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Plutarch: Life of Demetrius

Chapters 1 - 27

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

Demetrius, called Poliorcetes (the Besieger), lived from 336 to 283 B.C. He was king of Macedonia from 294 to 288 B.C.


[1] Those who first thought that the arts might be compared to the senses in the perception of their respective objects, appear to me to have well understood the power by which that perception was to be formed - the power of distinguishing contrary qualities; for this they have in common. But in the mode of distinguishing, as well as in the end of what is distinguished, they evidently differ. 2 The senses, for instance, have no innate power of perceiving a white object more than a black one; what is sweet more than what is bitter ; or what is soft and yielding, more than what is hard and solid. Their function is to receive impressions from such objects as strike upon them, and to convey those impressions to the mind. 3 But the operation of the arts is more rational. They are not, like the senses, passive in their perceptions. They choose or reject what is proper or improper. What is good they attend to primarily and intentionally; and what is evil, only accidentally, in order to avoid it. Thus, the art of medicine considers the nature of diseases; and music that of discordant sounds, in order to produce their contraries. 4 And the most excellent of all arts, temperance, justice, and prudence, teach us to judge not only of what is honourable, just, and useful, but also of what is pernicious, disgraceful, and unjust. These arts bestow no praise on that innocence which boasts of an entire ignorance of vice; in their reckoning, it is rather an absurd simplicity to be ignorant of those things which every man that is disposed to live virtuously should make it his particular care to know. 5 Accordingly the ancient Spartans, at their feasts, used to compel the Helots to drink an excessive quantity of wine, and then bring them into the public halls where they dined, to show the young men what drunkenness was.

We do not, indeed, think it agreeable, either to humanity or good policy, to corrupt some of the species, in order not to corrupt others. Yet, perhaps, it may not be amiss to insert among the rest of the Lives, a few examples of those who have abused their power to the purposes of licentiousness, and whose elevation has only made their vices greater and more conspicuous. Not that we adduce them to give pleasure, or to adorn our paintings with the graces of variety; 6 but we do it from the same motive with Ismenias the Theban musician, who presented his scholars both with good and bad performers on the flute; and used to say, " Thus you must play, and, thus you must not play." And Antigenidas observed, " That young men would hear able performers with much greater pleasure after they had heard bad ones." In like manner, according to my opinion, we shall behold and imitate the virtuous with greater attention, if we be not entirely unacquainted with the characters of the vile and infamous.

7 In this book, therefore, we shall give the lives of Demetrius, surnamed Poliorcetes, and of Antonius the triumvir: men who have most remarkably verified that observation of Plato, " That great parts produce great vices, as well as virtues." 8 They were equally addicted to wine and women; both excellent soldiers, and persons of great generosity; but, at the same time, prodigal and insolent. There was the same resemblance in their fortune; for, in the course of their lives, they met both with great success and great disappointments; now extending their conquests with the utmost rapidity, and now losing all ; now falling beyond all expectation, and now recovering themselves when there was as little prospect of such a change. This similarity there was in their lives; and in the concluding scene there was not much difference ; for the one was taken by his enemies, and died in captivity, and the other was near sharing the same fate.

[2] Antigonus having two sons by Stratonice, the daughter of Corrhagus, called the one after his brother Demetrius, and the other after his father, Philippus. So most historians say. But some affirm that Demetrius was not the son of Antigonus, but his nephew; and that his father dying and leaving him an infant, and his mother soon after marrying Antigonus, he was, on that account, considered as his son. 2 Philippus, who was not many years younger than Demetrius, died at an early period. Demetrius, though tall, was not equal in size to his father Antigonus. But his beauty and countenance were so inimitable that no statuary or painter could hit off a likeness. His countenance had a mixture of grace and dignity; and was at once amiable and awful; and the unsubdued and eager air of youth was blended with the majesty of the hero and the king. 3 There was the same happy mixture in his behaviour, which inspired, at the same time, both pleasure and awe. In his hours of leisure, a most agreeable companion ; at his table, and every species of entertainment, of all princes the most delicate ; and yet, when business called, nothing could equal his activity, his diligence, and despatch. In which respect he imitated Dionysus most of all the gods, since he was not only terrible in war, but knew how to terminate war with peace, and turn happily to the joys and pleasures which that inspires.

[3] His affection for his father was remarkably great; and in the respect he paid his mother, his love for his other parent was very discernible. His duty was genuine, and not in the least influenced by the considerations of high station or power. 2 Demetrius happening to come from hunting when his father was giving audience to some ambassadors, went up and saluted him, and then sat down by him with his javelins in his hand. After they had received their answer, and were going away, Antigonus called out to them, and said, "You may mention, too, the happy terms upon which I am with my son ;" by which he gave them to understand, that the harmony and confidence in which they lived added strength to the kingdom and security to his power. 3 So incapable is regal authority of admitting a partner, so liable to jealousy and hatred, that the greatest and oldest of Alexander's successors rejoiced that he had no occasion to fear his own son; but could freely let him approach him with his weapons in his hand. 4 Indeed, we may venture to say, that his family alone, in the course of many successions, was free from these evils. Of all the descendants of Antigonus, Philippus was the only prince who put his son to death; 5 whereas, in the families of other kings, nothing is more common than the murders of sons, mothers, and wives. As for the killing of brothers, like a postulation in geometry, it was considered as indisputably necessary to the safety of the reigning prince.

