READING HALL "THIRD MILLENNIUM LIBRARY"

 

 

ROME AND THE MEDITERRANEAN. 218-133 BC

CHAPTER VIII

THE FALL OF THE MACEDONIAN MONARCHY

I

THE SETTLEMENT AFTER MAGNESIA

 

THE Romans hoped that the settlement of 188 BC would procure them some respite from distant wars on a large scale. They had plenty of troubles nearer home, and, whatever advantage individual generals may have expected to gain from their conduct of campaigns, any wise Roman statesman must have aimed at reducing the drain on Roman resources which great wars involved. The Senate felt bound to fight against Philip immediately after the long struggle with Hannibal. The war against Philip had been succeeded by a period of anxiety culminating in the war against Antiochus; and now at last it seemed possible that an arrangement might be made which, while securing sufficiently the prestige and influence of Rome over all that part of the civilized world in which she was interested, would at the same time set her free for the solution of her own special problems.

So far as Asia is concerned the Romans may well have regarded the settlement as satisfactory. The kingdom of Antiochus had been regarded as the source of danger, and it was now reduced to a less important position. Both Armenia and Sophene, which had been provinces of Antiochus, became independent. Bithynia, Pontus and Cappadocia grew in importance. Antiochus himself, who had contributed much by his personality to the successes gained by his kingdom during the earlier part of his reign, did not long survive his defeat. In 187 he met his death at the hands of the people of Elymais as he sought to seize the treasures of one of their temples.

Something had been done to reward Rhodes:  from the Roman point of view this reward could be justified both on the ground of valuable services rendered by Rhodes and of general agreement between the policies which commended themselves to Rhodes and to Rome. Though the Romans had not set free all the Greek cities in Asia, they might claim to have shown preference for this treatment, and they might hope for some moral advantage from the fact that nothing in Asia was to be subject to Rome. Of the newer kingdoms, Pergamum had gained a very large extension of territory; the consciousness that this was due to the support of Rome should suffice to cause its king to maintain a pro-Roman attitude. The attitude of the other kings might be more doubtful, but the Roman campaign against the Galatians had been useful to all of them, and fear of his neighbours ought to prove enough to prevent any one of them from becoming pronouncedly anti-Roman. Egypt could be expected to remain friendly, if only on the ground that Syria would not be too friendly; circumstances might arise in which the quarrels between them or the differences within Egypt itself would make Roman intervention necessary; but nothing could be done to prevent those contingencies, and the reduced strength of the Syrian kingdom would at any rate postpone one of these dangers for a time. Indeed, it was twenty years before the traditional struggle between Syria and Egypt became a serious source of anxiety to Rome.

It is possible to criticize certain points in this settlement, and to say, in the light of later events, that causes of friction should have been foreseen and prevented. But it is not at all likely that the Romans wished to promote friction or to provide themselves with frequent opportunities for interference: they had quite enough to occupy their attention without having to fight in the East. Diplomatic missions had to be sent frequently: the object was generally to prevent the incipient quarrels from growing so serious as to make it necessary for Rome to intervene by force, and, in so far as such means produced the end for which they were designed, the Romans could be satisfied with the results of their policy.

In Europe the problems were harder and the attempts to solve them were less successful. The Aetolians probably expected to be treated more severely than they actually were: the treaty made their foreign policy dependent on that of Rome, but any soreness which the war left was not increased by an unnecessarily harsh settlement. The Peloponnese presented greater difficulties. The Achaean League claimed now to include the whole Peloponnese, but in view of the circumstances under which Elis and Sparta had become members, either or both of these might cause trouble in the future. Further, the rival tendencies to strengthen the central authority and to maintain the independence of each several part, and the lack of sympathy between Flamininus, who was over-ready with advice, and Philopoemen, who was reluctant to take it, made any decision far from easy.

It was only to be expected that the guarantee of the freedom of Greek cities would be followed by a number of appeals to Rome on the part of those who felt, whether justly or not, that their cause could be supported by reference to that principle. What were the Romans to do? They could not refuse to take any further interest in Greek questions: it did not require philhellenic enthusiasm to convince Rome that, as matters were, she could not regard these things as entirely outside the sphere of her interests. Still less could she be expected to undertake direct responsibility for the affairs of Greece. Even if she had the power, such a course would have satisfied neither those Romans who preferred to be free from the entanglements of Greek quarrels, nor those who believed in the Greeks and whose creed accordingly included the article that it must be for the Greeks themselves to solve their own difficulties. The Romans may have shown hesitation in dealing with the questions raised by the Achaean League, even hesitation to act upon Roman decisions; but, in so far as they encouraged the Greeks to settle their own difficulties, discouraged violence, and endeavoured to show that they wished to be the friends of all parties, their behaviour was as correct as circumstances allowed it to be. Their character inclined them to settle things on what seemed likely to be a permanent basis; if this could not be done without undue interference with the concerns of their friends, the process of time and the influence of conciliatory advice might effect a gradual improvement. They had already discovered that it was difficult to find out the truth from the involved or contradictory explanations of Greek spokesmen, and they may have anticipated that there would be more trouble of the same kind in the future: but those who were interested in Greek questions as such and those whose outlook was more definitely Roman could agree in holding that careful consideration of each question as it presented itself, conducted with patience and an endeavour to understand the principles involved, was the only available course.

The attitude both of the Achaean and of the Aetolian League towards Rome was bound to be affected by the possibility that Philip of Macedon might one day re-assert his claims in Greece. The king’s earlier lite had shown strange changes of fortune; he had recovered from difficult positions by that energy which his enemies never denied to him. What attitude should Rome have adopted towards him? The treaty at the close of the Second Macedonian War had not professed to alter his position as a free monarch: its provisions had dealt only with the withdrawal of his claims outside his own dominions and with details arising out of the war. He was encouraged at the same time to apply to the Roman Senate for recognition as a friend and ally of Rome: probably some form of this favour was granted him. He was suspected of doubting at one time whether it would be better for him to support Rome or Antiochus, but it would be unsafe to build anything on the existence of such suspicions. At any rate, the Romans had no cause to complain of the facilities provided for their army on its march to the Hellespont: their envoy was duly impressed with the admirable nature of the arrangements, and this sense of Philip’s power in that neighbourhood may have had something to do with the further suspicion that he was in part responsible for the severe losses of Manlius Vulso on his return through Thrace. Philip had not been asked to contribute troops for the campaign in Asia; in Greece he had helped considerably, and the only fear seems to have been whether he was not doing too much. He may have hoped to be left in possession of some of those districts which he had overrun in the course of aiding Rome against the Aetolians. But he had certainly sent messengers to Rome, whose congratulations were accepted as sufficient, not only to justify a polite answer, but to allow of the return of the king’s son Demetrius who had been a hostage.

It is sometimes contended that the services of Philip deserved more generous recognition, and that such recognition by Rome would have maintained the integrity of the Macedonian kingdom, or, if its end was bound to come, would have caused that end to come in a peaceful way. Generosity to a former opponent is often good policy, but generosity should not be shown at the expense of others. The return of the hostage and the remission of part of the remaining instalments of tribute are eminently proper actions on the part of Rome. But the rewarding of Philip’s co-operation by the reduction of certain districts to a lower status than that to which Roman principles entitled them, would not have been easy to defend.

It is probable that Philip, who presumably attached little importance to the principle of liberty, was dissatisfied with the return for his assistance. Though the grievances which Livy mentions can hardly be more than guesses, since the king is not likely to have announced them publicly in this form, they may well reflect his real feelings. He hoped that the Romans would not trouble to prevent him from punishing any Macedonians who may have deserted him during his war against Rome; he was justly annoyed at the lack of tact which ordered him to desist from the siege of Lamia under circumstances that showed too obviously how little he was trusted; and, if he was to be consoled for losing the honour of receiving the surrender of Lamia by receiving permission to attack certain Thessalian towns, he probably expected that his kingdom would be increased as the result of his efforts. The consul Acilius Glabrio promised that, when any towns or districts had sided with the Aetolians of their own accord and were subsequently reduced by Philip, the king might retain them, but stipulated that those which had taken the anti-Roman side under compulsion should become free. This distinction is in accordance with what the Romans had decided in Asia about Eumenes, and the Senate, if we may judge from the attitude of the Roman commissioners at a later date, were prepared to agree with it: but, unless the particulars of each case were investigated carefully at once, it would be difficult to act upon it fairly, and, even if such an investigation were made, there would be room for difference of opinion.

The Romans may have been mistaken in insisting too strongly on the principle of liberty. This principle had caused trouble enough to the Greeks, and perhaps the Greeks themselves were trying to find their way to something which, while preserving all the advantages of full local autonomy, should allow for more permanent unions than had been possible in the past. But here again it is hard to criticize the Roman attitude; it is evident that Polybius thought it generous, though his Greek political ex­perience would have been quite sufficient to show him any disadvantages to which the rigid application of the principle might lead. If the Greeks were looking for some more practicable formula, we have no reason for supposing that they had found it; and the Romans can hardly be blamed for not taking that step in Greek political philosophy which the Greeks had been powerless to take. The Romans believed themselves to be asserting what the best Greeks believed: at any rate a Greek city was better off in independence or isolation than under the unsatisfactory control of most of the kings of the time. From Philip’s point of view the Romans were a distant people who had accepted a rather unpractical principle of action: their practical nature might cause them not to apply it too strictly. From the Roman point of view Philip, even if he were not actuated by any definitely-conceived purpose of revenge for the humiliation of his defeat, was a powerful king whose past history showed that he was not to be trusted blindly; yet his power was a safeguard against the anarchy which might easily follow on its destruction. The relations between the two in 188 were probably as satisfactory as it was possible to make them: tact on both sides would be necessary to maintain them in that condition, and, as tact was not the most conspicuous virtue of the Romans, there might well be trouble between them: but it is easier to see this than to say what should have been done to improve the position.

 

II

 THE CLOSING YEARS OF PHILIP’S REIGN

 

Polybius formed the opinion that Philip had decided on a fresh war against Rome so soon as circumstances were favourable, that his preparations were ready by the time of his death, and that his successor Perseus only carried into execution the plans which his father had formed. It may seem rash to question the authority of Polybius on such a matter. But, though the actions of Philip during the last years of his life, so far as we know them, are not inconsistent with this view, they do not necessarily amount to more than attempts to strengthen the position of his kingdom, and, in the absence of direct evidence, it is not certain what use he intended to make of his increased strength. Philip may have wondered whether Rome would stand the strain to which she had been subjected, or may have speculated on the chance that she might ultimately decide to concentrate on the west of Europe. It could do no harm to consolidate his kingdom, provided he could do this without arousing Roman suspicions. No doubt he had jealous neighbours ready to represent each of his actions as directed against Rome, but their representa­tions were not necessarily any more disinterested than the actions of Philip himself. We cannot be sure that a ruler, who had lived through such surprising changes of fortune and whose character had been marked by such inconsistencies even in his best days, had formed definite intentions for the future; we can only consider what he did, so far as the fragmentary accounts allow us to do so, and leave Perseus to bear his own share of praise or blame for the results which he attained from the materials provided by his father.

Philip certainly strengthened his economic resources. He increased the taxes on agricultural products and import duties, resumed the working of disused mines and started many new ones. He took measures to add to the population, and imported a large number of Thracians into Macedonia. All these steps may have been intended to provide in peace time for a future war: but improved resources can be devoted to other purposes than war, and, though it is only too probable that the interchange of in­habitants between Thrace and Macedonia was attended by that suffering which often accompanied such proceedings in antiquity, its object need not have been entirely military. The signs of increasing strength in Macedonia led to envoys being sent to Rome in the winter of 186—5 to point out that Philip was not observing the conditions of the peace. Thessalians, Perrhaebians and Athamanians came with complaints: the points which they raised were detailed and puzzling, and the Senate felt that, though these might be unimportant, the questions asked by the envoys from Eumenes, about Thrace and especially about Aenus and Maronea which Philip had occupied, could not be disregarded. They adopted the only possible course, of sending three Commissioners to investigate matters on the spot.

The Commissioners went toTempe and gave audience to a large number of representatives. Those who spoke first were polite in their references to Philip, but, as matters proceeded, an increasingly bitter tone showed itself. Even if these questions could have been discussed without heat, a decision would not have been easy. Acilius Glabrio had promised Philip that he might retain any places which had joined the Aetolians voluntarily. The Aetolians had confused the issue by extending their influence widely during the war, thus making it hard to determine whether this condition had been fulfilled. Questions accordingly arose in regard to Philippopolis, Tricca, Phaloria and Eurymenae in Thessaly, and Gonnocondylum (Olympias), Malloea and Ericinium in Perrhaebia; the Athamanians said that the liberty of their country was in process of being lost and they also claimed the border forts of Athenaeum and Poetneum. It was complained that Philip had despoiled some of these places or removed prominent citizens in the expectation of having to restore the cities, that he had unfairly pressed the commercial interests of Demetrias against those of Phthiotic Thebes and that he had prevented free access to the Romans by waylaying envoys.

Philip was able to give a confident reply to these last charges: he could not prevent sailors from choosing whither they would sail; vague allegations of interference with one set only of the many envoys who had been sent to injure his cause, were valueless. As regards the places whose status was called in question he made a counterclaim to the Menelais and the Parachelois in Dolopia, and to Petra in Pieria, all of which he asserted should really be his. Probably he hoped for a decision which would leave the existing position unchanged by showing that there were claims on both sides which could be left to balance each other. Perhaps that was why he adduced Xyniae, a town which had been taken by the Aetolians after its inhabitants had deserted it, and had been allowed to remain in Philip’s possession, though on the strict application of the Roman principle it was entitled to be free. But his impatience at the charges caused him to make injudicious remarks: he spoke lightly of the value of freedom as used by those with no experience of it, and compared some of his accusers with recently emancipated slaves who did not know that liberty involved responsibility. He added the menacing phrase ‘that his sun had not altogether set’. Such an attitude was unfortunate in the presence of the Roman Commissioners, who would be only too likely to think of it as directed not only against the Thessalians but also against Rome. He did not make matters better by adding that he was well aware that he would have to yield what had been given to him, whether his cause were just or not.

The Commissioners decided that the Macedonian garrisons should be withdrawn from all the places about which doubts had been raised and that legal machinery was to be devised for settling any further questions that might arise between the Macedonians and their neighbours. They added an opinion that the boundaries of the Macedonian kingdom should be the ancient ones. Probably they meant no more by this than that Rome would not countenance any aggression; but the boundaries had varied so much at different times that it is difficult to see whither this principle might lead, and the grave offence which Livy tells us that the king took at the result may be connected as much with doubts on this point as with any disappointment which he felt about particular places. He may have thought that, in what they said about his hereditary dominions, as in the value which they set upon liberty, the Romans were enunciating a principle which sounded well but admitted of diverse applications, and that, having stated the principle without due consideration, they would be obliged to defend any deductions that might be drawn from it. In so far as the Commissioners did not secure general agreement with their decisions, they failed; but it is easier to see reasons why Philip should have been dissatisfied with them than to find much positive ground for criticizing their procedure. They desired that, so far as his relation with other Greek states was concerned, he should neither be better nor worse off for having helped Rome. We need not attribute sentimental views, either to Romans in general or to these particular Commissioners, of whose opinions we know little, to feel that this was the reasonable attitude for Rome to adopt.

The Commissioners then moved to Thessalonica, to consider the questions about Aenus and Maronea, which were regarded at Rome as more serious. The representatives of Eumenes said that they had no comment to offer on the Roman wish (if it were the Roman wish) that these cities should be free, except to express a hope that their freedom would be a reality, if, however, the cities were to be regarded as a prize of war captured from Antiochus, Eumenes claimed to be a more proper recipient than Philip. The ten Commissioners had assigned the Chersonese and Lysimacheia to Eumenes; did not the possession of Aenus and Maronea follow as a matter of course ? Philip pointed out that this was a doubtful argument: if the Commissioners expressly named the Chersonese and Lysimacheia, and made no mention of these cities, it was as legitimate to argue that they were meant to be excluded. But the contention that Eumenes had rendered greater assistance to the Romans than Philip drove him to say, truly or not, that favourable offers of alliance had been made to him by Antiochus and that, in spite of them, he had rendered to Rome the services for which he was asked, while Eumenes could not have retained his kingdom at all if Antiochus had been victorious. The fact that claims could be made now which had not been put forward before the ten Commissioners showed in itself that he must not expect equitable treatment from the Romans. He repeated his old grievances: he had been forbidden the favour, unimportant in itself but of some value to his prestige, of reasserting his authority over the subjects who had deserted him during a period of truce; the recent decision had taken from him the advantage which was to compensate him for his rebuff about Lamia. After all, he was a friend and an ally to Rome; why should he be treated as an enemy?

The Commissioners, impressed by the substance of this com­plaint, were reluctant to pronounce further decisions against Philip. But the inhabitants of Maronea were not satisfied with the existing state of things. They complained that they had to endure several garrisons, not one only, that the place was full of Macedonians, that there was no freedom of speech, and that opponents of the Macedonians had to suffer loss of rights or exile. They contended that a recent construction of a new road had enabled Philip to pretend that the city and the portion of the sea-coast had been recognized as part of his sphere of influence, whereas it had definitely been intended to exclude him from them. It appeared therefore that matters had reached a state which went outside the competence of the three Commissioners: their function was one of interpretation, and, if new questions of policy were to be raised, it was for the Senate to decide them. If the ten Com­missioners had given the cities to Eumenes, they were his, and the three Commissioners introduced no alteration; but it seemed very doubtful whether they could be assigned to Eumenes on this ground. If Philip had been able to assert that he had captured the cities in war, they might be his on that ground; but this, too, was doubtful. If the question could not be decided on either of these grounds, the Senate must investigate the matter further. Meanwhile, however, the garrisons must be removed pending the decision : and, as the garrisons were Macedonian, Philip would feel that it was he again who lost by the arrangement; for, if garrisons were once removed from a place where they were evidently un­popular, it was not likely that they would ever return.

It was plain to the Senate, as soon as the Commissioners de­livered their report, that a further commission must be sent to Greece. The three had not been received at a meeting of the Achaean League: at this they had taken offence, and, in regard to that part of their duties, they were said—not unfairly—to have left matters more uncertain than they had been before. More investigation was therefore necessary, and a fresh mission under Appius Claudius was sent. In regard to the points left open by the three Commissioners, the Senate decided that Aenus and Maronea should be free: apparently they took the view that Philip’s boundary was fixed by the old royal road, which went inland and did not touch that part of the coast, and there would have been even less justification for assigning these cities to Eumenes. So Claudius and his colleagues were to see whether Philip had withdrawn his garrisons and whether he had done what he had been told to do in relation to Thessaly and Perrhaebia.

The intimation that he was not to retain Aenus or Maronea seems to have inspired Philip to one of those acts of miscalculated cruelty of which he was always capable. He was determined that in any event his opponents in Maronea should not gain. He ordered Onomastus, his officer commanding the coast district, to arrange through Casander, an agent who had lived long in Maronea, for the introduction at night of a band of Thracians who perpetrated a massacre. Philip, who believed in the effect of terrorism, thought that the truth would not be discovered; it proved otherwise, and Appius Claudius demanded that Onomastus and Casander should be sent to Rome to be examined there. No doubt he took the ground that, if these men were innocent, they had nothing to fear; but the attitude of Philip increased the suspicion against him. He declared that he had duly removed his garrison and that the massacre was due to the dissensions of the citizens and not to Macedonian soldiers: but that plea would be vain if the facts were truly stated. He tried to excuse Onomastus on the ground that he was not in the neighbourhood at the time. He was very reluctant to allow Casander to go: and, when he at last consented, Casander died on the journey. Philip may have been maligned in being accused of poisoning Casander, but the story told us is not so inconsistent with Philip’s character as to justify us in saying that it is impossible.

It must have been plain to Philip that the Romans distrusted him: he was not ready for war with Rome, even if he looked forward to it, and, unless he took some action, there might be a risk of his being asked to comply with fresh conditions which he would regard as humiliating. He accordingly sent Demetrius, his son, to Rome, in the hope that the young man, who had created a favourable impression as a hostage, would be able to serve his father’s interests. The task was not an easy one. Rumours had arisen that the Romans were ready to receive and credit accusations against Philip, and it was certainly the duty of the Romans to see that the judicial methods which they had prescribed for boundary disputes should be acted upon. Accordingly in 184 bc a bewildering number of representatives came to Rome, from individuals, cities, or tribes, alleging grievances of all kinds, connected with land, slaves or cattle, with Philip’s refusal to act upon arbitral decisions or with his corrupt methods for securing decisions in his favour. Philip was never popular with his neighbours and Polybius describes these representatives as including all who lived near the frontier of Macedonia. Athenaeus, brother of Eumenes, was there also, complaining of aid given by Philip to Prusias of Bithynia in his quarrel with Pergamum and raising again the old question of the Thracian cities.

After statements which had occupied three days, the Senate did not know what to do, and Demetrius was asked whether he was the bearer of written instructions from his father. He had a paper with him, and produced it, though probably Philip never contemplated that it should be read aloud as it stood. It stated that Philip had done all that was required of him, or that, if in any case he had not done so, it was the fault of others; it also made it plain, as would be natural enough in notes prepared solely for his son’s use, that Philip did not admit the justice of all the decisions. The Senate returned a general answer which indicated that they were willing to put the most favourable construction on all that Philip had done or would do, in view of his having sent so acceptable a messenger as Demetrius. Further envoys would satisfy themselves as to the position of the several controverted matters and would explain personally to the king how much the Romans appreciated the friendly feelings of his son.

Polybius tells us that this visit by Demetrius, though it served to check for a time a growing feeling of misunderstanding between Rome and Macedonia, tended in the long run to accentuate the difficulties. The Romans may have intended no more than to show kindness towards Demetrius: they can hardly be supposed to have known intimately his exact personal relation to his father, or, if they had reason for guessing that those relations were not all that they should have been, to have wished to make them worse. The reports of confidential conversations with Flamininus, in which Roman support was promised to Demetrius as his father’s successor, cannot be accepted without question even on the authority of Polybius: popularity in Rome might easily be misinterpreted in Macedonia, and stories of what a man may have said in an interview are often retailed without inquiry, on the basis of reports from those who are or claim to be his friends. Probably things were not made better by the fact that Philocles, who had been sent by the king to represent him specially on the subject of Prusias, received scant attention, and that the answer to this part of the enquiry was, if we may trust the report, rudely curt. Philocles was one of those with whom the king had discussed the mission of Demetrius, and he presumably belonged to the king’s intimate advisers; he would not have been likely to carry back a favourable account of the visit; for its results, so far as Philip could regard them as satisfactory, were attributed exclusively to the favourable impression produced by Demetrius. Perhaps the Romans indulged in language of excessive courtliness, without enough experience to enable them to make it innocuous; and it is safer to attribute to them dangerous experiments of that kind than to suppose that they wished to produce dissensions in the royal house of Macedonia which were at least as likely to cause trouble to the friends of Rome as to her enemies.

On his return, Demetrius found himself regarded in Macedonia as having saved the situation. His relation to Rome suggested that he might in time become king through Roman influence, and Macedonian time-servers would naturally try to gain favour with him. He may not have been careful enough in a difficult situation, and his elder brother, about whose parentage there was some doubt, might well feel jealous. Their father obeyed the commands of Rome; but his reluctance was obvious to the Roman envoy Q. Marcius Philippus, who reported on his return that Philip would continue to be obedient no longer than he was obliged. It is not surprising that the next message from Rome, while giving the king some praise for his conformity to Roman wishes, added a warning for the future.

Philip’s active nature demanded that he should do something further to strengthen his position. Henceforward he neglected places on the coast, where Rome had curbed Macedonian expansion, and undertook expeditions in the opposite direction. An attack on the centre of Thrace reached Philippopolis and established a garrison, which could not however maintain itself there for very long: a new town in the Paeonian north of Macedonia, not far from Stobi, was called Perse'is in honour of his elder son; large shiftings of population were effected, under circumstances that caused much suffering, with the object of providing reliable supporters of the king in the most important districts. His suspicions continually increased, and he issued orders for the arrest of the children of those whom he had previously executed.

In 181 bc he undertook an expedition into the Balkans: the object is said to have been the investigation of a rumour that the Black Sea, the Adriatic, the Danube and the Alps could all be seen from one place, and those who interpreted every action of the king as directed against Rome added that a plan for the invasion of Italy was to be devised from this point. Whatever its object, the expedition was a failure, and it was accompanied by such privations that a friendly tribe were nearly ruined by the hungry soldiers in their retreat. A further ambitious scheme was to destroy the Dardani, who were always regarded as dangerous to the Macedonians, by means of Bastarnae brought across the Danube; this plan also is represented as directed ultimately against Rome.

But Philip’s life was drawing near its end. The elder son, Perseus, nervous as to the succession, and afraid lest Demetrius should succeed his father through Roman influence, managed to lead Philip to believe that Demetrius was too dangerous to be allowed to live. The story, which ends with the poisoning and suffocation of Demetrius , has reached us in a form that suggests, as do also certain other features of the later life of Philip and of the reign of Perseus, that some author or authors wrote tragedies or historical novels dealing with the ruin of the Macedonian royal house. But the general outline of the incidents is so like other family quarrels that we have no sufficient ground for doubting its substantial truth. The death of Demetrius was followed by a period of acute remorse in the mind of Philip, when he found that the evidence on which he had acted was largely unreliable, and that a letter from Flamininus, in which the writer made charges against Demetrius while pretending to excuse him, was a forgery. The king endeavoured to secure that Perseus should not gain by the deceit; but most of those in attendance on Philip were so completely won over to Perseus’ interest as to enable him to succeed without opposition on his father’s death (179 BC).

If the substance of these stories is true, it is easy to believe that the death of Philip in his fifty-ninth year was due to agony of mind rather than of body: for, though there is much in his career which cannot be commended or excused, he was capable of generous instincts. One may well believe that he only gave the fatal orders reluctantly, that he was convinced at the time of the truth of the accusation against his son, and that he afterwards came to see that it was, at least in part, contrary to the facts. Demetrius was popular at Rome; but Philip is not likely to have regarded such popularity as an offence in itself, apart from evidence as to the use to be made of it, and the discovery that the friends of Perseus were relying on forged evidence would be enough to show him that disloyalty to the Macedonian cause could not be proved against Demetrius without false witness.

 

III.

THE EARLY REIGN OF PERSEUS

 

We shall probably never know what degree of blame should attach to Perseus for his brother’s death. But, after all doubtful details of the story have been removed, there remains the fact that ugly rumours to the discredit of Perseus were bound to arise and to be believed by many in Rome. The attitude of Perseus on succeeding to his father’s throne was quite correct: he asked at once for a renewal of the alliance on the existing terms. But, though this was granted, little would be known about him except that he was not on good terms with the young Macedonian who had been popular in Rome, that this very popularity had come to be regarded as the ground of the dissension between them, and that Perseus rather than Demetrius had been associated with his father in those schemes for strengthening his kingdom which nervous Romans persisted in considering as directed against the Republic. If Perseus intended to maintain peaceful relations with Rome while at the same time safeguarding the dignity and independence of Macedonia, if, in fact, he wished to attempt what could under no circumstances have been an easy task, he began under a severe handicap.

It is plain that he possessed certain good qualities. His appearance and manner were kingly, he avoided some of his father’s faults and the measures with which his reign commenced showed generosity and broad-mindedness. He released state prisoners, recalled exiles, restored them their property, and adopted a more conciliatory attitude than his father to the Greeks outside Macedonia. He showed vigour in repelling the attack made by Abrupolis, the ruler of the Thracian Sapaei, on the mines of Pangaeus, and he can hardly be criticized for going on to expel Abrupolis from his kingdom, though this action was treated some years later as an offence against an ally of Rome, and made into the primary cause of the Third Macedonian War. Perseus, as was natural, sought to magnify the importance and dignity of his rule. He married Laodice, daughter of Seleucus IV of Syria, who was escorted by the Rhodians with a great parade of naval strength, and gave his sister to Prusias king of Bithynia; subjugated Dolopia, and paid a somewhat ostentatious visit to Delphi (174 bc).

All these acts might have been accepted as harmless efforts at consolidating his position in relation to his own subjects and his neighbours, had he not begun with the reputation of being an enemy to Rome, and had not his enemies, Eumenes in particular, seen to it that this reputation was not forgotten. At last the conviction grew strong on both sides that a third war between Rome and Macedonia was inevitable, and wars that seem bound to come sooner or later are not easily averted or even delayed. That Perseus wished to make war at once is improbable, whatever confidence he may have had in the military establishment bequeathed him by his father. The Romans sent embassies in bewildering succession, and these missions show at least that Rome had no wish to proceed to extremes so long as an explanation was possible. But each group of envoys were more convinced than their predecessors that Perseus was not prepared for a satisfactory agreement: they complained that he avoided seeing them, and they gained increasing evidence of the strength of the king’s resources.

Finally in 172 bc came the visit of Eumenes to Rome which did most to drive Rome into war. We are not obliged to suppose that the Romans took seriously all the charges brought by Eumenes. He dwelt on Perseus’ long experience in distant wars; but, even if his presence in Pelagonia as early as 199 b.c. and in Dolopia in 189 are only specimens of the duties with which his father had entrusted him, the Romans could hardly have been offended at the successor to the throne being trained in this way. Strength of body and suppleness of mind were made into accusations against him. It must have been clear to the Roman senators, in spite of the disclaimer of Eumenes, that this and much else was inspired by personal dislike and jealousy.

But no doubt many of his points were based upon fact. It was true that Perseus had expelled Abrupolis, though the Romans had not at the time complained of this treatment of one whom it now suited them to call a friend and ally. The Illyrian chieftain Artetaurus had been murdered and the murderers had taken refuge in the kingdom of Perseus: the king denied all knowledge of the crime and added that he had expelled the murderers from his country when he learned that their presence was unacceptable to the Romans, but it would be easy to suggest that the murderers of one who had also now come to be described as a friend and ally had good reasons for going to Perseus rather than elsewhere. The quarrels between the Dardani and the Bastarnae had ended unfavourably for the Bastarnae. Perseus had denied any complicity in their invasion, but the fact that the destruction of the Dardani would have freed his hands had caused anxiety in Rome, which this failure had probably not entirely removed. There were mysterious rumours about an intrigue with Carthage, where messengers were alleged to have been received at night and answers returned to Macedonia: Romans, who had been in Africa recently, reported that Masinissa was ready to tell them all about it, though of the Carthaginians themselves it could only be said that they were not sufficiently emphatic in denying it. Perseus assisted the people of Byzantium against their Thracian enemies, and this action may have been, as Eumenes said it was, contrary to the terms of his treaty, even though the Romans had accepted the excuses made for it. He had attained greater success than his father in securing influence in Greece. He had come near securing from the Achaean League the withdrawal of their refusal to allow any Macedonian in their territory, and it had been openly argued on that occasion by a supporter of Rome that war was certain to come before long. Some Thebans of Roman sympathies had perished on their way to Rome, and, though it was asserted that this was due to shipwreck, suspicion could be cast on Perseus of being concerned in their fate, just as easily as though they had died suddenly and he had been accused of poisoning them. Troubles in Aetolia, Thessaly and Perrhaebia could be represented as stirred up by him so as to give him excuse for meddling: inscriptions at Delphi and Delos could be cited as evidence of his far-reaching designs.

Probably it was as difficult for Perseus as for the Romans to avoid interference in Greece. The Roman influence was thrown on the side of order, and that frequently meant the predominance of the aristocratic party. It was not to be expected that all the citizens of Greek states would be content with this: the democrats, always active in a time of social difficulty and unrest, looked for help where they might hope to get it, and the first actions of Perseus, involving the relief of debtors, must have marked him at once as the friend of the poor, though he may have been inspired only by the wish to secure popularity in his own kingdom. The proceedings of Perseus, taken all together, amounted, even after all allowance had been made for exaggeration, to a formidable list: many may have been capable of explana­tion, but some, even though not harmful in themselves, may have been against the letter of his agreement: he had attained a position in which he might easily have been represented as the head of an anti-Roman faction, and Rome apparently decided henceforth that she must regard him in that light.

The Romans had discovered for themselves that Eumenes was not popular in Greece; and, as they professed to be convinced of his excellent qualities, they could hardly fail to draw the inference that his notorious friendship for them had made for his unpopu­larity. It was not thought proper to give the other representatives the opportunity of being confronted with Eumenes, but the speeches which they afterwards delivered in the Senate were calculated, by their hostility to Eumenes, to add to the effect which he had produced. The Rhodians, in particular, accused him of stirring up trouble for them by inciting the Lycians against Rhodes and of being a greater danger in Asia than Antiochus had been. The Romans took this as further evidence of the designs of Perseus and conferred additional honours on Eumenes.

But, if the visit of Eumenes to Rome had done much to harden the Roman temper towards Perseus, an incident near Delphi, which occurred on his return home, did more. As he was on his way to perform a sacrifice to Apollo, he was struck down by a rock, rolled down the hillside and for some time lay between life and death. Indeed he was long believed, even in Asia, to be dead, and his brother Attalus took measures to secure himself in the succession, including the project of a marriage with the queen Stratonice, which would have been inconceivable if he had had any idea that his brother might still be alive. However, Eumenes recovered and the responsibility for the attack was inevitably thrown upon Perseus. Of his guilt Polybius expresses no doubt. The evidence consisted, partly of the testimony of a woman with whom Eumenes’ assailants are said to have lodged, partly of the allegation that a Cretan named Evander was subsequently put to death by Perseus for fear of what he might reveal. Though Polybius is no friend to Perseus, that does not prove the accusation false. If Perseus was guilty, his behaviour was not only criminal but foolish. He must have known that Eumenes had brothers well able to maintain the power of Pergamum, and that there were moderate men, including statesmen responsible for the guidance of their communities, who would be reluctant to condone political assassination or to be associated with the authors of such crimes. It is clear that Perseus was trying to gain the advantages of bring considered moderate and popular, and it is not clear why he should have wished to sacrifice any of those advantages by a useless murder. Perhaps the crime was engineered by enthusiasts with a private grudge against the king of Pergamum, who was not universally beloved. But certainly Perseus was believed to have arranged it, and the incident is deemed by Polybius, though he refuses to call it a cause, to be a real ‘beginning’ of the war between Perseus and Rome.

 

IV.

THE OUTBREAK OF WAR: THE FIRST CAMPAIGNS

 

By this time the Romans were prepared to believe anything against Perseus. Their envoy C. Valerius, who reported that he had found abundant confirmation in Greece of all that Eumenes had said, brought with him one Rammius of Brundisium. His residence at the port, through which most of the envoys passed, had brought him into relations with Perseus; he seems to have become involved in Macedonian secrets further than was quite comfortable, and finally reported to the Romans that the king had endeavoured to persuade him to poison various senators and that he had been obliged to promise to do so for fear of being poisoned himself. The story may not be impossible, but it sounds wildly improbable, and perhaps Rammius thought that his best way out of a dangerous situation was to give information which the Romans would be ready to accept at a moment when their minds were made up against the king.

The actual declaration of war did not come immediately. In 172 bc the praetor Cn. Sicinius was instructed to cross to Apollonia and secure the coast for the future transport of troops. But much diplomatic work had to be done first, to counteract the popularity of Perseus in Greece. Of the kings, Ariarathes of Cappadocia selected this moment to send his son to be educated in Rome; Antiochus of Syria and Ptolemy of Egypt, though engaged in struggles with each other, professed to be equally loyal to the Republic; Prusias of Bithynia, though as a brother-in-law of Perseus he expressed a wish to be neutral, was evidently not likely to oppose Rome actively. The attitude of Genthius, the Illyrian chief who reigned in Scodra, was the most doubtful. In the republics the lower classes tended to dislike Rome: the well-to-do were more favourable, but there was a strong feeling, even among those who, if the choice were forced upon them, preferred Rome to Macedonia, that the exclusive predominance of any one power was dangerous for them. This feeling had made Perseus popular in certain quarters, but it did not follow that it would gain him active support against Rome.

The Roman mission met with considerable success. The Achaeans showed signs of discontent that a body which had supported Rome against Philip and Antiochus should be treated in the same way as those who had formerly taken the other side and were now unwilling members of the League, and perhaps they hoped that their ready adhesion would be met by some recognition of the permanence of their League as such; but there was no doubt on which side they stood. The Boeotian League could not arrive at any general policy owing to internal differences; while Coronea, Haliartus and Thisbe took the Macedonian side, the majority of the cities, some with hesitation, agreed to support Rome, and the Boeotian League broke up. The Rhodians adopted a correct attitude which satisfied the Roman envoys, Claudius and Postumius. While there was no doubt that Cotys, king of the Odrysae, was a firm ally of Perseus, some of the Thracian rulers promised support to Rome which might be useful.

After the return of the envoys, who reported that Perseus had repudiated his renewal of the treaty made with Philip and had proposed to substitute another after due consideration of the terms, Q. Marcius Philippus, who had been a friend of Philip and, with other envoys, had been sent to Greece, accepted an invitation to a final interview with Perseus, that took place on the Peneus. Marcius expressed himself as anxious that no chance of peace should be omitted, and advised the king to send a further embassy to Rome, though his last envoys had received no answer. No change was effected in the attitude of Rome, and Marcius is said to have boasted on his return that he had secured six months’ delay by inducing the king not to begin hostilities at once, to the great advantage of the Romans, whose preparations were far behind those of the Macedonians. We are told that some of the senators denounced as un-Roman this method of outwitting an opponent but that the majority agreed to profit by it, and Marcius was sent back to Greece. Polybius, who had a private quarrel with Marcius, may have accepted too readily an ill-natured story of his boasting. But, if Perseus was not deceived, he had helped his enemies by deceiving himself.

Rome had at last decided to declare war, and it is evident that the war was regarded at Rome as serious. There was no difficulty in enlisting volunteers from among those who had served in previous wars in Greece and Asia Minor and found them profitable, while the anxiety of both the consuls to secure the command shows that it was a duty which would be gladly undertaken. But special provisions were adopted for allowing soldiers of experience to serve up to fifty years of age, for choosing the military tribunes otherwise than by lot, and for investing the departure of the consul with all due solemnity. Yet the number of troops sent out was smaller than might have been expected, if one supposes the Romans to be making a real effort. The consul, P. Licinius, to whom Macedonia was assigned, received the usual consular force of two legions; and, though Livy tells us that these legions had 6000 men each, the testimony of Polybius as to the largest size of the legions known to him renders this doubtful.

The Macedonians had 43,000 men available (39,000 infantry, 4000 cavalry) and their opponents (with a total of 37,600) were in a position of considerable inferiority. The Italian part of the Roman forces consisted largely of recruits, and it would require time before the miscellaneous allies would act effectively with them. Perseus, who could move earlier, began by a rapid march which, besides securing his position in northern Thessaly, had the moral advantage of a surprise, and he was able to secure control of the pass of Tempe without difficulty. After showing by a series of movements over a wide area that it was open to him to take the offensive, he approached the Roman force, which had rested for a time at Gomphi after a tiring advance over the mountains from Apollonia and was now about three miles from Larissa. The first attempts to draw out the Romans failed to do more than induce a small number of cavalry and light-armed troops to take part in an indecisive skirmish; but finally Perseus drew nearer and brought on an engagement near the hill Callicinus in which the whole of the cavalry and light-armed on both sides took part. The battle, with some 12,000 men engaged on each side, is described for us in the account which Livy drew from Polybius, and it has been noted that, though the heavy-armed troops were not in action, each side used the manceuvres which they adopted when the heavy-armed troops were also taking part. The shock tactics of the massed Macedonian cavalry produced an instant effect which might have been overwhelming had it not been for the reserves on the Roman side. The neglect of the king to make use of his phalanx, which had advanced of its own accord so as not to miss a chance of joining in, may have robbed him of a decisive victory.

Perhaps he felt satisfied with the moral effect produced by a very considerable success: for the Romans withdrew at once across the river Peneus into a place of greater safety, and it was now clear that the king, by using his proved superiority in cavalry and light­armed troops, could compel his enemy to fight. Alternatively he could try to use his advantage as an opportunity for gaining a favourable peace. He sent messengers offering to pay an indemnity and withdraw from such places as his father had agreed to abandon. The object of this strictly moderate proposal was no doubt to show that one who was in a position to do damage to the Romans was ready to sacrifice much for the chance of being their friend and ally. But the Romans could not accept such suggestions immediately after a defeat: they declined to consider any terms except unconditional surrender.

. Perseus, in spite of the indignation which this answer produced among his followers, made renewed attempts at negotiation and suggested a still ampler indemnity. The failure of all his efforts may have affected his nerve, at least for the time. He remained generally at a considerable distance from the Romans, and no further engagement took place this year on a large scale except one near Phalanna, which arose accidentally and was probably not of great importance, though some Roman annalists, whose testi­mony Livy evidently doubts, claimed a great Roman victory. At the end of the year the king withdrew from Thessaly, leaving only such garrisons as might help to make possible an easy re-entry. Evidently he had done little to satisfy those of his advisers who wished for a total overthrow of the Roman forces; we must suppose him to have been anxious, with whatever justification, to try the effect of a protracted series of campaigns, which might possibly induce the Romans to think at last that it was not worth while to continue them.

The Roman consul, who ended by marching into Boeotia and taking Coronea, cannot fairly be blamed for not achieving more: the forces at his command did not enable him to compel the enemy to accept battle except under conditions of their own choosing. It is harder to understand why the Roman fleet did so little. The Romans themselves had provided at least 45 quinqueremes, the Rhodians 5 triremes, Eumenes enough ships to convey 6000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, and the states in the west of Greece 76 smaller vessels. The Roman admiral, the praetor C. Lucretius Gallus, found no one opposing him at sea, and sent home from Chaicis some of the allied naval contingents. If the Macedonian fleet was negligible, as at this time it seems to have been, why was nothing done to make it more difficult for the king to maintain his connection with Thessaly, otherwise than by the mountainous western routes? Instead, Lucretius operated by land in Boeotia, capturing Haliartus after a stout resistance and receiving the surrender of Thisbe. He has none too good a reputation: he is declared to have treated his allies as though they were enemies, and there must have been some substance in these charges, as he was subsequently condemned and fined. It is therefore not unnatural that he has been accused of sacrificing Roman interests by preferring to win booty in Boeotia rather than to cruise along the shore of Thessaly.

It is possible, however, that the Senate were not averse from a plan of action in which the fleet played a secondary part. The strength of Rome was in her army, and, although a fleet was required for a campaign against Macedonia, Roman interests demanded that the decision should be reached on land. A strategy which depended largely on naval operations might suggest that the co-operation of Pergamum or Rhodes was of primary value to Rome. It is not necessary to suppose that the Romans had at this time any definite grievance against Pergamum or Rhodes, in order to understand why Roman plans were constructed in such a way as not to make the allies too prominent.

The Romans, judged on what may be supposed to have been their own principles, deserve more criticism for not supplying in this first year of war a sufficiently large force on land, than for conniving at the inaction of the fleet. That, in spite of previous experience, ignorance of geography contributed something to their underestimate of the problem may perhaps be inferred from the action of the other consul of 171 bc, C. Cassius, who, being disappointed at receiving Cisalpine Gaul for his charge, proposed to leave his province and march his army through Illyria into Macedonia, without consulting the Senate and with no further preparations than the collection of guides and of corn for thirty days at Aquileia.

The campaign of the following year was uneventful, so far as we are able to judge from the few details about it which are known. The consul, A. Hostilius Mancinus, tried once and perhaps twice to invade Macedonia from Thessaly by passing to the west of the great belt of mountains which separated the two. Probably it was legitimate to make such an attempt, but he was severely repulsed, and Perseus once more occupied northern Thessaly, the Romans retiring from Larissa to Pharsalus. The consul did not claim any military success, but it is reported of him that he restored discipline to the army and protected the allies from injuries, a commendation which reflects little credit on his predecessor. The praetor, L. Hortensius, who commanded the fleet, does not receive similar commendation: in conjunction with Eumenes and a Pergamene squadron, he captured Abdera, and this may have had more military value than anything done by Lucretius in the preceding year, but he is accused of cruelty and avarice by allies as well as by enemies. Perseus availed himself of the inaction of the Romans to undertake expeditions to the west. One was against the Dardani, in another he captured and held Uscana in the Drin valley with a garrison which a Roman commander vainly tried to dislodge. He supported the Molossians who had declared for him, leaving in their territory a commander with troops that might be useful for interfering with the usual Roman route from Apollonia; and finally he went as far south as Stratus. His last march did not attain its full object, the winning over of the Aetolian League, but this series of movements served to show that the difficulties of the Romans were not getting less, and might add to his hopes that his offers of peace would ultimately be accepted.

The consul of 169 bc, Q. Marcius Philippus, who arrived with a fresh supply of men and began by summoning the commander of the fleet to discuss concerted measures of attack, was a man of vigour who started to move his forces within ten days of his arrival. He may have turned his previous knowledge of the country to good use: he certainly succeeded in reaching the Macedonian coast after a difficult march in the course of which he is said to have admitted that his army might have been destroyed by a small opposing force. The details of this march can only be reconstructed conjecturally: perhaps he deceived the commander of the hill garrison, whom he had vainly tried to force from his position, by feigning retreat, leaving a covering force to fight a defensive action, and then moving towards the coast by a difficult route through thick woods, which caused the enemy commander to have no idea that he was not still retreating along the way by which he had come. The king, when news arrived that the coast had been reached, supposed that his mountain force had been overpowered and that the situation was desperate. He withdrew his garrisons, not only from Dium but also from Tempe, and thereby relieved the Roman general from what would have been a very critical situation owing to the absence of provisions and the non-arrival of his transports.

The commanders on both sides have been severely blamed by critics from Polybius downwards, and with the greater confidence that Polybius was himself present with the Roman force on a mission from the Achaean League, and must therefore have known the military situation. But, great as were the difficulties of the Roman march, it is not easy to see how they were to be avoided if Macedonia was ever to be entered at all, and, if supplies failed to arrive, that can hardly have been the consul’s fault. Nor can the king be blamed for more than having failed to make a brilliant guess as to what had actually happened, and, had the facts been such as he may legitimately have supposed them to be, the withdrawal of his garrisons and the concentration of his troops was his proper course.

So far as the Roman consul is concerned, his successor was able to start from a very different position from that which had hitherto faced the Romans. It is true that, if Perseus had been really willing, as Polybius tells us was at this time expected, to come down again into Thessaly, and decide the war by a general engagement, the Romans would have been saved the necessity of crossing the mountains: but, though Perseus had begun the campaign of 171 by a march into Thessaly and had offered battle in the early part of the year, his later actions had shown that he was not to be hurried and that he was not likely to offer battle except on his own terms. If the Romans wished to force an engagement, they had much more chance of doing this successfully near the coast than in northern Thessaly. The scheme formed by Philippus only partly succeeded: the co-operation with the fleet on which it depended was very imperfectly carried out, and the absence of the provision ships forced him to retire and to allow the king to return to a position on the Elpeus which could be so strongly defended that the consul thought it hopeless to attack during this year. He had enough to do to secure his own position, and in particular to capture the fortress of Heracleum which threatened his communications. In this operation also he recognized the value of the fleet’s help.

Another charge has been brought against Philippus, that of not remembering the importance of the western theatre of war where Roman influence was endangered by Perseus’ operations in the previous year. The commander in that district, Appius Claudius Cento, asked the Achaeans to send him 5000 men: Philippus advised Polybius that this demand was unreasonable and sent him home with the recommendation that it should not be granted. Polybius made use of the Senate’s order that no requisitions from Roman commanders should be carried out unless they were accompanied by decrees from the Senate; the assistance was not sent, and, if it had been sent, it might have been useful. But it is not necessary to suppose that Philippus was actuated either by an underestimate of what had to be done on the west side of Greece or by jealousy of the success which another com­mander might possibly win. He may well have thought that the charges against Rome of showing lack of consideration for her allies were having serious effects, that scrupulous accuracy ought to be observed in carrying out the orders of the Senate in this matter, and that it was better to let military operations be deferred than to run a risk of imposing an unnecessary burden on the Achaeans. At a time when the lack of progress made by Rome in the main campaign was causing the anti-Roman party in Rhodes to become prominent, Prusias to hint apologetically at the possi­bility of peace, Eumenes to be spoken of as engaged in mysterious negotiations with Perseus, it was worth while to sacrifice something for the sake of showing that the allies of Rome were to be spared as much as possible. Even if the lack of help sent by the Achaeans might cause Genthius definitely to ally himself with Perseus, it was better for Rome to make an additional effort, as she did next year, than to alienate her friends.

The consul was well aware that much remained to be done. He asked for clothing to be sent from Rome for his troops and for horses to be supplied: he also asked that payment should be made for the wheat and barley which he had drawn from Epirus.

It could easily be seen that he regarded the war as likely to continue, and the consul of 168 bc, L. Aemilius Paullus, as soon as it was decided that Macedonia was to be his province, caused three commissioners to be sent to investigate on the spot the actual position of affairs, and declined to have any discussion of the campaign in the Senate until their report had been received. Many amateur strategists in Rome were ready with suggestions how to conduct the war, and the consuls of the last three years may have been bewildered by ill-considered suggestions, and handicapped by not knowing for what they ought to ask, until they had themselves arrived at the front and found that the available resources were not adequate.

When the report arrived, it was not encouraging. The king, whose army, estimated at 30,000, was only separated from the Romans by the river Elpeus, occupied an unassailable position and would not give battle. It was even represented as doubtful whether any advantage had been gained by the dangerous march of Philippus. Appius Claudius to the west, so far from doing anything to relieve the pressure, would require to be heavily reinforced himself if he was to hold his ground. Genthius had thrown in his lot with Macedon in the autumn of 169, and the next spring was certain to see a new Illyrian War. The fleet was suffering from disease, from deficiency of clothing and irregularity of pay. The attitude of Eumenes was uncertain, though no doubts were thrown on the loyalty of his brother Attalus.

This report produced the requisite effect. It was decided to bring the legions up to strength by replacing men who were unfit, to select as military tribunes for the year only soldiers of experience, and to put a considerable force at the disposal of L. Anicius, the praetor who was to succeed Claudius in Illyria. The consul, having caused the Latin festival to be fixed for an early date to avoid unnecessary delay, did not hesitate to start as soon as his preparations were made. On the fifth day after leaving Brundisium he sacrificed at Delphi: four days later he was with the army and at work.

 

V.

THE CAMPAIGN OF PYDNA

 

Perseus had not been idle in trying to win allies. Envoys were sent to Rhodes, to Antiochus IV, and to Eumenes. The Macedonian fleet, of which little has been heard hitherto, began to display signs of activity and raided the coast of Asia Minor; this may have been due, not only to a suspicion that the Roman ships and crews were not in a good state, but also to a hope of co­operation from those powers that had navies and to a desire of showing them that the Macedonians were worth supporting. But we are told that Perseus forfeited through avarice the assistance of large forces of Celtic horse and foot from beyond the Danube, and deceived his Illyrian ally Genthius by paying him enough to make him commit himself irrevocably in the sight of the Romans and then withholding the rest of what had been promised.

This habit of avarice, with which Perseus is so often charged, is also said to have lost him a real chance of gaining over Eumenes. Polybius refers to the intrigue between Perseus and Eumenes as a contest between the most avaricious and the most unscrupulous of kings. The story is hard to accept as he tells it; for, though it is true that Roman progress in the war had been slow, Eumenes can hardly have meant to endanger his whole position by giving active assistance to Perseus. There could not be reliable evidence of these uncompleted negotiations, either at the time or later. If they were believed to have occurred, something in the characters of both kings must have made them seem plausible, but beyond that it is unsafe to go.

Paullus was not content to rely on the report brought to him in Rome by the commissioners: it was clearly necessary for him to test it on the spot. He examined the Macedonian position carefully, and found it so strong as to be impregnable to a frontal attack. Accordingly he rejected this method which commended itself to some of his council of war, particularly to the younger men, and he rejected also the suggestion that a movement of the fleet northward would be enough to induce the king to retire. But it might be possible to induce the Macedonians to believe that the Romans were trusting to this manoeuvre. Accordingly the fleet was called to Heracleum and provisioned, while a force of 8200 selected infantry and 120 horsemen, commanded by Scipio Nasica, was ordered to the same place, giving the impression that it was to be embarked. Instructions were, however, given to this force to proceed farther south, and then, by a series of night marches, to make a circuit of the mountains to the west and arrive at a point well to the north of the Roman position. The plan succeeded: the one force encountered on the way was surprised, and failed to interrupt the march by its resistance; the king, whose attention had been divided by a series of attacks and who may have been alarmed by threatening movements of the fleet, being anxious to retain the right of giving battle under his own conditions, even at the cost of sacrificing a stronger for a weaker position, withdrew northwards. A letter in which Scipio Nasica gave an account of his march was quoted by one of Plutarch’s authorities for his life of Aemilius Paullus. It gives useful information, but, as it is only concerned with what seems to have been a part of a combined operation, we are left in some doubt as to what actually happened. The plan may have been a rash one which might have resulted in disaster: but, as it was successful and we are not fully informed about it, criticism of it would be unsafe.

Paullus was able to effect a junction with Scipio without difficulty, but the king’s new position, protected by the two rivers, Aeson and Leucus (Pelicas and Mavroneri), was strong. The consul resisted the wishes of his army that an attack should be made at once, and even on the next day he was evidently reluctant to take the offensive, assigning as the official reason that his camp must first be fully secured. The king was equally unwilling to attack unless he could do so in a position which seemed to give him an advantage. Neither he nor his advisers could have forgotten Cynoscephalae, and they were well aware that the phalanx could only be successful against an efficient Roman force under certain conditions. Livy tells us that neither commander wished for an engagement that day and that the encounter took place as the result of an accident, which only concerned a very small number of men in the first instance. This may be in some sense true, but it is disappointing that so much doubt should remain. Polybius, who was not himself present, must have made careful enquiries about this important event; we possess small fragments in his own words, we have clear evidence of the use of his work by later writers, and we know that Plutarch consulted other sources, including a biography of Perseus by a certain Posidonius who described the fight from the Macedonian side. Unfortunately the text of Livy contains a great lacuna, and it is only possible to guess in part what may have stood there. Modern critics have endeavoured to reconstruct in detail what happened, but no one seems to have succeeded yet in providing a reconstruction which escapes all the difficulties.

We learn that an eclipse of the moon took place on the night before the battle: if this evidence is accepted—and there is no sufficient reason for rejecting it—the eclipse must be identified with that of the night 21—22 June 168, and the battle of Pydna thus occurred on 22 June. If we may judge from a monument erected in honour of Paullus, it appears that an incident connected with the escape of a horse across the river which separated the  armies was considered to have a good deal to do with the actual beginning of the fight. Later tradition made this into a ruse on the part of the Roman commander, and, even if that may seem absurd, it is not likely that the incident should be mentioned prominently unless it had really serious consequences. Another feature of the story is the heroism shown by some Roman allied cohorts who met the first shock of the Macedonian advance and, by their self-sacrifice, gave to the Romans the time they needed.

But the course of the battle, in which a decision was reached in about an hour, is very hard to understand. It is stated that the Macedonians lost 20,000 killed, while the killed on the Roman side did not exceed 100, of whom the greater part were the Paelignians who had had to face the first attack. The accounts do not suggest that the Roman general succeeded in effecting a surprise: he was ready, no doubt, and on the watch, as a general in such close contact with the enemy ought to be, and his measures were taken calmly and without hesitation. But he had to send Scipio Nasica to report to him on the order in which the enemy were advancing, he admitted himself that he had never seen anything more terrifying than the Macedonian phalanx as it came on, and the first of the enemy did actually advance so far that some of the dead were within a quarter of a mile of the Roman camp.

It would seem, then, that it was the Macedonians who brought on the battle; for, whatever allowance be made for an accidental encounter by the river, a general engagement could not have resulted from an incident that could easily have been localized, if neither side had desired to fight. It must remain difficult to understand why a leader, who had shown so plainly that he wished to avoid an engagement on a large scale so long as it could be avoided, should have decided to risk everything, otherwise than under conditions exceptionally favourable, and how it can have been possible to make such a miscalculation as to lose so heavily in such a short time under conditions of his own choosing. It is not surprising that the suggestion should have been made that Perseus lost his head, that his men, who had previously shown a wish to fight when they were not permitted to do so, forced his hand and that he allowed events to take their course. Paullus earned justly the reputation of being a great general, and posterity has not reversed the judgment of his contemporaries; the recovery of the full story of Polybius might perhaps reveal to us some exceptionally brilliant piece of generalship on his part. As the narrative stands, the question how the Macedonians should have come to repeat the error of Cynoscephalae in a far worse form remains unsolved. The Macedonian cavalry were roughly handled by their countrymen for not having taken part in the battle and having escaped from it; whether this charge is justified or not, no similar accusation was brought against the Macedonian infantry, most of whom fought bravely to the last.

The personal conduct of the king is variously reported: the story of Polybius, that he made the need of sacrificing to Heracles an excuse for being among the first to flee, sounds like an ill-natured jest, and the story of Posidonius, that he insisted on fighting in spite of an accident on the previous day and suffered wounds in the battle itself, is suspiciously like an official apology. But he must have seen at once that the battle was decisive. He fled to Pella, thence to Amphipolis, and finally to Samothrace. He found everywhere a desire to be rid of him, his attempts to secure from the Romans a recognition of some part of his position were met by demands for unconditional surrender, and it may have been a relief to him when his attempts to escape failed through treachery and he had to give himself up to Paullus, who in the first instance treated him with personal courtesy. Subsequently he was obliged to figure in the consul’s triumph and was confined at Alba under degrading conditions; though Paullus is said to have tried to secure him better treatment, ugly stories are told of what happened to him during the remainder of his life, which apparently lasted for some two years. His elder son is said to have died two years later, and the younger to have followed the profession of a magistrate’s clerk in Italy.

The battle of Pydna ended the war. The Macedonian fleet decided without hesitation that it would be unable to maintain itself. So long as the position on land had appeared to remain stationary and the attitude of Rhodes, perhaps of Pergamum too, could be looked on as doubtful, Macedonian ships might perform useful service, but the complete defeat of the Macedonian army would have the immediate result of bringing the supporters of Rome to the front at Rhodes and of removing any doubt about Pergamum; the Roman fleet was also taking itself more seriously than before, and the Macedonian admiral, Antenor, recognized the situation at once. The Macedonian towns, despairing of a king who himself despaired, surrendered in rapid succession, and Paullus was able to refer to his campaign as one of fifteen days. Some places had to be punished for having gone back on their earlier professions of supporting Rome or for conspicuous actions on the Macedonian side, but these punishments appear to have been few.

The fighting in Illyria had come to an end before the decisive action at Pydna. Genthius had probably relied on not being taken too seriously, and the proceedings of the Romans in the preceding years may have done something to justify this expectation. When an effective army was brought into operation against him, he appears to have made things easy for the Romans by his rashness. In the spring of 168 he had concentrated near Lissus a fleet of 80 lembi and an army of 15,000 men. Appius had already called up the levies of the Roman allies in Illyria, Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, and his successor the praetor Anicius, who arrived with a full consular army of two legions, had some 30,000 men under his command. The Romans took the offensive, and in less than 30 days Scodra had fallen, the king was captured with his family and his leading chieftains, and the first reports of this campaign which reached Rome announced its ending. Anicius had time to march through Epirus and back again before he was called upon to deal with Illyria. He met with little serious opposition in Epirus; but it is evident that strong sympathy had been shown there with Perseus, and perhaps the Romans thought it wise to use the presence of a Roman army to impress places like those in the Molossian territory, which would regard themselves as sufficiently inaccessible at ordinary times to be able to do what they pleased.

This expedition by Anicius is easy to understand, but it is not easy to justify or even to explain the treatment of Epirus by Paullus in the following year. Polybius tells us the bare fact that Paullus took 70 cities in Epirus and enslaved 150,000 men. The account in Livy explains how this was done without loss, the plan being that all the places should be attacked on one day. Both Livy and Plutarch describe Paullus as carrying out the orders of the Senate. It is unfortunate that our information only gives the general purport of the senatorial decree and does not tell us on what ground it was officially justified; for even the version which describes it as a punishment for de­serting to Perseus is unintelligible, unless we suppose that the Romans regarded these Epirotes as guilty of some treachery which the extant accounts do not record. The soldiers of Paullus are said to have been dissatisfied with the amount of the booty, large as it was, while the soldiers of Anicius may well have been annoyed for not being allowed any part of it, since they had done the fighting. It is, however, possible that the expedition of Anicius to Epirus, though useful from a military point of view, was not carried out in accordance with definite instructions either from the Senate or from the consul, and did not therefore fall, strictly speaking, within his sphere of duty.

The affairs of Macedonia and Illyria had to be settled, in accordance with the usual Roman custom, by Senatorial Commissioners acting in concert with the officer on the spot, and subject to any definite instructions which might be given by the Senate. The Commissioners were instructed that all Macedonians and Illyrians were to be free, that Macedonia was to be divided into four and Illyria into three divisions, that the tribute payable to Rome was to be half the amount payable to the kings, that special precautions were to be taken in dealing with the Macedonian mines which had produced such a large revenue, and that measures must be devised to prevent the newly-found liberty from degenerating into licence.

Paullus was continued in office on the spot until the Commissioners came, and he spent part of the interval in undertaking an extensive journey through Greece, during which he went to the Peloponnese as well as to Athens, Delphi, and the other famous cities. No doubt he was inspired by a natural wish to see the places which were well known for their importance in Greek history, as he and his sons had a genuine love of art and culture. It is, however, possible that the journey was not without political significance and that it was meant to present a contrast to the visit of Perseus to Delphi some years back about which much had been said. Perseus was able to pride himself on the orderly conduct of his troops; but their good behaviour did not rob his journey of the air of a military demonstration. The conqueror of Perseus went with only a few attendants, abstaining from asking any questions about the attitude of particular cities during the late war, and showing himself as an example of that orderly and peaceful liberty which the Romans professed themselves anxious to encourage.

On his return Paullus met the Commissioners, and at Amphipolis the settlement was announced. The gift of liberty had apparently not been anticipated and, as in 196 bc, it was well received at first. Liberty meant that the Romans had no intention of annexing the country themselves, and this was so far well.

The divisions, though we may not be able to trace their boundaries in detail, corresponded to the natural physical features of the country. The first, mainly between the Nessus and the Strymon, included also Heraclea Sintica and Bisaltica: it pos­sessed valuable estates and mines. The second stretched from the Strymon to the Axius: eastern Paeonia, and the whole of Chalcidice, with its agricultural and mercantile advantages, were in it. The third, from the Axius to the Peneus, contained Edessa, Beroea and western Paeonia: the large number of Gauls and Illyrians who were among its inhabitants gave it a good supply of workers. Finally, there was the fourth division, west of Mount Bora and bordering on Illyria and Epirus, comprising the wilder parts of the country. The capitals were Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Pella, and Pelagonia. Only one of the four divisions, the third, had no barbarians on its boundaries: the remaining three were accordingly allowed to retain armed forces near their frontiers, the rest of the country being disarmed.

Many of the other arrangements were also reasonable. The tribute was reduced, the gold and silver mines were closed as being likely to prove a source of oppression to the natives, the iron and copper mines were allowed to be worked on payment of half the previous rent, and the enactment that no timber was to be cut for naval purposes was probably a relief from a burden. Whatever the exact object of a mysterious provision forbidding the use of imported salt, there does not seem to be any reason to suppose that it was meant to help Roman traders; and the refusal to allow the Dardani, who had suffered from their friendship for Rome, to regain the part of Paeonia which they asserted had formerly been theirs, showed that the Romans meant to adhere to their gift of liberty. The proposed constitutional arrangements were theoretically good and each of the divisions could have maintained successfully its economic independence.

If in spite of all this the division did not work successfully, the reason seems to be that the Macedonians, for all their differences of tribe and occupation, felt themselves as one people and resented the destruction of that unity on which the importance of Mace­donia had depended since the days of Philip, son of Amyntas.

However true it may have been that they had made good their claim to be considered Greeks rather than barbarians, it is unlikely that a people whose only experience of government was to be ruled by kings, can have felt strongly, as most Greeks did, the essential superiority of republicanism. They had very little enthusiasm for liberty but a very strong feeling for their country. The Roman system of division was intended to meet the fact that Macedonia, so long as it remained a single state, was too large to make one among a number of Greek states; while smaller sections, kept rigidly apart by the rule that no intermarriage was to be allowed and that no citizen of one section might own real property in another, were less likely to create trouble. The Romans no doubt thought that the Macedonians ought to be grateful for the consideration which gave each division its own character and, as compared with the territorial extent of most Greek states, a very substantial size. They may have been disappointed, and rather surprised, that the Macedonians did not value the gift of liberty at the price of division: probably if the Macedonians wished to be considered as Greeks, they should have thought liberty the more important. But it is hard to alter national sentiment artificially, even if that sentiment be regarded as unreasonable: considering the past history of Macedonia, it is perhaps strange that Rome should have thought the experiment worth a trial.

 

VI.

MACEDONIA AND ILLYRIA AFTER PYDNA

 

The introduction of the new institutions was probably accompanied by the removal of most of those who had been prominent in political life, owing to the fear that they would prove to be a centre of intrigues in favour of restoring the monarchy; but to remove politicians of monarchical views was not the same thing as to supply statesmen who were anxious to make republicanism into a success. At any rate, it was not long before the Romans heard that the Macedonians, unused to democracy, were splitting up into factions whose quarrels might prove dangerous; and the three Commissioners who were sent to Syria after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 bc received instructions to inspect the state of things in Macedonia. Two years later we hear in­cidentally of one Damasippus, as having murdered the members of the council at Phacus near Pella and then having fled with his family from Macedonia. Whether the re-opening of the mines in 158 bc was intended to provide employment as an antidote to discontent it is impossible to say. But it is significant that Scipio Aemilianus, when he volunteered to go to Spain in 152 bc, had to relinquish for that purpose an invitation which he had received to go to Macedonia and settle disputes that had arisen there. Perhaps this request, which had been addressed to him personally, was due to favourable memories of his father Aemilius Paullus, and, as Scipio referred to this expedition as less hazardous than the journey to Spain, it may be assumed that there was at any rate a hope that his advice might be received respectfully; but the Macedonians would not have asked for a Roman arbitrator unless their troubles had been too serious to be settled without such help.

This proposed mission by Scipio may have been connected with the first appearance of Andriscus, a man who claimed to be a son of King Perseus, possibly also of his wife Laodice, but is said to have been actually born in Adramyttium of low origin. His first attempts in Macedonia met with little success, and he is next found in Syria, where he was seized by Demetrius, and sent to Rome. Perhaps the imposture was regarded as too obvious to be serious; at any rate he was allowed to escape, and, when he was again taken in Miletus, he was released. One of Perseus’ wives, who had married an inhabitant of Pergamum, claimed to recognize him; so also did a Thracian chieftain Teres, a son-in-law of the Philip whom Andriscus personated, though it was well known that Philip had died in Italy some two years after his father. He now gained a considerable following; he won a victory to the east of the Strymon and three or four months later in 149 bc another on the west of that river. These successes made him master of all Macedonia and alarmed the Thessalians, who sent urgent messages to the Achaeans asking for assistance. Apparently the reports from Macedonia were received with incredulity both in Greece and in Rome: the Romans do not seem to have realized how rapidly enthusiasm may gather round a popular claimant to monarchical authority in a country with a strong monarchical tradition. They thought that the matter might be settled by a peaceful mission under Scipio Nasica; but things had gone too far, and Juventius Thalna had to be sent with a legion, which was defeated and its commander killed. Rumours were now heard of attempts at an alliance between Macedonia and Carthage; success may have turned the head of Andriscus, and it is said to have led him into various acts of tyranny. But he could hardly in any case have maintained himself against Q. Caecilius Metellus, who was sent with a considerable army in 148 b.c. Andriscus lost a large number of men in a battle, and, after he had fled into Thrace and tried to re-establish himself from there, he was defeated again and finally captured to adorn Metellus’ triumph and then be put to death. His power therefore was short-lived: but two or more other pretenders arose in the course of the next few years, showing that anyone who could put forward a claim to belong to the royal house could still count on some support.

The Romans now decided that Macedonia should be made the province of a Roman magistrate, and, though this method of government was not intended to supersede the local communities in Macedonia any more than elsewhere, it would necessarily mean, in a country which had shown itself so unused to self­government, that the Roman magistrate would have to be responsible for whatever was done. The four divisions had been a reality, as is shown by their coinage, but they were given up when the country could once more be safely treated as a whole; the Roman governor undertook the administration of all Macedon, and of Illyria and Epirus as well. So far as we can tell, Macedonia now enjoyed comparative peace, in spite of occasional pretenders to the throne. There is some evidence of the survival of the local dialects, and local institutions were left unaltered. A statue was erected at Olympia by a Macedonian to Metellus for his services to Macedonia: this shows at any rate that some persons were content with the condition of things which Metellus had helped to bring about, and perhaps it is more significant at this date than similar erections half a century later. The construction of the Via Egnatia from Epidamnus and Apollonia to Cypsela on the Hebrus, passing by Lychnidus, Edessa, Pella and Thessalonica, may certainly be regarded as a great benefit to the country. Polybius tells us that it was marked by milestones for its whole length of 535 miles; it was therefore completed within his lifetime, that is, not more than some thirty years from the formation of the province.

The defeat of Genthius and the collapse of his power secured Roman control of the Adriatic coast as far as the Narenta. North of that river the chief tribe was now the Dalmatae, and they began to molest their southern neighbours and the Greek colonists at Epetum and Tragyrium. In 157 bc the Romans decided to intervene, partly actuated according to Polybius by the fear that the long-continued peace since Pydna might enervate their citizens. The ostensible casus belli was the uncivil treatment of envoys whom the Senate had dispatched to command the Dalmatians to offer redress. The Dalmatians argued that Rome had no concern with their neighbourly quarrels. The Romans proved the contrary by sending the consul C. Marcius Figulus who, after suffering a serious reverse, devastated the country and laid siege to the chief town, Delminium. His successor, P. Scipio Nasica, continued the good work and took Delminium. This ended the war, and Scipio was rewarded with a triumph (155). Meanwhile another Roman army under L. Cornelius Lentulus, the colleague of Marcius, had advanced from Aquileia and may have reached the neighbourhood of Siscia. But this campaign had little success and was not followed up by further action. Thus Rome did not complete her control of the Adriatic coast by linking up Istria with her newly-extended protectorate north of the Narenta. It was not till a generation later that this was achieved.