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Plutarch: Life of Eumenes


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

Eumenes of Cardia lived from about 362 to 316 B.C. He was one of the principal generals in the wars following the death of Alexander the Great.


[1] Duris the historian writes, that Eumenes of Cardia was the son of a poor waggoner in the Chersonesus, and yet that he had a liberal education both as to learning and the exercises then in vogue. 2 He says that while he was but a lad, Philippus happening to be in Cardia, went to spend an hour of leisure in seeing how the young men acquitted themselves in the pancration, and the boys in wrestling. Among these Eumenes succeeded so well, and showed so much activity and skill, that Philippus was pleased with him, and took him into his retinue. 3 But others assert, with a greater appearance of probability, that Philippus preferred him on account of the ties of friendship and hospitality there were between him and the father of Eumenes.

4 After the death of Philippus, he maintained the reputation of being equal to any of Alexander's officers in capacity, and in the honour with which he discharged his commissions; and though he had only the title of principal secretary, he was looked upon in as honourable a light as the king's most intimate friends and counsellors, 5 insomuch that he had the sole direction of an Indian expedition ; and upon the death of Hephaestion, when Perdiccas had the post of that favourite, he succeeded Perdiccas. 6 Therefore, when Neoptolemus, who had been the principal armour-bearer, took upon him to say, after the death of Alexander, "That he had borne the shield and spear of that monarch, and that Eumenes had only followed with his writing set," the Macedonians only laughed at his vanity; knowing that, besides other marks of honour, Alexander had thought Eumenes not unworthy of an alliance. 7 For Barsine, the daughter of Artabazus, who was the first lady Alexander took to his bed in Asia, and who brought him a son named Heracles, had two sisters; one of which, called Apame, he gave to Ptolemaeus; and the other, called Artonis, he gave to Eumenes, at the time when he was selecting Persian ladies as wives for his friends.

[2] Yet it must be acknowledged, he was often in disgrace with Alexander, and once or twice in danger too, on account of Hephaestion. 2 In the first place, Hephaestion gave a musician named Euius the quarters which the servants of Eumenes had taken up for him. Upon this, Eumenes went in great wrath to Alexander with Mentor, and cried, " The best method they could take, was to throw away their arms and learn to play upon the flute, or turn tragedians." Alexander at first entered into his quarrel, and sharply rebuked Hephaestion ; 3 but he soon changed his mind, and turned the weight of his displeasure upon Eumenes ; thinking he had behaved with more disrespect to him than resentment against Hephaestion.

4 Again, when Alexander wanted to send out Nearchus with a fleet to explore the coasts of the ocean, he found his treasury low, and asked his friends for contributions. 5 Among the rest he applied to Eumenes for 300 talents, who offered him only 100, and assured him, at the same time, he should find it difficult to collect that sum by his stewards. Alexander refused the offer, but did not remonstrate or complain. However, he ordered his servants privately to set fire to Eumenes' tent, that he might be forced to carry out his money, and be openly convicted of the falsity. 6 It happened that the tent was entirely consumed, and Alexander was sorry on account of the loss of his papers. There was gold and silver found melted, to the amount of more than 1000 talents, 7 yet even then the king took none of it. And having written to all his satraps and generals to send him copies of the despatches that were lost, upon their arrival he put them again under the care of Eumenes.

8 Some time after, another dispute happened between him and Hephaestion, on account of some present from the king to one of them. Much severe and abusive language passed between them, yet Alexander, for the present, did not look upon Eumenes with less regard. 9 But, Hephaestion dying soon after, the king, in his unspeakable affliction for that loss, expressed his resentment against all who he thought envied that favourite while he lived or rejoiced at his death. Eumenes was one of those whom he most suspected of such sentiments, and he often mentioned the difference, and the severe language those differences had produced. 10 Eumenes, however, being an artful man, and clever at expedients, made the very person through whom he had lost the king's favour the means of regaining it. He seconded the zeal and application of Alexander to celebrate the memory of Hephaestion. He suggested such instances of veneration as he thought might do much honour to the deceased, and contributed largely and freely, out of his own purse, towards the expenses of his funeral.

[3] Upon the death of Alexander, a great quarrel broke out between the phalanx and the late king's friends and generals. Eumenes in his heart sided with the phalanx, but in appearance stood neutral, as a person perfectly indifferent; saying, it did not become him, who was a stranger, to interfere in the disputes of the Macedonians. 2 And when the other great officers retired from Babylon, he stayed there, endeavouring to appease that body of infantry, and to dispose them to conciliation.