[4] That Demetrius was originally well disposed by nature to the offices of humanity and friendship, the following is a proof. Mithridates, the son of Ariobarzanes, was of the same age, and his constant companion. He was likewise one of the attendants of Antigonus, and bore an unblemished character. Yet Antigonus conceived some suspicion of him from a dream. 2 He thought he entered a large and beautiful field, and sowed it with filings of gold. This produced a crop of the same precious metal; but coming a little after to visit it, he found it was cut, and nothing left but the stalks. As he was in great distress about his loss, he heard some people say that Mithridates had reaped the golden harvest, and was gone with it towards the Euxine sea.

3 Disturbed at this dream, he communicated it to his son, having first made him swear to keep it secret, and, at the same time, informed him of his absolute determination to destroy Mithridates. 4 Demetrius was exceedingly concerned at the affair; but though his friend waited on him as usual, that they might pursue their diversions together, he dared not speak to him on the subject, because of his oath. By degrees, however, he drew him aside from the rest of his companions, and when they were alone, he wrote on the ground with the bottom of his spear, " Fly, Mithridates." The young man, understanding his danger, fled that night into Cappadocia; and fate soon accomplished the dream of Antigonus. 5 For Mithridates conquered a rich and extensive country, and founded the family of the Pontic kings, which continued through eight successions, and was at last destroyed by the Romans. This is a sufficient evidence that Demetrius was naturally well inclined to justice and humanity.

[5] But as, according to Empedocles, love and hatred are the sources of perpetual wars between the elements, particularly such as touch or reproach each other; so among the successors of Alexander there were continual wars; and the contentions were always the most violent when inflamed by the opposition of interest, or vicinity of place. This was the case of Antigonus and Ptolemaeus. Antigonus, while he resided in Phrygia, received information that Ptolemaeus was gone from Cyprus into Syria, where he was ravaging the country, and reducing the cities either by persuasion or force. 2 Upon this he sent his son Demetrius against him, though he was only 22 years of age; and in this first command had the greatest and most difficult affairs to manage. 3 But a young and inexperienced man was unequally matched with a general from the school of Alexander, who had distinguished himself in may important combats under that prince. Accordingly, he was defeated near Gaza ; 5000 of his men were killed and 8000 taken prisoners. 4 He lost also his tents, his military chest, and his whole equipage. But Ptolemaeus sent them back to him, together with his friends; adding this generous and obliging message, " That they ought only to contend for glory and empire." 5 When Demetrius received it, he begged of the gods, " That he might not long be Ptolemaeus' debtor, but soon have it in his power to return the favour." 6 Nor was he disconcerted, as most young men would be, with such a miscarriage in his first attempt. On the contrary, like a complete general, accustomed to the vicissitudes of fortune, he employed himself in making new levies and providing arms; he kept the cities to their duty, and exercised the troops he had raised.

[6] As soon as Antigonus was apprised how the battle went, he said, " Ptolemaeus has, indeed, beaten boys, but he shall soon have to do with men." However, as he did not choose to repress the spirit of his son, on his request, he gave him permission to try his fortune again by himself. 2 Not long after this, Cilles, Ptolemaeus' general, undertook to drive Demetrius entirely out of Syria; for which purpose he brought with him a numerous army, though he held him in contempt on account of his late defeat. 3 But Demetrius, by a sudden attack, struck his adversaries with such a panic that both the camp and the general fell into his hands, together with very considerable treasures. 4 Yet he did not consider the gain, but the ability to give; nor so much valued the glory and riches which this advantage brought him, as its enabling him to requite the generosity of Ptolemaeus. He was not, however, for proceeding upon his own judgement; he consulted his father; 5 and, on his free permission to act as he thought proper, loaded Cilles and his friends with his favours, and sent them back to their master. By this turn of affairs, Ptolemaeus lost his footing in Syria; and Antigonus marched down from Celaenae, rejoicing in his son's success, and impatient to embrace him.

[7] Demetrius, after this, being sent to subdue the Nabataean Arabs, found himself in great danger, by falling into a desert country which afforded no water. But the barbarians, astonished at his uncommon intrepidity, did not venture to attack him; and he retired with a considerable booty, amongst which were seven hundred camels.

2 Antigonus had formerly taken Babylon from Seleucus ; but he had recovered it by his own arms, and was now marching with his main army, to reduce the nations which bordered upon India, and the provinces about Mount Caucasus. 3 Meantime Demetrius, hoping to find Mesopotamia unguarded, suddenly passed the Euphrates, and fell upon Babylon. There were two strong castles in that city; but by this manoeuvre, in the absence of Seleucus, he seized one of them, dislodged the garrison, and placed there 7000 of his own men. 4 After this, he ordered the rest of his soldiers to plunder the country for their own use, and then returned to the sea coast. By these. proceedings, he left Seleucus better established in his dominions than ever; for his laying waste the country seemed as if he had no farther claim to it.

