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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 XVI

Antipater, son of Cassander, puts his mother to death; Demetrius Poliorcetes becomes master of Macedonia, I.—Demetrius is driven from Macedonia; deaths of Antipater and Cassander, II.—War between Pyrrhus and Lysimachus; account of the city Heraclea, in Pontus, III.—Tyranny of Clearchus there, IV.—Death of Clearchus; subsequent condition of Heraclea, V.

1 2 3 4 5

1 AFTER the deaths, in rapid succession,1 of Cassander and Philip, queen Thessalonice, the wife of Cassander, was soon killed by her son Antipater, though she conjured him by the bosom of a mother to spare her life. The cause of this matricide was that, in the division of the kingdom between the brothers, she seemed to have favoured Alexander. This deed appeared the more atrocious to everyone, as there was no proof of injustice on the part of the mother; although, indeed, in a case of matricide, no reason can be alleged sufficient to justify the crime. Alexander, in consequence, resolving to go to war with his brother, to avenge his mother’s death, solicited aid from Demetrius; and Demetrius, in hopes of seizing the throne of Macedonia, made no delay in complying with his request. Lysimachus, alarmed at his approach, persuaded Antipater his son-in-law, rather to be reconciled to his brother than to allow his father’s enemy to enter Macedonia. Demetrius therefore, finding that a reconciliation was commenced between the brothers, removed Alexander by treachery, and, having seized on the throne of Macedonia, called an assembly of the army, to defend himself before them for the murder. He alleged that “his life had been first attempted by Alexander, and that he had not contrived treachery, but prevented it; and that he himself was the more rightful king of Macedonia, both from experience attendant on greater age, and from other considerations; for that his father2 had been a follower of king Philip, and of Alexander the Great, in the whole of their wars, and afterwards an attendant on the children of Alexander and a leader in the punishment of the revolters. That Antipater, on the other hand, the grandfather of these young men, had always been more cruel as the governor of the kingdom than the kings themselves; and that Cassander, their father, had been the extirpator of the king’s family, sparing neither women nor children, and not resting till he had cut off the whole of the royal house. That vengeance for these crimes, as he could not exact it from Cassander himself, had been inflicted on his children; and that accordingly Philip and Alexander, if the dead have any knowledge of human affairs, would not wish the murderers of them and their issue, but their avengers, to fill the throne of Macedonia.” The people being pacified by these arguments, he was saluted king of Macedonia. Lysimachus, too, being pressed with a war with Doricetes, king of Thrace, and not wishing to have to fight with Demetrius at the same time, made peace with him, resigning into his hands the other half of Macedonia, which had fallen to the share of his son-in-law Antipater.

2 When Demetrius, therefore, supported by the whole strength of Macedonia, was preparing to invade Asia, Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Lysimachus, having experienced in the former contest how great the power of unanimity was, formed an alliance a second time, and having joined their forces, carried the war against Demetrius, into Europe. With these leaders Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, united himself, as a friend and sharer in the war, hoping that Demetrius might lose Macedonia not less easily than he had obtained it. Nor were his expectations vain; for he himself, having corrupted Demetrius’s army, and put him to flight, seized on the throne of Macedonia.

During the course of these transactions, Lysimachus put to death his son-in-law Antipater, who complained that he had been deprived of the throne of Macedonia by the treachery of his father-in-law, and put his daughter Eurydice, who had joined with him in his complaints, into prison; and thus the whole house of Cassander made atonement to Alexander the Great, whether for killing himself or destroying his offspring, partly by violent deaths, partly by other sufferings, and partly by shedding the blood of one another.

Demetrius, surrounded by so many armies, preferred, when he might have fallen honourably, to make an ignominious surrender to Seleucus. At the termination of the war died Ptolemy, after having attained great glory by his military exploits. Contrary to the custom among nations, he had resigned his kingdom, before his illness, to the youngest of his sons, and had stated his reasons for that proceeding to the people, who showed themselves no less indulgent in accepting the son for their king than the father had proved himself in delivering the kingdom to him. Among other instances of mutual affection between the father and the son, the following had procured the young man favour from the people, that the father, having publicly resigned the throne to him, had done duty as a private soldier among his guards, thinking it more honour to be the father of a king than to possess any kingdom whatsoever.

3 But the evil of discord, constantly arising among equals, had produced a war between Lysimachus and King Pyrrhus, who had just before been allies against Demetrius. Lysimachus, gaining the advantage, had expelled Pyrrhus, and made himself master of Macedonia. He then made war on Thrace, and afterwards on Heraclea, a city of which the origin and the subsequent fortunes were objects of wonder; for when the Boeotians were suffering from a pestilence, the oracle at Delphi had told them, that “they must plant a colony in the country of Pontus, dedicated to Hercules. But as, through dread of a long and dangerous voyage and all the people preferring death in their own country, the matter was neglected, the Phocians made war upon them; and after suffering from unsuccessful struggles with that people, they had recourse to the oracle a second time. The answer which they received was, that “what was a remedy for the pestilence would also be a remedy for the war.” Raising therefore a body of colonists, and sailing to Pontus, they built the city Heraclea; and as they had been led to that settlement by the guidance of fate, they soon acquired great power. In process of time the city had many wars with its neighbours, and many dissensions among its own people. Among other noble acts that they performed, the following is one of the most remarkable. When the Athenians were at the height of power, and, after the overthrow of the Persians, had imposed a tax on Greece and Asia for the support of a fleet, and when all were promptly contributing to the maintenance of their safety, the Heracleans alone, from friendship for the kings of Persia, refused to pay. Lamachus was accordingly despatched by the Athenians with an army to exact from them what was withheld; but leaving his ships on the coast, and going to ravage the lands of the Heracleans, he lost his fleet, with the greater part of his army, by shipwreck, in a tempest that came on suddenly. As he was not able, therefore, to return by sea, from having lost his ships, and did not dare, with so small a body of men, to return by land through so many warlike nations, the Heracleans, thinking this a more honourable opportunity for kindness than for revenge, sent the invaders away with a supply of provisions and troops to protect them; deeming the devastation of their lands no loss, if they could but make those their friends who had formerly been their enemies.

