Plutarch: Life of Aratus

Chapters 31 - 54

Translated by John & William Langhorne (1770). A few words and spellings have been changed. See key to translations for an explanation of the format.

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[31] Aratus acquired new glory in the war with the Aetolians. The Achaeans pressed him to engage them on the confines of Megara ; and Agis, king of the Lacedaemonians, who attended with an army, joined his entreaties to theirs, but he would not consent. 2 They reproached him with want of spirit, with cowardice; they tried what the weapons of ridicule could do; but he bore all their attacks with patience, and would not sacrifice the real good of the community to the fear of seeming disgrace. Upon this principle he suffered the Aetolians to pass mount Gerania, and to enter Peloponnesus without the least resistance. 3 But when he found that in their march they had seized Pellene, he was no longer the same man. Without the least delay, without waiting till all his forces were assembled, he advanced with those he had at hand against the enemy, who were much weakened by their late acquisition, for it had occasioned the utmost disorder and misrule. 4 They had no sooner entered the city than the private men dispersed themselves in the houses, and began to scramble and fight for the booty, while the generals and other officers seized the wives and daughters of the inhabitants, and each put his helmet on the head of his prize, as a mark to whom she belonged, and to prevent her coming into the hands of another.

5 While they were thus employed, news was brought that Aratus was at hand, and ready to fall upon them. The consternation was such as might be expected amongst men in extreme disorder. Before they were all apprised of their danger, those that were about the gates and in the suburbs had skirmished a few moments with the Achaeans, and were put to flight. And the haste with which they fled greatly distressed those who had assembled to support them. [32] During this confusion, one of the captives, daughter to Epigethes, a person of great eminence in Pellene, who was remarkable for her beauty and majestic mien, was seated in the temple of Artemis, where the officer whose prize she was had placed her, after having put his helmet, which was adorned with three plumes of feathers, on her head. 2 This lady, hearing the noise and tumult, ran out suddenly to see what was the cause. As she stood at the door of the temple, and looked down upon the combatants, with the helmet still upon her head, she appeared to the citizens a figure more than human, and the enemy took her for a deity; which struck the latter with such terror and astonishment that they were no longer able to use their arms.

3 The Pelleneans tell us, that the statue of the goddess stands commonly untouched, and that when the priestess moves it out of the temple, in order to carry it in procession, none dare look it in the face, but, on the contrary, they turn away their eyes with great care; for it is not only a terrible and dangerous sight to mankind, but its look renders the trees barren, and blasts the fruits where it passes. 4 They add, that the priestess carried it out on this occasion, and always turning the face directly towards the Aetolians, filled them with horror, and deprived them of their senses. 5 But Aratus, in his Commentaries, makes no mention of any such circumstance ; he only says, that he put the Aetolians to flight, and entering the town with the fugitives, dislodged them by dint of the sword, and killed 700. 6 This action was one of the most celebrated in history : Timanthes the painter gave a very lively and excellent representation of it.

[33] However, as many powerful states were combining against the Achaeans, Aratus hastened to make peace with the Aetolians, which he not only effected with the assistance of Pantaleon, one of the most powerful men amongst them, but likewise entered into an alliance offensive and defensive. 2 He had a strong desire to restore Athens to its liberty, and exposed himself to the severest censures of the Achaeans by attempting to surprise the Peiraeus while there was a truce subsisting between them and the Macedonians. 3 Aratus, indeed, in his Commentaries, denies the fact, and lays the blame upon Erginus, with whom he took the citadel of Corinth. He says, it was the peculiar scheme of Erginus to attempt that port; that, his ladder breaking, he miscarried, and was pursued ; and that, to save himself, he often called upon Aratus, as if present, by which artifice he deceived the enemy, and escaped. But this defence of his wants probability to support it. 4 It is not likely that Erginus, a private man, a Syrian, would have formed a design of such consequence, without having Aratus at the head of it, to supply him with troops, and to point out the opportunity for the attack. 5 Nay, Aratus proved the same against himself, by making not only two or three, but many more attempts upon the Peiraeus. Like a person violently in love, his miscarriages did not prevail upon him to desist, for, as his hopes were disappointed only by the failure perhaps of a single circumstance, and he was always within a little of succeeding, he still encouraged himself to go on. 6 In one repulse, as he fled over the fields of Thriasium, he broke his leg ; and the cure could not be effected without several incisions; so that, for some time after, when he was called to action, he was carried into the field in a litter.

