The Story of the Greeks

Page: 119

The battle of Ipsus decided the fate of Alexander's kingdom. It was now divided into four principal parts. Ptolemy remained master of Egypt, and his family reigned there many years, until under Cle-o-pa´tra, the last of his race, the country fell into the hands of the Romans.

Seleucus and his descendants, the Se-leu´ci-dæ, had the Persian Empire, or Syria and the land between the Indus and the Euphrates. The capital of this empire was first Se-leu´cia, near Babylon, and later An´ti-och, which became a rich and well-known city.[Pg 266]

Lysimachus was given the kingdom of Thrace, which, however, soon passed into other hands; and Cassander remained master of Macedon. As for Demetrius, although he had lost a kingdom at the battle of Ipsus, he soon managed to conquer another.

In his anger at the Athenians, he first marched against them, and besieged them in their own city. The Athenians were frightened, for they knew how well they deserved punishment; but they resisted as well as they could, and the siege dragged on for several months.

At the end of this time there was no food left in the city, and the people suffered greatly from hunger. Finally they were obliged to yield; and Demetrius rode into Athens in triumph.


The Athenians trembled with fear when they saw the stern expression on Demetrius' face as he entered their city. This terror became still greater when he ordered all the principal citizens to assemble in the public square. None of the Athenians dared to disobey, and they were in no wise reassured when the conquering army surrounded them, each soldier holding an unsheathed sword in his hand.

Demetrius now sternly addressed the citizens, who fancied that every moment would be their last. He reproved them harshly for their ingratitude and desertion, and told them that they deserved death at his hands; but he ended his speech by saying that he pre[Pg 267]ferred to show his power by granting them forgiveness rather than by killing them.

Then he went on to tell them, that, knowing how much they had suffered, he had sent supplies of grain to every house, so that when they went home they should not find their wives and children starving.

The sudden reaction from their great terror proved almost fatal to the Athenian citizens. But when they recovered their breath, the air was rent by a mighty shout of joy in honor of the kind conqueror.

Although Demetrius was as generous as he was brave, his end was very sad. After a long life of continual warfare, and after conquering and losing Macedon, he fell into the hands of his rival and enemy, Seleucus, who kept him in prison as long as he lived.

About this time a new trouble befell Macedon and Greece. This was an invasion of the Gauls, who came sweeping down from the mountains into Greece, in order to rob the temple at Delphi.