ROME AND MACEDON:THE ROMANS AGAINST PHILIP
THE ‘ANABASIS’ OF ANTIOCHUS III
UNLIKE the kings of Macedonia and Egypt, Antiochus of Syria had held wholly aloof from the contest between Rome and Carthage and its repercussions in Greece. Some have censured him for this, saying that he ought to have made common cause with Macedon and Carthage, divining the danger which Rome’s victory threatened to the Greek world. But this foreknowledge was not vouchsafed to him any more than to the Romans themselves, who, at the moment, were far from realizing the domination which they were destined to achieve. As he had no relations with Rome and could imagine no possible cause of quarrel between himself and the Republic; as he had, moreover, no direct interests in the West, even in Greece, it is no wonder that Antiochus cared little about the great struggle so far away. He considered that he had a task of supreme importance in Asia: it was natural that he should have given himself to it unreservedly; perhaps, too, he was not ill-pleased to see Philip involved in a war which absorbed his whole activity and diverted his energies from the East.
As early as 219-8, the negotiations concerning Southern Syria had shown how tenaciously Antiochus held to his hereditary rights : he had no intention of ruling over a mutilated kingdom. It was his high purpose to reconstitute, to the limit of what was practicable, the Seleucid Empire, and reassert his authority over all countries, which, though rightfully dependencies of his house, had broken away from their allegiance. Achaeus out of the way, he set to work and began with Armenia.
The local dynasty no longer paid tribute. In 212, Antiochus marched on the capital, Arsamosata, and prepared to lay siege to it; the young king Xerxes (probably son of Arsames, the former ally of Hierax), who had at first fled, submitted almost immediately. Wisely magnanimous, Antiochus only exacted as arrears of tribute 300 talents with 2000 horses and mules, and betrothed Xerxes to his sister Antiochis, thus inaugurating the policy of dynastic marriages which he always favored.
This settled, he turned to the Far East. Since the interrupted campaign of Seleucus II everything had gone wrong there. Arsaces II Tiridates had conquered (after 217) Western Hyrcania and in Eastern Media Comisene and Choarene; the Graeco-Bactrians, under a new king, Euthydemus of Magnesia, who had overthrown the Diodotids, now occupied Areia; Antiochus must strike now before secession spread farther. In the winter of 211-0, coming presumably from Antiocheia, he sailed down the Euphrates; late in 210 he was in Media preparing the vast expedition which brought him fame. To finance the war he despoiled the temple of Anaitis at Ecbatana, obtaining, we are told, nearly 4000 talents—an easy but dangerous way of raising money to which he had recourse later to his cost. Next year, having taken the precaution of proclaiming his eldest son, Antiochus, a boy of eleven, joint-king, he left Ecbatana with a powerful army to fight Arsaces III (or Artabanus I), successor to Tiridates, who had died, c. 210. Like Alexander he naturally followed the great road which led to Hecatompylos (?Sharud) by Rhagae and the Caspian Gates; once through the Gates he was in enemy country and had soon after to cross the salt steppe which separates Simnan from Damghan. Arsaces intended to block the wells of fresh water as he retired, but Antiochus, throwing forward 1000 cavalry, forestalled him and reached Hecatompylos unhindered. Arsaces had fled to Hyrcania, whither Antiochus, still in the footsteps of Alexander, pressed the pursuit. To cross the Elburz mountains held by the brave Tapurians, who, too, had risen against the Seleucids and were presumably allies of Arsaces, was no easy task: starting from Tagae (?Taq near Damghan), he fought his way through in eight days, forced the pass of Labus (Lamavu); then, descending into the plain, occupied the open town of Tambrax, and reduced after a difficult siege the strong Sirynca (? Tarunga), though he could not save its Greek population which was massacred by the barbarians. After these glorious beginnings we lose sight of him, but Arsaces was finally constrained to sue for terms, withdrawing apparently from Comisene and Hyrcania as well as Choarene, and became his subordinate ally (? winter 209—8).
Next came Bactria; Antiochus, coming from Parthyene, marched against it in 208. Euthydemus, resting upon the fortress of Gouriana, awaited him behind the river Arius (Here Rud), his western frontier; 10,000 horsemen challenged his crossing. But these withdrew during the night, and Antiochus, with his leading troops, took advantage of their unwariness, and, after a hot action in which he fought gallantly, had a horse killed under him and was wounded, made good his footing on the eastern bank. Euthydemus retired on Zariaspa Bactra, but did not abandon the struggle, which lasted two years, a stubborn war of which the history has perished: all that has come down to us is a vague memory of the siege of Bactra, which remained famous among the Greeks. In 206, weary of fighting, the two kings began negotiations; Euthydemus represented that more fighting would lay open the country to the “Nomads” who would “barbarize” it. Antiochus felt the force of this argument: the Bactrian state was the outpost of Hellenic civilization against barbarism. He therefore, only exacted the surrender of Euthydemus’ elephants in sign of allegiance, but left him his royal title, concluded with him a perpetual alliance, and promised one of his daughters to his son Demetrius.
Reprovisioned by Euthydemus, Antiochus crossed the Hindu-Kush and pushed on to India—which means no more than that he penetrated the Kabul valley. There he renewed with the Hindoo prince called in Greek Sophagasenos—some rajah become independent at the break-up of the Mauryan empire—the “friendship” formed by Seleucus with Chandragupta, and received from him elephants and treasure.
So ended his “Anabasis”; he had made Seleucid power felt by peoples who had forgotten it. On the return march he passed through the south of his empire—Arachosia, Drangiana, Carmania, where he wintered (206—5), and Persia where, at Antiocheia (probably Bushire, east of the Persian Gulf), he received the Magnesian envoys requesting him to recognize the festival of Artemis Leucophryene. Coming to the Persian Gulf, more fortunate than Alexander, he embarked for Arabia, paid a peaceful visit to the Gerrhaeans, confirmed their freedom in return for rich presents, and sighted the island of Tylos (Bahrein). It was probably at Seleuceia, which he re-entered in triumph after six years (205/4), bringing 150 elephants and fabulous booty, that he assumed the Achaemenid title of “Great King” which the Greeks turned into “Antiochus the Great”—name deserved by his kingly virtues, his greatness of purpose, untiring energy, martial courage, and generosity towards the vanquished. The tale of his distant exploits, embroidered and magnified by his mercenaries, notably the Aetolians, filled the Hellenic world, until at the end of the third century, Antiochus enjoyed, as no one else, the admiration of the Greeks.
They admired him—and with good grounds—but they did not understand him. They, and after them the Romans, saw in him a second Alexander, a conqueror of inordinate ambitions; and deeming him worthy of world-empire, they believed he aimed at it. The conqueror was, in fact, a prudent statesman, whose head was not turned by success. He had not assayed the dangerous adventure of destroying the Armenian, Parthian, or Bactrian kingdoms, but had been content with including them again in his empire as vassal states. Master of himself, unseduced by fantastic hopes, shrewdly calculating what the moment and his power allowed, he aimed only at the possible.
One thing surely was possible: with the resources of Asia to his hand, he might recover from the Ptolemies the countries they had stolen from his ancestors. While his reign had raised Syria from weakness to strength, Egypt was declining and, under her sluggish monarch, despite the energetic Sosibius, had fallen on evil days. A son had indeed at length been born to Philopator (9 October 210 or 209), who almost immediately proclaimed him joint-ruler; and thus the future of the dynasty seemed assured. But, about 207/6 (if not before), while Philopator, definitely forsaking the noble Arsinoe, was ruled entirely by an odious trio, his favorite Agathocles, his mistress Agathocleia, Agathocles’ sister, and their mother Oenanthe, the native rising became steadily more dangerous. At first apparently confined to the Delta, it spread to Upper Egypt, where Thebais seceded; a usurper, Harmachis, presumably a Nubian, founded a kingdom which was to last over twenty years. Meanwhile the Ethiopian prince Ergamenes, formerly Philopator’s friend and vassal, seized Philae. The internal calamities of the realm were reflected abroad: Lysimacheia, too difficult to hold against the Thracians, was abandoned; while in most of the towns of Asia Minor dependent upon Ptolemy, his authority had become purely nominal,
Egypt’s difficulties were Antiochus’ opportunity. He purposed to attack and defeat her, avenge Raphia, and regain what she had usurped in Syria, Asia and Thrace. But could he carry out his purpose unhampered. He could have done so, had the war in Greece continued; but it had ended most inconveniently, at the very moment of his return from the Upper Satrapies. Philip was clear of Rome, and Antiochus now had him to reckon with.
BEFORE THE EASTERN CRISIS
Doubtless Philip had been jealously watching eastern events. He and Antiochus were the same age, had ascended their thrones together, and were naturally rivals for power and fame. But while he was making no headway in his contest with Rome, Antiochus now was playing Alexander in Asia—a most painful contrast. And the Seleucid, insatiable, was intending to make the Egyptian empire his prey: this Philip could not allow; Egypt might fall, but not for Antiochus’ profit. He had made peace at Phoenice partly to prevent this. Hitherto circumstances had imposed upon him a Western policy, not unlike that of Pyrrhus, but now, determined to make up for his failure, he was looking East, returning to the tradition of his great ancestors Demetrius I and Antigonus II.
The Aegean, where only a few islands, such as Andros, were Macedonian and where Ptolemy retained little but Thera, had been for twenty years without a master; the Rhodians alone, who cleared it of pirates, exercised a peaceful control. Thus it was a first natural object for Philip’s ambition, who had, moreover, always kept an eye upon it. Like his predecessors, he was a protector of Delos, where, at his accession, the Macedonian League had erected his statue; in 216 he had he had founded the Philipheia, then, like Gonatas, built a portico, whose mighty ruins still exist and which hid the portico built by Attalus. In Crete, although his protectorate was no longer recognized everywhere, many towns remained his allies. To dominate the Aegean and the Straits, thus realizing in the reverse direction the daring dream of Attalus, to establish himself on the Asiatic and Thracian shore, such was—for the moment—his new purpose.
To attain this end he was to apply his rare powers and indomitable energy, but also, unfortunately, give rein to his worst instincts. To be sure, his enemies have defamed him; he was not as hateful as the Messenian Alcaeus paints him in his epigrams or the Achaean Polybius in his history. Several of the crimes which are imputed to him are probably imaginary—the attempted assassination of Philopoemen, the poisoning of the Athenian statesmen Eurycleides and Micion. Nevertheless, too many incontrovertible facts prove the increasing savagery of his temper. He had had much to embitter him: the failure of his western project owing to lack of Carthaginian co-operation; the ineradicable enmity of the Aetolians and their unnatural alliance with Rome; the hostility, still less pardonable as it was entirely unprovoked, of the Pergamene princeling; the labors of an exhausting war which he had waged almost alone for nine years; the treason of subordinates; the inertia of most of his allies, active only to implore his help; the ingratitude and hatred which he perceived among the Greek optimates, who forgot his services and could pardon neither his imperious control nor his personal policy which had brought the Romans into Greece. By now he despised all men except the Romans, adversaries worthy of him, and openly showed his contempt. Brooking no obstacle to his ambitions, grasping at any means to attain his ends, careless of any scandal he caused, he was to startle the Greek world both by his brutality and his trickery, wantonly provoking fear, anger and distrust.
In Macedonia he rejected Doson’s constitutional arrangements: the formula “King Philip and the Macedonians” was replaced by “Philip King of the Macedonians”. He did not scruple to place his image on his coins as no one of his ancestors had done, except Demetrius.
During the building of his new fleet, he led a punitive expedition against the Dardanians—a usual precaution when he contemplated leaving his kingdom; in one battle he is said to have slain over 10.000; he certainly struck hard, for the Dardanians remained quiet for four years
Reassured in this direction, Philip felt no uneasiness about the Greeks and treated them cavalierly. Exhausted by war, rent by internal quarrels, Aetolia seemed definitively crippled. Despising her weakness, he broke his engagement to restore to her Pharsalus, Echinus, Larissa Cremaste and Phthiotic Thebes. Nor did he give up Heraea, Alipheira and Triphylia, promised in 208 to Achaea. The Achaean leaders, elated beyond reason by their victory at Mantinea, affected an independent attitude which exasperated Philip; the antagonism between him and the former party of Aratus, whose present hero was Philopoemen, was now acute. Pursuing his new policy, Philip courted the favor of the masses. He redeemed at his own charges the Dymaeans sold by Sulpicius, a most popular gesture. His treatment of his subject-allies—Thessalians, Euboeans, Phocians, Locrians—while increasingly despotic, displayed demagogic tendencies; he gave orders as master to the cities, reduced their autonomy to nothing, imposed his nominees as magistrates, but tolerated or encouraged, especially in Thessaly, social disorders, hateful to the well-to-do, and agreeable to the mob. In Boeotia, where his influence was dominant, these long-standing disorders were reaching a climax. Thus his popularity increased, and so did the number of his opponents among the propertied classes. He was now the opposite of Doson, who had been the bulwark of the conservatives against social revolution and with whom they reproachfully contrasted him.
But another monarch satisfied more amply the ideals of the “have-nots”; this was Machanidas’ strange and formidable successor in Sparta, which State the Achaeans too readily believed they had crippled. Of royal blood, descended from the king Demaratus, related through his wife Apia to the ancient Argive tyrants, Nabis, going much further than Cleomenes, was the very type of a revolutionary prince. Under him the social revolution, smoldering everywhere, triumphed in Sparta. Having formed a Red Guard of Cretans and mercenaries recruited from among the adventurers of all Greece, he removed his ward Pelops, seized the crown, and applied the extremist programme in its entirety—spoliation, proscription, systematic destruction of the upper classes, confiscation of private fortunes (ostensibly for the State). Moreover, he enfranchised many Helots, who were made citizens, assigned land to these same Helots and to the poor, and distributed among mob-leaders and mercenaries the goods and even the wives and daughters of the proscribed. At the same time, being as keen a nationalist as a communist, he strove successfully to revive Spartan military power, fortified Sparta, increased the army by enrolling the enfranchised Helots and many Perioeci, created from the ships of the maritime towns a fleet which, with the Cretans, harried the seas, restored Gytheum as a great arsenal, and acquired places of refuge in Crete. A fervent Lacedaemonian, and therefore an uncompromising enemy of Achaea and especially of Megalopolis, he cherished Cleomenes’ designs of conquest.
Had he revealed these immediately, Philip would presumably have been stirred to action: the renewal of Spartan power was a direct challenge to Doson’s successor. But it was not till 201, when Philip was far away, that Nabis struck hard and surprised Messene, whence, however, he was driven by Philopoemen, who, in a private capacity, had hastened to the rescue with his Megalopolitans. Open war then began again between Sparta and Achaea—a war in which the latter often fared badly, for her one trust was in Philopoemen, and her army without him relapsed into its normal incompetence. But in 204 and 203 Nabis confined himself to border-raids in the territory of Megalopolis, and Philip was possibly not displeased to see the Megalopolitans, so arrogant since Mantinea, harassed by a troublesome neighbours.
