From Xenophon’s Ephesian History: or the Love-Adventures of Abrocomas and Anthia, in Five Books. Translated from the Greek by Mr. Rooke [the Second Edition], London: Printed for J. Millan at Locke’s Head in Shug-Lane; 1727, pp. 57-77.



THE next Day, they travell’d thro’ Cilicia, and directed their March towards Mazacus, a City of Cappadocia, large and spacious; for there, Hippothous had determin’d to raise a Company of stout Men, and return to his Robbing-Trade. They pass’d thro’ many fine Villages, and had always Store of Provisions allow’d them, for Hippothous being well skill’d in the Cappadocian Language, every one respected him as his Countryman. After Ten Days Journey, they arriv’d at the City, 58 and taking up their Inn, near the Gates, resolv’d to tarry there some time, to refresh themselves from the Fatigues of Travel. While they were one Day, at Dinner, Hippothous begun to sigh and weep, and Abrocomas enquiring the Reason, “The recital of my Woes,” reply’d, he, “would be as tedious to you, as the Remembrance of them are dreadful to me.” Abrocomas again entreats him to declare them, and promises a Rehearsal of his. He begun from their Rise, they being then free from Company, and continued his Narration in the same Order, as the Facts themselves happen’d.

“My Birth,” says he, “I owe to Perinthus, a City near the Confines of Thrace, and I am one of her chief Citizens: You must have heard how famous a City Perinthus is, and how rich her Inhabitants. Whilst a Youth, I was struck with the Charms of a fair Virgin there, whose Name was Hyperanthe. When first I saw her lead up the Perinthian Maids in a Dance, I lov’d her, nor could contain my self longer than the Time when the Vigils of her Country’s Festival were solemniz’d. ’Twas then I approach’d her, and entreated her to be favourable to me. She no sooner heard my Moan, than she inclin’d to Pity, and promis’d 59 whatever she might. Our first Loves begun with Kisses, Embraces, and many Tears from my Eyes. Afterwards, we could upon Occasion, retire from the World, and enjoy each other’s Converse, without Suspicion, by Reason of our tender Years. Long had we indulg’d our selves with this Freedom, and long had we passionately lov’d each other, when some God envy’d our Happiness. For from Byzantium, which is not far distant from Perinthus, arriv’d a certain Man, named Aristomachus, one of the chief of the Place, fam’d for Wealth, and a haughty Carriage. He had scarce enter’d the City, but (as if by the Direction of some God) he fix’d his Eyes on Hyperanthe, then in my Company, and was instantly struck with Surprize at her Beauty, which indeed was most astonishing. He was desperately in Love, and unable to restrain the Violence of his Passion, and therefore declar’d himself first to the Virgin, but finding no Encouragement there, she rejecting his Suit, because of her steady Affection to me, he perswades her Father, a Man cruel and covetous, to commit her to his Care for her Instruction, he presenting to teach her the rules of exact Behaviour. He no sooner gain’d his Wishes, than he first shut her up at Perinthus, 60 and afterwards convey’d her to Byzantium. I follow’d; and leaving all my other Affairs, whenever Occasion offer’d, I never fail’d to visit her. But these Opportunities rarely happening, our Kisses became less frequent, and our Converse more difficult, for we were strictly watch’d. At last, able to endure this no longer, I fix’d my Resolution, went to Perinthus, dispos’d of all my Effects there, took the Money, and return’d to Byzantium, where (by Hyperanthe’s consent) with Sword in hand I enter’d the House of Aristomachus, by Night, burning with Wrath, and gave him his Death’s Wound, as he lay encircled in her Arms. All Things being then hush’d in Silence, I escap’d unperceiv’d, carrying my Hyperanthe with me, and reaching Perinthus that Night, we embark’d directly on board a Ship, which lay ready for us, and every Body being ignorant of what had happen’d, we design’d to pass over into Asia. The Beginning of our Voyage was pleasant enough, but after we had pass’d by the Island Lesbos, a violent Gust of Wind attack’d us, and overset our Ship. I, with my Hyperanthe, endeavour’d to reach the Shore by Swimming, and whilst I supported her, my own Labour seem’d the less, but Night coming 61 on, and my fair one’s Strength and Spirits failing, she perish’d in the Waves. I, with some Difficulty, drew her Body on Shore, and gave her Burial. I sigh’d deeply, and shed many Tears over her, and not having Time to erect a Monument, happen’d, by Chance, to find a Stone, fit for the Purpose, which I plac’d over her, and whereon I engrav’d this extempore Epigram, to the Memory of her unhappy Fate.”

For ever sacred be this Place
     To Hyperanthe’s Name,
Hippothous no Tomb can raise,
     Thy Beauties to proclaim.
My fairest Flower, alas! is fled,
     By faithless Winds opprest,
Remorseless Waves roll’d o’er thy Head
     And robb’d thy Mate of Rest.

“From that Time, I resolv’d not to return to Perinthus any more, and therefore directed my Course into the greater Phrygia and Pamphilia, where, distress’d by Want, and disorder’d in Mind, I betook my self to Robbing. I serv’d, at first, as a Guard to the Party to which I belonged, but having, afterwards, gather’d 62 a Band of my own, in Cilicia; I became famous, ’till, at last, all my Companions were surpriz’d and slain, or taken, a little before I saw you. This is a brief Account of my Adventures: Now, my Friend, oblige me with yours, for you seem driven by some strange Necessity to travel.”

Abrocomas declar’d Himself an Ephesian by Birth: He related his Love, his Marriage, the Prædiction of the Oracle, his Travels into foreign Parts, the Stories of the Pirates, Apsyrtus, and Manto, as also his Imprisonment, his Flight, his Discourse with the Goat-herd, and his Journey into Cilicia. Before he had made an End, Hippothous burst out into Tears, crying, “O my Parents! O Country! But above all, O my dearest Hyperanthe! Shall I never behold you again? Thou, O Abrocomas, may’st, at last, come to the Sight of her whom thou lovest, and, some time or other, recover her; but I am doom’d never to behold my Hyperanthe more.” Thus saying, he shew’d a Lock of her Hair, and wept over it; and when each of them had shed abundance of Tears, Hippothous turning to Abrocomas, “Something,” says he, “escap’d my Memory, in the Relation of my Adventures, for I omitted 63 telling you, that a little before my Companions were taken, a fair Maid of your Country, and much about your Age, chanc’d to wander near the Cave, where we lay hid. I learn’d no more of her Story. However, we agreed to offer her up, as a Sacrifice, to Mars, and all Things were prepar’d for that Purpose, when our Enemies approach’d. I fled: What became of her afterwards, I know not: But her Beauty, Abrocomas, was surprizing, her Habit plain, her Hair of a lovely Yellow, her Eyes bright and sparkling.” While he continued his Discourse, Abrocomas cry’d out, “O Hippothous, thou hast seen my Anthia! Whether is she fled? What Land contains her? Let us begin a fresh Search, for she cannot be far from the Robber’s Cave: By Hyperanthe’s Soul, which you hold dear as your own, I beseech you not to oppose me, but rather accompany me herein.” Hippothous promis’d him his utmost Assistance, but withall assur’d him, that he must collect a fresh Band of Men for their Security in the Journey.

