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Library of History 16.91–94
 In 336 BC, King Philip, chosen as leader by the Greeks, began a
war against the Persians and sent Attalus and Parmenio into Asia; he
gave them part of his army and told them to free the Greek cities. He
was anxious to start the war with the gods’ blessing, so he asked the
Pythian priestess if he would defeat the king of the Persians. She gave
him the following reply: “The bull is garlanded; it has come to an end;
there is the one who will make the sacrifice.”
although he found this oracle unclear, interpreted it as favourable to
himself, that the oracle foretold that the Persian would be killed like
a sacrificial animal; but in fact the truth was the complete opposite as
it meant that Philip was be killed at a festival during the sacrifices
to the gods like a garlanded bull.
 Yet as he expected the
gods to fight on his side he was very happy that Asia would be captured
by the Macedonians. So at once he ordered magnificent sacrifices for the
gods and arranged the wedding of his daughter
Cleopatra; her mother was
Olympias. It was her brother,
Alexander, king of Epirus that Philip had
given Cleopatra to.
 As he wanted as many of the Greeks as
possible to take part in the festival and the worship of the gods, he
arranged magnificent musical contests and splendid banquets for his
friends and guests.
 For that reason he sent for his own
personal guest-friends from all over Greece, and told his friends to
invite as many as possible of their own friends from abroad. He was very
keen to show himself as well disposed to the Greeks and
to repay the honours shown to him when he received complete control of Greek forces with appropriate entertainment.
end, many hurried to the festival from all over Greece, when the games
and the marriage [of Philip’s daughter Cleopatra] were celebrated in
Aegae in Macedonia. Not only did many famous individuals crown him with
gold crowns but the majority of the important cities also did so,
 As the award of the Athenian crown was
announced, the herald finished by saying that anyone who plotted against
King Philip and fled to the Athenians would be handed over for
punishment. Through this offhand remark showing almost divine
foreknowledge, the god revealed that a plot against Philip was imminent.
 There were other remarks like these, which seemed divinely
inspired, foretelling the death of the king. During the king’s banquet,
Neoptolemus, who was the most famous actor of the day and had the most
powerful voice, was ordered by the king to perform some appropriate
pieces, especially those which related to the campaign against the
Persians. The artist reckoned that the following poem would be taken as
suitable for Philip’s expedition as he wished to rebuke the Persian
king’s prosperity (even though it was great and much talked about) and
suggest it might be overturned by fate. He began to perform the
Now you think thoughts higher than air,
of cultivated fields extending over great plains
And build houses
larger than men have built previously,
Estimating your life too great
in your foolishness.
But there is someone who embraces the
Who goes along a dark path,
unseen, comes upon him
And takes away the long-held hopes
mortal men, Death, the source of much trouble.
with the rest of this piece, all of it very similar to this.
Philip was absolutely delighted with this performance and was completely
taken up with thoughts of overthrowing the Persian king; he remembered
the Pythian oracle from Delphi which had almost the same meaning as the
words declaimed by the actor.
 Finally the banquet broke up
and the games were due to start the next day; the majority of those
attending rushed to the theatre while it was still night, and at dawn
the solemn procession was formed. In addition to magnificent displays of
all kinds, the king set in the procession statues of
the twelve gods crafted with extraordinary skill and wonderfully decorated with a
dazzling display of wealth; there was in the procession a thirteenth
statue, worthy of a god, but of Philip himself, who was revealed
enthroned amongst the twelve gods.
theatre was full when Philip entered wearing a white cloak; his
bodyguards had been ordered to accompany him at a distance; he wanted to
show everyone that he was protected by the common good will of the
Greeks and did not need any other protection.
 So great was
his success at this time; everyone was praising and blessing the king.
Then incredible and completely unexpected was the plot against the king
which brought about his death.
 So that my account of these
matters may be clear, I will set out the reasons for the plot. Pausanias
was a Macedonian by birth who came from the district of
Orestis, and he
was a bodyguard of the king and a friend because of his beauty.
 When he saw that another individual called
Pausanias was becoming
close to the king, he used abusive language against him, saying that he
was a hermaphrodite and would readily accept the advances of anyone who
 The other Pausanias, unable to put up with
this violent abuse, remained silent for a time, but then he shared with
one of his friends, Attalus, what he was going to do and brought about
the ending of his own life willingly and in an unusual manner.
 A few days later, when Philip was in a battle with
Pleurias, king of
the Illyrians, Pausanias stood in front of the king and took all the
blows aimed at him and so died.
 These events became common
Attalus, who was one of the inner circle who had great influence
with the king, summoned the other Pausanias to dinner and gave him a
great deal of unmixed wine. Then he gave the inebriated Pausanias to the
muleteers for violence and drunken excess.
 When Pausanias
sobered up from his heavy drinking, he was very angry at the violence
done to him while he was drunk and he made a complaint about Attalus
before the king.
Philip was angered by the lawlessness of the act, but
he did not wish to show his anger both because of his relationship with
Attalus and because he needed him at the time.
 Attalus was
nephew of Cleopatra, the woman who had just been married by the
king, and he had been appointed general of the advance party sent into
Asia, as he was a brave man in war. Because of this the king wished to
calm Pausanias’ justified anger for what he had suffered, so gave him
worthy presents and promoted him within his bodyguard.
 Pausanias preserved his anger, just as it had been, and was keen not
only to avenge himself on the one who had wronged him
but also on the king who had failed to grant him revenge. He was supported in this plan
the sophist Hermocrates; he had been a pupil of this man, and during
his studies had asked how a man might become most famous. Hermocrates
replied that he might achieve this if he killed the man who had achieved
the greatest deeds, as the killer of such a man would be remembered
together with the man he killed.
 Pausanias applied this
saying to his personal anger, and,
allowing no postponement of his plan
because of his sense of being wronged, put his plan into action during
this festival in the following manner.
 He positioned
by the gates to the city and went to the entrance of the theatre with a
Celtic dagger hidden from view. When Philip told those friends who were
accompanying him to go into the theatre before he did, the bodyguards
kept their distance, then Pausanias, seeing that the king was alone, ran
up to him and striking him straight through the ribs left him dead on
the ground; then he sprinted for the gates and the horses he had readied
 At once some of the bodyguards rushed to the
body of the king, while the others poured out in pursuit of the killer:
in this group were
Leonnatus and Perdiccas and Attalus. Pausanias had a
head start and would have leapt onto a horse before they reached him, if
he had not caught his boot on a vine and fallen. Because of this, the
men with Perdiccas caught up with him as he was getting up from the
ground and killed him with their spears.