What also gave him satisfaction was the disappearance of an old adversary. Aetolia was profoundly disturbed by troubles between debtors and creditors; Scopas and Dorimachus, scenting an opportunity to regain power, had themselves elected “law-givers” (nomographoi), and Scopas, to please the populace, proposed radical measures, possibly the total cancellation of debts—a certain method, he thought, of being reelected General. But, a leader of the capitalist party, Alexander Isios, “the richest man in Greece” according to Polybius (he possessed 200 talents), defeated his proposals. Disappointed in his ambitions and deep in debt, Scopas then left Aetolia with a band of followers and went to restore his fortunes by service in Egypt (204).
Scopas was sure of a welcome in Alexandria. To repress the natives and be ready for Antiochus, whose attitude was considered threatening, the Egyptian government, i.e. Sosibius, was reorganizing the army regardless of expense. Good officers were badly needed, and Scopas, a famous soldier, was made generalissimo of the field-army with the enormous daily pay of 10 minae; his companions with lesser commands received a mina each. While thus arming Egypt, Sosibius was busy with diplomatic maneuvers against Antiochus. As has been seen, he had long counted upon using Philip to counter him. He therefore made overtures to the latter regarding an alliance to be sealed later by the betrothal of the young Ptolemy with one of his daughters. This could not but please Philip whose one fear, obviously, was that terror of Antiochus might drive Egypt to purchase peace with Syria at the price of any concessions that the Seleucid king demanded. Already, in proof of friendship, Philip had offered Philopator help against the natives; this offer had, indeed, been refused, since it seemed too dangerous to open Egypt to the Macedonians, But, without bearing Sosibius any grudge for this refusal, Philip welcomed his advances, without, however, contracting any immediate engagement.
Sosibius’ precautions against Antiochus were soon seen to be justified. He, too, with an impudent assumption of the rôle of friend, had proposed to assist Philopator against the rebels; when this offer was declined, he came, in 203, to Asia Minor and showed himself aggressive. Accompanied by the Lydian governor Zeuxis, he stayed in Caria with considerable forces and compelled some towns “in alliance with Ptolemy”, notably Amyzon, to surrender to him (May-June). Philip, who also had designs on Caria, must have watched his enterprise ill-content.
Thus ended the year 203 in gathering storm. Antiochus openly threatened Egypt; Philip had not yet declared himself, and was a cause-of uneasiness to Antiochus, of hope to the Alexandrians. The two kings were eying one another askance when, about December, they heard the astounding news that Philopator and Arsinoe were dead: the Egyptian empire was vested in a child of six or seven years surrounded by an unworthy camarilla.
THE EASTERN CRISIS
The true date of Philopator’s death remains a mystery. Incredible as it appears, Sosibius and Agathocles seem to have concealed it for a long time. They made arrangements for seizing the government, had Arsinoe secretly murdered, and forged a will of Philopator appointing them guardians of his son. Then, 28 November 203, Agathocles (Sosibius having died in the meantime) summoned the “hypaspists”, household troops and military leaders, announced the death of the King and Queen, proclaimed the “child” king, read the forged will, administered to the troops an oath of allegiance, and assumed the regency, which could not have fallen into baser hands. With him ruled Oenanthe and Agathocleia—to whom was entrusted the young Ptolemy—and their creatures, but, universally hated, their rule was precarious; Agathocles was to meet a formidable opponent in the young governor of Pelusium, Tlepolemus, supported by army and people, whom the murder of Arsinoe had enraged.
The regency secured, Agathocles, says Polybius, returned to his debauches. He endeavored, however, to guard against the danger which threatened Egypt from without. While Scopas, abundantly supplied with funds, was sent to raise mercenaries in Greece, an Egyptian envoy went to invite Antiochus to respect existing treaties; another, Ptolemy of Megalopolis, set out for Rome, obviously to announce the new king’s accession and beg for senatorial mediation with Antiochus; but since the Egyptian interference in the Macedonian War must certainly have displeased the Senate, Agathocles hoped little from this proceedings. Indeed, he is said to have sent the Megalopolitan to Rome mainly with the idea of getting rid of him. The important embassy was that of Sosibius’ son Ptolemy, dispatched to Philip to conclude the agreement contracting his daughter to Ptolemy V and request his armed help against Antiochus, no doubt promising in return ample subsidies and, perhaps, even the cession of territory. Agathocles thus continued Sosibius’ Macedonian policy, and saw in Philip the chief hope of Egypt.
About the same time, Antiochus also approached the Macedonian king. He desired to profit by Egypt’s new internal troubles, but was afraid of Philip. Fearing him as an adversary, he resigned himself to accepting him as a partner, and proposed to divide with him the empire of the Ptolemies. The negotiations were secret, so the exact conditions of the partition compact are unknown. What is certain is that Egypt, which could not well be divided, was excluded from it; and that Antiochus took Southern Syria and left Philip, if not all, at least most, of the Egyptian dependencies along the Aegean coast. It seems obvious, too, that he would take Cyprus and the Cilician and Lycian towns subject to Ptolemy, while Philip received the few Cyclades which still belonged to Egypt, and the Ptolemaic possessions in Thrace as Maronea, Aenus, and Cypsela; finally, perhaps, Cyrenaica, which it was not easy either to conquer or to hold, might go to Philip,
Clearly, such an arrangement could not be really acceptable to either of the high contracting powers. By opening Asia to Philip, ceding him Asiatic and Thracian districts which he regarded as rightfully belonging to Seleucids, Antiochus was doing violence to his own feelings: he was not sincere, and Philip knew it. On his side, Philip would dread any fresh increase of Seleucid power, which had again become so formidable, and fear that, after Southern Syria, Antiochus would seize Egypt. Rather than make a bargain with him and risk being duped, his interests urged him to join the Alexandrians in protecting the child-king’s dominions, so that he might later be their sole master. But he did not intend to involve himself at the moment in war against Antiochus, wishing above all to preserve complete freedom of action. He agreed therefore to the Syrian proposals and accepted the partition treaty, but at the same time welcomed Sosibius’ son, who stayed for about a year at his court, most honorably treated. Apparently, playing a double game, Philip promised alliance to both Agathocles and Antiochus, thus assuring himself of freedom during the struggle between them to make what conquests he might consider immediately necessary. For the time being he deceived both parties; but everything leads one to believe that, having strengthened himself at leisure, he counted on turning against Antiochus in the end, and revealing himself as the interested defender of Ptolemy—his future son-in-law.
It was probably late in the winter of 203—2 that Antiochus and Philip, apparently reviving the time-honored coalition of Syria and Macedonia against Egypt, concluded the disgraceful agreement which roused Polybius’ honest indignation—in fact, a lying compact which neither intended to keep. Then, in the spring, they got to work, without any pretense of justifying their aggressions. Antiochus invaded Southern Syria, but his operations are unknown and he seems to have achieved little. Philip, careless of the provisions of the partition treaty, sought to subdue, not towns subject to Egypt, but free cities; he wished to establish himself both on the Straits from the Hellespont to the Bosporus and in Caria, where he coveted Iasus, an excellent naval base.
He brought against Iasus Olympichus, probably a Carian dynast, his ally, who began to harry it. He himself directed operations on the Straits. There Lysimacheia, formerly Egyptian, in the Chersonese; Chalcedon, on the Bosporus; Cius, on the Propontis, were—since some unknown date—dependent allies of the Aetolian League. Philip imposed his alliance, his authority, upon Lysimacheia, expelled its Aetolian governor, and garrisoned it; he also occupied Chalcedon, and Perinthus, a Byzantine dependency lying between the two; then, acting as ally of Prusias, who had a quarrel with Cius, he besieged and took that town, but, before handing it over, sacked it and sold the population. Its neighbours Myrleia suffered the same fate. Returning to Macedonia, Philip seized Thasos by treachery, so it is said, and, perhaps for some reason unknown to us, enslaved part of its inhabitants. It is noteworthy that he respected the Egyptian dependencies on the coast of Thrace.
This attack launched against inoffensive communities in profound peace raised a storm of indignation: the Greek world was outraged by the fate of Cius and Thasos. It also, beyond doubt, annoyed Antiochus, who was irritated by his ally’s cool highhandedness, his co-operation with Prusias, a natural opponent of the Seleucids, and above all his occupation of Lysimacheia to which he himself had claims. Moreover, Philip’s expedition naturally embroiled him with Aetolia, already angered by his non-observance of the treaty of 206, and Byzantium, and, more serious still, it made the Rhodians his declared enemies. His indirect attack upon Iasus, their friend, had moved them to protest, and they believed that his establishment upon the Straits endangered their trade; Philip added the last straw by making mock of them, promising, at their intercession, to spare Cius and then sacking it beneath the eyes of their envoys. Exasperated, and incited to action by an energetic citizen, Theophiliscus, whom they elected navarch, the Rhodians, peace-loving though they were, decided to fight Philip, bringing in also their allies, Byzantium, Cyzicus, Chios, Cos and the rest (end of summer 202).
Philip was unwise enough to despise Rhodes, but he feared the Romans, whose victory at Zama, during his maritime campaign, had freed them to intervene in the East. His spies at Rome kept him informed of their intentions; he soon had proof that these were not alarming. The Aetolians, furious but not daring to challenge him unaided, had attempted to renew friendly relations with the Senate and interest it in their cause (probably autumn 202 BC); but, harshly reminding their envoys of their “defection” in 206, the patres rejected their appeal. This rebuff implied that Rome had, at the moment, no mind to take action again in Greece against Macedonia; so Philip thought that he could safely pursue his eastern enterprises. He was, however, to meet adversaries whom he had rashly underrated.
In the spring of 201 the two kings resumed operations. Antiochus continued the conquest of Southern Syria, favored by persistent disorders in Egypt, Agathocles, Agathocleia and their clique had indeed vanished, massacred in a military and popular rising, fomented by Tlepolemus, of which Polybius gives a vivid and pathetic picture. But, as soon as he became regent, Tlepolemus, able soldier as he was, proved a feeble administrator, indolent, careless, wasteful of public funds, and by his misgovernment roused a strong opposition. Meanwhile the native revolt still raged from Nubia to the Delta, where Lycopolis was its main center, and, doubtless, many mercenaries, chiefly Aetolians, brought from Greece by Scopas, were used in suppressing it. Under these circumstances Antiochus was able to reach Gaza; but, faithful to its heroic traditions and firmly loyal to Ptolemy, the town defended itself stoutly and enabled Scopas to gather an army to face the invader (autumn 201).
On his side, Philip crossed the Aegean, probably subdued the numerous independent islands (including perhaps Cythnos and Paros), but left Thera to the Egyptians. Coming to Samos, a Ptolemaic dependency where lay an Egyptian squadron, he apparently expected to be received with open arms, but met with a resistance explained by the uneasiness he inspired: possibly the inhabitants feared the fate of Thasos. It seems that, in order to reduce the town, he was forced to blockade it and storm the forts on the surrounding heights. At last the city fell, and Philip incorporated some, though not all, of the Egyptian vessels in his fleet: for the Ptolemaic squadron was not fitted out for war, a fact which is sufficient evidence that Philip had not, at this time, acted as the enemy of Egypt. Thus he found himself in possession of 53 cataphracts besides some light ships and 150 lembi, and with these he could defy the Rhodians and their allies. But he became involved with a new enemy. The common danger brought together Attalus and Rhodes hitherto unfriendly. In each new progress of the Macedonian eastward, Attalus saw a menace to himself, for Philip had a heavy score to settle with him. Theophiliscus came to Pergamum and persuaded him to abandon his hesitations and to unite his fleet with that of the Rhodians, whereupon Philip found himself threatened by 65 cataphracts and 12 “undecked” vessels.
As before, he proceeded against non-Ptolemaic cities. Leaving Samos, he coasted along Ionia, imposed his protectorate upon Teos, and was besieging Chios, when Theophiliscus and Attalus, bearing down upon him from the north, caused him to raise the siege and brought him to action in the south of the Chian channel. The battle which followed, the last great engagement fought by the Macedonian navy, was worthy of the great days of Cos and Andros and, although indecisive, did Philip much credit. His Macedonians showed, as usual, unequalled valor in boarding; and his lembi skillfully handled, seriously impeded the movements of the enemy ships. The Rhodians, by superior seamanship, but not without hard fighting, defeated the Macedonian left, but on the right, Philip, attacked by Attalus, proved victorious, drove Attalus ashore, compelled him to flee by land, captured his royal flagship, and forced the Pergamenes to break off the action. But his partial victory, which he emphasized by dedicating his spoils at Delos, cost him dear. Polybius, copying patriotic Rhodian historians, must have exaggerated his loss in men—about 12,000 including over 3000 Macedonians—but he lost 28 cataphracts, among them six of his largest vessels, and 72 lembi, while his opponents suffered only slightly, save for the death of the brave Theophiliscus, who was mortally wounded. This meant that Philip’s enemies, united, would have in future a crushing superiority at sea.
For the present they separated, Attalus returned home to put his kingdom into a state of defence; the Rhodians took up their station at Lade, covering the Milesian coast. Seizing this opportunity, Philip attacked and defeated them, but without inflicting on them serious losses, and compelled them to retreat southwards. He should perhaps have pressed the pursuit and completed their destruction, but his rage against Attalus turned him aside. After a triumphal welcome from the Milesians, Ptolemy’s nominal allies, he left his fleet to operate against the Sporades, allies or subjects of Rhodes, and hurried with some light-armed troops to Pergamum, hoping to surprise it and capture Attalus—which, it is true, would in all likelihood have finished the war. But Pergamum was well defended; he could only plunder the sanctuaries outside the city, especially the Nicephorium, and as Attalus had laid waste the countryside, he traversed it in all directions without finding provisions for his men.
After this abortive raid, Philip returned through Hiera Come and Maeandrian Magnesia to the district near Latmus, probably seizing on his way Pedasa and Euromus; then, aided by his fleet, which had unsuccessfully attacked Cos and Calymna, but taken Nisyrus from the Rhodians, he invaded Southern Caria. He failed to capture Cnidus, a free city, but, pushing eastward along the Triopian ;Chersonese, he conquered the Rhodian Peraea; then, turning northward, he occupied Panamara where, for reasons of policy, he honoured Zeus Carios, the great deity of the region, and Stratoniceia, perhaps Rhodian, more probably an independent town. Finally, regaining the Aegean coast, and co-operating with his fleet, he reduced Iasus and Bargylia. The conquered districts, where he appointed a general (strategos)commanding forces of occupation, and someepistatai, ;were to remain for four years a Macedonian province. So far as we know they included no Ptolemaic dependencies; Philip left the Egyptians Caunus which adjoined Rhodian territory, and apparently made no attempt on Myndus and Halicarnassus; he had seemingly evacuated Samos.
