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Orosius, Book 3

      Chapters 15-23 :   326 to 289 B.C.  

Adapted from the translation by I.W. Raymond (1936). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.   


Previous chapters (1-14)

[15] L   These deeds of Philip, which have made an impression upon our minds, would suffice as examples of calamities even if Alexander had not succeeded him on the throne. But for the time being I shall omit Alexander's wars, or rather the evils that afflicted the world following his wars, in order to keep the proper sequence of events, and I shall bring forward at this point a discussion of the Roman wars.

2 In the four hundred and twenty-sixth year of the City, the Romans suffered a signal disgrace that made the Caudine Forks not only celebrated but notorious. In a previous war twenty thousand of the  Samnites fell in a battle in which Fabius, master of the horse, had engaged them. The Samnites, more cautious and better equipped, then established themselves at the Caudine Forks 3 where their armed forces blocked the passes and shut in the consuls Veturius and Postumius {321 B.C.} and all the Roman troops. Their leader Pontius was so certain of victory that he thought he ought to consult his father Herennius whether he should slay those whom he had surrounded or should spare them after he had subdued them. He decided to grant the survivors their lives but to dishonour them. 4 The Romans in the past had very frequently been defeated and slaughtered, but never could they be captured or compelled to surrender. 5 When the Samnites had gained a victory, they therefore ordered the entire Roman army - it had ignominiously surrendered and had been stripped of its arms and even of its clothing so that individuals had not the wherewithal to cover their nakedness - to be sent under the yoke, to be reduced to slavery, and to take their places at the head of the long line in the public procession. 6 The Samnites took six hundred Roman knights as hostages and sent back the consuls empty-handed and utterly disgraced.

7 Why should I, who would have preferred to remain silent, strive to find words to enlarge upon the stigma of this most disgraceful treaty? The Romans today either would not exist at all or else would be slaves under Samnite domination, if, after their defeat at the hands of the Samnites, they had honestly upheld the sanctity of a treaty, a policy which they now wish to be observed by those whom they themselves have conquered.

8 In the following year, the Romans broke the pact which they had made with the Samnites and drove them into a war. This war, begun at the insistence of the consul Papirius {315 B.C.}, caused great disasters to both peoples. 9 The combatants on one side were angered by their recent disgrace while the others were spurred on by the glory of their last victory. The Romans, however, finally conquered by their determination to fight to the death. They continued to slay and be slain until, after defeating the Samnites and capturing their leader, they at last exacted revenge for the yoke. 10 Papirius then stormed Satricum, expelled its Samnite garrison, and captured the city. Papirius enjoyed at that time a great reputation among the Romans for valour and energy in war; so much so that when Alexander the Great was reported to be arranging an expedition from the East to occupy Africa and thence to cross to Italy, the Romans considered Papirius the best fitted of all generals in the Republic to withstand his attack.

[16] L   In the four hundred and twenty-sixth year of the City, Alexander succeeded his father Philip on the throne. He gave the first proof of his spirit and courage by quickly suppressing the rebellions of the Greeks. Under the leadership of the orator Demosthenes, who had been bribed by Persian gold, the Greeks had revolted in order to free themselves from Macedonian rule. 2 In response to the entreaties of the Athenians, Alexander gave up his war against them and thereby relieved them of their anxiety. He then wiped out the Thebans after uprooting their city; he sold the survivors into slavery and made other cities of Achaia and Thessaly pay tribute to him. Shortly thereafter he transferred the war from this territory and conquered both the Illyrians and the Thracians. 3 Then, just as he was about to start out for the Persian War, he killed all his relatives and next of kin. In his army there were thirty-two thousand infantry, four thousand five hundred cavalry, and in addition he had one hundred and eighty ships. With so small a force as this it is uncertain whether Alexander is more to be admired for conquering the whole world or for daring to begin his expedition.

4 When he first encountered King Darius there were six hundred thousand Persians in battle array. Their defeat and flight was as much due to the strategy of Alexander as to the courage of the Macedonians. This was indeed a great disaster for the Persians. In the army of Alexander one hundred and twenty cavalrymen and only nine infantrymen were lost. 5 Alexander next blockaded, stormed, captured, and gave over to pillage the Phrygian city of Gordies, which is now called Sardis. There he was informed of the arrival of Darius accompanied by a great body of troops. Fearing the narrowness of the region where he had entered, Alexander crossed the Taurus Range with remarkable speed, covering five hundred stadia within one day, and came to Tarsus. There, while overheated, he plunged into the icy waters of the Cydnus. He was seized with cramps and nearly died.