[34] After the death of Antigonus, and Demetrius' accession to the throne, Aratus was more intent than ever on delivering Athens from the yoke, and conceived an utter contempt for the Macedonians. 2 He was, however, defeated in a battle near Phylacia, by Bithys, the new king's general ; and a strong report being spread on one side that he was taken prisoner, and on another, that he was dead, Diogenes, who commanded in the Peiraeus, wrote a letter to Corinth, insisting " That the Achaeans should evacuate the place, since Aratus was no more." 3 Aratus happened to be in Corinth when the letter arrived, and the messengers finding that their business occasioned much laughter and satirical discourse, retired in great confusion. The king of Macedon himself, too, sent a ship with orders " That Aratus should be brought to him in chains."

4 The Athenians exceeding themselves in flattery to the Macedonians, wore chaplets of flowers upon the first report of Aratus' death. Incensed at this treatment, he immediately marched out against them; and proceeded as far as the Academy. But they implored him to spare them, and he returned without doing them the least injury. 5 This made the Athenians aware of his virtue ; and, as upon the death of Demetrius they were determined to make an attempt for liberty, they called him to their assistance. 6 Though he was not general of the Achaeans that year, and was so much indisposed besides, by long sickness, as to be forced to keep his bed, yet he caused himself to be carried in a litter, to render them his best services. Accordingly he prevailed upon Diogenes, who commanded the garrison, to give up the Peiraeus, Munychia, Salamis, and Sunium to the Athenians for the consideration of 150 talents, 7 20 of which Aratus himself furnished. Upon this the Aeginetans and Hermionians joined the Achaeans, and great part of Arcadia paid contributions to the league. The Macedonians now found employment enough for their arms nearer home, and the Achaeans numbering the Aetolians amongst their allies, found a great addition to their power.

[35] Aratus still proceeded upon his old principles, and in his uneasiness to see tyranny established in a city so near him as that of Argos, sent his agents to Aristomachus, to represent " How advantageous a thing it would be for him to restore that city to liberty, and join it to the Achaean league; how noble to follow the examples of Lydiades, and command so great a people with reputation and honour, as the general of their choice, rather than one city as a tyrant, exposed to perpetual danger and hatred." 2 Aristomachus listened to their suggestions, and desired Aratus to send him 50 talents to pay off his troops. The money was granted according to his request, 3 but Lydiades, whose commission as general was not expired, and who was ambitious to have this negotiation pass with the Achaeans for his work, took an opportunity, while the money was being provided, to accuse Aratus to Aristomachus, as a person that had an implacable aversion to tyrants, and to advise him rather to put the business into his hands. Aristomachus believed these suggestions, and Lydiades had the honour of introducing him to the league. 4 But on this occasion especially the Achaean council showed their affection and fidelity to Aratus ; for, upon his speaking against Aristomachus, they rejected him with marks of resentment. 5 Afterwards, when Aratus was prevailed upon to manage the affair, they readily accepted the proposal, and passed a decree, by which the Argives and Phliasians were admitted into the league. The year following, too, Aristomachus was appointed general.

6 Aristomachus finding himself esteemed by the Achaeans, was desirous of carrying his arms into Laconia, for which purpose he sent for Aratus from Athens. Aratus made answer, that he utterly disapproved the expedition, not choosing that the Achaeans should engage with Cleomenes, whose spirit and power kept growing in proportion to the dangers he had to encounter. Aristomachus, however, was bent upon the enterprise, and Aratus yielding to his entreaties, returned to assist him in the war. 7 Cleomenes offered him battle at Palantium, but Aratus prevented him from accepting the challenge. Hereupon Lydiades accused Aratus to the Achaeans, and the year following declared himself his competitor for the command; but Aratus had the majority of votes, and was for the twelfth time declared general.

[36] This year he was defeated by Cleomenes at Mount Lycaeum ; and, in his flight, being forced to wander about in the night, he was supposed to be killed. This was the second time that a report of his death spread over Greece. 2 He saved himself, however; and having collected the scattered remains of his forces, was not satisfied with retiring unmolested: on the contrary, he availed himself in the best manner of his opportunity; and when none expected, or even thought of such a manoeuvre, fell suddenly upon the Mantineians, who were allies to Cleomenes, 3 took their city, secured it with a garrison, and declared all the strangers he found there free of the city. In short, he acquired that for the Achaeans, when beaten, which they could not easily have gamed when victorious.

4 The Lacedaemonians again entering the territories of Megalopolis, he marched to relieve that city. Cleomenes endeavoured to bring him to an engagement, but he declined it, though the Megalopolitans pressed him much to leave the matter to the decision of the sword: 5 for, besides that he was never very fit for disputes in the open field, he was now inferior in numbers; and, at a time of life when his spirits began to fail, and his ambition was subdued, he would have had to do with a young man of the most adventurous courage. He thought, too, that, if Cleomenes, by his boldness, sought to acquire glory, it became him, by his caution, to keep that which he had.

