previous next

[84] Cleopatra, who had previously reigned with her brother, had been lately expelled from Egypt and was collecting an army in Syria. Ptolemy, her brother, was at Mount Casius in Egypt,1 lying in wait for her invasion, and, as Providence would have it, the wind carried Pompey thither. Seeing a large army on the shore he stopped his ship, judging that the king was there, which was the fact. So he sent messengers to tell of his arrival and to speak of his father's friendship. The king was then about thirteen years of age and was under the tutelage of Achillas, who commanded his army, and the eunuch Pothinus, who had charge of his treasury. These took counsel together concerning Pompey. There was present also Theodotus, a rhetorician of Samos, the boy's tutor, who offered the infamous advice that they should lay a trap for Pompey and kill him in order to curry favor with Cæsar.2 His opinion prevailed. So they sent a miserable skiff to bring him, pretending that the sea was shallow and not adapted to large ships. Some of the king's attendants came in the skiff, among them a Roman, named Sempronius,3 who was then serving in the king's army and had formerly served under Pompey himself. He gave his hand to Pompey in the king's name and directed him to take passage in the boat to the young man as to a friend. At the same time the whole army was marshalled along the shore as if to do honor to Pompey, and the king was plainly seen in the midst of them wearing a purple robe.

1 The modern Mount El Kas. There was another Mount Casius in Syria.

2 Theodotus argued (says Plutarch) " that if they should give shelter to the fugitive they would have Cæsar for an enemy and Pompey for a master; if they should send him away he would be offended by their want of hospitality, and Cæsar would be angry with them for letting him escape. The best way would be to send for him and kill him. In that way they would gratify the one and need not fear the other. He added with a smile that dead men do not bite." (Life of Pompey, 77).

3 Cæsar, Plutarch, Florus, and Dion Cassius, give this miscreant the name of Septimius. Cæsar says that he was a military tribune and that he had served under Pompey in the war against the pirates. Florus adds that he was a deserter from Pompey's army.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: