ROME AND ANTIOCHUS
THE BREACH BETWEEN ANTIOCHUS AND ROME
SINCE the early summer of 195 all relations between Syria and Rome had ceased. Antiochus had turned his thoughts elsewhere, and, without provoking Rome in anyway, had strengthened his position on all sides. With Egypt he had concluded (? early in 195) the triumphal peace, announced at Lysimacheia, which was further to be cemented in the winter of 194 to 193 bc by the marriage to Ptolemy V of the princess Cleopatra; perhaps as a concession to his son-in-law, Antiochus gave as dowry to Cleopatra the revenues of Coele-Syria; in any event, he retained the sovereignty of the country, and hoped, through his daughter, to bring Egypt under Seleucid influence. In Asia, where he was already allied with Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia, husband of his daughter Antiochis, arrangements made with the Galatian kings enabled him to raise mercenaries in their dominions. He had returned to Thrace in 194 and, besides restoring Lysimacheia, had pushed his annexations westward by occupying the former Egyptian possessions of Aenus and Maronea, won over the Greeks, especially of Byzantium, by protecting them against the barbarians, and made advantageous arrangements with the neighbouring Gauls. Finally, Hannibal was at his court.
Amid so many successes, one source of irritation remained. Lampsacus and Smyrna, the two towns which had asked Roman protection, still refused allegiance to him; they were incited to this by Eumenes, who, openly hostile, had repelled his advances, refused the hand of one of his daughters and was obviously seeking to revive the quarrel dormant since Lysimacheia. Antiochus wished to end both this quarrel and the resistance of the rebellious cities, and to this end he decided to take action at Rome. This might well seem a risky proceeding, but for two years the Romans had made no move; from this he concluded that they lacked courage or energy to maintain their opposition, and would settle old differences to his satisfaction. But it would have been far better to have left matters alone.
In the winter of 194 to 193, resuming the negotiations which had miscarried in 195, Antiochus again proposed to the Senate a treaty of friendship, implying naturally— his ambassadors, Menippus and Hegesianax, insisted upon this— recognition of his unrestricted sovereignty over Asia and Thrace. But he had not taken into account the suspicious and stubborn temper of the patres. They had reluctantly, for the time being, endured his presence in Thrace because war with him and Hannibal seemed hazardous, and Rome had her hands full in Spain and Cisalpine Gaul; but they were by no means resigned to this, and persisted in fearing Antiochus as the probable enemy whom they must drive from Europe; moreover, their pride would not let him have the last word. Regarding his overtures as a challenge, they hastened to re-open the old quarrel. Less imperious than at Lysimacheia they did, indeed, lay before the Syrian envoys two alternatives: as a preliminary to the treaty they called upon Antiochus to renounce not Thrace and the autonomous cities of Asia, but one or the other—this, however, was an unreal choice, for the first alternative, the abandonment of Thrace, was their only concern. But, even in this reduced form, their demands were still intolerable. Considering his rights in Thrace and Asia as equally beyond question, why should Antiochus give up one in order to secure the other, or indeed sacrifice either to please the Romans? They made it clear themselves that their interference in favour of the Asiatic towns was a mere diplomatic manoeuvre. Flamininus, president of the senatorial commission charged to treat with the Syrian envoys, is said to have told the delegates from these towns, then in Rome, that the Roman people would uphold their claims to the end ‘unless Antiochus withdraw from Europe’. This ingenuous confession showed that all their zeal for the Greeks of Asia was no more than a means of forcing the hand of Antiochus, and after justifiable protests his representatives could only retire.
In leaving they asked the Senate to do nothing hastily, thus showing the peaceful intentions of their master. Nor were the patres themselves inclined to hasty action; uneasy at the thought of an armed conflict with the Great King and wishing to avert it by diplomatic pressure, they also desired further information about affairs in Asia. Three legati, P. Sulpicius at their head, proceeded thither to continue the negotiations. Delayed by a visit to Pergamum, where Eumenes preached against conciliation, and by the absence of Antiochus, who was campaigning against the Pisidians, interrupted by the unexpected death of his eldest son and co-regent, transferred from Apamea to Ephesus, these negotiations dragged on and, as both parties refused to abandon their positions, remained fruitless. The season for discussions was ended. The legati left Asia, though without delivering an ultimatum—it was a definite breach, but so far it was no more (late summer 193). But it was attended by circumstances particularly irritating for Antiochus. The conferences at Ephesus had culminated in a disgraceful incident—a repetition of the incident at Lysimacheia; delegates from the autonomous cities, introduced by the Romans and prompted by Eumenes, had spoken in violent terms. This was going too far. Could Antiochus bear any longer to see his rebellious subjects encouraged in their boldness ? When could he again be master in his own house ?
To accomplish this one way remained which was in the minds of all—war. His councillors urged him to it, but he himself hung back. War with Rome had never been part of his plans; apart from its uncertainty, it would seriously upset them. He was now fifty, his ambitions were satisfied, his great task of restoration had reached fulfilment, and he now sought to devote the remainder of his reign to the strengthening of his authority in the west of his dominions. Troubles which had broken out in Lydia and Phrygia during his expedition to the Upper Satrapies and the constant insurrections of the Pisidian tribes showed that the need was urgent; a great war would distract him from this, and, if it were prolonged or if the issue seemed doubtful, might have dangerous repercussions in his vast empire.
At all events, Antiochus put aside entirely the idea of carrying the war into the enemy’s country, as Hannibal is said to have urged. Let the king place at his disposal 10,000 foot, 1000 cavalry, and 100 warships (i.e. the entire Syrian fleet); with these he would make for Carthage, raise it against Rome, then land in Southern Italy. To raise Carthage might have been advisable; the plan, so far, appears to have received Antiochus’ consent; and he probably countenanced the fruitless attempt of the Tyrian Ariston, Hannibal’s emissary, to foment a revolution there in 193. But he could not well have approved the fantastic scheme of invasion attributed to his guest. Even commanded by Hannibal, a body of 11,000 men landing in Italy would have been foredoomed, and Antiochus would not have risked his fleet in such a venture. Indeed it is doubtful if Hannibal entertained the strange project imputed to him; but if, as is quite possible, he incited Antiochus to fight the Romans in Italy, the king, despite what has been often asserted, had excellent reasons for refusing to listen. Tradition ascribes to Antiochus feelings of jealousy and distrust towards Hannibal which were sedulously fomented by his courtiers; these seem improbable or at least greatly exaggerated; but the truth is that the aims of the two men were irreconcilable.
An invasion of Italy, carried out so far from his Asiatic base, would not only have entailed enormous difficulties, but Antiochus judged it useless. Not having, like Hannibal, a passionate hatred of Rome he did not contemplate her ruin but merely wished to force her to cease thwarting him. To achieve this there was no need to go to Italy, for he had near at hand a hold upon the Romans. Hitherto he had done nothing to hinder their control of Greece, now he might well harass them. The irritation of the Aetolians, the discontent caused by the Roman protectorate, the desire shared by so many Greeks for deliverance from their ‘deliverers,’ lastly his own popularity in Greece were all known to him. As things were, he might oppose Rome in Europe as she sought to oppose him in Asia; she interfered in his quarrel with the autonomous cities, he might interfere in hers with the Aetolians and, playing her game, offer himself to Aetolia as the champion of her interests, to all Greece as the restorer of her freedom. By destroying the Romans’ authority there he would inflict on them a crushing political defeat. Should they, in reply, attack him, strong as he would be in Greece, with the resources of Asia at his back, and with the support of the Aetolians and the general adhesion of the Greeks, he could presumably maintain the struggle with success. And—as he secretly hoped—these considerations, rightly weighed, might dissuade the Romans from forcing matters to extremes; threatened with the loss of Greece they would yield and let him rule undisturbed over Thrace and Asia.
Such were, we may assume, Antiochus’ thoughts after the ambassadors’ departure. Indeed he cherished no warlike feelings against Rome; the enterprise he was contemplating would have chiefly the character of a political offensive, seconded, however, by a powerful military demonstration—a species of armed mediation. It would rest with the Romans whether war resulted from it. He had no thirst for victories, still less for conquests; but since Rome imposed conditions upon him he must be ready to impose them in his turn upon her. Greece was a surety which he would do well to secure in order to make them renounce their insulting demands.
At the moment when a rightful care for his dignity and independence was thus leading Antiochus to intervene in Aetolian and Greek affairs, the Aetolian government was looking to him for revenge.
THE AETOLIAN MOVEMENT
Flamininus had left the Aetolians all indignant with Rome, all burning to claim their disregarded rights. Their leaders, however, were divided: some, such as Phaeneas, who had seen too much of the Romans in the field to envisage their defeat, were for diplomatic methods; others, such as Thoas of Trichonium, Damocritus, and Nicander, were for war. The masses were on the side of the latter, so Thoas became General (end of September 194). The destruction by force of what Rome had achieved in Greece and the substitution of Aetolian supremacy was his party’s programme; to secure the first, Thoas and liis friends counted upon Antiochus’ all-powerful aid. They exulted over the failure of the conferences in Asia, and pictured the Great King now ready to fly to arms; possibly, too, Philip and Nabis might be brought to the same mind. The League sent delegates to the three kings, hoping to combine them against Rome; but its diplomacy met with some disappointments (late summer 193). Dicaearchus, Thoas’ brother, sent to Asia to offer Antiochus the military aid of Aetolia and her full support if he came to Greece, was certainly well received, but Antiochus was not the man for hasty resolutions and he needed time for reflection; Philip remained unmoved by the persuasions of Nicander: co-operation with Antiochus and Aetolia did not tempt him, especially as he was left in ignorance how his help would be rewarded. On the other hand, prompted by Damocritus, Nabis was quickly persuaded to break his treaty with Rome—too quickly: he would have been wiser to wait till Antiochus moved.
But he resented keenly the loss of his seaports, the riches of his kingdom, which Flamininus had placed in the keeping of the Achaeans; urged by the Aetolians, he stirred up rebellions in them and so regained all except Gytheum, into which an Achaean garrison was thrown. This town he besieged. The Achaeans denounced him to Rome and prepared to fight; they had in Philopoemen, now returned from Crete and elected General (end of September 193), the very man for the occasion. Rome was roused: one short year after the departure of the legions Roman authority in Greece was seriously challenged, and the evil, spread by the Aetolians, might extend farther, to Antiochus’ great advantage. Military measures were decreed; the praetor A. Atilius Serranus was to operate against Nabis in the spring of 192 with 25 quinqueremes; two legions were to be assembled in Bruttium ready for emergencies. But, in order to limit the conflagration in the Peloponnese, counter the manoeuvres of the Aetolians, and forearm the Greeks against the prestige of Antiochus, Flamininus thought that his presence and his words would count for more than all else; he proceeded to Greece with three other legati (winter 193—2). Eumenes soon joined them; zealous through self-interest, he put at their disposal some ships, some men, but above all himself and his influence.