[37] One day the light infantry skirmished with the Spartans, and having driven them to their camp, entered it with them, and began to plunder. Aratus even then would not lead on the main body, but kept his men on the other side of a defile that lay between, and would not suffer them to pass. 2 Lydiades, incensed at this order, and reproaching him with cowardice, called upon the cavalry to support the party which was in pursuit of the enemy, and not to betray the victory, nor to desert a man who was going to hazard all for his country. 3 Many of the best men in the army followed him to the charge, which was so vigorous that he put the right wing of the Lacedaemonians to flight. But, in the ardour of his courage, and his ambition for honour, he went inconsiderately upon the pursuit, till he fell into a winding way, obstructed with trees, and intersected with large ditches. 4 Cleomenes attacked him in this ground, and slew him, after he had maintained the most glorious of all combats, the combat for his people, almost at their own doors. The rest of the cavalry fled; and turning back upon the main body, put the infantry in disorder, so that the rout became general.

5 This loss was principally ascribed to Aratus, for he was thought to have abandoned Lydiades to his fate. The Achaeans, therefore, retired in great anger, and obliged him to follow them to Aegium. There it was decreed in full council that he should be supplied with no more money, nor have any mercenaries maintained; and that if he would go to war, he must find resources for it himself. [38] Thus ignominiously treated, he was inclined to give up the seal and resign his command immediately; but, upon more mature consideration, he thought it better to bear the affront with patience. Soon after this he led the Achaeans to Orchomenus, where he gave battle to Megistonus, father-in-law to Cleomenes, killed 300 of his men, and took him prisoner.

2 It had been customary with him to take the command every other year, but when his turn came, and he was called upon to resume it, he absolutely refused, and Timoxenus was appointed general. 3 The reason commonly given for his rejecting that commission was his resentment against the people for the late dishonour they had done him; but the real cause was the bad condition of Achaean affairs. 4 Cleomenes no longer advanced by gradual steps; he had no measures now to keep with the magistrates at home, or anything to fear from their opposition; for he had put the ephors to death, distributed the lands in equal portions, and admitted many strangers as citizens of Sparta. After he had made himself absolute master by these means at home, he marched into Achaea, and insisted upon being appointed general of the league. 5 Aratus, therefore, is highly blamed, when affairs were in such a tempestuous state, for giving up the helm to another pilot, when he ought rather to have taken it by force to save the community from sinking, 6 or, if he thought the Achaean power beyond the possibility of being retrieved, he should have yielded to Cleomenes, and not have brought Peloponnesus into a state of barbarism again with Macedonian garrisons, nor filled the citadel of Corinth with Illyrian and Gaulish arms. For this was making those men to whom he had shown himself superior, both in his military and political capacity, and whom he vilified so much in his Commentaries, masters of his cities, under the softer but false name of allies. 7 It may be said, perhaps, that Cleomenes lacked justice, and was tyrannically inclined; let us grant it for a moment: yet he was a descendant of the Heracleidae, and his country was Sparta, the meanest citizen of which should have been preferred as general of the league to the first of the Macedonians, at least by those who set any value on the dignity of Greece. 8 Besides, Cleomenes asked for the command among the Achaeans, only to make their cities happy in his services, in return for the honour of the title; 9 whereas Antigonus, though declared commander-in-chief both by sea and land, would not accept the commission till he was paid with the citadel of Corinth ; in which he perfectly resembled Aesopus' hunter, 10 for he would not ride the Achaeans, though they offered their backs, and though by embassies and decrees they courted him to do it, till he had first bridled them by his garrison, and by the hostages which they were obliged to deliver to him.

11 It is true, Aratus labours to justify himself by the necessity of affairs. But Polybius assures us, that long before that necessity existed, he had been afraid of the daring spirit of Cleomenes, and had not only treated with Antigonus in private, but drawn in the Megalopolitans to propose it to the general assembly of the Achaeans, that Antigonus should be invited to their assistance; for, whenever Cleomenes renewed his depredations, the Megalopolitans were the first that suffered by them. 12 Phylarchus gives the same account ; but we should not have afforded him much credit, if he had not been supported by the testimony of Polybius; for such is his fondness for Cleomenes that he cannot speak of him but in an enthusiastic manner, and, as if he were pleading a cause rather than writing a history, he perpetually disparages the one and vindicates the other.

