After the embassies were dismissed, when Harpalus went back into Macedon with all the haste he could, and told the king that he had left the Romans, not indeed making immediate preparations for war, but in such an angry temper, that it was very evident they would not defer it long;
Perseus himself, who all along believed that this would be the case, now even wished for it, as he thought himself at the highest pitch of power that he could ever expect to attain.
He was more violently incensed against Eumenes than against [p. 1973]
any other; and being desirous of commencing the war with his bloodshed, he suborned Evander, a Cretan, commander of the auxiliaries, and three Macedonians, who were accustomed to the perpetration of such deeds, to murder that king; and gives them a letter to a woman called Praxo, an acquaintance of his, the wealthiest and most powerful person at Delphi.
It was generally known that Eumenes intended going up to Delphi to sacrifice to Apollo. The assassins having reconnoitred the ground with Evander, sought for nothing else than a fit place to execute their design.
On the road from Cirrha to the temple, before you come to the places thickly inhabited, there was a wall on the left side of a narrow path projecting a little from the foundation, by which single persons could pass; the part on the right formed a precipice of considerable depth by the sinking of the ground.
Behind this wall they concealed themselves, and raised up steps to it, that from thence, as from a fortress, they might discharge their weapons on the king, as he passed by.
At first, as he came up from the sea, he was surrounded by a multitude of his friends and attendants; afterwards the increasing narrowness of the road made the train thinner about him.
When they arrived at the spot where each was to pass singly, the first who advanced on the path was Pantaleon, an Aetolian of distinction, who was at the time in conversation with the king.
The assassins now, starting up, rolled down two huge stones, by one of which the head of the king was struck, and by the other the shoulder; and being stunned by the blow, many stones having been cast on him after falling, he tumbled from the sloping path down the precipice.
The rest of his friends and attendants, on seeing him fall, fled different ways; but Pantaleon, with great intrepidity and resolution, kept his ground, in order to protect the king.