5 In his return through Syria, he was informed that Ptolemaeus was besieging Halicarnassus; upon which he hastened to its relief, and obliged him to retire. [8] As this ambition to help the distressed gained Antigonus and Demetrius great reputation, they conceived a strong desire to rescue all Greece from the slavery it was held in by Cassander and Ptolemaeus. 2 No prince ever engaged in a more just and honourable war. For they employed the wealth which they had gained by the conquest of the barbarians for the advantage of the Greeks, solely with a view to the honour that such an enterprise promised.

3 When they had resolved to begin their operations with Athens, one of his friends advised Antigonus, if he took the city, to keep it, as the key of Greece; but that prince would not listen to him. He said, " The best and securest of all keys was the friendship of the people ; and that Athens was the watch-tower of the world, from whence the torch of his glory would blaze over the earth. "

4 In consequence of these resolutions, Demetrius sailed to Athens with 5000 talents of silver, and a fleet of 250 ships. Demetrius of Phalerum governed the city for Cassander, and had a good garrison in the fort of Munychia. 5 His adversary, who managed the affair both with prudence and good fortune, made his appearance before the Peiraeus on the 25th day of Thargelion. The town had no information of his approach; and when they saw his fleet coming in, they concluded that it belonged to Ptolemaeus, and prepared to receive it as such. But at last the officers who commanded in the city, being undeceived, ran to oppose it. All the tumult and confusion followed which was natural when an enemy came unexpected, and was already landing; 6 for Demetrius finding the mouth of the harbour open, ran in with ease, and the people could plainly distinguish him on the deck of his ship, whence he made signs to them to compose themselves and keep silence. 7 They complied with his demand, and a herald was ordered to proclaim, " That his father Antigonus, in a happy hour he hoped for Athens, had sent him to reinstate them in their liberties, by expelling the garrison, and to restore their laws and ancient form of government."

[9] Upon this proclamation the people threw down their arms, and receiving the proposal with loud acclamations, desired Demetrius to land, 2 and called him their benefactor and deliverer. Demetrius of Phalerum and his partisans thought it necessary to receive a man who came with such a superior force, though he should perform none of his promises, and accordingly sent deputies to make their submission. Demetrius received them in an obliging manner, and sent back with them Aristodemus the Milesian, a friend of his father's. 3 At the same time, he was not unmindful of Demetrius of Phalerum, who, in this revolution, was more afraid of the citizens than of the enemy; but out of regard to his character and virtue, sent him with a strong convoy to Thebes, agreeably to his request. 4 He likewise assured the Athenians, that however desirous he might be to see their city, he would deny himself that pleasure till he had set it entirely free, by expelling the garrison. He therefore surrounded the fortress of Munychia with a ditch and rampart, to cut off its communication with the rest of the city, and then sailed to Megara, where Cassander had another garrison.

5 On his arrival, he was informed that Cratesipolis, the wife of Alexander, the son of Polyperchon, a celebrated beauty, was at Patrae, and had a desire to see him; in consequence of which he left his forces in the territory of Megara, and with a few light horse took the road to Patrae. 6 When he was near the place, he drew off from his men, and pitched his tent apart, that Cratesipolis might not be perceived when she came to pay her visit. But a party of the enemy getting intelligence of this, fell suddenly upon him. 7 In his alarm, he had only time to throw over him a mean cloak, and in that disguise saved himself by flight. So near an infamous captivity had his intemperate love of beauty brought him. As for his tent, the enemy took it, with all the riches it contained.

8 After Megara was taken, the soldiers prepared to plunder it ; but the Athenians interceded strongly for that people, and prevailed. Demetrius was satisfied with expelling the garrison, and declared the city free. 9 Amidst these transactions, he remembered Stilpon, a philosopher of great reputation, who sought only the retirement and tranquillity of a studious life. He sent for him, and asked him, " Whether they had taken anything from him? " " No." said Stilpon, " I found none that wanted to steal any knowledge." 10 The soldiers, however, had clandestinely carried off almost all the slaves. Therefore, when Demetrius paid his respects to him again, on leaving the place, he said, " Stilpon, I leave you entirely free." " True," answered Stilpon, " for you have not left a slave among us."

[10] Demetrius then returned to the siege of Munychia, dislodged the garrison, and demolished the fortress. After which the Athenians pressed him to enter the city, and he complied. Having assembled the people, he re-established the commonwealth in its ancient form ; and, moreover, promised them in the name of his father, 150,000 medimni of wheat, and timber enough to build 100 galleys. 2 Thus they recovered the democracy fifteen years after it was dissolved. During the interval, after the Lamian war, and the battle of Crannon, the government was called an oligarchy, but in fact, was monarchical, for the power of Demetrius of Phalerum met with no restraint.

Their deliverer appeared glorious in his services to Athens; but they rendered him obnoxious by the extravagant honours they decreed him. 3 For they were the first who gave him and his, father, Antigonus, the title of kings, which they had hitherto religiously avoided; and which was, indeed, the only thing left the descendants of Philippus and Alexander uninvaded by their generals. 4 In the next place, they alone honoured them with the appellation of the gods protectors; and instead of naming the year as formerly from the archon, they abolished his office, created annually in his place a priest of those gods protectors, and prefixed his name to all their public acts. 5 They likewise ordered that their portraits should be wrought in the holy veil with those of the other gods. They consecrated the place where their patron first alighted from his chariot, and erected an altar to Demetrius Catabates. 6 They added two to the number of their tribes, and called them Demetrius and Antigonus ; in consequence of which the senate, which before consisted of 500 members, was to consist of 600, for each tribe supplied fifty.

[11] Stratocles, of whose invention these wise compliments were, thought of a stroke still higher. He procured a decree, that those who should be sent upon public business from the commonwealth of Athens to Antigonus and Demetrius, should not be called ambassadors, but Theori, a title which had been appropriated to those who, on the solemn festivals, carried the customary sacrifices to Delphi and Olympia, in the name of the Greek states. 2 This Stratocles was, in all respects, a person of the most daring effrontery and the most debauched life, insomuch that he seemed to imitate the ancient Cleon in his scurrilous and licentious behaviour to the people. 3 He kept a mistress called Phylaciŏn; and one day when she brought from the market some [animal] heads for supper, he said, " Why, how now! you have provided us just such things to eat as we statesmen use for tennis-balls."

4 When the Athenians were defeated in the sea-fight near Amorgos, he arrived at Athens before any account of the misfortune had been received, and passing through the Cerameicus with a chaplet on his head, told the people that they were victorious. He then moved that sacrifices of thanksgiving should be offered, and meat distributed among the tribes for a public entertainment. 5 Two days after, the poor remains of the fleet were brought home; and the people, in great anger, calling him to answer for the imposition, he made his appearance in the height of the tumult with the most consummate assurance, and said, " What harm have I done you in making you merry for two days?" Such was the impudence of Stratocles.

[12] But there were other extravagances "hotter than fire itself"; as Aristophanes expresses it. One flatterer outdid even Stratocles in servility, by procuring a decree that Demetrius, whenever he visited Athens, should be received with the same honours that were paid to Demeter and Dionysus; and that whoever exceeded the rest in the splendour and magnificence of the reception he gave that prince, should have money out of the treasury to enable him to set up some pious memorial of his success. 2 These instances of adulation concluded with their changing the name of the month Munychion to Demetrion, with calling the last day of every month Demetrias ; and the Dionysia, or festival of Dionysus, Demetria.

3 The gods soon showed how much they were offended at these things, for the veil in which were wrought the figures of Demetrius and Antigonus, along with those of Zeus and Athene, as they carried it through the Cerameicus, was rent asunder by a sudden storm of wind. 4 Hemlock grew up in great quantities round the altars of those princes, though it is a plant seldom found in that country. 5 On the day when the Dionysia were to be celebrated, they were forced to put a stop to the procession by the excessive cold, which came entirely out of season; and there fell so strong a hoar-frost, that it blasted not only the vines and fig-trees, but great part of the corn on the blade. 6 Hence, Philippides, who was an enemy to Stratocles, thus attacked him in one of his comedies :-
7 " Who was the wicked cause of our vines being blasted by the frost,
And of the sacred veil's being rent asunder?
He who transferred the honours of the gods to men:
It is he - not comedy, that is the ruin of the people."

8 Philippides enjoyed the friendship of Lysimachus, and the Athenians received many favours from that prince on his account. Nay, whenever Lysimachus was waited on by this poet, or happened to meet him, he considered it as a good omen, and a happy time to enter upon any great business or important expedition. Besides, he was a man of excellent character, never importunate, intriguing, or over officious, like those who are bred in a court. 9 One day Lysimachus called to him in the most obliging manner, and said, " What is there of mine that you would share in?" " Anything," said he, "but your secrets." I have purposely contrasted these characters, that the difference may be obvious between the comic writer and the demagogue.

[13] What exceeded all the rage of flattery we have mentioned, was the decree proposed by Dromocleides the Sphettian; according to which they were to consult the oracle of Demetrius, as to the manner in which they were to dedicate certain shields at Delphi. 2 It was conceived in these terms: " In a fortunate hour, be it decreed by the people, that a citizen of Athens be appointed to go to the god protector and, after the due sacrifices offered, demand of Demetrius the god protector, what will be the most pious, the most honourable and prompt method of consecrating the intended offerings. 3 And it is hereby enacted, that the people of Athens will follow the method dictated by his oracle." By this mockery of homage to his vanity, who was scarcely in his senses before, they rendered him perfectly insane.

[14] During his stay at Athens, be married Eurydice, a descendant of the ancient Miltiades, who was the widow of Ophellas king of Cyrene, and had returned to Athens after his death. 2 The Athenians reckoned this a particular favour and honour to their city; though Demetrius made a sort of habit of marrying, and had many wives at the same time. Of all his wives, he paid most respect to Phila, because she was the daughter of Antipater, and had been married to Craterus, who, of all the successors of Alexander, was most regretted by the Macedonians. 3 Demetrius was very young when his father persuaded him to marry her, though she was advanced in life, and on that account unfit for him. As he was disinclined to the match, Antigonus is said to have repeated to him that verse of Euripides, with a happy parody:
" When fortune spreads her stores, we yield to marriage
Against the bent of nature.
"
4 Only putting marriage instead of bondage. However, the respect which Demetrius paid Phila and his other wives was not of such a nature but that he publicly entertained many mistresses, as well slaves as free-born women, and was more infamous for his excesses of that sort than any other prince of his time.

[15] Meantime his father called him to take the conduct of the war against Ptolemaeus; and he found it necessary to obey him. But as it gave him pain to leave the war he had undertaken for the liberties of Greece, which was so much more advantageous in point of glory, he sent to Cleonides, who commanded for Ptolemaeus in Sicyon and Corinth, and offered him a payment, on condition that he would set those cities free. 2 Cleonides not accepting the proposal, Demetrius immediately embarked his troops and sailed to Cyprus. There he met in battle with Menelaus, brother to Ptolemaeus, and defeated him. 3 Ptolemaeus himself soon after made his appearance with a great number of land forces, and a considerable fleet; on which occasion several menacing and haughty messages passed between them. Ptolemaeus bade Demetrius depart before he collected all his forces and trod him under foot; and Demetrius said he would let Ptolemaeus go, if he would promise to evacuate Sicyon and Corinth.

4 The approaching battle aroused the attention not only of the parties concerned, but of all other princes; for besides the uncertainty of the event, so much depended upon it that the conqueror would not be master of Cyprus and Syria alone, but superior to all his rivals in power. [16] Ptolemaeus advanced with 150 ships, and he had ordered Menelaus, with 60 more, to come out of the harbour of Salamis, in the heat of the battle, and put the enemy in disorder by falling on his rear. 2 Against these 60 ships, Demetrius appointed a guard of 10, for that number was sufficient to block up the mouth of the harbour. His land forces he ranged on the adjoining promontories, and then bore down upon his adversary with 180 ships. 3 This he did with so much impetuosity, that Ptolemaeus could not stand the shock, but was defeated, and fled with 8 ships only, which were all that he saved. For 70 were taken with their crews, and the rest were sunk in the engagement. 4 His numerous train, his servants, friends, wives, arms, money, and machines, that were stationed near the fleet in transports, all fell into the hands of Demetrius, and he carried them to his camp.

5 Among these was the celebrated Lamia, who at first was only taken notice of for her performing on the flute, which was by no means contemptible, but afterwards became famous as a courtesan. 6 By this time her beauty was in the wane, yet she captivated Demetrius, though not near her age, and so effectively enslaved him by the peculiar power of her charms, that, though other women had a passion for him, he could only think of her.

7 After the sea-fight, Menelaus made no further resistance, but surrendered Salamis, with all the ships, and the land-forces, which consisted of 1200 horse, and 12,000 foot.

[17] This victory, so great in itself, Demetrius rendered still more glorious by generosity and humanity, in giving the enemy's dead an honourable burial, and setting the prisoners free. He selected 1200 complete suits of armour from the spoils, and bestowed them on the Athenians. 2 Aristodemus the Milesian was the person he sent to his father with an account of the victory. Of all the courtiers, this man was the boldest flatterer ; and, on the present occasion, he designed to outdo himself. 3 When he arrived on the coast of Syria from Cyprus, he would not suffer the ship to make land ; but ordering it to anchor at a distance, and all the company to remain in it, he took the boat, and went on shore alone. He advanced towards the palace of Antigonus, who was watching for the event of this battle with all the solicitude natural to a man who has so great a concern at stake. 4 As soon as he was informed that the messenger was coming his anxiety increased to such a degree that he could scarce keep within his palace. He sent his officers and friends, one after another, to Aristodemus, to demand what intelligence he brought. 5 But, instead of giving any of them an answer, he walked on with great silence and solemnity. The king by this time much alarmed, and having no longer patience, went to the door to meet him. A great crowd was gathered about Aristodemus, and the people were running from all quarters to the palace to hear the news. 6 When he was near enough to be heard, he stretched out his hand, and cried aloud, " Hail to king Antigonus! we have totally beaten Ptolemaeus at sea ; we are masters of Cyprus, and have made 16,800 prisoners." Antigonus answered, " Hail to you too, my good friend ; but I will punish you for torturing us so long ; you shall wait long for your reward."

[18] The people now, for the first time, proclaimed Antigonus and Demetrius kings. Antigonus had the diadem immediately put on by his friends. He sent one to Demetrius ; and in the letter that accompanied it, addressed him under the style of king. 2 The Egyptians, when they were apprised of this circumstance, gave Ptolemaeus likewise the title of king, that they might not appear to be dispirited with their late defeat. 3 The other successors of Alexander caught eagerly at the opportunity to aggrandise themselves. Lysimachus took the diadem; and Seleucus did the same in his transactions with the Greeks. The latter had worn it some time, when he gave audience to the barbarians. 4 Cassander alone, while others wrote to him, and saluted him as king, prefixed his name to the letters in the same manner as formerly.

5 This title proved not a mere addition to their name and figure. It gave them higher notions. It introduced a pompousness into their manners, and self-importance into their discourse, just as tragedians, when they take the habit of kings, change their gait, their voice, their whole deportment, and manner of address. 6 After this they became more severe in their judicial capacity; for they laid aside that dissimulation with which they had concealed their power, and which had made them much milder and more favourable to their subjects. 7 So much could one word of a flatterer do! such a change did it effect in the whole face of the world !

