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The king had counted on Memnon's transferring the impact of the war from Asia into Europe, but learning of his death called a session of his Council of Friends and laid before them the alternatives, either to send generals with an army down to the coast or for himself, the king, to march down with all his armed forces and fight the Macedonians in person. [2] Some said that the king must join in battle personally, and they argued that the Persians would fight better in that event. Charidemus,1 however, the Athenian, a man generally admired for his bravery and skill as a commander—he had been a comrade-in-arms of King Philip and had led or counselled all his successes2—recommended that Dareius should on no account stake his throne rashly on a gamble, but should keep in his own hands the reserve strength and the control of Asia while sending to the war a general who had given proof of his ability. [3] One hundred thousand men would be an adequate force, so long as a third of these were Greek mercenaries, and Charidemus hinted that he himself would assume the responsibility for the success of the plan. [4]

The king was moved by his arguments at first but his Friends opposed them stoutly, and even brought Charidemus into suspicion of wanting to get the command so that he could betray the Persian empire to the Macedonians. At this, Charidemus became angry and made free with slurs on Persian lack of manliness. This offended the king, and as his wrath blinded him to his advantage, he seized Charidemus by the girdle according to the custom of the Persians, turned him over to the attendants, and ordered him put to death. [5] So Charidemus was led away, but as he went to his death, he shouted that the king would soon change his mind and would receive a prompt requital for this unjust punishment, becoming the witness of the overthrow of the kingdom.

Charidemus's prospects had been high, but he missed their fulfilment because of his ill-timed frankness and he ended his life in this fashion. [6] Once the king's passion had cooled he promptly regretted his act and reproached himself for having made a serious mistake, but all his royal power was not able to undo what was done. [7] He was haunted by dreams of the Macedonian fighting qualities and the vision of Alexander in action was constantly before his eyes. He searched for a competent general to take over Memnon's command but could find no one, and finally felt constrained to go down himself to take part in the contest for the kingdom.

1 Curtius 3.2.10-19, with strong reminiscences of the role of Demaratus in Herodotus. Charidemus is not mentioned in Justin, Plutarch, or Arrian except earlier, Arrian. 1.10.4-6.

2 It seems impossible that Diodorus can be right here. Charidemus was not always a dutiful Athenian, but he was one of the generals whom Alexander had demanded after the capture of Thebes, and who had had to flee like Ephialtes and Thrasybulus (chap. 25.6). It is possible that Charidemus had visited Philip's court about 354 B.C., when his patron Cersobleptes became Philip's friend, but most of Charidemus's career was spent in operations against the Macedonians (Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 823).

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