Evagoras the Great


Isocrates Letter to Nicocles on Evagoras

IX[1] When I saw you, Nicocles, honoring the tomb of your father, not only with numerous and beautiful offerings, but also with dances, music, and athletic contests, and, furthermore, with races of horses and triremes, and leaving to others no possibility of surpassing you in such celebrations, [2] I judged that Evagoras (if the dead have any perception of that which takes place in this world), while gladly accepting these offerings and rejoicing in the spectacle of your devotion and princely magnificence in honoring him, would feel far greater gratitude to anyone who could worthily recount his principles in life and his perilous deeds than to all other men;


[3] for we shall find that men of ambition and greatness of soul not only are desirous of praise for such things, but prefer a glorious death to life, zealously seeking glory rather than existence, and doing all that lies in their power to leave behind a memory of themselves that shall never die. [4] Expenditure of money can effect nothing of this kind, but is an indication of wealth only; and those who devote themselves to music and letters and to the various contests, some by exhibiting their strength and others their artistic skill, win for themselves greater honor. But the spoken words which should adequately recount the deeds of Evagoras would make his virtues never to be forgotten among all mankind. [5] Now other writers should have praised those who in their own time had proved themselves good men, to the end that those who have the ability to glorify the deeds of their contemporaries, by speaking in the presence of those who knew the facts might have employed the truth concerning them, and also that the younger generation might with greater emulation have striven for virtue, knowing well that they would be praised more highly than those whom they have excelled in merit.


[6] But as it is, who would not be disheartened when he sees those who lived in the time of the Trojan war, and even earlier,1 celebrated in song and tragedy, and yet foresees that even if he himself surpass their valorous achievements he will never be thought worthy of such praise? The cause of this is envy, which has this as its only good--it is the greatest evil to those who feel it. For some are so ungenerous by nature that they would listen more gladly to the praise of men of whose existence they are uncertain rather than of those who may have been their own benefactors. [7] Men of intelligence, however, should not let themselves be enslaved by men whose minds are so perverted; on the contrary, they should ignore such as these and accustom their fellows to hear about those whom we are in duty bound to praise, especially since we are aware that progress is made, not only in the arts, but in all other activities, not through the agency of those that are satisfied with things as they are, but through those who correct, and have the courage constantly to change, anything which is not as it should be.


[8] I am fully aware that what I propose to do is difficult--to eulogize in prose the virtues of a man. The best proof is this: Those who devote themselves to philosophy venture to speak on many subjects of every kind, but no one of them has ever attempted to compose a discourse on such a theme. And I can make much allowance for them. For to the poets is granted the use of many embellishments of language,


[9] since they can represent the gods as associating with men, conversing with and aiding in battle whomsoever they please, and they can treat of these subjects not only in conventional expressions, but in words now exotic, now newly coined, and now in figures of speech, neglecting none, but using every kind with which to embroider their poesy. [10] Orators, on the contrary, are not permitted the use of such devices; they must use with precision only words in current use and only such ideas as bear upon the actual facts. Besides, the poets compose all their works with meter and rhythm, while the orators do not share in any of these advantages; and these lend such charm that even though the poets may be deficient in style and thoughts, yet by the very spell of their rhythm and harmony they bewitch their listeners. [11] The power of poetry may be understood from this consideration: if one should retain the words and ideas of poems which are held in high esteem, but do away with the meter, they will appear far inferior to the opinion we now have of them. Nevertheless, although poetry has advantages so great, we must not shrink from the task, but must make the effort and see if it will be possible in prose to eulogize good men in no worse fashion than their encomiasts do who employ song and verse.


[12] In the first place, with respect to the birth and ancestry of Evagoras, even if many are already familiar with the facts, I believe it is fitting that I also should recount them for the sake of the others, that all may know that he proved himself not inferior to the noblest and greatest examples of excellence which were of his inheritance. [13] For it is acknowledged that the noblest of the demigods are the sons of Zeus, and there is no one who would not award first place among these to the Aeacidae: for while in the other families we shall find some of superior and some of inferior worth, yet all the Aeacidae have been most renowned of all their contemporaries. [14] In the first place Aeacus, son of Zeus and ancestor of the family of the Teucridae, was so distinguished that when a drought visited the Greeks and many persons had perished, and when the magnitude of the calamity had passed all bounds, the leaders of the cities came as suppliants to him; for they thought that, by reason of his kinship with Zeus and his piety, they would most quickly obtain from the gods relief from the woes that afflicted them.


[15] Having gained their desire, they were saved and built in Aegina a temple1 to be shared by all the Greeks on the very spot where he had offered his prayer. During his entire stay among men he ever enjoyed the fairest repute, and after his departure from life it is said that he sits by the side of Pluto and Kore in the enjoyment of the highest honors.


[16] The sons of Aeacus were Telamon and Peleus; Telamon won the meed of valor in an expedition with Heracles against Laomedon, and Peleus, having distinguished himself in the battle with the Centaurs and having won glory in many other hazardous enterprises, wedded Thetis, the daughter of Nereus, he a mortal winning an immortal bride. And they say that at his wedding alone, of all the human race who have ever lived, the wedding-song was sung by gods. [17] To each of these two were born sons--to Telamon Ajax and Teucer, and to Peleus Achilles, and these heroes gave proof of their valour in the clearest and most convincing way: for not alone in their own cities were they pre-eminent, or in the places where they made their homes, but when an expedition was organized by the Greeks against the barbarians, and a great army was assembled on either side


[18] and no warrior of repute was absent, Achilles above all distinguished himself in these perils. And Ajax was second to him in valor, and Teucer, who proved himself worthy of their kinship and inferior to none of the other heroes, after he had helped in the capture of Troy, went to Cyprus and founded Salamis, giving to it the name of his former native land1 ; and he left behind him the family that now reigns.


[19] So distinguished from the beginning was the heritage transmitted to Evagoras by his ancestors. After the city had been founded in this manner, the rule at first was held by Teucer's descendants: at a later time, however, there came from Phoenicia a fugitive, who after he had gained the confidence of the king who then reigned, and had won great power, showed no proper gratitude for the favor shown him; [20] on the contrary, he acted basely toward his host, and being skilled at grasping, he expelled his benefactor and himself seized the throne. But distrustful of the consequences of his measures and wishing to make his position secure, he reduced the city to barbarism, and brought the whole island into subservience to the Great King.


[21] Such was the state of affairs in Salamis, and the descendants of the usurper were in possession of the throne when Evagoras was born. I prefer to say nothing of the portents, the oracles, the visions appearing in dreams, from which the impression might be gained that he was of superhuman birth, not because I disbelieve the reports, but that I may make it clear to all that I am so far from resorting to invention in speaking of his deeds that even of those matters which are in fact true I dismiss such as are known only to the few and of which not all the citizens are cognizant. And I shall begin my account of him with the generally acknowledged facts.


[22] When Evagoras was a boy he possessed beauty, bodily strength, and modesty, the very qualities that are most becoming to that age. Witnesses could be produced for these assertions: for his modesty-- fellow-citizens who were educated with him: for his beauty--all who beheld him: for his strength--all the contests in which he vanquished his age-mates. [23] When he attained to manhood not only did all these qualities grow up with him, but to them were also added manly courage, wisdom, and justice, and that too in no ordinary measure, as is the case with some others, but each of these characteristics in extraordinary degree. So surpassing was his excellence of both body and mind,


[24] that when the kings of that time looked upon him they were terrified and feared for their throne, thinking that a man of such nature could not possibly pass his life in the status of a private citizen, but whenever they observed his character, they felt such confidence in him that they believed that even if anyone else should dare to injure them, Evagoras would be their champion. [25] And although opinions of him were so at variance, they were mistaken in neither respect: for he neither remained in private life, nor did them injury: on the contrary, the Deity took such thought for him that he should honorably assume the throne, that all the preparations which necessarily involved impiety were made by another, [26] while he preserved for Evagoras those means whereby it was possible for him to gain the rule in accordance with piety and justice. For one of the princes,1 starting a conspiracy, slew the tyrant and attempted to arrest Evagoras, believing that he would not be able to retain the rule himself unless he should get him out of the way.


[27] But Evagoras escaped this peril, and having saved himself by fleeing to Soli in Cilicia did not show the same spirit as those who are the victims of like misfortune. For other exiles from royal power are humbled in spirit because of their misfortunes,whereas Evagoras attained to such greatness of soul that, although until that time he had lived as a private citizen, when he was driven into exile he determined to gain the throne. [28] The wandering life of an exile, the dependence upon the help of others in seeking his restoration and the paying of court to his inferiors--all these he scorned: but this he took as his guiding principle, which those who would be god-fearing men must take--to act only in self-defense and never to be the aggressor: and he chose either by success to regain the throne or, failing in that, to die. And so, calling to his side men numbering, according to the highest estimates, about fifty, with these he prepared to effect his return from exile. [29] And from this venture especially the character of Evagoras and his reputation among his associates may be seen: for although he was on the point of sailing with so few companions for the accomplishment of so great a design, and although all the attendant dangers were near at hand, neither did he himself lose heart, nor did any of his companions see fit to shrink from these dangers: nay, as if a god were their leader, they one and all held fast to their promises, and Evagoras, just as if either he had an army superior to that of his adversaries or foresaw the outcome, held to his opinion.


[30] This is evident from his acts: for, when he had landed on the island, he did not think it necessary to seize a strong position, make sure of his own safety, and then to wait and see if some of the citizens would rally to his aid: but immediately, just as he was, on that very night he broke through a little gate in the wall, and leading his followers through this opening, attacked the palace. [31] The confusion attendant upon such occasions, the fears of his followers, the exhortations of their leader--why need I take the time to describe ? When the supporters of the tyrant opposed him and the citizens generally were observers (for they held their peace because they feared either the authority of the one party or the valor of the other), [32] he did not cease from fighting, whether alone against many or with few opposing all the foe, until, having captured the palace, he had taken vengeance upon the enemy and had succoured his friends: furthermore, he restored its ancestral honors to his family and established himself as ruler of the city.


