Book 43: The Third Macedonian War - Continued
[43.1]During this summer the commander whom the consul had sent into Illyria attacked two wealthy and prosperous towns. Cerenia was forced into surrender and he allowed the inhabitants to retain their possessions, hoping by this example of his clemency to induce the people of the strongly fortified city Carnuns to go over to him. He was unable, however, either to compel them to surrender or to take the place by siege, and in order that the fatigues which his men had undergone in the two sieges might bring them some return, he sacked the city which he had previously left unmolested. The other consul, who had had Gaul assigned to him, C. Cassius, did nothing worth mentioning there and tried, unsuccessfully however, to lead his legions through Illyria into Macedonia. The senate heard of his proposed expedition through a deputation sent from Aquileia. They explained that theirs was a new colony and not yet in a satisfactory state of defence, lying as it did between two hostile nations, the Histri and the Illyrians. They asked the senate to consider how the colony could be protected. On the question being put to them whether they would like that matter to be entrusted to the consul C. Cassius, they replied that he had ordered his army to Aquileia and had started through Illyria for Macedonia, - the thing was at first thought incredible, and the senators all supposed that he had probably commenced hostilities against the Carni or the Histri. Then the Aquileians observed that they knew nothing further and would not venture to assert anything more than that corn for thirty days had been given to the soldiers and that guides who knew the routes from Italy to Macedonia had been found and taken with the army. The senate were intensely indignant at the consul's having dared to take so much upon him as to abandon his own province and trespass upon that of another, leading his army by an unknown and perilous route through strange tribes, and opening up the way for so many nations into Italy. They made a decree in a crowded House that the praetor C. Sulpicius should select three members of the senate who were to start that very day and, making their way as speedily as possible, find the consul wherever he was, and warn him not to make a hostile move against any nation without the authorisation of the senate. The commissioners selected were M. Cornelius Cethegus, M. Fulvius and P. Marcius Rex. Fears for the consul and the army prevented for the time any attention being given to the fortification of Aquileia.
[43.2]After this a deputation from the natives of both the provinces of Spain were admitted to an audience of the senate. They complained of the rapacity and oppression of the Roman magistrates, and falling on their knees, begged the senate not to suffer the allies of Rome to be robbed and ill-treated in a more shameful manner than even their enemies were treated. There were other indignities that they complained of, but the evidence bore chiefly upon the illegal seizure of money. L Canuleius, to whom Spain had been allotted, was instructed to appoint five recuperatores drawn from the senatorial order to try each of the individuals from whom the Spaniards demanded redress, and also to give the complainants permission to take whomsoever they pleased as counsel. The deputation were called into the senate-house and the decree was read over to them, and they were told to nominate their counsel. They named four - M. Porcius Cato, P. Cornelius Scipio, L. Aemilius Paulus, and C. Sulpicius Gallus. The recuperatores commenced with the case of M. Titinius, who had been praetor in Hither Spain during the consulship of A. Manlius and M. Junius. The case was twice adjourned, at the third sitting the defendant was acquitted. There was a difference between the deputies, those from Hither Spain chose M. Cato and Scipio as their counsel, those from Further Spain, L. Paulus and Gallus Sulpicius. The former brought P. Furius Philus, the latter M. Matienus before the recuperatores. Philus had been praetor three years previously and M. Matienus in the following year. Both were charged with very serious offences; the proceedings were adjourned and when the whole case was to be gone into again it was pleaded on behalf of the defendants that they had gone into voluntary exile, Furius to Praeneste and Matienus to Tibur. There was a rumour that the complainants were prevented by their counsel from summoning members of the nobility and men of influence, and these suspicions were increased by the action of Canuleius. He dropped the business altogether and began to levy troops, then he suddenly went off to his province to prevent any more people from being worried by the Spaniards. Although the past was thus silently effaced, the senate provided for the future by acceding to the demand of the Spaniards and making a regulation that the Roman magistrate should not have the valuing of the corn, nor compel the Spaniards to sell their twentieths at whatever price he chose, and also that officers should not be forced upon their towns for the collection of taxes and tribute.
[43.3]Another deputation from Spain arrived, who represented a new race of men. They declared themselves to be sprung from Roman soldiers and Spanish women who were not legally married. There were over 4000 of them, and they prayed that a town might be given them to live in. The senate decreed that they should send in their own names and the names of any whom they had manumitted to L. Canuleius, and they should be settled on the ocean shore at Carteia, and any of the Carteians who wished to remain there should be allowed to join the colonists and receive an allotment of land. This place became a Latin colony and was called the "Colony of the Libertini." The African prince Gulussa, Masinissa's son, arrived in Rome simultaneously with a deputation from Carthage. Audience was granted to Gulussa first. He described the nature of the force that his father had sent for the Macedonian war and promised, should the senate require anything more, that he would supply their demands, out of gratitude for the kindness which the people of Rome had shown towards him. He then warned the senate to be on their guard against the bad faith of the Carthaginians; they had formed the design of fitting out a great fleet, ostensibly to assist the Romans against the Macedonians. When this fleet was equipped and manned they would have it in their power to choose whom they would as an enemy or an ally . . . .
