Life of Demetrius, 1–53

Plutarch  translated by Bernadotte Perrin

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1Those who first assumed that the arts are like the bodily senses, seem to me to have perceived very clearly the power of making distinctions which both possess, by which power we are enabled to apprehend opposites, as well in the one case as in the other. For the arts and the senses have this power in common; though in the use to which we put the distinctions made, they differ. 2For our sense-perception has no greater facility in distinguishing white objects than black, or sweet things than bitter, or soft and yielding substances than hard and resisting ones, but its function is to receive impressions from all objects alike, and having received them, to report the resulting sensation to the understanding. The arts, on the other hand, which proceed by the use of reason to the selection and adoption of what is appropriate, and to the avoidance and rejection of what is alien to themselves, contemplate the one class of objects with direct intent and by preference, and yet incidentally contemplate the other class also, and in order to avoid them. 3For instance, the art of healing has incidentally studied the nature of disease, and the art of harmony the nature of discord, in order to produce their opposites; and the most consummate arts of all, namely, temperance, justice, and wisdom, since their function is to distinguish, not only what is good and just and expedient, but also what is bad and unjust and disgraceful, have no praises for a guilelessness which plumes itself on its inexperience of evil, nay, they consider it to be foolishness, and ignorance of what ought especially to be known by men who would live aright. 4Accordingly, the ancient Spartans would put compulsion upon their helots at the festivals to drink much unmixed wine, and would then bring them into the public messes, in order to show their young men what it was like to be drunk. And though I do not think that the perverting of some to secure the setting right of others is very humane, or a good civil policy, 5still, when men have led reckless lives, and have become conspicuous, in the exercise of power or in great undertakings, for badness, perhaps it will not be much amiss for me to introduce a pair or two of them into my biographies, though not that I may merely divert and amuse my readers by giving variety to my writing. 6Ismenias the Theban used to exhibit both good and bad players to his pupils on the flute and say, you must play like this one,” or again, “you must not play like this one”; and Antigenidas used to think that young men would listen with more pleasure to good flute-players if they were given an experience of bad ones also. So, I think, we also shall be more eager to observe and imitate the better lives if we are not left without narratives of the blameworthy and the bad.

7This book will therefore contain the Lives of Demetrius the City-besieger and Antony the Imperator, men who bore most ample testimony to the truth of Plato’s saying[1] that great natures exhibit great vices also, as well as great virtues. Both alike were amorous, bibulous, warlike, munificent, extravagant, and domineering, and they had corresponding resemblances in their fortunes. 8For not only were they all through their lives winning great successes, but meeting with great reverses; making innumerable conquests, but suffering innumerable losses; unexpectedly falling low, but unexpectedly recovering themselves again; but they also came to their end, the one in captivity to his enemies, and the other on the verge of this calamity.

2To begin, then, Antigonus had two sons by Stratonicé the daughter of Corrhagus, one of whom he named Demetrius, after his brother, and the other Philip, after his father. This is what the majority of writers say. But some have it that Demetrius was not the son, but the nephew of Antigonus; for his own father died when the boy was quite young, and then his mother immediately married Antigonus, so that Demetrius was considered to be his son. 2Well, then, Philip, who was a few years younger than Demetrius, died. Demetrius, the surviving son, had not the height of his father, though he was a tall man, but he had features of rare and astonishing beauty, so that no painter or sculptor ever achieved a likeness of him. They had at once grace and strength, dignity and beauty, and there was blended with their youthful eagerness a certain heroic look and a kingly majesty that were hard to imitate. 3And in like manner his disposition also was fitted to inspire in men both fear and favour. For while he was a most agreeable companion, and most dainty of princes in the leisure devoted to drinking and luxurious ways of living, on the other hand he had a most energetic and eager persistency and efficiency in action. Wherefore he used to make Dionysus his pattern, more than any other deity, since this god was most terrible in waging war, and on the other hand most skilful, when war was over, in making peace minister to joy and pleasure.

3Moreover, Demetrius was also exceedingly fond of his father; and from his devotion to his mother it was apparent that he honoured his father also from genuine affection rather than out of deference to his power. On one occasion, when Antigonus was busy with an embassy, Demetrius came home from hunting; he went up to his father and kissed him, and then sat down by his side just as he was, javelins in hand. 2Then Antigonus, as the ambassadors were now going away with their answers, called out to them in a loud voice and said: “O men, carry back this report also about us, that this is the way we feel towards one another,” implying that no slight vigour in the royal estate and proof of its power were to be seen in his harmonious and trustful relations with his son. 3So utterly unsociable a thing, it seems, is empire, and so full of ill-will and distrust, that the oldest and greatest of the successors of Alexander could make it a thing to glory in that he was not afraid of his son, but allowed him near his person lance in hand. However, this house was almost the only one which kept itself pure from crimes of this nature for very many generations, or, to speak more definitely, Philip was the only one of the descendants of Antigonus who put a son to death.[2] 4But almost all the other lines afford many examples of men who killed their sons, and of many who killed their mothers and wives; and as for men killing their brothers, just as geometricians assume their postulates, so this crime came to be a common and recognized postulate in the plans of princes to secure their own safety.

4In proof that in the beginning Demetrius was naturally humane and fond of his companions, the following illustration may be given. Mithridates the son of Ariobarzanes was a companion of his, and an intimate of the same age. He was one of the courtiers of Antigonus, and though he neither was nor was held to be a base fellow, still, in consequence of a dream, Antigonus conceived a suspicion of him. 2Antigonus dreamed, namely, that he was traversing a large and fair field and sowing gold-dust. From this, to begin with, there sprang up a golden crop, but when he came back after a little while, he could see nothing but stubble. In his vexation and distress, he heard in his dream sundry voices saying that Mithridates had reaped the golden crop for himself and gone off to the Euxine Sea. 3Antigonus was much disturbed by this vision, and after he had put his son under oath of silence, told it to him, adding that he had fully determined to destroy Mithridates and put him out of the way. On hearing this, Demetrius was exceedingly distressed, and when the young man, as was his wont, came to share his diversions with him, though he did not venture to open his lips on the matter or to warn him orally, because of his oath, he gradually drew him away from his friends, and when they were by themselves, with the sharp butt of his lance he wrote on the ground so that he could see it, “Fly, Mithridates.” 4Mithridates understood, and ran away by night to Cappadocia. And soon the vision of Antigonus was accomplished for him by fate. For Mithridates made himself master of a large and fair territory, and founded the line of Pontic kings, which, in the eighth generation, was brought to an end by the Romans.[3] This, then, is an illustration of the strong natural bent of Demetrius towards kindness and justice.

5But just as among the elements of the universe, according to Empedocles, love and hate produce mutual dissension and war, particularly among those elements which touch or lie near one another, so the continuous wars which the successors of Alexander waged against one another were aggravated and more inflamed in some cases by the close proximity of interests and territories, as at this time in the case of Antigonus and Ptolemy. 2Antigonus himself was tarrying in Phrygia, and hearing there that Ptolemy had crossed over from Cyprus and was ravaging Syria and reducing or turning from their allegiance its cities, he sent against him his son Demetrius, who was only twenty-two years of age, and was then for the first time engaging with sole command in an expedition where great interests were at stake. But since he was young and inexperienced, and had for his adversary a man trained in the training-school of Alexander who had independently waged many great contests, he met with utter defeat near the city of Gaza,[4] where eight thousand of his men were taken prisoners and five thousand were slain. 3He lost also his tent, his money, and in a word, all his personal effects. But Ptolemy sent these back to him, together with his friends, accompanying them with the considerate and humane message that their warfare must not be waged for all things alike, but only for glory and dominion. Demetrius accepted the kindness, and prayed the gods that he might not long be indebted to Ptolemy for it, but might speedily make him a like return. 4And he took his disaster, not like a stripling thwarted at the outset of an undertaking, but like a sensible general acquainted with reverses of fortune, and busied himself with the levying of men and the preparation of arms, while he kept the cities well in hand and practised his new recruits.

6When Antigonus learned of the battle, he said that Ptolemy had conquered beardless youths, but must now fight with men;[5] however, not wishing to humble or curtail the spirit of his son, he did not oppose his request that he might fight again on his own account, but suffered him to do it. And not long after, up came Cilles, a general of Ptolemy, with a splendid army, intending to drive Demetrius out of all Syria, and looking down upon him because of his previous defeat. 2But Demetrius fell upon him suddenly and took him by surprise, put him to rout, and captured his camp, general and all; he also took seven thousand of his soldiers prisoners, and made himself master of vast treasures. However, he rejoiced to have won the day, not by reason of what he was going to have, but of what he could restore, and was delighted, not so much with the wealth and glory which his victory brought, as with the power it gave him to recompense the kindness and return the favour of Ptolemy. 3And yet he did not do this on his own responsibility, but first wrote to his father about it. And when his father gave him permission and bade him dispose of everything as he liked, he sent back to Ptolemy both Cilles himself and his friends, after loading them with gifts. This reverse drove Ptolemy out of Syria, and brought Antigonus down from Celaenae; he rejoiced at the victory and yearned to get sight of the son who had won it.

7After this, Demetrius was sent to bring into subjection the Arabs known as Nabataean, and incurred great peril by getting into regions which had no water; but he was neither terrified nor greatly disturbed, and his demeanour overawed the Barbarians, so that he took much booty and seven hundred camels from them and returned.

2And now Seleucus, who had once been expelled from Babylonia by Antigonus, but had afterwards succeeded in recovering the realm and was now wielding the power there, went up with an army, designing to annex the tribes on the confines of India and the provinces about Mount Caucasus. Demetrius, accordingly, expecting that he would find Mesopotamia unprotected, suddenly crossed the Euphrates and invaded Babylonia before Seleucus could stop him. He expelled from one of its citadels (there were two of them) the garrison left there by Seleucus, got it into his power and established in it seven thousand of his own men. 3But after ordering his soldiers to take and make booty of everything which they could carry or drive from the country, he returned to the sea-coast, leaving Seleucus more confirmed than before in his possession of the realm; for by ravaging the country Demetrius was thought to admit that it no longer belonged to his father. However, while Ptolemy was besieging Halicarnassus, Demetrius came swiftly to the aid of the city and rescued it.

8The glory won by this noble deed inspired father and son with a wonderful eagerness to give freedom to all Greece, which had been reduced to subjection by Cassander and Ptolemy. No nobler or juster war than this was waged by any one of the kings; for the vast wealth which they together had amassed by subduing the Barbarians, was now lavishly spent upon the Greeks, to win glory and honour. 2As soon as father and son had determined to sail against Athens, one of his friends said to Antigonus that they must keep that city, if they took it, in their own hands, since it was a gangway to Greece. But Antigonus would not hear of it; he said that the goodwill of a people was a noble gangway which no waves could shake, and that Athens, the beacon-tower of the whole world, would speedily flash the glory of their deeds to all mankind. 3So Demetrius sailed, with five thousand talents of money and a fleet of two hundred and fifty ships, against Athens, where Demetrius the Phalerean was administering the affairs of the city for Cassander and a garrison was set in Munychia. By virtue of forethought combined with good fortune, he appeared off Piraeus on the twenty-sixth of the month Thargelion.[6] 4Nobody knew beforehand of his approach, but as soon as his fleet was seen in the vicinity, everybody thought that the ships belonged to Ptolemy and prepared to receive them. At last, however, the generals discovered their mistake and came to the rescue, and there was confusion, as is natural when men are compelled to defend themselves against enemies who are making an unexpected landing. For Demetrius, finding the entrances to the harbours open and sailing through them, was presently inside and in view of all, and signalled from his ship a demand for quiet and silence. 5When this was secured, he proclaimed by voice of herald at his side that he had been sent by his father on what he prayed might be a happy errand, to set Athens free, and to expel her garrison, and to restore to the people their laws and their ancient form of government.

