Book 44: Pydna and the Fall of Macedonia
[44.1]At the beginning of the following spring, the consul Q. Marcius Philippus arrived in Brundisium with the 5000 men who were to reinforce his legions. M. Popilius, an ex-consul, and a number of young men of equally noble birth, followed the consul as military tribunes for the legions in Macedonia. C. Marcius Figulus, who was to command the fleet, reached Brundisium at the same time, and he and the consul left Italy together. The following day they made Corcyra, the next day Actium, the seaport of Acarnania. The consul landed at Ambracia and proceeded by land to Thessaly. Figulus sailed past Leucatas and entered the Gulf of Corinth. Leaving his ship at Creusa he hurried on through the middle of Boeotia - a one day's march for a lightly-equipped soldier - to join the fleet at Chalcis. A. Hostilius was at the time in a camp near Palaepharsalus in Thessaly. He had not fought any important action but he had checked the licence and disorder of his soldiers and brought them up to a state of complete military efficiency, and he had been consistently honourable in his conduct towards the allies and protected them from all injustice and oppression. On hearing of the arrival of his successor he made a careful inspection of the arms, the men and the horses, and went to meet the consul with his army in complete equipment. Their first meeting was quite in accord with their rank and their character as Romans, and subsequently they worked in perfect harmony as long as the proconsul stayed with the army.
A few days later the consul addressed his troops. He first alluded to Perseus's contemplated assassination of his father, and his actual murder of his brother, and then went on to describe how, after his crimes had secured him the crown, he had recourse to poisoning and bloodshed; how he laid an infamous plot against Eumenes, inflicted injuries against the people of Rome, and plundered the cities of the allies of Rome in violation of the existing treaty. He would find out in the ruin of his fortunes how hateful all this conduct was to the gods, for the gods bestowed their favour on natural affection and honourable dealing; it was by these that the Roman people gained their lofty position in the world. He next drew a comparison between the strength of Rome, embracing as she does the world, and the strength of Macedonia, army against army. "How much greater," he exclaimed, "were the forces of Philip and Antiochus, and yet they were shattered by armies no stronger than ours today."
[44.2]After kindling the spirits of his men by speeches of this kind, he consulted his staff on the strategy of the war. C. Marius, the praetor, who had taken over the command of the fleet, was also present. They decided not to waste any more time in Thessaly, but to go forward at once into Macedonia, and the praetor was to make a naval attack on the enemy's coast at the same time. The consul issued orders for the soldiers to take a month's supply of corn. Ten days after taking over the command of the army he broke up the camp, and at the end of the first day's march he called the guides together and told them to explain to the council what route each of them would choose. After they had withdrawn he asked the council to say which they thought best. Some preferred the route through the Pythian Pass; others were in favour of the road over the Cambunian Range which the consul Hostilius had taken the previous year; others again chose the road by Lake Ascuris. All these routes had a considerable section in common; the further discussion was therefore adjourned until they reached the point where they began to diverge. From there he marched into Perrhaebia and went into camp between Azorus and Doliche, to hold a second consultation as to the best route to take. During this time Perseus had heard that the enemy were approaching, but did not know which route they were taking. He decided to occupy all the passes, and sent 10,000 light infantry under Asclepiodotus to hold a peak in the Cambunian Range - its local name is Volustana. At a fortified place above Lake Ascuris, called Lapathus, Hippias with 12,000 Macedonians was posted to defend the pass. Perseus himself with the rest of his force formed an entrenched camp at Dium. And here it would almost seem as if his reasoning faculties were benumbed and he was destitute of all resource, for he used to start from his camp at Dium with an escort of light cavalry, and gallop to Heraclea or to Phila, returning at the same speed to Dium.
[44.3]In the meanwhile the consul had made up his mind to march through the pass near Ottolobus, where as already stated the king's forces were; 4000 men were nevertheless sent on in advance to occupy suitable positions. They were under the command of M. Claudius and Q. Marcius, the consul's son. The whole of the force followed very soon afterwards. The road, however, was so steep and rough and stony that the light troops in advance had, with great difficulty, covered only fifteen miles when they formed their camp and rested at a place called Dierum. On the following day they advanced seven miles and after seizing some rising ground not far from the enemy's camp, they sent word to the consul that they had reached the enemy, and had established themselves in a safe and extremely advantageous position, so that he might follow at such speed as he could. The messenger found the consul at Lake Ascuris in a state of anxiety about the difficulties of the route upon which he had entered and also about the fate of those few troops whom he had sent in advance to the positions occupied by the enemy. He was greatly relieved at hearing the message sent him, and marching on with his main body reunited the whole of his force and encamped in an admirable position on the slopes of the hill already occupied. Its height was such that it commanded a view not only of the enemy's camp, which was not more than a mile distant, but of the whole of the country up to Dium and Phila and the far-extended line of the sea coast. The soldiers' spirits rose when they saw the whole weight of the war, the entire military strength of the king and the hostile country so near them. They pressed the consul to lead them at once against the enemy, but he allowed them one day's rest after the toils of the march. The next day, leaving a detachment to guard the camp, he led them out to battle.
[44.4]Hippias had recently been sent by the king to guard the pass, and as soon as he caught sight of the Roman camp on the hill he prepared his men for battle and marched to meet the enemy's column as it advanced. The Romans went into the fight in light equipment; the enemy force, too, consisted of light infantry; these troops are the readiest to commence an action. When the two bodies met they at once discharged their missiles; many wounds were inflicted in their random charges, a few were killed. The following day they engaged in a more exasperated temper and in great strength, and had there been more space in which to deploy their lines a decisive action might have been fought. The summit of the mountain narrows into a wedge-shaped ridge which hardly allows a front to be formed of three men abreast. So while the actual fighting was carried on by a few, the rest, especially the heavy infantry, stood and watched it. The light infantry were able to run forward through the dips in the ridge and attack the flanks of the enemy's light infantry, both where the ground was favourable and where it was not. Night put an end to the battle in which more had been wounded than killed.
The next day the Roman commander was at a loss what to do. To stay on the bare mountain height was impossible; it was equally impossible for him to retreat without loss of honour and even without danger should the enemy attack him from the higher ground. There was only one course left, to carry through the adventure with the same rashness with which he had entered upon it; a policy which the result sometimes proves to be a wise one. Matters had come to this - if the consul had had an enemy like the old kings of Macedonia he might have incurred a crushing defeat. Whilst, however, Perseus was riding with his cavalry along the coast at Dium and heard twelve miles away the noise and clamour of the fighting, he did not strengthen his line by sending fresh men to replace those who had borne the burden of the combat, nor, what was most important of all, did he himself appear on the field. And yet the Roman commander, more than sixty years old and very stout, was discharging personally all the duties of a soldier with unflagging energy. To the very last he showed the same splendid audacity as he had at the beginning. Leaving Popilius to hold the summit he made preparations to cross the ridge and sent men to clear a way where before there was not even a track. Attalus and Misagenes with their two contingents were told off to protect the pioneers. The cavalry and baggage formed the front part of the column, the consul with his legions followed.
[44.5]It is impossible to describe the toil and difficulty they experienced in descending the mountain, with the baggage and animals and their packs perpetually falling. They had hardly gone four miles when the one thing they desired above all else was to return if possible to their starting point. The elephants caused almost as much confusion in the line as the enemy might have done; when they came to places which could not be crossed they flung their drivers off and created great alarm, especially among the horses, by their appalling roar, until a plan was devised for getting them across. The steepness of the slope was measured and two long stout poles were firmly fastened in the ground at the bottom of it somewhat wider apart than the breadth of the animal. On the top of the poles a cross-beam was fastened and with their ends resting on this beam, balks 30 feet long were fastened together so as to form a bridge, and then covered with earth. A short distance away another similar bridge was constructed, and then a third, and so on wherever the descent was precipitous. The elephant went from the solid ground on to the bridge, and just before he reached the lower end of it the poles were cut away and the bridge subsided down to the beginning of the next bridge below it. The elephants were thus compelled to slide quietly down, some on their feet, some on their haunches. When the level of the next bridge was reached. the lower end was made to fall in the same way and the elephants were carried down until they reached more level ground.
The Romans advanced little more than seven miles that day. Very little of this was done on their feet; their mode of progression was for the most part to roll down with their arms and the other things they had to carry in a most uncomfortable and painful manner; so much so indeed that even their general himself who was responsible for the expedition admitted that the entire army could have been annihilated by a small body of assailants. At nightfall they came to a small plain shut in on all sides. They had at last reached a place which afforded them a sure foothold, but they had not much time for looking round and seeing how exposed the position was. The next day they had to wait in this valley for Popilius and the detachment left with him, and these men, though the enemy nowhere threatened them, found a most troublesome enemy in the difficulties of the descent. The army, once more united, marched the next day through the pass called by the natives Callipeuce. From there the march was as rough and difficult as before, but they had learnt by experience and were in a more hopeful mood because the enemy nowhere showed himself, and they were approaching the sea. When they had descended into the level country between Heracleum and Libethrum, they formed their camp. The greater part of the infantry were on rising ground; that part of the plain where the cavalry had their tents was enclosed with the rest by the rampart.
[44.6]The king was having his bath when news was brought of the approach of the enemy. On hearing it he sprang in a panic from his seat and rushed out, exclaiming that he was conquered without a battle. Amidst distracted plans and contradictory orders he sent two of his ''friends", the one to Pella to throw into the sea the treasures that were stored at Phacus, the other to burn the fleet. He recalled Asclepiodotus and Hippias and their troops from the places they were occupying, and left all the approaches to Macedonia open to the enemy. All the gilded statues were carried off from Dium to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, and the inhabitants were forced to remove to Pydna. Thus what might have been thought recklessness on the part of the consul in advancing to a place from which he could not retreat, had the enemy chosen to stop him, was actually made to look like a carefully-planned-out act of daring. The Romans had two passes through which they might emerge from their present position: one through Tempe into Thessaly, the other past Dium and into Macedonia; and both were held by the king's troops. If, therefore, there had been an intrepid general who could have held out for ten days against what at first sight looked like a steadily advancing danger, there would have been no retreat open to the Romans through Tempe into Thessaly, nor any possibility of carrying supplies through; for the pass of Tempe is a difficult one to traverse, even if it is not occupied by an enemy. In addition to the narrowness of the road which for five miles affords scanty footing for a loaded animal, there are on both sides sheer cliffs, so precipitous that you cannot look down without feeling dizzy. The noise and depth of the Peneus flowing through the middle of the ravine adds to the stern and forbidding effect. This district, so strong by nature, was held by detachments of the king's troops at four different places. One was posted at the mouth of the pass at Gonnus; a second in Condylus, an impregnable stronghold; a third at Lapathus, which they call Charax; a fourth on the road itself in the middle of the narrowest part of the valley. where ten men could easily make a successful defence.