While they were consulting by what Means to return into Cilicia, Anthia’s Thirty Days were expir’d; the Nuptial Sacrifices were therefore prepar’d, and brought out of the Field by Perilaus, 64 and great Numbers of the Citizens assembled together to the Celebration of that Solemnity. At the very Time when she was brought to Tarsus, having been recover’d out of the Hands of the Robbers, a certain old Man of Ephesus, Eudoxus by Name, (who had escap’d Shipwreck in a Voyage to Ægypt) arriv’d there. He, applying himself to the chief Citizens of Tarsus, requested a Supply of Money or Cloaths, and related the Story of his Misfortunes. He came to Perilaus, and told him, that he was a Citizen of Ephesus, and a Physician. Perilaus brought him to Anthia, imagining she would be overjoy’d at the Sight of one of her Countrymen. She entertain’d him courteously, and ask’d him if he knew any thing of any of her Relations there: He reply’d, he had been long absent from thence, and, consequently was a Stranger to them. She was, nevertheless, glad to see him, and inform’d her self carefully of whatever he stood in Need, whereby he obtain’d all the Necessaries of Life: Yet he never ceas’d intreating her to send him to Ephesus, because there were his Wife and Children. As soon as all things were prepar’d for Perilaus’s Marriage, the Supper was splendidly serv’d up, and the Bride array’d in her Nuptial Attire: Yet she had no Respite from Tears, but pour’d them forth 65 in continual Streams Night and Day. Her Abrocomas was always present before her Eyes, and many Things relating to him, as their Loves, their Oath, their Country, their Parents, their Necessities, their Nuptials, occur’d at once to her Memory: Wherefore, choosing an Opportunity of retiring, she tore her hair, and cry’d out, “O Anthia, altogether unfortunate! and miserable! What a Return of Love shall I make to my Abrocomas? He, to preserve the Fidelity of Spouse to me, endured Chains and Tortures, and perhaps is dead: And shall I, a Wretch, unmindful of his Sufferings for my Sake, presume to marry? Will any sing my Hymeneal Song? Shall I ascend Perilaus’s Bed? O my Abrocomas’s Soul, dearer to me than all Earthly Things, suffer not thy self to be afflicted for my Sake: I shall never willingly offend thee. I will come to Thee, and preserve the Faith of a Wife inviolable, even unto Death.” Having thus said, she drew Eudoxus, the Ephesian Physician, aside, into a remote Chamber; and there, bowing to his Knees, beg’d him not to disclose to any Mortal the Secret she was about ti impart to him, and withall adjur’d him by Diana, his Countrys Goddess, to assist her with what Things soever she stood in Need.


Eudoxus rais’d her up, amidst a Flood of Tears, and bid her be of good Courage, promising by an Oath, that all should be done to her Wish. She then told him the Story of Abrocomas’s Love, the Oaths she had taken to him, and the Vow to preserve her Chastity: “And now, advise me, I beseech you,” says she, “if it be possible for me, whilst living, to enjoy my Abrocomas, alive; or if I can by any means escape hence unperceiv’d: Yet, were I sure of his Death, I would neither attempt to make my Escape, nor interrupt this Day’s Nuptial Rites; neither yet would I break though the Promises I formerly made him, nor disannul my Oath. Be thou therefore my Assistant in this Case, and seek me out some subtle Poison, to set me quickly free from all my Miseries. The Gods shall reward thee liberally for this Bounty, I will invoke them, on they Account, before my Death, I will also procure thee Money, and a Passport, whereby, before any hear the News, thou may’st take Shipping for Ephesus, where, when thou arrivest, enquire for my Parents, Megamedes and Evippa, tell them the Story of my Death, as also of my Adventures, and let them know that Abrocomas is also dead.” Having thus said, she fell down at his Feet, and intreated him 67 not to deny her Request, and at the same Time, drawing out Twenty Pounds weight of Silver, and some rich Jewels (for she had Plenty of all Things, Perilaus’s Treasures being in her Possession) she gave them to Eudoxus. A Thousand Thoughts now occurr’d to his Mind: He pity’d her Misfortunes, but, longing earnestly to return to Ephesus, and charm’d with the Sight of he Jewels, and the Money, consented that the Poison should be brought her. In the mean while, she was drown’d in Tears: she lamented her tender Age, and her untimely Fate, and often call’d upon Abrocomas, as tho’ he had been present. Eudoxus tarried not long before he return’d with the Dose. It was no deadly Poison, but a sleeping Potion, from whence she could receive no Harm: And He having procur’d his Passport, hasted to depart. Anthia, when she had receiv’d it, return’d him hearty Thanks, and dismiss’d him; who immediately going on board a Ship, set sail. She, for her Part, now consider’d only of a fit Time to drink the Draught.

