On Anger, Book III, XXIII

This man’s grandson [47] was Alexander, who used to hurl his lance at his guests, who, of the two friends which I have mentioned above, exposed one to the rage of a wild beast, and the other to his own; yet of these two men, he who was exposed to the lion survived.

He did not derive this vice from his grandfather, nor even from his father; for it was an especial virtue of Philip’s to endure insults patiently, and was a great safeguard of his kingdom. Demochares, who was surnamed Parrhesiastes on account of his unbridled and impudent tongue, came on an embassy to him with other ambassadors from Athens.

After graciously listening to what they had to say, Philip said to them, “Tell me, what can I do that will please the Athenians?”

Demochares took him up, and answered, “Hang yourself.”

All the bystanders expressed their indignation at so brutal an answer, but Philip bade them be silent, and let this Thersites depart safe and sound.

“But do you,” said he, “you other ambassadors, tell the Athenians that those who say such things are much more arrogant than those who hear them without revenging themselves.”

The late Emperor Augustus also did and said many memorable things, which prove that he was not under the dominion of anger.

Timagenes, the historical writer, made some remarks upon him, his wife, and his whole family: nor did his jests fall to the ground, for nothing spreads more widely or is more in people’s mouths than reckless wit.

Caesar often warned him to be less audacious in his talk, and as he continued to offend, forbade him his house.

Timagenes after this passed the later years of his life as the guest of Asinius Pollio, and was the favourite of the whole city: the closing of Caesar’s door did not close any other door against him.

He read aloud the history which he wrote after this, but burned the books which contained the doings of Augustus Caesar.

He was at enmity with Caesar, but yet no one feared to be his friend, no one shrank from him as though he were blasted by lightning: although he fell from so high a place, yet someone was found to catch him in his lap.

Caesar, I say, bore this with patience, and was not even irritated by the historian’s having laid violent hands upon his own glories and acts: he never complained of the man who afforded his enemy shelter, but merely said to Asinius Pollio, “You are keeping a wild beast:” then, when the other would have excused his conduct, he stopped him, and said “Enjoy, my Pollio, enjoy his friendship.”

When Pollio said, “If you order me, Caesar, I will straightaway forbid him my house,” he answered, “Do you think that I am likely to do this, after having made you friends again?” for formerly Pollio had been angry with Timagenes, and ceased to be angry with him for no other reason than that Caesar began to be so.