9On hearing this proclamation, most of the people at once threw their shields down in front of them, and with clapping of hands and loud cries urged Demetrius to land, hailing him as their saviour and benefactor. The party of Demetrius the Phalerean also thought they must by all means receive the conqueror, even though he should confirm none of his promises, but nevertheless sent ambassadors to supplicate his mercy. These Demetrius met in a friendly spirit, and sent back with them one of his father’s friends, Aristodemus of Miletus. 2Now the Phalerean, owing to the change of government, was more afraid of his fellow-citizens than of the enemy. Demetrius, however, was not unmindful of him, but out of regard for the man’s good reputation and excellence, sent him and his friends under safe conduct to Thebes, as he desired. As for himself, he declared that, although he desired to see the city, he would not do so before he had completed its liberation by ridding it of its garrison; meanwhile, after running a trench and a palisade round Munychia, he sailed against Megara, where a garrison had been stationed by Cassander.

3But on learning that Cratesipolis, who had been the wife of Polyperchon’s son Alexander, was tarrying at Patrae, and would be very glad to make him a visit (and she was a famous beauty), he left his forces in the territory of Megara and set forth, taking a few light-armed attendants with him. And turning aside from these also, he pitched his tent apart, that the woman might pay her visit to him unobserved. 4Some of his enemies learned of this, and made a sudden descent upon him. Then, in a fright, he donned a shabby cloak and ran for his life and got away, narrowly escaping a most shameful capture in consequence of his rash ardour. His tent, together with his belongings, was carried off by his enemies.

5Megara, however, was captured, and the soldiers would have plundered it had not the Athenians made strong intercession for its citizens; Demetrius also expelled its garrison and gave the city its freedom. While he was still engaged in this, he bethought himself of Stilpo the philosopher, who was famous for his election of a life of tranquillity. Accordingly, Demetrius summoned him and asked him whether any one had robbed him of anything. “No one,” said Stilpo, “for I saw nobody carrying away knowledge.” 6But nearly all the servants in the city were stolen away, and when Demetrius once more tried to deal kindly with the philosopher, and finally, on going away, said: “Your city, Stilpo, I leave in freedom,” “Thou sayest truly,” replied Stilpo, “for thou hast not left a single one of our slaves.”

10Coming back again to Munychia and encamping before it, he drove out the garrison and demolished the fortress, and this accomplished, at last, on the urgent invitation of the Athenians, he made his entry into the upper city, where he assembled the people and gave them back their ancient form of government. He also promised that they should receive from his father a hundred and fifty thousand bushels of grain, and enough ship timber to build a hundred triremes. 2It was fourteen years since the Athenians had lost their democratic form of government, and during the period which followed the Lamian war and the battle at Crannon[7] their government had been administered, nominally as an oligarchy, but really as a monarchy, owing to the great influence of the Phalerean. And now that Demetrius had shown himself great and splendid in his benefactions, the Athenians rendered him odious and obnoxious by the extravagance of the honours which they voted him. 3For instance, they were the first people in the world to give Demetrius and Antigonus the title of King, although both had up to that time shrunk from using the word, and although this was the only royal prerogative still left to the descendants of Philip and Alexander which it was thought that others could not assume or share; moreover, the Athenians were the only people to give them the appellation of Saviour-gods, and they put a stop to the ancient custom of designating the year with the name of the annual archon, and elected every year a priest of the Saviour-gods, whose name they prefixed to their public edicts and private contracts. 4They also decreed that the figures of Demetrius and Antigonus should be woven into the sacred robe,[8] along with those of the gods; and the spot where Demetrius first alighted from his chariot they consecrated and covered with an altar, which they styled the altar of Demetrius Alighter; they also created two new tribes, Demetrias and Antigonis; and they increased the number of the senators, which had been five hundred, to six hundred, since each of the tribes must furnish fifty senators.

11But the most monstrous thing that came into the head of Stratocles (he it was who invented these elegant and clever bits of obsequiousness) was his motion that envoys sent by public decree and at public expense to Antigonus or Demetrius should be called sacred deputies, instead of ambassadors, like those who conducted to Delphi and Olympia the ancient sacrifices in behalf of the cities at the great Hellenic festivals. 2In all other ways also Stratocles was an audacious fellow; he lived an abandoned life, and was thought to imitate the scurrility and buffoonery of the ancient Cleon in his familiarities with the people. He had taken up with a mistress named Phylacion; and one day when she had bought in the market-place for his supper some brains and neck-bones, “Aha!” he cried, “thou hast bought just such delicacies for me as we statesmen used to play ball with.” 3Again, when the Athenians suffered their naval defeat near Amorgus,[9] before the tidings of the disaster could reach the city he put a garland on his head and drove through the Cerameicus, and after announcing that the Athenians were victorious, moved a sacrifice of glad tidings and made a generous distribution of meat to the people by tribes. Then, a little later, when the wrecks were brought home from the battle and the people in their wrath called him out, he faced the tumult recklessly and said: “What harm have I done you, pray, if for two days ye have been happy?” Such was the effrontery of Stratocles.

12But there are things hotter even than fire, as Aristophanes puts it.[10] For some one else, outdoing Stratocles in servility, proposed that whenever Demetrius visited the city he should be received with the hospitable honours paid to Demeter and Dionysus, and that to the citizen who surpassed all others in the splendour and costliness of his reception, a sum of money should be granted from the public treasury for a dedicatory offering. 2And finally, they changed the name of the month Mounychion to Demetrion, and that of the last day of a month, the “Old and New,” to Demetrias, and to the festival called Dionysia they gave the new name of Demetria. Most of these innovations were marked with the divine displeasure. The sacred robe, for instance, in which they had decreed that the figures of Demetrius and Antigonus should be woven along with those of Zeus and Athena, as it was being carried in procession through the midst of the Cerameicus, was rent by a hurricane which smote it;[11] 3again, all around the altars of those Saviour-gods the soil teemed with hemlock, a plant which did not grow in many other parts of the country at all; and on the day for the celebration of the Dionysia, the sacred procession had to be omitted on account of severe cold weather that came out of season. And a heavy frost followed, which not only blasted all the vines and fig-trees with its cold, but also destroyed most of the grain in the blade. 4Therefore Philippides, who was an enemy of Stratocles, assailed him in a comedy with these verses:—[12]

“Through him it was that hoar-frost blasted all the vines,

Through his impiety the robe was rent in twain,

Because he gave the gods’ own honours unto men.

Such work undoes a people, not its comedy.”

5Philippides was a friend of Lysimachus, and for his sake the king bestowed many favours on the Athenian people. Moreover, when he was about to undertake anything or make an expedition, he thought it a good omen to meet or catch sight of Philippides. And in general the character of Philippides gave him a good repute, since he was no busybody, and had none of the officious ways of a courtier. On one occasion Lysimachus wished to do him a kindness, and said: “Philippides, what have I that I can share with thee?” “O King,” said Philippides, “anything but one of thy state secrets.” Such a man, then, I purposely compare with Stratocles, the man of the stage with the man of the bema.

13But there was one honour proposed for Demetrius which was more strange and monstrous than any other. Dromocleides the Sphettian moved, when the dedication of certain shields at Delphi was in question, that the Athenians should get an oracle from Demetrius. And I will transcribe his very words from the decree; they run thus: 2“May it be for the best.[13] Decreed by the people that the people elect one man from the Athenians, who shall go to the Saviour-god, and, after a sacrifice with good omens, shall enquire of the Saviour-god in what most speedy, decorous, and reverent manner the people may accomplish the restoration to their places of the dedicatory offerings; and that whatever answer he shall give, the people shall act according thereunto.” With such mockery of adulation they finally perverted the man’s mind, which even before was not wholly sound.

14Furthermore, while he lingered in Athens at this time, Demetrius took to wife Eurydicé, a widow. She was a descendant of the ancient Miltiades, had married Ophelas the ruler of Cyrené, and after his death had come back to Athens. 2The Athenians, accordingly, took this marriage as a graceful compliment to their city; but in general Demetrius made a rather light matter of marriages, and had many wives at the same time, of whom Phila enjoyed the greatest esteem and honour, both because of her father, Antipater, and because she had been the wife of Craterus, the one of all the successors of Alexander who left behind him the most goodwill among the Macedonians. This woman, as it would appear, his father had persuaded Demetrius to marry when he was quite young, although she was not of his age, but older; 3and when his son was disinclined to the match, it is said that Antigonus whispered in his ear the verse of Euripides:

“Where there is gain, ‘gainst nature’s dictates must one wed,”

substituting off-hand “must one wed” for the similar inflection “must one serve.” However, so slight was the respect which Demetrius paid to Phila and to the rest of his wives, that he consorted freely with many courtesans, as well as with many women of free birth, and as regards this indulgence he had the worst reputation of all the kings of his time.

15And now his father summoned him to wage war against Ptolemy for the possession of Cyprus. He must needs obey the summons, but was loth to abandon the war for the liberation of Greece, which was a nobler and more glorious war, and therefore sent to Cleonides, the general of Ptolemy who was occupying Sicyon and Corinth with a garrison, and offered him money to set the cities free. 2Cleonides, however, would not accept the bribe, and Demetrius therefore put to sea in haste, and taking additional forces, sailed against Cyprus.[14] There he joined battle with Menelaüs, a brother of Ptolemy, and promptly defeated him; but Ptolemy himself appeared on the scene with a large land and naval force combined, and there were sundry interchanges of threats and boasts, Ptolemy ordering Demetrius to sail away before the entire force should assemble and crush him, and Demetrius offering to let Ptolemy go if he would agree to withdraw his garrisons from Sicyon and Corinth. 3And not only Demetrius and Ptolemy themselves, but also all the other potentates, awaited with great expectancy the uncertain issue of the impending struggle; they felt that not Cyprus, nor yet Syria, but the absolute supremacy would at once be the prize of the victor.

16Well, then, Ptolemy himself sailed to the attack with a hundred and fifty ships, and ordered Menelaüs to put out from Salamis with sixty ships, and when the struggle was fiercest, to assail the ships of Demetrius in the rear, and throw them into confusion. But to these sixty ships Demetrius opposed only ten ships (for that small number sufficed to block the narrow exit from the harbour), 2while he himself, after first drawing out his land forces and encompassing the headlands that extended into the sea, put out to battle with a hundred and eighty ships. He made his onset with great impetus and force, and utterly routed Ptolemy. Ptolemy himself, after his defeat, fled swiftly with eight ships only (for that small number were left from his whole fleet); of the rest, some had been destroyed in the sea-fight, and seventy had been captured, crews and all), 3but of the throng of attendants, friends, and women which lay in ships of burden close at hand, and further, of all Ptolemy’s arms, money, and engines of war, absolutely nothing escaped Demetrius, but he took everything and brought it safely into his camp. Among this booty was the celebrated Lamia, originally held in esteem for her artistic skill (she was thought to play the flute quite admirably), but afterwards becoming illustrious in the annals of love also. 4At this time, at any rate, although she was past her prime and found Demetrius much younger than herself, she so mastered and swayed him by her charms that he was a lover for her alone, but a beloved for all other women.

