Book 35: Antiochus in Greece
[35.1]In the opening months of the year in which the above events occurred several unimportant engagements took place in Spain between Sextus Digitius, the praetor, and the numerous cantons which after the departure of M. Cato had recommenced hostilities. These were on the whole so costly to the Romans that the force which the praetor handed over to his successor was hardly half what he had received. There would undoubtedly have been a general rising throughout Spain had not the other praetor, P. Cornelius Scipio, fought several successful actions beyond the Ebro and so cowed the natives that no less than fifty towns went over to him. This was whilst he was praetor. As pro-praetor he inflicted a severe defeat on the Lusitanians. They had devastated Further Spain and were on their way home with an immense quantity of plunder when he attacked them on the march and fought from the third hour of the day to the eighth without arriving at any decision. He was inferior in numbers, but in everything else he had the advantage, for he was with close and serried ranks attacking a long column hampered by many herds of cattle, and his soldiers were fresh while the enemy were wearied with their long march. They had started in the third hour of the night on a march which was prolonged through three hours of daylight and they were forced to accept battle without taking any rest. So it was only in the first stage of the battle that they showed any spirit or energy. At first they threw the Romans into some disorder, but soon the fighting became even. In the crisis of the struggle the praetor vowed that he would celebrate Games to Jupiter if he should rout and destroy the enemy. At length the Roman attack became more insistent and the Lusitanians began to give ground. Finally they broke and fled, and in the hot pursuit which followed as many as 12,000 of the enemy were killed, 540 prisoners taken, nearly all mounted troops, and 134 standards captured. The losses in the Roman army amounted to 73. The scene of the action was not far from the city of Ilipa, and P. Cornelius led his victorious army, enriched with spoil, to that place. The whole of the booty was laid out in front of the city and the owners were allowed to claim their property. The rest was made over to the quaestor to be sold and the proceeds distributed to the soldiers.
[35.2]C. Flaminius had not left Rome when these things happened in Spain. Naturally he and his friends talked much more about the defeats than about the successes, and as a widespread war had broken out in his province and he was going to take over from Sex. Digitius a miserable remnant of an army, and that utterly demoralised, he had tried to induce the senate to assign to him one of the City legions. From this and from the force which the senate had empowered him to raise he could select 6200 infantry and 300 cavalry, and with that legion - for there was not much to be expected from Digitius' army - he said he could manage very well. The senior members of the House said that their decisions must not depend upon rumours started by private individuals in the interest of particular magistrates, and that no importance should be attached to anything but the despatches of the praetors from their provinces or the reports which their officers brought home. If there was a sudden rising in Spain they considered that emergency troops ought to be promptly raised by the praetor outside Italy. What they had in their minds was that these troops should be raised in Spain. Valerius Antias asserts that C. Flaminius went to Sicily to enlist men, and that whilst on his way from there to Spain he was carried by a storm to Africa, where he administered the military oath to soldiers who had belonged to the army of P. Africanus.
[35.3]In Italy, too, the Ligurian war was growing more serious. Pisae was now surrounded by 40,000 men, and their numbers were being swelled daily by crowds who were attracted by the love of fighting and the hope of plunder. Minucius arrived in Arretium on the day which he had appointed for the assembling of his soldiers. From there he marched in close order to Pisae, and though the enemy had moved their camp across the river to a position not more than a mile distant from the place, he succeeded in entering the city, which his arrival undoubtedly saved. The day following he, too, crossed the river and fixed his camp about half a mile distant from that of the enemy. From this position he sent out skirmishers, and so protected the land of the friendly tribes from depredation. As his troops were new levies, drawn from various classes and not yet sufficiently acquainted with each other to feel mutual confidence, he did not venture to challenge a regular engagement. The Ligurians, relying on their numbers, marched out and offered battle, prepared for a decisive conflict, and even detached bodies to go in all directions beyond their frontiers to secure plunder. When they had collected a vast quantity of cattle and other booty an armed escort was ready to take it to their forts and villages.
[35.4]As the Ligurian operations were confined to Pisae the other consul led his army through the furthest limits of Liguria into the country of the Boii. Here totally different tactics were pursued; it was the consul who offered battle and the enemy who declined it. As they met with no opposition the Romans dispersed on plundering forays, the Boii preferring to let their property be carried off with impunity rather than risk a battle in its defence. After the whole country had been laid waste with fire and sword the consul left the enemy's territory and marched in the direction of Mutina, taking as little precaution against attack as though he were in a friendly country. When the Boii found that their enemy had withdrawn from their frontiers, they followed noiselessly, looking out for a suitable place for a surprise attack. Passing by the Roman camp in the night, they seized a pass through which the Romans would have to go. This movement did not escape observation, and the consul, who had been in the habit of marching in the dead of the night, decided to wait for daylight so that the dangers incident to a tumultuary battle might not be augmented by darkness. Though it was quite light when he started, he sent on a squadron of cavalry to reconnoitre. On receiving their report as to the strength and position of the enemy he ordered the whole of the baggage to be collected together, and the triarii were told off to surround it with a breastwork. With the rest of his army in battle formation he advanced against the enemy. The Gauls did the same when they found that their stratagem was exposed and that they would have to fight an open and regular battle.
[35.5]The action began about eight o'clock. The left wing of the allied cavalry and the "special" corps were fighting in the front line, and two generals of consular rank - M. Marcellus and Tiberius Sempronius; the latter had been consul the previous year - were in command of them. The consul Merula was at one moment at the front and at another holding back the legions who were in reserve, lest in their eagerness they should go forward before the signal was given. Two military tribunes, Q. Minucius and P. Minucius, received orders to take the cavalry of these two legions outside the line and when the signal was given to deliver an attack from the open. Whilst the consul was making these dispositions a message came from Ti. Sempronius Longus informing him that the special corps were not able to withstand the onslaught of the Gauls, a great many had been killed, and the survivors, wearied out and dispirited, had lost all heart for fighting. He asked the consul, therefore, if he approved, to send up one of the legions before they were humiliated by defeat. The second legion was sent up and the special corps was withdrawn. The battle was now restored, as the legion came up with its men fresh and its maniples complete. As the left division was withdrawn from the fighting the right came up into the front line. The hot sun was blazing down on the Gauls, who were incapable of standing the heat; nevertheless they sustained the attacks of the Roman army in mass formation, leaning against each other or on their shields. On perceiving this the consul ordered C. Livius Salinator, the allied cavalry leader, to send his men at a hard gallop against them, and the cavalry of the legions to act as supports. This hurricane of cavalry confused, disordered, and finally broke up the Gaulish lines, but they did not turn to flee. Their officers began to stop any attempt at flight by striking the waverers with their spears and forcing them back into their ranks, but the cavalry, riding in amongst them, did not allow them to do this. The consul urged his men on; only a little more effort was needed, he said; victory was within their grasp, they saw how disordered and demoralised the enemy were, and they must press the attack. If they allowed them to re-form their ranks, the battle would begin all over again with doubtful result. He ordered the standard-bearers to advance, and with one united effort they at last forced the enemy to give way. When once the Gauls were scattered in flight the cavalry of the legions was sent in pursuit. Fourteen thousand of the Boii were killed in that day's fighting, 1902 taken prisoners, as well as 721 of their cavalry, including three officers; 212 standards were also captured and 63 military wagons. Nor was the victory a bloodless one for the Romans; they and the allied contingents together lost over 5000 men, including 23 centurions, four praefects of allies and three military tribunes in the second legion - M. Genucius, Q. Marcius and M. Marcius.
[35.6]Despatches from the two consuls arrived in Rome almost on the same day. The one from L. Cornelius contained his report of the battle at Mutina; that from Q. Minucius, at Pisae, stated that the conduct of the elections had fallen to his lot, but the whole position in Liguria was so uncertain that it was impossible for him to leave without bringing ruin on the friendly tribes and injury to the interests of the republic. He suggested that if the senate thought proper they should send word to his colleague, who had practically brought the war in Gaul to a close, requesting him to return to Rome for the elections. If Cornelius objected on the ground that it was not part of his allotted duties, he was ready to do whatever the senate decided upon. But he begged them to give long and careful consideration to the question whether it would be more in the interest of the State that an interrex should be appointed than that he should leave his province in such a condition. The senate instructed C. Scribonius to send two commissioners of senatorial rank to L. Cornelius to show him the despatch which his colleague had sent to the senate, and to inform him that unless he came to Rome for the election of the new magistrates the senate would consent to the appointment of an interrex rather than call away Q. Minucius from a war which had hardly begun. The commissioners brought back word that L. Cornelius would come to Rome for the election of the new magistrates. The despatch which he had sent after his engagement with the Boii gave rise to a debate in the senate. M. Claudius had written unofficially to the majority of the senators stating that it was the good fortune of Rome and the valour of the soldiers that they had to thank for any success that had been gained. All the consul had done was to lose a large number of his men and let the enemy slip out of his hands when he had the chance of annihilating them. His losses were mainly due to the delay in bringing up the reserves to relieve the first line, who were being overpowered. The enemy were able to escape because he was too late in giving the order to the legionary cavalry, and so prevented them from following up the fugitives.
[35.7]The senate agreed that no hasty decision should be come to on this matter and the debate was adjourned for a fuller meeting of the House. There was another pressing question to be dealt with. The citizens were suffering from money-lenders, and though numerous laws had been made in restraint of avarice they were evaded through the fraudulent transferring of the bills to subjects of the allied States who were not bound by these laws. In this way debtors were being overwhelmed by unlimited interest. After a discussion as to the best method of checking this practice it was decided to fix a date, and all members of the allied States who had after that date lent money to Roman citizens were required to make a return of the amounts so lent, and the debtor was to be at liberty to choose under which laws the creditor might exercise his rights. The appointed day was that of the Feralia, which had just been celebrated. From the returns sent in it was found that the debts contracted under this fraudulent system amounted to a considerable sum, and M. Sempronius, one of the tribunes of the plebs, was authorised by the senate to propose a measure, which the plebs adopted, providing that debts contracted with members of the Latin and allied communities should come under the same laws as those contracted with Roman citizens. These were the main military and political events in Italy. In Spain the war was by no means so serious as rumour represented. C. Flaminius in Hither Spain took the fortified town of Inlucia in the country of the Oretani. He then with drew his troops into winter quarters, and during the winter several unimportant actions were fought to repel raiding parties, who resembled banditti rather than hostile troops. He was not always successful, however, and sustained losses. More important operations were carried on by M. Fulvius. He fought a pitched battle near Toletum with a combined force of Vaccaci, Vettones and Celtiberians, defeated and routed them and took Hilernus their king prisoner.
[35.8]Meanwhile the date of the elections was approaching, and L. Cornelius, after handing over his command to M. Claudius, went to Rome. After expatiating in the senate upon his services and the state in which he had left the province, he took the senators to task for not having paid due honour to the immortal gods, now that such a serious war had been terminated by a single victorious battle. He then asked the House to decree a public thanksgiving, and at the same time a triumph for him. Before the question was put, however, Q. Metellus, who had filled the offices of consul and dictator, said that the despatch which L. Cornelius had sent to the senate and the letter which M. Marcellus had sent to most of the senators were in conflict with one another, and the discussion of this question had been adjourned in order that it might take place when the writers of these letters were present. He had been expecting, therefore, that the consul, who knew that his lieutenant had made statements reflecting on him, would bring him with him when he had to come to Rome, especially as the army ought really to have been handed over to Tiberius Sempronius, who had the imperium, and not to a staff officer. It seemed now as if the man had been purposely kept out of the way who could have repeated his written statements face to face with his opponent and established them if possible, while any groundless charge he made could have been disproved until at last the truth had been clearly ascertained. He gave it as his opinion, therefore, that none of the decrees which the consul asked for should, for the present at all events, be made. As the consul still persisted in asking the senate to decree a public thanksgiving and authorise him to ride in triumph through the City, two of the tribunes of the plebs, M. Titinius and C. Titinius, said that they would exercise their right of veto if a resolution of the senate were passed to that effect.