[39] The Achaeans having lost Mantineia, which Cleomenes now took a second time, and being, moreover, defeated in a great battle at Hecatombaeum, were struck with such terror, that they immediately invited Cleomenes to Argos, with a promise of making him general. 2 But Aratus no sooner perceived that he was on the march, and had brought his army as far as Lerna, than his fears prevailed, and he sent ambassadors to desire him to come to the Achaeans as friends and allies, with 300 men only. They were to add, that if he had any distrust of the Achaeans, they would give him hostages. 3 Cleomenes told them, they did but insult and mock him with such a message, and returning immediately, wrote a letter to the Achaean council, full of complaints and invectives against Aratus. Aratus wrote another against Cleomenes in the same style; and they proceeded to such gross abuse as not to spare even the characters of their wives and families.

4 Upon this Cleomenes sent a herald to declare war against the Achaeans ; and in the meantime the city of Sicyon was near being betrayed to him. Disappointed of his expectation there, he turned against Pellene, dislodged the Achaean garrison, and secured the town for himself. A little after this, he took Pheneus and Penteleium; 5 and it was not long before the people of Argos adopted his interest, and the Phliasians received his garrison; so that scarce anything remained firm to the Achaeans of the dominions they had acquired. Aratus saw nothing but confusion about him; all Peloponnesus was in a tottering condition; and the cities everywhere excited by innovators to revolt. [40] Indeed, none were quiet or satisfied with their present circumstances. Even among the Sicyonians and Corinthians many were found to have a correspondence with Cleomenes, having long been opposed to the public administration, because they wanted to get the power into their own hands. 2 Aratus was invested with full authority to punish the delinquents. The corrupt members of Sicyon he cut down ; but by seeking for such in Corinth, in order to put them to death, he exasperated the people already sick of the same disease, and weary of the Achaean government. 3 On this occasion they assembled in the temple of Apollo and sent for Aratus, being determined either to kill him, or take him prisoner, before they proceeded to an open revolt. 4 He came leading his horse, as if he had not the least mistrust or suspicion. When they saw him at the gate, a number of them rose up, and loaded him with reproaches. But he, with a composed countenance and mild address, bade them sit down again, and not, by standing in the way and making such a disorderly noise, prevent other citizens who were at the door from entering. At the same time that he said this, he drew back step by step, as if he was seeking somebody to take his horse. 5 Thus he got out of the crowd, and continued to talk, without the least appearance of confusion, to such of the Corinthians as he met, and desired them to go to the temple, till he gradually approached the citadel. He then mounted his horse, and without stopping any longer at the fort than to give his orders to Cleopater the governor, to keep a strict guard upon it, he rode off to Sicyon, followed by no more than thirty soldiers, for the rest had left him and dispersed.

6 The Corinthians, soon apprised of his flight, went in pursuit of him, but failing in their design, they sent for Cleomenes, and put the city into his hands. He did not, however, think this advantage equal to his loss in their suffering Aratus to escape. 7 As soon as the inhabitants of that district on the coast called Acte had surrendered their towns, he shut up their citadel with a wall of circumvallation, and a pallisaded entrenchment.

[41] In the meantime many of the Achaeans met with Aratus at Sicyon, and a general assembly was held, in which he was chosen commander-in-chief, with an unlimited commission. 2 He now first took a guard, and it was composed of his fellow-citizens. He had conducted the Achaean administration 33 years; he had been the first man in Greece, both in power and reputation; but he now found himself abandoned, indigent, persecuted, without anything to trust to in the storm that had shipwrecked his country. 3 For the Aetolians had refused the assistance which he requested, and the city of Athens, though well inclined to serve him, was prevented by Eurycleides and Micion.

4 Aratus had a house and valuable effects at Corinth. Cleomenes would not touch anything that belonged to him, but sent for his friends and agents, and charged them to take the utmost care of his affairs, as remembering that they must give an account to Aratus. 5 To Aratus himself he privately sent Tripylus, and afterwards his father-in-law, Megistonus, with great offers, and among the rest a pension of 12 talents, which was double the yearly allowance he had from Ptolemy. 6 For this, he desired to be appointed general of the Achaeans, and to be joined with him in the care of the citadel of Corinth. 7 Aratus answered, " That he did not now govern affairs, but they governed him." As there appeared an insincerity in this answer, Cleomenes entered the territories of Sicyon, and committed great devastations. He likewise blocked up the city for three months together, all which time Aratus was debating with himself whether he should surrender the citadel to Antigonus, for he would not send him help on any other condition.

