XI. (74) Having now, then, entirely accomplished the three undertakings above-mentioned, with reference to three most important divisions, two of them belonging to the country, one to the class of counsellors and the other to the knights, and the third affecting his own relations, and considering that now that he had thus put down the mightiest and most powerful of his foes, he must have struck all the rest with the utmost terror, alarming the counsellors by the death of Silanus (75) (for he was inferior to no one in the senate), and the knights by the execution of Macro (for he, like the leader of a chorus, had long been considered the very first man of the knights for reputation and glory), and all his blood relations by the slaughter of his cousin and joint inheritor of the kingdom, he no longer chose to remain fettered by the ordinary limits of human nature, but aspired to raise himself above them, and desired to be looked upon as a god. (76) And at the beginning of this insane desire they say that he was influenced by such a train of reasoning as the following: for as the curators of the herds of other animals, namely cowherds, and goatherds, and shepherds, are neither oxen nor goats, nor sheep, but men who have received a more excellent portion, and a more admirable formation of mind and body; so in the same manner, said he, is it fitting that I who am the leader of the most excellent of all herds, namely, the race of mankind, should be considered as a being of a superior nature, and not merely human, but as one who has received a greater and more holy portion. (77) Accordingly, having impressed this idea on his mind, like a vain and foolish man as he was, he bore about in himself a fallacious fable and invention as if it had been a most undeniable truth; and after he had once carried his boldness and audacity to such a pitch as to compel the multitude to admit of his most impious deification, he attempted to do other things consistent with and conformable to it, and in this way he advanced up to the highest point by slow degrees as if he were ascending up steps. (78) For he began at first to liken himself to those beings who are called demigods, such as Bacchus, and Hercules, and the twins of Lacedaemon; turning into utter ridicule Trophonius, and Amphiaraus, and Amphilochus, and others of the same kind, with all their oracles and secret ceremonies, in comparison of his own power. (79) In the next place, like an actor in a theatre, he was continually wearing different dresses at different times, taking at one time a lion’s skin and a club, both gilded over; being then dressed in the character of Hercules; at another time he would wear a felt hat upon his head, when he was disguised in imitation of the Spartan twins, Castor and Pollux; sometimes he also adorned himself with ivy, and a thyrsus, and skins of fawns, so as to appear in the guise of Bacchus. (80) And he looked upon himself as being in this respect superior to all of these beings, because each of them while he had his own peculiar honours had no claim to those which belonged to the others, but he in his envious ambition appropriated all the honours of the whole body of demigods at once, or I should rather say, appropriated the demigods themselves; transforming himself not into the triple-bodied Geryon, so as to attract all beholders by the multitude of his bodies; but, what was the most extraordinary thing of all, changing and transforming the essence of one body into every variety of form and figure, like the Egyptian Proteus, whom Homer has represented as being susceptible of every variety of transformation, into all the elements, and into the animals, and plants, which belong to the different Elements.{5}{the passage in Homer is to be found at Odyssey 4.363. It is imitated more concisely by Virgil, Georg. 4.410, who makes Cyrene tell Aristaeus (which is thus translated by Pope)–“Instant he wears, elusive of the rape, / The mimic force of every savage shape: / Or glides with liquid lapse a murm’ring stream, / Or wrapt in flame, he glows at every limb. / Yet still retentive, with redoubled might / Thro’ each vain passive form constrains his flight. / But when, his native shape resumed, he stands / Patient of conquest, and your cause demands; / The cause that urg’d the bold attempt declare, / And soothe the vanquish’d with a victor’s prayer. / The bands relaxed, implore the seer to say / What godhead interdicts the wat’ry way.”} (81) And yet why, O Gaius! did you think yourself in need of spurious honours, such as the temples and statues of the beings above-mentioned are often filled with? You ought rather to have imitated their virtues. Hercules purified both the earth and the sea, performing labours of the greatest possible importance and of the highest benefit to all mankind, in order to eradicate all that was mischievous and calculated to injure the nature of each of the elements. (82) Bacchus rendered the vine susceptible of cultivation, and extracted a most delicious drink from it, which is at the same time most beneficial to the souls and bodies of men, leading the first to cheerfulness, working in them a forgetfulness of evils and a hope of blessings, and making the latter more healthy, and vigorous, and active, and supple. (83) And individually it renders each man better, and alters populous families and households, leading them from a squalid and laborious life of vexation to a course of relaxation and cheerful happiness, and causing to every city on earth, both Grecian and barbarian, incessant festivity, and mirth, and entertainment, and revelry; for of all these things is good wine the cause. (84) Again, it is said that the twin sons of Jupiter, Castor and Pollux, are partakers of immortality. For since the one was mortal and the other immortal, the one who had had the more excellent portion assigned to him did not choose to behave in a selfish manner, but rather to display his good will and affection towards his brother; (85) for having acquired the idea that eternity was never-ending, and considering that he was to live for ever, and that his brother was to be dead for ever, and that in conjunction with his own immortality he should likewise be enduring an undying sorrow on account of his brother, he conceived and carried out a most marvellous system of counterbalancing, mingling mortality with himself and immortality with his brother, and thus he modified inequality, which is the beginning of all injustice, by equality, which is the fountain of justice.