Cornelius Nepos: Lives of Eminent Commanders (1886)pp. 305-450.
Translated by the Rev. John Selby Watson, MA
Agesilaus elected king of Sparta, his brother's son being set aside, I.----His expedition to Asia; his strict observance of his truce with Tissaphernes, II.----He lays waste Phrygia; winters at Ephesus; deceives Tissaphernes, III.----Is recalled to defend his country; defeats the Thebans at Coronea; his clemency, IV.----His success in the Corinthian war; spares Corinth, V.----Refuses to go to the battle at Leuctra; saves Sparta by a stratagem, VI.----Replenishes the treasury of his country, VII.----His personal appearance and mode of life; his death at the harbour of Menelaus, VIII.
AGESILAUS the Lacedaemonian has been praised not only by other writers, but, above all, by Xenophon, the disciple of Socrates, for he treated Xenophon as an intimate friend.
In his early days he had a dispute with Leotychides, his brother's son, about the throne; for it was a custom handed down among the Lacedaemonians from their ancestors, that they should always have two kings, in name rather than power, of the two families of Procles and Eurysthenes, who were the first kings of Sparta, of the progeny of Hercules. It was not lawful for a king to be made out of one of these families instead of the other; each of the two, therefore, maintained its order of succession. Regard was had, in the first place, to the eldest of the sons of him who died while on the throne; but if he had left no male issue, the choice then fell on him who was next of kin. King Agis, the brother of Agesilaus, had recently died, and had left a son named Leotychides, whom, during his life, he had not acknowledged, but, at his death, had declared to be his. Leotychides contended for the royal dignity with his uncle Agesilaus, but did not obtain what he sought, for Agesilaus was preferred through the interest of Lysander, a man, as we have already stated, of a factious character, and at that time of great influence.
II. Agesilaus, as soon as he got possession of the throne, solicited the Lacedaemonians to send an army into Asia, and make war upon the king of Persia, assuring them that it was better to fight in Asia than in Europe; for a rumour had gone abroad that Artaxerxes was equipping a fleet, and raising land forces, to send into Greece. Permission being granted him, he exerted so much expedition, that he arrived in Asia with his troops before the king's satraps knew that he had set out; hence it happened that he surprised them all unprepared, and |389 expecting nothing of the kind. But as soon as Tissaphernes, who had the chief authority among the royal satraps, heard of his arrival, he begged a truce of the Spartan, on pretence that he would try to effect an agreement between the Lacedaemonians and the king, but in reality to gain time for collecting troops; and he obtained a truce for three months. Each of them, however, took an oath to observe the truce without fraud; to which engagement Agesilaus adhered with the greatest honour; but Tissaphernes, on the other hand, did nothing but make preparations for war. Though Agesilaus became aware of his proceedings, he still kept his oath, and said that "he was a great gainer by doing so, for Tissaphernes, by his perjury, both alienated men from his interest, and made the gods angry with him; while he, by being faithful to his obligation, produced confidence among his troops, as they felt that the power of the gods was on their side, and that men were rendered greater friends to them, because they were accustomed to favour those whom they saw keeping faith."
III. When the period of the truce was expired, the barbarian, not doubting that as he had many residences in Caria, and as that province was then thought by far the richest in Asia, the enemy would direct their attacks on that quarter especially, assembled his whole force on that side. But Agesilaus turned into Phrygia, and laid waste the country before Tissaphernes could make a movement in any direction. After enriching his men with abundance of plunder, he led back his army to Ephesus to winter, and erecting forges for arms there, made preparations for war with great industry. That his soldiers might be armed with greater care, too, and equipped with more display, he proposed rewards, with which those were to be presented whose efforts to that end should be remarkably distinguished. He pursued the same course with regard to different kinds of exercises, so as to honour with valuable gifts those who excelled others in them. By this means he succeeded in getting an army most admirably accoutred and trained.
