Life at the court of Lysimachus

Athenaeus has preserved a jest from the court of Lysimachus, one of Alexander’s generals:

King Lysimachus, who was somewhat stingy, once put a wooden scorpion into the dress of a parasite, for the purpose of frightening him. “I will frighten you, sir,” he said; “give me … two hundred pounds!”

— Athenaeus, book vi. p. 246. E.

The rewards of the flatterer may be considerable, but the service is grim all the same.

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