Book 42: The Third Macedonian War
[42.1]The first business of the new consuls was to consult the senate about their provinces and armies. It was decreed that they should both have Liguria for their province and they were each to raise two fresh legions for service in that province and also 10,000 infantry and 600 cavalry from the Latin allies. They were also required to call up 3000 Roman infantry and 200 cavalry to reinforce the army in Spain. A further force of 1500 infantry and 100 cavalry was to be raised for the operations in Corsica. M. Atilius was to remain in charge of Sardinia till his successor arrived. Then the praetors balloted for their provinces. A. Atilius Serranus received the civic and C. Cluvius Saxula the alien jurisdiction; Hither Spain fell to N. Fabius Buteo; Further Spain to C. Matienus; Sicily to M. Furius Crassipes; Sardinia to C. Cicereius. Before the magistrates left for their provinces the senate decided that L. Postumius should go into Campania to fix the boundaries between the State land and the land in private occupation. It was a matter of common knowledge that persons had appropriated a large part of the State domain by gradually advancing their boundaries. Postumius was angry with the Praenestines because when he had gone there in a private capacity to offer a sacrifice in the temple of Fortune, he had not received any marks of honour, either publicly or privately. So before he left Rome he sent a despatch to Praeneste ordering the chief magistrate to go out and meet him, to have a place prepared by the municipality where he could stay, and to see that pack animals were ready to carry his luggage when he left. No one before this consul had ever been a burden or expense to the allies. The magistrates were provided with mules and tents and all other requisites simply that they might not requisition anything of the kind from the allies; they enjoyed the hospitality of private citizens whom they treated with courtesy and consideration; and their own houses in Rome were open to those with whom they were accustomed to stay. When officials were despatched to some place on a sudden emergency they only demanded one mule apiece from the towns through which their journey lay. No other expense was incurred by the allies in the case of Roman magistrates. The vindictiveness of the consul, even if justifiable, ought not in any case to have appeared while he was in office. The Praenestines unfortunately, whether through modesty or timidity, allowed the matter to pass without protest, and this silence furnished the magistrates with a legal colouring, as though following an unquestioned precedent, to demands which became continuously more burdensome.
[42.2]At the beginning of the year, the commissioners who had visited Aetolia and Macedonia brought back word that no opportunity had been afforded them of meeting Perseus. Some made out that he was ill; others that he was away from home; both stories being equally false. It was, however, quite clear that warlike preparations were on foot, and that it would not be long before Perseus resorted to arms. In Aetolia intestine quarrels were increasing in violence day by day, and the leaders of the opposing factions refused to be kept in check by their authority. As it was fully expected that there would be war with Macedonia, it was decided that portents should be expiated and prayers offered to win "the peace of the Gods," of those deities, namely, who were mentioned in the Books of Fate. At Lanuvium the sight of a great fleet had been witnessed in the heavens; at Privernum the earth had brought forth dark-coloured wool; at Remens in the Veientine district there had been a shower of stones; the whole of the Pomptine country had been covered with clouds of locusts; in a field in Gaul where the plough was at work, fishes emerged from the turned-up clods. In consequence of these portents the Books of Fate were consulted, and the Keepers announced to what deities and with what victims sacrifices were to be offered; they further ordered special intercessions for the expiation of the portents, and also others in fulfilment of the vow taken by the people the previous year on the occasion of the pestilence. All was done as the Sacred Books ordered.
[42.3]It was in this year that the temple of Juno Lacinia was unroofed. Q. Fulvius Flaccus, the censor, was building the temple of Fortuna Equestris and was quite determined that there should be no larger or more magnificent temple in Rome. He had vowed this temple during the Celtiberian war, whilst acting as praetor in Spain. The beauty of the temple would be enhanced, he thought, if it were roofed with marble tiles, and with this object he went down to Bruttium and stripped off half the roof from the temple of Juno Lacinia, as he considered this would furnish sufficient tiles to cover his temple. Ships were in readiness to transport them, and the natives were deterred by the authority of the censor from any attempt to prevent the sacrilege. On the censor's return the tiles were unloaded and carried to the new temple. Although no hint was dropped as to where they came from, concealment was impossible. Protests were heard in the House, and there was a general demand that the consuls should bring the matter before the senate. The censor was summoned, and his appearance called forth still more bitter reproaches from all sides. Not content, he was told, with violating the noblest temple in that part of the world, a temple which neither Pyrrhus nor Hannibal had violated, he did not rest till he had cruelly defaced it and almost destroyed it. With its pediment gone and its roof stripped off, it lay open to moulder and decay in the rain. The censor is appointed to regulate the public morals; the man who had, following ancient usage, been charged to see that the buildings for public worship are properly closed in and that they are kept in repair - this very man is roaming about amongst the cities of our allies ruining their temples and stripping off the roofs of their sacred edifices. Even in the case of private buildings such conduct would be thought disgraceful, but he is demolishing the temples of the immortal gods. By building and beautifying one temple out of the ruins of another he is involving the people of Rome in the guilt of impiety, as though the immortal gods are not the same everywhere, but some must be honoured and adorned with the spoils of others. It was quite clear what the feeling of the House was even before the question was put, and when it was put they were unanimous in deciding that those tiles should be carried back to the temple and that expiatory sacrifices should be offered to Juno. The religious duty was carefully discharged, but the contractors reported that as there was no one who understood how to replace the tiles they had been left in the precinct of the temple.
[42.4]One of the praetors, N. Fabius, whilst on his way to take charge of the province of Hither Spain, died at Marseilles. On receiving the information of his death, the senate decreed that P. Furius and Cn. Servilius, whose successors had been already appointed, should decide by ballot which of them should have his command extended and administer Hither Spain. It fell to P. Furius, fortunately, who had been in the province, to retain it. There was a quantity of land taken in the wars with the Ligurians and the Gauls which was lying unappropriated, and the senate passed a resolution that it should be distributed amongst individual holders. In pursuance of this resolution the City praetor appointed ten commissioners to supervise the allotment, M. Aemilius Lepidus, C. Cassius, T. Aebutus Carus, C. Tremellius, P. Cornelius Cethegus, Quintus and Lucius Apuleius, M. Caecilius, C. Salonius, and C. Menatius. Each Roman citizen received ten jugera, each of the Latin allies, three. During this time a delegation from Aetolia went to Rome with an account of their party factions and fights; others from Thessaly to report on the state of things in Macedonia.
[42.5]Perseus was revolving in his mind the war which he had been meditating in his father's life-time, and by promises more than by performance was trying through his agents to enlist the sympathies not only of the Greek States as a whole, but of the separate cities also. There was, however, a large party in his favour and much more inclined to support him than Eumenes, though Eumenes had by his munificent liberality laid all the cities of Greece and most of their leaders under personal obligations to him. His kingly rule, too, had been such that not one of the cities which owned his sway would have changed their condition with that of any autonomous community. On the other hand, there were rumours that Perseus had killed his wife with his own hand, and had put Apelles to death. Apelles had been his instrument in getting rid of his brother and had fled the country to escape the punishment which Philip sought to inflict on him. After his father's death Perseus had by lavish promises of rewards for his share in the murder enticed him back and then had him assassinated. Although he was notorious for many other murders, both of his own subjects and of foreigners, and although he did not possess a single commendable quality, the cities generally preferred him to a king who had shown such affection towards his kindred, such justice towards his subjects and such bountiful generosity towards all men. Either they were so impressed with the prestige and greatness of Macedonia as to look with contempt on a newly-founded kingdom, or they were eager for a revolutionary change, or else they did not wish to be at the mercy of Rome.
It was not in Aetolia only that disturbances had arisen through the heavy pressure of debt; the Thessalians were in the same condition, and the mischief had spread like an epidemic to Perrhaebia also. When news came that the Thessalians were in arms, the senate at once sent Ap. Claudius to examine the situation and allay the excitement. He severely censured the leaders on both sides. The debt was swollen by illegal interest, and he reduced the amount with the consent of those who had made it so heavy, and then arranged that the amount legally owing should be paid off by equal instalments in ten years. Affairs in Perrhaebia were settled in the same way. Marcellus attended the session of the Aetolian council at Delphi and heard the arguments of both sides, who carried on the dispute in the same temper they had shown in the civil war. He saw that it was a competition in recklessness and audacity, and not wishing to lighten or to aggravate the grievances of either side, he made the same demand on both and asked them to abstain from war and bury their old quarrels in oblivion. This reconciliation was mutually guaranteed by the exchange of hostages, and Corinth was agreed upon as the place where the hostages were to reside.
[42.6]Leaving Delphi and the Aetolian council Marcellus proceeded to the Peloponnese, where he had called a meeting of the Achaean council. Here he commended them for having firmly retained the old decree forbidding the Macedonian kings any approach to their territories, and he made it quite clear that the Romans regarded Perseus as an enemy. To precipitate hostilities Eumenes went to Rome, taking with him the notes he had made during his enquiry into the warlike preparations going on. Five commissioners were at the same time sent to the king to see for themselves the state of things in Macedonia, and were instructed to visit Alexandria as well and renew the friendly relations between Ptolemy and Rome. The members of the mission were C. Valerius, Cn. Lutatius Cerco, Q. Baebius Sulca, M. Cornelius Mammula, and M. Caecilius Denter. Envoys from Antiochus arrived about the same date. Their leader, Apollonius, when introduced to the senate, alleged many valid reasons why the king was paying his tribute after the appointed day. He had, however, brought the whole amount, so that no favour need be shown to the king beyond excusing the delay. He had, in addition, brought a present of golden vases weighing 500 pounds. The king asked that the friendship and alliance which had been formed with his father might be renewed with him, and that the people of Rome would look to him for all that a friendly monarch could supply; he would never be lacking in any service he could render them. During his stay in Rome, he reminded the House, it was due to the kindness of the senate and the friendliness of the younger men that he was treated as a prince more than as a hostage. The deputation received a gracious reply and the City praetor, A. Atilius, was ordered to renew the alliance with Antiochus which had existed with his father. The tribute was given into the charge of the City quaestors, and the golden vases were handed to the censors with instructions to deposit them in whatever temples they thought fit. The leader of the deputation received a present of 100,000 ases, and free quarters and hospitality were decreed to him as long as he remained in Italy. The commissioners who had been in Syria had reported that he held the highest place of honour with the king and was a devoted friend to Rome.
[42.7]The principal incidents in the provinces this year were the following: C. Cicereius fought a regular engagement in Corsica; 7000 of the enemy were killed and over 1700 made prisoners. During the battle the praetor vowed a temple to Juno Moneta. After this the Corsicans begged for peace, which was granted to them on condition of their paying a tribute of 200,000 pounds of wax. After the subjugation of Corsica, Cicereius sailed across to Sardinia. There was a battle also in Liguria at the town of Carystum in the Statellate country. A large force of Ligurians had concentrated there. After the consul M. Popilius reached the place they at first kept within their walls, but when they saw the Romans preparing to attack, they formed their line of battle in front of their gates. This had been the consul's object in threatening an attack and he lost no time, therefore, in commencing the action. They fought for more than three hours without any certain prospect of victory on either side. When the consul found that in no part of the field were the Ligurians giving way, he ordered the cavalry to mount and deliver as fierce a charge as possible on the front and flanks of the enemy's line. A good many broke through the enemy's centre and got behind the fighting line. This created a panic amongst the Ligurians; they broke and fled in all directions, very few reached the town, the cavalry mostly intercepting them. The obstinacy of the fighting proved costly to the Ligurians; 10,000 men are said to have been killed and more than 700 prisoners taken; 82 standards were carried off the field. The victory was not a bloodless one for the Romans: they lost more than 3000 men; the loss fell mainly on the front ranks owing to both sides refusing to give ground.
[42.8]After the battle the Ligurians rallied from their scattered flight and collected together. When they became aware that the number of those lost was greater than that of the survivors - there were not more than 10,000 men - they made their surrender and made it unconditionally in the hope that the consul would not treat them with greater severity than former generals had done. However, he deprived them all of their arms, sacked their town and sold them and their property. He forwarded a report of what he had done to the senate. As the other consul, Postumius, was occupied with the survey of the fields in Campania, the despatch was read in the House by A. Atilius. The senators regarded it as an act of gross cruelty that the Statellati, who alone of all the Ligurians had refused to take up arms against Rome, should actually have been attacked without any provocation, and after trusting themselves to the good faith of the Roman people have been tortured to death with every form of cruelty. That so many thousands of freeborn persons, guiltless of any crime, should have been sold into slavery, in spite of their appeals to the honour of Rome, is a terrible example and warning against any one henceforth making a surrender, and sharing the fate of those who have been dragged off to various places to be the slaves of men who were formerly the enemies of Rome and are hardly even now at peace with her. Moved by these considerations the senate determined that M. Popilius should restore the Ligurians to liberty and return the purchase-money, and see that as much of their property as could be recovered should be given back to them; their arms also were to be restored. All this was to be done as soon as possible; the consul was not to leave his province till he had replaced the surrendered Ligurians in their homes. He was reminded that the glory of victory was won by overcoming the enemy in fair fight, not by cruelty to those who cannot defend themselves.
[42.9]The same ungovernable temper which the consul had displayed towards the Ligurians he now showed in refusing to obey the senate. He at once sent the legions into winter quarters at Pisae and returned to Rome angry with the senate and furious with the praetors. Immediately on his arrival he convened the senate in the temple of Bellona, where he delivered a long an bitter harangue against the praetor. He ought, he said, to have asked the senate to decree honours to the immortal gods for the successes he had won, instead of which he had induced the senate to pass a resolution in favour of the enemy by which he transferred his (the speaker's) victory to the Ligurians and practically ordered the consul to surrender to them. He therefore imposed a fine on him and asked the senators to make an order rescinding the resolution against him and also to do, now that he was in Rome, what they ought to have done when he was away, immediately they received his despatch, namely, to decree a solemn thanksgiving, first as honouring the gods and then as showing at least some regard for him. Some of the senators attacked him to his face quite as severely as they had done in his absence, and he returned to his province without either of his demands being conceded. The other consul, Postumius, spent the summer in surveying the fields and returned to Rome for the elections without even having seen his province. The new consuls were C. Popilius Laenas and P. Aelius Ligus. The new praetors were C. Licinius Crassus, M. Junius Pennus, Sp. Lucretius, Sp. Cluvius, Cn. Sicinius, and C. Memmius for the second time.
