maandag 26 oktober 2009

How the Carthaginian Hannibal jested at the expense of king Antiochus.

In collections of old tales it is recorded that Hannibal the Carthaginian made a highly witty jest when at the court of king Antiochus. The jest was this: Antiochus was displaying to him on the plain the gigantic forces which he had mustered to make war on the Roman people, and was manoeuvring his army glittering with gold and silver ornaments. He also brought up chariots with scythes, elephants with turrets, and horsemen with brilliant bridles, saddle-cloths, neck-chains and trappings.
And then the king, filled with vainglory at the sight of an army so great and so well-equipped, turned to Hannibal and said: "Do you think that all this can be equalled and that it is enough for the Romans?" Then the Carthaginian, deriding the worthlessness and inefficiency of the king's troops in their costly armour, replied: "I think all this will be enough, yes, quite enough for the Romans, even though they are most avaricious.” Absolutely nothing could equal this remark for wit and sarcasm; the king had inquired about the size of his army and asked for a comparative estimate; Hannibal in his reply referred to it as booty.

Attic Nights, by Aulus Gellius. (Book V.5)

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