The Third Macedonian War

Dissatisfactions of Philip with Rome

Philip of Macedonia was greatly annoyed by the treatment which he met with from the Romans after the peace with Antiochus; and the subsequent course of events was not fitted to appease his wrath. His neighbours in Greece and Thrace, mostly communities that had once trembled at the Macedonian name not less than now they trembled at the Roman, made it their business, as was natural, to retaliate on the fallen great power for all the injuries which since the times of Philip the Second they had received at the hands of Macedonia. The empty arrogance and venal anti-Macedonian patriotism of the Hellenes of this period found vent at the diets of the different confederacies and in ceaseless complaints addressed to the Roman senate. Philip had been allowed by the Romans to retain what he had taken from the Aetolians; but in Thessaly the confederacy of the Magnetes alone had formally joined the Aetolians, while those towns which Philip had wrested from the Aetolians in other two of the Thessalian confederacies—the Thessalian in its narrower sense, and the Perrhaebian—were demanded back by their leagues on the ground that Philip had only liberated these towns, not conquered them. The Athamahes too believed that they might crave their freedom; and Eumenes demanded the maritime cities which Antiochus had possessed in Thrace proper, especially Aenus and Maronea, although in the peace with Antiochus the Thracian Chersonese alone had been expressly promised to him. All these complaints and numerous minor ones from all the neighbours of Philip as to his supporting king Prusias against Eumenes, as to competition in trade, as to the violation of contracts and the seizing of cattle, were poured forth at Rome. The king of Macedonia had to submit to be accused by the sovereign rabble before the Roman senate, and to accept justice or injustice as the senate chose; he was compelled to witness judgment constantly going against him; he had with deep chagrin to withdraw his garrisons from the Thracian coast and from the Thessalian and Perrhaebian towns, and courteously to receive the Roman commissioners, who came to see whether everything required had been carried out in accordance with instructions. The Romans were not so indignant against Philip as they had been against Carthage; in fact, they were in many respects even favourably disposed to the Macedonian ruler; there was not in his case so reckless a violation of forms as in that of Libya; but the situation of Macedonia was at bottom substantially the same as that of Carthage. Philip, however, was by no means the man to submit to this infliction with Phoenician patience. Passionate as he was, he had after his defeat been more indignant with the faithless ally than with the honourable antagonist; and, long accustomed to pursue a policy not Macedonian but personal, he had seen in the war with Antiochus simply an excellent opportunity of instantaneously revenging himself on the ally who had disgracefully deserted and betrayed him. This object he had attained; but the Romans, who saw very clearly that the Macedonian was influenced not by friendship for Rome, but by enmity to Antiochus, and who moreover were by no means in the habit of regulating their policy by such feelings of liking and disliking, had carefully abstained from bestowing any material advantages on Philip, and had preferred to confer their favours on the Attalids. From their first elevation the Attalids had been at vehement feud with Macedonia, and were politically and personally the objects of Philip's bitterest hatred; of all the eastern powers they had contributed most to maim Macedonia and Syria, and to extend the protectorate of Rome in the east; and in the last war, when Philip had voluntarily and loyally embraced the side of Rome, they had been obliged to take the same side for the sake of their very existence. The Romans had made use of these Attalids for the purpose of reconstructing in all essential points the kingdom of Lysimachus—the destruction of which had been the most important achievement of the Macedonian rulers after Alexander—and of placing alongside of Macedonia a state, which was its equal in point of power and was at the same time a client of Rome. In the special circumstances a wise sovereign, devoted to the interests of his people, would perhaps have resolved not to resume the unequal struggle with Rome; but Philip, in whose character the sense of honour was the most powerful of all noble, and the thirst for revenge the most potent of all ignoble, motives, was deaf to the voice of timidity or of resignation, and nourished in the depths of his heart a determination once more to try the hazard of the game. When he received the report of fresh invectives, such as were wont to be launched against Macedonia at the Thessalian diets, he replied with the line of Theocritus, that his last sun had not yet set.(1)

The Latter Years of Philip

Philip displayed in the preparation and the concealment of his designs a calmness, earnestness, and persistency which, had he shown them in better times, would perhaps have given a different turn to the destinies of the world. In particular the submissiveness towards Rome, by which he purchased the time indispensable for his objects, formed a severe trial for the fierce and haughty man; nevertheless he courageously endured it, although his subjects and the innocent occasions of the quarrel, such as the unfortunate Maronea, paid severely for the suppression of his resentment. It seemed as if war could not but break out as early as 571; but by Philip's instructions, his younger son, Demetrius, effected a reconciliation between his father and Rome, where he had lived some years as a hostage and was a great favourite. The senate, and particularly Flamininus who managed Greek affairs, sought to form in Macedonia a Roman party that would be able to paralyze the exertions of Philip, which of course were not unknown to the Romans; and had selected as its head, and perhaps as the future king of Macedonia, the younger prince who was passionately attached to Rome. With this purpose in view they gave it clearly to be understood that the senate forgave the father for the sake of the son; the natural effect of which was, that dissensions arose in the royal household itself, and that the king's elder son, Perseus, who, although the offspring of an unequal marriage, was destined by his father for the succession, sought to ruin his brother as his future rival. It does not appear that Demetrius was a party to the Roman intrigues; it was only when he was falsely suspected that he was forced to become guilty, and even then he intended, apparently, nothing more than flight to Rome. But Perseus took care that his father should be duly informed of this design; an intercepted letter from Flamininus to Demetrius did the rest, and induced the father to give orders that his son should be put to death. Philip learned, when it was too late, the intrigues which Perseus had concocted; and death overtook him, as he was meditating the punishment of the fratricide and his exclusion from the throne. He died in 575 at Demetrias, in his fifty-ninth year. He left behind him a shattered kingdom and a distracted household, and with a broken heart confessed to himself that all his toils and all his crimes had been in vain.

King Perseus

His son Perseus then entered on the government, without encountering opposition either in Macedonia or in the Roman senate. He was a man of stately aspect, expert in all bodily exercises, reared in the camp and accustomed to command, imperious like his father and unscrupulous in the choice of his means. Wine and women, which too often led Philip to forget the duties of government, had no charm for Perseus; he was as steady and persevering as his father had been fickle and impulsive. Philip, a king while still a boy, and attended by good fortune during the first twenty years of his reign, had been spoiled and ruined by destiny; Perseus ascended the throne in his thirty-first year, and, as he had while yet a boy borne a part in the unhappy war with Rome and had grown up under the pressure of humiliation and under the idea that a revival of the state was at hand, so he inherited along with the kingdom of his father his troubles, resentments, and hopes. In fact he entered with the utmost determination on the continuance of his father's work, and prepared more zealously than ever for war against Rome; he was stimulated, moreover, by the reflection, that he was by no means indebted to the goodwill of the Romans for his wearing the diadem of Macedonia. The proud Macedonian nation looked with pride upon the prince whom they had been accustomed to see marching and fighting at the head of their youth; his countrymen, and many Hellenes of every variety of lineage, conceived that in him they had found the right general for the impending war of liberation. But he was not what he seemed. He wanted Philip's geniality and Philip's elasticity—those truly royal qualities, which success obscured and tarnished, but which under the purifying power of adversity recovered their lustre. Philip was self-indulgent, and allowed things to take their course; but, when there was occasion, he found within himself the vigour necessary for rapid and earnest action. Perseus devised comprehensive and subtle plans, and prosecuted them with unwearied perseverance; but, when the moment arrived for action and his plans and preparations confronted him in living reality, he was frightened at his own work. As is the wont of narrow minds, the means became to him the end; he heaped up treasures on treasures for war with the Romans, and, when the Romans were in the land, he was unable to part with his golden pieces. It is a significant indication of character that after defeat the father first hastened to destroy the papers in his cabinet that might compromise him, whereas the son took his treasure-chests and embarked. In ordinary times he might have made an average king, as good as or better than many another; but he was not adapted for the conduct of an enterprise, which was from the first a hopeless one unless some extraordinary man should become the soul of the movement.

