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Cleomenes Asks for Help from Egypt

As long as Euergetes was alive, with whom he had
Cleomenes endeavours to get assistance from the Egyptian court.
agreed to make an alliance and confederacy, Cleomenes took no steps. But upon that monarch's death, seeing that the time was slipping away, and that the peculiar position of affairs in Greece seemed almost to cry aloud for Cleomenes,—for Antigonus was dead, the Achaeans involved in war, and the Lacedaemonians were at one with the Aetolians in hostility to the Achaeans and Macedonians, which was the policy originally adopted by Cleomenes,—then, indeed, he was actually compelled to use some expedition, and to bestir himself to secure his departure from Alexandria. First therefore, in interviews with the king, he urged him to send him out with the needful amount of supplies and troops; but not being listened to in this request, he next begged him earnestly to let him go alone with his own servants; for he affirmed that the state of affairs was such as to show him sufficient opportunities for recovering his ancestral throne. The king, however, for the reasons I have mentioned, taking absolutely no interest in such matters, nor exercising any foresight whatever, continued with extraordinary folly and blindness to neglect the petitions of Cleomenes. But the party of Sosibius, the leading statesman at the time, took counsel together, and agreed on the following course of action in regard to him. They decided not to send him out with a fleet and supplies; for, owing to the death of Antigonus, they took little account of foreign affairs, and thought money spent on such things would be thrown away. Besides, they were afraid that since Antigonus was dead, and no one was left who could balance him, Cleomenes might, if he got Greece into his power quickly and without trouble, prove a serious and formidable rival to themselves; especially as he had had a clear view of Egyptian affairs, had learnt to despise the king; and had discovered that the kingdom had many parts loosely attached, and widely removed from the centre, and presenting many facilities for revolutionary movements: for not a few of their ships were at Samos, and a considerable force of soldiers at Ephesus. These considerations induced them to reject the idea of sending Cleomenes out with supplies; for they thought it by no means conducive to their interests to carelessly let a man go, who was certain to be their opponent and enemy. The other proposal was to keep him there against his will; but this they all rejected at once without discussion, on the principle that the lion and the flock could not safely share the same stall. Sosibius himself took the lead in regarding this idea with aversion, and his reason was this.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.38
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SAMOS
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