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5. An Aetolian, who at the accession of Antiochus the Great (B. C. 223) held the command of the important province of Coele Syria for Ptolemy Philopator king of Egypt. He was an able general, and repulsed with ease the first attack made by the king of Syria upon his government, but instead of being rewarded by Ptolemy for his services, he was recalled to Alexandria, where he nearly fell a victim to the intrigues of some of the courtiers and favourites of the king. Disgusted with this treatment, and despising the vices and luxury of Ptolemy, when he was again suffered to resume the command in Coele Syria (B. C. 219) he conceived the design of betraying that province into the hands of Antiochus. His overtures were readily welcomed, and lie surrendered the two important fortresses of Tyre and Ptolemais to the Syrian monarch, whom lie immediately joined with the forces under his command. Nicolaus however prevented his design from taking full effect, and retained a part of the Syrian provinces under the allegiance of Egypt. (Plb. 5.40, 46, 61, 62.) From this time Theodotus enjoyed a high place in the favour of the Syrian king. In the campaign of B. C. 217 we find him commanding a body of 10,000 select troops, and just before the battle of Raphia he gave a singular proof of daring by penetrating with only two companions into the heart of the Egyptian camp, in order to assassinate Ptolemy himself. Mistaking the king's tent, he slew his physician instead, but effected his escape in safety, and returned to the Syrian camp. (Id. 5.66, 79, 81.) Again in B. C. 215 we find him exhibiting equal audacity in supporting the daring project of Lagoras to scale the walls of the city of Sardes, the success of which seems to have been in great measure owing to his skill and ability. (Id. 7.16-18.)

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.46
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.40
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.61
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.62
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