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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).

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Book XXXV

Demetrius Soter, king of Syria, dethroned and killed by Alexander Bala, I.—His death avenged by his son Demetrius Nicator, II.


1 2

1 DEMETRIUS, having possessed himself of the throne of Syria, and thinking that peace might be dangerous in the unsettled state of his affairs, resolved to enlarge the borders of his kingdom, and increase his power, by making war upon his neighbours. Accordingly, being incensed with Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, for having disdained to marry his sister, he kindly received his brother Orophernes, who had been unjustly deprived of the throne, and who came to him as a suppliant; and, rejoicing that a plausible pretext for war was afforded him, determined to reinstate him in his dominions. But Orophernes, with extreme ingratitude, having entered into a compact with the people of Antioch, at that time enraged against Antiochus, formed a plot to expel him from his throne by whom he was to have been restored to his own. The conspiracy being discovered, Demetrius spared indeed the life of Orophernes, that Ariarathes might not be freed from the dread of war on the part of his brother, but caused him to be apprehended, and kept a close prisoner at Seleucia. Nor were the people of Antioch so alarmed at this discovery as to desist from their rebellion. Being in consequence attacked by Demetrius, but receiving aid from Ptolemy king of Egypt, Attalus king of Asia,1 and Ariarathes of Cappadocia, they suborned one Bala, a young man of mean condition, to claim the throne of Syria, on pretence that it had been his fatherís, by force of arms; and that nothing might be wanting to render him insolent, the name of Alexander was given him, and he was reported to be the son of King Antiochus. And such was the detestation of Demetrius among all classes, that not only royal power, but also nobility of birth, was unanimously attributed to his rival. Alexander, in consequence, amidst this wonderful change of fortune, forgetful of his original meanness, and supported by the strength of almost all the east, made war upon Demetrius, and, having defeated him, deprived him at once of his throne and his life. Demetrius, however, did not want courage to resist him in the field; for he both routed the enemy in the first encounter, and, when the kings renewed the contest, he killed several thousands in the struggle. But at last he fell, with his spirit still unsubdued, and fighting most valiantly, among the thickest of the enemy.

2 At the commencement of the war, Demetrius had entrusted two of his sons to a friend of his at Cnidus, with a large quantity of treasure, that they might be removed from the perils of the war, and might be preserved, if fortune should so order it, to avenge their fatherís death. The elder of the two, Demetrius, who had passed the age of boyhood, hearing of the luxurious life of Alexander (whom his unexpected grandeur, and the fascination of enjoyments to which he was a stranger, held captive as it were in his palace, idling away his days among troops of concubines), fell upon him, with the assistance of some Cretans, when he was quite at his ease, and free from all apprehension of danger. The people of Antioch, too, to atone for their injuries to the father by new services, devoted themselves to him; and his fatherís soldiers, fired with love for the young prince, and preferring the obligation of their former oath to the haughty rule of the new king, ranged themselves on the side of Demetrius; and thus Alexander, cast down with no less violent a freak of fortune than that with which he had been raised, was defeated and killed in the first battle, paying the penalty of his conduct both to Demetrius whom he had slain, and to Antiochus, from whom he had pretended to derive his birth.

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1 Rege Asiae.] King of Pergamus, where he reigned twenty years, B.C. 157 to 137.—Wetzel.


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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.

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