[33] I think that even if I should mention nothing more, but should discontinue my discourse at this point, from what I have said the valor of Evagoras and the greatness of his deeds would be readily manifest: nevertheless, I consider that both will be yet more clearly revealed from what remains to be said. [34] For of all the many sovereigns since time began, none will be found to have won this honor more gloriously than Evagoras. If we were to compare the deeds of Evagoras with those of each one, such an account would perhaps be inappropriate to the occasion, and the time would not suffice for the telling. But if we select the most illustrious of these rulers and examine their exploits in the light of his, our investigation will lose nothing thereby and our discussion will be much more brief.


[35] Who then, would not choose the perilous deeds of Evagoras before the fortunes of those who inherited their kingdoms from their fathers? For surely there is no one so mean of spirit that he would prefer to receive that power from his ancestors than first to acquire it, as he did, and then to bequeath it to his children.


[36] Furthermore, of the returns to their thrones by princes of ancient times the most renowned are those of which the poets tell us: indeed they not only chronicle for us those which have been most glorious, but also compose new ones of their own invention. Nevertheless no poet has told the story of any legendary prince who has faced hazards so formidable and yet regained his throne: on the contrary, most of their heroes have been represented as having regained their kingdoms by chance, others as having employed deceit and artifice to overcome their foes. [37] Nay, of those who lived later, perhaps indeed of all, the one hero who was most admired by the greatest number was Cyrus, who deprived the Medes of their kingdom and gained it for the Persians. But while Cyrus with a Persian army conquered the Medes, a deed which many a Greek or a barbarian could easily do, Evagoras manifestly accomplished the greater part of the deeds which have been mentioned through strength of his own mind and body. [38] Again, while it is not at all certain from the expedition of Cyrus that he would have endured the dangers of Evagoras, yet it is obvious to all from the deeds of Evagoras that the latter would have readily attempted the exploits of Cyrus. In addition, while piety and justice characterized every act of Evagoras, some of the successes of Cyrus were gained impiously: for the former destroyed his enemies, but Cyrus slew his mother's father. Consequently if any should wish to judge, not of the greatness of their successes, but of the essential merit of each, they would justly award greater praise to Evagoras than even to Cyrus.


[39] And if there is need to speak concisely, without reservation or fear of arousing ill-feeling, but with the utmost frankness, I would say that no one, whether mortal, demigod, or immortal, will be found to have obtained his throne more nobly, more splendidly, or more piously. Anyone would in the highest degree be confirmed in this belief if, distrusting completely what I have said, he were to set about examining how each gained royal power. For it will be manifest that it is through no desire whatever of grandiloquence, but because of the truth of the matter, that I have spoken thus boldly about Evagoras.


[40] Now if he had distinguished himself in unimportant ways only, he would fittingly be thought worthy also of praise of like nature: but as it is, all would admit that of all blessings whether human or divine supreme power is the greatest, the most august, and the object of greatest strife. That man, therefore, who has most gloriously acquired the most glorious of possessions, what poet or what artificer of words could raise in a manner worthy of his deeds?


[41] Nor again, though he was a man of surpassing merit in these respects, will Evagoras be found deficient in all others, but, in the first place, although gifted by nature with the highest intelligence and capable of successful action in very many fields, yet he judged that he should not slight any matter or act on the spur of the moment in public affairs: nay, he spent most of his time in inquiring, in deliberation, and in taking counsel, for he believed that if he should prepare his mind well, all would be well with his kingdom also ; and he marvelled at those who, while they cultivate the mind for all other ends, take no thought of the mind itself.


[42] Again, in public affairs he held to the same opinion: for, seeing that those persons who look best after realities are least worried, and that the true freedom from anxiety is to be found, not in inactivity, but in success and patient endurance, he left nothing unexamined: on the contrary, so thoroughly was he cognizant of public affairs and so thorough was his knowledge of each of the citizens, that neither those who conspired against him took him unawares, nor did the good citizens remain unknown to him, but all got their deserts: for he neither punished nor honored them on the basis of what he heard from others, but from his own knowledge he judged them.


[43] When he had engaged himself in the care of such matters he made not a single mistake in dealing with the unexpected incidents which daily befell, but he governed the city so reverently and humanely that visitors to the island1 did not so much envy Evagoras his office as they did the citizens their government under him: for throughout his whole life he never acted unjustly toward anyone but ever honored the good: and while he ruled all his subjects with strictness, yet he punished wrongdoers in accordance with the laws; [44] and while he was in no need of advisers, yet he sought the counsel of his friends. He yielded often to his intimates, but in everything dominated his enemies: he inspired respect, not by the frownings of his brow, but by the principles of his life--in no thing was he disposed to carelessness or caprice, but observed his agreements in deed as well as word;


[45] he was proud, not of successes that were due to Fortune, but of those that came about through his own efforts: his friends he made subject to himself by his benefactions the rest by his magnanimity he enslaved: he inspired fear, not by venting his wrath upon many, but because in character he far surpassed all others: of his pleasures he was the master and not their servant: by little labor he gained much leisure, but would not, to gain a little respite, leave great labors undone; [46] in general, he fell in no respect short of the qualities which belong to kings, but choosing from each kind of government the best characteristic, he was democratic in his service to the people, statesmanlike in the administration of the city as a whole, an able general in his good counsel in the face of dangers, and princely in his superiority in all these qualities. That these attributes were inherent in Evagoras, and even more than these, it is easy to learn from his deeds themselves.


