Book 31: Rome and Macedon
[31.1]I, too, feel as much relief in having reached the end of the Punic War as if I had taken a personal part in its toils and dangers. It ill befits one who has had the courage to promise a complete history of Rome to find the separate sections of such an extensive work fatiguing. But when I consider that the sixty-three years from the beginning of the First Punic War to the end of the Second take up as many books as the four hundred and eighty-seven years from the foundation of the City to the consulship of Appius Claudius under whom the First Punic War commenced, I see that I am like people who are tempted by the shallow water along the beach to wade out to sea; the further I progress, the greater the depth, as though it were a bottomless sea, into which I am carried. I imagined that as I completed one part after another the task before me would diminish; as it is, it almost becomes greater. The peace with Carthage was very soon followed by war with Macedonia. There is no comparison between them as regards the critical nature of the contest, or the personality of the commander or the fighting quality of the troops. But the Macedonian war was, if anything, more noteworthy owing to the brilliant reputation of the former kings, the ancient fame of the nation and the vast extent of its dominion when it held sway over a large part of Europe and a still larger part of Asia. The war with Philip which had commenced some ten years previously had been suspended for the last three years, and both the war and its cessation were due to the action of the Aetolians. The peace with Carthage now left the Romans free. They were angry with Philip for his attacking the Aetolians and the other friendly States in Greece while he was nominally at peace with Rome, and also for his having given assistance in both men and money to Hannibal and Carthage. He had ravaged the Athenian territory and driven the inhabitants into the city, and it was their request for help which decided the Romans to recommence the war.
[31.2]Just about the same time envoys arrived from King Attalus and also from Rhodes with the information that Philip was trying to gain the States of Asia Minor. The reply made to both deputations was that the situation in Asia was engaging the attention of the senate. The question of war with Macedonia was referred to the consuls, who were at the time in their respective provinces. In the meanwhile, C. Claudius Nero, M. Aemilius Lepidus and P. Sempronius Tuditanus were sent on a mission to Ptolemy, king of Egypt, to announce the final defeat of Hannibal and the Carthaginians and to thank the king for having remained a staunch friend to Rome at a critical time, when even her nearest allies deserted her. They were further to request him, in case Philip's aggressions compelled them to declare war against him, that he would maintain his old friendly attitude towards the Romans. During this period P. Aelius, the consul who was commanding in Gaul, learnt that the Boii, prior to his arrival, had been raiding the territories of friendly tribes. He hastily raised a force of two legions in view of this disturbance and strengthened it with four cohorts from his own army. This force, thus hurriedly collected, he entrusted to C. Ampius, a prefect of allies, and ordered him to march through the canton of Umbria called Sapinia and invade the country of the Boii. He himself marched over the mountains by an open road. Ampius crossed the enemy's frontier, and after devastating his country without meeting any resistance, he selected a position at the fortified post of Mutilum as a suitable place for cutting the corn which was now ripe. He commenced the task without previously examining the neighbourhood or posting armed parties in sufficient strength to protect the foragers, who had laid aside their weapons and were intent on their work. Suddenly he and his foragers were surprised by the Gauls who appeared on all sides. The panic and disorder extended to the men on guard; 7000 men who were dispersed through the cornfields were killed, amongst them C. Ampius himself, the rest fled to the camp. The following night the soldiers, as they had no regular commander, decided to act for themselves, and leaving most of their possessions behind made their way through almost impassable forests to the consul. Beyond ravaging the Boian country and making a league with the Ligurian Ingauni the consul did nothing worth mentioning in his province before his return to Rome.
[31.3]At the first meeting of the senate after his return there was a general demand that the action of Philip and the grievances of the friendly States should take precedence of all other business. The question was at once put in a crowded House and a decree was made that the consul P. Aelius should send the man whom he thought best, with full command to take over the fleet which Cn. Octavius was bringing back from Africa and proceed to Macedonia. He selected M. Valerius Laevinus, who was sent with the rank of propraetor. Laevinus took thirty-eight of Octavius' ships which were lying at anchor off Vibo and with these he sailed for Macedonia. He was met by M. Aurelius, who gave him details about the strength of the land and sea forces which the king had got together and the extent to which he was securing armed assistance not only from the cities on the mainland, but also from the islands in the Aegean, partly by his own personal influence, partly through his agents. Aurelius pointed out that the Romans would have to display far greater energy in the prosecution of this war, or else Philip, encouraged by their slackness, would venture on the same enterprise which Pyrrhus, whose kingdom was considerably smaller, had ventured on before. It was decided that Aurelius should send this information in a despatch to the consuls and the senate.
[31.4]Towards the close of the year the question was brought up as to the holdings which were to be assigned to the veteran soldiers who had served with Scipio in Africa. The senator decreed that M. Junius, the City praetor, should at his discretion appoint ten commissioners for the purpose of measuring and allotting that portion of the Samnite and Apulian territory which had become State domain. The commissioners were P. Servilius, Q. Caecilius Marcellus, the two Servilii, Caius and Marcus - who were known as "The Twins" - the two Hostilii Catones, Lucius and Aulus, P. Villius Tappulus, M. Fulvius Flaccus, P. Aelius Paetus and T. Quinctius Flamininus. The elections were conducted by the consul P. Aelius. The consuls-elect were P. Sulpicius Galba and C. Aurelius Cotta. The new praetors were Q. Minucius Rufus, L. Furius Purpureo, Q. Fulvius Gillo and C. Sergius Plancus. The Roman Scenic Games were celebrated this year with unusual splendour by the curule aediles, L. Valerius Flaccus and T. Quinctius Flamininus, and were repeated for a second day. They also distributed to the people with strict impartiality and to the general satisfaction a vast quantity of corn which Scipio had sent from Africa. It was sold at four ases the modius. The Plebeian Games were also exhibited on three separate occasions by the aediles L. Apustius Fullo and Q. Minucius Rufus; the latter after serving his aedileship was one of the newly-elected praetors. The Festival of Jupiter was also celebrated.
[31.5]In the 551st year from the foundation of the City, during the consulship of P. Sulpicius Galba and C. Aurelius and within a few months of the conclusion of peace with Carthage, the war with King Philip began. On March 15, the day on which the consuls entered office, P. Sulpicius made this the first business before the senate. A decree was made that the consuls should sacrifice full-grown victims to those deities whom they might decide upon, and should offer up the following prayer: "May the will and purpose of the senate and people of Rome as regards the commonwealth and the entrance upon a new war have a prosperous and happy issue both for the Roman people and for the Latin allies!" After the sacrifice and prayer the consuls were to consult the senate as to the policy to be pursued and the allocation of provinces. Just at this time the war-spirit was stimulated by the receipt of the despatches from M. Aurelius and M. Valerius Laevinus as well as by a fresh embassy from Athens which announced that the king was nearing their frontiers and would soon be master of their territory and of their city as well if Rome did not come to the rescue. The consuls reported the due performance of the sacrifices and the declaration of the augurs that the gods had listened to their prayer, for the victims had given favourable omens and portended victory, triumph, and an enlargement of the dominion of Rome. Then the despatches from Valerius and Aurelius were read and an audience given to the Athenian envoys. A resolution was passed by the senate that thanks be given to their allies for remaining loyal in spite of continual attempts to seduce them and even when threatened with a siege. With regard to giving active assistance the senate deferred a definite answer until the consuls had balloted for their provinces, and the one to whom the Macedonian province fell had submitted to the people the question of declaring war against Philip of Macedon.
[31.6]This province fell to P. Sulpicius, and he gave notice that he should propose to the Assembly that "owing to the lawless actions and armed attacks committed against the allies of Rome, it is the will and order of the Roman people that war be proclaimed against Philip, King of Macedonia, and against his people, the Macedonians." The other consul, Aurelius, received Italy for his province. Then the praetors balloted for their respective commands. C. Sergius Plancus drew the City; Q. Fulvius Gillo, Sicily; Q. Minucius Rufus, Bruttium, and L. Furius, Gaul. The proposed declaration of war against Macedonia was almost unanimously rejected at the first meeting of the Assembly. The length and exhausting demands of the late war had made men weary of fighting and they shrank from incurring further toils and dangers. One of the tribunes of the plebs, Q. Baebius, too, had adopted the old plan of abusing the patricians for perpetually sowing the seeds of fresh wars to prevent the plebeians from ever enjoying any rest. The patricians were extremely angry and the tribune was bitterly attacked in the senate, each of the senators in turn urging the consul to call another meeting of the Assembly to consider the proposal afresh and at the same time to rebuke the people for their want of spirit and show them what loss and disgrace would be entailed by the postponement of that war.
[31.7]The Assembly was duly convened in the Campus Martius, and before the question was put to the vote, the consul addressed the centuries in the following terms: "You seem to be unaware, Quirites, that what you have to decide is not whether you will have peace or war; Philip will not leave you any option as to that, he is preparing war on an enormous scale both by land and sea. The only question is whether you will transport the legions into Macedonia or wait for the enemy in Italy. You have learnt by experience, if not before, at all events in the late Punic War, what a difference it makes which you decide upon. When Saguntum was beseiged and our allies were imploring us for help, who doubts that if we had sent prompt assistance, as our fathers did to the Mamertines, we should have confined within the borders of Spain that war which, most disastrously for ourselves, we allowed through procrastination to enter Italy. Why, this very Philip had entered into an agreement with Hannibal through his agents and in his despatches that he would invade Italy, and there is not the smallest doubt that we kept him in Macedonia by sending Laevinus with a fleet to take the offensive against him. Are we hesitating to do now what we did then, when we had Hannibal for our enemy in Italy - now that Hannibal has been driven out of Italy and out of Carthage, and Carthage itself is completely vanquished? If we allow the king to make proof of our slackness by storming Athens as we allowed Hannibal to do by storming Saguntum, it will not be in five months - the time Hannibal took from Saguntum - but in five days after he sails from Corinth that he will set foot in Italy.
"Perhaps you do not put Philip on a par with Hannibal or consider the Macedonians equal to the Carthaginians. At all events you will consider him the equal of Pyrrhus. Equal, do I say? How greatly the one man surpasses the other, how superior is the one nation to the other! Epirus always has been and is today a very small accession to the kingdom of Macedonia. The whole of the Peloponnese is under the sway of Philip, not excepting even Argos, famous for the death of Pyrrhus, quite as much as for its ancient glory. Now compare our position. Consider the flourishing state of Italy when all those generals and armies were safe and sound which have been since swept away by the Punic War. And yet when Pyrrhus attacked it, he shook it to its foundations and all but reached Rome itself in his victorious career! Not only did the Tarentines revolt from us and the whole of that coastal district of Italy called Magna Graecia, which you would naturally suppose would follow a leader of the same language and nationality as themselves, but the Lucanians, the Bruttians and the Samnites did the same. Do you suppose that if Philip landed in Italy, these nations would remain quiet and true to us? They showed their loyalty, I suppose, in the Punic War. No, those nations will never fall to revolt from us, unless there is no longer any one to whom they can revolt. If you had thought it too much to go to Africa you would have had Hannibal and his Carthaginians in Italy today. Let Macedonia rather than Italy be the seat of war, let it be the enemy's cities and fields that are devastated with fire and sword. We have learnt by this time that our arms are more potent and more successful abroad than they are at home. Go to the poll with the help of the gods, and confirm the decision of the senate. It is not your consul only who urges you to take this course, the immortal gods also bid you do it, for when I was offering up the sacrifices and praying that this war might end happily for the senate, for myself, for you, for our allies and Latin confederates, for our fleets and armies, the gods vouchsafed every cheering and happy omen."
