three pairs of lovers with space



Xenophon (ca. 430-354 BC) was an Athenian commander, philosopher and historian. His Hellenika was a general history of Greece between 411 and 362 BC, intended as a continuation of Thukydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War. It was written between 357/6[1] and Xenophon’s own death in 354. Xenophon himself had taken part in many of the struggles recounted and knew many of the main characters, including Agesilaos.

The translation is by Carleton L. Brownson in the Loeb Classical Library volumes LXXXVIII-LXXXIX (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1918 and 1921) excepting three footnoted corrections and the replacement of most Latinised names with Romanised Greek.


IV 1 xxxix-xl

In the winter of 395-4 BC a conference was arranged between Pharnabazos, the Persian satrap of Phrygia, and the Spartan King Agesilaos II, who had been sent to fight him for the liberation of the Greek cities of Asia. They concluded their meeting with expressions of high mutual esteem without succeeding in making peace. …

With these words he [Agesilaos] broke up the meeting. And Pharnabazos mounted his horse and rode away, but his son by Parapita, who was still in the bloom of youth, remaining behind, ran up to Agesilaos and said to him: “Agesilaos, I make you my guest-friend.” “And I accept your friendship.” “Remember, then,” he said. And immediately he gave his javelin—it was a beautiful one—to Agesilaos. And he, accepting it, took off and gave to the boy in return a splendid trapping which Idaios, his secretary, had round his horse's neck. Then the boy leaped upon his horse and followed after his father.

And afterwards, when his brother had deprived the son of Parapita of his domain during the absence of Pharnabazos, and had made him an exile, Agesilaos not only cared for him in every way, but in particular, since he had become enamoured of the son of Eualkes an Athenian, made every effort for his sake to have Eualkes' son, inasmuch as he was taller than any of the other boys, admitted to the stadium race at Olympia.[2]

[39] Τούτων δὲ λεχθέντων διέλυσε τὴν σύνοδον. καὶ ὁ μὲν Φαρνάβαζος ἀναβὰς ἐπὶ τὸν ἵππον ἀπῄει, ὁ δὲ ἐκ τῆς Παραπίτας υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, καλὸς ἔτι ὤν, ὑπολειφθεὶς καὶ προσδραμών· Ξένον σε, ἔφη, ὦ Ἀγησίλαε, ποιοῦμαι. Ἐγὼ δέ γε δέχομαι. Μέμνησό νυν, ἔφη. καὶ εὐθὺς τὸ παλτόν—εἶχε δὲ καλόν—ἔδωκε τῷ Ἀγησιλάῳ. ὁ δὲ δεξάμενος, φάλαρα ἔχοντος περὶ τῷ ἵππῳ Ἰδαίου τοῦ γραφέως πάγκαλα, περιελὼν ἀντέδωκεν αὐτῷ. τότε μὲν οὖν ὁ παῖς ἀναπηδήσας ἐπὶ τὸν ἵππον μετεδίωκε τὸν πατέρα.

[40] ὡς δ᾿ ἐν τῇ τοῦ Φαρναβάζου ἀποδημίᾳ ἀποστερῶν ἁδελφὸς τὴν ἀρχὴν φυγάδα ἐποίησε τὸν τῆς Παραπίτας υἱόν, τά τ᾿ ἄλλα ὁ Ἀγησίλαος ἐπεμελεῖτο αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐρασθέντος αὐτοῦ τοῦ Εὐάλκους υἱέος Ἀθηναίου, πάντ᾿ ἐποίησεν ὅπως ἂν δι᾿ ἐκεῖνον ἐγκριθείη τὸ στάδιον ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ, μέγιστος ὢν τῶν παίδων.

A coin of Pharnabazos as Ares


IV 8 xxxviii-xxxix

In 389 BC, while the “Lakedaimonians” (Spartans) were fighting with the Athenians for power over the Hellespont, Anaxibios, the Spartan governor of Abydos, was ambushed there by the Athenian general Iphikrates and his light infantry …

Then Anaxibios, judging that there was no hope of safety, inasmuch as he saw that his army extended over a long and narrow way, and thought that those who had gone on ahead would clearly be unable to come to his assistance up the hill, and since he also perceived that all were in a state of terror when they saw the ambush, said to those who were with him: “Gentlemen, it is honourable for me to die here, but do you hurry to safety before coming to close engagement with the enemy.”