[43.4]They entered the camp displaying the heads and created such a panic that if the army had been brought up at once the camp might have been taken. Even as it was, there was a general flight, and some thought that envoys ought to be sent to beg for peace. A large number of communities when they heard what had happened made their surrender. They tried to clear themselves by throwing all the blame on the madness of two men who had voluntarily offered themselves for punishment. The praetor pardoned them and immediately set out to visit other cities. Everywhere he found his orders were being carried out and his army was unmolested. The country through which he passed, and which had been so shortly before seething with unrest and turbulence, was now quiet and peaceable. This gentleness on the part of the praetor, who had curbed the temper of a most warlike nation without bloodshed, was all the more welcomed by the senate and the plebs as the war in Greece had been conducted in a most ruthless and rapacious spins both by the consul Licinius and the praetor Lucretius The tribunes of the plebs were perpetually holding up to odium the absent Lucretius in their speeches, though it was pleaded on his behalf that he was absent in the service of the republic. But people in those days were so ignorant of what was going on in their vicinity that he was actually at that very time residing on his estate at Antium, and was bringing water to that town from the Loracina from his share of the spoils of the war. It is said that this work cost 130,000 ases. He also decorated the shrine of Aesculapius with pictures which had formed part of the plunder.
The general odium and disgrace which Lucretius had incurred were diverted from him to his successor, Hortensius. A deputation from Abdera arrived in Rome, and stood weeping in the porch of the senate-house and protesting that their town had been stormed and sacked by Hortensius. He had ordered them to supply 100,000 denarii and 50,000 modii of wheat, and they asked for time to send to the consul Hostilius and to Rome. Hardly had they reached the consul when they heard that their town had been taken by storm, their leaders beheaded and the rest of the population sold into slavery. The senate regarded this as a disgraceful proceeding and they made the same decree in the case of the Abderites that they had made the previous year in the case of the Coronaeans, with instructions to the praetor to announce the decree to the Assembly. Two commissioners, C. Sempronius Blaesus and Sextius Julius Caesar, were sent to restore the Abderites to freedom, and to inform Hostilius and Hortensius that the senate considered the attack upon Abdera as utterly unjustifiable, and demanded that search should be made for all who were enslaved in order that they might be set free.
[43.5]At the same time complaints were laid against C. Cassius, who had been consul the year before and was now serving as military tribune in Macedonia with A. Hostilius. The brother of the king of the Gauls, Cincibilus, headed the deputation, and charged Cassius before the senate with devastating the fields of Alpine tribes who were friendly to Rome, and carrying off many thousands into slavery. They were followed by deputations from the Carni, the Histri and the Iapydes. They informed the senate that in the first instance Cassius required them to furnish guides to direct his route while he was leading his army into Macedonia. He left them quite peaceably, his intention being apparently to make war elsewhere, and then in the middle of his march he turned back and invaded their territory, spreading everywhere bloodshed, rapine and fire, nor did they up to that moment know the consul's reason for treating them as enemies. The reply which the senate made to these deputations and to the Gaulish prince, who had left Rome, was to the effect that with regard to the subjects of complaint, they were quite unaware that such things would happen, and if they had happened they did not sanction them. It would, however, be unjust for a man of consular rank to be indicted and condemned in his absence, when he was absent in the service of the commonwealth. When C. Cassius had returned from Macedonia, the senate would, if they wished to bring their charges against him in his presence, investigate the facts and make it their business to give them satisfaction. They did not confine themselves to a verbal reply; it was decided that two commissioners should be sent to the prince beyond the Alps and to the three surrounding tribes to make known the senate's decision. They also agreed that presents ought to be made to each of the envoys to the value of 2000 ases. To the two princes were given two gold chains five pounds in weight, five pieces of silver plate twenty pounds in weight, two horses caparisoned and their grooms with them, outfits of cavalry armour and military cloaks, and for their suites, including the slaves, wearing apparel. They requested and were allowed to purchase each ten horses and to take them out of Italy. The commissioners who accompanied the Gauls beyond the Alps were C. Laelius and M. Aemilius Lepidus; to the other communities C. Sicinius, P. Cornelius Blasio, and T. Memmius.
[43.6]There was a gathering of numerous deputations from Greece and Asia in Rome. The Athenians were the first to obtain an audience. They explained that they had sent to the consul and the praetor what ships and soldiers they had. They had, however, made no use of them, but demanded 100,000 modii of corn. Though the soil which they tilled was unproductive and even the cultivators themselves had to be fed on corn from abroad, they had nevertheless made up the amount that they should not fail in their duty, and they were prepared to supply other things which might be required. The people of Miletus mentioned that they had not furnished anything, but expressed their readiness to carry out any orders the senate might wish to give with regard to the war. The people of Alabanda stated that they had built a temple to "The City of Rome" and had instituted annual Games in honour of that deity. They had also brought a golden crown weighing fifty pounds to be placed in the Capitol as an offering to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, and 300 cavalry shields which they would hand over to whomsoever the senate might name. They requested to be allowed to place the gift in the Capitol and to offer sacrifices. The deputation from Lampsacus, who had brought a crown eighty pounds in weight, made the same request. They explained that though they had been under the rule of Perseus and of his father Philip before him, they had revolted as soon as the Roman army appeared in Macedonia. In consideration of this and of their having given all possible assistance to the Roman commanders they made this one request that they might be admitted amongst the friends of Rome and if peace were made with Perseus they might be left out of the conditions so as not to fall again under the power of the king. A gracious answer was vouchsafed to the other deputations; in the case of the Lampsacans the praetor Q. Mucius was instructed to enrol them amongst the allied States. Each of the delegates received a present of 2000 ases. The Alabandians were told to take the shields to A. Hostilius in Macedonia.
