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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces one of
The Parallel Lives


published in Vol. VIII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. VIII) Plutarch, The Parallel Lives

 p79  The Life of Eumenes

583 1 1 Eumenes of Cardia, according to Duris, was the son of a man whom poverty drove to be a waggoner, in the Thracian Chersonesus, but received a liberal education in literature and athletics. While he was still a boy, Duris says further, Philip, who was sojourning in the place and had an hour of leisure, came to see the young men and boys of Cardia exercising in the pancratium​1 and in wrestling, among whom Eumenes had such success and gave such proofs of intelligence and bravery that he pleased Philip and was taken into his following. 2 But in my opinion those historians tell a more probable story who say that a tie of guest-friendship with his father led Philip to give advancement to Eumenes. After Philip's death Eumenes was thought to be inferior to none of Alexander's followers in sagacity and fidelity, and though he had only the title of chief secretary, he was held in as much honour as the king's principal friends and intimates, so that on the Indian expedition he was actually sent out as general with a force under his own orders,​2 and received the command in the cavalry which Perdiccas had held, when Perdiccas, after Hephaestion's death, was advanced to that officer's position. 3 Therefore when Neoptolemus, the commander of the Shield-bearers, after Alexander's  p81 death, said that he had followed the king with shield and spear, but Eumenes with pen and paper, the Macedonians laughed him to scorn; they knew that, besides his other honours, Eumenes had been deemed worthy by the king of relation­ship in marriage. For Barsiné the daughter of Artabazus, the first woman whom Alexander knew in Asia, and by whom he had a son, Heracles, had two sisters; of these Alexander gave one, Apama, to Ptolemy, and the other, also called Barsiné,​3 to Eumenes. This was at the time when he distributed the other Persian women as consorts among his companions.4

2 1 However, Eumenes was often in collision with Alexander, and he got himself into danger through Hephaestion. In the first place, for instance, when Hephaestion assigned to Euius the flute-player the quarters which his servants had already taken up for Eumenes, Eumenes, accompanied by Mentor, came in a passion to Alexander and cried out that it was best for him to throw away his arms and be a flute-player or a tragic actor. The immediate result was that Alexander shared his indignation and heaped abuse upon Hephaestion. Soon, however, he changed his mind and was angry with Eumenes, feeling that he had indulged in insolence towards himself more than in bold words against Hephaestion.

2 Again, when Alexander was sending out Nearchus with a fleet to explore the outer sea, he asked money of his friends, since the royal treasury was empty. Eumenes was asked for three hundred talents, but gave only a hundred, and said that even these had been slowly and with difficulty collected for him by  p83 his stewards. Alexander made no reproaches, nor did he take the money, but ordered his servants secretly to set fire to the tent of Eumenes, wishing to take its owner in a manifest lie when the treasure was carried out of it. 3 But before that could be done the tent was consumed, and the destruction of his papers made Alexander repent him of his orders. Still, the gold and silver that was melted down by the fire was found to be more than a thousand talents' worth. Alexander took none of it, however, but actually wrote to his satraps and generals everywhere to send copies of the documents that had been destroyed, and ordered Eumenes to take them all in charge.

4 And still again, Eumenes had a quarrel with Hephaestion about a certain gift, and much abusive language passed between them. At the time, indeed, Eumenes was no less in favour than before; but a little while afterwards Hephaestion died, and the king, in his bitter sorrow, dealt harshly and was severe with all who, as he thought, had been jealous of his favourite while he lived and now rejoiced at his death. Eumenes, in particular, he suspected of such feelings, and often reproached him for his former quarrels with Hephaestion and his abusive language towards him. 5 But Eumenes, who was wily and persuasive, tried to make what threatened his ruin conduce to his salvation. He sought refuge, namely, in Alexander's ardent gratitude towards Hephaestion, suggesting honours which were most likely to adorn the memory of the deceased, and contributing money for the construction of his tomb lavishly and readily.

 p85  3 1 When Alexander was dead​5 and a quarrel had arisen between the Macedonian men-at‑war and his principal officers, or companions,​6 Eumenes sided with the latter in his opinions, but in what he said he was a kind of common friend to both and held himself aloof from the quarrel, on the ground that it was no business of his, since he was a stranger, to meddle in disputes of Macedonians. Moreover, when the rest of the principal officers had withdrawn from Babylon, he remained behind in the city and mollified many of the men-at‑war and made them more disposed towards a settlement of the quarrel. 2 And when the officers, having conferred with one another, brought their first tumultuous proceedings to an end, and were distributing satrapies and commands, Eumenes received Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and the southern coast of the Euxine sea as far as Trapezus. It is true that at the time this territory was not subject to the Macedonians, for Ariarathes held royal sway over it; but Leonnatus and Antigonus, with a great army, were to conduct Eumenes thither and declare him satrap of the country.

