Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Plutarch's Lives

Part 34 out of 35

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 4.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

they had quite broke and dispersed them about the city. No
sooner were these defeated, but Erginus came to them from those
that were fighting above, to acquaint them that Aratus was
engaged with the enemy, who defended themselves very stoutly,
and there was a fierce conflict at the very wall, and need of
speedy help. They therefore desired him to lead them on without
delay, and, marching up, they by their shouts made their friends
understand who they were, and encouraged them; and the full
moon, shining on their arms, made them, in the long line by
which they advanced, appear more in number to the enemy than
they were; and the echo of the night multiplied their shouts.
In short, falling on with the rest, they made the enemy give
way, and were masters of the castle and garrison, day now
beginning to be bright, and the rising sun shining out upon
their success. By this time, also, the rest of his army came up
to Aratus from Sicyon, the Corinthians joyfully receiving them
at the gates and helping them to secure the king's party.

And now, having put all things into a safe posture, he came down
from the castle to the theater, an infinite number of people
crowding thither to see him and to hear what he would say to the
Corinthians. Therefore drawing up the Achaeans on each side of
the stage-passages, he came forward himself upon the stage, with
his corslet still on, and his face showing the effects of all
his hard work and want of sleep, so that his natural exultation
and joyfulness of mind were overborne by the weariness of his
body. The people, as soon as he came forth, breaking out into
great applauses and congratulations, he took his spear in his
right hand, and, resting his body upon it with his knee a little
bent, stood a good while in that posture, silently receiving
their shouts and acclamations, while they extolled his valor and
wondered at his fortune; which being over, standing up, he
began an oration in the name of the Achaeans, suitable to the
late action, persuading the Corinthians to associate themselves
to the Achaeans, and withal delivered up to them the keys of
their gates, which had never been in their power since the time
of king Philip. Of the captains of Antigonus, he dismissed
Archelaus, whom he had taken prisoner, and Theophrastus, who
refused to quit his post, he put to death. As for Persaeus,
when he saw the castle was lost, he had got away to Cenchreae,
where, some time after, discoursing with one that said to him
that the wise man only is a true general, "Indeed," he replied,
"none of Zeno's maxims once pleased me better than this, but I
have been converted to another opinion by the young man of
Sicyon." This is told by many of Persaeus. Aratus, immediately
after, made himself master of the temple of Juno and haven of
Lechaeum, seized upon five and twenty of the king's ships,
together with five hundred horses and four hundred Syrians;
these he sold. The Achaeans kept guard in the Acro-Corinthus
with a body of four hundred soldiers, and fifty dogs with as
many keepers.

The Romans, extolling Philopoemen, called him the last of the
Grecians, as if no great man had ever since his time been bred
amongst them. But I should call this capture of the
Acro-Corinthus the last of the Grecian exploits, being
comparable to the best of them, both for the daringness of it,
and the success, as was presently seen by the consequences. For
the Megarians, revolting from Antigonus, joined Aratus, and the
Troezenians and Epidaurians enrolled themselves in the Achaean
community, and issuing forth for the first time, he entered
Attica, and passing over into Salamis, he plundered the island,
turning the Achaean force every way, as if it were just let
loose out of prison and set at liberty. All freemen whom he
took he sent back to the Athenians without ransom, as a sort of
first invitation to them to come over to the league. He made
Ptolemy become a confederate of the Achaeans, with the privilege
of command both by sea and land. And so great was his power
with them, that since he could not by law be chosen their
general every year, yet every other year he was, and by his
counsels and actions was in effect always so. For they
perceived that neither riches nor reputation, nor the friendship
of kings, nor the private interest of his own country, nor
anything else was so dear to him as the increase of the Achaean
power and greatness. For he believed that the cities, weak
individually, could be preserved by nothing else but a mutual
assistance under the closest bond of the common interest; and,
as the members of the body live and breathe by the union of all
in a single natural growth, and on the dissolution of this, when
once they separate, pine away and putrefy, in the same manner
are cities ruined by being dissevered, as well as preserved
when, as the members of one great body they enjoy the benefit of
that providence and counsel that govern the whole.

Now being distressed to see that, whereas the chief neighboring
cities enjoyed their own laws and liberties, the Argives were in
bondage, he took counsel for destroying their tyrant
Aristomachus, being very desirous both to pay his debt of
gratitude to the city where he had been bred up, by restoring it
its liberty, and to add so considerable a town to the Achaeans.
Nor were there some wanting who had the courage to undertake the
thing, of whom Aeschylus and Charimenes the soothsayer were the
chief. But they wanted swords; for the tyrant had prohibited
the keeping of any under a great penalty. Therefore Aratus,
having provided some small daggers at Corinth and hidden them in
the pack-saddles of some pack-horses that carried ordinary ware,
sent them to Argos. But Charimenes letting another person into
the design, Aeschylus and his partners were angry at it, and
henceforth would have no more to do with him, and took their
measures by themselves, and Charimenes, on finding this, went,
out of anger, and informed against them, just as they were on
their way to attack the tyrant; however, the most of them made a
shift to escape out of the marketplace, and fled to Corinth.
Not long after, Aristomachus was slain by some slaves, and
Aristippus, a worse tyrant than he, seized the government.
Upon this, Aratus, mustering all the Achaeans present that were
of age, hurried away to the aid of the city, believing that he
should find the people ready to join with him. But the greater
number being by this time habituated to slavery and content to
submit, and no one coming to join him, he was obliged to retire,
having moreover exposed the Achaeans to the charge of committing
acts of hostility in the midst of peace; upon which account they
were sued before the Mantineans, and, Aratus not making his
appearance, Aristippus gained the cause, and had damages allowed
him to the value of thirty minae. And now hating and fearing
Aratus, he sought means to kill him, having the assistance
herein of king Antigonus; so that Aratus was perpetually dogged
and watched by those that waited for an opportunity to do this
service. But there is no such safeguard of a ruler as the
sincere and steady good-will of his subjects, for, where both
the common people and the principal citizens have their fears
not of but for their governor, he sees with many eyes and hears
with many ears whatsoever is doing. Therefore I cannot but here
stop short a little in the course of my narrative, to describe
the manner of life which the so much envied arbitrary power and
the so much celebrated and admired pomp and pride of absolute
government obliged Aristippus to lead.

For though Antigonus was his friend and ally, and though he
maintained numerous soldiers to act as his body-guard, and had
not left one enemy of his alive in the city, yet he was forced
to make his guards encamp in the colonnade about his house; and
for his servants, he turned them all out immediately after
supper, and then shutting the doors upon them, he crept up into
a small upper chamber, together with his mistress, through a
trapdoor, upon which he placed his bed, and there slept after:
such a fashion, as one in his condition can be supposed to
sleep, that is, interruptedly and in fear. The ladder was taken
away by the woman's mother, and locked up in another room; in
the morning she brought it again, and putting it to, called up
this brave and wonderful tyrant, who came crawling out like some
creeping thing out of its hole. Whereas Aratus, not by force of
arms, but lawfully and by his virtue, lived in possession of a
firmly settled command, wearing the ordinary coat and cloak,
being the common and declared enemy of all tyrants, and has left
behind him a noble race of descendants surviving among the
Grecians to this day; while those occupiers of citadels and
maintainers of bodyguards, who made all this use of arms and
gates and bolts to protect their lives, in some few cases
perhaps escaped, like the hare from the hunters; but in no
instance have we either house or family, or so much as a tomb to
which any respect is shown, remaining to preserve the memory of
any one of them.

Against this Aristippus, therefore, Aratus made many open and
many secret attempts, whilst he endeavored to take Argos, though
without success; once, particularly, clapping scaling ladders in
the night to the wall, he desperately got up upon it with a few
of his soldiers, and killed the guards that opposed him. But
the day appearing, the tyrant set upon him on all hands, whilst
the Argives, as if it had not been their liberty that was
contended for, but some Nemean game going on for which it was
their privilege to assign the prize, like fair and impartial
judges, sat looking on in great quietness. Aratus, fighting
bravely, was run through the thigh with a lance, yet he
maintained his ground against the enemy till night, and, had he
been able to go on and hold out that night also, he had gained
his point; for the tyrant thought of nothing but flying, and had
already shipped most of his goods. But Aratus, having no
intelligence of this, and wanting water, being disabled himself
by his wound, retreated with his soldiers.

Despairing henceforth to do any good this way, he fell openly
with his army into Argolis, and plundered it, and, in a fierce
battle with Aristippus near the river Chares, he was accused of
having withdrawn out of the fight, and thereby abandoned the
victory. For whereas one part of his army had unmistakably got
the better, and was pursuing the enemy at a good distance from
him, he yet retreated in confusion into his camp, not so much
because he was overpressed by those with whom he was engaged, as
out of mistrust of success and through a panic fear. But when the
other wing, returning from the pursuit, showed themselves
extremely vexed, that though they had put the enemy to flight
and killed many more of his men than they had lost, yet those
that were in a manner conquered should erect a trophy as
conquerors, being much ashamed he resolved to fight them again
about the trophy, and the next day but one drew up his army to
give them battle. But, perceiving that they were reinforced
with fresh troops, and came on with better courage than before,
he durst not hazard a fight, but retired, and sent to request a
truce to bury his dead. However, by his dexterity in dealing
personally with men and managing political affairs, and by his
general favor, he excused and obliterated this fault, and
brought in Cleonae to the Achaean association, and celebrated
the Nemean games at Cleonae, as the proper and more ancient
place for them. The games were also celebrated by the Argives at
the same time, which gave the first occasion to the violation of
the privilege of safe conduct and immunity always granted to
those that came to compete for the prizes, the Achaeans at that
time selling as enemies all those they caught going through
their country after joining in the games at Argos. So vehement
and implacable a hater was he of the tyrants.

Not long after, having notice that Aristippus had a design upon
Cleonae, but was afraid of him, because he then was staying in
Corinth, he assembled an army by public proclamation, and,
commanding them to take along with them provision for several
days, he marched to Cenchreae, hoping by this stratagem to
entice Aristippus to fall upon Cleonae, when he supposed him far
enough off. And so it happened, for he immediately brought his
forces against it from Argos. But Aratus, returning from
Cenchreae to Corinth in the dusk of the evening, and setting
posts of his troops in all the roads, led on the Achaeans, who
followed him in such good order and with so much speed and
alacrity, that they were undiscovered by Aristippus, not only
whilst upon their march, but even when they got, still in the
night, into Cleonae, and drew up in order of battle. As soon as
it was morning, the gates being opened and the trumpets
sounding, he fell upon the enemy with great cries and fury,
routed them at once, and kept close in pursuit, following the
course which he most imagined Aristippus would choose, there
being many turns that might be taken. And so the chase lasted
as far as Mycenae, where the tyrant was slain by a certain
Cretan called Tragiscus, as Dinias reports. Of the common
soldiers, there fell above fifteen hundred. Yet though Aratus
had obtained so great a victory, and that too without the loss
of a man, he could not make himself master of Argos nor set it
at liberty, because Agias and the younger Aristomachus got into
the town with some of the king's forces, and seized upon the
government. However, by this exploit he spoiled the scoffs and
jests of those that flattered the tyrants, and in their raillery
would say that the Achaean general was usually troubled with a
looseness when he was to fight a battle, that the sound of a
trumpet struck him with a drowsiness and a giddiness, and that,
when he had drawn up his army and given the word, he used to ask
his lieutenants and officers whether there was any further need
of his presence now the die was cast, and then went aloof, to
await the result at a distance. For indeed these stories were
so generally listened to, that, when the philosophers disputed
whether to have one's heart beat and to change color upon any
apparent danger be an argument of fear, or rather of some
distemperature and chilliness of bodily constitution, Aratus was
always quoted as a good general, who was always thus affected
ill time of battle.

Having thus dispatched Aristippus, he advised with himself how
to overthrow Lydiades, the Megalopolitan, who held usurped power
over his country. This person was naturally of a generous
temper, and not insensible of true honor, and had been led into
this wickedness, not by the ordinary motives of other tyrants,
licentiousness and rapacity, but being young, and stimulated
with the desire of glory, he had let his mind be unwarily
prepossessed with the vain and false applauses given to tyranny,
as some happy and glorious thing. But he no sooner seized the
government, than he grew weary of the pomp and burden of it.
And at once emulating the tranquillity and fearing the policy of
Aratus, he took the best of resolutions, first, to free himself
from hatred and fear, from soldiers and guards, and, secondly,
to be the public benefactor of his country. And sending for
Aratus, he resigned the government, and incorporated his city
into the Achaean community. The Achaeans, applauding this
generous action, chose him their general; upon which, desiring
to outdo Aratus in glory, amongst many other uncalled-for
things, he declared war against the Lacedaemonians; which Aratus
opposing was thought to do it out of envy; and Lydiades was the
second time chosen general, though Aratus acted openly against
him, and labored to have the office conferred upon another. For
Aratus himself had the command every other year, as has been
said. Lydiades, however, succeeded so well in his pretensions,
that he was thrice chosen general, governing alternately, as did
Aratus; but at last, declaring himself his professed enemy, and
accusing him frequently to the Achaeans, he was rejected, and
fell into contempt, people now seeing that it was a contest
between a counterfeit and a true, unadulterated virtue, and, as
Aesop tells us that the cuckoo once, asking the little birds why
they flew away from her, was answered, because they feared she
would one day prove a hawk, so Lydiades's former tyranny still
cast a doubt upon the reality of his change.

But Aratus gained new honor in the Aetolian war. For the
Achaeans resolving to fall upon the Aetolians on the Megarian
confines, and Agis also, the Lacedaemonian king, who came to
their assistance with an army, encouraging them to fight, Aratus
opposed this determination. And patiently enduring many
reproaches, many scoffs and jeerings at his soft and cowardly
temper, he would not, for any appearance of disgrace, abandon
what he judged to be the true common advantage, and suffered the
enemy to pass over Geranea into Peloponnesus without a battle.
But when, after they had passed by, news came that they had
suddenly captured Pellene, he was no longer the same man, nor
would he hear of any delay, or wait to draw together his whole
force, but marched towards the enemy with such as he had about
him to fall upon them, as they were indeed now much less
formidable through the intemperances and disorders committed in
their success. For as soon as they entered the city, the common
soldiers dispersed and went hither and thither into the houses,
quarreling and fighting with one another about the plunder; and
the officers and commanders were running about after the wives
and daughters of the Pellenians, on whose heads they put their
own helmets, to mark each man his prize, and prevent another
from seizing it. And in this posture were they when news came
that Aratus was ready to fall upon them. And in the midst of
the consternation likely to ensue in the confusion they were in,
before all of them heard of the danger, the outmost of them,
engaging at the gates and in the suburbs with the Achaeans, were
already beaten and put to flight, and, as they came headlong
back, filled with their panic those who were collecting and
advancing to their assistance.

In this confusion, one of the captives, daughter of Epigethes, a
citizen of repute, being extremely handsome and tall, happened
to be sitting in the temple of Diana, placed there by the
commander of the band of chosen men, who had taken her and put
his crested helmet upon her. She, hearing the noise, and
running out to see what was the matter, stood in the temple
gates, looking down from above upon those that fought, having
the helmet upon her head; in which posture she seemed to the
citizens to be something more than human, and struck fear and
dread into the enemy, who believed it to be a divine apparition;
so that they lost all courage to defend themselves. But the
Pellenians tell us that the image of Diana stands usually
untouched, and when the priestess happens at any time to remove
it to some other place, nobody dares look upon it, but all turn
their faces from it; for not only is the sight of it terrible
and hurtful to mankind, but it makes even the trees, by which it
happens to be carried, become barren and cast their fruit. This
image, therefore, they say, the priestess produced at that time,
and, holding it directly in the faces of the Aetolians, made
them lose their reason and judgment. But Aratus mentions no
such thing in his commentaries, but says, that, having put to
flight the Aetolians, and falling in pell-mell with them into
the city, he drove them out by main force, and killed seven
hundred of them. And the action was extolled as one of the most
famous exploits, and Timanthes the painter made a picture of the
battle, giving by his composition a most lively representation
of it.

But many great nations and potentates combining against the
Achaeans, Aratus immediately treated for friendly arrangements
with the Aetolians, and, making use of the assistance of
Pantaleon, the most powerful man amongst them, he not only made
a peace, but an alliance between them and the Achaeans. But
being desirous to free the Athenians, he got into disgrace and
ill-repute among the Achaeans, because, notwithstanding the
truce and suspension of arms made between them and the
Macedonians, he had attempted to take the Piraeus. He denies
this fact in his commentaries, and lays the blame on Erginus, by
whose assistance he took Acro-Corinthus, alleging that he upon
his own private account attacked the Piraeus, and, his ladders
happening to break, being hotly pursued, he called out upon
Aratus as if present, by which means deceiving the enemy, he got
safely off. This excuse, however, sounds very improbable; for it
is not in any way likely that Erginus, a private man and a
Syrian stranger, should conceive in his mind so great an
attempt, without Aratus at his back, to tell him how and when to
make it, and to supply him with the means. Nor was it twice or
thrice, but very often, that, like an obstinate lover, he
repeated his attempts on the Piraeus, and was so far from being
discouraged by his disappointments, that his missing his hopes
but narrowly was an incentive to him to proceed the more boldly
in a new trial. One time amongst the rest, in making his escape
through the Thriasian plain, he put his leg out of joint, and
was forced to submit to many operations with the knife before he
was cured, so that for a long time he was carried in a litter to
the wars.

And when Antigonus was dead, and Demetrius succeeded him in the
kingdom, he was more bent than ever upon Athens, and in general
quite despised the Macedonians. And so, being overthrown in
battle near Phylacia by Bithys, Demetrius's general, and there
being a very strong report that he was either taken or slain,
Diogenes, the governor of the Piraeus, sent letters to Corinth,
commanding the Achaeans to quit that city, seeing Aratus was
dead. When these letters came to Corinth, Aratus happened to be
there in person, so that Diogenes's messengers, being
sufficiently mocked and derided, were forced to return to their
master. King Demetrius himself also sent a ship, wherein
Aratus was to be brought to him in chains. And the Athenians,
exceeding all possible fickleness of flattery to the
Macedonians, crowned themselves with garlands upon the first
news of his death. And so in anger he went at once and invaded
Attica, and penetrated as far as the Academy, but then suffering
himself to be pacified, he did no further act of hostility. And
the Athenians afterwards, coming to a due sense of his virtue,
when upon the death of Demetrius they attempted to recover their
liberty, called him in to their assistance; and although at that
time another person was general of the Achaeans, and he himself
had long kept his bed with a sickness, yet, rather than fail the
city in a time of need, he was carried thither in a litter, and
helped to persuade Diogenes the governor to deliver up the
Piraeus, Munychia, Salamis, and Sunium to the Athenians in
consideration of a hundred and fifty talents, of which Aratus
himself contributed twenty to the city. Upon this, the
Aeginetans and the Hermionians immediately joined the Achaeans,
and the greatest part of Arcadia entered their confederacy; and
the Macedonians being occupied with various wars upon their own
confines and with their neighbors, the Achaean power, the
Aetolians also being in alliance with them, rose to great

But Aratus, still bent on effecting his old project, and
impatient that tyranny should maintain itself in so near a city
as Argos, sent to Aristomachus to persuade him to restore
liberty to that city, and to associate it to the Achaeans, and
that, following Lydiades's example, he should rather choose to
be the general of a great nation, with esteem and honor, than
the tyrant of one city, with continual hatred and danger.
Aristomachus slighted not the message, but desired Aratus to
send him fifty talents, with which he might pay off the
soldiers. In the meantime, whilst the money was providing,
Lydiades, being then general, and extremely ambitious that this
advantage might seem to be of his procuring for the Achaeans,
accused Aratus to Aristomachus, as one that bore an
irreconcilable hatred to the tyrants, and, persuading him to
commit the affair to his management, he presented him to the
Achaeans. But there the Achaean council gave a manifest proof
of the great credit Aratus had with them and the good-will they
bore him. For when he, in anger, spoke against Aristomachus's
being admitted into the association, they rejected the proposal,
but when he was afterwards pacified and came himself and spoke
in its favor, they voted everything cheerfully and readily, and
decreed that the Argives and Phliasians should be incorporated
into their commonwealth, and the next year they chose
Aristomachus general. He, being in good credit with the
Achaeans, was very desirous to invade Laconia, and for that
purpose sent for Aratus from Athens. Aratus wrote to him to
dissuade him as far as he could from that expedition, being very
unwilling the Achaeans should be engaged in a quarrel with
Cleomenes, who was a daring man, and making extraordinary
advances to power. But Aristomachus resolving to go on, he
obeyed and served in person, on which occasion he hindered
Aristomachus from fighting a battle, when Cleomenes came upon
them at Pallantium; and for this act was accused by Lydiades,
and, coming to an open conflict with him in a contest for the
office of general, he carried it by the show of hands, and was
chosen general the twelfth time.

This year, being routed by Cleomenes near the Lycaeum, he fled,
and, wandering out of the way in the night, was believed to be
slain; and once more it was confidently reported so throughout
all Greece. He, however, having escaped this danger and rallied
his forces, was not content to march off in safety, but, making
a happy use of the present conjuncture, when nobody dreamed any
such thing, he fell suddenly upon the Mantineans, allies of
Cleomenes, and, taking the city, put a garrison into it, and
made the stranger inhabitants free of the city; procuring, by
this means, those advantages for the beaten Achaeans, which,
being conquerors, they would not easily have obtained. The
Lacedaemonians again invading the Megalopolitan territories, he
marched to the assistance of the city, but refused to give
Cleomenes, who did all he could to provoke him to it, any
opportunity of engaging him in a battle, nor could be prevailed
upon by the Megalopolitans, who urged him to it extremely. For
besides that by nature he was ill-suited for set battles, he was
then much inferior in numbers, and was to deal with a daring
leader, still in the heat of youth, while he himself, now past
the prime of courage and come to a chastised ambition, felt it
his business to maintain by prudence the glory, which he had
obtained, and the other was only aspiring to by forwardness and

So that though the light-armed soldiers had sallied out and
driven the Lacedaemonians as far as their camp, and had come
even to their tents, yet would not Aratus lead his men forward,
but, posting himself in a hollow watercourse in the way thither,
stopped and prevented the citizens from crossing this.
Lydiades, extremely vexed at what was going on, and loading
Aratus with reproaches, entreated the horse that together with
him they would second them that had the enemy in chase, and not
let a certain victory slip out of their hands, nor forsake him
that was going to venture his life for his country. And being
reinforced with many brave men that turned after him, he charged
the enemy's right wing, and routing it, followed the pursuit
without measure or discretion, letting his eagerness and hopes
of glory tempt him on into broken ground, full of planted fruit
trees and cut up with broad ditches, where, being engaged by
Cleomenes, he fell, fighting gallantly the noblest of battles,
at the gate of his country. The rest, flying back to their main
body and troubling the ranks of the full-armed infantry, put the
whole army to the rout. Aratus was extremely blamed, being
suspected to have betrayed Lydiades, and was constrained by the
Achaeans, who withdrew in great anger, to accompany them to
Aegium, where they called a council, and decreed that he should
no longer be furnished with money, nor have any more soldiers
hired for him, but that, if he would make war, he should pay
them himself.