The conveyance of supplies and their own return through Tempe were thus alike cut off, and they would have had to make their way back to the mountains over which they had come. They had escaped the observation of the enemy before; they could not do so now with his troops posted on the commanding heights, and the difficulties they had experienced destroyed all hopes. There was no course left in this rash adventure but to go through the midst of the enemy and enter Macedonia by way of Dium, and this, if the gods had not deprived the king of his reason, would have been a task of enormous difficulty. The spurs of Mount Olympus leave only a width of a mile between the mountain and the sea. Half this space is filled by the broad marshes at the mouth of the Baphyrus, the rest of the ground is taken up either by the temple of Jupiter or the town itself. The little bit that is left could be blocked by a small fosse and rampart, and there was such a quantity of stones and growing timber at hand that a wall might have been thrown up and turrets raised. Blinded by the suddenness of the danger, the king took none of these things into consideration; he withdrew his garrisons, leaving every place open and defenceless, and fled to Pydna.
[44.7]The consul saw in the foolish and cowardly conduct of his enemy the strongest assurance of safety for himself and his army, and the bright prospect of final victory. Orders were despatched to Sp. Lucretius at Larisa to seize the strongholds round Tempe which the enemy had abandoned and Popilius was sent forward to reconnoitre the passes round Dium. When he found that the country was clear in every direction he made an advance, and after marching for two days arrived at Dium. He ordered the site for the camp to be marked out just under the temple in order that the sanctity of the place might in no way be violated. On entering the place he found that though it was not large, it was, nevertheless, so adorned by public buildings and a whole multitude of statues, and so strongly fortified, that it was difficult to believe there was not some sinister motive behind the purposeless abandonment of so much wealth and splendour. After spending a day in thoroughly exploring the neighbourhood, he resumed his advance, and in the belief that there would be an abundant supply of corn in Pieria, he marched as far as the River Mitys, and the next day to Agassae. The population surrendered this city to him, and with the view of making a favourable impression on the rest of the Macedonians, he contented himself with demanding hostages, and left the city without stationing a garrison and promised that the citizens should be exempt from tribute and live under their own laws. Another day's march brought him to the River Ascordus, where he encamped. As he found that the further he advanced from Thessaly the greater was the difficulty of obtaining any supplies whatever, he returned to Dium, and there was no doubt in any one's mind as to what they would have had to endure had they been cut off altogether from Thessaly, seeing that it was not safe to march any distance from it. Perseus assembled all his troops together with their generals and severely censured the commandants of the garrisons - Asclepiodotus and Hippias most of all. He declared that they had handed over the keys of Macedonia to the Romans, but no one could more justly be charged with this than he himself. When the consul descried the fleet out at sea, he quite hoped that the ships were bringing supplies, for provisions were extremely dear and the supply almost exhausted. But from those who had already entered the harbour he learnt that the cargo ships had been left behind at Magnesia. Whilst he was quite undecided what to do - for he had to contend with the difficulties of the situation quite apart from anything the enemy might do to aggravate them - a despatch was handed to him from Sp. Lucretius stating that he had discovered that the strongholds commanding the Vale of Tempe, and those in the neighbourhood of Phila, all held abundance of corn and of other necessary supplies.
[44.8]The consul was highly delighted at receiving this information and marched from Dium to Phila that he might strengthen the garrison there, and at the same time distribute the corn to his men, as the supplies were being so slowly brought up. This movement provoked comments that were anything but favourable. Some said he retreated through fear of the enemy, because had he remained in Pieria he would have had to give battle. Others held that unaware of the perpetual changes of fortune, he had thrown away the opportunities which presented themselves, and let slip through his fingers what it would very soon be impossible to recover. For the evacuation of Dium woke up his enemy, who then for the first time realised the necessity of recovering what had been previously lost through his own fault. When he heard of the consul's withdrawal he returned to Dium, repaired what had been shattered and devastated by the Romans, replaced the battlements which had been shaken down, strengthened the walls in all directions, and finally fixed his camp on the other bank of the Elpeus. This river is an extremely dangerous one to cross, and it served to protect his camp. It rises on Mount Olympus; in summer it is a narrow brook, but when swollen by winter storms it rushes over the boulders in enormous eddies and washing out the earth at the bottom and carrying it down to the sea, it forms whirlpools of great depth, and the continual hollowing out of the channel leaves the banks precipitous on both sides. As Perseus believed that the advance of the enemy would be arrested by this river, it was his intention to spend the rest of the summer there. The consul meanwhile sent Popilius with 2000 men from Phila to Heracleum. This place is about five miles distant from Phila, midway between Dium and Tempe, and is situated on a cliff which overhangs the river.
[44.9]Before Popilius commenced the assault he tried to induce the magistrates and chief men to test the good faith and clemency of the Romans rather than their strength. His appeal made no impression on them, for they saw the fires in the distance of the king's camp by the Elpeus. Then the attack began in earnest, by land and also by sea - for the fleet was moored off the shore - by direct assault as well as by the employment of siege engines and artillery. Some young Romans turned their training in the Circus games to purposes of war and in this way seized the lowest portion of the wall. Before the extravagant habit came in of filling the Circus with animals from all parts of the world, it was the practice to devise various forms of amusement, as the chariot and horse races were over within the hour. Amongst other exhibitions, bodies of youths, numbering generally about sixty, but larger in the more elaborate games, were introduced fully armed. To some extent they represented the maneuvers of an army, but their movements were more skilful and resembled more nearly the combat of gladiators. After going through various evolutions, they formed a solid square with their shields held over their heads, touching one another; those in the front rank standing erect; those in the second slightly stooping; those in the third and fourth bending lower and lower; whilst those in the rear rank rested on their knees. In this way they formed a testudo, which sloped like the roof of a house. From a distance of fifty feet two fully armed men ran forward and, pretending to threaten one another, went from the lowest to the highest part of the testudo over the closely locked shields; at one moment assuming an attitude of defiance on the very edge, and then rushing at one another in the middle of it just as though they were jumping about on solid ground.
A testudo formed in this way was brought up against the lowest part of the wall. When the soldiers who were mounted on it came close up to the wall they were at the same height as the defenders, and when these were driven off, the soldiers of two companies climbed over into the city. The only difference was that the front rank and the files did not raise their shields above their heads for fear of exposing themselves; they held them in front as in battle. Thus they were not hit by the missiles from the walls, and those which were hurled on the testudo rolled off harmlessly to the ground like a shower of rain from the roof of a house. Now that Heracleum was taken, the consul encamped there, apparently with the intention of marching to Dium and, after driving the king from there, on to Pieria. But he was already making his preparations for wintering, and ordered roads to be constructed for the transport of supplies from Thessaly, suitable places for storing corn to be selected and houses to be built where those who brought up the supplies could be lodged.
[44.10]When Perseus had recovered from his panic, he began to wish that his commands had not been obeyed, when in his hurry he ordered his treasure at Pella to be thrown into the sea and the naval arsenal at Thessalonica to be burnt. Andronicus, who had been sent for that purpose to Thessalonica, had delayed carrying out his orders and, as it happened, left the king time for repentance. Nicias was not so cautious and had thrown that part of the money which was lying at Phacus overboard, but the mistake proved to be not irremediable, for almost the whole was fished up by divers. The king was so ashamed of his fright that he ordered the divers to be secretly put to death, and the same fate overtook Andronicus and Nicias, in order that no one alive might know anything about his insane orders. C. Marcius sailed with his fleet from Heracleum to Thessalonica and disembarking armed forces on many points along the coast devastated the country far and wide. He engaged successfully the troops who hurried out of the city and drove them back in hasty flight to the shelter of their walls. He was now creating alarm in the city itself, but the citizens placed artillery of all kinds on the walls, and not only those who ventured near the walls but even the men on board were hit by the stones which hurtled from their engines. The troops were accordingly ordered again on board and the siege of Thessalonica was abandoned. They sailed thence to Aelia, about fifteen miles distant, lying opposite to Pydna, and possessing a fertile soil. After devastating this district they coasted along as far as Antigonea. Here they went ashore and carried off a considerable amount of plunder to the ships. While thus engaged they were attacked by a composite force of Macedonian infantry and cavalry, who put them to flight and pursued them down to the shore, killing some 500 of them and taking quite as many prisoners. Finding themselves prevented from gaining the safe shelter of their ships, the very necessity of their situation rekindled the courage of the Romans, and under the incentives of shame and despair they renewed the fight on the beach. The men in the ships helped them and about 200 Macedonians were slain and an equal number were taken prisoners.
[44.11]The fleet sailed on to the territory of Pallene where they went ashore to plunder. This district, by far the most fertile of all those on the coast along which they had sailed, belonged to Cassandrea. Here Eumenes, who had sailed from Elaea, met them with twenty decked ships, and five had also been sent by Prusias. This accession of strength emboldened the praetor to attempt the capture of Cassandrea. This city was built by Cassander on the narrow isthmus which connects the district of Pallene with the rest of Macedonia, and is washed on one side by the Toronaic Gulf and on the other by the Gulf of Macedonia. The tongue of land on which it stands projects into the sea, forming a promontory equal in extent to the towering Mount Athos. In the direction of Magnesia it has two headlands; the larger one is called the Posideum, the smaller the Cape of Canastra. The attack was commenced on two sides. The Roman commander, at a place called Clitae, carried his lines through from the Macedonian to the Toronaic Gulf and hedged them with forked poles to cut off all communication with the north. On the other side there was a canal, and here Eumenes was operating. The Romans had a very heavy task in filling up a fosse which Perseus had recently excavated for the defence of the town. The praetor, seeing no heaps lying about anywhere, enquired where the earth out of the fosse had been carried. Some arches were pointed out to him which had been built, not up to the thickness of the old wall, but to that of a single brick. The consul formed the design of breaking through these and penetrating into the city, and he thought he might do this unobserved, if the scaling parties assaulted the walls elsewhere and called off the defenders to these threatened points. The garrison of Cassandrea consisted of a far from contemptible force of able-bodied townsmen, and in addition 800 Agrianes and 2000 Illyrians sent by Pleuratus from Peneste, all keen fighters. Whilst these were defending the walls where the Romans were doing their utmost to surmount them, the brickwork of the arches was broken down in a moment and the city laid open. If those who had made the breaches had been armed, they would have taken the place at once. When the soldiers heard that this had been effected, they were so delighted that they raised a sudden cheer and prepared to break into the city at various points.
[44.12]For a moment the enemy wondered what this sudden cheer meant. Then, on learning that the city lay open, the commandants of the garrison, Pytho and Philip, thinking that this would be an advantage to whichever side was the first to attack, made a sortie with a strong body of Agrianes and Illyrians and charged the Romans who were coming up from all sides and were massing with the intention of entering the city in regular formation. Unable to present a firm front or proper line of battle, they were routed and pursued as far as the fosse, into which they were driven headlong, and lay in heaps. Nearly 600 were killed there, and almost all who were caught between the wall and the fosse were wounded. His attempt thus recoiling on himself made the praetor somewhat slow in forming other plans. Eumenes, too, who was making a combined attack by land and sea, was equally unsuccessful. It was decided therefore to post strong detachments on both sides of the city to prevent any succour being introduced from Macedonia, and then, as direct assault had failed, to commence a regular siege. Whilst they were preparing for this, ten swift ships belonging to Perseus's fleet were sent up from Thessalonica with a picked force of Gaulish mercenaries on board. When they caught sight of the Roman fleet standing out to sea, they waited till the depth of night, and then sailing in single line they made for the nearest point on which to disembark, and so entered the city. The news of this addition to the defence compelled Eumenes and the Romans to raise the siege. Sailing round the promontory they brought up at Torone. This place, too, they prepared to attack, but on finding that there was a strong body of defenders they gave up the attempt and shaped their course to Demetrias. On approaching the walls they saw that they were fully manned, so they sailed on to Iolcus, intending after devastating the district to attack Demetrias from that side.
[44.13]In order that he might not remain perfectly inactive in the enemy's country, the consul sent M. Popilius with 5000 men to attack Meliboea. This city lies on the lower spurs of Ossa, looking towards Thrace and in a position to command Demetrias. At first the appearance of the enemy dismayed the inhabitants, but on recovering from their alarm, they flew to arms and ran to the gates and walls, wherever they suspected that an entrance might be forced, and in this way put an end to any hopes that the city might be taken at the first assault. Preparations were accordingly made for a regular siege and the construction of the necessary works was commenced. Perseus heard that Meliboea was being attacked by the consul's army and that the fleet was lying off Iolcus, preparatory to an attack on Demetrias. He sent one of his generals, a man called Euphranor, with a picked force of 2000 men to Meliboea. This officer was ordered, in case he cleared the Romans away from Meliboea, to make a secret march to Demetrias and enter the city before the Romans advanced against it from Iolcus. His sudden appearance on the ground above the Roman lines created great alarm amongst the besiegers of Meliboea; their works were abandoned and burnt. The siege of the one city being raised, Euphranor hurried on to Demetrias. In the night . . . not only the walls . . . but even their fields they felt sure could be protected from ravages. They made sorties and attacked the scattered groups of plunderers, not without wounding many of them. However, the praetor and Eumenes rode round the walls, examining the situation of the city, to see if they could not make an attempt somewhere, either by siege-works or by storm. There was a rumour that negotiations for the establishment of friendly relations between Perseus and Eumenes had been carried on by Cydas of Crete and Antimachus, the governor of Demetrias. At all events, the Romans withdrew from Demetrias. Eumenes sailed away to visit the consul, and after congratulating him upon his successful invasion of Macedonia, went home. The praetor sent part of his fleet to Sciathus to lie up for the winter; with the rest of his ships he steered for Oreum in Euboea, as he considered that city the most suitable base from which supplies could be sent to the armies in Macedonia and Thessaly. Very different accounts are given of Eumenes. If you are to believe Valerius Antias, the praetor received no assistance from his fleet, though he had often written for his co-operation, and further, when he left for Asia, he was not on good terms with the consul, nor could the consul induce him to leave behind the Gaulish cavalry whom he had brought with him. Valerius goes on to say that Eumenes's brother Attalus remained with the consul, was unswervingly loyal to him and rendered splendid service in the war.
[44.14]Whilst the Macedonian war was going on, envoys from a Transalpine Gaulish chieftain Balanos - his name is given but not that of his tribe - went to Rome with promises of assistance in the war. Thanks were accorded to them by the senate, and presents sent to their chief - a golden chain, two pounds in weight, and four golden bowls, each weighing one pound, a horse with all its trappings, and a complete set of equestrian armour. The Gauls were followed by a deputation from Pamphylia, who brought into the senate-house a golden crown made out of 20,000 "philippei," and begged that they might be allowed to place it as an offering in the shrine of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in the Capitol. Permission was granted, and the senate also acceded to their request for a renewal of the league of friendship with Rome; they each received a present of 2000 ases. An audience was then granted to envoys from Prusias, and shortly afterwards to those from Rhodes. Both embassies dealt with the same subject, but on very different lines; they both pleaded for peace with Perseus. The tone of Prusias's representatives was one of entreaty rather than demand. Prusias declared that he had stood by the Romans up to that time, and would continue to do so as long as the war lasted, but when envoys from Perseus approached him with the object of bringing the war with Rome to an end he had promised to intercede for him with the senate. He begged them, if they could make up their minds to lay aside their resentment, to look favourably upon him as the instrument of procuring peace. Such was the appeal which the king's envoys made.
The Rhodians were far less deprecatory. They enumerated the services they had rendered to the people of Rome, and practically claimed the greater share in the victory over Antiochus at all events. Whilst there was peace between Macedonia and Rome, friendly relations were formed between them and Perseus. Much against their will they had broken off that friendship, without his having done anything to deserve such treatment, because the Romans had thought good to draw them as allies into the war. For three years they had been suffering many of the evils of war; the sea had been closed to them, and without supplies by sea their island was in a state of destitution. They could not put up with this state of things any longer, and had therefore sent to Macedonia to inform Perseus that the Rhodians wished him to come to terms with Rome, and they had sent their envoys on a similar mission to Rome. The Rhodians would consider how they would have to act against those who prevented the war from being brought to a close. I am quite certain that even today such language cannot be read or heard without a deep feeling of indignation. It can then be imagined what the state of mind of the senators was as they listened to it.
[44.15]According to Claudius no reply was vouchsafed to them, but the decree of the senate was read over, in which the people of Rome made an order that Caria and Lycia should be free States, and it was decided that this decree should be at once transmitted to both nations. On hearing this the leader of the legation, whose boastful language the House had a few moments before hardly been able to endure, fell down in a state of collapse. Other writers assert the reply they received was to the following effect: At the outset of the war the Roman people had ascertained on trustworthy evidence that the Rhodians had been forming secret designs in conjunction with Perseus against the Republic, and if there had been any doubt as to this before, the language of the envoys had now reduced it to a certainty. Dishonest dealing, even if at the beginning it has been somewhat cautious, generally betrays itself in the long run. The Rhodians were now acting as arbitrators of peace and war over the whole world; the Romans were to take up and lay down their arms at the beck and nod of Rhodes; it was no longer the gods who were to be invoked as the witnesses and guardians of treaties, but the Rhodians. Was this really so? Unless they obeyed the orders of Rhodes and withdrew their armies from Macedonia, were the Rhodians going to consider what steps to take? What steps they would take the Rhodians knew best, but the people of Rome would consider, after Perseus had been crushed, and they hoped that time was not far off, what recompense they should make to each State according to its deserts in that war. However, a present of 2000 ases was sent to each of the delegates, but they refused to accept it.
[44.16]The next thing was a despatch from the consul Q. Marcius, which was read in the senate, describing his march over the mountains and his invasion of Macedonia. Supplies had been accumulated there and drawn from other places against the winter, and he had received from the Epirots 20,000 modii of wheat and 10,000 of barley on the understanding that the money for that corn should be paid to their agents in Rome. Clothing for the soldiers would have to be sent from Rome; about 200 horses were needed, mainly for the Numidians; he had no chance of getting them in the country where he was. The senate made an order that everything should be carried out in accordance with the consults requirements. The praetor C. Sulpicius contracted for the supply of 6000 togas, 30,000 tunics and 200 horses to be transported to Macedonia and delivered to the consul, subject to his approval. He also paid the Epirot representatives for the corn and introduced to the senate Onesimus the son of Pytho, a Macedonian of high rank, who had always urged peaceful counsels on the king and advised him to keep up the custom, which his father Philip had observed to the last days of his life, of reading over twice daily the text of his treaty with Rome, or if he could not always do so, to do it frequently. When he saw that he could not deter him from war, he gradually withdrew himself on various pretexts from attendance on the king so that he might not be involved in proceedings which he did not approve of. At last, when he found that he had aroused suspicion and that now and again charges of treason were brought against him, he went over to the Romans and became extremely useful to the consul.
On his introduction to the senate he mentioned these circumstances, and the senate made an order for him to be formally enrolled amongst the allies, quarters and free hospitality to be provided for him, 200 jugera of the State domain in the Tarentine district to be allotted to him, and a house to be purchased for him in Tarentum. The praetor C. Decimius was charged with the execution of this order. On December 13 the censors revised the roll of burgesses more strictly than on the last occasion. Many of the equites were degraded; amongst them P. Rutilius who, as tribune of the plebs, had shown so much bitterness in prosecuting them. He was now expelled from his tribe and registered among the aerarii. On a resolution of the senate, half the proceeds of the year's revenue was assigned to them by the quaestor for the construction of public works. Out of the sum allotted to him Tiberius Sempronius purchased for the State the dwelling-house of P. Africanus behind the "Old Shops" by the statue of Vertumnus, together with the butchers' stalls and the booths adjoining. He also signed a contract for the construction of the building afterwards known as the Basilica Sempronia.
[44.17]It was now near the end of the year and as men's thoughts were mainly preoccupied with the Macedonian war, there was much discussion as to whom they were to choose as consuls for the year to bring the war to a close. The senate accordingly passed a resolution that Cneius Servilius should come to hold the elections as soon as possible. The praetor Sulpicius forwarded the resolution to the consul and a despatch was received from him a few days later which he read to the senate, in which he said that he would come to the City on . . . The consul arrived in good time and the elections were held on the day fixed. The new consuls were L. Aemilius Paulus for the second time, fourteen years after his first consulship, and C. Licinius Crassus. The election of praetors followed. Anxiety about the Macedonian war stimulated the senate to expedite all their business. They desired the consuls designate to ballot for their provinces immediately, so that as soon as it was known to which consul Macedonia was allotted, and which praetor was to command the fleet, they might at once form their plans and make every preparation for the war, and in case the necessity arose, refer any question to the senate. When they had entered upon office, the magistrates were to celebrate the Latin Festival at the earliest date which the religious observances connected with it allowed, in order that nothing might detain the consul who was to go to Macedonia. Macedonia fell to Aemilius, the other consular province was Italy and that fell to Licinius. The praetors' provinces were assigned as follows: Cn. Baebius received the civic and L. Anicius the alien jurisdiction; the latter was to be at the disposal of the senate for any special service. Cn. Octavius took the command of the fleet, P. Fonteius went to Spain, M. Aebutius to Sicily, and C. Papirius to Sardinia.
[44.18]It very soon became clear to everybody that L. Aemilius was not going to show any lack of energy in the prosecution of the war; amongst other proofs of this was the exclusive attention he gave night and day to everything that had to do with it. The very first thing he did was to ask the senate to send a commission to Macedonia to inspect the armies and the fleet and to report from their own personal knowledge what was required for the land and sea forces. They were also to find out what they could about the king's troops and how much of the country was under our control and how much under the king's, and whether the Romans were still encamped in mountainous and difficult country, or whether they had cleared all the passes and reached open country. Then with regard to our allies they were to ascertain who were still faithful, who were making their fidelity depend upon the issue of the war, and what States were openly hostile. They were further to find out what amount of supplies had been accumulated; from what sources further supplies could be brought by land or sea; and what were the results of the year's campaign by land and sea. When accurate information on these points had been received, it would be possible to form definite plans for the future. The senate authorised the consul Cn. Servilius to send as commissioners into Macedonia those whom L. Aemilius approved of. Those selected were C. Domitius Ahenobarbus, A. Licinius Nerva, and L. Baebius. They started in two days' time. As the year was closing, reports came in of two showers of stones: one in the Roman district, the other on Veientine ground. Intercessions and sacrifices were offered for nine days on each occasion. Two members of the priesthood died this year: P. Quinctilius Varus, a Flamen of Mars, and M. Claudius Marcellus, a keeper of the Sacred Books. Cn. Octavius was appointed in his place. It has been noted as a sign of the increasing scale on which the Circus games were conducted that in those of the curule aediles P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica and P. Lentulus, sixty-three African panthers and forty bears and elephants formed part of the show.
[44.19]The new consuls, L. Aemilius Paulus and C. Licinius, entered on their duties at the beginning of the year, March 15. The senate were mainly anxious to know what the consul who was to command in Macedonia had to report about his province. Paulus said that he had nothing to lay before them, as the commissioners had not yet returned; after being twice driven out of their course back to Dyrrhachium they were now at Brundisium. When he had received the necessary information, which would be in a very few days. he would make his report. That nothing might delay his departure, he had fixed the Latin Festival for April 12. When the sacrifice had been duly performed, he and Cn. Octavius would go as soon as the senate authorised their departure. In his absence it would be his colleague's care to see that whatever had to be prepared or despatched to the war would be got ready and sent off. Meantime the foreign deputations could be received in audience.
The first to be called in were the envoys from the two monarchs, Ptolemy and Cleopatra. They were in mourning garb with beard and hair untrimmed, and when they entered the House holding the olive branch of supplication, they prostrated themselves to the ground. Their language was even more piteous than their dress. Antiochus, king of Syria, who had been in Rome as a hostage, was now, under the specious pretext of restoring the elder Ptolemy to his throne, waging war against his younger brother and was threatening Alexandria at the time. He had won a naval victory off Pelusium, and after hurriedly throwing a bridge over the Nile he had led his army across, and was terrifying Alexandria with the prospect of a siege, and it seemed almost certain that he would gain possession of the powerful realm of Egypt. After stating these facts the envoys implored the senate, to come to the assistance of the kingdom and its rulers, who were friends of Rome. They urged that the kindness which the Roman people had shown to Antiochus and their authority amongst all kings and nations were such that if they sent word to him and informed him that the senate disapproved of war being levied against monarchs who were their friends, he would at once quit the walls of Alexandria and take his army back to Syria. If the senate hesitated to do this, they would soon have Ptolemy and Cleopatra coming as fugitives from their realm, and the Roman people would feel somewhat ashamed at not having sent them help in their extremity. The senators were much moved by the appeal of the Alexandrians, and at once sent C. Popilius Laenas, C. Decimius and C. Hostilius to put an end to the war between the monarchs. They were instructed to approach Antiochus first and then Ptolemy, and announce to them that if they did not abstain from war they should not regard the one who was responsible for its continuance as either a friend or an ally.
[44.20]The Roman delegates accompanied by the Alexandrians left in three days' time. On the last day of the Quinquatrus the commissioners arrived from Macedonia. Their return had been so anxiously awaited that had it not been in the evening the consuls would at once have convened the senate. The next day the senate gave them audience. They reported that the passage of the army over pathless mountains had resulted in more peril than profit. They had advanced into Pieria, but the king was holding the country, and the armies were in such close contact that only the River Enipeus separated them. The king did not give any opportunity of fighting, nor were our men strong enough to force a battle; winter, too, had stopped active operations; our men were living in idleness, and had not corn for more than six . . . The Macedonians were said to number 30,000 fighting men. If Appius Claudius had had a strong enough army at Lychnidus, the king might have had his attention distracted between two fronts; at the present moment, Appius and such force as he had with him were in the utmost danger, unless either a regular army was sent there without delay, or they were withdrawn from their present position. On leaving the camp they proceeded to the fleet. Here they learnt that some of the crews had been carried off by disease, some, mostly the Sicilian seamen, had gone home, and the ships were undermanned; the men who were in them had not received their pay and were without proper clothing. Eumenes and his fleet had come and gone without any apparent reason, just as though they had been carried there by the wind; no dependence could be placed on that king. Whilst all Eumenes's movements were doubtful, Attalus was behaving with exemplary fidelity.
[44.21]When the commissioners had been heard, L. Aemilius said that the question before the House was the conduct of the war. The senate decreed that the consuls and the people should each appoint an equal number of military tribunes for the eight legions, but they wished that none should be appointed that year who had not held high office; L. Aemilius was to choose out of the whole number those whom he wished for the two legions in Macedonia, and when the Latin Festival was over the consul and Cn. Octavius, the praetor who was to command the fleet, should leave for their respective commands. In addition to these, L. Anicius, who had the alien jurisdiction, was to go to Illyria and succeed Appius Claudius in command at Lychnidus. The task of raising fresh troops was imposed on the consul C. Licinius. He was ordered to enrol 7000 Roman citizens and 200 cavalry, and from the Latin allies 7000 infantry and 400 cavalry. He was also to send written instructions to Cn. Servilius in Gaul, requiring him to enrol 600 cavalry. He was to send this new army as soon as possible to his colleague in Macedonia. In that province there were not more than two legions: they were each to be brought up to the full strength of 6000 infantry and 300 cavalry; the rest of the infantry and cavalry were to be distributed amongst the various garrisons; those who were unfit for military service were to be discharged. There were, in addition, the 10,000 infantry and 800 cavalry furnished by the allies. This force was supplementary to the two legions, each consisting of 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry, which Anicius was ordered to transport to Macedonia; 5000 seamen were also conscripted for the fleet. Licinius was ordered to hold his province with the two legions and the 10,000 infantry and 800 cavalry from the allies.
[44.22]After the senate had made all these arrangements, the consul L. Aemilius left the House and proceeded to the Assembly, where he delivered the following speech: "I think, Quirites, that my having received, through the ballot, Macedonia as my province has been greeted more warmly than when I was congratulated on my election as consul, or on the day when I entered on office. And the sole reason for this, I believe, is that you thought I could be the means of bringing this long-protracted war to such a close as shall be worthy of the greatness of Rome. I hope that the decision of the ballot has been regarded with favour by the gods also, and that they will aid me in executing the task before me. Some things I can prognosticate, others I can feel hopeful about. This I venture to affirm with absolute certainty - I will strive to the utmost of my power, that the hopes you have formed of me shall not turn out to be vain. All measures necessary for the war the senate has already taken, and as they have decided that I must start immediately, and there is nothing to hinder me, my distinguished colleague, C. Licinius, will carry out those measures with as much energy as if he himself were going to conduct the war.
"What I write to the senate or to you, I ask you to believe, and not strengthen, by giving credence to them, the idle rumours of which no one will confess himself the author. For it is a common experience, and I have noticed it especially in this war, that no one can be so indifferent to public opinion as not to find his courage and energy influenced by it. In all public places where people congregate, and actually - would you believe it! - in private parties, there are men who know who are leading the armies into Macedonia, where their camps ought to be placed, what strategical positions ought to be occupied, when and by what pass Macedonia ought to be entered, where the magazines are to be formed, by what mode of land and sea transport supplies are to be conveyed, when actions are to be fought, and when it is better to remain inactive. And they not only lay down what ought to be done, but when anything is done contrary to their opinion they arraign the consul as though he were being impeached before the Assembly. This greatly interferes with the successful prosecution of a war, for it is not everybody who can show such firmness and resolution in the teeth of hostile criticism as Fabius did; he preferred to have his authority weakened by the ignorance and caprice of the people rather than gain popularity by disservice to the State. I am not one of those who think that generals are not to be advised; on the contrary, the man who always acts on his own initiative shows, in my judgment, more arrogance than wisdom. How then does the case stand? Commanders ought first of all to get the advice of thoughtful and far-seeing men who have special experience of military affairs; then from those who are taking part in the operations, who know the country and recognise a favourable opportunity when it comes, who, like comrades on a voyage, share the same dangers. If, then, there is any man who in the interests of the commonwealth feels confident that he can give me good advice in the war which I am to conduct, let him not refuse to help his country, but go with me to Macedonia. I will supply him with a ship, a horse, a tent, and with his travelling expenses as well. If anyone thinks this too much trouble, let him not try to act as a sea pilot whilst he is on land. The city itself affords plenty of subjects for conversation, let him confine his loquacity to these; he may rest assured that the discussions in our councils of war will satisfy us." After delivering this speech and offering the customary sacrifice on the Alban Mount at the Latin Festival on March 31, the consul left, in company with the praetor, for Macedonia. It is recorded that the consul was escorted by an unusually large crowd of well-wishers, and that people predicted with hopeful confidence the near close of the Macedonian war and the early return and brilliant triumph of the consul.
[44.23]During these proceedings in Italy, Perseus could not make up his mind to carry out his project of gaining Gentius, king of the Illyrians, as an ally, as he would have to spend money in so doing. But when he found that the Romans had cleared the passes and that the supreme crisis of the war was at hand, he felt that this business ought not to be put off any longer. Through Hippias, who acted for him, he agreed to pay a sum of 300 silver talents on condition that hostages were exchanged on both sides. Pantauchus, one of his closest friends, was sent to complete the transaction. Pantauchus met the Illyrian king at Meteon in the district of Libea, and there he received the king's sworn word and the hostages. Gentius sent as his representative a man called Olympius to claim from Perseus his sworn word and the hostages. Men were sent with him to receive the money, and at the suggestion of Pantauchus, Parmenio and Morcus were selected to accompany them to Rhodes. Their instructions were not to go to Rhodes till they had received the king's sworn word and the hostages, as at the request of both kings the Rhodians might be induced to declare war against Rome. The adhesion of that nation, whose naval reputation was then at its height, would, it was supposed, leave the Romans no hope of victory either on sea or land. Perseus went from his camp by the Elpeus with all his cavalry, and met the Illyrians at Dium. There, with the cavalry drawn up all round them, the contracting parties ratified the covenant between them, Perseus thinking that their presence at this solemn ratification would give them fresh courage. Then the hostages were exchanged in the sight of all; those who were to receive the money were then sent to the royal treasury at Pella; those who were to accompany the Illyrian envoys to Rhodes received instructions to embark at Thessalonica. Metrodorus, who had recently come from Rhodes, was there, and he asserted on the authority of Dinon and Polyaratus, leading men in the city, that the Rhodians were prepared for war. He was appointed head of the joint Macedonian and Illyrian legation.
[44.24]At the same time some considerations, suggested by the political conditions of the time, were submitted in common to Eumenes and Antiochus. Perseus reminded them that free commonwealths and monarchs are in the nature of things antagonistic. Rome was attacking them one by one, and what was still worse, kings were using their power against kings. His own father had been crushed by the help of Attalus; the attack on Antiochus had been made with the assistance of Eumenes and, to some extent, of his own father Philip; now Eumenes and Prusias were in arms against himself. If royalty were abolished in Macedonia, Asia would be the next. They had already become masters of some parts of it under the pretext of making the cities free. Then Syria's turn would come. Prusias was now held in higher honour than Eumenes, and Antiochus was kept out of the Egypt which he had conquered - the prize of war. He urged them to reflect on these things, and either insist upon the Romans making peace with him, or else regard those who persisted in carrying on an unjust war as the common enemies of all kings. The communication to Antiochus was sent openly, the emissary to Eumenes was sent ostensibly to arrange for the ransom of the prisoners. As a matter of fact, more clandestine negotiations were going on, which for the time aroused suspicion and ill-will against Eumenes amongst the Romans, and still graver, though unfounded, charges were made against him, for he was regarded as a traitor and a declared enemy. There was a Cretan called Cydas, an intimate friend of Eumenes. This man went with a certain Chimarus, a country man of his, who was serving under Perseus, to Amphipolis, then afterwards to Demetrias, where he held conversations under the actual walls of the city, first with Menecrates and then with Antimachus, both of them generals of Perseus. Hierophon also, who was the emissary on this occasion, had previously been on two missions to Eumenes. These secret missions and colloquies were notorious, but what had actually taken place, or what agreement had been come to between the monarchs, was not known. The facts were these.