[47] After he had taken over the government of the city, which had been reduced to a state of barbarism and, because it was ruled by Phoenicians, was neither hospitable to the Greeks nor acquainted with the arts, nor possessed of a trading-port or harbor, Evagoras remedied all these defects and, besides, acquired much additional territory, surrounded it all with new walls and built triremes, and with other construction so increased the city that it was inferior to none of the cities of Greece. And he caused it to become so powerful that many who formerly despised it, now feared it.


[48] And yet it is not possible that cities should take on such increase unless there are those who govern them by such principles as Evagoras had and as I endeavored to describe a little before. In consequence I am not afraid of appearing to exaggerate in speaking of the qualities of the man, but rather lest I greatly fall short of doing justice to his deeds. [49] For who could do justice to a man of such natural gifts, a man who not only increased the importance of his own city, but advanced the whole region surrounding the island to a regime of mildness and moderation? Before Evagoras gained the throne the inhabitants were so hostile to strangers and fierce that they considered the best rulers to be those who treated the Greeks in the most cruel fashion. [50] At present, however, they have undergone so great a change that they strive with one another to see who shall be regarded as most friendly to the Greeks, and the majority of them take their wives from us and from them beget children, and they have greater pleasure in owning Greek possessions and observing Greek institutions than in their own, and more of those who occupy themselves with the liberal arts and with education in general now dwell in these regions than in the communities in which they formerly used to live. And for all these changes, no one could deny that Evagoras is responsible.


[51] The most convincing proof of the character and uprightness of Evagoras is this--that many of the most reputable Greeks left their own fatherlands and came to Cyprus to dwell, because they considered Evagoras's rule less burdensome and more equitable than that of their own governments at home. To mention all the others by name would be too great a task: [52] but who does not know about Conon, first among the Greeks for his very many glorious deeds, that when his own city had met with ill-fortune, he chose out of all the world Evagoras and came to him, believing that for himself Evagoras would provide the most secure asylum and for his country the most speedy assistance. And indeed Conon, although he had been successful in many previous ventures, in no one of them, it is believed, had he planned more wisely than in this; [53] for the result of his visit to Cyprus was that he both conferred and received most benefits. In the first place, no sooner had Evagoras and Conon met one another than they esteemed each other more highly than those who before had been their intimate friends. Again, they not only were in complete harmony all their lives regarding all other matters, but also in matters relating to our own city they held to the same opinion.


[54] For when they beheld Athens under the domination of the Lacedaemonians and the victim of a great reversal of fortune, they were filled with grief and indignation, both acting fittingly: for Conon was a native son of Athens, and Evagoras, because of his many generous benefactions, had legally been given citizenship by the Athenians. And while they were deliberating how they might free Athens from her misfortunes, the Lacedaemonians themselves soon furnished the opportunity: for, as rulers of the Greeks on land and sea, they became so insatiate that they attempted to ravage Asia also. [55] Conon and Evagoras seized this opportunity, and, as the generals of the Persian king were at a loss to know how to handle the situation, these two advised them to wage war against the Lacedaemonians, not upon land but upon the sea, their opinion being that if the Persians should organize an army on land and with this should gain a victory, the mainland alone would profit, whereas, if they should be victors on the sea, all Hellas would have a share in the victory. [56] And that in fact is what happened: the generals followed this advice, a fleet was assembled, the Lacedaemonians were defeated in a naval battle3 and lost their supremacy, while the Greeks regained their freedom and our city recovered in some measure its old-time glory and became leader of the allies. And although all this was accomplished with Conon as commander, yet Evagoras both made the outcome possible and furnished the greater part of the armament.


[57] In gratitude we honored them with the highest honors and set up their statues where stands the image of Zeus the Savior, near to it and to one another, a memorial both of the magnitude of their benefactions and of their mutual friendship.


The king of Persia, however, did not have the same opinion of them: on the contrary, the greater and more illustrious their deeds the more he feared them. Concerning Conon I will give an account elsewhere ; but that toward Evagoras he entertained this feeling not even the king himself sought to conceal. [58] For he was manifestly more concerned about the war in Cyprus than about any other, and regarded Evagoras as a more powerful and formidable antagonist than Cyrus, who had disputed the throne with him. The most convincing proof of this statement is this: when the king heard of the preparations Cyrus was making he viewed him with such contempt that because of his indifference Cyrus almost stood at the doors of his palace before he was aware of him. With regard to Evagoras, however, the king had stood in terror of him for so long a time that even while he was receiving benefits from him he had undertaken to make war upon him--a wrongful act, indeed, but his purpose was not altogether unreasonable. [59] For the king well knew that many men, both Greeks and barbarians, starting from low and insignificant beginnings, had overthrown great dynasties, and he was aware too of the lofty ambition of Evagoras and that the growth of both his prestige and of his political activities was not taking place by slow degrees: also that Evagoras had unsurpassed natural ability and that Fortune was fighting with him as an ally.