6 In the meantime Darius with three hundred thousand infantry and a hundred thousand cavalry advanced to battle. The vast numbers of the enemy alarmed even Alexander, principally because his forces were so limited. Earlier, however, when he had defeated six hundred thousand of the enemy with just as small a number, he had declared that not only did he not fear battle but even hoped for victory. 7 The armies took their stand within spear range and tensely awaited the signal for battle. Both generals went rapidly to and fro, arousing their hosts by promising all sorts of advantages. Thus both sides began the conflict in high spirits.

8 The two kings, Alexander and Darius, were both wounded in this battle. The issue of the battle long hung in the balance until Darius fled. 9 The slaughter of the Persians then followed. Eighty thousand infantry and ten thousand cavalry were slain; forty thousand were captured. The losses of the Macedonians amounted to one hundred and thirty infantry and one hundred and fifty cavalry. In the camp of the Persians much gold and other rich booty were discovered; and among the captives taken were the mother of Darius, his wife, who was also his sister, and two of his daughters. 10 Though he offered one-half of his kingdom, Darius could not obtain their ransom. He therefore assembled all the Persian forces and the auxiliaries of his allies and renewed the war for the third time.

11 While Darius was thus engaged, Alexander sent Parmenion with troops to attack the Persian fleet. He himself went to Syria, where many kings, wearing fillets on their heads, came voluntarily to meet him. Some he accepted as allies, some he removed from their thrones, and others he had put to death. Then he overpowered and captured the ancient and flourishing city of Tyre which, trusting in the support of its kinsmen the Carthaginians, opposed him. 12 Next he visited his unrelenting fury upon Cilicia, Rhodes, and Egypt. From there he proceeded to the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, where, in order to blot out the ignominy of his uncertain paternity and the infamy arising from the adultery of his mother, he fabricated a falsehood appropriate to the occasion. 13 For the historians who speak of these events tell us that Alexander summoned the high priest of the sanctuary to his side and secretly instructed him what answers he wished to have made when he consulted him. Thus Alexander was certain, and he has handed his opinion down to us (since the gods themselves are both deaf and dumb), that either the high priest had the power to frame what answer he wished or else the petitioner might will to hear what answer he desired. 14 While he was returning from Ammon to the third war against the Persians, Alexander founded Alexandria in Egypt.

[17] L   After Darius had given up all hope of peace, he offered battle at Tarsus to Alexander who was on his way back from Egypt. Darius had four hundred thousand infantry and one hundred thousand cavalry. 2 The battle began quickly and everyone, blinded by fury, rushed to the sword. The Macedonians were undaunted in the presence of an enemy whom they had time and again defeated, while the Persians preferred death to defeat. 3 Rarely in any battle was so much blood spilled. When Darius saw that his men were being defeated, he himself was prepared to die while fighting, but his men prevailed over him and compelled him to flee. 4 As a result of this battle, the military forces and the kingdoms of Asia declined in power and the entire East came under the control of Macedon. The morale of the Persians was so completely shattered that thereafter none dared to rebel. And they who had enjoyed supremacy for so many years now patiently accepted the yoke of servitude.

5 Alexander spent thirty-four consecutive days counting the booty of the camp. He then attacked Persepolis, the capital of the Persian kingdom and the most renowned and opulent city in the whole world. 6 But when he learned that Darius was being held by his own relatives and had been bound in golden fetters, he decided to hasten to the king's side. Accordingly, after giving orders for his army to follow, he himself set out with six thousand cavalry and came upon Darius, who had been deserted and abandoned by the roadside. Darius, who had been wounded many times, was now breathing his last as the result of his injuries. 7 In a spirit of specious pity, Alexander ordered the corpse to be carried back and buried in the sepulchre of the Persian kings. Alexander held in cruel captivity not only the mother and wife of Darius but even his little daughters.

8 To speak the truth in the midst of so vast a number of evils is most difficult. In three battles in as many years one and a half million infantry and cavalry were destroyed; and this loss was inflicted upon the same kingdom and upon those same armies of whom more than one million, nine hundred thousand are said to have been destroyed a few years earlier. 9 In addition to these disasters and during these same three years the greatest states of Asia were crushed, Syria was completely devastated, Tyre uprooted, Cilicia exhausted, Cappadocia subdued, and Egypt enslaved; the island of Rhodes voluntarily submitted, fearful of slavery; and a great number of provinces that lie near the Taurus, and the Taurian Range itself, were subdued, conquered, and forced to accept the yoke that they had so long refused.

[18] L   Let no one by chance think at this point that the East, which had been subdued by the forces of Alexander, or Italy, which had been worn out by the ruthlessness of Rome, were the only sufferers. For at that time war was in progress in Greece with Agis, the king of the Spartans, in Lucania with Alexander, the king of Epirus, and in Scythia with Zopyrion, the prefect. 2 Agis, the   Lacedaemonian, aroused all Greece to join him in a rebellion. He then encountered the strong troops of Antipater. He lost his own life amid the general slaughter wrought upon both armies. 3 In Italy, Alexander, who was striving after the rule of the West and vying with Alexander the Great, was overcome and killed by the Bruttians and Lucanians after he had fought many severe battles in those lands. His body was redeemed for burial. 4 Zopyrion, the prefect of Pontus, assembled an army of thirty thousand and was so foolhardy as to declare war upon the Scythians. His whole army was slaughtered almost to the last man and it disappeared from the scene along with its leader.

5 After the death of Darius, Alexander the Great brought the Hyrcani and the Mardi into subjection. While he was in their lands as eager for war as ever, the bold Amazon Thalestris, or Minothea, with three hundred women in her train, came to meet him because she was desirous of conceiving offspring by him. 6 Afterward Alexander entered into battle with the Parthians whom, after a protracted resistance, he almost destroyed before he had defeated them. 7 Then he subdued the Drangae, Euergetae, Parimae, Paropamisadae, Adaspii, and other peoples living at the foot of the Caucasus, and established, on the banks of the Tanais River, the city of Alexandria.

8 His cruelty to his friends was no less intense than his insane rage against his enemies. The story is that he slew his cousin Amyntas, put to death his stepmother and her brothers, and murdered Parmenion and Philotas. Attalus, Eurylochus, Pausanius, and many leading men of Macedonia also lost their lives at his hands. Cleitus, too, heavy with years and enjoying a friendship of long standing, was heinously done to death at a banquet 9 when, trusting to his friendship with the king, he defended the reputation of Philip against Alexander, who was claiming that his own deeds surpassed those of his father. The king, angry without adequate cause, pierced him with his hunting spear. As he died, the blood of Cleitus stained the entire banquet hall. 10 Alexander, insatiable as he was for human blood, whether of his enemies or of his own allies, was always thirsty for fresh slaughter. 11 He rushed forward to battle and after a hard-driven attack received the surrender of the Chorasmi and of the Dahae, who had never previously been vanquished. He also put to death Callisthenes, a philosopher, who was a fellow student under Aristotle, because Callisthenes would not honour him as a god with the prescribed salutation. Likewise he killed a great many other leading men.

[19] L   Next Alexander attacked India so that his empire might be bounded by the Ocean and the extreme parts of the East. He led his troops against the city of Nysa and then extended his sway over the Daedalian Mountains and the realms of Queen Cleophyle, who surrendered and redeemed her kingdom by becoming his concubine. 2 After he had entered and made himself master of India, Alexander came to a rocky eminence of remarkably uneven formation and height to which many people had fled for refuge. He learned that Hercules had been prevented by an earthquake from capturing it. Moved by a spirit of rivalry to surpass the exploits of Hercules, Alexander, after great exertion and danger, made himself master of the rock and received the surrender of all the local tribes. 3 He fought a very bloody battle with Porus, the most powerful king of the Indians. In this battle Alexander encountered Porus himself in personal combat. Alexander was hurled from his dead horse but escaped death for the moment by the rallying of his bodyguard about him. Porus was wounded many times and captured. 4 As a testimonial to his courage, Alexander restored Porus to his kingdom and then founded the two cities of Nicaea and Bucephala. The latter city he ordered to be so named after his horse.

The Macedonians then cut to pieces the armies of the Adrestae, Catheni, Praesidae, and Gangaridae, and subdued them. 5 When they came up against Cofides, they joined battle with two hundred thousand of the enemy's cavalry. Worn out by the heat as they now were, their spirits depressed, and their strength exhausted, they barely managed to win the victory. As a memorial they founded a camp of more than usual magnificence.