It was now Night, and the Nuptial Bed prepar’d, when they, to whom that Care was committed, went to bring in Anthia. She enter’d the Place, unwilling, and in Tears, and kept the 68 Poison conceal’d in her Hand. While the Guests sung the Hymeneal Song, she sigh’d and wept. “I was,” says she to her self, “first of all, led to my Abrocomas; Love’s Torch then lighted the Way, and Hymenæus conducted me to a happy Marriage: But what is to be done now? Shall I offer an injury to Abrocomas, a loving Spouse, who dy’d for my Sake? No, I am not so faint-hearted, nor so terrify’d at the Sight of Death: The Fates have so order’d it, I will drink the Poison, Abrocomas shall be my Husband, I will enjoy him even in Death.” Having thus said, she was led into the Bridal Chamber, where she remain’d a while alone, Perilaus, with his Friends, tarrying behind. She then, pretending that Sorrow had made her thirsty, order’d some of the Servants to bring her a little Water to drink, and taking the Cup, thus brought, when none perceiv’d, she cast the Poison therein. Then, with a Torrent of Tears, she cries out, “O my Abrocomas’s Shade, Lo! now I perform my Promise to Thee; and now I set forward on my Journey. This is, indeed, an unhappy Work, but a necessary one. Receive me joyfully, and grant that hence forth I may live a happy Life with Thee.” Having thus said, she drunk up the Draught, which soon exciting its Force, Sleep 69 seiz’d her, and she sunk down on a sudden. Perilaus entering the Chamber, no sooner saw Anthia lying all along, than he cry’d out in the utmost Consternation. All the House was then in Confusion, attended with Grief, Lamentation, Fear, and Amazement. Some, when they perceiv’d her lay dead, pity’d her, others were concern’d for Perilaus’s Loss; but all bewail’d the dreadful Accident. Perilaus throwing himself upon the Body, with his Garments rent, call’d out, “O Anthia, dear to me! Thou hast left thy Lover before Marriage, few Days hast thou been Perilaus’s Love. Into what Chamber, alass, shall we now convey Thee! Into thy Tomb? Happy, whoever he is, must that Abrocomas be: Happy above measure must he be, who has receiv’d such Gifts from Thee.” Thus did he pour forth his Complaints, and embracing her Body, and kissing her Hands and Feet, said, “O unhappy Bride, and more unhappy Wife!” He afterwards adorn’d her with costly Ornaments, cloath’d her in rich Attire, and plac’d much Gold by her; and being no longer able to bear the Sight, as soon as the Dawn appear’d, he plac’d her on a Couch, where she lay void of Sense and Motion. She was thence convey’d out of the City, to the Sepulchre, and there deposited 70 in a narrow Vault, he causing many Sacrifices to be offer’d, and many Garments, and other Things of Value, to be burnt at her Funeral.

