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Marcus Junianus Justinus
Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus.
translated, with notes, by the Rev. John Selby Watson.
London: Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Convent Garden (1853).


Table of contents


Book XIV

Conduct of Eumenes in the war with Antigonus, I.—Being unsuccessful, he flees to the Argyraspides, II.—They, being defeated, resolve to deliver Eumenes to Antigonus, III.—Eumenes addresses the army; he and the Argyraspides fall into the power of Antigonus, IV.—Proceedings of Cassander and Olympias, V.—Death of Olympias, VI.

1 2 3 4 5 6

1 WHEN Eumenes found that Perdiccas was slain, that he himself was declared an enemy by the Macedonians, and that the conduct of the war against him was committed to Antigonus, he at once made known the state of affairs to his troops, lest report should either exaggerate matters, or alarm the minds of the men with the unexpected nature of the events; designing at the same time to learn how they were affected towards him, and to take his measures according to the feeling expressed by them as a body. He boldly gave notice, however, that “if anyone of them felt dismayed at the news, he had full liberty to depart.” By this declaration he so strongly attached them to his side, that they all immediately exhorted him to prosecute the war, and protested that “they would annul the decrees of the Macedonians with their swords.” Having then led his army into Aetolia,1 he exacted contributions from the different cities, and plundered, like an enemy, such as refused to pay. Next he went to Sardis, to Cleopatra, the sister of Alexander the Great, that with her influence he might encourage his captains and chief officers, who would think that the royal authority was on that side on which the sister of Alexander stood. Such veneration was there for the greatness of Alexander, that the influence of his sacred name was sought even by means of women.

When he returned to his camp, letters were found scattered through it, in which great rewards were offered to any that should bring the head of Eumenes to Antigonus. This coming to his knowledge, Eumenes, assembling his men, first offered them his congratulations that “none had been found among them who preferred the expectation of a reward stained with blood to the obligation of his military oath.” He then craftily added that “these letters had been forged by himself to sound their feelings; but that his life was in the hands of them all; and that neither Antigonus nor any other general would be willing to conquer by such means as would afford the worst of examples against himself.” By acting thus, he both preserved for the present the attachment of such as were wavering, and made it likely that if anything similar should happen in future, the soldiers would think that they were not tampered with by the enemy, but sounded by their own general. All of them in consequence zealously offered him their services for the guard of his person.

2 In the meantime Antigonus came up with his army, and having pitched his camp, offered battle on the following day. Nor did Eumenes delay to engage with him; but, being defeated, he fled to a fortress, where, when he saw that he must submit to the hazard of a siege, he dismissed the greater part of his army, lest he should either be delivered to the enemy by consent of the multitude, or the sufferings of the siege should be aggravated by too great a number. He then sent a deputation to Antipater, who was the only general that seemed a match for the power of Antigonus, to entreat his aid; and Antigonus, hearing that succour was despatched by him to Eumenes, gave up the siege. Eumenes was thus for a time, indeed, relieved from fear of death; but, as so great a portion of his army was sent away, he had no great hope of ultimate safety. After taking everything into consideration, therefore, he thought it best to apply to the Argyraspides of Alexander the Great, a body of men that had never yet been conquered, and radiant with the glory of so many victories. But the Argyraspides disdained all leaders in comparison with Alexander, and thought service under other generals dishonourable to the memory of so great a monarch. Eumenes had, therefore, to address them with flattery; he spoke to each of them in the language of a suppliant, calling them his “fellow-soldiers,” his “patrons,” or his “companions in the dangers and exploits of the east;” sometimes styling them “his refuge for protection, and his only security;” saying that “they were the only troops by whose valour the east had been subdued; the only troops that had gone beyond the achievements of Bacchus and the monuments of Hercules; that by them Alexander had become great, by them had attained divine honours and immortal glory;” and he begged them “to receive him, not so much in the character of a general, as in that of a fellow-soldier, and to allow him to be one of their body.” Being received on these terms, he gradually succeeded, first by giving them hints individually, and afterwards by gently correcting whatever was done amiss, in gaining the sole command. Nothing could be done in the camp without him; nothing managed without the aid of his judgment.