3 After these troubles were passed, and the generals met to consult about dividing the satrapies and armies among them, the countries assigned to Eumenes were Cappadocia and Paphlagonia, and the coast of the sea of Pontus as far as Trapezus. 4 These countries were not then subject to the Macedonians, for Ariarathes was king of them; but Leonnatus and Antigonus were to go with a great army, and put Eumenes in possession. 5 Antigonus, now elated with power, and despising all the world, gave no attention to the letters of Perdiccas. But Leonnatus marched down from the upper provinces into Phrygia, and promised to undertake the expedition for Eumenes. 6 Immediately after this, Hecataeus, the tyrant of Cardia, applied to Leonnatus, and desired him rather to go to the relief of Antipater and the Macedonians, who were besieged in Lamia. Leonnatus, being inclined to go, called Eumenes, and attempted to reconcile him to Hecataeus. 7 They had long had a suspicion of each other on account of a family difference in point of politics; in consequence of which Eumenes had once accused Hecataeus of setting himself up tyrant in Cardia, and had entreated Alexander to restore that people to their liberty. 8 He now desired to be excused taking a share in the Greek expedition, alleging he was afraid that Antipater, who had long hated him, to gratify himself as well as Hecataeus, would make some attempt upon his life. Upon which, Leonnatus, placing an entire confidence in him, opened to him all his heart. 9 He told him the assistance to Antipater was nothing but a pretext, and that he designed, as soon as he landed in Greece, to assert his claim to Macedonia. At the same time he showed him letters from Cleopatra, in which she invited him to Pella, and promised to give him her hand.

10 Whether Eumenes was really afraid of Antipater, or whether he despaired of any service from Leonnatus, who was extremely obstinate in his temper, and followed every impulse of a precipitate ambition, he withdrew from him in the night with all his retinue, 11 which consisted of 300 horse, 200 of his domestics well armed, and all his treasure, amounting to 5000 talents. 12 With this he fled to Perdiccas; and as he acquainted that general with the designs of Leonnatus, he was immediately taken into a high degree of favour, and admitted to a share in his councils. In a little time, too, Perdiccas in person conducted him into Cappadocia with a great army, 13 took Ariarathes prisoner, subdued all the country, and established Eumenes in that government; 14 in consequence of which Eumenes put the cities under the direction of his friends, placed guards and garrisons with proper officers at their head, and appointed judges and superintendents of the revenue; Perdiccas leaving the entire disposition of those things to him. After this he departed with Perdiccas ; choosing to give him that testimony of respect, not thinking it consistent with his interest to be absent from his court. [4] But Perdiccas, satisfied that he could himself execute the designs he was meditating, and perceiving that the provinces he had left behind required an able and faithful guardian, sent back Eumenes when he had reached Cilicia. The pretence was, that he might attend to the concerns of his own government; but the real intention, that he should secure the adjoining province of Armenia, which was disturbed by the practices of Neoptolemus.

2 Neoptolemus was a man of ambitious pursuits and unbounded vanity. Eumenes, however, endeavoured to keep him to his duty by soothing conversations. 3 And as he saw the men of the Macedonian phalanx were become extremely insolent and audacious, he applied himself to raising a body of cavalry which might be a counterpoise against them. For this purpose he remitted the taxes, and gave other immunities to those of his province who were good horsemen. He also bought a great number of horses and distributed them among such of his courtiers as he placed the greatest confidence in, exciting them by honours and rewards, and training them to strength and skill by a variety of exercises. 4 The Macedonians upon this were variously affected, some with astonishment, and others with joy, to see a body of cavalry collected, to the number of 6300, and trained in so short a space of time.

[5] About that time Craterus and Antipater having reduced Greece, passed into Asia, to overthrow the power of Perdiccas ; and news was brought that their first intention was to enter Cappadocia. Perdiccas himself was engaged in war with Ptolemaeus ; he therefore appointed Eumenes commander-in-chief of the forces in Armenia and Cappadocia; 2 and wrote to Alcetas and Neoptolemus to obey the orders of that general, whom he had invested with discretionary powers. 3 Alcetas plainly refused to submit to that injunction ; alleging that the Macedonians would be ashamed to fight Antipater ; and as for Craterus, their affection for him was such that they would receive him with open arms. 4 On the other hand, it was visible that Neoptolemus was forming some treacherous scheme against Eumenes ; for when called upon, he refused to join him, and instead of that, prepared to give him battle.

5 This was the first occasion on which Eumenes reaped the fruits of his foresight and timely preparations. For, though his infantry were beaten, with his cavalry he put Neoptolemus to flight, and took his baggage. And while the phalanx were dispersed upon the pursuit, he fell upon them in such good order with his horse, that they were forced to lay down their arms, and take an oath to serve him. 6 Neoptolemus collected some of the fugitives, and retired with them to Craterus and Antipater. They had already sent ambassadors to Eumenes, to desire him to adopt their interests, in reward of which they would confirm to him the satrapies he had, and give him others, with an additional number of troops; in which case he would find Antipater a friend instead of an enemy, and continue in friendship with Craterus instead of turning his arms against him.

7 Eumenes made answer to these proposals- " That having long been on a footing of enmity with Antipater, he did not choose to be his friend at a time when he saw him treating his friends as so many enemies. 8 As for Craterus, he was ready to reconcile him to Perdiccas, and to settle matters between them upon just and reasonable terms. But if he should begin hostilities, he should support his injured friend while he had an hour to live, and rather sacrifice life itself than his honour."