6 From there Alexander proceeded to the Agesis River, on which he took ship to the Ocean; he overcame the Gesonae and Sibi, whose founder was Hercules. Thence he sailed to the land of the Mandri and Subagrae, where the tribes rose up in arms and attacked him with eighty thousand infantry and sixty thousand cavalry. 7 The battle was bloody and the issue was long in doubt, but it finally ended in a victory for Alexander. This victory, however, proved almost disastrous. For, after scattering the troops of the enemy, Alexander led his army against a city. There he was the first to scale the wall and, thinking that the city was deserted, he leaped down inside alone. 8 The fierce enemy surrounded him on every side. Incredible as it may seem, he was not at all terrified by the number of the enemy, by the great show of weapons, or by the loud shouting of his assailants, for alone in the past he had killed and put to flight many thousands. 9 When he saw, however, that he was being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the numbers that surrounded him, he defended himself in a corner with his back to the wall. There he held his assailants quite easily in check until his entire army entered the city through a breach in the wall. This action endangered Alexander and at the same time caused the enemy to shout with dismay. 10 During the fighting, Alexander was struck in the chest by an arrow, but resting on one knee he fought on until he had killed the man who had wounded him. 11 He next embarked and sailed along the shores of the Ocean until he came to a certain city over which Ambira ruled as king. In storming the city he lost a large number of his army who were struck by poisoned arrows. But he and others were cured by drinking herbs, a remedy which had been revealed to him in a dream. He later carried the city by storm and captured it.

[20] L   Afterwards, when, as it were, he had gone around the turning post, Alexander entered the Indus River from the Ocean and quickly returned to Babylon, 2 where ambassadors from the terror-stricken provinces of the whole world awaited him. There were ambassadors from the Carthaginians, from all the states of Africa, also from the Spanish provinces, the Gallic provinces, Sicily, Sardinia, and from the greater part of Italy. 3 So great a fear of the acknowledged leader of the most distant East had gripped the peoples of the farthest West that delegations were present from countries that one would hardly believe could even have heard of Alexander's name. 4 But Alexander, ever thirsty for blood, was poisoned and died at Babylon. Thus was his wicked appetite punished by the treachery of a servant.

5 O callous soul of man, and heart ever inhuman! Did not my eyes fill with tears as I reviewed the past in order to prove that calamities have recurred in cycles throughout all ages; did I not weep as I spoke of evils so great that the entire world trembled from death itself or from fear of death? Was not my heart torn with grief? As I pondered over all this, did I not make the terrible experiences of my ancestors my own, seeing in them the common lot of man? 6 And yet, if I may speak of my own story, how for the first time I saw the strange barbarians, how I avoided my enemies and flattered those in authority, how I guarded myself against the pagans, fled from those who lay in wait for me, 7 and how finally, enveloped by a sudden mist, I slipped through the clutches of those who with stones and spears pursued me over the sea, I would that I could move all my audience to tears. I would grieve in silence for those who were unmoved, attributing their apathy to the callousness of men who, never having undergone suffering themselves, were insensible to the suffering of others.

8 The Spaniards and Morini voluntarily went to Babylon to humble themselves before Alexander. That he might not regard them as enemies, these ambassadors sought the bloody overlord throughout Assyria and India, visiting the ends of the earth and to their misfortune becoming acquainted with both oceans. Yet the memory of their sad plight either has become dim with age or has passed into oblivion. 9 Can we really imagine for a moment that some thief will win everlasting fame because he has despoiled a single corner of the world, leaving the greater part of it untouched? It is as if peace were sought from the Goths and the Suebi by an Indian or an Assyrian, to say nothing of the reverse, and even by the Spaniard himself, who is now being attacked. 10 Let judgment be passed whether the days of Alexander should be praised on account of his valour in conquering the world or be accursed because of the ruin he brought upon mankind. Many people will be found today who think the present good because they themselves have overcome obstacles and because they consider the miseries of others their own good fortune. 11 Yet someone may say: "the Goths are enemies of the Roman world." We shall reply: "the whole East in those days thought the same of Alexander, and so, too, have the Romans appeared to others when they attacked distant and harmless peoples." The destruction wrought by an enemy is one thing, the reputation of a conqueror another. 12 The Romans and Alexander formerly harried with wars peoples whom they later received into their empires and ruled by their laws. The Goths as enemies are now throwing into disorder lands which, if they should ever succeed in mastering (which God forbid) they would attempt to govern by their own code. Posterity will call mighty kings those whom we now regard as our most savage enemies. 13 By whatever names such deeds as these are known, whether as sufferings or acts of bravery, when compared with former times, both are less numerous in our own age. In either case comparison with the times of Alexander and the Persians points to our advantage. If "bravery" is the proper word, the valour of the enemy is less marked; if "suffering" is the word to use, the distress of the Roman is less acute.

