While matters stood thus with him, Nicagoras the Messenian came to Alexandria, a man who hated Cleomenes, but pretended to be a friend. He had at one time sold Cleomenes a fine estate, and owing to the constant demands of war upon the king, as it would seem, had not received the money for it. And so now, when Cleomenes, who chanced to be taking a walk along the quay, saw Nicagoras landing from his vessel, he greeted him heartily and asked what errand brought him to Egypt.
Nicagoras returned his greeting in a friendly manner, and said that he was bringing horses for the king, some fine ones for use in war. At this, Cleomenes gave a laugh and said:
‘I could wish that thou hadst rather brought sambuca-girls and catamites; for these now most interest the king.’ At the time Nicagoras merely smiled; but a few days later he reminded Cleomenes of the estate, and asked that now at any rate he might get the money for it, saying that he would not have troubled him about the matter if he had not met with a considerable loss in the disposition of his cargo;
and when Cleomenes declared that he had nothing left of the moneys that had been given him, Nicagoras was vexed, and reported to Sosibius the pleasantry of Cleomenes. Sosibius was glad to get even this matter, but he desired to have some larger accusation with which to exasperate the king, and therefore persuaded Nicagoras to write and leave behind him a letter accusing Cleomenes of planning, in case he got triremes and soldiers from Ptolemy, to seize Cyrene.
So Nicagoras wrote a letter to this effect and sailed away; and Sosibius, after four days had passed, brought the letter to Ptolemy, pretending that he had just received it, and so exasperated the young man that it was decided to remove Cleomenes into a large house, and while treating him in other ways just as before, to prevent his egress.