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The King Surrendered To the Soldiers

Day now began to break and the uproar was still a
Cries for the king.
confused babel of voices; but one cry made itself heard conspicuously above the rest, it was a call for THE KING. The first thing actually done was by the Macedonian guard: they left their quarters and seized the vestibule which served as the audience hall of the palace; then, after a brief pause, having ascertained whereabouts in the palace the king was, they went round to the covered walk, burst open the first doors, and, when they came to the next, demanded with loud shouts that the young king should be surrendered to them. Agathocles, recognising his danger, begged his bodyguards to go in his name to the Macedonians, to inform them that "he resigned the guardianship of the king, and all offices, honours, or emoluments which he possessed, and only asked that his life should be granted him with a bare maintenance; that by sinking to his original situation in life he would be rendered incapable, even if he wished it, of being henceforth oppressive to any one." All the bodyguards refused except Aristomenes, who afterwards obtained the chief power in the state.

This man was an Acarnanian, and, though far advanced in

life when he obtained supreme power, he is thought to have made a most excellent and blameless guardian of the king and kingdom. And as he was distinguished in that capacity, so had he been remarkable before for his adulation of Agathocles in the time of his prosperity. He was the first, when entertaining Agathocles at his house, to distinguish him among his guests by the present of a gold diadem, an honour reserved by custom to the kings alone; he was the first too who ventured to wear his likeness on his ring; and when a daughter was born to him he named her Agathocleia.

But to return to my story. Aristomenes undertook the

The guards insist on the surrender of the king.
mission, received his message, and made his way through a certain wicket-gate to the Macedonians. He stated his business in few words: the first impulse of the Macedonians was to stab him to death on the spot; but some of them held up their hands to protect him, and successfully begged his life. He accordingly returned with orders to bring the king or to come no more himself. Having dismissed Aristomenes with these words, the Macedonians proceeded to burst open the second door also. When convinced by their proceedings, no less than by the answers they had returned, of the fierce purpose of the Macedonians, the first idea of Agathocles was to thrust his hand through the latticed door,—while Agathocleia did the same with her breasts which she said had suckled the king,—and by every kind of entreaty to beg that the Macedonians would grant him bare life.

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