Resources of Macedonia

The power of Macedonia was far from inconsiderable. The devotion of the land to the house of the Antigonids was unimpaired; in this one respect the national feeling was not paralyzed by the dissensions of political parties. A monarchical constitution has the great advantage, that every change of sovereign supersedes old resentments and quarrels and introduces a new era of other men and fresh hopes. The king had judiciously availed himself of this, and had begun his reign with a general amnesty, with the recall of fugitive bankrupts, and with the remission of arrears of taxes. The hateful severity of the father thus not only yielded benefit, but conciliated affection, to the son. Twenty-six years of peace had partly of themselves filled up the blanks in the Macedonian population, partly given opportunity to the government to take serious steps towards rectifying this which was really the weak point of the land. Philip urged the Macedonians to marry and raise up children; he occupied the coast towns, whose inhabitants he carried into the interior, with Thracian colonists of trusty valour and fidelity. He formed a barrier on the north to check once for all the desolating incursions of the Dardani, by converting the space intervening between the Macedonian frontier and the barbarian territory into a desert, and by founding new towns in the northern provinces. In short he took step by step the same course in Macedonia, as Augustus afterwards took when he laid afresh the foundations of the Roman empire. The army was numerous—30,000 men without reckoning contingents and hired troops—and the younger men were well exercised in the constant border warfare with the Thracian barbarians. It is strange that Philip did not try, like Hannibal, to organize his army after the Roman fashion; but we can understand it when we recollect the value which the Macedonians set upon their phalanx, often conquered, but still withal believed to be invincible. Through the new sources of revenue which Philip had created in mines, customs, and tenths, and through the flourishing state of agriculture and commerce, he had succeeded in replenishing his treasury, granaries, and arsenals. When the war began, there was in the Macedonian treasury money enough to pay the existing army and 10,000 hired troops for ten years, and there were in the public magazines stores of grain for as long a period (18,000,000 medimni or 27,000,000 bushels), and arms for an army of three times the strength of the existing one. In fact, Macedonia had become a very different state from what it was when surprised by the outbreak of the second war with Rome. The power of the kingdom was in all respects at least doubled: with a power in every point of view far inferior Hannibal had been able to shake Rome to its foundations.

Attempted Coalition against Rome

Its external relations were not in so favourable a position. The nature of the case required that Macedonia should now take up the plans of Hannibal and Antiochus, and should try to place herself at the head of a coalition of all oppressed states against the supremacy of Rome; and certainly threads of intrigue ramified in all directions from the court of Pydna. But their success was slight. It was indeed asserted that the allegiance of the Italians was wavering; but neither friend nor foe could fail to see that an immediate resumption of the Samnite wars was not at all probable. The nocturnal conferences likewise between Macedonian deputies and the Carthaginian senate, which Massinissa denounced at Rome, could occasion no alarm to serious and sagacious men, even if they were not, as is very possible, an utter fiction. The Macedonian court sought to attach the kings of Syria and Bithynia to its interests by intermarriages; but nothing further came of it, except that the immortal simplicity of the diplomacy which seeks to gain political ends by matrimonial means once more exposed itself to derision. Eumenes, whom it would have been ridiculous to attempt to gain, the agents of Perseus would have gladly put out of the way: he was to have been murdered at Delphi on his way homeward from Rome, where he had been active against Macedonia; but the pretty project miscarried.


Of greater moment were the efforts made to stir up the northern barbarians and the Hellenes to rebellion against Rome. Philip had conceived the project of crushing the old enemies of Macedonia, the Dardani in what is now Servia, by means of another still more barbarous horde of Germanic descent brought from the left bank of the Danube, the Bastarnae, and of then marching in person with these and with the whole avalanche of peoples thus set in motion by the land- route to Italy and invading Lombardy, the Alpine passes leading to which he had already sent spies to reconnoitre—a grand project, worthy of Hannibal, and doubtless immediately suggested by Hannibal's passage of the Alps. It is more than probable that this gave occasion to the founding of the Roman fortress of Aquileia,(2) which was formed towards the end of the reign of Philip (573), and did not harmonize with the system followed elsewhere by the Romans in the establishment of fortresses in Italy. The plan, however, was thwarted by the desperate resistance of the Dardani and of the adjoining tribes concerned; the Bastarnae were obliged to retreat, and the whole horde were drowned in returning home by the giving way of the ice on the Danube. The king now sought at least to extend his clientship among the chieftains of the Illyrian land, the modern Dalmatia and northern Albania. One of these who faithfully adhered to Rome, Arthetaurus, perished, not without the cognizance of Perseus, by the hand of an assassin. The most considerable of the whole, Genthius the son and heir of Pleuratus, was, like his father, nominally in alliance with Rome; but the ambassadors of Issa, a Greek town on one of the Dalmatian islands, informed the senate, that Perseus had a secret understanding with the young, weak, and drunken prince, and that the envoys of Genthius served as spies for Perseus in Rome.


In the regions on the east of Macedonia towards the lower Danube the most powerful of the Thracian chieftains, the brave and sagacious Cotys, prince of the Odrysians and ruler of all eastern Thrace from the Macedonian frontier on the Hebrus (Maritza) down to the fringe of coast covered with Greek towns, was in the closest alliance with Perseus. Of the other minor chiefs who in that quarter took part with Rome, one, Abrupolis prince of the Sagaei, was, in consequence of a predatory expedition directed against Amphipolis on the Strymon, defeated by Perseus and driven out of the country. From these regions Philip had drawn numerous colonists, and mercenaries were to be had there at any time and in any number.

