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5

I.

On the Pallium.11    [Written, according to Neander, about a.d. 208.]

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]

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Chapter I.—Time Changes Nations’ Dresses—and Fortunes.

Men of Carthage, ever princes of Africa, ennobled by ancient memories, blest with modern felicities, I rejoice that times are so prosperous with you that you have leisure to spend and pleasure to find in criticising dress.  These are the “piping times of peace” and plenty.  Blessings rain from the empire and from the sky.  Still, you too of old time wore your garments—your tunics—of another shape; and indeed they were in repute for the skill of the weft, and the harmony of the hue, and the due proportion of the size, in that they were neither prodigally long across the shins, nor immodestly scanty between the knees, nor niggardly to the arms, nor tight to the hands, but, without being shadowed by even a girdle arranged to divide the folds, they stood on men’s backs with quadrate symmetry.  The garment of the mantle extrinsically—itself too quadrangular—thrown back on either shoulder, and meeting closely round the neck in the gripe of the buckle, used to repose on the shoulders.22    [See Elucidation I.]  Its counterpart is now the priestly dress, sacred to Æsculapius, whom you now call your own.  So, too, in your immediate vicinity, the sister State33    Utica (Oehler). used to clothe (her citizens); and wherever else in Africa Tyre (has settled).44    i.e., in Adrumetum (Oehler).  But when the urn of worldly55    Sæcularium. lots varied, and God favoured the Romans, the sister State, indeed, of her own choice hastened to effect a change; in order that when Scipio put in at her ports she might already beforehand have greeted him in the way of dress, precocious in her Romanizing.  To you, however, after the benefit in which your injury resulted, as exempting you from the infinity of age, not (deposing you) from your height of eminence,—after Gracchus and his foul omens, after Lepidus and his rough jests, after Pompeius and his triple altars, and Cæsar and his long delays, when Statilius Taurus reared your ramparts, and Sentius Saturninus pronounced the solemn form of your inauguration,—while concord lends her aid, the gown is offered.  Well! what a circuit has it taken! from Pelasgians to Lydians;66    i.e., Etruscans, who were supposed to be of Lydian origin. from Lydians to Romans:  in order that from the shoulders of the sublimer people it should descend to embrace Carthaginians!  Henceforth, finding your tunic too long, you suspend it on a dividing cincture; and the redundancy of your now smooth toga77    i.e., your gown. you support by gathering it together fold upon fold; and, with whatever other garment social condition or dignity or season clothes you, the mantle, at any rate, which used to be worn by all ranks and conditions among you, you not only are unmindful of, but even deride.  For my own part, I wonder not (thereat), in the face of a more ancient evidence (of your forgetfulness).  For the ram withal—not that which Laberius88    A Roman knight and mime-writer. (calls)

“Back-twisted-horned, wool-skinned, stones-dragging,”

but a beam-like engine it is, which does military service in battering walls—never before poised by any, the redoubted Carthage,

“Keenest in pursuits of war,”99    Virg., Æn., i. 14.

is said to have been the first of all to have equipped for the oscillatory work of pendulous impetus;1010    Or, “attack.” modelling the power of her engine after the choleric fury of the head-avenging beast.1111    Caput vindicantis.  But some read capite:  “which avenges itself with its head.”  When, however, their country’s fortunes are at the last gasp, and the ram, now turned 6Roman, is doing his deeds of daring against the ramparts which erst were his own, forthwith the Carthaginians stood dumbfounded as at a “novel” and “strange” ingenuity:  “so much doth Time’s long age avail to change!”1212    See Virg., Æn., iii. 415 (Oehler).  Thus, in short, it is that the mantle, too, is not recognised.


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