When autumn (201) came, Philip was anxious to cross to Macedonia again, but met with an obstacle which he should have foreseen. To besiege Iasus and Bargylia in their remote inlet, he had rashly left free the open sea. Attalus and the Rhodians joined forces; then, barring the entrance to the harbour of Bargylia, blockaded his fleet, which was too weak to risk a battle, and his army, which was almost starving. The dubious ally of Antiochus was now repaid in his own coin. A demonstration against Pergamum by the Lydian governor Zeuxis would have drawn off Attalus, but Zeuxis made no move. He had besides, during the whole campaign, purposely neglected, contrary to the terms of the partition treaty, to revictual the Macedonians. His master set him an example of bad faith: Antiochus had recently reconciled with Rhodes the Cretan cities friendly to Philip, thereby depriving the latter of valuable auxiliaries.
Accordingly the winter of 201—200 found Philip in a critical situation. Forced to lead the “life of a wolf”, to extort provisions from neighboring towns by prayers or threats, feeding his troops on figs for lack of corn, he was cut off from his kingdom, although he knew that his presence in Macedonia was indispensable in order to face dangers nearer home.
ATTALUS AND THE RHODIANS APPEAL TO ROME
It was the obvious interest of Philip’s enemies to raise up adversaries to him in the West. Attalus, who had remained the ally of the Aetolians after 206, had tried to move them, but in vain; their bad reception by the Senate had daunted them. He also thought not unnaturally of appealing to the Romans. It is true that, formally, he was neither their ally nor perhaps even their “friend”, but they had included him in the peace of Phoenice and his relations with them were extremely cordial. On the other hand, the Rhodians, as we have seen, had been constantly opposed to Rome and were largely responsible for the defection of the Aetolians. But their fear of Philip led them to reverse their policy; it had made them ally themselves with Attalus, and now it decided them to appeal, like him, to Rome for help. In the late summer of 201 Pergamene and Rhodian envoys appeared before the Senate.
Careful of their dignity, the patres deferred giving any promise, but their decision was taken at once. About November Sulpicius Galba was re-elected consul; this meant that he would be commander in a new Macedonian war. Macedonia was indeed one of the consular provinces and fell to him.
This decision of the Senate, on the morrow of the struggle against Carthage, with people and army war-weary and longing for peace, the treasury empty, the state-creditors restive, is most astonishing—the more so since Rome had certainly no grievance against Philip. The force he is said to have sent to Hannibal before Zama, and his aggressions against certain unnamed Greek allies of Rome, are merely clumsy fabrications of later times, invented to justify the hostile behavior of the Roman government. In reality, fearing Rome greatly, Philip kept peace with her most correctly. As for his conflict with Attalus and Rhodes, that obviously could not justify the armed intervention of the Romans. Rhodes had naturally no title to their assistance; Attalus, included in the recent peace, might claim it in principle, but, in fact, he—like the Rhodians—in attacking Philip had been the aggressor. This war, decided upon so quickly, was thus without legitimate cause; it was simply willed by the Senate. A year earlier, they had apparently no thought of it: otherwise they would have forgotten for the moment their grievances against Aetolia (as later in 200) and would have listened to her complaints against Philip. Thus their conversion to a warlike policy was sudden indeed.
The reason for this change—evidently a strong one—is not directly known, for the explanations given by our sources are quite untrustworthy; it can only be inferred from an examination of the circumstances. The present writer would therefore indicate what seems to him the most probable.
Attalus, a warm friend of Rome, the Rhodians, serious, sensible, trusted and esteemed, inspired confidence in the Senate. Knowing little of eastern affairs, the patres must have listened attentively to their representatives; doubtless their arguments greatly influenced the Roman decision, and we can conjecture, with some probability, what they were. Apparently the envoys laid little stress on the grievances of Attalus and Rhodes against Philip, since these were unlikely to move the Senate, which would care little about the seizure by Philip of some Hellespontine or Asiatic towns whose very name was unknown in Rome. Wishing to persuade them to fight Philip immediately, they must have reviewed the matter from the standpoint of Roman interests, showing how dangerous inaction would be to Rome, and how easy it was to act at once. Rhodes and Attalus had got wind of the compact between Antiochus and Philip; they had good reasons for doubting its stability, but their envoys could use it to frighten the Senate. According to them, Antiochus was a conqueror from whom anything might be feared; his understanding with Philip constituted a certain danger for Rome. At the moment, the two kings aspired to make Egypt their prey, but, once strengthened by its spoils, what might they not do? Would not Philip, ever the enemy of Rome, bring in Antiochus against her? She must break this threatening alliance by crushing the ally within reach. Antiochus was just then occupied in Syria, Philip, much weakened, blockaded in Caria—it was a fine opportunity to invade Macedonia. If Philip succeeded in returning home, his defeat would nevertheless be swiftly achieved. Rome would have with her, besides the Pergamene and Rhodian fleets, the Aetolians thirsting for vengeance, Amynander who had recently quarreled with Philip, and, of course, the barbarian enemies of Macedonia. Moreover, Philip’s Greek allies now hated him; his crimes at Cius and Thasos aroused their common horror; all Greece, doubtless, would join Rome.
The ambassadors could not fail to move the senators by talking of Antiochus. Rome had no relations with him, but his resounding fame had long made them uneasy. Laevinus and, Sulpitius had many times in Greece heard first the Aetolians, then Attalus, relate his exploits; Laevinus was in Pergamum when Antiochus returned from the Far East; and the Alexandrians had recently asked for protection against him. The Romans were very ready to see an enemy in every monarch, and Antiochus, so powerful, fortunate, and undoubtedly of unbounded ambitions, seemed especially disquieting. They pictured him lord of the fabulous treasures, the unnumbered hosts of Asia; he reminded them at once of Xerxes and of Alexander; above all, he was for them the unknown that is terrible. When they heard that he was secretly in league with Philip, his hostility to them seemed beyond doubt. Conqueror of the East, he would assuredly dispute the West with Rome, thus helping Philip to his revenge.
Therefore it was necessary to take prompt measures to counter-act this danger, profit by Antiochus’ momentary absence to act against Philip—not to destroy him (a too difficult and lengthy undertaking), but cripple him and, further, drive him from Greece. Greece which had hitherto meant little to the Senate, since they did not fear Philip alone, suddenly assumed peculiar importance: it was the natural point of concentration for the two kings, their common base against Italy. They must, accordingly, be prevented from using it, and it must at the same time be brought under Roman control. Not that there was any question of subjugating it—that would have been to provide Philip and Antiochus with the profitable role of “liberator”. This rôle Rome would assume herself; she would restore Greek freedom, destroyed or restricted by Philip, thereby securing the enthusiastic gratitude of the Greeks, and then constitute herself their permanent protectress. Liberated and shielded by Rome, Greece would be closed to the kings, Rome’s enemies, closed to Antiochus if, after Philip’s defeat, he should pursue alone the aggressive designs concerted with him.
Such, it seems, were the fears and calculations which gave rise to the warlike policy of the Senate, hitherto so little inclined to entangle itself in Eastern affairs. Apparently aggressive, but really preventive, its object was to checkmate the dangerous purposes attributed to Antiochus and Philip, and, with this aim, make Greece the outwork of Italy’s defenses to the East. It is, however, quite possible that these leading motives were reinforced by subsidiary considerations of sentiment: the longing to cancel an inglorious peace and punish Philip for his alliance with Carthage, a proud desire in some Romans to conquer the unconquerable Macedonians, and also accomplish something spectacular in extending Roman primacy over the illustrious peoples of Greece. Of an over-romantic ardent sympathy for the Greeks, Philip’s maneuvered so that Philip and the Roman citizens were driven into a war which neither desired. It had only to present to Philip, without previous negotiation, an offensive ultimatum based on an imaginary casus belli then use his refusal to comply with it to secure the people’s vote for war.
According to the ius fetiale Philip—although, in fact, he had committed no offence—must be confronted with a “demand for satisfaction” (rerum repetitio). This demand was drawn up by the Senate, who contrived to turn it into an intolerable provocation. It is summarized thus by Polybius: “Philip was to grant to Attalus, for injuries caused to him, reparations to be fixed by arbitrators; if he complied, he might consider himself at peace with Rome, but if he refused, the consequences would be the reverse”. It can be seen how insulting was the form of this demand: without giving him any opportunity of justifying himself, Rome exacted from Philip, under threat of war, immediate submission. But the substance was even worse; in plain contradiction to the facts, Philip was represented as the aggressor; the Roman ultimatum really amounted to this: the Pergamene fleet, together with the Rhodian, had attacked the Macedonian fleet at Chios, therefore the successor of Alexander must humiliate himself before the parvenu kinglet of Pergamum.
But the Senate went still further: its rerum repetitio was preceded by the injunction that “Philip should make war henceforth upon no Greek state”. This was outrageous from the standpoint of international law. In the first place, by what right did the Romans concern themselves with Greek interests? They had now no Greek allies. Secondly, in 204, they had recognized Philip’s full sovereignty and implicitly admitted his authority over many Greeks. Now, without urging any reasons, they claimed, contrary to treaty, to reverse this state of affairs. In denying Philip the right to make war upon Greeks, they impaired his sovereignty, and virtually destroyed the authority which he exercised in Greece, for it became a mere illusion if he might not uphold it by force; and, finally, by implication they declared unjustified all former wars waged by himself or his predecessors against Greeks, and thus denied validity to results of their victories. The destruction of all that Macedon had achieved in Greece since Philip II was in fact what the Senate demanded. It demanded the impossible, but in this it showed its skill, for it drove Philip to extremes and also, by declaring the Greeks immune from attack, won them over (at least so it hoped) to the side of Rome, and stated a principle which it could, at need, apply later to Antiochus.
In the spring of 200 the Senate sent three legati to deliver its ultimatum to Philips. They were at the same time to foment in Greece an agitation favorable to Rome, guarantee Roman support to Attalus and Rhodes, and, lastly, visit the Syrian and Egyptian courts. This last proceeding had as pretext Agathocles’ request for the Senate’s mediation on behalf of Ptolemy V; in reality the Roman government, which was very uneasy about Antiochus, wished to discover his intentions, to find out if he was now inclined to support Philip and, in that case, to try to dissuade him from doing so.
ROMAN INTERVENTION IN GREECE AND THE EAST
Blockaded at Bargylia, Philip had against his will wintered in Caria; but, about March-April 200, forcing the blockade by a stratagem, he returned to Macedonia, closely followed by Attalus and the Rhodians, who posted themselves at Aegina. Immediately after his return he entered indirectly into a conflict with Athens. The Athenians, with stupid fanaticism, had put to death two young Acarnanians who, though uninitiated, had rashly found their way into the Eleusinian Mysteries (September 201). As they could not obtain redress, the Acarnanians begged Philip for troops to join their own in invading Attica, Philip granted them the men: the Acarnanians were his staunchest allies; their vengeance was just, the outrage they had suffered moved him; perhaps, too, he had grievances against Athens of which we know nothing. Attica was devastated, and the Athenians, powerless to resist, implored help on every hand, from Attalus and the Rhodians, from Aetolia, perhaps also from Egypt and some Cretan towns, but, despite annalistic tradition, not from Rome; they had as yet no ties with the Republic; the Senate received no embassy from them. It was they, on the contrary, who were visited by the senatorial legati.
The latter, C. Claudius Nero, victor at the Metaurus, P. Sempronius Tuditanus, author of the peace of Phoenice, and the young M. Aemilius Lepidus, arrived in Greece shortly after Philip’s return. They halted at many places—in Epirus, in Athamania at Amynander’s court, in Aetolia and Achaea, visiting indiscriminately Macedonia’s allies and adversaries, publishing the ultimatum which they bore, dilating upon it, and making it clear that Rome was determined to protect against Philip all Greeks without distinction: these strange ambassadors thus stirred up war wherever they passed, and endeavored to gain allies for the Republic, But, though welcomed by Amynander, they were coldly received by Epirotes, Aetolians, and Achaeans. The Epirotes were a timid people and feared to commit themselves; the Aetolians could hardly forget their desertion by Rome in 207-6, and the affront to their envoys in 202: they adopted a waiting attitude; as for the Achaeans, who at that time were busy fighting Nabis (against whom Philopoemen, then General, won a brilliant victory near Mt. Scotitas in Laconia), they remembered with horror the recent Roman war. The anti-Macedonians, though powerful in Achaea, made no move at first. In the Hellenic League generally the idea of a Roman return to Greece aroused nothing but alarm; and, indeed, how could Philip’s allies, still smarting from Roman blows, believe in this sudden transformation of Rome into a champion of Hellenism
From Achaea the legati proceeded to the Piraeus; the anger of the Athenians against Philip, the helper of the Acarnanian invasion, gave them an opportunity; they must add fuel to the flames. At the Piraeus they met Attalus who had hastened from Aegina to join them, informed him, to his great joy, of the Senate’s warlike resolutions and, on the morrow, accompanied him to Athens where he was welcomed as a saviour hero. The object of this visit was to bring the Athenians to the point of declaring war upon Philip. They were hesitating, for fear of his vengeance, yet, upon the warm persuasions first of Attalus, who sent them a written message, and then of the Rhodians, the Assembly enthusiastically passed the desired decree (c. May 200). It is noteworthy that the Roman envoys remained in the background; they had authorized Attalus to guarantee publicly to the Athenians the armed assistance of Rome but kept silence themselves; they apparently knew that they had little influence in Athens, hence their reserved attitude. The Athenians loaded Attalus with almost divine honors, resolved to create a tribe Attalis, and conferred isopoliteia upon the Rhodians, but bestowed no special distinction upon the Roman people: Rome was still out of favor. But the legati soon had an opportunity to be of use. Nicanor, the commander of the Macedonian auxiliaries sent to the Acarnanians, had remained to observe Athens; learning of the decree against Philip, he ravaged the suburbs up to the Academy; the Romans then intervened and communicated to him the senatorial ultimatum for transmission to Philip. Nicanor retired; Attica was freed from the invader. It is characteristic of Roman methods of action that they forbade Philip “to make war upon any Greek people” at the very moment when Athens, instigated at least indirectly by them, had just declared war upon him.
To have Athens, powerless as she was, on their side was a great moral success; yet the beau geste of the Athenians found no imitators. The Aetolians remained deaf to Attalus’ appeals; the Achaeans showed their sentiments some months later by electing as General Cycliadas who was well-disposed to Philip, and by attempting to reconcile Philip and the Rhodians (autumn 200).
