This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This brutality, hideous as it was, was rendered still more so by the sufferings of one particular family.  Herodicus, a leading man in Thessaly, had been put to death by Philip many years ago; afterwards he put his sons-in-law to death and his two widowed daughters, Theoxena and Archo, were left each with one little son.  Theoxena had several offers of marriage but declined them all.  Archo married a man called Poris who held quite the first place among the Aenianes. She bore him several children but died whilst they were still small.  In order that her sister's children might be brought up under her own care, Theoxena married Poris and took as much care of her sister's sons as she did of her own.  When she heard of the king's edict about arresting the children of those whom he had put to death, she felt sure that the boys would fall victims to the king's lust and even to the passions of his guards. She formed a terrible design and dared to say that she would rather kill them with her own hand than let them fall into Philip's power.  Poris was horrified at the mere mention of such a deed, and said that he would send [8??] them away to some trustworthy friends in Athens and that he would accompany them in their flight. They went from Thessalonica to Aenia.  A festival was being held there at the time, which was celebrated with great pomp every four years in honour of Aeneas, the founder of the city.  After spending the day in the customary feasting they waited till the third watch, when all were asleep, and went on board a ship which Poris had in readiness, ostensibly to return to Thessalonica, but really to sail across to Euboea.  While, however, they were vainly trying to make headway against a contrary wind, they were surprised by daylight not far from land, and the king's troops who were on guard at the harbour sent an armed boat to seize the ship, with strict orders not to return without her.  Poris, meanwhile, was doing his utmost to urge on the rowers and sailors, lifting up his hands from time to time to heaven and imploring the gods to help him. His wife, a woman of indomitable spirit, fell back on the purpose she had long ago formed, and mixing some poison, placed the cup where it could be seen, together with some naked swords.  "Death," she said, "alone can free us. Here are two ways of meeting it, choose each of you which you will, as the escape from the king's tyranny.  Come, my boys, you who are the older be the first to grasp the sword, or if you would have a more lingering death, drink off the poison." On the one hand were the enemy close to them, on the other the insistent mother urging them to die. Some chose the one death, some the other, and whilst still half-alive they were thrown from the ship.  Then the mother herself, flinging her arms round her husband, sprang with him into the sea. The king's troops took possession of a deserted ship.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.