This affront he resented so far as to resolve to give up the
seal and lay down the office of general; but upon second
thoughts he found it best to have patience, and presently
marched with the Achaeans to Orchomenus and fought a battle with
Megistonus, the step-father of Cleomenes, where he got the
victory, killing three hundred men and taking Megistonus
prisoner. But whereas he used to be chosen general every other
year, when his turn came and he was called to take upon him that
charge, he declined it, and Timoxenus was chosen in his stead.
The true cause of which was not the pique he was alleged to have
taken at the people, but the ill circumstances of the Achaean
affairs. For Cleomenes did not now invade them gently and
tenderly as hitherto, as one controlled by the civil
authorities, but having killed the Ephors, divided the lands,
and made many of the stranger residents free of the city, he was
responsible to no one in his government; and therefore fell in
good earnest upon the Achaeans, and put forward his claim to the
supreme military command. Wherefore Aratus is much blamed, that
in a stormy and tempestuous time, like a cowardly pilot, he
should forsake the helm, when it was even perhaps his duty to
have insisted, whether they would or no, on saving them; or if
he thought the Achaean affairs desperate, to have yielded all up
to Cleomenes, and not to have let Peloponnesus fall once again
into barbarism with Macedonian garrisons, and Acro-Corinthus be
occupied with Illyric and Gaulish soldiers, and, under the
specious name of Confederates, to have made those masters of the
cities whom he had held it his business by arms and by policy to
baffle and defeat, and, in the memoirs he left behind him,
loaded with reproaches and insults. And say that Cleomenes was
arbitrary and tyrannical, yet was he descended from the
Heraclidae, and Sparta was his country, the obscurest citizen of
which deserved to be preferred to the generalship before the
best of the Macedonians by those that had any regard to the
honor of Grecian birth. Besides, Cleomenes sued for that
command over the Achaeans as one that would return the honor of
that title with real kindnesses to the cities; whereas
Antigonus, being declared absolute general by sea and land,
would not accept the office unless Acro-Corinthus were by
special agreement put into his hands, following the example of
Aesop's hunter; for he would not get up and ride the Achaeans,
who desired him so to do, and offered their backs to him by
embassies and popular decrees, till, by a garrison and hostages,
they had allowed him to bit and bridle them. Aratus exhausts
all his powers of speech to show the necessity that was upon
him. But Polybius writes, that long before this, and before
there was any necessity, apprehending the daring temper of
Cleomenes, he communicated secretly with Antigonus, and that he
had beforehand prevailed with the Megalopolitans to press the
Achaeans to crave aid from Antigonus. For they were the most
harassed by the war, Cleomenes continually plundering and
ransacking their country. And so writes also Phylarchus, who,
unless seconded by the testimony of Polybius, would not be
altogether credited; for he is seized with enthusiasm when he so
much as speaks a word of Cleomenes, and as if he were pleading,
not writing a history, goes on throughout defending the one and
accusing the other.

The Achaeans, therefore, lost Mantinea, which was recovered by
Cleomenes, and being beaten in a great fight near Hecatombaeum,
so general was the consternation, that they immediately sent to
Cleomenes to desire him to come to Argos and take the command
upon him. But Aratus, as soon as he understood that he was
coming, and was got as far as Lerna with his troops, fearing
the result, sent ambassadors to him, to request him to come
accompanied with three hundred only, as to friends and
confederates, and, if he mistrusted anything, he should receive
hostages. Upon which Cleomenes, saying this was mere mockery
and affront, went away, sending a letter to the Achaeans full of
reproaches and accusation against Aratus. And Aratus also wrote
letters against Cleomenes; and bitter revilings and railleries
were current on both hands, not sparing even their marriages and
wives. Hereupon Cleomenes sent a herald to declare war against
the Achaeans, and in the meantime missed very narrowly of
taking Sicyon by treachery. Turning off at a little distance,
he attacked and took Pellene, which the Achaean general
abandoned, and not long after took also Pheneus and Penteleum.
Then immediately the Argives voluntarily joined with him, and
the Phliasians received a garrison, and in short nothing among
all their new acquisitions held firm to the Achaeans. Aratus
was encompassed on every side with clamor and confusion; he saw
the whole of Peloponnesus shaking around him, and the cities
everywhere set in revolt by men desirous of innovations.

For indeed no place remained quiet or satisfied with the present
condition; even amongst the Sicyonians and Corinthians
themselves, many were well known to have had private conferences
with Cleomenes, who long since, out of desire to make themselves
masters of their several cities, had been discontented with the
present order of things. Aratus, having absolute power given
him to bring these to condign punishment, executed as many of
them as he could find at Sicyon, but going about to find them
out and punish them at Corinth also, he irritated the people,
already unsound in feeling and weary of the Achaean government.
So collecting tumultuously in the temple of Apollo, they sent
for Aratus, having determined to take or kill him before they
broke out into open revolt. He came accordingly, leading his
horse in his hand, as if he suspected nothing. Then several
leaping up and accusing and reproaching him, with mild words and
a settled countenance he bade them sit down, and not stand
crying out upon him in a disorderly manner, desiring, also, that
those that were about the door might be let in, and saying so,
he stepped out quietly, as if he would give his horse to
somebody. Clearing himself thus of the crowd, and speaking
without discomposure to the Corinthians that he met, commanding
them to go to Apollo's temple, and being now, before they were
aware, got near to the citadel, he leaped upon his horse, and
commanding Cleopater, the governor of the garrison, to have a
special care of his charge, he galloped to Sicyon, followed by
thirty of his soldiers, the rest leaving him and shifting for
themselves. And not long after, it being known that he was
fled, the Corinthians pursued him, but not overtaking him, they
immediately sent for Cleomenes and delivered up the city to him,
who, however, thought nothing they could give was so great a
gain, as was the loss of their having let Aratus get away.
Nevertheless, being strengthened by the accession of the people
of the Acte, as it is called, who put their towns into his
hands, he proceeded to carry a palisade and lines of
circumvallation around the Acro-Corinthus.

But Aratus being arrived at Sicyon, the body of the Achaeans
there flocked to him, and, in an assembly there held, he was
chosen general with absolute power, and he took about him a
guard of his own citizens, it being now three and thirty years
since he first took a part in public affairs among the Achaeans,
having in that time been the chief man in credit and power of
all Greece; but he was now deserted on all hands, helpless and
overpowered, drifting about amidst the waves and danger on the
shattered hulk of his native city. For the Aetolians, affected
whom he applied to, declined to assist him in his distress, and
the Athenians, who were well affected to him, were diverted from
lending him any succor by the authority of Euclides and Micion.
Now whereas he had a house and property in Corinth, Cleomenes
meddled not with it, nor suffered anybody else to do so, but
calling for his friends and agents, he bade them hold themselves
responsible to Aratus for everything, as to him they would have
to render their account; and privately he sent to him Tripylus,
and afterwards Megistonus, his own stepfather, to offer him,
besides several other things, a yearly pension of twelve
talents, which was twice as much as Ptolemy allowed him, for he
gave him six; and all that he demanded was to be declared
commander of the Achaeans, and together with them to have the
keeping of the citadel of Corinth. To which Aratus returning
answer that affairs were not so properly in his power as he was
in the power of them, Cleomenes, believing this a mere evasion,
immediately entered the country of Sicyon, destroying all with
fire and sword, and besieged the city three months, whilst
Aratus held firm, and was in dispute with himself whether he
should call in Antigonus upon condition of delivering up the
citadel of Corinth to him; for he would not lend him assistance
upon any other terms.

In the meantime the Achaeans assembled at Aegium, and called for
Aratus; but it was very hazardous for him to pass thither, while
Cleomenes was encamped before Sicyon; besides, the citizens
endeavored to stop him by their entreaties, protesting that they
would not suffer him to expose himself to so evident danger, the
enemy being so near; the women, also, and children hung about
him, weeping and embracing him as their common father and
defender. But he, having comforted and encouraged them as well
as he could, got on horseback, and being accompanied with ten
of his friends and his son, then a youth, got away to the
sea-side, and finding vessels there waiting off the shore, went
on board of them and sailed to Aegium to the assembly; in which
it was decreed that Antigonus should be called in to their aid,
and should have the Acro-Corinthus delivered to him. Aratus
also sent his son to him with the other hostages. The
Corinthians, extremely angry at this proceeding, now plundered
his property, and gave his house as a present to Cleomenes.

Antigonus being now near at hand with his army, consisting of
twenty thousand Macedonian foot and one thousand three hundred
horse, Aratus, with the Members of Council, went to meet him by
sea, and got, unobserved by the enemy, to Pegae, having no great
confidence either in Antigonus or the Macedonians. For he was
very sensible that his own greatness had been made out of the
losses he had caused them, and that the first great principle of
his public conduct had been hostility to the former Antigonus.
But perceiving the necessity that was now upon him, and the
pressure of the time, that lord and master of those we call
rulers, to be inexorable, he resolved to put all to the venture.
So soon, therefore, as Antigonus was told that Aratus was coming
up to him, he saluted the rest of the company after the ordinary
manner, but him he received at the very first approach with
especial honor, and finding him afterwards to be both good and
wise, admitted him to his nearer familiarity. For Aratus was
not only useful to him in the management of great affairs, but
singularly agreeable also as the private companion of a king in
his recreations. And therefore, though Antigonus was young,
yet as soon as he observed the temper of the man to be proper
for a prince's friendship, he made more use of him than of any
other, not only of the Achaeans, but also of the Macedonians
that were about him. So that the thing fell out to him just as
the god had foreshown in a sacrifice. For it is related that,
as Aratus was not long before offering sacrifice, there were
found in the liver two gall-bags enclosed in the same caul of
fat; whereupon the soothsayer told him that there should very
soon be the strictest friendship imaginable between him and his
greatest and most mortal enemies; which prediction he at that
time slighted, having in general no great faith in soothsayings
and prognostications, but depending most upon rational
deliberation. At an after time, however, when, things
succeeding well in the war, Antigonus made a great feast at
Corinth, to which he invited a great number of guests, and
placed Aratus next above himself, and presently calling for a
coverlet, asked him if he did not find it cold, and on Aratus's
answering "Yes, extremely cold," bade him come nearer, so that
when the servants brought the coverlet, they threw it over them
both, then Aratus remembering the sacrifice, fell a laughing,
and told the king the sign which had happened to him, and the
interpretation of it. But this fell out a good while after.

So Aratus and the king, plighting their faith to each other at
Pegae, immediately marched towards the enemy, with whom they had
frequent engagements near the city, Cleomenes maintaining a
strong position, and the Corinthians making a very brisk
defense. In the meantime, Aristoteles the Argive, Aratus's
friend, sent privately to him to let him know, that he would
cause Argos to revolt, if he would come thither in person with
some soldiers. Aratus acquainted Antigonus, and, taking fifteen
hundred men with him, sailed in boats along the shore as quickly
as he could from the Isthmus to Epidaurus. But the Argives had
not patience till he could arrive, but, making a sudden
insurrection, fell upon Cleomenes's soldiers, and drove them
into the citadel. Cleomenes having news of this, and fearing
lest, if the enemy should possess themselves of Argos, they
might cut off his retreat home, leaves the Acro-Corinthus and
marches away by night to help his men. He got thither first,
and beat off the enemy, but Aratus appearing not long after, and
the king approaching with his forces, he retreated to Mantinea,
upon which all the cities again came over to the Achaeans, and
Antigonus took possession of the Acro-Corinthus. Aratus, being
chosen general by the Argives, persuaded them to make a present
to Antigonus of the property of the tyrants and the traitors.
As for Aristomachus, after having put him to the rack in the
town of Cenchreae, they drowned him in the sea; for which, more
than anything else, Aratus was reproached, that he could suffer
a man to be so lawlessly put to death, who was no bad man, had
been one of his long acquaintance, and at his persuasion had
abdicated his power, and annexed the city to the Achaeans.

