Plutarch: Life of Demetrius

Chapters 28 - 53

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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[28] The change in the fortunes and actions of the subject of our narrative now turns the comic scene into tragedy. 2 All the other kings having united their forces against Antigonus, Demetrius left Greece in order to join him, and was greatly animated to find his father preparing for war with a spirit above his years. 3 Had Antigonus abated a little of his pretensions, and restrained his ambition to govern the world, he might have kept the pre-eminence among the successors of Alexander, not only for himself, but for his son after him. 4 But being naturally arrogant, imperious, and no less insolent in his expressions than in his actions, he exasperated many young and powerful princes against him. 5 He boasted, that " he could break the present league, and disperse the united armies with as much ease as a boy does a flock of birds, by throwing a stone, or making a slight noise."

6 He had an army of more than 70,000 foot, 10,000 horse, and 75 elephants. The enemy's infantry consisted of 64,000 men, their cavalry of 10,500 ; they had 400 elephants, and 120 armed chariots. 7 When the two armies were in sight, there was a visible change in the mind of Antigonus, but rather with respect to his hopes than his resolution. 8 In other engagements his spirits used to be high, his bearing lofty, his voice loud, and his expressions vaunting; insomuch that he would sometimes in the heat of the action let fall some jocular expression, to show his unconcern and his contempt of his adversary. But at this time he was observed for the most part to be thoughtful and silent; and one day he presented his son to the army, and recommended him as his successor. 9 What appeared still more extraordinary, was, that he took him aside into his tent, and discoursed with him there; for he never used to communicate his intentions to him in private, or to consult him in the least, but to rely entirely on his own judgement, and to give orders for the execution of what he had resolved on by himself. 10 It is reported that Demetrius, when very young, once asked him when they should decamp, and that he answered angrily, " Are you afraid that you only shall not hear the trumpet ? "

[29] On this occasion, it is true, their spirits were depressed by ill omens. 2 Demetrius dreamed that Alexander came to him in a magnificent suit of armour, and asked him what was to be the word in the ensuing battle? Demetrius answered, Zeus and victory, upon which Alexander said, " I go then to your adversaries, for they are ready to receive me." 3 When the army was put in order of battle, Antigonus stumbled as he went out of his tent, and falling on his face received a considerable hurt. After he had recovered himself, he stretched out his hands towards heaven, and prayed either for victory, or that he might die before he was sensible that the day was lost.

4 When the battle was begun, Demetrius, at the head of his best cavalry, fell upon Antiochus the son of Seleucus, and fought with so much bravery that he put the enemy to flight; but by a vain and unseasonable ambition to go upon the pursuit, he lost the victory ; 5 for he went so far that he could not get back to join his infantry, the enemy's elephants having taken up the intermediate space. Seleucus, now seeing his adversary's foot deprived of their horse, did not attack them, but rode about them as if he was going every moment to charge; intending by this manoeuvre both to terrify them and to give them opportunity to change sides. 6 The event answered his expectation. A large part separated from the main body and voluntarily came over to him; the rest were put to the rout. 7 When great numbers were bearing down upon Antigonus, one of those that were about him said, " They are coming against you, sir." He answered, " What other object can they have? But Demetrius will come to my assistance." 8 In this hope he continued to the last, still looking about for his son; till he fell under a shower of darts. His servants and his very friends forsook him; only Thorax of Larissa remained by the dead body.

[30] The battle being thus decided, the kings who were victorious dismembered the kingdom of Antigonus and Demetrius like some great body, and each took a limb, thus adding to their own dominions the provinces which these two princes were possessed of before. 2 Demetrius fled with 5000 foot and 4000 horse. And as he reached Ephesus in a short time, and was in want of money, it was expected that he would not spare the temple. However, he not only spared it himself, but fearing that his soldiers might be tempted to violate it, he immediately left the place and embarked for Greece. His principal dependence was upon the Athenians ; 3 for with them he had left his ships, his money, and his wife Deidameia ; and in this distress he thought he could have no safer asylum than their affection. He therefore pursued his voyage with all possible expedition; 4 but ambassadors from Athens met him near the Cyclades, and entreated him not to think of going thither, because the people had declared by an edict that they would receive no king into their city. As for Deidameia, they had conducted her to Megara with a proper retinue, and all the respect due to her rank. This so enraged Demetrius, that he was no longer master of himself; though he had hitherto born his misfortune with sufficient calmness, and discovered no mean or ungenerous sentiment in the great change of his affairs. 5 But to be deceived, beyond all his expectation, by the Athenians; to find by facts that their affection, so great in appearance, was only false and counterfeit, was a thing that cut him to the heart. 6 Indeed, excessive honours are a very indifferent proof of the regard of the people for kings and princes. For all the value of those honours rests in their being freely given; and there can be no certainty of that, because the givers may be under the influence of fear. And fear and love often produce the same public declarations. 7 For the same reason wise princes will not look upon statues, pictures, or divine honours, but rather consider their own actions and behaviour, and, in consequence thereof; either believe those honours real, or disregard them as the dictates of necessity. 8 Nothing more frequently happens than that the people hate their sovereign the most at the time that he is receiving the most immoderate honours, the tribute of unwilling minds.

[31] Demetrius, though he severely felt this ill treatment, was not in a condition to revenge it; he therefore, by his envoys, complained to the Athenians in moderate terms, and only desired them to send him his galleys, among which there was one of 13 banks of oars. 2 As soon as he had received them, he steered for the Isthmus, but found his affairs there in a very bad situation. The cities expelled his garrisons and were all revolting to his enemies. Leaving Pyrrhus in Greece, he then sailed to the Chersonesus, 3 and by the ravages he committed in the country, distressed Lysimachus, as well as enriched and secured the fidelity of his own forces, which now began to gather strength and improve into a respectable army. 4 The other kings paid no regard to Lysimachus, who, at the same time that he was much more formidable in his power than Demetrius, was not in the least more moderate in his conduct.