Greek National Party

Among the unhappy nation of the Hellenes Philip and Perseus had, long before declaring war against Rome carried on a lively double system of proselytizing, attempting to gain over to the side of Macedonia on the one hand the national, and on the other—if we may be permitted the expression—the communistic, party. As a matter of course, the whole national party among the Asiatic as well as the European Greeks was now at heart Macedonian; not on account of isolated unrighteous acts on the part of the Roman deliverers, but because the restoration of Hellenic nationality by a foreign power involved a contradiction in terms, and now, when it was in truth too late, every one perceived that the most detestable form of Macedonian rule was less fraught with evil for Greece than a free constitution springing from the noblest intentions of honourable foreigners. That the most able and upright men throughout Greece should be opposed to Rome was to be expected; the venal aristocracy alone was favourable to the Romans, and here and there an isolated man of worth, who, unlike the great majority, was under no delusion as to the circumstances and the future of the nation. This was most painfully felt by Eumenes of Pergamus, the main upholder of that extraneous freedom among the Greeks. In vain he treated the cities subject to him with every sort of consideration; in vain he sued for the favour of the communities and diets by fair- sounding words and still better-sounding gold; he had to learn that his presents were declined, and that all the statues that had formerly been erected to him were broken in pieces and the honorary tablets were melted down, in accordance with a decree of the diet, simultaneously throughout the Peloponnesus (584). The name of Perseus was on all lips; even the states that formerly were most decidedly anti-Macedonian, such as the Achaeans, deliberated as to the cancelling of the laws directed against Macedonia; Byzantium, although situated within the kingdom of Pergamus, sought and obtained protection and a garrison against the Thracians not from Eumenes, but from Perseus, and in like manner Lampsacus on the Hellespont joined the Macedonian: the powerful and prudent Rhodians escorted the Syrian bride of king Perseus from Antioch with their whole magnificent war- fleet—for the Syrian war-vessels were not allowed to appear in the Aegean—and returned home highly honoured and furnished with rich presents, more especially with wood for shipbuilding; commissioners from the Asiatic cities, and consequently subjects of Eumenes, held secret conferences with Macedonian deputies in Samothrace. That sending of the Rhodian war-fleet had at least the aspect of a demonstration; and such, certainly, was the object of king Perseus, when he exhibited himself and all his army before the eyes of the Hellenes under pretext of performing a religious ceremony at Delphi. That the king should appeal to the support of this national partisanship in the impending war, was only natural. But it was wrong in him to take advantage of the fearful economic disorganization of Greece for the purpose of attaching to Macedonia all those who desired a revolution in matters of property and of debt. It is difficult to form any adequate idea of the unparalleled extent to which the commonwealths as well as individuals in European Greece—excepting the Peloponnesus, which was in a somewhat better position in this respect —were involved in debt. Instances occurred of one city attacking and pillaging another merely to get money—the Athenians, for example, thus attacked Oropus—and among the Aetolians, Perrhaebians, and Thessalians formal battles took place between those that had property and those that had none. Under such circumstances the worst outrages were perpetrated as a matter of course; among the Aetolians, for instance, a general amnesty was proclaimed and a new public peace was made up solely for the purpose of entrapping and putting to death a number of emigrants. The Romans attempted to mediate; but their envoys returned without success, and announced that both parties were equally bad and that their animosities were not to be restrained. In this case there was, in fact, no longer other help than the officer and the executioner; sentimental Hellenism began to be as repulsive as from the first it had been ridiculous. Yet king Perseus sought to gain the support of this party, if it deserve to be called such—of people who had nothing, and least of all an honourable name, to lose —and not only issued edicts in favour of Macedonian bankrupts, but also caused placards to be put up at Larisa, Delphi, and Delos, which summoned all Greeks that were exiled on account of political or other offences or on account of their debts to come to Macedonia and to look for full restitution of their former honours and estates. As may easily be supposed, they came; the social revolution smouldering throughout northern Greece now broke out into open flame, and the national-social party there sent to Perseus for help. If Hellenic nationality was to be saved only by such means, the question might well be asked, with all respect for Sophocles and Phidias, whether the object was worth the cost.

Rupture with Perseus

The senate saw that it had delayed too long already, and that it was time to put an end to such proceedings. The expulsion of the Thracian chieftain Abrupolis who was in alliance with the Romans, and the alliances of Macedonia with the Byzantines, Aetolians, and part of the Boeotian cities, were equally violations of the peace of 557, and sufficed for the official war-manifesto: the real ground of war was that Macedonia was seeking to convert her formal sovereignty into a real one, and to supplant Rome in the protectorate of the Hellenes. As early as 581 the Roman envoys at the Achaean diet stated pretty plainly, that an alliance with Perseus was equivalent to casting off the alliance of Rome. In 582 king Eumenes came in person to Rome with a long list of grievances and laid open to the senate the whole situation of affairs; upon which the senate unexpectedly in a secret sitting resolved on an immediate declaration of war, and furnished the landing-places in Epirus with garrisons. For the sake of form an embassy was sent to Macedonia, but its message was of such a nature that Perseus, perceiving that he could not recede, replied that he was ready to conclude with Rome a new alliance on really equal terms, but that he looked upon the treaty of 557 as cancelled; and he bade the envoys leave the kingdom within three days. Thus war was practically declared.

This was in the autumn of 582. Perseus, had he wished, might have occupied all Greece and brought the Macedonian party everywhere to the helm, and he might perhaps have crushed the Roman division of 5000 men stationed under Gnaeus Sicinius at Apollonia and have disputed the landing of the Romans. But the king, who already began to tremble at the serious aspect of affairs, entered into discussions with his guest-friend the consular Quintus Marcius Philippus, as to the frivolousness of the Roman declaration of war, and allowed himself to be thereby induced to postpone the attack and once more to make an effort for peace with Rome: to which the senate, as might have been expected, only replied by the dismissal of all Macedonians from Italy and the embarkation of the legions. Senators of the older school no doubt censured the "new wisdom" of their colleague, and his un-Roman artifice; but the object was gained and the winter passed away without any movement on the part of Perseus. The Romati diplomatists made all the more zealous use of the interval to deprive Perseus of any support in Greece. They were sure of the Achaeans. Even the patriotic party among them—who had neither agreed with those social movements, nor had soared higher than the longing after a prudent neutrality—had no idea of throwing themselves into the arms of Perseus; and, besides, the opposition party there had now been brought by Roman influence to the helm, and attached itself absolutely to Rome. The Aetolian league had doubtless asked aid from Perseus in its internal troubles; but the new strategus, Lyciscus, chosen under the eyes of the Roman ambassadors, was more of a Roman partisan than the Romans themselves. Among the Thessalians also the Roman party retained the ascendency. Even the Boeotians, old partisans as they were of Macedonia, and sunk in the utmost financial disorder, had not in their collective capacity declared openly for Perseus; nevertheless at least three of their cities, Thisbae, Haliartus and Coronea, had of their own accord entered into engagements with him. When on the complaint of the Roman envoy the government of the Boeotian confederacy communicated to him the position of things, he declared that it would best appear which cities adhered to Rome, and which did not, if they would severally pronounce their decision in his presence; and thereupon the Boeotian confederacy fell at once to pieces. It is not true that the great structure of Epaminondas was destroyed by the Romans; it actually collapsed before they touched it, and thus indeed became the prelude to the dissolution of the other still more firmly consolidated leagues of Greek cities.(3) With the forces of the Boeotian towns friendly to Rome the Roman envoy Publius Lentulus laid siege to Haliartus, even before the Roman fleet appeared in the Aegean.

Preparations for War

Chalcis was occupied with Achaean, and the province of Orestis with Epirot, forces: the fortresses of the Dassaretae and Illyrians on the west frontier of Macedonia were occupied by the troops of Gnaeus Sicinius; and as soon as the navigation was resumed, Larisa received a garrison of 2000 men. Perseus during all this remained inactive and had not a foot's breadth of land beyond his own territory, when in the spring, or according to the official calendar in June, of 583, the Roman legions landed on the west coast. It is doubtful whether Perseus would have found allies of any mark, even had he shown as much energy as he displayed remissness; but, as circumstances stood, he remained of course completely isolated, and those prolonged attempts at proselytism led, for the time at least, to no result. Carthage, Genthius of Illyria, Rhodes and the free cities of Asia Minor, and even Byzantium hitherto so very friendly with Perseus, offered to the Romans vessels of war; which these, however, declined. Eumenes put his land army and his ships on a war footing. Ariarathes king of Cappadocia sent hostages, unsolicited, to Rome. The brother-in-law of Perseus, Prusias II. king of Bithynia, remained neutral. No one stirred in all Greece. Antiochus IV. king of Syria, designated in court style "the god, the brilliant bringer of victory," to distinguish him from his father the "Great," bestirred himself, but only to wrest the Syrian coast during this war from the entirely impotent Egypt.

