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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 VII

Ancient state of Macedonia, I.—Family of Perdiccas, II.—Persian ambassadors punished at the court of Amyntas; Bubares the Persian, III.—Family of Amyntas, IV.—Youth and education of Philip; commencement of his reign, V. VI.


1 2 3 4 5 6

1 MACEDONIA was formerly caned Emathia, from the name of king Emathion, of whose prowess the earliest proofs are extant in those parts. As the origin of this kingdom was but humble, so its limits were at first extremely narrow. The inhabitants were called Pelasgi,1 the country Paeonia. But in process of time, when, through the ability of their princes and the exertions of their subjects, they had conquered, first of all, the neighbouring tribes, and afterwards other nations and peoples, their dominions extended to the utmost boundaries of the east.2 In the region of Paeonia, which is now a portion of Macedonia, is said to have reigned Pelegonus,3 the father of Asteropaeus, whose name we find, in the Trojan war, among the most distinguished defenders of the city. On the other side a king named Europus held the sovereignty in a district called Europa.4

But Caranus,5 accompanied by a great multitude of Greeks, having been directed by an oracle to seek a settlement in Macedonia, and having come into Emathia, and followed a flock of goats that were fleeing from a tempest, possessed himself of the city of Edessa, before the inhabitants, on account of the thickness of the rain and mist, were aware of his approach; and being reminded of the oracle, by which he had been ordered “to seek a kingdom with goats for his guides,” he made this city the seat of his government, and afterwards religiously took care, whithersoever he led his troops, to keep the same goats before his standards, that he might have those animals as leaders in his enterprises which he had had as guides to the site of his kingdom. He changed the name of the city, in commemoration of his good fortune, from Edessa to Aegeae,6 and called the inhabitants Aegeatae. Having subsequently expelled Midas7 (for he also occupied a part of Macedonia), and driven other kings from their territories, he established himself, as sole monarch, in the place of them all, and was the first that, by uniting tribes of different people, formed Macedonia as it were into one body, and laid a solid foundation for the extension of his growing kingdom.

2 After him reigned Perdiccas, whose life was distinguished, and the circumstances of whose death, as if ordered by an oracle, were worthy of record; for when he was old and at the point of death, he made known to his son Argaeus a place in which he wished to be buried, and directed that not only his own bones, but those of the kings that should succeed him, should be deposited in the same spot; signifying that, “as long as the relics of his posterity should be buried there, the crown would remain in his family;” and the people believe, in consequence of this superstitious notion, that the line came to be extinct in Alexander, because he changed the place of sepulture. Argaeus, having governed the kingdom with moderation, and gained the love of his subjects, left his son Philip his successor, who, being carried off by an untimely death, made Aeropus, then quite a boy, his heir.

The Macedonians had perpetual contests with the Thracians and Illyrians, and, being hardened by their. arms, as it were by daily exercise, they struck terror into their neighbours by the splendour of their reputation for war. The Illyrians, however, despising the boyhood of a king under age, attacked the Macedonians, who, being worsted in the field, brought out their king with them in his cradle, and, placing him behind the front lines, renewed the fight with greater vigour, as if they had been defeated before, because the fortune of their prince was not with them in the battle, and would now certainly conquer, because, from this superstitious fancy, they had conceived a confidence of victory; while compassion for the infant, also, moved them, as, if they were overcome, they seemed likely to transform him from a king into a captive. Engaging in battle, therefore, they routed the Illyrians with great slaughter, and showed their enemies, that, in the former encounter, it was a king, and not valour, that was wanting to the Macedonians.

To Aeropus succeeded Amyntas, a prince eminently distinguished, both for his own personal valour, and for the excellent abilities of his son Alexander, who had from nature such remarkable talents of every kind,8 that he contended for the prize in various species of exercises at the Olympic games.