5 Soon after this, Seleucus sent proposals of marriage to Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius by Phila. He had, indeed, already a son named Antiochus, by Apame, a Persian lady; but he thought that his dominions were sufficient for more heirs, and that he stood in need of this new alliance, because he saw Lysimachus marrying one of Ptolemaeus' daughters himself; and taking the other for his son Agathocles. 6 A connection with Seleucus was a happy and unexpected turn of fortune for Demetrius.

He took his daughter, and sailed with his whole fleet to Syria. In the course of the voyage he was several times under the necessity of making land, and he touched in particular upon the coast of Cilicia, which had been given to Pleistarchus, the brother of Cassander, as his share, after the defeat of Antigonus. 7 Pleistarchus, thinking himself injured by the descent which Demetrius made upon his country, went immediately to Cassander, to complain of Seleucus for having reconciled himself to the common enemy without the agreement of the other kings. [32] Demetrius being informed of his departure, left the sea and marched up to Cyinda, where, finding 1200 talents, the remains of his father's treasures, he carried them off, embarked again without interruption, and set sail with the utmost expedition, 2 his wife Phila having joined him by the way.

Seleucus met him at Orossus. Their interview was conducted in a sincere and princely manner, without any marks of design or suspicion. Seleucus invited Demetrius first to his pavilion; and then Demetrius entertained him in his galley of 13 banks of oars. 3 They conversed at their ease, and passed the time together without guards or arms, till Seleucus took Stratonice, and carried her with great pomp to Antioch.

4 Demetrius seized the province of Cilicia, and sent Phila to her brother Cassander, to answer the accusations brought against him by Pleistarchus. 5 Meantime, Deidameia came to him from Greece, but she had not spent any long time with him before she sickened and died; 6 and Demetrius having accommodated matters with Ptolemaeus through Seleucus, it was agreed that he should marry Ptolemais, the daughter of that prince.

7 Hitherto Seleucus had behaved with honour and propriety; but afterwards he demanded that Demetrius should surrender Cilicia to him for a sum of money, and on his refusal to do that, angrily insisted on having Tyre and Sidon. This behaviour appeared unjustifiable and cruel. When he already commanded Asia from India to the Syrian Sea, how sordid was it to quarrel for two cities with a prince who was his father-in-law, and who laboured under so painful a reverse of fortune. 8 A strong proof how true the maxim of Plato is, that the man who would be truly happy should not study to enlarge his estate, but to contract his desires ; for he who does not restrain his avarice must for ever be poor.

[33] However, Demetrius, far from being intimidated, said, " Though I had lost a thousand battles as great as that of Ipsus, nothing should bring me to buy the alliance of Seleucus ;" and, upon this principle, he garrisoned these cities in the strongest manner. About this time, having intelligence that Athens was divided into factions, and that Lachares, taking advantage of these, had seized the government, he expected to take the city with ease if he appeared suddenly before it. 2 Accordingly he set out with a considerable fleet, and crossed the sea without danger; but on the coast of Attica he met with a storm, in which he lost many ships and great numbers of his men. 3 He escaped, however, himself, and began hostilities against Athens, though with no great vigour. As his operations achieved nothing, he sent his lieutenants to collect another fleet, and in the meantime entered Peloponnesus, and laid siege to Messene. 4 In one of the assaults he was in great danger, for a dart which came from an engine pierced through his jaw and entered his mouth; 5 but he recovered, and reduced some cities that had revolted. After this he invaded Attica again, took Eleusis and Rhamnus, and ravaged the country. Happening to take a ship loaded with wheat which was bound for Athens, he hanged both the merchant and the pilot. This alarmed other merchants so much that they did not dare to attempt anything of that kind, so that a famine ensued; and together with the want of bread corn, the people were in want of everything else. 6 A medimnus of salt was sold for 40 drachmas, and a modius of wheat for 300. 7 A fleet of 150 ships, which Ptolemaeus sent to their relief, appeared before Aegina; but the encouragement it afforded them was of short continuance.8 A great reinforcement of ships came to Demetrius from Peloponnesus and Cyprus, so that he had not in all fewer than 300. Ptolemaeus' fleet therefore weighed anchor and steered off. The tyrant Lachares at the same time made his escape privately, and abandoned the city.

[34] The Athenians, though they had made a decree that no man, under pain of death, should mention peace or reconciliation with Demetrius, now opened the gates nearest him, and sent ambassadors to his camp. Not that they expected any favour from him, but they were forced to take that step by the extremity of famine. 2 In the course of it many dreadful things happened, and this is related among the rest:- a father and his son were sitting in the same room in the last despair, when a dead mouse happening to fall from the roof of the house, they both started up and fought for it. 3 Epicurus the philosopher is said at that time to have supported his friends and disciples with beans, which he shared with them, and counted out to them daily.

4 In such a miserable condition was the city when Demetrius entered it. He ordered all the Athenians to assemble in the theatre, which he surrounded with his troops; and having planted his guards on each side of the stage, he came down through the passage by which the tragedians enter. The fears of the people on his appearance increased, but they were entirely dissipated when he began to speak, 5 for neither the accent of his voice was loud, nor his expressions severe. He complained of them in soft and easy terms, and taking them again into favour, made them a present of 100,000 medimni of wheat, and re-established such an a6 dministration as was most agreeable to them.