[21] L   In the four hundred and fiftieth year of the City, during the consulship of Fabius Maximus (consul for the fifth time) and Decius Mus (consul for the fourth time) {295 B.C.}, four of the strongest and most flourishing peoples of Italy made an alliance and formed one army. For the Etruscans, Samnites, and Gauls conspired together and attempted to destroy the Romans. 2 The latter were in a state of fear and trembling at the prospect of this war, and their confidence in themselves was severely shaken. They did not dare to rely fully upon their troops, but separated the enemy by strategy, thinking it safer to engage in many small battles than in a few great ones. 3 By sending some troops in advance into Umbria and Etruria to ravage hostile territories, the Romans compelled the army of the Umbrians and Etruscans to return in order to protect their own lands. The Romans then hastened to start a war against the Samnites and Gauls. 4 In this war the Romans were hard pressed by an attack of the Gauls, and the consul Decius was killed. 5 Fabius, however, finally won the battle despite the wholesale slaughter of Decius' soldiers. In that battle forty thousand Samnites and Gauls lost their lives, but the Romans are reported to have lost only seven thousand, and these from the division of the slain Decius. 6 Livy {10.29}, however, states that, excluding the Etruscans and Umbrians whom the Romans had craftily diverted from this campaign, the Gauls and Samnites had 140,330 infantry and 47,000 cavalry, and that a thousand armoured chariots opposed the Roman line of battle.

7 It has often been said that the domestic peace of the Romans was always being interrupted by foreign wars and that their foreign ventures were made more difficult by internal disorders. This was so true that their colossal arrogance was completely held in check from all sides. 8 A pestilence in the city in this case capped their bloody and tragic victory. Funeral corteges met and violated the sanctity of the triumphal processions. There was no rejoicing over the triumph,  for the entire state was grieving for the sick and the dead.

[22] L   A year followed in which, after the resumption of the Samnite War, the Romans were defeated and fled to their camp. 2 Later the Samnites, assuming a new garb and new spirit (they had covered their arms and clothing with silver and had prepared their minds for death if they did not conquer), dedicated themselves to the war. 3 The consul Papirius {293 B.C.} was sent against them with an army. Although forbidden to advance by the pullarii {diviners of the sacred chickens} who predicted adverse results, he laughed at them and ended the war as successfully as he had resolutely undertaken it. 4 In this battle twelve thousand of the enemy were slain and three thousand are reported to have been captured. But disease suddenly broke out and ruined his truly praiseworthy victory, a victory which false auspices had not been able to prevent. 5 So great and so unbearable a pestilence then swept the City, for the sake of allaying it by any means whatsoever, the Romans thought that they should consult the Sibylline Books. They even brought in the infamous and vile Epidaurian snake and the very statue of Aesculapius, as if, in truth, pestilence had never died out in the past and would not spring up again in the future.

6 During the following year the consul Fabius Gurges {292 B.C.} fought without success against the Samnites. He was defeated, lost his army, and, fled back to the city. 7 While the Senate was deliberating whether to remove him from office, his father Fabius Maximus, although detesting the ignoble behaviour of his son, offered to go as his legate provided his son were given an opportunity of wiping out the disgrace and of renewing the war. His request was granted and battle was joined. 8 The pious old man suddenly saw his son, the consul, hard pressed in combat with the Samnite leader Pontius and surrounded by the enemy's spears poised for the throw. He at once rode his horse into the middle of the line of battle. 9 Inspired by this deed, the Romans stood fast along the entire battle front. After they had destroyed the army of the enemy, they finally captured its leader Pontius, who had been defeated and utterly crushed. 10 In that battle twenty thousand Samnites were slain, and four thousand, including their king, were captured. Thus the Samnite War, which had been carried on for forty-nine years with much disaster to the Romans, was at last ended by the capture of the Samnite leader.

11 The next year the consul Curius {290 B.C.} waged a war against the Sabines. The consul himself revealed how many thousands of men were killed and captured in this war. When in the Senate he wished to report the amount of the land acquired from the Sabines and the number of their inhabitants captured, he was not able to give exact figures.

12 In the four hundred and sixty-third year of the City and during the consulship of Dolabella and Domitius {>283 B.C.}, the Lucanians, Bruttians, and Samnites made an alliance with the Etruscans and Senonian Gauls, who were attempting to renew war against the Romans. The Romans sent ambassadors to dissuade the Gauls from joining this alliance, 13 but the Gauls killed the envoys. The praetor Caecilius was sent with an army to avenge their murder and to crush the uprising of the enemy. He was, however, overwhelmed by the Etruscans and Gauls, and perished. 14 Seven military tribunes were also slain in that battle, many nobles were killed, and thirty thousand soldiers likewise met their death.