[31.8]After this speech they separated for the voting. The result was in favour of the consul's proposal, they resolved on war. Thereupon, the consuls, acting on a resolution of the senate, ordered special prayers and supplications for three days, and at all the shrines intercessions were offered up that the war which the Roman people had ordered against Philip might have a happy and prosperous issue. The fetials were consulted by the consul as to whether it was necessary for the declaration of war to be conveyed personally to King Philip, or whether it would be sufficient if it were published in one of his frontier garrison towns. They declared that either mode of procedure would be correct. The senate left it to the consul to select at his discretion one of them, not being a member of the senate, to make the declaration of war. The next business was the formation of the armies for the consuls and praetors. The consuls were ordered to disband the old armies and, each of them, to raise two fresh legions. As the conduct of the new war, which was felt to be a very serious one, was entrusted to Sulpicius, he was allowed to reenlist as volunteers as many as he could out of the army which P. Scipio had brought back from Africa, but on no account to compel any of the veterans to join against his will. The consuls were to give to each of the praetors, L. Furius Purpurio and Q. Minucius Rufus, 5000 men from the Latin contingents as an army of occupation for their provinces, the one in Gaul, the other in Bruttium. Q. Fulvius Gallo also was ordered to select men belonging to the Latin and allied contingents from the army which the consul P. Aelius had commanded, beginning with those who had seen the shortest service until he had made up a force of 5000 men. This army was for the defence of Sicily. M. Valerius Falto, who had had Campania for his province during the previous year, was to make a similar selection from the army in Sardinia, which province he was to take charge of as propraetor. The consuls received instructions to raise two legions in the City as a reserve to be sent wherever there was need for their services, as many of the Italian nationalities had taken the side of Carthage in the late war, and were seething with anger.
[31.9]In the midst of these preparations for war a deputation came from King Ptolemy to bring information that the Athenians had sought his aid against Philip. Although both States were allies of Rome, the king would not - so the deputies stated - send either fleet or army to Greece to protect or attack any one without the consent of Rome. If the Romans were at liberty to defend their allies he should remain quietly in his kingdom; if on the other hand the Romans preferred to remain inactive he would himself send such assistance as would easily protect the Athenians against Philip. The senate passed a vote of thanks to the king and assured the deputation that it was the intention of the Roman people to protect their allies; if the need arose they would point it out to the king, and they were fully aware that the resources of his kingdom would prove a steady and loyal support for their commonwealth. To each of the deputies the senate presented 5000 ases. While the consuls were raising troops and preparing for war, the citizens were occupied with religious observances, especially those which were usual when a fresh war began. The special intercessions and prayers at all the shrines had been duly offered, but that nothing might be omitted the consul to whom Macedonia was allotted was authorised to vow Games in honour of Jupiter and an offering to his temple. This matter was delayed through the action of the Pontifex Maximus, Licinius, who laid it down that no vow ought to be made unless the sum required to discharge it was paid, because the money so appropriated could not be used in connection with the war, and ought to be at once set apart and not mixed up with other money. Unless this were done, the vow could not be duly discharged. Although the pontiff's authority and the reasons he gave had great weight, the consul was instructed to refer the question to the whole pontifical college as to whether a vow could be properly undertaken when the expense incurred was left uncertain. The pontiffs declared that it could, and would be made with even greater propriety under these conditions. The consul recited the words of the vow after the Pontifex Maximus in the same form in which vows to be discharged after an interval of five years were usually recited, the exception being that the senate was to determine the cost of its fulfilment at the time when it was discharged. Up to this time when the Games and offerings were vowed a definite sum had always been named; this was the first instance where the cost was not fixed at the time.
[31.10]Whilst all men's minds were turned to the Macedonian war, rumours suddenly arose of an outbreak of the Gauls, the last thing that was apprehended. The Insubres and Cenomani in conjunction with the Boii, who had induced the Celines and Ilvates and the other Ligurian tribes to join them, had taken up arms under Hamilcar, a Carthaginian general, who had held a command in Hasdrubal's army and had remained in the country. They had stormed and sacked Placentia and in their blind rage had destroyed most of the city by fire, hardly 2000 men being left amid the smoking ruins. Thence, crossing the Po, they advanced with the intention of sacking Cremona. Hearing of the disaster which had overtaken their neighbours the townsmen had time to close their gates and man their walls so that they might, at all events, be able to stand a siege and send a message to the Roman praetor before the final assault. I,. Furius Purpureo was in charge of that province at the time, and acting under the resolution of the senate had disbanded his army, retaining only 5000 from the Latin and allied contingents. With this force he was encamped in the neighbourhood of Ariminum. In a despatch to the senate he described the serious condition of his province; of the two military colonies which had weathered the terrible storm of the Punic War one was taken and destroyed by the enemy and the other was being attacked. His own army could not render assistance to the colonists in their distress unless he was willing to expose his 5000 allied troops to be massacred by the 40,000 of the enemy - that number was under arms - and by incurring such a fatal disaster himself raise the courage of the enemy who were exulting over the destruction of a Roman colony.
[31.11]After the despatch had been read the senate decreed that the consul C. Aurelius should order his army to muster at Ariminum on the day which he had previously fixed for their muster in Etruria. If the state of public affairs allowed, he was to go in person to suppress the disturbance, otherwise, he was to send instructions to L. Furius requesting him, as soon as the legions reached him, to send his 5000 of the allied contingent to replace them in Etruria, and then raise the siege of Cremona. The senate also decided to send a mission to Carthage and to Masinissa in Numidia. Their instructions for Carthage were to inform the government that Hamilcar, one of their citizens who had come with either Hasdrubal's or Mago's army, had been left behind and in defiance of the treaty had persuaded the Gauls and Ligurians to take up arms against Rome. If they wished to remain at peace they must recall him and surrender him to the Romans. The commissioners were also to announce that the deserters had not all been given up, a great many of them were stated to be openly walking about in Carthage; it was the duty of the authorities to find them out and arrest them in order that they might be handed over in accordance with the treaty. These were their instructions for Carthage. To Masinissa they were to convey the senate's congratulations on his having recovered his ancestral kingdom and still more upon his having extended it by the annexation of the richest portion of Syphax's dominions. They were also to inform him that a war had been undertaken against Philip in consequence of his having lent the Carthaginians active assistance, and when Italy was wrapped in the flames of war he had inflicted injuries on the allies of Rome. She was thus compelled to send ships and armies to Greece, and by thus dividing her forces Philip was primarily the cause of the delay in sending an expedition to Africa. The commissioners were further to request Masinissa to assist in that war by sending a contingent of Numidian horse. Some splendid presents were placed in their charge for the king - gold and silver vases, a purple robe, a tunica palmata together with an ivory sceptre, also a toga praetexta together with a curule chair. They were instructed to assure him that if he required anything for the security and extension of his kingdom and would intimate what he wanted, the Roman people would do their utmost to meet his wishes in return for the services he had rendered.
A deputation from Syphax's son, Vermina, also appeared before the senate. They made excuses for his mistakes on the ground of his youth and threw all the blame on the faithlessness of the Carthaginians. Masinissa had once been the enemy and had now become the friend of Rome; Vermina, too, they said, would make every effort not to be outdone in friendly offices to Rome either by Masinissa or by any one else. They ended by petitioning the senate to confer on him the title of "king, ally and friend." The reply which the deputation received was to the effect that "Syphax, his father, had suddenly without any reason become an enemy to the people of Rome after being their ally and friend, and that Vermina himself had commenced his military education by an attack on the Romans. He must therefore sue for peace before he could have any title to be styled 'king, ally and friend.' The Roman people were accustomed to confer that honourable distinction in return for great services which kings have rendered to them. The Roman envoys would shortly be in Africa and the senate would empower them to grant peace to Vermina on certain conditions, providing that he left the fixing of those conditions absolutely to the Roman people. If he wanted anything added or cancelled or altered in the terms he must make a fresh appeal to the senate." The men who were sent to conduct these negotiations were C. Terentius Varro, Sp. Lucretius and Cn. Octavius; and they had each a quinquereme placed at their disposal.
[31.12]A despatch was read in the House from Q. Minucius, the praetor commanding in Bruttium, in which he stated that money had been stolen by night from the treasury of Proserpine at Locri and there was no clue to the perpetrators of the crime. The senate were extremely angry at finding that acts of sacrilege were still going on and that not even the example of Pleminius, notorious alike for the guilt and the punishment which so swiftly followed, acted in any way as a deterrent. C. Aurelius was instructed to write to the praetor and tell him that the senate wished an enquiry to be made into the circumstances of the robbery on the same lines as the one which the praetor M. Pomponius had conducted three years previously. Whatever money was discovered was to be replaced, and the deficit made up; and should it be thought necessary expiatory sacrifices were to be offered in accordance with the instructions of the pontiffs on the previous occasions. Their anxiety to atone for the violation of the temple was made all the keener by the simultaneous announcements of portents from numerous localities. In Lucania it was alleged that the heavens had been on fire; at Privernum the sun had been glowing red through the whole of a cloudless day; at the temple of Juno Sospita in Lanuvium a terrible noise was heard in the night. Numerous monstrous births were also reported amongst the Sabines a child was born of doubtful sex; another similar case was discovered where the child was already sixteen years old; at Frusino a lamb was yeaned with a head like a pig; at Sinuessa a pig was littered with a human head, and on the public domain-land in Lucania a foal appeared with five feet. These were all regarded as horrid and monstrous products of a nature which had gone astray to produce strange and hybrid growths; the hermaphrodites were looked upon as of especially evil omen and were ordered to be at once carried out to sea just as quite recently in the consulships of C. Claudius and M. Nero similar ill-omened births had been disposed of. At the same time the senate ordered the decemvirs to consult the Sacred Books about this portent. Following the instructions found there, they ordered the same ceremonies to be observed as on the occasion of its last appearance. A hymn was to be sung through the City by three choirs, each consisting of nine maidens, and a gift was to be carried to Queen Juno. The consul C. Aurelius saw that the instructions of the Keepers of the Sacred Books were carried out. The hymn in our fathers' days was composed by Livius, on this occasion by P. Licinius Tegula.
[31.13]When all the acts of expiation had been duly performed, and the sacrilege at Locri had been investigated by Q. Minucius, and the money, recovered from the sale of the goods of the guilty persons, had been replaced in the treasury, the consuls were now anxious to start for their provinces, but a delay arose. A number of persons had lent money to the State during the consulship of M. Valerius and M. Claudius, and the repayment of the third instalment was due this year. The consuls informed them that the money in the treasury would hardly meet the cost of the new war, which would have to be carried on with a large fleet and large armies and that there was no means of paying them for the present. They appealed to the senate and pleaded that if the State chose to use the money which was lent for the Punic War to defray the cost of the Macedonian War also, and one war arose out of another, it would simply mean that their money would be confiscated in return for the service they had rendered as though it had really been an injury. The senate acknowledged that they had a grievance. The creditors' demands were just, but the State was unable to meet its liabilities and the senate decided upon a course which was fair to both sides and of practical utility. Many of the applicants had stated that there was land everywhere for sale and they wanted to become purchasers; the senate accordingly made a decree that they should have the option of taking any part of the public domain-land within fifty miles of the City. The consuls would value the land and impose a nominal tax of one as per jugerum as acknowledgment of its being public land, and when the State could pay its debts any of them who wished to have his money rather than the land could have it and restore the land to the people. They gladly accepted these terms, and the land thus occupied was called trientabulus because it was given in lieu of a third part of their loan.
