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Antiochus Encouraged to Attack Coele-Syria

While Epigenes was still speaking in this strain, Hermeias, in a burst of rage, exclaimed, "That Epigenes had long been secretly plotting treason against the king; but that now he had happily shown his real sentiments by the advice which he had given, proving how eager he was to expose the king's person to the rebels with an insignificant guard." For the present he was content with making this insinuation as fuel for a future outburst of slander, and without further reference to Epigenes, after what was rather an ill-timed ebullition of temper than serious hostility, he delivered his own opinion; which, from his fear of the danger and his inexperience in war, was against undertaking the expedition against Molon personally, but was warmly in favour of an attack upon Ptolemy; because he was of opinion that this latter war would involve no danger, owing to that monarch's cowardly character. For the present he overawed the rest of the council into agreement with him: and he thereupon sent Xenon and Theodotus Hemiolius with an army against Molon; while he employed himself in continually inciting Antiochus to undertake the expedition into Coele-Syria: thinking that it was only by involving the young king in war on every side that he could escape punishment for his past misdeeds, and avoid being deprived of his position of authority; for the king would have need of his services when he found himself surrounded by struggles and dangers. With this object in view, he finally hit on the device of forging a letter, which he presented to the king as having been sent by Achaeus. In it Achaeus was made to state that "Ptolemy had urged him to assert his right to the government: and promised to supply him with ships and money for all his attempts, if he would only take the crown, and come forward in the sight of all the world as a claimant of the sovereign power; which he already possessed, in fact, though he grudged himself the title, and rejected the crown which fortune gave him."

This letter successfully imposed on the king, who became ready and eager to go on the expedition against Coele-Syria.

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