But Pyrrhus now overran Thessaly and was seen as far south as Thermopylae; Demetrius therefore left Antigonus to conduct the siege of Thebes, and himself set out against this new foe. Pyrrhus, however, made a swift retreat, whereupon Demetrius stationed ten thousand men-at-arms and a thousand horsemen in Thessaly and once more devoted himself to Thebes. Here he brought up against the city his famous City-taker,1
but this was so laboriously and slowly propelled, owing to its weight and great size, that in the space of two months it hardly advanced two furlongs.
Besides, the Boeotians made a stout resistance, and Demetrius many times, out of contumacy rather than from need, forced his soldiers to risk their lives in battle. Antigonus saw that they were falling in great numbers, and in great concern said:
‘Why, my father, should we suffer these lives to be squandered without any necessity for it?’ But Demetrius was incensed, and said:
‘Why, pray, art thou disturbed at this? Are rations due from thee to the dead?’
However, wishing not to be thought reckless of other lives only, but also to share the perils of battle, he was pierced through the neck by a catapult-bolt. And yet, sore wounded as he was, he did not give up, but took Thebes again.2
His entry into the city filled the citizens with acute fear; they thought they were to suffer the most dreadful punishments; but he put to death only thirteen of them, banished a few, and pardoned the rest.
And so it was the fate of Thebes, which had been occupied less than ten years,3
to be captured twice during this time.
Furthermore, the time for the Pythian games being now at hand, Demetrius ventured upon a most unheard of proceeding. Since, namely, the Aetolians occupied the passes about Delphi, he conducted the games and the festival in person at Athens, declaring it to be especially fitting that Apollo should be honoured there, since he was a patron deity of the Athenians and was said to have been the founder of their race.