[31.14]After the recital of the customary prayers in the Capitol P. Sulpicius was invested by his lictors with the paludamentum and left the City for Brundisium. Here he incorporated into his legions the veterans who had volunteered out of the African army, and also selected the vessels out of the fleet under Cn. Cornelius. Then he set sail, and the next day he landed in, Greece. Here he was met by an embassy from Athens who begged him to raise the siege which that city was undergoing. C. Claudius Cento was at once despatched thither with 20 warships and 1000 men. The king was not personally directing the siege, he was just then attacking Abydos, after trying his strength in naval encounters with the Rhodians and with Attalus, and in neither battle had he been successful. But his was not a nature to accept defeat quietly, and now that he had leagued himself with Antiochus, king of Syria, he was more determined on war than ever. They had agreed to divide the rich kingdom of Egypt between them, and on hearing of the death of Ptolemy they both prepared to attack it. The Athenians, who retain nothing of their ancient greatness but their pride, had become involved in hostilities with Philip through a quite unimportant incident. During the celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries two young Acarnanians who had not been initiated entered the temple of Ceres with the rest of the crowd, quite unaware of the sacrilegious nature of their action. They were betrayed by the silly questions which they asked, and were brought before the temple authorities. Though it was quite evident that they had sinned in ignorance, they were put to death as though guilty of a horrible crime. The Acarnanians reported this hostile and barbarous act to Philip and obtained his consent to their making war on Athens supported by a Macedonian contingent. Their army began by laying the land of Attica waste with fire and sword, after which they returned to Acarnania with plunder of every description. So far there was only anger and exasperation on both sides, subsequently, by a decree of the citizens, Athens made a formal declaration of war. For when King Attalus and the Rhodians who were following up Philip in his retreat to Macedonia had reached Aegina, the king sailed across to the Piraeus for the purpose of renewing and confirming his alliance with the Athenians. The whole body of the citizens came out to meet him with their wives and children; the priests in their sacred robes received him as he entered the city; even the gods themselves were almost summoned from their shrines to welcome him.
[31.15]The people were at once summoned to an assembly, in order that the king might lay his wishes before them. It was, however, thought to be more in accordance with his dignity that he should put what he wanted into writing, rather than let his blushes be called up by having to recount his services to the city or his modesty be shocked by the fulsome flattery of the applauding crowd. Accordingly he drew up a written statement which was read in the assembly, in which he enumerated the benefits he had conferred on their city and described his contest with Philip, and urged them in conclusion to take their part in the war while they had him and the Rhodians and, now especially, the Romans to support them. If they hung back now they would never have such an opportunity again. Then the envoys from Rhodes were heard; they had quite lately done a good turn for the Athenians, for they had recaptured and sent back to Athens four Athenian warships which the Macedonians had taken. War against Philip was unanimously decided upon. Extraordinary honours were paid to King Attalus and also to the Rhodians. A proposal was carried to add to the old ten tribes a new one to be called the Attalis tribe. The people of Rhodes were presented with a golden crown in recognition of their bravery, and the full citizenship was granted to them just they had previously granted it to the Athenians. After this Attalus rejoined his fleet at Aegina and the Rhodians sailed to Cia, and from there made their way home through the Cyclades. All the islands joined them with the exception of Andros, Paros and Cythnos which were held by Macedonian garrisons. Attalus had sent messengers to Aetolia and was waiting for the envoys who were coming from there; their non-arrival kept him inactive for some time. He could not induce the Aetolians to take up arms, they were only too glad to remain at peace with Philip on any terms. But had he in conjunction with the Rhodians vigorously opposed Philip, they might have won the glorious title of Liberators of Greece. Instead of this, they allowed him to cross the Hellespont a second time and seize an excellent position in Thrace where he could concentrate his forces, and thus they gave fresh life to the war and surrendered the glory of bringing it to a close the Romans.
[31.16]Philip showed a more kingly spirit. Though he had not held his own against Attalus and the Rhodians he was not alarmed even at the prospect of a war with Rome. Philocles, one of his generals, was sent with a force of 2000 infantry and 200 cavalry to ravage the lands of the Athenians, and Heraclides was placed in charge of the fleet with instructions to sail for Maronea. Philip himself marched thither overland with 2000 men in light marching order, and took the place at the first assault. Aenos gave him a good deal of trouble, but he finally effected its capture through the treachery of Callimedes, who was holding the place for Ptolemy. Cypsela, Doriscos and Serrheum were taken in rapid succession and he then advanced to the Chersonese where Elaeus and Alopeconnesus voluntarily surrendered. Callipolis and Madytos fell through treachery; together with some other unimportant fortified places. The people of Abydos would not even admit his envoys and closed their gates against the king. The siege of this place detained Philip for a considerable time, and if Attalus and the Rhodians had shown the smallest energy they might have saved the place. Attalus sent only 300 men to assist in the defence and the Rhodians despatched one quadrireme out of their fleet which was lying at anchor off Tenedos. Later on, when they could hardly hold out any longer, Attalus himself sailed to Tenedos, and after raising their hopes by his approach did not afford his allies any assistance either by land or sea.
[31.17]The Abydenes in the first instance placed engines all along their walls and in this way not only prevented any approach by land, but also made the anchorage of the hostile ships unsafe. When, however, a portion of the wall was battered into ruins and the enemies' mines had been carried up to an inner wall which the defenders had hastily constructed, they sent envoys to the king to arrange terms for the surrender of the city. They proposed that the Rhodian quadrireme with its crew and the contingent which Attalus had sent should be allowed to depart and that the inhabitants should be permitted to leave the city with simply the clothes they were wearing. Philip replied that there was not the slightest hope of peace unless they surrendered unconditionally. When this reply was brought back it created such an outburst of indignation and rage that the citizens formed the same frenzied resolution as the Saguntines had done in former years. They gave orders for all the matrons to be shut up in the temple of Diana, the freeborn boys and girls, even infants with their nurses to be collected in the gymnasium, all gold and silver to be taken to the forum, all costly apparel to be placed on board the vessels from Rhodes and Cyzicus which were lying in the harbour, and altars set up in the middle of the city, round which the priests were to be assembled with victims for sacrifice. Here a body of men, selected for the purpose, took an oath dictated to them by the priests, to carry out the desperate measure which had been decided upon. As soon as they saw that their comrades who were fighting in front of the levelled wall were all killed, they were to put the wives and children to death, throw the gold and silver and the apparel on board the ships into the sea and set fire wherever they possibly could to all the public buildings and private houses, and the most horrible curses were invoked on them if they broke their oath. Following them, all the men of military age solemnly swore that none should leave the battle alive, except as victor. So faithful were they to their oath and with such desperation did they fight, that before night could put an end to the battle, Philip withdrew from the conflict appalled by their frenzied courage. The leading citizens, to whom the more cruel part had been assigned, finding that there were only a few survivors, and they wounded and exhausted, sent the priests, wearing supplicatory fillets, as soon as it was light to Philip to make a surrender of the city.
[31.18]Before the surrender actually took place, the Roman envoys who had been sent to Alexandria heard of the siege of Abydos, and the youngest of the three, M. Aemilius, went at the suggestion of his colleagues to Philip. He remonstrated against the war that had been made on Attalus and the Rhodians, and especially against the attack on Abydos. On the king replying that Attalus and the Rhodians had been the aggressors he asked, "Were the people of Abydos also the first to take up arms?" To one who seldom heard the truth this language seemed too bold to address to a king. "Your youth, your good looks and, above all, the fact of your being a Roman make you too venturesome. It is my wish that you should remember treaty obligations and keep the peace with me, but if you begin the attack, I too am quite ready to fight, and you will find the kingdom and name of Macedon no less renowned in war than those of Rome." After dismissing thus the envoy Philip took possession of the gold and silver which had been collected, but he lost all chance of making prisoners. For such a madness fell on the people that they believed that all who had met their death in battle had been suddenly betrayed, and they accused one another of perjury, especially the priests, for they were surrendering to the enemy those whom they had devoted to death. Seized by one sudden impulse they all rushed off to kill their wives and children, and then they inflicted death upon themselves in every possible form. The king was utterly astounded at this outburst of madness and called off his men from the assault, telling them that he would allow the people of Abydos three days in which to die. During this interval the vanquished wrought more horrors upon themselves than the victors would have done, however infuriated they might have been. Not a single man fell into the hands of the enemy alive, save those for whom chains or some other cause beyond their control made death impossible. After leaving a force in occupation of Abydos, Philip returned to his kingdom. As the destruction of Saguntum strengthened Hannibal's resolve to war against Rome, so the fall of Abydos encouraged Philip to do the same. On his way he was met by couriers who announced that the consul was now in Epirus and was wintering his troops in Apollonia and his naval force at Corcyra.
[31.19]The envoys who had been sent to Africa to report the action of Hamilcar in assuming the leadership of the Gauls were informed by the Carthaginian government that they could do nothing more than sentence him to banishment and confiscate his property; all the refugees and deserters whom after careful search they had been able to discover had been given up, and they intended to send envoys to Rome to give satisfactory assurances on this point. They sent 200,000 modii of wheat to Rome and a similar amount to the army in Macedonia. From Carthage the legates proceeded to Numidia to visit the two kings. The presents destined for Masinissa were given to him and the message delivered from the senate. He offered to furnish 2000 horse, but only 1000 were accepted, and he personally superintended their embarkation. With them he sent to Macedonia 2,000,000 modii of wheat and the same quantity of barley. The third mission was to Vermina. He came to meet them at the frontier of his kingdom and left it to them to put in writing what conditions of peace they wanted, assuring them that any peace with Rome he should look upon as fair and advantageous. The terms were handed to him, and he was instructed to send commissioners to Rome to obtain their ratification.
[31.20]About this time L. Cornelius Lentulus returned from Spain where he had been acting as proconsul. After giving a report of the successful operations which he had conducted there for several years, he asked to be allowed to enter the City in triumph. The senate were of opinion that his services quite deserved a triumph, but they reminded him that there was no precedent for a general who had not been Dictator or consul or praetor enjoying a triumph, and he had held his command in Spain as proconsul, not as consul or praetor. However, they went so far as to allow him to enter the City in ovation, in spite of the opposition of Tiberius Sempronius Longus, one of the tribunes of the plebs, who said that there was no precedent or customary authority for that any more than for the other. In the end he gave way before the unanimous feeling of the senate, and after they had passed their resolution, Lentulus enjoyed his ovation. 43,000 pounds of silver and 2450 pounds of gold, captured from the enemy, were carried in the procession. Out of the spoil he distributed 120 ases to each of his men.
[31.21]By this time the consular army in Gaul had been transferred from Arretium to Ariminum, and the 5000 men of the Latin contingent had moved from Gaul into Etruria. L. Furius accordingly left Ariminum and hastened by forced marches to Cremona which the Gauls were at the time besieging. He fixed his camp a mile and a half distant from the enemy and would have had a chance of winning a brilliant victory if he had led his men straight from their march against the Gaulish camp. The Gauls were scattered over the fields in all directions and the camp had been left insufficiently guarded. But he was afraid that his men would be too much fatigued after their rapid march, and the shouts of the Gauls recalled their comrades, who, leaving the plunder which they had gathered behind, ran back to their camp. The next day they marched out to battle. The Romans were not slow in accepting the challenge, but they had hardly time to complete their formation, so rapidly did the enemy come on. Furius had formed the allied troops into two divisions, and the right division was stationed in the first line, the two Roman legions forming the reserve. M. Furius was in command of this division, M. Caecilius commanded the legions and L. Valerius Flaccus the cavalry. These were all staff-officers. The praetor kept two of his staff with him - C. Laetorius and P. Titinius - to assist him in surveying the field and meeting any sudden attempt of the enemy.