Thus he spoke, and taking his shield from his shield-bearer, fell fighting on that spot. His loved boy[3], however, remained by his side, and likewise from among the Lakedaimonians about twelve of the governors, who had come from their cities and joined him, fought and fell with him. But the rest of the Lakedaimonians fled and fell one after another, the enemy pursuing as far as the city.

[28] καὶ ὁ Ἀναξίβιος γνοὺς μὴ εἶναι ἐλπίδα σωτηρίας, ὁρῶν ἐπὶ πολύ τε καὶ στενὸν ἐκτεταμένον τὸ ἑαυτοῦ στράτευμα, καὶ νομίζων πρὸς τὸ ἄναντες οὐκ ἂν δύνασθαι σαφῶς βοηθῆσαι ἑαυτῷ τοὺς προεληλυθότας, ὁρῶν δὲ καὶ ἐκπεπληγμένους ἅπαντας, ὡς εἶδον τὴν ἐνέδραν, εἶπε πρὸς τοὺς παρόντας· Ἄνδρες, ἐμοὶ μὲν ἐνθάδε καλὸν ἀποθανεῖν, ὑμεῖς δὲ πρὶν συμμεῖξαι τοῖς πολεμίοις σπεύδετε εἰς τὴν σωτηρίαν.

[29] καὶ ταῦτ᾿ ἔλεγε καὶ παρὰ τοῦ ὑπασπιστοῦ λαβὼν τὴν ἀσπίδα αὐτοῦ μαχόμενος ἀποθνῄσκει. καὶ τὰ παιδικὰ μέντοι αὐτῷ παρέμεινε, καὶ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων δὲ τῶν συνεληλυθότων ἐκ τῶν πόλεων ἁρμοστήρων ὡς δώδεκα μαχόμενοι συναπέθανον.


V 3 xx

Sparta had an unusual system of dual kingship, with two royal houses descended from twins. In 380 BC, the Kings were Agesilaos II and the much younger Agesipolis I, but in midsummer, the latter died of fever on campaign. …

When Agesilaos heard of this, he did not, as one might have expected, rejoice over it, as over the death of an adversary, but he wept, and mourned the loss of his companionship; for the kings of course lodge together when they are at home. And Agesipolis was a man well fitted to converse with Agesilaos about youthful days, hunting exploits, horses, and loved boys[4]; besides this he also treated Agesilaos with deference in their association together in their common quarters, as one would naturally treat an elder.  [20] Ἀγησίλαος δὲ τοῦτο ἀκούσας οὐχ ᾗ τις ἂν ᾤετο ἐφήσθη ὡς ἀντιπάλῳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐδάκρυσε καὶ ἐπόθησε τὴν συνουσίαν· συσκηνοῦσι μὲν γὰρ δὴ βασιλεῖς ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ, ὅταν οἴκοι ὦσιν. ὁ δὲ Ἀγησίπολις τῷ Ἀγησιλάῳ ἱκανὸς μὲν ἦν καὶ ἡβητικῶν καὶ θηρευτικῶν καὶ ἱππικῶν καὶ παιδικῶν λόγων μετέχειν· πρὸς δε τούτοις καὶ ὑπῃδεῖτο αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ συσκηνίᾳ, ὥσπερ εἰκὸς πρεσβύτερον.


V 4 xxiv-xxxiii

In 378 BC, Sphodrias, an ambitious opponent of King Agesilaos II, launched an unauthorised, dishonourable and unsuccessful attack on Athens.

But the ephors[5] recalled Sphodrias and brought capital charges against him. He, however, out of fear did not obey the summons; but nevertheless, although he did not obey and present himself for the trial, he was acquitted. And it seemed to many that the decision in this case was the most unjust ever known in Lacedaemon. The reason for it was as follows.

Sphodrias had a son Kleonymos, who was at the age just following boyhood and was, besides, the handsomest and most highly regarded of all the youths of his years. And Archidamos, the son of Agesilaos, chanced to be extremely fond of him. Now the friends of Cleombrotus were political associates of Sphodrias, and were therefore inclined to acquit him, but they feared Agesilaos and his friends, and likewise those who stood between the two parties; for it seemed that he had done a dreadful deed.