[35.9]The censors who had been elected during the previous year were Sextus Aelius Paetus and C. Cornelius Cethegus. Cornelius closed the lustrum. The assessment returns gave the number of citizens as 243,704. There was an enormous rainfall that year and the low-lying parts of the City were inundated by the Tiber. Near the Porta Flumentana some buildings collapsed and fell in ruins. The Porta Coelimontana was struck by lightning and the wall adjacent was struck in several places. At Aricia and Lanuvium and on the Aventine there were showers of stones. It was reported from Capua that a huge swarm of wasps flew into the forum and settled in the temple of Mars, and that they were carefully collected and burnt. In consequence of these portents the Keepers of the Sacred Books were ordered to consult them. Sacrifices were offered for nine days, public intercessions were appointed and the City underwent lustration. During this time M. Porcius Cato dedicated the chapel of Victoria Virgo near the temple of Victory, which he had vowed two years previously. During the year a Latin colony was settled at the Castrum Frentinum in the territory of Thurium. The commissioners who superintended the colonisation were A. Manlius Volso, L. Apustius Fullo and Q. Aelius Tubero, the latter of whom had brought in the bill for its settlement. The colonists comprised 3000 infantry and 300 cavalry, a small number in proportion to the amount of land available. Thirty jugera might have been allotted to each infantryman and 60 to each of the cavalry, but on the advice of Apustius a third of the land was reserved, which could, were it desired, be assigned to fresh colonists. The infantry received 20 jugera and the cavalry 40 each.
[35.10]The year was now drawing to a close and the canvassing for the consular elections was keener than had ever been known before. There were many strong candidates, both patrician and plebeian, in the field. The patrician candidates were P. Cornelius, the son of Cneius Scipio, who had lately returned from his province in Spain with a brilliant record; L. Quinctius Flamininus, who had commanded the fleet off Greece, and Cn. Manlius Volso. The plebeian candidates were C. Laelius, Cn. Domitius, C. Livius Salinator and Manius Acilius. But all men's eyes were turned to Quinctius and Cornelius, for as they were both patricians they were competing for the same place and they each possessed strong recommendations, for each had covered himself with military glory. But it was the brothers of the two candidates who most of all made the contest such an exciting one, for they were the two most brilliant commanders of their day. Scipio had the more splendid reputation, but its very splendour exposed him all the more to jealousy; Quinctius' reputation was of more recent growth, as his triumph had been celebrated during the year. Moreover, the former had been continually before the public eye for nearly ten years, a circumstance which tends to diminish the reverence felt for great men as people become surfeited with their praises. He had been made consul for the second time after his final defeat of Hannibal, and also censor. In the case of Quinctius, all his claims to popular favour were founded upon his recent successes; since his triumph he had not sought for nor received anything from the people. He said that he was canvassing for his own brother, not for a step-brother; for one who had as lieutenant shared with him the management of the war; whilst he commanded on land his brother commanded at sea. By these arguments he succeeded in beating his competitor, though his competitor was supported by his brother Africanus, by the house of the Cornelii - it was a Cornelius who was conducting the election - and by the splendid testimonial which the senate gave when they pronounced Africanus to be the best man among all the citizens and most worthy to receive the Mater Idaea on her arrival from Pessinus. L. Quinctius and Cneius Domitius Ahenobarbus were the two elected, so that even in the case of the plebeian candidate C. Laelius, Scipio, who had been working for him, was unable to secure his return. The next day the praetors were elected. The successful candidates were L. Scribonius Libo, M. Fulvius Centumalus, A. Atilius Serranus, M. Baebius Tamphilus, L. Valerius Tappo and Q. Salonius Sarra. M. Aemilius Lepidus and L. Aemilius Paulus distinguished themselves as aediles this year. They inflicted fines on a large number of graziers, and out of the proceeds they had gold-plated shields made, which they placed on the pediment of the temple of Jupiter. They also built an arcade outside the Porta Trigemina, and in connection with it a wharf on the Tiber, and a second arcade leading from the Porta Fontinalis to the altar of Mars in the Campus Martius.
[35.11]For a considerable time nothing worth recording had happened in Liguria, but at the close of the year affairs assumed a very serious aspect. The consul's camp was attacked and the attack was repulsed with great difficulty, and when, not long after, the Roman army was marching through a pass a Ligurian army seized the mouth of the pass. As the exit was blocked the consul decided to go back and countermarched his men. But the entrance behind them had been also occupied by a portion of the enemy forces, and the disaster of Candium not only occurred to the minds of the soldiers but almost presented itself before their eyes. Amongst his auxiliary troops the consul had about 800 Numidian horse. Their commander assured the consul that he would break through on whichever side he chose if only he could tell him in which direction lay the most numerous villages, as he would attack them and instantly fire the houses so that the alarm thus created might compel the Ligurians to leave their position in the pass and help their countrymen. The consul highly approved of his plan and promised to reward him richly. The Numidians mounted their horses and began to ride towards the enemy's outposts without showing any aggressiveness. Nothing could at first sight look more contemptible than the appearance they presented; horses and men were alike thin and diminutive; the riders were without body armour and, except for the javelins they carried, unarmed; the horses had no bridles and their pacing was most ungainly, trotting as they did with head and neck stuck straight out. The contempt which they aroused they did their best to increase; they fell from their horses and presented a ridiculous spectacle. Consequently the men at the outposts who had at first been on the alert, prepared to meet an attack, now laid their arms aside and sat down to watch the show. The Numidians rode forward and then galloped back, but always got a little nearer to the mouth of the pass, as though they were carried forward by their horses which they were incapable of managing. At last, digging in their spurs, they made a dash through the enemy's outposts, and emerging into open country set fire to all the dwellings near the road and then to the first village they came to, laying it all waste with fire and sword. The sight of the smoke, the cries of the terrified villagers and the hasty flight of the old men and the children produced great excitement in the Ligurian camp, and without waiting for orders or concerted action every man ran off to protect his property and in a moment the camp was deserted. The consul, extricated from the blockade, reached his destination.
[35.12]Neither the Boii nor the Spaniards, however, with whom Rome had been warring that year, were such bitter enemies as the Aetolians. After the Roman armies had evacuated Greece they expected that Antiochus would take possession of that part of Europe vacated, and that neither Philip nor Nabis would remain inactive. When they saw no movement anywhere they decided that to prevent their designs from being thwarted by delay they must do something to produce agitation and confusion, and accordingly a council was convened at Naupactus. Here Thoas, their chief magistrate, complained of their unjust treatment by the Romans and the position in which the Aetolians were placed, for after a victory which was won through them, they, of all the States and cities in Greece, had been shown the least consideration. He advised that envoys should be sent to each of the three kings to find out their intentions and to urge such arguments on each as would goad them into a war with Rome. Democritus was sent to Nabis, Nicander to Philip, and Dicaearchus, the brother of Thoas, to Antiochus. Democritus pointed out to the tyrant that by the loss of his maritime cities the very sinews of his power were cut; it was from them that he drew his soldiers, his ships and his crews. Little more than a prisoner within his own walls, he saw the Achaeans fording it over the Peloponnese; he would never have another opportunity of winning back his dominion if he let this one go by; there was no Roman army in Greece, and they would never think it worth their while to send their legions back again for the sake of Gytheum and the other Laconian cities on the coast. Such were the arguments used to influence the tyrant, so that when Antiochus landed in Greece the consciousness of having broken his amity with Rome through his ill-treatment of her allies might force him to join arms with the Syrian monarch.
Nicander took much the same line in his interview with Philip. He spoke with all the greater force because the king had been brought down from a loftier position than the tyrant and had lost more of his power. He reminded the king of the former prestige of Macedonia and the world-wide victories of his nation. Nicander assured him that the policy recommended was a safe one both in its initiation and its execution. On the one hand he was not asking Philip to take any action before Antiochus was in Greece with his army, on the other there was every prospect of final success. With what possible force could the Romans hold their own against him when leagued with Antiochus and the Aetolians after he had, without the help of Antiochus, maintained such a protracted struggle against the Romans and against the Aetolians, who were at the time a more formidable enemy than the Romans? He also spoke about Hannibal as a foe to Rome from his birth, who had slain more of her generals and soldiers than still survived. Such were the arguments employed with Philip. Those advanced by Dicaearchus in his interview with Antiochus were different. The spoils of war, he said, won from Philip belonged to the Romans, but the victory over him to the Aetolians; they and they alone had granted the Romans an entrance into Greece and provided them with the strength which secured victory. He went on to enumerate the amount of infantry and cavalry which they were prepared to furnish to Antiochus, the localities which would be available for his land army and the harbours which could receive his fleet. Then, as Philip and Nabis were not present to check him, he falsely represented them as prepared for immediate hostilities and ready to seize the very first opportunity of recovering what they had lost in war. In this way the Aetolians tried to stir up war against Rome throughout the world.
[35.13]The kings, however, took no action, or at all events their action was too late. Nabis promptly sent emissaries to all the coast towns to foment a rising; some of their leading citizens he won over by bribes, others who remained steadfast to the cause of Rome he put to death. T. Quinctius had entrusted the Achaeans with the defence of the coast towns and they lost no time in sending envoys to the tyrant to remind him of his treaty with Rome and to warn him against disturbing the peace which he had so ardently sought for. They also sent succours to Gytheum, which the tyrant was already attacking, and sent a report to Rome of what was happening. During the winter Antiochus went to Raphia in Phenicia to be present at the marriage of his daughter to Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, and at the close of the winter returned through Cilicia to Ephesus. After sending his son Antiochus into Syria to watch the more distant frontiers of his kingdom in case any disturbance should take place in his rear, he left Ephesus and marched with the whole of his land army against the Pisidians in the neighbourhood of Sida. Whilst he was thus engaged the Roman commissioners, P. Sulpicius and P. Villius, who, as I have already stated, had been sent to interview him, received instructions to visit Eumenes first, and after landing at Elea they went up to Pergamum, where the king's palace was situated. Eumenes welcomed the prospect of a war with Antiochus, for he felt certain that if a monarch so much more powerful than himself were left in peace he would prove a troublesome neighbour, and if there was war Antiochus would be no more a match for the Romans than Philip had been, and would either be altogether got rid of or so completely defeated as to submit to terms of peace. In this case much taken from Antiochus would be added to his dominions, and then he would easily be able to defend himself without any assistance from Rome. Even at the worst, Eumenes thought it better to meet any misfortune with the Romans as his allies than, standing alone, have to accept the supremacy of Antiochus, or if he refused, be compelled to do so by force. For these reasons he did his utmost by personal influence and by argument to urge the Romans to war.
