Eumenes, King of Asia, makes heavy complaints and charges, in the senate, against Perseus, King of Macedonia. War declared against Perseus. Publius Licinius Crassus, the consul, to whom the conduct of the war is committed, leads an army into Macedonia; fights Perseus, unsuccessfully, in several small engagements, in Thessaly; at length, defeats him entirely near Phalanna. The senate appealed to by Masinissa and the Carthaginians, in a dispute concerning the bounds of their territories. A census held; the number of Roman citizens found to be two hundred and fifty-seven thousand two hundred and thirty-one. Successes against the Corsicans and Ligurians.
173.I. THE first business which Lucius Postumius Albinus and Marcus Popilius Lænas brought before the senate, was the distribution of the provinces; when Liguria was assigned the joint province of both, with directions that they should enlist new legions, each having two assigned him for the service of that province, and also ten thousand foot and six hundred horse, of the Latine confederates; and, as a supplement to the army in Spain, three thousand Roman foot and two hundred horse. Besides these, they were ordered to raise one thousand five hundred Roman foot, and one hundred horse; with which the prætor, to whose lot Sardinia should fall, might cross over to Corsica, and carry on the war there; and it was farther ordered, that, in the mean time, the former prætor, Marcus Atillius, should hold the government of that country. The prætors then cast lots for their provinces. Aulus Atillius Serranus obtained the city jurisdiction; Caius Cluvius Saxula, that between natives and foreigners; Numerius Fabius Buteo, Hither Spain; Marcus Matienus, Farther Spain; Marcus Furius Crassipes, Sicily; and Caius Cicereius, Sardinia. The senate resolved, that, before the magistrates went abroad, Licius Postumius should go into Campania, to fix the bounds between the lands, which were private property, and those which belonged to the public; for it was understood that individuals, by gradually extending their bounds, had taken possession of a very considerable share of the common lands. The consul had conceived a great aversion from the people of Præneste, because on his going thither formerly, in a private capacity, to offer sacrifice in the temple of Fortune, they had paid him no compliment either general or particular; for which reason, before he set out from Rome, he sent a letter to Præneste, ordering the chief magistrate to meet him, and to provide him lodging at the public expence; and, that, at his departure, cattle should be ready to carry his baggage. No consul before him ever put the allies to any trouble or expence whatever. To prevent any such exaction, those magistrates were furnished with mules, tents, and every other requisite for a campaign. They had private lodgings, in which they behaved with courtesy and kindness, and their houses at Rome were always open to their hosts with whom they used to lodge. Ambassadors indeed sent to any place, on a sudden emergeney, demanded each a single horse in the several towns through which their journey lay, but no other expence was ever imposed on the allies by the Roman magistrates. The resentment of the consul, which, even if well founded, ought not to have been exerted during his office, and the too modest, or too timid acquiescence of the Prænestines, gave to his successors, as if by an approved precedent, the privilege of laying on the confederates other such kinds of burdens, the weight of which was continually increased.
II. In the beginning of this year, the ambassadors, who had been sent to Ætolia and Macedonia, returned and reported, that “they had not been able to obtain an interview with Perseus, some of his court saying that he was abroad, others that he was sick; both of which were false pretences. Nevertheless, they clearly perceived that he would not long defer the commencement of hostilities. That in Ætolia, likewise, the dissensions grew daily more violent; and the leaders of the contending parties were not to be restrained by their authority.” As a war with Macedonia was daily expected, the senate resolved, that, before it broke out, all prodigies should be expiated, and the favour of the gods invoked, in such kind of supplications as should be found directed in the books of the fates. It was said that at Lanuvium the appearance of large fleets was seen in the air; that at Privernum black wool grew out of the ground; that in the territory of Veii, at Remens, a shower of stones fell, and that the whole Pomptine district was covered with clouds of locusts; also that in the Gallic province, where a plough was at work, fishes sprung up from under the earth as it was turned. The books of the fates were accordingly consulted, and the decemvirs directed both to what gods, and with what victims, sacrifices should be offered; that a supplication should be performed, in expiation of the prodigies; and also another, which had been vowed in the preceding year for the health of the people, with a solemn festival. Accordingly, sacrifices were offered agreeably to the written directions of the decemvirs.
III. In the same year, the temple of June Lacinia was uncovered. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, censor, in erecting a temple to Equestrian Fortune, which he had vowed during the Celtiberian war, was anxiously desirous that it should not be surpassed by any other at Rome, either in size or magnificence. Thinking that it would be a very great embellishment to this temple if it were roofed with marble, he went to Bruttium, and stripped off about the half of that of the temple of Juno Lacinia, for he computed that so much would be sufficient to cover the one he was building. Ships were in readiness to take on board the materials, while the allies were deterred by the authority of the censor, from making opposition to the sacrilege. On his return, the marble was landed, and carried to the temple; but, though he made no mention of the place from which it was brought, yet such an affair could not be concealed. Accordingly it occasioned considerable murmuring in the senate; and all the members expressed their desire that the consuls should take the opinion of the Fathers on the subject. When the censor, on being summoned, appeared in the senate-house, they all, both separately and in a body, inveighed against him with much asperity. They cried out, that “he was not content with violating the most venerable temple in all that part of the world, a temple which neither Pyrrhus nor Hannibal had violated; but he had stripped it shamefully, and almost demolished it. Though created censor, for the purpose of regulating men’s manners, and bound in duty, according to long-established rules, to enforce the repairing of edifices for public worship, and the keeping them in due order, he had nevertheless gone about through the cities of the allies, stripping off the roofs of their sacred buildings, and even demolishing them. In a word, and what might be deemed scandalous, if practised on private houses, he committed against the temples of the immortal gods, involving the Roman people in the guilt of impiety; as if the deities were not the same in all places, but that some should be decorated with the spoils of others.” Such evidently appeared to be the sentiments of the senators, before their opinion was asked; and, when the question was put, they unanimously concurred in voting, that proper persons should be employed to carry back the marble in question to the temple, and that atonements should be offered to Juno. What regarded the atonements was carefully executed, but those who undertook to see to the repairing of the building, made a report that they were obliged to leave the marble in the court of it, because no workman could be found who knew how to replace the same.
IV. Of the prætors who set out for the provinces, Numerius Fabius, on his way to Hither Spain, died at Marseilles. Envoys, sent by the Massilians, brought an account of this event, on which the senate resolved that Publius Furius and Cneius Servilius, to whom successors had been sent, should cast lots to determine which of them should hold the government of Hither Spain, with a continuation of authority; and the lot determined, very commodiously, that Publius Furius, the former governor, should continue. During this year, on its appearing that large tracts of land in Gaul and Liguria, which had been taken in war, lay unoccupied, the senate passed a decree, that those lands should be distributed in single shares; and Aulus Atilius, city prætor, in pursuance of the said decree, appointed ten commissioners for that purpose, Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, Caius Cassius, Titus Æbutius Carus, Caius Tremellius, Publius Cornelius Cetheges, Quintus, and Lucius Appuleius, Marcus Cæcilius, Caius Salonius, and Caius Munatius. They appropriated ten acres to each Roman, and three to each Latine colonist. At this time, ambassadors came to Rome from Ætolia with representations of the quarrels and dissensions subsisting in that country; as did others from Thessaly, with accounts of the proceedings in Macedonia.
V. Perseus, applying his thoughts to the war, which had been resolved on during the lifetime of his father, endeavoured, by sending embassies, and by promising a great deal more than he performed, to attach to himself not only the commonwealth of Greece, but also each particular state. The inclinations of that people in general, were much better disposed towards him than towards Eumenes, notwithstanding that most of the leading men were under obligations to Eumenes, for valuable presents, and other acts of kindness; and that, in the administration of government, his conduct was such, that none of the states under his dominion felt any disposition to change situations with those which were free. With regard to Perseus, it was currently reported, that, after his father’s death, he had killed his wife with his own hand; and invited from exile Apelles, who had formerly been his instrument in the villanous destruction of his brother, and who had, on that account, been carefully searched after by Philip, in order to bring him to punishment. Perseus having prevailed on Apelles to return, by promises of the most ample rewards for his services, put him privately to death. Although he had rendered himself infamous by many other murders, both of his own relations, and of others, and possessed not one good quality to recommend him, yet the Grecian states in general gave him the preference to Eumenes — to a prince of such affection towards his relations, such justice towards his subjects, and such liberality towards all mankind; whether they were so prejudiced by the fame and dignity of the Macedonian kings, as to despise a kingdom lately formed, or were led by a wish for a change in affairs, or were desirous of exposing him to the arms of the Romans. The Ætolians were not the only people in a state of distraction, on account of the intolerable burden of their debts: the Thessalians were in the same situation; and the evil, like a pestilence, had spread into Perrhæbia also. As soon as it was known that the Thessalians were in arms, the senate sent Appius Claudius, as ambassador, to examine and adjust their affairs. He severely reprimanded the leaders of both parties; and, after cancelling so much of the debts, as had been accumulated by iniquitous usury, which he did with the consent of the greater part of the creditors themselves, he ordered the remaining just debts to be discharged by annual payments. In the same manner, Appius regulated the business of Perrhæbia. In the mean time, Marcellus, at Delphi, gave a hearing to the disputes of the Ætolians, which they maintained with no less hostile acrimony than they had shown against each other in the heat of their civil war. Perceiving that they vied with each other in inconsiderate violence, he did not choose to make any determination, to lighten or aggravate the grievances of either party, but required of both alike to cease from hostilities, and, forgetting what was past, to put an end to their quarrels. A reconciliation accordingly took place between them, and was confirmed by a reciprocal exchange of hostages.
VI. A meeting was appointed at Corinth, in order that the hostages might be lodged in that city. On the breaking up of the Ætolian council, Marcellus crossed over from Delphi into Peloponnesus, where he had summoned a diet of the Achæans. There, by the praises which he bestowed on that nation, for having resolutely maintained their old decree, which prohibited the admission of the Macedonian kings within the limits of their territories, he manifested the inveterate hatred of the Romans towards Perseus; and this hatred broke out into effect, the sooner, in consequence of King Eumenes coming to Rome, and bringing with him a written state of the preparations made for war, which he had drawn up, after a full inquiry into every particular. Five ambassadors were now sent to the King, in order to take a view of affairs in Macedonia; whence they were to proceed to Alexandria, to renew the treaty of friendship with Ptolemy. These were Caius Valerius, Cneius Lutatius Cerco, Quintus Bæbius Sulca, Marcus Cornelius Mammula, and Marcus Cæcilius Denter. About the same time, came ambassadors from King Antiochus; and the principal of them, called Apollonius, being admitted to audience of the senate, presented, on behalf of his King, many and reasonable apologies for paying the tribute later than the day appointed. “He now brought,” he said, “the whole of it, that the King might not trespass on their indulgence, in any other respect than that of time. He was moreover charged with a present of golden vases, in weight five hundred pounds. Antiochus requested, that the treaty of alliance and amity, which had been made with his father, might be renewed with him; and entreated the Roman people freely to demand from him every service which might be expected from a prince sincerely disposed to prove himself a faithful ally. They would never find him remiss in the performance of any duty towards them. He had, while in Rome, experienced so great kindness from the senate, and so much courtesy from the younger part of the community, that, among all ranks of men, he was treated as a sovereign, not as a hostage.” A gracious answer was returned to the ambassadors, and Aulus Atilius, city prætor, was ordered to renew with Antiochus the alliance formerly made with his father. The city quæstors received the tribute, and the censors the golden vases, which they were directed to deposit in whatever temples they should judge proper. One hundred thousand asses* were presented to the ambassador, and it was ordered, that a house should be given him for his accommodation, and his expenses defrayed, as long as he should remain in Italy. The ambassadors, who had been in Syria, represented him as standing in the highest degree of favour with the King, and a very warm friend to the Romans. Such were the occurrences of this year respecting the provinces.
VII. Caius Cicereius, prætor in Corsica, fought the enemy in a pitched battle, in which seven thousand of the Corsicans were slain, and more than one thousand seven hundred taken. During the engagement, the prætor vowed a temple to Juno Moneta. Peace was then granted to that people, on their petitioning for it, and a contribution was imposed, of two hundred thousand pounds weight of wax. Corsica being thus reduced to subjection, Cicereius sailed back to Sardinia. In Liguria, also, a battle was fought in the territory of Statiella, at the town of Carystas. The Ligurians had assembled there a numerous army, who, for some time after Marcus Popillius’ arrival, kept themselves within the walls; but afterwards, on the Roman general preparing to lay siege to the town, they marched out beyond the gates, and drew up in order of battle. The consul declined not an engagement; it was, indeed, the point he aimed at in threatening a siege. The fight was maintained for more than three hours, in such a manner, that the hope of victory leaned to neither side; but when the consul perceived that the Ligurian battalions no where gave ground, he ordered the cavalry to mount their horses, and charge in three places at once, with all possible violence. A great part of the horse broke through the middle of the enemy’s line, and made their way to the rear of the troops engaged, which struck such terror into their whole army that they fled in confusion on all sides. Very few ran back into the town, because in that quarter, chiefly, the cavalry had thrown themselves in their way. So obstinate a contest swept off great numbers of the Ligurians, and many perished in the flight; ten thousand of them are said to have been killed, and more than seven hundred taken, in various places; besides which, the victors brought off eighty-two of their military standards. Nor was the victory gained without loss of blood; above three thousand of the conquerors fell in the conflict; for neither party giving way, the foremost on both sides were cut off.
VIII. When the Ligurians, after their dispersion in this defeat, re-assembled in one body, they found that a much greater number of their countrymen were lost, than left alive (for there were not above ten thousand men surviving); on which they surrendered. They did not stipulate for any terms, yet entertained hopes that the consul would not treat them with greater severity, than had been practised by former commanders. But he immediately stripped them all of their arms, and razed their town. He then made sale of themselves and their effects; which done, he sent a letter to the senate, relating the services which he had performed. When Aulus Atilius read this letter in the council, (for the other consul, Postumius, was absent, being employed in surveying the lands in Campania,) the proceeding appeared to the senate in a heinous light; “that the people of Statiella, who alone, of all the Ligurian nation, had not borne arms against the Romans, should be attacked, when not offering hostilities, and even after surrendering themselves into the protection of the Roman people, should be abused and exterminated by every instance of the most barbarous cruelty, they held utterly unpardonable; that so many thousands of innocent persons suffering, who had reckoned on the faith of the Roman people, afforded an example of the most mischievous tendency; and was enough to deter any from surrendering to them in future; dragged as they were away into various parts of the country, and made slaves to those who were formerly the avowed enemies of Rome, though now reduced to quiet. For these reasons the senate ordered, that the consul, Marcus Popillius, should re-instate the Ligurians in their liberty, repaying the purchase-money to the buyers, and should likewise use his best endeavours to recover and restore their effects, and also their arms; and that, when these things were done, he should immediately retire out of the province; for they observed, that victory became honourable by subduing opposition, not by cruelty to the vanquished.”
IX. But the same ferocious temper which actuated the consul in his conduct towards the Ligurians, urged him to refuse obedience to the senate. He immediately sent the legions into winter quarters at Pisæ, and, full of resentment against the senators and the prætor, went home to Rome; where, instantly assembling the senate in the temple of Bellona, he poured forth a torrent of invectives against the city magistrate, who, “when he ought to have proposed the offering of a thanksgiving for the happy successes obtained by the Roman arms, had procured a decree of the senate against him, in favour of the enemy; transferring thereby his victory to the Ligurians; and, though only a prætor, he had ordered the consul, in a manner, to be surrendered to them: he therefore gave notice, that he would sue to have him fined. From the senate he demanded a repeal of their decree passed against him; and that the thanksgiving, which they ought to have voted on the authority of his letter, sent from abroad, with an account of the success of the arms of the commonwealth, should, now, when he was present, be voted; first, in consideration of the honour due to the immortal gods, and, next, out of some kind of regard to himself.” Many of the senators censured him to his face, in terms no less severe than they had used in his absence; and, not being able to obtain either of his requests, he returned to his province. The other consul, Postumius, after spending the whole summer in surveying the lands, without even seeing his province, came home to Rome to hold the elections, when Caius Popillius Lænas and Publius Ælius Ligus were chosen consuls. Then were elected prætors, Caius Licinius Crassus, Marcus Junius Pennus, Spurius Lucretius, Spurius Cluvius, Cneius Sicinius, and Caius Memmius, a second time.
X. The lustrum was closed this year. The censors were Quintus Fulvius Flaccus and Lucius Postumius
Albinus, the latter of whom performed the ceremony. In this survey were rated two hundred and sixty-nine thousand and
fifteen Roman citizens. The number would have been much greater had not the consul, Lucius Postumius, given public
orders, in assembly, that none of the Latine allies, (who, according to the edict of the consul Caius Claudius, ought
to have gone home,) should be surveyed at Rome, but all of them in their respective countries. The censors conducted
themselves in the office with perfect harmony, and zeal for the public good. They disfranchised and degraded from their
tribes every one whom they expelled the senate, or from whom they took away his horse; nor did either approve a person
censured by the other. Fulvius, at this time, dedicated the temple of Equestrian Fortune, which he had vowed six years
before, and when proconsul in Spain, during the battle with the Celtiberians; he also exhibited stage-plays, which
lasted four days, in one of which the performance was in the Circus. Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, decemvir in religious
matters, died this year, and Aulus Postumius Albinus was substituted in his room. Such great clouds of locusts were
suddenly brought by the wind over the sea into Apulia, that they covered a great part of the country; in order to
remove this pest, so destructive to the fruits of the earth, Caius Sicinius, prætor elect, was sent in command, with a
vast multitude of people, to gather them up, which took a considerable time.Y. R.580.
172. The beginning of the year, in which Caius Popillius and Publius Ælius were consuls, was employed in the disputes which had arisen in the last. The senators were desirous that the business respecting the Ligurians should be reconsidered, and the decree renewed. Ælius, the consul, was willing to propose it, but Popillius warmly interceded for his brother, both with his colleague and the senate; and, by giving notice, that if any vote should be passed on the subject he would enter his protest, he deterred him from proceeding in the matter. The senate being hereby equally incensed against them, persisted the more obstinately in their intention; and, when they took into consideration the distribution of the provinces, although the consuls wished for Macedonia, because a war with Perseus was daily expected, they assigned Liguria as the province of both, declaring that they would not vote Macedonia to them, unless the question were put on the affair of Marcus Popillius. The consuls, afterwards, demanded that they might be authorised to raise either new armies, or recruits to fill up the old; both were refused. The prætors for Spain, also, applied for reinforcement; Marcus Junius for Hither Spain, and Spurius Lucretius for the Farther, and were in like manner refused. Caius Licinius Crassus obtained, by lot, the city jurisdiction; Cneius Sicinius, the foreign; Caius Memmius, Sicily; and Spurius Cluvius, Sardinia. The consuls, enraged against the senate, appointed an early day for the Latine festival, at the same time declaring openly, that they would go away to their province, and would not transact any kind of business, except what belonged to their own government.
XI. Valerius Antias writes, that, in this consulate, Attalus, brother to King Eumenes, came to Rome as ambassador, with heavy charges against Perseus, and an account of his preparations for war. But the greater number of historians, and those deemed most worthy of credit, assert, that Eumenes came in person. Eumenes then, on his arrival, was received with every degree of respect which the Roman people judged suitable, not merely to his deserts, but also to their own former favours, bestowed on him in great abundance. Being introduced to the senate, he said, that “the reason which had induced him to come to Rome, besides his wish to visit those gods and men who had placed him in a situation beyond which he could not presume to form a wish, was, that he might in person forewarn the senate to counteract the designs of Perseus.” Then, beginning with the projects of Philip, he mentioned his murder of Demetrius, because that prince was averse from a war with Rome, and of calling the Bastarnian nation from their several residences, that he might have their support in coming into Italy. “While his thoughts were busied in plans of this sort, he was surprised by the approach of death, and left his kingdom to the person whom he knew to be, of all men, the bitterest foe to the Romans. Perseus, therefore,” said he, “having received this scheme of a war, as a legacy bequeathed by his father, and descending to him along with the crown, advances and improves it, as his primary object, by every means that he can devise. He is powerful, in respect of the number of his young men, a long peace having produced a plentiful progeny; he is powerful, in respect of the resources of his kingdom; and powerful, likewise, in respect of his age. And as, at his time of life, he possesses vigour of body, so his mind has been thoroughly trained, both in the theory and practice of war; for, even from his childhood, he accompanied his father in his campaigns, and thereby became enured to it, not only against the neighbouring states, but also against the Romans, being employed by him, in many and various expeditions. Add to this, that since the government came into his own hands, he has, by a wonderful train of prosperous events, accomplished many things which Philip, after using his best efforts, could never effect, either by force or artifice.
XII. “Besides his strength, he has such a degree of influence, as is usually acquired, in a great length of time, by many and important kindnesses. For, in the several states throughout Greece and Asia, all men revere the dignity of his character; nor do I perceive for what deserts, for what generosity, such uncommon respect is paid him; neither can I, with certainty, say, whether it is the effect of some good fortune attending him, or whether, what I mention with reluctance, a general dislike to the Romans attaches men to his interest. Even among sovereign princes, his influence is exceedingly extensive. He married the daughter of Seleucus, a match which he did not solicit, but to which he was solicited by her friends; and he gave his sister in marriage to Prusias, in compliance with his earnest prayers and entreaties. Both these marriages were solemnized amidst congratulations and presents from innumerable embassies, the royal couples being escorted by the most renowned nations, acting as bridal attendants. The Bœotians could never be brought, by all the intrigues of Philip, to sign a treaty of friendship with him; but now, a treaty with Perseus is engraved at three different places, at Thebes, in Delos, in the most venerable and celebrated temple, and at Delphi. Then, in the diet of Achaia, (only that the proceeding was stopped by a few persons, threatening them with the displeasure of the Roman government,)— the business was nearly effected, of allowing him admission into that country. But, as to the honours, formerly paid to myself, (whose kindnesses to that nation have been such, that it is hard to say, whether my public or private benefactions were the greater,)— they have been lost, partly through neglect, and partly by hostile means. Who does not know that the Ætolians, lately, on occasion of their intestine broils, sought protection, not from the Romans, but from Perseus? For, while he is upheld by these alliances and friendships, he has at home such preparations of every requisite for war, that he wants nothing from abroad. He has thirty thousand foot, and five thousand horse, and is laying up a store of corn for ten years, so that his country is in no kind of danger with respect to provisions. He has amassed money to such an amount, as to have in readiness the pay of ten thousand mercenary soldiers, besides the Macedonian troops, for the same number of years, as well as the annual revenue accruing from the royal mines. He has stored up arms for three times that number of men; and has Thrace under subjection, from which, as a never-failing spring, he can draw supplies of young men.”
