Pyrrhus was preparing to launch an invasion of the Italian peninsula at great cost to both gold and life. Over a philosophical dinner Cineas asked the king, “Once you have beaten the Romans what shall we do?”
“Once the Romans are conquered we shall have all the riches of Italy at our disposal,” Pyrrhus answered.
Cineas paused, probably sipped from his wine and asked, “And what will we do then?”
Sicily is near! It will be an easy victory.”
Cineas thought a moment more. ”And then what shall we do?”
“Then we will take Libya and Carthage,” the king replied.
“What will we do after that?”
“We will secure all of the Greek world under my rule,” the king nodded at the thought.
“But what will we do then?” Cineas asked.
“Ah, my friend,” said Pyrrhus, ”then we shall rest. We will drink wine, and talk philosophy, and enjoy the fruits of our friendship.”
Cineas looked around. They had wine. They had friendship. They were talking. “Can’t we do what you wish now without harming anyone with war or causing pain to ourselves?”
Pyrrhus’s reply is not recorded. The war went ahead. He died in one of his battles when a tile was thrown from a roof by an enemy woman, smashing his skull. Such accidents rarely happen in dining rooms, so the king would probably have done well to listen to his Epicurean friend and perhaps enjoyed the quieter life of the contemplative thinker.