[42.10]This year the lustrum was closed. The censors were Q. Fulvius Flaccus and A. Postumius Albinus; Postumius closed the lustrum. The number of Roman citizens as shown by the census was 269,015, a somewhat smaller number than the previous one. This was owing to the fact that, as the consul explained to the Assembly, all those who had to return to their own cities in compliance with the consul's edict were registered in their own places of residence, none of them in Rome. The censors had discharged their functions in perfect harmony and in the best interests of the commonwealth. All those whom they struck off the senatorial roll, or degraded from the order of the equites, they placed amongst the aerarii and expelled from the tribes, and neither of them retained any name which the other censor had rejected. Fulvius dedicated the temple of Fortuna Equestris, which he had vowed six years previously when fighting with the Celtiberi. He also exhibited the Scenic Games for four days and those in the Circus Maximus for one day. L. Cornelius Lentulus, one of the Keepers of the Sacred Books, died this year, and A. Postumius Albinus was appointed in his place. Such clouds of locusts invaded Apulia from the sea that they covered the fields far and wide with their swarms. To get rid of this destruction to the crops Cn. Sicinius was sent with full powers into Apulia and spent a considerable time in getting together an enormous number of men to collect them.
The following year in which C. Popilius and P. Aelius were the consuls began with the dispute left over from the year before. The senators wanted to discuss the question of the Ligurians and to reaffirm their resolution. The consul Aelius brought the matter up for discussion; Popilius, on his brother's behalf, tried to dissuade both his colleague and the senate from taking any further action and publicly gave out that if they made any decree he should oppose it. He deterred his colleague from going any further; the senate were all the more incensed against both consuls and insisted on carrying the matter through. So when the allocation of provinces came up and the consuls were anxious to have Macedonia, as a war with Perseus was now imminent, the senate decreed Liguria as the province for both consuls. They refused to decree Macedonia unless the case of M. Popilius was gone into. The consuls then demanded to be allowed to raise fresh armies or else reinforcements for the old armies. Both requests were refused. Two of the praetors asked for reinforcements: M. Junius for Hither Spain and Sp. Lucretius for Further Spain. Their request was also refused. C. Licinius Crassus had received the civic and Cn. Sicinius the alien jurisdiction; C. Memmius had Sicily allotted to him, and Sp. Cluvius Sardinia. The consuls were angry with the senate for the course they had taken, and after fixing the Latin Festival at the earliest possible date, gave notice that they should leave for their province and would transact no public business beyond what was connected with the administration of the provinces.
[42.11]Valerius Antias writes that Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, went to Rome at this time to lay charges against Perseus and to describe his preparations for war. The majority of annalists, and certainly those whom you would prefer to believe, state that Eumenes came in person. When he arrived in Rome he was received with all the honours which the people of Rome considered due to his own merits and quite as much so to the kindnesses which they had heaped upon him in such profusion. After being introduced to the senate he said that he was visiting Rome for two reasons. One was his great desire to make acquaintance with the gods and men to whose beneficence he owed his present prosperity, which was such that he did not venture even to wish for anything beyond it. The other reason was that he might warn the senate of the necessity of thwarting the projects of Perseus. Beginning with a review of Philip's policy he narrated the circumstances of the death of Demetrius, who was opposed to war with Rome. "The Bastarnae," he continued, "were induced to leave their homes that he might have their assistance in the invasion of Italy. Whilst revolving these schemes in his mind he was surprised by death and left the crown to one whom he knew to be Rome's greatest enemy. The war had thus been left as a heritage to Perseus by his father, bequeathed to him together with the crown, and from the first day of his rule all his plans were laid to feed and foster it. He has abundant resources; the long years of peace have produced a numerous progeny of men of military age; moreover he is in the prime of life, in the full strength of manhood, and with a mind strengthened and disciplined in the science and practice of war. From his boyhood he has shared his father's tent and has thus gained experience not only in border wars, but even in the wars with Rome in the various expeditions on which he has been sent. From the day he ascended the throne he has been marvellously successful in accomplishing many things which his father, after trying every means, was unable to effect either by force or craft; and his power is enhanced by a personal authority such as is only gained by great and numerous merits in a long course of time.
[42.12]"For throughout the cities of Greece and Asia all stand in awe of his greatness. I do not see for what merits or munificence such a tribute is paid him, nor can I say for certain whether this is due to the good fortune which attends him or whether, though I shrink from saying it, it is ill-feeling towards Rome that places him so high in their favour. Even with monarchs he possesses great influence; he married the daughter of Seleucus, and did not ask for her hand; on the contrary, he was invited to make the match; he gave his sister to Prusias in response to his earnest solicitations. At the celebration of both these marriages congratulations and wedding presents were offered by deputations from numberless States, and the proudest nations joined in the processions to bring good luck to the brides. The Boeotians, in spite of all Philip's persuasions, could never be brought to make a formal league of friendship and commit it to writing; today the terms of a league with Perseus are recorded in three inscriptions: one at Thebes, another in the venerable world-famed shrine in Delos, and the third at Delphi. And, as a matter of fact, unless a small section of the Achaean council had threatened the rest with the power of Rome, matters would have gone so far that the way into Achaia would have been open to him. After all the services I have rendered to that nation - and it is difficult to say whether those to the nation or those to individuals were the greater - the statues set up in my honour have either fallen into decay through neglect, or else have been done away with through hostile malice. Who does not know that in their party conflicts the Aetolians appeal for help not to the Romans, but to Perseus? Though he had these friendships and alliances to lean upon, he has made such ample preparations for war at home that he has no need of outside help. He has stored corn for 30,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry which will last for ten years, so that he can leave the harvests of his own and of the enemy's fields untouched. He is now in possession of so much money that he has a reserve sufficient to pay 10,000 mercenary troops, in addition to his Macedonian force, for the same period. This is irrespective of the revenue from the royal mines. In the arsenals, arms have been accumulated for three armies each as large. Thrace is open to him as a never-failing source from which he can draw fighting men, supposing that the supply from Macedonia should fail."
[42.13]He closed with an earnest appeal. "I am not, senators, laying these facts before you as bruited in vague rumours, or because I wished such charges against an enemy to be true, and therefore was the more eager to credit them; I am stating the results of my investigations and disclosures just as though you had sent me on a mission of enquiry and I were reporting what I had actually seen. I would not have left my kingdom, to which you have given such extension and prestige, and undertaken so long a voyage merely to destroy all faith in me by telling you idle tales. I saw the greatest cities in Greece and Asia unveiling their designs day by day, and soon, were they allowed, they will have gone so far that there will be no room left for repentance. I have watched Perseus, not confining himself within his own borders, taking armed possession of some places, and where others could not be seized by force, winning them by a show of favour and goodwill. I observed how unequal the conditions were; he preparing for war against you and you making peace secure for him, though it seemed to me as if he were not so much preparing for war as actually commencing it. Abrupolis, your friend and ally, he has expelled from his kingdom. Arthetaurus, the Illyrian, also your friend and ally, he caused to be put to death because he discovered that he had written to you. Euersas and Callicritus, leading men in Thebes, he managed to get put out of the way because they spoke too frankly against him in the council of Boeotia and declared that they should inform you about what was going on. He sent help to the Byzantines in violation of the treaty; he levied war on Dolopia; he marched his army through Thessaly and Doris in order that, should civil war break out, he might smash the more respectable party by the means of the more disreputable one. He brought about universal confusion in Thessaly and Perrhaebia by holding out the prospect of a cancellation of all debts, so that he might crush the aristocracy by a body of debtors bound by their obligations to him. As you have remained quiet and allowed him to do all this, and as he sees that, as far as you are concerned, Greece has been handed over to him, he takes it for granted that he will meet with no armed opposition before he has landed in Italy. How far this is an honourable or safe policy for you to pursue, it is for you to consider. I, at all events, felt that it would be disgraceful on my part if Perseus came and carried war into Italy before I, your ally, had warned you to be on your guard. I have discharged the duty incumbent upon me and have relieved myself of what was a burden on my loyalty. What can I do more, except to pray heaven that you may consult the true interest of your commonwealth and of us, your allies and friends, who depend on you?"
[42.14]This speech made a great impression on the House, but for the time no one outside could learn anything beyond the fact of the king's presence in the House, in such silence were the proceedings veiled. Only when the war was over did what the king said and what the senate replied leak out. A few days later the envoys of King Perseus were admitted to an audience. But the minds, no less than the ears, of the senators had been captured by Eumenes, and all that the Macedonian envoys alleged in justification or apology found no hearing. The effrontery of Harpalus, the leader of the embassy, created still more exasperation. He said that the king was anxious that when he declared that he had neither said nor done anything of a hostile character, his statement should be believed. If, however, he saw that they were obstinately bent upon finding some excuse for war, he should depend upon himself with resolution and courage; the chances of war were the same for both sides and the issue was uncertain.
All the cities of Greece and Asia were much concerned about the reception which Eumenes and the envoys of Perseus had met with in the senate. Most of them on learning of the arrival in Rome of the man who, in their opinion, would influence the Romans in the direction of war, sent deputations, ostensibly to discuss other questions. One of these was from Rhodes, and its leader had no doubt whatever that Eumenes had included his city in the indictment against Perseus. Consequently he made every effort through his friends and patrons to get an opportunity of meeting the king in argument before the senate. As he did not succeed he denounced the king in unmeasured invective, declaring that he had stirred up the Lycians against the Rhodians and was much more oppressive to Asia than Antiochus had ever been. This language pleased the populace whose sympathies were with Perseus, but it was resented by the senate and did no good either to himself or his fellow-countrymen The hostility shown towards Eumenes by the different States made the Romans all the more determined to show him favour; all honours were heaped upon him and most valuable gifts presented to him, including a curule chair and an ivory sceptre.
[42.15]After the deputations were dismissed, Harpalus returned to Macedonia as speedily as possible and informed the king that he had left the Romans not indeed actually preparing for war, but so embittered against him that any one might see they would not long delay. Perseus himself believed that events would take this turn and now he even wished that they would, as he believed himself to be at the height of his power. Eumenes was the man he hated most of all, and he determined to begin the war by shedding his blood. He suborned Euander of Crete, a leader of mercenaries, and three Macedonians who were accustomed to lend their services for crimes of this nature, and gave them a letter for Praxo, a friend of his, the wealthiest and most influential woman in Delphi. It was generally understood that Eumenes would go up to Delphi to sacrifice to Apollo. The only thing the assassins needed for executing their project was a suitable spot, and they and Euander traversed the neighbourhood to find one.
On the ascent to the temple from Cirrha, before reaching the part covered with buildings, the path, which is so narrow that passengers can only go in single file, has a wall running close to it on the left hand, and on the right a landslip has left an abrupt descent of some depth. Behind this wall the conspirators concealed themselves and built steps up against it, so that they might hurl missiles on the king as he passed under it. As he came up from the sea he was surrounded by a crowd of friends and by his bodyguard, but as the road became narrower, fewer could walk side by side. When they reached the place where they had to go in single file, Pantaleon, one of the Aetolian leaders, was in front, and the king was engaged in conversation with him. At this moment the assassins appeared above the wall and rolled down two huge stones, one of which hit the king on the head and the other fell on his shoulder. Stunned by the blow he fell down the steep descent, after many stones had been flung upon him as he lay. All the friends and guards fled except Pantaleon, who fearlessly remained to protect the king.
[42.16]The assassins could easily have run round the wall to finish off the wounded king, but instead of this they fled up to the ridge of Parnassus as though they had completed their task, and in such haste that one of them, not being able to keep up with them, retarded their flight, and to prevent his being caught and turning informer against them, they killed their comrade. The king's friends ran to where his body lay, followed by the guards and slaves. They lifted him, still stunned by the blow and unconscious, but they found from the warmth of the body and the breath still remaining in the lungs, that he was still alive, but they had little or no hope of his recovery. Some of the guards followed in the track of the assassins and climbed as far as the top of Parnassus, but their labour was in vain and they returned from their fruitless search. The Macedonians had set about the crime with as much deliberation as daring; they abandoned it with as much haste as cowardice. The next day the king had recovered consciousness and was carried down to the ship. They first made for Corinth, then the ships were drawn across the neck of the Isthmus and the voyage was continued to Aegina. Here so much secrecy was observed regarding his progress towards recovery, none being admitted to his room, that a report of his death travelled through Asia. Even Attalus believed it, somewhat more readily indeed than was consistent with harmony between the brothers, for he talked to his brother's wife and to the commandant of the citadel as if he were the undoubted heir to the crown. Eumenes did not forget this, and though he had determined to dissemble his resentment and preserve silence, he could not restrain himself the first time they met from reproaching him for his premature haste in wooing his wife. The rumour of his death even reached Rome.
[42.17]Just after this incident C. Valerius, who had been sent to Greece to examine the state of the country and discover the designs of Perseus, returned with a report which agreed in all points with the charges brought by Eumenes. He had brought back with him from Delphi the woman Praxo, whose house had been the meeting-place of the assassins, and also L. Rammius, a native of Brundisium, who laid the following information before the senate. Rammius was the chief person in Brundisium, and he used to entertain the Roman generals and distinguished ambassadors from foreign nations, especially those who represented monarchy. Through this he became known to Perseus, though he was in a different part of the world, and when he received a letter holding out the prospect of more intimate friendship, and consequently of high fortune, he paid a visit to the king. In a short time he found himself on very familiar terms with him, and drawn more often than he could have wished into confidential talks. The king pressed a proposal upon him and promised him a huge bribe if he would consent to it. As all the Roman generals and ambassadors usually accepted his hospitality, Perseus suggested that he should arrange for poison to be administered to those whose names he should give him. He knew that the preparation of poison was extremely difficult and dangerous, as so many must know of its preparation and, besides that, there is uncertainty as to its working, whether it will be strong enough to accomplish its task or safe as against any discovery. He would therefore give him a poison which could not be detected by any indication, either whilst being given or afterwards. Rammius was afraid that, if he refused, he might be the first on whom the poison would be tried, so he promised to do what the king asked, and started for home. He did not, however, want to return to Brundisium before he saw C. Valerius, who was reported to be in the neighbourhood of Chalcis. He laid the facts before him, and acting on his instructions came with him to Rome. Introduced into the senate he narrated what had taken place.
[42.18]This information added to that which Eumenes had given hastened their decision to declare Perseus a public enemy; they recognised that he was not meditating an honourable war in the spirit of a king, but was winding his way through every criminal method of assassination and poisoning. The conduct of the war was left to the new consuls. For the present, however, it was decided that Cn. Sicinius should raise a force, which was to be taken to Brundisium and sail across as soon as possible to Apollonia and Epirus and occupy the cities on the coast, where the consul to whom Macedonia should be allotted could find safe anchorage and disembark his men without trouble. Eumenes had been detained a considerable time at Aegina, as the dangerous nature of his wounds made his recovery slow and difficult. As soon as it was safe for him to move, he went on to Pergamum and began to make energetic preparations for war. This fresh crime of Perseus intensified his old enmity towards him and proved a powerful incentive. Delegates from Rome went to congratulate him on his escape from such great peril to his life. The Macedonian war was put off for the year, and nearly all the praetors left for their provinces, with the exception of M. Junius and S. Lucretius. They had received Spain as their province, and after repeated requests they at length prevailed on the senate to allow their army to be reinforced. They were, empowered to raise 3000 infantry and 150 cavalry for the Roman legions, and for the allied contingent 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry. This force was transported to Spain with the new praetors.