XIII. The rest of his discourse contained exhortations to timely exertions: “Conscript Fathers,” said he, “the representations which I have made to you are not founded on uncertain rumours, and too readily believed by me, because I wished such charges against my enemy to be true; but on a clear discovery of the facts, as if I had been sent by you to make it. Nor would I have left my kingdom, which you have rendered ample, and highly respectable, and crossed such a tract of sea, to injure my own credit by offering you unauthenticated reports. I saw the most remarkable states of Asia and Greece, every day, gradually unfolding their sentiments, and ready to proceed, shortly, to such lengths, as would not leave them room for repentance. I saw Perseus, not confining himself within the limits of Macedonia, but seizing some places by force of arms, and seducing, by favour and kindness, those which he could not subdue. I perceived how unfair a footing matters stood on, while his intentions towards you were evidently hostile, and yours towards him perfectly pacific. Although to my judgment, he did not appear to be preparing, but to be rather waging war. Abrupolis, your ally and friend, he dethroned. Artetarus the Illyrian, another ally and friend of yours, he put to death, on hearing of some information which he had afforded you. The Thebans, Eversa and Callicratus, two of the chief men in the state, he procured to be taken off, because, in the council of the Bœotians, they had spoken with more than ordinary freedom against him, and declared, that they would inform the Romans of what was going on. He carried succour to the Byzantians, contrary to the treaty. He made war on Dolopia. He overran Thessaly and Doris, with an army, in order to take advantage of the civil war then raging, and by the help of the party, which had the worse cause, to crush the other, which had more right on its side. He raised universal confusion and disorder in Thessaly and Perrhæbia, by holding out a prospect of an abolition of debts, that, by means of the multitude of debtors thereby attached to his interest, he might overpower the nobles. As you remained inactive and patient during all these transactions, and as he sees Greece yielded up to him by you, he firmly believes that he will not meet with one opponent in arms, until he arrives in Italy. How safe or how honourable this might be for you, yourselves will consider; for my part, I thought it would certainly reflect dishonour on me, if Perseus should come into Italy to make war, before I, your ally, came to warn you to be on your guard. Having discharged this duty, necessarily incumbent on me, and, in some measure, freed and exonerated my faith, what can I do farther, except beseeching the gods and goddesses that you may adopt such measures as will prove salutary to yourselves, to your commonwealth, and to us, your allies and friends, who depend upon you.”
XIV. His discourse made a deep impression on the senate. However, for the present, no one, without doors, could know any thing more than that the King had been in the senate-house, such secrecy was observed by all the members; and it was not until after the conclusion of the war, that the purport of King Eumenes’s speech, and the answer to it, transpired. In a few days after, the senate gave audience to the ambassadors of Perseus. But their minds had been so prepossessed by King Eumenes, that every plea offered in his justification by the ambassadors, and every argument to alleviate the charges against him, was disregarded. They were still farther exasperated by the immoderate presumption of Harpalus, chief of the embassy, who said, that “the King was indeed desirous, and even anxious, that they should give credit to his asseveration, respecting his conduct, that he had neither said nor done any thing hostile; but that, if he saw them obstinately bent on finding out a pretence for war, he would defend himself with courage and resolution. The fortune of war was open to all, and the issue uncertain.” All the states of Greece and Asia were full of curiosity to learn what the ambassadors of Perseus, and what Eumenes, had effected with the senate; and most of them, on hearing of the latter’s journey to Rome, which they supposed might produce material consequences, had sent ambassadors thither, under pretexts of other business. Among the rest came an embassy from Rhodes, at the head of which was a person named Satyrus, who had no kind of doubt, but that Eumenes had included his state in the accusations brought against Perseus. He therefore endeavoured, by every means, through his patrons and friends, to get an opportunity of debating the matter with Eumenes in presence of the senate. When he obtained this, he inveighed against that King with intemperate vehemence, as having instigated the people of Lycia to an attack on the Rhodians, and as being more oppressive to Asia than Antiochus had been. This rendered his discourse flattering indeed, and acceptable to the states of Asia — (for the popularity of Perseus had spread even to them,)— but very displeasing to the senate, and disadvantageous to himself and his nation. This apparent conspiracy against Eumenes increased, indeed, the favour of the Romans towards him, so that every kind of honour was paid, and the most magnificent presents were made him; among which were a curule chair and an ivory sceptre.
XV. After the embassies were dismissed, Harpalus hastened home to Macedonia, and told the King, that he had left the Romans, not indeed making immediate preparations for war, but in such an angry temper, that it was very evident they would not defer it long. Perseus himself, who all along believed that this would be the case, now even wished for it, as he thought himself at the highest pitch of power that he could ever expect to attain. Being more violently incensed against Eumenes than against any other, he resolved to commence the war by shedding his blood; and he suborned Evander, a Cretan, commander of the auxiliaries, and three Macedonians, who were accustomed to the perpetration of such deeds, to murder that King, giving them a letter to a woman called Praxo, an acquaintance of his, the wealthiest and most powerful person at Delphi. It was generally known that Eumenes intended going up to Delphi, to sacrifice to Apollo. Thither the assassins, with Evander, proceeded in search of a convenient place for the execution of their design. On the road from Cirra to the temple, before they came to the places thickly inhabited, there was a wall on the left side, at the foot of which was a narrow path, where single persons could pass; on the right, the ground had sunk, and formed a precipice of considerable depth. Behind this wall they concealed themselves, and raised up steps to it, that from thence, as from that of a fortress, they might discharge their weapons on the King, as he passed by. At first, as he came up from the sea, he was surrounded by a multitude of his friends and attendants; afterwards, the road, growing gradually narrower, consequently made the train thinner about him. When they arrived at the spot where each was to pass singly, the first who advanced on the path was Pantaleon, an Ætolian of distinction, who was at the time in conversation with the King. The assassins now, starting up, rolled down two huge stones, one of which struck Eumenes on the head, and the other on the shoulder, with such force as to deprive him of sensation, and, as he tumbled from the sloping path down the precipice, they poured a multitude of stones upon him. The rest of his friends and attendants, on seeing him fall, fled different ways, but Pantaleon, with great intrepidity and resolution, kept his ground, in order to protect the King.
XVI. The assassins might, by making a short circuit round the wall, have run down and completed their business; they yet fled off towards the top of Parnassus with precipitation. One of them, however, being unable to keep up with the rest through the pathless and steep grounds, and thus retarding their flight, they killed him lest he should be taken, and a discovery ensue. The friends, and then the guards and servants of the King ran together and raised him up, while he was in a swoon, and quite insensible. However, they perceived from the warmth of his body and the breath remaining in his lungs, that he was still alive, but had little or no hopes that he would ever recover. Some of his guards pursued the tracks of the assassins with much fatigue to the summit of the hill, but returned without being able to overtake them. As the Macedonians set about the deed injudiciously, so, after making the attempt with boldness, they abandoned it in a manner both foolish and cowardly. Next day the King, who had by this time come to himself, was conveyed by his friends on ship-board, and sailed thence to Corinth; then, having drawn their vessels across the neck of the isthmus, they crossed over to Agina. Here his cure was conducted with such secrecy, no one being admitted to see him, that a report of his death was carried into Asia, and was believed, even by Attalus, with more readiness than became an affectionate brother: for he talked, both to Eumenes’ consort, and to the governor of the citadel, as if he had actually succeeded to the crown. This, afterwards, came to the knowledge of the King, who, though he had determined to dissemble, and to pass it over in silence, yet could not refrain, at their first meeting, from rallying Attalus, on his premature haste to get a wife. The report of Eumenes’ death spread even to Rome.
XVII. About the same time, Caius Valerius, who had been sent ambassador into Greece, to examine the state of that country, and to observe the movements of King Perseus, returned home; and his reports accorded, in every circumstance, with the representations made by Eumenes. He brought with him, from Delphi, Praxo, the woman whose house had served as a receptacle for the assassins; and Lucius Rammius, a Brundusian, giving information to this effect: that Rammius was a person of the first distinction at Brundusium, accustomed to entertain in his house the Roman commanders, and such ambassadors as came that way from foreign powers, especially those of the Kings. By these means he became known to Perseus, although his dominions were so distant; and, in consequence of a letter from him, which gave hopes of a more intimate friendship, and of great advantages to accrue to him, he went on a visit to the King, and, in a short time, found himself treated with particular familiarity, and drawn oftener than he wished, into private conversations. Perseus, after promises of the highest rewards, pressed him, with the most earnest solicitations, “as all the commanders and ambassadors of the Romans used to lodge at his house, to procure poison to be given to such of them as he should point out by letter;” and told him, that, “as he knew the preparation of poison to be attended with the greatest difficulty and danger, and that ordinarily it could not be administered without the privity of several. Besides, the dose was not always certain in its operation, either as to its power to produce the desired effect, or its safety with respect to concealment; — he would, therefore, give him some which would not afford any sign that could lead to detection.” Rammius dreading, lest, in case of refusal, he should himself be the first on whom the poison would be tried, promised compliance, and departed; but not thinking it prudent to return to Brundusium, without first applying to Caius Valerius, the ambassador, who was said to be at that time in the neighbourhood of Chalcis, he first disclosed the affair to him; and then, by his order, accompanied him to Rome, where, being brought before the senate, he gave them an account of what had passed.
XVIII. These discoveries, added to the representations made before by Eumenes, hastened a declaration of war against Perseus; the senate perceiving that he did not content himself with preparing, with the spirit of a King, for a fair and open war, but pushed his designs by all the base clandestine means of assassination and poison. It was resolved, that the new consuls should have the conduct of the war; but, in the mean time, an order was given, that Cneius Sicinius, the prætor, whose province was the jurisdiction between natives and foreigners, should raise a body of troops, to be led with all expedition to Brundusium, and thence carried over into Apollonia in Epirus, in order to secure the cities on the seacoasts; so as that the consul, who should have Macedonia as his province, might put in his fleet with safety, and land his troops with convenience. Eumenes was detained a long time at Ægina, his wounds proving dangerous, and the cure difficult; but, as soon as he could remove with safety, he went home to Pergamus, and set on foot the most vigorous preparations for war, to which he was now stimulated by the late atrocious villany of Perseus, in addition to the ancient enmity which subsisted between them. Ambassadors soon came from Rome, with congratulations on his escape from so great a danger. The war with Macedonia was deferred to the next year; on this, (when the other prætors had gone away to their provinces,) Marcus Junius and Spurius Lucretius, to whom the Spanish affairs had fallen, by teazing the senate with frequent repetitions of the same request, obtained at last a grant of recruits for their army. They were commanded to raise three thousand foot and one hundred and fifty horse for the Roman legions; and to levy, from the allies, for the confederate troops, five thousand foot and three hundred horse: this number of forces the new prætors carried with them into Spain.