[6] When this answer was reported to Antipater and Craterus, they took some time to deliberate upon the measures they should pursue. Meanwhile Neoptolemus arriving, gave them an account of the battle he had lost, and requested assistance of them both, but particularly of Craterus. 2 He said, " The Macedonians had so extraordinary an attachment to him, that if they saw but his hat, or heard one accent of the tongue, they would immediately run to him with their swords in their hands." 3 Indeed, the reputation of Craterus was very great among them, and after the death of Alexander, most of them wished to be under his command. They remembered the risks he had run of embroiling himself with Alexander for their sakes; how he had combated the inclinations for Persian fashions which gradually grew upon him, and supported the customs of his country against the insults of barbaric pomp and luxury.

4 Craterus now sent Antipater into Cilicia, and taking a considerable part of the forces himself, marched along with Neoptolemus against Eumenes. He thought that his attack would take Eumenes by surprise, and that after the recent victory he would find his army disorganised and engaged in drunken celebrations. 5 If Eumenes foresaw his coming, and was prepared for it, we may impute it to the vigilance necessary in a general; we see nothing in that of superior genius. 6 But when, besides his concealing from the enemy what they ought not to discover, he brought his own troops to action without knowing who was their adversary, and made them serve against Craterus without finding out that he was the officer they had to contend with; in this we see characteristic proofs of generalship. 7 For he propagated a report that Neoptolemus, assisted by Pigris, was advancing again with some Cappadocian and Paphlagonian horse. 8 The night he designed to decamp, he fell into a sound sleep, and had a very extraordinary dream. He thought he saw two Alexanders prepared to try their strength against each other, and each at the head of a phalanx. 9 Athene came to support the one and Demeter the other. A sharp conflict ensued, in which the Alexander assisted by Athene was defeated, and Demeter crowned the victor with a wreath of corn. 10 He immediately concluded that the dream was in his favour, because he had to fight for a country which was most of it in tillage, and which had then so excellent a crop, well advanced towards the sickle, that the whole face of it had the appearance of a profound peace. He was the more confirmed in his opinion when he found the enemy's word was Athene and Alexander; 11 and in opposition to it he gave Demeter and Alexander. At the same time he ordered his men to crown themselves, and to cover their arms with ears of corn. 12 He was several times upon the point of declaring to his principal officers and captains what adversary they had to contend with, thinking it a hazardous undertaking to keep to himself a secret so important, and perhaps necessary for them to know. Yet he abode by his first resolution, and trusted his own heart only with the danger that might ensue.

[7] When he came to give battle, he would not set any Macedonian to engage Craterus, but appointed to that charge two bodies of foreign horse, commanded by Pharnabazus the son of Artabazus, and Phoenix of Tenedos. They had orders to advance on the first sight of the enemy, and come to close fighting without giving them time to retire; and if they attempted to speak or send any herald, they were not to regard it. 2 For he had strong apprehensions that the Macedonians would go over to Craterus if they happened to know him. 3 Eumenes himself, with a troop of 300 select horse, went and posted himself in the right wing, where he should have to act against Neoptolemus. 4 When they had passed a little hill that separated the two armies, and came in view, they charged with such impetuosity that Craterus was extremely surprised, and expressed his resentment in strong terms against Neoptolemus, who, he thought, had deceived him with a pretence that the Macedonians would change sides. However, he exhorted his officers to behave like brave men, and stood forward to the encounter. 5 In the first shock, which was very violent, the spears were soon broke, and they were then to decide the dispute with the sword.

The behaviour of Craterus did no dishonour to Alexander. He killed numbers with his own hand, and overthrew many others who assailed him in front; but at last he received a side blow from a Thracian, which brought him to the ground. 6 Many passed over him without knowing him; but Gorgias, one of Eumenes' officers, took notice of him, and being well acquainted with his person, leaped from his horse and guarded the body. It was then, however, too late; he was at the last extremity, and in the agonies of death.

7 In the meantime, Neoptolemus engaged Eumenes. The most violent hatred had long existed between them, and this day added stings to it. They knew not one another in the two first encounters, but in the third they did; and then they rushed forward impetuously with swords drawn and loud shouts. 8 The shock their horses met with was so violent, that it resembled that of two galleys. The fierce antagonists quitted the bridles, and laid hold on each other; each endeavouring to tear off the helmet or the breast-plate of his enemy. 9 While their hands were thus engaged, their horses went from under them; and as they fell to the ground without quitting their hold, they wrestled for the advantage. 10 Neoptolemus was beginning to rise first, when Eumenes wounded him in the ham, and by that means got upon his feet before him. Neoptolemus being wounded in one knee, supported himself upon the other, and fought with great courage underneath, but was not able to reach his adversary a mortal blow. At last, receiving a wound in the neck, he grew faint, and stretched himself upon the ground. 11 Eumenes, with all the eagerness of inveterate hatred, hastened to strip him of his arms, and, loading him with reproaches, did not observe that his sword was still in his hand; so that Neoptolemus wounded him under the cuirass, where it touches upon the groin. 12 However, as the stroke was but feeble, the apprehensions it gave him were greater than the real hurt.

