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Now that we have described what took place in Greece, we shall shift our account to the events in Asia. Here, immediately after the death of Philip, Attalus actually had set his hand to revolt and had agreed with the Athenians to undertake joint action against Alexander, but later he changed his mind. Preserving the letter which had been brought to him from Demosthenes,1 he sent it off to Alexander and tried by expressions of loyalty to remove from himself any possible suspicion. [2] Hecataeus, however, following the instructions of the king literally, had him killed by treachery,2 and thereafter the Macedonian forces in Asia were free from any incitement to revolution, Attalus being dead and Parmenion completely devoted to Alexander. [3]

As our narrative is now to treat of the kingdom of the Persians, we must go back a little to pick up the thread.3 While Philip was still king, Ochus4 ruled the Persians and oppressed his subjects cruelly and harshly. Since his savage disposition made him hated, the chiliarch Bagoas, a eunuch in physical fact but a militant rogue in disposition, killed him by poison administered by a certain physician and placed upon the throne the youngest of his sons, Arses. [4] He similarly made away with the brothers of the new king, who were barely of age, in order that the young man might be isolated and tractable to his control. But the young king let it be known that he was offended at Bagoas's previous outrageous behaviour and was prepared to punish the author of these crimes, so Bagoas anticipated his intentions and killed Arses and his children also while he was still in the third year of his reign.5 [5] The royal house was thus extinguished, and there was no one in the direct line of descent to claim the throne. Instead Bagoas selected a certain Dareius, a member of the court circle, and secured the throne for him. He was the son of Arsanes, and grandson of that Ostanes who was a brother of Artaxerxes, who had been king.6 [6] As to Bagoas, an odd thing happened to him and one to point a moral. Pursuing his habitual savagery he attempted to remove Dareius by poison. The plan leaked out, however, and the king, calling upon Bagoas, as it were, to drink to him a toast and handing him his own cup compelled him to take his own medicine.

1 Plut. Demosthenes 23.2.

2 Continued from chap. 2, above. It is incredible that the assassination of Attalus could have occurred without the connivance of Parmenion, who may have been pleased to be rid of the head of a rival faction at court (but Curtius 6.9.18 reports that Attalus was Parmenion's son-in-law). And Attalus could not be left alive after the execution of his niece.

3 Continued from Book 16.52. Cp. Justin 10.3.

4 Ochus has been mentioned previously by his throne name Artaxerxes.

5 The king lists give Arses two years, 338-336 B.C., but he was in his third regnal year at the time of his death. His second year, 337/6 B.C., was the only full one which he enjoyed.

6 Artaxerxes II, 405-359 B.C.

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