XIX. In consequence of the inquiries, made by the consul Postumius, a large portion of the lands of Campania, which had been usurped by private persons, indiscriminately, in various parts, had been recovered to the public. Wherefore, in this year, Marcus Lucretius, plebeian tribune, published a proposal for an order of the people, that the censors should let those lands to farm; a measure which had been omitted during so many years, since the taking of Capua, that the greediness of individuals might have clear room to work in. After war, though not yet proclaimed, had been resolved on, and while the senate was anxious to know which of the several kings would espouse their cause, and which that of Perseus, ambassadors came to Rome, from Ariarathes, bringing with them his younger son. The purport of their message was, that “the King had sent his son to be educated at Rome, in order that he might, even from childhood, be acquainted with the manners and the persons of the Romans; and he requested, that they would allow him to enjoy, not only the protection of his particular friends, but likewise the care, and in some measure the guardianship, of the public.” This embassy was highly pleasing to the senate; and they ordered, that Cneius Sicinius, the prætor, should hire a furnished house for the accommodation of the young prince and his attendants. Ambassadors from some of the states of Thrace attended the senate, for their decision of a dispute, and requested a treaty of alliance and friendship; and they not only obtained their request, but received, each of them, a present to the amount of two thousand asses;* for the Romans were rejoiced at gaining the friendship of those states, in particular, as they lay at the back of Macedonia. But, in order to acquire a clear knowledge of every thing in Asia and in the islands, they sent ambassadors, Tiberius Claudius Nero and Marcus Decimus, with orders to go to Crete, and Rhodes, to renew the treaties of friendship, and at the same time to observe whether any attempts were made by Perseus to seduce the affections of the allies.
XX. While the minds of the public were in a state of extreme anxiety and suspense, with respect to the impending war, a storm happened in the night, during which the pillar in the Capitol, ornamented with beaks of ships, which had been erected in the first Punic war, by the consul Marcus Æmilius, whose colleague was Servius Fulvius, was shattered to pieces, even to the very foundation, by lightning. This event was deemed a prodigy, and reported to the senate, who ordered, that it should be laid before the aruspices, and that the decemvirs should consult the books. The decemvirs, in answer, directed that the city should be purified; that a supplication, and prayers, for the averting of misfortunes, should be offered, and victims of the larger kinds sacrificed, both in the Capitol at Rome, and at the promontory of Minerva in Campania; and that games should be celebrated, as soon as possible, in honour of Jupiter, supremely good and great, during ten days. All these directions were carefully executed, and the aruspices answered, that the prodigy would prove happy in the issue; that it portended extension of territory and destruction of enemies; for those beaks of ships, which the storm had scattered, were to be held as spoils. There were other occurrences which occasioned religious apprehensions: it was said, that at the town of Saturnia showers of blood fell during three successive days; that an ass, with three feet, was foaled at Calatia; that a bull, with five cows, were killed by one stroke of lightning; and that a shower of earth had fallen at Oximum. On account of these prodigies, also, public worship was performed, and a supplication and festival observed for one day.
XXI. The consuls were not yet gone to their provinces; for they would not comply with the senate, in proposing the business respecting Marcus Popillius, and, on the other hand, the senate was determined to proceed on no other until that was done. The general resentment against Popillius was aggravated by a letter received from him, in which he mentioned that he had, as proconsul, fought a second battle with the Ligurians of Statiella, ten thousand of whom he had killed, and that the rest of the Ligurian states, (no doubt provoked at the injustice of this attack,) had all taken arms. On this the most severe animadversions were uttered in the senate, not only against the absent Popillius, for having, contrary to all laws human and divine, made war on people who had submitted to terms, and stirred up to rebellion states that were disposed to live in peace, but also against the consuls for not having proceeded to that province. Encouraged by the unanimous opinion of the senators, two plebeian tribunes, Marcus Marcius Sermo and Quintus Marcius Scylla, declared publicly, that they would institute a suit for a fine to be laid on the consuls, if they did not repair to their station. They likewise read before the senate a proposal for an order of the people respecting the Ligurians, which they intended to publish. The purport of it was, that “it should be decreed, that, in case any of the surrendered Statiellans should not be restored to liberty, before the calends of August then next ensuing, the senate, on oath, should appoint a magistrate to inquire into the business, and to punish the person through whose wicked practices he had been brought into slavery;” and accordingly, by direction of the senate, they issued the same. Before the departure of the consuls, the senate gave audience, in the temple of Bellona, to Caius Cicereius, prætor of the former year. After recounting his services in Corsica, he demanded a triumph; but this being refused, he rode in state on the Alban mount; a mode of celebration for victory without public authority, which had now become usual. The people, with universal approbation, passed and ratified the order proposed by Marcius, respecting the Ligurians; and, in pursuance thereof, Caius Licinius, prætor, desired the senate to appoint a person to conduct the inquiry, according to the order; whereupon the senate directed that he himself should conduct it.
XXII. The consuls repaired, at last, to their province, and received the command of the army from Marcus Popillius. But the latter did not dare to go home to Rome; for he dreaded the being brought to trial, while the senate were so highly displeased with him, the people still more exasperated, and before a prætor likewise, who had taken the opinion of the senate, on an inquiry pointed against him. Against this design, to evade a trial, the plebeian tribunes employed the menace of another order — that if he did not come into the city of Rome before the ides of November, Caius Licinius should judge and determine respecting him, though absent. This drew him home, in spite of his reluctance; and when he appeared in the senate, he was received with the strongest marks of displeasure and resentment. His conduct was arraigned by many of the members in the bitterest terms; and a decree was passed, that the prætors, Caius Licinius and Cneius Sicinius, should take care that all such of the Ligurians, as had not been in open arms, since the consulate of Quintus Fulvius and Lucius Manlius, should be restored to liberty; and that the consul Caius Popillius should assign them lands on the farther side of the Po. By this decree, many thousands were so restored, led beyond the Po, and received portions of land accordingly. The trial of Marcus Popillius, on the Marcian law, was twice brought to a hearing, before Caius Licinius, but, at a third hearing, the prætor, overcome by his regard for the absent consul, and the prayers of the Popillian family, ordered the defendant to appear on the ides of March, on which day the new magistrates were to enter into office, so that, being then in a private capacity, he could not preside at the trial. Thus was the order of the people, respecting the Ligurians, eluded by artifice.
XXIII. There were, at this time, in Rome, ambassadors from Carthage, and also from Gulussa, son of Masinissa, between whom very warm disputes passed, in presence of the senate. The Carthaginians complained, that “besides the district, about which ambassadors were formerly sent from Rome, to determine the matter on the spot, Masinissa had, within the last two years, by force of arms, possessed himself of more than seventy towns and forts in the Carthaginian territories. This was easy for him, who suffered no consideration to restrain him. But the Carthaginians, being tied down by treaty, were silent; for they were prohibited from carrying arms beyond their own frontiers: and although they knew that, if they forced the Numidians thence, the war would be waged within their own territory, yet they were deterred, by another clause in the treaty, too clear to be mistaken, in which they were expressly forbidden to wage war against the allies of the Roman people. But things were come to such a pass, that the Carthaginians could not longer endure his pride, his cruelty, and his avarice. They were sent,” they said, “to beseech the senate to grant them one of these three things; either that they, as a common ally, should, on a fair discussion, determine what was the right of each; or give permission to the Carthaginians to defend themselves, in a just war, against unjust attacks; or, finally, if favour swayed more with them than the truth, to fix at once how much of the property of others they wished should be bestowed on Masinissa. Their grants would, at all events, be more moderate than his usurpations; and the extent of them would be ascertained: whereas, he would set no limits but the arbitrary dictates of his own ambition. If they could obtain none of these, and if they had, since the peace granted by Publius Scipio, been guilty of any transgression, they begged that the Romans themselves would rather inflict the punishment. They preferred a secure bondage, under Roman masters, to a state of freedom, exposed to the injustice of Masinissa. It was better for them to perish at once, than to continue to breathe, under the will of an executioner.” Having spoken thus, they burst into tears, prostrated themselves on the ground, and, in this posture, excited both compassion for themselves, and no less displeasure against the King.
XXIV. It was then voted, that Gulussa should be asked, what answer he had to make to these charges, or that, if it were more agreeable to him, he should first tell, on what business he had come to Rome. Gulussa said, that “it was hard for him to speak on subjects, concerning which he had no instructions from his father; and that it would have been hard for his father to have given him instructions, when the Carthaginians neither disclosed the business, which they intended to bring forward, nor even their desire of going to Rome. That they had, for several nights, held private consultations, in the temple of Æsculapius, from whence ambassadors were dispatched with secret information to Rome. This was his father’s reason for sending him into Italy, that he might entreat the senate not to give credit to imputations, laid by their common foe, against him, whom they hated for no other cause than his inviolable fidelity to the Roman people.” After hearing both parties, the senate, on the question being put, respecting the demands of the Carthaginians, ordered this answer to be given, that “it was their will, that Gulussa should, without delay, return to Numidia, and desire his father to send ambassadors immediately to the senate, to answer the complaints of the Carthaginians, and to give notice to that people to come, and support their allegations. All the honour in their power they had hitherto paid to Masinissa, and would continue to pay him; but they did not give him a privilege of screening misconduct under their favour. Their wish was, that the lands should, every where, be possessed by the real owners; nor did they intend that new boundaries should be established, but that the old ones should be observed. When they vanquished the Carthaginians, they left them in possession of cities and lands, not with the purpose of stripping them by acts of injustice in time of peace, of what they had not taken from them by the right of war.” With this answer the Carthaginians, and the prince, were dismissed. The customary presents were sent to both parties, and the other attentions, which hospitality required, were performed with all courtesy.
XXV. About this time Cneius Servilius Cæpio, Appius Claudius Centho, and Titus Annius Luscus, who had been sent ambassadors to Macedonia, to demand restitution and renounce the King’s friendship, returned, and inflamed, to a greater height, the resentment already entertained by the senate against Perseus, by relating, in order, all that they had seen and heard. They said, that “through all the cities of Macedonia they saw preparations for war, carried on with the utmost diligence. When they arrived at the residence of the King, they were refused admission to him, for many days; at the end of which, despairing of meeting with him, they left the place, and were then, at last, called back from their journey and introduced to him. The topics on which they insisted in their discourse were, the treaty concluded with Philip, and, after his father’s death, renewed with himself; in which he was expressly prohibited from carrying his arms beyond his own dominions, and, likewise, from making war on the allies of the Roman people. They then laid before him, in order, the true and well-authenticated accounts, which they themselves had lately heard from Eumenes, in the senate. They took notice, besides, of his having held a secret consultation, in Samothracia, with ambassadors from the states of Asia; and told him, that for these injuries, the senate expected satisfaction to be given, as well as restitution, to them, and their allies, of their property, which he held, contrary to the tenor of the treaty. On this, the King spoke at first with great vehemence, frequently upbraiding the Romans with pride and avarice, and with sending ambassadors, one after another, to pry into his words and actions; expecting that, in every case, he should speak, and act, in compliance with their dictates, and obedient to his nod. After speaking a long time with great loudness and violence, he ordered them to return the next day, for he intended to give his answer in writing. This he accordingly delivered to them; of which the purport was, that the treaty concluded with his father in no respect concerned him; that he had suffered it to be renewed, not because he approved of it, but because, being so lately come to the throne, he was obliged to acquiesce in every thing. If they chose to form a new engagement with him, the terms ought, first, to be agreed on; if they were satisfied to treat on an equal footing, he would consider what was to be done, on his part, and he doubted not but they would be careful enough of the interest of their own state. After this, he hastily turned away, and they were desired to quit the palace. They then declared, that they renounced his friendship and alliance, at which he was highly exasperated; halted, and with a loud voice, charged them to quit his dominions within three days. They departed accordingly; and, neither on their coming, nor while they staid, was any kind of attention or hospitality shown them.” The Thessalian and Ætolian ambassadors were then admitted to audience. The senate wishing to know, as soon as possible, what commanders were to be employed in the service of the state, voted, that a letter should be sent to the consuls, directing, that whichever of them was most able should come to Rome to elect magistrates.
XXVI. The consuls, during that year, performed no exploits that deserved much notice. As the Ligurians had been highly exasperated, it was thought the most eligible plan, to pacify and appease them. While the public were looking forward to a Macedonian war, ambassadors from Issa gave them reason to suspect the inclinations of Gentius, King of Illyria; for they complained that “he had, a second time, ravaged their country;” affirming, likewise, that “the Kings of Macedonia and Illyria lived on terms of the closest intimacy; that both were preparing, in concert, for war against the Romans, and that there were then in Rome Illyrian spies, under the appearance of ambassadors, and who were sent thither by the advice of Perseus.” The Illyrians, being called before the senate, said, that they were sent by their King, to justify his conduct, if the Issans should make any complaint against him. They were then asked, why they had not applied to some magistrate, that they might, according to the regular practice, be furnished with lodging and entertainment, that their arrival might be known, and the business on which they came; but, not giving a satisfactory answer, they were ordered to retire out of the senate-house. It was not thought proper to give the many answer, as delegates, because they had not applied for an audience of the senate; but a resolution passed, that “ambassadors should be sent to the King, to acquaint him with the complaints made by the allies, of his having ravaged their country; and to represent to him the impropriety of his conduct.” On this embassy were sent Aulus Terentius Varro, Caius Plætorius, and Caius Cicereius. The ambassadors, who had been sent to the several kings in alliance with the state, came home from Asia, and reported, that “they had conferred there with Eumenes; in Syria, with Antiochus; and at Alexandria with Ptolemy; all of whom, though strongly solicited by embassies from Perseus, remained perfectly faithful to their engagements, and gave assurances of their readiness to execute every order of the Roman people. That they had also visited the allied states; that all were firm in their attachment, except the Rhodians, who seemed to be wavering, and infected by the counsels of Perseus.” Ambassadors had come from the Rhodians, to exculpate them from the imputations, which, they knew, were openly urged against them; but a resolution was made, that “they should have audience of the senate, when the new magistrates came into office.”
XXVII. It was judged necessary to make immediate preparations for war. A commission was accordingly given to Caius Licinius, prætor, to refit as many as could be made serviceable of the old quinqueremes which lay in the docks at Rome, to make up a fleet of fifty ships, and, if he were at a loss for any to complete that number, to write to his colleague, Caius Memmius, in Sicily, directing him to repair and fit out such vessels as were in that province, so as that they might be sent, with all expedition, to Brundusium. Caius Licinius, prætor, was ordered to enlist Roman citizens of the rank of freedmen’s sons, to man twenty-five ships; Caius Sicinius to levy, from the allies, an equal number for the other twenty-five, and likewise to require from the Latine confederates, eight thousand foot and four hundred horse. Aulus Atillius Serranus, who had been prætor the year before, was commissioned to receive these troops at Brundusium, and transport them to Macedonia; and Cneius Sicinius, the prætor, to keep them in readiness for embarkation. By direction of the senate, Caius Licinius, the prætor, wrote to the consul Caius Popillius, to order the second legion, which was the oldest then in Liguria, together with four thousand foot and two hundred horse, of the Latine nation, to be in Brundusium, on the ides of February. With this fleet, and this army, Cneius Sicinius, being continued a year in command for the purpose, was ordered to take care of the province of Macedonia, until a new governor should arrive. All these measures, voted by the senate, were vigorously executed; thirty-eight quinqueremes were drawn out of the docks, and given to Lucius Porcius Licinius, to be conducted to Brundusium, and twelve were sent from Sicily; three commissaries were dispatched into Apulia and Calabria, to buy up corn for the fleet and army; these were Sextus Digitius, Titus Juventius, and Marcus Cæcilius. When all things were in readiness, the prætor, Cneius Sicinius, in his military robes, set out from the city; and went to Brundusium.
XXVIII. The consul, Caius Popillius, came home to Rome, when the year had almost expired, much later than had been directed by the vote of the senate; for he had been ordered, in consideration of such an important war impending, to elect magistrates as soon as possible. For this reason the consul’s recital, in the temple of Bellona, of his services performed in Liguria, was not favourably listened to by the senate. He was frequently interrupted, and asked, why he had not restored to liberty the Ligurians, who had been oppressed by his brother? The election was held on the day appointed by proclamation, the twelfth before the calends of March. The consuls chosen were, Publius Licinius Crassus, and Caius Cassius Longinus. Next day were elected prætors, Caius Sulpicius Galba, Lucius Furius Philus, Lucius Canuleius Dives, Caius Lucretius Gallus, Caius Caninius Rebilus, and Lucius Villius Annalis. The provinces decreed to these prætors were, the two civil jurisdictions in Rome, Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia; and one of them was kept disengaged, that he might be employed wherever the senate should direct. The consuls elect received orders from the senate, to offer a sacrifice, with victims of the larger kinds, on the day of their entering into office; and to pray to the gods, that the war, which the Roman people intended to engage in, might prove fortunate in the issue. On the same day, the senate passed an order, that the consul Caius Popillius should vow games, of ten days’ continuance, to Jupiter supremely good and great, with offerings, in all the temples, if the commonwealth should remain for ten years in its present state. Pursuant to this vote, the consul made a vow in the Capitol, that the games should be celebrated, and the offerings made, at such expence as the senate should direct, and the vow was expressed in terms dictated by Lepidus the chief pontiff, in the presence of not less than one hundred and fifty persons. There died this year, of the public priests, Lucius Æmilius Papus, decemvir of religious rites, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, a pontiff, who had been censor the year before. The latter ended his life in a shocking manner: he had received an account, that, of his two sons who were in the army in Illyria, one was dead, and the other labouring under a heavy and dangerous malady: his grief and fears, together, overwhelmed his reason, and his servants, on going into his chamber in the morning, found him hanging by a rope. It was generally believed, that, since his censorship, his understanding had not been sound; and it was now said, that the resentment of Juno Lacinia, for the spoil committed on her temple, had caused the derangement of his intellects. Marcus Valerius Messala was substituted decemvir, in the place of Æmilius; and Cneius Domitius Ænobarbus, though a mere youth, was chosen into the priesthood as pontiff, in the room of Fulvius.
171.XXIX. In this consulate of Publius Licinius and Caius Cassius, not only the city of Rome, but the whole of Italy, with all the kings and states, both in Europe and in Asia, had their attention fixed on the approaching war between Rome and Macedonia. Eumenes was instigated against Perseus, not only by an old hatred, but also by recent anger, for having been, through his nefarious contrivance, almost slaughtered, like a victim, at Delphi. Prusias, King of Bithynia, resolved to keep clear of hostilities, and to wait the event; for as he did not think it proper to carry arms on the side of the Romans, against his wife’s brother, so he trusted, that, in case of Perseus proving victorious, his favour might be secured through the means of his sister. Ariathes, King of Cappadocia, besides having, in his own name, promised aid to the Romans, had, ever since his connexion of affinity with Eumenes, united with him in all his plans, whether of war or peace. Antiochus, indeed, entertained designs on the kingdom of Egypt, and despising the unripe age of Ptolemy, and the inactive disposition of his guardians, thought he might, by raising a dispute about Cœlesyria, find sufficient pretext for proceeding to extremities, and carry on a war there, without any impediment, while the Roman arms were employed against Macedonia: yet, by his ambassadors to the senate, and to their ambassadors sent to him, he made the fairest promises. The King of Egypt, too young to determine for himself, was directed by others; and his guardians, at the same time, while they were preparing for war with Antiochus, to secure possession of Cœlesyria, promised the Romans every support in the war against Macedonia. Masinissa not only furnished supplies of corn to the Romans, but prepared to send into the field, to their assistance, a body of troops, and a number of elephants, with his son Misagenes. He so arranged his plans as to answer every event that might take place; for, if success should attend the Romans, he judged that his own affairs would rest in their present state, and that he ought to seek for nothing farther; as the Romans would not suffer violence to be offered to the Carthaginians; and if the power of the Romans, which, at that time, protected the Carthaginians, should be reduced, then all Africa would be his own. Gentius, King of Illyria, had indeed given cause of suspicion to the Romans; but he had not yet determined which party to espouse, and it was believed that he would join either one or the other, through some sudden impulse of passion, rather than from any rational motive. Cotys, the Thracian King of the Odrysians, declared, openly, in favour of the Macedonians.
XXX. Such were the inclinations of the several kings, while, in the free nations and states, the plebeians, favouring as usual the weaker cause, were almost universally inclined to the Macedonians and their king; but among the nobles might be observed different views. One party were so warmly devoted to the Romans, that, by the excess of their zeal, they diminished their own influence. Of these, a few were actuated by their admiration of the justice of the Roman government; but by far the greater number, by the hope that their distinguished exertions would procure them a large share of power in their several states. A second party wished to court the King’s favour by every compliance, some of them being driven headlong into every scheme of innovation by their debts, and despair of retrieving their circumstances while the public affairs remained in their present state; and others, through a fickleness of temper, following Perseus as the more popular character. A third party, the wisest and the best, wished, in case of being allowed the choice of a master, to live under the Romans, rather than under the King. Yet, could they have had the free disposal of events, it was their wish that power should not be acquired from the ruin of either party, but rather that both, with their strength unimpaired, should continue in peace on an equal footing; for thus, the condition of their states would be the happiest, as they would always be protected by one from any ill treatment intended by the other. Judging thus, without declaring their sentiments, they viewed, in safety, the contest between the partizans of the two contending powers. The consuls, having on the day of their commencement in office, in compliance with the order of the senate, sacrificed victims of the larger kinds, in all the temples where the lectisternium was usually celebrated for the greater part of the year, and having, from them, collected omens that their prayers were accepted by the immortal gods, reported, that the sacrifices had been duly performed, and prayers offered respecting the war. The aruspices declared, that, “if any new undertaking was intended, it ought to be proceeded in without delay; that victory, triumphs, and extension of empire were portended.” The senate then resolved, that “the consuls should, on the first proper day, propose to the people assembled by centuries — that whereas Perseus, son of Philip, and King of Macedonia, contrary to the league struck with his father, and after Philip’s death renewed with himself, had committed hostilities on the allies of Rome, had wasted their lands, and seized their towns, and also had formed a design of making war on the Roman people. That he had, for that purpose, prepared arms, troops, and a fleet; and therefore, unless he gave satisfaction concerning those matters, that war should be proclaimed against him.” The question was passed by the people in the affirmative; on which, the senate decreed, that “the consuls should settle between themselves, or cast lots for the provinces of Italy and Macedonia; that the one to whose lot Macedonia fell, should seek redress, by force of arms, from King Perseus, and all who concurred in his designs; unless they made amends to the Roman people.”
XXXI. It was ordered, that four new legions should be raised, two for each consul. For the service in Macedonia, it was judged proper to exceed the usual standard. Instead, therefore, of five thousand foot, and two hundred horse, assigned to the consul’s legions according to the ancient practice, six thousand foot and three hundred horse were ordered to be enlisted, for each of the legions that were to serve in Macedonia. Of the allied troops, also, the number was augmented in the army ordered into Macedonia — namely, sixteen thousand foot and eight hundred horse, besides the six hundred horsemen carried thither by Cneius Sicinius. For Italy, twelve thousand foot and six hundred horse, of the allies, were deemed sufficient. In another instance, an extraordinary degree of attention was shown to the service in Macedonia; for the consul was authorised to enlist veteran centurions and soldiers, whom he chose as old as fifty years. An unusual mode of proceeding, with regard to the military tribunes, was also introduced on the same occasion; for the consuls, by direction of the senate, recommended to the people, that, for that year, the military tribunes should not be created by their suffrages; but that the consuls and prætors should have full power to choose and appoint them. The prætors had their several commands assigned them, in the following manner: he to whose lot it fell to be employed wherever the senate should direct, had orders to go to Brundusium, to the fleet, to review the crews, and, dismissing such men as appeared unfit for the service, to enlist, in their places, sons of freedmen, taking care that two thirds should be Roman citizens, and the remainder allies. For supplying provisions to the ships and legions, from Sicily and Sardinia, it was resolved, that the prætors, who obtained the government of those provinces, should be enjoined to levy a second tenth on the inhabitants, and to take care to have the corn conveyed into Macedonia, to the army. The lots gave Sicily to Caius Caninius Rebilus; Sardinia, to Lucius Furius Philus; Spain, to Lucius Canuleius; the city jurisdiction, to Caius Sulpicius Galba; and the foreign, to Lucius Villius Annalis. The lot of Caius Lucretius Gallus was, to be employed wherever the senate should direct.
XXXII. The consuls had a slight dispute about their province. Cassius said, that “he would take the command against Macedonia without casting lots, nor could his colleague, without perjury, abide their determination. When he was prætor, to avoid going to his province, he made oath in the public assembly, that he had sacrifices to perform on stated days, in a stated place, and that they could not be duly performed in his absence; and, surely, they could no more be performed duly in his absence, when he was consul, than when he was prætor. If the senate thought proper to pay more regard to what Publius Licinius wished, in his consulship, than to what he had sworn in his prætorship, he himself, for his part, would, at all events, be ruled by that body.” When the question was put, the senators thought it would be a degree of arrogance in them to refuse a province to him, whom the Roman people had not refused to elect to the consulship. They, however, ordered the consuls to cast lots. Macedonia fell to Publius Licinius, Italy to Caius Cassius. They then cast lots for the legions; when it fell to the lot of the first and third to go over into Macedonia; and of the second and fourth, to remain in Italy. In making the levies, the consuls took unusual pains. Licinius enlisted even veteran centurions and soldiers; and many of them offered themselves voluntarily, as they saw that those men who had served in the former Macedonian war, or in Asia, had become rich. When the military tribunes cited the centurions, and especially those of the highest rank, twenty-three of them, and who had held the first posts, appealed to the tribunes of the people. Two of that body, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior and Marcus Claudius Marcellus, wished to refer the matter to the consuls; “the cognizance of it belonging properly to those who had the charge of the levies and of the war;” but the rest declared, that since the appeal had been made to them, they would examine into the affair; and, if there were any injustice in the case, would support their fellow-citizens.
XXXIII. The business, therefore, came into the court of the tribunes. There the consul and the centurions attended, with Marcus Popillius, a man of consular rank, as advocate for the centurions. The consul then required, that the matter might be discussed in a general assembly; and, accordingly, the people were summoned. On the side of the centurions, Marcus Popillius, who had been consul two years before, argued thus: that “as military men, they had served out their regular time, and that their strength was now spent through age and continual hardships. Nevertheless, they did not refuse to give the public the benefit of their services, they only entreated that they might be favoured so far, as not to be appointed to posts inferior to those which they had formerly held in the army.” The consul, Publius Licinius, first ordered the decree of the senate to be read, in which war was determined against Perseus; and then the other, which directed, that as many veteran centurions as could be procured should be enlisted for that war; and that no exemption from the service should be allowed to any who was not upwards of fifty years of age. He then entreated that, “at a time when a new war was breaking out, so near to Italy, and with a most powerful King, they would not either obstruct the military tribunes in making the levies, or prevent the consul from assigning to each person such a post as best suited the convenience of the public; and that, if any doubt should arise in the proceedings, it might be referred to the decision of the senate.”
XXXIV. When the consul had said all that he thought proper, Spurius Ligustinus, one of those who had appealed to the plebeian tribunes, requested permission from the consul and tribunes to speak a few words to the people; and all having consented, he spoke, we are told, to this effect: “Romans, my name is Spurius Ligustinus; I am of the Crustuminian tribe, and of a family originally Sabine. My father left me one acre of land, and a small cottage, in which I was born and educated, and where I now dwell. As soon as I came to man’s estate, my father married me to his brother’s daughter, who brought nothing with her but independence and modesty; except, indeed, a degree of fruitfulness that would have better suited a wealthier family. We have six sons and two daughters; the latter are both married; of our sons, four are grown up to manhood, the other two are yet boys. I became a soldier in the consulate of Publius Sulpicius and Caius Aurelius. In the army which was sent over into Macedonia, I served as a common soldier, against Philip, two years; and in the third year, Titus Quintius Flaminius, in reward of my good conduct, gave me the command of the tenth company of spearmen. When Philip and the Macedonians were subdued, and we were brought back to Italy and discharged, I immediately went a volunteer, with the consul Marcus Porcius, into Spain. That no one commander living was a more accurate observer, and judge of merit, is well known to all who have had experience of him, and of other generals, in a long course of service. This commander judged me deserving of being set at the head of the first company of spearmen. A third time, I entered a volunteer in the army which was sent against the Ætolians and King Antiochus; and Manius Acilius gave me the command of the first company of first-rank men. After Antiochus was driven out of the country, and the Ætolians were reduced, we were brought home to Italy, where I served the two succeeding years in legions that were raised annually. I afterwards made two campaigns in Spain; one under Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, the other under Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, prætors. Flaccus brought me with him, among others, to attend his triumph, out of regard to our good services. It was at the particular request of Tiberius Gracchus that I went with him to his province. Four times within a few years was I first centurion of my corps; thirty-four times I was honoured by my commanders with presents for good behaviour. I have received six civic crowns I have fulfilled twenty-two years of service in the army, and I am upwards of fifty years of age. But, if I had neither served out all my compaigns, nor was entitled to exemption on account of my age, yet, Publius Licinius, as I can supply you with four soldiers instead of myself, I might reasonably expect to be discharged. But what I have said I wish you to consider merely as a state of my case; as to offering any thing as an excuse from service, that is what I will never do, so long as any officer enlisting troops shall believe me fit for it. What rank the military tribunes may think I deserve, they themselves can best determine. That no one in the army may surpass me, in a zealous discharge of duty, I shall use my best endeavours; and that I have always acted on that principle, my commanders and my comrades can testify. And now, fellow-soldiers, you who assert your privilege of appeal, as you have never, in your youthful days, done any act contrary to the directions of the magistrates and the senate, so will it be highly becoming in you to show yourselves obedient to their orders, and to think every post honourable in which you can act for the defence of the commonwealth.”
XXXV. Having finished his speech, he was highly commended by the consul, who led him, from the assembly, into the senate-house, where, by order of the senate, he again received public thanks; and the military tribunes, in consideration of his meritorious behaviour, made him first centurion in the first legion. The rest of the centurions, dropping the appeal, enlisted without further demur. That the magistrates might the sooner go into their provinces, the Latine festival was celebrated on the calends of June; and, as soon as that solemnity was ended, Caius Lucretius, the prætor, after sending forward every thing requisite for the fleet, went to Brundusium. Besides the armies which the consuls were forming, Caius Sulpicius Galba, the prætor, was commissioned to raise four city legions, with the regular number of foot and horse, and to choose, out of the senate, four military tribunes to command them; likewise, to require from the Latine allies fifteen thousand foot, with twelve hundred horse, to be held in readiness to act wherever the senate should order. At the desire of the consul, Publius Licinius, the following auxiliaries were ordered to join the army of natives and allies under his command: two thousand Ligurians; a body of Cretan archers, whose number was not specified, the order only mentioning, whatever succours the Cretans, on being applied to, should send; likewise the Numidian cavalry, and elephants. To settle concerning these last, ambassadors were sent to Masinissa and the Carthaginians — Lucius Postumius Albinus, Quintus Terentius Culleo, and Caius Aburius: also, to Crete — Aulus Postumius Albinus, Caius Decimius, and Aulus Licinius Nerva.
XXXVI. At this time arrived ambassadors from Perseus, who were not suffered to come into the city; as the senate had already decreed, and the people had ordered, a declaration of war against the Macedonians. The senate gave them audience in the temple of Bellona, when they spoke to this purport: that “King Perseus wondered what could be their motive for transporting troops into Macedonia; and that if the senate could be prevailed on to recall them, the King would satisfactorily account for any injuries of which their allies might complain.” Spurius Carvilius had been sent home from Greece, by Cneius Sicinius, for the purpose of attending this business, and was present in the senate. He charged the King with the storming of Perrhæbia, the taking of several cities of Thessaly, and other enterprises, in which he was either actually employed or preparing to engage; and the ambassadors were called on to answer to those points. This they declined, declaring that they had no farther instructions. On which they were ordered to tell their King, that “the consul Publius Licinius would soon be in Macedonia at the head of an army. To him he might send ambassadors, if he were disposed to make satisfaction, but he need send none to Rome; nor would they be suffered to pass through Italy.” After they were thus dismissed, a charge was given to Publius Licinius, to insist on their quitting Italy within eleven days, and to send Spurius Carvilius to guard them, until they embarked. Such were the transactions at Rome, before the departure of the consuls for their provinces. Cneius Sicinius, who, before the expiration of his office, had been sent to Brundusium to the fleet and army, had by this time transported into Epirus, five thousand foot and three hundred horse, and was encamped at Nimphæum, in the territory of Apollonia. From thence he sent tribunes, with two thousand men, to take possession of the forts of the Dassaretians and Illyrians; those people themselves having invited him to establish garrisons, to secure them from the inroads of the Macedonians in their neighbourhood.
XXXVII. A few days after, Quintus Marcius, Aulus Atilius, Publius Cornelius Lentulus, Servius Cornelius Lentulus, and Lucius Decimius, who were appointed ambassadors to Greece, carried with them one thousand soldiers to Corcyra; where they divided the troops among them, and settled what districts they were to visit. Decimius was fixed on to go to Gentius, King of Illyria, with instructions to sound him, as to whether he retained any regard for former friendship; and even to prevail on him to take part in the war. The two Lentuluses were sent to Cephallenia, that from thence they might cross over into Peloponnesus; and, before the winter, make a circuit round the western coast. Marcius and Atilius were appointed to visit Epirus, Ætolia, and Thessaly; they were directed to take a view afterwards of Bœotia and Eubœa, and then to pass over to Peloponnesus, where, by appointment, they were to meet the Lentuluses. Before they set out on their several routes from Corcyra, a letter was brought from Perseus, inquiring the reason of the Romans sending troops into Greece, and taking possession of the cities. They did not think proper to give him any answer in writing; but they told his messenger, who brought the letter, that the motive of the Romans was, the securing the safety of the cities themselves. The Lentuluses, going round the cities of Peloponnesus, exhorted all the states, without distinction, as they had assisted the Romans with fidelity and spirit, first in the war with Philip, and then in that with Antiochus, to assist them now, in like manner, against Perseus. This occasioned some murmuring in the assemblies; for the Achæans were highly offended, that they, who, from the very first rise of the war with Macedonia, had given every instance of friendship to the Romans, and taken an active part against Philip, should be treated on the same footing with the Messenians and Elians, who had borne arms on the side of Antiochus against the Roman people, and who, being lately incorporated in the Achæan union, made heavy complaints, as if they were made over to the victorious Achæans as a prize.
XXXVIII. Marcius and Atilius, going up to Gitanæ, a town of Epirus, about ten miles from the sea, held there a council of the Epirotes, in which they were listened to with universal approbation; and they sent thence four hundred young men of that country to Orestæ, to protect those whom they had freed from the dominion of the Macedonians. From this place they proceeded into Ætolia; where, having waited a few days, until a prætor was chosen, in the room of one who had died, and the election having fallen on Lyciscus, who was well known to be a friend to the interest of the Romans, they passed over into Thessaly. There they were attended by envoys from the exiled Acarnanians and Bœotians. The Acarnanians had orders to represent, that “whatever offences they had been guilty of towards the Romans, first in the war with Philip, and afterwards in that with Antiochus, in consequence of being misled by the professions of those kings, they had found an opportunity to expiate. As, when their demerits were great, they had experienced the clemency of the Roman people, so they would now, by their endeavours to merit favour, make trial of its generosity.” The Bœotians were upbraided with having united themselves in alliance with Perseus; but they threw the blame on Ismeneas, the leader of a party, and alleged, that “several states were drawn into that measure, contrary to their own judgment:” to which Marcius replied, that “this would appear, for it was intended to give to every one of the states the power of judging for itself.” The council of the Thessalians was held at Larissa. At this meeting, both parties had abundant matter for mutual expressions of gratitude: the Thessalians, for the blessing of liberty conferred on them; and the ambassadors, for the vigorous assistance afforded by the Thessalians, in the wars with Philip and Antiochus. Their reciprocal acknowledgments of past favours kindled such zeal in the breasts of the assembly, that they voted every measure desired by the Romans. Soon after this meeting, ambassadors arrived from King Perseus, whose principal inducement to this step was, the hope he derived from a connexion of hospitality subsisting between him and Marcius, which was formed by their fathers. The ambassadors began with reminding him of this bond of amity, and then requested him to give the King an opportunity of conferring with him. Marcius answered, that “he had received from his father the same account of the friendship and hospitable connexion between him and Philip; and the consideration of that connexion induced him to undertake the present embassy. That he had not so long delayed to give the King a meeting, could it have been done without inconvenience; and that now he and his colleague would, as soon as it should be in their power, come to the river Peneus, where the passage was from Omolium to Dium; of which they would send notice to the King.”
XXXIX. Perseus, on this, withdrew from Dium into the heart of the kingdom, having conceived some degree of hope from the expression of Marcius, that he had undertaken the embassy out of regard to him. After a few days they all met at the appointed place. The King came surrounded by a multitude both of friends and guards. The train of the ambassadors was not less numerous, for they were accompanied by a great many from Larissa, and by the delegates of many states, who had met them there, wishing to carry home information on the positive testimony of what themselves should hear. All men felt a strong curiosity to behold a meeting between so powerful a King, and the ambassadors of the first people in the world. After they came wishin sight, on the opposite sides of the river, some time was spent in sending messengers from one to the other, to settle which should cross it; for one party thought the compliment due to royal majesty, the other to the fame of the Roman people, especially as Perseus had requested the conference. A jocular expression of Marcius put an end to the difficulty:—“Let the younger,” said he, “cross over to the elder; the son to the father:” for his own surname was Philip. The King was easily persuaded to comply; but then another perplexity arose, about the number he should bring over with him. He thought it would be proper to be attended by his whole retinue; but the ambassadors required, that he should either come with three attendants only; or, if he brought so great a band, that he should give hostages that no treachery should be used during the conference. He accordingly sent as hostages, Hippias and Pantaucus, two of his particular friends, and whom he had sent as ambassadors. The intent of demanding hostages was, not so much to get a pledge of good faith, as to demonstrate to the allies, that the King did not meet the ambassadors on a footing of equal dignity. Their salutations were not like those between enemies, but kind and friendly; and seats being placed for them, they sat down together.
XL. After a short silence, Marcius began thus: “I suppose you expect us to give an answer to your letter, sent to Corcyra, in which you ask the reason, why we ambassadors come attended by soldiers, and why we send garrisons into the cities? To this question it is painful to me either to refuse an answer, lest I should appear too haughty; or to give a true one, lest, to your ears, it might seem too harsh. But since the person who infringes a treaty must be reproved, either with words or with arms, as I could wish that any other, rather than myself, should be employed in a war against you, so I will undergo the task, however disagreeable, of uttering rough language against my friend, as physicians, for the recovery of health, sometimes apply painful remedies. The senate is of opinion, that, since you came to the throne, you have acted but in one particular as you ought to have done, and that is, in sending ambassadors to Rome to renew the treaty made with your father — which yet it would have been better never to have renewed, they think, than afterwards to violate it. You expelled from his throne Abrupolis, an ally and friend of the Roman people. You gave refuge to the murderers of Artetarus, thereby showing that you were pleased at their act, to say nothing worse; though they put to death a prince, who, of all the Illyrians, was the most faithful to the Roman nation. You marched with an army through Thessaly and the Malian territory to Delphi, contrary to the treaty. You likewise, in violation of it, sent succours to the Byzantians. You concluded and swore to a separate alliance with the Bœotians our confederates, which you had no right to do. As to Eversa and Callicritus, the Theban ambassadors, who were slain in returning from Rome, I wish rather to inquire who were their murderers, than to charge the fact on any one. To whom else than your agents can the civil war in Ætolia, and the deaths of the principal inhabitants, be imputed? The country of the Dolopians was ravaged by you in person. King Eumenes, on his way from Rome to his own dominions, was almost butchered, as a victim, at the altars in consecrated ground, at Delphi, and it grieves me to know the person whom he accuses. With regard to the secret crimes which the host at Brundusium states in his communication, I take for granted that you have received full accounts, both by letter from Rome, and the report of your own ambassadors. There was one way by which you might have avoided hearing of these matters from me, which was, by not inquiring why we brought troops into Macedonia, or sent garrisons into the cities of our allies. When you had asked the question, it would have been more blameable to keep silence, than to answer according to truth. Out of regard to the friendship derived to us from our fathers, I am really disposed to listen favourably to whatever you may say, and shall be happy if you afford me any grounds on which I may plead your cause before the senate.”
XLI. To this the King answered — “A cause which would approve itself good, if tried before impartial judges, I am to submit to the opinion of judges, who are, at the same time, my accusers. Of the facts laid to my charge, some are of such a nature, that I know not whether I ought not to glory in them; others there are, which I shall confess without a blush; and others, which, as they rest on bare assertions, it will be sufficient to deny. Supposing that I were this day to stand a trial, according to your laws, what does either the Brundusian informer, or Eumenes, allege against me that would be deemed a well-founded accusation, and not rather a malicious aspersion? Had Eumenes (although both in his public and private capacity he has done many grievous injuries to so many people) no other enemy than me? Could I not find a better agent for the perpetration of wickedness than Rammius, whom I had never seen before, nor had any probability of ever seeing again? Then, I must give an account of the Thebans, who, it is well known, perished by shipwreck: and of the death of Artetarus; with regard to whom nothing more is alleged against me, than that the persons who killed him lived in exile in my dominions. To such reasoning as this, unfair as it is, I will not object on my part, provided you will admit it on yours; and will acknowledge that, whatever exiles have taken refuge in Rome or in Italy, you are yourselves abettors of the crimes for which they have been condemned. If you admit not this principle, as other nations will not, neither will I. In truth, to what purpose should people be allowed to go into exile, if they are no where to be admitted? As soon, however, as I understood from your representations, that those men were in Macedonia, I ordered that search should be made for them, and that they should quit the kingdom; and I prohibited them for ever from setting foot in my dominions. On these articles, indeed, I stand accused as a criminal; the others affect me as a King, and must be decided by the terms of the treaty subsisting between you and me. For if it is thus expressed in that treaty, that, even in case of war being made on me, I am not permitted to protect my kingdom; I must then confess I have infringed it, by defending myself with arms against Abrupolis, an ally of the Roman people. But, on the other hand, if it is both allowed by the treaty, and is an axiom established by the law of nations, that force may be repelled by force; how, I pray you, ought I have acted, when Abrupolis had spread devastation over the frontiers of my kingdom, as far as Amphipolis, carried-off great numbers of free persons, a vast multitude of slaves, and many thousands of cattle? Ought I to have lain quiet, and let him proceed until he came in arms to Pella, into my very palace? But, allowing the justice of the war waged against him, yet he ought not to have been subdued, and made to suffer the evils incident to the vanquished. Nay, but when I, who was the person attacked, underwent the hazard of all these, how can he, who was the cause of the war, complain, if they happened to fall upon himself? As to my having punished the Dolopians by force of arms, I mean not, Romans, to use the same mode of defence; because, whether they deserved that treatment or not, I acted in right of my own sovereign authority: for they were my subjects, were under my dominion, annexed to my father’s territories by your decree. Nor, if I were to give an account of my conduct, I do not say to you, nor other my confederates, but even to such as disapprove of a severe and unjust exercise of authority, even over slaves, would it appear that I have carried my severity against them beyond the limits of justice and equity; for they slew Euphranor, the governor, whom I had set over them, after using him in such a manner, that death was the slightest of his sufferings.