Therefore Sphodrias said to Kleonymos: “It is within your power, my son, to save your father by begging Archidamos to make Agesilaos favourable to me at my trial.” Upon hearing this Kleonymos gathered courage to go to Archidamos and begged him for his sake to become the saviour of his father.

Now when Archidamos saw Kleonymos weeping, he wept with him as he stood by his side; and when he heard his request, he replied: “Kleonymos, be assured that I cannot even look my father in the face, but if I wish to accomplish some object in the state, I petition everyone else rather than my father; yet nevertheless, since you so bid me, believe that I will use every effort to accomplish this for you.”

At that time, accordingly, he went from the public mess-room to his home and retired to rest; then he arose at dawn and kept watch, so that his father should not leave the house without his notice. But when he saw him going out, in the first place, if anyone among the citizens was present, he gave way to allow them to converse with Agesilaos, and again, if it was a stranger, he did the same, and again he even made way for any one of his attendants who wished to address him. Finally, when Agesilaos came back from the Eurotas and entered his house, Archidamos went away without even having approached him. On the next day also he acted in the very same way.

And Agesilaos, while he suspected for what reason he kept going to and fro with him, nevertheless asked no question, but let him alone. But Archidamos, on the other hand, was eager, naturally enough, to see Kleonymos; still, he did not know how he could go to him without first having talked with his father about the request that Kleonymos had made. And the partisans of Sphodrias, since they did not see Archidamos coming to visit Kleonymos, whereas formerly he had come often, were in the utmost anxiety, fearing that he had been rebuked by Agesilaos.

Finally, however, Archidamos gathered courage to approach Agesilaos and say: “Father, Kleonymos bids me request you to save his father; and I make the same request of you, if it is possible.” And Agesilaos answered: “For yourself, I grant you pardon; but how I could obtain my own pardon from the state if I failed to pronounce guilty of wrong-doing a man who made traffic for himself to the hurt of the state, I do not see.”

Now at the time Archidamos said nothing in reply to these words, but yielding to the justice of them, went away. Afterwards, however, whether because he had conceived the idea himself or because it had been suggested to him by some one else, he went to Agesilaos and said: “Father, I know that if Sphodrias had done no wrong, you would have acquitted him; but as it is, if he has done something wrong, let him for our sakes obtain pardon at your hands.” And Agesilaos said: “Well, if this should be honourable for us, it shall be so.” Upon hearing these words Archidamos went away in great despondency.

Now one of the friends of Sphodrias in conversation with Etymokles, said to him: “I suppose,” said he, “that you, the friends of Agesilaos, are all for putting Sphodrias to death.” And Etymokles replied: “By Zeus, then we shall not be following the same course as Agesilaos, for he says to all with whom he has conversed the same thing,—that it is impossible that Sphodrias is not guilty of wrong-doing; but that when, as child, boy, and young man, one has continually performed all the duties of a Spartan, it is a hard thing to put such a man to death; for Sparta has need of such soldiers.”

The man, then, upon hearing this, reported it to Kleonymos. And he, filled with joy, went at once to Archidamos and said: “We know now that you have a care for us; and be well assured, Archidamos, that we in our turn shall strive to take care that you may never have cause to be ashamed on account of our friendship.” And he did not prove false to his words, for not only did he act in all ways as it is deemed honourable for a citizen of Sparta to act while he lived, but at Leuktra,[6] fighting in defence of his king with Demon the polemarch, he fell three times and was the first of the citizens to lose his life in the midst of the enemy. And while his death caused extreme grief to Archidamos, still, as he promised, he did not bring shame upon him, but rather honour. It was in this way, then, that Sphodrias was acquitted.

Archidamos son of Agis, from the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum

[24] οἱ δ᾿ ἔφοροι ἀνεκάλεσάν τε τὸν Σφοδρίαν καὶ ὑπῆγον θανάτου. ἐκεῖνος μέντοι φοβούμενος οὐχ ὑπήκουσεν· ὅμως δὲ καίπερ οὐχ ὑπακούων εἰς τὴν κρίσιν ἀπέφυγε. καὶ πολλοῖς ἔδοξεν αὕτη δὴ ἀδικώτατα ἐν Λακεδαίμονι ἡ δίκη κριθῆναι. ἐγένετο δὲ τοῦτο τὸ αἴτιον.

