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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 XV

War of Antigonus against his opponents; defeat of his son Demetrius I.—Cruelty of Cassander towards the family of Alexander the Great; successes of Antigonus, II.—Acts of Lysimachus, III.—Account of Seleucus; of Sandrocottus; death of Antigonus, IV.

1 2 3 4

1 PERDICCAS and his brother, with Eumenes and Polysperchon, and other leaders of the opposite party, being killed, the contention among the successors of Alexander seemed to be at an end; when, on a sudden, a dispute arose among the conquerors themselves; for Ptolemy, Cassander, and Lysimachus, demanding that “the money taken amongst the spoil, and the provinces, should be divided,” Antigonus said that “he would admit no partners in the advantages of a war of which he alone had undergone the perils.” And that he might seem to engage in an honourable contest with his confederates, he gave out that “his object was to avenge the death of Olympias, who had been murdered by Cassander, and to release the son of Alexander, his king, with his mother, from their confinement at Amphipolis.” On hearing this news, Ptolemy and Cassander, forming an alliance with Lysimachus and Seleucus, made vigorous preparations for war by land and sea. Ptolemy had possession of Egypt, with the greater part of Africa, Cyprus, and Phrenicia. Macedonia and Greece were subject to Cassander. Antigonus had taken possession of Asia and the eastern countries. Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, was defeated in the first engagement by Ptolemy, at Gamala.1 In this action, the renown gained by Ptolemy for his moderation was greater than that which he obtained from the victory itself; for he let the friends of Demetrius depart, not only with their baggage, but with presents in addition; and he restored Demetrius himself all his private property, together with his family, making, at the same time, this honourable declaration, that “he had not engaged in the war for plunder, but for the maintenance of his own character, being indignant that when the leaders of the opposite faction were conquered, Antigonus claimed the fruits of their common victory for himself.”

2 During these transactions, Cassander, returning from Apollonia, fell in with the Antariatae,2 who, having abandoned their country on account of the vast number of frogs and mice that infested it, were seeking a settlement. Fearing that they might possess themselves of Macedonia, he made a compact with them, received them as allies, and assigned them lands at the extremity of the country. Afterwards, lest Hercules, the son of Alexander, who had nearly completed his fourteenth year, should be called to the throne of Macedonia through the influence of his father’s name, he sent secret orders that he should be put to death, together with his mother Barsine, and that their bodies should be privately buried in the earth lest the murder should be betrayed by a regular funeral.3 As if, too, he had previously incurred but small guilt, first in the case of the king himself,4 and afterwards in that of his mother Olympias and her son, he cut off his other son, and his mother Roxane, with similar treachery; as though he could not obtain the throne of Macedonia, to which he aspired, otherwise than by crime.

Ptolemy meanwhile engaged a second time with Demetrius at sea;5 and, having lost his fleet, and left the victory to the enemy, fled back to Egypt, whither Demetrius sent Leontiscus, the son of Ptolemy, his brother Menelaus, and his friends, with all their baggage, being induced to this act by like kindness previously shown6 to himself; and that it might appear that they were stimulated, not by hatred, but by desire of glory and honour, they vied with one another, even amidst war itself, in kindnesses and services. So much more honourably were wars then conducted than private friendships are now maintained!7

Antigonus, being elated with this victory, gave orders that he himself, as well as his son Demetrius, should be styled king by the people. Ptolemy also, that he might not appear of less authority among his subjects, was called king by his army. Cassander and Lysimachus, too, when they heard of these proceedings, assumed regal dignity themselves. They all abstained, however, from taking the insignia of royalty, as long as any sons of their king survived. Such forbearance was there in them, that, though they had the power, they yet contentedly remained without the distinction of kings, while Alexander had a proper heir. But Ptolemy and Cassander, and the other leaders of the opposite faction, perceiving that they were individually weakened by Antigonus, while each regarded the war, not as the common concern of all, but as merely affecting himself, and all were unwilling to give assistance to one another, as if victory would be only for one, and not for all of them, appointed, after encouraging each other by letters, a time and place for an interview, and prepared for the contest with united strength. Cassander, being unable to join in it, because of a war near home, despatched Lysimachus to the support of his allies with a large force.

3 Lysimachus was of a noble family in Macedonia, but was exalted far above any nobility of birth by the proofs which he had given of personal merit, which was so great, that he excelled all those by whom the east was conquered, in greatness of mind, in philosophy, and in reputation for prowess. For when Alexander the Great, in his anger, had pretended that Callisthenes the philosopher, for his opposition to the Persian mode of doing obeisance, was concerned in a plot that had been formed against him, and, by cruelly mangling all his limbs, and cutting off his ears, nose, and lips, had rendered him a shocking and miserable spectacle, and had had him carried about, also, shut up in a cage with a dog, for a terror to others, Lysimachus, who was accustomed to listen to Callisthenes, and to receive precepts of virtue from him, took pity on so great a man, undergoing punishment, not for any crime, but for freedom of speech,8 and furnished him with poison to relieve him from his misery. At this act Alexander was so displeased, that he ordered Lysimachus to be exposed to a fierce lion; but when the beast, furious at the sight of him, had made a spring towards him, Lysimachus plunged his hand, wrapped in his cloak, into the lion’s mouth, and, seizing fast hold of his tongue, killed him. This exploit being related to the king, his wonder at it ended in pleasure, and he regarded Lysimachus with more affection than before, on account of his extraordinary bravery. Lysimachus, likewise, endured the ill-treatment of the king with magnanimity, as that of a parent. At last, when all recollection of this affair was effaced from the king’s mind, Lysimachus was his only attendant in an excursion through vast heaps of sand, when he was in pursuit of some flying enemies, and had left his guards behind him in consequence of the swiftness of his horse. His brother Philip,9 having previously attempted to do him the same service, had expired in the king’s arms. Alexander, however, as he alighted from his horse, happened to wound Lysimachus in the forehead with the point of his spear, so severely that the blood could not by any means be stopped, till the king, taking off his diadem, placed it on his head by way of closing the wound; an act which was the first omen of royal dignity to Lysimachus. And after the death of Alexander, when the provinces were divided among his successors, the most warlike nations were assigned to Lysimachus as the bravest of them all; so far, by general consent, had he the preeminence over the rest in military merit.