15 Thus just as often as the Gauls became inflamed, the entire wealth of Rome was reduced. During the present invasion of the Goths we should therefore do well to remember the Gauls.

[23] L   I shall turn back now to relate the wars which the Macedonian leaders waged among themselves and recall how each of the generals upon the death of Alexander obtained certain provinces by lot and how they then destroyed one another in wars. These events occurred at the same time that the Romans were enduring the disasters mentioned above. 2 I seem to see this tumultuous age as if looking from a watch-tower out into the night upon an immense camp where I can distinguish nothing in the great expanse of the field except innumerable campfires. 3 Thus throughout the kingdom of Macedonia, that is, throughout all Asia, the greater part of Europe and most of Libya, the terrible fires of war suddenly burst into flame. 4 The fires laid waste those places in which they had flared up and the news of these conflagrations, spreading like a cloud of smoke, terrified and threw into confusion all other lands. 5 But I shall not set forth the wars and defeats of these great kings and kingdoms until I have first discussed the kingdoms themselves and their rulers.

6 For twelve years Alexander oppressed with the sword a world which trembled beneath him. His generals rent it asunder for fourteen years more. Just as whelps greedily tear to pieces a rich prize brought to earth by a full-grown lion, these generals, stirred to rivalry by the prize, threw themselves upon one another. 7 By the first lot, Egypt, Africa, and part of Arabia fell to Ptolemy. Laomedon of Mytilene was allotted Syria, which bordered on Ptolemy's province: Philotas received Cilicia; Philon, the Illyrians. 8 Atropates was put in command of Greater Media, and the father-in-law of Perdiccas was given Lesser Media. The people of Susiana were assigned to Scynus, and Greater Phrygia to Antigonus, the son of Philippus. 9 Nearchus was given Lycia and Pamphylia; Cassander, Caria; and Menander, Lydia. 10 Leonnatus received Lesser Phrygia; Thrace and the regions bordering on the Pontic Sea fell by lot to Lysimachus; and Cappadocia, together with Paphlagonia, was assigned to Eumenes. The chief command of the army fell by lot to Seleucus, the son of Antiochus; and Cassander, the son of Antipater, was placed in command of the bodyguards and companions of the King. 11 In Further Bactriana and the regions of India, the former prefects, who had taken office under Alexander, kept their posts. Taxiles received the Seres who were settled between the Hydaspes and Indus rivers. 12 Python, the son of Agenor, was sent to the colonies in India. Oxyarches was assigned to the Paropamisadae at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. The Arachosians and Gedrosians were awarded to Sibyrtius. 13 Statanor obtained the inhabitants of Drangiana and of Areia; Amyntas was allotted the Bactrians; Scythaeus, the Sogdians; Stacanor, the Parthians; Philippus, the Hyrcanians; Phrataphernes, the Armenians; Tlepolemus, the Persians; Peucestas, the Babylonians; Archon, the (?) Pelassians; and Archelaus, Mesopotamia.

14 Now the immediate cause of the wars was the letter of King Alexander in which he ordered all exiles to be restored to freedom in their native lands. The powerful cities of Greece, apprehensive lest these exiles revenge themselves after they had recovered their freedom, revolted against Macedonian rule. 15 First the Athenians assembled an army of thirty thousand men and two hundred ships and made war upon Antipater, to whom Greece had fallen by lot. With the aid of Demosthenes the orator, they allied themselves with Sicyon, Argos, Corinth, and other states. They then surrounded and besieged Antipater. 16 Their leader Leosthenes was pierced by a spear hurled from the walls and was killed. The Athenians then encountered Leonnatus, who was bringing help to Antipater, and after overwhelming his forces, put him to death.

17 Perdiccas, on the other hand, declared war against Ariarathes, the king of the Cappadocians, and conquered him. Nothing came of that victory except wounds and dangers. For before the assault on their city all the citizens had set fire to their homes and to all their possessions and had perished with them.

18 After these events, war arose between Antigonus and Perdiccas. These generals most severely ravaged many provinces and islands, according to whether the inhabitants refused or agreed to furnish auxiliary troops. 19 It was long in doubt whether they would transfer the war to Macedonia or carry it on in Asia. Perdiccas himself finally led a huge army against Egypt. Macedonia, with its leaders separated into two parties, was thus armed against itself. 20 Ptolemy, supported by the forces of Egypt and by the Cyrenean troops, prepared to wage war against Perdiccas. While these events were taking place, Neoptolemus and Eumenes contended fiercely against each other in a most bloody battle. 21 Neoptolemus was defeated and, fleeing to Antipater, urged him to make a surprise attack upon Eumenes. The latter, however, anticipated this move and overcame the plotters by the use of a stratagem. 22 In that battle Polyperchon was killed while Neoptolemus and Eumenes suffered wounds which they had inflicted upon each other; Neoptolemus, indeed, died, but Eumenes, who had been victorious, escaped. 23 Perdiccas now engaged in a very bitter war with Ptolemy, lost his forces, and was himself killed. Eumenes, Peithon, (?) Illyrius, and Alcetas, the brother of Perdiccas, were publicly proclaimed enemies by the Macedonians, and the conduct of the war against them was assigned to Antigonus.