[25] Ἦν υἱὸς τῷ Σφοδρίᾳ Κλεώνυμος ἡλικίαν τε ἔχων τὴν ἄρτι ἐκ παίδων, καὶ ἅμα κάλλιστός τε καὶ εὐδοκιμώτατος τῶν ἡλίκων. τούτου δὲ ἐρῶν ἐτύγχανεν Ἀρχίδαμος ὁ Ἀγησιλάου. οἱ μὲν οὖν τοῦ Κλεομβρότου φίλοι, ἅτε ἑταῖροι ὄντες τῷ Σφοδρίᾳ, ἀπολυτικῶς αὐτοῦ εἶχον, τὸν δέ γε Ἀγησίλαον καὶ τοὺς ἐκείνου φίλους ἐφοβοῦντο, καὶ τοὺς διὰ μέσου δέ· δεινὰ γὰρ ἐδόκει πεποιηκέναι.

[26] ἐκ τούτου δὲ ὁ μὲν Σφοδρίας εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Κλεώνυμον· Ἔξεστί σοι, ὦ υἱέ, σῶσαι τὸν πατέρα, δεηθέντι Ἀρχιδάμου εὐμενῆ Ἀγησίλαον ἐμοὶ εἰς τὴν κρίσιν παρασχεῖν. ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ἐτόλμησεν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς τὸν Ἀρχίδαμον, καὶ ἐδεῖτο σωτῆρα αὐτῷ τοῦ πατρὸς γενέσθαι.

[27] ὁ μέντοι Ἀρχίδαμος ἰδὼν μὲν τὸν Κλεώνυμον κλαίοντα συνεδάκρυε παρεστηκώς· ἀκούσας δὲ δεομένου, ἀπεκρίνατο· Ἀλλ᾿, ὦ Κλεώνυμε, ἴσθι μὲν ὅτι ἐγὼ τῷ ἐμῷ πατρὶ οὐδ᾿ ἀντιβλέπειν δύναμαι, ἀλλὰ κἄν τι βούλωμαι διαπράξασθαι ἐν τῇ πόλει, πάντων μᾶλλον ἢ τοῦ πατρὸς δέομαι· ὅμως δ᾿ ἐπεὶ σὺ κελεύεις, νόμιζε πᾶσάν με προθυμίαν ἕξειν ταῦτά σοι πραχθῆναι.

[28] καὶ τότε μὲν δὴ ἐκ τοῦ φιλιτίου εἰς τὸν οἶκον ἐλθὼν ἀνεπαύετο· τοῦ δ᾿ ὄρθρου ἀναστὰς ἐφύλαττε μὴ λάθοι αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ ἐξελθών. ἐπεὶ δὲ εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἐξιόντα, πρῶτον μέν, εἴ τις τῶν πολιτῶν παρῆν, παρίει τούτους διαλέγεσθαι αὐτῷ, ἔπειτα δ᾿, εἴ τις ξένος, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τῶν θεραπόντων τῷ δεομένῳ παρεχώρει. τέλος δ᾿, ἐπεὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ Εὐρώτα ἀπιὼν ὁ Ἀγησίλαος εἰσῆλθεν οἴκαδε, ἀπιὼν ᾤχετο οὐδὲ προσελθών. καὶ τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ δὲ ταὐτὰ ταῦτα ἐποίησεν.

[29] ὁ δ᾿ Ἀγησίλαος ὑπώπτευε μὲν ὧν ἕνεκεν ἐφοίτα, οὐδὲν μέντοι ἠρώτα, ἀλλ᾿ εἴα αὐτόν. ὁ δ᾿ αὖ Ἀρχίδαμος ἐπεθύμει μέν, ὥσπερ εἰκός, ὁρᾶν τὸν Κλεώνυμον· ὅπως μέντοι ἔλθοι πρὸς αὐτὸν μὴ διειλεγμένος τῷ πατρὶ περὶ ὧν ἐκεῖνος ἐδεήθη οὐκ εἶχεν. οἱ δὲ ἀμφὶ τὸν Σφοδρίαν οὐχ ὁρῶντες τὸν Ἀρχίδαμον ἰόντα, πρόσθεν δὲ θαμίζοντα, ἐν παντὶ ἦσαν μὴ λελοιδορημένος ὑπὸ Ἀγησιλάου εἴη.