[60] Therefore it was not in anger for the events of the past, but with forebodings for the future, nor yet fearing for Cyprus alone, but for reasons far weightier, that he undertook the war against Evagoras. In any case he threw himself into it with such ardor that he expended on this expedition more than fifteen thousand talents.


[61] But nevertheless, although Evagoras was inferior in all the resources of war, after he had marshalled in opposition to these extraordinarily immense preparations of the king his own determination, he proved himself in these circumstances to be far more worthy of admiration than in all those I have mentioned before. For when his enemies permitted him to be at peace, all he possessed was his own city; [62] but when he was forced to go to war, he proved so valiant, and had so valiant an ally in his son Pnytagoras, that he almost subdued the whole of Cyprus, ravaged Phoenicia, took Tyre by storm, caused Cilicia to revolt from the king, and slew so many of his enemies that many of the Persians, when they mourn over their sorrows, recall the valor of Evagoras .


[63] And finally he so glutted them with war1 that the Persian kings, who at other times were not accustomed to make peace with their rebellious subjects until they had become masters of their persons, gladly made peace, abandoning this custom and leaving entirely undisturbed the authority of Evagoras. [64] And although the king within three years destroyed the dominion of the Lacedaemonians, who were then at the height of their glory and power, yet after he had waged war against Evagoras for ten years, he left him lord of all that he had possessed before he entered upon the war. But the most amazing thing of all is this: the city which, held by another prince, Evagoras had captured with fifty men, the Great King, with all his vast power, was unable to subdue at all.


[65] In truth, how could one reveal the courage, the wisdom, or the virtues generally of Evagoras more clearly than by pointing to such deeds and perilous enterprises? For he will be shown to have surpassed in his exploits, not only those of other wars, but even those of the war of the heroes which is celebrated in the songs of all men. For they, in company with all Hellas, captured Troy only, but Evagoras, although he possessed but one city, waged war against all Asia. Consequently, if the number of those who wished to praise him had equalled those who lauded the heroes at Troy, he would have gained far greater renown than they.


[66] For whom shall we find of the men of that age--if we disregard the fabulous tales and look at the truth--who has accomplished such feats or has brought about changes so great in political affairs? Evagoras, from private estate, made himself a sovereign: his entire family, which had been driven from political power, he restored again to their appropriate honors: the citizens of barbarian birth he transformed into Hellenes, [67] cravens into warriors, and obscure individuals into men of note: and having taken over a country wholly inhospitable and utterly reduced to savagery, he made it more civilized and gentler: furthermore, when he became hostile to the king, he defended himself so gloriously that the Cyprian War has become memorable for ever: and when he was the ally of the king, he made himself so much more serviceable than the others that, [68] in the opinion of all, the forces he contributed to the naval battle at Cnidus were the largest, and as the result of this battle, while the king became master of all Asia, the Lacedaemonians instead of ravaging the continent were compelled to fight for their own land, and the Greeks, in place of servitude, gained independence, and the Athenians increased in power so greatly that those who formerly were their rulers1 came to offer them the hegemony.


[69] Consequently, if anyone should ask me what I regard as the greatest of the achievements of Evagoras, whether the careful military preparations directed against the Lacedaemonians which resulted in the aforesaid successes, or the last war, or the recovery of his throne, or his general administration of affairs, I should be at a great loss what to say in reply: for each achievement to which I happen to direct my attention seems to me the greatest and most admirable.


[70] Therefore, I believe that, if any men of the past have by their merit become immortal, Evagoras also has earned this preferment: and my evidence for that belief is this--that the life he lived on earth has been more blessed by fortune and more favored by the gods than theirs. For of the demigods the greater number and the most renowned were, we shall find, afflicted by the most grievous misfortunes, but Evagoras continued from the beginning to be not only the most admired, but also the most envied for his blessings. [71] For in what respect did he lack utter felicity? Such ancestors Fortune gave to him as to no other man, unless it has been one sprung from the same stock, and so greatly in body and mind did he excel others that he was worthy to hold sway over not only Salamis but the whole of Asia also: and having acquired most gloriously his kingdom he continued in its possession all his life: and though a mortal by birth, he left behind a memory of himself that is immortal, and he lived just so long that he was neither unacquainted with old age, nor afflicted with the infirmities attendant upon that time of life.


[72] In addition to these blessings, that which seems to he the rarest and most difficult thing to win--to be blessed with many children who are at the same time good--not even this was denied him, but this also fell to his lot. And the greatest blessing was this: of his offspring he left not one who was addressed merely by a private title: on the contrary, one was called king, others princes, and others princesses. In view of these facts, if any of the poets have used extravagant expressions in characterizing any man of the past, asserting that he was a god among men, or a mortal divinity, all praise of that kind would be especially in harmony with the noble qualities of Evagoras.


[73] No doubt I have omitted much that might be said of Evagoras: for I am past my prime of life, in which I should have worked out this eulogy with greater finish and diligence. Nevertheless, even at my age, to the best of my ability he has not been left without his encomium. For my part, Nicocles, I think that while effigies of the body are fine memorials, yet likenesses of deeds and of the character are of far greater value, and these are to be observed only in discourses composed according to the rules of art. [74] These I prefer to statues because I know, in the first place, that honorable men pride themselves not so much on bodily beauty as they desire to be honored for their deeds and their wisdom: in the second place, because I know that images must of necessity remain solely among those in whose cities they were set up, whereas portrayals in words may be published throughout Hellas, and having been spread abroad in the gatherings of enlightened men, are welcomed among those whose approval is more to be desired than that of all others;


[75] and finally, while no one can make the bodily nature resemble molded statues and portraits in painting, yet for those who do not choose to be slothful, but desire to be good men, it is easy to imitate the character of their fellow-men and their thoughts and purposes--those, I mean, that are embodied in the spoken word. [76] For these reasons especially I have undertaken to write this discourse because I believed that for you, for your children, and for all the other descendants of Evagoras, it would be by far the best incentive, if someone should assemble his achievements, give them verbal adornment, and submit them to you for your contemplation and study. [77] For we exhort young men to the study of philosophy1 by praising others in order that they, emulating those who are eulogized, may desire to adopt the same pursuits, but I appeal to you and yours, using as examples not aliens, but members of your own family, and I counsel you to devote your attention to this, that you may not be surpassed in either word or deed by any of the Hellenes


[78] And do not imagine that I am reproaching you for indifference at present, because I often admonish you on the same subject. For it has not escaped the notice of either me or anyone else that you, Nicocles, are the first and the only one of those who possess royal power, wealth, and luxury who has undertaken to pursue the study of philosophy, nor that you will cause many kings, emulating your culture, to desire these studies and to abandon the pursuits in which they now take too great pleasure. [79] Although I am aware of these things, none the less I am acting, and shall continue to act, in the same fashion as spectators at the athletic games: for they do not shout encouragement to the runners who have been distanced in the race, but to those who still strive for the victory.


[80] It is my task, therefore, and that of your other friends, to speak and to write in such fashion as may be likely to incite you to strive eagerly after those things which even now you do in fact desire: and you it behooves not to be negligent, but as at present so in the future to pay heed to yourself and to discipline your mind that you may be worthy of your father and of all your ancestors. For though it is the duty of all to place a high value upon wisdom, yet you kings especially should do so, who have power over very many and weighty affairs.


Diodorus on Evagoras

385 BC


[14.98.1] In Cyprus Evagoras of Salamis, who was of most noble birth, since he was descended from the founders of the city, but had previously been banished because of some factional quarrels and had later returned in company with a small group, drove out Abdemon of Tyre, who was lord of the city and a friend of the King of the Persians. When he took control of the city, Evagoras was at first king only of Salamis, the largest and strongest of the cities of Cyprus; but when he soon acquired great resources and mobilized an army, he set out to make the whole island his own. [2] Some of the cities he subdued by force and others he won over by persuasion. While he easily gained control of the other cities, the peoples of Amathus, Soli, and Citium resisted him with arms and dispatched ambassadors to Artaxerxes the King of the Persians to get his aid. They accused Evagoras of having slain King Agyris, an ally of the Persians, and promised to join the King in acquiring the island for him. [3] The King, not only because he did not wish Evagoras to grow any stronger, but also because he appreciated the strategic position of Cyprus and its great naval strength whereby it would be able to protect Asia in front, decided to accept the alliance. He dismissed the ambassadors and for himself sent letters to the cities situated on the sea and to their commanding satraps to construct triremes and with all speed to make ready everything the fleet might need; and he commanded Hecatomnus, the ruler of Caria, to make war upon Evagoras. [4] Hecatomnus traversed the cities of the upper satrapies and crossed over to Cyprus in strong force.


[14.110.1] At the conclusion of these events the year came to an end, and among the Athenians Theodotus was archon and in Rome the consular magistracy was held by six military tribunes, Quintus Caeso Sulpicius, Aenus Caeso Fabius, Quintus Servilius, and Publius Cornelius. [2] After these men had entered office, the Lacedaemonians, who were hard put to it by their double war, that against the Greeks and that against the Persians, dispatched their admiral Antalcidas to Artaxerxes to treat for peace. [3] Antalcidas discussed as well as he could the circumstances of his mission and the King agreed to make peace on the following terms: "The Greek cities of Asia are subject to the King, but all the other Greeks shall be independent; and upon those who refuse compliance and do not accept these terms I shall make war through the aid of those who consent to them." [4] Now the Lacedaemonians consented to the terms and offered no opposition, but the Athenians and Thebans and some of the other Greeks were deeply concerned that the cities of Asia should be left in the lurch. But since they were not by themselves a match in war, they consented of necessity and accepted the peace.


[5] The King, now that his difference with the Greeks was settled, made ready his armaments for the war against Cyprus. For Evagoras had got possession of almost the whole of Cyprus and gathered strong armaments, because Artaxerxes was distracted by the war against the Greeks.


