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Antiochus Puts his Troops in Winter Quarters

Meanwhile Antiochus had been engaged in the
Negotiations at Memphis, B. C. 219-218.
siege of Dura:1 but the strength of the place and the support given it by Nicolaus prevented him from effecting anything; and as the winter was closing in, he agreed with the ambassadors of Ptolemy to a suspension of hostilities for four months, and promised that he would discuss the whole question at issue in a friendly spirit. But he was as far as possible from being sincere in this negotiation: his real object was to avoid being detained any length of time from his own country, and to be able to place his troops in winter quarters in Seleucia; because Achaeus was now notoriously plotting against him, and without disguise co-operating with Ptolemy. So having come to this agreement, Antiochus dismissed the ambassadors with injunctions to acquaint him as soon as possible with the decision of Ptolemy, and to meet him at Seleucia. He then placed the necessary guards in the various strongholds, committed to Theodotus the command-in-chief over them all, and returned home. On his arrival at Seleucia he distributed his forces into their winter quarters; and from that time forth took no pains to keep the mass of his army under discipline, being persuaded that the business would not call for any more fighting; because he was already master of some portions of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, and expected to secure the rest by voluntary submission or by diplomacy: for Ptolemy, he believed, would not venture upon a general engagement. This opinion was shared also by the ambassadors: because Sosibius fixing his residence at Memphis conducted his negotiations with them in a friendly manner; while he prevented those who went back wards and forwards to Antiochus from ever becoming eyewitnesses of the preparations that were being carried on at Alexandria. Nay, even by the time that the ambassadors arrived, Sosibius was already prepared for every eventuality.

1 Two different towns of this name have already been mentioned (ch. 48, 52). This Dura appears to be in Phoenicia; but nothing is known of it.

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