125 Σφόδρα τοίνυν τῆς πολλῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ μέλλοντι ῥηθήσεσθαι θαυμάζειν ἄξιόν ἐστιν Ἀπίωνα· τεκμήριον γὰρ εἶναί φησιν τοῦ μήτε νόμοις ἡμᾶς χρῆσθαι δικαίοις μήτε τὸν θεὸν εὐσεβεῖν ὡς προσῆκεν, δουλεύειν δὲ μᾶλλον ἔθνεσιν [ καὶ] ἄλλοτε ἄλλοις καὶ τὸ κεχρῆσθαι συμφοραῖς τισι περὶ τὴν πόλιν, αὐτοὶ δῆλον ὅτι πόλεως ἡγεμονικωτάτης Ῥωμαίοις ἐκ τῶν ἄνωθεν ἄρχειν, ἀλλὰ μὴ
128 τὸ πλεῖστον δὲ φῦλον ἄλλων ὑπακήκοεν πολλάκις. Αἰγύπτιοι δ᾽ ἄρα μόνοι διὰ τὸ καταφυγεῖν, ὥς φασιν, εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ σωθῆναι μεταβάλλοντας εἰς μορφὰς θηρίων ἐξαίρετον γέρας εὕροντο τὸ μηδενὶ δουλεῦσαι τῶν τῆς Ἀσίας ἢ τῆς Εὐρώπης κρατησάντων, οἱ μίαν ἡμέραν ἐκ τοῦ παντὸς αἰῶνος ἐλευθερίας
131 εἶναι, τοὺς δὲ εὐσεβεστάτους τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἅπαντες λέγουσιν. ἐῶ βασιλέας τοὺς ἐπ᾽ εὐσεβείᾳ διαβοηθέντας [ ὧν ἕνα Κροῖσον], οἵαις ἐχρήσαντο συμφοραῖς βίου· ἐῶ τὴν καταπρησθεῖσαν Ἀθηναίων ἀκρόπολιν, τὸν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ναόν, τὸν ἐν Δελφοῖς, ἄλλους μυρίους, καὶ οὐδεὶς ὠνείδισεν ταῦτα τοῖς παθοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς δράσασιν.
132 καινὸς δὲ κατήγορος ἡμῶν Ἀπίων ηὑρέθη τῶν ἰδίων αὐτοῦ περὶ τὴν Αἴγυπτον κακῶν ἐκλαθόμενος, ἀλλὰ Σέσωστρις αὐτὸν ὁ μυθευόμενος Αἰγύπτου βασιλεὺς ἐτύφλωσεν· ἡμεῖς δὲ τοὺς ἡμετέρους οὐκ ἂν εἴποιμεν βασιλέας Δαυίδην καὶ Σολομῶνα πολλὰ χειρωσαμένους ἔθνη.
134 ἡμεῖς δὲ ὄντες ἐλεύθεροι προσέτι καὶ τῶν πέριξ πόλεων ἤρχομεν ἔτη σχεδὸν εἴκοσί που καὶ ρ μέχρι Μάγνου Πομπηίου, καὶ πάντων ἐκπολεμηθέντων πρὸς Ῥωμαίων τῶν πανταχοῦ βασιλέων μόνοι διὰ πίστιν οἱ παρ᾽ ἡμῖν σύμμαχοι καὶ φίλοι διεφυλάχθησαν.
125One should also be particularly amazed453 at the great intelligence454 in what Apion goes on to say. For he says that it is proof of the fact that we do not employ just laws or worship God as we should455 that [we do not govern,]456 but are subservient to other nations, one after another, and that we have experienced some misfortunes affecting our city457 – while they, obviously, have become accustomed from the very beginning to ruling over the most dominant city rather than serving the Romans!458
127It has fallen to few to gain sovereignty over a period of time,462 and changes have again brought even these under the yoke to serve others;463 most peoples have been subject to others on many occasions.464
128So it is only the Egyptians (because the Gods, so they say, fled to their country for refuge and were saved by changing into the form of animals)465 who have the special privilege of not having been subservient to any of those who conquered Asia or Europe466 – these who throughout all time have not gained a single day of freedom, not even at the hands of their indigenous masters.467
129The way in which the Persians treated them, who not only once but on many occasions sacked their cities, razed their temples to the ground and slaughtered what they consider to be “Gods”468 – I would not blame them for that.469
130For one should not imitate Apion’s ignorance:470 he has not considered the misfortunes of the Athenians or the Lacedaemonians,471 the latter universally said to be the most courageous of the Greeks,472 the former the most pious.473
131I pass over the kings who were famed for their piety,474 and the misfortunes they experienced in their lives;475 I pass over the burnt Athenian acropolis,476 the temple in Ephesus,477 that in Delphi,478 thousands of others.479 No one has blamed these things on the victims, but on the perpetrators.480
132Our novel accuser, Apion, turns out to have forgotten his own woes affecting Egypt;481 Sesostris, the mythical king of Egypt, has blinded him!482 On our side, could we not speak of our kings David and Solomon who mastered many nations?483
133Let us pass over them484 – although Apion was ignorant of the universally known fact that the Egyptians were subservient to the Persians, and to the Macedonians who ruled Asia after them, with a status no different from slaves,485
134while we, being free,486 used to rule in addition over the surrounding cities for about 120 years up till the time of Pompey the Great;487 and when all the monarchs, on all sides, were hostile to the Romans,488 ours alone, because of their loyalty, were maintained as allies and friends.489