4 Before the war with Antigonus was commenced by Ptolemy and his allies, Seleucus, on a sudden, leaving the Greater Asia,10 came forward as a fresh enemy to Antigonus. The merit of Seleucus was well known, and his birth had been attended with extraordinary circumstances. His mother Laodice, being married to Antiochus, a man of eminence among Philip’s generals, seemed to herself, in a dream, to have conceived from a union with Apollo, and, after becoming pregnant, to have received from him, as a reward for her compliance, a ring, on the stone of which was engraved an anchor and which she was desired to give to the child that she should bring forth. A ring similarly engraved, which was found the next day in the bed, and the figure of an anchor, which was visible on the thigh of Seleucus when he was born, made this dream extremely remarkable. This ring Laodice gave to Seleucus, when he was going with Alexander to the Persian war, informing him, at the same time, of his paternity. After the death of Alexander, having secured dominion in the east, he built a city, where he established a memorial of his two-fold origin; for he called the city Antioch from the name of his father Antiochus, and consecrated the plains near the city to Apollo. This mark of his paternity continued also among his descendants; for his sons and grandsons had an anchor on their thigh, as a natural proof of their extraction.

After the division of the Macedonian empire among the followers of Alexander, he carried on several wars in the east. He first took Babylon, and then, his strength being increased by this success, subdued the Bactrians. He next made an expedition into India, which, after the death of Alexander, had shaken, as it were, the yoke of servitude from its neck, and put his governors to death. The author of this liberation was Sandrocottus, who afterwards, however, turned their semblance of liberty into slavery; for, making himself king, he oppressed the people whom he had delivered from a foreign power, with a cruel tyranny. This man was of mean origin, but was stimulated to aspire to regal power by supernatural encouragement; for, having offended Alexander by his boldness of speech, and orders being given to kill him, he saved himself by swiftness of foot; and while he was lying asleep, after his fatigue, a lion of great size having come up to him, licked off with his tongue the sweat that was running from him, and after gently waking him, left him. Being first prompted by this prodigy to conceive hopes of royal dignity, he drew together a band of robbers, and solicited the Indians to support his new sovereignty. Some time after, as he was going to war with the generals of Alexander, a wild elephant of great bulk presented itself before him of its own accord, and, as if tamed down to gentleness,,11 took him on its back, and became his guide in the war, and conspicuous in fields of battle. Sandrocottus, having thus acquired a throne, was in possession of India, when Seleucus was laying the foundations of his future greatness; who, after making a league with him, and settling his affairs in the east, proceeded to join in the war against Antigonus. As soon as the forces, therefore, of all the confederates were united, a battle was fought,12 in which Antigonus was slain, and his son Demetrius put to flight.

But the allied generals, after thus terminating the war with the enemy, turned their arms again upon each other, and, as they could not agree about the spoil, were divided into two parties. Seleucus joined Demetrius, and Ptolemy Lysimachus. Cassander dying, Philip, his son, succeeded him. Thus new wars arose, as it were, from a fresh source, for Macedonia.


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1 Near Gaza. Diod. Sic. xix. 84.—Wetzel.

2 Wetzel, in his text, has the old reading Abderitas, but expresses himself, in his notes, in favour of Freinshemius’s conjecture, Antariatas, from Diodor. Sic. xx. 19, and Athen. viii. 2; which Graevius adopted. The Antariatae bordered on Dardania and Paeonia. See Strabo, lib. xix. The inhabitants of the island of Gyarus are also said by Pliny, H. N. viii. 43, to have been driven from their country by mice; also those of Troas, x. 85.

3 Sepultura.] That is, by burning the bodies on a funeral pile.—Wetzel.

4 See
xii. 14.

5 Cum Demetrio navali proelio iterato congreditur.] “There was,” says Scheffer, “no previous battle by sea, as is apparent from Diod. Sic. lib. xix.; and the adverb iterato is, therefore, to be referred, not to proelio, but to congreditur. He had engaged with Demetrius previously by land; he now engages him a second time by sea.”

6 See
c. 1, sub fin.

7 A foolish observation. Did Justin or Trogus suppose that friendships were better observed in the days of Cassander and Demetrius than in his own?

8 Libertatis.] Libertas pro libertate loquendi. Sic saepe et alii.—Vorstius.

9 The brother of Lysimachus. See Q. Curt. viii. 2, 35.

10 In opposition to Asia Minor.

11 Veluti domita mansuetudine stands in Wetzel’s text, and I believe in all others. Scheffer asks whether there is mansuetudo not domita. Dübner, the editor of a small edition with French notes (Par. 18mo. 1847), says that Cuper, de Elephantis, p. 47, proposes to read domitus ad mansuetudinem.

12 At Ipsus in Phrygia.


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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.

This material may only be used for private and educational use and provided that its copyright status is properly cited. Any modification, remote loading, publication, reproduction on another site, diffusion on the internet, or commercial use of these texts is strictly prohibited without the prior agreement of the author.