Flamininus, fearing the encroaching temper of the Achaeans, would have liked to suppress Nabis with as little help as possible from them, and accordingly to have deferred battle until Atilius’ arrival: but hostilities were opened by Philopoemen, eager to relieve Gytheum and its Achaean garrison, and wishing fare da se and enlarge Achaea at the expense of Sparta. Ignominiously defeated at sea by the flotilla which the tyrant had reformed, he retrieved his fortunes on land; though he failed to save Gytheum, he defeated Nabis at Mt Barbosthenes, almost destroyed his army, blockaded him in Sparta and for long ravaged Laconia. Atilius, probably aided by Eumenes, then retook Gytheum and the other coast towns; whereupon Flamininus, unwilling to see his work undone, imposed upon Nabis and Achaea a truce and re-established the status quo in the Peloponnese. Aetolians and Achaeans were equally disappointed: the former because the tyrant’s insurrection had failed, the latter because they gained nothing by his defeat (spring 192).
Meanwhile the Roman envoys had journeyed through Greece— except Aetolia and Boeotia where their efforts would have been useless—striving to impose calm, overawe the turbulent and ensure the preponderance of ‘right-thinking’ men, lovers of order and peace, hence anti-Aetolian, republicans and enemies of kings, and so hostile to Antiochus. They seemed successful on the whole: the fear of Rome went with them. They noted, nevertheless, disquieting signs: in Achaea, the effervescence of local patriotism, elated by Philopoemen’s victories (which the populace ostentatiously set above those of Flamininus), irritated also at their unfruitfulness, and restive under foreign interference; in Athens, a dangerous demagogic agitation; at Chaicis, the existence of a powerful anti-Roman party, whose chiefs had to be exiled; everywhere smouldering hostility of the masses towards Rome, their desire for changes, social and political, their instinctive sympathy with Antiochus. At Demetrias, where his tour ended, Flamininus had some difficult moments; there, indeed, the situation was peculiarly delicate, for the anti-Macedonian optimates in power since 196 and led by Eurylochus, ‘General’ of the Magnetes, considered themselves betrayed by the Romans. The latter, indeed, with the brusque and slightly cynical opportunism which characterized their policy, had now, from fear of Antiochus, turned to Philip and made much of him. A well-founded rumour declared that to ensure his fidelity the Senate, which had already promised to release his son Demetrius, who was a hostage, and to remit the unpaid instalments of his warindemnity, was disposed also to make in his favour some sacrifice of Hellenic liberty, and to restore to him Demetrias. Incensed at the idea of falling again under the Macedonian yoke, Eurylochus and his party leaned towards the Aetolians. Flamininus reproached them with this, but did not contradict the rumour which alarmed them; Eurylochus replied hotly and, although disowned by other principes he had to flee and was declared an exile; he had dared to say openly that ‘under a show of freedom, all things happened at Rome’s will and pleasure’. Flamininus had seen that in Greece many thought thus.
Still the envoys’ activity made the Aetolian leaders uneasy. Thoas, who had visited Antiochus in the winter (193—2), urged him not to leave the Romans a free field in Greece nor allow their authority there to be strengthened. The king thought it was time to act. Until then he had held back and sent no official deputation to Aetolia; he now commissioned Menippus, formerly ambassador to Rome, to return with Thoas and announce his intentions. In private interviews Menippus led the Aetolians to expect Antiochus’ speedy arrival, insisting on his formidable military power and, to stir up popular feeling, on his inexhaustible riches; then, at the spring Assembly (end of March 192), he declared that Antiochus was willing to join the Aetolians in restoring true Greek freedom, ‘standing by its own strength, independent of the caprice of others’. This evoked widespread enthusiasm; despite the Athenian delegates, come at Flamininus’ request, who adjured the Aetolians to reflect; despite Flamininus himself who, admitted under protest into the assembly with his colleagues, preached prudence, Thoas caused to be passed, in the presence of the legati, a decree in terms of which Antiochus had undoubtedly approved. In it the Aetolians invited him to deliver Greece and settle the quarrel between themselves and the Romans; the General Damocritus added, it is said, insults to Flamininus and to Rome.
Antiochus’ position was thus made perfectly clear; turning against the Romans their own weapon, he was now pursuing, like them, a Hellenic policy. To bring pressure upon him, they upheld the cause of the Hellenes of Asia; to bring pressure upon them, he was taking up the cause of the Hellenes of Europe, especially the Aetolians, letting it be understood that, at need, he would defend it by arms. But with his usual prudence he had avoided in Menippus’ declaration and in the Aetolian decree the actual word ‘war’; he would only make war if forced by the Romans. Moreover, although bound to the Aetolians, he showed no haste to join them and was even guilty of neglecting to prepare for his expedition. He spent the summer of 192 in Thrace, probably unwilling to leave his kingdom before the fall of the rebellious towns which were being besieged, Smyrna and Lampsacus, to which was now added Alexandria Troas; possibly, too, he had only wished to warn the Romans, in the hope that his new attitude would make them more conciliatory. But if he reckoned so, he was mistaken. His new attitude seemed to justify all their fears: it seemed to them to herald the aggression which they had long expected, and to threaten Italy by way of Greece. Attalus, Eumenes’ brother, came to Rome and alarmed them still further. A rumour was current that Antiochus, on his arrival in Aetolia, would immediately attack Sicily and the neighbouring coasts of Italy; so defence and counter-offensive were energetically prepared, 70 quinqueremes were equipped or built, 20 protected Sicily, on whose eastern seaboard troops were stationed, while yo formed a reserve; the army in Bruttium was sent to Tarentum and Brundisium, ready to embark. Meanwhile a new army of about 30,000 men was concentrated in Bruttium, and considerable reserves were set on foot. Antiochus might now be convinced that the Senate was in no mood for negotiation; consequently, he owed it to himself to advance into Greece.
The Aetolians awaited him all the more impatiently as their decree exposed them to the Roman anger; to hasten his coming the apokletoi resolved upon three great strokes. Diodes, the Hipparch, Thoas, and Alexamenus, the contriver of the murder of Brachyllas, received secret instructions to surprise Demetrias, Chalcis, and Sparta; in Sparta Alexamenus was to remove Nabis, an ineffective ally, whose treasure would be invaluable to the Aetolians. Success was only partial. Thoas failed completely at Chalcis, which the new magistrates set up by Flamininus had put into a state of defence with the help of the Eretrians and Carystians. At Sparta Alexamenus brought up some troops as if to succour Nabis and was thus able by base treachery to compass his assassination, and become for a moment master of the town; but he and his men were soon massacred by the people, who were furious at their pillaging. Profiting by the ensuing disorder, Philopoemen then occupied Sparta and incorporated it by treaty into the Achaean League; Flamininus closed his eyes to this, and so the Aetolian attempt turned to the advantage of their enemies. At Demetrias, all went well. Diodes brought back Eurylochus, then ensured his triumph by introducing into the town Aetolian cavalry who killed his chief opponents. In vain the Roman legatus Villius made a last attempt to conciliate the Magnetes: thus the principal fortress and port of Northern Greece was brought under Aetolian control, and they offered to Antiochus this splendid base of operations.
Thoas hastened to inform him of this; but taken unawares, Antiochus hesitated to move. Various reasons held him back: the obstinate resistance of Smyrna, Lampsacus and Alexandria Troas—when he had gone the revolt might spread—, the late season, unfavourable for operations by sea, his inadequate preparations. But if he postponed his departure, Aetolian ardour might cool and the useful impression produced by events at Demetrias be effaced in Greece, where Flamininus would redouble his intrigues. His expeditionary army could join him as soon as winter was past; it was unlikely that the Romans would attack him then; at all events, their absence at the moment (he did not count Atilius’ insignificant squadron) made it possible for him to establish himself firmly in Greece. This decided him. He had planned, it appears, to send Hannibal to Carthage with a flying squadron; the necessity of collecting in haste all available troops and vessels caused him to postpone this diversion. He embarked 10,000 foot, 500 horse, 6 elephants in a fleet consisting of 40 ‘decked’ ships, 60 ‘open,’ 200 transports, and sailed from the Hellespont, Hannibal accompanying him. He landed unhindered at Pteleum in Phthiotic Achaea, whither the Magnesian magistrates came to welcome him, disembarked at Demetrias and encamped his army outside the walls. Then, at the invitation of the Aetolians, he went to them at Lamia (probably late October 192).
ANTIOCHUS IN GREECE
The 10,500 men brought by Antiochus were only an advance force; he expressly stated this to the Aetolians assembled at Lamia, and it was obvious. Nevertheless the contrast between this tiny army and what was expected from the Great King, made disappointment inevitable. In spite of the acclamations with which they greeted him, the Aetolians felt this disappointment keenly and little relished Antiochus’ request that they should revictual his troops who were short of provisions. At Lamia, after his departure, the peace-lovers made their voices heard; Phaeneas, who had been re-elected General at the end of September, proposed, in accordance with the previous decree of the League, to employ Antiochus as arbitrator between Aetolia and Rome, without conferring upon him any command. Only Thoas’ vehement intervention secured his appointment as strategos autokrator (the same honour which had formerly been conferred upon Attalus) with thirty apokletoi attached to his person. But the federal forces were not called up, the new generalissimo had a staff but no army, and he was to experience the stubborn ill-will of Phaeneas and most of the Aetolians who, in their hearts, had counted upon Antiochus fighting their battles. Nor did he receive the hoped-for welcome of the other Greek peoples. Thoas had promised that he should see their embassies flocking in—not one appeared: Antiochus, too, was disappointed.
Yet, although Greece kept silence, she was deeply moved: Antiochus’ arrival ‘made her waver,’ says Plutarch. By bold action he might probably—at least for a time—have drawn her over to his side. The masses, whose hope he was, were heartily with him; at his coming disturbances broke out spontaneously in several towns. At Patrae, Aegium, Corinth, and Athens, M. Porcius Cato, sent from Rome as legatus had to interpose; Flamininus had a troublesome agitator, Apollodorus, banished from Athens. Now was the moment for Antiochus to distribute to the ‘have-nots’ the expected largesse and give them a glimpse of an end to their wretchedness; to emulate the Aetolians and strike vigorous blows with his 10,000 men and his fleet, seizing some strong points, notably the Piraeus and Athens; to arouse national sentiment by proclaiming a crusade against Rome. Had he done this, he might have unloosed an irresistible popular movement which would have swept away the governments of the propertied classes which leaned on Roman support. But he had no taste for playing the demagogue; moreover, presenting himself to the Greeks as a liberator, he was loth to apply force—he was utterly unlike the Aetolians; lastly, at heart nearer to Phaeneas than to Thoas, still desiring to settle matters peaceably, he wished to intimidate Rome, not provoke her by an openly aggressive attitude. As the Greeks did not come to him, he went to them, not to threaten but to persuade, parleying, inviting them—comic as it seems—to let themselves be ‘freed’ by him, protesting his peaceful intentions, disclaiming even the wish to detach them violently from Rome. Such moderation, construed as weakness, inevitably injured him: his opponents, encouraged by the Roman envoys, gained ground, his partisans lost faith in him; everywhere—in Euboea, Achaea, Boeotia—his efforts failed.