From Athens, on their voyage to Syria and Egypt, the Roman envoys reached Rhodes, where they made a considerable stay, devising plans with the Rhodians and watching Philip, whose new enterprise called for their full attention. Apprised of the Roman demands by Nicanor, Philip naturally scorned to reply, but immediately took steps to face the coming war. Obviously too weak to dispute with the Romans the command of the open sea, he wished to maintain communications by way of Thrace and the Hellespont with Asia, where he had left troops to guard his conquests—at Iasus, Bargylia, Euromus,Pedasa, Stratoniceia and in the Rhodian Peraea; besides, since Macedonia was especially vulnerable on the east, he must prevent a possible hostile landing in Thrace: so, for both reasons, Philip decided to seize the Thracian coast, which still belonged to Egypt, and also the eastern shore of the Dardanelles. Answering the Athenian decree by sending Philocles, governor of Euboea, to ravage Attica, he marched with 2000 light-armed troops and 200 cavalry against Maronea, where his fleet awaited him under Heracleides, stormed the town, took Cypsela, Aenus, which was finally betrayed by its Egyptian governor; and the Chersonese (where he already held Lysimacheia); then, crossing the Straits, he besieged the free city of Abydos, which defended itself desperately. With strange lack of energy, Attalus and the Rhodians did nothing to hinder him, and only sent very inadequate assistance to Abydos. Ever intent upon their maritime interests, the Rhodians had, on their return from Athens, hastened to bring into alliance with themselves the Cyclades, except for Cythnos, Andros and Paros which were held by Macedonian garrisons, but they considered the saving of Abydos too laborious an undertaking. The siege was nearing its end, when Philip received, probably late in September, a new communication from the Senate.
At Rome events had moved quickly. The Senate had learnt from its envoys of Philocles’ invasion of Attica and of Philip’s entry into Thrace: Philip was not only opposing an insulting silence to their commands, but was showing by his warlike acts that he cared nothing for them—which was what the patres had anticipated and desired. War thus became inevitable, the honor of Rome was at stake. The consul Sulpicius presented the lex de bello indicendo to the centuries, on the ground that Philip had attacked the allies of the Roman people, an allegation which was, as we know, an audacious lie, since Attalus (besides not being, strictly speaking, the ally of Rome) had been the aggressor in the contest with Philip. According to the Roman annalists, the proposal was at first rejected almost unanimously, which would be naturally explained by the war-weariness of the people after the nightmare of the Punic War; but, returning to the charge at the Senate’s orders, Sulpicius secured an affirmative vote (c. July), then prepared at once to cross the sea. It remained, according to the practice of the fetiales to communicate to the enemy, if possible to Philip in person, the indictio belli. Charged with this formality, the legati sent Aemilius Lepidus, the youngest of them, from Rhodes to Abydos. As the indictio belli usually took the form of a final rerum repetition, the Senate had taken advantage of it to increase their demands, a sure method of depriving Philip of any possible retreat; they forbade him to touch Egyptian dependencies, and commanded him to make reparations not only to Attalus but to Rhodes. Aemilius notified him of this, and a stormy altercation followed; Philip objected that the Rhodians had attacked him, whereupon Aemilius interrupted him violently. With ironic courtesy, Philip excused him “because he was young and inexperienced, the handsomest man of his day (as was indeed true, says Polybius), and, above all, a Roman”. He added: “if it please the Romans to violate the treaty between us, we will defend ourselves with the help of the gods”, thus proclaiming the manifest unrighteousness of the war. Upon Aemilius’ departure, Philip took Abydos, whose inhabitants killed themselves in a paroxysm of heroic frenzy, garrisoned it, and returned home in haste; he learnt on the way of the Roman arrival in Illyria. Sulpicius, with two legions—about 25,000 men—consisting partly of veterans enlisted as volunteers, was encamped between Apollonia and Dyrrhachium (c. early October).
The legati had still to carry out the most delicate part of their mission, visit Antiochus and, if possible, persuade him to declare himself neutral in the contest between Philip and Rome. Extreme prudence was necessary. For the first time the Romans came into contact with the dreaded king of Asia; they must be careful not to estrange a conqueror who had just won fresh laurels. After taking Gaza, Antiochus had suffered a momentary reverse; resuming the offensive in the winter of 201/0, Scopas reconquered Palestine up to the sources of the Jordan; but at the battle of Panion, Antiochus avenged Raphia. Decisively defeated, Scopas, with the 10,000 men that remained of his army, was forced to take refuge in Sidon, which Antiochus besieged by land and sea (summer 200). It was a few months later that the legati came from Rhodes to visit him. What passed between them is not known directly, but can be inferred from subsequent events. Certainly, the Romans so arrogant towards Philip showed themselves blandness itself towards Antiochus. Their ostensible instructions were to “reconcile him with Ptolemy”; their real instructions were quite different. Apart from the fact that indiscreet mediation might have irritated Antiochus, his war against Egypt was valuable to Rome : it turned him from Philip. The legati assured him of the Senate’s goodwill, giving him to understand that, whatever the displeasure of the patres at the sight of danger to Ptolemy, a friend of Rome, they would not hamper his conqueror. Antiochus was lavish in demonstrations of friendship: he rejoiced to enter into relations with the Republic, and proposed to send an embassy to Rome. He made much of the Roman envoys, but that was all. In return for their complaisance they hoped for a promise of neutrality; they obtained none. The uneasiness which Antiochus inspired at Rome guaranteed him, better than all their words, full liberty of action in the East, and he was wise enough not to dispel this useful uneasiness. The legati left him, mistrustful and uncertain of his intentions, never suspecting his satisfaction at being rid, thanks to Rome, of a dangerous ally. The fear that he might come to Philip’s help was left to haunt the Senate.
The Roman embassy, returning from Syria, necessarily touched at Alexandria, where the results of the supposed mediation were anxiously awaited. The legati probably got over the difficulty by telling the Egyptians that their efforts had failed before Antiochus’ obstinacy; they then returned to Rome. Later, a legend arose in the Aemilian family, which was illustrated by a coin, that M, Aemilius had stayed in Alexandria as guardian of the child Ptolemy in the name of the Roman Senate. The truth is that the Romans abandoned Egypt to its fate. They ordered Philip to respect Egyptian possessions, but allowed Antiochus to have his way with them. While the Seleucid king was conquering in the distant East, they hoped to make an end of the Antigonid.
THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF THE MACEDONIAN WAR
No sooner had he landed than Sulpicius made use of the days of fine weather that remained, and sent his lieutenant, L. Apustius, to ravage the Macedonian borders. Apustius took and destroyed, among other towns, the important Antipatreia. Meanwhile a squadron dispatched to the Piraeus to protect Athens succeeded in surprising Chalcis, one of Philip’s places d'armes, where the Romans did enormous damage, though they had not men enough to hold the town. Hastening thither too late, Philip vented his rage upon Athens. He attacked the city twice, but failed to take it, failed also against Eleusis and the Piraeus; but twice he spread havoc through ill-fated Attica which thus within a few months suffered five invasions. It is said that the king was not content with destroying buildings, but had the very stones broken to prevent their reconstruction. This insane violence merely made him more detested.
Between his two attempts on Athens he visited the Achaeans in the hope of securing military aid. But the thought of a war with Rome terrified them, and their own affairs were going badly; since the end of Philopoemen’s term as General in October 200, Nabis was again becoming aggressive. Philip’s requests were met by evasions, and Achaea remained his ally only in name. He could expect no official help from her or from his “independent allies” in general; all he got from them was some volunteers, chiefly Acarnanians and Boeotians. His one field-army—he possessed no reserves—amounting to about 20,000 foot and 2000 horse, consisted almost entirely of Macedonians (including Thessalians) reinforced by Thracians, Illyrians, and mercenaries.
His isolation and weakness condemned Philip to a defensive limited by the need to spare his troops as much as possible. Sulpicius, on the other hand, received offers of co-operation from Bato, the Dardanian king, Pleuratus and Amynander. These were useful allies, but barbarians or semi-barbarians, and the Romans, who had proclaimed themselves the defenders of the Greeks, aspired higher. However, apart from Athens, the Greek peoples fought shy of allying themselves with Rome and remained passive. The presence Sulpicius, whose previous sojourn in Greece had left bitter memories, did not make them any less reluctant. Even the Aetolians played a waiting game, and although Sulpicius sent an envoy and mobilized the eloquence of their friends the Athenians (end of March 199), all was in vain. Before they moved, they wished to see which way the war would go.
Impatient for results, Sulpicius proposed to end the war at once by a combined offensive. He was to invade Macedonia from the west, Pleuratus and Bato from the north, Amynander from the south; the fleets of Rome, Pergamum and Rhodes, amounting together to some 100 sail, were to master Cassandreia and Chalcidice. While his barbarian allies were getting into motion, the consul, following what was to become the Via Egnatia, boldly advanced into Lyncestis, where he encountered Philip, who from the center of his kingdom had kept watch on his various opponents, and inflicted a slight reverse upon him at Ottolobus near the middle waters of the Erigon. Here the Roman successes ended, Philip pursued a skillful defensive, harassing and wearing down the enemy without ever risking a pitched battle. After fruitless operations in Lyncestis, Sulpicius at last contrived to force the pass of Banitza, the key to Lower Macedonia. But the season was advanced, he was far from his base and found it hard to feed his army. He, therefore, decided to retire and, after laying waste Eordaea and Elimiotis, he regained Illyria by way of Orestis, where he captured Celetrum. Thus after five months he was back again at his starting point (October). His retreat saved Philip. To check the Roman advance he had been compelled to recall the troops, under the nominal command of his youthful son Perseus, that held the Axius passes, so that the Dardanians had entered Paeonia unhindered. Moreover, after Ottolobus, the Aetolians had spontaneously taken the field once more, and with the Athamanians were overrunning Thessaly, pushing on as far as Perrhaebia. But, freed from the Romans, Philip made short work of them, and the Dardanians returned home with the Macedonian general Athenagoras at their heels. On land, through lack of concert, the coalition effected nothing. More fortunate by sea, where the Macedonian fleet dared not appear, Apustius and Attalus began by taking Andros and ended by conquering Oreus, but, though helped by the Rhodians, their attack upon Cassandreia was a complete failure; they had to content themselves with the capture and sack of the Chalcidian town of Acanthus.
This campaign, barren though it was of military results, made a deep impression in Greece. Philip had allowed Macedonia to be invaded and had abandoned the sea to the enemy: his defeat seemed probable. This explains the revived ardor of Aetolia and, in Achaea, the election as General, against Philopoemen himself, of Aristaenus (or Aristaenetus) of Dyme, an anti-Macedonian leader (end of September 199). To parry the blow, Philip went beyond his promises of 208, and handed over to the Achaeans all his Peloponnesian possessions. He realized, too, that, if he would regain his prestige, he must modify his defensive strategy, and not shut himself in his kingdom, but stand and fight on his western frontier, and deny the Romans access to Greece. On the sound assumption that, in order to join the Aetolians, they would now advance on Macedonia through Epirus and Thessaly, he took up and fortified a position near Antigoneia commanding the gorges of the Aoüs, thus closing both the Drynus valley towards Epirus and the Aotis valley towards Thessaly (spring 198). Sulpicius’ successor, the consul P. Villius Tappulus, after having checked by conciliation a serious mutiny among his so-called volunteers, came to seek him there. But he was almost at once replaced by his own successor, the consul for 198, T. Quinctius Flamininus, a young man not yet thirty, who reached Greece earlier in the year than any previous commander, bringing important reinforcements of 8000 foot and 800 horse.
Sulpicius, a grim soldier, could not be the man to carry out the new Hellenic policy of the Senate. But this policy was well suited to the temper and aims of the new consul. At heart Flamininus was masterful, and determined to set up firmly a Roman protectorate in Greece. But he was also vanity itself, thirsting for honor and glory, and above all for the praises of the Greeks which his fervent admiration for Hellenism caused him to set above everything. He was haunted by the vision of Greece, freed by his efforts from the yoke of Macedon, lauding him as her liberator, accepting Roman protection as a boon bestowed by him, and abiding in lasting gratitude and loyalty to the Republic—an achievement to be his and his alone. His first object was to detach from Philip as many of his allies as he could and bring them definitely over to the side of Rome. To this end he proposed to employ a method, natural enough but hitherto too rarely tried, for which he was peculiarly fitted by his profound and skillfully paraded Hellenic culture and his un-Roman qualities of suppleness and tact. The method was to give a warm welcome to any Greeks who approached him, to win their confidence, and persuade them that Rome’s one purpose in fighting Philip was to bring to them freedom. Philhellene or not at heart, he knew well how to appear so. It was his special gift to display to the Greeks such a Roman consul as hitherto they had never seen nor hoped to see: a Roman consul who delighted to speak their language, who knew their customs, was like them, and—strangest of all—desired to please them. His graciousness won over a number of well-to-do Greeks, hostile to Philip, who entered into close relations with him and became useful helpers. But the triumphs of his diplomacy have been overrated; they were not substantial and were due far less to his finesse than to the presence in every Greek city of a strongly anti-Macedonian upper class, ready or at least resigned to treat with Philip’s enemies, and to an even more potent factor, the terror inspired by the Roman arms. And in the end his great design was not achieved: he did not bring to pass the close and lasting union of the Greeks with Rome of which he dreamed.
Shortly after his arrival, the Epirote magistrates arranged a meeting between him and the king on the banks of the Aoüs. This gave him the opportunity for a resounding declaration. He proclaimed as an indispensable condition of peace the abandonment by Philip of all his Hellenic dependencies, even those which he had inherited, beginning with Thessaly. Now the Greeks knew beyond all doubt what was the Senate’s purpose—the expulsion from Greece of the Macedonians. It was to the Greeks, no less than to Philip, that Flamininus spoke.
Indignant at being treated as vanquished, Philip broke off the conference. His defenses, impregnable from the front, could not be stormed, but were turned by 4300 Romans who were furnished with a guide by a prominent Epirote, Charops (probably 2,4 June 198). Threatened with envelopment, Philip extricated himself with the loss of 2000 men and all his baggage, marched hurriedly up the Aotis into Thessaly, where he left no region unvisited, wasting the open country but leaving garrisons in the fortresses, and took up position at Tempe. Behind him Thessaly was invaded from three sides: from the south by the Aetolians, who overran Dolopia and the borders of Thessaliotis and Phthiotic Achaea, from the west by Amynander, who crossing the Pindus seized the important town of Gomphi, finally from the north by Flamininus. Coming from Epirus, he descended the Zygos-pass into the valley of the Peneus, but found his advance checked by the Thessalian strongholds, which were stoutly defended by the inhabitants as well as the Macedonian garrisons. Though after great efforts he took Phaloria, Atrax withstood all his attacks. He then turned southward and pushed on towards the Corinthian Gulf, intending to winter at Anticyra where he could regain touch with supplies from Italy, and reduced on his way numerous Phocian towns. While he was besieging Elatea, which had refused to open its gates, the allied fleets, which had just captured Eretria and Carystus in Euboea, arrived at Cenchreae thus threatening Corinth (September).