After the sea-fight, Menelaüs also made no further resistance, but handed over Salamis to Demetrius,together with his fleet, and his land forces, which comprised twelve hundred horsemen and twelve thousand men-at-arms.

17This victory, which was so fair and brilliant, Demetrius adorned still more by his humanity and kindness of heart. He gave the enemy’s dead a magnificent burial, and set his captives free; moreover, upon the Athenians he bestowed twelve hundred suits of armour from the spoils.

2As his special messenger to carry word of the victory to his father, Demetrius sent Aristodemus of Miletus, the arch-flatterer among all his courtiers, and ready now, as it would seem, to crown the achievement with the grossest of his flatteries. For when he had crossed over from Cyprus, he would not suffer his vessel to come to land, but ordered the crew to cast anchor and remain quietly on board, all of them, 3while he himself got into the ship’s small boat, landed alone, and proceeded towards Antigonus, who was anxiously awaiting news of the battle, and was disposed as men are apt to be disposed who are struggling for so high a stake. And now, indeed, when he heard that Aristodemus was coming, he was more disturbed than before, and, with difficulty keeping himself indoors, sent servants and friends, one after the other, to learn from Aristodemus what had happened. 4Aristodemus, however, would make no answer to anybody, but step by step and with a solemn face drew near in perfect silence. Antigonus, therefore, thoroughly frightened, and no longer able to restrain himself, came to the door to meet Aristodemus, who was now escorted by a large throng which was hurrying to the palace. 5Accordingly, when he had come near, he stretched out his hand and cried with a loud voice: “Hail, King Antigonus, we have conquered Ptolemy in a sea-fight, and now hold Cyprus, with twelve thousand eight hundred soldiers as prisoners of war.” To this Antigonus replied: “Hail to thee also, by Heaven! but for torturing us in this way, thou shalt undergo punishment; the reward for thy good tidings thou shalt be some time in getting.”

18Upon this, the multitude for the first time saluted Antigonus and Demetrius as kings. Antigonus, accordingly, was immediately crowned by his friends, and Demetrius received a diadem from his father, with a letter in which he was addressed as King. The followers of Ptolemy in Egypt on their part also, when these things were reported to them, gave him the title of King, that they might not appear to lose spirit on account of their defeat. 2And thus their emulation carried the practice among the other successors of Alexander. For Lysimachus began to wear a diadem, and Seleucus also in his interviews with the Greeks; with the Barbarians he had before this dealt as king. Cassander, however, although the others gave him the royal title in their letters and addresses, wrote his letters in his own untitled name, as he had been wont to do.

3Now, this practice did not mean the addition of a name or a change of fashion merely, but it stirred the spirits of the men, lifted their thoughts high, and introduced into their lives and dealings with others pomposity and ostentation, just as tragic actors adapt to their costumes their gait, voice, posture at table, and manner of addressing others. 4Consequently they became harsher in their judicial decisions also; they laid aside that dissemblance of power which formerly had often made them more lenient and gentle with their subjects. So great influence had a flatterer’s single word, and with so great a change did it fill the whole world.

19Antigonus, elated by the achievements of Demetrius at Cyprus, at once[15] made an expedition against Ptolemy; he himself led his forces by land, while Demetrius with a great fleet coöperated with him by sea. How the enterprise was to issue, Medius, a friend of Antigonus, was warned by a vision in his sleep. 2He dreamed, namely, that Antigonus himself, with his whole army, was competing in a race over the course and back; he ran vigorously and swiftly at first, then, little by little, his strength failed him; and at last, after he had made the turn, he became weak, breathed heavily, and with difficulty made the finish. And conformably to the vision, Antigonus himself encountered many difficulties by land, and since Demetrius also encountered a great storm and a heavy sea and was cast upon a rough coast which had no harbours, losing many of his ships, he returned without accomplishing anything.

3Antigonus was at this time almost eighty years old, and his great size and weight, even more than his old age, made it difficult for him to conduct expeditions. He therefore made use of his son instead, whose good fortune and experience now enabled him to conduct the greatest affairs successfully, and whose luxuries, extravagances, and revelries gave his father no concern. For although in time of peace Demetrius plunged deep into these excesses and devoted his leisure to his pleasures without restraint and intemperately, yet in time of war he was as sober as those who were abstemious by nature. 4And we are told that once, after Lamia was known of all men to be in complete control of Demetrius, he came home from abroad and greeted his father with a kiss, whereupon Antigonus said with a laugh, “One would think, my son, that thou wert kissing Lamia.” Again, on another occasion, when Demetrius had been at his revels for several days, and excused his absence by saying that he was troubled with a flux, “So I learned,” said Antigonus, “but was it Thasian or Chian wine that flowed?” 5And again, learning that his son was sick, Antigonus was going to see him, and met a certain beauty at his door; he went in, however, sat down by his son, and felt his pulse. “The fever has left me now,” said Demetrius. “No doubt, my boy,” said Antigonus, “I met it just now at the door as it was going away.” 6These failings of Demetrius were treated with such lenity by his father because the young man was so efficient otherwise. The Scythians, in the midst of their drinking and carousing, twang their bow-strings, as though summoning back their courage when it is dissolved in pleasure; but Demetrius, giving himself up completely, now to pleasure, and now to duty, and keeping the one completely separate from the other, was no less formidable in his preparations for war.

20Nay, he was actually thought to be a better general in preparing than in employing a force, for he wished everything to be at hand in abundance for his needs, and could never be satisfied with the largeness of his undertakings in building ships and engines of war, or in gazing at them with great delight. For he had good natural parts and was given to speculation, and did not apply his ingenuity to things that would afford useless pleasure or diversion, like other kings who played on the flute, or painted, or chased metals. 2Aeropus the Macedonian, for instance, used to spend his leisure time in making little tables or lamp-stands. And Attalus Philometor used to grow poisonous plants, not only henbane and hellebore, but also hemlock, aconite, and dorycnium, sowing and planting them himself in the royal gardens, and making it his business to know their juices and fruits, and to collect these at the proper season. And the kings of the Parthians used to take pride in notching and sharpening with their own hands the points of their missiles. 3But with Demetrius, even the work of his hands was kingly, and his method had grandeur about it, since what he produced displayed loftiness of purpose and spirit combined with elegance and ingenuity, so that men thought it worthy, not only to be designed and paid for by a king, but actually to be wrought by his hand. For its magnitude terrified even his friends, and its beauty delighted even his enemies. And this has still more truth in it than elegance of diction. 4His enemies would stand on shore and admire his galleys of fifteen or sixteen banks of oars as they sailed along past, and his “city-takers” were a spectacle to those whom he was besieging, as the actual facts testify. For Lysimachus, although he was the bitterest enemy Demetrius had among the kings, and had arrayed himself against him when he was besieging Soli in Cilicia, sent and asked Demetrius to show him his engines of war, and his ships in full career; and when Demetrius had shown them, Lysimachus expressed his admiration and went away. 5The Rhodians also, after they had been for a long time besieged by Demetrius and had come to terms with him, asked him for some of his engines of war, that they might keep them as a reminder of his power as well as of their own bravery.

21Now, he made war upon the Rhodians[16] because they were allies of Ptolemy, and brought up against their walls his greatest “city-taker.” Its base was square, and each of its sides measured at the bottom forty-eight cubits. It rose to a height of sixty-six cubits, and tapered from base to summit. 2Within, it was divided off into many storeys and chambers, and the side of it which faced the enemy had windows opening out of every storey, and out through these issued missiles of every sort; for it was full of men who fought in every style of fighting. Moreover, it did not totter or lean when it moved, but remained firm and erect on its base, advancing evenly with much noise and great impetus, and this astounded the minds and at the same time greatly charmed the eyes of those who beheld it.

3For his use in this war there were brought to Demetrius from Cyprus two iron coats of mail, each of which weighed only forty pounds. Wishing to show their strength and power of resistance, Zoilus their maker gave orders that a catapult’s missile should be shot at one of them from a distance of twenty paces, and in the place where it struck the iron remained intact, although it did get a faint scratch, such as might be made by a graver. 4This coat of mail Demetrius wore himself; the other was worn by Alcimus the Epeirot, the sturdiest and most warlike of all the men under him, and the only one whose suit of armour weighed a hundred pounds (the rest used suits of fifty pounds weight); he fell in battle at Rhodes near the theatre.

22But the Rhodians on their part made a vigorous resistance, and Demetrius, although he was accomplishing nothing worthy of mention, nevertheless kept up the fight against them in a rage, because, when Phila his wife sent him letters, bedding, and clothing, the Rhodians had captured the vessel containing them, and had sent it, just as it was, to Ptolemy. In this they did not imitate the considerate kindness of the Athenians, who, having captured Philip’s letter-carriers when he was making war upon them, read all the other letters, indeed, but one of them, which was from Olympias, they would not open; instead, they sent it back to the king with its seal unbroken. 2However, although Demetrius was exceedingly exasperated by this, when the Rhodians soon after gave him a chance to retaliate, he would not allow himself to do so. It happened, namely, that Protogenes the Caunian had been making a painting for them which illustrated the story of Ialysus, and this picture, nearly finished, had been captured by Demetrius in one of the suburbs of the city. The Rhodians sent a herald and begged Demetrius to spare and not destroy the work, whereupon he replied that he would rather burn the likenesses of his father than so great a labour of art. 3For we are told that it took Protogenes seven years to complete the painting. And Apelles says he was so smitten with amazement on beholding the work that his voice actually failed him, and that when at last he had recovered it, he cried, “Great is the toil and astonishing the work,” remarking, however, that it had not the graces which made the fame of his own paintings touch the heavens. 4This painting, then, crowded into the same place with the rest at Rome, the fire destroyed.[17] As for the Rhodians, they continued their strenuous resistance in the war until Demetrius, who wanted a pretext for abandoning it, was induced to make terms with them by a deputation of Athenians, on condition that the Rhodians should be allies of Antigonus and Demetrius, except in a war against Ptolemy.

23And now the Athenians called upon Demetrius because Cassander was besieging their city. So Demetrius sailed to their help with three hundred and thirty ships and a great number of men-at-arms, and not only drove Cassander out of Attica, but actually pursued him in his headlong flight as far as Thermopylae, and then took Heracleia, which joined him of its own accord, and six thousand Macedonians, who also came over to him. 2On his return, he gave their freedom to the Greeks on this side of Thermopylae, made the Boeotians his allies, and captured Cenchreae; he also reduced Phyle and Panactum, fortresses of Attica in which Cassander had garrisons, and gave them back to the Athenians. And they, although before this they had used up and exhausted all the honours that could be bestowed upon him, nevertheless devised a way to show themselves then also the authors of new and fresh flatteries. 3For instance, they assigned him the rear chamber of the Parthenon for his quarters; and there he lived, and there it was said that Athena received and entertained him, although he was no very orderly guest and did not occupy his quarters with the decorum due to a virgin. 4And yet on one occasion when his father understood that his brother Philip was quartered in a house occupied by three young women, he said not a word to Philip himself, but in his presence said to the quartermaster whom he had summoned, “See here, wilt thou not remove my son from his narrow quarters?”