And already the blame of the other things that were done began
to be laid to his account; as that they so lightly gave up
Corinth to Antigonus, as if it had been an inconsiderable
village; that they had suffered him, after first sacking
Orchomenus, then to put into it a Macedonian garrison; that they
made a decree that no letters nor embassy should be sent to any
other king without the consent of Antigonus, that they were
forced to furnish pay and provision for the Macedonian soldiers,
and celebrated sacrifices, processions, and games in honor of
Antigonus, Aratus's citizens setting the example and receiving
Antigonus, who was lodged and entertained at Aratus's house.
All these things they treated as his fault, not knowing that
having once put the reins into Antigonus's hands, and let
himself be borne by the impetus of regal power, he was no longer
master of anything but one single voice, the liberty of which
it was not so very safe for him to use. For it was very plain
that Aratus was much troubled at several things, as appeared by
the business about the statues. For Antigonus replaced the
statues of the tyrants of Argos that had been thrown down, and
on the contrary threw down the statues of all those that had
taken the Acro-Corinthus, except that of Aratus, nor could
Aratus, by all his entreaties, dissuade him. Also, the usage of
the Mantineans by the Achaeans seemed not in accordance with the
Grecian feelings and manners. For being masters of their city
by the help of Antigonus, they put to death the chief and most
noted men amongst them; and of the rest, some they sold, others
they sent, bound in fetters, into Macedonia, and made slaves of
their wives and children; and of the money thus raised, a third
part they divided among themselves, and the other two thirds
were distributed among the Macedonians. And this might seem to
have been justified by the law of retaliation; for although it
be a barbarous thing for men of the same nation and blood thus
to deal with one another in their fury, yet necessity makes it,
as Simonides says, sweet and something excusable, being the
proper thing, in the mind's painful and inflamed condition, to
give alleviation and relief. But for what was afterwards done
to that city, Aratus cannot be defended on any ground either of
reason or necessity. For the Argives having had the city
bestowed on them by Antigonus, and resolving to people it, he
being then chosen as the new founder, and being general at that
time, decreed that it should no longer be called Mantinea, but
Antigonea, which name it still bears. So that he may be said to
have been the cause that the old memory of the "beautiful
Mantinea" has been wholly extinguished, and the city to this
day has the name of the destroyer and slayer of its citizens.

After this, Cleomenes, being overthrown in a great battle near
Sellasia, forsook Sparta and fled into Egypt, and Antigonus,
having shown all manner of kindness and fair-dealing to Aratus,
retired into Macedonia. There, falling sick, he sent Philip,
the heir of the kingdom, into Peloponnesus, being yet scarce a
youth, commanding him to follow above all the counsel of Aratus,
to communicate with the cities through him, and through him to
make acquaintance with the Achaeans; and Aratus, receiving him
accordingly, so managed him as to send him back to Macedon both
well affected to himself and full of desire and ambition to take
an honorable part in the affairs of Greece.

When Antigonus was dead, the Aetolians, despising the sloth and
negligence of the Achaeans, who, having learned to be defended by
other men's valor and to shelter themselves under the Macedonian
arms, lived in ease and without any discipline, now attempted to
interfere in Peloponnesus. And plundering the land of Patrae
and Dyme in their way, they invaded Messene and ravaged it; at
which Aratus being indignant, and finding that Timoxenus, then
general, was hesitating and letting the time go by, being now on
the point of laying down his office, in which he himself was
chosen to succeed him, he anticipated the proper term by five
days, that he might bring relief to the Messenians. And
mustering the Achaeans, who were both in their persons
unexercised in arms and in their minds relaxed and averse to
war, he met with a defeat at Caphyae. Having thus begun the
war, as it seemed, with too much heat and passion, he then ran
into the other extreme, cooling again and desponding so much,
that he let pass and overlooked many fair opportunities of
advantage given by the Aetolians, and allowed them to run riot,
as it were, throughout all Peloponnesus, with all manner of
insolence and licentiousness. Wherefore, holding forth their
hands once more to the Macedonians, they invited and drew in
Philip to intermeddle in the affairs of Greece, chiefly hoping,
because of his affection and trust that he felt for Aratus, they
should find him easy-tempered, and ready to be managed as they

But the king, being now persuaded by Apelles, Megaleas, and
other courtiers, that endeavored to ruin the credit Aratus had
with him, took the side of the contrary faction, and joined them
in canvassing to have Eperatus chosen general by the Achaeans.
But he being altogether scorned by the Achaeans, and, for the
want of Aratus to help, all things going wrong, Philip saw he
had quite mistaken his part, and, turning about and reconciling
himself to Aratus, he was wholly his; and his affairs now going
on favorably both for his power and reputation, he depended upon
him altogether as the author of all his gains in both respects;
Aratus hereby giving a proof to the world that he was as good a
nursing father of a kingdom as he had been of a democracy, for
the actions of the king had in them the touch and color of his
judgment and character. The moderation which the young man
showed to the Lacedaemonians, who had incurred his displeasure,
and his affability to the Cretans, by which in a few days he
brought over the whole island to his obedience, and his
expedition against the Aetolians, so wonderfully successful,
brought Philip reputation for hearkening to good advice, and to
Aratus for giving it; for which things the king's followers
envying him more than ever and finding they could not prevail
against him by their secret practices, began openly to abuse and
affront him at the banquets and over their wine, with every kind
of petulance and impudence; so that once they threw stones at
him as he was going back from supper to his tent. At which
Philip being much offended, immediately fined them twenty
talents; and finding afterwards that they still went on
disturbing matters and doing mischief in his affairs, he put
them to death.

But with his run of good success, prosperity began to puff him
up, and various extravagant desires began to spring and show
themselves in his mind; and his natural bad inclinations,
breaking through the artificial restraints he had put upon them,
in a little time laid open and discovered his true and proper
character. And in the first place, he privately injured the
younger Aratus in his wife, which was not known of a good while,
because he was lodged and entertained at their house; then he
began to be more rough and untractable in the domestic politics
of Greece, and showed plainly that he was wishing to shake
himself loose of Aratus. This the Messenian affairs first gave
occasion to suspect. For they falling into sedition, and Aratus
being just too late with his succors, Philip, who got into the
city one day before him, at once blew up the flame of contention
amongst them, asking privately, on the one hand, the Messenian
generals, if they had not laws whereby to suppress the insolence
of the common people, and on the other, the leaders of the
people, whether they had not hands to help themselves against
their oppressors. Upon which gathering courage, the officers
attempted to lay hands on the heads of the people, and they on
the other side, coming upon the officers with the multitude,
killed them, and very near two hundred persons with them.

Philip having committed this wickedness, and doing his best to
set the Messenians by the ears together more than before, Aratus
arrived there, and both showed plainly that he took it ill
himself, and also he suffered his son bitterly to reproach and
revile him. It should seem that the young man had an attachment
for Philip, and so at this time one of his expressions to him
was, that he no longer appeared to him the handsomest, but the
most deformed of all men, after so foul an action. To all which
Philip gave him no answer, though he seemed so angry as to make
it expected he would, and though several times he cried out
aloud, while the young man was speaking. But as for the elder
Aratus, seeming to take all that he said in good part, and as if
he were by nature a politic character and had a good command of
himself, he gave him his hand and led him out of the theater,
and carried him with him to the Ithomatas, to sacrifice there
to Jupiter, and take a view of the place, for it is a post as
fortifiable as the Acro-Corinthus, and, with a garrison in it,
quite as strong and as impregnable to the attacks of all around
it. Philip therefore went up hither, and having offered
sacrifice, receiving the entrails of the ox with both his hands
from the priest, he showed them to Aratus and Demetrius the
Pharian, presenting them sometimes to the one and sometimes to
the other, asking them what they judged, by the tokens in the
sacrifice, was to be done with the fort; was he to keep it for
himself, or restore it to the Messenians. Demetrius laughed and
answered, "If you have in you the soul of soothsayer, you will
restore it, but if of a prince, you will hold the ox by both the
horns," meaning to refer to Peloponnesus, which would be wholly
in his power and at his disposal if he added the Ithomatas to
the Acro-Corinthus. Aratus said not a word for a good while;
but Philip entreating him to declare his opinion, he said "Many
and great hills are there in Crete, and many rocks in Boeotia
and Phocis, and many remarkable strong-holds both near the sea
and in the midland in Acarnania, and yet all these people obey
your orders, though you have not possessed yourself of any one
of those places. Robbers nest themselves in rocks and
precipices; but the strongest fort a king can have is confidence
and affection. These have opened to you the Cretan sea; these
make you master of Peloponnesus, and by the help of these, young
as you are, are you become captain of the one, and lord of the
other." While he was still speaking, Philip returned the
entrails to the priest, and drawing Aratus to him by the hand,
"Come, then," said he, "let us follow the same course;" as if he
felt himself forced by him, and obliged to give up the town.

From this time Aratus began to withdraw from court, and retired
by degrees from Philip's company; when he was preparing to march
into Epirus, and desired him that he would accompany him
thither, he excused himself and stayed at home, apprehending
that he should get nothing but discredit by having anything to
do with his actions. But when, afterwards, having shamefully
lost his fleet against the Romans and miscarried in all his
designs, he returned into Peloponnesus, where he tried once more
to beguile the Messenians by his artifices, and failing in this,
began openly to attack them and to ravage their country, then
Aratus fell out with him downright, and utterly renounced his
friendship; for he had begun then to be fully aware of the
injuries done to his son in his wife, which vexed him greatly,
though he concealed them from his son, as he could but know he
had been abused, without having any means to revenge himself.
For, indeed, Philip seems to have been an instance of the
greatest and strangest alteration of character; after being a
mild king and modest and chaste youth, he became a lascivious
man and most cruel tyrant; though in reality this was not a
change of his nature, but a bold unmasking, when safe
opportunity came, of the evil inclinations which his fear had
for a long time made him dissemble.

For that the respect he at the beginning bore to Aratus had a
great alloy of fear and awe appears evidently from what he did
to him at last. For being desirous to put him to death, not
thinking himself, whilst he was alive, to be properly free as a
man, much less at liberty to do his pleasure as a king or
tyrant, he durst not attempt to do it by open force, but
commanded Taurion, one of his captains and familiars, to make
him away secretly by poison, if possible, in his absence.
Taurion, therefore, made himself intimate with Aratus, and gave
him a dose, not of your strong and violent poisons, but such as
cause gentle, feverish heats at first, and a dull cough, and so
by degrees bring on certain death. Aratus perceived what was
done to him, but, knowing that it was in vain to make any words
of it, bore it patiently and with silence, as if it had been
some common and usual distemper. Only once, a friend of his
being with him in his chamber, he spat some blood, which his
friend observing and wondering at, "These, O Cephalon," said he,
"are the wages of a king's love."

Thus died he in Aegium, in his seventeenth generalship. The
Achaeans were very desirous that he should be buried there with
a funeral and monument suitable to his life, but the Sicyonians
treated it as a calamity to them if he were interred anywhere
but in their city, and prevailed with the Achaeans to grant them
the disposal of the body.

But there being an ancient law that no person should be buried
within the walls of their city, and besides the law also a
strong religious feeling about it, they sent to Delphi to ask
counsel of the Pythoness, who returned this answer: --

Sicyon, whom oft he rescued, "Where," you say,
"Shall we the relics of Aratus lay?"
The soil that would not lightly o'er him rest,
Or to be under him would feel oppressed,
Were in the sight of earth and seas and skies unblest.

This oracle being brought, all the Achaeans were well pleased at
it, but especially the Sicyonians, who, changing their mourning
into public joy, immediately fetched the body from Aegium, and
in a kind of solemn procession brought it into the city, being
crowned with garlands, and arrayed in white garments, with
singing and dancing, and, choosing a conspicuous place, they
buried him there, as the founder and savior of their city. The
place is to this day called Aratium, and there they yearly make
two solemn sacrifices to him, the one on the day he delivered
the city from tyranny, being the fifth of the month Daesius,
which the Athenians call Anthesterion, and this sacrifice they
call Soteria; the other in the month of his birth, which is
still remembered. Now the first of these was performed by the
priest of Jupiter Soter, the second by the priest of Aratus,
wearing a band around his head, not pure white, but mingled with
purple. Hymns were sung to the harp by the singers of the
feasts of Bacchus; the procession was led up by the president of
the public exercises, with the boys and young men; these were
followed by the councilors wearing garlands, and other citizens
such as pleased. Of these observances, some small traces, it is
still made a point of religion not to omit, on the appointed
days; but the greatest part of the ceremonies have through time
and other intervening accidents been disused.