In Achaea, indeed, despite sporadic manifestations of popular sympathy, he had small chance of success. It was true that Flamininus’ Peloponnesian policy, his repeated patience with Sparta, his personal animosity to Philopoemen, whose military glory and independent spirit were an offence to him, had embittered the patriotic Achaeans. Antiochus counted on this, and, moreover, only asked the Achaeans to remain neutral. But he was to them the champion of Aetolia, hence their natural enemy: his victory, assuring the triumph of their foes, would have been fatal to them; on the other hand, his defeat, which must entail that of Aetolia, and thereby of Elis and Messene, might bring great gains to Achaea. Already masters of Sparta, the Achaeans would make this an opportunity for dominating the whole Peloponnese—an opportunity which the Romans would probably let them seize if they served them faithfully: the hope of satisfying their age-long ambition bound them to Rome. So Philopoemen and Flamininus acted in accord; it was Flamininus whom the Achaeans commissioned to reply to the Aetolo-Syrian embassy; whereupon they unanimously voted war against Antiochus and Aetolia, and forthwith supplied Flamininus with 1000 soldiers, half of whom he sent to Chalcis and half to the Piraeus (November).
More mortifying because more unforeseen was the attitude of the Chalcidians and Boeotians. At Chalcis, the same magistrates who had previously repulsed Thoas refused Antiochus entrance to the town: ‘Free, thanks to Rome, Chalcis had’, they said, ‘no need of a liberator’. Boeotia, in spite of its deep-seated hatred of Rome, returned only a temporizing answer to a Syrian envoy: if Antiochus came to them the Boeotians would see what they would do. His campaign of negotiations brought him but a single ally, the unstable Amynander who, ever ready to change sides, forsook the Romans for the absurd reason that the Aetolians affected to encourage the ambitions of his brother-in-law, one Philip of Megalopolis, the self-styled descendant of Alexander and fantastic claimant to the Macedonian throne.
These repeated rebuffs compelled Antiochus to change his methods; he was destined like almost all ‘liberators’ of Greece, to have to force liberty upon her—liberty of a Seleucid pattern to replace liberty of a Roman pattern. He needed Chalcis as a port of disembarkation for the army from Asia, and Eumenes and the Achaeans, at Flamininus’ command, were hurrying troops into it. From Demetrias Antiochus marched in strength against the town, which now capitulated, despite its rulers, who had to leave it. The Achaean and Pergamene soldiers defending the fort of Salganeus (on the left bank of the Euripus) surrendered. Shortly before, 500 Romans sent by Atilius had been surprised in the sacred precinct of Delium and, notwithstanding the sanctity of the place, all but annihilated by Menippus—an easy victory which the king probably regretted since, contrary to his policy, it made him the aggressor in the quarrel with Rome. Flamininus, then at Corinth, forthwith called gods and men to witness that the responsibility for the first bloodshed rested on Antiochus. The seizure of Chalcis produced immediate and valuable effects. All Euboea submitted; the Epirotes, too near the Romans to dare more, at least assured Antiochus of their goodwill; the Boeotians, whom he visited, confessed their real sentiments and enthusiastically declared for him. But his new friends supplied not a single soldier, while he had to lend the Eleans 1000 men to resist Achaea.
Thessaly did not move. Antiochus invaded it, seemingly against the advice of Hannibal who must have persisted in his plans for the invasion of Italy, but such plans could obviously notbe attempted with the insufficient forces at the king’s disposal. Having proceeded to Pherae, Antiochus was joined before it by Amynander and the Aetolians, the latter only 3000 strong and without their General. Reverting to his earlier methods, he made some advances to the Thessalians, which were rejected with contempt. The upper classes put into power by Flamininus, and still in touch with him, showed themselves resolute; they had suffered too much from Philip willingly to try another king. The federal authorities, resident at Larissa, invited Antiochus to withdraw his troops, and attempted to relieve Pherae which still held out. Antiochus had to reduce it by force, and this brought about the surrender or fall of Scotussa, Crannon, Cierium and Metropolis; but, ever generous, finding in Scotussa 500 Thessalian soldiers sent from Larissa to Pherae, he allowed them to depart unharmed. Meanwhile Amynander, greedy for new conquests beyond Pindus, was aggrandizing himself in Hestiaeotis, notably occupying Pelinna and Limnaeum; the Aetolians, under Menippus, were invading Perrhaebia, taking numerous towns, among others Malloea and Chyretiae, and ravaging Tripolis. After about a fortnight the south, west and north of Thessaly seemed subdued; there remained the eastern region with Larissa, the federal capital. Antiochus, with his allies, was preparing for the siege, after receiving the capitulation of Pharsalus, when the glow of many camp-fires augured the presence at Gonni of a Roman-Macedonian army. To besiege Larissa now seemed dangerous; besides, it was January (191) and the troops were weary, so operations were suspended. Antiochus had scattered garrisons through Thessaly—thereby weakening himself—but small, isolated, and formed of troops whose loyalty was none too sure, their power to hold out might well be doubted.
As the king soon learnt, the hostile force at Gonni was, not an army, but only a Roman detachment, sent through Macedonia to the succour of Larissa, the many camp-fires being the device of its commander Appius Claudius Pulcher. Its arrival, however, was significant both of the entrance of the Romans into the war, and of their understanding with Philip. Antiochus had hoped that Rome would hesitate to attack him, and that Philip would remain neutral—two illusions now lost.
Antiochus’ landing in late autumn probably caused surprise at Rome; but, in any event, his crossing to Greece, the prologue, it was thought, of an attack upon Italy, was expected. Rome was on her guard. Nevertheless she did not hasten to dispatch large forces to Greece. About early November the praetor M. Baebius Tamphilus crossed to Illyria with only a few troops, chiefly to watch Philip’s conduct, which caused much uneasiness. He was soon reassured; Philip warned him of Antiochus’entrance into Thessaly, came to see him, and promised his aid; hence the free passage granted to the Romans who had now arrived at Gonni.
Philip’s decision vexes historians. They would gladly have seen the Antigonid and the Seleucid make common cause against Rome, as desired by Hannibal, but this desire was impossible of realization. The interests of the Aetolians were directly opposed to those of Philip, Antiochus was the ally of the Aetolians; how then could he be Philip’s ally or reward his services? Indeed he does not seem to have thought of asking for them, thinking also that it was impossible that Philip would join Rome. But everything that Antiochus did exasperated Philip: he saw him ever profiting by his misfortunes, formerly in Asia, Thrace and Egypt, now in Greece. This role of protector of the Greeks, which Antiochus dared to appropriate, belonged to the Macedonian monarchy; he was once more usurping its right; even his claim to stand up to the Romans irritated the king whom they had beaten. His allies, Aetolians, Magnesians, Athamanians (not to speak of the ridiculous Megalopolitan adventurer), were all enemies of Philip. The invasion of Thessaly, which he burned to recover, was the final insult which decided him; we may add also Antiochus’ unwitting affront in directing Philip of Megalopolis to bury the bones of Macedonians fallen at Cynoscephalae. The Romans, fearing his intentions, promised him, with Demetrias, whatever towns he should take from the common enemies: self-interest would be the guarantee of their sincerity. Thinking he had an unique opportunity of retrieving his defeat, Philip decided for Rome, and so—risking bitter disappointment for himself—dealt Antiochus a fatal blow.
In the three months since his landing Antiochus had displayed untiring activity. On his return from Thessaly he spent the month of February (191) in Chalcis, now his headquarters, and there married the daughter of a private citizen. This marriage, which perhaps had a political object—he called his wife Euboea, and we know how he favoured a matrimonial policy—and which increased his popularity, would scarcely deserve mention, had it not given rise to the foolish story which represents him as spending the winter in wedding festivities. In March, taking the field again, he marched on Acarnania, the only state in Central Greece that had remained beyond his reach. It would have been wiser to watch Thessaly, but in Acarnania a powerful party was working for him, and this drew him thither. Unfortunately, the presence at Cephallenia, then at Leucas, of vessels detailed from Atilius’ fleet, hindered the efforts of his friends, who could hand over only Medeum, and Thyrrheum closed its gates to him. Thereupon alarming tidings from Thessaly made him retrace his steps. This abortive expedition was his last offensive enterprise; despite his repeated summons, his great army had not appeared, and now it was the turn of Rome.
As Antiochus had profited by the absence of the Romans to enter Greece, so they were to profit by his momentary weakness to drive him out again. They acted, however, as has been seen, somewhat slowly, and for about four months they had only the inadequate force of Baebius east of the Adriatic. It is true that war was voted at Rome immediately on the entry of the new consuls into office (Nov. 192); but it was not till late in February that 20,000 foot, 2000 horse and 15 elephants were disembarked at Apoilonia by the consul M’. Acilius Glabrio, Scipio’s friend, who then marched towards Thessaly. Baebius and Philip, who worked together, were already fighting there: thus the Romans joined with the Macedonian king to reconquer the land whence they had expelled him six years earlier. The apparent successes of Antiochus and his allies were now seen to be highly precarious. Though the Aetolians, who lost among other towns Chyretiae and Malloea, contrived to retain a few points in Perrhaebia, the Athamanians were easily driven from the greater part of Hestiaeotis, including Gomphi and the neighbouring towns conquered by them since 198 BC. With the arrival of the consul in March all resistance ceased. Pelinna, where Philip of Megalopolis was in command, and Limnaeum, till then besieged by Baebius and Philip, capitulated, and Cierium and Metropolis opened their gates. Philip unopposed invaded Athamania, whence Amynander had fled to Ambracia, while Acilius, as he came south from Larissa, received the surrender of all the towns held for Antiochus, which were glad enough to place in his hands their alien garrisons. He thereupon broke into Phthiotic Achaea, took Thaumaci, and the next day reached the Spercheus and threatened Hypata. Thessaly was lost to Antiochus, his garrisons—over 3000 men—captured, his Athamanian allies put out of action, their land overrun, the Othrys barrier forced, Aetolia in danger: all this was the work of three weeks (March—April).
Despite this collapse, Antiochus marched stoutly to meet the enemy, pushing on from Chalcis to Lamia. The scanty reinforcements that had dribbled in from Asia only gave him his original strength of 10,000 foot and 500 horse in the field; so the Aetolians were his last hope; he summoned them to muster in full force. But uneasy perhaps at Philip’s presence in Athamania, above all anxious not to face the Romans openly, and played upon by the discouragements of Phaeneas, they only offered him 4000 men. He was therefore forced to fall back on the Oeta-Thermopylae line; so long as he could hold the enemy here, he would command the entrance to Central Greece, remain in contact with Aetolia, and cover his base at Chaicis. Fearing to be turned on his left, he entrusted the Asopus gorge and the mountain tracks west of Thermopylae to the Aetolians, who left 2000 men at Heraclea in Trachis and with the remaining 2000 held the three forts of Callidromus, Rhoduntia and Teichius which guard these routes. He himself took the eastern ‘Gate’ of the famous Pass, which he carefully fortified. Acilius attacked the position about the end of April, and was warmly received. Nearly overwhelmed by the rain of missiles from slingers, archers and javelin-men whom Antiochus had massed on the heights on his left, the Romans made two assaults before they pierced the first Syrian line, composed of light-armed troops, only to fling themselves vainly on the phalanx in its strong earthworks. Things were going badly, especially as the Aetolians from Heraclea threatened to strike in behind them and storm their camp, when suddenly a body of soldiers dashed down the mountain on to the Syrian rear; it was a force of 2000 Romans, led by Cato, which had contrived to find its way by night round Anopaea, and surprised the Aetolians posted on the col of Callidromus, thus repeating the historic manoeuvre of Hydarnes which Antiochus had feared. Panic-stricken, the Syrians crushed one another to death in the pass or fled to Scarpheia with the Romans on their heels. Swept away in the rout, Antiochus rode straight to Elatea where he rallied 500 men, the wreckage of his army. Retiring on Chaicis, he took the only reasonable course, now that resistance was impossible, and set sail for Ephesus, which he reached unhindered. Atilius, who had come from the Piraeus, was not strong enough to cut off his retreat, and only managed to capture a convoy from Asia off Andros. Ancient and modern writers, who are all set against Antiochus, observe with malice that he took his young bride with him—but, when all is said, why should he have abandoned her?
Thus a single battle ended his rash Greek enterprise. Imprudent for the first time, Antiochus by undertaking it made two capital mistakes. He erred in believing, not that the Romans feared him, but that they would yield to this fear instead of conjuring it by crushing the man who had caused it: he little knew the Roman spirit. Moreover, he deceived himself in assuming that Philip would remain quiescent between Rome and Syria: he failed to see that, unable to have him as an ally, he would have him as an enemy, and that this meant his certain ruin. But, apart from this, two particular misfortunes hastened on the disaster, the Aetolians’ inertia and his ministers’ failure to procure him a good army within six months. He might, perhaps, have realized how unwieldy was the military machinery of his empire; but no one could have foreseen the ineffectiveness of the Aetolians.
These two misfortunes of the Great King were for the Romans the greatest of good luck. But, granted that they could not be foreseen, the Romans could not have counted upon them. They, too, began with a mistake in not sending a strong army to Greece so soon as they knew of Antiochus’ landing. Had he acted more boldly, he could, as has been seen, have produced, even with no more than his advanced forces, a violent anti-Roman movement. More important still, the delay of the Romans exposed them to the risk of having to meet Antiochus at the head both of all his own forces and those of the Aetolians ranged at last under his banner. In that event, their victory would presumably have been less rapid, even with Philip’s help. This piece of imprudence, as we shall see, was not the only one they committed in this war, but, unlike the errors of Antiochus, it went unpunished. Fortune, the ruling goddess of these days, was on the side of Rome. From the very beginning of the war, Rome’s adversary was beset with a coincidence of difficulties so hampering as to render useless all the genius of Hannibal. Herein lay the ill luck of Antiochus and the good luck of Rome
THE WAR IN AETOLIA. CORYCUS
At Rome, the news of Thermopylae, brought with astonishing speed by Cato, put an end to public alarm; but for the Senate, now swayed by Scipio’s energetic counsels, this victory was in no wise final. What did the loss of 10,000 men mean to the Great King? His forces remained intact, and, to prevent a renewal of the Seleucid menace in Europe, he must be defeated in Asia. Antiochus was now clear-sighted enough and realized his peril; but, after all, his fleet commanded the sea which the Romans must master in order to reach him; and possibly, too, Aetolia would refuse to submit, and so keep them in Greece. When two Aetolian envoys, Thoas and Nicander, came to Ephesus to beg him not to forget his allies, he spared neither money nor promises of help, and, to give the Aetolians confidence, he kept Thoas at his court.
This time Antiochus’ trust in the Aetolians was not misplaced. They had served him badly, but, when the Romans turned against their towns, their fierce spirit blazed out once more. Acilius, after receiving the trembling submission of the Phocians, Boeotians and Chalcidians, vainly summoned Heraclea to surrender; for nearly a month the city, attacked on four sides, resisted with heroic courage (June). When it fell, Phaeneas, judging further struggle hopeless, sought to make terms. But Acilius was a brutal soldier with none of Flamininus’ clemency. His implacable insistence on unconditional surrender, his threats to the envoys, guilty only of not understanding the significance of the expression ‘entrust themselves to the faith of the Roman people’ (the formula of the deditio), the violence, real or assumed, by which he meant to terrify the Aetolians, only incensed them. The Assembly at Hypata refused even to hear his demands discussed, and Nicander’s return with comfortable words and money from Ephesus strengthened the League in its obstinacy. So, Heraclea taken, Acilius, after crossing with great trouble the dangerous passes of Oeta, had to besiege Naupactus; at the end of two months it still held out (August-September). When would the Romans be done with Aetolia and this long-drawn war which paralysed them and diverted them from their true objective—Antiochus? Besides, it served Philip’s ends too well. During his parleys with Phaeneas, Acilius, pleading presumably the suspension of hostilities, had prevented Philip from taking Lamia which the king was besieging while the Romans were assailing Heraclea—treatment which long rankled in Philip’s mind. Afterwards, however, forced to show him consideration, Acilius had given him a free hand, and while he himself lay before Naupactus, Philip had quickly retaken Demetrias, Magnesia, Antron, Pteleum and Larissa Cremaste, and wrested from the Aetolians their remaining Perrhaebian towns, Dolopia, and Aperantia. An ironical situation thus arose: the Romans by persisting in their attacks on the Aetolian strongholds were serving Philip’s aims and allowing him to regain his power in Northern Greece.
This roused the anger of Flamininus, who saw his great edifice of ‘Free Greece’ crumbling away. He was now engaged in curbing the greed of other allies, the Achaeans, who, without having effectively assisted to achieve the defeat of Antiochus, were profiting by it to realize their inordinate ambitions in the Peloponnese. They had to be reminded that ‘it was not to serve them alone that the Romans had fought and won at Thermopylae.’ He had prevented them from conquering by arms Messene, which had made surrender to him, allowing them, however, to annex it peacefully on terms which he dictated; he had also just taken back Zacynthus, a possession of Amynander, which they had, with no shadow of right, bought from its governor. This affair settled, he went to Acilius, showed him that it was better to spare Aetolia than to enrich Philip with her spoils, and obtained for the Aetolians, henceforth resigned to any endurable peace, permission to appeal to the Senate. So ended hostilities in Greece, and Flamininus hoped it was indeed the end.
This bad news was made worse for Antiochus by a naval defeat. Master of the sea since Thermopylae, he had, while encouraging the Aetolians, fortified the Chersonese, where Lysimacheia became his chief stronghold, and both shores of the Hellespont, thus indirectly and directly impeding the Roman invasion of Asia. It was to cut him off from the Aetolians and prepare for this invasion that the praetor C. Livius Salinator left Ostia about April and, in August, bringing 50 Roman and 6 Punic warships, some 25 light vessels, and the 25 quinqueremes of Atilius, crossed the Aegean. Enemies and friends awaited him. The royal fleet, consisting of 70 ‘decked’ and seemingly over 100 ‘open’ ships, was concentrated at Ephesus under the admiral Polyxenidas, an exiled Rhodian; troops assembled at Magnesia ad Sipylum were to prevent any disembarkation. As for Rome’s friends, Livius could count on their immediate co-operation. There was Eumenes of course; and there were also the Rhodians. Till then they had behaved as neutrals and they had no complaint against Antiochus, indeed the contrary, but now, foreseeing his ruin, jealous of the advantages which Eumenes would gain from it, and incited by ambition to enlarge their dominions on the mainland, they claimed their part of the spoils. They needed no justification for fighting in Asia alongside the Romans as they had formerly done in Europe: had not Rome come to continue her defence of Greek freedom?
As Livius’ first care must be to join his allies, who would pilot him in these unknown waters and reinforce him with some 50 warships, Polyxenidas had to try to defeat him before this junction. He therefore left Ephesus, but failed to prevent the Romans from reaching Phocaea and making contact with Eumenes, who brought from Elaea 24 ships of the line and about 30 light craft. Though now outnumbered by 35 warships, he bravely determined to risk an action before the imminent arrival of the Rhodians. But when battle was joined off Cape Corycus, south of the Ionian peninsula, the Roman use of grappling-irons gave the advantage to Livius; Polyxenidas, having lost 23 large ships, returned to Ephesus. Reinforced by the Rhodian contingent of 27 cataphracts which arrived next day, the combined fleet of 130 warships a second time offered battle, which was of course declined, and they separated to winter, Eumenes and the Rhodians at home, Livius at Canae in Pergamene territory. Once victorious, the Romans received the adhesion of several Greek towns; they also had at their disposal along the coast and in the islands numerous cities which were allies or friends of Rhodes—an inestimable advantage. Chios became their centre of supplies, but in default of supplies from Italy, the crews and marines of Livius were usually to re-provision at the cost of the Greeks (late September 191).
At Thermopylae the Romans had re-won Greece from Antiochus; at Corycus they seemed to have won the sea also. But Antiochus meant to dispute this further; and in winter good news reached him. In its anger against the Aetolians the Senate had made brutally severe demands. The envoys were offered the choice between unconditional surrender (already demanded by Acilius) and the immediate payment of 1000 talents—impossible for a ruined people—coupled with the obligation to have ‘the same enemies and friends as Rome,’ that is, the renunciation of all independent foreign policy. The embassy had left without settling anything. In spring, therefore, war would break out again in Greece; the Romans were not yet able to turn all their efforts towards Asia
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HELLESPONT
Such, however, was their firm intention. The Senate had decided that the consul invested in 190 with the ‘province of Greece’ would be free to lead his army into Asia, and popular desire pointed to the leader of the expedition: whom should Rome oppose to Antiochus and Hannibal in alliance but the conqueror of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus? Consul in 194, Scipio could not be re-elected so soon, but his friend C. Laelius and his brother Lucius were chosen and entered office on November 18, 191. Greece, renounced by Laelius, fell to Lucius Scipio. His incompetence was notorious and immediately, according to arrangement, Publius was associated with him, though seemingly without any official duty; he thus indirectly obtained supreme command.
Arriving in Aetolia late in April 190, the Scipios found that Acilius, pending their coming, had returned to his tedious siegewarfare; he had taken Lamia, and was laboriously pushing on the reduction of Amphissa. This did not suit the great Scipio: his real enemy was Antiochus, Asia drew him as Africa had done. Consequently, the Aetolians, longing for peace, were treated almost as in the preceding year. An Athenian embassy interceded for them; prompted by Publius Scipio, the Athenians persuaded them to return to Rome and beg the Senate to grant easier terms. Lucius authorized this, the siege of Amphissa was raised, and a six months’ armistice was concluded. This was doubly advantageous to the Romans, for it set free their army and checked the progress of Philip, who had just conquered Amphilochia. The Scipios at once proceeded to lead to Asia the troops of Acilius and the reinforcements brought by themselves from Italy—13,000 foot and 500 horse. As the sea-crossing seemed too hazardous, and as, besides, the Roman fleet was too engaged elsewhere to provide transport, they set out about May through Thessaly and Macedonia, where Philip was to welcome them, for the Hellespont.
