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suppress them. This furnished Arsaces with a new opportunity of establishing his power so effectually, that all future efforts were incapable of reducing it. *Seleucus, however, made a new attempt, as soon 3774. as his affairs would admit: but this second expediAnt. J. C, as 230. tion proved more unfortunate than the first; for he was not only defeated, but taken prisoner by Arsaces, in a great battle. The Parthians celebrated, for many succeeding years, the anniversary of this victory, which they considered as the first day of their liberty, though in reality it was the first æra of their slavery; for the world never produced greater tyrants than those Parthian kings to whom they were subjected. The Macedonian yoke would have been much more supportable than their oppressive government, if they had persevered to submit to it. Arsaces now began to assume the title of king, and firmly established this empire of the East, which, in process of time, counterpoised the Roman power, and became a barrier, which all the armies of that people were incapable of forcing. All the kings who succeeded Arsaces made it an indispensable law, and counted it an honour, to be called by his name; in the same manner as the kings of Egypt retained that of Ptolemy, as long as the race of Ptolemy Soter governed that kingdom. Arsaces raised himself to a throne from the lowest condition of life, and became as memorable among the Parthians, as Cyrus had been among the Persians, or Alexander among the Macedonians, or Romulus among the Romans. This verifies that passage in holy scripture, which declares, "That the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."
Ant. J. C. 233.
Onias, the sovereign pontiff of the Jews, had
h Dan. iv. 17.
Justin. 1. xli. c. 4 & 5.
tiq. 1. xii. c. 3 & 4.
* Arsaces, quæsito simul constitutoque regno, non minùs, memorabilis [Parthis fuit] quàm Persis Gyrus, Macedonibus Alexander, Ro】 vanis Romulus. JUSTIN,
neglected to send Ptolemy the usual tribute of twenty talents, which his predecessors had always paid to the kings of Egypt, as a testimonial of the homage they rendered to that crown. The king sent Athenion, one of his courtiers, to Jerusalem, to demand the payment of the arrears, which then amounted to a great sum; and to threaten the Jews, in case of refusal, with a body of troops, who should be commissioned to expel them from their country, and divide it among themselves. The alarm was very great at Jerusalem on this occasion, and it was thought necessary to send a deputation to the king, in the person of Joseph, the nephew of Onias, who, though in the prime of his youth, was universally esteemed for his prudence, probity, and justice. Athenion, during his continuance at Jerusalem, had conceived a great regard for his character, and as he set out for Egypt before him, he promised to render him all the good offices in his power with the king. Joseph followed him in a short time, and on his way met with several considerable persons of Colosyria and Palestine, who were also going to Egypt, with an intention to offer terms for farming the great revenues of those provinces. As the equipage of Joseph was far from being so magnificent as theirs, they treated him with little respect, and considered him as a person of no great capacity. Joseph concealed his dissatisfaction at their behaviour, but drew from the conversation that passed between them, all the circumstances he could desire, with relation to the affair that brought them to court, and without seeming to have any particular view in the curiosity he expressed.
When they arrived at Alexandria, they were informed that the king had taken a progress to Mem. phis, and Joseph was the only person among them who set out from thence, in order to wait upon that monarch, without losing a moment's time. He had the good fortune to meet him as he was returning from Memphis, with the queen and Athenion in his
chariot. The king, who had received impressions in his favour from Athenion, was extremely delighted at his presence, and invited him into his chariot. Joseph to excuse his uncle, represented the infirmities of his great age, and the natural tardiness of his disposition, in such an engaging manner, as satisfied Ptolemy, and created in him an extraordinary esteem for the advocate who had so effectually pleaded the cause of that pontiff. He also ordered him an apartment in the royal palace of Alexandria, and allowed him a place at his table.