[30] τέλος μέντοι ὁ Ἀρχίδαμος ἐτόλμησε προσελθεῖν καὶ εἰπεῖν· Ὦ πάτερ, Κλεώνυμός με κελεύει σου δεηθῆναι σῶσαί οἱ τὸν πατέρα· καὶ ἐγὼ ταὐτά σου δέομαι, εἰ δυνατόν. ὁ δ᾿ ἀπεκρίνατο· Ἀλλὰ σοὶ μὲν ἔγωγε συγγνώμην ἔχω· αὐτὸς μέντοι ὅπως ἂν συγγνώμης τύχοιμι παρὰ τῆς πόλεως ἄνδρα μὴ καταγιγνώσκων ἀδικεῖν οἷς ἐχρηματίσατο ἐπὶ κακῷ τῆς πόλεως οὐχ ὁρῶ.

[31] ὁ δὲ τότε μὲν πρὸς ταῦτα οὐδὲν εἶπεν, ἀλλ᾿ ἡττηθεὶς τοῦ δικαίου ἀπῆλθεν. ὕστερον δὲ ἢ αὐτὸς νοήσας ἢ διδαχθεὶς ὑπό του εἶπεν ἐλθών· Ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι μέν, ὦ πάτερ, εἰ μηδὲν ἠδίκει Σφοδρίας, ἀπέλυσας ἂν αὐτὸν οἶδα· νῦν δέ, εἰ ἠδίκηκέ τι, ἡμῶν ἕνεκεν συγγνώμης ὑπὸ σοῦ τυχέτω. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Οὐκοῦν ἂν μέλλῃ καλὰ ταῦθ᾿ ἡμῖν εἶναι, οὕτως ἔσται. ὁ μὲν δὴ ταῦτ᾿ ἀκούσας μάλα δύσελπις ὢν ἀπῄει.

[32] τῶν δὲ τοῦ Σφοδρία φίλων τις διαλεγόμενος Ἐτυμοκλεῖ εἶπεν· Ὑμεῖς μέν, οἶμαι, ἔφη, πάντες οἱ Ἀγησιλάου φίλοι ἀποκτενεῖτε τὸν Σφοδρίαν. καὶ ὁ Ἐτυμοκλῆς· Μὰ Δία οὐκ ἄρα ταὔτ᾿, ἔφη, ποιήσομεν Ἀγησιλάῳ, ἐπεὶ ἐκεῖνός γε πρὸς πάντας ὅσοις διείλεκται ταὐτὰ λέγει, μὴ ἀδικεῖν μὲν Σφοδρίαν ἀδύνατον εἶναι· ὅστις μέντοι παῖς τε ὢν καὶ παιδίσκος καὶ ἡβῶν πάντα τὰ καλὰ ποιῶν διετέλεσε, χαλεπὸν εἶναι τοιοῦτον ἄνδρα ἀποκτιννύναι· τὴν γὰρ Σπάρτην τοιούτων δεῖσθαι στρατιωτῶν.

[33] ὁ οὖν ἀκούσας ταῦτα ἀπήγγειλε τῷ Κλεωνύμῳ. ὁ δ᾿ ἡσθείς, εὐθὺς ἐλθὼν πρὸς τὸν Ἀρχίδαμον εἶπεν· Ὅτι μὲν ἡμῶν ἐπιμελῇ ἤδη ἴσμεν· εὖ δ᾿ ἐπίστω, Ἀρχίδαμε, ὅτι καὶ ἡμεῖς πειρασόμεθα ἐπιμελεῖσθαι ὡς μήποτε σὺ ἐπὶ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ φιλίᾳ αἰσχυνθῇς. καὶ οὐκ ἐψεύσατο, ἀλλὰ καὶ ζῶν ἅπαντ᾿ ἐποίει ὅσα καλὰ ἐν τῇ Σπάρτῃ, καὶ ἐν Λεύκτροις πρὸ τοῦ βασιλέως μαχόμενος σὺν Δείνωνι τῷ πολεμάρχῳ τρὶς πεσὼν πρῶτος τῶν πολιτῶν ἐν μέσοις τοῖς πολεμίοις ἀπέθανε. καὶ ἠνίασε μὲν εἰς τὰ ἔσχατα τὸν Ἀρχίδαμον, ὡς δ᾿ ὑπέσχετο, οὐ κατῄσχυνεν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον ἐκόσμησε. τοιούτῳ μὲν δὴ τρόπῳ Σφοδρίας ἀπέφυγε.


