Egypt: Fall of Scopas
Many people have a yearning for bold and glorious
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.