Her Obsequies being perform’d by his Domesticks, he return’d into the City, Anthia was left in the Sepulchre; and when she came to her self, and perceiv’d that the Draught was not mortal, she sigh’d, and wept, and cry’d, “O deceitful Draught, which has deny’d me the pleasing Conveyance to my Abrocomas! Am I thus impos’d on? All Things are vain! even the desire of dying. But, as I am enclos’d in this Cell, Hunger will soon finish what Poison fail’d to perform. None, sure, will disturb me in this Retreat, nor will I ever behold the Sun, or enter into Light again.” Having thus said, she stoutly and constantly expected Death. In the mean time, some Thieves hearing that a certain Woman was magnificently interr’d, and that great Store of rich Attire, and much Gold and Silver had been there deposited, came by Night, and breaking open the Sepulchre, enter and seize upon the Spoil. They finding Anthia alive, and imagining to make a good Booty of her, raise her up, and endeavour to take Her away: She prostrating her self at 71 their Feet, entreats them, “O Men,” says she, “whoever you are, all this costly Apparel, all these Treasures, here deposited, take, and bear away, but spare my Body: I am sacred to Two Deities, to Death, and to Love; suffer me to spend my Time in their Service. By your own Country Gods, I adjure you, let me not behold the Light, who have already suffer’d such Miseries, as ought, for ever, to be conceal’d in Night and Darkness.” Thus she continued her Request, but in vain, for the Thieves drew her out of the Tomb, convey’d her to the Sea-shore, and hurried her on board a Vessel ready to sail to Alexandria. They who were with her in the Ship, endeavour’d to comfort her, and bid her take Courage, but she, reflecting into what fresh Miseries she was fallen, sad and dejected, cry’d out, “What, more Thieves, and another Sea? Am I again taken? But this is still more unfortunate, because my Abrocomas is absent. What Land will now receive me? What Nations shall I now behold? O that I may no more fall into the Hands of Mæris, nor of Manto, nor of Perilaus; that I may no more be carried into Cilicia; but grant, ye Gods, that I may, at least, be allow’d to see the Tomb of Abrocomas.” Thus did she frequently 72 bewail her Fate; and when she had long refus’d all manner of Sustenance, the Thieves, at last, compell’d her to receive it by Force.

After a tedious Voyage, they arriv’d at Alexandria, where they immediately resolv’d to bring forth Anthia, and offer her to Sale to some Merchants. Perilaus, when he heard that the Tomb was broke open, and the Body carried away, was seiz’d with inconsolable Grief. As for Abrocomas, he made strict Enquiry, if any one could tell him Tidings of a strange Maid, who had been taken by Thieves; and when he despair’d of succeeding, weary with the Search, he retir’d into their Inn. Hippothous’s crew had provided a Supper for themselves, and they feasted plentifully, but Abrocomas, overcharg’d with Grief, threw himself upon the Bed, and wept, and refus’d to eat. But while Hippothous, and his Companions, were drinking, a certain old Woman, named Chrysion, there present, begun a Discourse to this Purpose: “Listen, O ye Guests, to the Story of an Accident which lately happen’d in this City. Perilaus, one of our chief Citizens, and Captain of those who reserve the Peace of Cilicia, marching forth in quest of Thieves, took some, whom he brought in here, and 73 with them, a most beautiful Virgin: Her, he perswaded to marry him. The Nuptials were solemniz’d, but when she enter’d the Bridal Chamber, whether some Frenzy seiz’d her, or a desperate Passion for some other, is unknown; but she swallow’d a poisonous Draught, and dy’d. Thus the manner of her Death is related.” Hippothous hearing this, “This is the Maid,” says he, “which Abrocomas seeks after.” Abrocomas, indeed, heard the Story, but being quite worn out with excessive Grief, had not regarded it, but, at last, starting up at Hippothous’s Words, cry’d out, “Now, alas! my Anthia is certainly dead: Her Tomb may be, perhaps, hereabouts, and her Body preserv’d.” He then desired the old Woman, Chrysion, to direct them to the Tomb, and shew them the Body. “This,” says she, sighing, “was the greatest Misfortune of the unhappy Maid, for Perilaus interr’d her sumptuously, and adorn’d her splendidly, but when some Thieves had Intelligence, what Store of Treasures was buried with her, they broke upon the Tomb, carried away the Prize, and hid the Body; but Perilaus is now making the utmost strict Search imaginable for them.” Abrocomas no sooner understood this, than he rent his Cloaths; and wept abundantly, 74 crying out, “Bravely and virtuously hast thou dy’d, my Anthia, but ’tis unhappy to be abused afterwards: What impious Robber rages with such excessive Lust, as to covet thee after Death, and even to take away thy dead Body? And how wretched am I, to be depriv’d of thee, the only Comfort I was capable of receiving? Now am I resolv’d on Death, but will tarry yet a while, ’till I can find thy Body, clasp it in these Arms, and have it interr’d in the same Grave with mine.” Having thus said, and his Tears still flowing, Hippothous exhorted him to take Comfort, after which, they retir’d to Rest: But Crowds of uneasy thoughts rack’d Abrocomas’s Breast: His Mind was perplex’d about his Anthia, her Death, the Tomb, and the lost Body; and being able to restrain himself no longer, he goes out privately, as if about some particular Affairs, and (while Hippothous, and his Associates, lay over-charg’d with Wine) leaving them all, hasts to the Sea-shore, where finding a Vessel bound for Alexandria, he enters immediately on board, hoping that the Thieves, who had carried all away, might be seiz’d in Ægypt.