[35.14]Owing to illness Sulpicius stopped at Pergamum, whilst Villius went on to Ephesus, as he heard that the king had commenced hostilities in Pisidia. He made a short stay there, and as Hannibal happened to be there at the time he made a point of paying frequent visits to him in order to ascertain his future plans and if possible remove any apprehension from his mind as to danger threatening him from Rome. Nothing else was discussed in these interviews, but they had one result, which though really undesigned might have been deliberately aimed at, for they lowered Hannibal's authority with the king and cast suspicion upon all that he said or did. Claudius, following Acilius who wrote in Greek, says that Publius Scipio Africanus was one of the commissioners, and that he had conversations with Hannibal. One of these he reports. Africanus asked Hannibal whom he considered to be the greatest commander, and the reply was, "Alexander of Macedon, for with a small force he routed innumerable armies and traversed the most distant shores of the world which no man ever hoped to visit." Africanus then asked him whom he would put second, and Hannibal replied, "Pyrrhus; he was the first who taught how to lay out a camp, and moreover no one ever showed more cleverness in the choice of positions and the disposition of troops. He possessed, too, the art of winning popularity to such an extent that the nations of Italy preferred the rule of a foreign king to that of the Roman people who had so long held the foremost place in that country." On Scipio's again asking him whom he regarded as the third, Hannibal, without any hesitation, replied, "Myself." Scipio smiled and asked, "What would you say if you had vanquished me?" "In that case," replied Hannibal, "I should say that I surpassed Alexander and Pyrrhus, and all other commanders in the world." Scipio was delighted with the turn which the speaker had with true Carthaginian adroitness given to his answer, and the unexpected flattery it conveyed, because Hannibal had set him apart from the ordinary run of military captains as an incomparable commander.
[35.15]From Ephesus Villius went on to Apamea. On being informed of the Roman commissioner's arrival, Antiochus proceeded thither also. The conversations between them were almost on the same lines as those which Quinctius had held with the king's envoys in Rome The conference was broken off in consequence of intelligence received of the death of the king's son, who, as already stated, had been sent to Syria. There was great mourning in the court, and the young man's loss was deeply regretted. He had already given proof of such qualities that it was certain, if his life had been spared, he would have shown himself a great and just monarch. The more universally he had made himself beloved, the stronger the suspicions which were felt about his death. The king, it was said, looked upon the heir-apparent as a menace to his old age, and so had him taken off by poison through the agency of certain eunuchs, a class of men whose services kings are glad to employ in crimes of this kind. Another motive which was attributed to the king strengthened this suspicion, for as he had given Lysimachia to his son Seleucus he had no similar residence to which he could remove Antiochus under presence of conferring an honour upon him. The court, however, presented all the outward signs of mourning for several days, and the Roman commissioner, not wishing to be in the way at such an unseasonable time, withdrew to Pergamum. The king abandoned the war which he had begun and returned to Ephesus. There, with his palace closed on account of the mourning, he held secret counsels with his favourite courtier, a man called Minnio. Minnio, utterly ignorant of the outside world and measuring the king's power by his campaigns in Syria and Asia, was fully convinced that Antiochus would prove no less superior to the Romans in war than he was in the justice of his cause, as the demands of the Romans were unjustifiable. As the king avoided all further discussion with the commissioners, either because he found that nothing was to be gained from them or owing to the depression due to his recent bereavement, Minnio said that he would act as spokesman on the king's behalf, and induced Antiochus to invite the commissioners up from Pergamum. Sulpicius had now recovered, so they both proceeded to Ephesus.
[35.16].Minnio apologised for the non-appearance of the king and the negotiations proceeded in his absence. Minnio opened the discussion in a carefully prepared speech, in which he said: "I see that you Romans claim the fair-sounding epithet of 'Liberators of the cities of Greece.' But your acts do not correspond to your words; you lay down one law for Antiochus, and another for yourselves. For how are the inhabitants of Smyrna and Lampsacus more Greek than those of Neapolis and Regium and Tarentum, from whom you demand tribute and ships by virtue of your treaty with them? Why do you send year by year a quaestor with full powers of life and death to Syracuse and the other Greek cities of Sicily? The only reason that you could give would, of course, be that you imposed these terms upon them after subjugating them by force. Then accept the same reason from Antiochus in the case of Smyrna and Lampsacus and the cities of Ionia and Aeolis. They were conquered by his ancestors and made to pay tribute and taxes, and he claims the rights which have come down to him from ancient times. I should be glad, therefore, if you would answer him on these points, if, that is, you are prepared to discuss them fairly, and are not simply seeking a pretext for war."
Sulpicius replied: "If these are the only arguments that can be advanced in support of his case, Antiochus has shown a discreet modesty in letting them be brought forward by anybody rather than by himself. For what possible resemblance can there be between the circumstances of the two groups of cities which you have mentioned? From the day when Regium, Tarentum, and Neapolis passed into our hands we have demanded the fulfilment of their treaty obligations by an unbroken tenor of right which has always been asserted and never intermitted. Those communities have never, either of themselves or through anyone else, made any change in those obligations; would you venture to assert that the same holds good of the cities of Asia, and that after once becoming subject to the ancestors of Antiochus they have remained in the uninterrupted possession of your monarchy? Can you deny that some of them have been subject to Philip, others to Ptolemy, others again have for many years enjoyed an independence which no one has ever challenged? Granting that they at some time or other under the pressure of misfortune lost their freedom, does that give you the right after so many ages to claim them as your vassals? If so, we accomplished nothing when we delivered Greece from Philip; his successors can reassert their right to Corinth, Chalcis, and the whole of Thessaly. But why do I defend the cause of States which they themselves should more properly defend in the hearing of the king and themselves?"
[35.17]He then ordered the representatives of the States to be called in. Eumenes, who quite expected that whatever strength Antiochus lost would prove an accession to his own dominions, had prepared the representatives beforehand and told them what to say. Several were brought in, and as they each stated their grievances and put forward their demands quite regardless as to whether these were fair or not, they changed the discussion into a heated altercation. Unable either to make or to obtain any concessions, the commissioners resumed to Rome leaving everything as unsettled as when they came. On their departure the king held a council of war. Here each speaker tried to outdo the rest in violence of language, for the more bitter he showed himself against the Romans the better his chance of winning the king's favour. One of them denounced the Roman demands as arrogant: "They tried to impose on Antiochus, the greatest monarch in Asia, as though he were the defeated Nabis, and yet even Nabis they allowed to remain as sovereign over his own country and to retain Lacedaemon, whilst they consider it an offence if Smyrna and Lampsacus are under the sway of Antiochus." Others argued that those cities were for so great a monarch slight and insignificant grounds of war, but unjust demands always began with small matters, unless indeed they were to suppose that when the Persians demanded earth and water from the Lacedaemonians they were actually in need of a clod of earth and a draught of water. A similar attempt was now being made by the Romans in respect of these two cities, and as soon as others saw that these had shaken off the yoke they too would go over to the people who posed as liberators. Even if liberty were not in itself preferable to servitude, everyone, whatever his present condition may be, finds the prospect of change more attractive.
[35.18]There was amongst those present an Acarnanian named Alexander. He had formerly been one of Philip's friends, but had latterly attached himself to the wealthier and more magnificent court of Antiochus. As he was thoroughly familiar with the state of affairs in Greece and possessed some knowledge of the Roman character he had come to be on such intimate terms with Antiochus that he even took part in his private councils. As though the question under discussion was not whether war should be declared or not, but simply where and how it should be conducted, he said that he looked forward to certain victory if the king would cross over into Europe and fix the seat of war in some part of Greece. He would first of all find the Aetolians, who live in the centre of Greece, in arms, ready to take their places in the front and face all the dangers and hardships of war. Then, in what might be called the right and left wing of Greece, Nabis was ready in the Peloponnesus to do his utmost to recover Argos and the maritime cities from which the Romans had expelled him and shut him up within his own walls. In Macedonia Philip would take up arms the moment he heard the war-trumpet sound; he knew his spirit, he knew his temper, he knew that he had been revolving in his mind vast schemes of revenge, chafing like wild beasts that are fastened up by bars or chains. He remembered, too, how often during the war Philip had besought all the gods to give him the help of Antiochus; if this prayer were now granted he would not lose an hour in recommencing war. Only there must be no delay, no holding back, for victory depended upon their being the first to secure allies and to seize the most advantageous positions. Hannibal, too, ought to be sent to Africa at once to create a diversion and divide the Roman forces.
[35.19]Hannibal had not been invited to the council. He had aroused the king's suspicions by his interviews with Villius, and no respect or regard was now shown to him. For some time he bore this affront in silence; then, thinking it better to inquire the reason for this sudden estrangement and at the same time to clear himself from any suspicion, he chose a fitting moment and put a direct question to the king as to the reason for his disfavour. When he heard what the reason was, he said, "When I was a small boy, Antiochus, my father Hamilcar took me up to the altar whilst he was offering sacrifice and made me solemnly swear that I would never be a friend to Rome. Under this oath I have fought for six-and-thirty years; when peace was settled this oath drove me from my native country and brought me a homeless wanderer to your court. If you cheat my hopes, this oath will lead me wherever I can find support, wherever I learn that there are arms, and I shall find some enemies of Rome, though I have to seek them through the wide world. If, therefore, it pleases your courtiers to advance in your favour by aspersing me, let them seek some other ground for advancing themselves at my expense. I hate the Romans and the Romans hate me. My father Hamilcar and all the gods are witness that I am speaking the truth. When, then, you are making plans for a war against Rome, count Hannibal amongst the first of your friends; if circumstances constrain you to remain at peace, seek someone else to share your counsels." This speech had a great effect upon the king and it brought about a reconciliation with Hannibal. The king left the council, resolved on war.
[35.20]In Rome people spoke of Antiochus as the enemy, but beyond this attitude of mind they were making no preparations for war. Both the consuls had Italy assigned to them as their province on the understanding that they were either to come to a mutual agreement or leave it to the ballot as to which of them should preside at the elections. The one to whom this duty did not fall was to be prepared to take the legions wherever they were needed beyond the shores of Italy. He was empowered to raise two fresh legions as well as 20,000 infantry and 800 cavalry from the Latins and allied States. The two legions which L. Cornelius had as consul the year before were assigned to the other consul, together with 15,000 allied infantry and 500 cavalry drawn from the same army. Q. Minucius retained his command and the army which he had in Liguria. and was ordered to bring it up to full strength by raising 4000 Roman infantry and 150 cavalry, whilst the allies were to furnish him with 5000 infantry and 250 cavalry. The duty of taking the legions wherever the senate thought fit outside Italy fell to Cn. Domitius; L. Quinctius obtained Gaul as his province and also the conduct of the elections. The result of the balloting amongst the praetors was as follows: M. Fulvius Centumanus received the civic and L. Scribonius Libo the alien jurisdiction; L. Valerius Tappo drew Sicily; Q. Salonius Sarra, Sardinia; M. Baebius Tamphilus, Hither Spain; A. Atilius Serranus, Further Spain. The two latter, however, had their commands transferred first by a resolution of the senate and then by a confirmatory resolution of the plebs; A. Atilius had the fleet and Macedonia assigned to him, and Baebius was appointed to the command in Bruttium. Flaminius and Fulvius were left in command in the two Spains. Baebius received for his operations in Bruttium the two legions which had previously been quartered in the City and also 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry to be supplied by the allies. Atilius was ordered to construct 30 quinqueremes, to take from the dockyards any old ships that might be serviceable and to impress crews. The consuls were required to supply him with 1000 Roman and 2000 allied infantry. It was stated that these two praetors with their land and sea armies were to act against Nabis who was now openly attacking the allies of Rome. The arrival of the commissioners who had been sent to Antiochus was, however, expected, and the senate forbade Cn. Domitius to leave the City till they returned.