Beginning of the War

But, though Perseus stood almost alone, he was no contemptible antagonist. His army numbered 43,000 men; of these 21,000 were phalangites, and 4000 Macedonian and Thracian cavalry; the rest were chiefly mercenaries. The whole force of the Romans in Greece amounted to between 30,000 and 40,000 Italian troops, besides more than 10,000 men belonging to Numidian, Ligurian, Greek, Cretan, and especially Pergamene contingents. To these was added the fleet, which numbered only 40 decked vessels, as there was no fleet of the enemy to oppose it—Perseus, who had been prohibited from building ships of war by the treaty with Rome, was only now erecting docks at Thessalonica—but it had on board 10,000 troops, as it was destined chiefly to co-operate in sieges. The fleet was commanded by Gaius Lucretius, the land army by the consul Publius Licinius Crassus.

The Romans Invade Thessaly

The consul left a strong division in Illyria to harass Macedonia from the west, while with the main force he started, as usual, from Apollonia for Thessaly. Perseus did not think of disturbing their arduous march, but contented himself with advancing into Perrhaebia and occupying the nearest fortresses. He awaited the enemy at Ossa, and not far from Larisa the first conflict took place between the cavalry and light troops on both sides. The Romans were decidedly beaten. Cotys with the Thracian horse had defeated and broken the Italian, and Perseus with his Macedonian horse the Greek, cavalry; the Romans had 2000 foot and 200 horsemen killed, and 600 horsemen made prisoners, and had to deem themselves fortunate in being allowed to cross the Peneius without hindrance. Perseus employed the victory to ask peace on the same terms which Philip had obtained: he was ready even to pay the same sum. The Romans refused his request: they never concluded peace after a defeat, and in this case the conclusion of peace would certainly have involved as a consequence the loss of Greece.

Their Lax and Unsuccessful Management of the War

The wretched Roman commander, however, knew not how or where to attack; the army marched to and fro in Thessaly, without accomplishing anything of importance. Perseus might have assumed the offensive; he saw that the Romans were badly led and dilatory; the news had passed like wildfire through Greece, that the Greek army had been brilliantly victorious in the first engagement; a second victory might lead to a general rising of the patriot party, and, by commencing a guerilla warfare, might produce incalculable results. But Perseus, while a good soldier, was not a general like his father; he had made his preparations for a defensive war, and, when things took a different turn, he felt himself as it were paralyzed. He made an unimportant success, which the Romans obtained in a second cavalry combai near Phalanna, a pretext for reverting, as is the habit of narrow and obstinate minds, to his first plan and evacuating Thessaly. This was of course equivalent to renouncing all idea of a Hellenic insurrection: what might have been attained by a different course was shown by the fact that, notwithstanding what had occurred, the Epirots changed sides. Thenceforth nothing serious was accomplished on either side. Perseus subdued king Genthius, chastised the Dardani, and, by means of Cotys, expelled from Thrace the Thracians friendly to Rome and the Pergamene troops. On the other hand the western Roman army took some Illyrian towns, and the consul busied himself in clearing Thessaly of the Macedonian garrisons and making sure of the turbulent Aetolians and Acarnanians by occupying Ambracia. But the heroic courage of the Romans was most severely felt by the unfortunate Boeotian towns which took part with Perseus; the inhabitants as well of Thisbae, which surrendered without resistance as soon as the Roman admiral Gaius Lucretius appeared before the city, as of Haliartus, which closed its gates against him and had to be taken by storm, were sold by him into slavery; Corcnea was treated in the same manner by the consul Crassus in spite even of its capitulation. Never had a Roman army exhibited such wretched discipline as the force under these commanders. They had so disorganized the army that, even in the next campaign of 584, the new consul Aulus Hostilius could not think of undertaking anything serious, especially as the new admiral Lucius Hortensius showed himself to be as incapable and unprincipled as his predecessor. The fleet visited the towns on the Thracian coast without result. The western army under Appius Claudius, whose headquarters were at Lychnidus in the territory of the Dassaretae, sustained one defeat after another: after an expedition to Macedonia had been utterly unsuccessful, the king in turn towards the beginning of winter assumed the aggressive with the troops which were no longer needed on the south frontier in consequence of the deep snow blocking up all the passes, took from Appius numerous townships and a multitude of prisoners, and entered into connections with king Genthius; he was able in fact to attempt an invasion of Aetolia, while Appius allowed himself to be once more defeated in Epirus by the garrison of a fortress which he had vainly besieged. The Roman main army made two attempts to penetrate into Macedonia: first, ovei the Cambunian mountains, and then through the Thessalian passes; but they were negligently planned, and both were repulsed by Perseus.

Abuses in the Army

The consul employed himself chiefly in the reorganization of the army —a work which was above all things needful, but which required a sterner man and an officer of greater mark. Discharges and furloughs might be bought, and therefore the divisions were never up to their full numbers; the men were put into quarters in summer, and, as the officers plundered on a large, the common soldiers plundered on a small, scale. Friendly peoples were subjected to the most shameful suspicions: for instance, the blame of the disgraceful defeat at Larisa was imputed to the pretended treachery of the Aetolian cavalry, and, what was hitherto unprecedented, its officers were sent to be criminally tried at Rome; and the Molossians in Epirus were forced by false suspicions into actual revolt. The allied states had war- contributions imposed upon them as if they had been conquered, and if they appealed to the Roman senate, their citizens were executed or sold into slavery: this was done, for instance, at Abdera, and similar outrages were committed at Chalcis. The senate interfered very earnestly:(4) it enjoined the liberation of the unfortunate Coroneans and Abderites, and forbade the Roman magistrates to ask contributions from the allies without its leave. Gaius Lucretius was unanimously condemned by the burgesses. But such steps could not alter the fact, that the military result of these first two campaigns had been null, while the political result had been a foul stain on the Romans, whose extraordinary successes in the east were based in no small degree on their reputation for moral purity and solidity as compared with the scandals of Hellenic administration. Had Philip commanded instead of Perseus, the war would presumably have begun with the destruction of the Roman army and the defection of most of the Hellenes; but Rome was fortunate enough to be constantly outstripped in blunders by her antagonists. Perseus was content with entrenching himself in Macedonia—which towards the south and west is a true mountain- fortress—as in a beleaguered town.