24But Demetrius, who ought to have revered Athena, if for no other reason, at least because she was his elder sister (for this was what he liked to have her called),[18] filled the acropolis with such wanton treatment of free-born youth and native Athenian women that the place was then thought to be particularly pure when he shared his dissolute life there with Chrysis and Lamia and Demo and Anticyra, the well-known prostitutes.

2Now, to give all the particulars plainly would disgrace the fair fame of the city, but I may not pass over the modesty and virtue of Democles. He was still a young boy, and it did not escape the notice of Demetrius that he had a surname which indicated his comeliness; for he was called Democles the Beautiful. But he yielded to none of the many who sought to win him by prayers or gifts or threats, and finally, shunning the palaestras and the gymnasium, used to go for his bath to a private bathing-room. Here Demetrius, who had watched his opportunity, came upon him when he was alone. 3And the boy, when he saw that he was quite alone and in dire straits, took off the lid of the cauldron and jumped into the boiling water, thus destroying himself, and suffering a fate that was unworthy of him, but showing a spirit that was worthy of his country and of his beauty. Not so Cleaenetus the son of Cleomedon, who, in order to obtain a letter from Demetrius to the people and therewith to secure the remission of a fine of fifty talents which had been imposed upon his father, not only disgraced himself, but also got the city into trouble. 4For the people released Cleomedon from his sentence, but they passed an edict that no citizen should bring a letter from Demetrius before the assembly. However, when Demetrius heard of it and was beyond measure incensed thereat, they took fright again, and not only rescinded the decree, but actually put to death some of those who had introduced and spoken in favour of it, and drove others into exile; furthermore, they voted besides that it was the pleasure of the Athenian people that whatsoever King Demetrius should ordain in future, this should be held righteous towards the gods and just towards men. 5And when one of the better class of citizens declared that Stratocles was mad to introduce such a motion, Demochares of Leuconoë said: “He would indeed be mad not to be mad.” For Stratocles reaped much advantage from his flatteries. Demochares, however, was brought under accusation for this and sent into exile. So fared it with the Athenians, who imagined that because they were rid of their garrison they therefore had their freedom.

25And now Demetrius proceeded into Peloponnesus,[19] where not one of his enemies opposed him, but all abandoned their cities and fled. He received into allegiance Acte, as it is called, and Arcadia (except Mantineia), and freed Argos, Sicyon, and Corinth by paying their garrisons a hundred talents. 2At Argos, then, where there was a celebration of the festival of Hera, he presided at the games and attended the solemn assemblies with the Greeks, and married Deïdameia,[20] the daughter of Aeacides king of the Molossians, and the sister of Pyrrhus. As for the Sicyonians, he told them their city was in the wrong place, and persuaded them to change its site to that which it now has; moreover, with the site he also changed the name of the city, calling it Demetrias instead of Sicyon. 3And at the Isthmus of Corinth, where a general assembly was held and throngs of people came together, he was proclaimed Commander-in-chief of the Greeks, as Philip and Alexander had been proclaimed before him; and to these he considered himself in no slight measure superior, lifted up as he was by the good fortune and power which he then enjoyed. And certainly King Alexander never refused to bestow the royal title upon other kings, nor did he proclaim himself King of Kings, although many kings received their position and title from him; 4whereas Demetrius used to rail and mock at those who gave the title of King to any one except his father and himself, and was well pleased to hear revellers pledge Demetrius as King, but Seleucus as Master of the Elephants, Ptolemy as Admiral, Lysimachus as Treasurer, and Agathocles of Sicily as Lord of the Isles. 5When this was reported to these kings, they all laughed at Demetrius, except Lysimachus; he was incensed that Demetrius considered him a eunuch (it was the general practice to have eunuchs for treasurers). 6And of all the kings Lysimachus had most hatred for Demetrius. He was once reviling the man’s passion for Lamia, and said that this was the first time he had ever seen a harlot coming forward to play a great tragic part; Demetrius, however, declared that his own harlot was more chaste than the Penelope of Lysimachus.

26But to resume the story, when Demetrius was getting ready to return to Athens, he wrote letters to the people saying that he wished to be initiated into the mysteries as soon as he arrived, and to pass through all the grades in the ceremony, from the lowest to the highest (the “epoptica”). Now, this was not lawful, and had not been done before, but the lesser rites were performed in the month Anthesterion, the great rites in Boëdromion; and the supreme rites (the “epoptica”) were celebrated after an interval of at least a year from the great rites. 2And yet when the letter of Demetrius was read, no one ventured to oppose the proposition except Pythodorus the Torch-bearer, and he accomplished nothing; instead, on motion of Stratocles, it was voted to call the current month, which was Munychion, Anthesterion, and so to regard it, and the lesser rites at Agra were performed for Demetrius; after which Munychion was again changed and became Boëdromion instead of Anthesterion, Demetrius received the remaining rites of initiation, and at the same time was also admitted to the highest grade of “epoptos.” 3Hence Philippides, in his abuse of Stratocles, wrote:—[21]

“Who abridged the whole year into a single month,”

and with reference to the quartering of Demetrius in the Parthenon:—

“Who took the acropolis for a caravansery,

And introduced to its virgin goddess his courtesans.”

27But among the many lawless and shocking things done by Demetrius in the city at this time, this is said to have given the Athenians most displeasure, namely, that after he had ordered them to procure speedily two hundred and fifty talents for his use, and after they had levied the money rigorously and inexorably, when he saw the sum that had been collected, he commanded that it should be given to Lamia and her fellow courtesans to buy soap with. For the shame they felt was more intolerable to the people than their loss, and the words which accompanied it than the deed itself. 2But some say that those who received this treatment were Thessalians, not Athenians. Apart from this incident, however, Lamia, when she was preparing a supper for the king, exacted money on her own account from many citizens. And the costliness of this supper gave it so wide a renown that it was described in full by Lynceus the Samian. Hence also a comic poet not inaptly called Lamia “a veritable City-taker.”[22] And Demochares of Soli called Demetrius himself “Fable,” because he too, like Fable, had a Lamia.[23]

3And not only among the wives of Demetrius, but also among his friends, did the favour and affection which he bestowed on Lamia awaken envy and jealousy. At all events, some ambassadors from him once came to Lysimachus, and Lysimachus, in an hour of leisure, showed them on his thighs and shoulders deep scars of wounds made by a lion’s claws; he also told them about the battle he had fought against the beast, with which he had been caged by Alexander the king. Then they laughingly told him that their own king also carried, on his neck, the bites of a dreadful wild beast,—a Lamia. 4And it was astonishing that while in the beginning he was displeased at Phila’s disparity in years, he was vanquished by Lamia, and loved her so long, although she was already past her prime. At all events, when Lamia was playing on the flute at a supper, and Demetrius asked Demo, surnamed Mania, what she thought of her, “O King,” said Mania, “I think her an old woman.” And at another time, when some sweetmeats were served up, and Demetrius said to Mania, “Dost thou see how many presents I get from Lamia?” “My mother,” said Mania, “will send thee more, if thou wilt make her also thy mistress.” 5And there is on record also Lamia’s comment on the famous judgment of Bocchoris. There was, namely, a certain Egyptian who was in love with Thonis the courtesan, and was asked a great sum of money for her favours; then he dreamed that he enjoyed those favours, and ceased from his desires. 6Thereupon Thonis brought an action against him for payment due, and Bocchoris, on hearing the case, ordered the man to bring into court in its coffer the sum total demanded of him, and to move it hither and thither with his hand, and the courtesan was to grasp its shadow, since the thing imagined is a shadow of the reality. This judgment Lamia thought to be unjust; for though the dream put an end to the young man’s passion, the shadow of the money did not set the courtesan free from her desire for it. So much, then, for Lamia.

28But the fortunes and achievements of the man whose Life I am narrating, brings my narrative back, as it were, from the comic to the tragic stage. For all the other kings leagued themselves together against Antigonus and united their forces, and so Demetrius set forth from Greece,[24] and finding his father eager beyond his years for the war, he was himself still more encouraged. 2And yet it would seem that if Antigonus had made some trifling concessions and had slackened his excessive passion for dominion, he might have always retained the supremacy for himself and have left it to his son. But he was naturally stern and haughty, and was harsh in what he said no less than in what he did, and therefore exasperated and incited against himself many young and powerful men; and their combination and partnership at this time he said he would scatter asunder with a single stone and a single shout, as if they were a flock of granivorous birds.

3He took the field with more than seventy thousand infantry, ten thousand horse, and seventy-five elephants; while his adversaries had sixty-four thousand infantry, five hundred more horse than he, four hundred elephants, and a hundred and twenty chariots. After he had drawn near them, the cast of his expectations rather than of his purposes underwent a change. 4For he was wont to be lofty and boastful as he engaged in his conflicts, making pompous speeches in a loud voice, and many times also by the utterance of a casual jest or joke when the enemy was close at hand he would show the firmness of his own spirit and his contempt for them; but now he was observed to be thoughtful and silent for the most part, and he presented his son to the army and pronounced him his successor. 5But what more than anything else astonished everybody was his conversing alone in his tent with his son, although it was not his custom to have secret conferences even with him; instead, he made his own plans, followed his own counsels, and then gave his orders openly. At all events, we are told that Demetrius, when he was still a stripling, asked his father when they were going to break camp; and that Antigonus replied in anger: “Art thou in distress lest thou alone shouldst not hear the trumpet?”

29At this time, moreover, bad omens also subdued their spirits. For Demetrius dreamed that Alexander, in brilliant array of armour, asked him what watchword they were going to give for the battle; and when he replied, “Zeus and Victory,” also said: “Then I will go away and join your adversaries; they surely will receive me.”[25] 2Moreover, Antigonus, when his phalanx was already forming and he was leaving his tent, stumbled and fell prone upon his face, injuring himself severely; but he rose to his feet, and stretching out his hands towards heaven prayed that the gods would grant him victory, or a painless death before his defeat.

3After the armies had engaged,[26] Demetrius, with the largest and best part of the cavalry, clashed with Antiochus, the son of Seleucus; he fought brilliantly and routed his enemy, but by pursuing him too fiercely and eagerly he threw away the victory. For he himself was not able to turn back and rejoin his infantry, since the enemy’s elephants were thrown in his way; and Seleucus, observing that his opponents’ phalanx was unprotected by cavalry, took measures accordingly. He did not actually charge upon them, but kept them in fear of a charge by continually riding around them, thus giving them an opportunity to come over to his side. And this was what actually came to pass. 4For a large body of them, detached from the rest, came over to him of their own accord, and the rest were routed. Then, as throngs of his enemies bore down upon him and one of his followers said, “They are making at thee, O King,” “Who else, pray,” said Antigonus, “should be their mark? But Demetrius will come to my aid.” 5This was his hope to the last, and to the last he kept watching eagerly for his son; then a whole cloud of javelins were let fly at him and he fell. The rest of his friends and attendants abandoned him, and one only remained by his dead body, Thorax of Larissa.