At first the Gauls brought their whole strength to bear in one direction, hoping to be able to overwhelm the right wing and smash it up. Failing in this, they endeavoured to work round the flanks and envelop the enemy's line, which, considering their numbers and the fewness of their opponents, seemed an easy task. When the praetor saw this maneuver he extended his front by bringing up the two legions in reserve to the right and left of the allied troops, and he also vowed a temple to Diovis, in case he routed the enemy that day. He then ordered L. Valerius to launch the Roman cavalry against one wing of the Gauls and the allied cavalry against the other to check the enveloping movement. As soon as he saw that the Gauls had weakened their centre by diverting troops to the wings, he ordered his infantry to advance in close order at the charge and break through the opposing ranks. This was decisive; the wings were repulsed by the cavalry and the centre by the infantry. As they were being cut down in all parts of the field, the Gauls turned, and in wild flight sought shelter in their camp. The cavalry followed in hot pursuit and the infantry soon came up and attacked the camp. Not 6000 men succeeded in making their escape; more than 35,000 were killed or made prisoners; 70 standards were taken together with 200 Gaulish carts loaded with spoil. The Carthaginian general Hamilcar fell in that battle as well as three Gaulish nobles who were in command. 2000 men whom the Gauls had taken at Placentia were set at liberty and restored to their homes.
[31.22]It was a great victory and caused great joy in Rome. When the despatch arrived a three days' thanksgiving was decreed. The Romans and allies lost 2000 men, mostly belonging to the right division against which the enormous mass of the enemy made their first attack. Although the praetor had practically brought the war to a close, the consul C. Aurelius after finishing the necessary business in Rome proceeded to Gaul and took over the victorious army from the praetor. The other consul reached his province quite late in the autumn and wintered in the neighbourhood of Apollonia. As stated above, C. Claudius was sent to Athens with twenty triremes out of the fleet which was laid up at Corcyra. When they entered the Piraeus they brought great comfort and hope to their allies who were now in a state of great despondency. The depredations committed on their fields by the troops at Corinth, who came through Megara, now ceased, and the pirates from Chalcis who had infested the sea and harried the maritime districts of Athens no longer ventured beyond Sunium and in fact would not trust themselves outside the Euripus. In addition to the Roman ships there were three quadriremes from Rhodes and three Athenian undecked vessels which had been fitted out to protect their coast. As a chance of an important success offered itself to C. Claudius he thought that it would be sufficient for the present if this fleet protected the city and territory of Athens.
[31.23]Some refugees from Chalcis who had been expelled by the king's adherents reported that the place could be seized without any serious resistance, for as there was no enemy to be feared in the neighbourhood the Macedonians were strolling about everywhere, and the townsmen, trusting to the Macedonians for protection, made no attempt to guard the city. On this information C. Claudius proceeded to Chalcis, and although he reached Sunium early enough to allow of his entering the strait of Euboea the same day, he kept his fleet at anchor till nightfall that his approach might not be observed. As soon as it was dark he sailed on over a calm sea and reached Chalcis a little before dawn. He selected the least populous part of the city for his attempt, and finding the guards at some points asleep and other places without any guard at all, he directed a small body of soldiers to place their scaling-ladders against the nearest tower, which was taken with the wall on either side of it. Then they advanced along the wall to where the buildings were numerous, killing the guards on their way, till they reached the gate which they broke down and so admitted the main body of troops. Dispersing in all directions they filled the city with tumult, and, to add to the confusion, the buildings round the forum were set on fire. They burnt the king's granaries and the arsenal with an immense number of military engines and artillery. This was followed by an indiscriminate slaughter of those who offered resistance and those who tried to escape, and at last every man capable of bearing arms was either killed or put to flight. Amongst the former was Sopater, an Acarnanian, the commandant of the garrison. All the plunder was collected in the forum and then placed on board the ships. The gaol too was broken open by the Rhodians, and the prisoners of war whom Philip had immured there as being the safest place of custody were released. After the statues of the king had been thrown down and mutilated the signal for embarkation was given, and they sailed back to the Piraeus. Had there been a sufficient force of Roman soldiery to allow of Chalcis being occupied without interfering with the protection of Athens, Chalcis and the Euripus would have been wrested from the king; a most important success at the very outset of the war. For the Euripus is the key to Greece by sea as the pass of Thermopylae is by land.
[31.24]Philip was in Demetrias at the time. When the disaster that had overtaken a friendly city was announced to him, he determined, as he was too late to save it, to do the next best thing and avenge it. With a force of 5000 infantry in light marching order and 300 cavalry he went almost at a run to Chalcis, not for a moment doubting that he would be able to take the Romans by surprise. Finding that there was nothing to see but the uninviting spectacle of a smoking and ruined city in which hardly enough men were left to bury the victims of the war, he hurried away at the same speed and crossing the Euripus by the bridge marched through Boeotia to Athens, thinking that as he had shown as much enterprise as the Romans he would have the same success. And he would have had, if a scout had not observed the king's army on the march from a watch-tower. This man was what the Greeks call a hemerodromos, because these men cover enormous distances in a single day, and running on in advance he reached Athens at midnight. Here there was the same somnolence and negligence which had brought about the loss of Chalcis a few days before. Roused by the breathless messenger, the Athenian commander-in-chief and Dioxippus the prefect of the cohort of mercenaries mustered their soldiers in the forum and ordered the trumpets to sound the alarm from the citadel so that all might know that the enemy was at hand. There was a general rush to the gates and the walls.
Some hours later, though considerably before daybreak. Philip approached the city. When he saw the numerous lights and heard the noise of men hurrying to and fro in the inevitable confusion, he halted his force and ordered them to lie down and rest. As his attempt at a surprise had failed he prepared for an open assault and made his advance on the side of the Dipylon. This gate, placed as a mouth to the city, is considerably larger and wider than the rest, and the road on both sides of it is broad, so that the townsmen were able to form their line right up to it from the forum, whilst the road beyond it stretching for about a mile as far as the Academy allowed plenty of room for the infantry and cavalry of the enemy. After forming their line inside the gate, the Athenians, together with the detachment which Attalus had left and Dioxippus' cohort, sallied forth. As soon as he saw them Philip thought he had them in his power and would be able to satisfy his long-cherished desire for their destruction, for there was not one of the Greek States that he was more furious against than he was against Athens. After exhorting his men to keep their eyes on him as they fought and to remember that where the king was, there the standards and the fighting line ought to be, he put spurs to his horse, animated not only by raging anger but also by a love of ostentation. He thought it a splendid thing to be seen fighting by the immense crowd who thronged the walls to view the spectacle. Galloping forward in front of his lines with a few horsemen he charged into the middle of the enemy and created as much alarm amongst them as he inspired his own men with enthusiasm. Many he wounded at close quarters, others by the missiles he flung, and he drove them back to their gate where he inflicted greater losses as they crowded through the confined space. Recklessly as he pursued them, he was still able to draw off in safety because those who were on the turrets of the gate forbore to throw their javelins for fear of hitting their own comrades who were mixed up with the enemy. After this the Athenians kept within their walls, and Philip after giving the signal for retirement fixed his camp at Cynosarges where there was a temple of Hercules and a gymnasium with a grove round it. But Cynosarges and the Lyceum and every sacred and delightful place round the city was burnt. Not only were buildings destroyed but even the tombs, nothing belonging to either gods or men was spared in his uncontrollable fury.
[31.25]The following day the closed gates were suddenly thrown open to admit a body of troops sent by Attalus and the Romans from the Piraeus. The king now removed his camp to a distance of about three miles from the city. From there he marched to Eleusis in the hope of securing by a coup-de-main the temple of the fort which surrounded it and protected it on all sides. When, however, he found that the defenders were quite on the alert, and that the fleet was on its way from the Piraeus to render assistance, he abandoned his project and marched to Megara, and then straight to Corinth. On learning that the Council of the Achaeans was sitting at Argos he made his appearance in the assembly quite unexpectedly. They were at the time discussing the question of war with Nabis, tyrant of the Lacedaemonians. When the supreme command was transferred from Philopoemen to Cycliades. who was by no means his equal as a general, Nabis, finding that the Achaeans had dismissed their mercenaries, resumed hostilities, and after devastating his neighbours' fields was now threatening their cities. To oppose this enemy the council were deliberating as to what proportion of troops should be furnished by each State. Philip promised to relieve them from all anxiety so far as Nabis and the Lacedaemonians were concerned; he would not only protect the soil of his allies from their ravages, but he would at once roll back all the terror of war upon Laconia itself by marching his army thither. When these words were greeted with loud applause he went on to say, "If, however, your interests are to be protected by my arms it is only fair that my own should not be left undefended. Furnish me then, if you approve, with such a force as shall suffice to garrison Oreus, Chalcis and Corinth, so that with all safe in my rear I may make war upon Nabis and the Lacedaemonians free from misgivings." The Achaeans were not slow to detect his motive in making such a generous promise and offering aid against the Lacedaemonians. They saw that his real aim was to draw the fighting strength of the Achaeans out of the Peloponnese as hostages and so bind the nation to a war with Rome. Cycliades, seeing that further argument would be irrelevant, simply observed that the laws of the Achaeans did not allow discussion on any matters other than those which the council had been convened to consider. After a decree had been passed for raising an army to act against Nabis, he dismissed the council over which he had presided with courage and independence. Before that day he had been looked upon as a strong supporter of the king. Philip, whose high hopes were thus suddenly dashed, succeeded in enlisting a few volunteers, after which he returned to Corinth and from there to Attica.
[31.26]During the time that Philip was in Achaia, Philocles, one of his generals, started from Euboea with 2000 Thracians and Macedonians for the purpose of ravaging the Athenian territory. He crossed the forest of Cithaeron in the neighbourhood of Eleusis, and there he divided his forces. Half were sent forward to harry and plunder the fields in all directions, the other half he concealed in a position suitable for an ambuscade so that if an attack were made from the fort at Eleusis upon his plunderers he might take the assailants by surprise. His ruse, however, was detected, so he recalled the scattered pillagers and made a regular attack upon the fort. After a fruitless attempt in which many of his men were wounded he retired and joined forces with Philip who was on his way from Achaea. The king himself made an attempt on the same fort but the arrival of the Roman ships from the Piraeus and the presence of a reinforcement which had been thrown into the place compelled him to abandon the undertaking. He then sent Philocles with a part of his army to Athens, and with the rest he proceeded to the Piraeus in order that while Philocles kept the Athenians within their city by approaching the walls and threatening an assault, he might seize the opportunity of storming the Piraeus whilst it was left with a feeble guard. But the assault on the Piraeus proved to be quite as difficult as the one on Eleusis, as practically the same troops defended both. Leaving the Piraeus he hurried up to Athens. Here a force of infantry and cavalry from the city attacked him within the dilapidated Long Walls which connect the Piraeus with Athens and he was repulsed. Seeing that any attempt on the city was hopeless he divided his army with Philocles and set himself to complete the devastation of the country. His former work of destruction had been confined mainly to the sepulchres round the city; now he determined to leave nothing free from profanation and gave orders for the temples which the people had consecrated in every deme to be destroyed and set on fire. The land of Attica was famous for that class of building as well as for the abundance of native marble and the genius of its architects, and therefore it afforded abundant material for this destructive fury. He was not satisfied with overthrowing the temples with their statues, he even ordered the blocks of stone to be broken in pieces lest if they retained their shape they might form imposing ruins. When there was nothing left on which his rage, still insatiate, could wreak itself he left the enemy's territories for Boeotia and did nothing more worth mentioning in Greece.