Their presence had a political purpose. Up till then the Greeks had disappointed Flamininus’ hopes; despite his declaration at the Aoüs meeting, none of Philip’s allies, not even the Epirotes, whose lands he had purposely spared, had yet come over to the Romans. Flamininus, in secret understanding with Aristaenus, wished to secure the adhesion of Achaea. Accordingly, his brother, L. Quinctius, commanding the Roman fleet, Attalus, and the Rhodian admiral sent envoys to Sicyon to invite the League to joint action, offering in return to help them to recover Corinth. There could be no doubt about the answer. Powerless even against Nabis, perforce unaided by Philip—and abandoned by Philopoemen, who had withdrawn in disgust to be again a condottiere in Crete—the Achaeans had to choose between Rome as ally or as enemy: the knife was at their throat. Refusal meant immediate attack by the three fleets. Yet, despite their peril, despite the lure of Corinth, the passionate exhortations of an Athenian envoy, and the pressure exerted by Aristaenus and his party, they only voted the decree of alliance after three days of anguish, amid furious dissensions, and thanks to the tardy transference of one suffrage in the council of damiourgoi, perhaps also because many recalcitrants, the Dymaeans, the Megalopolitans, some Argives, were intimidated into withdrawal before the final vote. So strong remained the ties which bound Achaea to Macedon, while stronger still was the popular aversion towards the foreigner.
The sequel was equally significant. In accordance with their promise, L. Quinctius and Attalus, along with the Achaean army, attacked Corinth. The hope that the inhabitants would rise against the Macedonian garrison proved vain. Corinthians and Macedonians fought shoulder to shoulder; help came from Philocles in Chalcis, and the besiegers ended by retreating. Shortly afterwards, Argos, firmly loyal to the Macedonian alliance, welcomed Philocles within its walls and seceded from Achaea. Thus Philip kept Corinth and gained Argos.
Nevertheless, after this second campaign, his case was desperate. His retreat in haste and disorder had looked like flight and the confession of defeat. Western Thessaly was lost, all Euboea but Chalcis, most of Locris and Phocis, including Elatea which had at last fallen to Flamininus, The defection of the Achaeans was a political disaster; the Hellenic League was breaking up from fear of Rome. Besides he was short of men and supplies; he had had to recall several distant garrisons, evacuate in particular Lysimacheia, which was then destroyed by the Thracians. Reason bade him negotiate even at great sacrifice, in the hope of saving what might yet be saved. About November a conference at his request was opened at Nicaea in Locris. Flamininus demanded that he should cede to Rome all his Illyrian possessions, restore the towns taken from Ptolemy, and, as before, evacuate Greece. He then let his allies speak. Attalus’ representative required reparations for damages committed near Pergamum; Rhodes, the abandonment of all Philip’s conquests in Asia and on the Hellespont and Bosporus; the Achaeans claimed Corinth and Argos; the Aetolians, the cities wrested from their League, particularly Echinus, Larissa Cremaste, Pharsalus and Phthiotic Thebes, unfairly retained by Philip since 206. All, in addition, joined Flamininus in demanding the complete evacuation of Greece. They demanded the impossible. Philip agreed to renounce, besides what he had already lost, Illyria, the Ptolemaic towns, the Rhodian Peraea, and even, in Greece, Larissa, Pharsalus, Argos, Corinth (the lower town), but naturally intended to keep the rest of his last Hellenic territories, including the three great strongholds, Demetrias, Chalcis and Acrocorinth. Finally, faced by the opposition of the Greeks, he appealed from them to the Senate—this at a secret suggestion by Flamininus, who throughout had studiously endeavored to win his confidence. Determined to secure the credit for ending the war, Flamininus sought to protract negotiations until the provinces for 197 were allotted; if he was not continued in command, his friends would persuade the Senate to patch up a peace which Philip could accept. But he was made proconsul, and his friends influenced the patres against concessions. Called upon to declare if the king would abandon Demetrias, Chalcis and Acrocorinth, Philip’s envoys remained silent, and the Senate broke off negotiations. The only outcome was that Philip lost his last Phocian and Locrian fortresses, yielded to Flamininus as the price of the truce during which he had tried to placate the Senate.
Thus condemned to continue a hopeless struggle, Philip had to endure, early in 197, new discomfitures and growing isolation. Abandoned by the Achaeans, he had turned to Nabis and, as an earnest of alliance, betrayed to him Argos which he could not hope to keep for himself. Abandoned by Philocles, the unhappy Argives had to bear the application of Spartan communism. Then, judging Philip’s cause lost, Nabis with cool effrontery made overtures to the Romans, which were at once accepted. An agreement was concluded at Mycenae in the presence of Flamininus himself, his brother, Attalus, and Nicostratus, the Achaean General. Nabis broke with Philip, supplied 600 Cretan mercenaries to the Roman army, and granted a truce to the Achaeans, which enabled them to operate against Corinth unhindered. He had—so he hoped—his reward, the tacit guarantee by Rome of his possession of Argos, where his wife and accomplice, the fierce Apia, was set to despoil, with menaces and violence, the noble ladies of Argos who were her compatriots.
The whole Peloponnese was henceforward against Philip. Flamininus, continuing his work of disruption, next detached from him Boeotia, reinforcing his persuasions by even harsher methods of intimidation than the Achaeans had had to face. With Attalus and Aristaenus, he went to Thebes, where the federal archon Antiphilus, a Boeotian Aristaenus, waited for his coming. Two thousand legionaries slipped into the city after him, and in their presence the Boeotians, surprised and terrified, voted adhesion to Rome. What the vote was worth, the future was to show. But, for the moment, the great work of Antigonus Doson was undone—the Hellenic “Symmachia” was destroyed. Apart from Acarnania, where L. Quinctius was intriguing, Eastern Thessaly with Magnesia and Eastern Phthiotis, Chalcis and Corinth, all the Greek allies of Macedon had either been forced into submission by Rome or won over—at least in appearance—to her cause. Flamininus had good reason to be proud of what he had achieved.
CYNOSCEPHALAE: ANTIOCHUS IN THE WEST
Western events had their repercussion in the East. The Macedonian war had given Antiochus a free field, and he had vigorously turned to account his victory at Panion, defeated an Egyptian army on its way to relieve Sidon, starved Scopas into surrender, allowing him, however, free withdrawal with his troops, retaken Jerusalem, where he had the support of a strong party, and mastered all Palestine as far as the Sinai desert. In 198 he was in a position to invade Egypt. But, besides the fact that it might have proved a difficult undertaking, since Scopas had raised 6500 mercenaries in Aetolia during the summer of 199, Antiochus, ever methodical, considered that he had for the present more urgent claims upon his energy. Philip’s defeat seemed imminent and, before it set the Romans free to hinder him, Antiochus must regain his hereditary possessions in Asia Minor and Thrace, which had fallen into the hands of Ptolemy or Philip. In the winter of 198 to 197, while his ambassadors carried friendly assurances to Rome, he was at Antioch preparing a great expedition. When spring came, the army under his sons Antiochus and Seleucus, advised by the generals Ardys and Mithridates, proceeded along the coast towards Sardes; he himself commanded the fleet, which is said to have comprised 100 warships and 200 light vessels. On the Cilician coast the Ptolemaic towns from Mallus to Selinus submitted immediately. Coracesium resisted; he was besieging it when he was met by a Rhodian embassy.
Philip’s enemies, especially the Romans, were anxiously watching Antiochus; in their eyes his departure for the West could only mean that he was coming to Philip’s aid. Accordingly the Rhodians, certainly at Flamininus’ instigation, announced, though with all due courtesy, that they would not allow him to pass the Chelidonian islands, Antiochus wished to avoid at all costs a collision with Rhodes, who would doubtless be supported by the fleets of Rome and Pergamum. The Rhodians, on their side, having extensive interests in his empire, did not wish to go to war with him. Both anxious to reach an understanding, they were parleying—Antiochus protesting, in all good faith, that he had no aggressive designs against Rome or her allies and adducing the compliments sent to him by his ambassadors as proof of Roman friendship—when news arrived of Philip’s decisive defeat. The Rhodians judged it unnecessary to bar Antiochus’ path any longer; an agreement, by which the king, in deference to Rhodian wishes, renounced the intention of annexing certain Ptolemaic possessions, was, it seems, arrived at, and he pursued his way unhindered.
Early in June, Philip had in fact played his last card, and lost. By a supreme effort, enlisting even boys of sixteen, he had collected 23,500 foot (18,000 of them Macedonians) and 2000 horse. While he was training his recruits at Dium, Flamininus left Elatea (end of March) and passed Thermopylae. He was present, at Heraclea, at the Assembly of the Aetolians, who supplied 6000 foot and 400 horse under the General Phaeneas; Amynander brought him 1200 Athamanians: his forces thus exceeded 26,000 including 2400 cavalry. Having traversed Phthiotic Achaea, where Thebes in spite of the pro-Roman leaders resisted him, the proconsul entered Thessaly knowing that he would meet Philip, who was indeed advancing towards him. Near Pherae there was some fighting, and then the two armies, seeking better ground, turned west and, losing touch, marched for two days on parallel lines, Philip to the north, Flamininus to the south of the range of hills called Cynoscephalae (Karadagh) till they neared Scotussa. There, on a hazy morning, covering detachments met unexpectedly upon the hills. As reinforcements arrived, the troops became heavily engaged, and when the Romans gave way despite the Aetolian horse, which boldly charged the Macedonians, Flamininus in support deployed his whole army facing the hills “and advanced with his left to meet the enemy in imposing style”. At the same time, yielding to the appeals of his men, Philip moved forward to occupy the heights. An unexpected general engagement was thus brought on, almost against Philip’s will, on the southern slopes of Karadagh, on broken ground unfavorable to the phalanx, even before the Macedonian left was in position. The battle consisted of two separate and successive actions. On the west, Philip, descending from the hills with the right half of the phalanx, drove back in great disorder the Roman left under Flamininus. At this critical moment the Roman general rode off to his right, which till then had been inactive, and with this force, which was preceded by some elephants, fell upon the left half of the phalanx which, still in marching order had just occupied the heights, and routed it, assisted by the terror inspired by the elephants. The initiative of an unknown tribune, who judged on the spur of the moment what ought to be done, translated this success into triumph: detaching from the Roman right 20 maniples, i.e. the principes and triarii (c. 2000 men), he attacked the victorious half of the phalanx from behind, and broke it.
Cynoscephalae was the Jena of Macedon. The descendants of the soldiers of Alexander had given way at the first shock before the “unknown quantity” of the Roman army. Greece learned with stupefaction that the phalanx had found its master. To be sure, the phalanx of the Antigonids, too heavy and unwieldy and therein inferior to that of Alexander, was a tactical weapon of far less value than the legion; but in the fortuitous and unforeseen battle of Cynoscephalae, the Romans, by no merit of their own, were able to fight under conditions so remarkably disadvantageous to the Macedonians, that the result, whatever Polybius may say, fell short of proving the superiority of their military system. In reality, their victory was mainly due to the good fortune which never deserted them during their first two great wars in the East.
Philip, realizing that all was lost, immediately retired on Tempe, rallied the fugitives, and returned to Macedonia, having lost over 13,000 men, including 8000 dead. The struggle was over. Disasters were, moreover, overtaking him on every side. The garrison of Corinth, making a sortie, was defeated by the Achaeans—their sole exploit. The Roman fleet attacked Macedonia’s last remaining allies, the faithful Acarnanians, who had disowned the agreement secretly concluded between L. Quinctius and certain of their leaders; Leucas stoutly repelled the most terrible assaults until it fell by treachery. In Asia, the Rhodians reinforced by Achaean auxiliaries retook their Peraea from the Macedonians, though they failed to dislodge them from Stratoniceia. Finally, Macedonia itself was threatened by an invasion of the Dardanians whom, however, Philip crushed near Stobi.
Before this, he had sent envoys to Flamininus to make overtures for peace. They were welcomed, for Flamininus, convinced that Antiochus would soon arrive in Europe, feared that Philip would hold out in the Macedonian fortresses until he came. What he most dreaded was that the two kings would join hands, and an immediate peace would rid him of this anxiety and also spare him the chagrin of seeing another consul end the war. So he received the envoys amicably, granted a truce, and consented to meet Philip at Tempe. This decision, taken without reference to them, exasperated the Aetolians who wanted war à outrance—a war of which the Romans of course would bear the brunt—and dreamed of dethroning Philip. But now Flamininus deliberately ignored them; the eagerness with which they had monopolized the pillaging of the Macedonian camp, their boastful claim to divide equally with the Romans the credit for the victory, the way in which they filled all Greece with the story of their prowess had made them hateful to him. Flamininus did not pardon wounds to his pride.
Moreover, his relations with his allies could not but suffer a change. Hitherto apparent equality had existed in the coalition between Greeks and Romans. The compact of 212 with the Aetolians had not been renewed, but they believed that it had been tacitly revived, and the Romans had permitted this belief. As in 208, their admirals had let Attalus occupy the towns—Andros, Oreus, probably Eretria—taken by the united fleets. At Nicaea, Flamininus, while secretly negotiating with Philip, had shown the Greeks the utmost deference, inviting them to inform Philip directly of their claims. Now that victory was won, he had to put matters in order and reassert the predominant position of Rome, for, of this victory, her victory, the Republic intended to settle the consequences alone. Flamininus summoned his allies to Tempe, but merely as a matter of form. Assuming as settled the main question—whether peace should be made at all—he merely consulted them, and then only in appearance, as to the terms of the treaty. The Aetolians dared to speak against peace; he rebuffed them harshly, then pronounced his decision: “He and the Romans present had determined, subject to the Senate’s approval, to make peace with Philip upon the conditions laid down at Nicaea”, i.e. the abandonment of all his extra-Macedonian dependencies. Thus Rome imposed both peace and conditions of peace.
What followed was no less significant. At Tempe, Philip, having come to an understanding with Flamininus, declared his acceptance of the conditions of Nicaea. It seemed, therefore, that the Greeks would recover at once what they had then claimed from him. But when Phaeneas asked Philip if he restored to Aetolia Pharsalus, Echinus, Larissa, Cremaste, and Thebes, all of which she had claimed at Nicaea, Flamininus intervened and opposed his veto. He denied the Aetolians any right to Larissa, Echinus, Pharsalus and the Thessalian towns generally, on the ground that they had surrendered to him; all he could grant them, and that only “as he thought fit” was Phthiotic Thebes, which had resisted the Romans. Phaeneas indignantly pointed out that Aetolia had taken up arms again and fought on the side of Rome solely to recover her lost cities; he recalled also the alliance of 212 by which the captured towns were to go to the Aetolians. Flamininus answered that their defection in 206 had annulled that alliance, the terms of which he moreover contested. As for Phaeneas’ first and strongest argument, he wholly ignored it.