[42.19]During this year a large part of the Campanian district, which had been in many places appropriated by private individuals, was by the survey of the consul Postumius recovered for the State, and M. Lucretius, one of the tribunes of the plebs, gave notice of a proposal that the censors should let out the Campanian land for cultivation, a thing that had not been done through all the years since the fall of Capua, and as a consequence, the greed of private citizens took its course in the unoccupied land. War had now been determined upon, though not yet declared; the senate were waiting to see which of the monarchs would befriend Perseus and who would support them. Just at this time a mission from Ariarathes arrived, bringing with them the king's young son. They explained that the king had sent his son to be brought up in Rome, so that he might from his boyhood become familiar with Roman manners and Roman men. He asked that they would allow him to be not only under the charge of personal friends but also under the care and guardianship, so to speak, of the State. The senate were highly pleased with the proposal, and made a decree that Cn. Sicinius should hire a furnished house where the king's son and his suite could live. Envoys also from Thrace, with the Maedi and Astii, came to ask for alliance and friendship. Their request was granted and each received a present of 2000 ases. The Romans were especially glad that these peoples had been received into alliance, because Thrace lay at the back of Macedonia. But that the whole situation in Asia and the islands might be thoroughly investigated, Tiberius Claudius Nero and M. Decimius were sent with instructions to visit Crete and Rhodes, to renew friendly relations, and at the same time to find out whether the allies of Rome had been tampered with by Perseus.
[42.20]Whilst the citizens were in a state of tense expectancy of a fresh war, the column erected on the Capitol during the Punic war by the colleague of Ser. Fulvius was shattered from top to bottom by a stroke of lightning. This accident was regarded as a portent and reported to the senate. The Keepers of the Sacred Books announced that the City must undergo a lustration; that intercessions and special prayers must be offered; and that animals of the larger size must be sacrificed both at Rome in the Capitol and in Campania at the Promontory of Minerva. Games were also, as soon as possible, to be celebrated for ten days in honour of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. The reply of the augurs was to the effect that the portent would prove to be favourable, for it portended the widening of frontiers and the destruction of enemies; those ships' beaks which the storm had thrown down had been taken as spoils from the enemy. Other incidents increased the religious terrors. It was reported that showers of blood had been falling for three days at Saturnia; an ass was foaled with three legs, and a bull with five cows had been destroyed by a single flash of lightning at Calatia; at Auximium there had been a shower of earth. In expiation of these portents, sacrifices were offered and special intercessions for one day, which was observed as a solemn holiday.
[42.21]Up to this time the consuls had not left for their province. They did not comply with the desire of the senate to bring up the question of Popilius, and the senators were determined not to make any decrees till this was settled. The feeling against Popilius was intensified by a despatch received from him in which he stated that he had fought another battle with the Statellati and had killed 6000 of them. This iniquitous proceeding of his drove the rest of the Ligurians to arms. Now, however, it was not only the absent Popilius who was attacked in the senate for having, in defiance of all law, human and divine, commenced an aggressive war upon a people who had made their submission; the consuls also were severely censured for not having gone to their province. This attitude of the senate determined two of the tribunes of the plebs - M. Marcius Sermo and Q. Marcius Scylla - to warn the consuls that if they did not go to their province they should impose a fine on them. They also read to the senate the terms of a proposal which they intended to bring forward regarding the treatment of the Ligurians after they had made their submission. It was to the effect that where any of the Statellati who had made their surrender had not been restored to liberty by August 1, the senate should on oath empower a magistrate to seek out and punish the persons through whose criminal act they had passed into slavery. This order, thus sanctioned by the senate, was announced to the Assembly. Before the consuls left the City the senate gave an audience to C. Cicereius in the temple of Bellona. He gave an account. of what he had done in Corsica, but his request for a triumph was refused, and he celebrated his triumph on the Alban Mount, without the sanction of the senate, a thing which had become quite customary. Marcius's proposal about the Ligurians received the hearty assent of the plebs, and was carried. Acting on this plebiscite, C. Licinius consulted the senate as to whom they would choose to conduct the enquiry, and the senators ordered him to conduct it himself.
[42.22]Now at last the consuls went to their province and took over the army from M. Popilius. He did not venture to return to Rome, where the senate were hostile, and the people still more so, for fear of having to stand his trial before the praetor who had submitted to the senate the resolution against him. His refusal to appear was met by the tribunes of the plebs with the menace of a second resolution to be submitted to the effect that if he had not entered the City of Rome by November 13, Licinius should judge and determine his case in his absence. Dragged home by this chain he found himself the object of universal odium in the senate. After many of the senators had lashed him with bitter invectives, the House passed a resolution that the praetors C. Licinius and Cn. Sicinius should make it their business to restore to liberty all Ligurians who had not been in arms against Rome since the consulship of Q. Fulvius and L. Manlius, and that the consul C. Popilius should make them a grant of land on the other side of the Po. By this resolution many thousands recovered their freedom and they were transported across the Po where land was assigned to them. M. Popilius, under the Marcian Decree, appeared on two occasions before C. Licinius. On the third day of his trial the praetor, out of regard for his brother the consul, and yielding to the entreaties of the Popilian family, ordered the defendant to appear again on March 15, the day on which the new magistrates would enter upon office, so that he might not have to adjudicate, being no longer a magistrate. In this way the decree respecting the Ligurians was evaded by a subterfuge.
[42.23]A deputation from Carthage was in Rome at that time, as was also Gulussa, Masinissa's son. There was a hot dispute between them in the senate-house. The grievance of the Carthaginians was that in addition to the territory which had been adjudicated on the spot by the Roman commissioners, Masinissa had during the last two years taken forcible possession of more than seventy towns and forts standing on Carthaginian soil; an easy matter for a man who had no scruples. As the Carthaginians were bound by their treaty they took no action, for they were forbidden to carry their arms outside their frontiers, though they knew quite well that if they were to drive the Numidians out, they would be warring within their own frontiers. They were, however, deterred by a clear clause in the treaty, which expressly forbade them to engage in war with the allies of Rome. But the Carthaginians declared that they could no longer endure his insolence and cruelty and avarice; and they explained that they were sent to implore the senate to grant them one of three things, either themselves to decide, as between a king and a people, both of whom were their allies, what belonged to each; or to leave the Carthaginians at liberty to defend themselves against unjust attacks in a just and righteous war; or, finally, if personal bias rather than truth swayed the senate, that they should settle once for all how much of other people's property they wished to make a present of to Masinissa. The senate would at all events make their gift a more moderate one if they were to know what they had given, whereas Masinissa would fix no limits other than what his greed and ambition might determine. If they were not to obtain any of these requests, and if they had in any way given offence since Scipio granted them peace, then let the Romans themselves punish them; they preferred the security of servitude under Roman masters rather than a liberty exposed to Masinissa's lawlessness. It would, in fact, be better for them to perish at once than to draw their breath at the will of a tyrant and a butcher. At these words they burst into tears and fell on their faces, and as they lay there prostrate they aroused not more pity for themselves than displeasure against the king.
[42.24]The senate decided to ask Gulussa what answer he had to make to these charges, or whether he preferred to state first his object in coming to Rome. Gulussa said that he was in a difficulty in having to deal with matters about which he had received no instructions from his father, nor would it have been easy for his father to give him instructions, for the Carthaginians had given no indication of the question they were going to raise or even of their intention to visit Rome. For several nights their Inner Council had been meeting in secret conclave in the temple of Aesculapius, and in addition to other steps envoys were despatched to Rome with sealed instructions. This was his father's reason for sending him to Rome, to ask the senate not to give any credit to the charges which their common foe was bringing against him; the only reason for their hatred was his unswerving loyalty to the people of Rome. After giving both sides a hearing the senate debated the requests of the Carthaginians and ordered the following reply to be given: "It is the pleasure of the senate that Gulussa sets out at once for Numidia and announces to his father that he must send envoys to the senate as soon as possible to deal with the complaints of the Carthaginians; he must also warn the Carthaginians to appear and state their case. The senate is prepared to accord to Masinissa all possible honours in the future as they have done in the past, but they cannot let personal regard take the place of justice. They wish every man to remain in possession of his own land; it is not their intention to fix new boundaries, but to preserve the old ones. When the Carthaginians were vanquished they allowed them to retain their city and their land; but this was not that they might rob them in a time of peace of what they had not taken from them by the rights of war." So the young prince and the Carthaginians were dismissed, the customary presents were given to each party and in other ways they were hospitably and courteously treated.
[42.25]Just about this time Cn. Servilius Caepio, Ap. Claudius Centho, and T. Annius Luscus, the three commissioners who had been sent to Macedonia to demand satisfaction and break off friendly relations with Perseus, returned from their mission. The report of what they had seen and what they had heard inflamed the minds of the senators still more against Perseus. They reported that they had witnessed the most energetic preparations for war being made throughout all the cities in Macedonia. When they went to see the king there was no opportunity granted them of seeing him for many days; at last, looking upon the prospect of an interview as hopeless, they started for home; only then were they recalled and admitted to the king's presence. The sum and substance of their address to him was that a treaty had been concluded with Philip and, after his father's death, renewed with him; that in it were clauses expressly forbidding him to carry his arms beyond his frontiers or to make hostile aggression upon the allies of Rome. Then they repeated to him what they had heard Eumenes stating to the senate, all of which was found to be true. And in addition they reminded the king that he had for several days been having secret interviews at Samothrace with delegates from the cities in Asia. The senate thought it right that satisfaction should be made for this wrongful act and that they and their allies should have restored to them whatever the king was holding in defiance of treaty rights.
The king was furious and his language intemperate. He accused the Romans of greed and arrogance, and loudly protested against their sending one mission after another to spy upon his words and actions, because they thought it right that he should say and do everything in obedience to their orders. At last, after a long and violent harangue, he told them to return on the following day as he wished to give them a written reply. In this he is said to have declared that the treaty concluded with his father had nothing to do with him; he had consented to its renewal not because he approved of it, but because having just come to the throne he had to submit to everything. If they wanted to make a fresh treaty with him they must come to an understanding as to its terms. If they could bring themselves to conclude a treaty on equal terms for both parties, he would see what he had to do and he was sure they would be acting in the best interests of their commonwealth. With this he hurried off and they were all beginning to leave the audience-chamber, but not before the commissioners replied that they formally renounced his alliance and friendship. At these words he stopped and in a towering rage shouted out a warning to them to leave his dominions within three days. Under these circumstances they left the country without having received any attention or hospitality during the whole of their stay. The Thessalian and Aetolian envoys were the next to be admitted to audience. In order that the senate might know as soon as possible what generals the State would employ, they sent written instructions to the consuls that whichever of them was able to do so should go to Rome to elect the magistrates.
[42.26]During the year the consuls did nothing worth recording, the interests of the republic seemed to be best served by quieting the exasperated Ligurians. Whilst war with Macedonia was anticipated, Gentius, King of the Illyrians, also fell under suspicion. Envoys from Issus laid complaints before the senate about his ravaging their borders and asserted that he and Perseus were living on the most perfect understanding with each other and were planning war with Rome in close co-operation. Illyrian spies had been sent to Rome at the instigation of Perseus, ostensibly as envoys, really to find out what was going on. The Illyrians were summoned before the senate. They said, that they had been sent by the king to clear him of any charges which the Issaeans might bring against him. They were then asked why in that case they had not reported themselves to the proper magistrates so that they might be assigned furnished quarters and their arrival and the object of their coming might be publicly known. As they were at a loss for a reply, they were told to leave the senate-house, and it was agreed that no reply should be made to them as envoys, since they had made no formal request to appear before the senate. It was resolved that envoys should be sent to Gentius to inform him of the complaints made against him and to make him understand that the senate regarded him as acting wrongfully in not abstaining from injuring his neighbours. The envoys were A. Terentius Varro, C. Plaetorius, and C. Cicereius. The commissioners who had been sent to interview the friendly monarchs returned from Asia and reported that they had visited Eumenes, Antiochus in Syria, and Ptolemy at Alexandria; that they had all been approached by Perseus, but were keeping perfectly true to their engagements with Rome, and they pledged themselves to carry out all that the people of Rome required. They had also visited the friendly cities and with one exception they were satisfied as to their fidelity. The one exception was Rhodes, where they found the citizens wavering and imbued by Perseus' ideas. A deputation had arrived from Rhodes to clear the citizens from charges which they knew were being generally made against them; the senate, however, decided not to grant them an audience till the new consuls had entered upon office.
[42.27]They felt that the preparations for war ought not to be delayed. The praetor C. Licinius was instructed to select out of the old quinqueremes laid up in the dockyards in Rome all that could be made use of, and to repair and fit out fifty vessels. If he was unable to make up that number he was to write to his colleague, C. Memmius, commanding in Sicily, and direct him to refit and get ready for service the ships which were in Sicilian waters, so that they could be sent as soon as possible to Brundisium. C. Licinius was to enlist crews for twenty-five ships from Roman citizens of the freedman class, and Cn. Sicinius was to requisition the same number from the allies, and also obtain from them a force of 8000 infantry and 500 cavalry. A. Atilius Serranus, who had been praetor the year before, was selected to take over these soldiers at Brundisium and convey them to Macedonia. In order that Cn. Sicinius might have an army ready to sail, C. Licinius was authorised by the senate to write to the consul C. Popilius, requesting him to issue orders for the second legion, most of whom had seen service in Liguria, and an allied contingent of 4000 infantry and 200 cavalry, to be at Brundisium by February 13. With this fleet and army Cn. Sicinius was ordered to hold the province of Macedonia until his successor arrived, his command being extended for a year. All the measures which the senate decided upon were energetically carried out. Thirty-eight quinqueremes were launched from the naval arsenal, and L. Porcius Licinius was placed in command to take them to Brundisium; twelve were sent from Sicily. Sextius Digitius, T. Juventius, and M. Caecilius were sent into Apulia and Calabria to purchase corn for the fleet and army. When all the preparations were completed, Cn. Sicinius left the City, wearing the paludamentum, en route for Brundisium.
