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. Hence that great oath of the king. So loud and ominous was it that the pet jackanapes sprang to the shoulder of the statue of the Syrian Venus, and clung with his hairy arms about her marble neck. The giant guardsmen in the adjacent court, who, half asleep, stood leaning upon their pikes, were startled into spasmodic motion, and shouldered their weapons, before their contemptuous glances showed that they understood the words that rang out to them. "By all the gods! if Rome has the power, and Alexandria the commerce, Antioch shall be queen in splendor, though it takes all the gold of all the provinces to dress her." The scribe smiled blandly and bowed his appreciation of this new-coming glory of his master.