And such, as history tells us, was the life and manners of the
elder Aratus. And for the younger, his son, Philip, abominably
wicked by nature and a savage abuser of his power, gave him such
poisonous medicines, as though they did not kill him indeed, yet
made him lose his senses, and run into wild and absurd attempts
and desire to do actions and satisfy appetites that were
ridiculous and shameful. So that his death, which happened to
him while he was yet young and in the flower of his age, cannot
be so much esteemed a misfortune as a deliverance and end of his
misery. However, Philip paid dearly, all through the rest of
his life, for these impious violations of friendship and
hospitality. For, being overcome by the Romans, he was forced
to put himself wholly into their hands, and, being deprived of
his other dominions and surrendering all his ships except five,
he had also to pay a fine of a thousand talents, and to give his
son for hostage, and only out of mere pity he was suffered to
keep Macedonia and its dependences; where continually putting to
death the noblest of his subjects and the nearest relations he
had, he filled the whole kingdom with horror and hatred of him.
And whereas amidst so many misfortunes he had but one good
chance, which was the having a son of great virtue and merit,
him, through jealousy and envy at the honor the Romans had for
him, he caused to be murdered, and left his kingdom to Perseus,
who, as some say, was not his own child, but supposititious,
born of a seamstress called Gnathaenion. This was he whom
Paulus Aemilius led in triumph, and in whom ended the succession
of Antigonus's line and kingdom. But the posterity of Aratus
continued still in our days at Sicyon and Pellene.


The first Artaxerxes, among all the kings of Persia the most
remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit, was surnamed the
Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was
the son of Xerxes. The second, whose story I am now writing,
who had the surname of the Mindful, was the grandson of the
former, by his daughter Parysatis, who brought Darius four sons,
the eldest Artaxerxes, the next Cyrus, and two younger than
these, Ostanes and Oxathres. Cyrus took his name of the ancient
Cyrus, as he, they say, had his from the sun, which, in the
Persian language, is called Cyrus. Artaxerxes was at first
called Arsicas; Dinon says Oarses; but it is utterly improbable
that Ctesias (however otherwise he may have filled his books
with a perfect farrago of incredible and senseless fables)
should be ignorant of the name of the king with whom he lived as
his physician, attending upon himself, his wife, his mother, and
his children.

Cyrus, from his earliest youth, showed something of a headstrong
and vehement character; Artaxerxes, on the other side, was
gentler in everything, and of a nature more yielding and soft
in its action. He married a beautiful and virtuous wife, at the
desire of his parents, but kept her as expressly against their
wishes. For king Darius, having put her brother to death, was
purposing likewise to destroy her. But Arsicas, throwing
himself at his mother's feet, by many tears, at last, with much
ado, persuaded her that they should neither put her to death nor
divorce her from him. However, Cyrus was his mother's favorite,
and the son whom she most desired to settle in the throne. And
therefore, his father Darius now lying ill, he, being sent for
from the sea to the court, set out thence with full hopes that
by her means he was to be declared the successor to the kingdom.
For Parysatis had the specious plea in his behalf, which Xerxes
on the advice of Demaratus had of old made use of, that she had
borne him Arsicas when he was a subject, but Cyrus when a king.
Notwithstanding, she prevailed not with Darius, but the eldest
son Arsicas was proclaimed king, his name being changed into
Artaxerxes; and Cyrus remained satrap of Lydia, and commander in
the maritime provinces.

It was not long after the decease of Darius that the king, his
successor, went to Pasargadae, to have the ceremony of his
inauguration consummated by the Persian priests. There is a
temple dedicated to a warlike goddess, whom one might liken to
Minerva; into which when the royal person to be initiated has
passed, he must strip himself of his own robe, and put on that
which Cyrus the first wore before he was king; then, having
devoured a frail of figs, he must eat turpentine, and drink a
cup of sour milk. To which if they superadd any other rites, it
is unknown to any but those that are present at them. Now
Artaxerxes being about to address himself to this solemnity,
Tisaphernes came to him, bringing a certain priest, who, having
trained up Cyrus in his youth in the established discipline of
Persia, and having taught him the Magian philosophy, was likely
to be as much disappointed as any man that his pupil did not
succeed to the throne. And for that reason his veracity was the
less questioned when he charged Cyrus as though he had been
about to lie in wait for the king in the temple, and to assault
and assassinate him as he was putting off his garment. Some
affirm that he was apprehended upon this impeachment, others
that he had entered the temple and was pointed out there, as he
lay lurking, by the priest. But as he was on the point of being
put to death, his mother clasped him in her arms, and, entwining
him with the tresses of her hair, joined his neck close to her
own, and by her bitter lamentation and intercession to
Artaxerxes for him, succeeded in saving his life; and sent him
away again to the sea and to his former province. This,
however, could no longer content him; nor did he so well
remember his delivery as his arrest, his resentment for which
made him more eagerly desirous of the kingdom than before.

Some say that he revolted from his brother, because he had not a
revenue allowed him sufficient for his daily meals; but this is
on the face of it absurd. For had he had nothing else, yet he
had a mother ready to supply him with whatever he could desire
out of her own means. But the great number of soldiers who were
hired from all quarters and maintained, as Xenophon informs us,
for his service, by his friends and connections, is in itself a
sufficient proof of his riches. He did not assemble them
together in a body, desiring as yet to conceal his enterprise;
but he had agents everywhere, enlisting foreign soldiers upon
various pretenses; and, in the meantime, Parysatis, who was
with the king, did her best to put aside all suspicions, and
Cyrus himself always wrote in a humble and dutiful manner to
him, sometimes soliciting favor, sometimes making countercharges
against Tisaphernes, as if his jealousy and contest had been
wholly with him. Moreover, there was a certain natural
dilatoriness in the king, which was taken by many for clemency.
And, indeed, in the beginning of his reign, he did seem really
to emulate the gentleness of the first Artaxerxes, being very
accessible in his person, and liberal to a fault in the
distribution of honors and favors. Even in his punishments, no
contumely or vindictive pleasure could be seen; and those who
offered him presents were as much pleased with his manner of
accepting, as were those who received gifts from him with his
graciousness and amiability in giving them. Nor truly was there
anything, however inconsiderable, given him, which he did not
deign kindly to accept of; insomuch that when one Omises had
presented him with a very large pomegranate, "By Mithras," said
he, "this man, were he entrusted with it, would turn a small
city into a great one."

Once when some were offering him one thing, some another, as he
was on a progress, a certain poor laborer, having got nothing at
hand to bring him, ran to the river side, and, taking up water
in his hands, offered it to him; with which Artaxerxes was so
well pleased that he sent him a goblet of gold and a thousand
darics. To Euclidas, the Lacedaemonian, who had made a number
of bold and arrogant speeches to him, he sent word by one of his
officers, "You have leave to say what you please to me, and I,
you should remember, may both say and do what I please to you."
Teribazus once, when they were hunting, came up and pointed out
to the king that his royal robe was torn; the king asked him
what he wished him to do; and when Teribazus replied "May it
please you to put on another and give me that," the king did so,
saying withal, "I give it you, Teribazus, but I charge you not
to wear it." He, little regarding the injunction, being not a
bad, but a light-headed, thoughtless man, immediately the king
took it off, put it on, and bedecked himself further with royal
golden necklaces and women's ornaments, to the great scandal of
everybody, the thing being quite unlawful. But the king laughed
and told him, "You have my leave to wear the trinkets as a
woman, and the robe of state as a fool." And whereas none
usually sat down to eat with the king besides his mother and his
wedded wife, the former being placed above, the other below him,
Artaxerxes invited also to his table his two younger brothers,
Ostanes and Oxathres. But what was the most popular thing of
all among the Persians was the sight of his wife Statira's
chariot, which always appeared with its curtains down, allowing
her countrywomen to salute and approach her, which made the
queen a great favorite with the people.

Yet busy, factious men, that delighted in change, professed it
to be their opinion that the times needed Cyrus, a man of a
great spirit, an excellent warrior, and a lover of his friends,
and that the largeness of their empire absolutely required a
bold and enterprising prince. Cyrus, then; not only relying
upon those of his own province near the sea, but upon many of
those in the upper countries near the king, commenced the war
against him. He wrote to the Lacedaemonians, bidding them come
to his assistance and supply him with men, assuring them that to
those who came to him on foot he would give horses, and to the
horsemen chariots; that upon those who had farms he would bestow
villages, and those who were lords of villages he would make so
of cities; and that those who would be his soldiers should
receive their pay, not by count, but by weight. And among many
other high praises of himself, he said he had the stronger soul;
was more a philosopher and a better Magian; and could drink and
bear more wine than his brother, who, as he averred, was such a
coward and so little like a man, that he could neither sit his
horse in hunting nor his throne in time of danger. The
Lacedaemonians, his letter being read, sent a staff to
Clearchus, commanding him to obey Cyrus in all things. So Cyrus
marched towards the king, having under his conduct a numerous
host of barbarians, and but little less than thirteen thousand
stipendiary Grecians; alleging first one cause, then another,
for his expedition. Yet the true reason lay not long concealed,
but Tisaphernes went to the king in person to declare it.
Thereupon, the court was all in an uproar and tumult, the
queen-mother bearing almost the whole blame of the enterprise,
and her retainers being suspected and accused. Above all,
Statira angered her by bewailing the war and passionately
demanding where were now the pledges and the intercessions which
saved the life of him that conspired against his brother; "to
the end," she said, "that he might plunge us all into war and
trouble." For which words Parysatis hating Statira, and being
naturally implacable and savage in her anger and revenge,
consulted how she might destroy her. But since Dinon tells us
that her purpose took effect in the time of the war, and Ctesias
says it was after it, I shall keep the story for the place to
which the latter assigns it, as it is very unlikely that he, who
was actually present, should not know the time when it happened,
and there was no motive to induce him designedly to misplace its
date in his narrative of it, though it is not infrequent with
him in his history to make excursions from truth into mere
fiction and romance.

As Cyrus was upon the march, rumors and reports were brought
him, as though the king still deliberated, and were not minded
to fight and presently to join battle with him; but to wait in
the heart of his kingdom until his forces should have come in
thither from all parts of his dominions. He had cut a trench
through the plain ten fathoms in breadth, and as many in depth,
the length of it being no less than four hundred furlongs. Yet
he allowed Cyrus to pass across it, and to advance almost to the
city of Babylon. Then Teribazus, as the report goes, was the
first that had the boldness to tell the king that he ought not
to avoid the conflict, nor to abandon Media, Babylon, and even
Susa, and hide himself in Persis, when all the while he had an
army many times over more numerous than his enemies, and an
infinite company of governors and captains that were better
soldiers and politicians than Cyrus. So at last he resolved to
fight, as soon as it was possible for him. Making, therefore,
his first appearance, all on a sudden, at the head of nine
hundred thousand well-marshaled men, he so startled and
surprised the enemy, who with the confidence of contempt were
marching on their way in no order, and with their arms not ready
for use, that Cyrus, in the midst of much noise and tumult, was
scarce able to form them for battle. Moreover, the very manner
in which he led on his men, silently and slowly, made the
Grecians stand amazed at his good discipline; who had expected
irregular shouting and leaping, much confusion and separation
between one body of men and another, in so vast a multitude of
troops. He also placed the choicest of his armed chariots in
the front of his own phalanx over against the Grecian troops,
that a violent charge with these might cut open their ranks
before they closed with them.

But as this battle is described by many historians, and Xenophon
in particular as good as shows it us by eyesight, not as a past
event, but as a present action, and by his vivid account makes
his hearers feel all the passions and join in all the dangers of
it, it would be folly in me to give any larger account of it
than barely to mention any things omitted by him which yet
deserve to be recorded. The place, then, in which the two
armies were drawn out is called Cunaxa, being about five hundred
furlongs distant from Babylon. And here Clearchus beseeching
Cyrus before the fight to retire behind the combatants, and not
expose himself to hazard, they say he replied, "What is this,
Clearchus? Would you have me, who aspire to empire, show myself
unworthy of it?" But if Cyrus committed a great fault in
entering headlong into the midst of danger, and not paying any
regard to his own safety, Clearchus was as much to blame, if not
more, in refusing to lead the Greeks against the main body of
the enemy, where the king stood, and in keeping his right wing
close to the river, for fear of being surrounded. For if he
wanted, above all other things, to be safe, and considered it
his first object to sleep in whole skin, it had been his best
way not to have stirred from home. But, after marching in arms
ten thousand furlongs from the sea-coast, simply on his own
choosing, for the purpose of placing Cyrus on the throne, to
look about and select a position which would enable him, not to
preserve him under whose pay and conduct he was, but himself to
engage with more ease and security seemed much like one that
through fear of present dangers had abandoned the purpose of his
actions, and been false to the design of his expedition. For it
is evident from the very event of the battle that none of those
who were in array around the king's person could have stood the
shock of the Grecian charge; and had they been beaten out of the
field, and Artaxerxes either fled or fallen, Cyrus would have
gained by the victory, not only safety, but a crown. And,
therefore, Clearchus, by his caution, must be considered more
to blame for the result in the destruction of the life and
fortune of Cyrus, than he by his heat and rashness. For had the
king made it his business to discover a place, where having
posted the Grecians, he might encounter them with the least
hazard, he would never have found out any other but that which
was most remote from himself and those near him; of his defeat
in which he was insensible, and, though Clearchus had the
victory, yet Cyrus could not know of it, and could take no
advantage of it before his fall. Cyrus knew well enough what
was expedient to be done, and commanded Clearchus with his men
to take their place in the center. Clearchus replied that he
would take care to have all arranged as was best, and then
spoiled all.