Legates from Carthage and from Masinissa arrived simultaneously in Rome. The Carthaginians reported that they had taken down to the coast one million modii of wheat and half a million of barley, to be transported wherever the senate should order. They knew, they said, that this gift, which they regarded as a duty, was not adequate to the services which the Roman people had rendered, nor was it what they would have wished to give, but on other occasions, when both nations were in a prosperous condition, they had fulfilled the duty of loyal and grateful allies. Masinissa's representatives promised to furnish the same amount of wheat, 1200 cavalry and 12 elephants, and asked the senate to say if anything else was required, as he would supply that just as readily as what he had voluntarily offered Thanks were accorded to the Carthaginians and to the king, and they were asked to forward the supplies they had promised to the consul Hostilius in Macedonia. Each member of the legations received a gift of 2000 ases.
[43.7]The Cretan delegates assured the senate that they had sent into Macedonia as large a body of archers as the consul had demanded. When questioned, they did not deny the number of their archers serving with Perseus was greater than that serving with the Romans. The senate, in reply to this, told the Cretans that if they were earnest and resolute in their determination to prefer the friendship of Rome to that of Perseus, the Roman senate would treat them as faithful allies. Meantime, they were to take back word to their people that it was the senate's wish that the Cretans should see to it that as many as possible of the soldiers serving with Perseus should be recalled. With this reply the Cretans were dismissed and the Chalcidians were called in. The entrance of this deputation caused a sensation, for Micion, their leader, was brought in on a litter as he had lost the use of his feet. It was at once recognised that the business on which he had come must be of vital importance, for, afflicted as he was, he either had not thought it right to ask to be excused on the ground of health, or if he had done so, he had met with a refusal. He began by saying that there was nothing alive in him except his tongue to deplore the calamities of his native land, and then went on to enumerate the services that Chalcis had rendered to the Roman generals and their armies in the past and now in the war with Perseus. He then described the tyrannical, rapacious and brutal treatment which the Roman praetor C. Lucretius had meted out to his countrymen and the way in which L. Hortensius was actually behaving at the present moment. Though they thought it better to suffer even worse things than these, rather than abandon their allegiance, they were convinced, so far as Lucretius and Hortensius were concerned, that it would have been safer to close their gates than to admit them into the city. The cities which had shut them out were unharmed; in their own case the temples had been despoiled of their adornments and the sacrilegious plunder had been carried off by Lucretius in his ships to Antium; the persons of freemen had been hurried away into slavery; the property of the allies of Rome had been plundered and was being plundered every day. Following the precedent set by C. Lucretius, Hortensius kept his crews in billets winter and summer alike; their homes were filled with rowdy sailors, these men were living amongst them, their wives and their children, men who did not in the least care what they said or did.
[43.8]The senate decided to send for Lucretius, that he might meet his accusers and clear himself from their charges. When, however, he put in an appearance he had to listen to many more accusations than those made in his absence, and accusers now came forward of greater weight and authority in the persons of two tribunes of the plebs, M. Juventius Thalna and Cnaeus Aufidius. They not only handled him very severely in the senate, they compelled him to appear before the Assembly, and after he had been exposed to much vituperation and obloquy a day was fixed for his trial. The senate gave the following reply to the Chalcidians through the praetor Q. Maenius: "With regard to the services which they say they have rendered to Rome, the senate is aware that they are stating what is true, and they are duly grateful to them. As to the complaints of the conduct of C. Lucretius and L. Hortensius, no one who knew that the war with Perseus and his father before him was entered upon by the people of Rome on behalf of the liberty of Greece and not that their friends and allies should suffer at the hands of their magistrates - no one who knew this could possibly imagine that such conduct was in accordance with the wish or had the concurrence of the senate. They would send a letter to L. Hortensius informing him that the acts which the Chalcidians complained of were displeasing to the senate, and whatever freemen had gone into slavery he was to make it his care that they were discovered as soon as possible and restored to freedom. The senate insisted that no member of the crews, with the exception of the captains, should be billeted in private houses." Such was the gist of the despatch sent to Hortensius. Each of the delegates received a present of 2000 ases, and carriages were hired at the public cost to convey Micion in comfort to Brundisium. When the day of trial came, the tribunes indicted Lucretius before the Assembly and demanded a fine of 100,000 ases. When the votes were taken it was found that the thirty-five tribes had unanimously found him guilty.
[43.9]In Liguria nothing of any importance took place, the enemy made no hostile movement and the consul did not take his legions into their country. As he was tolerably certain that there would be peace for that year, he demobilised the men of the two Roman legions within two months of his coming into the province. The army of the Latin allies went early into winter quarters at Luna and Pisae, and he with his cavalry visited most of the towns in his province of Gaul. Nowhere but in Macedonia was there a state of war. Gentius, however, the king of Illyria, had fallen under suspicion. The senate accordingly made an order that eight ships fully fitted out and manned should be sent from Brundisium to C. Furius, who with two ships furnished by the inhabitants was in charge of the island of Issa. Two thousand soldiers were placed on board the eight ships; they had been raised by M. Raecius, on instructions from the senate, in that part of Italy which lies opposite to Illyria. The consul Hostilius sent Appius Claudius with 4000 infantry into Illyria to protect the adjacent population. Not feeling satisfied with the troops he had brought with him, Claudius made the friendly cities furnish him with troops, and he succeeded in arming a mixed force of 8000 men. After marching through the whole of that district he fixed his headquarters at Lychnidus, a town in Dassaretia.
[43.10]Not far from there lay the town of Uscana; its territory mostly lay in Perseus' dominions. It had a population of 10,000 and a small detachment of Cretans was garrisoned there to protect it. A secret message was sent to Claudius assuring him that if he would approach the city there were men ready to betray it to him, and it would be worth his while to do so, as he would be able to enrich not only himself and his friends but his soldiers also with the plunder. The prospect thus held out to his avaricious disposition so blinded him that he did not detain a single person amongst those who came with the message, nor did he demand hostages as a security against treachery, nor did he send anyone to ascertain the facts, nor did he insist upon an oath to guarantee the good faith of those who made the offer. He simply advanced upon the appointed day to a spot within twelve miles of the city where he encamped. At the first watch he went forward, leaving about 1000 men to guard the camp. His troops reached the city in no proper formation, spread out in a long column, and few in number, having become separated from one another through losing their way in the darkness of the night. Their carelessness increased when they saw no armed men on the walls. As soon, however, as they came within range, a sortie was made simultaneously from two gates. Above the shouts of those who were sallying forth a horrible din arose from the walls, women yelling and banging brazen vessels, whilst the air resounded with the discordant cries of a rabble of townsfolk and slaves. These appalling sights and sounds, multiplied in all directions, so unnerved the Romans that they could not withstand the first onset which burst upon them like a storm. More were killed in flight than in actual fighting, barely 2000 men, including Claudius himself, gained their camp. The distance they had to cover made it all the easier for the enemy to overtake them, wearied as they were. Appius did not even stay in his camp to rally the fugitives as they came in, though this would have saved many who were straggling through the fields. He at once took the remnant of his force back to Lychnidus.
[43.11]These and other unsuccessful operations in Macedonia were ascertained from Sextus Digitius, a military tribune who had come to Rome to offer sacrifices. The senators were afraid that still deeper humiliation might be incurred, and they sent M. Fulvius Flaccus and M. Caninius Rebilus into Macedonia to find out what was going on and to report. The consul A. Atilius was requested to give notice that the consular elections would be held in January, and to return to the City as soon as he possibly could. In the meantime, M. Raecius was instructed to recall all the senators in Italy to Rome, except those on business of the State, and to prohibit any who were in Rome from going more than a mile from the City. All these measures were carried out. The consular elections were held on January 28, the new consuls being Q. Marcius Philippus, for the second time, and Cnaeus Servilius Caepio, and two days later the following praetors were elected: C. Decimius, M. Claudius Marcellus, C. Sulpicius Gallus, C. Marcius Figulus, Ser. Cornelius Lentulus, and P. Fonteius Capito. Four provinces in addition to the civic jurisdiction were assigned to them, viz. Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, and the command of the fleet.
Towards the end of February the commission returned from Macedonia. They described the successes which Perseus had gained and the serious alarm felt by the allies of Rome at so many cities being secured by the king. The consul's army was much reduced in numbers owing to the indiscriminate granting of furloughs in order to curry favour with the soldiers, the consul threw the blame for this on the military tribunes, the military tribunes threw it back on the consul. The senate were given to understand that they made light of Claudius' ignominious defeat; amongst those lost, it was explained, were very few Italian troops, they were mostly those who had been conscripted for the irregular force. As soon as the new consuls entered upon office they were instructed to bring up the question of Macedonia; Macedonia and Italy were assigned as their provinces. This year (B.C. 170) was an intercalary one, the additional days being intercalated two days after the Terminalia. During its course some members of the priesthood died, L. Flamininus . . . Two of the pontiffs passed away, L. Furius Philus and C. Livius Salinator. The pontiffs elected T. Manlius Torquatus in place of Furius and M. Servilius in place of Livius.
[43.12]When at the beginning of the new year the consuls consulted the senate about their provinces, it was decided that as soon as possible they should come to an agreement or else ballot for Macedonia and Italy. Before the ballot gave its decision and the question was still undecided so that personal bias could not influence the senate, they decreed the necessary reinforcements for each province; for Macedonia, 6000 Roman infantry and 6000 raised from the Latin allies, 250 Roman and 300 allied cavalry. The old soldiers were discharged, so that for each of the Roman legions there were not more than 6000 infantry and 300 cavalry. In the case of the other consul no definite number of Roman citizens was fixed for him from which to select reinforcements, he was only ordered to raise two legions, each to consist of 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry. A larger proportion of Latin and allied troops was decreed to him than to his colleague - 10,000 infantry and 600 cavalry. Four additional legions were to be raised for service wherever they were wanted. For these legions the consuls were not allowed to select the military tribunes, the people elected them. The Latin allies were required to supply 16,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry. It was intended that this force should only be in readiness to go wherever circumstances demanded its presence. Macedonia was the main cause of anxiety. To man the fleet 1000 Roman citizens of the status of freedmen and 500 from the rest of Italy were impressed; the same number was to be raised in Sicily, and the magistrate to whom that province was allotted received instructions to see that they were shipped to wherever the fleet was stationed off Macedonia. Three thousand Roman infantry and 300 cavalry were despatched to reinforce the troops in Spain. There also the number of soldiers in each legion was fixed at 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry. The praetor who was to command in Spain was instructed to demand from the allies 4000 infantry and 300 cavalry.
[43.13]I am quite aware that the spirit of indifference which in these days makes men in general refuse to believe that the gods warn us through portents, also prevents any portents whatever from being either made public or recorded in the annals. But as I narrate the events of ancient times I find myself possessed by the ancient spirit, and a religious feeling constrains me to regard the matters which those wise and thoughtful men considered deserving of their attention as worthy of a place in my pages. At Anagnia two portents were announced this year: a fiery torch had been seen in the sky and a cow had spoken; the cow was being fed at the public cost. At Menturnae also the appearance of the sky was as though it was on fire. At Reate there was a shower of stones. At Cumae the Apollo in the citadel shed tears for three days and three nights. Two temple custodians in the City of Rome announced portents; one stated that a crested snake had been seen by several persons in the Temple of Fortune; the other declared that two distinct portents had appeared in the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal, a palm tree sprang up in the temple precinct and a rain of blood had fallen in the daytime. There were two portents which were not taken into consideration, one because it occurred on private, the other on foreign soil. The former was reported by T. Marcius Figulus, a palm tree had sprung up in the inner court of his house; the latter by L. Atreus who stated that in his house at Fregellae a spear which he had bought for his soldier son was in flames for more than two hours in broad daylight, but no part of it was consumed by the fire. The Keepers consulted the Sacred Books about those portents which affected the State and gave the names of the deities to be propitiated. They directed that the expiatory sacrifices should consist of forty of the larger victims and be performed by the consuls; all the magistrates were to join in offering similar sacrifices at every shrine; there were to be special intercessions and the people were to wear chaplets of bay. These directions were carefully carried out.
[43.14]Then notice was given of the election of censors. Some of the leading men in the commonwealth were candidates, such as C. Valerius Laevinus, L. Postumius Albinus, P. Mucius Scaevola, M. Junius Brutus, C. Claudius Pulcher, and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. The two latter were elected censors by the people of Rome. Though, owing to the Macedonian war, greater care than usual was being shown in the raising of new troops, the consuls complained of the plebs in the senate, the younger men were avoiding enlistment. The two praetors C. Sulpicius and M. Claudius put forward the case for the plebs. The difficulty was due to the consuls, not because they were consuls, but because they were popularity-hunting consuls, they made no man a soldier against his will. That the senate might see how true this was, they, the praetors, though they had less power and authority, were prepared, if the senate approved, to carry the enlistment through. The senate quite approved and the praetors were entrusted with the task, not without some insulting remarks from the consuls. In order to help them the censors announced in a meeting of the Assembly that they should make it a rule in their assessment that in addition to the oath taken by all the citizens, the following questions must be answered: "Are you under 46 years of age? Have you come forward to be enrolled as required by the edict of the censors, C. Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius? As long as these censors are in office, will you, whenever troops are being raised, come forward to be enrolled if you have not already been made a soldier?" Moreover, owing to a report that many men in the legions in Macedonia were absent from the army, the commanders having granted furloughs for all sorts of reasons, that they might be popular, they issued an edict requiring all soldiers who had been conscripted in the consulship of P. Aelius and C. Popilius or subsequently, and were at the time in Italy, to return to Macedonia within thirty days after making their returns to the censors. Those who were under the guardianship of father or grandfather must give in the names of these to the censors. The censors would investigate the reasons for discharge, and where men had been discharged before serving their time simply as a favour they should order them to resume their place in the ranks. This notice of the censors was published in all the towns throughout Italy, and such a multitude of men of military age flocked to Rome that the City was inconveniently crowded by the unusual influx.
[43.15]In addition to the troops which had to be raised as reinforcements, four legions were enrolled by the praetor C. Sulpicius and the enrolment was completed within eleven days. The consuls now balloted for their provinces; the praetors had already done so, on account of the jurisdiction. The civic jurisdiction fell to C. Sulpicius, the alien to C. Decimius, Spain to M. Claudius Marcellus, Sicily to Ser. Cornelius Lentulus, Sardinia to P. Fonteius Capito, the command of the fleet to C. Marcius Figulus. Of the two consular provinces, Italy fell to Cn. Servilius and Macedonia to Q. Marcius, and he started as soon as the Latin Festival was over. On Caepio's consulting the senate as to which two out of the four newly-raised legions he should take with him into Gaul, the senate decreed that C. Sulpicius and M. Claudius should give the consul what legions they thought fit out of those they had raised. The consul was highly indignant at being thus subjected to the will of the praetors, and after dismissing the senate stood at the praetors' tribunal and demanded that in accordance with the senate's resolution they should give him two legions. The praetors left the consul at liberty to select them. The censors next revised the roll of the senate. They chose M. Aemilius Lepidus as leader of the House, and they were the third censors who did so. Seven names were removed from the roll. In revising the assessment of the citizens they discovered from the returns how many men from the army in Macedonia were absent from the standards and they compelled them to return to duty. They investigated the grounds of dismissal and in all cases where there did not appear so far any just reason for it they required the following question to be answered on oath: "Will you pledge yourself without reserve or evasion to return to Macedonia in obedience to the edict of the censors, C. Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius?"
[43.16]The revision of the register of the equites was strict and drastic. Many were degraded from the order, and this action was resented by the whole body of the equites. The ill-will thus evoked was further aggravated by an edict which the censors published forbidding anyone who had leased the public taxes or private contracts from the censors C. Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius from attending the present sale or becoming partner or associate in any transaction there. In spite of their frequent protests, the former tax-farmers had been unable to induce the senate to place any restrictions on the censorial powers. At last they got a tribune of the plebs, P. Rutilius, who was hostile to the censors on personal grounds, to champion their cause. The censors had ordered a client of his, a freedman, to pull down a wall which faced a public building in the Via Sacra, because it had been built on ground belonging to the State. The owner appealed to the tribunes. As no one but Rutilius interposed his veto the censors sent men to distrain his goods and imposed a fine. A sharp dispute arose, and when the former tax-farmers had recourse to the tribune, a measure was suddenly brought forward by this one tribune providing that the public and private contracts which had been leased out by C. Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius should be cancelled and all the business done over again, so that everybody might have an equal chance to tender for and work the lease. The tribune fixed a day for the discussion of this proposal in the Assembly. When he appeared, the censors stood forward to oppose the measure. There was silence while Gracchus was speaking, but Claudius met with interruptions and disturbance, and he ordered the usher to call for silence that he might be heard. The tribune declared that by doing this he had withdrawn the Assembly from his control and impugned his authority, and at once left the Capitol where the Assembly had met. The next day he created a serious disturbance. First of all, he pronounced the property of Tiberius Gracchus to be forfeited to the gods because in fining and distraining upon a man who had appealed to a tribune, he had not yielded to his veto and had impugned his authority. He formally impeached C. Claudius because he had withdrawn the Assembly from his control, and he declared that he should bring both censors to trial for high treason, and requested C. Sulpicius to convene the citizens in their centuries to hear and adjudicate on the case. The censors offered no opposition to the people passing judgment on them as soon as possible, and September 24 and 25 were fixed upon as the days for the trial. On this they went up to the Hall of Liberty, sealed up the civic registers, closed the office, dismissed their staff and gave out that they would not deal with any public business whatever until the people had given their verdict. The case of Claudius was taken first. Eight out of the twelve centuries of equites and several other centuries of the first class sentenced him to a fine. No sooner was this known than the leading patricians put off their gold rings in the sight of the people and laid aside their robes, so that they might make a suppliant appeal to the plebs. It is said, however, that the change of mind was mainly due to Tiberius Gracchus. When shouts arose from the plebs on all sides that "Gracchus was in no danger," he took a solemn oath and declared that if his colleague were condemned he would not wait for his own trial, but would be his companion in exile. So little hope, however, had Claudius of acquittal that only eight centuries were wanted to secure his condemnation. Claudius was acquitted, and then the tribune said that he would not keep Gracchus waiting any longer.
[43.17]The Aquileians sent to Rome during the year to ask that the number of colonists might be augmented, and the senate ordered a list to be made of 1500 households. The commissioners who were to settle these colonists were T. Annius Luscus, P. Decius Subulo, and M. Cornelius Cethegus. The two members of the mission sent to Greece, C. Popilius and Cnaeus Octavius, published, first at Thebes and then through all the cities of the Peloponnese, the order of the senate that no one should make any contribution to the Roman commanders other than what the senate had fixed. This order created confidence for the future, for people knew that they were relieved from the incessant drain of the burdens and expenses which had been imposed upon them. They then addressed the council of the Achaeans which had assembled to meet them at Aegium in a most friendly spirit, and met with an equally friendly reception, and they left that loyal and faithful nation completely reassured as to their future position. From there they passed on to Aetolia. Though there was as yet no actual fighting, there was an atmosphere of universal mistrust and mutual recrimination. Under these circumstances they demanded hostages, but were unable to effect a settlement. From there they proceeded to Acarnania; a council was assembled at Thyrium to meet them. There, too there was a party conflict; some of their leaders asked that garrisons might be introduced into their cities to check the madness of those who were trying to draw them to the side of Macedonia; others objected that it would be a disgrace for peaceable and friendly cities to be subjected to the same humiliation as those captured in war. This objection was considered a reasonable one. The commissioners returned to Hostilius at Larisa; Octavius he kept with him, Popilius he sent with 1000 soldiers into winter quarters in Ambracia.
[43.18](B.C. 170-69) In the early days of winter Perseus did not venture beyond his frontiers for fear of the Romans attempting an invasion while he was absent from his kingdom. About mid-winter, however, when snow had blocked the mountain passes on the side of Thessaly, he thought it a good opportunity for crushing the hopes and spirits of his neighbours, so that there might be no danger from them while his attention was wholly devoted to the war with Rome. Cotys was a guarantee of peace on the side of Thrace, and Cephalus, since his sudden defection from Rome, on the side of Epirus, and the late war had tamed the courage of the Dardanians. Macedonia, as Perseus saw, was only open to attack from Illyria. The Illyrians were becoming restless themselves and they were allowing a passage to the Romans; Perseus thought, therefore, that if he crushed their next neighbours, King Gentius, who had long been wavering, might become his ally. Accordingly he marched to Stuberra with a force of 10,000 infantry, some of whom belonged to the phalanx, 2000 light-armed troops and 500 cavalry. Having taken up corn enough to serve for several days and leaving orders for the siege engines to follow, he encamped after a three days' march near Uscana - the largest city in the land of Penestia. Before he had resort to force, however, he sent emissaries to tamper with the loyalty of the officers of the garrison - this was a Roman detachment with some Illyrian troops - or failing that, to work on the feelings of the townsmen. They brought back word that there was no thought of peace, so he began the attack and tried to capture the place by a close investment. Day and night, without any intermission, the troops relieved each other, some bringing up scaling-ladders to the walls, others applying fire to the gates. The defenders, however, held out against this storm of assailants; they expected that the Macedonians would not be able much longer to stand the winter in the open, and they hoped that the exigencies of the war with Rome would make it impossible for them to linger there. When, however, they saw the vineae brought up and the movable towers in motion their resolution gave way. Apart from the fact that their strength was no match for that of the enemy, they had not sufficient supplies either of corn or anything else, for they had not expected a siege. As further resistance was now hopeless, C. Carvilius Spoletinus and C. Afranius were sent by the Roman garrison to ask Perseus to allow them to depart with their arms and belongings; if this were refused, they were to ask him to guarantee them their life and liberty. The king's promise was more generous than his performance, for after telling them to depart and take what they possessed with them, the first thing he did was to deprive them of their arms. After the departure of the Romans the Illyrian cohort, 500 strong, and the Uscanians all surrendered themselves and their city. Perseus posted a garrison there and removed the whole of the population, almost equal in numbers to an army, to Stuberra. The Roman troops, numbering 4000, with the exception of their officers were distributed amongst different cities for safe-keeping; the Uscanians and Illyrians were sold as slaves to the Penestae.
[43.19]After this he led his army back to Oaeneus with the intention of becoming master of the place, as its situation would be a convenience to him as affording amongst other things a passage to Libeates, where Gentius had his seat of government. Whilst he was marching past a strongly held fort called Daudracum, some who knew the country assured him that nothing would be gained by the capture of Oaeneus if Daudracum was not in his power; its position was more advantageous in every way. When he had brought up his army, the whole of the garrison surrendered. He was much elated at gaining the place so much more quickly than he had expected, and as he saw what terror the approach of his army created, he went to reduce eleven other fortified posts in the same way. Very few had to be stormed; the rest surrendered voluntarily, and 1500 Roman soldiers who were stationed in these forts were made prisoners. Carvilius Spoletinus had been most useful to him in negotiating the surrenders by asserting that he and his men had not been treated cruelly or harshly. Then he arrived before Oaeneus. This place could only be taken by a regular siege; it was considerably stronger than the other places both in the number of its defenders and in the strength of its fortifications. It is encircled on one side by the river Artatus, and on the other by a very lofty and almost impassable mountain. These advantages gave the townsmen courage to resist.
Perseus completely invested the town and began to construct a raised way against the upper part of it which was to overtop the walls. While this work was being completed there was continual fighting and sorties in which the townsmen tried to defend their own walls and at the same time impede the progress of the enemy's siege-works. A large part of the population were carried off by the various accidents of war, and the survivors were rendered useless through their wounds and the incessant toil and exertions by day and night alike. As soon as the raised way was connected to the walls the king's cohort, who bear the title of "nicatores," passed over it, and at the same time the walls were scaled at many points and a simultaneous assault was delivered on all sides of the city. All the adult males were put to the sword, their wives and children were placed under guard and the rest of the booty went to the soldiers. After this victory he returned to Stuberra and sent Pleuratus, the Illyrian, who was a refugee in his suite, and Adaeus, a Macedonian from Beroea, on a mission to Gentius. Their instructions were to give an account of Perseus's summer and winter campaigns against the Romans and the Dardanians, and also the results of his winter expedition in Illyria. They were to urge Gentius to form a league of friendship with him and the Macedonians.
[43.20]These envoys crossed the summit of Mount Scordus and made their way through the desert solitudes in Illyria, which the Macedonians had created in their systematic devastations to prevent the Dardanians from finding an easy passage into either Illyria or Macedonia. It was with the utmost difficulty that they at last reached Scodra. The king was at Lissus. He invited them there and lent a favourable ear to what they had been instructed to say. His reply, however, was one of noncommittal; he said that it was not the will to join in the war against Rome that was lacking; the greatest lack of all was the lack of money; this prevented him from attempting what he wished. This reply was brought to the king just when he happened to be selling the Illyrian prisoners. He at once sent the negotiators back again, together with Glaucias, one of his bodyguard, but without a mention of money; though without this the needy barbarian could not have been dragged into the war. After devastating Ancyra, Perseus led his army into Penestia and secured Uscana, and all the fortified places in its neighbourhood which he had captured, with garrisons, after which he returned into Macedonia.
[43.21]L. Coelius was commanding in Illyria. He did not venture to make any movement while the king was in those parts, but after his departure he attempted to recover Uscana from the Macedonians who were garrisoned there. He was, however, repulsed, and a large number of his men were wounded, and he led his force back to Lychnidus. A few days afterwards he sent M. Trebellius Fregellanus with a fairly strong force into Penestia to receive the hostages from those cities which had remained loyal, and then to go on to the Parthini; they, too, had undertaken to furnish hostages. He obtained them from both nations without trouble. Those from the Penestae were sent to Apollonia; those from the Parthini to Dyrrhachium, better known to the Greeks of that day as Epidamnus. Appius Claudius was eager to wipe out the disgrace of his defeat in Illyria and proceeded to attack a stronghold in Epirus. He had with him contingents of Chaonians and Thesprotians, which with his Roman army amounted to 6000 men. The attempt was a complete failure, as Clenas who had been left there by Perseus had a strong force for defence.
Perseus advanced to Elimea and offered the purificatory sacrifices for his army in its neighbourhood. He then marched to Stratus at the call of the Epirots. Stratus was at that time the strongest city in Aetolia. It lies beyond the Ambracian Gulf near the Inachus. Owing to the narrowness and roughness of the roads, Perseus took a comparatively small force with him - 10,000 infantry and 300 cavalry. In a three days' march he reached Mount Citium which, owing to the deep snow, he had great difficulty in crossing, and only after much trouble was he able to find a position for his camp. Resuming his march, more because he could not stay where he was than because the road or the weather made progress tolerable, he encamped the next day, after much hardship and suffering, especially among the animals, at a temple sacred to Jupiter, called Nicaeum. From there he made a very long march to the River Arathus. The depth of the river necessitated his remaining there until a bridge could be built. After his troops had crossed the river he advanced a day's march and met Archidamus, an Aetolian magnate, through whom Stratus was to be betrayed.
[43.22]He encamped on the frontier of Aetolia and the following day appeared before Stratus. Forming his camp near the Inachus, he waited in the expectation that the Aetolians would come in crowds from all the gates and make terms with him. He found the gates shut, and on the very night of his arrival a Roman detachment under C. Popilius had been admitted within the city. As long as Archidamus was in the city he had sufficient influence to compel the aristocratical party to invite the king, but after he had left to meet him, they showed less activity and gave the opposite party an opportunity of calling in Popilius from Ambracia with 1000 infantry. Dinarchus, too, the commandant of the Aetolian cavalry, came in just at the right moment with 600 infantry and 100 cavalry. It was clear that he had gone to Stratus with the intention of supporting Perseus and then changing his mind with the change of circumstances joined the Romans whom he had come to oppose. Surrounded by such fickle people, Popilius neglected no proper precaution. He at once took into his own hands the keys of the gates and the defence of the walls; he removed Dinarchus and his Aetolians and also the fighting force of Stratus into the citadel ostensibly to defend it. Perseus attempted to hold conversations from the hills which looked down on the upper part of the city, but when he found that their determination was unshaken, and that they even prevented his nearer approach by hurling missiles at him, he withdrew to a spot five miles from the city on the side of the River Petitarus where he fixed his camp. Here he held a council of war. Archidamus and the Epirot refugees were for his staying there, but the Macedonian leaders gave it as their opinion that he ought not to fight against the inclemency of the season, with no reserve of supplies, for the besiegers would suffer from the effects of scarcity sooner than the besieged. What alarmed Perseus most was that the enemy's winter quarters were not far away, and he shifted his camp to Aperantia. Archidamus had great weight and influence with that nation and Perseus's presence among them was universally welcomed. Archidamus himself was appointed their governor and furnished with a force of 800 men.
[43.23]The king's return to Macedonia inflicted as much suffering on both man and beast as they had endured in the advance upon Stratus. However, the report of Perseus's march to that city was sufficient to make Appius abandon the siege of Phanote. On his retreat he was followed up by Clenas with a body of vigorous and untiring troops to the almost impassable spurs of the mountain range, and 1000 of his men were killed and 200 made prisoners. Appius struggled through the pass, and remained for a few days in camp in what is known as the Plain of Meleon. Meanwhile Clenas, who had been joined by Philostratus commanding a force of Epirots, invaded the district round Antigonea. The Macedonians went out to devastate the country and Philostratus with his cohort formed an ambush in a darkly overshadowed spot. When the troops in Antigonea hurried out to attack the scattered plunderers, the latter fled and carried their pursuers headlong into the hollow where the ambush was set; 1000 were killed and about 100 made prisoners. As they had been everywhere successful, they moved their camp near to Appius's permanent encampment, to prevent the Roman army from inflicting any injury on the cities which were friendly to them. Appius had been wasting his time in this locality; he sent home the Chaonians and all the Epirots who were with him; returned to Illyria with his Italian soldiers; sent his men into winter quarters in the different cities, and then returned to Rome to offer sacrifices. Perseus recalled 1000 infantry and 200 cavalry from Penestia and sent them to garrison Cassandrea. The envoys who had been sent again to Gentius returned with the same reply, but Perseus persisted in sending fresh envoys time after time; he quite saw what a valuable support he would be to him, but he could not bring himself to spend money over a thing which was in every way of the utmost importance.
End of Book 43
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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