3 At length, when it was announced that Antigonus was approaching with his army, he obliged them to march into the field; where, slighting the orders of their general, they were defeated by the bravery of the enemy. In this battle they lost, with their wives and children, not only their glory from so many wars, but also the booty obtained in their long service. But Eumenes, who was the cause of their disaster,2 and had no other hope of safety remaining, encouraged them after their repulse, assuring them that “they had the superiority in courage, as five thousand of the enemy had been slain by them; and that if they persevered in the war, their enemies would gladly sue for peace;” adding, that “the losses, by which they estimated their defeat, were two thousand women, and a few children and slaves, which they might better recover by conquering, than by yielding the victory.” The Argyraspides, on the other hand, declared that “they would neither attempt a retreat, after the loss of their property and wives, nor would they war against their own children,”3 and pursued him with reproaches “for having involved them, when they were returning home after so many years of completed service, and with the fruits of so many enterprises, and when on the point of being disbanded, in fresh efforts and vast struggles in the field; for having deluded them, when they were recalled, as it were, from their own hearths, and from the very threshold of their country, with vain promises; and for not allowing them, after having lost all the gains of their fortunate service, to support quietly under their defeat the burden of a poor and unhappy old age.” Immediately after, without the knowledge of their leaders,4 they sent deputies to Antigonus, requesting that “he would order what was theirs,5 to be restored to them.” Antigonus promised that “he would restore what they asked, if they would deliver up Eumenes to him.” Hearing of this reply, Eumenes, with a few others, attempted to flee, but being brought back, and finding his condition desperate, he requested, as a great crowd gathered around him, to be allowed to address the army for the last time.

4 Being desired by them all to speak, and silence being made, and his chains loosed, he held out his hand, fettered as he was, and said, “Soldiers, ye behold the dress and equipments of your general, which it is not anyone of the enemy that has put upon me; for that would be even a consolation to me; but it is you that have made me of a conqueror conquered, and of a general a prisoner. Four times,6 within the present year have you bound yourselves by oath to obey me; but on that point I shall say nothing, for reproaches do not become the unfortunate. One favour only I entreat, that, if the performance of Antigonus’s promises depends on my life, you would allow me to die among yourselves; for to him it signifies nothing how or where I fall, and I shall be delivered from an ignominious end. If I obtain this request, I release you from the oath by which you have so often devoted yourselves to me. Or if you are ashamed to offer violence to me at my entreaty, give me a sword, and permit your general to do for you,7 without the obligation of an oath, that which you have taken an oath to do for your general.” Not being able, however, to obtain his request, he changed his tone of entreaty to that of anger, and exclaimed, “May the gods, then, the avengers of perjury, look down in judgment upon you, ye accursed wretches, and bring upon you such deaths as you have brought upon your leaders. It was you, the same who now stand before me, that were lately sprinkled with the blood of Perdiccas, and that planned a similar end for Antipater. You would even have killed Alexander himself, if it had been possible for him to fall by a mortal hand:8 what was next to it,9 you harassed him with your mutinies. I, the last victim of your perfidy, now pronounce on you these curses and imprecations: may you live your whole lives in poverty, far from your country, in this camp where you are exiled; and may your own arms, by which you have killed more generals of your own than of your enemies, sink you in utter destruction.” Then, full of indignation, he began to walk before his guards towards the camp of Antigonus. The army followed, surrendering their general, and being themselves made prisoners; and, leading up a triumph over themselves to the camp of their conqueror, resigned to him, together with their own persons, all their honour gained under king Alexander,10 and the palms and laurels of so long a warfare; and, that nothing might be wanting to the procession, the elephants and auxiliaries of the east,11 brought up the rear. This single victory was so far more glorious to Antigonus than so many other victories had been to Alexander, that whereas Alexander subdued the east, Antigonus defeated those by whom the east had been subdued. These conquerors of the world, then, Antigonus distributed among his army, restoring to them what he had taken in the victory; and directed that Eumenes, whom, from regard to their former friendship, he did not allow to come into his presence, should be committed to the care of a guard.

5 In the meantime Eurydice, the wife of king Aridaeus, when she learned that Polysperchon was returning from Greece into Macedonia, and that Olympias was sent for by him, being prompted by a womanish emulation, and taking advantage of her husband’s weakness, whose duties she took upon herself, wrote in the king’s name to Polysperchon, desiring him “to deliver up the army to Cassander, on whom the king had conferred the government of the kingdom.” She made a similar communication to Antigonus, in a letter which she wrote to him in Asia. Cassander, attached to her by such a favour, managed everything according to the will of that ambitious woman. Marching into Greece, he made war upon several cities; by the calamities of which, as by a fire in the neighbourhood, the Spartans were alarmed, and, distrusting their power in arms enclosed their city (which they had always defended, not with walls, but with their swords) with works of defence, in disregard both of the predictions of the oracles, and of the ancient glory of their forefathers. Strange, that they should have so far degenerated from their ancestors, that, when the valour of the citizens had been for many ages a wall to the city, the citizens could not now think themselves secure unless they had walls to shelter them. But during the course of these proceedings, the disturbed state of Macedonia obliged Cassander to return home from Greece; for Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, coming from Epirus to Macedonia, with Aeacides, king of the Molossians, attending her, and being forbidden to enter the country by Eurydice and king Aridaeus, the Macedonians being moved, either by respect for the memory of her husband, or the greatness of her son, or by the indignity with which she was treated, went over to Olympias, by whose order both Eurydice and the king were put to death, he having held the kingdom six years since the decease of Alexander.