For the Grecians, where they were, defeated the barbarians till
they were weary, and chased them successfully a very great way.
But Cyrus being mounted upon a noble but a headstrong and
hard-mouthed horse, bearing the name, as Ctesias tells us, of
Pasacas, Artagerses, the leader of the Cadusians, galloped up to
him, crying aloud, "O most unjust and senseless of men, who are
the disgrace of the honored name of Cyrus, are you come here
leading the wicked Greeks on a wicked journey, to plunder the
good things of the Persians, and this with the intent of slaying
your lord and brother, the master of ten thousand times ten
thousand servants that are better men than you? as you shall
see this instant; for you shall lose your head here, before you
look upon the face of the king." Which when he had said, he
cast his javelin at him. But the coat of mail stoutly repelled
it, and Cyrus was not wounded; yet the stroke falling heavy upon
him, he reeled under it. Then Artagerses turning his horse,
Cyrus threw his weapon, and sent the head of it through his neck
near the shoulder bone. So that it is almost universally agreed
to by all the author that Artagerses was slain by him. But as
to the death of Cyrus, since Xenophon, as being himself no
eye-witness of it, has stated it simply and in few words, it may
not be amiss perhaps to run over on the one hand what Dinon, and
on the other, what Ctesias has said of it.

Dinon then affirms, that, after the death of Artagerses, Cyrus,
furiously attacking the guard of Artaxerxes, wounded the king's
horse, and so dismounted him, and when Teribazus had quickly
lifted him up upon another, and said to him, "O king, remember
this day, which is not one to be forgotten," Cyrus, again
spurring up his horse, struck down Artaxerxes. But at the third
assault the king being enraged, and saying to those near him
that death was more eligible, made up to Cyrus, who furiously
and blindly rushed in the face of the weapons opposed to him.
So the king struck him with a javelin, as likewise did those
that were about him. And thus Cyrus falls, as some say, by the
hand of the king; as others, by the dart of a Carian, to whom
Artaxerxes, for a reward of his achievement, gave the privilege
of carrying ever after a golden cock upon his spear before the
first ranks of the army in all expeditions. For the Persians
call the men of Caria cocks, because of the crests with which
they adorn their helmets.

But the account of Ctesias, to put it shortly, omitting many
details, is as follows: Cyrus, after the death of Artagerses,
rode up against the king, as he did against him, neither
exchanging a word with the other. But Ariaeus, Cyrus's friend,
was beforehand with him, and darted first at the king, yet
wounded him not. Then the king cast his lance at his brother,
but missed him, though he both hit and slew Satiphernes, a noble
man and a faithful friend to Cyrus. Then Cyrus directed his
lance against the king, and pierced his breast with it quite
through his armor, two inches deep, so that he fell from his
horse with the stroke. At which those that attended him being
put to flight and disorder, he, rising with a few, among whom
was Ctesias, and making his way to a little hill not far off,
rested himself. But Cyrus, who was in the thick of the enemy,
was carried off a great way by the wildness of his horse, the
darkness which was now coming on making it hard for them to know
him, and for his followers to find him. However, being made
elate with victory, and full of confidence and force, he passed
through them, crying out, and that more than once, in the
Persian language, "Clear the way, villains, clear the way;"
which they indeed did, throwing themselves down at his feet.
But his tiara dropped off his head, and a young Persian, by name
Mithridates, running by, struck a dart into one of his temples
near his eye, not knowing who he was, out of which wound much
blood gushed, so that Cyrus, swooning and senseless, fell off
his horse. The horse escaped, and ran about the field; but the
companion of Mithridates took the trappings, which fell off,
soaked with blood. And as Cyrus slowly began to come to
himself, some eunuchs who were there tried to put him on another
horse, and so convey him safe away. And when he was not able to
ride, and desired to walk on his feet, they led and supported
him, being indeed dizzy in the head and reeling, but convinced
of his being victorious, hearing, as he went, the fugitives
saluting Cyrus as king, and praying for grace and mercy. In the
meantime, some wretched, poverty-stricken Caunians, who in some
pitiful employment as camp-followers had accompanied the king's
army, by chance joined these attendants of Cyrus, supposing them
to be of their own party. But when, after a while, they made
out that their coats over their breastplates were red, whereas
all the king's people wore white ones, they knew that they were
enemies. One of them, therefore, not dreaming that it was
Cyrus, ventured to strike him behind with a dart. The vein
under the knee was cut open, and Cyrus fell, and at the same
time struck his wounded temple against a stone, and so died.
Thus runs Ctesias's account, tardily, with the slowness of a
blunt weapon, effecting the victim's death.

When he was now dead, Artasyras, the king's eye, passed by on
horseback, and, having observed the eunuchs lamenting, he asked
the most trusty of them, "Who is this, Pariscas, whom you sit
here deploring?" He replied, "Do not you see, O Artasyras, that
it is my master, Cyrus?" Then Artasyras wondering, bade the
eunuch be of good cheer, and keep the dead body safe. And going
in all haste to Artaxerxes, who had now given up all hope of his
affairs, and was in great suffering also with his thirst and his
wound, he with much joy assured him that he had seen Cyrus dead.
Upon this, at first, he set out to go in person to the place,
and commanded Artasyras to conduct him where he lay. But when
there was a great noise made about the Greeks, who were said to
be in full pursuit, conquering and carrying all before them, he
thought it best to send a number of persons to see; and
accordingly thirty men went with torches in their hands.
Meantime, as he seemed to be almost at the point of dying from
thirst, his eunuch Satibarzanes ran about seeking drink for him;
for the place had no water in it, and he was at a good distance
from his camp. After a long search he at last luckily met with
one of those poor Caunian camp-followers, who had in a wretched
skin about four pints of foul and stinking water, which he took
and gave to the king; and when he had drunk all off, he asked
him if he did not dislike the water; but he declared by all the
gods, that he never so much relished either wine, or water out
of the lightest or purest stream. "And therefore," said he, "if
I fail myself to discover and reward him who gave it to you, I
beg of heaven to make him rich and prosperous."

Just after this, came back the thirty messengers, with joy and
triumph in their looks, bringing him the tidings of his
unexpected fortune. And now he was also encouraged by the
number of soldiers that again began to flock in and gather about
him; so that he presently descended into the plain with many
lights and flambeaus round about him. And when he had come near
the dead body, and, according to a certain law of the Persians,
the right hand and head had been lopped off from the trunk, he
gave orders that the latter should be brought to him, and,
grasping the hair of it, which was long and bushy, he showed it
to those who were still uncertain and disposed to fly. They
were amazed at it, and did him homage; so that there were
presently seventy thousand of them got about him, and entered
the camp again with him. He had led out to the fight, as
Ctesias affirms, four hundred thousand men. But Dinon and
Xenophon aver that there were many more than forty myriads
actually engaged. As to the number of the slain, as the
catalogue of them was given up to Artaxerxes, Ctesias says, they
were nine thousand, but that they appeared to him no fewer than
twenty thousand. Thus far there is something to be said on both
sides. But it is a flagrant untruth on the part of Ctesias to
say that he was sent along with Phalinus the Zacynthian and some
others to the Grecians. For Xenophon knew well enough that
Ctesias was resident at court; for he makes mention of him, and
had evidently met with his writings. And, therefore, had he
come, and been deputed the interpreter of such momentous words,
Xenophon surely would not have struck his name out of the
embassy to mention only Phalinus. But Ctesias, as is evident,
being excessively vain-glorious, and no less a favorer of the
Lacedaemonians and Clearchus, never fails to assume to himself
some province in his narrative, taking opportunity, in these
situations, to introduce abundant high praise of Clearchus and

When the battle was over, Artaxerxes sent goodly and magnificent
gifts to the son of Artagerses, whom Cyrus slew. He conferred
likewise high honors upon Ctesias and others, and, having found
out the Caunian who gave him the bottle of water, he made him,
of a poor, obscure man, a rich and an honorable person. As for
the punishments he indicted upon delinquents, there was a kind
of harmony betwixt them and the crimes. He gave order that one
Arbaces, a Mede, that had fled in the fight to Cyrus, and again
at his fall had come back, should, as a mark that he was
considered a dastardly and effeminate, not a dangerous or
treasonable man, have a common harlot set upon his back, and
carry her about for a whole day in the marketplace. Another,
besides that he had deserted to them, having falsely vaunted
that he had killed two of the rebels, he decreed that three
needles should be struck through his tongue. And both supposing
that with his own hand he had cut off Cyrus, and being willing
that all men should think and say so, he sent rich presents to
Mithridates, who first wounded him, and charged those by whom he
conveyed the gifts to him to tell him, that "the king has
honored you with these his favors, because you found and brought
him the horse-trappings of Cyrus." The Carian, also, from whose
wound in the ham Cyrus died, suing for his reward, he commanded
those that brought it him to say that "the king presents you
with this as a second remuneration for the good news told him;
for first Artasyras, and, next to him, you assured him of the
decease of Cyrus." Mithridates retired without complaint,
though not without resentment. But the unfortunate Carian was
fool enough to give way to a natural infirmity. For being
ravished with the sight of the princely gifts that were before
him, and being tempted thereupon to challenge and aspire to
things above him, he deigned not to accept the king's present as
a reward for good news, but indignantly crying out and appealing
to witnesses, he protested that he, and none but he, had killed
Cyrus, and that he was unjustly deprived of the glory. These
words, when they came to his ear, much offended the king, so
that forthwith he sentenced him to be beheaded. But the queen
mother, being in the king's presence, said, "Let not the king so
lightly discharge this pernicious Carian; let him receive from
me the fitting punishment of what he dares to say." So when the
king had consigned him over to Parysatis, she charged the
executioners to take up the man, and stretch him upon the rack
for ten days, then, tearing out his eyes, to drop molten brass
into his ears till he expired.

Mithridates, also, within a short time after, miserably perished
by the like folly; for being invited to a feast where were the
eunuchs both of the king and of the queen mother, he came
arrayed in the dress and the golden ornaments which he had
received from the king. After they began to drink, the eunuch
that was the greatest in power with Parysatis thus speaks to
him: A magnificent dress, indeed, O Mithridates, is this which
the king has given you; the chains and bracelets are glorious,
and your scimitar of invaluable worth; how happy has he made
you, the object of every eye!" To whom he, being a little
overcome with the wine replied, "What are these things,
Sparamizes? Sure I am, I showed myself to the king in that day
of trial to be one deserving greater and costlier gifts than
these." At which Sparamizes smiling, said, "I do not grudge
them to you, Mithridates; but since the Grecians tell us that
wine and truth go together, let me hear now, my friend, what
glorious or mighty matter was it to find some trappings that had
slipped off a horse, and to bring them to the king?" And this
he spoke, not as ignorant of the truth, but desiring to unbosom
him to the company, irritating the vanity of the man, whom drink
had now made eager to talk and incapable of controlling himself.
So he forbore nothing, but said out, "Talk you what you please
of horse-trappings, and such trifles; I tell you plainly, that
this hand was the death of Cyrus. For I threw not my dart as
Artagerses did, in vain and to no purpose, but only just missing
his eye, and hitting him right on the temple, and piercing him
through, I brought him to the ground; and of that wound he
died." The rest of the company, who saw the end and the hapless
fate of Mithridates as if it were already completed, bowed their
heads to the ground; and he who entertained them said,
"Mithridates, my friend, let us eat and drink now, revering the
fortune of our prince, and let us waive discourse which is too
weighty for us."