[42.28]Towards the end of the year the consul C. Popilius returned to Rome much later than the senate considered he ought to have done, in view of the urgency of electing fresh magistrates and the imminence of such a serious war. He did not receive a very favourable hearing when, in the temple of Bellona, he gave an account of his doings in Liguria. There were frequent interruptions and questions as to why he had not restored the Ligurians to liberty after his brother's iniquitous treatment of them. Notice of the consular elections was duly given, and they were held February 18. The new consuls were P. Licinius Crassus and C. Cassius Longinus. The praetors elected on the following day were C. Sulpicius Galba, L. Furius Philus, L. Canuleius Dives, C. Lucretius Gallus, C. Caninius Rebilus, and L. Villius Annalis. The provinces assigned to these praetors were the two jurisdictions in Rome, civic and alien, Spain, Sicily and Sardinia, and one praetor was exempted from the ballot, to be employed as the senate should decide. The senate ordered the consuls elect to offer due sacrifices of the larger victims, with prayers that the war, which it was in the mind of the Roman people to wage, should have a prosperous issue. At the same sitting the senate decreed that the consul C. Popilius should make a vow pledging the republic that if it should remain without loss or change for ten years, Games should be held in honour of Jupiter Optimus Maximus for ten days and offerings made at all the shrines. In accordance with this decree the consul made a vow in the Capitol that the Games should take place and the offerings be made at all the shrines, at such a cost as the senate should determine in a session at which not less than 150 were present. Lepidus, the Pontifex Maximus, dictated the words of the vow. Two members of the State priesthood died this year - L. Aemilius Papus, a Keeper of the Sacred Books, and the pontiff Q. Fulvius Flaccus, who had been censor the year before. He met with a tragic death. His two sons were serving in Illyria, and he received intelligence that one had died and that the other was dangerously ill. Between grief and anxiety his mind gave way; the slaves, on entering his room in the morning, found that he had hanged himself. He was considered to be out of his mind at the close of his censorship, and there was a general belief that he had been driven mad by Juno Lacinia, in her anger at his spoliation of her temple. M. Valerius Messala was appointed Keeper of the Sacred Books in place of Aemilius, and C. Domitius Ahenobarbus, a young man, was chosen to succeed Fulvius as pontiff.
[42.29]When P. Licinius and C. Cassius began their consulship, not only the City of Rome, but all kings and commonwealths throughout Europe and Asia, were preoccupied by the approaching war between Rome and Macedonia. Eumenes had long regarded Macedonia as his enemy, and now he had a fresh incentive to his hostility in his narrow escape from being slaughtered like a victim at Delphi, through the king's foul treachery. Prusias, the king of Bithynia, had decided to take no part in the conflict, but quietly to wait on events. He felt sure that the Romans could not possibly think it right for him to bear arms against his brother-in-law, and if Perseus were victorious he knew that he could secure his favour through his sister. Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, had already promised to assist the Romans on his own account, and now that he was connected by marriage with Eumenes, he associated himself with all their policy, both in peace and war. Antiochus was threatening Egypt, and in his contempt for the boy-king and his unenterprising guardians he thought that, by raising the question of Coelo-Syria, he would have a good pretext for war, and be able to prosecute it without hindrance while the Romans were occupied with the Macedonian war. He had, however, made all sorts of promises to the senate in view of the war both by his own legations to Rome and personally to the envoys whom the senate had sent to him. Owing to his age. Ptolemy was under tutelage; his guardians were preparing for war with Antiochus to keep their hold on Coelo-Syria, and were at the same time promising to give the Romans all assistance in their war with Macedonia. Masinissa gave assistance by supplying corn, and was preparing to send a force with elephants and also his son, Misagenes, to the war. He had, however, laid his plans to meet any turn of fortune; if victory fell to the Romans, matters would remain as they were, nor could he make any further advance since the Romans would not allow any aggression on the Carthaginians. If the power of Rome - the sole protection of the Carthaginians - was broken, all Africa would be his. Gentius, king of the Illyrians, had brought himself under suspicion, but had not gone so far as to decide for certain which side he should support; it seemed as though whichever he supported, it would be more from impulse than policy. The Thracian Cotys, king of the Odrysae, had already declared for Macedonia.
[42.30]Such were the views which monarchs took of the war. Amongst the free nations and communities the common people were, as usual, almost to a man in favour of the worse side, and supported the king and the Macedonians. You would see great diversity amongst the views and sympathies of the ruling classes. One party went so far in their admiration of the Romans that they impaired their influence by their excessive partiality; some, attracted by the justice of Roman rule, a more numerous body, by the prospect of gaining power in their own cities if they rendered conspicuous service. The other side were sycophants and flatterers of the king; the pressure of debt and the hopelessness of their condition, if things remained as they were, drove many in sheer desperation into revolutionary projects; others supported Perseus from sheer caprice because he was popular. A third party, comprising the most respectable and sensible men, if they had in any case to choose a master, would have preferred the Romans to Perseus. If they had been free to choose their condition, they would have had neither side made more powerful through the overthrow of the other, but would have preferred that the strength of both being equally balanced, a lasting peace on equal terms might be established. In this way the cities, placed between the two, would be under the best conditions, for one would always protect the helpless from injury at the hands of the other. Holding these sentiments they watched in safety and in silence the rivalries of those who supported the two parties.
On the day they entered office the consuls, in pursuance of the senate's resolution, visited all the shrines in which there was usually a lectisternium for the greater part of the year, offered sacrifices of the larger victims and learned from the omens given by them that their prayers were accepted by the gods. They then reported to the senate that the prayers and sacrifices had been duly offered. The augurs made the announcement that if any fresh enterprise was undertaken it ought to be begun without delay; all the portents pointed to victory, triumph and the widening of frontiers. Good fortune and success being thus promised to Rome, the senate ordered the consuls to summon a meeting of the Assembly in their centuries and submit the following order of the day: "Whereas Perseus, the son of Philip and King of Macedonia, has broken the treaty made with his father and renewed with him, by bearing arms against the allies of Rome, devastating fields and occupying their cities; and whereas he has formed plans for levying war on the people of Rome, and has to this end got together arms, soldiers and ships; be it resolved that war be made upon him unless he gives satisfaction for all these things." This resolution was put to the Assembly.
[42.31]Then the senate decided that the consuls should come to a mutual arrangement about their provinces of Italy and Macedonia; failing that, to have recourse to the ballot. The one to whom Macedonia fell was to seek redress by force of arms from Perseus, and those of his party, unless they gave satisfaction to Rome. Four fresh legions were to be called up, two for each consul. A special provision was made for Macedonia. For the other consul each of the two legions consisted, according to ancient precedent, of 5200 infantry; those for Macedonia were each raised to 6000 infantry, and the four legions had each the same complement of 300 cavalry. The numbers of the allied contingent were also raised for this consul; he was to transport to Macedonia 16,000 infantry and 800 cavalry, in addition to the 600 cavalry whom Sicinius had commanded. A force of 12,000 allied infantry and 600 cavalry was considered sufficient for Italy. The consul who was to command in Macedonia was specially empowered to enrol as many veteran centurions and private soldiers as he desired up to fifty years of age. In view of the Macedonian war, an innovation was made this year in the case of the military tribunes. The consuls received instructions from the senate to propose to the Assembly that they should for that year forgo their claim to elect the military tribunes and leave the consuls and praetors free to appoint them. The commands were allocated to the praetors as follows: The praetor to whose lot it fell to be at the senate's disposal without an assigned province was to inspect the crews in the fleet at Brundisium, and after removing all who were unfit for service, to select freedmen to take their place, with the proviso that two-thirds should consist of Roman citizens, the remainder to be drawn from the allies. Supplies for the fleet and the legions were to be furnished by Sicily and Sardinia, and the praetors in charge of those islands were charged to requisition a second tenth from the natives, the corn to be carried to the army in Macedonia. Sicily fell to C. Caninius Rebilus; Sardinia to L. Furius Philus; Spain to L. Canuleius; the civic jurisdiction to C. Sulpicius Galba; the alien to L. Villius Annalis. The praetor who remained at the disposal of the senate was C. Lucretius Gallus.
[42.32]The consuls had a disagreement - not a serious dispute - about their province. Cassius said that he was ready to choose Macedonia without a ballot, as his colleague could not ballot with him without violating his oath. When he was made praetor he took an oath before the Assembly that he could not go to his province as he had sacrifices to perform at an appointed place and on stated days, and they could not be duly offered in his absence, when he was consul, any more than when he was praetor. Even should the senate not consider P. Licinius' wishes now that he was consul more deserving of censure than the oath which he had taken as praetor, he would bow to their authority. When the matter was put to the vote, the senators thought it would be a high-handed proceeding to refuse a province to the man to whom the people of Rome had not refused the consulship, and ordered the consuls to proceed to ballot. P. Licinius obtained Macedonia, and C. Cassius, Italy. They then drew lots for the legions; the first and third were to be taken to Macedonia; the second and fourth to remain in Italy. The consuls carried out the mobilisation with much more care than at other times. Licinius called up the old soldiers and centurions, and many volunteers gave in their names because they saw that those who had served in the former Macedonian war or against Antiochus were rich men. The military tribunes were choosing the centurions, not in order of precedence, but picking out the best men, and twenty-three centurions of the front rank appealed to the tribunes of the plebs. Two members of the tribunitian college were for referring the matter to the consuls, on the ground that the decision ought to rest with those to whom the mobilisation had been entrusted. The rest said they would go into the reasons of the appeal, and if an injustice had been done, they would come to the aid of their fellow-citizens.
[42.33]The case was argued before the tribunes in their chairs; M. Popilius and the consul were present with the centurions. The consul demanded that the matter should be tried before the Assembly, and the Assembly was accordingly convened. M. Popilius, who had been consul two years previously, spoke on behalf of the centurions. He reminded the Assembly that these men had completed their term of military service, and were worn out by age and incessant toil. Still, they in no way objected to give their services to the State, only they protested against being assigned a position inferior to the one they held when on active service. The consul P. Licinius ordered the resolutions passed by the senate to be read, first the one in which the senate decided upon war with Perseus, then the one in which it was determined that as many of the veteran centurions as possible should be called up for the war, and that there should be no exemption for any man who was not over fifty years of age. He strongly deprecated any step being taken which would hamper the military tribunes in their task of raising troops for a fresh war, so close to Italy and against an extremely powerful monarch, or which would prevent the consul from assigning to each man the rank which, in the best interests of the commonwealth, ought to be assigned to him. If any doubt was still felt in the matter, let it be referred to the senate.
[42.34]After the consul had said what he wanted to say, one of those who were appealing to the tribunes - Sp. Ligustinus - begged the consul and the tribunes to allow him to say a few words to the Assembly. They all gave him permission, and he is recorded to have spoken to the following effect: "Quirites, I am Spurius Ligustinus, a Sabine by birth, a member of the Crustuminian tribe. My father left me a jugerum of land and a small cottage in which I was born and bred, and I am living there today. As soon as I came of age my father gave me to wife his brother's daughter. She brought nothing with her but her personal freedom and her modesty, and together with these a fruitfulness which would have been enough even in a wealthy house. We have six sons and two daughters. Four of our sons wear the toga virilis, two the praetexta, and both the daughters are married. I became a soldier in the consulship of P. Sulpicius and C. Aurelius. For two years I was a common soldier in the army, fighting against Philip in Macedonia; in the third year T. Quinctius Flamininus gave me in consideration of my courage the command of the tenth company of the hastati. After Philip and the Macedonians were vanquished and we were brought back to Italy and disbanded, I at once volunteered to go with the consul M. Porcius to Spain. Men who during a long service have had experience of him and of other generals know that of all living commanders not one has shown himself a keener observer or more accurate judge of military valour. It was this commander who thought me worthy of being appointed first centurion in the hastati. Again I served, for the third time, as a volunteer in the army which was sent against Antiochus and the Aetolians. I was made first centurion of the principes by Manius Acilius. After Antiochus was expelled and the Aetolians subjugated we were brought back to Italy. After that I twice took service for a year at home. Then I served in Spain, once under Q. Fulvius Flaccus and again under Ti. Sempronius Gracchus. I was brought home by Flaccus amongst those whom, as a reward for their courage, he was bringing home to grace his triumph. I joined Tiberius Gracchus at his request. Four times, within a few years, have I been first centurion in the triarii; four-and-thirty times have I been rewarded for my courage by my commanders; I have received six civic crowns. I have served for twenty-two years in the army and I am more than fifty years old. But even if I had not served my full time and my age did not give me exemption, still, P. Licinius, as I was able to give you four soldiers for one, namely, myself, it would have been a right and proper thing that I should be discharged. But I want you to take what I have said simply as a statement of my case. So far as anyone who is raising troops judges me to be an efficient soldier, I am not going to plead excuses. What rank the military tribunes think that I deserve is for them to decide; I will take care that no man shall surpass me in courage; that I always have done so, my commanders and fellow-campaigners bear witness. And as for you, my comrades, though you are only exercising your right of appeal, it is but just and proper that as in your early days you never did anything against the authority of the magistrates and the senate, so now, too, you should place yourselves at the disposal of the senate and the consuls and count any position in which you are to defend your country as an honourable one."
[42.35]When he had finished speaking, the consul commended him most warmly and took him from the Assembly to the senate. There, too, he was thanked by the senate, and the military tribunes made him leading centurion in the first legion in recognition of his bravery. The other centurions abandoned their appeal and answered to the roll-call without demur. To enable the magistrates to start for their provinces at an earlier date, the Latin Festival was celebrated on June 1. When that function was over, C. Lucretius sent all that was required for the fleet on in advance and then left for Brundisium. In addition to the armies which the consuls were forming, C. Sulpicius Galba was commissioned to raise four City legions with the full complement of horse and foot, and to select from amongst the senators four military tribunes to command them. He was further to require the Latins and allies to furnish 15,000 infantry and 1200 cavalry, so that this army might be ready for service wherever the senate should decide. In addition to the force of Roman citizens and allied troops, the consul P. Licinius was supplied on his request with the following: 2000 Ligurian mercenaries, a body of Cretan archers - the number not specified - also Numidian cavalry and elephants. L. Postumius Albinus, Q. Terentius Culleo, and C. Aburius were sent to Masinissa and the Carthaginians to arrange this. A. Postumius Albinus, C. Decimius, and Aulus Licinius Nerva were also sent to Crete for the same purpose.
[42.36]During this time envoys from Perseus arrived. It was decided that they should not be allowed to enter the town, as the senate and people had already determined on war with their king and the Macedonians. They were admitted to an audience in the temple of Bellona, and told the senate that Perseus was wondering why the armies had been sent to Macedonia. If he could induce the senate to recall them, he would give such satisfaction as the senate thought fit for any wrongs of which the allies of Rome complained. Spurius Carvilius had been sent back from Greece by Cnaeus Sicinius on this same business and was present at this session. He informed the senate how Perrhaebia had been taken by storm and other cities of Thessaly captured, and also what the king was actually doing and what preparations he was making. The envoys were told to answer these charges; they hesitated and said they had not received any further instructions. On thus they were ordered to carry back to their king the announcement that in a short time the consul P. Licinius would be in Macedonia with his army; if the king really meant to give satisfaction, he might send envoys to him. It was useless for him to send any to Rome, as none of them would be allowed to pass through Italy. With this reply they were sent away, and P. Licinius was instructed to order them to quit Italy within ten days and send Sp. Carvilius to watch them till they went on board. Cnaeus Sicinius, who before quitting office had been sent to the fleet and army at Brundisium, had landed 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry in Epirus and was now encamped at Nymphaeum in the Apollonian district. From there he sent tribunes with 2000 men to occupy the forts of the Dassaretii and the Illyrians, as the people themselves were asking for troops to hold them so that they might be more secure against any attack from their Macedonian neighbours.
