« PreviousContinue »
and great numbers of them deserted daily to his troops. All these circumstances were fatal to the views of Perdiccas, and be lost his own life in that country. Having unfortunately taken a resolution to make his army pass an arm of the Nile, which formed an island near Memphis, in passing he lost 2000 men, half of whom were drowned, and the remainder devoured by crocodiles. The Macedonians were exasperated to such a degree of fury, when they saw themselves exposed to such unnecessary dangers, that they muti. nied against him ; in consequence of which, he was aban. doned by an hundred of his principal officers, of whom Pith. on was the most considerable, and was assassinated in his tent with most of his intimate friends.
Two days after this event, the army received intelligence of the victory obtained by Eumenes ; and had this account come two days sooner, it would certainly have prevented the mutiny, and consequently the revolution that soon succeeded it, which proved so favourable to Ptolemy and Antipater, and all their adherents.
SECTION IV. REGENCY TRANSFERRED TO ANTIPATERPOLYSPERCHON SUCCEEDS HIM.-THE LATTER
RECALS OLYMPIAS. PTOLEMY passed the Nile the day after the death of Perdiccas, and entered the Macedonian camp ; where he jus. tified his own conduct so effectually, that all the troops declared in his favonr.* When the death of Craterus was known, he made such an artful improvement of their affliction and resentment, that he induced them to pass a decree, whereby Eumenes, and fifty other persons of the same party, were declared enemies to the Macedonian state ; and this decree authorised Antipater and Antigonus to carry on a war against them. But when this prince perceived the troops had a general inclination to offer him the regency of the two kings, which became vacant by the death of Perdiccas, he had the precaution to decline that office, because he was very sensible that the royal pupils had a title without a reality ; that they would never be capable of sustaining the weight of that vast empire, nor be in a condition to reunite, under their authority, so many governments accustoined to independency ; that there was an inevitable ten
• Diod. 1, xviii, p. 616-619.
dency to dismember the whole, as well from the inclinations and interest of the officers, as the situation of affairs ; that all his acquisitions in the interim would redound to the advantage of his pupils. ; that while he appeared to possess the first rank, he should in reality enjoy nothing fix. ed and solid, or that could any way be considered as his own property ; that upon the expiration of the regency, he should be left without any government or real estab Tishment, and that he should neither be master of an army to support him, nor of any retreat for his preservation : Whereas all his colleagues would enjoy the richest provinces in perfect tranquillity, and he be the only one who had not derived any advantages from the common conquests. These considerations induced him to prefer the post he already enjoyed to the new title that was offered him, a's the former was less hazardous, and rendered him less obnoxious to envy: he therefore caused the choice to fall on Pithon and Aridæus.
The first of these persons had commanded with distinction in all the wars of Alexander, and had embraced the party of Perdiccas till he was a witness of his imprudent conduct in passing the Nile, which induced him to quit his service, and go over to Ptolemy.
With respect to Aridæus, history has taken no notice of him before the death of Alexander, when the funeral solemnities of that prince were committed to his care ; and we have already seen in what manner he acquitted himself of that melancholy but honourable commission, after he had employed two years in the preparations for it.
The honour of this guardianship was of no long continuance to them.
Eurydice, the consort of king Aridæus, whom we shall distinguish for the future by the name of Philip, being fond of interfering in all affairs, and being supported in her pretensions by the Macedonians; the two regents were so dissatisfied with their employment, that they voluntarily resigned it, after they had sent the army back to Triparadis in Syria ; and it was then conferred upon Antipater.
As soon as he was invested with his authority, he made a new partition of the provinces of the empire, in which he excluded all those who had espoused the interests of Perdiccas and Eumenes, and re-established every person of the other party, who had been dispossessed. In this new division of the empire, Seleucus, who had great authority from the command of the cavalry, as we have al. ready intimated, had the government of Babylon, and became afterwards the most powerful of all the successors of Alexander. Pithon had the government of Media ; but Atropates, who at that time enjoyed the government of that province, supported himself in one part of the country, and assumed the regal dignity, without acknowledging the authority of the Macedonians : and this tract of Media was afterwards called Media Atropatena. Antipater, after this regulation of affairs, sent Antigonus against Eumenes, and then returned into Macedonia ; but left his son Cassano der behind him, in quality of general of the cavalry, and with orders to be near the person of Antigonus, that he might the better be informed of his designs,
* Jaddus, the high-priest of the Jews, died this year, and was succeeded by his son Onias, whose pontificate continued for the space of twenty-one years. I make this remark, because the history of the Jews will, in the sequel of this work, be very much intermixed with that of Alexander's successors.
+Antigonus appeared early in the field against Eumenes; and a battle was fought at Orcynium in Cappadocia, wherein Eumenes was defeated, and lost 8000 men, by the treachery of Appollonides, one of the principal officers of his cavalry; who was corrupted by Antigonus, and marched over to the enemy in the midst of the battle. The traitor was soon punished for his perfidy, for Eumenes took him, and caused him to be hanged upon the spot.