When he had despoiled his adversary, weak as he was with the wounds he had received in his legs and arms, he mounted his horse and made up to his left wing, which he supposed might still be engaged with the enemy. 13 There being informed of the fate of Craterus, he hastened to him, and finding his breath and senses not quite gone, he alighted from his horse, wept over him, and gave him his hand. One while he vented his execrations upon Neoptolemus, and another while he lamented his own ill fortune, and the cruel necessity he was under of coming to extremities with his most intimate friend, and either giving or receiving the fatal blow.

[8] Eumenes won this battle about ten days after the former; and it raised him to a high rank of honour, because it brought him renown both for capacity and courage; but, at the same time, it exposed him to the envy and hatred both of his allies and his enemies. It seemed hard to them that a stranger, a foreign adventurer, should have destroyed one of the greatest and most illustrious of the Macedonians, with the arms of those very Macedonians. 2 Had the news of the death of Craterus been brought sooner to Perdiccas, none but he would have swayed the Macedonian sceptre. 3 But he was slain in a mutiny in Egypt two days before the news arrived. The Macedonians were so much exasperated against Eumenes upon the late event, that they immediately decreed his death. 4 Antigonus and Antipater were to take the direction of the war which was to carry that decree into execution. 5 Meantime Eumenes went to the royal horses, which were pasturing upon Mount Ida, and took such as he had occasion for, but gave the keepers a discharge for them. When Antipater was apprised of it, he laughed, and said, "He could not enough admire the caution of Eumenes, who must certainly expect to see an account of the king's possessions rendered either on one side or the other."

6 Eumenes intended to give battle upon the plains of Lydia, near Sardis, both because he was strong in cavalry, and because he was ambitious to show Cleopatra what a respectable force he had. 7 However, at the request of that princess, who was afraid to give Antipater any cause of complaint, he marched to Upper Phrygia, and wintered in Celaenae. 8 There Alcetas, Polemon, and Docimus contended with him for the command, upon which he said, " This makes good the observation, Every one thinks of advancing himself, but no one thinks of the danger that may accrue to the public welfare."

9 He had promised to pay his army within three days, and as he had not money to do it, he sold them all the farms and castles in the country, together with the people and cattle that were upon them. 10 Every captain of a Macedonian company, or officer who had a command in the foreign troops, received battering engines from Eumenes; and when he had taken the castle, he divided his spoils among his company, according to the arrears due to each particular man. 11 This restored him the affections of the soldiers, insomuch that when papers were found in his camp, dispersed by the enemy, in which their generals promised 100 talents and great honours to the man who should kill Eumenes, the Macedonians were highly incensed, and gave order that from that time he should have a bodyguard of 1000 officers always about him, who should keep watch by turns, and be in waiting day and night. 12 There was not a man who refused that charge; and they were glad to receive from Eumenes the marks of honour which those who were called the king's friends used to receive from the hands of royalty. For he, too, was empowered to distribute purple hats and rich robes, which were considered as the principal gifts the kings of Macedon had to bestow.

[9] Prosperity gives some appearance of higher sentiments even to persons of mean spirit, and we see something of grandeur and importance about them in the elevation where fortune has placed them. 2 But he who is inspired by real steadfastness and magnanimity, will show it most by the dignity of his behaviour under losses, and in the most adverse fortune. So did Eumenes. 3 When he had lost a battle to Antigonus in the territory of the Orcynians in Cappadocia through the treachery of one of his officers, though he was forced to flee himself, he did not suffer the traitor to escape to the enemy, but took him and hanged him upon the spot. 4 In his flight he took a different way from the pursuers, and privately turned round in such a manner as to regain the field of battle. 5 There he encamped in order to bury the dead, whom he collected and burned with the door-posts of the neighbouring villages. The bodies of the officers and common soldiers were burned upon separate piles; and when he had raised great monuments of earth over them, he decamped. So that Antigonus, coming that way afterwards, was astonished at his firmness and intrepidity.

6 Another time he fell in with the baggage of Antigonus, and could easily have taken it, together with many persons of free condition, a great number of slaves, and all the wealth which had been amassed in so many wars, and the plunder of so many countries. But he was afraid that his men, when possessed of such riches and spoils, would think themselves too heavy for flight, and be too effeminate to bear the hardships of long wandering from place to place: and yet time, he knew, was his principal resource for getting clear of Antigonus. 7 On the other hand, he was aware it would be extremely difficult to keep the Macedonians from charging at the spoil, when it was so much within reach. He therefore ordered them to refresh themselves, and feed their horses, before they attacked the enemy. 8 In the meantime he privately sent a messenger to Menander, who escorted the baggage, to acquaint him, " That Eumenes, in consideration of the friendship which had subsisted between them, advised him to provide for his safety, and to retire as fast as possible from the plain, where he might easily be surrounded, to the foot of the neighbouring mountain, where the cavalry could not act, nor any troops fall upon his rear."

