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But one might grow weary in the enumeration of these matters by which Alexander is shown to have made the most honourable and the most regal use of his authority. And even though he became great through Fortune, he is even greater in that he made good use of his Fortune. And the more we praise his Fortune the more shall we exalt his Virtue by reason of which he became worthy of his Fortune. Now, however, I shall proceed at once to the first steps in his advancement and the beginnings of his power, and I shall examine in those matters the role played by Fortune, by reason of which men assert that Alexander became great through the instrumentality of Fortune. In Heaven's name ! Why do they not assert this of one that never felt a wound nor lost a drop of blood nor ever served in Avar, whom the neighing of a horse1 placed upon the throne of Cyrus, even as the first Darius, the son of Hystaspes? Or of Xerxes, whom a king, flattered by his wife, as Darius was flattered by Atossa,2 set upon the throne? Did the royal diadem come to Alexander's doors, as [p. 461] to Oarses3 through the machinations of Bagoas, who stripped from him the garb of a courier and put upon him the royal raiment and the tiara that ever stands erect4? Was he suddenly and unexpectedly chosen by lot and thus carne to rule the inhabited world, as at Athens the Thesmothetae and Archons attain their office? Would you learn how it is that men come to the throne by choice of Fortune? Once upon a time among the Argives the family of Heracleidae became extinct, from which family it was their ancestral custom to select the Argive kings. When in their search they made inquiry of the god at Delphi, he replied that an eagle would show them , and a few days later an eagle appeared on high and, swooping down, alighted on the house of Aegon, and Aegon was chosen king. Again in Paphos when the reigning king was seen to be unjust and wicked. Alexander expelled him and searched for another, since the family of Cinyradae appeared to be already passing away or extinct. However, they told him that there still survived one poor and obscure person, who eked out a forsaken existence in a certain garden. Men were sent to fetch him and, when they arrived, he was found watering his garden-plots ; and he was much perturbed when the soldiers laid hands on him and ordered him to come with them. He was brought before Alexander and, dressed as he was in a single cheap garment, he was proclaimed king, and received the royal purple, and became one of those who are styled the king's ‘Companions.’ His name was [p. 463] Abdalonymus.5 Thus does shifting Fortune create kings, change their raiment, and quickly and easily alter the status of men who cxpect nothing of the sort, and do not even hope for it.
1 Cf. Herodotus, iii. 84 ff.
2 Ibid. vii. 3.
3 Artaxerxes: cf. 336 e, 337 e, supra, Life of Artaxerxes, chap. i. (1012 a): Reiske conjectured Ἄρσῃ from Diodorus, xvii. 5, which may be right. But Bagoas also put Darius III. on the throne of Persia. Cf. 326 f, supra.
4 For the upright tiara cf. e.g. Xenophon, Anabasis, ii. 5. 23; Life of Themistocles, chap. xxix. (126 e); Life of Artaxerxes, chaps. xxvi., xxviii. (1024 e, 1025 e).
5 Cobet's conjecture (Abdalonymus for Aralynomus) is only very partially supported by Diodorus, xvii. 46. 47. But cf. the references ad loc. in Fischer's ed. (Leipzig 1906), especially Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, iv. 1. 19.