When the appointed day came for purchasing, by auction, the privilege of farming the revenues of the provinces, the companions of Joseph in his journey to Egypt, offered no more than eight thousand talents for the provinces of Cœlosyria, Phonicia, Judæa, and Samaria. Upon which Joseph, who had discovered, in the conversation that passed between them in his presence, that this purchase was worth double the sum they offered, reproached them for depreciating the king's revenues in that manner, and offered twice as much as they had done. Ptolemy was well satisfied to see his revenues so considerably increased; but being apprehensive that the person who proffered so large a sum would be in no condition to pay it, he asked Joseph what security he would give him for the performance of his agreement? The Jewish deputy replied, with a calm air, that he had such persons to offer for his security on that occasion, as he was certain his Majesty could have no objections to. Upon being ordered to mention them, he named the king and queen themselves; and added, that they would be his securities to each other. The king could not avoid smiling at this little pleasantry, which put him into so good a hu mour, that he allowed him to farm the revenues without any other security than his verbal promise for payment. Joseph acted in that station for the space of ten years, to the mutual satisfaction of the court and provinces. His rich competitors, who had farmed
those revenues before, returned home in the utmost confusion, and had reason to be sensible, that a magnificent equipage is a very inconsiderable indication of merit.
* King Demetrius died, about this time, in Macedonia, and left a son, named Philip, in an early state of minority; for which reason his guardianship was consigned to Antigonus, who, having espoused the mother of his pupil, ascended the throne, and reigned for the space of twelve years. He was magnificent in promises, but extremely frugal in performance, which occasioned his being surnamed Doson*.
Five or six years after this period, Seleucus Callinicus, who for some time had continued in a state of captivity in Parthia, died in that country by a fall from his horse. Arsaces had always treated him as a king during his confinement. His wife was Laodice, the sister of Andromachus, one of his generals, and he had two sons and a daughter by that marriage. He espoused his daughter to Mithridates King of Pontus, and consigned Phrygia to her for her dowry. His sons were Seleucus and Antiochus; the former of whom, surnamed Ceraunus, succeeded him in the throne.
We are now arrived at the period wherein the republic of the Achæans begins to appear with lustre in history, and was in a condition to sustain wars, particularly against that of the Lacedæmonians. It will, therefore, be necessary for me to represent the present state of those two republics; and I shall begin within that of the Achæans.
Justin. 1. xxviii. c. 3. Dexipp. Porphyr. Euseb. Į vii. c. 3. Athen. p. 153.
This name signifies in the Greek language, One who will give, that is to say, a person who promises to give, but never gives what he promises.
3772. Ant. J. C. 232.
Ant. J. C. 226
SECT. II. The establishment of the republic of the Achæans. Aratus delivers Sicyon from tyranny. The character of that young Grecian. He is enabled, by the liberalities of Ptolemy Evergetes, to extinguish a sedition ready to break out in Sicyon. Takes Corinth from Antigonus king of Macedonia. Prevails on the cities of Megara, Trazene, Epidaurus, and Megalopolis, to accede to the Achæan league; but is not so successful with respect to Argos.
THE republic of the Achæans was not considerable at first, either for the number of its troops, the immensity of its riches, or the extent of its territory, but derived its power from the great reputation it acquired for the virtues of probity, justice, love of liberty; and this reputation was very ancient. The Crotonians and Sybarites adopted the laws and customs of the Achæans, for the re-establishment of good order in their cities. The Lacedæmonians and Thebans had such an esteem for their virtue, that they chose them, after the celebrated battle of Leuctra, to arbitrate the differences which subsisted between them.
The government of this republic was democra tical, that is to say, in the hands of the people. It likewise preserved its liberty to the times of Philip and Alexander; but under those princes, and in the reigns of those who succeeded them, it was either in subjection to the Macedonians who had made themselves masters of Greece, or else was oppressed by cruel tyrants.
It was composed of twelve cities, all in Peloponnesus, but together not equal to a single one of
Polyb. 1. 8. p. 125-130.
These twelve cities were, Patræ, Dyma, Pharæ, Tritæa, Leontium, Aegira, Pellene, Aegium, Bura, Seraunia, Olenus, Helice.