The battle of Leuktra, 371 BC


V 4 lvi-lvii

In 377 BC, as the war between the Thebans and the Lakedaimonians (Spartans) dragged on, …

The Thebans were now greatly pinched for want of corn, because they had got no crops from their land for two years; they therefore sent men and two triremes to Pagasai after corn, giving them ten talents. But while they were buying up the corn, Alketas, the Lakedaimonian who was keeping guard in Oreos[7], manned three triremes, taking care that the fact should not be reported. And when the corn was on its way from Pagasai, Alketas captured both corn and triremes, and made prisoners of the men, who were not fewer than three hundred in number. These men he then shut up in the Acropolis, where he himself had his quarters.

Now since, as the story ran, there was a boy of Oreos, an extremely fine lad too, who was always in attendance upon him, Alketas went down from the Acropolis and occupied himself with this boy. Accordingly the prisoners, observing his carelessness, seized the Acropolis, and the city revolted; so that thereafter the Thebans brought in supplies of corn easily.


[56] Μάλα δὲ πιεζόμενοι οἱ Θηβαῖοι σπάνει σίτου διὰ τὸ δυοῖν ἐτοῖν μὴ εἰληφέναι καρπὸν ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πέμπουσιν ἐπὶ δυοῖν τριήροιν ἄνδρας εἰς Παγασὰς ἐπὶ σῖτον δέκα τάλαντα δόντες. Ἀλκέτας δὲ ὁ Λακεδαιμόνιος φυλάττων Ὠρεόν, ἐν ᾧ ἐκεῖνοι τὸν σῖτον συνεωνοῦντο, ἐπληρώσατο τρεῖς τριήρεις, ἐπιμεληθεὶς ὅπως μὴ ἐξαγγελθείη. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀπήγετο ὁ σῖτος, λαμβάνει ὁ Ἀλκέτας τόν τε σῖτον καὶ τὰς τριήρεις, καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας ἐζώγρησεν οὐκ ἐλάττους ὄντας1 ἢ τριακοσίους. τούτους δὲ εἶρξεν ἐν τῇ ἀκροπόλει, οὗπερ αὐτὸς ἐσκήνου.

[57] ἀκολουθοῦντος δέ τινος τῶν Ὠρειτῶν παιδός, ὡς ἔφασαν, μάλα καλοῦ τε κἀγαθοῦ, καταβαίνων ἐκ τῆς ἀκροπόλεως περὶ τοῦτον ἦν. καταγνόντες δὲ οἱ αἰχμάλωτοι τὴν ἀμέλειαν, καταλαμβάνουσι τὴν ἀκρόπολιν, καὶ ἡ πόλις ἀφίσταται· ὥστ᾿ εὐπόρως ἤδη οἱ Θηβαῖοι σῖτον παρεκομίζοντο.  


VI 4 xxxv-xxxvii

Describing the end of Alexander, tyrant of Pherai and Tagos (elected leader) of Thessaly in 357/6 BC. …

But when Alexander had himself succeeded to the position of ruler, he proved a cruel Tagos to the Thessalians, a cruel enemy to the Thebans and Athenians, and an unjust robber both by land and by sea. Being such a man, he likewise was slain in his turn, the actual deed being done by his wife’s brothers, though the plan was conceived by the woman herself. For she reported to her brothers that Alexander was plotting against them, and concealed them within the house for the entire day. Then after she had received Alexander home in a drunken state and had put him to bed, while the light was left burning she carried his sword out of the chamber. And when she perceived that her brothers were hesitating to go in and attack Alexander, she said that if they did not act at once she would wake him. Then, as soon as they had gone in, she closed the door and held fast to the knocker until her husband had been killed.

