Polyaenus‎ > ‎

Polyaenus - women

Women: Timoclea : Axiothea : Arsinoe : Cratesipolis : Cynane : The Cyrenian women

8.40 Timoclea

Timoclea was sister of Theagnes the Theban: that Theagnes, who fought Philip at Chaeronea; when he called out, whither would you pursue me? and was answered, even unto Macedonia. After his death, when Alexander sacked Thebes; and some were plundering the city in one part, and some in another: a certain Thracian, named Hipparchus, entered the house of Timoclea; after supper forced her to his bed, and also insisted on her telling him, where she had deposited her treasures. She acknowledged, she had vases, cups, and other pieces of ornamental furniture, which on the city being taken she said she had deposited in a dry well. The Thracian pressed her immediately to attend him, and show him the place: which she accordingly did; conducting him through the garden, and bringing him to the well. Fearing lest any one should be beforehand with him, he eagerly entered it: but instead of a treasure, found a shower of stones: which Timoclea and her servants discharged upon him, and buried him under the pile. The Macedonians getting intelligence of the transaction; seized her, and carried her before Alexander. When she confessed the fact: and said, no terrors would make her repent of having so gloriously revenged the brutal violence, that the Barbarian had offered to her. Alexander applauded her spirit; and exempted from the public calamity not only her, but all who could prove any relation to her.

8.48 Axiothea

Ptolemy king of Egypt having sent a powerful force to dispossess Nicocles of his kingdom; both he and his brothers, rather than submit to slavery, fell by their own hands. Axiothea the wife of Nicocles, emulous of the glorious resolution of the deceased, assembled their sisters, mothers, and wives; and exhorted them not to submit to anything unworthy of their family. Accordingly barring the doors of the women’s apartments, while the citizens were crowding into the palace, with their children in their arms they set fire to the house: some dispatched themselves with the sword, and others resolutely leaped into the flames. Axiothea, who was the promoter of the enterprise, after she had seen them all thus gloriously fall, first stabbed, and then threw herself into the fire; to preserve even her dead body from falling into the hands of the enemy.

8.57 Arsinoe

Arsinoe, after the death of her husband Lysimachus, while the city of Ephesus remained distracted with seditions, and the faction in the interests of Seleucus threw the Lysimachians from the walls, and set open the gates, placed a slave in the royal bedchamber; whom she dressed in her own robes, and posted a strong guard at the door. Then dressing herself in ragged clothes, and disfiguring her face, she passed through a private door, ran to the ships, and going on board immediately weighed anchor and made her escape. Menecrates in the meantime, one of the adverse generals, forced his way into the bedchamber and slew the servant she had left there, mistaking her for Arsinoe.

8.58 Cratesipolis

Cratesipolis, who had long fought in vain for an opportunity of betraying the Acrocorinthus to Ptolemy, having been repeatedly assured by the mercenaries, who composed the guard, that the place was tenable, applauded their fidelity and bravery: however, said she, it may not be improper to send for a reinforcement from Sicyon. For this purpose, she openly sent a letter of request to the Sicyonians; and privately an invitation to Ptolemy: whose troops were dispatched in the night, admitted as the Sicyonian allies, and without the concurrence or privity of the guards put in possession of the Acrocorinthus.

8.60 Cynane
(Stratagem number taken from Krentz translation, as this book incorrectly reads 16)

Cynane, the daughter of Philip was famous for her military knowledge: she conducted armies, and in the field charged at the head of them. In an engagement with the Illyrians, she with her own hand slew Caeria their queen; and with great slaughter defeated the Illyrian army. She married Amyntas, son of Perdiccas; and, soon after losing him, never would take a second husband. By Amyntas she had an only daughter named Eurydice: to whom she gave a military education, and instructed her in the science of war. Upon Alexander’s death, in exclusion of the royal family, his generals parceling out his dominions among themselves, she crossed the Strymon; forcing her way in the face of Antipater, who disputed her passage over it. She then passed the Hellespont, to meet the Macedonian army: when Alcetas with a powerful force advanced to give her battle. The Macedonians at first paused at the sight of Philip’s daughter, and the sister of Alexander: while after reproaching Alcetas with ingratitude, undaunted at the number of his forces, and his formidable preparations for battle, she bravely engaged him; resolved upon a glorious death, rather than, stripped of her dominions, accept a private life, unworthy of the daughter of Philip.

8.70 The Cyrenian Women

Ptolemy having made war on the Cyrenians, they committed to Lycopus an Aetolian general the whole conduct of the war. And while the men engaged in the field; the women also took their share of duty: they made the palisades, dug the trench, supplied the men with darts, took care of the wounded, and prepared their provisions. The men at length being most of them cut off, Lycopus changed the constitution into a monarchy: for which the women so persecuted him with their reproaches, that he ordered many of them to execution, to which they cheerfully and gladly ran.