[35.21]The praetors Fulvius and Scribonius, whose department was the administration of justice, were charged with the task of fitting out 100 quinqueremes in addition to the fleet which Atilius was to command. Before the consul and the praetors left to take up their appointments solemn intercessions were made on account of various portents. A report came from Picenum that a she-goat had produced six kids at one birth; at Arretium a boy had been born with only one hand; at Amiternum there was a shower of earth; at Formiae the wall and one of the gates were struck with lightning. But the most appalling report was that an ox belonging to Cn. Domitius had uttered the words "Roma, cave tibi" ("Rome, be on thy guard!"). With respect to the other portents public supplications were offered up, but in the case of the ox the haruspices ordered it to be carefully kept and fed. The flooded Tiber made a more serious attack upon the City than in the previous year and destroyed two bridges and numerous buildings, most of them in the neighbourhood of the Porta Flumentana. A huge mass of rock, undermined either by the heavy rains or by an earthquake not felt at the time, fell from the Capitol into the Vicus Jugarius and crushed a number of people. In the country districts cattle and sheep were carried off by the floods in all directions and many farmhouses were laid in ruins. Before the consul L. Quinctius reached his province Q. Minucius fought a pitched battle with the Ligurians near Pisae. He killed 9000 of the enemy and drove the rest in flight to their camp, which was attacked and defended with furious fighting until nightfall. During the night the Ligurians stole away in silence, and at daybreak the Romans entered the deserted camp. They found less plunder than might have been expected, as the Ligurians made a practice of sending what they seized in the fields to their homes. After this Minucius gave them no respite; advancing from Pisae he laid waste their fortified villages and homesteads, and the Roman soldiers loaded themselves with the plunder which the Ligurians had carried off from Etruria and sent to their homes.
[35.22]Just about this time the commissioners returned from their visit to the kings. The intelligence they brought back disclosed no grounds for immediate hostilities except in the case of the tyrant of Lacedaemon, who, as the Achaean delegates also stated, was attacking the coastal district of Lacedaemon in defiance of the treaty. Atilius was sent with the fleet to Greece to protect the allies. As there was no pressing danger from Antiochus, it was decided that both the consuls should start for their provinces. Domitius marched against the Boii from Ariminium, the nearest point, Quinctius made his advance through Liguria. The two armies on their respective routes devastated the country far and wide. A few of the Boian cavalry with their officers went over to the Romans, they were followed by all the older men, and at last every man of rank or wealth, up to the number of 500, deserted to the consul. The Romans were successful in both the Spanish provinces this year. C. Flaminius laid siege to and captured Licabrum, a wealthy and strongly fortified place, and took as prisoner Conribilo, a chieftain of high rank. The proconsul, M. Fulvius, fought two successful actions and stormed many fortified places, together with two towns, Vescelia and Helo; others surrendered voluntarily. Then he marched against the Oretani, and after becoming master of two towns, Noliba and Cusibis, he advanced as far as the Tagus. Here there was a small but strongly fortified city, Toletum, and whilst he was attacking it the Vettones sent a large army to relieve it. Fulvius defeated them in a pitched battle, and after putting them to rout invested and captured the place.
[35.23]These actual wars, however, preoccupied the thoughts of the senate far less than the threatening prospect of war with Antiochus. Although they received from time to time full information through their commissioners, there were vague and unauthorised rumours afloat in which truth was largely blended with falsehood. Amongst other things it was reported that as soon as Antiochus reached Aetolia he would send his fleet on to Sicily. Atilius had already been sent with his fleet to Greece, but as the senate, if it was to retain its hold upon the friendly States, was bound to assert its authority as well as send troops, T. Quinctius, Cn. Octavius, Cn. Servilius and P. Villius were despatched on a special mission to Greece, and a decree was made ordering M. Baebius to transfer his legions from Bruttium to Tarentum and Brundisium, and if circumstances made it necessary transport them to Macedonia. M. Fulvius was ordered to send a fleet of twenty ships to protect Sicily, its commander to possess full powers. The command was vested in L. Oppius Salinator; he had been plebeian aedile the previous year. Fulvius was also to send to his colleague L. Valerius and inform him that fears were entertained of Antiochus sending his fleet to Sicily, and the senate had therefore decided that he should strengthen his army by raising an emergency force of 12,000 foot and 400 horse for the defence of that part of the Sicilian coast which faced Greece. The praetor took the men for the force from the adjacent islands as well as from Sicily itself, and placed garrisons in all the towns on the eastern coast. These rumours were strengthened by the arrival of Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, who brought word that Antiochus had crossed the Hellespont with his army, and that the Aetolians, who were thoroughly prepared, were in arms immediately on his arrival. Thanks were formally accorded to Eumenes as well as to Attalus. The latter was treated as the guest of the State and suitably lodged; he was also presented with two horses, two sets of equestrian armour, silver vases up to a hundred and gold vases up to twenty pounds' weight.
[35.24]As messenger after messenger brought word that war was imminent, it was felt to be a matter of importance that the consular elections should take place at as early a date as possible. The senate therefore resolved that M. Fulvius should at once write to the consul informing him that the senate wished him to hand over his command to his staff and return to Rome. On his way he was to send on his edict giving notice of the consular elections. The consul carried out these instructions and returned to Rome. There was a keen contest this year, as three patricians were competing for the one vacancy, namely P. Cornelius Scipio, the son of Cn. Scipio, who had been defeated the previous year; L. Cornelius Scipio, and Cn. Manlius Volso. As a proof that the honour had only been deferred and not refused to a man of his eminence, the consulship was bestowed on P. Scipio and the plebeian who was assigned to him as colleague was Manius Acilius Glabrio. Those who were elected as praetors the next day were L. Aemilius Paullus, M. Aemilius Lepidus, M. Junius Brutus, A. Cornelius Mammula, C. Livius and L. Oppius, the two latter both having the cognomen Salinator. Oppius was in command of the fleet of twenty sail which had gone to Sicily. Whilst the new magistrates were balloting for their respective provinces Baebius received instructions to sail with the whole of his force from Brundisium to Epirus and to remain near Apollonia; M. Fulvius was commissioned to construct fifty new quinqueremes.
[35.25]Whilst the Roman Government were thus preparing to check any attempt on the part of Antiochus, Nabis was already pushing on hostilities and devoting his whole strength to the investment of Gytheum. The Achaeans had sent succour to the besieged city, and in revenge he devastated their territory. They did not venture upon open hostilities till their delegates had returned from Rome and they had learnt the decision of the senate. On their return they summoned a council to meet at Sicyon and sent to ask T. Quinctius to advise them as to what they ought to do. The members of the council were unanimously in favour of immediate action, but when a letter was read from T. Quinctius in which he advised them to wait for the Roman praetor and the fleet there was some hesitation felt. Some of the leaders adhered to their opinion, others thought that after consulting T. Quinctius they ought to act on his advice. The great majority, however, waited to hear what line Philopoemen would take. He was at the time their chief magistrate, and surpassed all his contemporaries in sound common sense and force of character. He began by commending the wisdom of the regulation which the Achaeans had adopted forbidding their chief magistrate to express his own view when the discussion turned on war. He then urged them to come to a speedy decision as to what they wanted; their chief magistrate would carry out their decision faithfully and carefully, and as far as human wisdom could avail would do his utmost to prevent their regretting it whether it were in favour of peace or war. This speech did more to incite them to war than if he had betrayed his desire for it by open advocacy. The council passed a unanimous vote in favour of hostilities, but left the date and conduct of operations absolutely to the chief magistrate. Philopoemen himself was of the opinion which Quinctius had already expressed, that they ought to wait for the Roman fleet which could protect Gytheum by sea, but he was afraid that the position did not admit of delay and that not only Gytheum but also the force sent to defend it might be lost. Accordingly, he ordered the Achaean vessels to put to sea.
[35.26]The tyrant had, as one of the conditions of peace, surrendered his old fleet to the Romans, but he had collected a small naval force, consisting of three decked ships with some barques and despatch-boats, to prevent any assistance reaching the besieged city by sea. In order to test the hardiness of these new vessels and make everything fit for battle, he made them put out to sea every day, and the sailors and soldiers were exercised in sham fights, for he regarded the prospect of a successful siege as dependent upon his intercepting all relief attempted by sea. Though the chief magistrate of the Achaeans could vie with the most famous commanders in military skill and experience he was totally inexperienced in naval matters. He was a native of Arcadia, an inland country, and knew nothing of the outside world with the exception of Crete where he had commanded a force of auxiliary troops. There was an old quadrireme which had been captured eighty years ago when it was conveying Nicaea, the wife of Craterus, from Naupactus to Corinth. Attracted by what he had heard of this ship - for it had been in its day a famous unit of the royal fleet - he ordered it to be brought from Aegium, though it was now very rotten and its timbers were parting through age. Whilst this vessel, with Tisus of Patrae, the fleet commander, on board, was leading the armament it was met by the Lacedaemonian ships which were coming from Gytheum. At the very first shock against a new and firm ship the old vessel, which was leaking at every joint, completely broke up and all on board were made prisoners. The rest of the fleet, after seeing the commander's vessel lost, fled away as fast as their oars could carry them. Philopoemen himself escaped in a light scouting boat and did not end his flight till he had reached Patrae. This incident did not in the least depress the spirits of a man who was a thorough soldier and had had a very chequered experience; on the contrary, he declared that if he had made an unfortunate mistake in naval matters of which he knew nothing he had all the more reason to hope for success in things with which experience had made him thoroughly familiar, and he promised that he would make the tyrant's rejoicing over his victory a short-lived one.
[35.27]Greatly elated by his victory, Nabis felt no further apprehension of danger from the sea, and he now decided to close all access on the land side by an effective disposition of his troops. He withdrew a third of the army which was investing Gytheum and encamped at Pleiae in a position which commanded both Leucae and Acriae, as the enemy would probably advance in that direction. Only a few of the troops in this camp had tents, the mass of the soldiers constructed wattled huts with reeds and leafy branches to shelter them from the sun. Before he came within sight of the enemy Philopoemen decided to make a novel kind of attack and take him unawares. Collecting some small craft in a secluded creek on the Argive coast he manned them with light infantry, mostly caetrati, who were armed with slings and darts and other light equipment. Sailing close inshore he reached a headland near the enemy's camp, where he disembarked his men and made a night march to Patrae along paths with which he was familiar. The enemy's sentinels, fearing no immediate danger, were asleep and Philopoemen's men flung burning brands on the huts from every side of the camp. Many perished in the fire before they were aware of the enemy's presence, and those who had become aware of it were unable to render any assistance. Between fire and sword the destruction was complete, very few escaped death from the one or the other, and those who did escape fled to the camp before Gytheum. Immediately after dealing this blow to the enemy Philopoemen led his force to Tripolis in Laconia, close to the Megalopolitan territory, and before the tyrant could send troops from Gytheum to protect the fields, he succeeded in carrying off a vast quantity of booty both in men and cattle.
