The glory won by this noble deed inspired father and son with a wonderful eagerness to give freedom to all Greece, which had been reduced to subjection by Cassander and Ptolemy. No nobler or juster war than this was waged by any one of the kings; for the vast wealth which they together had amassed by subduing the Barbarians, was now lavishly spent upon the Greeks, to win glory and honour.
As soon as father and son had determined to sail against Athens, one of his friends said to Antigonus that they must keep that city, if they took it, in their own hands, since it was a gangway to Greece. But Antigonus would not hear of it; he said that the goodwill of a people was a noble gangway which no waves could shake, and that Athens, the beacon-tower of the whole world, would speedily flash the glory of their deeds to all mankind.
So Demetrius sailed, with five thousand talents of money and a fleet of two hundred and fifty ships, against Athens, where Demetrius the Phalerean was administering the affairs of the city for Cassander and a garrison was set in Munychia. By virtue of forethought combined with good fortune, he appeared off Piraeus on the twenty-sixth of the month Thargelion.1
Nobody knew beforehand of his approach, but as soon as his fleet was seen in the vicinity, everybody thought that the ships belonged to Ptolemy and prepared to receive them. At last, however, the generals discovered their mistake and came to the rescue, and there was confusion, as is natural when men are compelled to defend themselves against enemies who are making an unexpected landing. For Demetrius, finding the entrances to the harbours open and sailing through them, was presently inside and in view of all, and signalled from his ship a demand for quiet and silence.
When this was secured, he proclaimed by voice of herald at his side that he had been sent by his father on what he prayed might be a happy errand, to set Athens free, and to expel her garrison, and to restore to the people their laws and their ancient form of government.