Marcius Enters Macedonia through the Pass of Tempe
The Armies on the Elpius

The third commander-in-chief also, whom Rome sent to Macedonia in 585, Quintus Marcius Philippus, that already-mentioned upright guest-friend of the king, was not at all equal to his far from easy task. He was ambitious and enterprising, but a bad officer. His hazardous venture of crossing Olympus by the pass of Lapathus westward of Tempe, leaving behind one division to face the garrison of the pass, and making his way with his main force through impracticable denies to Heracleum, is not excused by the fact of its success. Not only might a handful of resolute men have blocked the route, in which case retreat was out of the question; but even after the passage, when he stood with the Macedonian main force in front and the strongly-fortified mountain- fortresses of Tempe and Lapathus behind him, wedged into a narrow plain on the shore and without supplies or the possibility of foraging for them, his position was no less desperate than when, in his first consulate, he had allowed himself to be similarly surrounded in the Ligurian defiles which thenceforth bore his name. But as an accident saved him then, so the incapacity of Perseus saved him now. As if he could not comprehend the idea of defending himself against the Romans otherwise than by blocking the passes, he strangely gave himself over as lost as soon as he saw the Romans on the Macedonian side of them, fled in all haste to Pydna, and ordered his ships to be burnt and his treasures to be sunk. But even this voluntary retreat of the Macedonian army did not rescue the consul from his painful position. He advanced indeed without hindrance, but was obliged after four days' march to turn back for want of provisions; and, when the king came to his senses and returned in all haste to resume the position which he had abandoned, the Roman army would have been in great danger, had not the impregnable Tempe surrendered at the right moment and handed over its rich stores to the enemy. The communication with the south was by this means secured to the Roman army; but Perseus had strongly barricaded himself in his former well-chosen position on the bank of the little river Elpius, and there checked the farther advance of the Romans. So the Roman army remained, during the rest of the summer and the winter, hemmed in in the farthest corner of Thessaly; and, while the crossing of the passes was certainly a success and the first substantial one in the war, it was due not to the ability of the Roman, but to the blundering of the Macedonian, general. The Roman fleet in vain attempted the capture of Demetrias, and performed no exploit whatever. The light ships of Perseus boldly cruised between the Cyclades, protected the corn-vessels destined for Macedonia, and attacked the transports of the enemy. With the western army matters were still worse: Appius Claudius could do nothing with his weakened division, and the contingent which he asked from Achaia was prevented from coming to him by the jealousy of the consul. Moreover, Genthius had allowed himself to be bribed by Perseus with the promise of a great sum of money to break with Rome, and to imprison the Roman envoys; whereupon the frugal king deemed it superfluous to pay the money which he had promised, since Genthius was now forsooth compelled, independently of it, to substitute an attitude of decided hostility to Rome for the ambiguous position which he had hitherto maintained. Accordingly the Romans had a further petty war by the side of the great one, which had already lasted three years. In fact had Perseus been able to part with his money, he might easily have aroused enemies still more dangerous to the Romans. A Celtic host under Clondicus—10,000 horsemen and as many infantry—offered to take service with him in Macedonia itself; but they could not agree as to the pay. In Hellas too there was such a ferment that a guerilla warfare might easily have been kindled with a little dexterity and a full exchequer; but, as Perseus had no desire to give and the Greeks did nothing gratuitously, the land remained quiet.


At length the Romans resolved to send the right man to Greece. This was Lucius Aemilius Paullus, son of the consul of the same name that fell at Cannae; a man of the old nobility but of humble means, and therefore not so successful in the comitia as on the battle-field, where he had remarkably distinguished himself in Spain and still more so in Liguria. The people elected him for the second time consul in the year 586 on account of his merits—a course which was at that time rare and exceptional. He was in all respects the right man: an excellent general of the old school, strict as respected both himself and his troops, and, notwithstanding his sixty years, still hale and vigorous; an incorruptible magistrate—"one of the few Romans of that age, to whom one could not offer money," as a contemporary says of him—and a man of Hellenic culture, who, even when commander-in-chief, embraced the opportunity of travelling through Greece to inspect its works of art.

Perseus Is Driven Back to Pydna
Battle of Pydna
Perseus Taken Prisoner

As soon as the new general arrived in the camp at Heracleum, he gave orders for the ill-guarded pass at Pythium to be surprised by Publius Nasica, while skirmishes between the outposts in the channel of the river Elpius occupied the attention of the Macedonians; the enemy was thus turned, and was obliged to retreat to Pydna. There on the Roman 4th of September, 586, or on the 22nd of June of the Julian calendar —an eclipse of the moon, which a scientific Roman officer announced beforehand to the army that it might not be regarded as a bad omen, affords in this case the means of determining the date—the outposts accidentally fell into conflict as they were watering their horses after midday; and both sides determined at once to give the battle, which it was originally intended to postpone till the following day. Passing through the ranks in person, without helmet or shield, the grey-headed Roman general arranged his men. Scarce were they in position, when the formidable phalanx assailed them; the general himself, who had witnessed many a hard fight, afterwards acknowledged that he had trembled. The Roman vanguard dispersed; a Paelignian cohort was overthrown and almost annihilated; the legions themselves hurriedly retreated till they reached a hill close upon the Roman camp. Here the fortune of the day changed. The uneven ground and the hurried pursuit had disordered the ranks of the phalanx; the Romans in single cohorts entered at every gap, and attacked it on the flanks and in rear; the Macedonian cavalry which alone could have rendered aid looked calmly on, and soon fled in a body, the king among the foremost; and thus the fate of Macedonia was decided in less than an hour. The 3000 select phalangites allowed themselves to be cut down to the last man; it was as if the phalanx, which fought its last great battle at Pydna, had itself wished to perish there. The overthrow was fearful; 20,000 Macedonians lay on the field of battle, 11,000 were prisoners. The war was at an end, on the fifteenth day after Paullus had assumed the command; all Macedonia submitted in two days. The king fled with his gold—he still had more than 6000 talents (1,460,000 pounds) in his chest—to Samothrace, accompanied by a few faithful attendants. But he himself put to death one of these, Evander of Crete, who was to be called to account as instigator of the attempted assassination of Eumenes; and then the king's pages and his last comrades also deserted him. For a moment he hoped that the right of asylum would protect him; but he himself perceived that he was clinging to a straw. An attempt to take flight to Cotys failed. So he wrote to the consul; but the letter was not received, because he had designated himself in it as king. He recognized his fate, and surrendered to the Romans at discretion with his children and his treasures, pusillanimous and weeping so as to disgust even his conquerors. With a grave satisfaction, and with thoughts turning rather on the mutability of fortune than on his own present success, the consul received the most illustrious captive whom Roman general had ever brought home. Perseus died a few years after, as a state prisoner, at Alba on the Fucine lake;(5) his son in after years earned a living in the same Italian country town as a clerk.

Thus perished the empire of Alexander the Great, which had subdued and
Hellenized the east, 144 years after its founder's death.

Defeat and Capture of Genthius

That the tragedy, moreover, might not be without its accompaniment of farce, at the same time the war against "king" Genthius of Illyria was also begun and ended by the praetor Lucius Anicius within thirty days. The piratical fleet was taken, the capital Scodra was captured, and the two kings, the heir of Alexander the Great and the heir of Pleuratus, entered Rome side by side as prisoners.

Macedonia Broken Up

The senate had resolved that the peril, which the unseasonable gentleness of Flamininus had brought on Rome, should not recur. Macedonia was abolished. In the conference at Amphipolis on the Strymon the Roman commission ordained that the compact, thoroughly monarchical, single state should be broken up into four republican- federative leagues moulded on the system of the Greek confederacies, viz. that of Amphipolis in the eastern regions, that of Thessalonica with the Chalcidian peninsula, that of Pella on the frontiers of Thessaly, and that of Pelagonia in the interior. Intermarriages between persons belonging to different confederacies were to be invalid, and no one might be a freeholder in more than one of them. All royal officials, as well as their grown-up sons, were obliged to leave the country and resort to Italy on pain of death; the Romans still dreaded, and with reason, the throbbings of the ancient loyalty. The law of the land and the former constitution otherwise remained in force; the magistrates were of course nominated by election in each community, and the power in the communities as well as in the confederacies was placed in the hands of the upper class. The royal domains and royalties were not granted to the confederacies, and these were specially prohibited from working the gold and silvei mines, a chief source of the national wealth; but in 596 they were again permitted to work at least the silver-mines.(6) The import of salt, and the export of timber for shipbuilding, were prohibited. The land- tax hitherto paid to the king ceased, and the confederacies and communities were left to tax themselves; but these had to pay to Rome half of the former land-tax, according to a rate fixed once for all, amounting in all to 100 talents annually (24,000 pounds).(7) The whole land was for ever disarmed, and the fortress of Demetrias was razed; on the northern frontier alone a chain of posts was to be retained to guard against the incursions of the barbarians. Of the arms given up, the copper shields were sent to Rome, and the rest were burnt.

The Romans gained their object. The Macedonian land still on two occasions took up arms at the call of princes of the old reigning house; but otherwise from that time to the present day it has remained without a history.

Illyria Broken Up

Illyria was treated in a similar way. The kingdom of Genthius was split up into three small free states. There too the freeholders paid the half of the former land-tax to their new masters, with the exception of the towns, which had adhered to Rome and in return obtained exemption from land-tax—an exception, which there was no opportunity to make in the case of Macedonia. The Illyrian piratic fleet was confiscated, and presented to the more reputable Greek communities along that coast. The constant annoyances, which the Illyrians inflicted on the neighbours by their corsairs, were in this way put an end to, at least for a lengthened period.


Cotys in Thrace, who was difficult to be reached and might conveniently be used against Eumenes, obtained pardon and received back his captive son.

Thus the affairs of the north were settled, and Macedonia also was at last released from the yoke of monarchy—in fact Greece was more free than ever; a king no longer existed anywhere.

Humiliation of the Greeks in General
Course Pursued with Pergamus

But the Romans did not confine themselves to cutting the nerves and sinews of Macedonia. The senate resolved at once to render all the Hellenic states, friend and foe, for ever incapable of harm, and to reduce all of them alike to the same humble clientship. The course pursued may itself admit of justification; but the mode in which it was carried out in the case of the more powerful of the Greek client- states was unworthy of a great power, and showed that the epoch of the Fabii and the Scipios was at an end.

The state most affected by this change in the position of parties was the kingdom of the Attalids, which had been created and fostered by Rome to keep Macedonia in check, and which now, after the destruction of Macedonia, was forsooth no longer needed. It was not easy to find a tolerable pretext for depriving the prudent and considerate Eumenes of his privileged position, and allowing him to fall into disfavour. All at once, about the time when the Romans were encamped at Heracleum, strange reports were circulated regarding him—that he was in secret intercourse with Perseus; that his fleet had been suddenly, as it were, wafted away; that 500 talents had been offered for his non-participation in the campaign and 1500 for his mediation to procure peace, and that the agreement had only broken down through the avarice of Perseus. As to the Pergamene fleet, the king, after having paid his respects to the consul, went home with it at the same time that the Roman fleet went into winter quarters. The story about corruption was as certainly a fable as any newspaper canard of the present day; for that the rich, cunning, and consistent Attalid, who had primarily occasioned the breach between Rome and Macedonia by his journey in 582 and had been on that account wellnigh assassinated by the banditti of Perseus, should—at the moment when the real difficulties of a war, of whose final issue, moreover, he could never have had any serious doubt, were overcome—have sold to the instigator of the murder his share in the spoil for a few talents, and should have perilled the work of long years for so pitiful a consideration, may be set down not merely as a fabrication, but as a very silly one. That no proof was found either in the papers of Perseus or elsewhere, is sufficiently certain; for even the Romans did not venture to express those suspicions aloud, But they gained their object. Their wishes appeared in the behaviour of the Roman grandees towards Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, who had commanded the Pergamene auxiliary troops in Greece. Their brave and faithful comrade was received in Rome with open arms and invited to ask not for his brother, but for himself—the senate would be glad to give him a kingdom of his own. Attalus asked nothing but Aenus and Maronea. The senate thought that this was only a preliminary request, and granted it with great politeness. But when he took his departure without having made any further demands, and the senate came to perceive that the reigning family in Pergamus did not live on such terms with each other as were customary in princely houses, Aenus and Maronea were declared free cities. The Pergamenes obtained not a foot's breadth of territory out of the spoil of Macedonia; if after the victory over Antiochus the Romans had still saved forms as respected Philip, they were now disposed to hurt and to humiliate. About this time the senate appears to have declared Pamphylia, for the possession of which Eumenes and Antiochus had hitherto contended, independent. What was of more importance, the Galatians—who had been substantially in the power of Eumenes, ever since he had expelled the king of Pontus by force of arms from Caiatia and had on making peace extorted from him the promise that he would maintain no further communication with the Galatian princes—now, reckoning beyond doubt on the variance that had taken place between Eumenes and the Romans, if not directly instigated by the latter, rose against Eumenes, overran his kingdom, and brought him into great danger. Eumenes besought the mediation of the Romans; the Roman envoy declared his readiness to mediate, but thought it better that Attalus, who commanded the Pergamene army, should not accompany him lest the barbarians might be put into ill humour. Singularly enough, he accomplished nothing; in fact, he told on his return that his mediation had only exasperated the barbarians. No long time elapsed before the independence of the Galatians was expressly recognized and guaranteed by the senate. Eumenes determined to proceed to Rome in person, and to plead his cause in the senate. But the latter, as if troubled by an evil conscience, suddenly decreed that in future kings should not be allowed to come to Rome; and despatched a quaestor to meet him at Brundisium, to lay before him this decree of the senate, to ask him what he wanted, and to hint to him that they would be glad to see his speedy departure. The king was long silent; at length he said that he desired nothing farther, and re-embarked. He saw how matters stood: the epoch of half-powerful and half-free alliance was at an end; that of impotent subjection began.

Humiliation of Rhodes

Similar treatment befell the Rhodians. They had a singularly privileged position: their relation to Rome assumed the form not of symmachy properly so called, but of friendly equality; it did not prevent them from entering into alliances of any kind, and did not compel them to supply the Romans with a contingent on demand. This very circumstance was presumably the real reason why their good understanding with Rome had already for some time been impaired. The first dissensions with Rome had arisen in consequence of the rising of the Lycians, who were handed over to Rhodes after the defeat of Antiochus, against their oppressors who had (576) cruelly reduced them to slavery as revolted subjects; the Lycians, however, asserted that they were not subjects but allies of the Rhodians, and prevailed with this plea in the Roman senate, which was invited to settle the doubtful meaning of the instrument of peace. But in this result a justifiable sympathy with the victims of grievous oppression had perhaps the chief share; at least nothing further was done on the part of the Romans, who left this as well as other Hellenic quarrels to take their course. When the war with Perseus broke out, the Rhodians, like all other sensible Greeks, viewed it with regret, and blamed Eumenes in particular as the instigator of it, so that his festal embassy was not even permitted to be present at the festival of Helios in Rhodes. But this did not prevent them from adhering to Rome and keeping the Macedonian party, which existed in Rhodes as well as everywhere else, aloof from the helm of affairs. The permission given to them in 585 to export grain from Sicily shows the continuance of the good understanding with Rome. All of a sudden, shortly before the battle of Pydna, Rhodian envoys appeared at the Roman head-quarters and in the Roman senate, announcing that the Rhodians would no longer tolerate this war which was injurious to their Macedonian traffic and their revenue from port-dues, that they were disposed themselves to declare war against the party which should refuse to make peace, and that with this view they had already concluded an alliance with Crete and with the Asiatic cities. Many caprices are possible in a republic governed by primary assemblies; but this insane intervention of a commercial city—which can only have been resolved on after the fall of the pass of Tempe was known at Rhodes—requires special explanation. The key to it is furnished by the well-attested account that the consul Quintus Marcius, that master of the "new-fashioned diplomacy," had in the camp at Heracleum (and therefore after the occupation of the pass of Tempe) loaded the Rhodian envoy Agepolis with civilities and made an underhand request to him to mediate a peace. Republican wrongheadedness and vanity did the rest; the Rhodians fancied that the Romans had given themselves up as lost; they were eager to play the part of mediator among four great powers at once; communications were entered into with Perseus; Rhodian envoys with Macedonian sympathies said more than they should have said; and they were caught. The senate, which doubtless was itself for the most part unaware of those intrigues, heard the strange announcement, as may be conceived, with indignation, and was glad of the favourable opportunity to humble the haughty mercantile city. A warlike praetor went even so far as to propose to the people a declaration of war against Rhodes. In vain the Rhodian ambassadors repeatedly on their knees adjured the senate to think of the friendship of a hundred and forty years rather than of the one offence; in vain they sent the heads of the Macedonian party to the scaffold or to Rome; in vain they sent a massive wreath of gold in token of their gratitude for the non- declaration of war. The upright Cato indeed showed that strictly the Rhodians had committed no offence and asked whether the Romans were desirous to undertake the punishment of wishes and thoughts, and whether they could blame the nations for being apprehensive that Rome might allow herself all license if she had no longer any one to fear? His words and warnings were in vain. The senate deprived the Rhodians of their possessions on the mainland, which yielded a yearly produce of 120 talents (29,000 pounds). Still heavier were the blows aimed at the Rhodian commerce. The very prohibition of the import of salt to, and of the export of shipbuilding timber from, Macedonia appears to have been directed against Rhodes. Rhodian commerce was still more directly affected by the erection of the free port at Delos; the Rhodian customs-dues, which hitherto had produced 1,000,000 drachmae (41,000 pounds) annually, sank in a very brief period to 150,000 drachmae (6180 pounds). Generally, the Rhodians were paralyzed in their freedom of action and in their liberal and bold commercial policy, and the state began to languish. Even the alliance asked for was at first refused, and was only renewed in 590 after urgent entreaties. The equally guilty but powerless Cretans escaped with a sharp rebuke.

Intervention in the Syro-Egyptian War

With Syria and Egypt the Romans could go to work more summarily. War had broken out between them; and Coelesyria and Palaestina formed once more the subject of dispute. According to the assertion of the Egyptians, those provinces had been ceded to Egypt on the marriage of the Syrian Cleopatra: this however the court of Babylon, which was in actual possession, disputed. Apparently the charging of her dowry on the taxes of the Coelesyrian cities gave occasion to the quarrel, and the Syrian side was in the right; the breaking out of the war was occasioned by the death of Cleopatra in 581, with which at latest the payments of revenue terminated. The war appears to have been begun by Egypt; but king Antiochus Epiphanes gladly embraced the opportunity of once more—and for the last time—endeavouring to achieve the traditional aim of the policy of the Seleucidae, the acquisition of Egypt, while the Romans were employed in Macedonia. Fortune seemed favourable to him. The king of Egypt at that time, Ptolemy VI, Philometor, the son of Cleopatra, had hardly passed the age of boyhood and had bad advisers; after a great victory on the Syro-Egyptian frontier Antiochus was able to advance into the territories of his nephew in the same year in which the legions landed in Greece (583), and soon had the person of the king in his power. Matters began to look as if Antiochus wished to possess himself of all Egypt in Philometor's name; Alexandria accordingly closed its gates against him, deposed Philometor, and nominated as king in his stead his younger brother, named Euergetes II, or the Fat. Disturbances in his own kingdom recalled the Syrian king from Egypt; when he returned, he found that the brothers had come to an understanding during his absence; and he then continued the war against both. Just as he lay before Alexandria, not long after the battle of Pydna (586), the Roman envoy Gaius Popillius, a harsh rude man, arrived, and intimated to him the command of the senate that he should restore all that he had conquered and should evacuate Egypt within a set term. Antiochus asked time for consideration; but the consular drew with his staff a circle round the king, and bade him declare his intentions before he stepped beyond the circle. Antiochus replied that he would comply; and marched off to his capital that he might there, in his character of "the god, the brilliant bringer of victory," celebrate in Roman fashion his conquest of Egypt and parody the triumph of Paullus.

Measures of Security in Greece

Egypt voluntarily submitted to the Roman protectorate; and thereupon the kings of Babylon also desisted from the last attempt to maintain their independence against Rome. As with Macedonia in the war waged by Perseus, the Seleucidae in the war regarding Coelesyria made a similar and similarly final effort to recover their former power; but it is a significant indication of the difference between the two kingdoms, that in the former case the legions, in the latter the abrupt language of a diplomatist, decided the controversy. In Greece itself, as the two Boeotian cities had already paid more than a sufficient penalty, the Molottians alone remained to be punished as allies of Perseus. Acting on secret orders from the senate, Paullus in one day gave up seventy townships in Epirus to plunder, and sold the inhabitants, 150,000 in number, into slavery. The Aetolians lost Amphipolis, and the Acarnanians Leucas, on account of their equivocal behaviour; whereas the Athenians, who continued to play the part of the begging poet in their own Aristophanes, not only obtained a gift of Delos and Lemnos, but were not ashamed even to petition for the deserted site of Haliartus, which was assigned to them accordingly. Thus something was done for the Muses; but more had to be done for justice. There was a Macedonian party in every city, and therefore trials for high treason began in all parts of Greece. Whoever had served in the army of Perseus was immediately executed, whoever was compromised by the papers of the king or the statements of political opponents who flocked to lodge informations, was despatched to Rome; the Achaean Callicrates and the Aetolian Lyciscus distinguished themselves in the trade of informers. In this way the more conspicuous patriots among the Thessalians, Aetolians, Acarnanians, Lesbians and so forth, were removed from their native land; and, in particular, more than a thousand Achaeans were thus disposed of —a step taken with the view not so much of prosecuting those who were carried off, as of silencing the childish opposition of the Hellenes.

To the Achaeans, who, as usual, were not content till they got the answer which they anticipated, the senate, wearied by constant requests for the commencement of the investigation, at length roundly declared that till further orders the persons concerned were to remain in Italy. There they were placed in country towns in the interior, and tolerably well treated; but attempts to escape were punished with death. The position of the former officials removed from Macedonia was, in all probability, similar. This expedient, violent as it was, was still, as things stood, the most lenient, and the enraged Greeks of the Roman party were far from content with the paucity of the executions. Lyciscus had accordingly deemed it proper, by way of preliminary, to have 500 of the leading men of the Aetolian patriotic party slain at the meeting of the diet; the Roman commission, which needed the man, suffered the deed to pass unpunished, and merely censured the employment of Roman soldiers in the execution of this Hellenic usage. We may presume, however, that the Romans instituted the system of deportation to Italy partly in order to prevent such horrors. As in Greece proper no power existed even of such importance as Rhodes or Pergamus, there was no need in its case for any further humiliation; the steps taken were taken only in the exercise of justice—in the Roman sense, no doubt, of that term—and for the prevention of the most scandalous and palpable outbreaks of party discord.

Rome and Her Dependencies

All the Hellenistic states had thus been completely subjected to the protectorate of Rome, and the whole empire of Alexander the Great had fallen to the Roman commonwealth just as if the city had inherited it from his heirs. From all sides kings and ambassadors flocked to Rome to congratulate her; and they showed that fawning is never more abject than when kings are in the antechamber. King Massinissa, who only desisted from presenting himself in person on being expressly prohibited from doing so, ordered his son to declare that he regarded himself as merely the beneficiary, and the Romans as the true proprietors, of his kingdom, and that he would always be content with what they were willing to leave to him. There was at least truth in this. But Prusias king of Bithynia, who had to atone for his neutrality, bore off the palm in this contest of flattery; he fell on his face when he was conducted into the senate, and did homage to "the delivering gods." As he was so thoroughly contemptible, Polybius tells us, they gave him a polite reply, and presented him with the fleet of Perseus.

The moment was at least well chosen for such acts of homage. Polybius dates from the battle of Pydna the full establishment of the universal empire of Rome. It was in fact the last battle in which a civilized state confronted Rome in the field on a footing of equality with her as a great power; all subsequent struggles were rebellions or wars with peoples beyond the pale of the Romano-Greek civilization —with barbarians, as they were called. The whole civilized world thenceforth recognized in the Roman senate the supreme tribunal, whose commissions decided in the last resort between kings and nations; and to acquire its language and manners foreign princes and youths of quality resided in Rome. A clear and earnest attempt to get rid of this dominion was in reality made only once—by the great Mithradates of Pontus. The battle of Pydna, moreover, marks the last occasion on which the senate still adhered to the state-maxim that they should, if possible, hold no possessions and maintain no garrisons beyond the Italian seas, but should keep the numerous states dependent on them in order by a mere political supremacy. The aim of their policy was that these states should neither decline into utter weakness and anarchy, as had nevertheless happened in Greece nor emerge out of their half- free position into complete independence, as Macedonia had attempted to do not without success. No state was to be allowed utterly to perish, but no one was to be permitted to stand on its own resources. Accordingly the vanquished foe held at least an equal, often a better, position with the Roman diplomatists than the faithful ally; and, while a defeated opponent was reinstated, those who attempted to reinstate themselves were abased—as the Aetolians, Macedonia after the Asiatic war, Rhodes, and Pergamus learned by experience. But not only did this part of protector soon prove as irksome to the masters as to the servants; the Roman protectorate, with its ungrateful Sisyphian toil that continually needed to be begun afresh, showed itself to be intrinsically untenable. Indications of a change of system, and of an increasing disinclination on the part of Rome to tolerate by its side intermediate states even in such independence as was possible for them, were very clearly given in the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy after the battle of Pydna, The more and more frequent and more and more unavoidable intervention in the internal affairs of the petty Greek states through their misgovernment and their political and social anarchy; the disarming of Macedonia, where the northern frontier at any rate urgently required a defence different from that of mere posts; and, lastly, the introduction of the payment of land-tax to Rome from Macedonia and Illyria, were so many symptoms of the approaching conversion of the client states into subjects of Rome.

The Italian and Extra-Italian Policy of Rome

If, in conclusion, we glance back at the career of Rome from the union of Italy to the dismemberment of Macedonia, the universal empire of Rome, far from appearing as a gigantic plan contrived and carried out by an insatiable thirst for territorial aggrandizement, appears to have been a result which forced itself on the Roman government without, and even in opposition to, its wish. It is true that the former view naturally suggests itself—Sallust is right when he makes Mithradates say that the wars of Rome with tribes, cities, and kings originated in one and the same prime cause, the insatiable longing after dominion and riches; but it is an error to give forth this judgment—influenced by passion and the event—as a historical fact. It is evident to every one whose observation is not superficial, that the Roman government during this whole period wished and desired nothing but the sovereignty of Italy; that they were simply desirous not to have too powerful neighbours alongside of them; and that—not out of humanity towards the vanquished, but from the very sound view that they ought not to suffer the kernel of their empire to be stifled by the shell—they earnestly opposed the introduction first of Africa, then of Greece, and lastly of Asia into the sphere of the Roman protectorate, till circumstances in each case compelled, or at least suggested with irresistible force, the extension of that sphere. The Romans always asserted that they did not pursue a policy of conquest, and that they were always the party assailed; and this was something more, at any rate, than a mere phrase. They were in fact driven to all their great wars with the exception of that concerning Sicily—to those with Hannibal and Antiochus, no less than to those with Philip and Perseus—either by a direct aggression or by an unparalleled disturbance of the existing political relations; and hence they were ordinarily taken by surprise on their outbreak. That they did not after victory exhibit the moderation which they ought to have done in the interest more especially of Italy itself; that the retention of Spain, for instance, the undertaking of the guardianship of Africa, and above all the half-fanciful scheme of bringing liberty everywhere to the Greeks, were in the light of Italian policy grave errors, is sufficiently clear. But the causes of these errors were, on the one hand a blind dread of Carthage, on the other a still blinder enthusiasm for Hellenic liberty; so little did the Romans exhibit during this period the lust of conquest, that they, on the contrary, displayed a very judicious dread of it. The policy of Rome throughout was not projected by a single mightly intellect and bequeathed traditionally from generation to generation; it was the policy of a very able but somewhat narrow-minded deliberative assembly, which had far too little power of grand combination, and far too much of a right instinct for the preservation of its own commonwealth, to devise projects in the spirit of a Caesar or a Napoleon. The universal empire of Rome had its ultimate ground in the political development of antiquity in general. The ancient world knew nothing of a balance of power among nations; and therefore every nation which had attained internal unity strove either directly to subdue its neighbors, as did the Hellenic states, or at any rate to render them innocuous, as Rome did,—an effort, it is true, which also issued ultimately in subjugation. Egypt was perhaps the only great power in antiquity which seriously pursued a system of equilibrium; on the opposite system Seleucus and Antigonous, Hannibal and Scipio, came into collision. And, if it seems to us sad that all the other richly- endowed and highly-developed nations of antiquity had to perish in order to enrich a single one out of the whole, and that all in the long run appear to have only arisen to contribute to the greatness of Italy and to the decay involved in that greatness, yet historical justice must acknowledge that this result was not produced by the military superiority of the legion over the phalanx, but was the necessary development of the international relations of antiquity generally-so that the issue was not decided by provoking chance, but was the fulfillment of an unchangeable, and therefore endurable, destiny.

Notes for Chapter X

1. —Ide gar prasde panth alion ammi dedukein— (i. 102).

2. II. VII. Last Struggles in Italy

3. The legal dissolution of the Boeotian confederacy, however, took place not at this time, but only after the destruction of Corinth (Pausan. vii. 14, 4; xvi. 6).

4. The recently discovered decree of the senate of 9th Oct. 584, which regulates the legal relations of Thisbae (Ephemeris epigraphica, 1872, p. 278, fig.; Mitth. d. arch. Inst., in Athen, iv. 235, fig.), gives a clear insight into these relations.

5. The story, that the Romans, in order at once to keep the promise which had guaranteed his life and to take vengeance on him, put him to death by depriving him of sleep, is certainly a fable.

6. The statement of Cassiodorus, that the Macedonian mines were reopened in 596, receives its more exact interpretation by means of the coins. No gold coins of the four Macedonias are extant; either therefore the gold-mines remained closed, or the gold extracted was converted into bars. On the other hand there certainly exist silver coins of Macedonia -prima- (Amphipolis) in which district the silver- mines were situated. For the brief period, during which they must have been struck (596-608), the number of them is remarkably great, and proves either that the mines were very energetically worked, or that the old royal money was recoined in large quantity.

7. The statement that the Macedonian commonwealth was "relieved of seignorial imposts and taxes" by the Romans (Polyb. xxxvii. 4) does not necessarily require us to assume a subsequent remission of these taxes: it is sufficient, for the explanation of Polybius' words, to assume that the hitherto seignorial tax now became a public one. The continuance of the constitution granted to the province of Macedonia by Paullus down to at least the Augustan age (Liv. xlv. 32; Justin, xxxiii. 2), would, it is true, be compatible also with the remission of the taxes.

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