3 Now, Antigonus paid no heed to the edicts of Perdiccas, being already lifted up in his ambitions and scorning all his associates; but Leonnatus came down from the interior into Phrygia in order to undertake the expedition in behalf of Eumenes. Here, however, Hecataeus the tyrant of Cardia joined him and besought  p87 him to go rather to the assistance of Antipater and the Macedonians besieged in Lamia.​7 Leonnatus therefore determined to cross over to Greece, invited Eumenes to go with him, and tried to reconcile him with Hecataeus. 4 For they had a hereditary distrust of one another arising from political differences; and frequently Eumenes had been known to denounce Hecataeus when a tyrant and to exhort Alexander to restore its freedom to Cardia. Therefore at this time also Eumenes declined to go on the expedition against the Greeks, saying he was afraid that Antipater, who had long hated him, would kill him to please Hecataeus. Then Leonnatus took him into his confidence and revealed to him all his purposes. 5 Assistance to Antipater, namely, was what he alleged as a pretext for his expedition, but he really meant, as soon as he had crossed into Europe, to lay claim to Macedonia; and he showed certain letters from Cleopatra​8 in which she invited him to come to Pella and promised to marry him. But Eumenes, either because he was afraid of Antipater, or because he despaired of Leonnatus as a capricious man full of uncertain and rash impulses, took his own equipment and decamped by night.​9 And he had three hundred horsemen, two hundred armed camp-followers, and in gold what would amount to five thousand talents of money. 6 With this equipment he fled to Perdiccas, and by telling him of the designs of Leonnatus at once enjoyed great influence with him and was made a member of his council. Moreover, a little while after he was conducted into Cappadocia with an army  p89 which Perdiccas commanded in person. There Ariarathes was taken prisoner, the country was brought into subjection, and Eumenes was proclaimed satrap. 7 He entrusted the cities of the country to his own friends, appointed commanders of garrisons, left behind him such judges and administrators as he wished, Perdiccas not at all interfering in these matters, and then marched away with Perdiccas, desiring to pay court to that general, and not wishing to be separated from the kings.10

4 1 However, Perdiccas felt confident of carrying out his projects by himself, and thought that the country they had left behind them needed an efficient and faithful guardian, and therefore sent Eumenes back from Cilicia, ostensibly to his own satrapy, but really to reduce to obedience the adjacent country of Armenia, which had been thrown into confusion by Neoptolemus.​11 2 Accordingly, although Neoptolemus was a victim of ostentation and empty pride, Eumenes tried to constrain him by personal intercourse; then, finding that the Macedonian men-at‑war were conceited and bold, he raised a force of cavalry as a counterpoise to them by offering the natives of the country who were able to serve as horsemen immunity from contributions and tributes, 3 and by distributing horses that he had bought among those of his followers in whom he placed most confidence; the spirits of these men, too, he incited by honours and gifts, and developed their bodies by exercise and discipline; so that a part of the Macedonians were amazed, a part emboldened, when they saw that in a short time  p91 he had assembled about him no fewer than sixty-three hundred horsemen.

5 1 And when Craterus​12 and Antipater, after over­powering the Greeks,​13 were crossing into Asia​14 to overthrow the power of Perdiccas, and were reported to be planning an invasion of Cappadocia, Perdiccas, who was himself heading an expedition against Ptolemy,​15 appointed Eumenes commander of the forces in Armenia and Cappadocia with plenary powers. 2 He also sent letters on the subject, in which he commanded Alcetas​16 and Neoptolemus to look to Eumenes for orders, and Eumenes to manage matters as he thought best. Alcetas, then, flatly refused to serve in the campaign, on the ground that the Macedonians under him were ashamed to fight Antipater, and were so well disposed to Craterus that they were ready to receive him with open arms. Neoptolemus, however, plotting treachery against Eumenes, was detected, and when he was summoned would not obey, but drew up his forces in battle array. 3 Here first did Eumenes reap the fruit of his forethought and preparation; for when his infantry had already been defeated, he routed Neoptolemus with his cavalry, and captured his baggage, and when the men-at‑war of Neoptolemus were scattered in pursuit of their enemies, charged upon them with his entire body of horse and compelled them to lay down their arms and make oath with him to serve under him.

4 Neoptolemus, then, collected a few of his men from the rout and fled to Craterus and Antipater.  p93 But they had already sent an embassy to Eumenes inviting him to come over to their side; he would enjoy possession of his present satrapies, would receive additional troops and territory from them, would become a friend to Antipater instead of an enemy, and would not become an enemy to Craterus instead of a friend. 5 On hearing this proposition Eumenes replied that he had been Antipater's enemy from of old and could not now become his friend, when he saw him treating his friends as enemies, but that he was ready to reconcile Craterus with Perdiccas and bring the two together on just and equal terms; if, however, either undertook to overreach the other he would give aid to the injured party as long as he had breath, and would rather lose his life than his honour.

6 1 Craterus and Antipater, then, after getting this answer, were taking deliberate counsel about the whole situation, when Neoptolemus came to them after his flight, told them about the battle he had lost, and urged them to come to his aid, both of them if possible, but at any rate Craterus; for the Macedonians longed for him exceedingly, and if they should only see his cap and hear his voice, they would come to him with a rush, arms and all. 2 And indeed the name of Craterus was really great among them, and after the death of Alexander most of them had longed for him as their commander. They remembered that he had many times incurred the strong displeasure of Alexander himself in their behalf, by opposing his gradually increasing desire to adopt Persian customs, and by defending the manners of their country, which, thanks to the spread of luxury and pomp, were already being treated with contempt.

3 At the time of which I speak, then, Craterus sent  p95 Antipater into Cilicia,​17 while he himself with a large part of the forces advanced with Neoptolemus against Eumenes. He thought that he should fall upon him when he was off his guard, and when, after their recent victory, his soldiers were in revelry and disorder. Now, that Eumenes should learn beforehand of his approach and get himself ready for it in advance, one might consider a mark of sober general­ship, though not of superlative ability; 4 but that he should keep his enemies from getting any knowledge that would work him harm, and, besides this, that he should hurl his soldiers upon Craterus before they knew with whom they were fighting, and conceal from them the name of the opposing general, seems to me to have been an exploit peculiar to this commander. He gave out word, then, that Neoptolemus was once more coming against him, with Pigres, and that they had a force of Paphlagonian and Cappadocian cavalry. One night he was planning to decamp and then fell asleep and had a strange vision. 5 He dreamed, namely, that he saw two Alexanders ready to give each other battle, each at the head of a phalanx; then Athena came to help the one, and Demeter the other, and after a fierce struggle the one who had Athena for a helper was beaten, and Demeter, culling ears of grain, wove them into a wreath for the victor.

6 At once, then, he conjectured that the vision was in his favour, since he was fighting for a country that was most fertile and had at that time an abundance of fine young grain in the ear; for the land had everywhere been sown and bespoke a time of peace,  p97 now that its plains were covered with a luxuriant growth; and he was all the more strengthened in his belief when he learned that the enemy's watchword was "Athena and Alexander." Accordingly, he too gave out a watchword, namely, "Demeter and Alexander," and ordered all his men to crown themselves and wreathe their arms with ears of grain. 7 But though he often felt an impulse to speak out and tell his principal officers who it was against whom their struggle was to be, and not to keep hidden away in his own breast alone a secret so important, nevertheless he abode by his first resolution and made his judgment surety for the peril.

7 1 However, he arrayed against Craterus not a single Macedonian, but two troops of foreign horse commanded by Pharnabazus the son of Artabazus and Phoenix of Tenedos, who had strict orders to charge at full speed when the enemy came into view and engage them at close quarters, without giving them a chance to withdraw or say anything, and without receiving any herald they might send. For he had strong fears that his Macedonians, if they recognized Craterus, would go over to him. 2 He himself, with a division of his best horsemen, three hundred in number, rode along to the right wing, where he purposed to attack Neoptolemus. When the forces of Eumenes had crossed the intervening hill and were seen coming on to the attack with a swift and impetuous dash, Craterus was dumbfounded and heaped much abuse upon Neoptolemus for having deceived him about the Macedonians changing sides; but he exhorted his officers to act like brave men, and he charged upon the enemy.

3 The first collision was severe, the spears were  p99 quickly shattered, and the fighting was done with the swords. Here Craterus did not disgrace Alexander, but slew many foes, and frequently routed the opposing arrays. At last, however, he was wounded by a Thracian who attacked him from the side, and fell from his horse. 4 As he lay prostrate there all his enemies rode past him, not knowing who he was, except Gorgias, one of the officers of Eumenes; he recognized him, dismounted from his horse, and stood guard over his body, for he was now in an evil plight and struggling with death. In the meantime Neoptolemus also was engaged with Eumenes. They had long hated one another with a deadly hatred, but in two onsets neither had caught sight of the other; in the third, however, they recognized each other, and at once drew their swords and with loud cries rode to the attack. 5 Their horses dashed together with the violence of colliding triremes, and dropping the reins they clutched one another with their hands, each trying to tear off the other's helmet and strip the breastplate from his shoulders. While they were struggling, their horses ran from under them and they fell to the ground, where they closed with one another and wrestled for the mastery. 6 Then Eumenes, as Neoptolemus sought to rise first, gave him an undercut in the ham, and himself got to his feet before his adversary did; but Neoptolemus, supporting himself on one knee, and wounded in the other, defended himself vigorously from underneath. He could not, however, inflict fatal wounds, but was himself wounded in the neck, fell to the ground, and lay there prostrate. 7 His sword, however, he still retained, and while Eumenes, transported with rage and ancient hatred, was stripping off his armour and  p101 reviling him, Neoptolemus surprised him with a wound under the breastplate, where it reaches the groin. But the blow gave Eumenes more fright than harm, since lack of strength made it feeble.

After stripping the dead body, weak as he was from wounds received in legs and arms, Eumenes nevertheless had himself put upon his horse and hastened to the other wing, supposing that the enemy were still resisting. 8 But when he learned of the fate of Craterus and had ridden up to where he lay, and saw that he was still alive and conscious, he dismounted, wept bitterly, clasped his hand, and had many words of abuse for Neoptolemus, and many words of pity for Craterus in his evil fortune, and for himself in the necessity which had brought him into a conflict with a friend and comrade, where he must do or suffer this harm.18

8 1 This battle was won by Eumenes about ten days after the former.​19 It lifted his reputation high, and he was thought to have accomplished his task alike with wisdom and bravery; but it got him much envy and hatred as well among his allies as among his enemies. They felt that he, an alien and a stranger, had used the arms and might of the Macedonians for slaying the foremost and most approved of them. 2 Now, if Perdiccas could have learned in time of the death of Craterus, no one else would have had chief place among Macedonians; but as it was, he was slain in a mutiny of his soldiers in Egypt​20 two days before the report of the battle  p103 came to his camp, and his Macedonians, in a rage, at once condemned Eumenes to death. Moreover, Antigonus was appointed to conduct the war against him, in conjunction with Antipater.

