The next day Perseus, as soon as he had the opportunity to see his father, entered the palace with a troubled look and stood in sight of his father, but at a distance, without speaking.
When his father said “Is it all right with you?” and asked what was the cause of his sadness, he replied, “You may count it as clear gain, I tell you, that I am alive. No longer are we being attacked by my brother with secret plots; he came last night with armed men to my house to kill me, and closing the doors I defended myself against his madness by the walls' protection.”
When he had inspired in his father fear mixed with wonder, he went on: “But if you can give this your attention, I shall cause you to grasp it clearly.”
Philip said that he would indeed listen, and immediately ordered Demetrius to be summoned; he also sent for two older men, his friends, who took no part in the youthful rivalries between the brothers and nowadays were rarely at the court, Lysimachus and Onomastus, to serve as his counsellors.
While his friends were coming, he walked up and down alone, turning over many things in his mind, while his son stood apart.
When it was announced that they had [p. 23]
come he retired into the interior part of the palace1
with his two friends and as many bodyguards; he permitted his sons to bring in three unarmed men each.
When he had taken his seat there, he spoke as follows: “Here I sit, a most wretched father, as judge between my two sons, accuser and accused on a charge of parricide, doomed as I am to discover in my own household the dishonour of either the invention or the commission of a crime.
For a long time, indeed, I had been fearing this threatening storm, when I saw your looks at one another, looks in no wise brotherly, and when I heard certain words.
But sometimes hope entered my mind that your passions might burn out, that your suspicions might be cleared away. I told myself that even hostile nations had laid down their arms and made treaties and that the private quarrels of many had been ended;
I hoped that some day a recollection of your kinship would come to you, of your one-time boyish frankness and mutual intercourse, and finally of my teachings, which I fear that I have recited in vain to unhearing ears.
in your presence, hating the examples of discord between brothers, I have reviewed the dreadful fates of those men who had utterly destroyed themselves, their houses, their homes, their kingdoms!
On the other side also I set better examples: the harmonious compact between the pairs of Lacedaemonian kings, beneficial for many ages to themselves and to the state;
the destruction of the same city after the custom had grown up that each should seize the tyranny for himself. Again I pointed out that the brothers Attalus
and Eumenes, from beginnings so small that one would almost be ashamed to use the name of [p. 25]
have made their kingdom equal to me, to4
Antiochus, to any king whatever of this age, and for no other reason than brotherly harmony.
I did not avoid even Roman examples which I had either seen or heard of, that of Titus and Lucius Quinctius, who carried on the war against me, that of Publius and Lucius Scipio, who overthrew Antiochus, or of their father and uncle, whose enduring companionship in life death also cemented fast. Neither has the guilt of the former cases and the result, which was as horrible as the guilt, been able to deter you from your mad quarrelling nor the good feeling and good fortune which attended the latter to urge you to sanity.
While I live and breathe, you, with wicked hopes and wicked desires as well, have both entered into my heritage.
You wish me to live only until the time when, by surviving one of you, I shall by my death make the other an unquestioned king.
You cannot brook either a brother or a father. Nothing dear, nothing sacred, exists for you. In place of everything else there has come an insatiable desire for one thing —the throne. Come, pollute your father's ears, reach by means of accusations the decision which you will presently reach with the sword, say openly whatever you can that is true or whatever you are pleased to invent:
my ears are open which hereafter will be closed to secret charges made by the one against the other.”
When he had said this in a frenzy of rage, tears were shed by all, and for a long time a gloomy silence prevailed.