[42.37]A few days later Q. Marcius, A. Atilius, the two Lentuli, Publius and Servius, and also L. Decimius were sent to Greece, and took with them 2000 men as far as Corcyra. There they arranged what districts to visit and what force each was to take with him. Decimius was sent to Gentius, the king of the Illyrians, to find out whether he still had any regard for his former friendship with Rome, and if so to induce him to take an active part in the war as an ally. The two Lentuli were sent to Cephallania that they might sail across to the Peloponnese and round the western coast before winter. The visitation of Epirus, Aetolia and Thessaly was assigned to Marcius and Atilius, after which they were ordered to survey the state of Boeotia and Euboea and then sail to the Peloponnese. There they arranged to meet the Lentuli. Before they separated at Corcyra, a despatch was received from Perseus in which he requested to know the reason for the Romans landing an army in Greece and occupying the cities. It was decided that no written reply should be sent, but that the bearer of the despatch should be told that the Romans were doing it for the protection of the cities themselves. The Lentuli in their visits to the different towns urged upon them all without distinction the duty of giving the Romans the same cordial and loyal assistance against Perseus which they had given in the war with Philip and then afterwards with Antiochus. During their meetings they heard murmurs of dissatisfaction amongst the Achaeans. They complained that while they had from the very beginning of the Macedonian war rendered every assistance to the Romans and in the war with Philip had been the declared enemies of the Macedonians, they were now put upon the same footing as the people of Messene and Elea who had fought for Antiochus against Rome, and after being incorporated into the Achaean council were handed over to their Achaean conquerors as the prize of war.
[42.38]When Marcius and Atilius went up to Gitana in Epirus, about ten miles from the sea, where the national council of Epirus was being held, they received a most favourable hearing, and 400 of the younger men were sent as a protection to those Macedonians who had been freed by the senate. From there they went into Aetolia and stayed there a few days until a chief magistrate was elected in the place of the one who had died. Lyciscus, who was known to be a supporter of the Romans, was elected, and after his election they crossed over into Thessaly. Here they were visited by envoys from Acarnania and refugees from Boeotia. The envoys were told to announce to the Acarnanians that an opportunity was now offered of atoning for any faults which in reliance on the false promises of the king they had committed against Rome in the war with Philip and then in the war with Antiochus. If their bad behaviour had met with the forbearance, their good behaviour would win the generosity, of Rome. The Boeotians were severely censured for having formed an alliance with Perseus. They threw the blame on Ismenias, the leader of the opposite faction, and declared that some cities had been brought over against the majority of the citizens. Marcius replied that this would be cleared up as they would give every city the opportunity of deciding for itself.
There was a meeting of the national council of Thessaly at Larisa. The Thessalians had abundant material for thanking the Romans for the boon of liberty, and the Roman envoys for expressing their thanks for the whole-hearted assistance they had received from the Thessalians in the wars against Philip and Antiochus. This mutual recognition of services rendered made the assembled council eager to adopt every measure which the Romans wished for. Close on this meeting came a deputation from Perseus. Their hopes of success rested mainly on the personal tie of hospitality which Marcius had inherited from his father. After alluding to this the delegates asked that the king might be admitted to a personal interview. Marcius said that he heard from his father that friendly relations had existed with Philip, and bearing that fact in mind he had undertaken this mission. He would not have put off a conference so long had he been well enough; now, as soon as he could manage it, they would go to the Peneus where the road crosses from Homolium to Dium and send to the king to announce their arrival.
[42.39]On this Perseus left Dium and went back into Macedonia, cheered by a faint breath of hope because he had heard that Marcius had said it was for his sake that he had undertaken the mission. They met at the appointed place. The king was attended by a large suite consisting of his personal friends and his bodyguard, and the Romans appeared with quite as numerous an escort, many accompanying them from Larisa, as well as the delegations from the various cities who wanted to take trustworthy reports of what they heard. Men were naturally anxious to witness the meeting of a famous monarch with the representatives of the foremost people in the whole world. When they stood to view with only the river between them, there was a slight delay while it was being settled which party should cross the river. The one party thought that precedence ought to be given to royalty, the other considered that something was due to the great name of Rome, especially as it was Perseus who had sought the interview. While they were hesitating Marcius quickened their movements by a jest: "Let the younger come to the elder and" - his own cognomen was "Philippus" - "the son to the father." The king fell in with this at once. Then a fresh difficulty arose as to the number that should accompany him. The king thought that he ought to cross with the whole of his suite, but the Romans said he must cross with three attendants, or if all that number did cross he must give securities against any treachery during the conference. He gave as hostages Hippias and Pantauchus, chief among his friends whom he had formerly sent as envoys. The hostages were not so much needed to guarantee the king's good faith as to make the allies see that the king was by no means meeting the Romans on equal teems. They greeted one another not as foes but in a friendly and genial tone, and then sat down on the seats placed for them.
[42.40]After a few moments' silence Marcius said: "I suppose you are expecting me to give you a reply to the letter which you sent to Corcyra in which you ask us why we who are envoys have come with soldiers and are distributing garrisons in the various cities. Not to give you any reply would, I fear, be thought arrogant, whilst a truthful reply would pain you whilst you listened to it. As, however, he who breaks a treaty must be chastised either by word of mouth or by force of arms, and much as I could have wished that war against you had been entrusted to another rather than to me, I will discharge my task of telling my guest-friend some unpleasant truths, however matters stand, like physicians who administer disagreeable remedies to restore a patient's health.
"As soon as you ascended the throne you did one thing which in the opinion of the senate you were right in doing, you sent an embassy to Rome to renew the treaty, but they hold that it would have been better not to renew it than to violate it after it was renewed. You drove Abrupolis, an ally and friend of Rome, out of his kingdom. You sheltered the assassins of Arthetaurus, showing that you were glad - I will not say more - that he was murdered. The man whom they killed was of all the Illyrian princes the most loyal to the cause of Rome. You marched with an army through Thessaly and the district of Malis up to Delphi, against the provisions of the treaty, and you also sent assistance to the Byzantines. You made a secret and separate treaty, ratified by an oath, with the Boeotians, our allies, which was forbidden. As for the Theban envoys, Euersas and Callicritus, who were murdered on their way to Rome, I prefer to enquire who killed them rather than to charge anyone with it. Who could possibly be considered responsible for the civil war in Aetolia, and the deaths of the leaders, unless it were your party? The devastation of Dolopia was your own doing. When Eumenes was returning from Rome to his kingdom he narrowly escaped being butchered at Delphi, like a victim on consecrated ground before the altar. I shrink from saying whom he accuses of this. I have certain proof that the secret crimes of which your friend at Brundisium gave us information were all communicated to you in writing by your friends in Rome and reported to you by your envoys. My saying all this might have been avoided by you, had you taken a different course and not asked us why the armies were coming into Macedonia and why we are stationing garrisons in the different cities. Had we kept silent, we should have shown you less consideration than we have done by a statement of facts. Out of regard for the friendship which we have inherited from our fathers I shall give you a favourable hearing, and I only wish that you may furnish me with some grounds for my pleading your cause before the senate."
[42.41]The king replied: "A defence which before impartial judges would be a good one, I have now to make before judges who are also accusers. As to the charges brought up against me, some of them I rather think I ought to be proud of, others I am not ashamed to admit, others again, which are simply assertions, it is enough for me simply to deny. If I were standing my trial under your laws, what evidence could either the Brundisian informer or Eumenes bring against me which would make their accusations appear true rather than false and malicious? Eumenes, who oppresses so many of his subjects both in his public and private life, has had, I suppose, no other enemy but me, and I have, it seems, been unable to discover a more capable agent for criminal deeds than Rammius, a man whom I had never seen before, and was never to see again. I have also to account for the deaths of the Thebans, who everybody knows were drowned at sea, and for the death of Arthetaurus; here, however, no charge is brought against me beyond the fact that his murderers found refuge in my dominions. I will not protest against the unfairness of this argument, if you in your turn allow that if any refugees have escaped to Italy or to Rome you were the authors of the crimes of which they have been found guilty. If you, in common with all other nations, refuse to admit this, then I shall be with the rest of the world. Good heavens! what boots it for a man to be free to go into exile, if there is nowhere a place where an exile can go? Nevertheless, as soon as I was advised by you and ascertained that these men were in Macedonia, I ordered that search should be made for them, and that they should quit the kingdom, and I forbade them ever to cross my frontiers.
"These charges have been brought against me as though I were a defendant in a criminal trial, but those others touch my conduct as king, and depend upon the interpretation of the treaty which is in force between us. If that treaty expressly says that not even if anyone levies war against me am I allowed to defend myself and my realm, then I must admit that I have violated the treaty by defending myself in arms against Abrupolis, an ally of Rome. If, however, it is allowed by treaty and established as a rule of international law that arms may be repelled by arms, what ought I to have done after Abrupolis had devastated the frontiers of my kingdom right up to Amphipolis, and carried off many freeborn persons, a large body of slaves, and many thousand head of cattle? Was I to keep quiet and let him go on till he had carried his arms into Pella and taken possession of my palace? Yes, but granting that I was justified in opposing him by force, it is said that he ought not to have been vanquished or suffer all the evils which befall the vanquished. Since it was I who was attacked and ran the risk of all these evils, how can he complain of their happening to him who was the cause of the war? I am not going to defend my coercion of the Dolopians on the same grounds, Romans, because whatever they may have deserved, I exercised my sovereign rights; they were my subjects, a part of my dominions, assigned by your own decree to my father. Seeing that they put to death Euphranor, whom I had appointed governor, with such cruelty that death was the lightest of his sufferings, I cannot possibly be thought to have exercised undue or unjust severity - I do not say by you and your federal allies, but - by those who disapprove of cruelty and injustice even towards slaves.
[42.42]"But when I left Dolopia to visit the cities of Larisa, Antron and Pteleon, as I was in the neighbourhood of Delphi I went up there for the purpose of offering sacrifice in discharge of vows taken long before. And to make this charge still more serious it is asserted that I went with an army to do, of course, what I now complain of your doing, to occupy the cities and station garrisons in the citadels. Summon those Greek cities through which I marched, and should anyone, I do not care who complain of any ill-treatment from my soldiery, I will allow it to be said that under the presence of offering sacrifice I had another object in view. We sent troops to assist the Aetolians and the Byzantines, and we established friendly relations with the Boeotians. In whatever light these measures are regarded, they were not only made known to you through my envoys, but were even on several occasions defended in your senate, where I had some critics not so fair or just as you, Q. Marcius, my hereditary friend and guest. But my accuser, Eumenes, had not yet arrived.
"This man, by misrepresenting and distorting all my actions, has made them appear suspicious and treacherous, and he tried to persuade you that Greece could not be really free or enjoy the boon of liberty which you have conferred as long as the kingdom of Macedonia remained intact. Well, the wheel will come round full turn: somebody will soon be saying that it was to no purpose that Antiochus had been removed beyond the Taurus. Eumenes is a much greater oppressor of Asia than Antiochus ever was, your allies can have no rest as long as the kingdom of Pergamum exists, it stands like a citadel to command all the States round it. I am quite aware that the charges which you, Q. Marcius and A. Atilius, have brought against me, and the replies which I have made to them, are just what the minds and ears of those present choose to make of them, and that it is not my conduct or my motives that are important, but the light in which you view them. I am not conscious of having committed any fault knowingly: whatever lapse I may have been guilty of through imprudence can, I am sure, be corrected and amended through these stern admonitions of yours. At all events I have done nothing which cannot be remedied, nothing for which you should think it necessary to seek redress by force of arms. Otherwise the fame of your clemency and magnanimity has been carried through the world in vain, if for reasons which are hardly worth discussion you take up arms and levy war upon monarchs who are your allies."
[42.43]Marcius listened to his speech approvingly and advised him to send an embassy to Rome. The friends of Perseus thought that every possible means should be tried and that nothing that promised hope should be left undone. The only thing left for discussion was how to secure the envoys a safe journey. It was deemed necessary to ask for an armistice; this was what Marcius particularly wished for, it had been his main object in granting the interview, but he raised difficulties and made a great favour of consenting to it. The fact was the Romans were at the moment quite unready for war - no army, no general - whilst Perseus had made all his preparations and was completely equipped for war and, had he not been blinded by hopes of peace, would have commenced hostilities at the best time for himself and the worst for his enemies. After the armistice was declared the Roman commissioners decided to go to Boeotia. There was much unrest there owing to the action of certain communities. On learning what the Roman commissioners had said, "that it would soon appear which States disapproved of the secret league with the king," they seceded from the national council of Boeotia. First delegates from Chaeronea, and then some from Thebes, met the commissioners while they were still on their journey, and assured them that they were not present at the meeting of the council when that league was formed. The commissioners gave them no reply at the time and told them to follow them to Chalcis.
There had been a violent quarrel at Thebes about another matter. The election of the magistrates for Boeotia had taken place, and the defeated party in revenge got the population together and passed a decree that the Boeotarchs should not be admitted into any of the cities. They went in a body to Thespiae where they were admitted without any hesitation. The Thebans changed their minds and recalled them; a decree was then made that the twelve who had without any authority convened the assembly and held a council should be sent into exile. Then the new magistrate, Ismenias, a man of noble family and great influence, issued a decree condemning them to death. They had fled to Chalcis, and from that city they went to the Roman commissioners at Larisa and threw the whole responsibility for the secret understanding with Perseus upon Ismenias. This led to a party war, delegates from both sides came to the Romans - the exiles, the accusers of Ismenias and Ismenias himself.
[42.44]After their arrival in Chalcis the first magistrates of the different cities, in accordance with the decrees of their respective councils, denounced the league with Perseus, to the great gratification of the Romans, and declared themselves on the side of Rome. Ismenias thought that the right course to adopt would be for the Boeotian nation as a whole to place itself under the suzerainty of Rome. This led to a quarrel, and if he had not taken refuge at the commissioners' tribunal he would have had a narrow escape from being killed by the exiles and their supporters. Thebes, the capital of Boeotia, was itself in a state of great excitement, one faction trying to bring the city over to the king, the other to the Romans. People from Coronea and Haliartus had flocked in crowds to Thebes to defend the decree for alliance with the king. But the magistrates were firm, they pointed to the final defeats of Philip and Antiochus as proving the power and good fortune of the Roman government, and the citizens were at last convinced. They decreed that the alliance with the king should be put an end to, and sent those who had advocated friendship with Perseus to make their peace with the commissioners, and ordered the citizens to place themselves at the disposal of the commissioners. Marcius and Atilius were glad to hear this decision of the Thebans, and advised them and the other cities to send each their own envoys to renew friendly relations with Rome. They insisted on the restoration of the exiles as the first thing, and issued a decree condemning the authors of the alliance with Perseus. Thus, what they wanted most of all, the dissolution of the Boeotian League, was effected. They then left for the Peloponnese and sent for Ser. Cornelius to Chalcis. A council was summoned to meet them at Argos. They only asked the Achaeans to furnish them with 1000 soldiers. These were sent to garrison Chalcis until the Roman army landed in Greece. Having thus completed their business in Greece, Marcius and Atilius returned to Rome at the commencement of winter.