3 When Eumenes fell in with the royal herds of horse that were pasturing about Mount Ida, he took as many horses as he wanted and sent a written statement of the number to the overseers, at this, we are told, Antipater laughed and said that he admired Eumenes for his forethought, since he evidently expected to give an account of the royal properties to them, or to receive one from them. 4 Because he was superior in cavalry, Eumenes wished to give battle in the plains of Lydia about Sardis, and at the same time he was ambitious to make a display of his forces before Cleopatra;​21 but at the request of that princess, who was afraid to give Antipater any cause for complaint, he marched away into upper Phrygia and wintered at Celaenae. Here Alcetas, Polemon, and Docimus strove emulously with him for the chief command, whereupon he said: "This bears out the saying, 'Of perdition no account is made.' " 5 Moreover, having promised to give his soldiers their pay within three days, he sold them the homesteads and castles about the country, which were full of slaves and flocks. Then every captain in the phalanx or commander of mercenaries who had bought a place was supplied by Eumenes with implements and engines of war and took it by siege; and thus every soldier received the pay that was due him, in a distribution of the captured properties. 6 In consequence of this, Eumenes was again in high favour; and once when letters were found in his camp which the leaders of the enemy  p105 had caused to be scattered there, wherein they offered a hundred talents and honours to any one who should kill Eumenes, his Macedonians were highly incensed and made a decree that a thousand of the leading soldiers should serve him continually as a body-guard, watching over him when he went abroad and spending the night at his door. 7 These carried out the decree, and were delighted to receive from Eumenes such honours as kings bestow upon their friends. For he was empowered to distribute purple caps and military cloaks, and this was a special gift of royalty among Macedonians.

9 1 Now, prosperity lifts even men of inferior natures to higher thoughts, so that they appear to be invested with a certain greatness and majesty as they look down from their lofty state; but the truly magnanimous and constant soul reveals itself rather in its behaviour under disasters and misfortunes. 2 And so it was with Eumenes. For, to begin with, he was defeated by Antigonus​22 at Orcynii in Cappadocia through treachery,​23 and yet, though in flight, he did not suffer the traitor to make his escape out of the rout to the enemy, but seized and hanged him. Then, taking the opposite route in his flight to that of his pursuers, he changed his course before they knew it, and, passing along by them, came to the place where the battle had been fought. Here he encamped, collected the bodies of the dead, and burned them on pyres made from the doors of the neighbouring villages, which he had split into billets. He burned the bodies of the officers on one pyre, those of the common soldiers on another, heaped great mounds of earth over the ashes, and  p107 departed, so that even Antigonus, when he came up later, admired his boldness and constancy.

3 Again, when he came upon the baggage of Antigonus, and could easily have captured many freemen, many slaves, and wealth amassed from so many wars and plunderings, he was afraid that his men, if loaded down with booty and spoils, would become too heavy for flight, and too luxurious to endure wanderings and lapse of time. In lapse of time, however, he placed his chief hopes for ending the war, feeling that he could thus cause Antigonus to turn back. 4 But since it was quite a difficult matter to deflect his Macedonians from good things which were within their reach, he ordered them to refresh themselves and bait their horses before advancing upon the enemy. He himself, however, sent a secret message to Menander, who was in charge of the enemy's baggage, implying that he was concerned for him as an old time friend and comrade, and advising him to be on his guard and withdraw as quickly as possible from his low-lying and accessible position to the foot-hills near by, which could not be reached by cavalry or surrounded. 5 Menander speedily comprehended his peril and decamped, and then Eumenes openly sent out scouts and ordered his soldiers to arm themselves and bridle their horses, as he was going to lead them against the enemy. But when the scouts brought word that Menander was altogether safe from capture now that he had taken refuge in a difficult region, Eumenes pretended to be vexed, and led his forces away. 6 And it is said that when Menander bore witness of these things to Antigonus, and the Macedonians began to praise Eumenes and felt more  p109 kindly towards him, because, when it was in his power to enslave their children and outrage their wives, he had spared them and let them go, Antigonus said: "Nay, my good men, that fellow did not let them go out of regard for you, but because he was afraid to put such fetters on himself in his flight."

10 1 After this, as he wandered about and sought to elude his enemies, Eumenes persuaded most of his soldiers to leave him,​24 either out of regard for them, or because he was unwilling to trail after him a body of men too small to give battle, and too large to escape the enemy's notice. Moreover, after he had taken refuge in Nora, a stronghold on the confines of Lycaonia and Cappadocia, with five hundred horsemen and two hundred men-at‑war, even there again, whatsoever friends asked to be dismissed because they could not endure the asperities of the place and the constraint in diet, all these he sent away, after bestowing upon them tokens of affection and kindness. 2 And when Antigonus came up and invited him to a conference before the siege began, he replied that the friends of Antigonus and officers to succeed Antigonus in command were many, whereas those in whose behalf he was fighting had no one left to command them after him; and he bade Antigonus to send hostages if he wanted to have a conference with him. Moreover, when Antigonus demanded to be addressed by him as a superior, Eumenes replied: "I regard no man as my superior so long as I am master of my sword." 3 Nevertheless, after Antigonus had sent his nephew Ptolemy  p111 into the fortress, as Eumenes had demanded, Eumenes went down to meet him, and they embraced one another with greetings of friendship and affection, since they had formerly been close associates and intimate companions. A long conference was held, in which Eumenes made no mention of his own safety or peace, but actually demanded that he should be confirmed in the possession of his satrapies, and that what was his by gift should be restored to him. At this the bystanders were amazed, and they admired his lofty spirit and confidence. 4 But meanwhile many of the Macedonians came running together in their eagerness to see what sort of man Eumenes was; for no one else had been so much talked about in the army since the death of Craterus. Then Antigonus, afraid that Eumenes might suffer some violence, first loudly forbade the soldiers to approach, and pelted with stones those who were hurrying up, but finally threw his arms about Eumenes and, keeping off the throng with his bodyguards, with much ado removed him to a place of safety.

