pibolh=s ou) mo/non dia\ th=s ei)s tou\s fi/lous eu)ergesi/as kai\ xa/ritos, a)lla\ kai\ dia\ tw=n kata\ po/lemon e)/rgwn. basileu/sas ga\r kai\ biw/sas e)/th b# pro\s toi=s o#, tou/twn de\ basileu/sas m# kai\ d#, swfrone/stata me\n e)bi/wse kai\ semno/tata pro\s gunai=ka kai\ te/kna, diefu/lace de\ th\n pro\s pa/ntas summa/xous kai\ fi/lous pi/stin, e)nape/qane de\ e)n au)toi=s toi=s kalli/stois e)/rgois. kai\ ou(/tws h(rmo/sato th\n a)rxh\n, w(s paisi\ pai/dwn a)stasi/aston paradoqh=nai th\n basilei/an. ou(=tos o( *)/attalos paralabw\n th\n e)cousi/an prw=ton e)ch/negke dei=gma th=s au(tou= proaire/sews kai\ pra/cews th\n *)ariara/qou katagwgh\n e)pi\ th\n basilei/an. o(/ti *)/attalos, o( *)apollwni/as a)nh\r, basileu\s *)asi/as, metalla/ttei to\n bi/on, plhrwqei/shs e)p' au)tw=| th=s *puqi/as, h(/tis xrhsthriazome/nh *)atta/lw| tw=| mega/lw| e)/fh: qa/rsei, *tauro/kerws, e(/ceis basilhi/+da timh\n, kai\ pai/dwn pai=des, tou/twn ge me\n ou)ke/ti pai=des.
OCD(4) p.202, s.v. 'Attalus I'.
[1] Attalos I of Pergamon (reigned 241-197 BC) was in fact the cousin and adopted son of Eumenes (I, not formally king) and father of Eumenes II. From 'no other external resource' to 'his deeds in wartime' is an almost verbatim quotation from Polybios 18.41.2-6.
[2] I follow Walbank (1967, 603), who takes tw=n e)kto/s with e)fo/dion rather than with basilei/an.
[3] After 'a few particular souls' the Suda omits Polybios's panta/pasin, 'in every way' (to be taken with 'repulse').
[4] For Polybios's 'because he . . . for none of the other ends' (o(/ti pro\s ou)de\n tw=n a)/llwn) the Suda reads 'but he . . . for no other end' (o( de\ pro\s ou)de\n a)/llo). 'Kingly acquisition' means the acquisition of kingly status. Again the text varies slightly from Polybios, who has 'but for the acquisition of kingship, than which nothing greater or finer can even be mentioned' (a)lla\ pro\s basilei/as kata/kthsin, ou(= mei=zon h)\ ka/llion ou)de\n oi(=o/n t' e)sti\n ou)d' ei)pei=n).
[5] Here Polyb. 18.41.7, alluding to Attalos's victory over the Gauls, is omitted.
[6] The Suda paraphrases the start of Polybios 18.41.8, 'having received this honour and having lived' (tuxw\n de\ th=s timh=s taut/hs kai\ biw/sas). For the first phrase the Suda illogically substitutes 'having reigned', which then has to be repeated immediately below.
[7] From 'For having reigned' to 'finest deeds' = part of Polyb. 18. 41. 8-9. Polybios further defines those finest deeds as 'struggling on behalf of the liberty of the Hellenes'. (In section 9 Polyb. has e)nape/qane d', an insignificant difference.)
[8] At the end of 9, Polybios's mention of Attalos's four grown-up sons is omitted. Suda reads simply 'and he so arranged his rule' for Polybios's 'he so arranged matters concerning his rule' (ou(/tws h(rmo/sato ta\ kata\ th\n a)rxh\n). The Polybios quotation ends after this sentence. 'Children's children' (as explicated by Walbank 1967, 604) refers to the last king of Pergamon, Attalos III, who reigned 138-133.
[9] This sentence from Polybios 32.12.1 actually describes Attalos II (reigned 159/8-139/8), who restored Ariarathes V of Cappadocia (reigned 163-130) in 157 (Walbank 1979, 534).
[10] For the substance of this addendum to the entry see also Diodorus Siculus 34/35.13 (= John of Antioch, Neos Hellenomnemon 1.13.7-9, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 4 (De sententiis), p. 387 no. 414; Posidonius fr.149), which refers explicitly to 'the first king Attalos' but quotes the oracle in the same words as the Suda. Compare also Pausanias 10.15.3. Attalos is 'bull-horned' because the Attalids claimed Dionysos as an ancestor.
Walbank, F.W. (1967), A Historical Commentary on Polybius, ii: Commentary on Books VII-XVIII (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Walbank, F.W. (1979), A Historical Commentary on Polybius, iii: Commentary on Books XIX-XL (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Keywords: biography; children; chronology; economics; ethics; historiography; history; religion; women
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 11 March 2001@13:30:49.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented bibliography; added keywords; minor cosmetics) on 12 March 2001@03:05:50.
William Hutton (Cosmetics) on 12 March 2001@22:47:01.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 16 November 2005@08:03:49.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 December 2005@08:49:33.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 17 October 2007@01:49:47.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 31 July 2014@04:30:45.
Catharine Roth (coding, cosmetics) on 3 December 2014@01:35:49.
Catharine Roth on 3 December 2014@01:39:25.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 3 December 2014@01:41:49.
David Whitehead (expanded a note; cosmetics) on 2 September 2015@06:27:45.


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