Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights
17.17 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Quintus Ennius used to say that he had three hearts, because he knew how to speak Greek, Oscan, and Latin. But Mithridates, the celebrated king of Pontus and Bithynia, who was overcome in war by Gnaeus Pompeius, was proficient in the languages of the twenty-five races which he held under his sway. He never spoke to the men of all those nations through an interpreter, but whenever it was necessary for him to address any one of them, he used his language and speech with as much skill as if he were his fellow-countryman.
Quintus Ennius tria corda habere sese dicebat, quod loqui Graece et Osce et Latine sciret. Mitridates autem, Ponti atque Bithyniae rex inclutus, qui a Cn. Pompeio bello superatus est, quinque et viginti gentium quas sub dicione habuit linguas percalluit earumque omnium gentium viris haut umquam per interpretem conlocutus est, sed ut quemque ab eo appellari usus fuit, proinde lingua et oratione ipsius non minus scite quam si gentilis eius esset locutus est.