These successful achievements placed Aratus beyond the jealousy of his fellow-citizens, owing to the gratitude which he inspired; but Antigonus, the king, was annoyed by the policy of Aratus, and wished either to bring him over into complete friendship with himself or to alienate him from Ptolemy. He therefore showed him many kindnesses which were not at all welcome, and especially this, that as he was sacrificing to the gods at Corinth, he sent portions of the victims to Aratus at Sicyon.
And at the banquet which followed, where many guests were present, he said, so that all could hear:
‘I thought this Sicyonian youth was merely free-spirited and a lover of his fellow-citizens; but he would seem to be a capable judge also of the lives and actions of kings. For formerly he was inclined to overlook us, fixing his hopes elsewhere, and he admired the wealth of Egypt, hearing tales of its elephants, and fleets, and palaces; but now that he has been behind the scenes and seen that everything in Egypt is play-acting and painted scenery, he has come over entirely to us.
Therefore I both welcome the young man myself, having determined to make every possible use of him, and I ask you to consider him a friend.’ These words were seized upon by the envious and malevolent, who vied with one another in writing to Ptolemy many grievous charges against Aratus, so that the king sent an envoy and upbraided him. So great malice and envy attend upon the friendships of kings and tyrants, for which men strive and at which they aim with ardent passion.