When he thought it time to draw his troops out of winter quarters, he saw that if he openly declared in what direction he was going to march, the enemy would not give credit to his statement, but would occupy other parts with their forces, not doubting that he would do something quite different from |390 what he said. Agesilaus, accordingly, giving out that ho would march for Sardis, Tissaphernes felt convinced that Caria must again be defended. When his expectation deceived him in the matter, and he found himself outwitted by his adversary's shrewdness, he hastened to protect his dependants, but too late, for, when he arrived, Agesilaus had taken many places, and secured abundance of spoil.
The Lacedaemonian king, seeing that the enemy were superior to him in cavalry, never gave them an opportunity of attacking him in the plains, but engaged them in those parts in which infantry would be of greater service. As often as he came to a battle, therefore, he routed forces of the enemy far more numerous than his own; and he so conducted himself in Asia that he was in the judgment of every one accounted superior to his opponent.
IV. While he was thinking of marching into Persia, and attacking the king himself, a messenger came to him from home, by order of the Ephori, to acquaint him that the Athenians and Boeotians had declared war against the Lacedaemonians, and that he should therefore not delay to return. In this juncture is dutifulness to his country is not less to be admired than his merit in war, for though he was at the head of a victorious army, and felt assured, to the utmost, of becoming master of the kingdom of Persia, he obeyed the orders of the absent magistrates with as much respect as if he had been a private person in the comitium 174 at Sparta. Would that our generals had followed his example! But let us proceed with our subject. Agesilaus preferred an honourable name to the most powerful empire, and thought it much more glorious to obey the laws of his country than to subdue Asia in war. With these feelings, therefore, he led his forces over the Hellespont, and employed such expedition, that he accomplished in thirty days a journey which Xerxes had taken a year to perform.175 When he was not very far from the Peloponnesus, the Athenians and Boeotians, and others in |391 alliance with them, endeavoured to make a stand against him at Coronea, all of whom he defeated in a great battle. It was an eminent merit in his victory, that when a numerous body of the enemy had taken refuge in a temple of Minerva after the defeat, and the question was put to him, "what he would wish to be done with them," he, though he had received some wounds in the battle, and seemed angry with all who had borne arms against him, preferred, nevertheless, respect for religion to the gratification of his resentment, and gave orders that they should suffer no injury. Nor did he act thus in Greece only,----so as to save the temples of the gods from profanation,----but even among the barbarians also, he preserved every image and altar with the utmost scrupulosity. He used publicly to observe, therefore, that "he wondered those were not counted in the number of the sacrilegious who injured the suppliants of the gods,176 or that those who lessened respect for religion were not visited with severer punishments than those who robbed temples."
V. After this battle all the war was concentrated about Corinth, and was accordingly called the Corinthian war. During this contest, when, in one battle, in which Agesilaus was general,177 there had fallen ten thousand of the enemy, and the strength of his opponents seemed broken by that catastrophe, he was so far from presumptuous boasting,178 that he expressed commiseration for the fortune of Greece, since it was through the fault of his enemies that so many had been defeated and killed by him, for with that number, if the mind of his adversaries had been but right, the Persians might have been forced to make atonement to Greece. When he had driven the enemy, too, within their walls, and |392 many exhorted him to attack Corinth, he said, "that it would not be consistent with his character in war to do so; since he was one," he said, "who would oblige offenders to return to their duty, not one who would destroy the noblest cities of Greece; for if we should proceed," he added, "to extirpate those who have supported us against the barbarians, we should weaken ourselves while the barbarians remain at their ease; and, when this has taken place, they will easily bring us under their power whenever they please."