30The battle having been decided in this manner, the victorious kings carved up the entire domain which had been subject to Antigonus and Demetrius, as if it had been a great carcass, and took each his portion, adding thus to the provinces which the victors already had, those of the vanquished kings. But Demetrius, with five thousand foot and four thousand horse, came in unbroken flight to Ephesus. Here everybody thought that his lack of resources would lead him to lay hands upon the temple;[27] 2but he, fearing lest his soldiers might do this, departed speedily, and sailed for Greece, putting his chief remaining hopes in Athens. For he had left ships there, and moneys, and his wife Deïdameia, and he thought that in his evil plight no refuge could be more secure than the goodwill of Athens. 3Therefore when, as he drew near the Cyclades islands, an embassy from Athens met him with a request to keep away from the city, on the ground that the people had passed a vote to admit none of the kings, and informing him that Deïdameia had been sent to Megara with fitting escort and honour, his wrath drove him beyond all proper bounds, although he had borne his other misfortunes very easily, and in so great a reversal of his situation had shown himself neither mean-spirited nor ignoble. 4But that the Athenians should disappoint his hopes and play him false, and that their apparent goodwill should prove on trial to be false and empty, was painful to him.

And verily the least cogent proof, as it would seem, of a people’s goodwill towards a king or potentate is an extravagant bestowal of honours; for the beauty of such honours lies in the purpose of those who bestow them, and fear robs them of their worth (for the same decrees may be passed out of fear and out of affection). 5Therefore men of sense look first of all at their own acts and achievements, and then estimate the value of the statues, paintings, or deifications offered to them, putting faith in these as genuine honours, or refusing to do so on the ground that they are compulsory; since it is certainly true that a people will often, in the very act of conferring its honours, have most hatred for those who accept such honours immoderately, ostentatiously, and from unwilling givers.

31Be that as it may, in this case Demetrius thought himself grievously wronged; but since he was unable to avenge himself, he sent a message to the Athenians in which he mildly expostulated with them, and asked that his ships be given back to him, among which was also the one having thirteen banks of oars. These he obtained, and then coasted along to the Isthmus, where he found his affairs in a sorry state. For his garrisons were everywhere being expelled, and there was a general defection to his enemies. 2He therefore left Pyrrhus in charge of Greece, while he himself put to sea and sailed to the Chersonesus.[28] Here he ravaged the territory of Lysimachus, thereby enriching and holding together his own forces, which were beginning to recover their spirit and to show themselves formidable again. Nor did the other kings try to help Lysimachus; they thought that he was no less objectionable than Demetrius, and that because he had more power he was even more to be feared.

3Not long afterwards, however, Seleucus sent and asked the hand of Stratonicé, the daughter of Demetrius and Phila, in marriage. He had already, by Apama the Persian, a son Antiochus; but he thought that his realms would suffice for more successors than one, and that he needed this alliance with Demetrius, since he saw that Lysimachus also was taking one of Ptolemy’s daughters for himself, and the other for Agathocles his son. 4Now, to Demetrius, a marriage alliance with Seleucus was an unexpected piece of good fortune. So he took his daughter and sailed with his whole fleet to Syria. He was obliged to touch at several places along the coast, and made landings in Cilicia, which country had been allotted by the kings to Pleistarchus, after their battle with Antigonus, and was now held by him. Pleistarchus was a brother of Cassander. 5He thought his territories outraged by these descents of Demetrius upon them, and besides, he wished to upbraid Seleucus for making an alliance with the common enemy independently of the other kings. So he went up to see him.

32On learning of this, Demetrius set out from the sea-coast for the city of Quinda; and finding twelve hundred talents of its treasure still left, he packed them up, got them safely on board ship, and put to sea with all speed. His wife Phila was already with him, and at Rhosus he was met by Seleucus. 2Their intercourse was at once put on a royal footing, and knew neither guile nor suspicion. First, Seleucus entertained Demetrius at his tent in the camp, then Demetrius in his turn received Seleucus on board the ship with thirteen banks of oars. There were also amusements, long conferences with one another and whole days spent together, all without guards or arms; until at length Seleucus took Stratonicé and went up in great state to Antioch. 3But Demetrius took possession of Cilicia, and sent Phila his wife to Cassander, who was her brother, that she might bring to naught the denunciations of Pleistarchus. In the meantime, Deïdameia came by sea from Greece to join Demetrius, and after being with him a short time, succumbed to some disease. Then, by the intervention of Seleucus, friendship was made between Demetrius and Ptolemy, and it was agreed that Demetrius should take to wife Ptolemaïs the daughter of Ptolemy.

4So far all was courtesy on the part of Seleucus. But presently he asked Demetrius to cede Cilicia to him for a sum of money, and when Demetrius would not consent, angrily demanded Tyre and Sidon from him. It seemed a violent and outrageous proceeding that one who had possessed himself of the whole domain from India to the Syrian sea should be so needy still and so beggarly in spirit as for the sake of two cities to harass a man who was his relative by marriage and had suffered a reverse of fortune. 5Moreover, he bore splendid testimony to the wisdom of Plato[29] in urging the man who would be truly rich, not to make his possessions greater, but his inordinate desires fewer; since he who puts no end to his greed, this man is never rid of poverty and want.

33Demetrius, however, was not cowed, but declared that not even if he should lose ten thousand battles like that at Ipsus would he consent to pay for the privilege of having Seleucus as a son-in-law. Then he strengthened his cities with garrisons, while he himself, learning that Lachares had usurped sovereign power over the Athenians in consequence of their dissensions, thought to appear upon the scene and make an easy capture of the city. So he crossed the sea in safety with a great fleet,[30] but as he was sailing along the coast of Attica he encountered a storm in which most of his ships were lost and a great number of men perished with them. 2He himself, however, escaped alive, and began a petty war against the Athenians. But since he could accomplish nothing, he sent men to collect another fleet for him, while he himself passed on into Peloponnesus and laid siege to Messene. Here, in an attack upon the walls, he came near losing his life; for a missile from a catapult struck him in the face and passed through his jaw into his mouth. 3But he recovered, and after restoring to their allegiance certain cities which had revolted from him, he invaded Attica again, got Eleusis and Rhamnus into his power, and ravaged the country. He also seized a ship laden with grain for Athens, and hung its supercargo and its master. All other ships were thus frightened into turning back, and famine became acute in the city, where, besides lack of food, there was dearth also of other things. At any rate, a bushel of salt sold there for forty drachmas, and a peck of wheat was worth three hundred. 4A slight respite was afforded the Athenians by the appearance off Aegina of a hundred and fifty ships which Ptolemy sent to assist them. Then numerous ships came to Demetrius from Peloponnesus, and many from Cyprus, so that his entire assemblage numbered three hundred, in consequence of which the ships of Ptolemy put off to sea in flight, and Lachares the tyrant abandoned the city and ran away.

34Then the Athenians, although they had decreed death to anyone who should so much as mention peace and reconciliation with Demetrius, straightway threw open the nearest gates and sent ambassadors to him. They did not expect any kindly treatment from him, but were driven to the step by their destitution, 2in which, among many other grievous things, the following also is said to have occurred. A father and a son were sitting in a room and had abandoned all hope. Then a dead mouse fell from the ceiling, and the two, when they saw it, sprang up and fought with one another for it. At this time also, we are told, the philosopher Epicurus sustained the lives of his associates with beans, which he counted out and distributed among them.

3Such, then, was the plight of the city when Demetrius made his entry and ordered all the people to assemble in the theatre. He fenced the stage-buildings round with armed men, and encompassed the stage itself with his body-guards, while he himself, like the tragic actors, came down into view through one of the upper side-entrances. The Athenians were more than ever frightened now; but with the first words that he uttered Demetrius put an end to their fears. 4For avoiding all harshness of tone and bitterness of speech, he merely chided them lightly and in a friendly manner, and then declared himself reconciled, gave them besides a hundred thousand bushels of grain, and established the magistrates who were most acceptable to the people. So Dromocleides the orator, seeing that the people, in their joy, were shouting all sorts of proposals, and were eager to outdo the customary eulogies of the public speakers on the bema, brought in a motion that Piraeus and Munychia should be handed over to Demetrius the king. 5This was voted, and Demetrius on his own account put a garrison into the Museium[31] also, that the people might not again shake off the yoke and give him further trouble.

35And now that he was in possession of Athens, he at once laid plans against Sparta. Near Mantineia, where Archidamus the king confronted him, he conquered and routed his foe, and then invaded Laconia. And after he had fought a second pitched battle hard by Sparta itself, where he captured five hundred men and slew two hundred, it was thought that he as good as had the city in his power, although up to this time it had never been taken. 2But with none of the kings does Fortune appear to have taken so great and sudden turns, and in the career of no other did she so many times show herself now small and now great, now resplendent and now abased, now insignificant and now all powerful. For this reason, too, we are told that in his worst reverses Demetrius would apostrophise Fortune in the words of Aeschylus:—

“My flame thou fannest, indeed, and thou seemest to quench me, too.”[32]

3And so at this time, when events so generously favoured the increase of his dominion and power, word was brought to him, first, that Lysimachus had deprived him of his cities in Asia, and next, that Ptolemy had taken Cyprus, with the exception of the single city of Salamis, and had shut up in Salamis under siege his children and his mother. 4However, even Fortune, who, like the woman in Archilochus, “in one deceitful hand bore water, and in the other fire,”[33] while by tidings so dreadful and terrifying she drew him away from Sparta, at once inspired him with other hopes of new and great achievements, and on this wise.

36After Cassander’s death, the eldest of his sons, Philip, reigned for a short time over the Macedonians and then died, and the two remaining brothers quarrelled with one another over the succession. One of them, Antipater, murdered his mother, Thessalonicé, and the other, Alexander, summoned to his help Pyrrhus from Epeirus, and Demetrius from Peloponnesus. 2Pyrrhus was first to answer the summons, and after cutting off a large part of Macedonia as a reward for his assistance, was already a neighbour whom Alexander feared. But Demetrius, who, when he received Alexander’s letters, had set out with his forces to join him, inspired the young man with still more fear because of his high position and reputation, and he therefore met Demetrius at Dium, and gave him a friendly welcome, but declared that the situation no longer demanded his presence. 3Owing to these circumstances, then, the men were suspicious of one another, and besides, as Demetrius was on his way to supper at the young man’s invitation, some one told him of a plot to kill him in the very midst of the drinking. Demetrius was not at all disturbed, but delayed his coming a little, and ordered his officers to have their troops under arms, and all the attendants and servants in his train (and they were far more numerous than the retinue of Alexander) to go with him into the banqueting-hall and to remain there until he rose from the table. 4This frightened Alexander, and he did not venture to attempt anything. Demetrius also made the excuse that he was not in condition to take wine, and went away very soon. On the following day he busied himself with preparations for departure, telling Alexander that unexpected troubles had arisen, which demanded his attention, asking his pardon for leaving so quickly, and assuring him that he would pay him a longer visit at another time when his affairs permitted it. Alexander was therefore well pleased, convinced that Demetrius was leaving his territories, not in hostility, but of his own free will, and escorted him on his way as far as Thessaly. 5But when they came to Larissa, once more invitations to entertainments passed between them, and each plotted against the life of the other. This, more than anything else, put Alexander into the power of Demetrius. For he hesitated to take measures of precaution, that he might not thereby teach Demetrius also to take counter-measures, and he was forestalled by meeting the doom he was himself devising (since he delayed measures to prevent the other from escaping out of his hands).[34] And so, when Demetrius rose up from table before supper was over, Alexander, filled with fear, rose up also and followed close upon his heels towards the door. 6Demetrius, then, on reaching the door where his own body-guards stood, said merely, “Smite any one who follows me,” and quietly went out himself; but Alexander was cut down by the guards, together with those of his friends who came to his aid. One of these, we are told, as he was smitten, said that Demetrius had got one day’s start of them.