[42.45]A commission was sent about the same time to visit Asia and the islands adjoining. The commissioners were Tiberius Claudius, Sp. Postumius and M. Junius. As they went about amongst the allies they urged them to join the Romans in the war against Perseus, and the wealthier and more powerful the state the greater attention they paid to it, since the smaller ones would be led by the greater. The Rhodians were regarded as the most important of all, because they were in a position to give not only moral support but material assistance. They had, acting on the advice of Hegesilochus, got forty ships ready for service. When he was acting as supreme magistrate - "prytanis" they call him - he had, after many speeches, induced the Rhodians to abandon all those hoses of support from monarchs, which had so often proved vain, and hold to the alliance with Rome, the only one in the whole world which they could depend on for strength and fidelity. A war with Perseus was imminent, the Romans would look for the same naval armament that they had seen lately in the war with Antiochus and in the previous war with Philip. Unless they began at once to refit their ships and provide them with crews, they would be in all the hurry and confusion of making their fleet ready for sea when it was to be actually sent off. It was all the more important that this should be done that they might give a practical proof of the falseness of the charges which Eumenes had brought against them. These arguments had their effect and when the Roman commissioners arrived they were shown a fleet of forty vessels quite ready for sea, a clear proof that they had not waited for the Romans to spur them on. The work of these commissioners in securing the support of the cities in Asia was of the utmost importance. Decimius alone returned without any success; he was widely suspected of having received bribes from Gentius and the Illyrian princes.
[42.46]On his return to Macedonia, Perseus sent envoys to Rome to carry on the peace negotiations which he had begun with Marcius, and he gave them letters to take to Byzantium and Rhodes. The purport of the letters was the same for all, he had had an interview with the Roman commissioners. What he had heard and said was put in such a way as to make it appear that he had the best of the argument. In their address to the Rhodians, his envoys said that they were confident that there would be peace, for it was on the advice of Marcius and Atilius that they were sent to Rome. If the Romans in violation of the treaty proceeded to war, then the Rhodians must use all their influence and all their power to restore peace, but if their appeals proved fruitless, then they must make it their business to prevent the power and authority over the whole world from passing into the hands of one single nation. That was the concern of all the nations, but especially of the Rhodians, by how much the more they surpassed other nations in greatness and prosperity, but they would be enslaved and helpless if they paid no regard to any but the Romans. The letter and the address of the envoys received a favourable hearing, but they did not avail to make the Rhodians change their minds; the influence and authority of the better citizens prevailed. The answer which they decided to give was to the effect that the Rhodians wanted peace; if there was war, the king need not expect or ask for anything from them, since he was trying to break up the long-standing friendship between them and the Romans, a friendship which was the fruit of many valuable services rendered in both peace and war.
On their way back from Rhodes they visited some of the cities of Boeotia - Thebes, Coronea and Haliartus - which it was supposed had been forced against their will to abandon their alliance with Perseus and join the Romans. They made no impression on the Thebans, although there was a strong feeling amongst them against the Romans owing to the severe sentences passed on their leaders and the restoration of the exiles. But at Coronea and at Haliartus there was a kind of inborn affection for the dynasty, and they sent to Macedonia to ask for a garrison that they might protect themselves against the wanton aggression of Thebes. The king told them in reply that as there was an armistice between him and the Romans, he could not send any troops to them; still, he advised them to revenge any wrongs that the Thebans might inflict on them, but in such a way as not to give the Romans any pretext for venting their wrath on him.
[42.47]On their return to Rome, Marcius and Atilius reported the results of their mission to the senate in the Capitol. The thing for which they took most credit to themselves was the way in which they had hoodwinked the king by holding out hopes of peace. He was so fully provided with all the means of war, whilst they themselves had nothing ready, that all the strategic positions could have been occupied by him before their armies had landed in Greece. The interval of the armistice, however, would place them on equal terms, he would no longer have the advantage of preparation, the Romans would begin the war better equipped in every way. They had also succeeded by a clever stroke in breaking up the national council of Boeotia, they could never again be united in support of the Macedonians. A good many of the senators approved of these proceedings as showing very skilful management. The elder senators, however, and others who had not forgotten the moral standards of earlier days, said that they failed to recognise anything of the Roman character in these negotiations. "Our ancestors," they said, "did not conduct their wars by lurking in ambush and making attacks at night, nor by feigning flight and then turning back upon the enemy when he was off his guard. They did not pride themselves on cunning more than on true courage, it was their custom to declare war before commencing it, sometimes even to give the enemy notice of the time and place where they would fight. This sense of honour made them warn Pyrrhus against his physician, who was plotting against his life, it made them hand over to the Faliscans as a prisoner the betrayer of their children. This is the true Roman spirit, there is nothing here of the cunning of the Carthaginians or the cleverness of the Greeks, who pride themselves more in deceiving an enemy than in overcoming him in fair fight. Occasionally more can be gained for the time being by craft than by courage, but it is only when you have forced your enemy to confess that he has been overcome not by cleverness nor by accident, but after a fair trial of strength where the rules of war are properly observed - it is only then that his spirit is broken and his defeat a lasting one." Such were the views of the older senators, who regarded the new policy with disfavour, but the majority preferred expediency to honour and signified their approval of what Marcius had done. It was decided that he should be sent back to Greece with the fifty quinqueremes, and should be at full liberty to act as he thought best in the interest of the republic. A. Atilius was also sent to occupy Larisa in Thessaly, as there was the danger of Perseus sending a garrison there on the expiration of the armistice, and so keeping the capital of Thessaly under his power. Atilius sent for 2000 infantry from the army of Cnaeus Sicinius to hold the city. P. Lentulus, who had returned from Achaia, was supplied with 300 Italian troops to look after Thebes and overawe Boeotia.
[42.48]These preliminary measures carried out, it was agreed that the senate should give audience to the king's envoys, although war was now definitely resolved upon. The envoys repeated almost the same arguments which the king had used in his conference with Marcius. Their answer to the charge of plotting against the life of Eumenes was the most laboured part of their speech and the one which made the least impression, for the facts were beyond dispute. The rest of their speech was apologetic and deprecatory, but their hearers refused to be either convinced or persuaded. They were warned to leave Rome at once and Italy within thirty days. The consul, P. Licinius, who was to command in Macedonia, was warned to fix as early a day as possible for the assembling of his army. C. Lucretius, who had been put in command of the fleet, sailed from Rome with only forty quinqueremes, as it was decided that some of the refitted ships should be kept at the City for different purposes. He sent his brother Marcus with one quinquereme to take up the ships which the allies were bound by treaty to furnish and join the main fleet at Cephallania. One trireme was provided by Rhegium, two by Locri, and four came from the Sallentines of Uria. Sailing along the coast of Italy and round the furthest headland of Calabria, he crossed the Ionian Sea to Dyrrhachium. Here he obtained ten vessels from Dyrrhachium itself, twelve from Issa and fifty-four light vessels which belonged to Gentius and which M. Lucretius affected to believe had been got together for the use of the Romans. Carrying them all off, he reached Corcyra after a three days' voyage, and then went direct to Cephallania. C. Lucretius sailed from Naples and reached Cephallania in five days. Here the fleet anchored, waiting till the land army had crossed and the transports which had fallen out had rejoined.
[42.49]It was now that the consul, P. Licinius, after offering up the prayers in the Capitol, rode out of the City wearing the paludamentum. This departure of the commander-in-chief was always invested with dignity and grandeur, but now especially all eyes and hearts were turned to the consul as they escorted him on his way to meet a powerful enemy whose reputation for courage and success was spread far and wide. It was not only to honour their chief magistrate that the citizens had collected together, but also to see the leader to whose wisdom and authority they had entrusted the supreme defence of the commonwealth. They thought of the chances of war, the caprice of Fortune, the risks and uncertainty of battle the defeats and successes of the past - defeats often incurred by the ignorance and rashness of commanders, successes again won by skill and courage. Who of mortal men could know the capability of the consul whom they were sending to war or the fortune which would attend him? Would they presently see him with his victorious army going up to the Capitol in triumphal procession to do homage to those deities from whom he is now departing, or are those deities going to allow that happiness to the enemy? The enemy, again, whom he was going to meet was the far-famed Perseus, the king of the Macedonians, a nation distinguished in war, and the son of Philip, who amongst his many victories had even in the war with Rome added to his reputation. Ever since he ascended the throne, the name of Perseus was continually on men's lips as they spoke of the coming war. With these thoughts in their minds men of all sorts and conditions attended the departure of the consul. C. Claudius and Q. Mucius, ex-consuls and now military tribunes, were sent with him, and three young nobles, P. Lentulus, and the two Acidini, one the son of Marcus and the other the son of Lucius Manlius. The consul joined his army at Brundisium and sailing with his whole force to Nymphaeum fixed his camp in the neighbourhood of Apollonia.
[42.50]A few days before this, after the return of his envoys had dashed his hopes of peace, Perseus held a council of war. Opposing views led to considerable discussion. Some thought that they ought to consent to pay an indemnity if it was imposed upon them, or cede a portion of their territory if this were insisted on; in fact, whatever sacrifice was necessary for the sake of peace ought to be made, and no step taken which would expose the king and his subjects to the hazard of fortune where such vital issues were involved. If he were left in the certain possession of the crown, many things might happen in the future which would enable him not only to recover what he had lost, but even to become formidable to those of whom he now stood in fear. The majority, however, were much more defiant. Any concessions made, they declared, would involve the loss of the kingdom. The Romans were not in need of money or territory, but this they knew, that while all human affairs were liable to many accidents, kingdoms and empires were especially so. They had shattered the power of the Carthaginians and saddled them with a very powerful monarch to keep them down. They had sent Antiochus and his posterity into banishment beyond the Taurus mountains. The kingdom of Macedonia alone remained, a near neighbour and ready, whenever Rome lost the good fortune she once enjoyed, to animate the kings of Macedonia with their ancient courage. Whilst, therefore, his realm was still intact, Perseus must decide between two alternatives. Either he must be prepared to strip himself of all his power, by making one concession after another, and, driven from his kingdom into exile, must beg the Romans to allow him Samothrace or some other island, where, having outlived his kingship, he might grow old in privacy, disgrace and poverty; or else vindicate his fortunes and his dignity in arms, and confront as a brave man ought to do all that the chances of war can bring, and if victorious, deliver the world from its subjection to Rome. The expulsion of the Romans from Greece would not be a more wonderful thing than the expulsion of Hannibal from Italy. They could not see how he who had resisted his brother to the uttermost in his unlawful attempt to seize the crown could with any consistency resign it to men of alien blood. The question between peace and war can only arise so far as all are agreed that as there is nothing more disgraceful than to surrender the throne without striking a blow, so there is nothing more glorious than for a king to face all risks in defence of his sovereign dignity and majesty.
[42.51]This council was held at Pella, the capital of Macedonia. "Let us then," said Perseus, "wage war with the help of the gods, since thus you decide." Written orders were despatched to all his generals and he assembled the whole of his forces at Citium, a town in Macedonia. After sacrificing in regal style one hundred victims to Minerva, whom they call Alcidemos, he set out for Citium, accompanied by a number of court nobles and his bodyguard. The whole of the army, both Macedonians and auxiliaries, were assembled there. The camp was fixed in front of the city and he drew up all his soldiers in the plain. The total number of those who bore arms was 43,000, nearly half of whom formed the phalanx; Hippias of Beroea was in command. Out of the whole force of caetrati, 2000 men in the prime of strength and manhood were selected to form a body known as the "agema," their commanders were Leonnatus and Thrasippus. Antiphilus of Edessa was in command of the rest of the caetrati, numbering about 3000 men. The Paeonians and the contingents from Paroria and Parstrymonia, places in the lowlands of Thrace, and the Agrianes, including some Thracian immigrants, made up a force of about 3000. They had been armed and mustered by Didas the Paeonian, the murderer of the young Demetrius. There were also 2000 Gauls under Asclepiodotus, a native of Heraclea in Sintice. Three thousand "free" Thracians had their own leader, and about the same number of Cretans followed their own generals, Susus of Phalasarna and Syllus of Gnossus. Leonides the Lacedaemonian was at the head of a mixed force of Greeks. He was said to be of royal blood, and after his letter to Perseus had been seized, had been sentenced to banishment in a full council of the Achaeans. The Aetolians and Boeotians, who, all told, did not amount to more than 500 men, were under the command of Lyco, an Achaean. Out of these contingents drawn from so many people and tribes, a force of about 12,000 men was formed. Perseus had collected 3000 cavalry out of the whole of Macedonia. Cotys, the son of Suthis and king of the Odrysae, had come in with a picked force of 1000 horse and about the same number of infantry. Thus the total number of the army was 39,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry. It was generally admitted that, next to the army which Alexander the Great had led into Asia, no Macedonian king had ever possessed so large a force.
[42.52]It was six-and-twenty years since the peace which Philip sought had been vouchsafed to him. During all that time Macedonia had been undisturbed and a new generation had grown up, ripe for military service, and in the small wars with their Thracian neighbours, which exercised rather than exhausted them, they had been constantly trained and disciplined. The prospect of a war with Rome, which had during the whole period been cherished by Philip and then by Perseus, had led to everything being in a state of readiness and efficiency. The army performed a few movements, not as regular maneuvers, but simply in order to avoid the appearance of only standing under arms. Perseus then called them, armed as they were, to stand round on parade, and ascended the tribunal with his two sons by his side; the elder one, Philip, his brother by birth, his son by adoption, the younger one, Alexander, his son by birth. He exhorted his soldiers to show their courage in the war, and enumerated the injuries which the Romans had inflicted on his father and on himself. His father had been compelled by all the indignities he had suffered to resume hostilities; in the midst of his preparations he had been struck down by fate. The Romans sent envoys to him (Perseus) to open negotiations and at the same time sent soldiers to occupy the cities of Greece. Then the winter was wasted over a conference, ostensibly to bring about a peaceful settlement, but really to give them time to make their preparations. Now the consul was coming with two Roman legions, each with its complement of 300 cavalry and contingents furnished by the allies of about the same strength. Even if the troops sent by Eumenes and Masinissa were counted in, there would not be more than 7000 infantry and 2000 cavalry. The king proceeded: "You have heard what the strength of the enemy is; now look at your own army, its superiority in numbers and in the quality of the soldiers as compared with the raw conscripts hastily embodied for this war, soldiers who have from their boyhood been trained in the school of war, disciplined and hardened by so many campaigns. Lydians, Phrygians and Numidians are furnishing troops for the Romans; we have on our side the Thracians, and the most warlike of all nations the Gauls. Their arms are just what each poverty-stricken soldier has provided himself with; you Macedonians are supplied from the royal arsenal with arms manufactured through all those years under my father's direction and at his cost. Their supplies will have to be brought from a distance and will be exposed to all the chances and accidents of the sea; we have for ten years been storing up money and corn in addition to the revenue from the mines. Everything which has been provided by the kindness of heaven or by the care and forethought of their king, the Macedonians have in full and overflowing measure. You must have the courage which your ancestors had when after subjugating the whole of Europe they crossed over to Asia and opened up by their arms an unknown world, and never ceased to conquer until they were hemmed in by the purple ocean and there was nothing more to conquer. Ay, but now it is not for the remotest shores of India but for the possession of Macedonia that Fortune has called us to this contest. When the Romans were at war with my father they put forward the specious pretext that they were liberating Greece, now they are openly aiming at the enslavement of Macedonia in order that Rome may have no monarch on its borders, no nation glorious in war retaining possession of its arms. These must be surrendered to your haughty and domineering masters, and your king and kingdom as well, if you are willing to lay aside all thoughts of war and execute their commands."