4 Among many other evils they endured also that of tyranny; for when, on the populace violently clamouring for an abolition of debts, and a division of the lands of the rich, the subject was long discussed in the senate, and no settlement of it was devised, they at last sought assistance against the commons, who were grown riotous by too long idleness, from Timotheus general of the Athenians, and afterwards from Epaminondas general of the Thebans. As both, however, refused their request, they had recourse to Clearchus, whom they themselves had exiled; such being the urgency of their distresses, that they recalled to the guardianship of his country him whom they had forbidden to enter his country. But Clearchus, being rendered more desperate by his banishment, and regarding the dissension among the people as a means of securing to himself the government, first sought a secret interview with Mithridates,3 the enemy of his countrymen, and made a league with him on the understanding that when he was re-established in his country, he should, on betraying the city into his hands, be made lieutenant-governor of it. But the treachery which he had conceived against his countrymen, he afterwards turned against Mithridates himself; for on returning from banishment, to be as it were the arbiter of the disputes in the city, he, at the time appointed for delivering the town to Mithridates, made Mithridates himself prisoner, with a party of his friends, and released him from captivity only on the receipt of a large sum of money. And as, in this case, he suddenly changed himself from a friend into an enemy, so, in regard to his countrymen, he soon, from a supporter of the senate’s cause, became a patron of the common people, and not only inflamed the populace against those who had conferred his power upon him, and by whom he had been recalled into his country and established in the citadel, but even exercised upon his benefactors the most atrocious inflictions of tyrannic cruelty. Summoning the people to an assembly, he declared that “he would no longer support the senate in their proceedings against the populace, but would even interpose his authority, if they persisted in their former severities; and that, if the people thought themselves able to check the tyranny of the senate, he would retire with his soldiers, and take no further part in their dissensions; but that, if they distrusted their ability to make resistance, he would not be wanting to aid then in taking revenge. They might therefore,” he added, “determine among themselves; they might bid him withdraw, if they pleased, or might request him to stay as a sharer in the popular cause.” The people, induced by these fair speeches, conferred on him the supreme authority, and, while they were incensed at the power of the senate, surrendered themselves, with their wives and children, as slaves to the power of a single tyrant. Clearchus then apprehended sixty senators (the rest had taken flight), and threw them into prison. The people rejoiced that the senate was overthrown, and especially that it had fallen by means of a leader among the senators, and that, by a reverse of fortune, their support was turned to their destruction. Clearchus, by threatening all his prisoners with death, made the price offered for their ransom the higher; and, after receiving from them large sums of money, as if he would secretly withdraw them from the violence threatened by the people, despoiled those of their lives whom he had previously despoiled of their fortunes.

5 Learning, soon after, that war was prepared against him by those who had made their escape (several cities being moved by pity to espouse their cause), he gave freedom to their slaves; and that no affliction might be wanting to distress the most honourable families, he obliged their wives and daughters to marry their slaves, threatening death to such as refused, that he might thus render the slaves more attached to himself, and less reconcilable to their masters. But such marriages were more intolerable to the women than immediate death; and many, in consequence, killed themselves before the nuptial rites were celebrated, and many in the midst of them, first killing their new husbands, and delivering themselves from dishonourable sufferings by a spirit of noble virtue. A battle was then fought, in which the tyrant, being victorious, dragged such of the senators as he took prisoners before the faces of their countrymen in triumph. Returning into the city, he threw same into prison, stretched others on the rack, and put others to death; and not a place in the city was unvisited by the tyrant’s cruelty. Arrogance was added to severity, insolence to inhumanity. From a course of continued good fortune, he sometimes forgot that he was a man, sometimes called himself the son of Jupiter. When he appeared in public, a golden eagle, as a taken of his parentage, was carried before him; he wore a purple robe, buskins like kings in tragedies, and a crown of gold. His son he named Ceraunos,4 to mock the gods, not only with false statements, but with impious names. Two noble youths, Chion and Leonides, incensed that he should dare to commit such outrages, and desiring to deliver their country, formed a conspiracy to put him to death. They were disciples of Plato the philosopher, and being desirous to exhibit to their country the virtue in which they were daily instructed by the precepts of their master, placed fifty of their relations, as if they were their attendants, in ambush; while they themselves, in the character of men who had a dispute to be settled, went into the citadel to the tyrant.5 Gaining admission, as being well known, the tyrant, while he was listening attentively to the one that spoke first, was killed by the other. But as their accomplices were too late in coming to their support, they were overpowered by the guards; and hence it happened that though the tyrant was killed, their country was not liberated. Satyrus, the brother of Clearchus, made himself tyrant in a similar way; and far many years, with various successive changes, the Heracleans continued under the yoke of tyrants.


Table of contents


1 Philip died in the same year with Cassander, B.C. 297. Concerning Thessalonice, see
xiv. 6, and Diod. Sic. xxi. Fragm. 10.—Wetzel.

2 Antigonus.

3 King of Pontus, father of the Great Mithridates.

4 *KERAUNO/S, thunder.

5 Ad tyrannum.] The words veluti ad regem, which follow tyrannum, and which Wetzel condemns as a gloss, are omitted from the translation. He also condemns the preceding veluti clientes; but for this I see no necessity.


Table of contents


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.