Presently after, Sparamizes told Parysatis what he said, and she
told the king, who was greatly enraged at it, as having the lie
given him, and being in danger to forfeit the most glorious and
most pleasant circumstance of his victory. For it was his
desire that everyone, whether Greek or barbarian, should
believe that in the mutual assaults and conflicts between him
and his brother, he, giving and receiving a blow, was himself
indeed wounded, but that the other lost his life. And,
therefore, he decreed that Mithridates should be put to death in
boats; which execution is after the following manner: Taking two
boats framed exactly to fit and answer each other, they lay down
in one of them the malefactor that suffers, upon his back; then,
covering it with the other, and so setting them together that
the head, hands, and feet of him are left outside, and the rest
of his body lies shut up within, they offer him food, and if he
refuse to eat it, they force him to do it by pricking his eyes;
then, after he has eaten, they drench him with a mixture of
milk and honey, pouring it not only into his mouth, but all over
his face. They then keep his face continually turned towards
the sun; and it becomes completely covered up and hidden by the
multitude of flies that settle on it. And as within the boats
he does what those that eat and drink must needs do, creeping
things and vermin spring out of the corruption and rottenness of
the excrement, and these entering into the bowels of him, his
body is consumed. When the man is manifestly dead, the
uppermost boat being taken off, they find his flesh devoured,
and swarms of such noisome creatures preying upon and, as it
were, growing to his inwards. In this way Mithridates, after
suffering for seventeen days, at last expired.

Masabates, the king's eunuch, who had cut off the hand and head
of Cyrus, remained still as a mark for Parysatis's vengeance.
Whereas, therefore, he was so circumspect, that he gave her no
advantage against him, she framed this kind of snare for him.
She was a very ingenious woman in other ways, and was an
excellent player at dice, and, before the war, had often played
with the king. After the war, too, when she had been reconciled
to him, she joined readily in all amusements with him, played
at dice with him, was his confidant in his love matters, and in
every way did her best to leave him as little as possible in the
company of Statira, both because she hated her more than any
other person, and because she wished to have no one so powerful
as herself. And so once when Artaxerxes was at leisure, and
inclined to divert himself, she challenged him to play at dice
with her for a thousand Darics, and purposely let him win them,
and paid him down in gold. Yet, pretending to be concerned for
her loss, and that she would gladly have her revenge for it, she
pressed him to begin a new game for a eunuch; to which he
consented. But first they agreed that each of them might except
five of their most trusty eunuchs, and that out of the rest of
them the loser should yield up any the winner should make choice
of. Upon these conditions they played. Thus being bent upon
her design, and thoroughly in earnest with her game, and the
dice also running luckily for her, when she had got the game,
she demanded Masabates, who was not in the number of the five
excepted. And before the king could suspect the matter, having
delivered him up to the tormentors, she enjoined them to flay
him alive, to set his body upon three stakes, and to stretch his
skin upon stakes separately from it.

These things being done, and the king taking them ill, and being
incensed against her, she with raillery and laughter told him,
"You are a comfortable and happy man indeed, if you are so much
disturbed for the sake of an old rascally eunuch, when I, though
I have thrown away a thousand Darics, hold my peace and
acquiesce in my fortune." So the king, vexed with himself for
having been thus deluded, hushed up all. But Statira both in
other matters openly opposed her, and was angry with her for
thus, against all law and humanity, sacrificing to the memory of
Cyrus the king's faithful friends and eunuchs.

Now after that Tisaphernes had circumvented and by a false oath
had betrayed Clearchus and the other commanders, and, taking
them, had sent them bound in chains to the king, Ctesias says
that he was asked by Clearchus to supply him with a comb; and
that when he had it, and had combed his head with it, he was
much pleased with this good office, and gave him a ring, which
might be a token of the obligation to his relatives and friends
in Sparta; and that the engraving upon this signet was a set of
Caryatides dancing. He tells us that the soldiers, his fellow
captives, used to purloin a part of the allowance of food sent
to Clearchus, giving him but little of it; which thing Ctesias
says he rectified, causing a better allowance to be conveyed to
him, and that a separate share should be distributed to the
soldiers by themselves; adding that he ministered to and
supplied him thus by the interest and at the instance of
Parysatis. And there being a portion of ham sent daily with his
other food to Clearchus, she, he says, advised and instructed
him, that he ought to bury a small knife in the meat, and thus
send it to his friend, and not leave his fate to be determined
by the king's cruelty; which he, however, he says, was afraid to
do. However, Artaxerxes consented to the entreaties of his
mother, and promised her with an oath that he would spare
Clearchus; but afterwards, at the instigation of Statira, he put
every one of them to death except Menon. And thenceforward, he
says, Parysatis watched her advantage against Statira, and made
up poison for her; not a very probable story, or a very likely
motive to account for her conduct, if indeed he means that out
of respect to Clearchus she dared to attempt the life of the
lawful queen, that was mother of those who were heirs of the
empire. But it is evident enough, that this part of his history
is a sort of funeral exhibition in honor of Clearchus. For he
would have us believe, that, when the generals were executed,
the rest of them were torn in pieces by dogs and birds; but as
for the remains of Clearchus, that a violent gust of wind,
bearing before it a vast heap of earth, raised a mound to cover
his body, upon which, after a short time, some dates having
fallen there, a beautiful grove of trees grew up and
overshadowed the place, so that the king himself declared his
sorrow, concluding that in Clearchus he put to death a man
beloved of the gods.

Parysatis, therefore, having from the first entertained a secret
hatred and jealousy against Statira, seeing that the power she
herself had with Artaxerxes was founded upon feelings of honor
and respect for her, but that Statira's influence was firmly and
strongly based upon love and confidence, was resolved to
contrive her ruin, playing at hazard, as she thought, for the
greatest stake in the world. Among her attendant women there
was one that was trusty and in the highest esteem with her,
whose name was Gigis; who, as Dinon avers, assisted in making up
the poison. Ctesias allows her only to have been conscious of
it, and that against her will; charging Belitaras with actually
giving the drug, whereas Dinon says it was Melantas. The two
women had begun again to visit each other and to eat together;
but though they had thus far relaxed their former habits of
jealousy and variance, still, out of fear and as a matter of
caution, they always ate of the same dishes and of the same
parts of them. Now there is a small Persian bird, in the inside
of which no excrement is found, only a mass of fat, so that they
suppose the little creature lives upon air and dew. It is
called rhyntaces. Ctesias affirms, that Parysatis, cutting a
bird of this kind into two pieces with a knife, one side of
which had been smeared with the drug, the other side being clear
of it, ate the untouched and wholesome part herself, and gave
Statira that which was thus infected; but Dinon will not have it
to be Parysatis, but Melantas, that cut up the bird and
presented the envenomed part of it to Statira; who, dying with
dreadful agonies and convulsions, was herself sensible of what
had happened to her, and aroused in the king's mind suspicion of
his mother, whose savage and implacable temper he knew. And
therefore proceeding instantly to an inquest, he seized upon his
mother's domestic servants that attended at her table, and put
them upon the rack. Parysatis kept Gigis at home with her a
long time, and, though the king commanded her, she would not
produce her. But she, at last, herself desiring that she might
be dismissed to her own home by night, Artaxerxes had intimation
of it, and, lying in wait for her, hurried her away, and
adjudged her to death. Now poisoners in Persia suffer thus by
law. There is a broad stone, on which they place the head of
the culprit, and then with another stone beat and press it,
until the face and the head itself are all pounded to pieces;
which was the punishment Gigis lost her life by. But to his
mother, Artaxerxes neither said nor did any other hurt, save
that he banished and confined her, not much against her will, to
Babylon, protesting that while she lived he would not come near
that city. Such was the condition of the king's affairs in his
own house.

But when all his attempts to capture the Greeks that had come up
with Cyrus, though he desired to do so no less than he had
desired to overcome Cyrus and maintain his throne, proved
unsuccessful, and they, though they had lost both Cyrus and
their own generals, nevertheless escaped, as it were, out of his
very palace, making it plain to all men that the Persian king
and his empire were mighty indeed in gold and luxury and women,
but otherwise were a mere show and vain display, upon this, all
Greece took courage, and despised the barbarians; and
especially the Lacedaemonians thought it strange if they should
not now deliver their countrymen that dwelt in Asia from their
subjection to the Persians, nor put an end to the contumelious
usage of them. And first having an army under the conduct of
Thimbron, then under Dercyllidas, but doing nothing memorable,
they at last committed the war to the management of their king
Agesilaus, who, when he had arrived with his men in Asia, as
soon as he had landed them, fell actively to work, and got
himself great renown. He defeated Tisaphernes in a pitched
battle, and set many cities in revolt. Upon this, Artaxerxes,
perceiving what was his wisest way of waging the war, sent
Timocrates the Rhodian into Greece, with large sums of gold,
commanding him by a free distribution of it to corrupt the
leading men in the cities, and to excite a Greek war against
Sparta. So Timocrates following his instructions, the most
considerable cities conspiring together, and Peloponnesus being
in disorder, the ephors remanded Agesilaus from Asia. At which
time, they say, as he was upon his return, he told his friends
that Artaxerxes had driven him out of Asia with thirty thousand
archers; the Persian coin having an archer stamped upon it.

Artaxerxes scoured the seas, too, of the Lacedaemonians, Conon
the Athenian and Pharnabazus being his admirals. For Conon,
after the battle of Aegospotami, resided in Cyprus; not that he
consulted his own mere security, but looking for a vicissitude
of affairs with no less hope than men wait for a change of wind
at sea. And perceiving that his skill wanted power, and that
the king's power wanted a wise man to guide it, he sent him an
account by letter of his projects, and charged the bearer to
hand it to the king, if possible, by the mediation of Zeno the
Cretan or Polycritus the Mendaean (the former being a
dancing-master, the latter a physician), or, in the absence of
them both, by Ctesias; who is said to have taken Conon's letter,
and foisted into the contents of it a request; that the king
would also be pleased to send over Ctesias to him, who was
likely to be of use on the sea-coast. Ctesias, however,
declares that the king, of his own accord, deputed him to this
service. Artaxerxes, however, defeating the Lacedaemonians in a
sea-fight at Cnidos, under the conduct of Pharnabazus and Conon,
after he had stripped them of their sovereignty by sea, at the
same time, brought, so to say, the whole of Greece over to him,
so that upon his own terms he dictated the celebrated peace
among them, styled the peace of Antalcidas. This Antalcidas was
a Spartan, the son of one Leon, who, acting for the king's
interest, induced the Lacedaemonians to covenant to let all the
Greek cities in Asia and the islands adjacent to it become
subject and tributary to him, peace being upon these conditions
established among the Greeks, if indeed the honorable name of
peace can fairly be given to what was in fact the disgrace and
betrayal of Greece, a treaty more inglorious than had ever been
the result of any war to those defeated in it.