He then assembled the army of the league at Tegea and also convened a special meeting of the Achaeans and their allies at which the leading men from Epirus and Acarnania were present. As his troops were now sufficiently recovered from the humiliation of their naval defeat and the enemy were correspondingly depressed he decided to march on Lacedaemon, as that seemed the only means of drawing off the enemy from the siege of Gytheum. His first halt on enemy territory was at Caryae, and on the very day he encamped here Gytheum was taken. Unaware of what had happened he continued his advance as far as Barnosthenes, a mountain ten miles distant from Lacedaemon. After taking Gytheum Nabis returned with his army equipped for rapid marching, and hurrying past Lacedaemon he seized a position known as Pyrrhus' Camp, which he felt quite certain that the Achaeans were making for. From there he advanced to meet them. Owing to the narrowness of the road they extended in a column nearly five miles long. The cavalry and the greater part of the auxiliary troops were in the hinder part of the column, as Philopoemen thought that the tyrant would probably attack his rear with the mercenaries, on whom he mainly depended. Two unexpected circumstances occurred which gave Philopoemen cause for anxiety; the position he had hoped to secure was already occupied and he saw that the enemy were intending to attack the head of the column. He did not see how it was possible for his hoplites to advance in battle order over such broken ground without the support of the light troops.
[35.28]Philopoemen possessed exceptional skill in the conduct of a march and the selection of positions; he had made these the objects of special attention in peace as well as in war. It was his habit, when he was travelling and had come to a mountain pass difficult to traverse, to study the ground in all directions. If he was alone he would think the matter over, if he were accompanied he would ask those with him what they would do if an enemy showed himself there, what tactics they would employ according as the attack was made upon their front, or on either flank or on their rear; the enemy in battle order might possibly come upon them whilst they were deployed for action or possibly whilst they were in column of march, unprepared for attack. He used to think out for himself and question others as to some position which he intended to secure, what numbers and what weapons - for these differed considerably - he ought to employ; where he ought to deposit the baggage and the soldiers' kits; where the non-combatants ought to be placed; what ought to be the strength and nature of the baggage guard; and whether it would be better to go forward or for the army to retrace its steps. He used also to consider very carefully the sites he ought to select for his camp, the amount of ground to be enclosed, the supply of water, fodder and wood, the safest route to take on the morrow and the best formation in which to march. He had exercised his mind on these problems from earliest manhood to such an extent that there was no device for meeting them with which he was not familiar. On the present occasion he first of all halted the column, and then sent up to the front the Cretan auxiliaries and the so-called Tarentine horse, and the rest of the cavalry were ordered to follow them. He then took possession of a rock which overhung a mountain torrent, so that he might have a water supply. Here he collected the camp-followers and the whole of the baggage and surrounded them with a guard. His entrenchments were such as the nature of the position allowed, and the setting up of the tents on such rough and uneven ground presented considerable difficulty. The enemy were half a mile distant, both sides watered at the same stream under the protection of the light infantry, and as usually happens when the camps are near one another, night intervened before the forces engaged. It was quite certain, however, that there would be a battle between the detachments who were guarding the water-carriers, and in view of this Philopoemen during the night posted in a valley out of the enemy's view as large a force of his caetrati as the ground would conceal.
[35.29]At daybreak the Cretan light infantry and the Tarentines commenced an action on the river bank; Telemnastus of Crete commanding his countrymen, and Lycortas of Megalopolis the cavalry. The enemy, too, had Cretan auxiliaries and Tarentine horse covering their watering-parties, and as the same class of troops were fighting with the same weapons on either side the issue was for some time doubtful. As the action proceeded the tyrant's troops proved superior owing to their numbers, and moreover Philopoemen had instructed his officers to offer only a slight resistance and then pretend to flee and so draw the enemy on to the spot where his ambush was set. As the enemy became disordered in the pursuit, a great many were killed and wounded before they caught sight of their hidden foe. The caetrati were crouching in the best formation that the narrow space admitted of, and the intervals between their companies allowed their own fugitives to pass through. Then they sprang up fresh and vigorous, in perfect order, to attack an enemy who, scattered in disorderly pursuit, were also exhausted by the strain of fighting and the wounds which many of them had received. The result was decisive, the soldiers of the tyrant turned and fled at a much greater speed than when they were the pursuers, and were driven into their camp. Many were killed or made prisoners in the flight, and the camp itself would have been in great danger had not Philopoemen sounded the "retire." He feared the broken ground, so dangerous to any who advanced without caution, more than he feared the enemy. From his knowledge of the tyrant's character Philopoemen guessed what a state of alarm he would be in after this battle and sent one of his men to him in the guise of a deserter. This man told him that he had found out that the Achaeans intended to advance the following day to the Eurotas - this river almost washes the walls of Lacedaemon - in order to intercept him and prevent him from withdrawing into the city and also stop supplies from being conveyed from the city to the camp. They also, he told him, were going to try and create a rising against him amongst the citizens. Though the deserter's story was not fully accepted it afforded the tyrant, now thoroughly frightened, a plausible excuse for quitting his present position. He gave Pythagoras instructions to remain the next day on guard before the camp with the cavalry and auxiliaries whilst he himself, with the main strength of his army, marched out as though for action and gave the standard-bearers orders to quicken their pace and make for the city.
[35.30]When Philopoemen saw them moving hurriedly along a steep and narrow road he sent his Cretan auxiliaries and the whole of his cavalry against the force which was guarding the camp. Seeing the enemy approaching, and finding that the main army had left them to themselves, they tried to retire into their camp, but as the entire Achaean army was advancing in battle order they dreaded lest they should be captured with their camp, and accordingly started after their main body which was some distance ahead. The Achaean caetrati at once attacked and plundered the camp, whilst the rest of the army went off in pursuit of the enemy. The route they had taken was such that even if there had been no enemy to be feared, their column could only have got through with great difficulty, but now, when the rearmost ranks were being assailed and cries of terror penetrated to the head of the column, it was every man for himself; they flung away their arms and fled into the forest which skirted the road on both sides. In an instant the road was blocked with heaps of weapons, mostly spears, which, falling with their heads towards the enemy, formed a kind of stockade across the road. Philopoemen ordered the auxiliaries to press the pursuit as much as possible, since flight would be a difficult matter, for cavalry at all events. The heavy infantry he led in person by a more open road to the Eurotas. Here he encamped just before sunset and waited for the light troops whom he had left in pursuit of the enemy. They came in at the first watch with the news that the tyrant had entered the city with a small body of troops; the rest of his army were without arms, scattered in the forest. He told them to take food and rest. The rest of the army, having come earlier into camp, had already done so and were now refreshed after a short sleep. Selecting some of their number and telling them to take nothing but their swords, he posted them on two of the roads which led from the city, one to Pharae and the other to Barnosthenes, as he expected that the fugitives would return by these roads. His expectation was justified, for the Lacedaemonians as long as daylight remained went along the sequestered tracks in the heart of the forest, but when it grew dusk and they caught sight of the lights in the enemy's camp they kept out of sight on hidden paths. After they had got past it, and thought all was safe, they came out into the open road. Here they were caught by the enemy who were waiting for them, and so numerous were the prisoners and the slain in all directions that hardly a quarter of their whole army escaped. Now that Philopoemen had shut the tyrant up in his city he spent nearly a month in devastating the Lacedaemonian fields, and after thus weakening and almost shattering the tyrant's power he returned home. The Achaeans in view of his brilliant success put him on a par with the Roman general, and considered him as his superior so far as the Laconian war was concerned.
[35.31].While this war between the Achaeans and the tyrant was going on the Roman envoys were visiting the cities of their allies, for they felt some apprehension lest the Aetolians might have induced some of them to go over to Antiochus. They did not trouble themselves much about the Achaeans; as they were in declared hostility to Nabis it was thought that they might be depended upon throughout. Athens was the first place they visited, from there they proceeded to Chalcis, and thence to Thessaly, where they addressed a largely attended council of the Thessalians. They then went on to Demetrias, where a council of the Magnetes was assembled. Here they had to be careful as to what they said, for some of the leading men were in opposition to Rome and gave wholehearted support to Antiochus and the Aetolians. Their attitude was due to the fact that when it was learnt that Philip's son, who had been detained as a hostage, was released and the tribute imposed upon him remitted, it was stated, amongst other false rumours, that the Romans intended to restore Demetrias to him also. Rather than let that happen Eurylochus, the president of the Magnetes, and some of his party were anxious that the arrival of Antiochus and the Aetolians should bring about a complete change of policy. In meeting this hostile spirit the Roman envoys had to be on their guard lest while removing this groundless suspicion they should so far destroy Philip's hopes as to make an enemy of a man who was for every reason of more importance to them than the Magnetes were. The envoys confined themselves to pointing out that the whole of Greece was under obligations to Rome for the boon of liberty, Magnesia so especially. Not only had a Macedonian garrison been stationed there, but Philip had built a palace there so that they were forced to have their lord and master always before their eyes. But all that Rome had done for them would be useless if the Aetolians brought Antiochus into that palace and they had to have a new unknown king in place of one whom they had known and had experience of.
Their supreme magistrate was called "Magnetarch," and Eurylochus was holding that office at the time. Feeling secure in the power which his office gave him, he said that he and the Magnetes could not be silent about the report which was widely current that Demetrias was to be given back to Philip. To prevent this the Magnetes were prepared to make every effort and face every danger. Carried away by excitement he threw out the ill-advised remark that even then Demetrias was only free in appearance, in reality everything was at the nod and beck of Rome. These words were received with murmurs and protests; some in the assembly approved, but others were filled with indignation at his having dared to speak in that way. As for Quinctius, he was so angry that he lifted up his hands towards heaven and called upon the gods to witness the ingratitude and perfidy of the Magnetes. This exclamation created universal alarm and Zeno, one of their leading men, who had gained great influence amongst them, partly by the refinement which characterised his private life and partly because he had always been a staunch friend to Rome, implored Quinctius and other envoys not to make the whole city responsible for one man's madness; it was at his own risk that anyone behaved like a madman. The Magnetes were indebted to Titus Quinctius and the Roman people for more than their liberty - for everything, in fact, which men hold dear and sacred; there was nothing which a man could ask the gods to give him that they had not received from them. They would sooner lay frenzied hands upon themselves than violate their friendship with Rome.
[35.32].His speech was followed by urgent entreaties from the whole assembly. Eurylochus left hurriedly, and making his way secretly to the city gate fled to Aetolia, for the Aetolians were now throwing off the mask more and more every day from their hostile intentions. Thoas, the foremost man amongst them, happened to return from his mission to Antiochus just at this time, bringing with him an envoy from the king in the person of Menippus. Before the meeting of the national council these two men had filled all ears with descriptions of the land and sea forces which Antiochus had collected. They declared that a great host of infantry and cavalry were on their way, elephants had been brought from India and - what they thought would most of all impress the popular mind - he was bringing gold enough to buy up the Romans themselves. It was obvious what effect this sort of talk would have on the council, for their arrival and all their proceedings were duly reported to the Roman envoy. Although events had almost taken a decisive turn, Quinctius thought it might not be altogether useless if some representatives of the friendly cities attended the council who would have the courage to speak frankly in reply to the king's envoy and remind the Aetolians of their treaty engagements with Rome. The Athenians seemed best fitted for the task on account of the prestige which their city enjoyed and also because of their old alliance with the Aetolians. Quinctius therefore requested them to send delegates to the Pan-Aetolian Council.