The control of the Hellespont was the key to Asia, and the prize of victory in the war at sea. So, during the winter, while gathering an army in Phrygia, Antiochus had been preparing to checkmate the Allied fleets, both by bringing against them a greatly increased navy, and by making diversions to force them to separate. Strengthening Polyxenidas’ fleet to 90 warships and directing Hannibal to raise a second fleet in Phoenicia to join the first, he concentrated in Aeolis under Seleucus a force to operate against the Pergamene kingdom and take from the enemy the support of the coastal towns, and stationed in Lycia, notably at Patara, other troops who, with the Lycians, would harry the Rhodians and raid their mainland possessions. Meanwhile cruisers and privateers, dispatched to the Aegean, would intercept the convoys bringing supplies from Italy. All this was sound strategy.
Begun late in March, the naval campaign was for a long time indecisive. While Livius, seconded by Eumenes, strove to open the Dardanelles to the Scipios by reducing Sestos and besieging Abydos, Polyxenidas, by an adroit stroke of trickery, surprised and almost annihilated the Rhodian fleet stationed at Samos; and to this misfortune, which forced Livius to withdraw, must be added the loss of Phocaea (where a popular rising against the Romans had broken out), Cyme and several neighbouring towns recaptured by Seleucus. Livius and Eumenes, joined by a fresh Rhodian squadron, then established themselves in Samos, shutting up Polyxenidas in Ephesus; but their attempts at a landing failed, and while this blockade kept them immobile, there was no one to oppose Hannibal’s fleet when it should appear from the east. When the praetor L. Aemilius Regillus came about April to succeed Livius, he found the Allies dispirited and bewildered, and matters did not improve under his command. Two expeditions against Patara—the second with all three fleets—undertaken to relieve the Rhodians, who were seriously threatened in the Peraea, came to nothing; and, in Eumenes’ absence, Seleucus and Antiochus invaded his kingdom. He hastened to the relief of Pergamum, where he, too, found himself blockaded, and his allies, neglecting all else, had to hurry to his aid. At this point, informed by the Aetolians that he must no longer count on them, Antiochus attempted to negotiate (c. May—June); it is significant that Rhodes raised no objection and, but for Eumenes, Regillus would perhaps have assented: indeed the Allies had so far known nothing but failure.
Auxiliaries recalled by Eumenes from Achaea relieved Pergamum, but the combined fleets failed to re-take Phocaea, and as Seleucus remained in Aeolis, Eumenes dared not leave his kingdom; meanwhile news was brought that Hannibal would soon arrive. Regillus must stay at Samos to keep watch on Polyxenidas; the Rhodians, willing to sacrifice themselves, went alone with 36 ships under the admiral Eudamus to face Hannibal. Antiochus’ plan to divide his three opponents had succeeded.
They were in grave danger. The advent of Hannibal’s fleet marked the crisis of the war at sea; Regillus might be defeated by Polyxenidas, while Hannibal had more ships and far more powerful ships than the Rhodians. But, for whatever reason, Polyxenidas did not attack, and the seamanship of the Rhodians, who went in search of Hannibal beyond the mouth of the Eurymedon, was more than a match for the fleet improvised in Phoenicia. Near Side, it was so roughly handled—20 vessels disabled, one hepteres captured—that Hannibal retreated with no hope of taking action again for a long time (August); hence the situation became extremely critical for Antiochus, reduced to his fleet at Ephesus. Yet, occupied in watching Hannibal and containing the enemy at Patara, the Rhodians kept most of their forces in Lycia, and sent back but few ships with Eudamus to Regillus; Eumenes remained in Troas to guard his dominions and prepare for the Scipios’ crossing. Polyxenidas thus found himself with eighty-nine ships to Regillus’ eighty, and Antiochus resolved to risk a decisive action. Indeed, he could do no other. To keep his one fleet stationary in port was to surrender to the enemy the command of the sea and leave the Hellespont and Asia open; and he had nothing to gain by delay: Eumenes and the whole Rhodian fleet might rejoin Regillus at any moment. Polyxenidas was ordered to sail from Ephesus. A demonstration against Notium, friendly to Rome, drew Regillus from Samos; Polyxenidas went near to trapping him in the northern harbour of Teos, but the projected surprise miscarried. Finally, the two fleets met between Myonnesus and Corycus, near the scene of the Syrian defeat in the previous year. This time the Syrians met with even greater disaster. This was mainly due to the Rhodian Eudamus, who while foiling their attempt to surround the Roman right, threw their left into disorder by the skilful use of fire, until the Romans, who had broken through the centre of the Syrian line, took it in reverse and crushed it. Polyxenidas, after losing 42 ships, retired to Ephesus with the ships of his right wing which had hardly been engaged (September). Reduced to little more than half its strength the royal fleet could no longer dispute the command of the sea. The way was open for the Scipios.
They came, having with Philip’s loyal assistance easily passed through Macedonia and Thrace, where 2000 volunteers joined them. The news of Myonnesus found them beyond the Hebrus, just reaching the Chersonese where Lysimacheia opened its gates. Antiochus had withdrawn the garrison and with wisdom; for the great fortress could not arrest an enemy in command of the sea; but his officers did less wisely in failing to destroy the vast stores collected there. The Romans rested, and reprovisioned, then peacefully crossed the Hellespont in the Pergamene and Rhodian fleets and a detachment of their own (the rest, under Regillus, was recapturing Phocaea). They next made a long halt, while P. Scipio remained on the European shore—as Salian priest he might not move for a month. When he crossed a royal envoy, who was awaiting his coming, asked for an audience. Troubled by the Roman arrival, realizing the doubtful solidity of his empire, with no ally but Ariarathes—for Prusias, counselled by the Scipios, had just refused his aid—Antiochus, practical and deliberate as usual, desired peace even at a heavy cost; he offered to pay half the Roman war-expenses, to abandon his European dependencies, as well as Lampsacus, Smyrna and Alexandria Troas, and even such other Ionian and Aeolian cities as had sided with Rome; in short, he conceded more than Rome had claimed in 196, the time of her greatest demands. But this was now too little: Rome meant this time to make an end; she intended to have nothing to fear in future from the Seleucid monarchs, but to drive them back eastward. Advised by his brother, L. Scipio declared that, as the price of peace, Antiochus must retire from all Asia Minor ‘on this side Taurus’ (i.e. to the north and west of that range) and pay the whole cost of the war. A private interview at which the ambassador confided to Publius that the king was prepared to return, without ransom, his son taken prisoner in Greece, and hinted, it is said, at offers of money, was naturally without effect. The situation of Antiochus after these vain parleyings recalled that of Philip before Cynoscephalae; like Philip, he estimated that defeat would probably cost no more and would save his honour.
The preparations actively carried on since his return from Greece had procured him an army of over 70,000 men, more than twice as large as that of the Scipios, which numbered about 30,000, including 6—7000 auxiliaries, 2800 of which were furnished by Eumenes. In advancing to confront the huge and hitherto redoubtable royal army with such modest forces, Africanus displayed his wonted boldness. But in fact, as probably he knew from Eumenes, the Syrian array was composed, eastern fashion, of heterogeneous elements with little cohesion, of widely different value and mostly lacking in training. Besides the regular troops which consisted of the military settlers Macedonian or Greek in origin, the Greek and Galatian mercenaries, and the Cappadocians sent by Ariarathes, most of the peoples of the Empire were represented, from Dahae horse-archers of the Caspian to Arabs mounted on dromedaries. It was strong in cavalry—at least 12,000 horse—light or ‘cataphract’, in lightarmed infantry—more than 20,000—archers, slingers and javelinmen; it included, besides 54 elephants, that engine of war dear to the Ancient East, the dreaded scythed-chariots. To deploy his cavalry and light infantry upon which he counted to outflank the enemy, Antiochus needed open ground; after going from Sardes to Thyatira, he finally gained the Campus Hyrcanius, east of Magnesia ad Sipylum, and there awaited the Romans.
The latter, on leaving the Hellespont, followed the coast and gained Elaea, where they joined Eumenes and where Publius Scipio was left ill; then they marched inland through the allied Pergamene kingdom, seeking the enemy. To the last Antiochus had hoped to conciliate Africanus. Learning of his illness, with calculating magnanimity, he had sent his son to him from Thyatira without ransom. But Scipio is said to have given him in exchange merely the enigmatic advice not to fight a battle until his return to headquarters. Disappointed in his hopes and seeing the Romans marching against him, Antiochus, twice refusing battle, manoeuvred them on to the ground he had chosen, a wide, flat plain behind the confluence of the Phrygius (Kum) and the Hermus, where he had carefully fortified a camp.
There the two armies joined battle on a rainy winter morning (probably January 189). Impetuous as at Raphia, though over fifty, Antiochus, leading the cavalry on his right wing, broke the Roman left which rested on the Phrygius, and threatened their camp; but, meanwhile, his own left and centre had met with disaster. Fearing the outflanking of their right, which was much shorter than the enemy’s left, the Romans, contrary to custom, had massed there, as a striking force, almost all their cavalry, 2800 horse. Eumenes, who commanded on this wing, first dispersed with the light-armed troops the scythed-chariots, hurling them back upon the Syrian line, which they threw into confusion; then, charging suddenly with all his squadrons, he drove back the 3000 ‘cataphract’ horsemen facing him, and so broke up and put to flight the whole royal left. The massive phalanx, 16,000 strong and 32 ranks deep, which formed the enemy’s centre, was thus uncovered on the left; Eumenes assailed it in flank, while the legionaries, led by the consular Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who in Publius’ absence was the effective commander, delivered a frontal attack and showered darts and pila upon it. Half enveloped, wilting beneath the rain of missiles, the phalanx had to fall back towards the camp; the 22 elephants which were posted between its ten sections went wild and in their fury broke its ordered ranks, and the legionaries attacking at close quarters with the sword cut it to pieces. The victory, the chief honour for which was due to Eumenes, was completed by the capture of the stoutly defended Syrian camp and the pursuit of the fugitives. Antiochus lost, it is said, over 50,000 men; in fact, he was now a king without an army; the victors’ losses were insignificant. In Asia Minor as in Greece, a single battle decided the issue.
Antiochus fled to Sardes, then to Apamea, where he rejoined Seleucus. Behind him, Sardes, despite his governor and the Lydian satrap, welcomed the Romans, as did all the towns of the region, Thyatira, Tralles, the two Magnesias, finally Ephesus, whence Polyxenidas had contrived to withdraw what remained of the fleet to Patara. Asia ‘this side Taurus’was offering itself to the victors; the Romans had declared that this was all they sought; as there was no hope of regaining it, it was useless to attempt to resist longer: and Antiochus, acquiescing in the inevitable, laid down his arms.
It must be observed that this prompt decision of Antiochus was of great advantage to the Romans. Had he, without further fighting, retreated far to the east, they would certainly not have followed him, but they would have been under the unwelcome necessity of occupying Western Asia Minor for an indefinite period. This embarrassment they were spared—a piece of good luck crowning many others. Indeed, throughout all the second phase of the war, even more than the first, Fortune was their constant friend. Not only did they find in Eumenes and the Rhodians zealous and indefatigable helpers to whom they owed at least half their military success, but at two critical moments they enjoyed strokes of luck almost beyond hope. First, the Senate’s grave blunder of refusing to grant acceptable terms to the Aetolians and of persisting in fighting Aetolia and Antiochus with a single army brought no evil consequences: indeed, the Aetolians who, had they continued the struggle, would have kept the Scipios in Greece and so helped to strengthen Antiochus’ position, were blind enough to confer upon Africanus the inestimable benefit of concluding the armistice which was for him indispensable. Second, the Romans had the yet greater good fortune of beholding a happy issue to the dangerous adventure on which they had embarked in 190, when they staked the game on what was apparently a highly hazardous card—Philip’s loyalty and his hatred of Antiochus, a hatred assuredly mitigated by Antiochus’ failure in Greece. It is clear that Philip held in his hands the fate of the Roman army as it threaded the dangerous defiles of Macedon and Thrace on its march to the Hellespont. In all probability he could have involved it in a disaster which would have had incalculable consequences, for he could then have rallied the Aetolians to his cause, made himself master of Greece and joined hands with Antiochus. It is not easy to view without astonishment the fact that a monarch, whose most conspicuous virtue was not loyalty, and who had already seen his alliance with Rome ill? requited, did not yield to so alluring a temptation. However, the Romans were so fortunate that Philip, who in his courteous dealings with Africanus probably came under the spell of his prestige and personality, did not yield to it, and ministered to the need of their army as the most faithful of allies. Within ten years the gods in their kindness granted to Rome this double boon, that Antiochus did nothing to prevent her from crushing Philip, and that Philip did his best to help her to crush Antiochus.
PEACE IN ASIA AND GREECE
Shortly after the battle, the king’s plenipotentiaries sued for peace from the Scipios, now arrived at Sardes, and, except for some aggravations of detail, obtained it upon the terms already stated. Antiochus renounced his possessions in Europe and ‘Cistauric Asia’; agreed to pay a war indemnity of 15,000 Euboic talents (500 at once, 2500 upon the ratification at Rome of the preliminaries, the remainder in twelve annual instalments), to pay to Eumenes an old debt contracted with Attalus (400 talents together with a certain quantity of corn), surrender Hannibal, Thoas and other enemies of Rome, and give twenty selected hostages, among them the royal prince Antiochus, the future Antiochus Epiphanes. Upon the handing-over of the hostages an armistice was concluded during which the king had to reprovision the Roman army. Antiochus saw to it that Hannibal escaped.
As in 197 b.c. the Romans considered themselves the sole victors and alone dictated the peace; the districts yielded up by Antiochus were thus their prize and became their property. It was expected indeed that, true to their practice, they would retain none of them, but they would dispose of them as they wished; therefore Eumenes, envoys from Rhodes and from innumerable Greek cities of Asia sailed to Rome in the early summer of 189—‘the hopes of all,’ says Polybius, ‘rested upon the Senate.’
Rome had settled with Antiochus; it remained to settle with Aetolia. The unhappy Aetolians had been deceived once more in their journey to plead with the Senate, and the comedy of 191 was repeated in 190. Their envoys, come to Rome at the Scipios’ suggestion, found the fatres inexorable; the war would begin afresh for the second time in the spring of 189. War between Aetolia and Macedon actually began the winter before. Tired of obeying Philip, the Athamanians came to regret Amynander, who had taken refuge in Ambracia; a rising concerted with him broke out in Athamania. The Aetolians first helped him to recover his kingdom, drive out the Macedonian garrisons, and repel Philip, who had come himself to the rescue; they then reconquered for themselves Amphilochia, Aperantia and Dolopia. Their hopes were rising when the news of Magnesia dashed them to the ground. In despair, they were sending another embassy to Rome, when the consul M. Fulvius Nobilior landed at Apollonia with the troops which, since 192, were in reserve in Bruttium; Rome, hitherto so sparing of her men that she waged two wars with a single army, was now mobilizing a second to crush Aetolia.
Counselled and aided by the Epirotes, who were anxious to atone for having shown goodwill to Antiochus, Fulvius in the early summer of 189 besieged Ambracia (into which the Aetolians threw 1000 men), for Pyrrhus’ former capital promised rich spoils. Meanwhile Perseus, Philip’s son, reconquered Dolopia and invaded Amphilochia, and the Achaeans joining the Illyrians ravaged the seaboard of Aetolia. Too busy elsewhere, the federal army, despite the promises of the General Nicander, could not, or dared not, relieve the besieged; but their resistance, heroically prolonged, facilitated Aetolia’s negotiations with the consul. Pressed by Athenian and Rhodian envoys, by Amynander, now restored to Roman favour, and by C. Valerius Laevinus, his half-brother, the son of the author of the treaty of 212, Fulvius, at first implacable, relented. When the Ambraciotes, on Amynander’s advice, made full surrender, he treated them with comparative moderation (not omitting, however, to extort from them a present of 150 talents and to despoil their city of its artistic treasures), and let the Aetolian garrison go free; then, he consented to reduce by a half the fine to be exacted from the Aetolians, and ceased to demand their unconditional surrender, imposing only territorial sacrifices. A provisional agreement was concluded, which the Senate at last ratified at the instance, it is said, of the Athenians (autumn 189). The treaty granted to the Aetolians was, however, foedus iniquum which made them subordinate to Rome, for they engaged to respect ‘the empire and the majesty of the Roman people,’ and to fight their enemies as their own. They had further to pay 500 Euboic talents, 200 immediately, the remaining 300 in six yearly instalments, to hand over 40 hostages for six years, to abandon all the districts and cities, formerly belonging to Aetolia, which since 192 had been conquered by the Romans or had become the ‘friends’ of Rome, to restore Oeniadae to Acarnania, and to abandon Cephallenia which was expressly excluded from the treaty.
They thus lost—besides Oeniadae, Cephallenia, and Dolopia recovered by Philip—Ambracia, their last Thessalian and Phthiotic towns, Malis and Phocis; Delphi, declared libera et immunis, first, in 191, by Acilius, who recognized its control of the sanctuary and heaped benefits upon it, then in 189 by the Senate, escaped from their rule, together with Amphictyonia from which they were formally though not actually excluded. But they kept Aenis, Oetaea at least in part, East and West Locris, and even, despite Philip’s justifiable protests, Aperantia and Amphilochia: it is noteworthy that in this Rome favoured her defeated enemy at the expense of her great ally. Aetolia’s fate was indeed strange: after being the first of the Greek peoples to make an alliance with Rome, she was also the first to fall to the humiliation of being a Roman client, but although politically dead, she remained the largest state in Central Greece.
The Romans had excluded the Cephallenians from the treaty for two reasons: they desired to chastise the pirates who had often harried their convoys and, already controlling Corcyra and Zacynthus, they wished to master Cephallenia, thus securing a third valuable base in the Ionian sea. Fulvius came thither from Ambracia; Same, alone of the four island cities, dared to resist him and was taken by assault after a four months’ siege late in January 188. It was the epilogue of the Aetolian War.
The war in Asia, too, did not lack its epilogue. In the spring of 189 the consul Cn. Manlius Volso and the praetor Q. Fabius Labeo had succeeded L. Scipio and Regillus; for Africanus’ political opponents, after allowing him to eliminate Antiochus, ungenerously prevented him from settling the consequences of his victory. Labeo found occupation for the fleet by demonstrating with small success against Crete, in order to secure the freedom of the many Romans and Italians held captive in the island. Manlius led his army against the Galatians. Their supplying of mercenaries to Antiochus and, still more, the fact that they were a perpetual menace to the Hellenic towns and the kings of Pergamum justified the undertaking; the Romans had to leave behind them a pacified Asia and impose upon the barbarians respect for the new order of things. But the consul contrived to make the expedition a profitable venture. Wishing, and with reason, to impress the unruly populations of Pisidia and Phrygia by a display of Roman might, Manlius, with Attalus and Athenaeus, brothers of Eumenes, at the head of a Pergamene contingent, arrived in Galatia by a long detour. Starting from Ephesus, he crossed Caria and Pisidia obliquely, reached Pamphylia, where the town of Isinda invited his help against the Termessians, and entered into relations with the Pamphylian towns, notably Aspendus. He then turned north through Pisidia and Phrygia, and penetrated from the south-west the country of the Tolistoagii, where he was welcomed by the priests of Pessinus, and occupied without meeting resistance the important trading centre of Gordium. The regions thus traversed underwent methodical extortion: every town on the line of march had to submit under threat of sack and pillage, but it was only by paying money that it obtained ‘Roman friendship’. Manlius indulged in disgraceful bargaining with Moagetes, dynast of Cibyra. Large sums, sometimes amounting to 200 talents, were extorted in this way from numerous cities, besides requisitions of food; those deserted by their terrified inhabitants were systematically plundered.
Of the three Galatian peoples, the Tolistoagii and the Tectosages had retired and entrenched themselves, the former on Mt Olympus, the latter on Mt Magaba near Ancyra, thinking to hold out till winter repelled the invader. The Trocmi joined forces with the Tectosages as did Cappadocians sent by Ariarathes and Paphlagonians furnished by Morzius dynast of Gangra. Manlius attacked the barbarians in their mountain strongholds, which he stormed; he owed his double victory, at Olympus and Magaba, to his velites and the light-armed troops supplied by Eumenes, as the Gauls were defenceless against missiles. Their losses were enormous: 40,000 Tolistoagii, men, women and children, are said to have been captured and sold; the taking of the two camps, containing the plunder of nearly a century’s raiding, yielded immense booty. On his return to Ephesus Manlius received the fervent thanks of the Greek and native communities, ‘for,’ writes Polybius, ‘all those who dwelt on this side Taurus did not rejoice so much at the defeat of Antiochus... as at their release from the terror of the barbarians’ (autumn 189).
While the Aetolians were being worsted and the Galatians receiving punishment, the Senate at Rome was ratifying the preliminaries of Sardes, but inserting clauses which were so many precautions against Antiochus. He was forbidden to engage in war in Europe or the Aegean; he might, indeed, repel attacks from the West, but take no territory from the aggressors nor attach them to himself as friends, Rome reserving for herself the right of arbitration in such conflicts; he had to give up his elephants, which he might not replace, and his fleet except for 10 ‘cataphract’ ships, which, as was expressly stated, should never go farther along the Cilician coast than Cape Sarpedonium, though this coast, which remained his, stretched westward far beyond that point. Moreover, the Senate defined, undoubtedly on information furnished by Eumenes and the Rhodians, the exact meaning of the term ‘Cistauric Asia’, which was to include the area bounded on the east by the Halys, the traditional boundary of Asia Minor, then by a line running from north to south, coinciding roughly with the western frontier of Cappadocia and joining the middle Halys at Taurus, and on the south by that part of the Taurus range which runs westward of the point of junction. Within this region Antiochus retained nothing; he might carry nothing away but the arms borne by his soldiers, nor might he henceforward hire mercenaries there. His envoys did not resist these additional demands, and the preliminaries, voted by the people, were solemnly confirmed by oaths.