11 1 After this, Antigonus built a wall round Nora, left troops to guard it, and retired; Eumenes, however, although closely besieged in a stronghold which had grain, water in abundance, and salt, but no other edible, not even a relish to go with the grain, nevertheless, with what he had, managed to render the life of his associates cheerful, inviting them all by turns to his own table, and seasoning the meal thus shared with conversation which had charm and friendliness. 2 For he had a pleasant face, not like that of a war-worn veteran, but delicate and youthful, and all his body had, as it were, artistic proportions, with limbs of astonishing symmetry; and  p113 though he was not a power­ful speaker, still he was insinuating and persuasive, as one may gather from his letters.

3 But most of all detrimental to his forces thus besieged was their narrow quarters, since their movements were confined to small houses and a place only two furlongs in circumference, so that neither men nor horses could get exercise before eating or being fed. Therefore, wishing to remove the weakness and languor with which their inactivity afflicted them, and, more than that, to have them somehow or other in training for flight, if opportunity should offer, 4 he assigned the men a house, the largest in the place, fourteen cubits long,​a as a place to walk, ordering them little by little to increase their pace. And as for the horses, he had them all girt round the neck with great straps fastened to the roof, and raised them partly up into the air by means of pulleys, so, while with their hind legs they rested firmly upon the ground, they just touched it with the tips of their fore hoofs. 5 Then, while they were thus suspended, the grooms would stand at their sides and stir them up with shouts and strokes of the goad; and the horses, full of rage and fury, would dance and leap about on their hind legs, while with their swinging fore feet they would strike the ground and try to get a footing there, thus exerting their whole bodies and covering themselves with sweat and foam, — no bad exercise either for speed or strength.​25 Then their barley would be thrown to them boiled, that they might the sooner dispatch and the better digest it.

12 1 But presently, as the siege dragged along,  p115 Antigonus learned that Antipater had died in Macedonia,​26 and that matters were in confusion owing to the dissension between Cassander and Polysperchon.​b He therefore cherished no longer an inferior hope, but embraced the whole empire in his scheme, and desired to have Eumenes as friend and helper in his undertakings. Accordingly, he sent Hieronymus to make a treaty with Eumenes, and proposed an oath for him to take. 2 This oath Eumenes corrected and then submitted it to the Macedonians who were besieging him, requesting them to decide which was the juster form. Antigonus, namely, for form's sake, had mentioned the kings​27a at the beginning of the oath, and then had made the rest of it refer to himself; but Eumenes wrote at the head of the oath the names of Olympias and the kings,​27b and proposed to swear fealty, not to Antigonus alone, but also to Olympias and the kings, and to have the same enemies and friends as they. This was thought to be more just, and the Macedonians accordingly administered this oath of Eumenes, raised the siege, and sent to Antigonus, that he too, on his part, might take the oath to Eumenes.

3 Meanwhile, however, Eumenes gave back all the Cappadocian hostages whom he was holding in Nora, and received from those who came for them horses, beasts of burden, and tents. He also collected all the soldiers who had become scattered by his flight and were now wandering about the country, so that he had a force of almost a thousand horsemen. With  p117 these he set out in flight, being rightly in fear of Antigonus. For Antigonus not only ordered his Macedonians to wall him in again and besiege him, but also wrote back bitter reproaches to them for accepting the correction of the oath.

13 1 While Eumenes was in flight, letters were brought to him from those in Macedonia who feared the growing power of Antigonus. Olympias invited him to come and take charge of Alexander's little son and rear him, feeling that plots were laid against his life; Polysperchon and Philip​28 the king ordered him, as commander of the forces in Cappadocia, to wage war upon Antigonus, to take five hundred talents of the treasure at Quinda​29 in reparation of his own losses, and to use as much of it as he wished for the war. 2 They had also written concerning these matters to Antigenes and Teutamus, the commanders of the Silver-shields. These men, on receiving their letters, ostensibly treated Eumenes with friendliness, but were plainly full of envy and contentiousness, disdaining to be second to him. Eumenes therefore allayed their envy by not taking the money, alleging that he had no need of it; 3 while upon their love of contention and love of command, seeing that they were as unable to lead as they were unwilling to follow, he brought superstition to bear.

He said, namely, that Alexander had appeared to him in a dream, had shown him a tent arrayed in royal fashion with a throne standing in it, and had then said that if they held their councils and transacted their business there, he himself would be  p119 present and would assist them in every plan and enterprise which they undertook in his name. Eumenes easily convinced Antigenes and Teutamus that this was true. They were unwilling to go to him, and he himself thought it undignified to be seen at the doors of others. 4 So they erected a royal tent, and a throne in it which they dedicated to Alexander, and there they met for deliberation on matters of highest importance.

And now, as they advanced into the interior of the country,​30 Peucestas,​31 who was a friend of Eumenes, met them with the other satraps, and they joined their forces, so that the number of their men and the splendour of their equipment raised the spirits of the Macedonians. But the leaders themselves had been made unmanageable by their exercise of power, and effeminate by their mode of life, after the death of Alexander, 5 and they brought into collision spirits that were tyrannical and fed on barbaric arrogance, so that they were harsh towards one another and hard to reconcile. Moreover, by flattering the Macedonian soldiery extravagantly and lavishing money upon them for banquets and sacrifices, in a short time they made the camp a hostelry of festal prodigality, and the army a mob to be cajoled into the election of its generals, as in a democracy. 6 Eumenes, however, perceiving that, while they despised one another, they feared him and were on the watch for an opportunity to kill him, pretended to be in need of money, and got together many talents by borrowing from those who hated him most, in order that they might put confidence in him and refrain from killing him out of regard for the money  p121 they had lent him. The consequence was that the wealth of others was his body-guard, and that, whereas men generally preserve their lives by giving, he alone won safety by receiving.