Thoas opened the proceedings by giving a report of his negotiations. He was followed by Menippus, who asserted that the best thing for all the peoples of Greece and Asia would have been for Antiochus to have intervened whilst Philip's power was still unimpaired, everyone would then have kept what belonged to him, and everything would not have been completely at the mercy of Rome. "Even now," he continued, "if only you resolutely carry out the designs you have formed, he will be able with the help of the gods and the assistance of the Aetolians to restore the fortunes of Greece, drooping though they are, to their old place in the world. That, however, must rest on liberty, and a liberty which stands in its own strength and is not dependent on the will of another." The Athenians, who had received permission to speak their minds after the king's delegate, made no allusion to the king, but simply reminded the Aetolians of their alliance with Rome and the services which T. Quinctius had rendered to the whole of Greece. They warned them against wrecking that friendship by hasty and precipitate action; bold and hot-headed counsels were attractive at first sight, difficult to put into practice, disastrous in their results. The Roman envoys and Quinctius himself were not far away, it would be better to discuss the question at issue in friendly debate than to throw Europe and Asia into a deadly struggle of arms.
[35.33]The great mass of the assembly, eager for a change of policy, were wholly on the side of Antiochus and were even opposed to admitting the Romans into the council. Mainly, however, through the influence of the elders amongst their leading men, it was decided that a meeting of the council should be summoned to hear them. When the Athenians returned and reported this decision Quinctius felt that he ought to go to Aetolia, as he might do something to change their purpose, if not the whole world would see that the responsibility for the war rested solely on the Aetolians and that Rome was taking up arms in a just and necessary cause. Quinctius began his address to the council by tracing the history of the league between the Aetolians and Rome and pointing out how frequently they had infringed its provisions. He then dealt briefly with the rights of the cities which were the subject of controversy and showed how much better it would be, if they thought they had a fair case, to send a deputation to Rome to argue their cause or bring it before the senate, whichever they preferred, instead of a war between Rome and Antiochus at the instigation of the Aetolians, a war which would create a world-wide disturbance and utterly ruin Greece. None would feel the fatal result of such a war sooner than those who set it in motion. The Roman was a true prophet, but he spoke in vain. Without allowing time for deliberation by adjourning the council or even waiting for the Romans to retire, Thoas and the rest of his supporters got a decree passed amidst the cheers of the assembly for inviting Antiochus to give liberty to Greece and arbitrate between the Romans and the Aetolians. The insolence of this decree was aggravated by the personal effrontery of Damocritus their chief magistrate. When Quinctius asked him for a copy of the decree, Damocritus, without the slightest regard for his official position, told him that a more pressing matter demanded his immediate attention, he would shortly give him his reply and the decree from his camps in Italy on the banks of the Tiber. Such was the madness which at that time possessed the Aetolians and their magistrates.
[35.34]Quinctius and the other legates returned to Corinth. The Aetolians, who were continually receiving intelligence about Antiochus' movements, wished to make it appear that they were doing nothing themselves and simply waiting for his arrival; consequently they did not hold a council of the whole league after the Romans had left. Through their "Apokleti," however - the designation they give to their inner council - they were discussing the best means of effecting a revolution in Greece. It was everywhere understood that the leading men and the aristocracy in the various States were partisans of Rome and perfectly contented with things as they were, whilst the mass of the populations and all whose circumstances were not what they wished them to be were eager for change. On the day of their meeting the Aetolians decided upon a project alike audacious and impudent, namely the occupation of Demetrias, Chalcis and Lacedaemon. One of their leaders was sent to each of these cities: Thoas went to Chalcis, Alexamenus to Lacedaemon, Diocles to Demetrias. Eurylochus, whose flight and the reason for it have been already described, came to the assistance of Diocles, as in no other way did he see any prospect of returning home. He wrote to his friends and relatives and the members of his party, and they brought his wife and children dressed in mourning and carrying suppliant emblems into the assembly, which was crowded. They appealed to those present individually and implored the assembly as a whole not to allow a man innocent and uncondemned to waste his life in exile. The simple and unsuspecting were moved by pity, the evil-minded and seditious by the prospect of profiting by the confusion which the Aetolian agitation would cause. Everyone voted for his recall. This preparatory step having been taken, Diocles, who was at that time in command of the cavalry, started with the whole of his force, ostensibly to escort the exile home. He covered an immense distance, marching through the day and the night, and when he was six miles from the city he went on in advance at daybreak with three picked troops, the rest being under orders to follow. As they approached the gate he bade his men dismount and lead their horses as though they were accompanying their commander on his journey instead of acting as a military force. Leaving one troop at the gate to prevent the cavalry who were coming up from being shut out, he took Eurylochus, holding him by the hand, through the heart of the city and the forum to his house amidst the congratulations of many who came to meet them. In a short time the city was filled with cavalry - and the commanding positions were seized. Then parties were told off to go to the houses of the leaders of the opposition and put them to death. In this way Demetrias was gained by the Aetolians.
[35.35]Against the city of Lacedaemon no force was to be employed. The tyrant was to be caught by treachery. After being despoiled of his maritime towns by the Romans and now actually shut up within his walls by the Achaeans, it was taken for granted that whoever was the first to kill him would win the gratitude of the Lacedaemonians. The Aetolians had a good excuse for sending to him, for he had been insistently demanding that help should be sent to him by those at whose instigation he had recommenced war. Alexamenus was supplied with 1000 infantry and 30 men selected from the cavalry. These latter had been solemnly warned by Damocritus in the Inner Council, which is described above, not to suppose that they were sent to fight against the Achaeans or for any purpose which they might fix upon in their own minds. Whatever plan circumstances might compel Alexamenus suddenly to adopt, that plan, however unexpected, hazardous or daring it might be, they must be prepared to execute with unquestioning obedience, and they must so regard it as though it were the only object which they had been sent from home to accomplish. With these men thus primed Alexamenus went to the tyrant, and his visit at once filled him with hope. He told him that Antiochus had already landed in Europe and would soon be in Greece, he would cover sea and land with arms and men; the Romans would find out that it was not with Philip that they had to deal; the numbers of his infantry and cavalry and ships could not be counted; the mere sight of the line of elephants would bring the war to a close. He assured him that the Aetolians were prepared to go to Lacedaemon with the whole of their army when circumstances demanded, but they wanted Antiochus to see a considerable body of their troops on his arrival. He also advised Nabis to be careful not to let the troops which he still had become enervated through idleness and an indoor life; he should take them out and by exercising them under arms make them keener and hardier; the toil and exertion would become lighter by practice, and their commander could make it far from distasteful by his geniality and kindness.
From that time they were frequently marched out to the plain stretching from the city to the Eurotas. The tyrant's bodyguard were usually in the centre of the line; he himself with three horsemen at the most, of whom Alexamenus was generally one, rode along the front of the standards to inspect the wings. On the right were the Aetolians, including the auxiliaries and the thousand who had come with Alexamenus. Alexamenus had made a practice of accompanying the tyrant during his inspection through a few of the ranks, making such suggestions as seemed called for, and then riding up to the Aetolians on the right and giving them the necessary instructions, after which he returned to the side of the tyrant. But on the day which he had fixed for carrying out his deadly project he only accompanied the tyrant for a short time, and then withdrawing to his own men addressed the thirty picked troopers in these terms: "Young men, you have to dare and do the deed which you are under orders to carry out at my bidding. Be ready with heart and hand, and let no one falter at what he sees me doing; whoever hesitates and crosses my purpose with his own may be sure that there is no return home for him." Horror seized them all; they remembered the instructions with which they had come. The tyrant was riding up from his left wing, Alexamenus ordered them to level their lances and watch him; even he himself had to collect his thoughts, bewildered as he was at the contemplation of such a desperate deed. When the tyrant came near he made an attack upon him and speared his horse. The tyrant was flung off, and whilst he lay on the ground the troopers thrust at him with their lances. Many of their thrusts were warded off by his cuirass, but at last they reached his body, and he expired before he could be rescued by his bodyguard.
[35.36]Alexamenus went off with all the Aetolians at the double to take possession of the palace. Whilst the assassination was going on before their eyes they were too frightened to move; when they saw the Aetolian contingent hurrying away they ran to the abandoned body of the tyrant, but instead of bodyguards and avengers of his death, they were merely a crowd of spectators. In fact, not a single man would have offered any resistance had Alexamenus, laying aside his arms, called the whole army to attention and made an address such as the situation required, keeping a considerable body of Aetolians under arms and injuring no one. But what ought to happen in every act begun by treachery happened here; the affair was so managed as to hasten the destruction of all the actors in it. The general, shutting himself up in the palace, spent a whole day and night in examining the royal treasures, the Aetolians took to looting as though they had captured the city of which they wished to appear as the liberators. The indignation this aroused and a feeling of contempt for the scanty number of Aetolians gave the Lacedaemonians courage to unite together. Some advised that the Aetolians should be driven out and the liberty snatched from them just when it seemed to be restored, asserted and made secure. Others thought that one of the royal blood should be chosen as the ostensible head of the movement. There was a scion of the old royal house called Laconicus who had been brought up with the tyrant's children; they put him on horseback, and seizing their arms slew the Aetolians who were strolling about the city. Then they forced their way into the palace and killed Alexamenus, who with a few of his men offered an ineffectual resistance. Some of the Aetolians had collected together at the Chalcioecon - a bronze temple of Minerva - and were all killed. A few flung away their arms and fled to Tegea and Megalopolis. Here they were arrested by the magistrates and sold as slaves.
[35.37]On hearing of the tyrant's death Philopoemen went to Lacedaemon, where he found universal panic and confusion. He invited the principal men to meet him, and after addressing them as Alexamenus ought to have done, incorporated the city in the Achaean league. This was rendered all the easier by the fact that just at that time A. Atilius arrived at Gytheum with four-and-twenty quinqueremes. Thoas was far from meeting with the same success at Chalcis as was achieved at Demetrias through the agency of Eurylochus. He had enlisted the services of two men - Euthymidas, one of the leading men in Chalcis who had been expelled through the influence of the Roman party, strengthened by the visit of T. Quinctius and the fleet, and Herodorus, a trader from Chios whose wealth gave him considerable weight in the city. Through their instrumentality Thoas had arranged with the adherents of Euthymidas to betray the city into his hands. Euthymidas had taken up his residence at Athens, from there he went to Thebes, and then on to Salganeus. Herodorus went to Thronium. Not far from this place Thoas had a force of 2000 infantry and 200 cavalry, as well as thirty light transports in the Maliac Gulf. Herodorus was to take these vessels with a complement of 600 infantry to the island of Atalanta with the object of sailing across to Chalcis as soon as he learnt that the land force was nearing Aulis and the Euripus. Thoas himself marched with this force as rapidly as possible, mostly by night, to Chalcis.