And therefore Artaxerxes, though always abominating other
Spartans, and looking upon them, as Dinon says, to be the most
impudent men living, gave wonderful honor to Antalcidas when he
came to him into Persia; so much so that one day, taking a
garland of flowers and dipping it in the most precious ointment,
he sent it to him after supper, a favor which all were amazed
at. Indeed he was a person fit to be thus delicately treated,
and to have such a crown, who had among the Persians thus made
fools of Leonidas and Callicratidas. Agesilaus, it seems, on
someone having said, "O the deplorable fate of Greece, now that
the Spartans turn Medes!" replied, "Nay, rather it is the Medes
who become Spartans." But the subtlety of the repartee did not
wipe off the infamy of the action. The Lacedaemonians soon
after lost their sovereignty in Greece by their defeat at
Leuctra; but they had already lost their honor by this treaty.
So long then as Sparta continued to be the first state in
Greece, Artaxerxes continued to Antalcidas the honor of being
called his friend and his guest; but when, routed and humbled at
the battle of Leuctra, being under great distress for money,
they had dispatched Agesilaus into Egypt, and Antalcidas went up
to Artaxerxes, beseeching him to supply their necessities, he so
despised, slighted, and rejected him, that finding himself, on
his return, mocked and insulted by his enemies, and fearing also
the ephors, he starved himself to death. Ismenias, also, the
Theban, and Pelopidas, who had already gained the victory at
Leuctra, arrived at the Persian court; where the latter did
nothing unworthy of himself. But Ismenias, being commanded to
do obeisance to the king, dropped his ring before him upon the
ground, and so, stooping to take it up, made a show of doing him
homage. He was so gratified with some secret intelligence which
Timagoras the Athenian sent in to him by the hand of his
secretary, Beluris, that he bestowed upon him ten thousand
darics, and because he was ordered, on account of some sickness,
to drink cow's milk, there were fourscore milch kine driven
after him; also, he sent him a bed, furniture, and servants for
it, the Grecians not having skill enough to make it, as also
chairmen to carry him, being infirm in body, to the seaside.
Not to mention the feast made for him at court, which was so
princely and splendid that Ostanes, the king's brother, said to
him, "O, Timagoras, do not forget the sumptuous table you have
sat at here; it was not put before you for nothing;" which was
indeed rather a reflection upon his treason than to remind him
of the king's bounty. And indeed the Athenians condemned
Timagoras to death for taking bribes.

But Artaxerxes gratified the Grecians in one thing in lieu of
the many wherewith he plagued them, and that was by taking off
Tisaphernes, their most hated and malicious enemy, whom he put
to death; Parysatis adding her influence to the charges made
against him. For the king did not persist long in his wrath
with his mother, but was reconciled to her, and sent for her,
being assured that she had wisdom and courage fit for royal
power, and there being now no cause discernible but that they
might converse together without suspicion or offense. And from
thenceforward humoring the king in all things according to his
heart's desire, and finding fault with nothing that he did, she
obtained great power with him, and was gratified in all her
requests. She perceived he was desperately in love with Atossa,
one of his own two daughters, and that he concealed and checked
his passion chiefly for fear of herself, though, if we may
believe some writers, he had privately given way to it with the
young girl already. As soon as Parysatis suspected it, she
displayed a greater fondness for the young girl than before, and
extolled both her virtue and beauty to him, as being truly
imperial and majestic. In fine, she persuaded him to marry her
and declare her to be his lawful wife, overriding all the
principles and the laws by which the Greeks hold themselves
bound, and regarding himself as divinely appointed for a law to
the Persians, and the supreme arbitrator of good and evil. Some
historians further affirm, in which number is Heraclides of
Cuma, that Artaxerxes married not only this one, but a second
daughter also, Amestris, of whom we shall speak by and by. But
he so loved Atossa when she became his consort, that when
leprosy had run through her whole body, he was not in the least
offended at it; but putting up his prayers to Juno for her, to
this one alone of all the deities he made obeisance, by laying
his hands upon the earth; and his satraps and favorites made
such offerings to the goddess by his direction, that all along
for sixteen furlongs, betwixt the court and her temple, the road
was filled up with gold and silver, purple and horses, devoted
to her.

He waged war out of his own kingdom with the Egyptians, under
the conduct of Pharnabazus and Iphicrates, but was unsuccessful
by reason of their dissensions. In his expedition against the
Cadusians, he went himself in person with three hundred thousand
footmen and ten thousand horse. And making an incursion into
their country, which was so mountainous as scarcely to be
passable, and withal very misty, producing no sort of harvest of
corn or the like, but with pears, apples, and other tree-fruits
feeding a warlike and valiant breed of men, he unawares fell
into great distresses and dangers. For there was nothing to be
got fit for his men to eat, of the growth of that place, nor
could anything be imported from any other. All they could do
was to kill their beasts of burden, and thus an ass's head could
scarcely be bought for sixty drachmas. In short, the king's own
table failed; and there were but few horses left; the rest they
had spent for food. Then Teribazus, a man often in great favor
with his prince for his valor, and as often out of it for his
buffoonery, and particularly at that time in humble estate and
neglected, was the deliverer of the king and his army. There
being two kings amongst the Cadusians, and each of them
encamping separately, Teribazus, after he had made his
application to Artaxerxes and imparted his design to him, went
to one of the princes, and sent away his son privately to the
other. So each of them deceived his man, assuring him that the
other prince had deputed an ambassador to Artaxerxes, suing for
friendship and alliance for himself alone; and, therefore, if he
were wise, he told him, he must apply himself to his master
before he had decreed anything, and he, he said, would lend him
his assistance in all things. Both of them gave credit to these
words, and because they supposed they were each intrigued
against by the other, they both sent their envoys, one along
with Teribazus, and the other with his son. All this taking
some time to transact, fresh surmises and suspicions of
Teribazus were expressed to the king, who began to be out of
heart, sorry that he had confided in him, and ready to give ear
to his rivals who impeached him. But at last he came, and so
did his son, bringing the Cadusian agents along with them, and
so there was a cessation of arms and a peace signed with both
the princes. And Teribazus, in great honor and distinction, set
out homewards in the company of the king; who, indeed, upon this
journey made it appear plainly that cowardice and effeminacy are
the effects, not of delicate and sumptuous living, as many
suppose, but of a base and vicious nature, actuated by false and
bad opinions. For notwithstanding his golden ornaments, his
robe of state, and the rest of that costly attire, worth no less
than twelve thousand talents, with which the royal person was
constantly clad, his labors and toils were not a whit inferior
to those of the meanest persons in his army. With his quiver by
his side and his shield on his arm, he led them on foot,
quitting his horse, through craggy and steep ways, insomuch that
the sight of his cheerfulness and unwearied strength gave wings
to the soldiers, and so lightened the journey, that they made
daily marches of above two hundred furlongs.

After they had arrived at one of his own mansions, which had
beautiful ornamented parks in the midst of a region naked and
without trees, the weather being very cold, he gave full
commission to his soldiers to provide themselves with wood by
cutting down any, without exception, even the pine and cypress.
And when they hesitated and were for sparing them, being large
and goodly trees, he, taking up an ax himself, felled the
greatest and most beautiful of them. After which his men used
their hatchets, and piling up many fires, passed away the night
at their ease. Nevertheless, he returned not without the loss
of many and valiant subjects, and of almost all his horses. And
supposing that his misfortunes and the ill success of his
expedition made him despised in the eyes of his people, he
looked jealously on his nobles, many of whom he slew in anger,
and yet more out of fear. As, indeed, fear is the bloodiest
passion in princes; confidence, on the other hand, being
merciful, gentle, and unsuspicious. So we see among wild
beasts, the intractable and least tamable are the most timorous
and most easily startled; the nobler creatures, whose courage
makes them trustful, are ready to respond to the advances of

Artaxerxes, now being an old man, perceived that his sons were
in controversy about his kingdom, and that they made parties
among his favorites and peers. Those that were equitable among
them thought it fit, that as he had received it, so he should
bequeath it, by right of age, to Darius. The younger brother,
Ochus, who was hot and violent, had indeed a considerable number
of the courtiers that espoused his interest, but his chief hope
was that by Atossa's means he should win his father. For he
flattered her with the thoughts of being his wife and partner in
the kingdom after the death of Artaxerxes. And truly it was
rumored that already Ochus maintained a too intimate
correspondence with her. This, however, was quite unknown to
the king; who, being willing to put down in good time his son
Ochus's hopes, lest, by his attempting the same things his uncle
Cyrus did, wars and contentions might again afflict his kingdom,
proclaimed Darius, then twenty-five years old, his successor,
and gave him leave to wear the upright hat, as they call it. It
was a rule and usage of Persia, that the heir apparent to the
crown should beg a boon, and that he that declared him so should
give whatever he asked, provided it were within the sphere of
his power. Darius therefore requested Aspasia, in former time
the most prized of the concubines of Cyrus, and now belonging to
the king. She was by birth a Phocaean, of Ionia, born of free
parents, and well educated. Once when Cyrus was at supper, she
was led in to him with other women, who, when they were sat down
by him, and he began to sport and dally and talk jestingly with
them, gave way freely to his advances. But she stood by in
silence, refusing to come when Cyrus called her, and when his
chamberlains were going to force her towards him, said,
"Whosoever lays hands on me shall rue it;" so that she seemed to
the company a sullen and rude-mannered person. However, Cyrus
was well pleased, and laughed, saying to the man that brought
the women, "Do you not see of a certainty that this woman alone
of all that came with you is truly noble and pure in character?"
After which time he began to regard her, and loved her above all
of her sex, and called her the Wise. But Cyrus being slain in
the fight, she was taken among the spoils of his camp.

Darius, in demanding her, no doubt much offended his father, for
the barbarian people keep a very jealous and watchful eye over
their carnal pleasures, so that it is death for a man not only
to come near and touch any concubine of his prince, but likewise
on a journey to ride forward and pass by the carriages in which
they are conveyed. And though, to gratify his passion, he had
against all law married his daughter Atossa, and had besides her
no less than three hundred and sixty concubines selected for
their beauty, yet being importuned for that one by Darius, he
urged that she was a free-woman, and allowed him to take her, if
she had an inclination to go with him, but by no means to force
her away against it. Aspasia, therefore, being sent for, and,
contrary to the king's expectation, making choice of Darius, he
gave him her indeed, being constrained by law, but when he had
done so, a little after he took her from him. For he
consecrated her priestess to Diana of Ecbatana, whom they name
Anaitis, that she might spend the remainder of her days in
strict chastity, thinking thus to punish his son, not
rigorously, but with moderation, by a revenge checkered with
jest and earnest. But he took it heinously, either that he was
passionately fond of Aspasia, or because he looked upon himself
as affronted and scorned by his father. Teribazus, perceiving
him thus minded, did his best to exasperate him yet further,
seeing in his injuries a representation of his own, of which the
following is the account: Artaxerxes, having many daughters,
promised to give Apama to Pharnabazus to wife, Rhodogune to
Orontes, and Amestris to Teribazus; whom alone of the three he
disappointed, by marrying Amestris himself. However, to make
him amends, he betrothed his youngest daughter Atossa to him.
But after he had, being enamored of her too, as has been said,
married her, Teribazus entertained an irreconcilable enmity
against him. As indeed he was seldom at any other time steady
in his temper, but uneven and inconsiderate; so that whether he
were in the number of the choicest favorites of his prince, or
whether he were offensive and odious to him, he demeaned himself
in neither condition with moderation; but if he was advanced he
was intolerably insolent, and in his degradation not submissive
and peaceable in his deportment, but fierce and haughty.

And therefore Teribazus was to the young prince flame added upon
flame, ever urging him, and saying, that in vain those wear
their hats upright who consult not the real success of their
affairs, and that he was ill befriended of reason if he
imagined, whilst he had a brother, who, through the women's
apartments, was seeking a way to the supremacy, and a father of
so rash and fickle a humor, that he should by succession
infallibly step up into the throne. For he that out of fondness
to an Ionian girl has eluded a law sacred and inviolable among
the Persians is not likely to be faithful in the performance of
the most important promises. He added, too, that it was not all
one for Ochus not to attain to, and for him to be put by his
crown; since Ochus as a subject might live happily, and nobody
could hinder him; but he, being proclaimed king, must either
take up his scepter or lay down his life. These words presently
inflamed Darius: what Sophocles says being indeed generally
true: --

Quick travels the persuasion to what's wrong.

For the path is smooth, and upon an easy descent, that leads us
to our own will; and the most part of us desire what is evil
through our strangeness to and ignorance of good. And in this
case, no doubt, the greatness of the empire and the jealousy
Darius had of Ochus furnished Teribazus with material for his
persuasions. Nor was Venus wholly unconcerned in the matter, in
regard, namely, of his loss of Aspasia.

Darius, therefore, resigned himself up to the dictates of
Teribazus; and many now conspiring with them, a eunuch gave
information to the king of their plot and the way how it was to
be managed, having discovered the certainty of it, that they had
resolved to break into his bed-chamber by night, and there to
kill him as he lay. After Artaxerxes had been thus advertised,
he did not think fit, by disregarding the discovery, to despise

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest