The philosopher Chrysippus, O Polycrates, quotes an ancient proverb, not as really it should be, apprehending, I suppose, that it sounded too harshly, but so as he thought it would run best, in these words,
Who praise their father but the generous sons?
But Dionysodorus the Troezenian proves him to be wrong, and restores the true reading, which is this, --
Who praise their fathers but degenerate sons?
telling us that the proverb is meant to stop the mouth of those who, having no merit of their own, take refuge in the virtues of their ancestors, and make their advantage of praising them. But, as Pindar hath it,
He that by nature doth inherit From ancestors a noble spirit,
as you do, who make your life the copy of the fairest originals of your family, -- such, I say, may take great satisfaction in being reminded, both by hearing others speak and speaking themselves, of the best of their progenitors. For they assume not the glory of praises earned by others out of any want of worth of their own, but, affiliating their own deeds to those of their ancestor, give them honor as the authors both of their descent and manners.
Therefore I have sent to you the life which I have written of your fellow-citizen and forefather Aratus, to whom you are no discredit in point either of reputation or of authority, not as though you had not been most diligently careful to inform yourself from the beginning concerning his actions, but that your sons, Polycrates and Pythocles, may both by hearing and reading become familiar with those family examples which it behooves them to follow and imitate. It is a piece of self-love, and not of the love of virtue, to imagine one has already attained to what is best.
The city of Sicyon, from the time that it first fell off from the pure and Doric aristocracy (its harmony being destroyed, and a mere series of seditions and personal contests of popular leaders ensuing), continued to be distempered and unsettled, changing from one tyrant to another, until, Cleon being slain, Timoclides and Clinias, men of the most repute and power amongst the citizens, were chosen to the magistracy. And the commonwealth now seeming to be in a pretty settled condition, Timoclides died, and Abantidas, the son of Paseas, to possess himself of the tyranny, killed Clinias, and, of his kindred and friends, slew some and banished others. He sought also to kill his son Aratus, whom he left behind him, being but seven years old. This boy in the general disorder getting out of the house with those that fled, and wandering about the city helpless and in great fear, by chance got undiscovered into the house of a woman who was Abantidas's sister, but married to Prophantus, the brother of Clinias, her name being Soso. She, being of a generous temper, and believing the boy had by some supernatural guidance fled to her for shelter, hid him in the house, and at night sent him away to Argos.
Aratus, being thus delivered and secured from this danger, conceived from the first and ever after nourished a vehement and burning hatred against tyrants, which strengthened with his years. Being therefore bred up amongst his father's acquaintance and friends at Argos with a liberal education, and perceiving his body to promise good health and stature, he addicted himself to the exercises of the palaestra, to that degree that he competed in the five games, and gained some crowns; and indeed in his statues one may observe a certain kind of athletic cast, and the sagacity and majesty of his countenance does not dissemble his full diet and the use of the hoe. Whence it came to pass that he less studied eloquence than perhaps became a statesman, and yet he was more accomplished in speaking than many believe, judging by the commentaries which he left behind him, written carelessly and by the way, as fast as he could do it, and in such words as first came to his mind.
In the course of time, Dinias and Aristoteles the logician killed Abantidas, who used to be present in the marketplace at their discussions, and to make one in them; till they, taking the occasion, insensibly accustomed him to the practice, and so had opportunity to contrive and execute a plot against him. After him Paseas, the father of Abantidas, taking upon him the government, was assassinated by Nicocles, who himself set up for tyrant. Of him it is related that he was strikingly like Periander the son of Cypselus, just as it is said that Orontes the Persian bore a great resemblance to Alcmaeon the son of Amphiaraus, and that Lacedaemonian youth, whom Myrsilus relates to have been trodden to pieces by the crowd of those that came to see him upon that report, to Hector.
This Nicocles governed four months, in which, after he had done all kinds of mischief to the city, he very nearly let it fall into the hands of the Aetolians. By this time Aratus, being grown a youth, was in much esteem, both for his noble birth and his spirit and disposition, which, while neither insignificant nor wanting in energy, were solid, and tempered with a steadiness of judgment beyond his years. For which reason the exiles had their eyes most upon him, nor did Nicocles less observe his motions, but secretly spied and watched him, not out of apprehension of any such considerable or utterly audacious attempt, but suspecting he held correspondence with the kings, who were his father's friends and acquaintance. And, indeed, Aratus first attempted this way; but finding that Antigonus, who had promised fair, neglected him and delayed the time, and that his hopes from Egypt and Ptolemy were long to wait for, he determined to cut off the tyrant by himself.
And first he broke his mind to Aristomachus and Ecdelus, the one an exile of Sicyon, the other, Ecdelus, an Arcadian of Megalopolis, a philosopher, and a man of action, having been the familiar friend of Arcesilaus the Academic at Athens. These readily consenting, he communicated with the other exiles, whereof some few, being ashamed to seem to despair of success, engaged in the design; but most of them endeavored to divert him from his purpose, as one that for want of experience was too rash and daring.
Whilst he was consulting to seize upon some post in Sicyonia, from whence he might make war upon the tyrant, there came to Argos a certain Sicyonian, newly escaped out of prison, brother to Xenocles, one of the exiles, who being by him presented to Aratus informed him, that that part of the wall over which he escaped was, inside, almost level with the ground, adjoining a rocky and elevated place, and that from the outside it might be scaled with ladders. Aratus, hearing this, dispatches away Xenocles with two of his own servants, Seuthas and Technon, to view the wall, resolving, if possible, secretly and with one risk to hazard all on a single trial, rather than carry on a contest as a private man against a tyrant by long war and open force. Xenocles, therefore, with his companions, returning having taken the height of the wall, and declaring the place not to be impossible or indeed difficult to get over, but that it was not easy to approach it undiscovered, by reason of some small but uncommonly savage and noisy dogs belonging to a gardener hard by, he immediately undertook the business.
Now the preparation of arms gave no jealousy, because robberies and petty forays were at that time common everywhere between one set of people and another; and for the ladders, Euphranor, the machine-maker, made them openly, his trade rendering him unsuspected, though one of the exiles. As for men, each of his friends in Argos furnished him with ten apiece out of those few they had, and he armed thirty of his own servants, and hired some few soldiers of Xenophilus, the chief of the robber captains, to whom it was given out that they were to march into the territory of Sicyon to seize the king's stud; most of them were sent before, in small parties, to the tower of Polygnotus, with orders to wait there; Caphisias also was dispatched beforehand lightly armed, with four others, who were, as soon as it was dark, to come to the gardener's house, pretending to be travelers, and, procuring their lodging there, to shut up him and his dogs; for there was no other way of getting past. And for the ladders, they had been made to take in pieces, and were put into chests, and sent before hidden upon wagons. In the meantime, some of the spies of Nicocles appearing in Argos, and being said to go privately about watching Aratus, he came early in the morning into the market-place, showing him self openly and conversing with his friends; then he anointed himself in the exercise ground, and, taking with him thence some of the young men that used to drink and spend their time with him, he went home; and presently after several of his servants were seen about the marketplace, one carrying garlands, another buying flambeaus, and a third speaking to the women that used to sing and play at banquets, all which things the spies observing were deceived, and said laughing to one another, "Certainly nothing can be more timorous than a tyrant, if Nicocles, being master of so great a city and so numerous a force, stands in fear of a youth that spends what he has to subsist upon in his banishment in pleasures and day-debauches;" and, being thus imposed upon, they returned home.
But Aratus, departing immediately after his morning meal, and coming to his soldiers at Polygnotus's tower, led them to Nemea; where he disclosed, to most of them for the first time; his true design, making them large promises and fair speeches, and marched towards the city, giving for the word Apollo victorious, proportioning his march to the motion of the moon, so as to have the benefit of her light upon the way, and to be in the garden, which was close to the wall, just as she was setting. Here Caphisias came to him, who had not secured the dogs, which had run away before he could catch them, but had only made sure of the gardener. Upon which most of the company being out of heart and desiring to retreat, Aratus encouraged them to go on, promising to retire in case the dogs were too troublesome; and at the same time sending forward those that carried the ladders, conducted by Ecdelus and Mnasitheus, he followed them himself leisurely, the dogs already barking very loud and following, the steps of Ecdelus and his companions. However, they got to the wall, and reared the ladders with safety. But as the foremost men were mounting them, the captain of the watch that was to be relieved by the morning guard passed on his way with the bell, and there were many lights, and a noise of people coming up. Hearing which, they clapped themselves close to the ladders, and so were unobserved; but as the other watch also was coming up to meet this, they were in extreme danger of being discovered. But when this also went by without observing them, immediately Mnasitheus and Ecdelus got upon the wall, and, possessing themselves of the approaches inside and out, sent away Technon to Aratus, desiring him to make all the haste he could.
Now there was no great distance from the garden to the wall and to the tower, in which latter a large hound was kept. The hound did not hear their steps of himself, whether that he were naturally drowsy, or overwearied the day before, but, the gardener's curs awaking him, he first began to growl and grumble in response, and then as they passed by to bark out aloud. And the barking was now so great, that the sentinel opposite shouted out to the dog's keeper to know why the dog kept such a barking, and whether anything was the matter; who answered, that it was nothing, but only that his dog had been set barking by the lights of the watch and the noise of the bell. This reply much encouraged Aratus's soldiers, who thought the dog's keeper was privy to their design, and wished to conceal what was passing, and that many others in the city were of the conspiracy. But when they came to scale the wall, the attempt then appeared both to require time and to be full of danger, for the ladders shook and tottered extremely unless they mounted them leisurely and one by one, and time pressed, for the cocks began to crow, and the country people that used to bring things to the market would be coming to the town directly. Therefore Aratus made haste to get up himself, forty only of the company being already upon the wall, and, staying but for a few more of those that were below, he made straight to the tyrant's house and the general's office, where the mercenary soldiers passed the night, and, coming suddenly upon them, and taking them prisoners without killing any one of them, he immediately sent to all his friends in their houses to desire them to come to him, which they did from all quarters. By this time the day began to break, and the theater was filled with a multitude that were held in suspense by uncertain reports and knew nothing distinctly of what had happened, until a public crier came forward and proclaimed that Aratus, the son of Clinias, invited the citizens to recover their liberty.
Then at last assured that what they so long looked for was come to pass, they pressed in throngs to the tyrant's gates to set them on fire. And such a flame was kindled, the whole house catching fire, that it was seen as far as Corinth; so that the Corinthians, wondering what the matter could be, were upon the point of coming to their assistance. Nicocles fled away secretly out of the city by means of certain underground passages, and the soldiers, helping the Sicyonians to quench the fire, plundered the house. This Aratus hindered not, but divided also the rest of the riches of the tyrants amongst the citizens. In this exploit, not one of those engaged in it was slain, nor any of the contrary party, fortune so ordering the action as to be clear and free from civil bloodshed. He restored eighty exiles who had been expelled by Nicocles, and no less than five hundred who had been driven out by former tyrants and had endured a long banishment, pretty nearly, by this time, of fifty years' duration. These returning, most of them very poor, were impatient to enter upon their former possessions, and, proceeding to their several farms and houses, gave great perplexity to Aratus, who considered that the city without was envied for its liberty and aimed at by Antigonus, and within was full of disorder and sedition. Wherefore, as things stood, he thought it best to associate it to the Achaean community, and so, although Dorians, they of their own will took upon them the name and citizenship of the Achaeans, who at that time had neither great repute nor much power. For the most of them lived in small towns, and their territory was neither large nor fruitful, and the neighboring sea was almost wholly without a harbor, breaking direct upon a rocky shore. But yet these above others made it appear that the Grecian courage was invincible, whensoever it could only have order and concord within itself and a prudent general to direct it. For though they had scarcely been counted as any part of the ancient Grecian power, and at this time did not equal the strength of one ordinary city, yet by prudence and unanimity, and because they knew how not to envy and malign, but to obey and follow him amongst them that was most eminent for virtue, they not only preserved their own liberty in the midst of so many great cities, military powers, and monarchies, but went on steadily saving and delivering from slavery great numbers of the Greeks.
As for Aratus, he was in his behavior a true statesman, high-minded, and more intent upon the public than his private concerns, a bitter hater of tyrants, making the common good the rule and law of his friendships and enmities. So that indeed he seems not to have been so faithful a friend, as he was a reasonable and gentle enemy, ready, according to the needs of the state, to suit himself on occasion to either side; concord between nations, brotherhood between cities, the council and the assembly unanimous in their votes, being the objects above all other blessings to which he was passionately devoted; backward, indeed, and diffident in the use of arms and open force, but in effecting a purpose underhand, and outwitting cities and potentates without observation, most politic and dexterous. Therefore, though he succeeded beyond hope in many enterprises which he undertook, yet he seems to have left quite as many unattempted, though feasible enough, for want of assurance. For it should seem, that, as the sight of certain beasts is strong in the night but dim by day, the tenderness of the humors of their eyes not bearing the contact of the light, so there is also one kind of human skill and sagacity which is easily daunted and disturbed in actions done in the open day and before the world, and recovers all its self-possession in secret and covert enterprises; which inequality is occasioned in noble minds for want of philosophy, a mere wild and uncultivated fruit of a virtue without true knowledge coming up; as might be made out by examples.
Aratus, therefore, having associated himself and his city to the Achaeans, served in the cavalry, and made himself much beloved by his commanding officers for his exact obedience; for though he had made so large an addition to the common strength as that of his own credit and the power of his country, yet he was as ready as the most ordinary person to be commanded by the Achaean general of the time being, whether he were a man of Dymae, or of Tritaea, or any yet meaner town than these. Having also a present of five and twenty talents sent him from the king, he took them, but gave them all to his fellow-citizens, who wanted money, amongst other purposes, for the redemption of those who had been taken prisoners.
But the exiles being by no means to be satisfied, disturbing continually those that were in possession of their estates, Sicyon was in great danger of falling into perfect desolation; so that, having no hope left but in the kindness of Ptolemy, he resolved to sail to him, and to beg so much money of him as might reconcile all parties. So he set sail from Mothone beyond Malea, designing to make the direct passage. But the pilot not being able to keep the vessel up against a strong wind and high waves that came in from the open sea, he was driven from his course, and with much ado got to shore in Andros, an enemy's land, possessed by Antigonus, who had a garrison there. To avoid which he immediately landed, and, leaving the ship, went up into the country a good way from the sea, having along with him only one friend, called Timanthes; and throwing themselves into some ground thickly covered with wood, they had but an ill night's rest of it. Not long after, the commander of the troops came, and, inquiring for Aratus, was deceived by his servants, who had been instructed to say that he had fled at once over into the island of Euboea. However, he declared the chip, the property on board of her, and the servants, to be lawful prize, and detained them accordingly. As for Aratus, after some few days, in his extremity by good fortune a Roman ship happened to put in just at the spot in which he made his abode, sometimes peeping out to seek his opportunity, sometimes keeping close. She was bound for Syria; but going aboard, he agreed with the master to land him in Caria. In which voyage he met with no less danger on the sea than before. From Caria being after much time arrived in Egypt, he immediately went to the king, who had a great kindness for him, and had received from him many presents of drawings and paintings out of Greece. Aratus had a very good judgment in them, and always took care to collect and send him the most curious and finished works, especially those of Pamphilus and Melanthus.
For the Sicyonian pieces were still in the height of their reputation, as being the only ones whose colors were lasting; so that Apelles himself, even after he had become well known and admired, went thither, and gave a talent to be admitted into the society of the painters there, not so much to partake of their skill, which he wanted not, but of their credit. And accordingly Aratus, when he freed the city, immediately took down the representations of the rest of the tyrants, but demurred a long time about that of Aristratus, who flourished in the time of Philip. For this Aristratus was painted by Melanthus and his scholars, standing by a chariot, in which a figure of Victory was carried, Apelles himself having had a hand in it, as Polemon the geographer reports. It was an extraordinary piece, and therefore Aratus was fain to spare it for the workmanship, and yet, instigated by the hatred he bore the tyrants, commanded it to be taken down. But Nealces the painter, one of Aratus's friends, entreated him, it is said, with tears in his eyes, to spare it, and, finding he did not prevail with him, told him at last he should carry on his war with the tyrants, but with the tyrants alone: "Let therefore the chariot and the Victory stand, and I will take means for the removal of Aristratus;" to which Aratus consenting, Nealces blotted out Aristratus, and in his place painted a palm-tree, not daring to add anything else of his own invention. The feet of the defaced figure of Aristratus are said to have escaped notice, and to be hid under the chariot. By these means Aratus got favor with the king, who, after he was more fully acquainted with him, loved him so much the more, and gave him for the relief of his city one hundred and fifty talents; forty of which he immediately carried away with him, when he sailed to Peloponnesus, but the rest the king divided into installments, and sent them to him afterwards at different times.
Assuredly it was a great thing to procure for his fellow-citizens a sum of money, a small portion of which had been sufficient, when presented by a king to other captains and popular leaders, to induce them to turn dishonest, and betray and give away their native countries to him. But it was a much greater, that by means of this money he effected a reconciliation and good understanding between the rich and poor, and created quiet and security for the whole people. His moderation, also, amidst so great power was very admirable. For being declared sole arbitrator and plenipotentiary for settling the questions of property in the case of the exiles, he would not accept the commission alone, but, associating with himself fifteen of the citizens, with great pains and trouble he succeeded in adjusting matters, and established peace and good-will in the city, for which good service, not only all the citizens in general bestowed extraordinary honors upon him, but the exiles, apart by themselves, erecting his statue in brass, inscribed on it these elegiac verses: --
Your counsels, deeds, and skill for Greece in war Known beyond Hercules's pillars are; But we this image, O Aratus, gave Of you who saved us, to the gods who save, By you from exile to our homes restored, That virtue and that justice to record, To which the blessing Sicyon owes this day Of wealth that's shared alike, and laws that all obey.
By his success in effecting these things, Aratus secured himself from the envy of his fellow-citizens, on account of the benefits they felt he had done them; but king Antigonus being troubled in his mind about him, and designing either wholly to bring him over to his party, or else to make him suspected by Ptolemy, besides other marks of his favor shown to him, who had little mind to receive them, added this too, that, sacrificing to the gods in Corinth, he sent portions to Aratus at Sicyon, and at the feast, where were many guests, he said openly, "I thought this Sicyonian youth had been only a lover of liberty and of his fellow-citizens, but now I look upon him as a good judge of the manners and actions of kings. For formerly he despised us, and, placing his hopes further off, admired the Egyptian riches, hearing so much of their elephants, fleets, and palaces. But after seeing all these at a nearer distance, perceiving them to be but mere stage show and pageantry, he is now come over to us. And for my part I willingly receive him, and, resolving to make great use of him myself, command you to look upon him as a friend." These words were soon taken hold of by those that envied and maligned him, who strove which of them should, in their letters to Ptolemy, attack him with the worst calumnies, so that Ptolemy sent to expostulate the matter with him; so much envy and ill-will did there always attend the so much contended for, and so ardently and passionately aspired to, friendships of princes and great men.
But Aratus, being now for the first time chosen general of the Achaeans, ravaged the country of Locris and Calydon, just over against Achaea, and then went to assist the Boeotians with ten thousand soldiers, but came not up to them until after the battle near Chaeronea had been fought, in which they were beaten by the Aetolians, with the loss of Aboeocritus the Boeotarch, and a thousand men besides. A year after, being again elected general, he resolved to attempt the capture of the Acro-Corinthus, not so much for the advantage of the Sicyonians or Achaeans, as considering that by expelling the Macedonian garrison he should free all Greece alike from a tyranny which oppressed every part of her. Chares the Athenian, having the good fortune to get the better, in a certain battle, of the king's generals, wrote to the people of Athens that this victory was "sister to that at Marathon." And so may this action be very safely termed sister to those of Pelopidas the Theban and Thrasybulus the Athenian, in which they slew the tyrants; except, perhaps, it exceed them upon this account, that it was not against natural Grecians, but against a foreign and stranger domination. The Isthmus, rising like a bank between the seas, collects into a single spot and compresses together the whole continent of Greece; and Acro-Corinthus, being a high mountain springing up out of the very middle of what here is Greece, whensoever it is held with a garrison, stands in the way and cuts off all Peloponnesus from intercourse of every kind, free passage of men and arms, and all traffic by sea and land, and makes him lord of all, that is master of it. Wherefore the younger Philip did not jest, but said very true, when he called the city of Corinth "the fetters of Greece." So that this post was always much contended for, especially by the kings and tyrants; and so vehemently was it longed for by Antigonus, that his passion for it came little short of that of frantic love; he was continually occupied with devising how to take it by surprise from those that were then masters of it, since he despaired to do it by open force.
Therefore Alexander, who held the place, being dead, poisoned by him, as is reported, and his wife Nicaea succeeding in the government and the possession of Acro-Corinthus, he immediately made use of his son, Demetrius, and, giving her pleasing hopes of a royal marriage and of a happy life with a youth, whom a woman now growing old might well find agreeable, with this lure of his son he succeeded in taking her; but the place itself she did not deliver up, but continued to hold it with a very strong garrison, of which he seeming to take no notice, celebrated the wedding in Corinth, entertaining them with shows and banquets everyday, as one that has nothing else in his mind but to give himself up for awhile to indulgence in pleasure and mirth. But when the moment came, and Amoebeus began to sing in the theater, he waited himself upon Nicaea to the play, she being carried in a royally-decorated chair, extremely pleased with her new honor, not dreaming of what was intended. As soon, therefore, as they were come to the turning which led up to the citadel, he desired her to go on before him to the theater, but for himself, bidding farewell to the music, farewell to the wedding, he went on faster than one would have thought his age would have admitted to the Acro-Corinthus, and, finding the gate shut, knocked with his staff, commanding them to open, which they within, being amazed, did. And having thus made himself master of the place, he could not contain himself for joy; but, though an old man, and one that had seen so many turns of fortune, he must needs revel it in the open streets and the midst of the market-place, crowned with garlands and attended with flute-women, inviting everybody he met to partake in his festivity. So much more does joy without discretion transport and agitate the mind than either fear or sorrow. Antigonus, therefore, having in this manner possessed himself of Acro-Corinthus, put a garrison into it of those he trusted most, making Persaeus the philosopher governor.
Now Aratus, even in the lifetime of Alexander, had made an attempt, but, a confederacy being made between Alexander and the Achaeans, he desisted. But now he started afresh, with a new plan of effecting the thing, which was this: there were in Corinth four brothers, Syrians born, one of whom, called Diocles, served as a soldier in the garrison, but the three others, having stolen some gold of the king's, came to Sicyon, to one Aegias, a banker, whom Aratus made use of in his business. To him they immediately sold part of their gold, and the rest one of them, called Erginus, coming often thither, exchanged by parcels. Becoming, by this means, familiarly acquainted with Aegias, and being by him led into discourses concerning the fortress, he told him that in going up to his brother he had observed, in the face of the rock, a side-cleft, leading to that part of the wall of the castle which was lower than the rest. At which Aegias joking with him and saying, "So, you wise man, for the sake of a little gold you have broken into the king's treasure; when you might, if you chose, get money in abundance for a single hour's work, burglary, you know, and treason being punished with the same death," Erginus laughed and told him then, he would break the thing to Diocles (for he did not altogether trust his other brothers), and, returning within a few days, he bargained to conduct Aratus to that part of the wall where it was no more than fifteen feet high, and to do what else should be necessary, together with his brother Diocles.
Aratus, therefore, agreed to give them sixty talents if he succeeded, but if he failed in his enterprise, and yet he and they came off safe, then he would give each of them a house and a talent. Now the threescore talents being to be deposited in the hands of Aegias for Erginus and his partners, and Aratus neither having so much by him, nor willing, by borrowing it from others, to give anyone a suspicion of his design, he pawned his plate and his wife's golden ornaments to Aegias for the money. For so high was his temper, and so strong his passion for noble actions, that, even as he had heard that Phocion and Epaminondas were the best and justest of the Greeks, because they refused the greatest presents and would not surrender their duty for money, so he now chose to be at the expense of this enterprise privately, and to advance all the cost out of his own property, taking the whole hazard on himself for the sake of the rest that did not so much as know what was doing. And who indeed can withhold, even now, his admiration for and his sympathy with the generous mind of one, who paid so largely to purchase so great a risk, and lent out his richest possessions to have an opportunity to expose his own life, by entering among his enemies in the dead of the night, without desiring any other security for them than the hope of a noble success.
Now the enterprise, though dangerous enough in itself, was made much more so by an error happening through mistake in the very beginning. For Technon, one of Aratus's servants, was sent away to Diocles, that they might together view the wall. Now he had never seen Diocles, but made no question of knowing him by the marks Erginus had given him of him; namely, that he had curly hair, a swarthy complexion, and no beard. Being come, therefore, to the appointed place, he stayed waiting for Erginus and Diocles outside the town, in front of the place called Ornis. In the meantime, Dionysius, elder brother to Erginus and Diocles, who knew nothing at all of the matter, but much resembled Diocles, happened to pass by. Technon, upon this likeness, all being in accordance with what he had been told, asked him if he knew Erginus; and on his replying that he was his brother, taking it for granted that he was speaking with Diocles, not so much as asking his name or staying for any other token, he gave him his hand, and began to discourse with him and ask him questions about matters agreed upon with Erginus. Dionysius, cunningly taking the advantage of his mistake, seemed to understand him very well, and returning towards the city, led him on, still talking, without any suspicion. And being now near the gate, he was just about to seize on him, when by chance again Erginus met them, and, apprehending the cheat and the danger, beckoned to Technon to make his escape, and immediately both of them, betaking themselves to their heels, ran away as fast as they could to Aratus, who for all this despaired not, but immediately sent away Erginus to Dionysius to bribe him to hold his tongue. And he not only effected that, but also brought him along with him to Aratus. But, when they had him, they no longer left him at liberty, but binding him, they kept him close shut up in a room, whilst they prepared for executing their design.
All things being now ready, he commanded the rest of his forces to pass the night by their arms, and taking with him four hundred chosen men, few of whom knew what they were going about, he led them to the gates by the temple of Juno. It was the midst of summer, and the moon was at full, and the night so clear without any clouds, that there was danger lest the arms glistening in the moonlight should discover them. But as the foremost of them came near the city, a mist came off from the sea, and darkened the city itself and the outskirts about it. Then the rest of them, sitting down, put off their shoes, because men both make less noise and also climb surer, if they go up ladders barefooted, but Erginus, taking with him seven young men dressed like travelers, got unobserved to the gate, and killed the sentry with the other guards. And at the same time the ladders were clapped to the walls, and Aratus, having in great haste got up a hundred men, commended the rest to follow as they could, and immediately drawing up his ladders after him, he marched through the city with his hundred men towards the castle, being already overjoyed that he was undiscovered, and not doubting of the success. But while still they were some way off, a watch of four men came with a light, who did not see them, because they were still in the shade of the moon, but were seen plainly enough themselves as they came on directly towards them. So withdrawing a little way amongst some walls and plots for houses, they lay in wait for them; and three of them they killed. But the fourth, being wounded in the head with a sword, fled, crying out that the enemy was in the city. And immediately the trumpets sounded, and all the city was in an uproar at what had happened, and the streets were full of people running up and down, and many lights were seen shining both below in the town, and above in the castle, and a confused noise was to be heard in all parts.
In the meantime, Aratus was hard at work struggling to get up the rocks, at first slowly and with much difficulty, straying continually from the path, which lay deep, and was overshadowed with the crags, leading to the wall with many windings and turnings; but the moon immediately and as if by miracle, it is said, dispersing the clouds, shone out and gave light to the most difficult part of the way, until he got to that part of the wall he desired, and there she overshadowed and hid him, the clouds coming together again. Those soldiers whom Aratus had left outside the gate, near Juno's temple, to the number of three hundred, entering the town, now full of tumult and lights, and not knowing the way by which the former had gone, and finding no track of them, slunk aside, and crowded together in one body under a flank of the cliff that cast a strong shadow, and there stood and waited in great distress and perplexity. For, by this time, those that had gone with Aratus were attacked with missiles from the citadel, and were busy fighting, and a sound of cries of battle came down from above, and a loud noise, echoed back and back from the mountain sides, and therefore confused and uncertain whence it proceeded, was heard on all sides. They being thus in doubt which way to turn themselves, Archelaus, the commander of Antigonus's troops, having a great number of soldiers with him, made up towards the castle with great shouts and noise of trumpets to fall upon Aratus's people, and passed by the three hundred, who, as if they had risen out of an ambush, immediately charged him, killing the first they encountered, and so affrighted the rest, together with Archelaus, that they put them to flight and pursued them until they had quite broke and dispersed them about the city. No sooner were these defeated, but Erginus came to them from those that were fighting above, to acquaint them that Aratus was engaged with the enemy, who defended themselves very stoutly, and there was a fierce conflict at the very wall, and need of speedy help. They therefore desired him to lead them on without delay, and, marching up, they by their shouts made their friends understand who they were, and encouraged them; and the full moon, shining on their arms, made them, in the long line by which they advanced, appear more in number to the enemy than they were; and the echo of the night multiplied their shouts. In short, falling on with the rest, they made the enemy give way, and were masters of the castle and garrison, day now beginning to be bright, and the rising sun shining out upon their success. By this time, also, the rest of his army came up to Aratus from Sicyon, the Corinthians joyfully receiving them at the gates and helping them to secure the king's party.
And now, having put all things into a safe posture, he came down from the castle to the theater, an infinite number of people crowding thither to see him and to hear what he would say to the Corinthians. Therefore drawing up the Achaeans on each side of the stage-passages, he came forward himself upon the stage, with his corslet still on, and his face showing the effects of all his hard work and want of sleep, so that his natural exultation and joyfulness of mind were overborne by the weariness of his body. The people, as soon as he came forth, breaking out into great applauses and congratulations, he took his spear in his right hand, and, resting his body upon it with his knee a little bent, stood a good while in that posture, silently receiving their shouts and acclamations, while they extolled his valor and wondered at his fortune; which being over, standing up, he began an oration in the name of the Achaeans, suitable to the late action, persuading the Corinthians to associate themselves to the Achaeans, and withal delivered up to them the keys of their gates, which had never been in their power since the time of king Philip. Of the captains of Antigonus, he dismissed Archelaus, whom he had taken prisoner, and Theophrastus, who refused to quit his post, he put to death. As for Persaeus, when he saw the castle was lost, he had got away to Cenchreae, where, some time after, discoursing with one that said to him that the wise man only is a true general, "Indeed," he replied, "none of Zeno's maxims once pleased me better than this, but I have been converted to another opinion by the young man of Sicyon." This is told by many of Persaeus. Aratus, immediately after, made himself master of the temple of Juno and haven of Lechaeum, seized upon five and twenty of the king's ships, together with five hundred horses and four hundred Syrians; these he sold. The Achaeans kept guard in the Acro-Corinthus with a body of four hundred soldiers, and fifty dogs with as many keepers.
