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The Death of Agathocles and his Family


The first step of Agathocles was to summon a meeting of the Macedonian guards. He entered the
Agathocles pretends a plot of Tlepolemus against the king, B. C. 202.
assembly accompanied by the young king and his own sister Agathocleia. At first he feigned not to be able to say what he wished for tears; but after again and again wiping his eyes with his chlamys he at length mastered his emotion, and, taking the young king in his arms, spoke as follows: "Take this boy, whom his father on his death-bed placed in this lady's arms" (pointing to his sister) "and confided to your loyalty, men of Macedonia! That lady's affection has but little influence in securing the child's safety: it is on you that that safety now depends; his fortunes are in your hands. It has long been evident to those who had eyes to see, that Tlepolemus was aiming at something higher than his natural rank; but now he has named the day and hour on which he intends to assume the crown. Do not let your belief of this depend upon my words; refer to those who know the real truth and have but just come from the very scene of his treason." With these words he brought forward Critolaus, who deposed that he had seen with his own eyes the altars being decked, and the victims being got ready by the common soldiers for the ceremony of a coronation.

When the Macedonian guards had heard all this, far from

Anger of the populace and soldiers against Agathocles.
being moved by his appeal, they showed their contempt by hooting and loud murmurs, and drove him away under such a fire of derision that he got out of the assembly without being conscious how he did it. And similar scenes occurred among other corps of the army at their meetings. Meanwhile great crowds kept pouring into Alexandria from the up-country stations, calling upon kinsmen or friends to help the movement, and not to submit to the unbridled tyranny of such unworthy men. But what inflamed the populace against the government more than anything else was the knowledge that, as Tlepolemus had the absolute command of all the imports into Alexandria, delay would be a cause of suffering to themselves.

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202 BC (1)
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