The orator Dromocleides observed the variety of acclamations amongst the people, and that in the joy of their hearts they endeavoured to outdo the encomiums of those that spoke from the rostrum. He therefore proposed a decree that the Peiraeus and the fort of Munychia should be delivered up to king Demetrius. 7 After this bill was passed, Demetrius, on his own authority, put a garrison in the Museium; lest, if there should be another defection amongst the people, it might keep him from other enterprises.

[35] After the Athenians were thus reduced, Demetrius immediately formed a design upon Lacedaemon. King Archidamus met him at Mantineia, where Demetrius defeated him in a pitched battle; and, after he had put him to flight, he entered Laconia. 2 There was another action almost in sight of Sparta, in which he killed 200 of the enemy, and made 500 prisoners; so that he seemed almost master of a town which hitherto had never been taken. 3 But surely fortune never displayed such sudden and extraordinary vicissitudes in the life of any other prince; in no other scene of things did she so often change from low to high, from a glorious to an abject condition, or again repair the ruins she had made. 4 Hence he is said, in his greatest adversity, to have addressed her in the words of Aeschylus :-
"You gave me life and honour, and your hand
Now strikes me to the heart.

5 When his affairs seemed to be in so promising a train for power and empire, news was brought that Lysimachus, in the first place, had taken the cities he had in Asia, that Ptolemaeus had dispossessed him of all Cyprus, except the city of Salamis, in which he had left his children and his mother, and that this town was now actually besieged. 6 Fortune, however - like the woman in Archilochus,
"Whose right hand offered water, while the left
Bore hostile fire
" -
though she drew him from Lacedaemon by these alarming tidings, yet soon raised him a new scene of light and hope, from these circumstances.

[36] After the death of Cassander, his eldest son Philippus had but a short reign over the Macedonians, for he died soon after his father. The two remaining brothers were perpetually at variance. One of them, named Antipater, having killed his mother Thessalonice, Alexander, the other brother, called in the Greek princes to his assistance, Pyrrhus from Epirus and Demetrius from Peloponnesus. 2 Pyrrhus arrived first, and seized a considerable part of Macedonia, which he kept for his reward, and by that means became a formidable neighbour to Alexander. 3 Demetrius no sooner received the letters than he marched his forces thither likewise, and the young prince was still more afraid of him on account of his great name and dignity. He met him, however, at Dium, and received him in the most respectful manner, but told him at the same time that his affairs did not now require his presence. 4 Hence mutual jealousies arose, and Demetrius, as he was going to sup with Alexander upon his invitation, was informed that there was a design against his life, which was to be put in execution in the midst of the entertainment. 5 Demetrius was not in the least disconcerted; he only slackened his pace, and gave orders to his generals to keep the troops under arms; after which he took his guards and the officers of his household, who were much more numerous than those of Alexander, and commanded them to enter the banqueting room with him, and to remain there till he arose from table. 6 Alexander's people, intimidated by his retinue, dared not attack Demetrius ; and he, for his part, pretending that he was not disposed to drink that evening, soon withdrew. 7 Next day, he prepared to decamp; and, alleging that he was called off by some new emergency, desired Alexander to excuse him if he left them soon this time; and assured him that at some other opportunity he would make a longer stay. 8 Alexander rejoiced that he was going away voluntarily, and without any hostile intentions, and accompanied him as far as Thessaly. 9 When they came to Larissa, they renewed their invitations, but both with malignity in their hearts. In consequence of these polite manoeuvres, Alexander fell into the snare of Demetrius. 10 He would not go with a guard, lest he should teach the other to do the same. He therefore suffered that which he was preparing for his enemy, and which he only deferred for the surer and more convenient execution. 11 He went to sup with Demetrius; and as his host rose up in the midst of the feast, Alexander was terrified, and rose up with him. 12 Demetrius, when he was at the door, said no more to his guards than this: " Kill the man that follows me ;" and then went out. Upon which, they cut Alexander in pieces, and his friends who attempted to assist him. One of them is reported to have said, as he was dying, " Demetrius is but one day ahead of us."

[37] The night was, as might be expected, full of terror and confusion. In the morning the Macedonians were greatly disturbed with the apprehension that Demetrius would fall upon them with all his forces; but when, instead of an appearance of hostilities, he sent a message desiring to speak with them, and vindicated what was done, they recovered their spirits, and resolved to receive him with civility: 2 when he came, he found it unnecessary to make long speeches, They hated Antipater for the murder of his mother, and as they had no better prince at hand, they declared Demetrius king, and conducted him into Macedonia. 3 The Macedonians who were at home proved not averse to the change; for they always remembered with horror Cassander's base behaviour to Alexander the Great; 4 and if they had any regard left for the moderation of old Antipater, it turned all in favour of Demetrius, who had married his daughter Phila, and had a son by her to succeed him in the throne, a youth who was already grown up, and at this very time bore arms under his father.

[38] Immediately after this glorious turn of fortune, Demetrius received news that Ptolemaeus had set his wife and children at liberty, and dismissed them with presents and other tokens of honour. He was informed too, that his daughter, who had been married to Seleucus, was now wife to Antiochus, the son of that prince, and declared queen of the barbarous nations in Upper Asia. 2 Antiochus was violently enamoured of the young Stratonice, though she had a son by his father. His condition was extremely unhappy. He made the greatest efforts to conquer his passion, but they were of no avail. At last, considering that his desires were of the most extravagant kind, that there was no prospect of satisfaction for them, and that the succours of reason entirely failed, he resolved in his despair to rid himself of life, and bring it gradually to an end by neglecting all care of his person and abstaining from food. For this purpose he made sickness his pretence. 3 His physician, Erasistratus, easily discovered that his distemper was love; but it was difficult to conjecture who was the object. In order to find it out, he spent whole days in his chamber; and whenever any beautiful person of either sex entered it, he observed with great attention, not only his looks, but every part and motion of the body which corresponds the most with the passions of the soul. 4 When others entered he was entirely unaffected, but when Stratonice came in, as she often did, either alone or with Seleucus, he showed all the symptoms described by Sappho, the faltering voice, the burning blush, the languid eye, the sudden sweat, the tumultuous pulse; and at length, the passion overcoming his spirits, swooning and a mortal paleness.