The Romans, extolling Philopoemen, called him the last of the Grecians, as if no great man had ever since his time been bred amongst them. But I should call this capture of the Acro-Corinthus the last of the Grecian exploits, being comparable to the best of them, both for the daringness of it, and the success, as was presently seen by the consequences. For the Megarians, revolting from Antigonus, joined Aratus, and the Troezenians and Epidaurians enrolled themselves in the Achaean community, and issuing forth for the first time, he entered Attica, and passing over into Salamis, he plundered the island, turning the Achaean force every way, as if it were just let loose out of prison and set at liberty. All freemen whom he took he sent back to the Athenians without ransom, as a sort of first invitation to them to come over to the league. He made Ptolemy become a confederate of the Achaeans, with the privilege of command both by sea and land. And so great was his power with them, that since he could not by law be chosen their general every year, yet every other year he was, and by his counsels and actions was in effect always so. For they perceived that neither riches nor reputation, nor the friendship of kings, nor the private interest of his own country, nor anything else was so dear to him as the increase of the Achaean power and greatness. For he believed that the cities, weak individually, could be preserved by nothing else but a mutual assistance under the closest bond of the common interest; and, as the members of the body live and breathe by the union of all in a single natural growth, and on the dissolution of this, when once they separate, pine away and putrefy, in the same manner are cities ruined by being dissevered, as well as preserved when, as the members of one great body they enjoy the benefit of that providence and counsel that govern the whole.
Now being distressed to see that, whereas the chief neighboring cities enjoyed their own laws and liberties, the Argives were in bondage, he took counsel for destroying their tyrant Aristomachus, being very desirous both to pay his debt of gratitude to the city where he had been bred up, by restoring it its liberty, and to add so considerable a town to the Achaeans. Nor were there some wanting who had the courage to undertake the thing, of whom Aeschylus and Charimenes the soothsayer were the chief. But they wanted swords; for the tyrant had prohibited the keeping of any under a great penalty. Therefore Aratus, having provided some small daggers at Corinth and hidden them in the pack-saddles of some pack-horses that carried ordinary ware, sent them to Argos. But Charimenes letting another person into the design, Aeschylus and his partners were angry at it, and henceforth would have no more to do with him, and took their measures by themselves, and Charimenes, on finding this, went, out of anger, and informed against them, just as they were on their way to attack the tyrant; however, the most of them made a shift to escape out of the marketplace, and fled to Corinth. Not long after, Aristomachus was slain by some slaves, and Aristippus, a worse tyrant than he, seized the government. Upon this, Aratus, mustering all the Achaeans present that were of age, hurried away to the aid of the city, believing that he should find the people ready to join with him. But the greater number being by this time habituated to slavery and content to submit, and no one coming to join him, he was obliged to retire, having moreover exposed the Achaeans to the charge of committing acts of hostility in the midst of peace; upon which account they were sued before the Mantineans, and, Aratus not making his appearance, Aristippus gained the cause, and had damages allowed him to the value of thirty minae. And now hating and fearing Aratus, he sought means to kill him, having the assistance herein of king Antigonus; so that Aratus was perpetually dogged and watched by those that waited for an opportunity to do this service. But there is no such safeguard of a ruler as the sincere and steady good-will of his subjects, for, where both the common people and the principal citizens have their fears not of but for their governor, he sees with many eyes and hears with many ears whatsoever is doing. Therefore I cannot but here stop short a little in the course of my narrative, to describe the manner of life which the so much envied arbitrary power and the so much celebrated and admired pomp and pride of absolute government obliged Aristippus to lead.
For though Antigonus was his friend and ally, and though he maintained numerous soldiers to act as his body-guard, and had not left one enemy of his alive in the city, yet he was forced to make his guards encamp in the colonnade about his house; and for his servants, he turned them all out immediately after supper, and then shutting the doors upon them, he crept up into a small upper chamber, together with his mistress, through a trapdoor, upon which he placed his bed, and there slept after: such a fashion, as one in his condition can be supposed to sleep, that is, interruptedly and in fear. The ladder was taken away by the woman's mother, and locked up in another room; in the morning she brought it again, and putting it to, called up this brave and wonderful tyrant, who came crawling out like some creeping thing out of its hole. Whereas Aratus, not by force of arms, but lawfully and by his virtue, lived in possession of a firmly settled command, wearing the ordinary coat and cloak, being the common and declared enemy of all tyrants, and has left behind him a noble race of descendants surviving among the Grecians to this day; while those occupiers of citadels and maintainers of bodyguards, who made all this use of arms and gates and bolts to protect their lives, in some few cases perhaps escaped, like the hare from the hunters; but in no instance have we either house or family, or so much as a tomb to which any respect is shown, remaining to preserve the memory of any one of them.
Against this Aristippus, therefore, Aratus made many open and many secret attempts, whilst he endeavored to take Argos, though without success; once, particularly, clapping scaling ladders in the night to the wall, he desperately got up upon it with a few of his soldiers, and killed the guards that opposed him. But the day appearing, the tyrant set upon him on all hands, whilst the Argives, as if it had not been their liberty that was contended for, but some Nemean game going on for which it was their privilege to assign the prize, like fair and impartial judges, sat looking on in great quietness. Aratus, fighting bravely, was run through the thigh with a lance, yet he maintained his ground against the enemy till night, and, had he been able to go on and hold out that night also, he had gained his point; for the tyrant thought of nothing but flying, and had already shipped most of his goods. But Aratus, having no intelligence of this, and wanting water, being disabled himself by his wound, retreated with his soldiers.
Despairing henceforth to do any good this way, he fell openly with his army into Argolis, and plundered it, and, in a fierce battle with Aristippus near the river Chares, he was accused of having withdrawn out of the fight, and thereby abandoned the victory. For whereas one part of his army had unmistakably got the better, and was pursuing the enemy at a good distance from him, he yet retreated in confusion into his camp, not so much because he was overpressed by those with whom he was engaged, as out of mistrust of success and through a panic fear. But when the other wing, returning from the pursuit, showed themselves extremely vexed, that though they had put the enemy to flight and killed many more of his men than they had lost, yet those that were in a manner conquered should erect a trophy as conquerors, being much ashamed he resolved to fight them again about the trophy, and the next day but one drew up his army to give them battle. But, perceiving that they were reinforced with fresh troops, and came on with better courage than before, he durst not hazard a fight, but retired, and sent to request a truce to bury his dead. However, by his dexterity in dealing personally with men and managing political affairs, and by his general favor, he excused and obliterated this fault, and brought in Cleonae to the Achaean association, and celebrated the Nemean games at Cleonae, as the proper and more ancient place for them. The games were also celebrated by the Argives at the same time, which gave the first occasion to the violation of the privilege of safe conduct and immunity always granted to those that came to compete for the prizes, the Achaeans at that time selling as enemies all those they caught going through their country after joining in the games at Argos. So vehement and implacable a hater was he of the tyrants.
Not long after, having notice that Aristippus had a design upon Cleonae, but was afraid of him, because he then was staying in Corinth, he assembled an army by public proclamation, and, commanding them to take along with them provision for several days, he marched to Cenchreae, hoping by this stratagem to entice Aristippus to fall upon Cleonae, when he supposed him far enough off. And so it happened, for he immediately brought his forces against it from Argos. But Aratus, returning from Cenchreae to Corinth in the dusk of the evening, and setting posts of his troops in all the roads, led on the Achaeans, who followed him in such good order and with so much speed and alacrity, that they were undiscovered by Aristippus, not only whilst upon their march, but even when they got, still in the night, into Cleonae, and drew up in order of battle. As soon as it was morning, the gates being opened and the trumpets sounding, he fell upon the enemy with great cries and fury, routed them at once, and kept close in pursuit, following the course which he most imagined Aristippus would choose, there being many turns that might be taken. And so the chase lasted as far as Mycenae, where the tyrant was slain by a certain Cretan called Tragiscus, as Dinias reports. Of the common soldiers, there fell above fifteen hundred. Yet though Aratus had obtained so great a victory, and that too without the loss of a man, he could not make himself master of Argos nor set it at liberty, because Agias and the younger Aristomachus got into the town with some of the king's forces, and seized upon the government. However, by this exploit he spoiled the scoffs and jests of those that flattered the tyrants, and in their raillery would say that the Achaean general was usually troubled with a looseness when he was to fight a battle, that the sound of a trumpet struck him with a drowsiness and a giddiness, and that, when he had drawn up his army and given the word, he used to ask his lieutenants and officers whether there was any further need of his presence now the die was cast, and then went aloof, to await the result at a distance. For indeed these stories were so generally listened to, that, when the philosophers disputed whether to have one's heart beat and to change color upon any apparent danger be an argument of fear, or rather of some distemperature and chilliness of bodily constitution, Aratus was always quoted as a good general, who was always thus affected ill time of battle.
Having thus dispatched Aristippus, he advised with himself how to overthrow Lydiades, the Megalopolitan, who held usurped power over his country. This person was naturally of a generous temper, and not insensible of true honor, and had been led into this wickedness, not by the ordinary motives of other tyrants, licentiousness and rapacity, but being young, and stimulated with the desire of glory, he had let his mind be unwarily prepossessed with the vain and false applauses given to tyranny, as some happy and glorious thing. But he no sooner seized the government, than he grew weary of the pomp and burden of it. And at once emulating the tranquillity and fearing the policy of Aratus, he took the best of resolutions, first, to free himself from hatred and fear, from soldiers and guards, and, secondly, to be the public benefactor of his country. And sending for Aratus, he resigned the government, and incorporated his city into the Achaean community. The Achaeans, applauding this generous action, chose him their general; upon which, desiring to outdo Aratus in glory, amongst many other uncalled-for things, he declared war against the Lacedaemonians; which Aratus opposing was thought to do it out of envy; and Lydiades was the second time chosen general, though Aratus acted openly against him, and labored to have the office conferred upon another. For Aratus himself had the command every other year, as has been said. Lydiades, however, succeeded so well in his pretensions, that he was thrice chosen general, governing alternately, as did Aratus; but at last, declaring himself his professed enemy, and accusing him frequently to the Achaeans, he was rejected, and fell into contempt, people now seeing that it was a contest between a counterfeit and a true, unadulterated virtue, and, as Aesop tells us that the cuckoo once, asking the little birds why they flew away from her, was answered, because they feared she would one day prove a hawk, so Lydiades's former tyranny still cast a doubt upon the reality of his change.
But Aratus gained new honor in the Aetolian war. For the Achaeans resolving to fall upon the Aetolians on the Megarian confines, and Agis also, the Lacedaemonian king, who came to their assistance with an army, encouraging them to fight, Aratus opposed this determination. And patiently enduring many reproaches, many scoffs and jeerings at his soft and cowardly temper, he would not, for any appearance of disgrace, abandon what he judged to be the true common advantage, and suffered the enemy to pass over Geranea into Peloponnesus without a battle. But when, after they had passed by, news came that they had suddenly captured Pellene, he was no longer the same man, nor would he hear of any delay, or wait to draw together his whole force, but marched towards the enemy with such as he had about him to fall upon them, as they were indeed now much less formidable through the intemperances and disorders committed in their success. For as soon as they entered the city, the common soldiers dispersed and went hither and thither into the houses, quarreling and fighting with one another about the plunder; and the officers and commanders were running about after the wives and daughters of the Pellenians, on whose heads they put their own helmets, to mark each man his prize, and prevent another from seizing it. And in this posture were they when news came that Aratus was ready to fall upon them. And in the midst of the consternation likely to ensue in the confusion they were in, before all of them heard of the danger, the outmost of them, engaging at the gates and in the suburbs with the Achaeans, were already beaten and put to flight, and, as they came headlong back, filled with their panic those who were collecting and advancing to their assistance.
In this confusion, one of the captives, daughter of Epigethes, a citizen of repute, being extremely handsome and tall, happened to be sitting in the temple of Diana, placed there by the commander of the band of chosen men, who had taken her and put his crested helmet upon her. She, hearing the noise, and running out to see what was the matter, stood in the temple gates, looking down from above upon those that fought, having the helmet upon her head; in which posture she seemed to the citizens to be something more than human, and struck fear and dread into the enemy, who believed it to be a divine apparition; so that they lost all courage to defend themselves. But the Pellenians tell us that the image of Diana stands usually untouched, and when the priestess happens at any time to remove it to some other place, nobody dares look upon it, but all turn their faces from it; for not only is the sight of it terrible and hurtful to mankind, but it makes even the trees, by which it happens to be carried, become barren and cast their fruit. This image, therefore, they say, the priestess produced at that time, and, holding it directly in the faces of the Aetolians, made them lose their reason and judgment. But Aratus mentions no such thing in his commentaries, but says, that, having put to flight the Aetolians, and falling in pell-mell with them into the city, he drove them out by main force, and killed seven hundred of them. And the action was extolled as one of the most famous exploits, and Timanthes the painter made a picture of the battle, giving by his composition a most lively representation of it.
But many great nations and potentates combining against the Achaeans, Aratus immediately treated for friendly arrangements with the Aetolians, and, making use of the assistance of Pantaleon, the most powerful man amongst them, he not only made a peace, but an alliance between them and the Achaeans. But being desirous to free the Athenians, he got into disgrace and ill-repute among the Achaeans, because, notwithstanding the truce and suspension of arms made between them and the Macedonians, he had attempted to take the Piraeus. He denies this fact in his commentaries, and lays the blame on Erginus, by whose assistance he took Acro-Corinthus, alleging that he upon his own private account attacked the Piraeus, and, his ladders happening to break, being hotly pursued, he called out upon Aratus as if present, by which means deceiving the enemy, he got safely off. This excuse, however, sounds very improbable; for it is not in any way likely that Erginus, a private man and a Syrian stranger, should conceive in his mind so great an attempt, without Aratus at his back, to tell him how and when to make it, and to supply him with the means. Nor was it twice or thrice, but very often, that, like an obstinate lover, he repeated his attempts on the Piraeus, and was so far from being discouraged by his disappointments, that his missing his hopes but narrowly was an incentive to him to proceed the more boldly in a new trial. One time amongst the rest, in making his escape through the Thriasian plain, he put his leg out of joint, and was forced to submit to many operations with the knife before he was cured, so that for a long time he was carried in a litter to the wars.
And when Antigonus was dead, and Demetrius succeeded him in the kingdom, he was more bent than ever upon Athens, and in general quite despised the Macedonians. And so, being overthrown in battle near Phylacia by Bithys, Demetrius's general, and there being a very strong report that he was either taken or slain, Diogenes, the governor of the Piraeus, sent letters to Corinth, commanding the Achaeans to quit that city, seeing Aratus was dead. When these letters came to Corinth, Aratus happened to be there in person, so that Diogenes's messengers, being sufficiently mocked and derided, were forced to return to their master. King Demetrius himself also sent a ship, wherein Aratus was to be brought to him in chains. And the Athenians, exceeding all possible fickleness of flattery to the Macedonians, crowned themselves with garlands upon the first news of his death. And so in anger he went at once and invaded Attica, and penetrated as far as the Academy, but then suffering himself to be pacified, he did no further act of hostility. And the Athenians afterwards, coming to a due sense of his virtue, when upon the death of Demetrius they attempted to recover their liberty, called him in to their assistance; and although at that time another person was general of the Achaeans, and he himself had long kept his bed with a sickness, yet, rather than fail the city in a time of need, he was carried thither in a litter, and helped to persuade Diogenes the governor to deliver up the Piraeus, Munychia, Salamis, and Sunium to the Athenians in consideration of a hundred and fifty talents, of which Aratus himself contributed twenty to the city. Upon this, the Aeginetans and the Hermionians immediately joined the Achaeans, and the greatest part of Arcadia entered their confederacy; and the Macedonians being occupied with various wars upon their own confines and with their neighbors, the Achaean power, the Aetolians also being in alliance with them, rose to great height.
But Aratus, still bent on effecting his old project, and impatient that tyranny should maintain itself in so near a city as Argos, sent to Aristomachus to persuade him to restore liberty to that city, and to associate it to the Achaeans, and that, following Lydiades's example, he should rather choose to be the general of a great nation, with esteem and honor, than the tyrant of one city, with continual hatred and danger. Aristomachus slighted not the message, but desired Aratus to send him fifty talents, with which he might pay off the soldiers. In the meantime, whilst the money was providing, Lydiades, being then general, and extremely ambitious that this advantage might seem to be of his procuring for the Achaeans, accused Aratus to Aristomachus, as one that bore an irreconcilable hatred to the tyrants, and, persuading him to commit the affair to his management, he presented him to the Achaeans. But there the Achaean council gave a manifest proof of the great credit Aratus had with them and the good-will they bore him. For when he, in anger, spoke against Aristomachus's being admitted into the association, they rejected the proposal, but when he was afterwards pacified and came himself and spoke in its favor, they voted everything cheerfully and readily, and decreed that the Argives and Phliasians should be incorporated into their commonwealth, and the next year they chose Aristomachus general. He, being in good credit with the Achaeans, was very desirous to invade Laconia, and for that purpose sent for Aratus from Athens. Aratus wrote to him to dissuade him as far as he could from that expedition, being very unwilling the Achaeans should be engaged in a quarrel with Cleomenes, who was a daring man, and making extraordinary advances to power. But Aristomachus resolving to go on, he obeyed and served in person, on which occasion he hindered Aristomachus from fighting a battle, when Cleomenes came upon them at Pallantium; and for this act was accused by Lydiades, and, coming to an open conflict with him in a contest for the office of general, he carried it by the show of hands, and was chosen general the twelfth time.
This year, being routed by Cleomenes near the Lycaeum, he fled, and, wandering out of the way in the night, was believed to be slain; and once more it was confidently reported so throughout all Greece. He, however, having escaped this danger and rallied his forces, was not content to march off in safety, but, making a happy use of the present conjuncture, when nobody dreamed any such thing, he fell suddenly upon the Mantineans, allies of Cleomenes, and, taking the city, put a garrison into it, and made the stranger inhabitants free of the city; procuring, by this means, those advantages for the beaten Achaeans, which, being conquerors, they would not easily have obtained. The Lacedaemonians again invading the Megalopolitan territories, he marched to the assistance of the city, but refused to give Cleomenes, who did all he could to provoke him to it, any opportunity of engaging him in a battle, nor could be prevailed upon by the Megalopolitans, who urged him to it extremely. For besides that by nature he was ill-suited for set battles, he was then much inferior in numbers, and was to deal with a daring leader, still in the heat of youth, while he himself, now past the prime of courage and come to a chastised ambition, felt it his business to maintain by prudence the glory, which he had obtained, and the other was only aspiring to by forwardness and daring.
So that though the light-armed soldiers had sallied out and driven the Lacedaemonians as far as their camp, and had come even to their tents, yet would not Aratus lead his men forward, but, posting himself in a hollow watercourse in the way thither, stopped and prevented the citizens from crossing this. Lydiades, extremely vexed at what was going on, and loading Aratus with reproaches, entreated the horse that together with him they would second them that had the enemy in chase, and not let a certain victory slip out of their hands, nor forsake him that was going to venture his life for his country. And being reinforced with many brave men that turned after him, he charged the enemy's right wing, and routing it, followed the pursuit without measure or discretion, letting his eagerness and hopes of glory tempt him on into broken ground, full of planted fruit trees and cut up with broad ditches, where, being engaged by Cleomenes, he fell, fighting gallantly the noblest of battles, at the gate of his country. The rest, flying back to their main body and troubling the ranks of the full-armed infantry, put the whole army to the rout. Aratus was extremely blamed, being suspected to have betrayed Lydiades, and was constrained by the Achaeans, who withdrew in great anger, to accompany them to Aegium, where they called a council, and decreed that he should no longer be furnished with money, nor have any more soldiers hired for him, but that, if he would make war, he should pay them himself.
This affront he resented so far as to resolve to give up the seal and lay down the office of general; but upon second thoughts he found it best to have patience, and presently marched with the Achaeans to Orchomenus and fought a battle with Megistonus, the step-father of Cleomenes, where he got the victory, killing three hundred men and taking Megistonus prisoner. But whereas he used to be chosen general every other year, when his turn came and he was called to take upon him that charge, he declined it, and Timoxenus was chosen in his stead. The true cause of which was not the pique he was alleged to have taken at the people, but the ill circumstances of the Achaean affairs. For Cleomenes did not now invade them gently and tenderly as hitherto, as one controlled by the civil authorities, but having killed the Ephors, divided the lands, and made many of the stranger residents free of the city, he was responsible to no one in his government; and therefore fell in good earnest upon the Achaeans, and put forward his claim to the supreme military command. Wherefore Aratus is much blamed, that in a stormy and tempestuous time, like a cowardly pilot, he should forsake the helm, when it was even perhaps his duty to have insisted, whether they would or no, on saving them; or if he thought the Achaean affairs desperate, to have yielded all up to Cleomenes, and not to have let Peloponnesus fall once again into barbarism with Macedonian garrisons, and Acro-Corinthus be occupied with Illyric and Gaulish soldiers, and, under the specious name of Confederates, to have made those masters of the cities whom he had held it his business by arms and by policy to baffle and defeat, and, in the memoirs he left behind him, loaded with reproaches and insults. And say that Cleomenes was arbitrary and tyrannical, yet was he descended from the Heraclidae, and Sparta was his country, the obscurest citizen of which deserved to be preferred to the generalship before the best of the Macedonians by those that had any regard to the honor of Grecian birth. Besides, Cleomenes sued for that command over the Achaeans as one that would return the honor of that title with real kindnesses to the cities; whereas Antigonus, being declared absolute general by sea and land, would not accept the office unless Acro-Corinthus were by special agreement put into his hands, following the example of Aesop's hunter; for he would not get up and ride the Achaeans, who desired him so to do, and offered their backs to him by embassies and popular decrees, till, by a garrison and hostages, they had allowed him to bit and bridle them. Aratus exhausts all his powers of speech to show the necessity that was upon him. But Polybius writes, that long before this, and before there was any necessity, apprehending the daring temper of Cleomenes, he communicated secretly with Antigonus, and that he had beforehand prevailed with the Megalopolitans to press the Achaeans to crave aid from Antigonus. For they were the most harassed by the war, Cleomenes continually plundering and ransacking their country. And so writes also Phylarchus, who, unless seconded by the testimony of Polybius, would not be altogether credited; for he is seized with enthusiasm when he so much as speaks a word of Cleomenes, and as if he were pleading, not writing a history, goes on throughout defending the one and accusing the other.
The Achaeans, therefore, lost Mantinea, which was recovered by Cleomenes, and being beaten in a great fight near Hecatombaeum, so general was the consternation, that they immediately sent to Cleomenes to desire him to come to Argos and take the command upon him. But Aratus, as soon as he understood that he was coming, and was got as far as Lerna with his troops, fearing the result, sent ambassadors to him, to request him to come accompanied with three hundred only, as to friends and confederates, and, if he mistrusted anything, he should receive hostages. Upon which Cleomenes, saying this was mere mockery and affront, went away, sending a letter to the Achaeans full of reproaches and accusation against Aratus. And Aratus also wrote letters against Cleomenes; and bitter revilings and railleries were current on both hands, not sparing even their marriages and wives. Hereupon Cleomenes sent a herald to declare war against the Achaeans, and in the meantime missed very narrowly of taking Sicyon by treachery. Turning off at a little distance, he attacked and took Pellene, which the Achaean general abandoned, and not long after took also Pheneus and Penteleum. Then immediately the Argives voluntarily joined with him, and the Phliasians received a garrison, and in short nothing among all their new acquisitions held firm to the Achaeans. Aratus was encompassed on every side with clamor and confusion; he saw the whole of Peloponnesus shaking around him, and the cities everywhere set in revolt by men desirous of innovations.
For indeed no place remained quiet or satisfied with the present condition; even amongst the Sicyonians and Corinthians themselves, many were well known to have had private conferences with Cleomenes, who long since, out of desire to make themselves masters of their several cities, had been discontented with the present order of things. Aratus, having absolute power given him to bring these to condign punishment, executed as many of them as he could find at Sicyon, but going about to find them out and punish them at Corinth also, he irritated the people, already unsound in feeling and weary of the Achaean government. So collecting tumultuously in the temple of Apollo, they sent for Aratus, having determined to take or kill him before they broke out into open revolt. He came accordingly, leading his horse in his hand, as if he suspected nothing. Then several leaping up and accusing and reproaching him, with mild words and a settled countenance he bade them sit down, and not stand crying out upon him in a disorderly manner, desiring, also, that those that were about the door might be let in, and saying so, he stepped out quietly, as if he would give his horse to somebody. Clearing himself thus of the crowd, and speaking without discomposure to the Corinthians that he met, commanding them to go to Apollo's temple, and being now, before they were aware, got near to the citadel, he leaped upon his horse, and commanding Cleopater, the governor of the garrison, to have a special care of his charge, he galloped to Sicyon, followed by thirty of his soldiers, the rest leaving him and shifting for themselves. And not long after, it being known that he was fled, the Corinthians pursued him, but not overtaking him, they immediately sent for Cleomenes and delivered up the city to him, who, however, thought nothing they could give was so great a gain, as was the loss of their having let Aratus get away. Nevertheless, being strengthened by the accession of the people of the Acte, as it is called, who put their towns into his hands, he proceeded to carry a palisade and lines of circumvallation around the Acro-Corinthus.
But Aratus being arrived at Sicyon, the body of the Achaeans there flocked to him, and, in an assembly there held, he was chosen general with absolute power, and he took about him a guard of his own citizens, it being now three and thirty years since he first took a part in public affairs among the Achaeans, having in that time been the chief man in credit and power of all Greece; but he was now deserted on all hands, helpless and overpowered, drifting about amidst the waves and danger on the shattered hulk of his native city. For the Aetolians, affected whom he applied to, declined to assist him in his distress, and the Athenians, who were well affected to him, were diverted from lending him any succor by the authority of Euclides and Micion. Now whereas he had a house and property in Corinth, Cleomenes meddled not with it, nor suffered anybody else to do so, but calling for his friends and agents, he bade them hold themselves responsible to Aratus for everything, as to him they would have to render their account; and privately he sent to him Tripylus, and afterwards Megistonus, his own stepfather, to offer him, besides several other things, a yearly pension of twelve talents, which was twice as much as Ptolemy allowed him, for he gave him six; and all that he demanded was to be declared commander of the Achaeans, and together with them to have the keeping of the citadel of Corinth. To which Aratus returning answer that affairs were not so properly in his power as he was in the power of them, Cleomenes, believing this a mere evasion, immediately entered the country of Sicyon, destroying all with fire and sword, and besieged the city three months, whilst Aratus held firm, and was in dispute with himself whether he should call in Antigonus upon condition of delivering up the citadel of Corinth to him; for he would not lend him assistance upon any other terms.
In the meantime the Achaeans assembled at Aegium, and called for Aratus; but it was very hazardous for him to pass thither, while Cleomenes was encamped before Sicyon; besides, the citizens endeavored to stop him by their entreaties, protesting that they would not suffer him to expose himself to so evident danger, the enemy being so near; the women, also, and children hung about him, weeping and embracing him as their common father and defender. But he, having comforted and encouraged them as well as he could, got on horseback, and being accompanied with ten of his friends and his son, then a youth, got away to the sea-side, and finding vessels there waiting off the shore, went on board of them and sailed to Aegium to the assembly; in which it was decreed that Antigonus should be called in to their aid, and should have the Acro-Corinthus delivered to him. Aratus also sent his son to him with the other hostages. The Corinthians, extremely angry at this proceeding, now plundered his property, and gave his house as a present to Cleomenes.
Antigonus being now near at hand with his army, consisting of twenty thousand Macedonian foot and one thousand three hundred horse, Aratus, with the Members of Council, went to meet him by sea, and got, unobserved by the enemy, to Pegae, having no great confidence either in Antigonus or the Macedonians. For he was very sensible that his own greatness had been made out of the losses he had caused them, and that the first great principle of his public conduct had been hostility to the former Antigonus. But perceiving the necessity that was now upon him, and the pressure of the time, that lord and master of those we call rulers, to be inexorable, he resolved to put all to the venture. So soon, therefore, as Antigonus was told that Aratus was coming up to him, he saluted the rest of the company after the ordinary manner, but him he received at the very first approach with especial honor, and finding him afterwards to be both good and wise, admitted him to his nearer familiarity. For Aratus was not only useful to him in the management of great affairs, but singularly agreeable also as the private companion of a king in his recreations. And therefore, though Antigonus was young, yet as soon as he observed the temper of the man to be proper for a prince's friendship, he made more use of him than of any other, not only of the Achaeans, but also of the Macedonians that were about him. So that the thing fell out to him just as the god had foreshown in a sacrifice. For it is related that, as Aratus was not long before offering sacrifice, there were found in the liver two gall-bags enclosed in the same caul of fat; whereupon the soothsayer told him that there should very soon be the strictest friendship imaginable between him and his greatest and most mortal enemies; which prediction he at that time slighted, having in general no great faith in soothsayings and prognostications, but depending most upon rational deliberation. At an after time, however, when, things succeeding well in the war, Antigonus made a great feast at Corinth, to which he invited a great number of guests, and placed Aratus next above himself, and presently calling for a coverlet, asked him if he did not find it cold, and on Aratus's answering "Yes, extremely cold," bade him come nearer, so that when the servants brought the coverlet, they threw it over them both, then Aratus remembering the sacrifice, fell a laughing, and told the king the sign which had happened to him, and the interpretation of it. But this fell out a good while after.
So Aratus and the king, plighting their faith to each other at Pegae, immediately marched towards the enemy, with whom they had frequent engagements near the city, Cleomenes maintaining a strong position, and the Corinthians making a very brisk defense. In the meantime, Aristoteles the Argive, Aratus's friend, sent privately to him to let him know, that he would cause Argos to revolt, if he would come thither in person with some soldiers. Aratus acquainted Antigonus, and, taking fifteen hundred men with him, sailed in boats along the shore as quickly as he could from the Isthmus to Epidaurus. But the Argives had not patience till he could arrive, but, making a sudden insurrection, fell upon Cleomenes's soldiers, and drove them into the citadel. Cleomenes having news of this, and fearing lest, if the enemy should possess themselves of Argos, they might cut off his retreat home, leaves the Acro-Corinthus and marches away by night to help his men. He got thither first, and beat off the enemy, but Aratus appearing not long after, and the king approaching with his forces, he retreated to Mantinea, upon which all the cities again came over to the Achaeans, and Antigonus took possession of the Acro-Corinthus. Aratus, being chosen general by the Argives, persuaded them to make a present to Antigonus of the property of the tyrants and the traitors. As for Aristomachus, after having put him to the rack in the town of Cenchreae, they drowned him in the sea; for which, more than anything else, Aratus was reproached, that he could suffer a man to be so lawlessly put to death, who was no bad man, had been one of his long acquaintance, and at his persuasion had abdicated his power, and annexed the city to the Achaeans.
And already the blame of the other things that were done began to be laid to his account; as that they so lightly gave up Corinth to Antigonus, as if it had been an inconsiderable village; that they had suffered him, after first sacking Orchomenus, then to put into it a Macedonian garrison; that they made a decree that no letters nor embassy should be sent to any other king without the consent of Antigonus, that they were forced to furnish pay and provision for the Macedonian soldiers, and celebrated sacrifices, processions, and games in honor of Antigonus, Aratus's citizens setting the example and receiving Antigonus, who was lodged and entertained at Aratus's house. All these things they treated as his fault, not knowing that having once put the reins into Antigonus's hands, and let himself be borne by the impetus of regal power, he was no longer master of anything but one single voice, the liberty of which it was not so very safe for him to use. For it was very plain that Aratus was much troubled at several things, as appeared by the business about the statues. For Antigonus replaced the statues of the tyrants of Argos that had been thrown down, and on the contrary threw down the statues of all those that had taken the Acro-Corinthus, except that of Aratus, nor could Aratus, by all his entreaties, dissuade him. Also, the usage of the Mantineans by the Achaeans seemed not in accordance with the Grecian feelings and manners. For being masters of their city by the help of Antigonus, they put to death the chief and most noted men amongst them; and of the rest, some they sold, others they sent, bound in fetters, into Macedonia, and made slaves of their wives and children; and of the money thus raised, a third part they divided among themselves, and the other two thirds were distributed among the Macedonians. And this might seem to have been justified by the law of retaliation; for although it be a barbarous thing for men of the same nation and blood thus to deal with one another in their fury, yet necessity makes it, as Simonides says, sweet and something excusable, being the proper thing, in the mind's painful and inflamed condition, to give alleviation and relief. But for what was afterwards done to that city, Aratus cannot be defended on any ground either of reason or necessity. For the Argives having had the city bestowed on them by Antigonus, and resolving to people it, he being then chosen as the new founder, and being general at that time, decreed that it should no longer be called Mantinea, but Antigonea, which name it still bears. So that he may be said to have been the cause that the old memory of the "beautiful Mantinea" has been wholly extinguished, and the city to this day has the name of the destroyer and slayer of its citizens.
After this, Cleomenes, being overthrown in a great battle near Sellasia, forsook Sparta and fled into Egypt, and Antigonus, having shown all manner of kindness and fair-dealing to Aratus, retired into Macedonia. There, falling sick, he sent Philip, the heir of the kingdom, into Peloponnesus, being yet scarce a youth, commanding him to follow above all the counsel of Aratus, to communicate with the cities through him, and through him to make acquaintance with the Achaeans; and Aratus, receiving him accordingly, so managed him as to send him back to Macedon both well affected to himself and full of desire and ambition to take an honorable part in the affairs of Greece.
When Antigonus was dead, the Aetolians, despising the sloth and negligence of the Achaeans, who, having learned to be defended by other men's valor and to shelter themselves under the Macedonian arms, lived in ease and without any discipline, now attempted to interfere in Peloponnesus. And plundering the land of Patrae and Dyme in their way, they invaded Messene and ravaged it; at which Aratus being indignant, and finding that Timoxenus, then general, was hesitating and letting the time go by, being now on the point of laying down his office, in which he himself was chosen to succeed him, he anticipated the proper term by five days, that he might bring relief to the Messenians. And mustering the Achaeans, who were both in their persons unexercised in arms and in their minds relaxed and averse to war, he met with a defeat at Caphyae. Having thus begun the war, as it seemed, with too much heat and passion, he then ran into the other extreme, cooling again and desponding so much, that he let pass and overlooked many fair opportunities of advantage given by the Aetolians, and allowed them to run riot, as it were, throughout all Peloponnesus, with all manner of insolence and licentiousness. Wherefore, holding forth their hands once more to the Macedonians, they invited and drew in Philip to intermeddle in the affairs of Greece, chiefly hoping, because of his affection and trust that he felt for Aratus, they should find him easy-tempered, and ready to be managed as they pleased.
But the king, being now persuaded by Apelles, Megaleas, and other courtiers, that endeavored to ruin the credit Aratus had with him, took the side of the contrary faction, and joined them in canvassing to have Eperatus chosen general by the Achaeans. But he being altogether scorned by the Achaeans, and, for the want of Aratus to help, all things going wrong, Philip saw he had quite mistaken his part, and, turning about and reconciling himself to Aratus, he was wholly his; and his affairs now going on favorably both for his power and reputation, he depended upon him altogether as the author of all his gains in both respects; Aratus hereby giving a proof to the world that he was as good a nursing father of a kingdom as he had been of a democracy, for the actions of the king had in them the touch and color of his judgment and character. The moderation which the young man showed to the Lacedaemonians, who had incurred his displeasure, and his affability to the Cretans, by which in a few days he brought over the whole island to his obedience, and his expedition against the Aetolians, so wonderfully successful, brought Philip reputation for hearkening to good advice, and to Aratus for giving it; for which things the king's followers envying him more than ever and finding they could not prevail against him by their secret practices, began openly to abuse and affront him at the banquets and over their wine, with every kind of petulance and impudence; so that once they threw stones at him as he was going back from supper to his tent. At which Philip being much offended, immediately fined them twenty talents; and finding afterwards that they still went on disturbing matters and doing mischief in his affairs, he put them to death.
But with his run of good success, prosperity began to puff him up, and various extravagant desires began to spring and show themselves in his mind; and his natural bad inclinations, breaking through the artificial restraints he had put upon them, in a little time laid open and discovered his true and proper character. And in the first place, he privately injured the younger Aratus in his wife, which was not known of a good while, because he was lodged and entertained at their house; then he began to be more rough and untractable in the domestic politics of Greece, and showed plainly that he was wishing to shake himself loose of Aratus. This the Messenian affairs first gave occasion to suspect. For they falling into sedition, and Aratus being just too late with his succors, Philip, who got into the city one day before him, at once blew up the flame of contention amongst them, asking privately, on the one hand, the Messenian generals, if they had not laws whereby to suppress the insolence of the common people, and on the other, the leaders of the people, whether they had not hands to help themselves against their oppressors. Upon which gathering courage, the officers attempted to lay hands on the heads of the people, and they on the other side, coming upon the officers with the multitude, killed them, and very near two hundred persons with them.
Philip having committed this wickedness, and doing his best to set the Messenians by the ears together more than before, Aratus arrived there, and both showed plainly that he took it ill himself, and also he suffered his son bitterly to reproach and revile him. It should seem that the young man had an attachment for Philip, and so at this time one of his expressions to him was, that he no longer appeared to him the handsomest, but the most deformed of all men, after so foul an action. To all which Philip gave him no answer, though he seemed so angry as to make it expected he would, and though several times he cried out aloud, while the young man was speaking. But as for the elder Aratus, seeming to take all that he said in good part, and as if he were by nature a politic character and had a good command of himself, he gave him his hand and led him out of the theater, and carried him with him to the Ithomatas, to sacrifice there to Jupiter, and take a view of the place, for it is a post as fortifiable as the Acro-Corinthus, and, with a garrison in it, quite as strong and as impregnable to the attacks of all around it. Philip therefore went up hither, and having offered sacrifice, receiving the entrails of the ox with both his hands from the priest, he showed them to Aratus and Demetrius the Pharian, presenting them sometimes to the one and sometimes to the other, asking them what they judged, by the tokens in the sacrifice, was to be done with the fort; was he to keep it for himself, or restore it to the Messenians. Demetrius laughed and answered, "If you have in you the soul of soothsayer, you will restore it, but if of a prince, you will hold the ox by both the horns," meaning to refer to Peloponnesus, which would be wholly in his power and at his disposal if he added the Ithomatas to the Acro-Corinthus. Aratus said not a word for a good while; but Philip entreating him to declare his opinion, he said "Many and great hills are there in Crete, and many rocks in Boeotia and Phocis, and many remarkable strong-holds both near the sea and in the midland in Acarnania, and yet all these people obey your orders, though you have not possessed yourself of any one of those places. Robbers nest themselves in rocks and precipices; but the strongest fort a king can have is confidence and affection. These have opened to you the Cretan sea; these make you master of Peloponnesus, and by the help of these, young as you are, are you become captain of the one, and lord of the other." While he was still speaking, Philip returned the entrails to the priest, and drawing Aratus to him by the hand, "Come, then," said he, "let us follow the same course;" as if he felt himself forced by him, and obliged to give up the town.
From this time Aratus began to withdraw from court, and retired by degrees from Philip's company; when he was preparing to march into Epirus, and desired him that he would accompany him thither, he excused himself and stayed at home, apprehending that he should get nothing but discredit by having anything to do with his actions. But when, afterwards, having shamefully lost his fleet against the Romans and miscarried in all his designs, he returned into Peloponnesus, where he tried once more to beguile the Messenians by his artifices, and failing in this, began openly to attack them and to ravage their country, then Aratus fell out with him downright, and utterly renounced his friendship; for he had begun then to be fully aware of the injuries done to his son in his wife, which vexed him greatly, though he concealed them from his son, as he could but know he had been abused, without having any means to revenge himself. For, indeed, Philip seems to have been an instance of the greatest and strangest alteration of character; after being a mild king and modest and chaste youth, he became a lascivious man and most cruel tyrant; though in reality this was not a change of his nature, but a bold unmasking, when safe opportunity came, of the evil inclinations which his fear had for a long time made him dissemble.
For that the respect he at the beginning bore to Aratus had a great alloy of fear and awe appears evidently from what he did to him at last. For being desirous to put him to death, not thinking himself, whilst he was alive, to be properly free as a man, much less at liberty to do his pleasure as a king or tyrant, he durst not attempt to do it by open force, but commanded Taurion, one of his captains and familiars, to make him away secretly by poison, if possible, in his absence. Taurion, therefore, made himself intimate with Aratus, and gave him a dose, not of your strong and violent poisons, but such as cause gentle, feverish heats at first, and a dull cough, and so by degrees bring on certain death. Aratus perceived what was done to him, but, knowing that it was in vain to make any words of it, bore it patiently and with silence, as if it had been some common and usual distemper. Only once, a friend of his being with him in his chamber, he spat some blood, which his friend observing and wondering at, "These, O Cephalon," said he, "are the wages of a king's love."
Thus died he in Aegium, in his seventeenth generalship. The Achaeans were very desirous that he should be buried there with a funeral and monument suitable to his life, but the Sicyonians treated it as a calamity to them if he were interred anywhere but in their city, and prevailed with the Achaeans to grant them the disposal of the body.
But there being an ancient law that no person should be buried within the walls of their city, and besides the law also a strong religious feeling about it, they sent to Delphi to ask counsel of the Pythoness, who returned this answer: --
Sicyon, whom oft he rescued, "Where," you say, "Shall we the relics of Aratus lay?" The soil that would not lightly o'er him rest, Or to be under him would feel oppressed, Were in the sight of earth and seas and skies unblest.
This oracle being brought, all the Achaeans were well pleased at it, but especially the Sicyonians, who, changing their mourning into public joy, immediately fetched the body from Aegium, and in a kind of solemn procession brought it into the city, being crowned with garlands, and arrayed in white garments, with singing and dancing, and, choosing a conspicuous place, they buried him there, as the founder and savior of their city. The place is to this day called Aratium, and there they yearly make two solemn sacrifices to him, the one on the day he delivered the city from tyranny, being the fifth of the month Daesius, which the Athenians call Anthesterion, and this sacrifice they call Soteria; the other in the month of his birth, which is still remembered. Now the first of these was performed by the priest of Jupiter Soter, the second by the priest of Aratus, wearing a band around his head, not pure white, but mingled with purple. Hymns were sung to the harp by the singers of the feasts of Bacchus; the procession was led up by the president of the public exercises, with the boys and young men; these were followed by the councilors wearing garlands, and other citizens such as pleased. Of these observances, some small traces, it is still made a point of religion not to omit, on the appointed days; but the greatest part of the ceremonies have through time and other intervening accidents been disused.
And such, as history tells us, was the life and manners of the elder Aratus. And for the younger, his son, Philip, abominably wicked by nature and a savage abuser of his power, gave him such poisonous medicines, as though they did not kill him indeed, yet made him lose his senses, and run into wild and absurd attempts and desire to do actions and satisfy appetites that were ridiculous and shameful. So that his death, which happened to him while he was yet young and in the flower of his age, cannot be so much esteemed a misfortune as a deliverance and end of his misery. However, Philip paid dearly, all through the rest of his life, for these impious violations of friendship and hospitality. For, being overcome by the Romans, he was forced to put himself wholly into their hands, and, being deprived of his other dominions and surrendering all his ships except five, he had also to pay a fine of a thousand talents, and to give his son for hostage, and only out of mere pity he was suffered to keep Macedonia and its dependences; where continually putting to death the noblest of his subjects and the nearest relations he had, he filled the whole kingdom with horror and hatred of him. And whereas amidst so many misfortunes he had but one good chance, which was the having a son of great virtue and merit, him, through jealousy and envy at the honor the Romans had for him, he caused to be murdered, and left his kingdom to Perseus, who, as some say, was not his own child, but supposititious, born of a seamstress called Gnathaenion. This was he whom Paulus Aemilius led in triumph, and in whom ended the succession of Antigonus's line and kingdom. But the posterity of Aratus continued still in our days at Sicyon and Pellene.
The first Artaxerxes, among all the kings of Persia the most remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit, was surnamed the Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes. The second, whose story I am now writing, who had the surname of the Mindful, was the grandson of the former, by his daughter Parysatis, who brought Darius four sons, the eldest Artaxerxes, the next Cyrus, and two younger than these, Ostanes and Oxathres. Cyrus took his name of the ancient Cyrus, as he, they say, had his from the sun, which, in the Persian language, is called Cyrus. Artaxerxes was at first called Arsicas; Dinon says Oarses; but it is utterly improbable that Ctesias (however otherwise he may have filled his books with a perfect farrago of incredible and senseless fables) should be ignorant of the name of the king with whom he lived as his physician, attending upon himself, his wife, his mother, and his children.
Cyrus, from his earliest youth, showed something of a headstrong and vehement character; Artaxerxes, on the other side, was gentler in everything, and of a nature more yielding and soft in its action. He married a beautiful and virtuous wife, at the desire of his parents, but kept her as expressly against their wishes. For king Darius, having put her brother to death, was purposing likewise to destroy her. But Arsicas, throwing himself at his mother's feet, by many tears, at last, with much ado, persuaded her that they should neither put her to death nor divorce her from him. However, Cyrus was his mother's favorite, and the son whom she most desired to settle in the throne. And therefore, his father Darius now lying ill, he, being sent for from the sea to the court, set out thence with full hopes that by her means he was to be declared the successor to the kingdom. For Parysatis had the specious plea in his behalf, which Xerxes on the advice of Demaratus had of old made use of, that she had borne him Arsicas when he was a subject, but Cyrus when a king. Notwithstanding, she prevailed not with Darius, but the eldest son Arsicas was proclaimed king, his name being changed into Artaxerxes; and Cyrus remained satrap of Lydia, and commander in the maritime provinces.
It was not long after the decease of Darius that the king, his successor, went to Pasargadae, to have the ceremony of his inauguration consummated by the Persian priests. There is a temple dedicated to a warlike goddess, whom one might liken to Minerva; into which when the royal person to be initiated has passed, he must strip himself of his own robe, and put on that which Cyrus the first wore before he was king; then, having devoured a frail of figs, he must eat turpentine, and drink a cup of sour milk. To which if they superadd any other rites, it is unknown to any but those that are present at them. Now Artaxerxes being about to address himself to this solemnity, Tisaphernes came to him, bringing a certain priest, who, having trained up Cyrus in his youth in the established discipline of Persia, and having taught him the Magian philosophy, was likely to be as much disappointed as any man that his pupil did not succeed to the throne. And for that reason his veracity was the less questioned when he charged Cyrus as though he had been about to lie in wait for the king in the temple, and to assault and assassinate him as he was putting off his garment. Some affirm that he was apprehended upon this impeachment, others that he had entered the temple and was pointed out there, as he lay lurking, by the priest. But as he was on the point of being put to death, his mother clasped him in her arms, and, entwining him with the tresses of her hair, joined his neck close to her own, and by her bitter lamentation and intercession to Artaxerxes for him, succeeded in saving his life; and sent him away again to the sea and to his former province. This, however, could no longer content him; nor did he so well remember his delivery as his arrest, his resentment for which made him more eagerly desirous of the kingdom than before.
Some say that he revolted from his brother, because he had not a revenue allowed him sufficient for his daily meals; but this is on the face of it absurd. For had he had nothing else, yet he had a mother ready to supply him with whatever he could desire out of her own means. But the great number of soldiers who were hired from all quarters and maintained, as Xenophon informs us, for his service, by his friends and connections, is in itself a sufficient proof of his riches. He did not assemble them together in a body, desiring as yet to conceal his enterprise; but he had agents everywhere, enlisting foreign soldiers upon various pretenses; and, in the meantime, Parysatis, who was with the king, did her best to put aside all suspicions, and Cyrus himself always wrote in a humble and dutiful manner to him, sometimes soliciting favor, sometimes making countercharges against Tisaphernes, as if his jealousy and contest had been wholly with him. Moreover, there was a certain natural dilatoriness in the king, which was taken by many for clemency. And, indeed, in the beginning of his reign, he did seem really to emulate the gentleness of the first Artaxerxes, being very accessible in his person, and liberal to a fault in the distribution of honors and favors. Even in his punishments, no contumely or vindictive pleasure could be seen; and those who offered him presents were as much pleased with his manner of accepting, as were those who received gifts from him with his graciousness and amiability in giving them. Nor truly was there anything, however inconsiderable, given him, which he did not deign kindly to accept of; insomuch that when one Omises had presented him with a very large pomegranate, "By Mithras," said he, "this man, were he entrusted with it, would turn a small city into a great one."
Once when some were offering him one thing, some another, as he was on a progress, a certain poor laborer, having got nothing at hand to bring him, ran to the river side, and, taking up water in his hands, offered it to him; with which Artaxerxes was so well pleased that he sent him a goblet of gold and a thousand darics. To Euclidas, the Lacedaemonian, who had made a number of bold and arrogant speeches to him, he sent word by one of his officers, "You have leave to say what you please to me, and I, you should remember, may both say and do what I please to you." Teribazus once, when they were hunting, came up and pointed out to the king that his royal robe was torn; the king asked him what he wished him to do; and when Teribazus replied "May it please you to put on another and give me that," the king did so, saying withal, "I give it you, Teribazus, but I charge you not to wear it." He, little regarding the injunction, being not a bad, but a light-headed, thoughtless man, immediately the king took it off, put it on, and bedecked himself further with royal golden necklaces and women's ornaments, to the great scandal of everybody, the thing being quite unlawful. But the king laughed and told him, "You have my leave to wear the trinkets as a woman, and the robe of state as a fool." And whereas none usually sat down to eat with the king besides his mother and his wedded wife, the former being placed above, the other below him, Artaxerxes invited also to his table his two younger brothers, Ostanes and Oxathres. But what was the most popular thing of all among the Persians was the sight of his wife Statira's chariot, which always appeared with its curtains down, allowing her countrywomen to salute and approach her, which made the queen a great favorite with the people.
Yet busy, factious men, that delighted in change, professed it to be their opinion that the times needed Cyrus, a man of a great spirit, an excellent warrior, and a lover of his friends, and that the largeness of their empire absolutely required a bold and enterprising prince. Cyrus, then; not only relying upon those of his own province near the sea, but upon many of those in the upper countries near the king, commenced the war against him. He wrote to the Lacedaemonians, bidding them come to his assistance and supply him with men, assuring them that to those who came to him on foot he would give horses, and to the horsemen chariots; that upon those who had farms he would bestow villages, and those who were lords of villages he would make so of cities; and that those who would be his soldiers should receive their pay, not by count, but by weight. And among many other high praises of himself, he said he had the stronger soul; was more a philosopher and a better Magian; and could drink and bear more wine than his brother, who, as he averred, was such a coward and so little like a man, that he could neither sit his horse in hunting nor his throne in time of danger. The Lacedaemonians, his letter being read, sent a staff to Clearchus, commanding him to obey Cyrus in all things. So Cyrus marched towards the king, having under his conduct a numerous host of barbarians, and but little less than thirteen thousand stipendiary Grecians; alleging first one cause, then another, for his expedition. Yet the true reason lay not long concealed, but Tisaphernes went to the king in person to declare it. Thereupon, the court was all in an uproar and tumult, the queen-mother bearing almost the whole blame of the enterprise, and her retainers being suspected and accused. Above all, Statira angered her by bewailing the war and passionately demanding where were now the pledges and the intercessions which saved the life of him that conspired against his brother; "to the end," she said, "that he might plunge us all into war and trouble." For which words Parysatis hating Statira, and being naturally implacable and savage in her anger and revenge, consulted how she might destroy her. But since Dinon tells us that her purpose took effect in the time of the war, and Ctesias says it was after it, I shall keep the story for the place to which the latter assigns it, as it is very unlikely that he, who was actually present, should not know the time when it happened, and there was no motive to induce him designedly to misplace its date in his narrative of it, though it is not infrequent with him in his history to make excursions from truth into mere fiction and romance.
As Cyrus was upon the march, rumors and reports were brought him, as though the king still deliberated, and were not minded to fight and presently to join battle with him; but to wait in the heart of his kingdom until his forces should have come in thither from all parts of his dominions. He had cut a trench through the plain ten fathoms in breadth, and as many in depth, the length of it being no less than four hundred furlongs. Yet he allowed Cyrus to pass across it, and to advance almost to the city of Babylon. Then Teribazus, as the report goes, was the first that had the boldness to tell the king that he ought not to avoid the conflict, nor to abandon Media, Babylon, and even Susa, and hide himself in Persis, when all the while he had an army many times over more numerous than his enemies, and an infinite company of governors and captains that were better soldiers and politicians than Cyrus. So at last he resolved to fight, as soon as it was possible for him. Making, therefore, his first appearance, all on a sudden, at the head of nine hundred thousand well-marshaled men, he so startled and surprised the enemy, who with the confidence of contempt were marching on their way in no order, and with their arms not ready for use, that Cyrus, in the midst of much noise and tumult, was scarce able to form them for battle. Moreover, the very manner in which he led on his men, silently and slowly, made the Grecians stand amazed at his good discipline; who had expected irregular shouting and leaping, much confusion and separation between one body of men and another, in so vast a multitude of troops. He also placed the choicest of his armed chariots in the front of his own phalanx over against the Grecian troops, that a violent charge with these might cut open their ranks before they closed with them.
But as this battle is described by many historians, and Xenophon in particular as good as shows it us by eyesight, not as a past event, but as a present action, and by his vivid account makes his hearers feel all the passions and join in all the dangers of it, it would be folly in me to give any larger account of it than barely to mention any things omitted by him which yet deserve to be recorded. The place, then, in which the two armies were drawn out is called Cunaxa, being about five hundred furlongs distant from Babylon. And here Clearchus beseeching Cyrus before the fight to retire behind the combatants, and not expose himself to hazard, they say he replied, "What is this, Clearchus? Would you have me, who aspire to empire, show myself unworthy of it?" But if Cyrus committed a great fault in entering headlong into the midst of danger, and not paying any regard to his own safety, Clearchus was as much to blame, if not more, in refusing to lead the Greeks against the main body of the enemy, where the king stood, and in keeping his right wing close to the river, for fear of being surrounded. For if he wanted, above all other things, to be safe, and considered it his first object to sleep in whole skin, it had been his best way not to have stirred from home. But, after marching in arms ten thousand furlongs from the sea-coast, simply on his own choosing, for the purpose of placing Cyrus on the throne, to look about and select a position which would enable him, not to preserve him under whose pay and conduct he was, but himself to engage with more ease and security seemed much like one that through fear of present dangers had abandoned the purpose of his actions, and been false to the design of his expedition. For it is evident from the very event of the battle that none of those who were in array around the king's person could have stood the shock of the Grecian charge; and had they been beaten out of the field, and Artaxerxes either fled or fallen, Cyrus would have gained by the victory, not only safety, but a crown. And, therefore, Clearchus, by his caution, must be considered more to blame for the result in the destruction of the life and fortune of Cyrus, than he by his heat and rashness. For had the king made it his business to discover a place, where having posted the Grecians, he might encounter them with the least hazard, he would never have found out any other but that which was most remote from himself and those near him; of his defeat in which he was insensible, and, though Clearchus had the victory, yet Cyrus could not know of it, and could take no advantage of it before his fall. Cyrus knew well enough what was expedient to be done, and commanded Clearchus with his men to take their place in the center. Clearchus replied that he would take care to have all arranged as was best, and then spoiled all.
For the Grecians, where they were, defeated the barbarians till they were weary, and chased them successfully a very great way. But Cyrus being mounted upon a noble but a headstrong and hard-mouthed horse, bearing the name, as Ctesias tells us, of Pasacas, Artagerses, the leader of the Cadusians, galloped up to him, crying aloud, "O most unjust and senseless of men, who are the disgrace of the honored name of Cyrus, are you come here leading the wicked Greeks on a wicked journey, to plunder the good things of the Persians, and this with the intent of slaying your lord and brother, the master of ten thousand times ten thousand servants that are better men than you? as you shall see this instant; for you shall lose your head here, before you look upon the face of the king." Which when he had said, he cast his javelin at him. But the coat of mail stoutly repelled it, and Cyrus was not wounded; yet the stroke falling heavy upon him, he reeled under it. Then Artagerses turning his horse, Cyrus threw his weapon, and sent the head of it through his neck near the shoulder bone. So that it is almost universally agreed to by all the author that Artagerses was slain by him. But as to the death of Cyrus, since Xenophon, as being himself no eye-witness of it, has stated it simply and in few words, it may not be amiss perhaps to run over on the one hand what Dinon, and on the other, what Ctesias has said of it.
Dinon then affirms, that, after the death of Artagerses, Cyrus, furiously attacking the guard of Artaxerxes, wounded the king's horse, and so dismounted him, and when Teribazus had quickly lifted him up upon another, and said to him, "O king, remember this day, which is not one to be forgotten," Cyrus, again spurring up his horse, struck down Artaxerxes. But at the third assault the king being enraged, and saying to those near him that death was more eligible, made up to Cyrus, who furiously and blindly rushed in the face of the weapons opposed to him. So the king struck him with a javelin, as likewise did those that were about him. And thus Cyrus falls, as some say, by the hand of the king; as others, by the dart of a Carian, to whom Artaxerxes, for a reward of his achievement, gave the privilege of carrying ever after a golden cock upon his spear before the first ranks of the army in all expeditions. For the Persians call the men of Caria cocks, because of the crests with which they adorn their helmets.
But the account of Ctesias, to put it shortly, omitting many details, is as follows: Cyrus, after the death of Artagerses, rode up against the king, as he did against him, neither exchanging a word with the other. But Ariaeus, Cyrus's friend, was beforehand with him, and darted first at the king, yet wounded him not. Then the king cast his lance at his brother, but missed him, though he both hit and slew Satiphernes, a noble man and a faithful friend to Cyrus. Then Cyrus directed his lance against the king, and pierced his breast with it quite through his armor, two inches deep, so that he fell from his horse with the stroke. At which those that attended him being put to flight and disorder, he, rising with a few, among whom was Ctesias, and making his way to a little hill not far off, rested himself. But Cyrus, who was in the thick of the enemy, was carried off a great way by the wildness of his horse, the darkness which was now coming on making it hard for them to know him, and for his followers to find him. However, being made elate with victory, and full of confidence and force, he passed through them, crying out, and that more than once, in the Persian language, "Clear the way, villains, clear the way;" which they indeed did, throwing themselves down at his feet. But his tiara dropped off his head, and a young Persian, by name Mithridates, running by, struck a dart into one of his temples near his eye, not knowing who he was, out of which wound much blood gushed, so that Cyrus, swooning and senseless, fell off his horse. The horse escaped, and ran about the field; but the companion of Mithridates took the trappings, which fell off, soaked with blood. And as Cyrus slowly began to come to himself, some eunuchs who were there tried to put him on another horse, and so convey him safe away. And when he was not able to ride, and desired to walk on his feet, they led and supported him, being indeed dizzy in the head and reeling, but convinced of his being victorious, hearing, as he went, the fugitives saluting Cyrus as king, and praying for grace and mercy. In the meantime, some wretched, poverty-stricken Caunians, who in some pitiful employment as camp-followers had accompanied the king's army, by chance joined these attendants of Cyrus, supposing them to be of their own party. But when, after a while, they made out that their coats over their breastplates were red, whereas all the king's people wore white ones, they knew that they were enemies. One of them, therefore, not dreaming that it was Cyrus, ventured to strike him behind with a dart. The vein under the knee was cut open, and Cyrus fell, and at the same time struck his wounded temple against a stone, and so died. Thus runs Ctesias's account, tardily, with the slowness of a blunt weapon, effecting the victim's death.
When he was now dead, Artasyras, the king's eye, passed by on horseback, and, having observed the eunuchs lamenting, he asked the most trusty of them, "Who is this, Pariscas, whom you sit here deploring?" He replied, "Do not you see, O Artasyras, that it is my master, Cyrus?" Then Artasyras wondering, bade the eunuch be of good cheer, and keep the dead body safe. And going in all haste to Artaxerxes, who had now given up all hope of his affairs, and was in great suffering also with his thirst and his wound, he with much joy assured him that he had seen Cyrus dead. Upon this, at first, he set out to go in person to the place, and commanded Artasyras to conduct him where he lay. But when there was a great noise made about the Greeks, who were said to be in full pursuit, conquering and carrying all before them, he thought it best to send a number of persons to see; and accordingly thirty men went with torches in their hands. Meantime, as he seemed to be almost at the point of dying from thirst, his eunuch Satibarzanes ran about seeking drink for him; for the place had no water in it, and he was at a good distance from his camp. After a long search he at last luckily met with one of those poor Caunian camp-followers, who had in a wretched skin about four pints of foul and stinking water, which he took and gave to the king; and when he had drunk all off, he asked him if he did not dislike the water; but he declared by all the gods, that he never so much relished either wine, or water out of the lightest or purest stream. "And therefore," said he, "if I fail myself to discover and reward him who gave it to you, I beg of heaven to make him rich and prosperous."
Just after this, came back the thirty messengers, with joy and triumph in their looks, bringing him the tidings of his unexpected fortune. And now he was also encouraged by the number of soldiers that again began to flock in and gather about him; so that he presently descended into the plain with many lights and flambeaus round about him. And when he had come near the dead body, and, according to a certain law of the Persians, the right hand and head had been lopped off from the trunk, he gave orders that the latter should be brought to him, and, grasping the hair of it, which was long and bushy, he showed it to those who were still uncertain and disposed to fly. They were amazed at it, and did him homage; so that there were presently seventy thousand of them got about him, and entered the camp again with him. He had led out to the fight, as Ctesias affirms, four hundred thousand men. But Dinon and Xenophon aver that there were many more than forty myriads actually engaged. As to the number of the slain, as the catalogue of them was given up to Artaxerxes, Ctesias says, they were nine thousand, but that they appeared to him no fewer than twenty thousand. Thus far there is something to be said on both sides. But it is a flagrant untruth on the part of Ctesias to say that he was sent along with Phalinus the Zacynthian and some others to the Grecians. For Xenophon knew well enough that Ctesias was resident at court; for he makes mention of him, and had evidently met with his writings. And, therefore, had he come, and been deputed the interpreter of such momentous words, Xenophon surely would not have struck his name out of the embassy to mention only Phalinus. But Ctesias, as is evident, being excessively vain-glorious, and no less a favorer of the Lacedaemonians and Clearchus, never fails to assume to himself some province in his narrative, taking opportunity, in these situations, to introduce abundant high praise of Clearchus and Sparta.
When the battle was over, Artaxerxes sent goodly and magnificent gifts to the son of Artagerses, whom Cyrus slew. He conferred likewise high honors upon Ctesias and others, and, having found out the Caunian who gave him the bottle of water, he made him, of a poor, obscure man, a rich and an honorable person. As for the punishments he indicted upon delinquents, there was a kind of harmony betwixt them and the crimes. He gave order that one Arbaces, a Mede, that had fled in the fight to Cyrus, and again at his fall had come back, should, as a mark that he was considered a dastardly and effeminate, not a dangerous or treasonable man, have a common harlot set upon his back, and carry her about for a whole day in the marketplace. Another, besides that he had deserted to them, having falsely vaunted that he had killed two of the rebels, he decreed that three needles should be struck through his tongue. And both supposing that with his own hand he had cut off Cyrus, and being willing that all men should think and say so, he sent rich presents to Mithridates, who first wounded him, and charged those by whom he conveyed the gifts to him to tell him, that "the king has honored you with these his favors, because you found and brought him the horse-trappings of Cyrus." The Carian, also, from whose wound in the ham Cyrus died, suing for his reward, he commanded those that brought it him to say that "the king presents you with this as a second remuneration for the good news told him; for first Artasyras, and, next to him, you assured him of the decease of Cyrus." Mithridates retired without complaint, though not without resentment. But the unfortunate Carian was fool enough to give way to a natural infirmity. For being ravished with the sight of the princely gifts that were before him, and being tempted thereupon to challenge and aspire to things above him, he deigned not to accept the king's present as a reward for good news, but indignantly crying out and appealing to witnesses, he protested that he, and none but he, had killed Cyrus, and that he was unjustly deprived of the glory. These words, when they came to his ear, much offended the king, so that forthwith he sentenced him to be beheaded. But the queen mother, being in the king's presence, said, "Let not the king so lightly discharge this pernicious Carian; let him receive from me the fitting punishment of what he dares to say." So when the king had consigned him over to Parysatis, she charged the executioners to take up the man, and stretch him upon the rack for ten days, then, tearing out his eyes, to drop molten brass into his ears till he expired.
Mithridates, also, within a short time after, miserably perished by the like folly; for being invited to a feast where were the eunuchs both of the king and of the queen mother, he came arrayed in the dress and the golden ornaments which he had received from the king. After they began to drink, the eunuch that was the greatest in power with Parysatis thus speaks to him: A magnificent dress, indeed, O Mithridates, is this which the king has given you; the chains and bracelets are glorious, and your scimitar of invaluable worth; how happy has he made you, the object of every eye!" To whom he, being a little overcome with the wine replied, "What are these things, Sparamizes? Sure I am, I showed myself to the king in that day of trial to be one deserving greater and costlier gifts than these." At which Sparamizes smiling, said, "I do not grudge them to you, Mithridates; but since the Grecians tell us that wine and truth go together, let me hear now, my friend, what glorious or mighty matter was it to find some trappings that had slipped off a horse, and to bring them to the king?" And this he spoke, not as ignorant of the truth, but desiring to unbosom him to the company, irritating the vanity of the man, whom drink had now made eager to talk and incapable of controlling himself. So he forbore nothing, but said out, "Talk you what you please of horse-trappings, and such trifles; I tell you plainly, that this hand was the death of Cyrus. For I threw not my dart as Artagerses did, in vain and to no purpose, but only just missing his eye, and hitting him right on the temple, and piercing him through, I brought him to the ground; and of that wound he died." The rest of the company, who saw the end and the hapless fate of Mithridates as if it were already completed, bowed their heads to the ground; and he who entertained them said, "Mithridates, my friend, let us eat and drink now, revering the fortune of our prince, and let us waive discourse which is too weighty for us."
Presently after, Sparamizes told Parysatis what he said, and she told the king, who was greatly enraged at it, as having the lie given him, and being in danger to forfeit the most glorious and most pleasant circumstance of his victory. For it was his desire that everyone, whether Greek or barbarian, should believe that in the mutual assaults and conflicts between him and his brother, he, giving and receiving a blow, was himself indeed wounded, but that the other lost his life. And, therefore, he decreed that Mithridates should be put to death in boats; which execution is after the following manner: Taking two boats framed exactly to fit and answer each other, they lay down in one of them the malefactor that suffers, upon his back; then, covering it with the other, and so setting them together that the head, hands, and feet of him are left outside, and the rest of his body lies shut up within, they offer him food, and if he refuse to eat it, they force him to do it by pricking his eyes; then, after he has eaten, they drench him with a mixture of milk and honey, pouring it not only into his mouth, but all over his face. They then keep his face continually turned towards the sun; and it becomes completely covered up and hidden by the multitude of flies that settle on it. And as within the boats he does what those that eat and drink must needs do, creeping things and vermin spring out of the corruption and rottenness of the excrement, and these entering into the bowels of him, his body is consumed. When the man is manifestly dead, the uppermost boat being taken off, they find his flesh devoured, and swarms of such noisome creatures preying upon and, as it were, growing to his inwards. In this way Mithridates, after suffering for seventeen days, at last expired.
Masabates, the king's eunuch, who had cut off the hand and head of Cyrus, remained still as a mark for Parysatis's vengeance. Whereas, therefore, he was so circumspect, that he gave her no advantage against him, she framed this kind of snare for him. She was a very ingenious woman in other ways, and was an excellent player at dice, and, before the war, had often played with the king. After the war, too, when she had been reconciled to him, she joined readily in all amusements with him, played at dice with him, was his confidant in his love matters, and in every way did her best to leave him as little as possible in the company of Statira, both because she hated her more than any other person, and because she wished to have no one so powerful as herself. And so once when Artaxerxes was at leisure, and inclined to divert himself, she challenged him to play at dice with her for a thousand Darics, and purposely let him win them, and paid him down in gold. Yet, pretending to be concerned for her loss, and that she would gladly have her revenge for it, she pressed him to begin a new game for a eunuch; to which he consented. But first they agreed that each of them might except five of their most trusty eunuchs, and that out of the rest of them the loser should yield up any the winner should make choice of. Upon these conditions they played. Thus being bent upon her design, and thoroughly in earnest with her game, and the dice also running luckily for her, when she had got the game, she demanded Masabates, who was not in the number of the five excepted. And before the king could suspect the matter, having delivered him up to the tormentors, she enjoined them to flay him alive, to set his body upon three stakes, and to stretch his skin upon stakes separately from it.
These things being done, and the king taking them ill, and being incensed against her, she with raillery and laughter told him, "You are a comfortable and happy man indeed, if you are so much disturbed for the sake of an old rascally eunuch, when I, though I have thrown away a thousand Darics, hold my peace and acquiesce in my fortune." So the king, vexed with himself for having been thus deluded, hushed up all. But Statira both in other matters openly opposed her, and was angry with her for thus, against all law and humanity, sacrificing to the memory of Cyrus the king's faithful friends and eunuchs.
Now after that Tisaphernes had circumvented and by a false oath had betrayed Clearchus and the other commanders, and, taking them, had sent them bound in chains to the king, Ctesias says that he was asked by Clearchus to supply him with a comb; and that when he had it, and had combed his head with it, he was much pleased with this good office, and gave him a ring, which might be a token of the obligation to his relatives and friends in Sparta; and that the engraving upon this signet was a set of Caryatides dancing. He tells us that the soldiers, his fellow captives, used to purloin a part of the allowance of food sent to Clearchus, giving him but little of it; which thing Ctesias says he rectified, causing a better allowance to be conveyed to him, and that a separate share should be distributed to the soldiers by themselves; adding that he ministered to and supplied him thus by the interest and at the instance of Parysatis. And there being a portion of ham sent daily with his other food to Clearchus, she, he says, advised and instructed him, that he ought to bury a small knife in the meat, and thus send it to his friend, and not leave his fate to be determined by the king's cruelty; which he, however, he says, was afraid to do. However, Artaxerxes consented to the entreaties of his mother, and promised her with an oath that he would spare Clearchus; but afterwards, at the instigation of Statira, he put every one of them to death except Menon. And thenceforward, he says, Parysatis watched her advantage against Statira, and made up poison for her; not a very probable story, or a very likely motive to account for her conduct, if indeed he means that out of respect to Clearchus she dared to attempt the life of the lawful queen, that was mother of those who were heirs of the empire. But it is evident enough, that this part of his history is a sort of funeral exhibition in honor of Clearchus. For he would have us believe, that, when the generals were executed, the rest of them were torn in pieces by dogs and birds; but as for the remains of Clearchus, that a violent gust of wind, bearing before it a vast heap of earth, raised a mound to cover his body, upon which, after a short time, some dates having fallen there, a beautiful grove of trees grew up and overshadowed the place, so that the king himself declared his sorrow, concluding that in Clearchus he put to death a man beloved of the gods.
Parysatis, therefore, having from the first entertained a secret hatred and jealousy against Statira, seeing that the power she herself had with Artaxerxes was founded upon feelings of honor and respect for her, but that Statira's influence was firmly and strongly based upon love and confidence, was resolved to contrive her ruin, playing at hazard, as she thought, for the greatest stake in the world. Among her attendant women there was one that was trusty and in the highest esteem with her, whose name was Gigis; who, as Dinon avers, assisted in making up the poison. Ctesias allows her only to have been conscious of it, and that against her will; charging Belitaras with actually giving the drug, whereas Dinon says it was Melantas. The two women had begun again to visit each other and to eat together; but though they had thus far relaxed their former habits of jealousy and variance, still, out of fear and as a matter of caution, they always ate of the same dishes and of the same parts of them. Now there is a small Persian bird, in the inside of which no excrement is found, only a mass of fat, so that they suppose the little creature lives upon air and dew. It is called rhyntaces. Ctesias affirms, that Parysatis, cutting a bird of this kind into two pieces with a knife, one side of which had been smeared with the drug, the other side being clear of it, ate the untouched and wholesome part herself, and gave Statira that which was thus infected; but Dinon will not have it to be Parysatis, but Melantas, that cut up the bird and presented the envenomed part of it to Statira; who, dying with dreadful agonies and convulsions, was herself sensible of what had happened to her, and aroused in the king's mind suspicion of his mother, whose savage and implacable temper he knew. And therefore proceeding instantly to an inquest, he seized upon his mother's domestic servants that attended at her table, and put them upon the rack. Parysatis kept Gigis at home with her a long time, and, though the king commanded her, she would not produce her. But she, at last, herself desiring that she might be dismissed to her own home by night, Artaxerxes had intimation of it, and, lying in wait for her, hurried her away, and adjudged her to death. Now poisoners in Persia suffer thus by law. There is a broad stone, on which they place the head of the culprit, and then with another stone beat and press it, until the face and the head itself are all pounded to pieces; which was the punishment Gigis lost her life by. But to his mother, Artaxerxes neither said nor did any other hurt, save that he banished and confined her, not much against her will, to Babylon, protesting that while she lived he would not come near that city. Such was the condition of the king's affairs in his own house.
But when all his attempts to capture the Greeks that had come up with Cyrus, though he desired to do so no less than he had desired to overcome Cyrus and maintain his throne, proved unsuccessful, and they, though they had lost both Cyrus and their own generals, nevertheless escaped, as it were, out of his very palace, making it plain to all men that the Persian king and his empire were mighty indeed in gold and luxury and women, but otherwise were a mere show and vain display, upon this, all Greece took courage, and despised the barbarians; and especially the Lacedaemonians thought it strange if they should not now deliver their countrymen that dwelt in Asia from their subjection to the Persians, nor put an end to the contumelious usage of them. And first having an army under the conduct of Thimbron, then under Dercyllidas, but doing nothing memorable, they at last committed the war to the management of their king Agesilaus, who, when he had arrived with his men in Asia, as soon as he had landed them, fell actively to work, and got himself great renown. He defeated Tisaphernes in a pitched battle, and set many cities in revolt. Upon this, Artaxerxes, perceiving what was his wisest way of waging the war, sent Timocrates the Rhodian into Greece, with large sums of gold, commanding him by a free distribution of it to corrupt the leading men in the cities, and to excite a Greek war against Sparta. So Timocrates following his instructions, the most considerable cities conspiring together, and Peloponnesus being in disorder, the ephors remanded Agesilaus from Asia. At which time, they say, as he was upon his return, he told his friends that Artaxerxes had driven him out of Asia with thirty thousand archers; the Persian coin having an archer stamped upon it.
Artaxerxes scoured the seas, too, of the Lacedaemonians, Conon the Athenian and Pharnabazus being his admirals. For Conon, after the battle of Aegospotami, resided in Cyprus; not that he consulted his own mere security, but looking for a vicissitude of affairs with no less hope than men wait for a change of wind at sea. And perceiving that his skill wanted power, and that the king's power wanted a wise man to guide it, he sent him an account by letter of his projects, and charged the bearer to hand it to the king, if possible, by the mediation of Zeno the Cretan or Polycritus the Mendaean (the former being a dancing-master, the latter a physician), or, in the absence of them both, by Ctesias; who is said to have taken Conon's letter, and foisted into the contents of it a request; that the king would also be pleased to send over Ctesias to him, who was likely to be of use on the sea-coast. Ctesias, however, declares that the king, of his own accord, deputed him to this service. Artaxerxes, however, defeating the Lacedaemonians in a sea-fight at Cnidos, under the conduct of Pharnabazus and Conon, after he had stripped them of their sovereignty by sea, at the same time, brought, so to say, the whole of Greece over to him, so that upon his own terms he dictated the celebrated peace among them, styled the peace of Antalcidas. This Antalcidas was a Spartan, the son of one Leon, who, acting for the king's interest, induced the Lacedaemonians to covenant to let all the Greek cities in Asia and the islands adjacent to it become subject and tributary to him, peace being upon these conditions established among the Greeks, if indeed the honorable name of peace can fairly be given to what was in fact the disgrace and betrayal of Greece, a treaty more inglorious than had ever been the result of any war to those defeated in it.
And therefore Artaxerxes, though always abominating other Spartans, and looking upon them, as Dinon says, to be the most impudent men living, gave wonderful honor to Antalcidas when he came to him into Persia; so much so that one day, taking a garland of flowers and dipping it in the most precious ointment, he sent it to him after supper, a favor which all were amazed at. Indeed he was a person fit to be thus delicately treated, and to have such a crown, who had among the Persians thus made fools of Leonidas and Callicratidas. Agesilaus, it seems, on someone having said, "O the deplorable fate of Greece, now that the Spartans turn Medes!" replied, "Nay, rather it is the Medes who become Spartans." But the subtlety of the repartee did not wipe off the infamy of the action. The Lacedaemonians soon after lost their sovereignty in Greece by their defeat at Leuctra; but they had already lost their honor by this treaty. So long then as Sparta continued to be the first state in Greece, Artaxerxes continued to Antalcidas the honor of being called his friend and his guest; but when, routed and humbled at the battle of Leuctra, being under great distress for money, they had dispatched Agesilaus into Egypt, and Antalcidas went up to Artaxerxes, beseeching him to supply their necessities, he so despised, slighted, and rejected him, that finding himself, on his return, mocked and insulted by his enemies, and fearing also the ephors, he starved himself to death. Ismenias, also, the Theban, and Pelopidas, who had already gained the victory at Leuctra, arrived at the Persian court; where the latter did nothing unworthy of himself. But Ismenias, being commanded to do obeisance to the king, dropped his ring before him upon the ground, and so, stooping to take it up, made a show of doing him homage. He was so gratified with some secret intelligence which Timagoras the Athenian sent in to him by the hand of his secretary, Beluris, that he bestowed upon him ten thousand darics, and because he was ordered, on account of some sickness, to drink cow's milk, there were fourscore milch kine driven after him; also, he sent him a bed, furniture, and servants for it, the Grecians not having skill enough to make it, as also chairmen to carry him, being infirm in body, to the seaside. Not to mention the feast made for him at court, which was so princely and splendid that Ostanes, the king's brother, said to him, "O, Timagoras, do not forget the sumptuous table you have sat at here; it was not put before you for nothing;" which was indeed rather a reflection upon his treason than to remind him of the king's bounty. And indeed the Athenians condemned Timagoras to death for taking bribes.
But Artaxerxes gratified the Grecians in one thing in lieu of the many wherewith he plagued them, and that was by taking off Tisaphernes, their most hated and malicious enemy, whom he put to death; Parysatis adding her influence to the charges made against him. For the king did not persist long in his wrath with his mother, but was reconciled to her, and sent for her, being assured that she had wisdom and courage fit for royal power, and there being now no cause discernible but that they might converse together without suspicion or offense. And from thenceforward humoring the king in all things according to his heart's desire, and finding fault with nothing that he did, she obtained great power with him, and was gratified in all her requests. She perceived he was desperately in love with Atossa, one of his own two daughters, and that he concealed and checked his passion chiefly for fear of herself, though, if we may believe some writers, he had privately given way to it with the young girl already. As soon as Parysatis suspected it, she displayed a greater fondness for the young girl than before, and extolled both her virtue and beauty to him, as being truly imperial and majestic. In fine, she persuaded him to marry her and declare her to be his lawful wife, overriding all the principles and the laws by which the Greeks hold themselves bound, and regarding himself as divinely appointed for a law to the Persians, and the supreme arbitrator of good and evil. Some historians further affirm, in which number is Heraclides of Cuma, that Artaxerxes married not only this one, but a second daughter also, Amestris, of whom we shall speak by and by. But he so loved Atossa when she became his consort, that when leprosy had run through her whole body, he was not in the least offended at it; but putting up his prayers to Juno for her, to this one alone of all the deities he made obeisance, by laying his hands upon the earth; and his satraps and favorites made such offerings to the goddess by his direction, that all along for sixteen furlongs, betwixt the court and her temple, the road was filled up with gold and silver, purple and horses, devoted to her.
He waged war out of his own kingdom with the Egyptians, under the conduct of Pharnabazus and Iphicrates, but was unsuccessful by reason of their dissensions. In his expedition against the Cadusians, he went himself in person with three hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand horse. And making an incursion into their country, which was so mountainous as scarcely to be passable, and withal very misty, producing no sort of harvest of corn or the like, but with pears, apples, and other tree-fruits feeding a warlike and valiant breed of men, he unawares fell into great distresses and dangers. For there was nothing to be got fit for his men to eat, of the growth of that place, nor could anything be imported from any other. All they could do was to kill their beasts of burden, and thus an ass's head could scarcely be bought for sixty drachmas. In short, the king's own table failed; and there were but few horses left; the rest they had spent for food. Then Teribazus, a man often in great favor with his prince for his valor, and as often out of it for his buffoonery, and particularly at that time in humble estate and neglected, was the deliverer of the king and his army. There being two kings amongst the Cadusians, and each of them encamping separately, Teribazus, after he had made his application to Artaxerxes and imparted his design to him, went to one of the princes, and sent away his son privately to the other. So each of them deceived his man, assuring him that the other prince had deputed an ambassador to Artaxerxes, suing for friendship and alliance for himself alone; and, therefore, if he were wise, he told him, he must apply himself to his master before he had decreed anything, and he, he said, would lend him his assistance in all things. Both of them gave credit to these words, and because they supposed they were each intrigued against by the other, they both sent their envoys, one along with Teribazus, and the other with his son. All this taking some time to transact, fresh surmises and suspicions of Teribazus were expressed to the king, who began to be out of heart, sorry that he had confided in him, and ready to give ear to his rivals who impeached him. But at last he came, and so did his son, bringing the Cadusian agents along with them, and so there was a cessation of arms and a peace signed with both the princes. And Teribazus, in great honor and distinction, set out homewards in the company of the king; who, indeed, upon this journey made it appear plainly that cowardice and effeminacy are the effects, not of delicate and sumptuous living, as many suppose, but of a base and vicious nature, actuated by false and bad opinions. For notwithstanding his golden ornaments, his robe of state, and the rest of that costly attire, worth no less than twelve thousand talents, with which the royal person was constantly clad, his labors and toils were not a whit inferior to those of the meanest persons in his army. With his quiver by his side and his shield on his arm, he led them on foot, quitting his horse, through craggy and steep ways, insomuch that the sight of his cheerfulness and unwearied strength gave wings to the soldiers, and so lightened the journey, that they made daily marches of above two hundred furlongs.
After they had arrived at one of his own mansions, which had beautiful ornamented parks in the midst of a region naked and without trees, the weather being very cold, he gave full commission to his soldiers to provide themselves with wood by cutting down any, without exception, even the pine and cypress. And when they hesitated and were for sparing them, being large and goodly trees, he, taking up an ax himself, felled the greatest and most beautiful of them. After which his men used their hatchets, and piling up many fires, passed away the night at their ease. Nevertheless, he returned not without the loss of many and valiant subjects, and of almost all his horses. And supposing that his misfortunes and the ill success of his expedition made him despised in the eyes of his people, he looked jealously on his nobles, many of whom he slew in anger, and yet more out of fear. As, indeed, fear is the bloodiest passion in princes; confidence, on the other hand, being merciful, gentle, and unsuspicious. So we see among wild beasts, the intractable and least tamable are the most timorous and most easily startled; the nobler creatures, whose courage makes them trustful, are ready to respond to the advances of men.
Artaxerxes, now being an old man, perceived that his sons were in controversy about his kingdom, and that they made parties among his favorites and peers. Those that were equitable among them thought it fit, that as he had received it, so he should bequeath it, by right of age, to Darius. The younger brother, Ochus, who was hot and violent, had indeed a considerable number of the courtiers that espoused his interest, but his chief hope was that by Atossa's means he should win his father. For he flattered her with the thoughts of being his wife and partner in the kingdom after the death of Artaxerxes. And truly it was rumored that already Ochus maintained a too intimate correspondence with her. This, however, was quite unknown to the king; who, being willing to put down in good time his son Ochus's hopes, lest, by his attempting the same things his uncle Cyrus did, wars and contentions might again afflict his kingdom, proclaimed Darius, then twenty-five years old, his successor, and gave him leave to wear the upright hat, as they call it. It was a rule and usage of Persia, that the heir apparent to the crown should beg a boon, and that he that declared him so should give whatever he asked, provided it were within the sphere of his power. Darius therefore requested Aspasia, in former time the most prized of the concubines of Cyrus, and now belonging to the king. She was by birth a Phocaean, of Ionia, born of free parents, and well educated. Once when Cyrus was at supper, she was led in to him with other women, who, when they were sat down by him, and he began to sport and dally and talk jestingly with them, gave way freely to his advances. But she stood by in silence, refusing to come when Cyrus called her, and when his chamberlains were going to force her towards him, said, "Whosoever lays hands on me shall rue it;" so that she seemed to the company a sullen and rude-mannered person. However, Cyrus was well pleased, and laughed, saying to the man that brought the women, "Do you not see of a certainty that this woman alone of all that came with you is truly noble and pure in character?" After which time he began to regard her, and loved her above all of her sex, and called her the Wise. But Cyrus being slain in the fight, she was taken among the spoils of his camp.
Darius, in demanding her, no doubt much offended his father, for the barbarian people keep a very jealous and watchful eye over their carnal pleasures, so that it is death for a man not only to come near and touch any concubine of his prince, but likewise on a journey to ride forward and pass by the carriages in which they are conveyed. And though, to gratify his passion, he had against all law married his daughter Atossa, and had besides her no less than three hundred and sixty concubines selected for their beauty, yet being importuned for that one by Darius, he urged that she was a free-woman, and allowed him to take her, if she had an inclination to go with him, but by no means to force her away against it. Aspasia, therefore, being sent for, and, contrary to the king's expectation, making choice of Darius, he gave him her indeed, being constrained by law, but when he had done so, a little after he took her from him. For he consecrated her priestess to Diana of Ecbatana, whom they name Anaitis, that she might spend the remainder of her days in strict chastity, thinking thus to punish his son, not rigorously, but with moderation, by a revenge checkered with jest and earnest. But he took it heinously, either that he was passionately fond of Aspasia, or because he looked upon himself as affronted and scorned by his father. Teribazus, perceiving him thus minded, did his best to exasperate him yet further, seeing in his injuries a representation of his own, of which the following is the account: Artaxerxes, having many daughters, promised to give Apama to Pharnabazus to wife, Rhodogune to Orontes, and Amestris to Teribazus; whom alone of the three he disappointed, by marrying Amestris himself. However, to make him amends, he betrothed his youngest daughter Atossa to him. But after he had, being enamored of her too, as has been said, married her, Teribazus entertained an irreconcilable enmity against him. As indeed he was seldom at any other time steady in his temper, but uneven and inconsiderate; so that whether he were in the number of the choicest favorites of his prince, or whether he were offensive and odious to him, he demeaned himself in neither condition with moderation; but if he was advanced he was intolerably insolent, and in his degradation not submissive and peaceable in his deportment, but fierce and haughty.
And therefore Teribazus was to the young prince flame added upon flame, ever urging him, and saying, that in vain those wear their hats upright who consult not the real success of their affairs, and that he was ill befriended of reason if he imagined, whilst he had a brother, who, through the women's apartments, was seeking a way to the supremacy, and a father of so rash and fickle a humor, that he should by succession infallibly step up into the throne. For he that out of fondness to an Ionian girl has eluded a law sacred and inviolable among the Persians is not likely to be faithful in the performance of the most important promises. He added, too, that it was not all one for Ochus not to attain to, and for him to be put by his crown; since Ochus as a subject might live happily, and nobody could hinder him; but he, being proclaimed king, must either take up his scepter or lay down his life. These words presently inflamed Darius: what Sophocles says being indeed generally true: --
Quick travels the persuasion to what's wrong.
For the path is smooth, and upon an easy descent, that leads us to our own will; and the most part of us desire what is evil through our strangeness to and ignorance of good. And in this case, no doubt, the greatness of the empire and the jealousy Darius had of Ochus furnished Teribazus with material for his persuasions. Nor was Venus wholly unconcerned in the matter, in regard, namely, of his loss of Aspasia.
Darius, therefore, resigned himself up to the dictates of Teribazus; and many now conspiring with them, a eunuch gave information to the king of their plot and the way how it was to be managed, having discovered the certainty of it, that they had resolved to break into his bed-chamber by night, and there to kill him as he lay. After Artaxerxes had been thus advertised, he did not think fit, by disregarding the discovery, to despise so great a danger, nor to believe it when there was little or no proof of it. Thus then he did: he charged the eunuch constantly to attend and accompany the conspirators wherever they were; in the meanwhile, he broke down the party-wall of the chamber behind his bed, and placed a door in it to open and shut, which covered up with tapestry; so the hour approaching, and the eunuch having told him the precise time in which the traitors designed to assassinate him, he waited for them in his bed, and rose not up till he had seen the faces of his assailants and recognized every man of them. But as soon as he saw them with their swords drawn and coming up to him, throwing up the hanging, he made his retreat into the inner chamber, and, bolting to the door, raised a cry. Thus when the murderers had been seen by him, and had attempted him in vain, they with speed went back through the same doors they came in by, enjoining Teribazus and his friends to fly, as their plot had been certainly detected. They, therefore, made their escape different ways; but Teribazus was seized by the king's guards, and after slaying many, while they were laying hold on him, at length being struck through with a dart at a distance, fell. As for Darius, who was brought to trial with his children, the king appointed the royal judges to sit over him, and because he was not himself present, but accused Darius by proxy, he commanded his scribes to write down the opinion of every one of the judges, and show it to him. And after they had given their sentences, all as one man, and condemned Darius to death, the officers seized on him and hurried him to a chamber not far off. To which place the executioner, when summoned, came with a razor in his hand, with which men of his employment cut off' the heads of offenders. But when he saw that Darius was the person thus to be punished, he was appalled and started back, offering to go out, as one that had neither power nor courage enough to behead a king; yet at the threats and commands of the judges, who stood at the prison door, he returned, and grasping the hair of his head and bringing his face to the ground with one hand, he cut through his neck with the razor he had in the other. Some affirm that sentence was passed in the presence of Artaxerxes; that Darius, after he had been convicted by clear evidence, falling prostrate before him, did humbly beg his pardon; that instead of giving it, he, rising up in rage and drawing his scimitar, smote him till he had killed him; that then, going forth into the court, he worshipped the sun, and said, "Depart in peace, ye Persians, and declare to your fellow-subjects how the mighty Oromasdes hath dealt out vengeance to the contrivers of unjust and unlawful things."
Such, then, was the issue of this conspiracy. And now Ochus was high in his hopes, being confident in the influence of Atossa; but yet was afraid of Ariaspes, the only male surviving, besides himself, of the legitimate off-spring of his father, and of Arsames, one of his natural sons. For indeed Ariaspes was already claimed as their prince by the wishes of the Persians, not because he was the elder brother, but because he excelled Ochus in gentleness, plain-dealing, and good-nature; and on the other hand Arsames appeared, by his wisdom, fitted for the throne, and that he was dear to his father, Ochus well knew. So he laid snares for them both, and being no less treacherous than bloody, he made use of the cruelty of his nature against Arsames, and of his craft and wiliness against Ariaspes. For he suborned the king's eunuchs and favorites to convey to him menacing and harsh expressions from his father, as though he had decreed to put him to a cruel and ignominious death. When they daily communicated these things as secrets, and told him at one time that the king would do so to him ere long, and at another, that the blow was actually close impending, they so alarmed the young man, struck; such a terror into him, and cast such a confusion and anxiety upon his thoughts, that, having prepared some poisonous drugs, he drank them, that he might be delivered from his life. The king, on hearing what kind of death he died, heartily lamented him, and was not without a suspicion of the cause of it. But being disabled by his age to search into and prove it, he was, after the loss of this son, more affectionate than before to Arsames, did manifestly place his greatest confidence in him, and made him privy to his counsels. Whereupon Ochus had no longer patience to defer the execution of his purpose, but having procured Arpates, Teribazus's son, for the undertaking, he killed Arsames by his hand. Artaxerxes at that time had but a little hold on life, by reason of his extreme age, and so, when he heard of the fate of Arsames, he could not sustain it at all, but sinking at once under the weight of his grief and distress, expired, after a life of ninety-four years, and a reign of sixty-two. And then he seemed a moderate and gracious governor, more especially as compared to his son Ochus, who outdid all his predecessors in blood-thirstiness and cruelty.