King Antiochus, self-styled Epiphanes, the Glorious, was in a humor that ill-suited that title. He cursed his scribe who had just read to him a letter, kicked away the cushions where his royal and gouty feet had been resting, and strode about the chamber declaring that, by all the gods! he would make such a show in Antioch that the whole world would be agog with amazement.The letter which exploded the temper of his majesty was from Philippi, in Macedonia, and told how the Romans, those insolent republicans of the West, had made a magnificent fête to commemorate their conquest of the country of Perseus, the last of the kings of Greece.Epiphanes was a compound of pusillanimity and conceit. He could forget the insult offered by a Roman officer who drew about "The Glorious" a circle in the sand, and threatened to thrash the kingship out of him if he did not at once desist from a certain attempt upon Egypt; but he could not endure that another should outshine him in the pomp for which Antioch was famous. This Eagle of Syria, as he liked to be called, would rather have his talons cut than lose any of his plumage.
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