[42.53]There had been frequent bursts of applause all through the speech, but at this point such a shout of indignation and defiance arose, and encouraging cheers for the king, that he brought his speech to a close, only adding that they must be prepared to march, as there was a report that the Romans were already advancing from Nymphaeum. When the troops were dismissed he proceeded to give audience to the deputations from the Macedonian cities who had made offers of money and corn, each according to their ability. He thanked them all, and excused them from making any contribution as the royal stores were sufficient for all requirements. He only requested them to furnish wagons to carry the artillery, the enormous quantity of missiles that had been got ready, and other apparatus of war. He now set forward with the whole of his army in the direction of Eordaea, and encamped by Lake Begorritis. The next day he reached the Haliacmon in Elimea. From there he crossed the Cambunian Mountains through a narrow pass and came down to Azorus, Pythoum and Doliche; the natives call these three towns the Tripolis. Here he met with a short delay because they had given hostages to the Larisaeans; in face, however, of the danger threatening them, they made their surrender. He accepted their submission graciously, feeling quite sure that Perrhaebia would do the same. The inhabitants made no show of resistance and he captured the city as soon as he arrived there. Cyretia he was forced to attack, and was actually repulsed in the first day's assault by a vigorous charge of armed men from the gates. The next day he attacked in full strength, and before night received the submission of the entire population.
[42.54]Mylae, the next town he came to, was so strongly fortified that confidence in the impregnability of their walls made the townsmen defiant; they were not content to close their gates to the king, they even hurled taunts and insults upon him and the Macedonians. This made their enemy all the more furious in the assault, and the citizens, despairing of pardon, were all the more resolute in their defence. So for three days the city was attacked, with the utmost determination on both sides. The vast numbers of the Macedonians made it easy for them to take their turn in the fighting; the same defenders had to guard the walls night and day, and were becoming exhausted not only by their many wounds, but also by want of sleep and incessant exertion. On the fourth day, while the scaling-ladders were being raised against the walls and the gate was being attacked with greater violence than usual, the townsmen, after driving the danger from the walls, ran down to defend the gate and made a sudden sortie. This was due more to impetuosity and rage than to any well-grounded confidence in their strength and, reduced as they were in numbers and with weary and worn-out bodies, they were repulsed by the enemy who was fresh and vigorous. They turned and fled, and in their flight through the open gate let in the enemy. In this way the city was taken and sacked; even the free population, as many as survived, were sold as slaves.
After wrecking and burning most of the city, Perseus marched on to Phalanna, and on the following day arrived at Gyrto. On learning that T. Minucius Rufus and the Thessalian captain-general Hippias had entered this place with a body of troops he did not even attempt an assault, but marched past it and captured Elatia and Gonnus, the inhabitants being utterly dismayed by his unlooked-for appearance. Both towns are situated at the entrance to the Vale of Tempe, Gonnus lying further within. He garrisoned it with a strong force of infantry and cavalry, and in addition left it defended with a triple moat and rampart. Marching on to Sycurium he decided to await the enemy there and ordered the army to collect corn in all parts of the hostile territory. Sycurium is at the foot of Mount Ossa on the south side, it overlooks the plains of Thessaly; behind it lie Macedonia and Magnesia. In addition to these advantages it possesses a perfectly healthy climate and a perennial supply of water which flows in abundance from the many springs round.
[42.55]During this time the Roman consul was on his way with his army to Thessaly. Whilst marching through Epirus he found the country clear and open, but when he had crossed the frontiers of Athamania he had to advance over rough and almost impassable ground. It was with the utmost difficulty and by short marches that he struggled through to Gomphi. If with horses and men knocked up and an army of recruits he had been met by the king with a couple of hundred men in order of battle, at a time and place of his own choosing, the Romans themselves do not deny that they would have suffered a terrible defeat. After Gomphi was reached without any fighting, there was not only rejoicing at having surmounted a dangerous pass, but also a feeling of contempt for an enemy who was so blind to his advantages. After duly performing the sacrifices and giving out corn to the soldiers, the consul stayed there a few days to rest both man and beast. On learning that the Macedonians were dispersed far and wide devastating the fields of his allies, he led his soldiers, who were now sufficiently refreshed, towards Larisa. When about three miles from the place he fixed his camp at Tripolis - the natives call it Scaea - on the Peneus. Eumenes arrived at this time with his ships at Chalcis. He was accompanied by his brothers Attalus and Athenaeus, the other brother, Philetaerus, being left at Pergamum to protect the kingdom. From Chalcis he went with Attalus and a force of 4000 infantry and 1000 cavalry to join the consul, 2000 infantry being left in Chalcis under the command of Athenaeus. Other contingents came in from all the Greek States, most of them so small that they have passed into oblivion. Apollonia sent 300 cavalry and 100 infantry; the cavalry from the whole of Aetolia made up one division, and the Thessalians, who it was hoped would send their entire force, had not more than 300 cavalry in the Roman camp. The Achaeans furnished 1500 fighting men, mostly armed in the Cretan fashion.
[42.56]C. Lucretius, commanding the fleet at Cephallania, sent instructions to his brother Marcus to take his ships past the Malean promontory to Chalcis. He himself went on board a trireme and made for the Gulf of Corinth with the view of controlling the position in Boeotia. His progress was somewhat slow owing to the state of his health. When M. Lucretius brought up at Chalcis he learnt that Haliartus was being attacked by P. Lentulus, and he sent a message ordering him in the praetor's name to raise the siege. He had commenced operations with those Boeotian troops who were on the side of the Romans, and now he retired from the walls. The abandonment of this attack left the ground free for another; M. Lucretius at once invested the place with a force of 10,000 marines and 2000 of the troops under Athenaeus. Whilst they were getting ready for the assault the praetor appeared on the scene from Creusa. The ships furnished by the allies were now assembled at Chalcis - two Punic quinqueremes, two triremes from the Pontic Heraclea, four from Chalcedon, the same number from Samos and also five Rhodian quadriremes. As there was no naval war, the praetor sent the vessels back to the various allies. Q. Marcius also arrived at Chalcis with his fleet, after capturing Alope and storming Larisa Cremaste. While this was the position of affairs in Boeotia, Perseus, as stated above, was encamped at Sycurium. After he had collected corn from all the country round he sent a detachment to ravage the fields of Pherae, in the hope that as the Romans were drawn further from their base to help the cities of their allies he might be able to surprise them. As, however, he found that they were in no way disturbed by his sudden movements, he distributed the plunder, including some prisoners, amongst the soldiers; as it consisted mainly of cattle it provided them with a feast.
[42.57]The consul and the king both held councils of war at the same time, to decide where to commence operations. The Macedonians had grown bolder after they found that the enemy allowed them to ravage the Pheraean country without offering any resistance, and they thought they ought to go straight up to the Roman camp and give their enemy no room for further delay. The Romans, on the other hand, felt that their inactivity was damaging their prestige with their allies, and they were particularly disgusted at no help having been given to the Pheraeans. Whilst they were deliberating what steps to take - Eumenes and Attalus were both present - a messenger came in hot haste to say that the enemy were approaching in great force. The council at once broke up and the signal was given for the soldiers to arm. A hundred cavalry and the same number of slingers were in the meanwhile sent forward to reconnoitre. It was about the fourth hour of the day, and when he was little more than a mile distant from the Roman camp, Perseus ordered the infantry to halt whilst he himself rode forward with the cavalry and light infantry; Cotys also and the commanders of the other auxiliaries rode forward with him. They were within half a mile of the camp when they caught sight of the enemy cavalry. There were two troops, largely made up of Gauls, under Cassignatus, and about 150 light infantry, partly Mysian, partly Cretan. The king halted, uncertain as to the enemy's strength. Then he sent on from the main body two squadrons of Thracian and two of Macedonian horse, together with two Cretan and two Thracian cohorts. As the two sides were equal in point of numbers, and no fresh troops came up on either side, the engagement ended in a drawn battle. About thirty of Eumenes' men were killed, amongst them Cassignatus, the Gaulish commander. Perseus then took his force back to Sycurium. The next day the king marched them to the same spot, and at the same hour. This time they were followed by water carts, for on their twelve miles' march they were without water and smothered in dust; it was quite clear that if they had to fight as soon as they came in view of the enemy, they would do so whilst suffering from thirst. The Romans retired their outposts within their lines and remained quiet, whereupon the king's troops returned to camp. They did this for several days, hoping that the Roman cavalry would attack their rear during their withdrawal, whilst they were at a considerable distance from their own camp) then the king's troops, who were superior in cavalry and light infantry, would turn and face the enemy wherever they were.
[42.58]As he had not succeeded in his attempt to draw the Romans, the king moved his camp to within a distance of five miles from the enemy. At dawn the infantry were drawn up on the same ground as before and the whole of the cavalry and light infantry marched towards the Roman camp. The sight of a cloud of dust, larger and nearer than usual, created some excitement amongst the Romans. At first the news was hardly credited because on all previous occasions the enemy had never appeared before the fourth hour of the day, and now it was sunrise. When all doubt was dispelled by the many shouts and men running from the gates there was great confusion. The military tribunes, the officers of the allied troops and the centurions hurried to the headquarters tent; the soldiers ran to their own tents. Perseus had drawn up his men less than a mile and a half from the Roman lines round a hill called Callinicus. Cotys commanded the left wing with the whole of his native troops, the light infantry being disposed between the ranks of the cavalry. On the right were the Macedonian cavalry, the Cretans being intermixed with them in the same way. This body was under the command of Midon of Beroea; the supreme command of the whole cavalry force was in the hands of Meno of Antigonea. Flanking the two wings were the king's cavalry and a mixed body of auxiliaries drawn from different nationalities. Patrocles and Didas were in charge of these troops. In the centre of the whole line was the king surrounded by the "agema" and the troops of the "sacred" cavalry. In front of these he posted the slingers and javelin men, 400 in all, under the command of Ion and Neoptolemus. The consul formed his infantry into line inside the rampart, and sent out the whole of the cavalry and light infantry; they were drawn up in front of the rampart. The right wing was commanded by the consul's brother Caius, and comprised the whole of the Italian cavalry with the velites interspersed among them. On the left M. Valerius Laevinus had the cavalry and light infantry from the various cities in Greece. The centre was held by Quintus Mucius with a picked body of volunteer cavalry. On their front were posted 200 Gaulish troopers and 300 Cyrtians from the auxiliary troops brought by Eumenes; 400 Thessalian cavalry were drawn up a short distance beyond the Roman left. Attalus and Eumenes took ground with the whole of their force in the rear between the hindmost rank and the rampart.
[42.59]In this formation the two armies, almost equally matched in the numbers of their cavalry and light infantry, engaged. The battle was begun by the slingers and javelin men, who were in front of the whole line. First of all the Thracians, like wild beasts kept in cages and suddenly released, set up a deafening roar and charged the Italian cavalry on the right wing with such fury that, in spite of their experience of war and their native fearlessness, they threw them into disorder. The infantry on both sides snapped the lances of the cavalry with their swords, cut at the legs of the horses and stabbed them in the flanks. Perseus, charging the centre, dislodged the Greeks at the first onslaught, and pressed heavily upon them as they fell back. The Thessalian cavalry had been in reserve, a little distance from the extreme left, outside the fighting and simply watching it, but when the day began to go against them they were of the greatest use. For by slowly retiring, and keeping their ranks unbroken, they formed a junction with Eumenes' troops, and so afforded a safe retreat within their united ranks to the allied cavalry as they fled in disorder. As the enemy slackened in the pursuit they even ventured to advance and protected many of the fugitives whom they met. The king's troops, separated by the pursuit in all directions, did not venture to come to close quarters with men who were keeping their formation and advancing in a steady line. The king, victorious in this cavalry action, shouted to his men that if they gave him a little more help the war would be over, and very opportunely for his own encouragement and that of his men, the phalanx appeared on the scene. Hippias and Leonnatus, hearing of the success of the cavalry, had hastily brought it up on their own initiative, that they might take their part in an action so daringly begun. The king was hovering between hope and fear at attempting so great a task, when Euander the Cretan, who had been his instrument in the attempt upon Eumenes' life at Delphi, ran up to him. He had seen the massed infantry advancing with their standards, and he solemnly warned the king not to be so elated by his good fortune as to stake everything upon a chance which there was no necessity for him to risk. If he would be contented with what he had gained and kept quiet for the day he would have peace with honour, or if he preferred war, he would have very many allies who would follow his fortunes. The king was more inclined to this course, so after thanking Euander for his advice, he ordered the standards to be reversed, the infantry to march back to camp and the "retire" to be sounded for the cavalry.
[42.60]On that day there fell on the side of the Romans 200 cavalry and not less than 2000 infantry; about 600 were made prisoners. Out of the king's army 20 cavalry and 40 infantry were killed. On their return to camp the victors were all in high spirits, but the Thracians surpassed all in the insolence of their joy. They returned to camp singing and carrying the heads of their enemies fixed on their spears. Amongst the Romans there was not only grief at their defeat, but a fear lest the enemy should make a sudden attack on the camp. Eumenes urged the consul to transfer the camp to the opposite bank of the Peneus, that they might have the protection of the river until the shaken soldiers could recover their morale. The consul felt bitterly the disgrace of admitting that he was afraid, but yielding to reason, he took the troops across in the dead of night and entrenched himself on the further bank. The next day the king marched up to provoke his enemy to battle. When he noticed their camp safely fixed across the river he owned that he was wrong in not pressing upon his foe the day before, but still more so in remaining inactive through the night, for had he sent only his light infantry against the enemy during the confusion caused by the passage of the river, their force would to a large extent have been wiped out. Now that their camp was in a safe position the Romans were relieved from the danger of an immediate attack, but they were much depressed, especially at their loss of prestige. In the council at the headquarters tent, each in turn threw the blame on the Aetolians, it was with them that the panic and flight began, and the rest of the Greek contingents followed the example of the Aetolians. Five Aetolian officers, said to have been the first who were seen to turn their backs on the enemy, were sent to Rome. The Thessalians were commended before the whole army and their leaders were rewarded for their bravery.