VI. In the mean time the disaster at Leuctra befel the the Lacedaemonians; and that he might not march thither,179 though he was urged by many to go to the field, he refused to go, as if he had a presentiment concerning the event. But when Epaminondas attacked Sparta, and the city was without walls, he proved himself such a commander, that it was apparent to all on that occasion, that if it had not been for him, Sparta would have ceased to exist.180 In this time or danger, indeed, the celerity of his proceedings was the preservation of the whole people; for when a number of the young men, alarmed at the approach of the enemy, had determined on going over to the Thebans, and had taken a position on an eminence without the city, Agesilaus, who saw that it would have a most pernicious effect, if it were noticed that any were trying to desert to the enemy, went thither with some of his men, and, as if they had been acting with a good intention, commended their procedure in having taken possession of that spot, and said that he himself had also observed that this ought to be done. Thus, by his pretended commendation, he prevented the young men from deserting, and, after joining some of his followers with them, left the place quite safe; for when the number of those was increased who were unacquainted with the project,181 the conspirators were |393 afraid to move, and retained their ground the more willingly as they thought that what they had meditated was still unknown.
VII. After the battle of Leuctra, it is certain, the Lacedaemonians never recovered themselves, or regained their former power, though, at that period, Agesilaus did not cease to assist his country by whatever means he could use. When the Lacedaemonians were greatly in want of money, he gave his support to all those 182 who had revolted from the king, and being presented by them with a large sum, he relieved his country with it. In his character, indeed, this point was particularly worthy of admiration, that, though great presents were given him by kings, princes, and states, he never took any portion of them into his own house, and never departed in the least from the usual diet and dress of the Spartans; he remained content with the same house which Eurysthenes, the progenitor of his family, had inhabited; and whoever entered it could see no indication of luxury or extravagance, but, on the contrary, many proofs of temperance and frugality, for it was furnished in such a manner that it differed in no respect from that of any poor or private person.
VIII. As this great man had found nature favourable in giving him excellent qualities of mind, so he found her unpropitious with regard to the formation of his body; for he was of low stature, small in person, and lame of one foot. These circumstances rendered his appearance the reverse of attractive, and strangers, when they looked at his person, felt only contempt for him, while those who knew his merits could not sufficiently admire him. Such fortune attended him, when, at the age of eighty, he went into Egypt to the aid of Tachos, and lay down with his men on the shore without any shelter, having merely such a couch that the ground was but covered with straw, and nothing more than a skin thrown upon it,183 while all his attendants lay in the same manner, in plain and well-worn attire, so that their equipments not only |394 did not indicate that there was a king among them, but even raised a suspicion that he must be a man not very rich. The news of his arrival having reached the king's officers, presents of every kind were soon brought him; but when the officers inquired for Agesilaus, they could scarcely be made to believe that he was one of those who were sitting before them. When they presented him what they had brought, with a message from the king, he accepted nothing but some veal, and such sorts of meat as his present circumstances required; the ointments, chaplets, and sweetmeats he distributed among the slaves, and the other things he directed to be carried back. Upon this, the barbarians looked upon him still more contemptuously, thinking that he had made choice of what he had taken from ignorance of what was valuable.
As he was returning from Egypt, after having been presented by King Nectanabis 184 with two hundred and twenty talents, in order that he might bestow them upon his countrymen, and had arrived at what is called the harbour of Menelaus,185 lying between Cyrenae 186 and Egypt, he fell ill and died. His friends, in order the more conveniently to convey him to Sparta, enveloped his body, as they had no honey, in wax, and so carried it home. |395
Eumenes is secretary to Philip and Alexander, and afterwards commander in the cavalry, I.----After the death of Alexander he is allotted the province of Cappadocia, and is a steady friend to Perdiccas, II.----His proceedings on behalf of Perdiccas, III.----He defeats Craterus and Neoptolemus, IV.----Is pursued by Antigonus; his stratagems and escape, V.----His kindness to Olympias and Alexander's children, VI.----His continuance of hostilities against Antigonus; his device in his camp, VII.----He defeats Antigonus; is controlled by Alexander's veterans, VIII.----He eludes Antigonus by a stratagem, IX.----After again defeating Antigonus, he is betrayed by his own men, X.----In his confinement he longs to die, XI.----His death, XII.----After his death the officers of Alexander assume the title of kings; his funeral, XIII.
