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Bolis Turns Traitor

Bolis went to Rhodes, and thence to Ephesus; communicated his purpose to Nicomachus and Melancomas; and found them ready to do what they were asked. He then despatched one of his staff, named Arianus, to Cambylus, with a message to the effect that he had been sent from Alexandria on a recruiting tour, and that he wished for an interview with Cambylus on some matters of importance; he thought it therefore necessary to have a time and place arranged for them to meet without the privity of a third person. Arianus quickly obtained an interview with Cambylus and delivered his message; nor was the latter at all unwilling to listen to the proposal. Having appointed a day, and a place known to both himself and Bolis, at which he would be after nightfall, he dismissed Arianus. Now Bolis had all the subtlety of a Cretan, and he accordingly weighed carefully in his own mind every possible line of action, and patiently examined every idea which presented itself to him.
Bolis turns traitor.
Finally he met Cambylus according to the arrangement made with Arianus, and delivered his letter. This was now made the subject of discussion between them in a truly Cretan spirit. They never took into consideration the means of saving the person in danger, or their obligations of honour to those who had entrusted them with the undertaking, but confined their discussions entirely to the question of their own safety and their own advantage. As they were both Cretans they were not long in coming to an unanimous agreement: which was, first of all, to divide the ten talents supplied by Sosibius between themselves in equal shares; and, secondly, to discover the whole affair to Antiochus, and to offer with his support to put Achaeus into his hands, on condition of receiving a sum of money and promises for the future, on a scale commensurate with the greatness of the undertaking. Having settled upon this plan of action: Cambylus undertook the negotiation with Antiochus, while to Bolis was assigned the duty of sending Arianus within the next few days to Achaeus, bearing letters in cipher from Nicomachus and Melancomas: he bade Cambylus however take upon himself to consider how Arianus was to make his way into the acropolis and return with safety. "If," said Bolis, "Achaeus consents to make the attempt, and sends an answer to Nicomachus and Melancomas, I will be ready to act and will communicate with you." Having thus arranged the parts which each was to take in the plot, they separated and set about their several tasks.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 157
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