5 Erasistratus concluded from these signs that the prince was in love with Stratonice, and perceived that he intended to carry the secret with him to the grave. He saw the difficulty of breaking the matter to Seleucus; yet depending upon the affection which the king had for his son, he ventured one day to tell him," That the young man's disorder was love; but love for which there was no remedy." 6 The king, quite astonished, said, " How! love for which there is no remedy !" " It is certainly so," answered Erasistratus, " for he is in love with my wife." 7 " What! Erasistratus!" said the king, " would you, who are my friend, refuse to give up your wife to my son, when you see us in danger of losing our only hope?" "Nay, would you do such a thing," answered the physician, " though you are his father, if he were in love with Stratonice?" 8 " O my friend," replied Seleucus, " how happy should I be, if either God or man could remove his affections thither ! I would give up my kingdom, so I could but keep Antiochus." 9 He pronounced these words with so much emotion, and such a profusion of tears, that Erasistratus took him by the hand, and said, " Then there is no need of Erasistratus. You, Sir, who are a father, a husband, and a king, will be the best physician too for your family."

10 Upon this, Seleucus summoned the people to meet in full assembly, and told them, "It was his will and pleasure that Antiochus should intermarry with Stratonice, and that they should be declared king and queen of the Upper Provinces. 11 He believed," he said, " that Antiochus, who was such an obedient son, would not oppose his desire; and if the princess should oppose the marriage, as an unprecedented thing, he hoped his friends would persuade her to think, that what was agreeable to the king, and advantageous to the kingdom, was both just and honourable." 12 Such is said to have been the cause of the marriage between Antiochus and Stratonice.

[39] Demetrius was now master of Macedonia and Thessaly, and as he had great part of Peloponnesus too, and the cities of Megara and Athens on the other side the Isthmus, he wanted to reduce the Boeotians, and threatened them with hostilities. 2 At first, they proposed to come to an accommodation with him on reasonable conditions ; but when Cleonymus the Spartan threw himself in the meantime into Thebes with his army, the Boeotians were so much elated, that, at the instigation of Peisis the Thespian, who was a leading man among them, they broke off the treaty. 3 Demetrius then drew up his machines to the walls, and laid siege to Thebes ; upon which Cleonymus, apprehending the consequence, stole out: and the Thebans were so much intimidated, that they immediately surrendered. 4 Demetrius placed garrisons in their cities, exacted large contributions, and left Hieronymus, the historian, governor of Boeotia. He appeared, however, to make a merciful use of his victory, particularly in the case of Peisis ; 5 for though he took him prisoner, he did not offer him any injury ; on the contrary, he treated him with great civility and politeness, and appointed him polemarch of Thespiae.

6 Not long after this, Lysimachus being taken prisoner by Dromichaetes, Demetrius marched towards Thrace with all possible speed, hoping to find it in a defenceless state. But, while he was gone, the Boeotians revolted again, and he had the mortification to hear on the road that Lysimachus was set at liberty. 7 He, therefore, immediately turned back in great anger; and finding, on his return, that the Boeotians were already driven out of the field by his son Antigonus, he laid siege again to Thebes. [40] However, as Pyrrhus had overrun all Thessaly, and was advanced as far as Thermopylae, Demetrius left the conduct of the siege to his son Antigonus, and marched against the warrior.

2 Pyrrhus immediately retired ; Demetrius placed a guard of 10,000 foot and 1000 horse in Thessaly, and then returned to the siege. His first operation was to bring up his machine called helepolis ; but he proceeded in it with great labour, and by slow degrees, by reason of its size and weight: he could scarce move it two stades in two months. 3 As the Boeotians made a vigorous resistance, and Demetrius often obliged his men to renew the assault, rather out of a spirit of animosity than the hope of any advantage, young Antigonus was greatly concerned at seeing such numbers fall, and said, "Why, sir, do we let these brave fellows lose their lives without any necessity?" 4 Demetrius, offended at the liberty he took, made answer, " Why do you trouble yourself about it? Have you any provisions to find for the dead?" 5 To show, however, that he was not prodigal of the lives of his troops only, he took his share in the danger, and received a wound from a lance that pierced through his neck. This gave him excessive pain, yet he continued the siege till he once more made himself master of Thebes. 6 He entered the city with such an air of resentment and severity, that the inhabitants expected to suffer the most dreadful punishments; yet he contented himself with putting thirteen of them to death, and banishing a few more. All the rest he pardoned. Thus Thebes was taken twice within ten years after its being rebuilt.

7 The Pythian games now approached, and Demetrius on this occasion took a very extraordinary step. 8 As the Aetolians were in possession of the passes to Delphi, he ordered the games to be solemnised at Athens, alleging, that they could not pay their homage to Apollo in a more proper place than that where the people considered him as their patron and progenitor.