24 After each had assembled mighty armies, Eumenes and Antigonus met on the field of battle. Eumenes was defeated and fled to a certain strongly fortified citadel. From here he sent legates to beg assistance from Antipater, who was at this time very powerful. Alarmed by this report, Antigonus withdrew from the siege. 25 But not even then did Eumenes feel absolutely confident and assured of his own safety. Therefore as a final measure he summoned to his assistance the Silver Shields, that is, the soldiers who fought under Alexander and who were so named from their arms which were covered with silver. 26 They were disdainful of following the plans which their leader had made for the battle and as a result were defeated by Antigonus. They were deprived of their camp and lost their wives and children as well as everything they had gained under Alexander. 27 Later, through legates, they most shamefully requested their conqueror to return what they had lost. Antigonus promised that he would do so but only on the condition that they should hand over to him Eumenes bound in chains. 28 Won over by the inducement of recovering their property and most shamefully betraying the leader under whose standards they had served a little while before, they led him forth in chains as a prisoner. These soldiers, now completely humiliated and disgraced, were at once distributed among the army of Antigonus.

29 In the meantime Eurydice, the wife of the Macedonian king Arridaeus, acting in the name of her husband, committed many crimes. She was helped by Cassander with whom she had formed a most shameful alliance and whom she had advanced through all the grades of honour to the highest rank. Out of his lust for a woman, Cassander harassed many states of Greece. Olympias, the mother of King Alexander, at this time came from Epirus to Macedonia with the Molossian king Aeacides attending her. Eurydice barred her from the territories. 30Acting on the advice of Polyperchon, Olympias ordered the execution of King Arridaeus and Eurydice. The Macedonians supported her in this demand. 31 Nevertheless, she herself immediately suffered a just punishment for her cruelty; for even as she was causing the slaughter of many nobles, acting with the foolhardiness characteristic of women, she heard of the approach of Cassander. As the Macedonians distrusted her, she withdrew to the city of Pydna with her daughter-in-law Roxane and her grandson Hercules: 32 there she was soon captured and killed by Cassander. The son of Alexander the Great was sent with his mother to the citadel of Amphipolis for safe keeping.

33 With the slaughter of Perdiccas, Alcetas, Polyperchon, and a number of other generals of the opposing party too many to mention, the wars among the successors of Alexander seemed about to come to an end. 34 But Antigonus, inflamed with the desire to be lord and master, pretended that it was necessary to resort to war in order to free Hercules, the son of the king, from his imprisonment. 35 When his activities became known, Ptolemy and Cassander entered into an alliance with Lysimachus and Seleucus and prepared strenuously for war on land and sea. In this war Antigonus and his son Demetrius were defeated.

36 When Cassander, whom Ptolemy had made a partner in the victory, was returning to Apollonia, he came upon the Avieniatae. They had left the land of their forefathers and emigrated from their ancient habitations because they could not bear the enormous number of frogs and mice, and they were seeking to find new homes while peace prevailed. 37 But Cassander, knowing the reputation of this people for courage and numbers, received them into an alliance and settled them on the farthest boundaries of Macedonia. He was afraid that under the pressure of necessity they would invade Macedonia and ruin the land by warfare. 38 When Hercules, the son of Alexander, had reached his fourteenth year, Cassander, fearing that everyone would prefer Hercules as the legitimate king, took care to have him and his mother secretly put to death.

