Demetrius son of Seleucus
Demetrius, son of Seleucus, who had been long
Demetrius, son of Seleucus, and grandson of Antiochus the Great, wishes to be restored to the kingdom of Syria.
detained at Rome as an hostage, had been for
some time past of opinion that his detention
was unjust. He had been given by his father
Seleucus as a pledge of his good faith; but,
when Antiochus (Epiphanes) succeeded to the
throne, he considered that he ought not to be a
hostage in behalf of that monarch's children. However, up to
this time he kept quiet, especially as he was unable, being still
a mere boy, to do anything. But now, being in the very prime
of youthful manhood, he entered the Senate and made a speech:
demanding that the Romans should restore him to his kingdom, which belonged to him by a far better right than to the
children of Antiochus. He entered at great length upon
arguments to the same effect, affirming that Rome was his
country and the nurse of his youth; that the sons of the
Senators were all to him as brothers, and the Senators as
fathers, because he had come to Rome a child, and was then
twenty-three years old.1
All who heard him were disposed in
their hearts to take his part: the Senate however, as a body
voted to detain Demetrius, and to assist in securing the crown
for the boy left by the late king. Their motive in thus acting
was, it seems to me, a mistrust inspired by the vigorous time
of life to which Demetrius had attained, and an opinion that
the youth and weakness of the boy who had succeeded to the
kingdom were more to their interest. And this was presently
A Syrian commission appointed.
For they appointed Gnaeus
Octavius, Spurius Lucretius, and Lucius Aurelius as commissioners to arrange the affairs of
the kingdom in accordance with the will of the Senate, on the
ground that no one would resist their injunctions, the king
being a mere child, and the nobles being quite satisfied at the
government not being given to Demetrius, for that was what
they had been most expecting. Gnaeus and his colleagues therefore started with instructions, first of all to burn the decked ships,
next to hamstring the elephants, and generally to weaken the
forces of the kingdom.
The commissioners are also to visit Galatia, Cappadocia, and Alexandria.
They were also charged
with the additional task of making an inspection of Macedonia; for the Macedonians, unaccustomed to democracy and a government
by popular assembly, were splitting up into
Gnaeus and his colleagues were also to
inspect the state of Galatia and of the kingdom of Ariarathes.
After a time the further task was imposed on them, by despatch
from the Senate, of reconciling as well as they could the two
kings in Alexandria. . . .