Urg’d on with these unhappy Hopes, he embark’d for Alexandria: The next Morning Hippothous, 75 and his Crew, were enrag’d at the Loss of him, and having tarried a few Days there, to refresh themselves, resolv’d to pass into Syria and Phœnicia, and plunder the Country. The Robbers who seiz’d Anthia, sold her to some Merchants of Alexandria for a great Price. They fed her delicately, and attended her carefully, hoping thereby to dispose of her to their better Advantage. A certain Person, then arriv’d there from India, who came partly with a Desire to view the City, and partly for the sake of Merchandise: He was one of the Princes of that country, and his Name was Psammis. When he saw Anthia in the Merchant’s Possession, Love seiz’d him, wherefore giving them their Price, he receiv’d the Maid. No sooner had he bought her, than he offer’d Violence to her, and endeavour’d to force her to his Will: She withstood him, at first, by Denials, but finding these ineffectual, she proceeded to tell him, that her Father, at her Birth, had dedicated her to Isis, ’till her Marriage, (for the Barbarians are naturally prone to Superstition) and that a full Year of the Time was yet unexpir’d; “If therefore,” says she, “you force a Virgin sacred to Isis, She will be enrag’d at the Offence, and your Punishment will be dreadful.” Psammis believ’d her, and adoring 76 the Goddess, desisted from all Attempts against her for the future.

Whilst she remain’d in the custody of Psammis, as sacred to Isis, the Vessel, wherein Abrocomas had embark’d, sail’d in her Course to Alexandria, and fell into one of the Mouths of the Nile, call’d Parætion, on the Coast of Phœnicia. There, the Crew venturing on Shore, were met by some Shepherds of the Country, who, after they had plunder’d them, bound them, and convey’d them, by long Journeys, thro’ the Deserts, to Pelusium, a City of Ægypt, where they sold them. An old Soldier, nam’d Araxus, purchas’d Abrocomas, whose Wife Cyno was hideous to behold, impudent in Discourse, and abandon’d to all manner of Intemperance. Scarce was Abrocomas brought within her Doors, but she was all on Fire, and impatient of Delay, being hurried on with an impetuous Desire of enjoying her Wishes. Araxus lov’d Abrocomas, and adopted him for his Son. Cyno reveal’d her wicked Inclinations to him, and intreated him to comply with her, promising him, that he should be her Spouse, for she would murder Araxus. This was a dreadful Shock to Abrocomas, and many of his old Troubles then enter’d afresh into his Mind: 77 His Anthia, his Oath, and his Chastity which involv’d him in so many Dangers. Cyno continually pressing him to yield, he, at last, seemingly consented. Whereupon, that very Night, hoping to be happy in a new Spouse, she murders Araxus, and tells Abrocomas the Story. He, struck with Horror at the Fact, and not able to bear her inordinate Importunity any longer, left her, and departed, disdaining all Converse with a Woman who had embrew’d her Hands in the Blood of her Husband. She recollecting her self, as soon as the Dawn appear’d, hasted into a publick Place of the City, where, among a Multitude of Citizens, she bewail’d the Loss of her Spouse, and asserted, that he was slain by a Slave, whom he had lately purchas’d: And thus saying, she wept bitterly, that so the Rabble might the more readily believe her. Abrocomas was hereupon seiz’d, chain’d, and sent to the Præfect of Ægypt: He was accordingly convey’d to Alexandria, to suffer for his supposed Crime, of murdering his Master Araxus.