37That night, then, naturally, was full of tumult. But with the day the Macedonians, who were in confusion and afraid of the forces of Demetrius, found that no enemy came against them, but that Demetrius sent to them a request for an interview and for an opportunity to explain what had been done. They therefore took heart and promised to receive him in a friendly spirit. 2When he came to them, there was no need of his making long speeches, but owing to their hatred of Antipater, who was a matricide, and to their lack of a better man, they proclaimed Demetrius king of the Macedonians, and at once went down with him into Macedonia.[35] Furthermore, to the Macedonians at home the change was not unwelcome, for they ever remembered with hatred the crimes which Cassander had committed against the posterity of Alexander the Great. 3And if there still remained any kindly memories of the elder Antipater’s moderation and justice, of these also Demetrius reaped the benefit, since he was the husband of Phila, Antipater’s daughter, and had a son by her to be his successor in the realm, a son who was already quite a youth, and was serving in the army under his father.

38While Demetrius was enjoying a good fortune so illustrious as this, he had tidings concerning his children and his mother, namely, that they had been set free, and that Ptolemy had given them gifts and honours besides; he had tidings also concerning his daughter who was wedded to Seleucus, namely, that she was now the wife of Antiochus the son of Seleucus, and had the title of Queen of Upper Asia. 2For it came to pass, as it would seem, that Antiochus fell in love with Stratonicé, who was young, and was already mother of a little boy by Seleucus. Antiochus was distressed, and resorted to many means of fighting down his passion, but at last, condemning himself for his inordinate desires, for his incurable malady, and for the subjugation of his reason, he determined to seek a way of escape from life, and to destroy himself gradually by neglecting his person and abstaining from food, under pretence of having some disease. 3But Erasistratus, his physician, perceived quite easily that he was in love, and wishing to discover who was the object of his passion (a matter not so easy to decide), he would spend day after day in the young man’s chamber, and if any of the beauties of the court came in, male or female, he would study the countenance of Antiochus, and watch those parts and movements of his person which nature has made to sympathize most with the inclinations of the soul. 4Accordingly, when any one else came in, Antiochus showed no change; but whenever Stratonicé came to see him, as she often did, either alone, or with Seleucus, lo, those tell-tale signs of which Sappho sings[36] were all there in him,—stammering speech, fiery flushes, darkened vision, sudden sweats, irregular palpitations of the heart, and finally, as his soul was taken by storm, helplessness, stupor, and pallor. 5And besides all this, Erasistratus reasoned further that in all probability the king’s son, had he loved any other woman, would not have persisted to the death in refusing to speak about it. He thought it a difficult matter to explain the case fully to Seleucus, but nevertheless, relying on the father’s kindly feelings towards his son, he took the risk one day, and told him that love was the young man’s trouble, a love that could neither be satisfied nor cured. 6The king was amazed, and asked why his son’s love could not be satisfied. “Because, indeed,” said Erasistratus, “he is in love with my wife.” “Then canst thou not, O Erasistratus,” said Seleucus, “since thou art my son’s friend, give him thy wife in addition to thy friendship, especially when thou seest that he is the only anchor of our storm-tossed house?” “Thou art his father,” said Erasistratus, “and yet thou wouldst not have done so if Antiochus had set his affections on Stratonicé.” 7“My friend,” said Seleucus, “would that someone in heaven or on earth might speedily convert and turn his passion in this direction; since I would gladly let my kingdom also go, if I might keep Antiochus.” So spake Seleucus with deep emotion and many tears, whereupon Erasistratus clasped him by the hand and told him he had no need of Erasistratus; for as father, husband, and king, he was himself at the same time the best physician also for his household. 8Consequently Seleucus called an assembly of the entire people and declared it to be his wish and purpose to make Antiochus king of all Upper Asia, and Stratonicé his queen, the two being husband and wife; he also declared it to be his opinion that his son, accustomed as he was to be submissive and obedient in all things, would not oppose his father in this marriage; 9and that if his wife were reluctant to take this extraordinary step, he called upon his friends to teach and persuade her to regard as just and honourable whatever seemed good to the king and conducive to the general welfare. On this wise, then, we are told, Antiochus and Stratonicé became husband and wife.

39As for Demetrius, after Macedonia he became master of Thessaly also. And now that he had most of Peloponnesus, and, on this side the Isthmus, Megara and Athens, he turned his arms against the Boeotians. These at first made friendly agreements with him on reasonable terms; afterwards, however, when Cleonymus the Spartan made his way into Thebes with an army, the Boeotians were lifted up in spirit, and since at the same time Pisis of Thespiae, who was their leading man at this time in reputation and influence, added his instigations to the step, they revolted. 2But when Demetrius brought up his engines-of-war against Thebes and laid siege to the city, Cleonymus took fright and stole away, and the Boeotians, in terror, surrendered.[37] Demetrius put garrisons in their cities, exacted large sums of money from them, and left as their overseer and governor Hieronymus the historian, thereby getting a reputation for clemency, and particularly by his treatment of Pisis. For after capturing him Demetrius did him no harm, but actually greeted him, showed him kindness, and appointed him polemarch in Thespiae. 3Not long afterwards, however, Lysimachus was taken prisoner by Dromichaetes, and in view of this Demetrius set out with all speed for Thrace, thinking to occupy a region destitute of defenders. Thereupon the Boeotians revolted again, and at the same time word was brought that Lysimachus had been set free. Quickly, therefore, and in wrath, Demetrius turned back, and finding that the Boeotians had been defeated in battle by his son Antigonus, once more laid siege to Thebes.

40But Pyrrhus now overran Thessaly and was seen as far south as Thermopylae; Demetrius therefore left Antigonus to conduct the siege of Thebes, and himself set out against this new foe. Pyrrhus, however, made a swift retreat, whereupon Demetrius stationed ten thousand men-at-arms and a thousand horsemen in Thessaly and once more devoted himself to Thebes. Here he brought up against the city his famous City-taker,[38] but this was so laboriously and slowly propelled, owing to its weight and great size, that in the space of two months it hardly advanced two furlongs. 2Besides, the Boeotians made a stout resistance, and Demetrius many times, out of contumacy rather than from need, forced his soldiers to risk their lives in battle. Antigonus saw that they were falling in great numbers, and in great concern said “Why, my father, should we suffer these lives to be squandered without any necessity for it?” But Demetrius was incensed, and said: “Why, pray, art thou disturbed at this? Are rations due from thee to the dead?” 3However, wishing not to be thought reckless of other lives only, but also to share the perils of battle, he was pierced through the neck by a catapult-bolt. And yet, sore wounded as he was, he did not give up, but took Thebes again.[39] His entry into the city filled the citizens with acute fear; they thought they were to suffer the most dreadful punishments; but he put to death only thirteen of them, banished a few, and pardoned the rest. 4And so it was the fate of Thebes, which had been occupied less than ten years,[40] to be captured twice during this time.

Furthermore, the time for the Pythian games being now at hand, Demetrius ventured upon a most unheard of proceeding. Since, namely, the Aetolians occupied the passes about Delphi, he conducted the games and the festival in person at Athens, declaring it to be especially fitting that Apollo should be honoured there, since he was a patron deity of the Athenians and was said to have been the founder of their race.

41From Athens Demetrius returned to Macedonia, and since he was himself not prone by nature to keep quiet, and since he saw that his followers were more devoted to him when they were on a campaign, but at home were turbulent and meddlesome, he made an expedition against the Aetolians. After ravaging the country, he left Pantauchus there with a large part of his forces, while he himself moved against Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus also moved against him, but they missed one another on the march. 2Demetrius therefore plundered Epeirus, but Pyrrhus fell upon Pantauchus, and after a battle in which the two commanders came to close quarters and wounded each other, routed him, took five thousand of his men prisoners, and slew many of the rest. 3This wrought the greatest harm to the cause of Demetrius. For Pyrrhus, who was not so much hated for what he had done as he was admired for making most of his conquests in person, acquired from this battle a great and splendid name among the Macedonians, and many of them were moved to say that in him alone of all the kings could they see an image of the great Alexander’s daring; whereas the others, and particularly Demetrius, did but assume Alexander’s majesty and pomp, like actors on a stage. 4And there was in truth much of the theatrical about Demetrius, who not only had an extravagant array of cloakings and head-gear—double-mitred broad-brimmed hats and purple robes shot with gold, but also equipped his feet with gold-embroidered shoes of the richest purple felt. And there was one cloak which was long in the weaving for him, a magnificent work, on which was represented the world and the heavenly bodies; 5this was left behind half-finished when the reversal of his fortunes came, and no succeeding king of Macedonia ventured to use it, although not a few of them were given to pomp and luxury.

42And not only by such displays did he vex his subjects, who were unused to them, but his luxurious ways of living were also offensive, and above all else the difficulty of getting access to him or conversing with him. For either he would give no audience at all, or he was stern and harsh with his auditors. For instance, he kept an embassy from the Athenians, for whose favour he was more solicitous than for that of any other Greeks, two years in waiting; and when a single envoy came to him from Sparta, he thought himself despised, and was incensed. 2However, when he cried, “What meanest thou? Have the Spartans sent but one envoy?” he got the neat and laconic reply, “Yea, O king, to one man.” On one occasion, when he was thought to be riding abroad in a more affable mood than usual, and seemed to encounter his subjects without displeasure, there was a large concourse of people who presented him with written petitions. He received them all and folded them away in his cloak, whereupon the people were delighted and escorted him on his way; but when he came to the bridge over the Axius, he shook out the folds of his cloak and cast all the petitions into the river. 3This was a great vexation to the Macedonians, who thought themselves insulted, not ruled, and they called to mind, or listened to those who called to mind, how reasonable Philip used to be in such matters, and how accessible. An old woman once assailed Demetrius as he was passing by, and demanded many times that he give her a hearing. “I have no time,” said Demetrius. “Then don’t be king,” screamed the old woman. 4Demetrius was stung to the quick, and after thinking upon the matter, went back to his house, and postponing every thing else, for several days devoted himself entirely to those who wished audience of him, beginning with the old woman who had rebuked him.

5And surely nothing befits a king as the work of justice. For “Ares is tyrant,” in the words of Timotheus,[41] but “Law is king of all things,” according to Pindar;[42] and Homer speaks of kings as receiving from Zeus for protection and safe-keeping, not city-takers nor bronze-beaked ships, but “ordinances of justice”;[43] and he calls a disciple and “confidant” of Zeus, not the most warlike or unjust or murderous of kings, but the most just.[44] 6Demetrius, on the contrary, was delighted to receive a surname most unlike those given to the king of the gods; for Zeus is surnamed City-guardian, or City-protector; but Demetrius, City-besieger. Thus a power devoid of wisdom advances evil to the place of good, and makes injustice co-dweller with fame.