[35.38]After the expulsion of Euthymidas the chief command was vested in Micythio and Xenoclides. Either suspecting what was going on or having received information about it, they were at first in a state of panic and thought that their only safety lay in flight, but when their fears subsided and they saw that they would be deserting not only their city but their alliance with Rome, they thought out the following plan of operations. It so happened that the annual festival of Diana of Amarynthis was being held at the time in Eretria, and this festival was attended not only by the natives but also by the people of Carystus. A deputation was sent from Chalcis to beg the Eretrians and the Carystians to take compassion on those who were born in the same island as themselves, to remember their alliance with Rome, and not to allow Chalcis to pass into the hands of the Aetolians. If they held Chalcis they would hold Euboea; the Macedonians had been harsh masters, the Aetolians would be much more insupportable. The two cities were influenced mainly by their respect for the Romans, whose courage in the late war as well as their justice and considerateness they had had practical experience of. Each city accordingly armed and despatched all their fighting men. The Chalcidians left the defence of their walls to them, and crossing the Euripus with their entire force fixed their camp at Salganeus. From there they sent first a herald and then delegates to the Aetolians to inquire what they had done or said that their allies and friends should come to attack them. Thoas, who was in command, replied that they were come not to attack them but to deliver them from the Romans. "You are fettered," he said, "with more glittering but also with heavier chains than when you had a Macedonian garrison in your citadel." The Chalcidians declared that they were not in bondage to any man, nor did they need any man's protection. They then left the conference and returned to their camp. Thoas and the Aetolians had placed all their hopes on taking the enemy by surprise, and as they were unequal to a sustained conflict and the siege of a city powerfully protected both by land and sea they returned home. When Euthymidas heard that his countrymen were encamped at Salganeus and that the Aetolians had gone away he returned to Athens. Herodorus after anxiously awaiting the signal from Atalanta sent a despatch-boat to find out the cause of the delay, and when he learnt that his associates had abandoned their enterprise he went back to Thronium.
[35.39]On hearing what had happened Quinctius on his way from Corinth met Eumenes on the Euripus off Chalcis, and it was arranged that Eumenes should leave 500 troops to protect Chalcis and go on to Athens. Quinctius went on as he had started in the direction of Demetrias, and judging that the liberation of Chalcis would do much towards inducing the Magnetes to resume friendly relations with Rome, he wrote to Eunomus, the chief magistrate of the Thessalians, asking him to put his fighting men on a war footing as a support to the party of his adherents. At the same time he sent Villius to sound the feeling of the populace, but not to attempt anything more unless there were a large number who were inclined to restore the old friendly relations. He went in a quinquereme, and had reached the harbour mouth when he found that the whole population had poured out to see him. Villius asked them whether they preferred that he should come to them as friends or as enemies. Eurylochus, their chief magistrate, told him that he had come to friends, but he must keep away from the harbour and allow the Magnetes to live in harmony and liberty and not seduce the populace under cover of a political discussion. This started a hot dispute, not a conference, as the Roman envoy bitterly reproached the Magnetes for their ingratitude and predicted the disasters which would quickly overtake them, whilst the townsmen shouted out in reply angry aspersions on the conduct of the senate and Quinctius. Foiled in his attempt Villius returned to Quinctius, who sent off a message to the praetor to disband his forces and then returned to Corinth.
[35.40]The affairs of Greece, involved as they were with those of Rome, have carried me, so to speak, out of my course, not because they were worth narrating in themselves, but because they brought about the war with Antiochus. After the consular elections - for that was the point at which I digressed - the new consuls, L. Quinctius and Cn. Domitius, left for their provinces, Quinctius for Liguria and Domitius for the country of the Boii. The Boii remained quiet, and even their senate with their children and the cavalry commanders with their men, 1500 in all, made a formal surrender to the consul. The other consul devastated the Ligurian country far and wide, captured several of their fortified posts and took from them not only prisoners and booty, but also many of his fellow-citizens and members of the friendly States who had been in the hands of the enemy. During the year the senate and people authorised the formation of a military colony at Vibo; 3700 infantry and 300 cavalry were sent there. The supervisors of the settlement were Q. Naevius, M. Minucius and M. Furius Crassipes. Fifteen jugera were allotted to each infantryman and double the number to the cavalry. The land had previously belonged to the Bruttii, who had taken it from the Greeks. During this time two alarming incidents occurred in Rome, one lasted longer than the other, but was less destructive. There were earth tremors which went on for thirty-eight days, and during the whole of the time business was suspended amidst general anxiety and alarm. Intercessions were offered up for three successive days to avert the peril. The other was no groundless alarm, it was a widespread disaster. A fire broke out in the Forum Boarium; for a day and a night the buildings fronting the Tiber were blazing and all the shops with their valuable stocks were burnt out.
[35.41]The year was now almost at an end and the rumours of hostile preparations on the part of Antiochus and the anxiety these caused to the senate became graver day by day. The discussion as to the assignment of provinces to the new magistrates resulted in the senate decreeing that one of the consular provinces should be Italy and the other wherever the senate should decide, for it was already generally understood that there would be war with Antiochus. The one to whom this latter field of operations would be allotted was to be furnished with 4000 Roman and 6000 allied infantry, together with 300 Roman and 400 allied cavalry. L. Quinctius was instructed to raise this force so that there might be no delay in the new consul proceeding at once wherever the senate should think it necessary. A similar decree was made in the case of the praetors-elect. The first balloting was for the two departments of civic and alien jurisdiction; the second for Bruttium; the third for the command of the fleet, which was to be sent wherever the senate should determine; the fourth for Sicily; the fifth for Sardinia, and the sixth for Further Spain. L. Quinctius was also commanded to raise two new Roman legions and an allied contingent of 20,000 infantry and 800 cavalry. That army was decreed to the praetor who should draw Bruttium as his province. Two temples were dedicated this year to Jupiter. One had been vowed by L. Furius Purpureo, when praetor, in the war against the Gauls; the other by the consul. The dedication was performed by one of the decemviri, Q. Marcius Ralla. Many severe sentences were passed this year on moneylenders, the curule aediles M. Tuccius and P. Junius Brutus acting as prosecutors. From the proceeds of the fines inflicted on them gilded four-horse chariots were placed in the temple on the Capitol and twelve gilded shields on the pediment of the chapel of Jupiter. The same aediles constructed a colonnade outside the Porta Trigemina in the Carpenters' Quarter.
[35.42]Whilst the Romans were devoting attention to preparations for a fresh war, Antiochus for his part was by no means idle. He was, however, detained in Asia by three cities, Smyrna, Alexandria Troas and Lampsacus, none of which he had been able to become master of either by force or by persuasion, and he did not wish to leave them in his rear during his invasion of Europe. A further cause of delay was his uncertainty about Hannibal. The undecked ships with which he had intended to send Hannibal to Africa were not ready, and then the question was raised, mainly by Thoas, whether he ought to be sent at all. Thoas asserted that the whole of Greece was in a state of unrest and that Demetrias had passed into his hands. The lies about the king and the wild exaggerations as to the forces which Antiochus possessed with which he had excited many minds in Greece he now employed to feed the king's hopes. He told him that all were praying for him to come; there would be a universal rush to the shore from which they had caught the first glimpse of the royal fleet. He actually ventured to disturb the judgment which the king had now without a shadow of doubt formed of Hannibal and gave it as his opinion that no ships ought to be detached from the king's fleet, or if any were sent Hannibal was the very last person who ought to be in command of them. He was a banished man and a Carthaginian to whom his fortunes or his imagination suggested a thousand fresh prospects every day. Then, again, the military reputation which led to Hannibal's being sought after like a woman with a rich dowry was too great for any who was only officer in the king's service; the king ought to be the central figure, the sole leader the sole commander. If Hannibal were to lose a fleet or an army the loss would be just as great as if they were lost under any other leader, but if any success were gained the glory of it would go to Hannibal and not to Antiochus. Supposing that they were fortunate enough to inflict a decisive defeat on the Romans and win the war, how could they hope that Hannibal would live quietly under a monarch, under one man's rule, after he had been unable to bear the restraints imposed by the laws of his own country? His youthful aspirations and his hopes of winning world-wide dominion had not fitted him to endure a master in his old age. There was no necessity for the king to give Hannibal a command, he might find him employment as a member of his suite and an adviser on matters concerning the war. A moderate demand upon such abilities as his would be neither dangerous nor useless; but if the highest services he could render were called for, they would prove too burdensome both for him who rendered them and him who accepted them. Such were the arguments which Thoas used.
[35.43]No characters are so prone to jealousy as those whose birth and fortune are not on a level with their intelligence, for they hate virtue and goodness in others. The plan of sending Hannibal to Africa, the one useful plan which had been thought out at the beginning of the war, was promptly set aside. Encouraged by the defection of Demetrias, Antiochus determined to postpone no longer his advance into Greece. Before setting sail he went up to Ilium to offer sacrifices to Minerva. He then rejoined his fleet and started on his expedition with 40 decked ships and 60 undecked ones, and these were followed by 200 transports laden with supplies and military stores of every description. He first touched at the island of Imbros and from there crossed the Aegean to Sciathus. After the ships which had lost their course during the voyage had rejoined him, he sailed on to Pteleum, the first point on the mainland. Here he was met by Eurylochus and the Magnetan leaders from Demetrias, and the sight of so many supporters put him in excellent spirits. The following day he entered the harbour of Demetrias and disembarked his force at a spot not far from the city. His total strength consisted of 10,000 infantry, 500 cavalry and six elephants, a force hardly sufficient for the occupation of Greece, even if there were no troops there, to say nothing of maintaining a war against Rome. When the Aetolians received intelligence that Antiochus was at Demetrias they at once convened a council and passed a resolution inviting him to attend. As the king knew that this resolution would be passed he had already left Demetrias and advanced to Phalara on the Maliac Gulf. After being supplied with a copy of the resolution he went on to Lamia, where he received an enthusiastic welcome from the populace, who showed their delight by loud cheers and other manifestations by which the common crowd express their extravagant joy.
[35.44]When he entered the council it was with difficulty that the president, Phaeneas, and the other leaders obtained silence in order that the king might speak. He began by apologising for having come with forces so much smaller than everyone had hoped and expected. This ought to be taken, he said, as the greatest proof of his friendship and devotion towards them, for though he was quite unprepared and the season was unsuitable for a sea-passage he had unhesitatingly complied with the request of their delegates, convinced as he was that when the Aetolians saw him amongst them they would realise that, even had he come alone, it was in him that their safety and protection lay. At the same time, he was going to fulfil to the utmost the hopes of those whose expectations seemed for the moment to be disappointed. As soon as ever the season of the year made navigation safe he should fill the whole of Greece with arms and men and horses and encircle its coasts with his fleets; he would shrink from no toil or danger till he had delivered Greece from the yoke of Roman dominion and made Aetolia her foremost State. Supplies of every description would accompany his armies from Asia; for the time being it must be the care of the Aetolians to furnish his troops with an abundant supply of corn and other provisions at a reasonable price.
[35.45]After this speech, which met with unanimous approval, the king left the council. An animated discussion then arose between the two Aetolian leaders, Phaeneas and Thoas. Phaeneas argued that as their leader in war Antiochus would not be so useful to them as he would be were he to act as peace-maker and as an umpire to whom their differences with Rome might be referred for decision. His presence amongst them and his regal dignity would do more to win the respect of the Romans than his arms. Many men, to avoid the necessity of war, will make concessions which could not be extorted from them by war and armed force. Thoas, on the other hand, asserted that Phaeneas was not really anxious for peace; he only wanted to hinder their preparations for war so that the king, tired of delays, might relax his efforts and the Romans gain time for completing their own preparations. Notwithstanding all the deputations which had been despatched to Rome and all the personal discussions with Quinctius, they had learnt by experience that no equitable terms could be procured from Rome, nor would they have sought help from Antiochus had not all their hopes been dashed to the ground. Now that he had presented himself sooner than anyone expected they must not slacken their purpose, rather must they beg the king, as he had come as the champion of Greece, which was the main thing, to summon all his military and naval forces. A king in arms would gain something, a king without arms would not have the slightest weight with Romans, either as acting on behalf of the Aetolians or even defending his own interests. These arguments carried the day and they decided to appoint the king as their commander-in-chief with absolute powers, and thirty of their leading men were selected to act as an advisory council on any matter on which he might wish to consult them.