[15.2.1] When Mystichides was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls three military tribunes, Marcus Furius, Gaius, and Aemilius. This year Artaxerxes, the King of the Persians, made war upon Evagoras, the king of Cyprus. He busied himself for a long time with the preparations for the war and gathered a large armament, both naval and land; his land force consisted of three hundred thousand men including cavalry, and he equipped more than three hundred triremes. [2] As commanders he chose for the land force his brother-in-law Orontes, and for the naval Tiribazus, a man who was held in high favour among the Persians. These commanders took over the armaments in Phocaea and Cyme, repaired to Cilicia, and passed over to Cyprus, where they prosecuted the war with vigour.


[3] Evagoras made an alliance with Acoris, the king of the Egyptians, who was an enemy of the Persians, and received a strong force from him, and from Hecatomnus, the lord of Caria, who was secretly co-operating with him, he got a large sum of money to support his mercenary troops. Likewise he drew on such others to join in the war with Persia as were at odds with the Persians, either secretly or openly. [4] He was master of practically all the cities of Cyprus, and of Tyre and some others in Phoenicia. He also had ninety triremes, of which twenty were Tyrian and seventy were Cyprian, six thousand soldiers of his own subjects, and many more than this number from his allies. In addition to these he enlisted many mercenaries, since he had funds in abundance. And not a few soldiers were sent him by the king of the Arabs and by certain others of whom the King of the Persians was suspicious.


III. Since Evagoras had such advantages, he entered the war with confidence. First, since he had not a few boats of the sort used for piracy, he lay in wait for the supplies coming to the enemy, sank some of their ships at sea, drove off others, and captured yet others. Consequently the merchants did not dare to convey food to Cyprus; and since large armaments had been gathered on the island, [2] the army of the Persians soon suffered from lack of food and the want led to revolt, the mercenaries of the Persians attacking their officers, slaying some of them, and filling the camp with tumult and revolt. It was with difficulty that the generals of the Persians and the leader of the naval armament, known as Glos, put an end to the mutiny. [3] Sailing off with their entire fleet, they transported a large quantity of grain from Cilicia and provided a great abundance of food. As for Evagoras, King Acoris transported an adequate supply of grain from Egypt and sent him money and adequate supplies for every other need. [4] Evagoras, seeing that he was much inferior in naval strength, fitted out sixty additional ships and sent for fifty from Acoris in Egypt, so that he had in all two hundred triremes. These he fitted out for battle in a way to cause terror and by continued trials and drill got ready for a sea engagement. Consequently, when the King's fleet sailed past toward Citium, he fell upon the ships unexpectedly and had a great advantage over the Persians. [5] For he attacked with his ships in compact array ships in disorder, and since he fought with men whose plans were prepared against men unready, he at once at the first encounter won a prearranged victory. For, attacking as he did with his triremes in close order triremes that were scattered and in confusion, he sank some and captured others. [6] Still the Persian admiral Glos and the other commanders put up a gallant resistance, and a fierce struggle developed in which at first Evagoras held the upper hand. Later, however, when Glos attacked in strong force and put up a gallant fight, the result was that Evagoras turned in flight and lost many of his triremes.


IV. The Persians after their victory in the sea-fight gathered both their sea and land forces at the city of Citium. From this as their base they organized a siege of Salamis and beleaguered the city both by land and by sea. [2] Meantime Tiribazus crossed over to Cilicia after the sea-fight and continued thence to the King, reported the victory, and brought back two thousand talents for the prosecution of the war. Before the sea-fight, Evagoras, who had fallen in with a body of the land force near the sea and defeated it, had been confident of success, but when he suffered defeat in the sea-fight and found himself besieged, he lost heart. [3] Nevertheless, deciding to continue the war, he left his son Pnytagoras behind as supreme commander in Cyprus and himself took ten triremes, eluded the enemy, and got away from Salamis. On arriving in Egypt he met the king and urged him to continue the war energetically and to consider the war against the Persians a common undertaking.


[15.8.1] When Dexitheus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Lucius Lucretius and Servius Sulpicius (385 BC). This year Evagoras, the king of the Salaminians, arrived in Cyprus from Egypt, bringing money from Acoris, the king of Egypt, but less than he had expected. When he found that Salamis was closely besieged and that he was deserted by his allies, he was forced to discuss terms of settlement. [2] Tiribazus, who held the supreme command, agreed to a settlement upon the conditions that Evagoras should withdraw from all the cities of Cyprus, that as king of Salamis alone he should pay the Persian King a fixed annual tribute, and that he should obey orders as slave to master. [3] Although these were hard terms, Evagoras agreed to them all except that he refused to obey orders as slave to master, saying that he should be subject as king to king. When Tiribazus would not agree to this, Orontes, who was the other general and envious of Tiribazus' high position, secretly sent letters to Artaxerxes against Tiribazus. [4] The charges against him were first, that although he was able to take Salamis, he was not doing so, but was receiving embassies from Evagoras and conferring with him on the question of making common cause; that he was likewise concluding a private alliance with the Lacedaemonians, being their friend; that he had sent to Pytho to inquire of the god regarding his plans for revolt; and, most important of all, that he was winning for himself the commanders of the troops by acts of kindness, bringing them over by honours and gifts and promises. [5] On reading the letter the King, believing the accusations, wrote to Orontes to arrest Tiribazus and dispatch him to him. When the order had been carried out, Tiribazus, on being brought to the King, asked for a trial and for the time being was put in prison. After this the King was engaged in a war with the Cadusians and postponed the trial, and so the legal action was deferred.