[31.27]The consul Sulpicius was at the time encamped by the river Apsus in a position lying between Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. He recalled L. Apustius and sent him with a portion of his force to ravage the enemy's frontiers. After devastating the borders of Macedon and capturing at the first assault the fortified posts of Corrhagum, Gerrunium and Orgessus, Apustius came to Antipatrea, a place situated in a gorge between two mountain ranges. He first invited the chief men of the city to a conference, and tried to persuade them to trust themselves to the Romans. Confident in the size of their city, its fortifications, and its strong position, they treated his overtures with contempt. He then resorted to force and carried the place by assault. After putting the adult males to death and allowing the soldiers to appropriate all the plunder he levelled the walls and burnt the city. Fear of similar treatment brought about the surrender of Codrion - a fairly strong and fortified town - without offering any resistance. A detachment was left there to garrison the place, and Cnidus - a name better known as that of a city in Asia - was taken by storm. As Apustius was on his way back to the consul with a considerable amount of plunder he was attacked during his passage of the river by Athenagoras, one of the king's prefects, and his rear was thrown into confusion. On hearing the shouting and tumult he galloped back, made his men face about and throw their kits into the centre of the column, and formed his line. The king's soldiers did not stand the charge of the Romans, many were killed and more taken prisoners. Apustius brought back his army safely to the consul, and was at once sent off to rejoin the fleet.
[31.28]As the commencement of the war was marked by this successful expedition, various princes and leading men from the countries bordering on Macedonia visited the Roman camp; amongst them Pleuratus, the son of Scerdilaedus, Amynander, king of the Athamanians, and Bato, the son of Longarus, who represented the Dardanians. Longarus had been warring on his own account with Demetrius, Philip's father. In reply to their offers of help the consul said that he would avail himself of the services of the Dardanians and of Pleuratus when he led his army into Macedonia. With Amynander he arranged that he should induce the Aetolians to take part in the war. Envoys from Attalus had also come, and he instructed them to ask the king to meet the Roman fleet at Aegina where it was wintering and in conjunction with it to harass Philip, as he had previously done, by naval operations. Emissaries were also sent to the Rhodians urging them to take their share in the war. Philip, who had now arrived in Macedonia, showed no less energy in making preparations for the war. His son Perseus, a mere boy, to whom he had assigned some members of his council to direct and advise him, was sent to hold the pass which leads to Pelagonia. Sciathos and Peparethos, cities of some importance, were destroyed that they might not enrich the hostile fleet with plunder. He sent envoys to the Aetolians to prevent that people, excited at the arrival of the Romans, from breaking faith with him.
[31.29]The meeting of the Aetolian League which they call the Pan-Aetolium was to be held on a certain day. The king's envoys hastened their journey in order to be in time for it and Lucius Furius Purpurio was also present as representing the consul, as was also a deputation from Athens. The Macedonians were allowed to speak first, as the treaty with them was the latest that had been made. They said that as no new circumstances had arisen they had nothing new to urge in support of the existing treaty. The Aetolians, having learnt by experience how little they had to gain by alliance with the Romans, had made peace with Philip, and they were bound to keep it now that it was made. "Would you prefer," asked one of the envoys, "to copy the unscrupulousness - or shall I call it the levity? - of the Romans? When your ambassadors were in Rome, the reply they received was 'Why do you come to us, Aetolians, after you have made peace with Philip without our consent?' And now the very same men insist upon your joining them in war against Philip. Formerly they pretended that they had taken up arms against him on your account and for your protection, now they forbid you to be at peace with Philip. In the first Punic war they went to Sicily, ostensibly to help Messana; in the second, to deliver Syracuse from Carthaginian tyranny and restore her freedom. Now Messana and Syracuse and in fact the whole of Sicily are tributary to them: they have reduced the island to a province in which they exercise absolute power of life and death. You imagine, I suppose, that the Sicilians enjoy the same rights as you, and that as you hold your council at Naupactus under your own laws, presided over by magistrates of your own choice, and with full power of forming alliances or declaring war as you please, so it is with the councils which meet in the cities of Sicily, in Syracuse or Messana or Lilybaeum. No: a Roman governor manages their meetings; it is at his summons that they have to assemble; they see him issuing his edicts from his lofty tribunal like a despot, and surrounded by his lictors; their backs are threatened with the rod, their necks with the axe, and every year they have a different master allotted them. Nor ought they, nor can they wonder at this when they see the cities of Italy, such as Regium, Tarentum and Capua, lying prostrate beneath the same tyranny, to say nothing of those close to Rome out of whose ruin she has grown to greatness.
Capua does indeed survive as the sepulchre and memorial of the Campanian nation, the people themselves are either dead and buried, or else cast forth as exiles. It is a headless and limbless city without a senate, without a plebs, without magistrates, an unnatural portent in the land. To leave it as a habitation for men was an act of greater cruelty than its utter destruction would have been. If men of an alien race, separated from you more widely by language, customs and laws than by intervening sea and land, obtain a hold here, it is folly and madness to hope that anything will remain as it is now. You think that Philip's sovereignty is a danger to your liberty. It was your own doing that he took up arms against you, and his sole aim was to have a settled peace with you. All that he asks today is that you will keep that peace unbroken. Once make foreign legions familiar with these shores and bow your necks to the yoke, then you will seek in vain and too late for Philip's support as your ally; you will have the Romans for your masters. Aetolians, Acarnanians, Macedonians are united and disunited by slight and purely temporary causes; with foreigners and barbarians, all Greeks ever have been and ever will be at war. For they are our enemies by nature, and nature is unchanging; their hostility is not due to causes which vary from day to day. But I will end where I began. Three years ago you decided on this very spot to make peace with Philip. You are the same men that you were then, he is the same that he was, the Romans who were opposed to it then are just those who want to upset it now. Fortune has altered nothing, I do not see why you should alter your minds."
[31.30]The Macedonians were followed, at the instance of the Romans, by the Athenians, who after the shocking way they had been treated, had every justification for protesting against Philip's barbarous cruelty. They mourned over the piteous devastation and pillaging of their fields, but it was not because they had suffered hostile treatment from an enemy that they complained. There were certain rights of war which could be justly exercised and therefore must be justly submitted to; the burning of crops, the destruction of dwellings, the carrying off of men and cattle as plunder, cause suffering to those who endure them, but are not felt to be an indignity. What they did complain of was that the man who called the Romans foreigners and barbarians had so completely outraged all law, human and divine, that in his first ravages he made impious war upon the infernal deities, and in his subsequent ones he defied the powers above. All the sepulchres and monuments within their borders were destroyed, the dead in all their graves laid bare, their bones no longer covered by the earth. There were shrines which their ancestors in the day when they dwelt in separate demes had consecrated in their little fortified posts and villages, and which even when they had been enrolled as citizens of one city they did not abandon or neglect. All these temples Philip had enveloped in sacrilegious flames, the images of their gods, blackened, burnt, mutilated, were lying among the prostrate pillars of their temples. What he had made the land of Attica, once so fair in its beauty and its wealth, such, if he were allowed, would he make Aetolia and the whole of Greece. Even Athens itself would have been similarly disfigured if the Romans had not come to the rescue, for the same impious rage was driving him to attack the gods who dwell in the city, Minerva the protectress of the citadel, the Ceres of Eleusis and the Jupiter and Minerva of the Piraeus. But he had been repulsed by force of arms, not only from their temples, but even from the walls of the city, and had turned his savage fury against those shrines whose sanctity was their only protection. They closed with an earnest appeal to the Aetolians that they would out of compassion to the Athenians take part in the war, under the leadership of the immortal gods and of the Romans who next to the gods possessed the greatest power and might.
[31.31]Then the Roman legate spoke as follows: "The Macedonians and then the Athenians have compelled me to alter entirely the address I was going to make. I came to protest against Philip's wrongful action against all those cities of our allies, but the Macedonians by the charges they have brought against Rome have made me a defendant rather than an accuser. The Athenians, again, by their recital of his impious and inhuman crimes against the gods above and those below, have left nothing more for me or for any one else to bring up against him. Consider that the same things have been said by the inhabitants of Chios and Abydos, by the Aeneans, the Maronites, the Thasians, by the natives of Paros and Samos, of Larissa and Messene, and by the people over there in Achaia, and that those upon whom he was able to inflict most injury have made the gravest and most serious charges. As to those actions which he has brought up against us as crimes, I frankly admit that if they do not deserve praise they cannot be defended. He mentioned, as instances, Regium, Capua and Syracuse. In the case of Regium, the inhabitants themselves begged us during the war with Pyrrhus to send a legion for their protection, and the soldiers, forming a criminal conspiracy, took forcible possession of the town which they were sent to defend. Did we therefore approve their action? Did we not on the contrary take military measures against the criminals, and when we had them within our power did we not compel them to make satisfaction to our allies by scourgings and executions, and then did we not restore to the Regians their city, their lands and all their possessions, together with their liberty and their laws? As to Syracuse, when it was oppressed by foreign tyrants - a still greater indignity - we came to its help and spent three weary years in making attacks by sea and land upon its almost impregnable fortifications. And though the Syracusans themselves would rather have remained under that servile tyranny than let their city be taken by us, we captured it, and the same arms which effected its capture won and secured its freedom. At the same time we do not deny that Sicily is one of our provinces, and the communities which took the side of the Carthaginians and in full sympathy with them urged war against us are now tributary, and pay us the tenth of all their produce. We do not deny this; on the contrary we with you and the whole world know that each has been treated in accordance with its deserts. It was the same with Capua. Do you suppose that we regret the punishment meted out to the Capuans, a punishment which they themselves cannot make a ground of complaint? It was on their behalf that we remained at war with the Samnites for nearly seventy years, during which time we suffered severe defeats; we were united with them by treaty, then by intermarriage, and at last by common citizenship. And yet these men were the first of all the Italian nationalities to take advantage of our difficulties and revolt to Hannibal after massacring our garrison, and then in revenge for our besieging them sent him to attack Rome. If neither their city nor a single inhabitant had survived, who could feel any indignation at their fate or charge us with having adopted harsher measures than they deserved? Those whom a consciousness of guilt drove to suicide were more numerous than those who were punished by us, and though we deprived the survivors of their city and territory we gave them land and a place to dwell in. The city itself had not injured us, and we left it standing uninjured, so much so that any one who sees it today would find no trace of its having been stormed and captured.
But why do I speak of Capua when even to conquered Carthage we have given peace and liberty? The danger is rather that by showing too much leniency to the conquered we should incite them all the more to try the fortune of war against us. So much in defence of our conduct. With respect to the charges against Philip - the bloodshed in his own family, the murders of his kinsmen and friends, his lust almost more inhuman than his cruelty - you who live nearest to Macedonia know most about them. As regards you Aetolians, it was on your behalf that we undertook war against him; you made peace with him without any reference to us. Perhaps you will say that as we were fully occupied with the Punic War, you were compelled to accept terms of peace from the man whose power was at that time in the ascendant, to which we should reply that it was only after you had laid aside hostilities that we too abandoned them, as greater matters claimed our attention. Now, however, that through the favour of the gods the Punic War is over, we have thrown our whole strength on Macedonia and the opportunity offers itself for you to regain our friendship and support, unless indeed you prefer to perish with Philip rather than conquer with the Romans."
