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16.90.2In this year, also, Ariobarzanes died after ruling for twenty-six years and Mithridates, succeeding him, ruled for thirty-five. [Note] The Romans were victorious in a battle against the Latins and Campanians in the vicinity of Suessa and annexed part of the territory of the vanquished. Manlius, the consul who had won the victory, celebrated a triumph. [Note]

ch. 91 [Note]

16.91.1When Pythodorus was archon at Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Quintus Publius and Tiberius Aemilius Mamercus, and the one hundred and eleventh celebration of the Olympic Games took place, in which Cleomantis of Cleitor won the foot-race. [Note] 16.91.2In this year, King Philip, installed as leader by the Greeks, opened the war with Persia by sending into Asia as an advance party Attalus and Parmenion, [Note] assigning to them a part of his forces and ordering them to liberate the Greek cities, while he himself, wanting to enter upon the war with the gods' approval, asked the Pythia whether he would conquer the king of the Persians. She gave him the following response: Wreathed is the bull. All is done. There is also the one who will smite him.

16.91.3Now Philip found this response ambiguous but accepted it in a sense favourable to himself, namely that the oracle foretold that the Persian would be slaughtered like a sacrificial victim. Actually, however, it was not so, and it meant that Philip himself in the midst of a festival and holy sacrifices, like the bull, would be stabbed to death while decked with a garland. 16.91.4In any event, he thought that the gods supported him and was very happy to think that Asia would be made captive under the hands of the Macedonians.

Straightway he set in motion plans for gorgeous sacrifices to the gods joined with the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra, whose mother was Olympias; he had given her in marriage to Alexander king of Epirus, Olympia's own brother. [Note] 16.91.5He wanted as many Greeks as possible to take part in the festivities in honour of the gods, and so planned brilliant musical contests and lavish banquets for his friends and guests. 16.91.6Out of all Greece he summoned his personal guest-friends and ordered the members of his court to bring along as many as they could of their acquaintances from abroad. He was determined to show himself to the Greeks as an amiable person and to respond to the honours conferred when he was appointed to the supreme command with appropriate entertainment.

ch. 92 16.92.1So great numbers of people flocked together from all directions to the festival, and the games and the marriage were celebrated in Aegae in Macedonia. Not only did individual notables crown him with golden crowns but most of the important cities as well, and among them Athens. 16.92.2As this award was being announced by the herald, he ended with the declaration that if anyone plotted against King Philip and fled to Athens for refuge, he would be delivered up. [Note] The casual phrase seemed like an omen sent by Providence to let Philip know that a plot was coming. 16.92.3There were other like words also spoken, seemingly divinely inspired, which forecast the king's death.

At the state banquet, Philip ordered the actor Neoptolemus, matchless in the power of his voice and in his popularity, to present some well-received pieces, particularly such as bore on the Persian campaign. The artist thought that his piece would be taken as appropriate to Philip's crossing and intended to rebuke the wealth of the Persian king, great and famous as it was, (suggesting) that it could some day be overturned by fortune. Here are the words that he first sang: Your thoughts reach higher than the air;
You dream of wide fields' cultivation.
The homes you plan surpass the homes
That men have known, but you do err,
Guiding your life afar.
But one there is who'll catch the swift,
Who goes a way obscured in gloom,
And sudden, unseen, overtakes
And robs us of our distant hopes—
Death, mortals' source of many woes.
[Note] He continued with the rest of the song, all of it dealing with the same theme. 16.92.4Philip was enchanted with the message and was completely occupied with the thought of the overthrow of the Persian king, for he remembered the Pythian oracle which bore the same meaning as the words quoted by the tragic actor.

16.92.5Finally the drinking was over and the start of the games set for the following day. While it was still dark, the multitude of spectators hastened into the theatre and at sunrise the parade formed. Along with lavish display of every sort, Philip included in the procession statues of the twelve gods wrought with great artistry and adorned with a dazzling show of wealth to strike awe in the beholder, and along with these was conducted a thirteenth statue, suitable for a god, that of Philip himself, so that the king exhibited himself enthroned among the twelve gods. [Note]

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