9 Menander soon perceived his danger, and retired. After which, Eumenes sent out his scouts in the presence of all the soldiers, and commanded the latter to arm and bridle their horses, in order for the attack. 10 The scouts brought back an account that Menander had gained a situation where he could not be taken. Hereupon Eumenes pretended great concern, and drew off his forces. 11 We are told, that upon the report Menander made of this affair to Antigonus, the Macedonians launched out in the praises of Eumenes, and began to regard him with an eye of kindness for acting so generous a part, when it was in his power to have enslaved their children and dishonoured their wives. 12 The answer Antigonus gave them was this: " Think not, my good friends, it was for your sakes he let them go ; it was for his own. He did not choose to have so many shackles upon him when he designed to flee."

[10] After this, Eumenes, being forced to wander and flee from place to place, spoke to many of his soldiers to leave him; either out of care for their safety, or because he did not choose to have a body of men after him, who were too few to stand a battle, and too many to flee in privacy. 2 And when he had retired to the castle of Nora, on the confines of Lycaonia and Cappadocia, with only 500 horse and 200 foot, there again he gave all such of his friends free leave to depart as did not like the inconveniences of the place and the meanness of diet, and dismissed them with great marks of kindness.

3 In a little time Antigonus came up, and, before he formed that siege, invited him to a conference. Eumenes answered, " Antigonus had many friends and generals to take his place in case of accidents to himself; but the troops he had the care of had none to command, or to protect them after him." He therefore insisted that Antigonus should send hostages if he wanted to treat with him in person. 4 And when Antigonus wanted him to make his application to him first, as the greater man, he said, " While I am master of my sword, I shall never think any man greater than myself." 5 At last Antigonus sent his nephew Ptolemaeus into the fort as a hostage, and then Eumenes came out to him. They embraced with great tokens of cordiality, having formerly been intimate friends and companions.

6 In the conference, which lasted a considerable time, Eumenes made no mention of security for his own life, or of an amnesty for what was passed. Instead of that, he insisted on having the government of his satrapies confirmed to him, and considerable rewards for his services besides; insomuch that all who attended on this occasion admired his firmness, and were astonished at his greatness of mind.

7 During the interview, numbers of the Macedonians ran to see Eumenes; for, after the death of Craterus, no man was so much talked of in the army as he. 8 But Antigonus, fearing they should offer him some violence, called to them to keep at a distance; and when they still kept crowding in, ordered them to be driven off with stones. At last he took him in his arms, and keeping off the multitude with his guards, with some difficulty got him safe again into the castle.

[11] As the treaty ended in nothing, Antigonus drew a line of circumvallation round the place, and having left a sufficient number of troops to carry on the siege, he retired. The fort was abundantly provided with corn, water, and salt, but in want of everything else requisite for the table. 2 Yet with this mean provision he furnished a cheerful entertainment for his friends, whom he invited in their turns ; for he took care to season his provisions with agreeable discourse and the utmost cordiality. His appearance was indeed very engaging. 3 His countenance had nothing of a ferocious or war-worn turn, but was smooth and elegant ; and the proportion of his limbs was so excellent, that they might seem to have come from the chisel of the statuary. And though he was not very eloquent, he had a soft and persuasive way of speaking, as we may conclude from his letters.

4 He observed that the greatest inconvenience to the garrison was the narrowness of the space in which they were confined, enclosed as it was with small houses, and the whole of it not more than two furlongs in circuit; so that they were forced to take their food without exercise, and their horses to do the same. 5 To remove the languor which is the consequence of that deficiency, as well as to prepare them for flight, if occasion should offer, 6 he assigned a room 14 cubits long, the largest in all the fort, for the men to walk in, and gave them orders gradually to increase their pace. 7 As for the horses, he tied them to the roof of the stable with strong halters. Then he raised their heads and fore parts with a pulley, till they could scarce touch the ground with their fore-feet, but, at the same time, they stood firm upon their hind-feet. 8 In this posture the grooms plied them with the whip and the voice ; and the horses, thus irritated, bounded furiously on their hind-feet, or strained to set their fore-feet on the ground; by which efforts their whole body was exercised, till they were out of breath and in a foam. After this exercise, which was no bad one either for speed or strength, 9 they had their barley given them boiled, that they might sooner consume and better digest it.

[12] When the siege had been drawn out to a considerable length, Antigonus received information of the death of Antipater in Macedonia, and of the trouble that prevailed there through the animosities between Cassander and Polyperchon. He now bade farewell to all inferior prospects, and aimed at the whole empire in his schemes: in consequence of which he wanted to make Eumenes his friend, and bring him to co-operate in the execution of his plan. 2 For this purpose he sent to him Hieronymus, with proposals of peace, on condition he took the oath that was offered to him. Eumenes made a correction in the oath, and left it to the Macedonians before the place to judge which form was the most reasonable. 3 Indeed Antigonus, to save appearances, had slightly mentioned the royal family in the beginning, and all the rest ran in his own name. Eumenes, therefore, put Olympias and the princes of the blood first: and he proposed to engage himself by oath of fealty not to Antigonus only, but to Olympias and the princes her children. 4 This appearing to the Macedonians much more consistent with justice than the other, they permitted Eumenes to take it, and then raised the siege. They likewise sent this oath to Antigonus, requiring him to take it on the other part.