[31.32]At the conclusion of this speech the unanimous feeling was in favour of the Romans. Damocritus, the chief magistrate of the Aetolians, who was currently reported to have been bribed by the king, refused to support either side. "In a matter of such serious consequence," he said, "nothing is so fatal to wise counsels as doing things in a hurry. This is followed by quick repentance which, however, is too late, and quite unavailing; decisions hastily and precipitately formed cannot be recalled, nor can the mischief be undone." He thought that an interval ought to be allowed for mature deliberation, and the time could be fixed there and then. As they were forbidden by law to discuss questions of peace and war anywhere but in the Pan-Aetolian Council, they ought at once to pass a decree exempting the chief magistrate from all penalties, if he summoned a council when he thought the time had come to submit the question of peace and war, and the decrees of that council should have the same force and validity as though they had been passed in a regular Pan-Aetolian Council. After the matter was adjourned the envoys were dismissed, and Damocritus said that the decision come to was in the highest degree favourable to the nation, for whichever side had the better fortune in the war, that side they would be able to join. Such were the proceedings in the Pan-Aetolian Council.
[31.33]Philip was making vigorous preparations both by land and sea. He concentrated his naval strength at Demetrias in Thessaly, as he expected that Attalus and the Roman fleet would move from Aegina at the beginning of the spring. Heraclides was continued in command of the fleet and coast-line. The gathering of his land forces he conducted in person, encouraged by the belief that he had deprived the Romans of two important auxiliaries, the Aetolians on the one side and the Dardanians on the other, as the pass at Pelagonia was closed by his son Perseus. By this time the consul was not preparing for war but actually engaged in it. He led his army through the country of the Dessaretii, and the corn which they had brought from their winter quarters they were carrying with them untouched, as the fields through which they marched supplied all that they wanted. Some of the towns and villages on his route surrendered voluntarily, others through fear, some were taken by storm, others were found to be abandoned, the inhabitants having fled to the neighbouring mountains. He formed a standing camp at Lyncus near the river Bevus, and from there he sent parties to collect corn from the granaries of the Dessaretii.
Philip saw that there was consternation everywhere and that the population were in a state of panic, but he did not know what part the consul was making for, and accordingly he sent a cavalry detachment to reconnoitre and find out in what direction the enemy were marching. The consul was equally in the dark, he knew that the king had moved out of his winter quarters, but was ignorant of his whereabouts, so he too sent out cavalry to reconnoitre. After each party had wandered for a considerable time along unknown roads amongst the Dassaretii, they at last took the same road. When the noise of men and horses was heard in the distance, they both became aware that an enemy was approaching. So before they came in sight of one another they put their horses and weapons in readiness, and as soon as they saw their enemy they charged. They were not unfairly matched in numbers and courage, for each corps consisted of picked men, and for some hours they kept up an even fight, until the exhaustion of men and horses put a stop to the battle without either side gaining the victory. Forty of the Macedonians fell and thirty-five of the Romans. Neither side gained any information as to the whereabouts of their opponents' camp, which they could carry back either to the consul or to the king. This information was ultimately conveyed by deserters, a class of persons whom want of principle renders useful in all wars for finding out things about the enemy.
[31.34]With the view of doing more to win the affections of his men and make them more ready to meet danger on his behalf, Philip paid special attention to the burial of the men who had fallen in the cavalry action and ordered the bodies to be brought into camp that all might see the honour paid to the dead. But nothing is so uncertain or so difficult to gauge as the temper of a mass of people. The very thing which was expected to make them keener to face any conflict only inspired them with hesitancy and fear. Philip's men had been accustomed to fighting with Greeks and Illyrians and had only seen wounds inflicted by javelins and arrows and in rare instances by lances. But when they saw bodies dismembered with the Spanish sword, arms cut off from the shoulder, heads struck off from the trunk, bowels exposed and other horrible wounds, they recognised the style of weapon and the kind of man against whom they had to fight, and a shudder of horror ran through the ranks. Even the king himself felt apprehensive, though he had not yet met the Romans in a pitched battle, and in order to augment his forces he recalled his son and the troops who were stationed in the Pelagonian pass, thus leaving the road open to Pleuratus and the Dardanians for the invasion of Macedonia. He now advanced against the enemy with an army of 20,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry, and came to a hill near Athacus where he strongly intrenched himself about a mile from the Roman camp. It is said that as he looked down on it and gazed with admiration on the appearance of the camp as a whole and its various sections marked off by the rows of tents and the roads crossing each other, he exclaimed, "No one can possibly take that for a camp of barbarians." For two whole days the king and the consul kept their respective armies in camp, each waiting for the other to attack. On the third day the Roman general led out his whole force to battle.
[31.35]The king, however, was afraid of hazarding a general engagement so soon, and contented himself with sending forward a detachment of 400 Trallians - an Illyrian tribe, as we have explained above - and 300 Cretan infantry with an equal number of cavalry under Athenagoras, one of the nobles of his court, to challenge the enemies' cavalry. The Romans, whose main line was about half a mile distant, sent forward their velites and about two squadrons of cavalry, so that the number of their mounted and unmounted men was equal to that of the enemy. The king's troops expected the style of fighting to be that with which they were familiar; the cavalry would make alternate charges and retirements, at one moment using their missiles, then galloping to the rear; the swift-footed Illyrians would be employed in sudden onsets and rushes; the Cretans would discharge their arrows on the enemy as he dashed forward to attack. But this order of combat was completely upset by the method of the Roman attack, which was as sustained as it was fierce. They fought as steadily as though it had been a regular engagement; the velites after discharging their javelins came to close quarters with their swords; the cavalry, when once they had reached the enemy, halted their horses and fought, some on horseback whilst others dismounted and took their places amongst the infantry. Under these conditions Philip's cavalry, unaccustomed to a stationary combat, were no match for the Roman horse, and his infantry, trained to skirmish in loose order and unprotected by armour, were at the mercy of the velites who with their swords and shields were equally prepared for defence and attack. Incapable of sustaining the conflict and trusting solely to their mobility they fled hack to their camp.
[31.36]After one day's interval the king decided to bring the whole of his cavalry and light-armed troops into action. During the night he concealed a body of caetrati, whom they call peltasts, in a position between the two camps well adapted for an ambush, and instructed Athenagoras and his cavalry in case the main battle went favourably to push their advantage, but if not, to give ground slowly and draw the enemy to the place where the ambush was set. The cavalry did retire, but the officers of the corps of caetrati did not wait long enough for the signal, and by sending their men forward before the right moment lost their chance of success. The Romans, victorious in the open battle and safe from the danger of ambuscade, returned to camp. The next day the consul went out to battle with his whole force. In front of his line were posted some elephants which the Romans were using for the first time, having captured some in the Punic war. When he saw that the enemy were keeping quiet within their lines, he mounted some rising ground close to their rampart and taunted them with their timidity. Even then no chance of fighting was offered him, and as foraging was by no means safe while the camps were in such close proximity since Philip's cavalry would attack his men when they were dispersed amongst the fields, he shifted his camp to a place called Ottolobum, about eight miles off, to allow of his foraging more safely owing to the greater distance. As long as the Romans were cutting corn in the neighbourhood of their camp the king kept his men within their lines in order that the enemy might grow more venturesome and careless. When he saw them scattered far afield he set off with the whole of his cavalry and the Cretan auxiliaries at such a rapid pace that only the fleetest of the infantrymen could keep up with the troopers. On reaching a position between the foragers and their camp he divided his force. One division was sent in pursuit of the scattered foragers, with orders not to leave a single man alive; with the other he beset the various roads by which the enemy would have to return to their camp. Now men were fleeing and being cut down in all directions, and no one had yet reached the Roman camp with tidings of the disaster because those who fled thither fell into the hands of the king's troops who were waiting for them; more were killed by those who were blocking the roads than by those who had been sent in pursuit. At last some who had managed to elude the enemy brought, in their excitement, more confusion into the camp than definite information.
[31.37]The consul ordered his cavalry to go wherever they could to the rescue of their comrades and at the same time led the legions out of the camp and marched in close order against the enemy. Some of the cavalry lost their way in the fields owing to the various cries that were raised in different places, others came face to face with the enemy and fighting began at many points simultaneously. It was hottest where the king's stationary troops were posted, for owing to their numbers, both horse and foot, they almost formed a regular army, and as they held the road most of the Romans encountered them. The Macedonians, too, had the advantage of the king's presence to encourage them, whilst the Cretan auxiliaries, in close order and prepared for fighting, made sudden onsets and wounded many of their opponents, who were dispersed without any order or formation. If they had kept their pursuit within bounds they would not only have come off with flying colours in the actual contest, but they would have gone far to influence the course of the war. As it was, they were carried away by thirst for blood and fell in with the advancing Roman cohorts and their military tribunes; the cavalry, too, as soon as they saw the standards of their comrades, turned their horses against the foe who was now in disorder, and in a moment the fortune of the day was reversed, those who had been the pursuers now turned and fled. Many were killed in hand-to-hand fighting, many whilst fleeing; they did not all perish by the sword, some were driven into bogs and were sucked down together with their horses in the bottomless mud. Even the king was in danger, for he was flung to earth by his wounded and maddened horse and all but overpowered as he lay. He owed his safety to a trooper who instantly leaped down and put the king on his own horse, but as he could not keep up on foot with the cavalry in their flight he was speared by the enemy, who had ridden up to where the king fell. Philip galloped round the swamp and made his way in headlong flight through paths and pathless places until he reached his camp in safety, where most of the men had given him up for lost. Two hundred Macedonians perished in that battle, about a hundred prisoners were taken and eighty well-equipped horses were secured together with the spoils of their fallen riders.
[31.38]There have been some who blamed the king's rashness and the consul's want of energy on that day. They said that Philip ought to have remained quiet, for he knew that the enemy would in a few days have cleared all the country round of corn and would have come to the extremity of want. The consul, on the other hand, after routing the enemy's cavalry and light infantry and almost capturing the king himself, ought to have marched at once to the enemy's camp; the enemy were too much demoralised to make any stand and the war could have been finished in a moment. As in most cases, this was easier to say than to do. Had the king engaged with the whole of his infantry it is possible that he might have lost his camp after they had been completely defeated and fled from the field to their camp, and then continued their flight as the enemy broke through their intrenchments. But as the infantry force in camp remained intact and the outposts and guards were all at their stations, what would the consul have gained beyond imitating the rashness of the king in his wild pursuit of the routed horses? Nor could any fault be found with the king in his plan of attacking the foragers whilst dispersed through the fields, had he been contented with that success. That he should have tempted fortune as he did is the less surprising since a report was current that Pleuratus and the Dardanians had already invaded Macedonia with an immense force. With this force assailing him in the rear he might well believe that the Romans would finish the war without striking a blow. After the two unsuccessful cavalry actions Philip thought that he would be running considerable risk in remaining any longer in his standing camp. As he wanted to conceal his departure from the enemy he sent a flag of truce just after sunset to ask for an armistice for the purpose of burying the dead. Having thus deceived the enemy he marched out at the second watch in perfect silence, leaving numerous fires alight all through the camp.