This acrid discussion revealed Flamininus’ hostility towards Aetolia; but a wider inference might also be drawn from it: their position as belligerents gave the Greeks no real right to Philip’s former possessions; the Romans, looking upon themselves as sole victors, considered these possessions their praemia belli and reserved the right to dispose of them at will. It was a bitter blow to the Aetolians who, having counted upon the immediate restoration of their Thessalian and Phthiotic territories, now saw them withheld; but the application of this new principle laid down by Rome might well cause uneasiness to her other allies, the Achaeans, Amynander and the new Pergamene king, Eumenes II, the eldest son of Attalus, who had had an apoplectic stroke at Thebes (c. February 197) and had died soon afterwards.
When preliminaries were concluded and Philip announced that in regard to details he would submit to the Senate’s decision, Flamininus granted him a four months armistice upon payment of 200 talents and delivery of hostages, among them his younger son Demetrius. All parties then sent deputations to Rome, where the Senate would finally settle the question of the peace, which the Aetolians still vainly hoped to hinder.
Flamininus felt Antiochus coming; he was indeed drawing near, spurred on by the news of Cynoscephalae. Philip’s debacle delivered over to the Great King his possessions in Asia and Thrace, but the Romans, victorious a little too soon, might put obstacles in his way. To leave them no time for this, Antiochus pressed on. He received in Lycia the submission—sometimes, as at Xanthus, merely nominal—of the cities that were dependencies of Ptolemy, then set about re-establishing his authority over the Greek towns bordering the Aegean. Their political status, as we know, was varied. Leaving out of account those which were included in the Pergamene kingdom, some were still, in fact or theory, vassals of Egypt; a few were subject-allies of Pergamum; others were held by the Macedonians; then came the numerous “autonomous cities” which, after obtaining extensive privileges from the Seleucids—especially from Antiochus II—had profited by their difficulties to make themselves wholly independent. In this undertaking Antiochus, as usual, joined prudence to energy. Anxious to retain the useful friendship of Rhodes, he allowed her to take under her protection (that is her control) Halicarnassus, Myndus, Samos, former Egyptian dependencies, and redeem Caunus “from Ptolemy’s generals”; he even handed over to her Stratoniceia, which he had recaptured from the Macedonians. With his consent Rhodes gained a preponderant influence over the region south of the Maeander. He was also careful to respect the hereditary dominions of Eumenes, contenting himself with claiming the submission of cities, outside these dominions, which Attalus had made subject-allies and of which several seemingly had seceded from Eumenes. Finally he showed moderation towards the autonomous towns, exacting little but recognition of his suzerainty and giving them hopes of large concessions in return; in case of dispute he consented to accept the Rhodians as arbitrators between himself and the towns. From Caria to the Hellespont his success was rapid. On the Carian seaboard, the Macedonians, driven from Iasus, whose self-government Antiochus left untouched, only held Bargylia. Master of Ephesus, the great Ptolemaic city, without striking a blow, he also seized before winter Abydos, which was still in Philip’s hands. Intimidated, or won over by his friendliness, most of the autonomous cities did not hesitate to do him homage; two refused, Smyrna in Ionia, Lampsacus in Aeolis. They were formerly free allies of Attalus, and their resistance was certainly prompted by Eumenes, who was alarmed and indignant at seeing his dominions surrounded on all sides by the revived Seleucid power. After vain pourparlers, Antiochus sent troops against the refractory towns. On Eumenes’ advice they then took a step of the utmost importance: although hitherto without any relations with Rome, they appealed to her for protection. The Lampsacenes conveniently discovered that, as inhabitants of Troas, they had blood-ties with Rome and, as colonists from Phocaea, were brothers of the Massiliotes, Rome’s model allies; their envoys, whose journey is described in an inscription, went to Massilia to find sponsors to recommend them to the Senate. Despite these elements of comedy, the action of Lampsacus and Smyrna was a momentous new departure. After defending against Philip the freedom of the Greeks of Europe, the Romans were now invited to defend against Antiochus the freedom of the Greeks of Asia.
THE ISTHMIAN GAMES
Like Flamininus, the Senate was anxious to end the Macedonian war. The struggle going on in Cisalpine Gaul and the great insurrection in Spain made this desirable; but first and foremost, the patres, like Flamininus, wished to anticipate Antiochus’ crossing into Europe, now judged imminent. So they ratified, after revision, the preliminaries of Tempe, and, in spite of the opposition of the consul M. Claudius Marcellus who hoped for the command in Greece, the people unanimously voted the peace (winter 197-6). They then fixed by decree, without consulting the Greeks, the main clauses of the final treaty, and nominated ten Commissioners, who with Flamininus, whose command was again prolonged, were to “settle Hellenic affairs” on the spot. This decision showed that Rome’s task in Greece was not ended with the establishment of peace.
At the same time, they turned their minds to thwarting Antiochus and, to this end, judged it expedient to raise up difficulties for him in the East. Ptolemy V, whom they had neglected for three years, now again became worthy of their care. They determined to resume in his favor the mediation abandoned in 200: a legatus, L. Cornelius (Lentulus), especially sent to Antiochus, was to defend Egyptian interests. It was expedient also to profit by his opportune quarrel with Lampsacus and Smyrna, and espouse the cause of the “autonomous cities”; were not, indeed, Greeks everywhere equally deserving of protection? Envoys from Smyrna and Lampsacus were received with open arms and warmly recommended to Flamininus and the Ten. So the Senate extended to Asia, in order to counter Antiochus, its “philhellenic' policy”, hitherto confined to Greece proper.
Their feeling towards the Seleucid king was reflected in the decree which regulated the peace with Philip—a memorable document summarized as follows by Polybius:
All the rest of the Greeks in Asia and Europe were to be free and governed by their own laws, as for the Greeks subject to Philip and the cities garrisoned by him, he was to surrender them to the Romans before the Isthmian festival; [however,] he was to leave free, withdrawing his garrisons from them, Euromus, Pedasa, Bargylia, Iasus, Abydos, [Sestos], Thasos, Myrina [and Hephaestia in Lemnos], Perinthus. Flamininus, in accordance with the Senate’s decree, was to write to Prusias about restoring the freedom of Cius. Philip was to restore to the Romans, before the same date, all prisoners and deserters, to surrender all his warships except five and his “hekkaidekeres”, and to pay 1000 talents, half at once, and the other half by installments extending over ten years.
It is clear that the Senate, though going beyond the terms of the preliminaries, yet treated Philip without excessive harshness. The war indemnity was bearable; he lost his navy (a precaution justified by his former Adriatic enterprises), but his military power, despite Rome annalists, suffered no limitation Doubtless the patres considered it wise not to drive Philip to extremes, but their comparative moderation had, as soon appeared, another cause, they planned to use him, at need, against Antiochus.
Their decree contained, moreover, two provisions of capital importance. The first showed that Rome aimed at more than merely peace with Philip; it affected all the Greeks then independent and never subject to the king. By pronouncing that they were to remain “free and autonomous” she guaranteed their independence and forced Philip to do the same, thus constituting herself the permanent protectress of Hellenic freedom wherever it existed. This was the logical outcome of her whole policy and was already implied in her command to Philip, in 200, to abstain from hostilities against any Greek people; but—and this is significant—the Greeks of Asia, the inhabitants of the autonomous towns, were now expressly mentioned together with the Greeks of Europe: Antiochus was consequently barred from any enterprise against these towns. A second provision related to the cities and populations still subject to Philip. The fact that the Senate pronounced upon them all signified that all were by right of conquest at the exclusive disposal of Rome. This principle once formulated, a distinction was made between the cities in Greece proper and those outside it. Philip was to evacuate the latter, i.e. those in Asia, the Islands, and Thrace, expressly mentioned, and “leave them free”: so Rome, after emphasizing her rights over them, granted them liberty forthwith—a liberty which, of course, all had to respect. Rome’s eagerness to do this is easily explained; Philip’s eastern possessions were directly threatened by Antiochus, who already occupied almost all those in Asia; Rome hastened to let him know that they were not to be touched and that his annexations consequently could not be recognized as legitimate. The Senate carried its zeal for the Asiatic Greeks, Philips victims, to the point of requiring Prusias to liberate Cius—another warning to Antiochus. As for the last remaining Macedonian dependencies in Greece, the patres, for the moment, only insisted that Philip should surrender them to Rome; the decree said nothing about their ultimate fate, which was apparently a matter for the Ten Commissioners.
These left for Greece in the spring of 196, bearing with them the senatorial decree; Flamininus awaited them at Elatea, where he had wintered. He was disappointed to find that Philip’s defeat had not brought tranquility to Greece. The Aetolians, thinking themselves duped, were everywhere loud in complaint and recrimination, even accusing him of taking bribes from Philip. Moreover, incidents, serious above all as symptoms, had occurred in Boeotia. Flamininus, at the request of the Boeotian government, had authorized the return of the volunteers who had served in Philip’s army, with their leader Brachyllas, a hereditary client of the Antigonids. Perceiving the hostility of the Boeotians and foreseeing Antiochus’ arrival, says Polybius, he wished to conciliate them. Now, upon the volunteers’ return, the Boeotians publicly thanked not Flamininus, but Philip, elected Brachyllas Boeotarch and heaped honors upon the other Macedonian sympathizers. This alarmed the few partisans of the Roman alliance, and they resolved to kill Brachyllas: Flamininus, when consulted, let them proceed and even advised them to go to the Aetolian General Alexamenus, who actually procured them six picked bravoes. Even after Cynoscephalae, it was by such means that Roman interests in Boeotia had to be upheld. The assassination of Brachyllas, intended to intimidate the masses, roused them to fury. While the pro-Roman instigators of the crime were executed or forced to flee, any legionaries who ventured into Boeotia were murdered, until the victims reached five hundred. Flamininus, being denied both the punishment of the guilty and payment of the 500 talents imposed as fine, was driven to invade the country; but at the prayers of Athenians and Achaeans he soon pardoned Boeotia, reducing the fine to 30 talents: too great harshness would probably have been impolitic.
Amid these troubled circumstances the Commissioners arrived (c. May 196), and immediately published the senatorial decree. It made a mixed impression. The distinction between Philip’s different possessions roused disquietude. While his eastern possessions regained their freedom, what was to become of the great strongholds—the “fetters of Greece”—Demetrias, Chalcis, Acrocorinth, which Philip had duly handed over to Rome, and the districts already lost by him and now in Roman occupation? The silence of the Senate on this point, the determination of the Romans to figure as sole victors, the mystery with which Flamininus and the Ten surrounded their deliberations at Corinth, gave grounds for this uneasiness. The Aetolians, naturally, asserted that Greece was merely changing masters, the Romans replacing Philip, as the only result of the war. Flamininus was pained to find these statements widely repeated and believed; it was important to reassure the Greeks, to convince them, without delay, of Roman disinterestedness. They were reassured by the striking manifesto at the Isthmian Games—a coup de théâtre arranged by Flamininus to impress their imagination and provoke their applause.
At the Isthmian festival (June—July 196), before the opening of the Games, the herald, advancing into the stadium, proclaimed: “The Roman Senate and the consul Titus Quinctius, having overcome king Philip and the Macedonians, leave free, without garrisons or tribute, and governed by their ancestral laws, the Corinthians, Phocians, [Eastern] Locrians, Euboeans, Phthiotic Achaeans, Magnesians, Thessalians and Perrhaebians”. This proclamation, which the herald had to repeat, evoked frenzied enthusiasm, the more ardent as the anxiety had been so intense. The crowd nearly suffocated Flamininus in their outburst of joy. He had—for a time—his heart’s desire; he was the idol of the Greeks, the Aetolians and probably the Boeotians alone excepted. In fact, in accordance with his promises, the Romans kept nothing in Greece; the Corinthian declaration splendidly completed what had been begun by the decree about the peace: in this decree Rome had guaranteed liberty to all Greeks who then enjoyed it and had restored it to Philip’s former eastern subjects; she now restored liberty to his former subject-allies in Greece.
This was true. Yet the “liberated” Greeks in Corinth did not obtain complete eleutheria. Rome, reviving the time-honored formula of Antigonus and renouncing the oppressive rights of victors, imposed upon them neither tribute, garrisons, nor foreign laws, but she retained authority over them. This appeared when, after the Isthmian Games, the Commissioners, presided over by Flamininus, proceeded to the “settlement of Hellenic affairs”. They settled the political status of the freed peoples as absolutely as that of the Illyrians wrested from Philip, who were allotted generally to Pleuratus. Certain of these peoples were used to recompense the Greeks who had sided with Rome: thus they restored Phocis and Eastern Locris to Aetolia and reincorporated Corinth, according to Flamininus’ engagement, in Achaea. They also authorized Amynander to retain the towns of Hestiaeotis taken by him in 198—Gomphi and the surrounding country. It is noteworthy that when Eumenes, heir to the claims of Attalus, asked for Oreus and Eretria, the Ten, interpreting rather strangely the Corinthian declaration, were prepared to let him have them; but Flamininus protested: it would have made the “freedom” of these Euboeans a mere illusion. The Senate, when consulted, supported him. On the other hand, Flamininus and the Ten decided that Perrhaebia, Dolopia (not mentioned at Corinth), Magnesia, Thessaly proper, and Euboea should form separate states, while they placed under the suzerainty of Thessaly Phthiotic Achaea, including Echinus and Larissa Cremaste vainly claimed by Aetolia, who only received Phthiotic Thebes. Finally, although Corinthians, Magnesians and Euboeans were declared “ungarrisoned”, Roman troops held—temporarily, it is true—Acrocorinth, Demetrias, Chalcis, Oreus and Eretria; Flamininus, ever anxious to spare the susceptibilities of the Greeks and to convince them of the purity of Rome's intentions, had difficulty in obtaining from the Ten exemption for Corinth.
These temporary occupations were a precaution against Antiochus which the Commissioners, in conformity with the uneasiness felt by the Senate, considered to be indispensable. He had just, as had been feared, landed in Europe (early summer 196). From Abydos his army had crossed the Hellespont; he himself had moved his fleet thither from Ephesus; then, with united land and sea forces, had reduced Madytus and Sestos, and mastered the whole Chersonese. Finding Lysimacheia deserted, burnt by the Thracians, he undertook to rebuild it and sought everywhere for the dispersed inhabitants while with half his army he waged war on the barbarians. This meant that he intended to establish his authority permanently on the Thracian coast. To him this was his last conquest, the recovery of the last piece of his heritage; but, in the eyes of the Romans, Thrace could only be the first stage of an invasion planned to drive them from Greece.
