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Preparations In Egypt

Agathocles and Sosibius, however, the leading ministers
Active measures of Agathocles and Sosibius.
in the kingdom at that time, took counsel together and did the best they could with the means at their disposal, in view of the existing crisis. They resolved to devote themselves to the preparations for war; and, meanwhile, by embassies to try to retard the advance of Antiochus: pretending to confirm him in the opinion he originally entertained about Ptolemy, namely, that he would not venture to fight, but would trust to negotiations, and the interposition of common friends, to induce him to evacuate Coele-Syria. Having determined upon this policy, Agathocles and Sosibius, to whom the whole business was entrusted, lost no time in sending their ambassadors to Antiochus: and at the same time they sent messages to Rhodes, Byzantium, and Cyzicus, not omitting the Aetolians, inviting them to send commissioners to discuss the terms of a treaty. The commissioners duly arrived, and by occupying the time with going backwards and forwards between the two kings, abundantly secured to these statesmen the two things which they wanted,—delay, and time to make their preparations for war. They fixed their residence at Memphis and there carried on these negotiations continuously. Nor were they less attentive to the ambassadors from Antiochus, whom they received with every mark of courtesy and kindness. But meanwhile they were calling up and collecting at Alexandria the mercenaries whom they had on service in towns outside Egypt; were despatching men to recruit foreign soldiers; and were collecting provisions both for the troops they already possessed, and for those that were coming in. No less active were they in every other department of the military preparations. They took turns in going on rapid and frequent visits to Alexandria, to see that the supplies should in no point be inadequate to the undertaking before them. The manufacture of arms, the selection of men, and their division into companies, they committed to the care of Echecrates of Thessaly and Phoxidas of Melita. With these they associated Eurylochus of Magnesia, and Socrates of Boeotia, who were also joined by Cnopias of Allaria. By the greatest good fortune they had got hold of these officers, who, while serving with Demetrius and Antigonus,1 had acquired some experience of real war and actual service in the field. Accordingly they took command of the assembled troops, and made the best of them by giving them the training of soldiers.

1 That is, Demetrius II, and Antigonus Doson.

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Alexandria (Egypt) (2)
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