14 1 The Macedonians, however, while there was no danger, continued to take gifts from their corrupters, and hung about the doors of these men, who now had body-guards and wanted to be generals. But when Antigonus encamped near them with a large force and the situation called aloud for a real general, not only did the common soldiers attach themselves to Eumenes, but also those who were great only when peace and luxury prevailed, every man of them, gave in to him and consented without a murmur to hold post which he gave them. 2 And, indeed, when Antigonus tried to cross the river Pasitigris, none of the other commanders who were watching his movements was even aware of it, but Eumenes, and he alone, withstood him, joined battle with him, slew many of his men and filled the stream with dead bodies, and took four thousand prisoners. But most of all in connection with the sickness that befell him did the Macedonians make it clear that they considered the others able to feast them splendidly and hold high festival, but him alone capable of wielding command and waging war, 3 For Peucestas, having feasted them splendidly in Persis, and having given every man a victim for sacrifice, was expecting to be chief in command; and a few days afterwards, as the soldiers were marching against the enemy, it chanced that Eumenes, in consequence of a dangerous illness, was being carried along in a litter outside the ranks, where it was quiet and his sleep would not be broken. But after they had  p123 advanced a little way, suddenly the enemy were seen passing over some hills and descending into the plain. 4 The gleams of their golden armour in the sun flashed down from the heights as they marched along in close formation, and on the backs of the elephants the towers and purple trappings were seen, which was their array when going into battle. Accordingly, the foremost Macedonians halted in their march and called with loud cries for Eumenes, declaring that they would not go forward unless he was in command of them; and grounding their arms they passed word to one another to wait, and to their leaders to keep still, and without Eumenes not to give battle or run any hazard even with the enemy. 5 When Eumenes heard of this, he quickened the pace of his bearers to a run and came to them, and lifting the curtains of his litter on either side, stretched forth his hand in delight. And when the soldiers saw him, they hailed him at once in their Macedonian speech, caught up their shields, beat upon them with their spears, and raised their battle-cry, challenging the enemy to fight in the assurance that their leader was at hand.

15 1 Now Antigonus, hearing from his prisoners that Eumenes was sick and in such wretched plight as to be borne along in a litter, thought it no great task to crush the other commanders if Eumenes was sick. He therefore hastened to lead his army to battle. 2 But when, as the enemy were forming in battle order, he had ridden past their lines and observed their shape and disposition, he was amazed, and paused for some time; then the litter was seen as it was carried from one wing to the other. At this, Antigonus gave a loud laugh, as was his wont,  p125 and after saying to his friends, "This litter, it would seem, is what is arrayed against us," immediately retired with his forces and pitched his camp.32

3 But the Macedonians opposed to him, after getting a little respite, once more acted like a capricious mob, and, mocking at their leaders, distributed themselves in winter quarters over almost the whole of Gabene, so that the rear was separated from the van by almost a thousand furlongs. When Antigonus became aware of this, he set out suddenly against them, taking this time a road that was difficult and without water, but direct and short, hoping that, in case he fell upon them when they were scattered about in their winter quarters, it would no longer be easy for the mass of them to join their generals. But after he had entered an uninhabited country, dire winds and severe frosts gave trouble to his army and impeded their march. 4 The only help, therefore, was to burn many fires, and this was what revealed his presence to the enemy. For the Barbarians living on the mountains which over­looked the uninhabited tract, amazed at the number of fires, sent messengers on dromedaries to Peucestas. And he, when he heard the news, being himself quite out of his mind with fear and seeing that the other officers were in a like state, set out to fly, after rousing up those of their soldiers especially who were quartered along the route. 5 But Eumenes tried to put a stop to their confusion and panic fear, by promising so to check the speed of the enemy that they would come up three days later than they were expected. And when his hearers were persuaded, he sent round  p127 messengers with orders that the forces in winter quarters and elsewhere should assemble with all speed; at the same time, too, he himself rode for with the other commanders, took possession of a place which could be seen at a distance by such as traversed the desert, measured it off, and ordered many fires to be made at intervals, as in an encampment. 6 This was done, and when Antigonus saw these fires on the mountains, he was distressed and disheartened, supposing that his enemies had long been aware of his approach and were coming to meet him. In order, therefore, that he might not be forced to fight, when his men were worn and weary from their march, against those who had spent a comfortable winter and were ready for the conflict, he forsook the direct road and led his army through villages and cities, taking time to refresh it. 7 But when no one tried to obstruct his progress, the thing which usually happens when enemies are facing one another, and when the people round about said they had seen no army, but that the place was full of lighted fires, Antigonus perceived that he had been outgeneraled by Eumenes, and in deep resentment led his forces forward to try the issue in open battle.