[19] Antigonus, elated with his son's achievements at Cyprus, immediately marched against Ptolemaeus; commanding his land forces in person, while Demetrius with a powerful fleet attended him along the coast. 2 One of Antigonus's friends, named Medius, had the outcome of this expedition communicated to him in a dream. He thought that Antigonus and his whole army were running a race. At first he seemed to run with great swiftness and force; but afterwards his strength gradually abated; and, on turning, he became very weak, and drew his breath with such pain, that he could scarce recover himself. 3 Accordingly Antigonus met with many difficulties on land, and Demetrius encountered such a storm at sea, that he was in danger of being driven upon a dangerous shore. In this storm he lost many of his ships, and returned without effecting any thing.

4 Antigonus was now little short of eighty, and his great size and weight disqualified him for war, still more than his age. He therefore left the military department to his son, who by his good fortune, as well as ability, managed it in the happiest manner. Nor was Antigonus hurt by his son's debaucheries, his expensive appearance, or his long carousals: 5 for these were the things in which Demetrius employed himself in time of peace with the utmost licentiousness and most unbounded avidity. But in war, no man, however naturally temperate, exceeded him in sobriety.

6 When the power that Lamia had over him was evident to all the world, Demetrius came after some expedition or other to salute his father, and kissed him so cordially, that he laughed and said, " Surely, my son, you think you are kissing Lamia." 7 Once when he had been spending many days with his friends over the bottle, he excused himself at his return to court by saying, " That he had been hindered by a flux." " So I heard," said Antigonus, " but was the flux from Thasos or from Chios ?" 8 Another time, being informed that he was indisposed, he went to see him; and when he came to the door, he met one of his favourites going out. He went in, however, and sitting down by him, took hold of his hand, Demetrius said, his fever had now left him. " I knew it," said Antigonus, " for I met it this moment at the door." 9 With such mildness he treated his son's faults out of regard to his excellent performances. 10 It is the custom of the Scythians in the midst of their carousals to strike the strings of their bows, to recall as it were, their courage which is melting away in pleasure. But Demetrius at one time gave himself up entirely to pleasure, and at another time to business ; he did not intermix them. His military talents therefore, did not suffer by his attentions of a gayer kind.

[20] Nay, he seemed to show greater abilities in his preparations for war than in the use of them. He was not content unless he had stores that were more than sufficient. There was something peculiarly great in the construction of his ships and engines, and he took an unwearied pleasure in the invention of new ones. 2 For he was ingenious in the speculative part of mechanics; and he did not, like other princes, apply his taste and knowledge of those arts to the purposes of diversion, or to pursuits of no utility, such as playing on the flute, painting, or turning.

3 Aeropus, king of Macedon, spent his hours of leisure in making little tables and lamps. Attalus, surnamed Philometor, amused himself with planting poisonous herbs, not only henbane and hellebore, but hemlock, aconite, and dorycnium. These he cultivated in the royal gardens, and besides gathering them at their proper seasons, made it his business to know the qualities of their juices and fruit. 4 And the kings of Parthia took a pride in forging and sharpening heads for arrows. 5 But the mechanics of Demetrius were of a princely kind ; there was always something great in preparation. Together with a spirit of curiosity and love of the arts, there appeared in all his works a grandeur of design and dignity of intention, so that they were not only worthy of the genius and wealth, but of the hand of a king. 6 His friends were astonished at their greatness, and his very enemies were pleased with their beauty. Nor is this description of him at all exaggerated. 7 His enemies used to stand upon the shore, looking with admiration upon his galleys of 15 or 16 banks of oars, as they sailed along ; and his engines called helepoles, were a pleasing spectacle to the very towns which he besieged. This is evident from fact. 8 Lysimachus, who of all the princes of his time was the bitterest enemy to Demetrius, when he came to compel him to raise the siege of Soli in Cilicia, desired he would show him his engines of war, and his manner of navigating the galleys; and he was so struck with the sight that he immediately retired. 9 And the Rhodians, after they had stood a long siege, and at last compromised the affair, requested him to leave some of his engines, as monuments both of his power and of their valour.

[21] His war with the Rhodians was occasioned by their alliance with Ptolemaeus ; and in the course of it he brought the largest of his helepoles up to their walls. Its base was square, each of its sides at the bottom 48 cubits wide; and it was 66 cubits high. The sides of the several divisions gradually lessened, so that the top was much narrower than the bottom. 2 The inside was divided into several stories or rooms, one above another. The front which was turned towards the enemy had a window in each story, through which missiles of various kinds were thrown: for it was filled with men who practised every method of fighting. 3 It neither shook nor veered the least in its motion, but rolled on in a steady upright position. And as it moved with a horrible noise, it at once pleased and terrified the spectators.

4 He had two coats of mail brought from Cyprus, for his use in this war, each of which weighed 40 minae. 5 Zoilus, the maker, to show their toughness and strength, ordered a dart to be shot at one of them from an engine at the distance of 26 paces; and it stood so firm that there was no more mark upon it than what might be made with such a stylus as is used in writing. 6 This he took for himself, and gave the other to Alcimus the Epirot, a man of the greatest bravery and strength of any in his army. The Epirot's whole suit of armour weighed two talents, whereas that of others weighed no more than one. He fell in the siege of Rhodes, in an action near the theatre.

