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Egypt: Fall of Scopas

Many people have a yearning for bold and glorious
Death of Scopas, See supra, 13, 2; 16, 18, B. C. 196.
undertakings, but few dare actually attempt them. Yet Scopas had much fairer opportunities for a hazardous and bold career than Cleomenes. For the latter, though circumvented by his enemies, and reduced to depend upon such forces as his servants and friends could supply, yet left no chance untried, and tested every one to the best of his ability, valuing an honourable death more highly than a life of disgrace. But Scopas, with all the advantages of a formidable body of soldiers and of the excellent opportunity afforded by the youth of the king, by his own delays and halting counsels allowed himself to be circumvented. For having ascertained that he was holding a meeting of his partisans at his own house, and was consulting with them, Aristomenes sent some of the royal bodyguards and summoned him to the king's council. Whereupon Scopas was so infatuated that he was neither bold enough to carry out his designs, nor able to make up his mind to obey the king's summons,—which is in itself the most extreme step,—until Aristomenes, understanding the blunder he had made, caused soldiers and elephants to surround his house, and sent Ptolemy son of Eumenes in with some young men, with orders to bring him quietly if he would come, but, if not, by force. When Ptolemy entered the house and informed Scopas that the king summoned him, he refused at first to obey, but remained looking fixedly at Ptolemy, and for a long while preserved a threatening attitude as though he wondered at his audacity; and when Ptolemy came boldly up to him and took hold of his chlamys, he called on the bystanders to help him. But seeing that the number of young men who had accompanied Ptolemy into the house was large, and being informed by some one of the military array surrounding it outside, he yielded to circumstances, and went, accompanied by his friends, in obedience to the summons.

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196 BC (1)
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