Monday, January 30, 2023


A Prosperous Land

Diodorus Siculus 20.8.2-4 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
[2] Wanting to raise his men's spirits, Agathocles led them against a Carthaginian town called Megalopolis. [3] The intervening countryside, through which they had to march, was divided into plots and fields growing every conceivable kind of plant, since the whole region was irrigated by water channelled through numerous sluices. Estate followed estate, with richly appointed, meticulously whitewashed houses which indicated the wealth of the owners. [4] The farm buildings were filled with things that were good to eat, since the locals had had many years of peace in which to lay in abundant stores of their products. The land was partly given over to vines and partly to a profusion of olives and other fruit-bearing trees. To left and right, herds of cattle and flocks of goats were being pastured on the plain, and the nearby fens teemed with horses out at grass. In short, the region was prosperous in every imaginable way, because the several owners of the estates were the most eminent Carthaginians and they had used their wealth to beautify them and make them pleasing.

[2] ὁ δ' Ἀγαθοκλῆς σπεύδων ἀπαλλάξαι τῆς ἀθυμίας τοὺς στρατιώτας ἦγε τὴν δύναμιν ἐπὶ τὴν ὀνομαζομένην Μεγάλην πόλιν, οὖσαν Καρχηδονίων. [3] ἡ δ' ἀνὰ μέσον χώρα, δι' ἧς ἦν ἀναγκαῖον πορευθῆναι, διείληπτο κηπείαις καὶ παντοίαις φυτουργίαις, πολλῶν ὑδάτων διωχετευμένων καὶ πάντα τόπον ἀρδευόντων. ἀγροικίαι τε συνεχεῖς ὑπῆρχον, οἰκοδομαῖς πολυτελέσι καὶ κονιάμασι διαπεπονημέναι καὶ τὸν τῶν κεκτημένων αὐτὰς διασημαίνουσαι πλοῦτον. [4] ἔγεμον δ' αἱ μὲν ἐπαύλεις πάντων τῶν πρὸς ἀπόλαυσιν, ὡς ἂν τῶν ἐγχωρίων ἐν εἰρήνῃ πολυχρονίῳ τεθησαυρικότων γεννημάτων ἀφθονίαν· ἡ δὲ χώρα ἡ μὲν ἦν ἀμπελόφυτος, ἡ δὲ ἐλαιοφόρος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν καρπίμων δένδρων ἀνάπλεως. ἐπὶ θάτερα δὲ μέρη τὸ πεδίον ἐνέμοντο βοῶν ἀγέλαι καὶ ποῖμναι καὶ τὰ πλησίον ἕλη φορβάδων ἵππων ἔγεμε. καθόλου δὲ παντοία τις ἦν ἐν τοῖς τόποις εὐδαιμονία, τῶν ἐπιφανεστάτων Καρχηδονίων διειληφότων τὰς κτήσεις καὶ τοῖς πλούτοις πεφιλοκαληκότων πρὸς ἀπόλαυσιν.

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