previous next
25. And so, since he saw that the best of the neighbouring peoples were autonomous, and was distressed at the servitude of the Argives, he plotted to kill Aristomachus the tyrant of Argos, being ambitious to restore its freedom to the city as a reward for the rearing it had given him, as well as to attach it to the Achaean League. [2] Accordingly, men were found to dare the deed, of whom Aeschylus and Charimenes the seer were the chief. They had no swords, however, the tyrant having prohibited the possession of them under heavy penalties. Aratus, therefore, ordered small daggers to be made for them in Corinth and sewed them up in pack-saddles; these he put upon beasts of burden carrying ordinary wares and sent them into Argos. [3] But Charimenes the seer took on a partner in the enterprise, at which Aeschylus and his friends were incensed and proceeded to act on their own account, ignoring Charimenes. When Charimenes was aware of this, he was angry and informed against the men just as they were setting out to attack the tyrant; most of them, however, succeeded in escaping from the market-place and fled to Corinth.

[4] Nevertheless, after a little while Aristomachus was killed by slaves, and Aristippus, a more pernicious tyrant than he, soon succeeded in seizing the power. Aratus at once took all the Achaeans of military age who were at hand and went swiftly to the aid of the city, supposing that he would be welcomed by the Argives. [5] But since most of them were by this time habituated to slavery and willing to endure it, so that not a man came over to his side, he retired, after involving the Achaeans in the charge of having gone to war in time of peace. They were prosecuted on this charge before the Mantineans, and in the absence of Aratus, Aristippus as plaintiff won his case and was awarded damages to the amount of thirty minas.1 [6] Aratus himself the tyrant both hated and feared, and so laid plots to kill him with the assistance of Antigonus the king; and almost everywhere there were men who undertook this deed for them and watched for an opportunity.

[7] But there is no safeguard for a ruler like a sincere and steadfast goodwill on the part of the ruled. For when both the common people and the leading men are afraid, not of their leader, but for their leader, he sees with many eyes, hears with many ears, and so perceives betimes what is going on. Therefore I wish to stop my story at this point, in order to describe the life that Aristippus led. This was laid upon him by his office of tyrant, so envied of men, and by the pride and pomp of monarchy, which men celebrate and call blessed.

1 Half a talent, equivalent to about £118 or $600, a merely nominal fine. Mantineia acted as arbitrator,perhaps by special agreement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1926)
hide References (8 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: