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Ptolemy Physcon Invades Cyrene

Meanwhile Torquatus had crossed to Alexandria and
Ptolemy Physcon invades the dominions of his brother.
was trying to induce the elder Ptolemy to be reconciled to his brother, and yield Cyprus to him. But Ptolemy, by alternate promises and refusals and the like, managed to waste the time, while the younger king lay encamped with his thousand Cretans at Apis in Libya, according to his agreement. Becoming thoroughly irritated at receiving no intelligence, he first sent Gnaeus Merula to Alexandria, hoping by this means to bring Torquatus and those with him to the place of meeting. But Merula was like the others in protracting the business: forty days passed without a word of intelligence, and the king was in despair. The fact was that the elder king, by using every kind of flattery, had won the commissioners over, and was keeping them by him, rather against their will than with it. Moreover, at this time the younger Ptolemy was informed that the people of Cyrene had revolted, that the cities were conspiring with them, and that Ptolemy Sympetesis had also taken their side. This man was an Egyptian by birth, and had been left by the king in charge of his whole kingdom when he was going on his journey to Rome. When the king was informed of this, and learned presently that the Cyreneans were encamped in the open country, afraid lest, in his desire to add Cyprus to his dominions, he might lose Cyrene also, he threw everything else aside and marched towards Cyrene. When he came to what is called the Great Slope, he found the Libyans and Cyreneans occupying the pass. Ptolemy was alarmed at this: but, putting half his forces on board boats, he ordered them to sail beyond the difficult ground, and show themselves on the rear of the enemy; while with the other half he marched up in their front and tried to carry the pass. The Libyans being panic-stricken at this double attack on front and rear, and abandoning their position, Ptolemy not only got possession of the pass, but also of Tetrapyrgia, which lay immediately below it, in which there was an abundant supply of water. Thence he crossed the desert in seven days, the forces under Mochyrinus coasting along parallel to his line of march. The Cyreneans were encamped eight thousand five hundred strong, eight thousand infantry and five hundred cavalry: for having satisfied themselves as to the character of Ptolemy from his conduct at Alexandria, and seeing that his government and policy generally were those of a tyrant rather than a king, they could not endure the idea of becoming his subjects, but were determined to venture everything in their desire for freedom. And at last he was beaten. . . .

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