6 But neither did Olympias reign long; for having committed great slaughter among the nobility throughout the country, like a furious woman rather than a queen, she turned the favour with which she was regarded into hatred. Hearing, therefore, of the approach of Cassander, and distrusting the Macedonians, she retired, with her daughter-in-law Roxane, and her grandson Hercules, to the city of Pydna. Deidamia, the daughter of king Aeacides, and Thessalonice, her step-daughter, rendered illustrious by the name of Philip, who was her father, and many others, wives of the leading men, a retinue showy rather than serviceable, attended her on her journey. When the news of her retreat was brought to Cassander, he marched immediately, with the utmost expedition, to Pydna, and laid siege to the city. Olympias, distressed with famine and the sword, and the wearisomeness of a long siege, surrendered herself to the conqueror, stipulating only for life. But Cassander, on summoning the people to an assembly, to inquire “what they would wish to be done with Olympias,” induced the parents of those whom she had killed to put on mourning apparel, and expose her cruelties; when the Macedonians, exasperated by their statements, decreed, without regard to her former majesty, that she should be put to death; utterly unmindful that, by the labours of her son and her husband, they had not only lived in security among their neighbours, but had attained to vast power, and even to the conquest of the world. Olympias, seeing armed men advancing towards her, bent upon her destruction, went voluntarily to meet them, dressed in her regal apparel, and leaning on two of her maids. The executioners, on beholding her, struck with the recollection of her former royal dignity,12 and with the names of so many of their kings, that occurred to their memory in connexion with her, stood still, until others were sent by Cassander to despatch her; she, at the same time, not shrinking from the sword or the blow, or crying out like a woman, but submitting to death like the bravest of men, and suitably to the glory of her ancient race, so that you might have perceived the soul of Alexander in his dying mother. As she was expiring, too, she is said to have settled her hair,13 and to have covered her feet with her robe, that nothing unseemly might appear about her.

After these events, Cassander married Thessalonice, the daughter of king Aridaeus, and sent the son of Alexander,14 with his mother, to the citadel of Amphipolis, to be kept under guard.


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1 So stands the name in Wetzel’s text, and in most others, except that of Tauchnitz, which has Aeolia, the conjecture of Glareanus. But Isaac Vossius conjectures Aetulane, from a passage of Ptolemy, who gives that name to a part of Armenia Minor, lying to the north-east of Cappadocia. Vossius’s suggestion is approved by Vorstius and Faber.

2 Auctor cladis.] Inasmuch as he had impelled them to take the field.—Wetzel.

3 The Argyraspides were veterans, and some of them, doubtless, had sons in the army to which they were now opposed.

4 Eumenes, and those who adhered to him; those few with whom he afterwards attempted to escape.

5 Their wives, children, and money.

6 Quarter.] Three times, says Cornelius Nepos in his life of Eumenes.—Bongarsius. Perhaps we should here read qui ter.—Berneccerus.

7 Namely, to die.

8 This is quite at variance with Justin’s account of Alexander’s death.

9 All the editions, I believe, have quod maximum erat; I follow the conjecture of Freinshemius (ad Flor. ii. 6, 8), quod proximum erat.

10 Omnia auspicia regis Alexandri.] Commoda praeliis felicibus, duce rege, parta.—Wetzel.

11 Auxilia Orientalia.] The Persian soldiers that had been in Alexander’s army.

12 Fortuna majestatis prioris.

13 Wetzel’s text has, Insuper expirans capillis et veste crura contexisse fertur. Some manuscripts, as Graevius and Scheffer state, have compsisse insuper expirans capillos et veste crura, &c., which I have followed; for as Graevius and others ask, how could she cover her feet with her hair? Scheffer conjectures cooperuisse capillis os; Graevius, papillas veste et crura contexisse; but both these attempts are inferior to the reading compsisse, &c.

14 Alexander Aegus, with his mother Roxane.


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The English translation of Justin's Epitome was entered by David Camden (2003) from Watson's 1853 edition. This text is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed for private and educational use, provided this original notice is kept intact. Any commercial use of this text, including print-publication and inclusion in subscription-based archives, is prohibited.

The Latin text and French translation, along with the secondary material written in French, are copyright © Marie-Pierre Arnaud-Lindet 2003, and are NOT in the public domain.

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