43But while Demetrius lay most dangerously sick at Pella, he almost lost Macedonia; for Pyrrhus swiftly overran it and advanced as far as Edessa. As soon, however, as Demetrius had somewhat recovered his strength he easily drove Pyrrhus out of the country, and then came to a kind of agreement with him, being unwilling that continual collisions and local conflicts with this opponent should defeat his set purpose. 2And his purpose was nothing less than the recovery of all the realm that had been subject to his father. Moreover, his preparations were fully commensurate with his hopes and undertakings. He had already gathered an army which numbered ninety-eight thousand foot, and besides, nearly twelve thousand horsemen. 3At the same time, moreover, he had laid the keels for a fleet of five hundred ships, some of which were in Piraeus, some at Corinth, some at Chalcis, and some at Pella. And he would visit all these places in person, showing what was to be done and aiding in the plans, while all men wondered, not only at the multitude, but also at the magnitude of the works. 4Up to this time no man had seen a ship of fifteen or sixteen banks of oars. At a later time, it is true, Ptolemy Philopator built one of forty banks of oars, which had a length of two hundred and eighty cubits, and a height, to the top of her stern, of forty-eight; she was manned by four hundred sailors, who did no rowing, and by four thousand rowers, and besides these she had room, on her gangways and decks, for nearly three thousand men-at-arms. But this ship was merely for show; and since she differed little from a stationary edifice on land, being meant for exhibition and not for use, she was moved only with difficulty and danger. 5However, in the ships of Demetrius their beauty did not mar their fighting qualities, nor did the magnificence of their equipment rob them of their usefulness, but they had a speed and effectiveness which was more remarkable than their great size.

44Accordingly, while this great force, the like of which no man had possessed since Alexander, was getting under way against Asia, the three kings, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, formed a league against Demetrius. Next, they sent a joint embassy to Pyrrhus, urging him to attack Macedonia, and not to regard a truce by which Demetrius had not given him the privilege of having no war made upon him, but had taken for himself the privilege of making war first on the enemy of his choice. Pyrrhus granted their requests, and a great war encompassed Demetrius before his preparations were completed. 2For at one and the same time[45] Ptolemy sailed to Greece with a great fleet and tried to bring it to revolt, while Lysimachus invaded Macedonia from Thrace, and Pyrrhus from the neighbouring Epeirus, and both plundered the land. But Demetrius left his son in charge of Greece, while he himself, hastening to the rescue of Macedonia, set out first against Lysimachus. But tidings came to him that Pyrrhus had taken Beroea. 3The report quickly came to the ears of the Macedonians, and then Demetrius could no longer maintain discipline, but his camp was full of lamentations and tears, coupled with wrathful execrations against himself, and the soldiers would not hold together, but insisted on going away, ostensibly to their homes, but in reality to Lysimachus. 4Demetrius therefore determined to put as much distance as possible between himself and Lysimachus, and to turn his arms against Pyrrhus; for Lysimachus as he thought, was a fellow-countryman and congenial to many of the Macedonians because of Alexander; while Pyrrhus was a new-comer and a foreigner, and would not be preferred by them before himself. In these calculations, however, he was greatly deceived. 5For he drew nigh and pitched his camp by that of Pyrrhus; but his soldiers had always admired that leader’s brilliant exploits in arms, and from of old they had been wont to consider the man who was mightiest in arms as also the most kingly; besides this, they now learned that Pyrrhus treated his prisoners of war with mildness, and since they were seeking to be rid of Demetrius whether it took them to Pyrrhus or to another, they kept deserting him, at first secretly and in small companies. Then the whole camp was in open agitation and disorder, 6and at last some of the soldiers ventured to go to Demetrius, bidding him to go away and save himself; for the Macedonians, they said, were tired of waging war in support of his luxurious way of living. Demetrius thought this very moderate language compared with the harshness of the rest; so he went to his tent, and, as if he had been an actor and not a real king, put on a dark cloak in place of his stage-robes of royalty, and stole away unnoticed. 7Most of the soldiers at once fell to pillaging and tearing down his tent, and fought with one another for the spoils; but Pyrrhus came up, mastered the camp without a blow, and took possession of it. And all Macedonia was divided between Pyrrhus and Lysimachus, after Demetrius had reigned over it securely for seven years.[46]

45When Demetrius thus lost his power and fled for refuge to Cassandreia, his wife Phila was full of grief and could not endure to see her husband, that most afflicted of kings, once more in private station and in exile; she gave up all hope, and in hatred of his fortune, which was more secure in adversity than in prosperity, she drank poison and died. But Demetrius, determined to cling still to what was left of his wrecked fortunes, went off to Greece, and tried to assemble his friends and generals who were there.

The Menelaüs of Sophocles[47] applies this simile to his own fortunes:— 2

“But my fate on the swiftly turning wheel of God

Goes whirling round forever and ever changes shape,

Just as the moon’s appearance for two kindly nights

Could never be identical and show no change,

But out of darkness first she comes forth young and new,

With face that ever grows more beautiful and full,

And when she reaches largest and most generous phase,

Again she vanisheth away and comes to naught.”

3This simile might be better used of the fortunes of Demetrius, now waxing and now waning, now full-orbed and now diminished, since even at this time, when his power seemed to fail altogether and suffer extinction, it shot forth new rays of light, and sundry accessions of strength little by little filled out the measure of his hopes. At first he went about visiting the cities in the garb of a private man and without the insignia of a king, and one who saw him thus at Thebes applied to him, not inaptly, the verses of Euripides:—[48]

“Exchanging now the form of god for that of man,

He visits Dirce’s rivulets and Ismenus’ flood.”

46But as soon as he had entered upon the path of hope, as upon a royal highway, and had gathered about himself a body and form of sovereignty, he restored to the Thebans their ancient form of government; the Athenians, however, revolted from him. They voted to elect archons as had been their custom of old, and took away from Diphilus, who had been appointed priest of the Saviour-gods, the privilege of giving his name to the current year;[49] and when they saw that Demetrius had more strength than they expected, they summoned Pyrrhus to their aid from Macedonia. 2Demetrius came up against them in a rage, and began a strenuous siege of the city. But the people sent to him Crates the philosopher, a man of great repute and influence, and Demetrius, partly because he was induced to grant the ambassador’s appeals in behalf of the Athenians, and partly because he was convinced when the philosopher showed him what would be an advantageous course, raised the siege, and after assembling all the ships he had,[50] and putting on board eleven thousand soldiers, together with his cavalry, he sailed for Asia, to wrest Caria and Lydia from Lysimachus.

3He was met at Miletus by Eurydicé, a sister of Phila, who brought with her one of her daughters by Ptolemy, Ptolemaïs, who had been betrothed to Demetrius before this[51] through the agency of Seleucus. Demetrius married her now, and Eurydicé gave the bride away. After the marriage Demetrius at once turned his arms against the cities, many of which attached themselves to him of their own accord, and many also he forced into submission. 4He took Sardis also; and some of the generals of Lysimachus came over to him bringing money and troops. But when Agathocles, the son of Lysimachus, came against him with an army, Demetrius retired into Phrygia; he had determined, if once he could reach Armenia, to bring Media to revolt and attempt the upper provinces, which afforded an ejected commander many refuges and retreats. 5Agathocles followed him, and though Demetrius had the advantage in their engagements, he was shut off from getting provisions and forage, and was in great straits; besides, his soldiers were suspicious that he was trying to make his way towards Armenia and Media. And not only did famine press them harder, but also some mistake was made in crossing the river Lycus, and a large number of men were carried away by the current and lost. But nevertheless they would have their pleasantries; and one of them wrote up in front of the tent of Demetrius the opening words of the “Oedipus,”[52] slightly changed:—

“O child of blind and aged Antigonus, what are

These regions whither we are come?”

47But at last sickness assailed them as well as famine, which is wont to happen when men have recourse to foods which they must eat to save their lives, and after losing no less than eight thousand men in all, Demetrius retraced his steps with the rest and came down to Tarsus. Here he would gladly have spared the country, which was then under Seleucus, and so have given its ruler no ground of complaint; 2but this was impossible, for his soldiers were suffering extreme privations, and Agathocles had fortified the passes of the Taurus against him. He therefore wrote a very long letter to Seleucus, bewailing his own misfortunes, and then begging and beseeching him to take pity on a man who was allied to him by marriage, and had suffered enough to win sympathy even from his enemies.

Seleucus was somewhat softened by this appeal, and wrote to his generals in that province that they should furnish Demetrius himself with royal maintenance, and his troops with abundant supplies. 3But Patrocles, a man in repute for wisdom, and a trusted friend of Seleucus, came to him and told him that the expense of maintaining the soldiers of Demetrius was a very small matter, but that it was unwise for him to allow Demetrius to remain in the country, since he had always been the most violent of the kings, and the most given to grand designs, and was now in a state of fortune where even naturally moderate men are led to commit deeds of daring and injustice. 4Incited by this advice, Seleucus marched into Cilicia with a large force. Then Demetrius, filled with amazement and alarm at the sudden change of attitude in Seleucus, withdrew to the strongest fastnesses of the Taurus, and sending messengers to Seleucus, asked that above all things he might be permitted to acquire a petty empire among the independent Barbarians, in which he might end his days without further wanderings and flights; but if this might not be, he begged him to give his troops food for the winter there, and not to drive him forth, stripped and destitute of all things, and cast him into the hands of his enemies.

48But Seleucus was suspicious of all this, and told Demetrius that he might, if he wished, spend two months in winter quarters in Cataonia, provided he gave the chief among his friends as hostages; and at the same time he fortified the passes into Syria against him. Then Demetrius, like a wild beast, hemmed in and attacked on all sides, was driven to defend himself; he overran the country, and when Seleucus attacked him, engaged with him and always had the advantage. 2Once in particular, when the scythe-bearing chariots were dashing down upon him, he avoided the charge, routed his assailants, drove away those who were fortifying the passes into Syria, and made himself master of them. And now he was completely lifted up in spirit, and seeing that his soldiers had recovered their courage, he made ready to fight to the finish with Seleucus for the supreme prizes. Seleucus himself was already in perplexity. 3For he had refused the assistance offered by Lysimachus, whom he distrusted and feared; and by himself he hesitated to join battle with Demetrius, fearing the man’s desperation and the perpetual change which brought him from the extremest destitution to the greatest affluence.

However, a grievous sickness seized Demetrius at this juncture; it wrought terrible harm to his body, and utterly ruined his cause. For some of his soldiers went over to the enemy, and others dispersed. 4But at last, after forty days, he recovered strength, and taking the soldiers that remained, set out, so far as his enemies could see or conjecture, for Cilicia; then, in the night and without signal by trumpet, he set out in the opposite direction, crossed the range of Amanus, and plundered the lower country as far as Cyrrhestica.