[22] As the Rhodians defended themselves with great spirit, Demetrius was not able to do anything considerable. There was one thing in their conduct which he particularly resented, and for that reason he persisted in the siege. They had taken the vessel in which were letters from his wife Phila, together with some robes and pieces of tapestry, and they sent it, as it was, to Ptolemaeus. In which they were far from imitating the politeness of the Athenians, 2 who, when they were at war with Philippus, happening to take his couriers, read all the other letters, but sent him that of Olympias with the seal intact.

3 But Demetrius, though much incensed, did not retaliate upon the Rhodians, though he soon had an opportunity. 4 Protogenes of Caunus was at that time painting for them the history of Ialysus, and had almost finished it when Demetrius seized it in one of the suburbs. 5 The Rhodians sent a herald to entreat him to spare the work, and not suffer it to be destroyed. Upon which he said, " He would rather burn the pictures of his father than hurt so laborious a piece of art." 6 Apelles tells us, that when he first saw it, he was so much astonished that he could not speak; and at last, when he recovered himself, he said, " A masterpiece of labour! A wonderful performance! But it wants those graces which raise the fame of my paintings to the skies." 7 This piece was afterwards carried to Rome: and, being added to the number of those collected there, was destroyed by fire. 8 The Rhodians now began to grow weary of the war. Demetrius too wanted only a pretence to put an end to it, and he found one. The Athenians came and reconciled them on this condition, that the Rhodians should assist Antigonus and Demetrius as allies, in all their wars except those with Ptolemaeus.

[23] At the same time the Athenians called him to their succour against Cassander, who was besieging their city. 2 In consequence of which he sailed thither with a fleet of 330 ships, and a numerous body of land forces. With these he not only drove Cassander out of Attica, but followed him to Thermopylae, and entirely defeated him there. Heracleia then voluntarily submitted, and he received into his army 6000 Macedonians who came over to him. 3 In his return he restored liberty to the Greeks below Thermopylae, took the Boeotians into his alliance, and made himself master of Cenchreae. He likewise reduced Phyle and Panactus, the bulwarks of Attica, which had been garrisoned by Cassander, and put them in the hands of the Athenians again. 4 The Athenians, though they had lavished honours upon him before in the most extravagant manner, yet contrived on this occasion to appear new in their flattery. 5 They gave orders that he should lodge in the back part of the Parthenon, which accordingly he did, and Athene was said to have received him as her guest, a guest not very fit to come under her roof, or suitable to her virgin purity.

6 In one of their expeditions his brother Philippus took up his quarters in a house where there were three young women. His father Antigonus said nothing to Philippus, but called the quarter-master, and said to him in his presence, " Why do not you remove my son out of this lodging, where he is so much straitened for room ?" [24] And Demetrius, who ought to have revered Athene, if on no other account, yet as his eldest sister (for so he affected to call her), behaved in such a manner to persons of both sexes who were above the condition of slaves, and the citadel was so polluted with his debaucheries, that it appeared to be kept sacred in some degree, when he indulged himself only with such prostitutes as Chrysis, Lamia, Demo, and Anticyra.

2 Some things we choose to pass over out of regard to the character of the city of Athens: but the virtue and chastity of Democles ought not to be left under the veil of silence. 3 Democles was very young ; and his beauty was no secret to Demetrius. Indeed, his surname unhappily declared it, for he was called Democles the Handsome. 4 Demetrius, through his emissaries, left nothing unattempted to gain him by great offers, or to intimidate him by threats; but neither could prevail. He left the wrestling ring and all public exercises, and made use only of a private bath. Demetrius watched his opportunity, and surprised him there alone. 5 The boy seeing nobody near to assist him, and the impossibility of resisting with any effect, took off the cover of the caldron, and jumped into the boiling water. It is true, he came to an unworthy end, but his sentiments were worthy of his country and of his personal merit.

6 Very different were those of Cleaenetus the son of Cleomedon. That youth having procured his father the remission of a fine of 50 talents, brought letters from Demetrius to the people, signifying his pleasure in that respect. By which he not only dishonoured himself, but brought great trouble upon the city. 7 The people took off the fine, but at the same time they made a decree, that no citizen should for the future bring any letter from Demetrius. 8 Yet when they found that Demetrius was displeased at it, and expressed his resentment in strong terms, they not only repealed the act, but punished the persons who proposed and supported it, some with death, and some with banishment. 9 They likewise passed a new edict, stating: " That the people of Athens had resolved, that whatsoever thing Demetrius might command should be accounted holy in respect of the gods, and just in respect of men." 10 Some person of better principle, on this occasion, happening to say that Stratocles was mad in proposing such decrees, Demochares, the Leuconian, answered: " He would be mad, if he were not mad." 11 Stratocles found his advantage in his servility; and for this saying Demochares was prosecuted and banished the city. 12 To such meannesses were the Athenians brought, when the garrison seemed to be removed out of their city, and they pretended to be a free people !

[25] Demetrius afterwards passed into Peloponnesus, where he found no resistance, for all his enemies fled before him, or surrendered their cities. He therefore reduced with ease that part of the country called Acte, and all Arcadia, except Mantineia, Argos, Sicyon, and Corinth, he set free from their garrisons, by giving their commanding officers 100 talents to evacuate them. 2 About that time the feasts of Hera came on at Argos, and Demetrius presided in the games and other exhibitions. During these solemnities he married Deidameia, the daughter of Aeacides, king of the Molossians, and sister of Pyrrhus. 3 He told the Sicyonians that they lived out of their city; and showing them a more advantageous situation, persuaded them to build one where the town now stands. Along with the situation he likewise changed the name, calling the town Demetrias, instead of Sicyon.