IX. Orontes succeeded to the command of the forces in Cyprus. But when he saw that Evagoras was again putting up a bold resistance to the siege and, furthermore, that the soldiers were angered at the arrest of Tiribazus and so were insubordinate and listless in pressing the siege, Orontes became alarmed at the surprising change in the situation. He therefore sent men to Evagoras to discuss a settlement and to urge him to agree to a peace on the same terms Evagoras had agreed to with Tiribazus. [2] Evagoras, then, was surprisingly able to dispel the menace of capture, and agreed to peace on the conditions that he should be king of Salamis, pay the fixed tribute annually, and obey as a king the orders of the King. So the Cyprian war, which had lasted for approximately ten years, although the larger part of the period was spent in preparations and there were in all but two years of continuous warfare, came to the end we have described.


[3] Glos, who had been in command of the fleet and was married to the daughter of Tiribazus, fearful that it might be thought that he had co-operated with Tiribazus in his plan and that he would be punished by the King, resolved to safeguard his position by a new project of action. Since he was well supplied with money and soldiers and had furthermore won the commanders of the triremes to himself by acts of kindness, he resolved to revolt from the King. [4] At once, then, he sent ambassadors to Acoris, the king of the Egyptians, and concluded an alliance with him against the King. He also wrote the Lacedaemonians and incited them against the King, promising to give them a large sum of money and offering other great inducements. He pledged himself to full co-operation with them in Greece and to work with them in restoring the supremacy their fathers had exercised. [5] Even before this the Spartans had made up their minds to recover their supremacy, and at the time were already throwing the cities into confusion and enslaving them, as was clear to all men. Moreover, they were in bad repute because it was generally believed that in the agreement they had made with the King they had betrayed the Greeks of Asia, and so they repented of what they had done and sought a plausible excuse for a war against Artaxerxes. Consequently they were glad to enter the alliance with Glos.


X. After Artaxerxes had concluded the war with the Cadusians, he brought up the trial of Tiribazus and assigned three of the most highly esteemed Persians as judges. At this time other judges who were believed to have been corrupt were flayed alive and their skins stretched tight on judicial benches. The judges rendered their decisions seated on these, having before their eyes an example of the punishment meted out to corrupt decisions. [2] Now the accusers read the letter sent by Orontes and stated that it constituted sufficient cause for accusation. Tiribazus, with respect to the charge in connection with Evagoras, presented the agreement made by Orontes that Evagoras should obey the King as a king, whereas he had himself agreed upon a peace on the terms that Evagoras should obey the King as a slave his master. With respect to the oracle he stated that the god as a general thing gives no response regarding death, and to the truth of this he invoked all the Greeks present as witnesses. As for the friendship with the Lacedaemonians, he replied in defence that he had formed the friendship not for any advantage of his own but for the profit of the King; and he pointed out that the Greeks of Asia were thereby detached from the Lacedaemonians and delivered captive to the King. At the conclusion of his defence he reminded the judges of the former good services he had rendered the King.


[3] It is related that Tiribazus pointed out many services to the King, and one very great one, as a result of which he was highly regarded and became a very great friend. Once during a hunt, while the King was riding in a chariot, two lions came at him, tore to pieces two of the four horses belonging to the chariot, and then charged upon the King himself; but at that very moment Tiribazus appeared, slew the lions, and rescued the King from the danger. [4] In wars also, men say, he excelled in valour, and in council his judgement was so good that when the King followed his advice he never made a mistake. By means of such a defence Tiribazus was cleared of the charges by the unanimous vote of the judges.


XI. The King summoned the judges one by one and asked each of them what principles of justice he had followed in clearing the accused. The first said that he observed the charges to be debatable, while the benefactions were not contested. The second said that, though it were granted that the charges were true, nevertheless the benefactions exceeded the offences. The third stated that he did not take into account the benefactions, because Tiribazus had received from the King in return for them favours and honours many times as great, but that when the charges were examined apart by themselves, the accused did not appear to be guilty of them. [2] The King praised the judges for having rendered a just decision and bestowed upon Tiribazus the highest honours, such as were customary. Orontes, however, he condemned as one who had fabricated a false accusation, expelled him from his list of friends, and subjected him to the utmost marks of degradation.


Such was the state of affairs in Asia.


A grieving mother holding photos of her missing son.
1600+ men, women and children still missing

Greek Cypriots taken prisoner and transported to Turkey.
up to 70,000 held hostage in concentration camps

A Greek Cypriot napalmed by the Turkish air-force.
5000+ massacred

Greek Cypriots subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment.
thousands raped and tortured
200,000 ethnically cleansed

Christian gave stones smashed by the Turks.
500+ churches desecrated or destroyed

The murder of Tasos Isaac.
murders of refugees continue to this day

The murder of Solomos Solomou.

2001/2004 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 22 December 2004.