[31.39]The consul was resting when the news was brought to him of the arrival of the herald and the reason of his coming. All his reply was that an interview would be granted on the following morning. This was just what Philip wanted, as it gave him the night and a part of the following day in which to get the start of his opponent. He took the road over the mountains, which he knew that the Roman general would not attempt with his heavy column. At daybreak the consul granted the armistice and dismissed the herald and not long afterwards became aware that the enemy had disappeared. Not knowing in what direction to follow him he spent some days in camp, collecting corn. Then he marched to Stuberra and gathered out of Pelagonia the corn which was in the fields. From there he advanced to Pluinna without, so far, discovering the route which the enemy had taken. Philip at first fixed his camp at Bryanium and then advancing by cross-roads created a sudden alarm amongst the enemy. The Romans in consequence left Pluinna and encamped by the river Osphagus. The king pitched his camp not far away by a river which the natives call Erigonus, and carried his intrenchment along the bank. Then, having definitely ascertained that the Romans intended to march to Eordaea, he determined to anticipate them and occupied a narrow pass with the object of making it impossible for the enemy to pass through it. He barricaded it in various ways, in some parts with rampart, in others with fosse, in other places with piled-up stones to serve as a wall, and elsewhere with tree-trunks as the nature of the ground or the materials allowed, until, as he believed, he had made a road which was naturally difficult, absolutely impassable by the obstacles which he had placed across every exit. The country was mostly forest, difficult for troops to work in, especially for the Macedonian phalanx, for unless they can make a kind of chevaux de frise with the extraordinarily long spears which they hold in front of their shields - and this requires a free and open space - they are of no use whatever. The Thracians with their pikes, which were also of an enormous length, were hampered and obstructed by the branches on all sides. The Cretan cohort was the only one that was of any service, and this only to a very limited extent, for though when attacked by an unprotected horse and rider they could discharge their arrows with effect, there was not sufficient force in their missiles to penetrate the Roman shields nor was there any exposed part of the body at which they could take aim. Finding therefore that mode of attack useless, they pelted the enemy with the stones which were lying all over the ravine. This caused more noise than injury, but the drumming on their shields checked the advance of the Romans for a few minutes. They soon ceased to pay any attention to them, and some of them forming a shield-roof over their heads forced their way through the enemy in front, while others by making a short circuit gained the crest of the hill and drove the Macedonians from their posts of observation. Escape was almost impossible on such difficult ground, and the greater number were slain.
[31.40]Thus the pass was surmounted with less trouble than they had anticipated, and they entered the district of Eordaea. After ravaging the fields in all directions, the consul moved into Elimia. Here he made an attack on Orestis and approached the town of Celetrum. This was situated on a peninsula, the walls were surrounded by a lake and there was only one road to the adjacent country over a narrow neck of land. At first the townsmen, relying upon their position, closed their gates and rejected the summons to surrender. When, however, they saw the standards advancing and the legions marching under their shield-roof up to the gate and the narrow neck of land covered by the hostile column, their hearts failed them and they surrendered without risking a battle. From Celetrum he advanced into Dassaretia and took the city of Pelion by assault. The slaves and the rest of the booty he carried off, but the free citizens he set at liberty without ransom, and he restored their town to them after placing a strong garrison in it. It was well adapted from its position to serve as a base for his operations against Macedonia. After thus scouring the enemy's country, the consul returned to friendly territories and led his force back to Apollonia, which had been his starting-point for the campaign. Philip had been called away by the Aetolians, the Athamanians, the Dardanians and the numerous wars which had broken out in various quarters. The Dardanians were already retiring from Macedonia when he sent Athenagoras with the light infantry and the greater part of the cavalry to attack them from the rear as they retreated, and by harassing their rear make them less eager to send their armies away from home. As to the Aetolians, Damocritus their supreme magistrate, who had advised them at Naupactus to delay resolving upon war, had at their next meeting urged them strongly to take up arms after all that had happened - the cavalry action at Ottolabrum, the invasion of Macedonia by the Dardanians and Pleuratus in conjunction with the Illyrians, and especially the arrival of the Roman fleet at Oreum and the certainty of Macedonia, beset by all those States, being blockaded at sea.
[31.41]These considerations brought Damocritus and the Aetolians back to the side of the Romans, and in conjunction with Amynander king of the Athamanians they proceeded to invest Cercinium. The townsmen had closed their gates, whether spontaneously or under compulsion is not clear, as Philip's troops were holding the place. However, in a few days Cercinium was taken and burnt, and those who survived the wholesale slaughter, slaves and citizens alike, were carried off with the rest of the booty. Dread of a similar fate drove the inhabitants of all the cities round Lake Boebeis to abandon their homes and take to the mountains. There being no further chance of plunder, the Aetolians left that part of the country and proceeded to go into Perrhaebia. Here they took Cyretiae by storm and ruthlessly sacked it. The population of Maloea surrendered voluntarily and were admitted into the Aetolian League. Leaving Perrhaebia, Amynander advised them to attack Gomphi, as it was close to Athamania and there was every probability of its being carried without much fighting. The Aetolians, however, wanted plunder and made for the fertile plains of Thessaly. Amynander accompanied them, though he did not approve of the disorderly way in which they carried on their depredations nor of their careless method of pitching their camp on any chance ground without taking the trouble to select a good position or throw up proper intrenchments. He was afraid that their recklessness and carelessness might bring disaster to him and his men, and when he saw them fixing their camp on flat open ground below the hill on which the city of Phaeca stood, he took possession of some rising ground little more than a mile away which needed very slight fortifying to make it safe. Except that they continued their depredations the Aetolians seemed to have almost forgotten that they were in an enemy's country; some were roaming about unarmed, others were turning day into night with wine and sleep, leaving the camp altogether unguarded.
Suddenly, when no one expected him, Philip came on the scene. Some who rushed back from the fields announced his appearance, and Damocritus and the other generals were in dire consternation. It happened to be midday, when most of the soldiers were asleep after their heavy meal. Their officers roused them, ordered some to arm themselves and sent off others to recall the plundering parties dispersed over the fields. So great was the hurry and confusion that some of the cavalry went off without their swords and most of them had not put on their body-armour. Sent out thus hurriedly, barely amounting to 600 horse and foot they met the king's cavalry, who were superior to them in numbers, equipment and moral. They were naturally routed at the first shock, and after showing hardly any fight, broke into a cowardly flight and made for their camp. Many whom the cavalry cut off from the main body of the fugitives were either killed or captured.
[31.42].His men were already coming up to the enemy's rampart when Philip ordered the retreat to be sounded, for horses and men alike were tired, not so much by fighting as by the length and extraordinary celerity of their march. Orders were given to the cavalry to get water and take their dinner a troop at a time, and the light infantry to do the same, a maniple at a time; the others he kept in position under arms waiting for the main body of infantry, who owing to the weight of their armour had marched more slowly. When these arrived they were ordered to plant their standards and put their arms down in front of them and then take a hasty meal, while two or three at the most were sent from each company to fetch water. The cavalry and light infantry were in the meantime standing ready for instant action in case of any movement on the part of the enemy. By this time the crowds of Aetolians who had been dispersed in the fields had regained their camp, and troops were posted about the gates and rampart as though they were prepared to defend their lines. As long as they saw that the enemy were quiet and they felt safe, they were quite courageous, but as soon as the Macedonians got into motion and began to advance towards their camp fully prepared for battle, they all promptly deserted their posts and made their escape through the gate in the rear of the camp to the eminence on which the Athamanian camp stood. Philip felt quite certain that he could have deprived the Athamanians also of their camp, had sufficient light remained, but the day had been consumed, first in the battle and then in plundering the Aetolian camp. So he took up his position on the level ground near the hill, prepared to attack at dawn. But the Aetolians, who had not recovered from the panic in which they had abandoned their camp, fled in various directions during the night. Amynander proved of the greatest assistance to them; under his leading the Athamanians who were familiar with the paths over the mountain summits conducted them into Aetolia by ways unknown to the enemy who was following in pursuit. A few who had lost their way in the scattered flight fell into the hands of the cavalry whom Philip on finding that the camp was abandoned had sent to harass their retreat.
[31.43]Athenagoras, Philip's lieutenant, in the meanwhile caught up the Dardanians as they were retiring within their frontiers and created considerable confusion in the rear of their column. They faced about and formed in line of battle, and a regular engagement ensued in which neither side gained the advantage. When the Dardanians began again to go forward the king's cavalry continued to harass them, as they had no troops of the same kind to protect them, and their equipment rendered them immobile. The ground, too, was in favour of the assailants. Very few were actually killed, but there were many wounded; no prisoners were taken because they were cautious about leaving their ranks and kept up the retreating fight in close order. Thus Philip through his bold initiative as much as by its successful results kept the two nations in check by his well-timed movements and so made good the losses he had sustained in the war with Rome. An incident which occurred subsequently gave him a further advantage by diminishing the number of his Aetolian enemies. Scopas, one of their principal men, who had been sent by King Ptolemy from Alexandria with a considerable amount of gold, conveyed to Egypt a mercenary army consisting of 6000 infantry and 500 cavalry. He would not have left a single man of military age in Aetolia if Damocritus had not kept some of them at home by sternly reminding them of the war which was imminent and the defenceless condition of a country deprived of its manhood. It is uncertain whether his action was dictated by patriotism or by personal enmity to Scopas who had not bribed him. Such were the various undertakings in which the Romans and Philip were engaged during this summer.
[31.44]It was in the early part of this summer that the fleet under L. Apustius left Corcyra and after rounding the Cape of Malea was joined by Attalus off Scyllaeum, a place situated in the district of Hermione. On this the Athenians, who had for a long time been afraid to show their hostility to Philip too openly, now at the prospect of immediate assistance gave full vent to their rage against him. There is never any lack of tongues there to stir up the populace. People of this sort thrive on the applause of the mob, and are found in all free States, particularly in Athens where oratory had so much influence. A proposal was introduced and at once adopted by the people that all the statues and busts of Philip and of all his ancestors, male and female alike, with the inscriptions on them should be removed and destroyed; the festivals, sacrifices and priests which had been instituted in honour of him or of his predecessors should be abolished; even the localities in which anything had been set up, or where there was any inscription to perpetuate his name, were to be placed under a curse, and nothing which it was right to erect or consecrate on undesecrated ground could be erected or consecrated in these places. On every occasion on which the official priests offered up prayers for the people of Athens and the armies and fleets of their allies, they were always to invoke solemn curses on Philip, his children and his realm, al1 his forces, military and naval, and on the whole nation of the Macedonians. It was further decreed that if any one should in future introduce any measure calculated to brand Philip with ignominy the Athenians should at once adopt it, and if any one by word or deed tried to vindicate him or do him honour the man who slew him would be justified in doing so. Finally it was enacted that all the decrees which had been formerly made against Pisistratus should be in force against Philip. As far as words went the Athenians made war on Philip, but it was only in these that their strength lay.
[31.45]When Attalus and the Romans arrived at the Piraeus they stayed there a few days and then left for Andros with a heavy cargo of decrees quite as extravagant in their praises of their friends as in their expressions of wrath against their enemy. They brought up in the harbour of Gaurelum, and a party was sent ashore to test the feelings of the citizens and find out whether they preferred to surrender voluntarily or to await an assault. They replied that they were not their own masters, as the place was held by Philip's troops. Thereupon the forces were landed and all the usual preparations for an assault were made, Attalus approached the city on one side and the Roman commander on the other. The novel sight of the Roman arms and standards and the spirit with which the soldiers without the slightest hesitation mounted the walls utterly appalled the Greeks, who promptly fled to the citadel, leaving the enemy in possession of the city. There they held out for two days, trusting more to the strength of the place than to their own arms; on the third they, together with the garrison, surrendered the town and citadel on condition of being allowed to retire with one garment apiece to Delium in Boeotia. The city itself was made over by the Romans to Attalus; they themselves carried off the plunder and all that adorned the city. Anxious not to have the island a solitude, Attalus persuaded nearly all the Macedonians, as well as some of the Andrians, to remain there. Subsequently those who had, in accordance with the terms of surrender, migrated to Delium were induced by the king's promises to return, for the love of country made them more ready to trust his word.