It remained to reduce the treaty to writing, ensure its execution, and settle the fate of the conquered countries; as in 196, the Senate entrusted this threefold task to ten Commissioners who with Manlius were to regulate on the spot ‘the affairs of Asia’; and, with regard to Antiochus’ former possessions, laid down general instructions for them to follow. While emphasizing formally her right over these possessions Rome abandoned them purely as an act of grace: to Eumenes were to be ‘given,’ with the Thracian Chersonese and the surrounding country, almost all the Seleucid territory—Lycaonia, Greater Phrygia and Pisidia, Hellespontine Phrygia, Mysia, Lydia, Carian districts north of the Maeander, Milyas and lastly, in Lycia, Telmessus; Rhodes was to receive Caria south of the Maeander and Lycia, except Telmessus. Needless to say, as Rhodes later discovered, these ‘gifts’ were revocable.
A thorny question, which had been debated before the Senate from opposite standpoints by Eumenes and the Rhodians soon after their arrival at Rome, was that of the Greek towns of the Aegean seaboard taken from Antiochus: were they to obtain the liberty that they claimed? There was a conflict of two rival policies. Eumenes, formerly an ardent champion of the ‘autonomous cities,’ now opposed the wholesale liberation of the ‘ Hellenes of Asia,’ because he desired to annex many towns which had belonged to Antiochus—in particular Ephesus—because he claimed especially to re-establish his sovereignty over those which had been once subject to Attalus, and because the freedom of the Asiatic Hellenes, if decreed by the Senate, might lead to the rebellion of the Greek towns included in his hereditary dominions. On the other hand, the Rhodians upheld the cause of the Hellenes from attachment to their liberal traditions, in order to curb the power of Eumenes, and because they hoped to extend their protectorate over the towns thus freed. As for the Romans, their whole previous conduct, as the Rhodians strongly pointed out, seemed to oblige them to grant independence to the conquered cities; and, in fact, the Scipios had actually promised it to those towns which surrendered to them. But, as we have seen, the Senate had only embraced the cause of the Asiatic Hellenes in order to thwart Antiochus; at heart it cared little for them—what mattered was to satisfy Eumenes, the useful friend of Rome. The result was a compromise: the towns formerly subject to Antiochus were to be free, except those which had once been subject to Attalus and those which, during the war, had resisted or seceded from Rome; these two classes were to pay to Eumenes the tribute once paid to Antiochus or Attalus.
Thus Greek freedom was largely sacrificed by the Romans. Egypt, once the object of their care, was sacrificed too; they had no thought of restoring to her the ‘Ptolemaic’ Greek towns which, in 196, they had attempted to save from Antiochus. What, after all, could be more legitimate? Ptolemy, treating with the Seleucid, without Rome’s knowledge, had renounced his Asiatic dependencies; Rome had no reason to be more Egyptian than the king of Egypt.
THE TREATY OF APAMEA
Having arrived in Asia with Eumenes in the spring of 188, the ten Commissioners sat at Apamea, presided over by Manlius, just as the Commissioners formerly sent to Greece had sat at Corinth under Flamininus. The definitive treaty was then drawn up; Manlius swore to it and dispatched a Commissioner and his own brother Lucius to Syria to receive the oath of Antiochus, who scrupulously observed all his engagements. Manlius had already received the 2,500 talents payable after the ratification of the preliminaries; the Syrian ships were delivered to Labeo at Patara and burnt; the elephants were brought to the proconsul who bestowed them on Eumenes. The Seleucid king was disarmed; and, according to the treaty, became the ‘friend’ of Rome. His allies also obtained peace; Ariarathes, with whose daughter, Stratonice, Eumenes made a marriage of policy, paid an indemnity finally reduced to 300 talents, and entered by treaty into the Roman friendship; the Galatians, with whom Manlius treated shortly afterwards, had to give Eumenes pledges to cease their incursions and confine themselves to their own territory.
The chief task of Manlius and the Ten was to make a settlement of ‘Cistauric Asia’ according to senatorial instructions. They first considered the Greek cities of the Aegean seaboard. Naturally all who enjoyed independence before the war saw their freedom confirmed; those which, formerly subject to Antiochus, had never paid tribute to Attalus and had faithfully served Rome through the war, were declared liberae et immunes, thus receiving the precarious liberty; the others became tributary to Eumenes. However, as exceptions, Colophon nova and Cyme, once tributary to Attalus, became free. Several especially favoured towns, such as Ilium, Chios, Smyrna, Clazomenae, Erythrae and Miletus, gained territory besides their freedom; Phocaea was pardoned, recovered her land and self-government, but had to obey Eumenes; Mylasa, so far, it seems, independent, was, we know not why, expressly declared free.
Then came the repartition of the lands formerly Seleucid. The attribution to Rhodes of Caria south of the Maeander, and of Lycia, quadrupled her continental dominions. But, as the commission neglected to specify the new political position of the Lycians, they thought they were becoming the allies of Rhodes, while she treated them as subjects, hence arose a disagreement which was to lead to a long and bloody conflict. Eumenes found his kingdom vastly enlarged. In Europe it embraced the Thracian Chersonese with Lysimacheia, and the Propontis coast including Bisanthe; Aenus and Maronea, whose Syrian garrisons had been driven out by Labeo, were excluded, but Eumenes looked with longing upon them. In Asia the Pergamene kingdom became the largest in the Anatolian peninsula; in truth, several semi-barbarous districts—Isauria, nearly all Pisidia, Cibyratis under its dynasts—escaped its sway, yet officially it stretched from Bithynia to Lycia, from Ephesus to Cappadocia. Nevertheless something was lacking: the liberated Greek towns shut it off too much from the Aegean. Eumenes therefore ardently desired to possess access to the sea on the south. The Senate had given him Telmessus, an enclave in Rhodian territory; after the treaty was confirmed by oath he claimed Pamphylia, alleging, in spite of the Syrian representatives, that it was ‘on this side Taurus.’ In point of fact, the hastily drafted treaty left this point somewhat uncertain: it made the western section of the Taurus range the new north-western limit of Seleucid territory without determining the point on the coast at which, on the west, this limit began. Since the western chain of the Taurus ends in spurs that approach the sea, some on the east others on the west of the Pamphylian plain, that plain could be regarded as being either on this or that side Taurus. The Senate, on being called in to decide, adopted in favour of Eumenes the former interpretation. But he got only Western Pamphylia; Aspendus and Side, which had treated with Manlius, remained independent.
Towards autumn, as soon as the Ten had finished their task—a task of which they clearly made short work in four or five months—Manlius evacuated Asia; the Romans had no desire to prolong their occupation. Labeo, whose fortune it was to receive a singularly undeserved triumph de rege Antiocho had already taken home the fleet; the army crossed the Hellespont on the Pergamene vessels and returned the way it had come. In Thrace it had difficult moments; before and after crossing the Hebrus the immense convoys of gold and booty were attacked by the barbarians; the first engagement was serious, a Commissioner was killed, and much of the baggage plundered. Having crossed Macedonia and Thessaly Manlius wintered at Apollonia and reached Italy in the spring of 187.
It seems clear enough that in Asia the Romans did simply what their security appeared to demand. They had no thought of greatly weakening the Seleucid monarchy; they left it the valuable maritime provinces, Western Cilicia and Southern Syria, which Antiochus had wrested from Ptolemy; bereft of its Cistauric dominions, it remained very powerful, but, losing all contact with Europe, became purely Asiatic. To keep it penned up into the East, the opportunist Roman Senate forgot its hostility to kings in Greece, and almost revived the Empire of Lysimachus in favour of Eumenes, sacrificing to him, in order to strengthen him, much of the Greek liberty that they had defended against Antiochus. Raised to great sovereignty by Rome, Eumenes was like an eastern Masinissa opposed to the Seleucids—and also to the Antigonids.
At once Asiatic and European, bestriding the Hellespont, his kingdom served to isolate both Syria and Macedon; and Eumenes hoped, as Rome well knew, to isolate them still more by extending his power into Thrace to Philip’s detriment. Thus the bulwark that was to protect Italy from a possible coalition of enemy kings was pushed farther east; the role that a ‘free Greece’ was to have played passed to the Attalid monarchy.
This defensive end attained, the Romans were satisfied. They gave no sign of imperialistic ambitions. The regions this side Taurus pacified and re-organized; ‘friendships’ concluded with Cappadocia and some Greek cities; the Galatians taught to be peaceful; differences settled (at their own request) between several Hellenic communities—Manlius had to arbitrate in the eternal Samian-Prienean dispute—to this minimum they limited their action in the East. Content with Prusias’ neutrality, they abstained from binding him with a treaty; they seemingly left in peace the Paphlagonian dynast Morzius although he had supported the Galatians. The liberated Greek cities were so far masters of their own actions as to fight each other on occasion. Rome rewarded Rhodes without seeking to impose upon her a formal alliance that might gall her independent spirit, and let her lead in her own way a powerful group of cities in Asia and, in the Aegean, the reconstituted Island League. Eumenes, the Romans’ protege, was in no way their vassal: they respected his sovereignty and he kept a free hand in foreign affairs.
Obviously Rome intended to save herself the cares of an Asiatic policy. She succeeded for a while; then, as will be seen below, she found it gradually forced upon her. A protector has duties towards his protege; the appeals of Eumenes, threatened by his neighbours of Bithynia and Pontus, evoked her intervention. This, however, was reserved for the future; at the moment, it was Greece which began to give trouble again.
ACHAEA AND SPARTA
The war with Antiochus had opened the eyes of Rome to the feelings of the great mass of the Greeks; she could not conceal from herself the failure of her ‘philhellenic’ policy: had he won at Thermopylae, Antiochus would have had Greece at his feet. But, though convinced of their ‘ingratitude’, the Romans did not trouble to treat the Greeks with severity. Acilius, harsh as he was, had shown unexpected leniency towards the states guilty of open defection: the Boeotians had set up a statue to Antiochus, they escaped with a brief raid on the territory of Coronea, and the anti-Roman party remained in power; Chalcis was spared at the request of Flamininus, whom she worshipped as her ‘Saviour’. It occurred to no Roman statesman to make the regime of 196 more oppressive after Magnesia, and, apart from Aetolia, Greece remained ‘free’. In 188 bc or perhaps 187 Fulvius withdrew as Flamininus had done, and not a single Roman remained behind in Greece. This forbearance certainly cloaked an indifference born of disdain; once Antiochus was vanquished Rome took little interest in petty Greek affairs: all she asked was that the Greeks should remain quiet and spare her the need to trouble about them. But this was not to be. Rome’s allies, Philip and the Achaeans, had worked for their own ends during the Syrian War, and the territorial and political changes that resulted from it eventually led to new complications.