[41] From thence he returned to Macedonia; but as he was naturally indisposed for a life of quiet and inaction, and observed besides that the Macedonians were attentive and obedient to him in time of war, though turbulent and seditious in peace, he undertook an expedition against the Aetolians. 2 After he had ravaged the country, he left Pantauchus there with a respectable army, and with the rest of his forces marched against Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus was coming to seek him; 3 but they happened to take different roads and missed each other. Demetrius laid waste Epirus, and Pyrrhus falling upon Pantauchus, obliged him to stand on his defence. The two generals met in the action, and both gave and received wounds. Pyrrhus, however, defeated his adversary, killed great numbers of his men, and made 5000 prisoners.

4 This battle was the principal cause of Demetrius's ruin ; for Pyrrhus was not so much hated by the Macedonians for the mischief he had done them, as admired for his personal bravery; and the recent battle in particular gained him great honour, 5 insomuch that many of the Macedonians said, " That of all the kings, it was in Pyrrhus only that they saw a lively image of Alexander's valour ; whereas the other princes, especially Demetrius, imitated him only in a theatrical manner, by affecting a lofty bearing and majestic air."

6 Indeed, Demetrius did always appear like a theatrical king. For he not only affected a superfluity of ornament in wearing a double diadem, and a robe of purple interwoven with gold, but he had his shoes made of cloth of gold, with soles of fine purple. There was a robe a long time in weaving for him, of most sumptuous magnificence. The figure of the world and all the heavenly bodies were to be represented upon it; but it was left unfinished on account of his change of fortune. Nor did any of his successors ever presume to wear it, though Macedon had many pompous kings after him.

[42] This ostentation of dress offended a people who were unaccustomed to such sights ; but his luxurious and dissolute manner of life was a more obnoxious circumstance; and what displeased them most of all, was his difficulty of access. For he either refused to see those who applied to him, or behaved to them in a harsh and haughty manner. 2 Though he favoured the Athenians more than the rest of the Greeks, their ambassadors waited two years at his court for an answer. 3 The Lacedaemonians happening to send only one ambassador to him, he considered it an affront, and said in great anger," What! have the Lacedaemonians sent no more than one ambassador ?', 4 " Aye," said the Spartan, acutely, in his laconic way; " one ambassador to one king."

One day, when he seemed to come out in a more obliging temper, and to be something less inaccessible, he was presented with several petitions, 5 all which he received, and put them in the skirt of his robe. The people of course, followed him with great joy, but no sooner was he come to the bridge over the Axius, than he opened his robe and shook them all into the river. 6 This stung the Macedonians to the heart; when, looking for the protection of a king, they found the insolence of a tyrant. And this treatment appeared the harder to such as had seen, or heard from those who had seen, how kind the behaviour of Philippus was on such occasions. 7 An old woman was one day very troublesome to him in the street, and begged with great importunity to be heard. He said, "He was not at leisure." " Then," cried the old woman, " you should not be a king." The king was struck with these words; and having considered the thing a moment, he returned to the palace, where, postponing all other affairs, he gave audience for several days to all who chose to apply to him, beginning with the old woman. 8 Indeed, nothing becomes a king so much as the distribution of justice. For " Ares is a tyrant," as Timotheus expresses it; but justice, according to Pindarus, " Is the rightful sovereign of the world." 9 The things which, Homer tells us, kings receive from Zeus, are not machines for taking towns, or ships with brazen beaks, but law and justice: these they are to guard and to cultivate. And it is not the most warlike, the most violent and sanguinary, but the justest of princes, whom he calls the disciple of Zeus. 10 But Demetrius was pleased with an epithet quite opposite to that which is given the king of the gods. For Zeus is called Polieus and Poliuchus, the patron and guardian of cities ; Demetrius is surnamed Poliorcetes, the destroyer of cities. 11 Thus, in consequence of the union of power and folly, vice is substituted in the place of virtue, and the ideas of glory and injustice are united too.

[43] When Demetrius lay dangerously ill at Pella, he was very near losing Macedonia; for Pyrrhus, by a sudden invasion, penetrated as far as Edessa; 2 but as soon as he recovered, he repulsed him with ease, and afterwards he came to terms with him, for he was not willing to be hindered by skirmishing for posts with Pyrrhus from the pursuit of greater and more arduous enterprises. 3 His scheme was to recover all his father's dominions; and his preparations were suitable to the greatness of the object. For he had raised an army of 98,000 foot, and near 12,000 horse; 4 and he was building 500 galleys in the ports of Peiraeus, Corinth, Chalcis, and Pella. He went himself to all these places to give directions to the workmen, and assist in the construction. All the world was surprised, not only at the number, but at the greatness of his works. 5 For no man before his time ever saw a galley of 15 or 16 banks of oars. Afterwards, indeed, Ptolemaeus Philopator built one of 40 banks; its length was 280 cubits (490 feet), and its heights to the top of the prow 48 cubits (84 feet). Four hundred mariners belonged to it, exclusive of the rowers, who were no fewer than 4000 ; and the decks and the several gangways were capable of containing near 3000 soldiers. 6 This, however, was mere matter of curiosity; for it differed very little from an immovable building, and was calculated more for show than for use, as it could not be put in motion without great difficulty and danger. 7 But the ships of Demetrius had their use as well as beauty; with all their magnificence of construction, they were equally fit for fighting, and though they were admirable for their size, they were still more so for the swiftness of their motion. [44] Demetrius having provided such an armament for the invasion of Asia as no man ever had before him, except Alexander the Great, Seleucus, Ptolemaeus, and Lysimachus united against him.

