XVII. (2.117) But some persons are full of such exceeding folly, that they are indignant if the whole world does not follow their intentions: for this reason Xerxes, the king of Persia, being desirous to strike terror into his enemies, made a display of very mighty undertakings, altering the whole face of nature; (2.118) for he changed the nature of the elements of the earth and of the sea, giving land to the sea and sea to the land, by joining the Hellespont with a bridge, and breaking up Mount Athos into deep gulfs, which, being filled with sea, became so many new and artificially-cut seas, being entirely changed from the ancient course of nature. (2.119) And having worked wonders with respect to the earth, according to his wishes, he mounted up upon daring conceptions, like a miserable man as he was, contracting the guilt of impiety, and seeking to soar up to heaven, as if he would move what cannot be moved, and would subjugate the host of heaven, and, as the proverb has it, he began with a sacred thing. (2.120) For he aimed his arrows at the most excellent of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the ruler of the day, as if he had not himself been wounded by the invisible dart of insanity, not only because of his desiring things which were impossible, but such as were also most impious, either of which is a great disgrace to him who attempts them. (2.121) It is related, also, that the very populous nation of the Germans, and theirs is a country where the sea is subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, ran down to the reflux which occurs in their country with great impetuosity, and drawing their naked swords charged and encountered the billowy sea as if it were a phalanx of enemies: (2.122) and these men deserve to be hated because they dare impiously to take up the arms of enemies against the free and invincible parts of nature; but they deserve also to be ridiculed for attempting what is impossible, as if they thought it practicable to wound the water as though it were a living animal, or to stab it and kill it. And again, one should grieve at the sight of such men, and fear, and flee out of fear at their attacks, and submit to all the affections of the soul which are conversant with pleasures and pains.