3 About this time Darius king of Persia, having been forced to quit Scythia in dishonourable flight, but not wishing to be thought every where contemptible from losses in war, despatched Megabazus, with a portion of his army, to subdue Thrace, and other kingdoms in those parts; to which Macedonia, he thought, would fall as an unimportant addition. Megabazus, speedily executing the king’s orders, and sending deputies to Amyntas king of Macedonia, demanded that hostages should be given him as a pledge of future peace. The deputies, being liberally entertained, asked Amyntas, as their intoxication increased in the progress of a banquet, “to add to the magnificence of his board the privileges of friendship, by sending for his and his sons’ wives to the feast; a practice which is deemed, among the Persians, a pledge and bond of hospitality.” The women having entered, and the Persians laying hands upon them too freely, Alexander, the son of Amyntas, begged his father, from regard to his age and dignity, to leave the banqueting-room, engaging that he himself would moderate the frolicsome spirit of their guests. Amyntas having withdrawn, Alexander called the women from the apartment for a while, under pretext of having them dressed in better style, and bringing them back with greater attractions. But in their place he put young men, clad in the habit of matrons, and ordered them to chastise the insolence of the deputies with swords which they were to carry under their garments. All of them being thus put to death, Megabazus, not knowing what had happened, but finding that the deputies did not return, sent Bubares to Macedonia with a detachment of his forces, as to an easy and trifling contest; disdaining to go himself, that he might not be disgraced by an encounter with so despicable a people. But Bubares, before he came to an engagement, fell in love with the daughter of Amyntas, when, breaking off hostilities, he celebrated a marriage, and, all thoughts of war being abandoned, entered into bonds of affinity with the king.

4 Soon after the departure of Bubares from Macedonia, king Amyntas died; but his relationship with Bubares not only secured to his son and successor, Alexander, peace during the reign of Darius, but also such favour with Xerxes, that, when that monarch overspread Greece like a tempest, he conferred upon him the sovereignty of all the country between the mountains of Olympus and Haemus. But Alexander enlarged his dominions not less by his own valour than through the munificence of the Persians. The throne afterwards descended, by the order of succession, to Amyntas, the son of his brother Menelaus. This prince was remarkable for his application to business, and was endowed with all the accomplishments of a great general. By his wife Eurydice he had three sons, Alexander, Perdiccas, and Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, and one daughter, named Eurynoe; he had also by Gygaea Archelaus, Aridaeous, and Menelaus. Subsequently he had formidable contests with the Illyrians and Olynthians. He would have been cut off by a plot of his wife Eurydice, who, having engaged to marry her son-in-law, had undertaken to kill her husband, and to put the government into the hands of her paramour, had not her daughter betrayed the intrigue and atrocious intentions of her mother. Having escaped so many dangers, he died at an advanced age, leaving the throne to Alexander, the eldest of his sons.

5 Alexander, at the very beginning of his reign, purchased peace from the Illyrians with a sum of money, giving his brother Philip to them as a hostage. Some time after, too, he made peace with the Thebans by giving the same hostage; a circumstance which afforded Philip fine opportunities of improving his extraordinary abilities; for, being kept as a hostage at Thebes three years, he received the first rudiments of education9 in a city distinguished for strictness of discipline, and in the house of Epaminondas, an eminent philosopher, as well as commander. Not long afterwards Alexander fell by a plot of his mother Eurydice, whom Amyntas, when she was convicted of a conspiracy against him, had spared for the sake of their children, little imagining that she would one day be the destroyer of them. Perdiccas, also, the brother of Alexander, was taken off by similar treachery. Horrible, indeed, was it, that children should have been deprived of life by a mother, to gratify her lust, whom a regard for those very children had saved from the punishment of her crimes. The murder of Perdiccas seemed the more atrocious from the circumstance that not even the prayers of his little son could procure him pity from his mother. Philip, for a long time, acted, not as king, but as guardian to this infant; but, when dangerous wars threatened, and it was too long to wait for the co-operation of a prince who was yet a child, he was forced by the people to take the government upon himself.

6 When he took possession of the throne, great hopes were formed of him by all, both on account of his abilities, which promised that he would prove a great man, and on account of certain old oracles respecting Macedonia, which had foretold that “when one of the sons of Amyntas should be king, the state of the country would be extremely flourishing:” to fulfil which expectations the wickedness of his mother had left only him. At the commencement of his reign, when, on the one hand, the murder of his brother, so atrociously put to death, and the dread of treachery; on the other, a multitude of enemies, and the poverty of his kingdom, exhausted by a series of wars, bore hard upon the young king’s immature age, thinking it proper to make distinct arrangements as to the wars, which, as if by a common conspiracy to crush Macedonia, rose around him from different nations and several quarters at the same time, to all of which he could not at once make resistance, he put an end to some by offers of peace, and bought off others, but attacked such of his enemies as seemed easiest to be subdued, that, by a victory over them, he might confirm the wavering minds of his soldiers, and alter any feelings of contempt with which his adversaries might regard him. His first conflict was with the Athenians,10 whom he surprised by a stratagem, but, though he might have put them all to the sword, he yet, from dread of a more formidable war allowed them to depart uninjured and without ransom. Afterwards, leading his army against the Illyrians, he killed several thousand of his enemies, and took the famous city of Larissa. He then fell suddenly on Thessaly (when it apprehended any thing rather than war), not from desire of spoil, but because he wished to add the strength of the Thessalian cavalry to his own troops; and he thus incorporated a force of horse and foot in one invincible army. His undertakings having been thus far successful, he married Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus, afterwards king of the Molossians, her cousin-german Arrybas, then king of that nation, who had brought up the young princess, and had married her sister Troas, promoting the union; a proceeding which proved the cause of his ruin, and the beginning of all the evils that afterwards befel him; for while he hoped to strengthen his kingdom by this affinity with Philip, he was by that monarch deprived of his crown, and spent his old age in exile.

After these proceedings, Philip, no longer satisfied with acting on the defensive, boldly attacked even those who gave him no molestation. While he was besieging Methone, an arrow, shot from the walls at him as he was passing by, struck out his right eye; but by this wound he was neither rendered less active in the siege, nor more resentful towards the enemy; so that, some days after, he granted them peace on their application for it, and was not only not severe, but even merciful, to the conquered.

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1 See Herod. i. 56; Muller’s Dorians, vol. i. Append. i.; Dr. Smith’s Classical Dict.; Mannert, vol. vii. ; Barker’s Lempriere.

2 Viz. by Alexander the Great.

3 Hom. Il. xxi. 141.

4 Europa is a part of Thrace by Mount Haemus, but has nothing to do with this passage, in which Justin is speaking only of Macedonia. In my opinion we should read Europia, which is a portion of Macedonia, in which stood the town of Europus, and where it said that Europus, the son of Macedo, reigned.—Is. Vossius. Tanaquil Faber agrees with him.

5 He came from Argos. See Vell. Pat. i. 6; Diod. Sic. vii. 17, p. 318, ed. Didot.

6 Sometimes written Aegae, or in the singular Aegea or Aegaea, from AI)/C, a goat.

7 Justin speaks otherwise of him,
xi. 7. Photius, in an extract from Conon, (n. 186, p. 423) says, that he was instructed by Orpheus on Mount Pieria, and thence crossed over into Mysia.

8 Tanta omnium virtutum ornamenta.

9 Prima pueritiae rudimenta deposuit.] “He went through of (experienced, got over) the earliest instruction of his boyhood.” Comp. ix. 1. tirocinii rudimenta deponeret. Ponere is used in the same sense, Liv. xxxi. 11.

10 Who had sent a fleet to Macedonia under Manteias, with the intention of placing on the throne Argaeus the rival of Philip. Diod. Sic. xvi. 2


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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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