16 1 But meanwhile most of the forces with Eumenes had assembled, and, admiring his sagacity, demanded that he should be sole commander. At this, Antigenes and Teutamus, the leaders of the Silver-shields, were filled with vexation and jealousy, so that they plotted against the life of Eumenes, and, assembling most of the satraps and generals, deliberated when and how they might put him out of the way. 2 They were unanimous in the decision to make every use of him in the ensuing battle, and after the battle  p129 to kill him at once. But Eudamus, the master of the elephants, and Phaedimus, secretly brought word to Eumenes of this decision; not that they were moved by any goodwill or kindness, but because they were anxious not to lose the money they had lent him.​33 These men Eumenes commended, and then went off to his tent, where he said to his friends that he was living in a great herd of wild beasts. Then he made his will, and tore up and destroyed his papers; he did not wish that after his death, in consequence of the secrets contained in these documents, accusations and calumnies should be brought against his correspondents. 3 After this business had been finished, he deliberated whether to give over the victory to the enemy, or to take flight through Media and Armenia and invade Cappadocia. He came to no decision while his friends were with him, but after considering many expedients with a mind which was as versatile as his fortunes were changeable, he proceeded to draw up his forces, urging on the Greeks and the Barbarians, and himself exhorted by the phalanx and the Silver-shields to be of good courage, since, as they felt sure, the enemy would not withstand their attack. 4 And indeed they were the oldest soldiers of Philip and Alexander, war's athletes as it were, without a defeat or a fall up to that time, many of them now seventy years old, and not a man younger than sixty. And so, when they charged upon the forces of Antigonus, they shouted; "It is against your fathers that ye sin, ye miscreants;" and falling upon them in a rage they crushed their whole phalanx at once, not a man withstanding them, and most of their opponents being cut to pieces at close quarters.

 p131  5 At this point, then, Antigonus was defeated overwhelmingly, but with his cavalry he got the upper hand; for Peucestas fought in a way that was altogether lax and ignoble, and Antigonus captured all the baggage. He was a man who kept cool in the presence of danger, and he was aided by the ground. 6 For the plain whereº they fought was vast, and its soil was neither deep nor trodden hard, but sandy and full of a dry and saline substance, which, loosened up by the trampling of so many horses and men during the battle, issued forth in a dust like lime, and this made the air all white and obscured the vision. Therefore it was easy for Antigonus to capture the enemy's baggage unobserved.

17 1 After the battle was over, Teutamus at once sent an embassy to treat for the baggage. And when Antigonus promised not only to give this back to the Silver-shields but also to treat them kindly in other ways, the Silver-shields formed a dire design to put the man alive into the hands of his enemies. 2 So, to begin with, they drew near him, without awakening his suspicions, and kept him in ward, some making complaints about their baggage, others bidding him to be of good courage, since he was victorious, and others still denouncing their former commanders. Then they fell upon him, snatched their sword away from him, and tied his hands fast with his girdle. And when Nicanor had been sent by Antigonus to receive him and he was being led along through the Macedonians, he begged for leave to speak to them, not with a view to supplication or entreaty, but in order to set forth what was for their advantage.

 p133  3 Silence was made, and standing on an eminence he stretched forth his hands, bound as they were, and said: "What trophy, O ye basest of Macedonians, could Antigonus have so much desired to set up over your defeat, as this which ye yourselves are now erecting by delivering up your general as a prisoner? It is not a dreadful thing, then, that in the hour of your victory ye should acknowledge yourselves defeated for the sake of your baggage, implying that victory lies in your possessions and not in your arms, but ye must also send your leader as a ransom for that baggage. 4 As for me, then, ye lead me away undefeated, a victor over my enemies, a victim of my fellow-soldiers; but as for you, by Zeus the god of armies and by the gods who hallow oaths, I bid you slay me here with your own hands. Even should I be slain yonder, it will be wholly your work. Nor will Antigonus find any fault; for he wants a dead and not a living Eumenes. And if ye would spare your own hands, one of mine, if released, will suffice to do the business. 5 And if ye cannot trust me with a sword, cast me under the feet of your elephants, all bound as I am. If ye do this, I will absolve you from your guilt towards me, holding that ye have shown yourselves most just and righteous in your dealings with your own general."

18 1 As Eumenes said this, the rest of the throng was overwhelmed with sorrow, and some wept, but the Silver-shields shouted to lead him along and pay no attention to his babbling; for it was not so dreadful a thing, they said, that a pest from the Chersonesus should come to grief for having harassed Macedonians with infinite wars, as that the best of the soldiers of Philip and Alexander,  p135 after all their toils, should in their old age be robbed of their rewards and get their support from others, and that their wives should be spending the third night now in the arms of their enemies. At the same time they led him along at a quickened pace.

2 But Antigonus, fearing their multitude (since no one had been left behind in the camp), sent out ten of his strongest elephants and a great number of Median and Parthian spearmen to drive away the throng. He himself could not endure to see Eumenes, by reason of their former intimate friendship, and when those who had received him asked how they should guard his person, he said: "Just as ye would an elephant or a lion." 3 But after a little while he became compassionate and ordered the keepers to remove the prisoner's heavy fetters and admit one of his personal servants to anoint him, and permitted any one of his friends who wished to spend the day with him and bring what he needed. Then he deliberated many days what to do with him, and considered various arguments and suggestions, Demetrius his son and Nearchus the Cretan being eager to save the life of Eumenes, while the rest, almost all of them, were insistent in urging that he be put to death.

4 We are told, also, that Eumenes asked his keeper, Onomarchus, why in the world Antigonus, now that he had got a hated enemy in his hands, neither killed him speedily nor generously set him free; and when Onomarchus insolently told him it was not now, but on the field of battle, that he should have faced death boldly, "Yea, by Zeus," said Eumenes, "then, too, I did so; ask the men who fought with me; I know that none I met was a  p137 better man." "Well, then," said Onomarchus, "since now thou hast found thy better, why canst thou not bide his time?"

19 1 When, then, Antigonus had decided to kill Eumenes, he gave orders to deprive him of food. And so, after two or three days of fasting, the prisoner began to draw nigh his end. But camp was suddenly broken and a man was sent to dispatch him.​34 His body, however, was delivered to his friends by Antigonus, who permitted them to burn it and collect the ashes and place them in a silver urn, that they might be returned to his wife and children.

