ADVANTAGES

With regard to , it would be sacrilegious to leave out what would convey the truth. All men were agreed that he was not only observed to be a most noble character, but also most gifted with eloquence when put to the test, while the charm that sat on his tongue and lips seemed to be nothing less than witchcraft. His mildness and amiability so blossomed out in what he said and gushed forth with his words, that those who heard his voice and speeches surrendered themselves like men who had tasted the lotus, and they hung on that voice and those speeches. So closely did he resemble the musical Sirens, that the emperor, for all that he was wrapped up in the books of the Christians, sent for him at the time when he was alarmed by the state of affairs, and was hard pressed by impending danger from the king of the Persians, who had once already laid siege to Antioch and raided it with his bowmen. For unexpectedly and on a sudden he seized the height that commanded the theatre, and with his arrows shot and massacred that great crowd of spectators. In this similar crisis all men were so held captive and enchanted by Eustathius, that they did not hesitate to commend a man of the Hellenic faith to the ears of the emperor; although the earlier emperors had been accustomed to elect for embassies men who had won distinction in the army, or military prefects, or men who were next in rank to these and had been selected for office. But at that time, at the imperious call of necessity, Eustathius was sought out and admitted by general consent to be the most prudent of all men. Accordingly he was summoned by the emperor, and came forthwith, and so potent was the charm on his lips that those who had advised that the embassy should be dispatched in charge of Eustathius won greater consideration than before from the emperor, and he inclined more favourably towards them. Moreover, some of these men set out of their own accord to accompany the embassy, because they wished to employ a still greater test, whether in his encounter with the barbarians Eustathius should prove to possess the same power to enchant and persuade. When they arrived in Persia, Sapor was reported to be and actually was tyrannical and savage towards those who approached him; nevertheless, when Eustathius, for the embassy in general, was allowed access to the king, the latter could not but admire the expression of his eyes which was at once amiable and proudly indifferent, in spite of the many preparations that the king had devised in order to dazzle and overawe the man. And when he heard his voice conversing so equably and with no effort, when he heard him run over his arguments so modestly and good-naturedly, he bade him withdraw; and Eustathius went out, leaving the tyrant a captive to his eloquence. Presently he sent a message by his household officials to invite him to his table, and when he obeyed the summons, since the king seemed to him to have a natural bent for virtue, Sapor joined him at the banquet. Thus Eustathius became his companion at table, and by his eloquence won such influence over him that the king of Persia came within an ace of renouncing his upright tiara, laying aside his purple and bejewelled attire, and putting on instead the philosopher's cloak of Eustathius; so successfully did the latter run down the life of luxury and the pomps and vanities of the flesh, to such depths of misery did he seem to bring down those who loved their bodies. But this was prevented by certain magi who happened to be at the court, and kept asserting that the man was nothing but a mere conjuror; and they persuaded the king to reply to the Roman emperor by asking him why, when Fortune had bestowed on them so many distinguished men, they sent persons no better than slaves who had enriched themselves. And the whole result of the embassy was contrary to men's expectations.

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