39 Ptolemy engaged in a second battle with Demetrius, a naval battle in which he lost almost his entire fleet and army. After his defeat he fled to Egypt. 40 Antigonus, elated by this victory, ordered that both he and his son Demetrius be called king. The other generals followed this example, each assuming the name and authority of king. 41 When Ptolemy and Cassander saw that Antigonus was deceiving them and the other leaders of their faction one by one, they communicated with one another by letters, agreed upon a time and place for meeting, and prepared their common forces to war against him. 42 Cassander, who was involved in war with his neighbours, sent Lysimachus, the most renowned of all his generals, with a huge force to assist his allies in his stead. 43 Seleucus, arriving from Greater Asia, added a new enemy to those who were hostile to Antigonus. Indeed, this Seleucus took part in most of the great wars throughout the East among the allies of the Macedonian kingdom. 44 At the beginning of the war, he stormed and captured Babylon. He then subdued the Bactrians who had risen in new revolts. 45 Next he made a journey to India, whose people, after the death of Alexander, had killed his prefects. Rising in revolt and seeking to win their freedom under the leadership of a certain Androcottus, they had thrown off his yoke from their necks. Later Androcottus, acting with great cruelty toward the citizens whom he had saved from foreign domination, oppressed them with slavery. 46 Seleucus, although he had waged bitter wars against Androcottus, finally withdrew from the country after concluding a pact with him and arranging the terms by which the latter should hold the kingdom.

47 As soon as the forces of Ptolemy and his allies united, battle began. Here was an instance in which the mightier the armaments, the more disastrous was the slaughter; for at that time the forces of almost the whole Macedonia kingdom fell in battle. 48 In the course of the fighting Antigonus was slain. But the end of this war was only the beginning of another. The victors could not agree about the spoils and again split into two factions, Seleucus joining forces with Demetrius and Ptolemy with Lysimachus. 49 After the death of Cassander, Philip succeeded to the throne. New wars, as if taking a fresh start, arose to trouble Macedonia.

50 Although Thessalonice, his own mother and the wife of Cassander, pleaded pitifully for her life, Antipater pierced her with his own sword. 51 His brother Alexander, while preparing for war against him to avenge his mother, was trapped and slain by Demetrius, whose assistance he had sought. 52 Lysimachus, hard pressed in an extremely dangerous war with Dorus, king of the Thracians, was not able to fight against Demetrius. 53 Elated by the conquest of Greece and all Macedonia, Demetrius now prepared to cross into Asia. 54 Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Lysimachus, however, having learned from experience in the earlier struggle how much strength there was in union, once more formed an alliance, united their armies, and transferred to Europe the war against Demetrius. 55 Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, joined them as their companion and ally, hoping to drive Demetrius out of Macedonia. Nor was this hope in vain; for after Demetrius had been abandoned by his army and forced to flee, Pyrrhus invaded the kingdom of Macedonia. 56 Lysimachus killed his son-in-law Antipater, claiming that the latter was plotting against him; he then slew his own son Agathocles, whom he hated with a hate unnatural to man.

57 In these days a most terrible earthquake overthrew the city of Lysimachia; its population was destroyed and the city became a cruel tomb. 58 Moreover, all the allies of Lysimachus deserted him because he was staining himself with blood by his repeated murders. They joined Seleucus, a king already engaged in the struggle for the crown, and encouraged him to declare war against Lysimachus. 59 It was a shameful spectacle. The two kings (Lysimachus was seventy-four years old and Seleucus seventy-seven), standing in battle line and bearing arms, were striving to deprive each other of the kingdom. 60 To be sure this was the last war among Alexander's companions, but it was one which has been reserved as an example of human misery. 61 Even when they alone held the world, after the destruction of the thirty-four generals of Alexander, they took no thought of the approaching end of their lives, now so nearly finished. Rather they continued to regard the ends of the entire world as too-narrow boundaries for their empire. 62 In that battle Lysimachus was the last to be killed. His fifteen children either had been sent away or killed before this battle had begun. Thus the death of Lysimachus proved to be the end of the Macedonian War. 63 But Seleucus did not rejoice with impunity; for he himself did not enjoy a natural and peaceful death after seventy-seven years of life. Rather he died before his time in circumstances which were most unhappy. 64 He was attacked by Ptolemy, whose sister had married Lysimachus, and he was treacherously assassinated.

65 Such are the ties of blood and fellowship between parents, sons, brothers, and friends. Such is the importance they attach to heavenly and earthly bonds! 66 Let the people of this generation blush with shame over the recollection of these past events. They now realise that it is only by the intervention of the Christian faith and by means of sworn oaths that they live at all with their enemies and suffer no injury. 67 This proves beyond question that now barbarians and Romans, no longer after the ancient manner, when "with the sacrifice of a sow they made a treaty," {Verg. Aen. 8.641} but calling their Creator and Lord to witness, assure one another such loyalty by the oath taken on the Gospels, as nature was unable in those past days to ensure even between fathers and sons.

68 Now let this book conclude with the end of the Macedonian Wars, especially since the Pyrrhic Wars begin just at this point and the Punic Wars follow directly.

Book 4


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