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29. Moreover, on learning that Demosthenes had taken sanctuary in the temple of Poseidon at Calauria, Archias sailed across to the island in small boats, and after landing with Thracian spear-men tried to persuade the fugitive to leave the temple and go with him to Antipater, assuring him that he would suffer no harsh treatment. [2] But it chanced that Demosthenes, in his sleep the night before, had seen a strange vision. He dreamed, namely, that he was acting in a tragedy and contending with Archias for the prize, and that although he acquitted himself well and won the favour of the audience, his lack of stage decorations and costumes cost him the victory. Therefore, after Archias had said many kindly things to him, Demosthenes, just as he sat, looked steadfastly at him and said: ‘O Archias, thou didst never convince me by thine acting, nor wilt thou now convince me by thy promises.’ [3] And when Archias began to threaten him angrily, ‘Now,’ said he, ‘thou utterest the language of the Macedonian oracle;1 but a moment ago thou were acting a part. Wait a little, then, that I may write a message to my family.’ With these words, he retired into the temple, and taking a scroll, as if about to write, he put his pen to his mouth and bit it, as he was wont to do when thinking what he should write, and kept it there some time, then covered and bent his head. [4] The spear-men, then, who stood at the door, laughed at him for playing the coward, and called him weak and unmanly, but Archias came up and urged him to rise, and reiterating the same speeches as before, promised him a reconciliation with Antipater. But Demosthenes, now conscious that the poison was affecting and overpowering him, uncovered his head; and fixing his eyes upon Archias, [5] ‘Thou canst not be too soon now,’ said he, ‘in playing the part of Creon in the tragedy and casting this body out without burial.2 But I, O beloved Poseidon, will depart from thy sanctuary while I am still alive; whereas Antipater and the Macedonians would not have left even thy temple undefiled.’ So speaking, and bidding someone support him, since he was now trembling and tottering, he had no sooner gone forth and passed by the altar than he fell, and with a groan gave up the ghost.

1 i.e. thy real sentiments in obedience to Antipater.

2 An allusion to the Creon in the Antigone of Sophocles, by whose edict the body of Polyneices was to be left unburied (vv. 26 ff. 191 ff.).

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