[44.25]Eumenes was not eager for Perseus to be victorious, nor had he any intention of helping him in the war, not so much because of the differences he had with his father as because of personal aversion he and the son felt for each other. The jealousy of the two monarchs was such that Eumenes would not have seen with complacency Perseus winning such an accession of power and glory as would have awaited him had he defeated the Romans. He knew also that from the very beginning of the war Perseus had tried every means of gaining peace, and the nearer the danger the more his actions and thoughts were, day and night, turned to this object. As regarded the Romans, he believed that since the war had dragged on longer than they expected, both their generals and the senate would not be averse from bringing to a close such a tedious and difficult war. Having thus discovered what both sides wished for, he was all the more desirous of winning their good graces by offering for a consideration his assistance towards securing what he believed would come about of itself through the weariness of the stronger and the fears of the weaker side. He fixed his price in the one case for not lending assistance to the Romans either by land or sea, and in the other for mediating peace. For refusing assistance he asked 1000 talents, for bringing about peace, 1500. Impelled by his fears Perseus was very prompt in commencing negotiations and made no delay in discussing the question of hostages; it was settled that those whom he received should be sent to Crete. But when it came to the mention of money he drew back and said that a money payment for another object would, between monarchs of so great a name, be in any case sordid and unbecoming both to him who made it and him who accepted it. Still in the hope of obtaining peace with Rome he did not grudge the expense, though he would only hand over the money when the transaction was completed; meanwhile he would deposit it in the temple at Samothrace. As that island belonged to Perseus, Eumenes saw that it made no difference whether it were there or at Pella, and he proposed to carry away a portion at once. Thus after trying unsuccessfully to trick each other they gained nothing but an evil name.
[44.26]This was not the only chance which Perseus threw away in his avarice. Had he paid the money, it is possible that he might have had peace through Eumenes's instrumentality, and this was worth purchasing even at the cost of a part of his kingdom, or if Eumenes had played him false he could have held him up as his enemy loaded with his gold, and made the Romans regard him justly as their enemy. But the alliance with Gentius which had been already mooted and the invaluable support now offered of the Gauls who were pouring through Illyria, were both lost to him through his avarice. A body of 1000 cavalry came to offer their services, and with them the same number of foot soldiers. These latter used to run alongside the horses and when the trooper fell they seized the riderless horses and rode on them into the battle. These men had agreed to serve for ten gold pieces for each horseman and five for each footman; their leaders were to receive a thousand. Perseus went with half his whole force from his camp at the Elpeus and began to give notice through all the villages and cities adjoining their route that they were to prepare ample supplies of corn, wine and cattle. He took with him some horses with their trappings and some military cloaks as presents to their officers, and a small quantity of gold to be distributed amongst a few of the troops, trusting that the mass of the soldiery would be attracted by the hope of more. He went as far as the city of Almana and fixed his camp by the River Axius. The Gaulish army was lying in the neighbourhood of Desudaba in Maedica waiting for the stipulated pay. Perseus sent Antigonus, one of the nobles of his Court, to order the soldiers to shift their camp to Bylazora, a place in Paeonia, and their officers to go in a body to him. They were seventy-five miles distant from the king's camp on the Axius. After Antigonus had given them these orders and told them what an abundance of everything the king's care had provided for them on their line of march, and what presents of clothing and silver and horses the king had ready for the officers when they arrived, they replied that they would find out all about this on the spot. They then enquired whether they had brought the gold to be distributed according to the agreement amongst the horse and foot. To this there was no reply. Then their chief Claudicus said, "Go back! Tell the king the Gauls will not move a step further unless they receive the gold and the hostages." On this being reported to the king he held a council of war. When it became obvious what the unanimous decision would be, the king began to descant on the perfidy and savagery of the Gauls, vices which many had already experienced to their ruin. It was a dangerous thing to admit so vast a multitude into Macedonia; they might find them more troublesome as allies than the Romans as enemies; 5000 cavalry were quite enough to make use of in the war, and not too many to be dangerous.
[44.27]It was quite clear to every one that the only thing the king was afraid of was having to pay such a large host, and as no one had the courage to attempt to dissuade him, Antigonus was sent back to say that the king would only employ 5000 of their cavalry and would not detain the rest. When the barbarians heard this, there were murmurs of indignation from the rest of the army at having been called away from their homes to no purpose. Claudicus again enquired whether he would pay the stipulated sum to the 5000. He detected something evasive in the answer and sent the crafty messenger back unhurt - treatment which the man himself hardly ventured to hope for. The Gauls returned to the Hister, devastating those parts of Thrace which lay near their line of march. This band might have been led against the Romans through the mountain pass of Perrhaebia into Thessaly while the king remained quiet at the Elpeus, and could not only have plundered and stripped the fields so that the Romans could have looked for no supplies from those districts, but also have utterly destroyed the cities to prevent their affording any assistance to their allies, while Perseus was holding the Romans at the Elpeus. The Romans would have had to think of their own safety, for they could not have stayed where they were when Thessaly which fed their army was lost, nor could they have made any advance with the camp of the Macedonians in front of them. By losing such an opportunity Perseus encouraged the Romans and discouraged to a great extent the Macedonians who had hung their hopes on his taking advantage of it.
The same niggardly conduct turned Gentius against him. After he had paid 300 talents to the emissaries of Gentius at Pella, he allowed them to seal the money up. Then ten talents were sent to Pantauchus with instructions that they were to be given to the king at once. He told his people, who were carrying the rest of the money sealed with the seal of the Illyrians, to make short journeys, and when they had reached the frontier, to wait there for his instructions. After Gentius had received that small portion of the money, he was constantly being urged by Pantauchus to provoke the Romans by some hostile act; accordingly he threw the two Roman envoys into prison, who happened to be with him at the time, M. Perpenna and L. Petilius. On hearing this, Perseus thought that Gentius was, in any case, driven by the force of circumstances into war with Rome, and in this belief he sent a message to have the money brought back, as though his one idea was that after his defeat as much spoil as possible might be reserved for the Romans. Hierophon returned from Eumenes without any one knowing what secret understanding had been arrived at between them. They themselves gave it out in public that it had to do with the exchange of prisoners, and Eumenes sent the same explanation to the consul to allay his suspicions.
[44.28]Seeing how his schemes had miscarried, Perseus sent his two naval commanders, Antenor and Calippus, with forty swift ships and five cutters to Tenedos to protect the corn ships which were making their way to Macedonia through the scattered groups of the Cyclades. The ships took the water at Cassandrea, in the two harbours under Mount Athos, and from there sailed to Tenedos in a calm sea. Some undecked vessels belonging to Rhodes were lying in the harbour and Eudamus, their commander, was allowed to take them away unharmed, as though they were friends. On learning that fifty of his transports on the other side of the island were blockaded by the war-galleys of Eumenes which were stationed at the entrance to the harbour, Antenor promptly sailed round and the enemy ships made off on his appearance. Ten swift ships were told off to escort the transports to Macedonia, and when they had seen them safe they were to return to Tenedos. Eight days afterwards they rejoined the fleet which was now anchored off Sigeum. From here they sailed to Sabota, an island situated between Elaea and Chios. The day after they arrived, thirty-five vessels called "hippagogi," carrying Gaulish horses and troopers, happened to be on their way from Elaea to Phanae, a headland in Chios, intending to sail from there to Macedonia. They were sent to Attalus by Eumenes. When Antenor received a signal that these ships were at sea, he started for Sabota and met them in the narrowest part of the channel between the headland of Erythrae and Chios. The last thing that Eumenes's officers expected was the appearance of a Macedonian fleet cruising in those waters. They first thought that they were Romans and then that it was Attalus or some that had been sent back by Attalus from the Roman camp and were on their way to Pergamum. But when the build of the approaching vessels could no longer be mistaken and the prows steering straight for them at increasing speed revealed the approach of an enemy, there was great alarm. The clumsy nature of their ships and the difficulty of keeping the Gauls quiet, destroyed all hope of resistance. Some of those who were nearer to the mainland swam to Erythrae; others crowded on all sail and ran their ships aground in Chios, and, abandoning the horses, fled in wild disorder towards the city. But the Macedonian vessels, taking a shorter course, landed their marines nearer the city and some of the Gauls were cut down as they fled along the road, others outside the city gate. The Chians had closed their gates, not knowing who were fleeing and who were pursuing. Nearly 800 Gauls were killed and 200 made prisoners. Some of the horses in the wrecked ships were drowned; others were hamstrung by the Macedonians on the beach. There were twenty horses of exceptional beauty, and Antenor gave orders for the ten vessels which he had previously sent to carry these and the prisoners to Thessalonica and return as soon as possible; he should wait for them at Phanae. The fleet lay off Chios for three days and then sailed to Phanae. The ten ships returned sooner than was expected; the whole fleet then put out to sea and sailed across the Aegean to Delos.
[44.29]During these operations the Roman commissioners, C. Popilius, C. Decimius and C. Hostilius, left Chalcis with three quinqueremes and arrived at Delos. There they found the forty vessels belonging to the Macedonians and five quinqueremes belonging to Eumenes. The sanctity of the temple and the island prevented them from injuring one another. The Romans, the Macedonians and the crews from Eumenes' ships went about together in the city and the temple in the peaceful security of a locality sacred and inviolate. Antenor received a signal from the look-out that several transports were sailing past. He started in pursuit with some of his ships and dispersed the rest among the Cyclades. He either sunk or plundered them all, with the exception of those heading for Macedonia. Popilius tried to save all he could, both of his own ships and those of Eumenes, but the Macedonian barques sailed by night, two or three together, and so escaped observation. About this time the Macedonian and Illyrian envoys arrived in Rhodes. Their representations had all the more weight owing to the appearance of the Macedonian ships cruising amongst the Cyclades and in the Aegean, the united action which Perseus and Gentius were taking, and the rumour that the Gauls were coming with a large force of infantry and cavalry. Dinon and Polyaratus, the leaders of Perseus' faction, felt themselves now strong enough to send a favourable reply to the two monarchs, and even went so far as to proclaim publicly that they possessed sufficient authority to put an end to the war, the kings themselves therefore must resign themselves to the acceptance of peace terms.
[44.30]It was now the beginning of spring, and the new generals had reached their provinces. The consul Aemilius was in Macedonia, Octavius with the fleet at Oreum, and Anicius was in Illyria to conduct the war against Gentius. The father of Gentius was Pleuratus, formerly king of Illyria; his mother's name was Eurydice. Gentius had two brothers, one named Plator, the other, a half-brother, named Caravantius. He felt no uneasiness about the latter, as the father was a man of low birth, but to make his throne more secure he put Plator to death, and two of his friends with him, Ettritus and Epicadus, both of them able and enterprising men. It was commonly said that his jealousy was aroused by Plator's betrothal to Etuta, a daughter of Monunus, the prince of the Dardani, as though by this marriage he would secure the whole nation to his interest, and the fact that after Plator's death his brother married the girl made this conjecture highly probable. When all fear of his brother was removed, Gentius began to harass and oppress his people, and his naturally violent temper was inflamed by excessive indulgence in wine. However, as I have said above, he was bent upon war with Rome, and assembled the whole of his forces at Lissus. They numbered 15,000 men. He sent his brother Caravantius with 1000 infantry and 500 horse to effect the subjugation of the Cavii, either by intimidation or force, whilst he himself advanced against Bassania, a city five miles distant from Lissus. The population were friendly to Rome, and when Caravantius sent a demand for submission they chose to stand a siege rather than surrender. One of the towns belonging to the Cavii, Durnium, opened its gates to Caravantius; another city, Caravandis, shut its gates against him, and when he began an extensive devastation of their fields the peasants rose and killed a considerable number of the scattered plunderers.
By this time Appius Claudius, who had strengthened the army he had with him by contingents from the Ballini, the Apolloniates and the Dyrrhachians, had left his winter quarters and was encamped near the River Genusus. The intelligence brought to him of the league between Perseus and Gentius, and the outrageous treatment of the Roman envoys, decided him to commence hostilities against him. The praetor Anicius, who was at this time in Apollonia, heard what was going on in Illyria, and sent a message to Appius requesting him to wait for him by the Genusus. In three days he arrived at the camp and brought with him in addition to his own force 2000 infantry and 200 cavalry, sent by the Parthini, the infantry under the command of Epicadus, the cavalry under that of Algalus. He was making preparations to march into Illyria, his principal object being the raising of the siege of Bassania. The projected invasion was delayed by a report that eighty pirate barques were ravaging the coast. They had been sent by Gentius on the advice of Pantauchus to devastate the fields of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. Then the fleet . . . they surrendered.
[44.31]One after another the cities in that part of the country took the same course; their natural inclinations were strengthened by the clemency and justice with which the Roman praetor treated them all. He marched on to Scodra, the most important place in the war. Gentius had selected it as the stronghold, so to speak, of his kingdom, and it was by far the most strongly fortified and most difficult of access of any place in the country of the Libeates. It is surrounded by two rivers, the Clausal on the eastern side and the Barbanna, which rises in the Libeatus Lake, on the west. These two rivers meet and flow into the Oriundis, which rises in Mount Scordus and, augmented by many tributaries in its course, empties itself into the Hadriatic. Mount Scordus is quite the loftiest mountain in the country, and overlooks Dardania on the east, Macedonia on the south, and Illyria on the west. Although the town was protected by its situation and defended by the whole strength of Illyria under the king himself, the Roman praetor determined to attack it. His first operations had been successful, and he believed that the same good fortune would carry him through, and that the alarm created by his sudden appearance would have its effect. Had the gates been kept shut and the defenders stationed on the walls and towers, the attempt would have failed and the Romans would have been driven away from the walls. As it was, however, they made a sortie from the gate, and they began a battle on open ground with more courage than they kept it up. They were driven back, and more than 200 men were killed as they squeezed together in their flight through the confined space of the gate. This created such a panic that Gentius at once sent two of the foremost men in the country, Teuticus and Bellus, to the praetor to ask for a cessation of hostilities, to allow him time to consider his position. He was allowed three days - the Roman camp was only five miles away - and went on board ship and sailed up the Barbanna to Lake Libeatus as though in quest of a retired spot for reflection but, as it turned out, he had been misled by a false report that his brother Caravantius was approaching with several thousand men, whom he had raised in the country to which he had been sent. After the rumour proved groundless he went down in the same ship to Scodra, and sent to ask for permission to interview the praetor. His request was granted and he went to the camp. He began his speech by blaming his own folly, and then, falling on his knees, amidst tears and supplications he placed himself entirely in the hands of the praetor. He was told to be of good courage, and even received an invitation to supper. He went back to the city to see his friends, and was for that day treated with all honour at the praetor's table. The next thing was his being handed over to the custody of C. Cassius, one of the military tribunes, after having, himself a king, received from a king a paltry ten talents - hardly as much as a gladiator earns - in order that he might sink into this condition.
[44.32]After the capture of Scodra the first thing Anicius did was to order the two envoys, Petilius and Perpenna, to be found and brought to him. They were provided with the clothing and insignia of their rank, and Perpenna was at once sent to arrest the friends and kinsfolk of the king. He went to Metione and brought back to the camp at Scodra Etleva, the king's wife, and his two sons, Scerdilaedus and Pleuratus, and also Caravantius his brother. Anicius had brought the war in Illyria to a close in less than a month, and Perpenna was sent to Rome to announce his victory. A few days later he sent Gentius to Rome, together with his mother, his wife, his children and his brother, and also some of the principal men of Illyria. This is the only war the close of which was reported in Rome before they had heard that it had begun. All through this time, Perseus on his side was in a state of great alarm by the advance of the consul Aemilius who, he understood, was on the march in a most dangerous mood, and no less so by the forward movement of Octavius with the Roman fleet menacing the coast. Eumenes and Athenagoras were in command of Thessalonica with a small force of 2000 cetrati. He sent Androcles there also with orders to remain encamped close to the naval arsenal; 1000 cavalry under Creon of Antigonea were sent to Aenea to guard the coast, so that at whatever point they heard the hostile ships were threatening, they might at once go to the help of the country folk; 5000 Macedonians were sent to garrison Pytho and Petra under the command of Histieaus, Theogenes and Midon. After they had left, Perseus set himself to fortify the bank of the Elpeus, because, as the river-bed was now dry, it could easily be crossed. To allow of the whole army being free for this work, supplies of food were brought into the camp by women from the neighbouring cities. Out of the woods near the soldiers were ordered . . .
[44.33]Lastly he ordered the water-carriers to follow him to the sea, which was less than 300 paces distant, and to dig at short intervals from each other on the shore. The towering height of the mountains led him to expect that as no rivulets flowed from above the ground they contained hidden streams which flowed as it were through veins into the sea and mingled with its waters. Hardly had the surface of the sand been removed when springs bubbled up, muddy at first and scanty, but they soon poured forth a clear and copious supply of water, as though it were a gift from the gods. This incident added much to their general's prestige and authority amongst the soldiers. Orders were then issued for the troops to get their arms ready, and the consul with the military tribunes and the centurions of the first rank went out to examine the place where they were to cross, where the men under arms could find an easy descent, and where the ascent of the opposite bank presented least difficulty. After satisfying himself on these points, the consul's first care was that everything should be done in an orderly fashion and without confusion, in obedience to the word of command. When an order was promulgated to all the troops at the same time, it was not distinctly heard by everybody, and in their uncertainty as to what had been said, some made additions for themselves and went beyond what had been ordered, while some did less than they were told to do. Then confused shouts arose throughout the column and the enemy knew the general's intentions before they did. He therefore gave directions for the military tribunes to communicate the order privately to the first centurion of the legion and he was to notify what was to be done to each of the centurions, rank by rank, whether the order was to be transmitted from front to rear of the column or from rear to front. He also forbade the sentinels to follow the new fashion of wearing their shields; a sentinel did not go into battle to make use of his arms; his duty was on becoming aware of the enemy's approach to retire and call the rest to arms. They used to stand, wearing their helmets and holding their shields in front of them, and then, when they were tired, they leaned on their spears, rested their heads on the rim of their shields and went to sleep as they stood, so that the glitter of their armour made them visible to the enemy while they themselves saw nothing in front of them. He also altered the regulations with regard to the outlying pickets. They used to stand all day under arms, the cavalry with their horses bridled, and in the days of summer under a cloudless and scorching sun, the men themselves and their horses were so languid and exhausted by the heat after so many hours that often, when attacked by a small body of the enemy who were fresh and unwearied, they were discomfited, though greatly superior in numbers. He thereupon gave orders that those who were sent out in the morning should quit their posts at noon and be relieved by others who went on duty for the rest of the day. In this way it was never possible for a fresh and unwearied enemy to attack them when they were suffering from fatigue.
[44.34]After Aemilius had paraded his troops and announced to them his intention of making these reforms, he went on to address them on very much the same lines as in his speech to the Assembly. He reminded them that it was the duty of the commander alone to provide for the welfare of his army and to advise as to what ought to be done, sometimes alone and sometimes in consultation with those whom he has called into council. Those who were not called into council had no right to ventilate their own opinions either publicly or privately. It was the soldier's duty to be careful about these three things: To keep his body as strong and agile as possible; to keep his arms in good order, and to have his food ready against any sudden order of his commander. All other matters, he must understand, are under the care of the gods and of his general. In an army where the soldiers take upon them to give advice and the general is swayed by the opinions of the multitude, there is no safety. He, as their commander, would do his duty and be on the watch to give them an opportunity of fighting a successful battle. It was not for them to ask what was going to happen, as soon as the signal was given, it was their duty to do all that a soldier could do.
With these instructions he dismissed the troops, and even the veterans generally confessed that on that day they had for the first time, as though they were raw recruits, learnt what military service meant. And it was not only by remarks of this kind that they showed how greatly they appreciated the consul's words - they began at once to act on them. In a short time you would see no one in the camp idle; some were sharpening their swords; others rubbing up their helmets and cheek-pieces and their cuirasses; others fastening on their armour and testing their agility under its weight; others poising their spears; others again making their swords flash with rapid thrusts and keeping their eyes on the point. So that anyone could easily see that on the very first opportunity of coming to close quarters with the enemy they would finish the war by a splendid victory or, in their own case, by a glorious death. Perseus, too, when he saw that after the consul's arrival - it was the beginning of spring as well - all was bustle and movement with the enemy as though for a fresh campaign, and that the camp was shifted from Phila to the bank of the river, and the consul was going on his rounds, at one time to inspect the works and evidently looking out for a place where he could cross the river; at another . . .
[44.35]This incident raised the spirits of the Romans and produced considerable alarm amongst the Macedonians and their king. At first he tried to stifle the report by sending to Pantauchus, who was on his way to the camp, to forbid him from entering it; but some boys, who were being taken away amongst the Illyrian hostages, had been seen by their friends. So the greater the pains taken to conceal the details, the more easily did they leak out through the love of gossip in the king's Court. Just after this the envoys from Rhodes arrived at the Roman camp bringing with them the same demand for peace which had so roused the ire of the Roman senate. They received a much more hostile hearing from the council of war in the camp. Some thought they ought to be driven helter-skelter out of the camp; the consul said he would give them an answer in a fortnight's time. Meanwhile, to make it clear how far the influence of the Rhodians extended in their efforts to bring about peace, he began to discuss the plan of operations with his council. Some, mainly the younger officers, were for crossing the Elpeus and storming the opposite bank and the defensive works above it. After their expulsion the year before from their forts, which were on higher ground, better fortified and strongly held, they thought the Macedonians would be unable to stand a general attack made in full force. Others were of opinion that Octavius ought to take his fleet to Thessalonica and devastate the coast. By thus menacing his rear they would compel the king to divide his forces and march away to protect the interior of his kingdom, thus leaving the passage of the river in some direction open. The consul considered the river bank insurmountable, owing to its steepness and the works which defended it, especially as artillery was in position everywhere, and he had heard that the enemy used their missile weapons more skillfully, and with a surer aim.
The consul had quite made up his mind to adopt another course, and the council broke up. There were two Perrhaebian traders, Coenus and Menophilus, whose honesty and sagacity he knew he could trust. He sent for them and questioned them privately about the routes leading into Perrhaebia. They told him that the country was not difficult; it was held by detachments of the king's troops. Hearing this he thought that by a sudden night attack delivered in force, when the enemy were not expecting it, they could be dislodged and driven back. Javelins and arrows and other missiles were useless in the dark, when it was impossible to see what to aim at; it was in close hand-to-hand fighting with the sword, in the melee of battle, that the Roman soldier was victorious. He decided to take these men as guides, and sent for Octavius, to whom he explained his plans, and he gave him instructions to sail to Heracleum and have in readiness ten days' rations for 1000 men. P. Scipio Nasica and Q. Fabius Maximus, his own son, were sent overland to Heracleum with 5000 select troops, as though they were going on board the fleet to devastate the Macedonian coast - the scheme which had been advocated in the council. They were privately informed that, to avoid any delay, there was food ready for these troops on board the fleet. The two guides were then ordered so to regulate the length of each day's march as to allow of an attack being made on Pythium in the fourth watch of the third day.
To prevent the king from directing his attention elsewhere, the consul, at dawn on the following day, commenced an action with the enemy's outposts in the middle of the river-bed, and the fighting was kept up by the light infantry on both sides; heavier troops could not possibly fight on such uneven ground. From the top of each bank down to the river-bed was about 300 paces; the actual channel of the river between the banks, which varied in depth, was over a mile wide. There in mid-channel the fight went on, the king watching it from his intrenchments on the one side and the consul from the rampart surrounded by his legionaries on the other. As long as they were not in touch and could use their missiles the king's men fought at an advantage, but when it came to close fighting the Roman was more steady and better protected, whether by the shield or the Ligurian buckler. About noon the consul ordered the retreat to be sounded, so the action was broken off for that day with a not inconsiderable number killed on both sides. The next day the conflict was renewed at sunrise with even greater bitterness, as their passions had been roused by the previous contest. But the Romans were wounded, not only by those with whom they were actually fighting, but to a much greater extent by the missiles of every kind which were discharged by the multitude of assailants posted on the turrets, and especially by the huge stones from the ballistae. Whenever they got nearer to the bank held by the enemy the discharges from the catapults reached even the hindmost. After losing far more on that day, the consul recalled his men somewhat later than the day before. On the third day he abstained from fighting and went down to the lowest part of the camp, as if to attempt a passage through that part of the enemy's line, which was carried down to the sea. . . .
[44.36]It was past the summer solstice and the time of day was approaching noon; the march had been made amidst clouds of dust and under a burning sun. Lassitude and thirst were already felt, and it was certain that both would be aggravated at high noon. The consul was determined not to expose his men while thus suffering to an enemy who was fresh and in full vigour. But such was the eagerness of the men for battle under any circumstances that it needed as much skill on the part of the consul to beguile his own men as to deceive the enemy. The battle line was not completely formed, and he urged the military tribunes to hasten its formation; he rode round the ranks and fired the spirits of the men by his words. On this they at first eagerly demanded the signal for battle; then under the increasing heat their faces showed less animation and their voices became weaker; some hung over their shields and propped themselves up with their spears. Now at last he gave the order to the centurions of the first rank to mark out the front line for a camp and to deposit the baggage. When the soldiers became aware of what was happening, some openly expressed their delight that he had not compelled them to fight, exhausted as they were with the toilsome march and the intense heat. The staff officers and the commandants of the foreign contingents, Attalus amongst them, were standing round the commander-in-chief and unanimously approving of what they thought was his decision, namely, to give battle. Not even to them had he disclosed his intention of delaying action. The sudden change of plan made nearly all of them silent. Nasica alone had the courage to admonish the consul not to do as former commanders had done, and by avoiding battle let the enemy slip through his fingers. If Perseus got away in the night, he was afraid that infinite trouble and danger would be incurred in following him into the heart of Macedonia, and they would spend the summer as previous generals had done, in feeling their way through the passes and tracks of the Macedonian mountains. He strongly advised the consul to attack the enemy while he had him in level and open country, and not to lose the proffered chance of victory. The consul was not at all offended at the frank admonition of so distinguished a youth. "Nasica," he replied, "I, too, once felt as you do now, and one day you will feel as I do now. I have learnt, through the many accidents of war, when to fight and when to abstain from fighting. I have no time now, standing as I am at the head of the line, to explain to you why it is better to rest today. Ask me for my reasons some other time; for the time being you will be content to submit to the authority of a veteran commander." The young man was silent; he was sure that his general saw some impediments in the way of a battle which were not apparent to him.
[44.37]When Aemilius Paulus saw that the site of the camp had been marked out and the baggage collected, he first quietly withdrew the triarii from the back of the line, then the principes, leaving the hastati standing in front, in case the enemy made any movement. Finally he retired these also, withdrawing those on the right first, maniple by maniple. In this way the infantry were withdrawn without creating any confusion, leaving the cavalry and light infantry facing the enemy. The cavalry were not recalled from their position until the rampart and fosse in front of the camp were carried their full length. The king was quite ready to give battle that day, but as his men were aware that the delay was due to the enemy he was quite content, and he too led his men back to camp. When the fortification of the camp was completed, C. Sulpicius Gallus, a military tribune attached to the second legion, who had been a praetor the year before, obtained the consul's permission to call the soldiers on parade. He then explained that on the following night the moon would lose her light from the second hour to the fourth, and no one must regard this as a portent, because this happened in the natural order of things at stated intervals, and could be known beforehand and predicted. Just in the same way, then, as they did not regard the regular rising and setting of the sun and moon or the changes in the light of the moon from full circle to a thin and waning crescent as a marvel, so they ought not to take its obscuration when it is hidden in the shadow of the earth for a supernatural portent. On the next night - September 4 - the eclipse took place at the stated hour, and the Roman soldiers thought that Gallus possessed almost divine wisdom. It gave a shock to the Macedonians as portending the fall of their kingdom and the ruin of their nation, nor could their soothsayers give any other explanation. Shouts and howls went on in the Macedonian camp until the moon emerged and gave her light. So keen had both sides been to encounter one another that on the morrow both Perseus and the consul were alike blamed by some of their own men for having retired without a battle The king was at no loss for his defence - the enemy had openly declined battle and was the first to withdraw his troops into camp; and, besides, the position which he had chosen was such that the phalanx could not be brought up to it, even a slightly uneven ground would make it useless. As to the consul, not only did it look as if he had let slip the opportunity of fighting the previous day and given the enemy a chance, if he wished, of going away in the night, but even now he seemed to be wasting time on the pretext of offering sacrifice, although the signal for battle had been hoisted at dawn and he ought to have taken the field. It was not till the third hour after the sacrifices had been duly performed that he summoned a council of war and even then he was thought by some to be wasting the time, which ought to have been spent on the battlefield, in unseasonable speeches and discussions.
[44.38]The consul addressed the council as follows: "Out of all those who were in favour of my giving battle yesterday, P. Nasica, a most excellent young man, was the only one who disclosed his real thoughts to me, and after that he remained silent, so that it would seem that he has come over to my side. There are some others who preferred to find fault with their commander behind his back rather than offer their advice in his presence. I have no objection to giving my reasons for delaying battle to you, Nasica, and to all who entertain the same sentiments as you did, though less openly, for I am so far from regretting our inaction yesterday that I believe I have saved the army through it. If any of you think that I have no grounds for this belief, I ask him to consider with me, if he will, how many things there were in the enemy's favour and to our disadvantage. First of all, as to his superiority in numbers, I am perfectly certain that none of you were unaware how great that is and especially yesterday when you watched his men deploying into line. Out of our own scanty numbers one-fourth had been left to guard the baggage, and you know that it is not the least efficient who are left in charge of that. But supposing we had been in full force, are we to take no account of the fact that we have remained undisturbed in the camp last night, ready with the help of the gods to take the field this very day or, at the latest, tomorrow? Is it a matter of indifference whether you order the soldier to take up his arms on a day when he has not been fatigued by a toilsome march and the labour of intrenching the camp, when he has been resting undisturbed in his tent, and so lead him into battle full of energy and vigorous in body and mind, or whether on the other hand you expose him fatigued by a long march and exhausted by the work of preparing the camp, with the sweat pouring from him and his jaws parched with thirst, his mouth and eyes full of dust, under a scorching noonday sun, to an enemy who is fresh, rested and bringing into battle a strength and energy which have not been used up beforehand? Who, in heaven's name, being thus prepared for battle, even though he were an utter coward, would not conquer the bravest of men? After the enemy had, quite at their leisure, formed their line, their minds prepared for battle, and all standing in their ordered ranks, do you suppose that we were then to form our line in haste and confusion and meet them when we were in disorder?
[44.39]"Some might say: 'Even if we had not our battle line in proper formation, had we no fortified camp, no provision for water, no troops to guard the access to it? Had we nothing which we could call our own except the bare ground on which to fight?' Your ancestors looked upon a camp as a safe haven for the army against every mischance, from which they went out to battle, where, after being tossed in the storm of battle, they could find a safe retreat. It was for that reason that after they had fenced it with earthworks, they strengthened it with a powerful guard, for he who lost his camp, even if victorious on the field, was held to be defeated. A camp is a resting-place for the victor, a shelter for the vanquished. How many armies to whom the fortune of battle has proved unkindly have been driven inside their ramparts and then at their own time, sometimes almost immediately, have made a sortie and repulsed their victorious foe? Here is the soldier's second fatherland, here is his abode, with the rampart for its walls; here each finds in his tent, his home and his household gods. Ought we to have fought as homeless wanderers with no place to receive us after our victory?
"In reply to these difficulties and hindrances it is asked, 'What if the enemy had gone off last night?' How much exhausting toil should we have had to endure in following him into the heart of Macedonia! I am perfectly certain that if he had decided to depart he would not have awaited us, nor drawn up his troops on the field. How much easier would it have been for him to get away when we were at a distance, than it is now when we are close upon him and he cannot withdraw by day or night without our becoming aware of it! What could we wish for better than, instead of being obliged to attack their camp in its strong position on the bank of a river, fenced with a rampart and numerous towers, we attack them in the rear after they have left their intrenchments and are making their way in a straggling column through open country? These were my reasons for postponing the battle from yesterday to today, for it is my intention to give battle, and as the way to the enemy across the Elpeus has been blocked by him, I have opened up a fresh way by dislodging his men who were holding another pass, and I shall not stop till I have brought the war to a close."
[44.40]When he had finished there was silence; some had been brought round to his view; others were afraid of giving needless offence by criticising the neglect of an opportunity which, to whatever it might be due, could not be remedied. Even on this day neither the consul nor the king was prepared to engage. The king would not be able to attack them as they were yesterday, wearied with their march, deploying hurriedly into line and not in battle order; the consul held back because neither wood nor fodder had been brought into the newly-formed camp, and a large proportion of his troops had left the camp to collect these from the fields near. Against the intention of both commanders Fortune, who overrides the plans of men, brought about a conflict. There was a river, not a large one, near the enemy's camp from which both the Romans and the Macedonians drew their water, protected by detachments stationed on either bank. On the Roman side were two cohorts, Marrucinians and Paelignians, and two squadrons of Samnite horse under the command of M. Sergius Silus. Another body was stationed in front of the camp under C. Cluvius; these consisted of Firman, Vestinian and Cremensian troops, and two squadrons of cavalry from Placentia and Aeserna. Whilst all was quiet at the river, neither side offering any provocation, a mule broke loose about three o'clock in the afternoon from the men in charge and escaped to the opposite bank. Three soldiers went after it through the water, which was up to their knees. Two Thracians were dragging the beast out of the river back to their own bank, when they were followed by some Romans, who killed one of them, recaptured the mule, and went back to their posts. There were 800 Thracians guarding the enemy's bank. A few of these, enraged at seeing a comrade killed before their eyes, ran across the river in pursuit of those who slew him; then more joined in and at last the whole body, and with them the . . .
[44.41]. . . led them into battle. His men were deeply impressed by reverence for his authority, the reputation he had acquired, and, above all, his age, for though more than sixty years old, he took upon himself to a large extent the duties and dangers which are usually the lot of younger men. The interval between the "caetrati" and the divisions of the phalanx was filled up by the legion, and thus the enemy's line was interrupted. The "caetrati" were in their rear; the legion were fronting the shieldmen of the phalanx, who were known as the "chalcaspides." L. Albinus, an ex-consul, was ordered to lead the second legion against the phalanx of "leucaspides"; these formed the centre of the enemy's line. On the Roman right, where the battle had begun, close to the river, he brought up the elephants and the cohorts of allied troops. It was here that the Macedonians first gave ground. For just as most new devices amongst men seem valuable as far as words go, but when they are put to a practical test and have to be acted upon they fail to produce results, so it was with the elephants; those of the Macedonians were of no use whatever. The contingents of the Latin allies followed up the charge of the elephants and repulsed the left wing. The second legion which had been sent against the centre broke up the phalanx. The most probable explanation of the victory is that several separate engagements were going on all over the field, which first shook the phalanx out of its formation and then broke it up. As long as it was compact, its front bristling with levelled spears, its strength was irresistible. If by attacking them at various points you compel them to bring round their spears, which owing to their length and weight are cumbersome and unwieldy, they become a confused and involved mass, but if any sudden and tumultuous attack is made on their flank or rear, they go to pieces like a falling house. In this way they were forced to meet the repeated charges of small bodies of Roman troops with their front dislocated in many places, and wherever there were gaps the Romans worked their way amongst their ranks. If the whole line had made a general charge against the phalanx while still unbroken, as the Paeligni did at the beginning of the action against the "caetrati," they would have spitted themselves upon their spears and have been powerless against their massed attack.
[44.42]The infantry were being slaughtered all over the field; only those who threw away their arms were able to make good their escape. The cavalry, on the other hand, quitted the field with hardly any loss, the king himself being the first to flee. He was already on his way to Pella with his "sacred" cavalry, and Cotys and the Odrysaeans were following at his heels. The rest of the Macedonian horse also got away with their ranks unbroken, because the infantry were between them and the enemy, and the latter were so fully occupied in massacring the infantry that they forgot to pursue the cavalry. For a long time the slaughter of the phalanx went on in front, flank and rear. At last those who had escaped out of the hands of the enemy threw away their arms and fled to the shore; some even went into the water and, stretching out their hands in supplication to the men in the fleet, implored them to save their lives. When they saw boats from all the ships rowing to the place where they were they thought that they were coming to take them up as prisoners rather than slay them, and they waded further into the water, some even swimming. But when they found that they were being killed by the men in the boats, those who could swim back to land met with a more wretched fate, for the elephants, forced by their drivers to the water's edge, trampled on them and crushed them to death as they came out. It is universally admitted that never had so many Macedonians been killed by the Romans in a single battle. As many as 20,000 men perished; 6000 who had fled to Pydna fell into the enemy's hands, and 5000 were made prisoners in their flight. Of the victors not more than 100 fell, and of these the majority were Paelignians; the wounded were much more numerous. If the battle had begun earlier and there had been sufficient daylight for the victors to continue the pursuit, the whole force would have been wiped out. As it was, the approach of night shielded the fugitives and made the Romans chary of following them over unknown country.
[44.43]Perseus fled to the Pierian forest, accompanied by his suite and a numerous body of cavalry. When he had entered the forest at a point where several roads diverged, as night was approaching he struck into a side-path with a very small body of those most faithful to him. The cavalry, left without a leader, dispersed to their various cities; and a few reached Pella in advance of Perseus himself, having gone by a straight road. Up to midnight the king had considerable trouble and anxiety in trying to find his way. Eulacus and Euctus and the royal pages were ready to meet the king in the gloomy palace, but of all his friends who had lived through the battle and regained Pella, not one came to him in spite of his repeated invitations. There were only three who shared his flight, Euander of Crete, Neo a Boeotian, and Archidamus the Aetolian. Fearing that those who refused to go to him might soon venture upon a more serious step, he fled away at the fourth watch, followed by certainly not more than 500 Cretans. He was intending to go to Amphipolis, but he had left Pella in the night, anxious to cross the Axius before daylight, as he thought the difficulty of crossing that river might stop the Roman pursuit.
[44.44]On his return to camp the consul's joy in his victory was damped by his anxiety about his younger son. This was P. Scipio, who had been adopted as grandson by Scipio Africanus, and himself received the title of Africanus, from the destruction of Carthage in after years. He was only seventeen at the time - a further cause for anxiety - and while he was in full pursuit of the enemy, he was carried away by the press into another part of the field. On his return late in the day to the camp, his father, finding him safe and sound, could at last feel unmixed joy in his great victory. The news of the battle had already been carried to Amphipolis, and the matrons flocked to the temple of Diana - the Tauropolon - to invoke her aid. Diodorus, the governor of the city, was apprehensive lest the Thracian garrison, some 2000 strong, should in the tumult and confusion plunder the city. He therefore hired a man to impersonate a letter-carrier, and received a pretended despatch from him in the middle of the forum. It stated that the Roman fleet had put in at Emathia, and the fields all round were being ravaged. The officers in charge of Emathia implored him to send the garrison to deal with the ravagers. After reading the despatch he urged the Thracians to go and defend the coast of Emathia; they would inflict great slaughter on the Romans while scattered through the fields, and would also secure large booty. At the same time he made light of the report of an unfavourable battle; if, he said, it were true, fugitive after fugitive would have come in fresh from the fight. In this way he got rid of the Thracians, and as soon as he saw that they had crossed the Strymon, he shut the gates.
[44.45]Three days after the battle Perseus arrived at Amphipolis, and from that city he sent heralds with a caduceus to Paulus. In the meanwhile Hippias, Midon, and Pantauchus, the principal men among the king's friends who had fled from the field of battle to Beroea, went and made their surrender to the Roman consul. In the case of others also, their fears prompted them, one after another, to do the same. The consul sent his son Q. Fabius, together with L. Lentulus and Q. Metellus, with despatches to Rome announcing his victory. He gave the spoils taken from the enemy's army lying on the field of battle to the foot soldiers and the plunder from the surrounding country to the cavalry on condition that they were not absent from the camp more than two nights. The camp at Pydna was shifted to a site nearer the sea. First of all Beroea, then Thessalonica and Pella, and almost the whole of Macedonia, city by city, surrendered within two days. The people of Pydna, who were the nearest to the consul, had not yet sent envoys, for their citizens were prevented from coming to any decision in their council by the mixed population drawn from many nationalities and also by the crowd of fugitives from the battle. The gates were not only closed but walled up. Midon and Pantauchus were sent up to the walls to hold a parley with Solon, the commandant of the garrison; by his means the mob of fighting men was sent way. The surrendered town was given up to the soldiers to plunder. Perseus' one hope was in the help of the Bisaltians, but finding this hope vain he came before the assembled citizens of Amphipolis, with his son Philip, with the intention of kindling the courage of the Amphipolitans themselves and of the men, both infantry and cavalry, who had accompanied him or been carried there in their flight. But as often as he tried to speak he was prevented by his tears, and finding that he could not utter a word, he told Euander what he wanted to bring before the people and went down from the tribunal. The sight of the king and his distressful weeping moved the people themselves to groans and tears, but they would not listen to Euander. Some in the middle of the Assembly had the audacity to shout out, "Go away, both of you, lest we, the few survivors, perish on your account." Their daring opposition closed Euander's lips. Then the king retired to his house, and after placing an amount of gold and silver on board some boats lying in the Strymon, went down to the river. The Thracians would not venture on board and dispersed to their homes, so did the rest of the soldiers; the Cretans, attracted by the money, followed him. As the distribution of it amongst them would cause more jealousy than gratitude, 50 talents were placed on the bank to be scrambled for. Whilst they were going on board, after the scrambling, in wild confusion, they sunk a boat in the mouth of the river through overcrowding. That day they arrived at Galepsus and the day after they reached Samothrace, for which they were making. It is asserted that 2000 talents were conveyed there.
[44.46]Paulus placed Roman officers in charge of the cities which had surrendered, so that the vanquished party might not be ill-treated now that peace was established. He kept the heralds from Perseus with him, and as he was unaware of the king's flight he sent P. Nasica with a small detachment of horse and foot to Amphipolis for the purpose of ravaging Sintice and frustrating any attempt which the king might make. At the same time Meliboea was taken and sacked by Cn. Octavius. Cn. Anicius was sent to Aegeum, but as the citizens did not know that the war was over they made a sortie from the town and the Romans lost 200 men. The following day the consul left Pydna with the whole of his army and formed his camp two miles distant from Pella. He remained there several days, surveying the city from every side, and he observed that it was not without good reason that it had been chosen as the royal residence. It is situated on the south-west slope of a hill and surrounded by a marsh too deep to be crossed on foot either in summer or winter. The citadel the "Phacus," which is close to the city, stands in the marsh itself, projecting like an island, and is built on a huge substructure which is strong enough to carry a wall and prevent any damage from the infiltration from the water of the lagoon. At a distance it appears to be continuous with the city wall, but it is really separated by a channel which flows between the two walls and is connected with the city by a bridge. Thus it cuts off all means of access from an external foe, and if the king shut anyone up there, there could be no possibility of escape except by the bridge, which could be very easily guarded. The royal treasure was kept there, but nothing was found there at that time beyond the 300 talents which had been sent to Gentius and then kept back. During the time the camp was at Pella numerous embassies of congratulation were received, mostly from Thessaly. On receiving intelligence that Perseus had sailed to Samothrace the consul left Pella, and after a few days' march arrived at Amphipolis. The fact of the whole population coming out to meet him was a sufficient proof that they were not mourning the loss of a good and just king.
End of Book 44
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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