2 They likewise joined in an application to Pyrrhus, desiring him to fall upon Macedonia, and not to look to himself as bound by the treaty with Demetrius, since that prince had entered into it, not with any regard to the advantage of Pyrrhus, or in order to avoid future hostilities, but merely for his own sake, that he might at present be at liberty to turn his arms against whom he pleased. 3 As Pyrrhus accepted the proposal, Demetrius, while he was preparing for his voyage, found himself surrounded with war at home. For, at one instant of time, Ptolemaeus came with a great fleet to draw Greece off from its present master; Lysimachus invaded Macedonia from Thrace; and Pyrrhus entering it from a nearer quarter, joined in ravaging the country. 4 Demetrius, on this occasion, left his son in Greece, and went himself to the relief of Macedonia. His first operations were intended against Lysimachus, 5 but as he was upon his march, he received an account that Pyrrhus had taken Beroea, and the news soon spreading among his Macedonians, he could do nothing in an orderly manner, for nothing was to be found in the whole army but lamentations, tears, and expressions of resentment and reproach against their king. They were even ready to march off, under pretence of attending to their domestic affairs, but in fact to join Lysimachus.

6 In this case, Demetrius thought proper to get at the greatest distance he could from Lysimachus, and turn his arms against Pyrrhus. Lysimachus was of their own nation, and many of them knew him in the service of Alexander; whereas Pyrrhus was an entire stranger, and therefore he thought the Macedonians would never give him the preference. 7 But he was sadly mistaken in his conjecture; and he soon found it out upon encamping near Pyrrhus. The Macedonians always admired his distinguished valour, and had of old been accustomed to think the best man in the field the most worthy of a crown. Besides, they received daily accounts of the clemency with which he behaved to his prisoners. Indeed, they were inclined to desert to him or any other, so they could but get rid of Demetrius. 8 They therefore began to go off privately and in small parties at first, but afterwards there was nothing but open disorder and mutiny in the camp. At last, some of them had the assurance to go to Demetrius and bid him provide for himself by flight, for " the Macedonians (they told him) were tired of fighting to maintain his luxury." 9 These expressions appeared modest in comparison of the rude behaviour of others. He therefore entered his tent not like a real king but a theatrical one, and having quitted his royal robe for a black one, privately withdrew. 10 As multitudes were pillaging his tent, who not only tore it in pieces but fought for the plunder, Pyrrhus made his appearance, upon which the tumult instantly ceased, and the whole army submitted to him. 11 Lysimachus and he then divided Macedonia between them, which Demetrius had held without disturbance for seven years.

[45] Demetrius, thus fallen from the pinnacle of power, fled to Cassandreia, where his wife Phila was. Nothing could equal her sorrow on this occasion. She could not bear to see the unfortunate Demetrius once more a private man and an exile; in her despair, therefore, and detestation of fortune, who was always more constant to him in her visits of adversity than prosperity, she took poison.

2 Demetrius, however, resolved to gather up the remains of his wreck, for which purpose he repaired to Greece, and collected such of his friends and officers as he found there. 3 Menelaus, in one of his tragedies of Sophocles, gives this picture of his own fortune :
" I move on Fortune's rapid wheel: my lot
For ever changing like the changeful moon,
That each night varies ; hardly now perceived ;
And now she shows her bright horn; by degrees
She fills her orb with light; but when she reigns
In all her pride, she then begins once more
To waste her glories, till, dissolved and lost,
She sinks again to darkness.
4 But this picture is more applicable to Demetrius, in his increase and wane, his splendour and obscurity. His glory seemed now entirely eclipsed and extinguished, and yet it broke out again, and shone with new splendour. Fresh forces came in, and gradually filled up the measure of his hopes. 5 This was the first time he addressed the cities as a private man, and without any of the emblems of royalty. Somebody seeing him at Thebes in this condition, applied to him, with propriety enough, those verses of Euripides :-
"To Dirce's fountain, and Ismenus' shore
In mortal form he moves a God no more.

[46] When he had got into the high road of hope again, and had once more a respectable force and form of royalty about him, he restored the Thebans their ancient government and laws. 2 At the same time the Athenians abandoned his interests, and razing out of their registers the name of Diphilus, who was then priest of the gods protectors, ordered Archons to be appointed again, according to ancient custom. They likewise sent for Pyrrhus from Macedonia, because they saw Demetrius grown stronger than they expected. 3 Demetrius, greatly enraged, marched immediately to attack them, and laid strong siege to the city. But Crates the philosopher, a man of great reputation and authority, being sent out to him by the people, partly by his entreaties for the Athenians, and partly by representing to him that his interest lay another way, prevailed on Demetrius to raise the siege. 4 After this, he collected all his ships, embarked his army, which consisted of 11,000 foot, besides cavalry, and sailed to Asia, in hopes of drawing Caria and Lydia over from Lysimachus. 5 Eurydice, the sister of Phila, received him at Miletus, having brought with her Ptolemais, a daughter she had by Ptolemaeus, who had formerly been promised him upon the application of Seleucus. Demetrius married her with the free consent of Eurydice, 6 and soon after attempted the cities in that quarter : many of them opened their gates to him, and many others he took by force. Among the latter was Sardis. Some of the officers of Lysimachus likewise deserted to him, and brought sufficient quantities of money and troops with them. 7 But, as Agathocles the son of Lysimachus came against him with a great army, he marched to Phrygia, with an intention to seize Armenia, and then to try Media and the Upper Provinces, which might afford him many places of retreat upon occasion. 8 Agathocles followed him close, and as he found Demetrius superior in all the skirmishes that he ventured upon, he betook himself to cutting off his convoys. This distressed him not a little, and, what was another disagreeable circumstance, his soldiers suspected that he designed to lead them into Armenia and Media.