I. EUMENES was a native of Cardia.187 If success equal to his abilities had been granted him, he would not, indeed, have been a greater man (for we estimate great men by merit, not by fortune), but he would have been much more renowned, and more honoured. As he happened to live, however, in the days in which the Macedonians flourished, it was a great disadvantage to him residing among them, that he was of a foreign country. Nor was anything wanting to him but a noble descent; for, though he was of a family of distinction in his native city, the Macedonians were nevertheless dissatisfied that he should ever be preferred to them. They were obliged to submit, however, for he excelled them all in caution, vigilance, endurance, and acuteness and activity of intellect.
When he was but a youth, he was received into favour by Philip, the son of Amyntas, and after a short time was admitted into intimate friendship with him; for, even then, when he was so young, there appeared to be great natural talent in him. He therefore kept him near himself in the office of secretary, which is much more honourable 188 among the Greeks than among the |396 Romans; for with us, secretaries are regarded as hirelings, as in reality they are; but with them, on the contrary, no one is admitted to that office who is not of good family and of known integrity and ability, because he must of necessity be the confidant of all their political measures. This post of confidence he held for seven years under Philip, and after Philip was assassinated, he was in the same office for thirteen years under Alexander. During the latter portion of this time, also, he commanded one of the two divisions of the cavalry called Hetaeriae.189 With both these princes he always had a place in the council, and was admitted to a knowledge of all their proceedings.
II. After the death of Alexander at Babylon, when kingdoms were allotted to each of his friends, and the superintendence of affairs was committed to the hands 190 of Perdiccas, to whom Alexander, when dying, had given his ring (a circumstance from which every one conjectured that Alexander had entrusted his kingdom to him, until his children should come of age to take the government upon themselves; 191 for Craterus and Antipater, who seemed to have the precedence of him, were absent, and Hephaestion, for whom Alexander, as might easily be perceived, had had the highest esteem, was dead), at that time Cappadocia was given to Eumenes, or rather appointed for him, for it was then in the power of the enemy. Perdiccas had sought with great eagerness to attach Eumenes to him, for he saw in him great honour and ability,192 and did not doubt that, if he could gain him over to his side, he would be of great assistance to him in the projects which he was meditating, since he purposed (what all in great power generally covet) to seize and secure for himself the shares of all the rest. Nor did he alone, indeed, entertain such designs, but all the others, |397 who had been friends of Alexander, formed similar intentions. Leonnatus,193 in the first place, had resolved to seize upon Macedonia, and had endeavoured, by liberal promises, to prevail upon Eumenes to desert Perdiccas, and form an alliance with himself. Being unable to make any impression upon him, he attempted to take his life, and would have effected his purpose, had he not secretly escaped from his guards by night.
III. In the meantime those wars broke out, which, after the death of Alexander, were carried on to desperation;194 and all combined to ruin Perdiccas. Eumenes, though he saw that he was but weak, as he was obliged to stand alone against them all, yet did not forsake a friend, or show himself more desirous of safety than of honour. Perdiccas had set him over that part of Asia which lies between Mount Taurus and the Hellespont, and had opposed him alone to his European adversaries. 195 Perdiccas himself had marched against Ptolemy, to make an attack upon Egypt. Eumenes, as he had an army neither numerous nor strong, for it wanted exercise, and had not long been assembled, while Antipater and Craterus were said to be fast approaching, and to have passed the Hellespont, men who stood high in reputation and experience in war (and the Macedonian soldiers were then held in the same esteem in which the Romans are now held, for those have always been accounted the bravest who have attained the greatest power), Eumenes, I say, was aware, that if his troops should learn against whom they were being led, they would not only not proceed, but would disperse at the intelligence; and it was therefore a very clever stratagem of his, to lead his men through bye-roads, in which they could not hear the truth, and to make them believe that he was marching against some of the barbarians. In this artifice he successfully persevered, and drew out his army into the field, and joined battle, before the men were aware with whom, they were engaged. He succeeded, also, by an advantageous choice of ground, in fighting more with his cavalry, in which he had |398 the superiority, than with his infantry, in which he was but weak.