5 Meanwhile Eumenes restored to the Cappadocians all the hostages he had in Nora, and in return they furnished him with horses, beasts of burden, and tents. He also collected most of his soldiers, who had dispersed themselves after his defeat, and were straggling about the country. 6 By this means he assembled near 1000 horse, with which he marched off as fast as possible, rightly judging he had much to fear from Antigonus ; 7 for that general not only ordered him to be besieged again, and shut up within a circular wall, but in his letters expressed great resentment against the Macedonians for admitting the correction of the oath.

[13] While Eumenes was fleeing from place to place, he received letters from Macedonia, in which the people declared their apprehension of the growing power of Antigonus ; and others from Olympias, wherein she invited him to come and take upon him the tuition and care of Alexander's son, whose life she conceived to be in danger. 2 At the same time, Polyperchon and king Philippus sent him orders to carry on the war against Antigonus with the forces in Cappadocia. They empowered him also to take 500 talents out of the royal treasure at Cyinda, in Caria, for the re-establishment of his own affairs, and as much more as he should judge necessary for the purposes of the war. 3 Antigenes and Teutamus too, who commanded the Argyraspides, had directions to support him.

4 These officers, in appearance, gave Eumenes a kind reception, but it was not difficult to discover the envy and jealousy they had in their hearts, and how much they disdained to act under him. 5 Their envy he endeavoured to remove by not taking the money, which he told them he did not want. To remove their obstinacy and ambition for the first place was not so easy an affair; for, though they knew not how to command, they were resolved not to obey. In this case he called in the assistance of superstition. 6 He said, Alexander had appeared to him in a dream, and showed him a pavilion with royal furniture, and a throne in the middle of it, after which that prince declared, " If they would hold their councils and despatch business there, he would be with them, and prosper every measure and action which commenced under his auspices."

7 He easily persuaded Antigenes and Teutamus to believe he had this vision. They were not willing to wait upon him, nor did he choose to dishonour his commission by going to them. 8 They prepared, therefore, a royal pavilion, and a throne in it; which they called the throne of Alexander; and thither they repaired to consult upon the most important affairs.

9 From thence they marched to the higher provinces, and upon the way were joined by Peucestas, a friend of Eumenes, and other satraps. Thus the Macedonians were greatly strengthened, both in point of numbers and in the most magnificent provision of all the requisites of war. 10 But power and affluence had rendered these governors so intractable in society and so dissolute in their way of living since the death of Alexander, and they came together with a spirit of despotism so nursed by barbaric pride, that they soon became obnoxious to each other, and no sort of harmony could subsist between them. 11 Besides, they flattered the Macedonians, without any regard to decorum, and supplied them with money in such a manner for their entertainments and sacrifices, that, in a little time, their camp looked like a place of public reception for every display of intemperance; and those veterans were to be courted for military appointments as the people are for their votes in a republic.

12 Eumenes soon perceived that the newly arrived grandees despised each other, but were afraid of him, and watched an opportunity to kill him. He therefore pretended he was in want of money, and borrowed many talents from those that hated him most, in order that they might place some confidence in him, or at least might give up their designs upon his life, out of regard to the money lent him. 13 Thus he found guards for himself in the opulence of others ; and, though men in general seek to save their lives by giving, he provided for his safety by receiving.

[14] While no danger was near, the Macedonians took bribes from all who wanted to corrupt them, and, like a kind of guard, daily attended the gates of those that affected the command. 2 But when Antigonus came and encamped over against them with a large army, and affairs called for a real general, Eumenes was applied to, not only by the soldiers, but the very grandees who had taken so much pomp upon them in time of peace and pleasure freely gave place to him, and took the post assigned them without murmuring. 3 Indeed, when Antigonus attempted to pass the river Pasitigris, not one of the other officers who were appointed to guard it got any intelligence of his motions : Eumenes alone was at hand to oppose him; and he did it so effectively, that he filled the channel with dead bodies, and made 4000 prisoners.

4 The behaviour of the Macedonians, when Eumenes happened to be sick, still more particularly showed that they thought others fit to direct in magnificent entertainments and the solemnities of peace, but that he was the only person among them fit to lead an army. 5 For Peucestas having feasted them in a sumptuous manner in Persia, and given each man a sheep for sacrifice, hoped to be indulged with the command. 6 A few days after, as they were marching against the enemy, Eumenes was so dangerously ill that he was forced to be carried in a litter at some distance from the ranks, lest his rest, which was very precarious, should be disturbed with the noise. 7 They had not gone far, before the enemy suddenly made their appearance, for they had passed the intermediate hill, and were now descending into the plain. 8 The lustre of their golden armour glittering in the sun as they marched down the hill, the elephants with the towers on their backs, and the purple vests which the cavalry used to wear when they were advancing to the combat, struck the troops that were to oppose them with such surprise, that the front halted, and called out for Eumenes ; 9 declaring that they would not move a step farther if he had not the direction of them. At the same time they grounded their arms, exhorting each other to stop, and insisted that their officers should not hazard an engagement without Eumenes.