4 The states being assembled at the Isthmus, and a prodigious number of people attending, he was proclaimed general of all Greece, as Philippus and Alexander had been before; 5 and in the elation of power and success, he thought himself a much greater man. 6 Alexander robbed no other prince of his title, nor did he ever declare himself king of kings, though he raised many both to the style and authority of kings. But Demetrius thought no man worthy of that title except his father and himself. 7 He even ridiculed those who made use of it, and it was with pleasure he heard the sycophants at his table drinking King Demetrius ; Seleucus, commander of the elephants; Ptolemaeus, admiral; Lysimachus, treasurer; and Agathocles the Sicilian governor of the islands. 8 The rest of them only laughed at such extravagant instances of vanity. Lysimachus alone was angry, because Demetrius seemed to think him no better than a eunuch. For the princes of the east had generally eunuchs for their treasurers. 9 Lysimachus, indeed, was the most violent enemy that he had; and now taking an opportunity to disparage him on account of his passion for Lamia, he said," This was the first time he had seen a whore act in a tragedy."' Demetrius said in answer, " My whore is an honester woman than his Penelope."

[26] When he was preparing to return to Athens, he wrote to the republic, that on his arrival he intended to be initiated, and to be immediately admitted, not only to the less mysteries, but even to those called intuitive. 2 This was unlawful and unprecedented; for the lesser mysteries were celebrated in Anthesterion [February], and the greater in Boedromion [September]; and none were admitted to the intuitive till a year at least after they had attended the greater mysteries. 3 When the letters were read, Pythodorus, the torch bearer, was the only person who ventured to oppose the demand; and his opposition was entirely ineffectual. Stratocles procured a decree that the month of Munychion should be called and reputed the month of Anthesterion, to give Demetrius an opportunity for his first initiation, which was to be performed in the ward of Agra. 4 After which, Munychion was changed again into Boedromion. By these means Demetrius was admitted to the greater mysteries, and to immediate inspection. 5 Hence those strokes of satire upon Stratocles from the poet Philippides :-
" The man who can contract the whole year into one month " ;
and with respect to Demetrius being lodged in the Parthenon -
" The man who turns the temples into inns,
And brings prostitutes into the company of the virgin goddess."

[27] But amongst the many abuses and enormities committed in their city, no one seems to have given the Athenians greater uneasiness than this. He ordered them to raise 250 talents in a very short time, and the sum was exacted with the greatest rigour. When the money was brought in, and he saw it all together, he ordered it to be given to Lamia and his other mistresses to buy soap. 2 Thus the disgrace hurt them more than the loss, and the application more than the impost. Some, however, say that it was not to the Athenians that he behaved in this manner, but to the people of Thessaly. 3 Besides this disagreeable tax, Lamia extorted money from many persons on her own authority, to enable her to provide an entertainment for the king. And the expense of that supper was so remarkable, that Lynceus the Samian took pains to give a description of it. 4 For the same reason, a comic poet of those times, with equal wit and truth, called Lamia an Helepolis. And Demochares the Solian called Demetrius "Mythus", that is, fable, because he too had his Lamia.

5 The great influence that Lamia had with Demetrius, in consequence of his passion for her, excited a spirit of envy and aversion to her, not only in the breasts of his wives but of his friends. 6 Demetrius having sent ambassadors to Lysimachus, on some occasion or other, that prince amused himself one day with showing them the deep wounds he had received from a lion's claws in his arms and thighs, and gave them an account of his being shut up with that wild beast by Alexander the Great, and of the battle he had with it, 7 upon which they laughed, and said, " The king, our master, too, bears on his neck the marks of a dreadful wild beast called a Lamia." 8 Indeed, it was strange that he should at first have so great an objection against the disparity of years between him and Phila, and afterwards fall into such a lasting captivity to Lamia, though she had passed her prime at their first acquaintance. 9 One evening, when Lamia had been playing on the flute at supper, Demetrius asked Demo, surnamed Mania, what she thought of her, " I think her an old woman, sir," said Demo. 10 Another time, when there was an extraordinary dessert on the table, he said to her, " You see what fine things Lamia sends me." " My mother will send you finer," answered Demo, " if you will but lie with her."

11 We shall mention only one story more of Lamia, which relates to her censure of the celebrated judgement of Bocchoris. 12 In Egypt there was a young man extremely desirous of the favours of a courtesan named Thonis, but she set too high a price upon them. Afterwards he fancied that he enjoyed her in a dream, and his desire was satisfied. Thonis, upon this, commenced an action against him for the money; 13 and Bocchoris having heard both parties, ordered the man to count the gold that she demanded into a basin, and shake it about before her, that she might enjoy the sight of it ; " For fancy," said he, " is no more than the shadow of truth." 14 Lamia did not think this a just sentence, because the woman's desire of the gold was not removed by the appearance of it, whereas the dream cured the passion of her lover.

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