[42] Before he could take his resolution, the Achaeans met in council at Aegium, and called him to attend it. As the town was invested by Cleomenes, it was dangerous to pass. The citizens entreated him not to go, and declared they would not suffer him to expose himself to an enemy who was watching for his prey. The women and their children, too, hung upon him, and wept for him as for a common parent and protector. 2 He consoled them, however, as well as he could, and rode down to the sea, taking with him ten of his friends, and his son, who was now approaching to manhood. Finding some vessels at anchor, he went on board, and arrived safe at Aegium. There he held an assembly, in which it was decreed that Antigonus should be called in, and the citadel surrendered to him. 3 Aratus sent his own son amongst the other hostages, which the Corinthians so much resented, that they plundered his goods, and made a present of his house to Cleomenes.

[43] As Antigonus was now approaching with his army, which consisted of 20,000 foot, all Macedonians, and of 1400 horse, Aratus went with the Achaean magistrates by sea, and without being discovered by the enemy, met him at Pegae, though he placed no great confidence in Antigonus, and distrusted the Macedonians. 2 For he knew that his greatness had been owing to the harm he had done them, and that he had first risen to the direction of affairs in consequence of his hatred to old Antigonus. But seeing an indispensable necessity before him, such an occasion as those who seemed to command are forced to obey, he faced the danger. 3 When Antigonus was told that Aratus was come in person, he gave the rest a common welcome, but received him in the most honourable manner; and finding him upon trial to be a man of probity and prudence, took him into his most intimate friendship, 4 for Aratus was not only serviceable to the king in great affairs, but in the hours of leisure his most agreeable companion. 5 Antigonus, therefore, though young, perceiving in him such a temper, and such other qualities as fitted him for a prince's friendship, preferred him not only to the rest of the Achaeans, but even to the Macedonians that were about him, and continued to employ him in every affair of consequence. 6 Thus the thing which the gods announced by the entrails of one of the victims was accomplished; for it is said, that when Aratus was sacrificing not long before, there appeared in the liver two gall-bladders enclosed in the same layer, upon which the diviner declared that two enemies, who appeared the most irreconcilable, would soon be united in the strictest friendship. 7 Aratus then took little notice of the saying, for he never put much faith in victims, nor indeed in predictions from anything else, but used to depend upon his reason. 8 Some time after, however, when the war went on successfully, Antigonus held an entertainment at Corinth, at which, though there was a numerous company, he placed Aratus next above him. They had not sat long before Antigonus called for a cloak. At the same time he asked Aratus, " Whether he did not think it very cold," and he answered, " It was extremely cold." The king then desired him to sit nearer, and the servants who brought the cloak put it over the shoulders of both. 9 This putting Aratus in mind of the victim, he informed the king both of the sign and the prediction.

[44] While they were at Pegae, they took oaths of mutual fidelity, and then marched against the enemy. There were several actions under the walls of Corinth, in which Cleomenes had fortified himself strongly, and the Corinthians defended the place with great vigour.

2 In the meantime, Aristoteles, a citizen of Argos, and friend of Aratus, sent an agent to him privately, with an offer of bringing that city to declare for him, if he would go thither in person with some troops. 3 Aratus having acquainted Antigonus with this scheme, embarked 1500 men and sailed immediately with them from the Isthmus to Epidaurus. But the people of Argos, without waiting for his arrival, had attacked the troops of Cleomenes, and shut them up in the citadel. Cleomenes having notice of this, and fearing that the enemy, if they were in possession of Argos, might cut off his retreat to Lacedaemon, left his post before the citadel of Corinth the same night, and marched to the succour of his men. 4 He reached it before Aratus, and gained some advantage over the enemy; but Aratus arriving soon after, and the king appearing with his army, Cleomenes retired to Mantineia.

