While they had the Roman army close at hand, they determined to do away with Brachyllas, the principal partisan of the king.
They chose for this an occasion when, after a public dinner, he was returning to his home in a drunken state and accompanied by a crowd of effeminate creatures who had been present as entertainers at the crowded dinner.
He was set upon by six armed men, of whom three1
were Italians and three Aetolians, and killed. His companions scattered; there was a search and the noise of guards with torches hurrying through the whole city; the assassins escaped by the nearest gate.
At daybreak there was a full assembly in the theatre, as if at a meeting called in advance or summoned by the voice of a herald.
Openly the cry was that he had been killed by his own suite and the degenerates who were with him, but in their thoughts they pointed to Zeuxippus as instigator of the murder.
For the time being, it was voted that the men who were with him should be arrested and questioned.
While they were being examined, Zeuxippus, with ready courage, in order to divert suspicion from himself, came into the assembly, and declared that those men were mistaken who put the responsibility for so cruel a murder upon those eunuchs, and he put
forth many plausible arguments to that effect, and by these he created the assurance in some that, if he had felt any sense of guilt, he would never have exposed himself to the crowd or made any reference to this murder without being called upon to do so; others had no doubt that he was shamelessly trying to avert suspicion by volunteering to meet the charge.
A little later the innocent witnesses were tortured, and, knowing nothing themselves, mentioned Zeuxippus and Pisistratus, treating as evidence the general suspicion, but citing no proof to show that they had any knowledge of the affair.
Zeuxippus, nevertheless, and a certain Stratonidas fled to Tanagra by night, fearing his own conscience more than the testimony of men who knew nothing about the crime; Pisistratus paid no attention to [p. 355]
the witnesses and remained in Thebes.
had a slave, the go-between and agent in the whole affair, and fearing him as an informer, Pisistratus, by reason of that very fear, brought him forth to give evidence.3
He sent word to Zeuxippus advising him to get rid of the slave who was his accomplice: he seemed to him, he said, less skilful in concealing an act than in performing it.
The messenger had orders to deliver this letter to Zeuxippus as soon as possible, but being unable to find him at once, he gave it to that very same slave, whom he believed to be most faithful to his master of all the slaves, adding that it came from Pisistratus and contained information of the greatest interest to Zeuxippus.
The slave, conscious of guilt, promised to deliver it at once, but opened it and having read it fled in terror to Thebes and laid his testimony before the magistrates.
And Zeuxippus, frightened at the flight of his slave, retired to Anthedon, thinking it a safer place of exile; Pisistratus and others were examined under torture and executed.