49When Seleucus made his appearance there and encamped near by, Demetrius set his army in motion by night and advanced against him. Seleucus was ignorant of his approach for a long time, and lay sleeping. But when some deserters came and told him of his peril, he was astounded, and leaping up ordered the trumpets to be sounded, at the same time pulling on his boots and shouting to his companions that a terrible wild beast was upon them. But Demetrius, perceiving from the noise which his enemies made that they had been informed of his approach, drew off his troops with all speed. 2When day came, however, Seleucus was pressing him hard, so he sent one of his officers to the other wing, and partially routed the enemy. But at this point Seleucus himself, quitting his horse, doffing his helmet, and taking a light shield, went to meet the mercenaries of Demetrius, showing them who he was, and exhorting them to come over to him, since they must for some time have been aware that his long forbearance had them in view, and not Demetrius. 3Consequently they all welcomed him, hailed him as king, and went over to him.

Then Demetrius, perceiving that the last of many reversals of fortune was now come upon him, left the field and fled to the passes of Amanus, where he plunged into a dense forest along with sundry friends and followers, few all told, and waited for the night. He wished, if possible, to take the road to Caunus and make his way through to the sea, where he expected to find his fleet. 4But when he learned that the party had not provisions enough even for the coming day, he tried to think of other plans. At this point, however, Sosigenes came up, a companion of his, with four hundred pieces of gold in his belt; so hoping that with this money they could make their way through to the sea, the party set out towards the passes, in the darkness of night. In the passes, however, the enemy were burning fires, so the fugitives despaired of this road and once more returned to their place in the forest—not all of them, for some had run away; nor was the remnant as willing as before. 5And when one of them ventured to speak out boldly and say that Demetrius ought to surrender himself to Seleucus, Demetrius drew his sword and would have killed himself; but his friends encompassed him, and with encouraging words persuaded him to do as the man had said. So he sent to Seleucus and put himself at his disposal.

50When Seleucus heard of it, he declared that it was not the good fortune of Demetrius that brought him safety, but his own, which, in addition to her other blessings, gave him an opportunity to show generosity and kindness. Then he called his overseers and bade them pitch a royal tent, and to make all other arrangements and preparations for a magnificent reception and entertainment. 2There was also with Seleucus a certain Apollonides, who had been an intimate friend of Demetrius; this man was at once sent to him by Seleucus, to give him cheerfulness and confidence by reminders that he was coming into the presence of a man who was a friend and relative. When this purpose of Seleucus became evident, first a few of his friends, then the greater part of them, went off hot foot to Demetrius, vying with one another in their efforts to reach him first; for it was expected that he would at once be a very great personage at the court of Seleucus.

3But this behaviour of his friends turned the king’s pity into jealousy, and gave malicious and mischievous persons an opportunity to thwart and put an end to his generosity. They frightened him by their insinuations that without any delay, but at the first sight of Demetrius, there would be a great revolution in the camp. 4And so it came to pass that at the very time when Apollonides had come to Demetrius with a joyful countenance, and while the other courtiers were coming up and telling him wonderful tales about Seleucus and his generosity, and when Demetrius, after all his disasters and misfortunes, even if he had once thought his surrender a disgraceful act, had now changed his mind as a result of his courage and hopefulness, up came Pausanias at the head of a thousand soldiers, foot and horse together. 5With these he surrounded Demetrius on a sudden, and after sending off everybody else, conducted him, not into the presence of Seleucus, but away to the Syrian Chersonese. Here, for the rest of his life, a strong guard was set over him, a sufficient number of attendants came to him from Seleucus, while money and maintenance was provided for him day to day which was not to be despised, nay, royal courses for riding and walking, and parks with wild game in them, were set apart for his use; 6any friend also who shared his exile and wished to visit him could do so, and notwithstanding his captivity sundry people kept coming to him from Seleucus bringing kindly messages and exhorting him to be of good cheer, since as soon as Antiochus came with Stratonicé, he was to be set at liberty.

51Demetrius, however, finding himself in this plight, sent word to his son and the friends and commanders who were at Athens and Corinth, bidding them put no trust in letters or seal purporting to be his, but to treat him as dead, and to preserve for Antigonus his cities and the rest of his power. 2When Antigonus learned of his father’s capture, he was deeply distressed, put on mourning apparel, and wrote to the other kings and especially to Seleucus himself, supplicating him, and offering to surrender to him whatever was left of his own and his father’s possessions, and above everything else volunteering to be a hostage himself for his father. Many cities also and many rulers joined in these supplications. 3But Lysimachus did not; he sent to Seleucus the promise of a large sum of money if he killed Demetrius. But Seleucus, who had always had a feeling of aversion for Lysimachus, all the more for this proposal thought him abominable and barbarous, and continued to keep Demetrius under watch and ward for Antiochus his son and Stratonicé, that the favour of his release might come from them.

52But Demetrius, who in the beginning bore up under the misfortune that had come upon him, and presently grew accustomed to it and endured his situation with a better grace, at first, in one way or another, exercised his body, resorting to hunting, so far as he could, or riding; then, little by little, he came to have the greatest indifference and aversion to these sports, took eagerly to drinking and dice, and spent most of his time at these. 2This was either because he sought escape from the thoughts on his present condition which tormented him when he was sober, and tried to smother his reflections in drunkenness; or because he had convinced himself that this was the real life, which he had long desired and striven to attain, but had foolishly missed it through folly and empty ambition, thereby bringing many troubles upon himself, and many upon others; he had sought in arms and fleets and armies to find the highest good, but now, to his surprise, had discovered it in idleness and leisure and repose. 3For what other end than this can worthless kings seek to attain by their wars and perils? Wicked and foolish indeed are they, not only because they seek after luxury and pleasure instead of virtue and honour, but also because they do not even know how to enjoy real pleasure or true luxury.

So, then, Demetrius, after an imprisonment of three years[53] in the Syrian Chersonese, through inactivity and surfeit of food and wine, fell sick and died, in the fifty-fifth year of his life. 4Seleucus was in ill repute for this, and repented him bitterly for having cherished such suspicions against Demetrius, and for allowing himself to be outdone even by Dromichaetes, a barbarous Thracian, who had given Lysimachus,[54] his captive, a treatment so humane and royal.

53Moreover, there was something dramatic and theatrical even in the funeral ceremonies of Demetrius. For his son Antigonus, when he learned that his remains had been sent home, put to sea with his entire fleet and met them off the islands. They were given to him in a golden urn, and he placed them in the largest of his admiral’s ships. 2Of the cities where the fleet touched in its passage, some brought garlands to adorn the urn, others sent men in funeral attire to assist in escorting it home and burying it. When the fleet put in at Corinth, the cinerary vase was conspicuous on the vessel’s poop, adorned with royal purple and a king’s diadem, and young men stood about it in arms as a bodyguard. Moreover, the most celebrated flute-player then living, Xenophantus, sat near, and with the most solemn melody upon his flute accompanied the rowers; 3to this melody the oars kept perfect time, and their splashing, like funereal beatings of the breast, answered to the cadences of the flute-tones. But the most pity and lamentation among those who had come in throngs to the sea-shore was awakened by the sight of Antigonus himself, who was bowed down and in tears. After garlands and other honours had been bestowed upon the remains at Corinth, they were brought by Antigonus to Demetrias for burial, a city named after his father, who had settled it from the small villages about Iolcus.[55]

4The children left by Demetrius were these: Antigonus and Stratonicé, by Phila; two named Demetrius, one who was surnamed the Thin, by a woman of Illyria, and one who ruled Cyrené, by Ptolemaïs; and, by Deïdameia, Alexander, who lived and died in Egypt. It is said also that he had a son named Corrhagus, by Eurydicé. His line came down in a succession of kings to Perseus, the last, in whose reign the Romans subdued Macedonia.

And now that the Macedonian play has been performed, let us introduce the Roman.

« About This Work | Plut. Demetr. 1–53 (end) | About This Work »


  • [1] It is uncertain what passage in Plato is meant.

  • [2] Philip V., King of Macedonia. Cf. the Aemilius Paulus, viii. 6.

  • [3] In 63 B.C., when Pompey conquered Mithridates VI. and dismembered his kingdom.

  • [4] In the spring of 312 B.C.

  • [5] The competitors at the great games were divided into three classes: boys, beardless youths, and men (Plato, Laws, 833 c).

  • [6] May-June, 307 B.C.

  • [7] 323-322 B.C. See the Phocion, xxiii.; xxvi. 1.

  • [8] Every fifth year, at the Panathenaïc festival, a sacred robe was carried in solemn procession and deposited with the goddess Athena on the Acropolis. On it were represented the exploits of the goddess, particularly in the Battle of the Giants.

  • [9] In 322 B.C. A Macedonian fleet was victorious.

  • [10] Knights, 382.

  • [11] The "peplos" was spread like a sail on the mast of the sacred Panathenaïc ship.

  • [12] Cf. Kock, Com. Att. Frag. iii. p. 308.

  • [13] A pious formula prefixed to important documents.

  • [14] In 306 B.C.

  • [15] During the same year, namely, 306 B.C.

  • [16] In 305-304 B.C. The siege lasted about a year.

  • [17] When Strabo wrote, during the reign of Augustus, the painting was still at Rhodes, where it had been seen and admired by Cicero (Orat. 2, 5); when the elder Pliny wrote, a generation or two later, it had been carried to Rome and placed in the temple of Peace (cf. Strabo, xiv. p. 652; Pliny, N.H. xxxv. 10, 36).

  • [18] Since the Athenians had made him a "Saviour-god."

  • [19] Early in 303 B.C.

  • [20] Although both Eurydice and Phila were still living.

  • [21] Part of the fragment cited at xii. 4.

  • [22] See chapter xx. 4.

  • [23] The name of a fabulous monster reputed to eat men's flesh.

  • [24] Late in 302 B.C.

  • [25] The watchword should have been "Alexander and Victory."

  • [26] Near the village of Ipsus, in Phrygia, 301 B.C.

  • [27] The rich temple of Artemis (Diana).

  • [28] The Thracian Chersonesus, the modern Gallipoli.

  • [29] The passage cannot be determined.

  • [30] In 297 B.C.

  • [31] A hill S.W. of the Acropolis.

  • [32] Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.2 p. 107 (μ᾽ ἔφυσας).

  • [33] Fragment 93 (Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graeci, ii.4 p. 410).

  • [34] The Greek of the parenthesis is hopelessly corrupt.

  • [35] In 294 B.C.

  • [36] Fragment 2 (Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graeci, iii.4 pp. 88 ff.).

  • [37] In 293 B.C.

  • [38] Cf. chapter xxi. 1.

  • [39] In 290 B.C. The siege lasted nearly a year.

  • [40] Cassander began the restoration of the city (after its utter annihilation by Alexander in 335 B.C.) in 315 B.C.

  • [41] Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graeci, iii.4 p. 622. Cf. the Agesilaüs, xiv. 2.

  • [42] Bergk, op. cit. i.4 p. 439.

  • [43] Iliad, i. 238 f.

  • [44] Minos, Odyssey, xix. 179.

  • [45] In the spring of 294 B.C.

  • [46] From 394 to 287 B.C.

  • [47] Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.2 p. 315.

  • [48] Bacchae, 4 f., with adaptation from the first person.

  • [49] See chapter x. 3.

  • [50] See chapter xliii. 3.

  • [51] As early as 301 B.C. Cf. chapter xxxii. 3.

  • [52] Sophocles, Oedipus Coloneus, 1 f. (Ἀντιγόνη).

  • [53] From 386 to 383 B.C.

  • [54] Cf. chapter xxxix. 3.

  • [55] Cf. chapter xxv. 2.

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