IV. After they had continued the contest, with desperate efforts, through the greater part of the day, Craterus, the commander-in-chief, was killed, as well as Neoptolemus who held the second place in authority. With Eumenes Neoptolemus himself encountered, and as they grappled with one another, and fell from their horses to the ground (so that it might easily be seen that they fought with feelings of enmity, and warred more with their minds than with their bodies), they could not be separated till life left one of the two. Eumenes received some wounds from Neoptolemus, yet did not, on that account, retire from the field, but pressed more vigorously upon the enemy. The horse being routed, Craterus the general slain, and many, chiefly of high rank, being made prisoners, the infantry, as they were forced into a position from which they could not escape without the permission of Eumenes, begged peace of him. But when they had obtained it, they did not adhere to their word, but went off, as soon as they could, to Antipater. Eumenes endeavoured to save the life of Craterus, who was carried half dead from the field; but, not being able to succeed, he interred him, suitably to his dignity and their former friendship (for he had been intimate with him in Alexander's life-time), with a magnificent funeral, and sent his bones into Macedonia to his wife and children.
V. During the course of these proceedings on the Hellespont, Perdiccas was killed by Seleucus and Antigonus 196 on the river Nile, and the chief command was conferred upon Antipater. Upon this, those who had deserted him were condemned to death in their absence, the army giving their suffrage to that effect; and among those condemned was Eumenes, who, though he was affected at this blow,197 did not sink under it, or conduct the war with the less vigour. |399
But a course of necessitous circumstances, though they could not subdue the energy of his spirit, had yet some effect in diminishing it. Antigonus, however, who pursued him, was often, though he had plenty of all kinds of troops, severely harassed by him on the march, nor could he ever come to an engagement with him except in places in which a few could resist many. But at last, when he could not be taken by manoeuvring, he was hemmed in by numbers; still he extricated himself, though with the loss of several men, and took refuge in a fortress of Phrygia, called Nora; where, being besieged, and fearing that, by remaining in one place, he should lose his war-horses, as there was no room for exercising them, he adopted an ingenious expedient,198 by which the animal might be warmed and exercised standing, so that it might take its food more freely, and not be deprived of the benefit of bodily motion. He tied up its head 199 so high with a halter, that it could not quite touch the ground with its fore-feet; he then forced it, by lashing it behind, to leap up and throw back its heels; which motions excited perspiration no less than if the animal had run in an open course. Hence it happened (what was a matter of astonishment to all), that he led out his horses from the fortress, though he had been several months under siege, equally as sleek as if he had been keeping them in open fields. During that siege, as often as he desired, he either set on fire or demolished the works and defences of Antigonus. He, however, kept himself in that one place as long as the winter lasted; but, as the fortress could have no relief from without, and the spring was coming on, he pretended to be desirous of surrendering, and, while he was treating about the terms, eluded the officers of Antigonus, and brought himself and all his men off safe.
VI. When Olympias, who was the mother of Alexander, sent letters and messengers into Asia to Eumenes, to consult him whether she should proceed to re-possess herself of Macedonia (for she was then living in Epirus), and take upon herself the government there, he advised her, "above all |400 things, not to stir, but to wait till Alexander's son should get the throne; yet, if she should be hurried into Macedonia by any irresistible longing, he recommended her to forget all injuries, and not to exercise too severe an authority over any one." But with neither of these suggestions did she comply; for she both went to Macedonia, and acted there with the greatest cruelty. She then entreated Eumenes, while he was still at a distance, "not to allow the bitterest enemies of Philip's house and family to extirpate his very race, but to give his support to the children of Alexander;" adding that, "if he would do her such a favour, he might raise troops as soon as possible, and bring them to her aid; and, in order that he might do so more easily, she had written to all the governors of the provinces that preserved their allegiance, to obey him, and follow his counsels." Eumenes, moved with this communication, thought it better, if fortune should so order it, to perish in showing his gratitude to those who had deserved well of him, than to live ungrateful.
VII. He therefore assembled troops, and prepared for war against Antigonus. But as there were with him several noble Macedonians, amongst whom were Peucestes, who had been one of Alexander's body-guard, and was then governor of Persia, and Antigenes, under whose command the Macedonian phalanx was, dreading envy (which, nevertheless, he could not escape), if he, being a foreigner, should have the chief authority rather than others of the Macedonians, of whom there was a great number there, he erected a pavilion at head quarters,200 in the name of Alexander, and caused a gold chair, with a sceptre and diadem, to be placed in it, directing that all should meet at it daily, that counsel might be taken there concerning matters of importance; for he thought that he should incur less envy if he appeared to manage the war under show of the authority, and with assumption of the name, of Alexander; and in this point he succeeded; for, as the meetings were held, not at the tent of Eumenes, but at that of the king, and measures concerted there, his superiority was |401 in some degree concealed, though all was done by his agency alone.
VIII. He engaged with Antigonus in the country of the Paraetaci, not with his army in full array, but on the march, and forced him, after being severely handled, to return into Media to winter. He himself distributed his troops in winter-quarters through the neighbouring country of Persia, not as he chose, but as the will of his soldiers obliged him; for the phalanx of Alexander the Great, which had over-run Asia, and subdued the Persians, desired, in consequence of their established renown, and also through long-continued license, not to obey their officers but to command them, as our veterans now do. There is danger, therefore, lest ours should do what those did, and, by their insubordination and excessive licentiousness, ruin all, not less those whom they have supported than those whom they have opposed. And if any one reads the acts of those veterans, he will find the proceedings of ours like theirs, and be of opinion that there is no other difference between them but that of time. But I return to those of Macedonia. They had fixed upon their winter-quarters, not from regard to convenience for warfare, but for luxurious indulgence; and had separated into parties at a great distance from one another. Antigonus, hearing of their dispersion, and being aware that he was not a match for his enemies when prepared to receive him, resolved that some new plan must be adopted. There were two ways by which he might march from the country of the Medes, where he was wintering, to the winter-quarters of his adversaries, of which the shorter lay through desert tracts, which nobody inhabited by reason of the scarcity of water, but was only about ten days' march. The other, by which everybody travelled, presented a circuitous route of twice the length, but was well-supplied, and abounded with all necessaries. If he went by the latter, he felt sure that the enemy would know of his approach before he had accomplished the third part of the distance; but if he hurried through the deserts, he hoped that he might surprise his adversaries unawares. To effect his object, he ordered as many skins and sacks as possible to be got in readiness; and then forage and dressed provisions for ten days; desiring that as little fire as possible should be made in the camp. The route which he had in view he concealed from every one. |402 Being thus provided, he set forward in the direction on which he had determined.
IX. He had accomplished about half the distance, when, from the smoke of his camp, a suspicion was hinted to Eumenes that an enemy was approaching. His officers held a meeting; and it was considered what ought to be done. They were all aware that their troops could not be assembled so soon as Antigonus seemed likely to be upon them; and. while they were all consequently in perplexity, and despair ing of their safety,201 Eumenes said that "If they would but use activity, and execute his orders (which they had not done before), he would put an end to their difficulties; for, though the enemy might now finish his journey in five days, he would take care that they should be delayed not less than as many days more.202 They must therefore go about, and each collect his troops."
To retard the progress of Antigonus he adopted the following stratagem. He sent trustworthy men to the foot of the mountains, which lay over against the enemy's route, and ordered them, as soon as night came on, to make as large fires and as far dispersed, as they could; to reduce them at the second watch, and to make them very small at the third, and, by imitating the usages of a camp, to raise a suspicion in the enemy that there was actually a camp in those parts, and that intelligence had been given of their approach; and he told them to act in the same way on the following night. The men to whom this commission was given carefully observed their instructions. Antigonus, when darkness came on, saw the fires, and supposed that something had been heard of his coming, and that his enemies had assembled their force on that quarter. He therefore changed his intention, and, thinking that he could not surprise them unawares, altered his route, and took the longer circuit of the well-supplied road, on which he halted for one day, to refresh his weary men and recruit his horses, that he might come to battle with his army in better condition.
X. On this occasion Eumenes overreached a crafty general by stratagem, and obviated the suddenness of his attack; yet |403 he gained but little by his success; for through the envy of the officers with whom he had to act, and the treachery of the Macedonian veterans, he was delivered up, after he had come off superior in the field, to Antigonus, though they had previously sworn, at three several times, that they would defend him and never forsake him. But such was the eagerness of some to detract from his merit, that they chose rather to break their faith than not betray him. Antigonus, however, though he had been a violent enemy to him, would have spared his life, if he had but been allowed to do so by his friends, because he was certain that he could not be better assisted by any one in those difficulties which, as was apparent to all, were likely to fall upon him. For Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, now powerful in resources, were assuming a threatening attitude, and he would be obliged to contend with them for supremacy. But those who were about him would not allow of such clemency; for they saw that if Eumenes were admitted to his councils, they themselves would be of small account in comparison with him. As for Antigonus himself, he had been so incensed against him, that he could never have been induced to relent, except by a strong expectation of eminent services from him.
XI. When he had committed him to custody, therefore, and the commander of the guard inquired how he would have him kept, he replied, "As the most furious lion, or the most savage elephant;" for he had not then determined whether he should spare his life or not. Meanwhile two classes of people crowded to gaze upon Eumenes, those who, from hatred of him, wished to feast their eyes 203 on his degradation and those who, from old friendship, desired to speak with him and console him. Many also came with them who were anxious to look at his person, and to see what sort of man he was whom they had feared so long and so much, and in whose destruction they had placed their hopes of victory. But Eumenes, when he had been some time under confinement, said to Onomarchus, in whose hands the chief command of the guard was, that "he wondered why he was thus kept a third day: for that it was not consistent with prudence on the part of Antigonus to treat 204 one whom he had conquered in such a |404 manner, but that he should order him either to be put to death or released." As he seemed to Onomarchus to express himself somewhat arrogantly, he replied, "Why, if you were of such a spirit, did you not rather die on the field of battle, than fall into the hands of your enemy?" "Would indeed that that had befallen me," rejoined Eumenes, "but it did not happen because I never engaged with a stouter than myself; for I have never crossed swords with any one who did not yield to me; and I have not fallen by the prowess of my enemies, but by the perfidy of my friends.'' Nor was this assertion false; for he was a man not only of a graceful 205 and dignified bearing, but of strength sufficient for enduring fatigue; yet he was not so much distinguished for tallness of person as for handsomeness of shape.
XII. As Antigonus would not venture alone to determine concerning him, he referred the decision to a council; where, when almost all the officers, in great excitement, expressed their surprise that death had not been already inflicted on a man by whom they had been harassed so many years, so severely that they were often reduced to despair, a man who had cut off leaders of the greatest eminence; and in whom, though but a single individual, there was so much to be dreaded, that as long as he lived they could not think themselves safe, while, if he were put to death, they would have no further anxiety; and in conclusion they asked Antigonus, "if he gave Eumenes his life, what friends he would employ? for that they would not act under him with Eumenes." After thus learning the sentiments of the council, he nevertheless took time for consideration till the seventh day following; when, being afraid that a mutiny might break out in the army, he gave orders that no one should be admitted to Eumenes, and that his daily food should be withheld; for he said that "he would offer no personal violence to a man who had once been his friend." Eumenes, however, after suffering from hunger not more than three days, was killed by his guards on the removal of the camp, without Antigonus's knowledge. |405
XIII. Thus Eumenes, at the age of five-and-forty years, after having attended on Philip, as we have shown above, for seven years from the age of twenty, and having held the same office under Alexander for thirteen years, during one of which he had commanded a troop of cavalry; and after having, subsequently to Alexander's death, conducted armies as commander in-chief, and having sometimes repelled and sometimes cut off the most eminent generals, being made prisoner, not by the ability of Antigonus, but by the perjury of the Macedonians, ended his life in this manner.206 How great awe was entertained of him by all those who were styled kings after the death of Alexander the Great, may be easily judged from the following fact, that no one of them, while Eumenes lived, was called a king, but only a governor; but that, after his death, they at once assumed the regal dress and title; nor did they care to perform what they had originally promised, namely, to guard the throne for Alexander's children; but, as soon as the only defender of the children was removed, they disclosed what their real views were. In this iniquity the leaders were Antigonus, Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander.
Antigonus gave the dead body of Eumenes to his relations for burial; and they interred him with a military and magnificent funeral, and took care that his bones should he conveyed to Cappadocia to his mother, wife, and children.
[Footnotes numbered and moved to the end]
175. † Quod iter Xerxes anno vertente confecerat.] Anno vertente, sc. se, "a year turning itself or revolving," i.e. in the course of a year, in a full year. In the Life of Themistocles, however, c. 5, Xerxes is said to have made the journey in six months.
176. * Supplicibus eorum.] Whether eorum refers to barbaros, which is nearer to it, or to deorum, which is farther from it, has been a question among the commentators. Bos refers it to deorum, and I think him right. A recent editor imagines that it is to be referred to simulacra arasque. Magius would read deorum instead of eorum, and his suggestion is approved by Bremi and Buchung.
177. † This appears to be an error; for Xenophon, Ages. 7, 5, and Plutarch, Vit. Ages, speak of Agesilaus as having heard about the battle; and it is therefore to be concluded, as Magius and Lambinus observe, that he was not present in it, but that it took place while he was on his march homeward.
181. ‡ Aucto numero eorum qui expertes erant consilii.] Bos suggests this explanation of the passage: that only a part of those who occupied the height intended to go over to the enemy, and designed, by force or persuasion, to bring over the others qui expertes erant consilii; but were deterred from doing so when the number of the true men was strengthened by the followers of Agesilaus. Bos, however, suggests at the same time, that we might read aucti numero eorum, which Bremi is inclined to adopt.
188. † Multo honorificentius.] Because freedmen and slaves, for the most part, purchased the office of scribe or secretary among the Romans with money, as is observed by Casaubon in Capitolin. Vit. Macrini, c. 7, and by Lipsius, Elect. i. 32.----Loccenius. At Athens, however, Samuel Petit, Comm. in Leges Atticas, 1. iii. tit. 2, shows that the office of scribe was as little honourable as it was at Rome.-----Bos. Such was doubtless the case throughout Greece a few of the more eminent secretaries might be held in esteem and respect, but the majority would be of just the same standing as at Rome.
189. * 9Etairikh_ i3ppoj, about a thousand or twelve hundred of the flower of the Macedonian cavalry. The name is from e3tairoj, a friend or companion, either because they were united with one another as friends, or because they were associates or companions of the king.
196. * A Seleuco et Antigono.] For Antigono it is now generally supposed that we should read Antigene, Antigenes being mentioned by Diod. Sic. xviii. 59, as one of the leaders of the Argyraspides; another being Teutamus. Antigenes was the first to attack Perdiccas, as Van Staveren observes, referring to Arrian apud Photium, p. 224. The same critic suggests that we might even, with some probability alter Seleuco into Teutamo, but does not wish to press this conjecture
200. * In principiis.] See note on Florus, iii. 10, Bonn's Cl. Library. Eumenes, to give effect to this device, pretended, as Polyaenus tells us, to have received directions from the spirit of Alexander, which had appeared to him in a dream. It is strange that the Macedonian officers should have allowed themselves to be so deluded.
204. † Ut deuteretur.] The word deutor is not found elsewhere. It seems not to be the same with abutor, as some suppose, but to have much the same sense as the simple verb. But most editions have se uteretur, an alteration of Lambinus.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.