THE FIRST CLASH BETWEEN ROME AND ANTIOCHUS
The Senate therefore hastened to open its diplomatic offensive against Antiochus. A preliminary skirmish occurred at Corinth after the Isthmian Games. Eager to conciliate the Romans and remove their suspicions, Antiochus had sent an embassy to greet Flamininus and the Ten. The envoys, one of whom was the historian and poet Hegesianax of Alexandria in the Troad, were coldly received. Philip’s defeat had enabled the Romans, hitherto so guarded towards the Great King, to change their tone. The Commissioners declared that the “autonomous” cities of Asia must not be touched, protested against the occupation of towns belonging to Ptolemy or Philip and, above all, against Antiochus’ crossing into Europe. What business had he there? No Greek was henceforth to be attacked or subjugated by anyone—a notable announcement: Greek freedom, restored and guaranteed by Rome, was thus held before Antiochus as an insuperable barrier. The Commissioners ended by announcing that some of them would shortly come to confer with the king.
Meanwhile, in diverse places, they tried to hinder him. They were haunted by the fear that he would win over Philip and the Aetolians. The result was the twofold mission of the Commissioner Cn. Cornelius. He invited Philip, who obviously had already been sounded, to conclude an immediate alliance with Rome. Philip had reason to complain of the Ten who had just declared free—and this after the peace—the Orestae, who had seceded from his rule. Nevertheless, indignant at seeing Antiochus take his Asiatic spoils, he forthwith accepted Cornelius’ proposal. Thus Rome turned Antiochus’ former ally against him, a master-stroke should Philip remain faithful. Cornelius then went on to Aetolia (Sept, 196), where he had a peculiarly hard task. The Aetolians seemed determined to break with Rome; this must be at least delayed. They had now two grounds of quarrel. They were furious at having failed to obtain Echinus and Larissa Cremaste; nothing could be done about this, the matter was res iudicata. They were also clamoring for Pharsalus, and, in virtue of the treaty of 212, for Leucas, which the Romans had conquered; and because of these claims the Ten had deferred pronouncing on these towns. After heated altercations, Cornelius, playing for time, prevailed upon the Aetolians to refer their claim to the Senate, “where they would obtain full justice”. At the same time two Commissioners went in person, one to Bargylia, the other to Thasos, Hephaestia and Myrina (Lemnos), and “the towns on the Thracian coast”, to free them from their Macedonian garrisons. Thus Rome showed her interest in the safety of these places menaced by Antiochus, and, to some extent, took them under her protection.
All this was but a prelude. L. Cornelius Lentulus, sent from Rome as mediator between Antiochus and Ptolemy, having landed in Thrace, three Commissioners joined him, and all four proceeded to Lysimacheia for a determined assault upon the king (c. October 196). Antiochus welcomed them courteously, but once discussions began, “affairs assumed another aspect”. Lentulus elaborated with vigor the communication previously made at Corinth. He first raised the question of the Ptolemaic cities and called on Antiochus to evacuate them. Then came a similar injunction regarding the towns taken by Philip: “it would indeed be ridiculous that the Romans, after conquering Philip, should see their prizes swept away at the last moment by Antiochus”. As for the autonomous cities, they must be respected. Lastly, he made no secret of the Senate’s uneasiness: the presence of Antiochus in Europe with such a display of naval and military force was disquieting; how could the Romans not feel menaced? The inference, unexpressed but obvious, was that he must withdraw into Asia. Antiochus’ reply was firm. He could not understand this discussion about the Asiatic towns: what had the affairs of Asia to do with Rome? was he meddling with those of Italy? It was not to Roman intervention but solely to his own generosity that the autonomous cities could look for freedom. He had come into Europe to recover the Chersonese and the coast towns of Thrace, a region which indeed had fallen to Seleucus Nicator as had all Lysimachus’ kingdom. First the Ptolemies, then Philip had seized it, but unrightfully; he was but reclaiming his own. How could the rebuilding of Lysimacheia endanger the Romans? He merely wished to provide a royal residence there for his second son Seleucus, As for his differences with Ptolemy, they were about to be settled amicably and the two royal houses were to be allied in marriage.
Antiochus had kept this for the end, and he now hurled the unwelcome news at the astounded Romans. And the news was true. Expecting no more from Rome, the Acarnanian Aristomenes, who was now prudently filling the office of Regent at Alexandria in succession to Tlepolemus, had resigned himself to making terms with the enemy. Egypt was exhausted and needed peace, which was about to be concluded, the price being the renunciation of all her Syrian, Asiatic and Thracian dependencies, and the betrothal of Ptolemy V to Antiochus’ daughter Cleopatra. Fortune had again rewarded Antiochus at Philip’s expense, for the Macedonian had once counted on having Ptolemy as son-in-law. By revealing to the Romans that they were warmly defending a protégé who had dispensed with their protection, Antiochus made them look extremely foolish. Lentulus, to retrieve his position, returned to the subject of the autonomous cities; he called in the delegates from Lampsacus and Smyrna, who spoke out boldly. Antiochus silenced them; in this matter he would admit Rhodian but not Roman arbitration. It is noteworthy that the Romans dared not insist.
A rumor of Ptolemy’s death interrupted the conference, but indeed there was nothing more to say. For a moment Antiochus hoped to mount the vacant Egyptian throne. Leaving Seleucus in Thrace, he sailed at all speed for Alexandria, but in Lycia he learnt that the dead man was alive. He was preparing, it is said, to seize Cyprus when a storm wrecked part of his fleet off the Cilician coast and forced him to return to Seleucia. He wintered in Antioch (196—5) where he married his eldest son and co-regent, the king Antiochus, to his daughter Laodice.
The false report of Ptolemy’s death had its origin in an abortive insurrection of Scopas and his Aetolians. Apparently they were discontented at the prospective peace with Antiochus, which would lead to their dismissal. To prevent it Scopas prepared a coup d'État but was forestalled by Aristomenes and executed together with his household and his accomplices, amongst whom was the sea-robber Dikaearchus, while many Aetolians were dismissed. Calm was thus restored in Alexandria, Thebais, where the usurper Anchmachis had succeeded to Harmachis (?200), was still in revolt, but the recent capture of Lycopolis (197), followed by amnesties, seemed to have pacified Lower Egypt. The trusty Aristomenes, supported by the loyal governor of Cyprus, Polycrates of Argos, thought it an opportune moment to proclaim that the king’s minority was over though not 13 or 14 years old. Ptolemy “Epiphanes Eucharistos” was therefore consecrated at Memphis in Egyptian fashion—a concession to the natives—most probably on 28 November 196, the anniversary of his accession. In honor of this was passed, on 28 March 195, the so-called “Rosetta decree” in which the priests delighted to enumerate the privileges with which the government, from prudence or necessity, overwhelmed them. Thanks to this conciliatory policy, Epiphanes might hope to end troubles in his own realm, but his empire had collapsed under the blows of the Syrian king.
Thus at the very moment that Rome had wished to paralyze Antiochus by reviving the “Egyptian question” it had ceased to exist: Antiochus had settled it to his own profit. Moreover, it was becoming certain that he would give way to the Romans neither on the question of Philip’s Asiatic conquests, nor on that of the autonomous cities; he was not disposed to bow before this “Greek freedom” of which Rome made herself the interested champion. The Senate’s diplomatic offensive was a complete fiasco. No wonder the Romans were embittered, but had they been less prejudiced, they would have realized that the fears which had led to this failure were probably ill-founded. Antiochus’ attitude was unyielding but not provocative; his explanation of his crossing into Europe was reasonable: his work, considered as a whole, had its natural crowning point in Thrace. Nothing indicated that he wished to push on farther or that Greece attracted him. He had neither sent his fleet into the Aegean, nor disputed the Roman right to settle Hellenic affairs; nor had he, though for long on friendly terms with them sent envoys to the Aetolians; and his dealings with Philip made an understanding with him almost impossible. In fact, he was sincere when he declared that he cherished no designs against Rome. Unfortunately, the Romans did not then or ever afterwards believe in his sincerity.
THE WAR WITH NABIS. THE ROMAN EVACUATION OF GREECE
In the early summer of 195 Antiochus showed what was to be his attitude towards Rome. He returned to Thrace in greater force; determined to forgo none of his rights, he ignored the rulings of the Senate; but, at the same time, he sent envoys to Flamininus to negotiate a treaty of friendship with Rome, thus affirming his intention of undertaking nothing against her. It was in vain. Resenting the idea that Antiochus should aspire to a treaty which would allow him to remain in Europe and confirm Rome’s diplomatic defeat at Lysimacheia, Flamininus evaded answering. The Commissioners had left Greece (late 196); he declared he had no powers to settle anything; the embassy must go to Rome. Antiochus did not send it; if the Romans sulked, he would dispense with their friendship. While he consolidated his position in Thrace, Flamininus remained in Greece watching him. Opportunely enough, the need to chastise Nabis, whose impunity was an outrage, could be advanced as a reason for not returning home with his army.
Formerly, when at war with Philip, Flamininus had not hesitated to associate himself with Nabis, whom he then called “King of Sparta”, which was indeed his true title; but, now that Philip was crushed, his sentiments had changed. No longer needed, Nabis again became the “tyrant”, odious to the liberators of Greece, the communist abhorred by all Greek rich men, who looked to Rome to punish him, the pirate, accomplice of the Cretans, dreaded even by the Roman transports, the oppressor from whom Argos must be delivered, for apart from the Achaeans’ just claim to it, an enslaved Argos was a blot on a liberated Greece.
Having been given a free hand by the Senate, Flamininus summoned to Corinth representatives of all the Greek peoples (c. May 195)—symbolic event: like Alexander, the Roman commander presided over the assembled Hellenes. Doubly clever, he asked them but one question: “Was Argos to be liberated?” and flattered them by declaring that he awaited their decision: it was a purely Greek affair and for them to settle. The Aetolians replied only with furious recriminations; the Senate, having received their request about Pharsalus and Leucas, had sent them back to Flamininus who had just rebuffed them—inde irae. But the other delegates voted unanimously in favor of the liberation of Argos. This then became the declared object of the war; as to what was to become of Nabis, Flamininus evaded the problem. Here indeed opinions differed: the Greek representatives wished to destroy him together with his contagious revolutionary innovations; the Achaeans desired besides to become masters of Sparta; Flamininus thought it enough simply to render Nabis harmless. To overthrow him would raise the inextricable question, of the recall and the re-establishment of the exiles—an embarrassment he intended to avoid. He was also loth to favor the ambition of the Achaeans, which would only cause other difficulties: would the Spartans consent to be annexed by Achaea; would it not lead to interminable conflict? Flamininus had, finally, two motives for wishing to shorten the war and avoid the long and arduous siege of Sparta: he dreaded what Antiochus might do, and he feared that, if hostilities were protracted, his successor would have the honor of bringing them to a victorious close.
An imposing force assembled against Nabis. All Greece, except Aetolia, sent contingents to serve with Flamininus. Aristaenus, again General, brought 11,000 Achaeans; Philip, fulfilling his new duties as ally, sent 1500 Macedonians; the banished Lacedaemonians with King Agesipolis, exiled in childhood by Lycurgus, crowded in. At sea, 18 Rhodian and 10 Pergamene warships joined the Roman fleet of 40 sail which L. Quinctius brought from Leucas. Rhodes could not forgive the piracies of Nabis, while Eumenes, having need of Rome against Antiochus, served her as zealously as did Attalus, and with hopes of a better reward.
Nabis faced the storm boldly, and entrusted the defence of Argos to his son-in-law and step-brother, the Argive noble Pythagoras, while with 15,000 combatants—Cretans, mercenaries, Helots and poorer Spartiates—he stood at bay in Sparta, where terrorism secured his safety. War was chiefly at sea. While the allied army after failing both to surprise Argos, where the hoped-for risings were abortive, and to lure Nabis out of Sparta, simply laid waste Laconia, L. Quinctius reduced the maritime towns. Gytheum, the tyrant’s arsenal and basis of his naval power, was attacked by the Romans, Rhodians and Eumenes, and surrendered last of all after a gallant resistance. Hereupon, although Pythagoras had come with 3000 men to reinforce him, Nabis lost his nerve and approached Flamininus. Deaf to the advances of Aristaenus, who would have promised him anything had he followed the example of Lydiades and Aristomachus and abdicated in favor of Achaea, he offered to the proconsul to abandon Argos—that is, he asked for terms. Consent would mean an implicit undertaking to leave Sparta to him, and there was a sharp controversy between the Greek leaders and Flamininus, the former determined to ruin, the latter to spare Nabis. At last Flamininus got his way and proceeded as with Philip: the war had been in common, but the peace must be Roman: he alone settled the terms. Nabis considered them too hard, and the mob that followed his fortunes, above all his bandit mercenaries, furiously rejected them. The war began anew. Resolved not to lay regular siege to Sparta, Flamininus attempted to storm it. The combined army, increased by the disembarked crews, numbered 50,000; a general assault was made, and Sparta would have fallen had not Pythagoras started fires which drove out the assailants. Daunted at last, Nabis accepted the terms, and at the same time, about August, Argos expelled its Lacedaemonian garrison.
Flamininus dictated the treaty, in which the Romans alone were recognized as victors, Nabis surrendered to them Argos, Argolis, and the places he held in Crete, gave up the Laconian coast towns, ceded his fleet to these cities, renounced the right to make any alliance especially in Crete, to wage war, to build any fortress; he was to pay the Romans 500 talents, 100 at once, the rest in eight annual installments, and to send to Flamininus five chosen hostages, including his son Armenas. The war thus finished, Flamininus came to Argos to preside at the Nemean festival (c. September), where the scene at Corinth was repeated in miniature, the herald proclaiming that Rome granted freedom to Argos. The town was returned to the Achaeans and immediately entered their League. As for the Laconian coastal cities, Flamininus ingeniously arranged that they should be entrusted to the Achaean League without becoming members of it.
The Senate ratified the peace in the following winter, Nabis’ fate was thus settled by the sovereign will of the Romans, who assumed the rôle of protecting the Greeks from him. Shut off from the sea, and almost encircled by the Achaeans, he seemed powerless for the future. But his revolutionary despotism, his anti-social reforms, survived intact and even received a kind of sanction from the Roman treaty; his victims obtained no redress; the banished, including Agesipolis, remained in exile. The Aetolians loudly proclaimed that the Romans were behaving as the tyrant’s satellites.