9 The famine increased every day, and by mistaking the fords of the river Lycus he had a great number of men swept away with the stream. 10 Yet, amidst all their distress, his troops were capable of jesting. One of them wrote upon the door of his tent the beginning of the tragedy of Oedipus with a small alteration :-
"You offspring of the blind old king Antigonus,
Where do you lead us ?

[47] Pestilence at last followed the famine, as it commonly happens when people are under a necessity of eating anything, however unwholesome; so that, finding he had lost in all not less than 8000 men, he turned back with the rest. 2 When he came down to Tarsus, he was desirous of sparing the country, because it belonged to Seleucus, and he did not think proper to give him any pretence to declare against him. But perceiving that it was impossible for his troops to avoid taking something when they were reduced to such extremities, and that Agathocles had fortified the passes of Mount Taurus, 3 he wrote a letter to Seleucus containing a long and moving detail of his misfortune, and concluding with strong entreaties that he would take compassion on a prince who was allied to him, and whose sufferings were such as even an enemy might be affected with.

4 Seleucus was touched with pity, and sent orders to his lieutenants in those parts to supply Demetrius with everything suitable to the state of a king, and his army with sufficient provisions. But Patrocles, who was a man of understanding, and a faithful friend to Seleucus, went to that prince and represented to him, " That the expense of furnishing the troops of Demetrius with provisions was a thing of small importance in comparison with suffering Demetrius himself to remain in the country, who was always one of the most violent and enterprising princes in the world, and now was in such desperate circumstances as might put even those of the mildest dispositions on bold and unjust attempts."

5 Upon these representations Seleucus marched into Cilicia with a great army. 6 Demetrius, astonished and terrified at the sudden change of Seleucus, withdrew to the strongest posts he could find upon Mount Taurus, and sent a messenger to him, begging, " That he might be suffered to make a conquest of some free nations of barbarians, and by settling amongst them as their king, put an end to his wanderings. If this could not be granted, he hoped Seleucus would at least permit him to winter in that country, and not, by driving him out naked and in want of everything, expose him in that condition to his enemies."

[48] All these proposals had a suspicious appearance to Seleucus. He made answer, " That he might, if he pleased, spend two months of the winter in Cataonia, if he sent him his principal friends as hostages." But at the same time he secured the passes into Syria. Demetrius thus surrounded like a wild beast in the toils, was under a necessity of having recourse to violence. He therefore ravaged the country, and had the advantage of Seleucus whenever he attacked him. 2 Seleucus once beset him with his armed chariots, and yet he broke through them, and put his enemy to the rout. After this he dislodged the corps that was to defend the heights on the side of Syria, and made himself master of the passages.

3 Elevated with this success, and finding the courage of his men restored, he prepared to fight a decisive battle with Seleucus. That prince was now in great perplexity. 4 He had rejected the help offered him by Lysimachus for want of confidence in his honour, and from an apprehension of his designs; and he was loath to try his strength with Demetrius, because he dreaded his desperate courage, as well as his usual change of fortune, which often raised him from great misery to the summit of power. 5 In the meantime Demetrius was seized with a fit of sickness, which greatly impaired his personal vigour and entirely ruined his affairs; for part of his men went over to the enemy, and part left their colours and dispersed. 6 In 40 days he recovered with great difficulty; and, getting under march with the remains of his army, made a feint of moving towards Cilicia. But afterwards in the night he decamped without sound of trumpet, and taking the contrary way, crossed Mount Amanus, and ravaged the country on the other side as far as Cyrrhestica.

[49] Seleucus followed, and encamped very near him. Demetrius then put his army in motion in the night, in hopes of surprising him. Seleucus was retired to rest; and in all probability his enemy would have succeeded, 2 had not some deserters informed him of his danger, just time enough for him to put himself in a posture of defence. Upon this he started up in great consternation, and ordered the trumpets to sound an alarm; and as he put on his sandals, he said to his friends, " What a terrible wild beast are we engaged with !" 3 Demetrius perceiving by the tumult in the enemy's camp that his scheme was discovered, retired as fast as possible.

At break of day Seleucus offered him battle, when Demetrius, ordering one of his officers to take care of one wing, put himself at the head of the other, and made some impression upon the enemy. 4 Meantime Seleucus quitting his horse, and laying aside his helmet, presented himself to Demetrius's hired troops with only his shield in his hand, exhorting them to come over to him, and to be convinced at last that it was to spare them, not Demetrius, that he had been so long about the war. Upon which they all saluted him king, and ranged themselves under his banner.

5 Demetrius, though of all the changes he had experienced he thought this the most terrible, yet imagining that he might extricate himself from this distress as well as the rest, fled to the passes of Mount Amanus, and gaining a thick wood, waited there for the night with a few friends and attendants who followed his fortune. His intention was, if possible, to take the way to Caunus, where he hoped to find his fleet, and from thence to make his escape by sea ; 6 but knowing he had not provisions even for that day, he sought for some other expedient. 7 Afterwards one of his friends named Sosigenes arrived with 400 pieces of gold in his purse; with the assistance of which money they hoped to reach the sea. Accordingly when night came, they attempted to pass the heights; 8 but finding a number of fires lighted there by the enemy, they despaired of succeeding that way, and returned to their former retreat, but neither with their whole company (for some had gone off) nor with the same spirits. 9 One of them venturing to tell him, that he thought it was best for him to surrender himself to Seleucus, Demetrius drew his sword to kill himself; but his friends interposed, and consoling him in the best manner they could, persuaded him to follow his advice, in consequence of which he sent to Seleucus and yielded himself to his discretion.

