EUMENES of Cardia, according to Duris, was the son of a man whom poverty drove to be a waggoner, in the Thracian Chersonesus, but received a liberal education in literature and athletics. While he was still a boy, Duris says further, Philip, who was sojourning in the place and had an hour of leisure, came to see the young men and boys of Cardia exercising in the pancratium1
and in wrestling, among whom Eumenes had such success and gave such proofs of intelligence and bravery that he pleased Philip and was taken into his following.
But in my opinion those historians tell a more probable story who say that a tie of guest-friendship with his father led Philip to give advancement to Eumenes. After Philip's death Eumenes was thought to be inferior to none of Alexander's followers in sagacity and fidelity, and though he had only the title of chief secretary, he was held in as much honour as the king's principal friends and intimates, so that on the Indian expedition he was actually sent out as general with a force under his own orders,2
and received the command in the cavalry which Perdiccas had held, when Perdiccas, after Hephaestion's death, was advanced to that officer's position.
Therefore when Neoptolemus, the commander of the Shield-bearers, after Alexander's death, said that he had followed the king with shield and spear, but Eumenes with pen and paper, the Macedonians laughed him to scorn; they knew that, besides his other honours, Eumenes had been deemed worthy by the king of relationship in marriage. For Barsiné the daughter of Artabazus, the first woman whom Alexander knew in Asia, and by whom he had a son, Heracles, had two sisters; of these Alexander gave one, Apama, to Ptolemy, and the other, also called Barsiné,3
to Eumenes. This was at the time when he distributed the other Persian women as consorts among his companions.4