As the war against Nabis was drawing to a close, a momentous event turned Rome’s attention once more to Antiochus. Hannibal, Sufete in 196, had by his rigorous financial administration made many enemies in Carthage who accused him to Rome of intriguing with Antiochus against her. When three Roman Commissioners arrived, Hannibal felt himself in danger; he slipped away by night, embarked for Syria, reached Tyre and then Antioch (July-August 195). Antiochus had left in the spring for Ephesus and Thrace; Hannibal awaited him at Ephesus where the king, on his return, welcomed him. There is no hint of any previous understanding between them; Hannibal in seeking his only possible refugee from Roman vengeance, and Antiochus in harboring him, were each doing only what was natural. But once he became the host of the terrible Carthaginian, Antiochus was bound to be both more formidable and more suspected. Advised, perhaps directed, by Hannibal, what might he not do? How would a war go if Hannibal, as the Great King’s general, turned the resources of Asia against Rome? Scipio Africanus, recalled to the consulate, is said to have voiced the common anxiety by asking that, as a precaution, Greece should remain one of the consular provinces. But to continue to occupy Greece, now completely pacified by Nabis’ submission, would put the Aetolians in the right when they declared that the Romans, in spite of their promises, would never withdraw. Also it would bitterly disappoint the Greeks in general and raise their anger, anger which would clearly profit Antiochus, True to his policy of trust, Flamininus wished Rome to keep faith and deserve the confidence of the Greeks, the best way he judged to have them on the Roman side against the Great King. Perhaps, besides, when he saw Rome so careful of Greek liberty, Antiochus would realize how dangerous it was for him to assail it. The Senate followed Flamininus’ advice and decreed the recall of the army.
Flamininus passed a fourth winter in Elatea (195-4), establishing order in the countries abandoned by Philip. It was probably at this time that he gave back to various communities, e.g. to the Chyretians, the properties confiscated by the Romans; to the last he wished to show his goodwill towards the Greeks. In the spring he had the joy of presiding over a second pan-hellenic congress at Corinth; he bade a pathetic farewell to the Greeks, announced the coming departure of his troops and the freeing of the great fortresses within ten days: they would see who spoke the truth, Aetolians or Romans. These undertakings were punctually fulfilled. Acrocorinth was immediately evacuated and handed over to Achaea. Having returned to Elatea, Flamininus sent off the army to embark at Oricus, then, going on to Euboea, he withdrew the garrisons from Chalcis, Eretria and Oreus, and presided over the Euboeans, whose League he had reconstituted. Last came the turn of Demetrias, which was evacuated. After this he stayed awhile in Thessaly and gave a constitution to the Thessalian towns. Finally, in the late summer of 194, he set sail from Oricus to Brundisium, leaving behind him not a single Roman.
Greece was full of his renown, and his munificence was perpetuated by his splendid offerings to her gods. Statues of him rose everywhere, staters of gold were struck with his image, the people of Gytheum and doubtless of other cities worshipped him as their preserver. He had received from Greek cities 114 crowns of gold, and he took back to Italy a more precious gift, some two thousand Romans and Italians, sold into slavery by Hannibal, who, at his request, had been bought back to freedom at the public charge. Laden with these signs of gratitude and flown with pride, he could not doubt that his achievement in Greece was solid and lasting, but in truth it was neither.
THE ROMAN PROTECTORATE IN GREECE
One cloud on the horizon of Roman policy was the hostility of the Aetolians. To speak truth, this was inevitable. Flamininus’ conduct towards them had been overbearing and plainly less than loyal, and, perhaps unwisely, he had persisted in denying to them a few towns which would not have greatly increased their power; this was the immediate occasion of their hostility; but its underlying cause was that, on the defeat of Macedon, they had for the second time reckoned on assuming, with Roman help, her place in Greece. Deceived of their hope, their quarrel with Rome was foreordained, and the Republic was bound to reckon with it. But the violence of their propaganda, the efforts which they would certainly make to win Antiochus to advance their interests, and their warlike spirit, made them dangerous as well as hostile.
To hold them in check Flamininus and the Senate counted on the fidelity of the Greeks who had been delivered from the burdensome hegemony or the tyrannical rule of the King of Macedon. Not wholly without justice, for, however interested their motives, the action of the Romans in not keeping a foothold in Greece, in not leaving there a single soldier or agent, had displayed an unexampled generosity, unknown to the many self-styled “liberators of Hellas” who had preceded them. They might legitimately hope that the Greeks would not forget, but, in their delight at regaining their freedom their solicitude to preserve it, would be bound by gratitude and self-interest to the state that declared itself the champion of the liberty which it had restored to them. But the sentiments of the Greeks went beyond this simple formula.
First of all, they found in the Romans one blot which not all the efforts of Flamininus could efface: they were barbarians, the first whose continued presence Greece had endured since the Persian wars. And everything about these barbarians wounded Hellenic pride. Their victory was in fact as much over Hellenism as Macedon; their crushing strength set in relief the weakness of the Greek peoples; their parade of magnanimity was a constant humiliation, and, finally, they never—not even Flamininus—ceased to repeat that, without their help, Greece would have remained enslaved. Moreover, their boasted benefits were dearly bought. They declared that they had come to Greece only to bring it freedom, and they had in fact brought also, and for the second time, war of the brutal Roman sort. Oreus, in 199 as in 208, had seen its people enslaved; the “liberator” Flamininus had spread cruel havoc throughout Thessaly, Phocis, Euboea, Acarnania and, later, Laconia; besides, three years of occupation with its train of requisitions and exactions, and the great mobilization against Nabis, had produced widespread exhaustion. Flamininus had, it is true, restored their property to the Chyretians, but he had freighted his ships deep not only with heaps of coin but also with works of art carried off from many cities which, like Andros and Eretria, had obeyed Philip against their will. The price of Greek “freedom” was that Greece lay bruised, ruined and despoiled.
But was Greece free?—that was the question. The Aetolians, and not they alone, denied it. The Romans had gone, but their “protectorate”, as we may call it, remained. We must, then, consider what this meant to Greece.
Of the old allies of Philip, the “free” or so-called “free” allies —the Achaeans, Epirotes, Boeotians, Acarnanians (these last, although conquered, Rome treated with especial benevolence)— were theoretically entirely free, but they were bound to Rome by alliances which, of necessity, fettered their foreign policy. As for the “subject-allies” of Philip, Rome, as we have seen, counted them her praemia belli and retained over them, even after the declaration at the Isthmus, indefeasible rights. In virtue of these, Flamininus and the Ten had disposed of them as they saw fit, assigning some to third parties, making others self-governing states which naturally remained under Roman control. These states Flamininus had afterwards organized, reviving or creating the Leagues of Thessaly, Euboea, Magnesia and Perrhaebia, and the governments of the Thessalian cities. On the other hand, after Nabis was crushed, he had dismembered the state of Sparta. It went without saying that all these territorial and political arrangements might neither be challenged nor changed—what Rome had set up, Rome alone could modify. This meant that the main lines of the map of Greece were thenceforward fixed, and that, consequently, lasting peace should reign, as indeed already followed from the principle that all the Greeks were to be “free and autonomous”. So far from cherishing a “Machiavellian” desire (as many have unwisely declared) to perpetuate Greek disputes, Flamininus and the Senate, who well understood what chances these disputes gave to Antiochus and the Aetolians, would have wished to end them by creating an immutable order of things.
Thus the “liberated” Greece of 194 was a Greece in which most of the states, in varying degrees, were dependent upon Rome, which the authority of Rome had reconstituted, ordered and pacified, and which remained in the shadow of that authority. Its liberty was certainly of a special stamp.
None the less, the Aetolians had small right to assert that the Greeks “now bore on their necks the chains in which Philip had shackled their feet”, for there was no sign that Rome wished to turn its authority into oppression. Every act of Flamininus argued the opposite. He had abstained from interference in the domestic affairs of the Roman allies: for instance, the party of Brachyllas remained dominant in Boeotia. If he did use his right as conqueror to reorganize radically the old dependencies of Macedon he did no more than must be done. The brutal rule of Philip’s agents had reduced these countries, especially Thessaly, to chaos, he had to restore order and, at the eleventh hour—a fact which suggests that this was not his first intention—to “give laws to the Thessalians”. The territorial adjustments over which he presided do not deserve the reproach of being arbitrary and “Machiavellian”. Historical precedents justified the restoration of Phocis and Locris to Aetolia, and the future was to show how wise Flamininus was in curbing the Achaean greed to annex Sparta, He has been credited with the perfidious purpose of fostering Greek disunion because he did not create a greater Thessaly, but left on the Thessalian border three “perioecic” districts—Magnesia, Perrhaebia, and Dolopia. But these regions had never been integral parts of Thessaly and had long been separated from it. Moreover he gave proof that his guiding principle was not divide ut imperes : he attached Phthiotic Achaea to Thessaly, authorized, seemingly, adhesion of Dolopia to Aetolia, and, far from imposing isolation upon the several cities in the newly constituted states, he restored or founded among the Thessalians, Euboeans, Magnesians and Perrhaebians federal institutions, which at that time were what the Greeks preferred. His constant care was to leave behind him a contented Greece; in that his own glory and the interests of Rome found their reward. Once satisfied the Greeks would, he thought, remain quiet, loyal to the Republic, impervious to the intrigues of Rome’s enemies. Rome asked no more; she was ready to leave them to live their lives undisturbed, without hampering them by her interference or making them feel the weight of her tutelage.
Unfortunately there were many Greeks who already found it too burdensome. The fact that Rome arrogated to herself the sole right of regulating the destiny of Greece, and also the manner in which she exercised the right aroused resentment. The general peace set up to be permanent in Greece—a peace imposed by a foreigner and only too reminiscent of the King’s Peace—was doubtless a blessing: but its denial of all change in the future cut across the hopes of expansion cherished by ambitious States. The alliances between Rome and the old “free allies” of Philip were in theory concluded as between equals, but the reality refuted this fiction. The Achaeans, for instance, had had to pledge themselves to call a special meeting of their federal assembly whenever the Senate sent a message to them. No one could fail to see the painful truth, that Rome was the predominant partner, and vastly predominant. The subject-allies of Philip which became new states were on no treaty footing with her, and felt themselves in the hollow of her hand. Their freedom was a gift, which depended on Rome’s good pleasure: this meant both humiliation and insecurity, for Rome’s good pleasure might change. The recent territorial readjustments provoked, as they were bound to do, recriminations: those who had benefited by them were, of course, far from satisfied: of the Aetolians we need not speak; nothing could console the Achaeans for having made no gains in Laconia. The peoples assigned without their consent to this state or that could hardly be pleased with their cavalier treatment. It is likely enough that many among the Locrians and Phocians protested against their forced inclusion in Aetolia, which, moreover, seemed to contradict the declaration of Corinth: for, once incorporated in the Aetolian League, their autonomy was endangered. Flamininus’ political innovations in Thessaly raised a like objection: the “laws” imposed by his decrees, though possibly admirable, were not the “ancestral laws” of the Thessalians. Finally, in striking contradiction to her professed policy, Rome had not denied Amynander and Eumenes their reward. The former kept his Thessalian conquests; Eumenes had not been spoilt—unjustly enough he had been refused Oreus and Eretria: however, he retained Andros and naturally, despite the anger of the Aeginetans and Achaeans, succeeded to the possession of Aegina. Thus Rome, which excluded Philip from Greece, lent her authority to the subjection of Greeks to two other monarchs simply because they were her friends.
Set to the ungrateful task of satisfying opposing interests and of reconciling Greek liberty with Roman supremacy—res dissociabiles—Flamininus and the Senate, despite their honest efforts, had everywhere sown ill-feeling against the Republic.
There was, none the less, one class of people that might, at first sight, pass for Roman sympathizers, and on whom indeed Flamininus did rely, the optimates, the well-to-do, whose position entitled them to be the governing class, men who hated revolutionary socialism and royal despotism alike and whose hostility Philip had brought upon himself. As we have seen, many of them had joined Rome against him, and Flamininus, who saw in them the natural champions of order, had done his best to secure their preponderant influence. For example, the institutions granted by him to the Thessalian cities were timocratic, and gave them control of the “senates” and the courts of justice. But, despite their debt to Rome, these “conservatives”, for the most part, were in no way devoted to her, and it is an exaggeration to call them the “Roman party”. Indeed, apart from a handful of men, who from base personal motives courted the Romans, there did not exist then in Greece any such thing as a “Roman party”. Necessity and politic calculation had ranged the optimates with Rome in their hatred of Philip, but they viewed their association with her as at best a necessary evil. Dreaming of the unattainable, they would have wished to enjoy the benefits of Roman support without sacrificing anything of their independence, their republican pride, their patriotic ambition; they had loathed the rule of Macedon, they submitted with reluctance to the ascendancy of Rome. The Republic was soon to realize, in the course of long-drawn debate with the Achaeans, the cross-grained temper of the Greek notables. In 194 BC they bore Flamininus a bitter grudge for having settled the Spartan question without them and having spared Nabis; and Flamininus himself, realizing their irritation, had felt bound to defend himself before them, on the eve of his departure. He had, however, no need to fear that they would lean to Antiochus; but with the masses, whose real feelings he had not divined, it was far different.
Steeped in Roman ideas, Flamininus and the Senate convinced themselves that all Greeks cherished a deep-rooted hatred of kings, so that, when they ceased to obey Philip, their cup of blessings was full. This was a grave mistake. Reduced to misery, the multitudes in the Greek cities cared for nothing save the relief of the misery—their problem was social far more than political. They had no horror of kings, among whom they had found benefactors like Cleomenes or Nabis; and Philip had shown himself indulgent to them. The domination that they did abominate was that of their creditors, the rich, and deliverance from these was all that mattered. Rome had done nothing to bring them this deliverance; she had rather done the opposite. The poor never saw Flamininus show any interest in their evil case; what they saw was his alliance with the hated capitalists, in concert with whom, and in order to secure whose power, he had crippled Nabis, the avenging champion of the have-nots. Accordingly, they saw with loathing the victory of Rome, which, so far from bringing them benefits, made strong their oppressors, and they turned their eyes to Antiochus. That distant and somewhat fabulous monarch was credited with boundless wealth and regal generosity, and that was enough to fire the popular imagination. In the cities of Asia debtors counted on Antiochus cancelling debts; the masses in Greece, who desired “the overthrow of the existing order” and saw clearly that no beneficent change would come out of Rome, set their hopes on him.
Flamininus had reckoned that “liberated” Greece would hasten to close her borders and her heart against the King of Syria if he sought to enter, but the proletariate in Greece understood their interests in a way which he did not. They rejected this “freedom” which he had created, which meant, to all seeming, merely that the rich were to be free to tread down the poor, and they were ready, hardly delivered from one monarch, to throw themselves into the arms of another.