[50] Upon this news, Seleucus said to those about him, " It is not the good fortune of Demetrius, but mine, that now saves him; and that adds to other favours this opportunity of testifying my humanity." 2 Then, calling the officers of his household he ordered them to pitch a royal tent, and to provide everything else for his reception and entertainment in the most magnificent manner. 3 As there happened to be in the service of Seleucus one Apollonides, who was an old acquaintance of Demetrius, he immediately sent that person to him, that he might be more at ease, and come with the greater confidence, as to a son-in-law and a friend.

4 On the discovery of this favourable disposition of Seleucus towards him at a first view, and afterwards, a great number of the courtiers waited on Demetrius, and strove which should pay him the most respect; for it was expected that his influence with Seleucus would soon be the greatest in the kingdom. 5 But these compliments turned the compassion which his distress had excited into jealousy, and gave occasion to the envious and malevolent to divert the stream of the king's humanity from him, by alarming him with apprehensions of no gradual change, but of the greatest commotions in his army on the sight of Demetrius.

6 Apollonides was now come to Demetrius with great satisfaction ; and others who followed to pay their court brought extraordinary accounts of the kindness of Seleucus ; insomuch that Demetrius, though in the first shock of his misfortune he had thought it a great disgrace to surrender himself, was now displeased at his aversion to that step. Such confidence had he in the hopes they held out to him, when Pausanias, coming with a party of horse and foot to the number of 1000, 7 suddenly surrounded him, and drove away such as he found inclined to favour his cause. After he had thus seized his person, instead of conducting him to the presence of Seleucus, he carried him to the Syrian Chersonesus. 8 There he was kept, indeed, under a strong guard, but Seleucus sent him a sufficient retinue, and supplied him with money and a table suitable to his rank. He had also places of exercise and walks worthy of a king, his parks were well stored with game, 9 and such of his friends as had accompanied him in his flight were permitted to attend him. Seleucus, too, often sent some of his people with kind and encouraging messages intimating, that as soon as Antiochus and Stratonice should arrive, terms of accommodation would be hit upon, and he would obtain his liberty.

[51] Under this misfortune, Demetrius wrote to his son, and to his officers and friends in Athens and Corinth, desiring them to trust neither his handwriting nor his seal, but to act as if he were dead, and to keep the cities and all his remaining estates for Antigonus. 2 When the young prince was informed of his father's confinement, he was extremely concerned at it; he put on mourning, and wrote not only to the other kings, but to Seleucus himself; offering, on condition that his father was set free, to cede all the possessions they had left, and deliver himself up as a hostage.3 Many cities and princes joined in the request; but Lysimachus was not of that number. On the contrary, he offered Seleucus a large sum of money to induce him to put Demetrius to death. 4 Seleucus, who looked upon him in an indifferent light before, abhorred him as a villain for his proposal; and only waited for the arrival of Antiochus and Stratonice, to make them the compliment of restoring Demetrius to his liberty.

[52] Demetrius, who at first supported his misfortune with patience, by custom learned to submit to it with a still better grace. For some time he took the exercises of hunting and running, 2 but he left them by degrees, and sank into indolence and inactivity. Afterwards he took to drinking and play, and spent most of his time in that kind of dissipation. 3 Whether it was to put off the thoughts of his present condition, which he could not bear in his sober hours, and to drown reflection in drunkenness; or whether he was sensible at last that this was the sort of life which, though originally the object of his desires, he had idly wandered from to follow the dictates of an absurd ambition. Perhaps he considered that he had given himself and others infinite trouble, by seeking with fleets and armies that happiness which he found when he least expected it, in ease, indulgence, and repose. 4 For what other ends does the wretched vanity of kings propose to itself in all their wars and dangers, but to quit the paths of virtue and honour for those of luxury and pleasure; the sure consequence of their not knowing what real pleasure and true enjoyment are.

5 Demetrius, after three years' confinement in the Chersonesus, fell into an illness occasioned by idleness and excess, which carried him off at the age of fifty-four. 6 Seleucus was severely censured, and indeed was much concerned himself for his unjust suspicions of Demetrius; whereas he should have followed the example of Dromichaetes, who, though a Thracian and barbarian, had treated Lysimachus, when his prisoner, with the generosity that became a king.

[53] There was something of a theatrical pomp even in the funeral of Demetrius. 2 For Antigonus being informed that they were bringing his father's ashes to Greece, went to meet them with his whole fleet; and finding them near the Isles of the Aegean Sea, he took the urn, which was of solid gold, on board the admiral galley. 3 The cities at which they touched sent crowns to adorn the urn, and persons in mourning to assist at the funeral solemnity.

4 When the fleet approached Corinth, the urn was seen in a conspicuous position upon the stern of the vessel, adorned with a purple robe and a diadem, and attended by a company of young men well armed. 5 Xenophantus, a most celebrated performer on the flute, sat by the urn, and played a solemn air. The oars kept time with the notes, and accompanied them with a melancholy sound, like that of mourners in a funeral procession beating their breasts in concert with the music. 6 But it was the mournful appearance and the tears of Antigonus that excited the greatest compassion among the people as they passed. 7 After the Corinthians had bestowed crowns and all due honours upon the remains, Antigonus carried them to Demetrias and deposited them there. This was a city called after the deceased, which he had peopled from the little towns about Iolcus.

8 Demetrius left behind him several children - Antigonus and Stratonice, whom he had by his wife Phila; two sons of the name of Demetrius, one surnamed The Slender, by an Illyrian woman; the other was by Ptolemais, and came to be king of Cyrene. By Deidameia he had Alexander, who took up his residence in Egypt; 9 and by his last wife Eurydice, he is said to have had a son named Corrhagus. His posterity enjoyed the throne in continued succession down to Perseus, the last king of Macedon, in whose time the Romans subdued that country.

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