§ A conjuncture, which happened soon after this defeat, would have enabled Eumenes to seize the baggage of Antigonus and all his riches, with a great number of prisoners; and his little troop already cast an eye on so considerable a booty. But whether his apprehensions that so rich a prey would enervate the heart of his soldiers, who were then constrained to wander from place to place ; or whether his regard to Antigonus, with whom he had formerly contracted a particular friendship, prevented him from improving this opportunity ; it is certain, that he sent a letter to that commander, to inform him of the danger that threatened him ; and when he afterwards made a feint to attack the baggage, it was all removed to a place of security.
Eumenes, after his overthrow, was obliged, for his preservation, to employ most of his time in changing the place of his retreat ; and he was daily admired for the tranquillity
* A. M. 3683. Ant. J. C. 321. Joseph. Antiq. I. ix. c. 8.
Plut. in Eumco. p. 588-590. Cor, Nep, in Eumen. c. Se
and steadiness of mind he discovered, in the wandering life to which he was reduced : for, as Plutarch observes, adversity alone can place greatness of soul in its full point of light, and render the real merit of mankind conspicuous ; where. as prosperity frequently casts a veil of false grandeur over real meanness and imperfections. Eumenes, having at last disbanded most of his remaining troops, shut himself up, with 500 men, who were determined to share his fate, in the castle of Nora, a place of extraordinary strength on the frontiers of Cappadocia and Lycaonia, where he sustained a siege of twelve months.
He was soon sensible, that nothing incommoded his garri. son so much as the small space they possessed, being shut up in little close houses, and on a tract of ground, whose whole circuit did not extend 200 fathoms, where they could neither walk nor perform the least exercise ; and where their horses, having scarce any room for motion, became sluggish, and incapable of service. To remedy this inconvenience, he had recourse to the following expedient : He converted the large est house in the place, the extent of which did not exceed 21 feet, into a kind of hall for exercise. This he consigned to the men, and ordered them to walk in it very gently at first; they were afterwards to double their pace by degrees, and at last were to exert the most vigorous motions. He then took the following method for the horses : He suspended them, one after another, in strong slings, which were disposed under their breasts, and from thence inserted into rings fastened to the roof of the stable ; after which he caused them to be raised into the air by the aid of pullies, and in such a manner, that only their hinder feet rested on the ground, while the extreme parts of the hoofs of their fore feet could hardly touch it. In this condition, the grooms lashed them sererely with their whips, which tormented the horses to such a degree, and forced them into such violent agita. tions, that their bodies were all covered with sweat and foam. After this exercise, which was finely calculated to strengthen and keep them in wind, and likewise to render their limbs supple and pliant, their barley was given to them very clean, and winnowed from all the chaff, that they might eat it the sooner, and with less difficulty. The abilities of a good general extend to every thing about him, and are seen in the minutest particulars.
* The siege, or, more properly, the blockade of Nora, did not prevent Antigonus from undertaking a new expedition into Pisidia, against Alcetas and Attalus ; the last of
* A, M. 3685. Ant. J. C, 319.
whom was taken prisoner in a battle, and the other slain by treachery in the place to which he retired.
During these transactions in Asia, Ptolemy, seeing of what importance Syria, Phænicia, and Judæa.were, as well for covering Egypt, as for making proper dispositions on that side for the invasion of Cyprus, which he had then in view, determined to make himself master of these provinces, which were governed by Laomedon. With this intention he sent Nicanor into Syria with a body of landforces, while he himself set out with a fleet to attack the coasts. Nicanor defeated Laomedon, and took him prisoner ; in consequence of which he soon conquered the inland country. Ptolemy had the same advantages on the coasts; by which means he became absolute master of those provinces. The princes in alliance with him were alarmed at the rapidity of these conquests; but Antipater was at too great a distance, being then in Macedonia ; and Antigonus was too much employed against Eumenes, to oppose these great accessions to the power of Ptolemy, who gave them no little jealousy.
+ After the defeat of Laomedon, the Jews were the only people who made any resistance. They were duly sensible of the obligation they were under, by the oath they had taken to their governor,
and were determined to continue faithful to him. Ptolemy advanced into Judæa, and formed the siege of Jerusalem. This city was so strong by its advantageous situation, in conjunction with the works of art, that it would have sustained a long siege, had it not been for the religious fear the Jews entertained of violating the law, by which they were prohibited to defend themselves on the Sabbath. Ptolemy was not long unacquainted with this particular ; and, in order to improve the great advantage it gave him, he chose that day for the gen. eral assault ; and as no individual among the Jews would presume to defend himself, the city was taken without difficư ty.
Ptolemy at first treated Jerusalem and Judæa with great severity, for he carried above 100,000 of the inhabitants captives into Egypt ; but when he afterwards considered the steadiness with which they had persisted in the fidelity they had sworn to their governors, on this and a variety of other occasions, he was convinced, that this quality rendered them more worthy of his confidence; and he accordingly chose 30,000 of the most distinguished among them, who were most capable of serving him, and appointed them to guard the most important places in his dominions."
Diod p. 627, 622. † Joseph, Antiq, 1, xii. C. I,