2 Eumenes thus slain, on no other man than Antigonus did Heaven devolve the punishment of the soldiers and commanders who betrayed him, but he himself, regarding the Silver-shields as impious and bestial men, put them into the violence of Sibyrtius the governor of Arachosia, ordering him to wear them out and destroy them in every possible way, that not a man of them might ever return to Macedonia or behold the Grecian sea.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 A mixture of wrestling and boxing.

Thayer's Note: For details, see the article Pancratium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

2 Cf. Arrian, Anab. V.24.6 f.

3 In Arrian, Anab. VII.4.6, the names of the sisters are Artacama and Artonis, respectively.

4 Cf. the Alexander, lxx.2.

5 June 13, 323 B.C.

6 The quarrel was over the succession to Alexander's throne. The officers, supported by the cavalry, proposed that the crown be reserved for the child of Roxana by Alexander, if it should be a son, and that Perdiccas should be regent in the meantime; the infantry demanded that Arrhidaeus, the bastard brother of Alexander, should at once be proclaimed king. In the end a compromise was effected, and Perdiccas became chief in command under Arrhidaeus, with whom Alexander's son, when born, was to be joint king. Cf. the Alexander, lxxvii.5.

7 On the death of Alexander the Greeks had revolted from Macedonia, and had driven Antipater and his army into Lamia, a city of southern Thessaly.

8 The sister of Alexander, widow, since 326 B.C., of the king of Epirus. No less than six of Alexander's generals sought her hand in marriage.

9 According to Nepos (Eumenes, ii.4), Leonnatus, failing to persuade Eumenes, tried to kill him.

10 Arrhidaeus and the infant son of Alexander, both under the guardian­ship of Perdiccas. Eumenes thus ranged himself with the legitimists.

11 One of the principal officers of Alexander, to whom Armenia had been assigned as a province. Cf. chapter i.3.

12 One of the ablest of Alexander's officers, who, in the division of the empire that followed Alexander's death, was made ruler, in common with Antipater, of Macedonia and Greece.

13 In the battle of Crannon, Aug. 7, 322 which put an end to the revolt of the Greeks and the war called the "Lamian" war.

14 In 321 B.C.

15 Now governor of Egypt.

16 A brother of Perdiccas.

17 Antipater, Craterus and Ptolemy had declared war against Perdiccas. The destruction of Perdiccas' ally, Eumenes, was a side issue. Perdiccas, taking with him Arrhidaeus and Roxana and her infant son, had already invaded Egypt in an attempt to destroy Ptolemy. Antipater was hastening to the aid of Ptolemy.

18 According to Nepos (Eumenes, iv.4), Eumenes gave Craterus worthy funeral rites, and sent his remains to his wife and children in Macedonia.

19 Cf. chapter v.3.

20 See the note on chapter vi.3.

21 See the note on chapter iii.5.

22 Early in 320 B.C.

23 Antigonus had corrupted Apollonides, commander of a division of cavalry under Eumenes, and he went over to the enemy in the midst of battle, with his division. Cf. Diodorus, XVIII.40.5‑8.

24 Many deserted to Antigonus, according to Diodorus (XVIII.41.1).

25 This device of Eumenes is described also in Diodorus, XVIII.42.3 f., and in Nepos, Eumenes, v.4 f.

26 In 320 B.C. After the death of Perdiccas the supreme regency devolved upon Antipater, and he retired into Macedonia with the two kings. On his death he left the regency to Polysperchon, a distinguished officer of Alexander, to the exclusion of his own son Cassander.

27a 27b See the notes on chapter iii.1 and 7. Olympias was the queen-mother, the widow of Philip, mother of Alexander.

28 Philip Arrhidaeus (see the note on chapter iii.1).

29 Or Cyinda, better known as Anazarbus, a stronghold in Cilicia, whither Antigenes and Teutamus had brought the royal treasure from Susa.

30 In 317 B.C., against Antigonus, who was in Mesopotamia. He had received the satrapy of Susiana.

31 One of the most distinguished officers of Alexander, who had been made satrap of Persia during Alexander's lifetime.

32 These events are more fully and very differently described by Diodorus (XIX.24‑32).

33 Cf. chapter xiii.6.

34 According to Nepos (Eumenes, xii.4), Eumenes was strangled by his keepers, without the knowledge of Antigonus.

Thayer's Notes:

a Fourteen cubits, or twenty-one feet, is about 4 meters. Now these houses may have been small — as houses often are in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern villages, all clumped together behind defensive walls and with an eye to shade and conserving resources — but this is just too small to be right. If as stated, Nora, the place they were stuck in, measured two stadia (just over 350 meters) in circumference, its area must have been something like 6000 to 7000 m2, just about that of a regulation American football field; and there would be room for a larger house than that. In 10.1, furthermore, Plutarch states that those who took refuge in Nora numbered 700, not counting those horses, stores of grain, the thickness of the walls of several houses, and some slight open space between them: so that even 7000 m2 is almost certainly wrong as well. In sum, the figures in the text cannot be right, and there has surely been a manuscript transmission problem here.

b The modern consensus, by and large, is that the man's name was Polyperchon (no s). Perrin will spell his name Polysperchon, however, thruout the Phocion and Eumenes, as well as once in the Pyrrhus; shifting to the other spelling in the Demetrius. For the man himself, a good article may be found, as so often, at Livius, s.v. Polyperchon.

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