From Andros the fleets sailed to Cythnos. Here they spent some days in a fruitless attack on the city, and as it seemed hardly worth while to continue their efforts, they sailed away. At Prasiae, a place on the mainland of Attica, the Issaeans joined the Roman fleet with twenty fast sailing-vessels. They were sent off to ravage the Carystian country; pending their return the rest of the fleet lay at Geraestus, a well-known port in Euboea. Then they all set sail for the open sea, and leaving Scyros on their right, reached Icus. Here a violent gale from the north detained them for a few days, and as soon as the weather moderated they sailed across to Sciathos, a city which had been devastated and plundered by Philip. The soldiers dispersed through the fields and brought back to the ships a supply of corn and whatever other food they could find. There was no plunder, nor had the Greeks done anything to deserve being plundered. From there they directed their course to Cassandrea, and touched at Mendae, a village on the coast. Rounding the cape they were purposing to bring their ships right up to the walls when they were caught and scattered by a violent storm in which the vessels almost foundered. It was with difficulty that they gained the land after losing most of their tackle. This storm was also a presage of their land operations, for after they had collected their vessels and landed their troops they were repulsed in their attack on the city with heavy loss, owing to the strength of the garrison which held the place for Philip. After this failure they withdrew to Canaestrum in Pallene, and from there sailing round the promontory of Torone they headed for Acanthus. After ravaging the territory they took the city by assault and sacked it. As their ships were by this time heavily laden with booty they did not go any further, and retracing their course they reached Sciathus, and from Sciathus they sailed to Euboea.
[31.46].Leaving the rest of the fleet there they entered the Maliac Gulf with ten swift vessels to discuss the conduct of the war with the Aetolians. Pyrrhias the Aetolian was the head of the deputation which came to Heraclea to share their views with Attalus and the Roman commander. Attalus was requested to furnish a thousand soldiers, as under the terms of the treaty he was bound to supply that number if they made war on Philip. The demand was refused on the ground that the Aetolians had declined to march out and ravage the Macedonian country at the time that Philip was burning everything round Pergamum, sacred and profane, and so draw him off to look after his own interests. So the Aetolians were dismissed with expectations rather than with actual assistance, as the Romans confined themselves to promises. Apustius returned with Attalus to the fleet. Plans were now discussed for attacking Oreus. This was a strongly fortified city and, after the former attempt upon it, had been held by a strong garrison. After the capture of Andros twenty Rhodian vessels commanded by Agesimbrotus, all decked ships, joined the Roman fleet. This squadron was sent to take its station off Zelasium, a promontory in Phthinia beyond Demetrias, where it would be admirably placed for meeting any movement on the part of the Macedonian ships. Heraclides, the king's admiral, was anchored at Demetrias, waiting for any chance which the enemy's negligence might offer him rather than venturing on open battle.
The Romans and Attalus attacked Oreus on different sides; the former directed their assault against the citadel which faced the sea, whilst Attalus directed his towards the hollow between the two citadels where a wall separates one portion of the city from the other. And as they attacked at different points, so they employed different methods. The Romans brought their vineae and battering rams close up to the wall, protecting themselves with their shield-roof; the king's troops poured in a hail of missiles from their ballistae and catapults of every description. They hurled huge pieces of rock, and constructed mines and made use of every expedient which they had found useful in the former siege. The Macedonians, however, who were defending city and citadel were not only in greater force but they not forgotten Philip's censures for their former misconduct nor his threatenings and promises in the respect of the future, and so they exhibited more courage and resolution. The Roman general found that more time was being spent there than he expected and that there was a better prospect of success in a regular investment than in a sudden assault. Other operations might be conducted during the siege, so, leaving a sufficient force to complete the investment, he sailed to the nearest point on the mainland, and suddenly appearing before Larissa - not the well-known city in Thessaly, but another, called Cremaste - he captured all the city but the citadel. Attalus, too, surprised Aegeleon, where the inhabitants were not in the least apprehending an attack from an enemy who was engaged in the siege of another city. By this time the siege-works round Oreus had begun to tell upon the place and the garrison were weakened by their losses and exhausted by the incessant labour of watches and guards by night and day alike. A part of the wall had been loosened by the blows of the battering-rams and had fallen down in several places. The Romans broke through the breach during the night and forced their way into the citadel commanding the harbour. On receiving a signal from the Romans in the citadel Attalus entered the city at daybreak where a large portion of the wall lay in ruins. The garrison and townsmen fled to the other citadel and in two days' time surrendered. The city fell to Attalus, the prisoners to the Romans.
[31.47]The autumnal equinox was now at hand, and the straits of Euboea, which are called Coela, are considered dangerous to navigation. As they were anxious to get away before the winter storms began, the fleets sailed back to the Piraeus, their starting-point for the war. Leaving thirty ships there Apustius sailed with the remainder past Malea to Corcyra. Atticus was detained by the celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries at which he wished to be present, and when they were over he withdrew into Asia after sending Agesimbrotus and the Rhodians home. Such were the operations against Philip and his allies conducted by the Roman consul and his lieutenant with the assistance of King Attalus and the Rhodians. When the other consul, C. Aurelius, came into his province he found the war brought to a close, and he did not conceal his chagrin at the praetor's activity in his absence. He sent him into Etruria and then took his legions into the enemy's country to plunder it: an expedition from which he returned with more booty than glory. L. Furius, finding no scope for his activity in Etruria, and bent upon obtaining a triumph for his victories in Gaul, which he thought he might more easily do while the angry and jealous consul was out of the way, suddenly returned to Rome and convened a meeting of the senate in the temple of Bellona. After giving a report of what he had done, he asked to be allowed to enter the City in triumph.
[31.48]A considerable number of the senators supported him in view of the great services he had rendered, and also on personal grounds. The older members were for refusing him a triumph, partly because the army which he had employed had been assigned to another commander, and partly because in his eagerness to snatch the chance of a triumph he had quitted his province, an act contrary to all precedent. The consulars, in particular, insisted that he ought to have waited for the consul, for he could then have fixed his camp near the city and so have afforded sufficient protection to the colony to hold the enemy in hand without fighting until the consul came. What he failed to do, the senate ought to do, namely, wait for the consul; after hearing what the consul and the praetor had to say, they would form a truer judgment about the case. Many of those present urged that the senate ought not to consider anything beyond the praetor's success and the question whether he had achieved it as a magistrate with full powers and under his own auspices. "Two colonies," it was argued, "had been planted as barriers to check risings amongst the Gauls. One had been plundered and burnt, and the conflagration was threatening the other colony which was so near it, like a fire running from house to house. What was the praetor to do? If no action ought to have been taken in the consul's absence, either the senate was at fault in furnishing the praetor with an army - for as it had decided that the campaign should be fought by the consul's army and not by the praetor's which was far away, so it could have passed a special resolution to the effect that it should be fought under the consul and not under the praetor - or else the consul was in the wrong in not joining his army at Ariminum, after he had ordered it to move from Etruria into Gaul, so that he might take his part in the war, which you say ought not to have been undertaken without him. The critical moments in war do not wait upon the procrastination and delays of commanders, and you sometimes have to fight, not because you wish to do so, but because the enemy compels you. We ought to keep in view the battle itself and its consequences. The enemy were routed and cut to pieces; their camp taken and plundered; one colony relieved from siege; those of the other colony who had been made prisoners recovered and restored to their homes and friends; the war was finished in a single battle. Not to men only was that victory a cause of rejoicing; thanksgivings for three days ought to be offered to the immortal gods because L. Furius had upheld the cause of the republic well and happily, not because he had acted ill and rashly. War with the Gauls was the destined prerogative of the house of the Furii."
[31.49]Through speeches of this kind delivered by him and his friends, the personal influence of the praetor, who was on the spot, outweighed the dignity and authority of the absent consul, and by an overwhelming majority a triumph was decreed to L. Furius. So L. Furius as praetor celebrated a triumph over the Gauls during his magistracy. He brought into the treasury 320,000 ases and 100,500 pounds of silver. No prisoners were led in procession before his chariot, nor were any spoils exhibited, nor was he followed by his soldiers. It was obvious that everything except the actual victory was at the disposal of the consul. The Games which Scipio had vowed when he was proconsul in Africa were celebrated with great splendour. A decree was made for the allotment of land to his soldiers; each man was to receive two jugera for every year he had served in Spain or in Africa, and the decemviri managed the allotment. Commissioners were also appointed to fill up the number of colonists at Venusia, as the strength of that colony had been diminished in the war with Hannibal. C. Terentius Varro, T. Quinctius Flamininus and P. Cornelius, the son of Cnaeus Scipio, were the commissioners who undertook the task. During this year C. Cornelius Cethegus who was holding Spain as propraetor routed a large army of the enemy in the Sedetan district. 15,000 Spaniards are said to have been killed in that battle and seventy-eight standards taken. On his return to Rome to conduct the elections, C. Aurelius did not, as was anticipated, make it a ground of complaint that the senate had not awaited his return or given him the opportunity of discussing the matter with the praetor. What he did complain of was the way in which the senate had passed the decree granting the triumph without hearing any of those who had taken part in the war or indeed any one at all except the man who was to enjoy the triumph. "Our ancestors," he said, "laid it down that the lieutenants-general, the military tribunes, the centurions and the soldiers should be present in order that the people of Rome might have visible proof of the victory won by the man for whom such an honour was decreed. Was there a single soldier out of the army which fought with the Gauls, or even a single camp-follower from whom the senate might have enquired as to the truth or falsehood of the praetor's report?" After making this protest he fixed the day for the elections. The new consuls were L. Cornelius Lentulus and P. Villius Tappulus. Then followed the election of praetors. Those returned were L. Quinctius Flamininus, L. Valerius Flaccus, L. Villius Tappulus and Cn. Baebius Tamphilus.
Provisions were remarkably cheap that year. A great quantity of corn had been brought from Africa and the curule aediles, M. Claudius Marcellus and Sex. Aelius Paetus, distributed it to the people at two ases the modius. They also celebrated the Roman Games on a splendid scale and repeated them a second day. Five bronze statues from the proceeds of fines were placed by them in the treasury. The Plebeian Games were celebrated three times by the aediles, L. Terentius Massiliota and Cn. Baebius Tamphilus, the latter being praetor-designate. Funeral Games were also exhibited in the Forum for four days on the occasion of the death of M. Valerius Laevinus by his sons, Publius and Marcus; they also gave a gladiatorial spectacle in which five-and-twenty pairs fought together. One of the Keepers of the Sacred Books, M. Aurelius Cotta, died and Manlius Acilius Glabrio was appointed to succeed him. It so happened that the curule aediles who were elected were both unable to take up their duties at once; Gaius Cornelius Cethegus was elected while absent in Spain where he held command; C. Valerius Flaccus was in Rome when he was elected, but as he was a Flamen of Jupiter he could not take the oaths, and it was not permitted to hold any magistracy for more than five days without doing so. Flaccus asked that this condition might be waived in his case and the senate decreed that if an aedile should provide some one, with the approval of the consuls, to take the oaths for him, the consuls might if they thought good arrange with the tribunes for the matter to be referred to the plebs. L. Valerius Flaccus, praetor-designate, was brought forward to take the oaths for his brother. The tribunes brought the matter before the plebs, and the plebs decided that it should be just as though the aedile himself had taken them. In the case of the other aedile, the tribunes requested the plebs to appoint two men to command the armies in Spain, and the plebs resolved that the curule aedile C. Cornelius should come home to take up his duties and that L. Manlius Acidinus should retire from his province after having held it for many years. They then made an order that Cn. Cornelius Lentulus and T, Stertinius should have the full powers of proconsuls in Spain.
End of Book 31
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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