5 Upon this all the cities joined the Achaeans again. Antigonus made himself master of the citadel of Corinth; and the Argives having appointed Aratus their general, he persuaded them to give Antigonus the estates of the late tyrants and all the traitors. 6 That people put Aristomachus to torture at Cenchreae, and afterwards drowned him in the sea. Aratus was much censured on this occasion for permitting a man to suffer unjustly who was not of a bad character, with whom he formerly had connections, and who, at his persuasion, had abdicated the supreme power, and brought Argos to unite itself to the Achaean league. [45] There were other charges against Aratus, namely, that at his instigation the Achaeans had given the city of Corinth to Antigonus, as if it had been no more than an ordinary village; that they had suffered him to pillage Orchomenus and place in it a Macedonian garrison; 2 that they had made a decree that their community should not send a letter or an embassy to another king without the consent of Antigonus ; that they were forced to maintain and pay the Macedonians ; 3 and that they had sacrifices, libations, and games, in honour of Antigonus - the fellow-citizens of Aratus setting the example, and receiving Antigonus into their city, on which occasion Aratus entertained him in his house. 4 For all these things they blamed Aratus, not considering that when he had once put the reins in the hands of that prince, he was necessarily carried along with the tide of regal power: no longer master of anything but his tongue, and it was dangerous to use that with freedom. 5 For he was visibly concerned at many circumstances of the king's conduct, particularly with respect to the statues. Antigonus erected anew those of the tyrants which Aratus had pulled down, and demolished those he had set up in memory of the brave men that surprised the citadel of Corinth. That of Aratus only was spared, notwithstanding his intercession for the rest. 6 In the affair of Mantineia, too, the behaviour of the Achaeans was not consistent with Greek humanity; for having conquered it by means of Antigonus, they put the principal of the inhabitants to the sword; some of the rest they sold, or sent in fetters to Macedonia; and they made slaves of the women and children. Of the money thus raised they divided a third part amongst themselves, and gave the rest to the Macedonians. 7 But this had its excuse in the law of reprisals, for, however shocking it may appear for men to sacrifice to their anger those of their own nation and kindred, yet in necessity, as Simonides says, it seems rather a proper alleviation than a hardship, to give relief to a mind inflamed and aching with resentment. 8 But as to what Aratus did afterwards with respect to Mantineia, it is impossible to justify him upon a plea either of propriety or necessity; for Antigonus having made a present of that city to the Argives, they resolved to re-people it, and appointed Aratus to see it done, in virtue of which commission, as well as that of general, he decreed that it should no more be called Mantineia, but Antigoneia, which name it still bears. 9 Thus, by his means, Mantineia, "the amiable Mantineia", as Homer calls it, was no more; and in the place of it we have a city which took its name from the man who ruined its inhabitants.

[46] Some time after this, Cleomenes being overthrown in a great battle near Sellasia, quitted Sparta, and sailed to Egypt. As for Antigonus, after the kindest and most honourable behaviour to Aratus, he returned to Macedonia. 2 In his sickness there, which happened soon after his arrival, he sent Philippus, then very young, but already declared his successor, into Peloponnesus; having first instructed him above all things to give attention to Aratus, and through him to treat with the cities, and make himself known to the Achaeans. 3 Aratus received him with great honour, and managed him so well, that he returned to Macedonia full of sentiments of respect for his friend, and in the most favourable disposition for the interests of Greece.

[47] After the death of Antigonus, the Aetolians despised the inactivity of the Achaeans : for, accustomed to the protection of foreign arms, and sheltering themselves under the Macedonian power, they sank into a state of idleness and disorder. This gave the Aetolians room to attempt a footing in Peloponnesus. 2 By the way they made some booty in the country about Patrae and Dyme, and then proceeded to Messene, and laid waste its territories. 3 Aratus was incensed at this insolence, but he perceived that Timoxenus, who was then general, took slow and dilatory measures, because his year was almost expired. Therefore, as he was to succeed to the command, he anticipated his commission by five days, for the sake of assisting the Messenians. 4 He assembled the Achaeans, but they had now neither exercise nor courage to enable them to maintain the combat, and consequently he was beaten in a battle which he fought at Caphyae. 5 Being accused of having ventured too much on this occasion, he became afterwards so irresolute, and so far abandoned his hopes for the public, as to neglect the opportunities which the Aetolians gave him, and suffered them to roam about Peloponnesus in the manner of revellers, committing all the excesses that insolence could suggest.

6 The Achaeans were now obliged to stretch out their hands again towards Macedonia, and brought Philippus to interfere in the affairs of Greece. They knew the regard he had for Aratus, and the confidence he placed in him, and hoped on that account to find him tractable and easy in all their affairs. [48] But the king now first began to listen to Apelles, Megaleas, and other courtiers, who endeavoured to darken the character of Aratus, and prevailed upon him to support the contrary party, by which means Eperatus was elected general of the Achaeans. 2 Eperatus, however, soon fell into the greatest contempt amongst them, and as Aratus would not give any attention to their concerns, nothing went well. Philippus finding that he had committed a capital error, 3 turned again to Aratus, and gave himself up entirely to his direction. As his affairs now prospered, and his power and reputation grew under the guidance of Aratus, he depended entirely on him for the further increase of both. 4 Indeed, it was evident to all the world, that Aratus had excellent talents, not only for guiding a commonwealth, but a kingdom too ; 5 for there appeared a shade of his principles and manners in all the conduct of this young prince. Thus the moderation with which he treated the Spartans, after they had offended him, his engaging behaviour to the Cretans, by which he gained the whole island in a few days, and the glorious success of his expedition against the Aetolians, gained Philippus the honour of knowing how to follow good counsel, and Aratus that of being able to give it.

