Page images

bim, and that she surpassed the others in prudence, as well as beauty, he attached himself to her in par. ticular; for as he was already an able politician, he neglected no opportunity of making his court to those on whom his fortune depended, and was studious to ingratiate himself with such persons as were capable of being useful to him. His noble and engaging demeanour procured him such a share in Ptolemy's esteem, that he gave him Antigone, the daughter of Berenice his favourite consort, in preference of several young princes who demanded her in marriage. This lady was the daughter of Berenice, by Philip her first husband, who was a Macedonian lord, little known with respect to any other particular. When Pyrrhus had espoused Antigone, the Queen had so much influence over her consort; as to induce him to grant his son-in-law a fleet, with a supply of money, which enabled him to repossess himself of his dominions. Here began the fortune of an exiled prince, who was afterwards esteemed the greatest general of his age: and it must be acknowledged, that every instance of his early conduct denoted extraordinary merit, and raised great expecta

tions of his future glory. A.M.

8 Athens, as we have already observed, revolted 3708.from Demetrius, and shut her gates against him. Ant. J.C. 296.

But when that prince thought he had sufficiently provided for the security of his territories in Asia, he marched against that rebellious and ungrareful city, with a resolution to punish her as she deserved. The first year was employed in the reduction of the Messenians, and the conquest of some other cities who had quitted his party; but he returned the next season to Athens, which he closely blocked up,

and reduced to the last extremity, by cutting off all A.M. communication of provisions. A fleet of an hun

3709. dred and fifty sail, sent by king Ptolemy, to succour Ant. J.C. the Athenians, and which appeared on the coasts of


& Plut. in Demetr. p. 904, 905.

Ægina, afforded them but a transient joy; for when this naval" force saw a strong fleet arrive from Pelo. ponnesus to the assistance of Demetrius, besides a great number of other vessels from Cyprus, and that the whole amounted to three hundred, they weighed anchor, and fled.

Although the Athenians had issued a decree, by which they made it capital for any person even to mention a peace with Demetrius, the extreme necessity to which they were reduced, obliged them to open their gates to him. When he entered the city, he commanded the inhabitants to assemble in the theatre, which he surrounded with armed troops, and posted his guards on each side of the stage where the dramatic pieces were performed; and then descending from the upper part of the theatre, in the manner usual with the actors, he showed himself to that multitude, who seemed rather dead than living, and waited for the event in inexpressible terror, expecting it would prove the sentence for their deftruction; but he dissipated their apprehensions by the first expressions he uttered; for he did not raise his voice like a man affected with the emotions of rage, nor deliver himself in any passionate or insulting language, but softened the tone of his voice, and only addressed himself to them in gentle complaints and amicable expostulations. He pardoned their offence, and restored them to his favour; presenting them, at the same time, with an hundred thousand measures of corn, and re-instating such magistrates as were most agreeable to them. The joy of this people may be easily conceived from the terrors with which they were before affected; and how glorious must such a prince be, who could always support so glorious, so admirable a character !

When he had regulated the state of affairs in Athens, he determined to reduce the Lacedæmonians. Archidamus, their king, advanced as far as Mantinæa to meet him : but Demetrius defeated him in a great battle, and obliged hiin to have re


course to fight; after which he advanced into Laconia, and fought another battle in the very sight of Sparta. He was again victorious; five hundred of the enemies were made prisoners, and two hundred killed upon the spot, so that he was already considered as master of the city, which had never been taken before.

In that important moment he received two pieces of intelligence, which affected him in quite a different manner. The first was, that Lysimachus had lately divested him of all his territories in Asia; and the other, that Ptolemy had made a descent on Cyprus, and conquered all the island, except Salamina, where the mother of Demetrius, with his wife and children had retired ; and that the king of Egypt carried on the siege of that city with great vigour. Demetrius left all to fly to their assistance, but was soon informed that the place had surrendered. Ptolemy had the generosity to give the mother, wife, and children of his enemy, their liberty without any ransom; and to dismiss them with all their attend. ants and effects. He even made them magnificent presents at their departure, which he accompanied with all imaginable marks of honour.

The loss of Cyprus was soon succeeded by that of Tyre and Sidon; and Seleucus dispossessed him of Cilicia on another side. Thus, in a very short time, he saw himself divested of all his dominions, without any resource or hopes for the future,

SECT. II. Dispute between the two sons of Cas

sander for the crown of Macedonia. Demetrius, being invited to the assistance of Alexander, finds means to destroy him, and is proclaimed King of the Macedonians. He makes great preparations for the conquest of Asia. A powerful confederacy is formed against him. Pyrrhus and Lysimachus deprive him of Macedonia, and divide it between themselves. Pyrrhus is soon obliged to quit those territories. Sad end of Demetrius, who dies in prison.

No prince was, ever obnoxious to greater vicissitudes of fortune, or ever experienced more sudden changes, than Demetrius. He exposed himself to these events by his imprudence, amusing himself with inconsiderable conquests, while he abandoned his provinces to the first invader. His greatest successes were immediately followed by his being dispossessed of all his dominions, and almost reduced to despair, when suddenly an unexpected resource offered itself from a quarter he had not the least room to expect it.

h In the quarrel between the two sons of Cassander A, M. for the crown, Thessalonica, their mother, favoured 3710. Alexander, who was the youngest ; which so enraged

Ant. J. C.

294.. Antipater, the eldest son, that he killed her with his own hands, though she conjured himn by the breasts which had nourished him, to spare her life. Alexander, in order to avenge this unnatural barbarity, solicited the assistance of Pyrrhus and Demetrius. Pyrrhus arrived the first, and made himself master of several cities in Macedonia, part of which he retained as a compensation for the aid he had given Alexander; and he returned to his own dominions, after he had reconciled the two brothers. Demetrius

Plut. in Demetr. p. 905. in Pyrrh. p. 386. Justin, 1. xvi. c. I.

made his approach at the same instant, upon which Alexander advanced to meet him; and testified, at the interview between them, all imaginable gratitude and friendship; but represented to him, at the same time, that the state of his affairs was changed, and that he no longer had any need of his assistance. Demetrius was displeased with this compliment, whilst Alexander, who dreaded the greatness of his power, was apprehensive of subjecting himself to a master, should he admit him into his dominions. They, however, conversed together with an external air of friendship, and entertained each other with reciprocal feasts, till at last Demetrius, upon some intelligence, either true or contrived, that Alexander intended to destroy him, prevented the execution of that design, and killed him. This murder armed the Macedonians against him at first, but when he had acquainted them with all the particulars that occasioned his conduct, the aversion they entertained for Antipater, the infamous murderer of his own mother, induced them to declare for Deme. trius, and they accordingly proclaimed him king of Macedonia. Demetrius possessed this crown for the space of seven years, and Antipater fled into Thrace, where he did not long survive the loss of . his kingdom.

One of the branches of the royal family of Philip, king of Macedonia, became entirely extinct by the death of Thessalonica, and her two sons; as the other branch from Alexander the Great had before

by the death of the young Alexander and Hercules, * his two sons. Thus these two princes, who by their

unjust wars had spread desolation through so many provinces, and destroyed such a number of royal families, experienced, by a just decree of Providence, the same calamities in their own families, as they had occasioned to others. Philip and Alexander, with their wives, and all their descendants, perished by violent deaths.

« PreviousContinue »