10 Eumenes no sooner heard this, than he advanced with the utmost expedition, hastening the slaves that carried the litter. He likewise opened the curtains, and stretched out his hand, in token of his joy. 11 On the first sight of the general of their heart, the troops saluted him in the Macedonian language, clanked their arms, and with loud shouts challenged the enemy to advance, thinking themselves invincible while he was at their head.

[15] Antigonus having learned from some prisoners that Eumenes was so extremely ill that he was forced to be carried on a litter, concluded he should find no great difficulty in beating the other generals, and therefore hastened to the attack. 2 But when he came to reconnoitre the enemy's army, and saw in what excellent order it was drawn up, he stood still some time in silent admiration. At last, spying the litter carried about from one wing to the other, 3 he laughed out aloud, as his manner was, and said to his friends, " That litter is the thing that pitches the battle against us." After this he immediately retreated to his entrenchments.

4 The Macedonians had hardly recovered themselves from their fears before they began to behave again in a disorderly and mutinous manner to their officers, and spread themselves over almost all the territory of Gabene for winter quarters, insomuch that the first were at the distance of 1000 stades from the last. 5 Antigonus being informed of this circumstance, moved back against them without losing a moment's time. He took a rugged road, that afforded no water, because it was the shortest; hoping, if he fell upon them while thus dispersed, that it would be impossible for their officers to assemble them.

6 However, as soon as he had entered that desolate country, his troops were attacked with such violent winds and severe frosts that it was difficult for them to proceed; and they found it necessary to light many fires. 7 For this reason their march could not be concealed. The barbarians, who inhabited the mountains that overlooked the desert, wondering what such a number of fires could mean, sent some persons upon dromedaries to Peucestas with an account of them.

8 Peucestas, distracted with terror at this news, prepared for flight, intending to take with him such troops as he could collect on the way. 9 But Eumenes soon dispelled their fears and uneasiness, by promising so to impede the enemy's march that they would arrive three days later than they were expected. 10 Finding that they listened to him, he sent orders to the officers to draw all the troops from the quarters, and assemble them with speed. At the same time he took his horse, and went with his colleagues to seek out a lofty piece of ground which might attract the attention of the troops marching below. Having found one that answered his purpose, he measured it, and caused a number of fires to be lighted at proper intervals, so as to resemble a camp.

11 When Antigonus beheld those fires upon the heights, he was in the utmost distress. For he thought the enemy were apprised of his intention some time before, and were come to meet him. 12 Not choosing, therefore, with forces so harassed and fatigued with their march, to be obliged to fight troops that were perfectly fresh and had wintered in agreeable quarters, he left the short road, and led his men through the towns and villages; giving them abundant time to refresh themselves. 13 But when he found that no parties came out to hinder him in his march, which is usual when an enemy is near, and was informed by the neighbouring inhabitants that they had seen no troops whatever, nor anything but fires upon the hills, he perceived that Eumenes had outdone him in point of generalship; and this incensed him so much that he advanced with a resolution to try his strength in a pitched battle.

[16] Meantime the greatest part of the forces repairing to Eumenes, in admiration of his capacity, desired him to take the sole command.2 Upon this Antigenes and Teutamus, who were at the head of the Argyraspides, were so exasperated with envy that they formed a plot against his life; and having drawn into it most of the grandees and generals, they consulted upon a proper time and method to take him off. 3 They all agreed to make use of him in the ensuing battle, and to assassinate him immediately after. But Eudamus, master of the elephants, and Phaedimus, privately informed Eumenes of their resolutions; not out of any kindness or benevolent regard, but because they were afraid of losing the money they had lent him. 4 He commended them for the honour with which they behaved, and retired to his tent. There he told his friends, " That he lived among a herd of savage beasts," and immediately made his will. After which he destroyed all his papers, lest after his death charges and impeachments should arise against the persons who wrote them, in consequence of the secrets discovered there. 5 He then considered whether he should put the enemy in the way of gaining the victory, or take his flight through Media and Armenia into Cappadocia ; but he could not fix upon anything while his friends stayed with him. 6 After revolving various expedients in his mind, which was now almost as changeable as his fortune, he drew up the forces and endeavoured to animate the Greeks and the barbarians. On the other hand, the phalanx and the Argyraspides bade him be of good courage, assuring him that the enemy would not stand the encounter; 7 for they were veterans who had served under Philippus and Alexander, and like so many champions of the ring, had never had a fall to that day. Many of them were 70 years of age, and none less than 60. 8 So that when they charged the troops of Antigonus, they cried out, " Villains! you fight against your fathers!" Then they fell furiously upon his infantry and soon routed them. Indeed, none of the battalions could stand the shock, and the most of them were cut in pieces upon the spot. 9 But though Antigonus had such bad success in this quarter, his cavalry were victorious, through the weak and dastardly behaviour of Peucestas, and took all the baggage. Antigonus was a man who had an excellent presence of mind on the most trying occasions, and here the place and the occasion befriended him. 10 It was a plain open country, the soil neither deep nor hard, but, like the sea-shore, covered with a fine dry sand, which the trampling of so many men and horses during the action reduced to a small white dust, that, like a cloud of lime, darkened the air and intercepted the prospect; so that it was easy for Antigonus to take the baggage unperceived.