6 On this account the courtiers envied him still more ; and as they found that their private engines of calumny availed nothing, they began to try open battery, reviling and insulting him at table with the utmost effrontery and lowest abuse. Nay, once they threw stones at him, as he was retiring from supper to his tent. 7 Philippus, incensed at such outrage, fined them 20 talents, and upon their proceeding to disturb and embroil his affairs, put them to death.

[49] But afterwards he was carried so high by the flow of prosperity as to reveal many disorderly passions. The native badness of his disposition broke through the veil he had put over it, and by degrees his real character appeared. 2 In the first place he greatly injured young Aratus by corrupting his wife ; and the relationship was a long time secret, because he lived under his roof, where he had been received under the sanction of hospitality. In the next place, he discovered a strong aversion to commonwealths, and to the cities that were under that form of government. It was easy to be seen, too, that he wanted to shake off Aratus. 3 The first suspicions of his intentions arose from his behaviour with respect to the Messenians. There were two factions amongst them which had raised a sedition in the city. Aratus went to reconcile them; but Philippus getting to the place a day before him, added stings to their mutual resentments. 4 On the one hand, he called the magistrates privately, and asked them whether they had not laws to restrain the rabble: and on the other, he asked the demagogues whether they had not hands to defend them against tyrants. 5 The magistrates, thus encouraged, attacked the chiefs of the people, and they in their turn came with superior numbers, and killed the magistrates, with almost 200 others of their party.

[50] After Philippus had engaged in these detestable practices, which exasperated the Messenians still more against each other, Aratus, when he arrived, made no secret of his resentment, nor did he restrain his son in the severe and disparaging things he said to Philippus. 2 The young man had once a particular attachment to Philippus, which in those days they distinguished by the name of love; but on this occasion, he ventured to tell him," That after such a base action, instead of appearing agreeable, he was the most deformed of humankind."

3 Philippus made no answer, though anger evidently was working in his bosom, and he often muttered to himself while the other was speaking. However, he pretended to bear it with great calmness, and affecting to appear a man of subdued temper and refined manners, gave the elder Aratus his hand, and took him from the theatre to the castle of Ithome, under pretence of sacrificing to Zeus and visiting the place. 4 This fort, which is as strong as the citadel of Corinth, if it were garrisoned, would greatly annoy the neighbouring country, and be almost impregnable. 5 After Philippus had offered his sacrifice there, and the diviner came to show him the entrails of the ox, he took them in both hands, and showed them to Aratus and Demetrius of Pharus, sometimes turning them to one, and sometimes to the other, and asking them, " What they saw in the entrails of the victim; whether they warned him to keep this citadel, or to restore it to the Messenians?" 6 Demetrius smiled, and said, " If you have the soul of a diviner, you will restore it; but, if that of a king, you will hold the bull by both his horns." By which he hinted that he would have Peloponnesus entirely in subjection, if he added Ithome to the citadel of Corinth. 7 Aratus was a long time silent, but upon Philippus's pressing him to declare his opinion, he said, " There are many mountains of great strength in Crete, many castles in Boeotia and Phocis in lofty situations, and many impregnable places in Acarnania, both on the coast and within land. 8 You have seized none of these, and yet they all pay you a voluntary obedience. Robbers, indeed, take to rocks and precipices for security; but for a king there is no such fortress as honour and humanity. 9 These are the things that have opened to you the Cretan Sea, these have unbarred the gates of Peloponnesus. In short, by these it is that, at so early a period in life, you are become general of the one, and sovereign of the other." 10 Whilst he was yet speaking, Philippus returned the entrails to the diviner, and taking Aratus by the hand, drew him along, and said, " Come on, then, let us go as we came," intimating that he had overruled him, and deprived him of such an acquisition as the city would have been.