Now her hatred toward her husband is said by some people to have been caused by the fact that when Alexander had imprisoned his own loved boy[8], who was a beautiful youth, and she begged him to release him, he took him out and slew him; others, however, say that inasmuch as no children were being born to him of this woman, Alexander was sending to Thebes and trying to win as his wife the widow of Jason. The reasons, then, for the plot on the part of his wife are thus stated.[9]
A coin of Alexander, tyrant of Pherai

[36] ἐπεὶ δ᾿ αὐτὸς παρέλαβε τὴν ἀρχήν, χαλεπὸς μὲν Θετταλοῖς ταγὸς ἐγένετο, χαλεπὸς δὲ Θηβαίοις καὶ Ἀθηναίοις πολέμιος, ἄδικος δὲ λῃστὴς καὶ κατὰ γῆν καὶ κατὰ θάλατταν. τοιοῦτος δ᾿ ὢν καὶ αὐτὸς αὖ ἀποθνῄσκει, αὐτοχειρία μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν τῆς γυναικὸς ἀδελφῶν, βουλῇ δὲ ὑπ᾿ αὐτῆς ἐκείνης. 36τοῖς τε γὰρ ἀδελφοῖς ἐξήγγειλεν ὡς ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ἐπιβουλεύοι αὐτοῖς καὶ ἔκρυψεν αὐτοὺς ἔνδον ὄντας ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν. καὶ δεξαμένη μεθύοντα τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον, ἐπεὶ κατεκοίμισεν, ὁ μὲν λύχνος ἐκάετο, τὸ δὲ ξίφος αὐτοῦ ἐξήνεγκεν. ὡς δ᾿ ᾔσθετο ὀκνοῦντας εἰσιέναι ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον τοὺς ἀδελφούς, εἶπεν ὡς εἰ μὴ ἤδη πράξοιεν, ἐξεγερεῖ αὐτόν. ὡς δ᾿ εἰσῆλθον, ἐπισπάσασα τὴν θύραν εἴχετο τοῦ ῥόπτρου, ἕως ἀπέθανεν ὁ ἀνήρ.

[37] ἡ δὲ ἔχθρα λέγεται αὐτῇ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα γενέσθαι ὑπὸ μέν τινων ὡς ἐπεὶ ἔδησε τὰ ἑαυτοῦ παιδικὰ ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος, νεανίσκον ὄντα καλόν, δεηθείσης αὐτῆς λῦσαι ἐξαγαγὼν αὐτὸν ἀπέσφαξεν· οἱ δέ τινες ὡς, ἐπεὶ παῖδες αὐτῷ οὐκ ἐγίγνοντο ἐκ ταύτης, ὅτι πέμπων ἐς Θήβας ἐμνήστευε τὴν Ἰάσονος γυναῖκα.1 τὰ μὲν οὖν αἴτια τῆς ἐπιβουλῆς ὑπὸ τῆς γυναικὸς οὕτω λέγεται.


Pherai by Edward Dodwell

[1] Xenophon says (VI 4 xxxvii) Tisophonos was the ruler of Thessaly at the time his narrative was written, and he did not succeed until 357/6 (Diodoros Siculus, Library of History XVI 14)

[2] [Note by Brownson:] The stadium, or two hundred yards' dash, was a race for men and Eualkes' son was too young to be eligible, but his unusual height told in his favour.

[3] The Greek word here is παιδικὰ, which denotes the boy in a pederastic love affair, and is here translated as “loved boy” in preference to Brownson’s vaguer “favourite youth”.

[4] The Greek word here is παιδικῶν, the genitive plural of παιδικὰ and means boys loved by men, here translated as “loved boys” which Brownson obscures as “love affairs”, as if women could be meant.

[5] The Spartan officials who exercised real political power, elected annually by the elite citizenry. The hereditary kings were not much more than military commanders.

[6] The battle seven years later in which Sparta was decisively defeated by Thebes, shattering the legend of Spartan invincibility and ending the period of Sparta’s supremacy in Greece.

[7] A city on the north coast of the island of Euboia from which ships from Pagasai could be stopped.

[8] Yet again, The Greek word here is παιδικὰ, which denotes the boy in a pederastic love affair, and is here translated as “loved boy” in preference to Brownson’s vaguer “favourite”.

[9] Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas XXVIII 5 says, on the contrary, that Thebe, as the wife was named, “was oppressed by the savage insolence of the tyrant, who, in addition to his other debaucheries, had made her youngest brother his loved boy.”