Page images
PDF
EPUB

The division was augmented by the equality among the generals of the army, none of whom was so superior to his colleagues, either by birth or merit, as to induce them to offer him the empire, and submit to his authority. The cavalry were desirous that Aridæus should succeed Alexander,

This prince had discovered but little force of mind, from the time he had been afflicted in his infancy with a violent indisposition, occasioned, as was pretended, by some partieular drink, which had been given him by Olympias, and which had disordered his understanding. This ambitious princess, being apprehensive that the engaging qualities she discovered in Aridaus, would be so many obstacles to the greatness of her son Alexander, thought it expedient to have recourse to the criminal precaution already mentioned. The infantry had dsclared against this prince, and were headed by Ptolemy, and other chiefs of great reputation, who began to think of their own particular establishment ; for a sudden revolution was working in the minds of these officers, and caused them to contemn the rank of private persons, and all dependency and subordinatioli, with a view of aspiring to sovereign power, which had never employed their thoughts till then, and to which they had never thought themselves qualified to pretend before this conjuncture of affairs.

*These disputes, which engaged the minds of all parties, delayed the interment of Alexander for the space of seven days ; and, if we may credit some authors, the body continued uncorrupted all that time. It was afterwards delivered to the Egyptians and Chaldeans, who embalmed it after their manner; and Aridæus, a different person from him I have already mentioned, was charged with the care of conveying it to Alexandria.

After a variety of troubles and agitations had intervened, the principal officers assembled at the conference, where it was unanimously concluded that Aridæus should be king, or rather that he should be invested with the shadow of royalty. His infirmity of mind, which ought to have excluded him from the throne, was the very motive of their advancing him to it, and uniting all suffrages in his favour. It favoured the hopes and pretensions of all the chiets, and covered their des signs. It was also agreed in this assembly, that if Roxana, who was then in the fifth or sixth month of her pregnancy, should have a son, he should be associated with Aridæus in the throne. Perdiccas, to whom Alexander had left his ring in the last moments of his life, had the person of the prince consigned to his care as guardian, and was constituted regent of the kingdom.

* Q. Curt. l. I.

Julin. 1 xviii Diod. I. xviü,

The same assembly, whatever respect they might bear to the memory of Alexander, thought fit to annul some of his regulations, which had been destructive to the state, and had exhausted his treasury. He had given orders for six temples to be erected in particular cities, which he had named, and had fixed the expences of each of these structures at 500 talents, which amounted to 500,000 crowns. He had likewise ordered a pyramid to be raised over the tomb of his father Philip, which was to be finished with a grandeur and magnificence equal to that in Egypt, esteemed one of the seven wonders of the world. He had likewise planned out other expences of the like kind, which were prudeutly revoked by the assembly.

*Within a short time after these proceedings, Roxana was delivered of a son, who was named Alexander, and acknowl. edged king jointly with Aridxus. But neither of these princes possessed any thing more than the name of royalty, as all authority was entirely lodged in the great lords and generals, who had divided the provinces among themselves.

In Europe ; Thrace and the adjacent regions were consigned to Lysimachus; and Macedonia, Epirus, and Greece, were allotted to Antipater and Craterus.

In Africa ; Egypt, and the other conquests of Alexander än Libya, and Cyrenaica, were assigned to Ptolemy the son of Lagus, with that part of Arabia which borders on Egypt. 'The month of Thoth in the autumn is the epocha, from whence the years of the empire of the Lagides in Egypt begin to be computed ; though Ptolemy did not assume the title of king, in conjunction with the other successors of Alexander, till about 17 years after this event.

In the Lesser Asia, Lycia, Pamphylia, and the Greater Phrygia, were given to Antigonus ; Caria to Cassander ; duydia, to Menander ; the Lesser Phrygia, to Leonatus Armenia, to Neoptolemus : Cappadocia and Paphlagonia, 10 Eumenes. These two provinces had never heen subjected by the Macedonians, and Ariarthes king of Cappadocia continued to govern them, as formerly: Alexander having advanced with so much rapidity to his other conquests, as left him no inclination to amuse himself with the entire Terluction of that province, contented himself with a slight submission.

Syria and Phænicia fell to Laomedon ; one of the two Medias to Atropates, and the other to Perdiccas. Persia was assigned to Peucestes ; Babylonia, to Archon ; Mesopotamia, to Arcesilas; Parthia and Hyracania, to Prataphers Res ; Bactria and Sogdiania, to Philip. The other regions * Diod. 1, xviii, p. 587,588. Juftin. 1, xiii, s, 4. Q. Curt. l. 1. e, ld. were divided among generals whose names are now but little known.

Seleucus, the son of Antiochus, was placed at the head of the cavalry of the allies, which was a post of great importance; and Cassander, son of Antipater, commanded the companies of guards.

The Upper Asia, which extends almost to India, and even India also, were left in the possession of those who had been appointed governors of those countries by Alexander.

*The same disposition generally prevailed in all the provinces I have already mentioned ; and it is in this sense that most interpreters explain that passage in the Maccabees, which declares, that Alexander, having assembled the great men of his court who had beeu bred up with him, divided his empire among them in his life-time: and indeed it was very probable, that this prince, when he saw his death approaching, and had no inclination to nominate a successor himself, was contented with confirming each of his officers in the government he had formerly assigned them, which is sufficient to authorize the declaration in the Macabees, « that he divided his kingdom among them while he was living.'