[17] After the battle was over, Teutamus sent some of his corps to Antigonus, to desire him to restore the baggage. 2 He told them he would not only return the Argyraspides their baggage, but treat them in all other respects with the greatest kindness, provided they would put Eumenes in his hands. The Argyraspides undertook that abominable measure, and agreed to deliver up that brave man alive to his enemies. 3 In pursuance of this scheme, they approached him unsuspected, and planted themselves about him. Some lamented the loss of their baggage, some desired him to assume the spirit of victory, which he had gained, others accused the rest of their commanders. 4 Thus watching their opportunity, they fell upon him, took away his sword, and bound his hands behind him with his own girdle.

5 Nicanor was sent by Antigonus to receive him. But, as they led him through the midst of the Macedonians, he desired first to speak to them ; not for any request he had to make, but upon matters of great importance to them. 6 Silence being made, he ascended an eminence, and stretching out his hands, bound as they were, he said: " What trophy, you vilest of all the Macedonians! what trophy could Antigonus have wished to raise over you, more than this which you yourselves are raising, by delivering up your general bound? 7 Was it not base enough to acknowledge yourselves beaten, though you had the upper hand, merely for the sake of your baggage, as if victory dwelt among your possessions, and not upon the points of your swords; but you must also send your general as a ransom for that baggage? 8 For my part, though thus led, I am not conquered; I have beaten the enemy, and am ruined by my fellow-soldiers. But I conjure you by Zeus, the god of armies, and the awful deities who preside over oaths, to kill me here with your own hands. 9 If my life be taken by another, the deed will be still yours. Nor will Antigonus complain, if you take the work out of his hands; for he wants not Eumenes alive, but Eumenes dead. 10 If you choose not to be the immediate instruments, loose but one of my hands, and that shall do my business. If you will not trust me with a sword, throw me, bound as I am, to wild beasts. 11 If you comply with this last request, I acquit you of all guilt with respect to me, and declare you have behaved to your general like the best and most honest of men,"

[18] The rest of the troops received this speech with sighs and tears, and every expression of sorrow; but the Argyraspides cried out, " Lead him on, and attend not to his trifling. 2 For it is not such a great matter if an execrable Chersonesian, who has harassed the Macedonians with infinite wars, has cause to lament his fate, as it would be if the best of Alexander's and Philippus' soldiers should be deprived of the fruit of their labours, and have their bread to beg in their old age. And have not our wives already passed three nights with our enemies?" So saying they drove him forward.

3 Antigonus, fearing some bad consequence from the crowd (for there was not a man left in his camp), sent out ten of his best elephants, and a corps of spearmen, who were Medes and Parthians, to keep them off. 4 He could not bear to have Eumenes brought into his presence, because of the former friendly connections there had been between them. And when those who took charge of him asked in what manner he would have him kept, he said, " So as you would keep an elephant or a lion." 5 Nevertheless he soon felt some impressions of pity, and ordered them to take off his heavy chains, and allow him a servant who had been accustomed to wait upon him. He likewise permitted such of his friends as desired it to pass whole days with him, and to bring him necessary refreshments. 6 Thus he spent some considerable time in deliberating how to dispose of him, and sometimes listened to the appeals and promises of Nearchus the Cretan and his own son Demetrius, who made it a point to save him. But all the other officers insisted that he should be put to death, and urged Antigonus to give directions for it.

7 One day, we are told, Eumenes asked his keeper, Onomarchus, "Why Antigonus, now he had got his enemy into his power, did not either immediately dispatch him, or generously release him?" 8 Onomarchus answered, in a contemptuous manner, "That in the battle, and not now, he should have been so ready to meet death." To which Eumenes replied, "By heavens, I was so! Ask those who ventured to engage me if I was not. I do not know that I met with a better man than myself." 9 "Well," said Onomarchus, " now you have found a better man than yourself, why do you not patiently wait his time?"

[19] When Antigonus had resolved upon his death, he gave orders that he should have no kind of food. By this means, in two or three days' time, he began to draw near his end; and then Antigonus, being obliged to decamp upon some sudden emergency, sent in an executioner to dispatch him. 2 The body he delivered to his friends, allowing them to burn it honourably and to collect the ashes into a silver urn, in order to their being sent to his wife and children.

3 Thus died Eumenes ; and divine justice did not go far to seek instruments of vengeance against the officers and soldiers who had betrayed him. Antigonus himself, detesting the Argyraspides as impious and savage wretches, ordered Sibyrtius, governor of Arachosia, under whose direction he put them, to use every method to destroy them; so that not one of them might return to Macedonia, or set his eyes upon the Greek sea.


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