Pausanias, Phocis


When the army of the Persians passed into Europe, it is said that the Phocians were obliged to join Xerxes, but they deserted the Medes and fought on the Greek side at Plataea. Some time afterwards a fine was imposed upon them by the Amphictyonic Council. I cannot ascertain why, whether it was imposed upon them because they had acted unjustly in some way, or whether it was their old enemies the Thessalians who got this fine imposed. And as they were in a state of great despondency about the largeness of the fine, Philomelus the son of Philotimus, second in merit to none of the Phocians, whose native place was Ledon one of the Phocian cities, addressed them and showed them how impossible it was to pay the money, and urged upon them to seize the temple at Delphi, alleging among other persuasive arguments that the condition of Athens and Lacedaemon was favourable to this plan, and that if the Thebans or any other nation warred against them, they would come off victorious through their courage and expenditure of money. The majority of the Phocians were pleased with the arguments of Philomelus, whether the deity perverted their judgment,
1 or that they put gain before piety. So the Phocians seized the temple at Delphi,
when Heraclides was President at Delphi, and Agathocles Archon at Athens, in the fourth year of the 105th Olympiad, when Prorus of Cyrene was victorious in the course. And
after seizing the temple they got together the strongest army of mercenaries in Greece, and the Thebans, who had previously been at variance with them, openly declared war against them. The war lasted 10 continuous years, and during that long time frequently the Phocians and their mercenaries prevailed, frequently the Thebans had the best of it. But in an engagement near the town Neon the Phocians were routed, and Philomelas in his flight threw himself down a steep and precipitous crag, and so perished : and the Amphictyonic Council imposed the same end on all those who had plundered the temple at Delphi. And after the death of Philomelus the Phocians gave the command to Onomarchus, and Philip the son of Amyntas joined the Thebans : and Philip was victorious in the battle, and Onomarchus fled in the direction of the sea, and was there shot by the arrows of his own soldiers, for they thought their defeat had come about through his cowardice and inexperience in military matters. Thus Onomarchus ended his life by the will of the deity, and the Phocians chose his brother Phayllus as commander in chief with unlimited power. And he had hardly been invested with this power when he saw the following apparition in a dream. Among the votive offerings of Apollo was an imitation in brass of an old man, with his flesh already wasted away and his bones only left. It was said by the Delphians to have been a votive offering given by Hippocrates the doctor. Phayllus dreamt that he was like this old man, and forthwith a wasting disease came upon him, and fulfilled the dream. And after the death of Phayllus the chief power at Phocis devolved upon his son Phalaecus, but he was deposed because he helped himself privately to the sacred money. And he sailed over to Crete with those Phocians who joined his party, and with a portion of the mercenaries, and besieged Cydonia, because the inhabitants would not give him the money he demanded, and in the siege lost most of his army and his own life.

1 Compare the Proverb, Quem Jupiter vult perdere dementat prius.