This partition was only the work of man, and its dura. tion was but short. That Being, who reigns alone, and is the only king of ages, had decreed a different distribution. He assigned to each his portion, and marked out its bounda. ries and extent, and his dispcsition alone was to subsist.

The partition concluded upon in the assembly, was the source of various divisions and wars, as will be evident in the series of this history ; each of these governors claiming the exercise of an independent and sovereign power in his particular province. They however paid that veneration to the memory of Alexander, as not to assume the title of king, till all the race of that monarch, who had been placed upon the throne, were extinct.t

Among the governors of the provinces I have mentioned, some distinguished themselves more than others by their reputation, merit, and cabals; and formed different parties, to which the others adhered, agreeably to their particular views either of interest or ambition ; for it is not to be imagined, that the resolutions which are formed in conjunctures of this nature, are much influenced by a devotion to the public good.

Eumenes must however be excepted , for he undoubtedly - was the most virtuous man among all the governors, and had *Maccab. 1. i, et 7.

† Justio 1. xv, c. 2. Plut, in Eumen. p. 383, Cor. Nep. in Eumen, zo

no superior in true bravery. He was always firm in the in. terest of the two kings, from a principle of true probity. He was a native of Cardia, a city of Thrace, and his birth was but obscure. Philip, who had observed excellent qualities in him in his youth, kept him near his own person in the quality of secretary, and reposed great confidence in him. He was equally esteemed by Alexander, who treated him with extraordinary marks of his esteem. Barsina, the first lady for whom this prince had entertained a passion in Asia, and by whom he had a son named Hercules, had a sister of the same name with her own, and the king espoused her to Eumenes*, We shall see by the event, that this wise favourite conducted himself in such a manner, as justly entitled him to the favour of these two monarchs, even after their death ; and all his sentiments and actions will make it evident that a man may be a plebian, and yet very noble by nature.

+I have already intimated, that Sysigambis, who had patiently supported the death of her father, husband, and son, was incapable of surviving Alexander. The death of this princess was soon followed by that of her two youngest daughters, Statira the widow of Alexander, and Drypetis the relict of Hephæstion. Roxana, who was apprehensive lest Statira should be pregnant by Alexander as well as herself, and that the birth of a prince would frustrate the measures which had been taken to secure the succession to the son she hoped to have, prevailed upon the two sisters to visit her, and secretly destroyed them, in concert with Perdiccas, her only confident in that infamous proceeding.

It is now time to enter upon a detail of those actions that were performed by the successors of Alexander. I shall therefore begin with the defection of the Greeks in Upper Asia, and with the war which Antipater had to sustain against Greece ; because those transactions are most detached, and in a manner distinct from the other events.

SECTION II. REVOLT OF THE GREEKS IN UPPER ASIA-ANTIPATER GOES INTO GREECE, FLIGHT AND DEATH OF DEMOS

THENES The Greeks $ whom Alexander had established, in the form of colonies, in the provinces of Upper Asia, continued with reluctance in those settlements, because they did not experience those delights and satisfactions with which they had flattered themselves, and had long cherished an ardent desire of returning into their own country. They however

* Arrian declares he had another wife. Lib. vii, p. 278, +Q. Curt. l. x. c, 5.

*Plut, in Alex. SA M. 3861, Ant. J. C. 323, Diod. 1. xviii, P, 561, 592.

durst not discover their uneasiness whilst Alexander was living, but the moment they received intelligence of his death, they openly declared their intentions. They armed 20,000 foot, all warlike and experienced soldiers, with 3000 horse ; and having placed Philon at their head, they prepared for their departure, without taking counsel, or receiving orders from any but themselves, as if they had been subject to no authority, and no longer acknowledged any superior.

Perdiccas, who foresaw the consequence of such an enterprize, at a time when every thing was in motion, and when the troops as well as their officers breathed nothing but independency, sent Pithon to oppose them. The inerit of this officer was acknowledged by all ; and he willingly charged himself with this commission, in expectation of gaining over those Greeks, and of procuring himself some considerable establishment in Upper Asia by their means. Perdiccas, being acquainted with his design, gave a very surprising order to the Macedonians whom he sent with that general, which was to extirminate the revolters entirely. Pithon, on his arrival, brought over by money 3000 Greeks, who turned their backs in the battle, and were the occasion of his obtaining a complete victory. The vanquished troops surrendered, but made the preservation of their lives and liberties thé condition of their submitting to the conqueror, This was exactly agreeable to Pithon's design, but he was no longer master of its execution. The Macedonians, thinking it incumbent on them to accomplish the orders of Perdiccas, inhumanly slaughtered all the Greeks, without the least regard to the terms they had granted them. Pithon, being thus defeated in his views, returned with his Macedonians to Perdiccas.

*This expedition was soon succeeded by the Grecian war. The news of Alexander's death being brought to Athens, had excited great rumours, and occasioned a joy that was almost universal. The people, who had long sustained with reluctance the yoke which the Macedonians had imposed on Greece, made liberty the subject of all their discourse; they breathed nothing but war, and abandoned themselves to all the extravagant emotions of a senseless and excessive joy, Phocion, who was a person of wisdom and moderation, and doubted the truth of the intelligence they had received, endeavoured to curb the turbulency of their minds, which rendered them incapable of counsel and sedate reflection. As the generality of the orators, notwithstanding all his remonstrances, believed the news of Alexander's death, Phocion

Plut. in Phoc. p. 751, 752,

« PreviousContinue »