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Execution of Aristomachus

Again Phylarchus says that Aristomachus the Argive,
a man of a most distinguished family, who had been despot of Argos, as his fathers had been before him, upon falling into the hands of Antigonus and the league "was hurried off to Cenchreae and there racked to death,—an unparalleled instance of injustice and cruelty." But in this matter also our author preserves his peculiar method. He makes up a story about certain cries of this man, when he was on the rack, being heard through the night by the neighbours: "some of whom," he says, "rushed to the house in their horror, or incredulity, or indignation at the outrage." As for the sensational story, let it pass; I have said enough on that point. But I must express my opinion that, even if Aristomachus had committed no crime against the Achaeans besides, yet his whole life and his treason to his own country deserved the heaviest possible punishment. And in order, forsooth, to enhance this man's reputation, and move his reader's sympathies for his sufferings, our historian remarks that he had not only been a tyrant himself, but that his fathers had been so before him. It would not be easy to bring a graver or more bitter charge against a man than this: for the mere word "tyrant" involves the idea of everything that is wickedest, and includes every injustice and crime possible to mankind. And if Aristomachus endured the most terrible tortures, as Phylarchus says, he yet would not have been sufficiently punished for the crime of one day, in which, when Aratus had effected an entrance into Argos with the Achaean soldiers,—and after supporting the most severe struggles and dangers for the freedom of its citizens, had eventually been driven out, because the party within who were in league with him had not ventured to stir, for fear of the tyrant,—Aristomachus availed himself of the pretext of their complicity with the irruption of the Achaeans to put to the rack and execute eighty of the leading citizens, who were perfectly innocent, in the presence of their relations. I pass by the history of his whole life and the crimes of his ancestors; for that would be too long a story.

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