[51] From this time Aratus began to withdraw from court, and by degrees to give up all correspondence with Philippus. He refused also to accompany him in his expedition into Epirus, though he was requested for that purpose; choosing to stay at home, lest he should share in the disrepute of his actions. 2 But, after Philippus had lost his fleet with great disgrace in the Roman war, and nothing succeeded to his wish, he returned to Peloponnesus, and tried once more what trickery could do to impose upon the Messenians. When he found his designs were discovered, he had recourse to open hostilities, and ravaged the country. 3 Aratus then saw all his meanness, and broke with him entirely. By this time, too, he perceived that he had dishonoured his son's bed; but though the injury lay heavy on him, he concealed it from his son, because he could only inform him that he was abused, without being able to help him to the means of revenge. 4 There seemed to be a great and unnatural change in Philippus, who, of a mild and sober young prince, became a libidinous and cruel tyrant: but in fact, it was not a change of disposition, it was only discovering in a time of full security, the vices which his fears had long concealed. [52] That his regard for Aratus had originally a great mixture of fear and reverence, appeared even in the method he took to destroy him. 2 For though he was very desirous of effecting that cruel purpose, because he neither looked upon himself as an absolute prince, or a king, or even a freeman, while Aratus lived, yet he would not attempt anything against him in the way of open force, but desired Taurion, one of his friends and generals, to take him off in a private manner in his absence. At the same time he recommended poison. 3 That officer accordingly having formed an acquaintance with him, gave him a dose, not of a sharp or violent kind, but such a one as causes lingering heats and a slight cough, and gradually brings the body to decay. 4 Aratus was not ignorant of the cause of his disorder, but knowing that it availed nothing to reveal it to the world, he bore it quietly and in silence, as if it had been an ordinary disease. Indeed, when one of his friends came to visit him in his chamber, and expressed his surprise at seeing him spit blood, he said, " Such, Cephalon, are the fruits of royal friendship."

[53] Thus died Aratus at Aegium, after he had been seventeen times general of the Achaeans. That people were desirous of having him buried there, and would have thought it an honour to give him a magnificent funeral, and a monument worthy of his life and character. But the Sicyonians considered it as a misfortune to have him interred anywhere but amongst them, 2 and therefore persuaded the Achaeans to leave the disposal of his body entirely to them. As there was an ancient law that had been observed with religious care, against burying any person within their walls, and they were afraid to transgress it on this occasion, they sent to inquire of the priestess of Apollo at Delphi, and she returned this answer -
3 "Seek you what funeral honours you shall pay
To your departed prince, the small reward
For liberty restored and glory won ?
Bid Sicyon, fearless, rear the sacred tomb.
For the vile tongue that dares with impious breath
Offend Aratus, blasts the face of Nature,
Pours horror on the earth, the seas, and skies."

4 This oracle gave great joy to all the Achaeans, particularly the people of Sicyon. They changed the day of mourning into a festival, and adorning themselves with garlands and white robes, brought the corpse with songs and dances from Aegium to Sicyon. There they selected the most conspicuous ground, and interred him as the founder and deliverer of their city. 5 The place is still called Arateium, and there they offer two yearly sacrifices, the one on the fifth of the month Daesius - the Athenians call it Anthesterion - which was the day he delivered the city from the yoke of tyrants, and on which occasion they call the festival Soteria, the other on his birthday. 6 The first sacrifice was offered by the priest of Zeus the Preserver, and the second by the son of Aratus, who, on that occasion, wore a girdle, not entirely white but half purple. The music was sung to the harp by the choir that belonged to the theatre. The procession was led up by the master of the Gymnasium, at the head of the boys and young men; the senate followed crowned with flowers, and such of the other citizens as chose to attend. 7 Some small signs of the ceremonies observed on those days still remain, but the greatest part is worn out by time and other circumstances.

[54] Such was the life and character that history has given us of the elder Aratus. 2 And as to the younger, Philippus, who was naturally wicked, and delighted to add insolence to cruelty, gave him potions, not of the deadly kind, but such as deprived him of his reason; 3 insomuch that he took up inclinations that were shocking and monstrous, and delighted in things that not only dishonoured but destroyed him. Death, therefore, which took him in the flower of his age, was considered not as a misfortune, but a deliverance. 4 The vengeance, however, of Zeus, the patron of hospitality and friendship, visited Philippus for his breach of both, and pursued him through life; 5 for he was beaten by the Romans, and forced to yield himself to their discretion; in consequence of which, he was stripped of all the provinces he had conquered, gave up all his ships, except five, obliged himself to pay 1000 talents, and deliver his son as a hostage. He even held Macedonia and its dependencies only at the mercy of the conquerors. 6 By regularly killing the best of his subjects and even of his family, he filled the whole kingdom with dread and hatred towards him. 7 Amidst all these misfortunes, he was possessed only of one blessing - a son of superior virtue - and him he put to death in his envy and jealousy of the honours the Romans paid him. He left his crown to his other son, Perseus, who was believed not to be his, but a supposititious child, born of a seamstress named Gnathaeniŏn. 8 It was over him that Paulus Aemilius triumphed, and in him ended the royal race of Antigonus ; whereas the posterity of Aratus remained to our days, and still continues in Sicyon and Pellene.

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