[35.46]On the break-up of the council the members dispersed to their respective cities. The next day the king consulted the council as to where operations should commence. It was thought best to begin with Chalcis, where the Aetolians had recently made their futile attempt, and where they considered success would depend on quick action more than on serious preparations or sustained effort. The king accordingly, with a force of 1000 infantry which had come up from Demetrias, marched through Phocis, and the Aetolian leaders, who had called out a few of their fighting men, taking a different route, assembled at Chaeronea and followed him in ten ships of war. Fixing his camp at Salganeus he crossed the Euripus with the Aetolians, and when he was within a short distance from the harbour the magistrates and leading men of Chalcis came forward in front of their gate. A small party from each side met to confer. The Aetolians did their utmost to persuade the Chalcidians to receive the king as an ally and friend without disturbing their friendly relations with Rome. They said that he had sailed across to Europe not to levy war but to liberate Greece, not with empty professions as the Romans had done, but to make her really free. Nothing could be more advantageous for the States of Greece than to enter into friendly relations with both parties, for then they would be secure against ill-treatment from either side through the protection which the other would be pledged to afford. If they refused to receive the king, let them consider what they would at once have to go through, with the Romans too far away to help and Antiochus, whom they were powerless to resist, before their gates as an enemy. Micythio, one of the Achaean leaders, said in reply that he was wondering who the people were that Antiochus had left his kingdom and come across to Europe to liberate. He knew of no city in Greece which held a Roman garrison or paid tribute to Rome or had to submit against its will to conditions imposed by a one-sided treaty. The Chalcidians needed no one to vindicate their liberty, for they were a free State; nor did they require protection, for it was owing to this same Roman people that they were in the enjoyment of peace and liberty. They did not reject the proffered friendship of the king nor even of the Aetolians, but the first proof of friendship would be their departure from the island, for as far as they themselves were concerned it was quite certain that they would not admit them within their walls or even enter into any alliance with them without the authority of the Roman Government.
[35.47]The king had remained on board, and when this was reported to him he decided for the present to return to Demetrias as he had not brought sufficient troops to effect anything by force. As his first attempt had proved a complete failure he consulted the Aetolians as to what the next step should be. They decided to try what could be done with the Boeotians, the Achaeans and the Athamanian king, Amynander. They were under the impression that the Boeotians had been estranged from Rome ever since the death of Brachylles and the results which flowed from it, and they also believed that Philopoemen, the chief magistrate of the Achaeans, was an object of dislike and jealousy on the part of Quinctius owing to the reputation he had gained in the Laconian war. Amynander had married Apama, the daughter of a certain Alexander of Megalopolis, who represented himself as being descended from Alexander the Great and had given his three children the names of Philip, Alexander and Apama. Her marriage with the king had made Apama much talked about and her elder brother Philip had followed her to Athamania. He was a weak and conceited young man, and Antiochus and the Aetolians had persuaded him that if he brought Amynander and the Athamanians over to the side of Antiochus he might hope to succeed to the throne of Macedon, as he really belonged to the royal stock. These empty promises carried weight not only with Philip but even with Amynander.
[35.48]The Aetolian agents who had been sent to Achaia were received in audience at a council held at Aegium. Antiochus' envoy spoke first. Like most men who are fed by royal bounty, he talked in a grandiloquent strain and filled sea and land with the empty sound of his words. According to him, an innumerable mass of cavalry was crossing the Hellespont into Europe; some were clad in coats of mail, they were called "cataphracti"; others were bowmen, and against them nothing was safe, their aim was surest when they were galloping away from the enemy. Although this cavalry force alone could overwhelm the massed armies of Europe, he went on to talk about bodies of infantry many times as numerous and startled his hearers with names they had hardly ever heard of - Dahae, Medes, Elymaeans and Cadusii. The naval forces were such as no harbours in Greece could hold; the right division was formed by the Sidonians and Tyrians; the left by the Aradii and Sidetae from Pamphylia, nations which were unequalled in the whole world as skilful and intrepid seamen. It was unnecessary, he continued, to refer to the money and other provision for war, his hearers themselves knew how the realms of Asia had always overflowed with gold. So the Romans would not have to do with a Philip or a Hannibal, the one only the foremost man in a single city, the other confined to the limits of his Macedonian kingdom, but with the Great King who ruled over the whole of Asia and a part of Europe. And yet, coming as he did from the remotest borders of the East to liberate Greece, he asked for nothing from the Achaeans which could impair their loyalty to Rome, their old friend and ally. He did not ask them to take up arms with him against them, all he wanted was that they should stand aloof from both sides. "Let your one wish and desire," he concluded, "as becomes common friends, be that each may enjoy peace; if there is to be war do not become involved in it." Archidamus, who represented the Aetolians, spoke to the same effect and urged them to maintain a passive attitude as the easiest and safest course, and, whilst watching the war as mere onlookers, wait for its final result upon the fortunes of others without in any way hazarding their own. Then his tongue ran away with him and he broke out into unrestrained abuse of the Romans in general and in particular of Quinctius, reproaching them with ingratitude and asserting that it was through the valour of the Aetolians that they secured not only the victory over Pyrrhus, but even their own safety, for it was the Aetolians who saved Quinctius and his army from destruction. "What duty," he exclaimed, "incumbent on a commander has that man ever discharged? I saw him, while the battle was going on, busy with auspices, offerings and vows like some miserable priest, while I was exposing myself to the enemy's weapons in his defence."
[35.49]Quinctius replied: "Archidamus had in his mind those in whose presence rather than those to whose ears he was addressing his remarks, for you Achaeans know perfectly well that all the warlike spirit of the Aetolians lies in words not in deeds, and shows itself in haranguing councils more than on the battlefield. So they are indifferent to the opinion which the Achaeans have of them, because they are aware that they are thoroughly known to them. It is for the king's representatives, and through them for the king himself, that he has uttered this bombast. If anyone did not know before what it was that led Antiochus to make common cause with the Aetolians, it came out clearly in their delegate's speech. By lying to one another and boasting of forces which neither of them possess they have filled each other with vain hopes. These say that it was through them that Philip was defeated and by their courage that the Romans were protected, and as you heard just now, they talk as though you and all other cities and nations were going to follow their lead. The king, on the other hand, vaunts of his clouds of infantry and cavalry and covers all the seas with his fleets. It is very like something that happened when we were at supper with my host in Chalcis, a worthy man and one who knows how to feed his guests. It was at the height of summer; we were being sumptuously entertained, and were wondering how he managed to get such an abundance and variety of game at that season of the year. The man, not a boaster like these people, smiled and said, 'That variety of what looks like wild game is due to the condiments and dressing, it has all been made out of a home-bred pig.' This might be fitly said of the king's forces which were just now so extolled. All that variety of equipment and the crowd of names no one ever heard of - Dahae, Medes, Cadusians and Elymaeans - are nothing but Syrians, whose servile, cringing temper makes them much more like a breed of slaves than a nation of soldiers. I wish I could bring before your eyes, Achaeans, the flying visits which the 'Great King' paid to the national council of the Aetolians at Lamia and afterwards to Chalcis. You would see what looked like two badly depleted legions in the king's camp; you would see the king almost on his knees begging corn from the Aetolians and trying to raise a loan from which to pay his men, and then standing at the gates of Chalcis, and on finding himself shut out from there returning to Aetolia having gained nothing but a glimpse of Aulis and the Euripus. The king's confidence in the Aetolians is misplaced, so is theirs in his empty professions. You must not, therefore, let yourselves be deceived; trust rather in the good faith of Rome, of which you have had actual experience. As to their saying that the best course for you is to have nothing to do with the war, nothing on the contrary could be further from your interests, for then, winning neither gratitude nor respect, you would fall as a prize to the victor."
[35.50]It was felt that his reply to both parties was to the point, and his speech easily won the approbation of the council. There was no debate and no hesitation in coming to a unanimous decision that the Achaeans would count as their friends or foes those whom the Romans considered such, and would also declare war on Antiochus and the Aetolians. On the instruction of Quirinus they at once despatched a contingent of 500 men to Chalcis and an equal number to the Piraeus. At Athens matters were fast approaching a state of civil war through the action of certain individuals who by holding out the prospect of bribes were drawing the mob, who can always be bought by gold, over to Antiochus. The supporters of Rome sent to Quirinus asking him to go to Athens, and Apollodorus, the ringleader of the movement, was tried at the instance of a man called Leontes, found guilty and sent into banishment. The delegates returned to the king with an unfavourable reply from the Achaeans; the Boeotians gave no definite answer. They simply promised that when Antiochus appeared in Boeotia they would deliberate as to what action they should take. When Antiochus heard that the Aetolians and Eumenes had each sent reinforcements to Chalcis he saw that he must act promptly and be the first to enter the place and if possible intercept the enemy on their advance. He sent Menippus with about 3000 men and Polyxenidas with the whole of the fleet, and a few days later marched thither in person with 6000 of his own men and a smaller body of Aetolians, taken from such force as could be hastily concentrated at Lamia. The 500 Achaeans and the small contingent supplied by Eumenes under Xenoclides of Chalcis crossed the Euripus, as the route was still open, and reached Chalcis. The Roman troops, who were about 500 strong, came after Menippus had encamped before Sanganeus at the Hermaeum, the point of departure from Boeotia to the island of Euboea. They were accompanied by Micythio, who had been sent from Chalcis to Quirinus to ask for this very contingent. When, however, he found that the passes were blocked, he abandoned the one leading to Aulis and took the one to Delium, intending to sail across from there.
[35.51]Delium is a temple of Apollo overlooking the sea, five miles distant from Tanagra and four miles from the nearest point of Euboea by sea. Here in the fane and in the grove, sacred and therefore inviolable, with its rights of sanctuary which it possessed in common with those temples which the Greeks call "asyla," the soldiers were walking about perfectly at their ease, not having yet heard that a state of war existed or that swords had been drawn and blood shed. Some were exploring the temple and the grove, others strolling along the beach without any weapons, while a large number had gone off to procure wood and fodder. Whilst thus dispersed they were suddenly attacked by Menippus. Many were killed, as many as fifty were made prisoners; very few made their escape. Amongst these was Micythio, who was taken on board a small transport. The losses incurred greatly disquieted Quinctius and the Romans, but at the same time it was regarded as an additional justification for the war. Antiochus had moved his army up to Aulis and from there he despatched a second mission to Chalcis, consisting of some of his own people and some Aetolians. They employed the same arguments as before, but in much more threatening tone, and in spite of the efforts of Micythio and Xenoclides he had little difficulty in inducing the townsmen to open the gates to him. The adherents of Rome left the city just before the king's entry. The Achaean troops and those of Eumenes were holding Salganeus, and a small body of Romans were fortifying a post on the Euripus to defend the position. Menippus commenced the attack on Salganeus and Antiochus prepared to capture the fortified post. The Achaeans and the soldiers of Eumenes were the first to abandon the defence on condition of being allowed to depart in safety. The Romans offered a much stouter resistance, but when they found that they were blockaded by land and sea and that siege artillery was being brought up they were unable to hold out any longer. As the king was now in possession of the capital of Euboea, the other cities on the island did not dispute his dominion. He flattered himself that he had made a most successful commencement of the war, considering how large an island and how many serviceable cities had fallen into his hands.
End of Book 35
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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