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Demetrius son of Seleucus

Demetrius, son of Seleucus, who had been long
Demetrius, son of Seleucus, and grandson of Antiochus the Great, wishes to be restored to the kingdom of Syria.
detained at Rome as an hostage, had been for some time past of opinion that his detention was unjust. He had been given by his father Seleucus as a pledge of his good faith; but, when Antiochus (Epiphanes) succeeded to the throne, he considered that he ought not to be a hostage in behalf of that monarch's children. However, up to this time he kept quiet, especially as he was unable, being still a mere boy, to do anything. But now, being in the very prime of youthful manhood, he entered the Senate and made a speech: demanding that the Romans should restore him to his kingdom, which belonged to him by a far better right than to the children of Antiochus. He entered at great length upon arguments to the same effect, affirming that Rome was his country and the nurse of his youth; that the sons of the Senators were all to him as brothers, and the Senators as fathers, because he had come to Rome a child, and was then twenty-three years old.1 All who heard him were disposed in their hearts to take his part: the Senate however, as a body voted to detain Demetrius, and to assist in securing the crown for the boy left by the late king. Their motive in thus acting was, it seems to me, a mistrust inspired by the vigorous time of life to which Demetrius had attained, and an opinion that the youth and weakness of the boy who had succeeded to the kingdom were more to their interest. And this was presently made manifest.
A Syrian commission appointed.
For they appointed Gnaeus Octavius, Spurius Lucretius, and Lucius Aurelius as commissioners to arrange the affairs of the kingdom in accordance with the will of the Senate, on the ground that no one would resist their injunctions, the king being a mere child, and the nobles being quite satisfied at the government not being given to Demetrius, for that was what they had been most expecting. Gnaeus and his colleagues therefore started with instructions, first of all to burn the decked ships, next to hamstring the elephants, and generally to weaken the forces of the kingdom.
The commissioners are also to visit Galatia, Cappadocia, and Alexandria.
They were also charged with the additional task of making an inspection of Macedonia; for the Macedonians, unaccustomed to democracy and a government by popular assembly, were splitting up into hostile factions.2 Gnaeus and his colleagues were also to inspect the state of Galatia and of the kingdom of Ariarathes. After a time the further task was imposed on them, by despatch from the Senate, of reconciling as well as they could the two kings in Alexandria. . . .

1 Demetrius had been exchanged for his uncle Antiochus Epiphanes in B. C. 175, just eleven years before.

2 The Senatus Consultum de Macedonibus (Livy, 45, 29) had declared all Macedonians free; each city to enjoy its own laws, create its own annual magistrates, and pay a tribute to Rome—half the amount that it had paid to the king. Macedonia was divided into four regions, at the respective capitals of which—Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Pella, and Pelagonia—the district assemblies (concilia) were to be held, the revenue of the district was to be collected, and the district magistrates elected; and there was to be no inter-marriage or mutual rights of owning property between the regions.

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175 BC (1)
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