The Romans, as has already been seen, had laboured to limit Philip’s gains; nevertheless in 188 he still held on one hand Magnesia with Demetrias, and on the Phthiotic coast, Pteleum, Antron, Larissa and Alope; on the other, several Perrhaebian towns including Malloea; in Hestiaeotis, Gomphi, Tricca, Phaloria, Eurymenae; two border fortresses in Athamania, and Dolopia. He had well earned this reward; but Philip once more in Greece, reigning anew over Greeks, meant, if not a real danger, at least the denial of all Rome’s achievements after the Macedonian War: the declarations of the Senate and Flamininus and the treaty of 196 were thereby nullified. The past compelled Rome to appear ungrateful and to dispute the conquests of her loyal ally the moment the Greeks once more under his yoke claimed their deliverance. The unavoidable clash was not long delayed; partially dispossessed, Philip was to emerge from it the implacable enemy of Rome.
The difficulties born of Achaean ambition were still swifter to appear. In the summer of 191 the Achaeans had continued hastily to exploit the Roman victory to the full, showing the Republic less consideration than she had the right to expect. Thus to their annexation of Messene they had added, with the somewhat reluctant consent of Flamininus and Acilius, that of Elis which had surrendered to them. Their great dream was realized: the League embraced the whole Peloponnese, but with their triumph began their perplexities, and these first became visible at Sparta.
Here the pro-Achaean party with whom Philopoemen had treated in 192 was powerless. Spartan patriotism and pride were revolted by attachment to Achaea; besides, all those who had benefited by the tyrants’ reforms dreaded the recall of the exiles and the ensuing redistribution of property which, though provisionally postponed by Philopoemen, was inevitable under the new regime. As early as 191 there had been an outbreak; Philopoemen, acting in an unofficial capacity, quelled it without allowing either the General Diophanes or Flamininus to intervene. In the late summer of 189 the situation again became critical; the return of Nabis’ hostages from Italy may have contributed to this. The coast towns, entrusted to Achaea by Flamininus, were crowded with exiles; their proximity and their intrigues exasperated the Spartans, already irritated at their exclusion from the sea; they tried, although without success, to storm Las near Gytheum and a few exiles were killed. Obviously the affair, as a breach of the Spartan-Roman treaty of 195 put into force again in 192, concerned Rome even more than Achaea; but Philopoemen, then General, made the quarrel his own. Without even notifying the consul Fulvius, then at Cephallenia, he demanded under threat of war the surrender of the authors of the attack. In an outburst of anger thirty pro-Achaeans were murdered at Sparta, and the Spartans voted secession from Achaea and an embassy to Fulvius to make formal surrender to Rome (autumn 189).
Disregarding this, the Achaeans, i.e. Philopoemen, who had been re-elected General, decided on immediate war with Sparta, which was only delayed by winter. Forced to intervene, but much embarrassed, Fulvius, who had gone to the Peloponnese after the fall of Same, referred both parties to the Senate, forbidding provisionally further fighting. The Senate, equally embarrassed—especially as the Achaean envoys, Lycortas and Diophanes, one the friend, the other the adversary of Philopoemen, were in disagreement—would have liked to satisfy Achaea without sacrificing Sparta; its answer was ambiguous. Philopoemen hastened to take full advantage of this; he led the Achaean army unopposed into Laconia, accompanied by crowds of exiles, and had the supporters of the secession delivered to him for judgment. On arriving at the Achaean camp in Compasium, 80 of them (others say 350) were massacred by the exiles and Achaeans in violation of their pledged word or were executed after the farce of a trial (spring 188).
Nor did this content Philopoemen, who laid a heavy hand on Sparta which was powerless to resist: her walls were dismantled; all mercenaries and enfranchised Helots were doomed to expulsion; the institutions of Lycurgus were changed to those of the Achaeans. A federal decree, passed later at Tegea, ordained the return of the exiles en masse, the seizure and sale of the Helots and mercenaries (3000 in all) who refused to leave Laconia, the restitution of Belbinatis to Megalopolis. The anti-Achaean leaders were exiled save a few who were executed; Sparta, against her will and despite her appeal to Rome, was bound to Achaea by a new treaty. Thus Philopoemen, the instrument of ancient Achaean or even Megalopolitan rancour and of the capitalists’ new-born hatred, hoped by violence to end the Spartan question. What he did was to open it afresh. His brutality was to compel Rome, as guardian of the common peace, to intervene. A tiresome endless quarrel resulted which will be described below. Rome till then had met with opposition from the masses; she was henceforward to know the opposition, now plaintive, now arrogant, of the Achaean ruling class, and, like Macedon, to learn that, to keep their friendship, she must satisfy their interests without reserve. This quarrel, in which, however, there were wrongs on each side, was destined to lead to a breach which marked the complete breakdown of the Senate’s Greek policy.
Assuredly the patres, as will be seen better by what follows, had underrated the difficulty of imposing upon the Greeks Rome’s benevolent protection. In this, despite the insight which is attributed to them, they were mistaken. And moreover, if we have rightly interpreted their purposes and their actions since 200 bc, it appears manifest that, in general, the Senate’s boasted perspicacity was to seek, and that all its eastern achievements, whatever the glory and profit which Rome gained from them, had as their starting point a failure to understand the foreign situation, an error of judgment.
According to a generally accepted opinion, the decisive struggle in which Rome engaged, first against Macedonia, then against Syria, was, in essence, not indeed a struggle for territorial aggrandizement, but a struggle for wealth and even more for power, initiated by the imperialistic ambition of the Senate. And the results of the Macedonian and Syrian Wars would, at first sight, seem to justify this opinion. That the Romans, in waging these wars, did not yield to a desire for territorial expansion, is unquestionably true. Beyond the Adriatic they limited themselves to the recovery of Lower Illyria, of which they had become masters in 228, adding to it only the two island dependencies of Zacynthus and Cephallenia—modest acquisitions indeed: in Greece, Macedonia, Asia, where they might have seized land at their pleasure, they took nothing; this is conclusive. On the other hand, these wars were highly lucrative. The indemnities and booty of their defeated enemies caused vast wealth to pour into Rome. In ten years alone (197 to 187) the minted and unminted gold and silver paid into the treasury exceeded 90 million denarii, and to this must be added the multitude of works of art and precious objects of incalculable value, which lent such unexampled brilliance to the triumphs of Flamininus, L. Scipio ‘Asiagenus’, Manlius and Fulvius. And above all, these wars had political consequences infinitely more important than any pecuniary benefits. Following upon the defeat of Carthage, they brought about the supreme control of the Roman people over the civilized world. The supremacy of Rome by land and sea already sung by the poet Lycophron on the morrow of Cynoscephalae was an established fact after Magnesia.
The Romans were certainly not indifferent to money (as is proved by the example of Manlius and Fulvius) or to power: their victory over Antiochus, the thought that they had no longer a rival, filled them with pride. Yet it does not follow nor does it seem probable to the present writer that it was greed of wealth and empire which determined their course of action. Indeed it is most noteworthy that they never thought of turning their victories to economic advantage: the treaties which they made contained no commercial stipulation in their own favour (though the treaty of Apamea contained one in favour of Rhodes), and they did not impose tribute on any of the peoples whom they conquered—a sufficiently clear proof that in deciding on their policy they were little if at all obsessed by thoughts of gain5. And, as we have seen, not one of their political acts from 200 to 188 bears the clear stamp of imperialism or cannot be explained except by a passion for domination. The attribution to the Senate of ‘Eastern plans’ or of a ‘Mediterranean programme’ which it was only waiting for a favourable opportunity to carry out, is no more than arbitrary conjecture, unsupported by the facts. There is nothing to show that in 200 the patres were more attracted than before to Greek lands or that their eastern policy, hitherto entirely dictated by the needs of the moment, changed its character at that date. Everything leads us to believe that then, as before, their intervention was merely the result of external circumstances which seemed to impose action upon them. As in 229 they would not have crossed the Adriatic but for the provocation offered them by Teuta, and in 214 would not have gone into Greece but for the necessity of countering the alliance of Philip with Hannibal, so, in all likelihood, they would not have turned eastward again but for their discovery of the alliance between Philip and Antiochus and the threat which they saw in it.
The truth is that they imagined themselves to be threatened when they were not. The insincere alliance of the two kings was in no way aimed at them; and, moreover, when they did allow it to alarm them, it was already breaking down. If their intervention had been less prompt, they would probably have seen the erstwhile allies open enemies: a war would have broken out between them, which would have freed Rome from all anxiety from that quarter. In any event, as is shown by his prompt seizure of Lysimacheia, Philip would have prevented Antiochus from setting foot in Europe, and so would have vanished even the phantom of that ‘Seleucid peril’ which, from the first, was the constant preoccupation of the Romans. Indeed it was their act, when they crippled Philip thinking thereby to weaken Antiochus, that allowed the latter a free road westwards and enabled him to cross the Hellespont. But, even then, there was, as we have seen, no real Seleucid peril, if it ever existed, it was in 192, when the Great King marched down into Greece with Hannibal in his train, and it was again the Romans who created it by their errors of policy, the fruit of their vain alarms. To guard against an imaginary threat of aggression they were unconscionably persistent in urging Antiochus to withdraw from Europe and their offensive insistence only succeeded in exhausting his patience. By an ironic paradox, the two enterprises which brought them so much glory and laid the foundation of their world-supremacy had their origin in a groundless fear. Had they been more keen-sighted and less easily alarmed, they would not have come to dominate the Hellenic world. More probably they would have concentrated their efforts in the neighbouring barbarian countries west of Italy—and that with more reason and more advantage to themselves.
If they were thus misled by unfounded fears it was due partly to the suspicious temper of the Senate which inclined them to detect only too readily dangerous neighbours plotting the ruin of Rome, partly to their profound ignorance of eastern affairs. The patres had omitted to inform themselves about these matters, and strangely neglected for a long time to do so—one is surprised to find, for example, that in 196 they had not got wind of the treaty about to be concluded between Antiochus and Egypt. Lacking the knowledge necessary for forming an opinion of their own, they believed what they were told and were curiously swayed by foreign influences. This was no new thing: it has been maintained, and with much probability, that the quarrel between Rome and Carthage over Spain was largely due to the reports and intrigues of the Massiliotes in Rome. It is even more certain that the real authors of the Second Macedonian War were Attalus and Rhodes, and that the war against Antiochus was mainly the work of Eumenes—the same Eumenes who was to have so large a hand in bringing about the war against Perseus. So far as the East is concerned, the Senate, so jealous of its authority and reputed so clear-sighted, only saw through the eyes of others and only acted upon the impulse of others—of others who had an interest in impelling it to act. After 200 bc in their eastern policy the Romans, little as they knew it, followed where others led: while they thought they were only providing for the safety of Rome, they were, in reality, serving the cause and furthering the interests of Pergamum and Rhodes.