[42.61]The spoils taken from the fallen were brought to the king. These he gave to his soldiers; to some splendid armour, to others horses, and to some prisoners. There were over 1500 shields, the cuirasses and coats of mail numbered more than 1000, the helmets, swords, and missiles of all kinds were much more numerous. The value of these gifts, ample and welcome as they were, was enhanced by the speech which the king made to his army. "You have pronounced," he said, "upon the issue of the war. The best part of the Roman army, their cavalry, who used to boast that they were invincible, have been routed by you. Their cavalry are the flower of their youth, the nursery of their senate, the men whose fathers are chosen as consuls, from whom their commanders are selected; these are the men whose spoils we have now distributed amongst you. And no less a victory have you won over their infantry, those legions who, withdrawn from your reach in a nocturnal flight, filled the river with confusion and disorder like shipwrecked men swimming for their lives. The passage of the Peneus will be easier for us, the pursuers, than it was for them in their haste to get away, and as soon as we have crossed we shall attack their camp, which we should have taken today if they had not fled. Or if they are willing to fight in the open field, look for the same result in an infantry battle which you have seen in the cavalry action." Those who had taken part in the victory and were carrying the enemy's spoils on their shoulders listened eagerly to the recital of their exploits and formed their hopes of the future from what had already happened. The infantry, too, especially the men of the phalanx, were fired by the glory which their comrades had won, and looked forward to the opportunity of doing their king signal service and winning equal glory from their vanquished foe. The soldiers were dismissed, and the next day he marched away and fixed his camp at Mopselus. This is a hill situated at the entrance of the Vale of Tempe and commands a wide view of the plain of Larisa.
[42.62]The Romans without quitting the river moved their camp into a safer position. Whilst they were there Misagenes the Numidian came in with 1000 cavalry, the same number of infantry and 22 elephants. The king was holding a council to decide upon the future conduct of the war, and as his exultation over his victory had cooled down, some of his friends ventured to give him advice. They argued that it would be better for him to take advantage of his good fortune by securing an honourable peace than to buoy himself up with idle hopes and so expose himself to chances that might be irrevocable. To set a measure to one's prosperity and not to place too much confidence in the smiling fortune of the hour is the part of a wise man who has achieved a deserved success. Let him send men to the consul with powers to make fresh proposals for peace on the same terms on which his father Philip had accepted peace from the victorious T. Quinctius. There could be no grander close to the war than the late memorable battle and no surer grounds for hopes of a lasting peace than those which would make the Romans, disheartened as they were by their defeat, ready to come to terms. If the Romans should then, with their inbred stubbornness, reject fair terms, gods and men would alike bear witness to the moderation of Perseus and the invincible arrogance of the Romans.
The king never disliked advice of this character, and this policy was approved by the majority of the council. The deputation to the consul were received in audience in a full council. They asked for peace, and promised that Perseus would give the Romans the amount of tribute which had been agreed upon with his father. Such were their instructions. In the discussion which followed on their withdrawal Roman firmness won the day. It was the custom in those days to wear the look of prosperity in adverse circumstances, and to curb and restrain the feelings in a time of prosperity. The reply decided upon was that peace would be granted only on the condition that the king placed himself entirely in the hands of the senate and allowed it the unrestricted right of determining his future and that of Macedonia. When the report of the deputation became known, those who were unacquainted with the Roman character regarded it as an astounding exhibition of obstinacy and any further allusion to peace was generally forbidden. Those, they said, who spurn the peace now offered will soon come to ask for it. It was this very obstinacy that Perseus was afraid of; he looked upon it as due to a confidence in their strength, and on the chance of being able to purchase peace at a price, persisted in his attempts to bribe the consul by constantly increasing the sum offered. As the consul adhered to his first reply Perseus despaired of peace and returned to Sycurium, prepared to face the hazards of war once more.
[42.63]The news of the battle spread through Greece, and in the way it was received the hopes and sympathies of men were disclosed. Not only the open supporters of Macedonia, but most of those who were under the greatest obligations to Rome, some having experienced the violence and tyranny of Perseus, were delighted at hearing it for no other reason than that morbid eagerness which a mob watching gymnastic contests displays in favour of the weaker and more disreputable competitor. In Boeotia meanwhile Lucretius was pressing the siege of Haliartus with the utmost vigour. Although the besieged neither had nor hoped for any outside help beyond the troops from Coronea who had entered the walls at the beginning of the siege, they kept up their resistance more by courage and resolution than by actual strength. They frequently made sorties against the siege works and when a battering-ram was brought up they at one time . . . at another they forced it to the ground by lowering a mass of lead upon it. If they were unable to divert the blows they replaced the old wall by a new one which they hastily built up with the stones of the fallen wall. As the progress of the siege works was too slow, the praetor ordered the scaling-ladders to be distributed among the maniples as he intended to deliver a simultaneous assault all round the walls. His numbers, he considered, would suffice for this, as there would be no advantage in attacking that side of the city which was surrounded by a swamp, nor would it be possible to do so. At a point where two towers and the wall between them had been battered down he brought up a picked force of 2000 men in order that while he was forcing his way through the breach, and the defenders were massing together to oppose him, some portion of the walls might be left unmanned and so successfully scaled. The townsmen were not slow in preparing to meet him. On the ground covered by the ruins of the wall they heaped up faggots of brushwood, and standing on these with burning torches in their hands they were preparing to set the mass on fire in order that, shut off from the enemy by the conflagration, they might have time to throw up another wall inside. They were accidentally prevented from executing this plan. Such a heavy shower of rain suddenly fell that it was hardly possible to kindle the brushwood, and when it was alight the fire was extinguished. A passage was effected by dragging the smoking faggots out of the way, and as all had turned their attention to defending this one spot, the walls were scaled in many places. In the first confusion of the captured city the old men and boys whom they chanced to meet were killed. The combatants took shelter in the citadel, and as all hope was now lost they surrendered, and were sold as slaves. There were about 2500 of them. The adornments of the city, the statues and paintings and all the valuable plunder were placed on shipboard and the place was razed to its foundations. From there the army marched to Thebes, which was captured without any fighting, and the consul handed the city over to the refugees and the Roman party. The households and property of the other party, who had worked in the interests of the king and were Macedonian sympathisers, were sold.
[42.64]During these incidents in Boeotia, Perseus remained for several days in camp at Sycurium. Here he heard that the Romans were busy cutting and carrying off the corn from the fields and that the men were all in front of their tents cutting off the ears with their sickles that they might rub the corn cleaner, and littering all the camp with great heaps of straw. This seemed to him a good opportunity for firing the camp, and he gave orders for torches of pinewood and bundles of tow covered with pitch to be got ready. He started at midnight, intending to take the enemy unawares at daybreak. All to no purpose. The advanced posts were surprised and their shouts and tumult gave the alarm to the rest. The signal was given to arm instantly for battle and the soldiers were immediately formed up at the gates and on the rampart. His design on the camp having failed, Perseus countermarched his army and directed the baggage to lead the way, and the standards of the infantry to follow. He himself waited with his cavalry and light infantry to close the column, expecting, as proved to be the case, that the enemy would follow and harass his rear. There was some desultory fighting on the part of the light infantry, mainly with the skirmishers; the cavalry and infantry returned to camp without disorder.
When the standing corn was cut all round their camp, the Romans moved on to Crannon, where the fields were yet untouched. Here they remained encamped for some time as they were secure against attack, owing partly to the distance from Sycurium and partly to the difficulty of obtaining water on the road from that place. Suddenly, one morning at daybreak, they were greatly excited at seeing the king's cavalry and light infantry on a range of hills overlooking the camp. These had started from Sycurium at noon the day before, and just before dawn left the infantry behind on the nearest level ground. Perseus halted for some time on the hills, thinking that the Romans might be drawn into a cavalry action. As they made no movement, he sent a trooper with orders to the infantry to march back to Sycurium, and in a short time rode after them. The Roman cavalry followed at a moderate interval to pick up stragglers. When they saw the massed infantry marching off in unbroken ranks, they too returned to camp.
[42.65]The distance he had to march annoyed the king and he advanced his camp to Mopselus. The Romans, having cut all the standing corn round Crannon, moved into the district of Phalanna. The king learnt from a deserter that the Romans were dispersed over the country, cutting the corn, without any remaining on guard. He started off with 1000 cavalry and 2000 Thracian and Cretan light infantry. Marching with the utmost possible speed he attacked the Romans when they were least expecting it. Nearly 1000 carts most of them loaded, were captured with their teams, and also 600 prisoners taken. He gave the plunder to the Cretans to escort back to their camp. Then he recalled the cavalry and the rest of the infantry, who were everywhere slaughtering the enemy, and led them against the nearest detachment who were on guard, thinking to overwhelm them without much trouble. A military tribune, L. Pomponius, was in command of the detachment and withdrew his men, who were dismayed by the sudden appearance of the enemy, to a hill near by, to serve as a defensive position since he was inferior in numbers and strength. Here he made his soldiers close up in a circular formation, with their shields touching one another, so that they might be protected from the arrows and javelins.
Perseus surrounded the hill with his troops and ordered one body to attempt the ascent of the hill and come to close quarters with the enemy, whilst the others discharged their missiles from a distance. The Romans were in very great danger, for they could not fight in close order against those who were struggling up the hill, and if they left their ranks and ran forward they were exposed to the javelins and arrows. They suffered mainly from the cestrosphendons, a novel kind of weapon invented during the war. It consisted of a pointed iron head two palms long, fastened to a shaft made of pinewood, nine inches long and as thick as a man's finger. Round the shaft three feathers were fastened as in the case of arrows, and the sling was held by two thongs, one shorter than the other. When the missile was poised in the centre of the sling, the slinger whirled it round with great force and it flew out like a leaden bullet. Many of the soldiers were wounded by these and by missiles of all kinds, and they were becoming so exhausted that they were hardly capable of holding their weapons. Seeing this, the king urged them to surrender and pledged his word for their safety and promised to reward them. Not a single man had any thought of surrender. They had made up their minds to die, when an unlooked-for gleam of hope appeared. Some of the foragers, who had fled to the camp, informed the consul that the detachment on guard was surrounded. Alarmed for the safety of so many fellow-citizens - there were about 800, all Romans - he sallied forth from the camp with a force of cavalry and infantry, including the new reinforcement of Numidian horse and foot, as well as the elephants. The order was given to the military tribunes to follow with the legionaries. Bringing up the velites to stiffen the auxiliary light infantry, he went forward to the hill. Eumenes, Attalus and Misagenes, the Numidian leader, rode by his side.
[42.66]As soon as they caught sight of the leading files of their comrades, the spirits of the Romans revived from the depths of despair. Perseus should have made up his mind after capturing and killing several of the foragers to content himself with this chance success, and not wasted time in beleaguering the detachment. Or if he did attempt that he ought to have left the field while he could do so safely, as he knew he had no heavy infantry with him. Elated with his success he waited till the enemy appeared, and then sent a hurried message to bring up the phalanx. It was too late to do this now. The phalanx, hastily brought into action and disarranged by the speed of its advance, had to meet troops in proper formation and ready for battle. The consul, who was first on the ground, at once engaged the enemy. For a short time the Macedonians held their own, but they were completely outmatched, and with a loss of 300 infantry and 24 of the select cavalry of the "sacred cohort," including their commander Antimachus, they attempted to leave the field. But there was almost more turmoil on their return march than in the battle itself. The phalanx, called up so hurriedly, marched off with equal haste, but where the road narrowed they met the troop of prisoners and the carts loaded with corn, and were brought to a standstill. There was great excitement and uproar; no one would wait until the troops of the phalanx could make their way through; the soldiers threw the carts over the cliff, the only way of clearing the road, and the animals were lashed till they charged madly among the crowd. Hardly had they got clear of the column of prisoners when they met the king and his discomfited cavalry, who shouted to them to face about and march back. This created a commotion almost as great as the crash of a falling house; if the enemy had continued the pursuit and ventured into the pass, there might have been a terrible disaster. The consul, satisfied with this slight success, recalled the detachment from the hill and returned to camp. According to some authorities, a great battle was fought that day, 8000 of the enemy slain, amongst them two of the king's generals, Sopater and Antipater, 2800 made prisoners, and 27 military standards captured. Nor was the victory a bloodless one. Above 4300 fell in the consul's army, and 5 standards belonging to the left wing lost.
[42.67]This day revived the spirits of the Romans and depressed Perseus, so much so that after staying a few days longer at Mopselus, mainly to see to the burial of the men he had lost, he placed a sufficiently strong garrison in Gonnus and withdrew his troops into Macedonia. One of the royal governors, Timotheus, was left with a small force at Phila with instructions to try and win over the Magnetes whilst he was in their neighbourhood. On reaching Pella, Perseus sent his army into winter quarters and then went with Cotys to Thessalonica. News reached him there that Autlebis, a Thracian chief, and Corragus, an officer of Eumenes, had invaded the dominions of Cotys and occupied a district called Marene. He felt that he ought to release Cotys and let him go and defend his kingdom. On his departure he bestowed valuable presents on him. To his cavalry he only doled out 200 talents, half a year's pay, though at first he had agreed to give them a year's stipend.
When the consul heard that Perseus had gone he marched up to Gonnus on the chance of getting possession of the town. This place lies at the entrance to the Vale of Tempe, and forms a secure barrier against the invasion of Macedonia from that side, while it affords a convenient descent for the Macedonians into Thessaly. As the citadel, owing to its position and the strength of its garrison, was impregnable, the consul abandoned the attempt. Turning his route towards Perrhaebia he took Malloea at the first assault and sacked the town. After securing Tripolis and the other places in Perrhaebia he returned to Larisa. Eumenes and Attalus went home, and the consul settled Misagenes and his Numidians in the nearest cities of Thessaly. Part of his army he distributed amongst all the cities of Thessaly, that they might have comfortable winter quarters and serve as garrisons for the cities. Q. Mucius was sent with 2000 men to hold Ambracia, and the consul disbanded all the troops from the friendly States of Greece, except the Achaeans. Advancing with a part of his army into Achaean Phthiotis he razed to its foundations the city of Pteleum, from which the inhabitants had fled, and accepted the voluntary surrender of Antronae. Then he brought his army up to Larisa. The city was empty; all the population had taken refuge in the citadel, and he commenced an attack upon it. The king's garrison of Macedonians had first left the place through fear, and the townsmen, thus deserted, at once surrendered. He now hesitated whether to attack Demetrias or examine the position in Boeotia. The Thebans, owing to the trouble given them by the Coronaeans, were asking hum to come to their assistance. In compliance with their request and also because it was more suitable for winter quarters than Magnesia, he led his army into Boeotia.
End of Book 42
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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