XLII. “But, it seems, when I proceeded to visit Larissa, Antron, and Pteleos, (that I might be within a convenient distance to pay vows, due long before,) I went up to Delphi in order to offer sacrifice; and here, with the purpose of aggravating the imputed guilt, it is subjoined, that I was attended by an army, with intent to do what I now complain of your doing — to seize the towns, and put garrisons in them. Now, call together, in assembly, the states of Greece, through which I marched; and if any one person complain of ill treatment, offered by a soldier of mine, I will not deny that, under a pretence of sacrificing, I covered other designs. We sent aid to the Ætolians and Byzantians, and made a treaty of friendship with the Bœotians. These proceedings, of whatever nature they may be, have been repeatedly avowed by my ambassadors; and, what is more, excused before your senate, where I had several of my judges not so favourable as you, Quintus Marcius, my paternal friend and guest. But at that time, my accuser, Eumenes, had not come to Rome; one, who, by misrepresenting and distorting every occurrence, rendered it suspicious and odious, and endeavoured to persuade you, that Greece could not be free, nor enjoy the benefit of your kindness, while the kingdom of Macedonia subsisted. The wheel will come round; people will soon be found who will insist, that Antiochus was in vain removed beyond the mountains of Taurus; that Eumenes is more burthensome to Asia than was Antiochus; and that your allies can never enjoy quiet so long as there is a palace at Pergamus: for this was raised as a citadel over the heads of the neighbouring states. Quintus Marcius and Aulus Atilius, I am aware that the charges which you have made against me, and the arguments which I urged in my defence, will have just so much weight, as the ears and the tempers of the hearers are disposed to allow them; and that the question what I have done, or with what intention, is not of so much importance, as what construction you may put on what has been done. I am conscious to myself, that I have not, knowingly, done wrong; and that, if through imprudence I have fallen into any error, the reproofs which I have now received are sufficient to correct and reform me. I have certainly committed no fault that is incurable, or deserving of punishment by war and plunder: for, surely, the fame of your clemency and consistency of conduct, spread over the world, is ill-founded, if, on such causes as scarcely justify complaint or expostulation, you take up arms against kings in alliance with you.”
XLIII. Marcius, for the time, assented to the reasonableness of what he urged; and recommended it to him to send ambassadors to Rome, as he thought it best to try every expedient to the last, and to omit nothing that might afford any prospect of peace. It remained to be considered, how the ambassadors might travel with safety; and although, to this end, it was necessary that the King should ask a truce, which Marcius wished for, and in fact had no other view in consenting to the conference, yet he granted it with apparent reluctance, and as a great favour to the person requesting it. At that juncture, the Romans had made few preparations for war; they had no army, no general: whereas Perseus had every thing prepared and ready: and if a vain hope of peace had not blinded his judgment, he might have commenced hostilities at a time most advantageous to himself, and distressing to his enemies. At the breaking up of this conference, (the truce being ratified by both parties,) the Roman ambassadors bent their route towards Bœotia, where great commotions were now beginning; for several of the states withdrew themselves from the union of the general confederacy of the Bœotians, on being told the answer of the ambassadors, that “it would appear what particular states were displeased at the forming of the alliance with the King.” First, deputies from Chæronea; then, others from Thebes, met the Romans on the road, and assured them, that they were not present in the council, wherein that alliance was resolved on. The ambassadors gave them no answer at the time, but ordered that they should go with them to Chalcis. At Thebes a violent dissension arose out of another contest. The party defeated in the election of prætors of Bœotia, resolving to revenge the affront, collected the multitude, and passed a decree at Thebes, that the new Bœotarchs should not be admitted into the cities. All the persons thus exiled, betook themselves to Thespiæ, where they were received without hesitation; and, the people’s minds changing, they were recalled to Thebes. There they got a decree passed, that the twelve persons, who, without being invested with public authority, had held an assembly and council, should be punished by banishment: and afterwards, the new prætor, Ismenias, a man of distinction and power, procured another, condemning them, although absent, to capital punishment. They had fled to Chalcis; and, from thence, they proceeded to Larissa, to the Romans; to whom they represented, that Ismenias alone was to be blamed for the alliance concluded with Perseus. The contest originated in a party-dispute; yet ambassadors from both sides waited on the Romans, as did the exiles, accusers of Ismenias, and Ismenias himself.
XLIV. When they were all arrived at Chalcis, the chiefs of the other states, each by a particular decree of their own, renounced the alliance of Perseus, and joined themselves to the Romans. Ismenias recommended, that the Bœotian nation should be placed under the orders of Rome; on which so violent a dispute arose, that, if he had not fled for shelter to the tribunal of the ambassadors, he would have been in the most imminent danger of losing his life by the hands of the exiles and their abettors. Thebes itself, the capital of Bœotia, was in a violent ferment, one party struggling hard to bring the state over to the King, the other to the Romans; and multitudes had come together, from Coronæ and Haliartus, to support the decree in favour of Perseus. But the firmness of the chiefs (who desired them to judge, from the defeats of Philip and Antiochus, how great must be the power and fortune of the Roman empire) so far prevailed on the people, that they not only passed a resolution to cancel the alliance of the King; but also, to gratify the ambassadors, sent the promoters of that alliance to Chalcis; and ordered, that the state should be recommended to the protection of the Romans. This deputation from the Thebans gave great joy to Marcius and Atilius, and they advised the states to send separate embassies to Rome to make a renewal of friendship. They required, as an essential point, that the exiles should be restored; and passed a sentence, condemning the advisers of the treaty with the King. Having thus disunited the members of the Bœotian council, which was their grand object, they proceeded to Peloponnesus, first sending for Servius Cornelius to Chalcis. An assembly was summoned to meet them at Argos, where they demanded nothing more from the Achæans, than the furnishing of one thousand soldiers, which were sent to secure Chalcis until a Roman army should come into Greece.
XLV. Marcius and Atilius, having finished the business that was to be done in Greece, returned to Rome in the beginning of winter. An embassy had been dispatched thence, about the same time, into Asia, to the several islands. The ambassadors were three; Tiberius Claudius, Publius Postumius, and Marcus Junius. These, making a circuit among the allies, exhorted them to undertake the war against Perseus, in conjunction with the Romans; and the more powerful any state was, the more zealous were they in their applications, judging that the smaller states would follow the lead of the greater. The Rhodians were esteemed of the utmost consequence on every account; because they could not only countenance the war, but support a great share of it by their own strength, having, pursuant to the advice of Hegesilochus, forty ships ready for sea. This man being chief magistrate, whom they call Prytanis, had, by many arguments, prevailed on the Rhodians to banish those hopes, which they had conceived from courting the favour of Kings, and which they had, in repeated instances, found fallacious; and to cherish carefully the alliance of Rome, the only one at that time in the world that could be relied on for stability, whether power or fidelity were to be considered. He told them, that “a war was upon the point of breaking out with Perseus: that the Romans would expect the same naval armament which they had seen lately in that with Antiochus, and formerly in that with Philip: that they would be hurried, in the hasty equipment of a fleet, at a time when it ought to be at sea, unless they immediately set about the repairing and manning of their ships: and that this they ought to do with the greater diligence, in order to refute, by the evidence of facts, the imputations thrown on them by Eumenes.” Roused by these arguments, they rigged and fitted out a fleet of forty ships, which they showed to the Roman ambassadors on their arrival, to convince them they had not waited to be solicited. This embassy had great effect in conciliating the affections of the states in Asia. Decimius alone returned to Rome without effecting any thing, and under the scandalous suspicion of having received money from the Illyrian kings.
XLVI. Perseus, after the conference on the bank of the Peneus, retired into Macedonia, and sent ambassadors to Rome to carry on the negociation for peace commenced with Marcius, giving them letters, to be delivered at Byzantium and Rhodes. The purport of all the letters was the same; that he had conferred with the Roman ambassadors: what he had heard from them, and what he had said, was, however, represented in such colours, as that he might seem to have had the advantage in the debate. In presence of the Rhodians, the ambassadors added, that “they were confident of a continuance of peace, for it was by the advice of Marcius and Atilius that they were sent to Rome. But if the Romans should commence their hostilities, contrary to treaty, it would then be the business of the Rhodians to labour, with all their power and all their interest, for the re-establishment of peace; and that, if their mediation should prove ineffectual, they ought then to take such measures as would prevent the dominion of the whole world from coming into the hands of one only nation. That, as this was a matter of general concern, so it was peculiarly interesting to the Rhodians, as they surpassed the other states in dignity and power, which must be held on terms of servility and dependence, if there were no other resource for redress than the Romans.” Both the letter and the discourse of the ambassadors were received by the Rhodians with every appearance of kindness; they had, however, but little efficacy towards working a change in their minds, for by this time the best-judging party had the superior influence. By public order this answer was given; — that “the Rhodians wished for peace; but, if war should take place, they hoped that the king would not expect or require from them any thing that might break off their ancient friendship with the Romans, the fruit of many and great services performed on their part both in war and peace.” The Macedonians, on their way home from Rhodes, visited also the states of Bœotia, Thebes, Coronæa, and Haliartus; for it was thought that the measure of abandoning the alliance with the King, and joining the Romans, was extorted from them against their will. The Thebans, though somewhat displeased with the Romans, on account of the sentence passed on their nobles, and the restoration of the exiles, yet suffered not their sentiments to be changed; but the Coronæans and Haliartians, out of a kind of natural attachment to kings, sent ambassadors to Macedonia, requesting the aid of a body of troops to defend them against the insolent tyranny of the Thebans. To this application the King answered, that, “on account of the truce concluded with the Romans, it was not in his power to send troops; but he recommended to them, to guard themselves against ill-treatment from the Thebans, as far as they were able, without affording the Romans a pre-text for venting their resentment on him.”
XLVII. When Marcius and Atilius returned to Rome, and reported in the Capitol the result of their embassy, they assumed no greater merit for any one matter, than for having over-reached the King by the suspension of arms, and the hope of peace given him; for “he was so fully provided,” they said, “with every requisite for the immediate commencement of war, while on their side no one thing was in readiness, that all the convenient posts might be pre-occupied by him before an army could be transported into Greece: but, in consequence of gaining so much time by the truce, the Romans would begin the war in a state of much better preparation; whereas he would come into the field without any advantage beyond what he already possessed.” They mentioned, also, that “they had so effectually disunited the members of the Bœotian council, that they could never again, with any degree of unanimity, connect themselves with the Macedonians.” A great part of the senate approved of these proceedings, as conducted with consummate wisdom; but the older members, who retained the ancient simplicity of manners, declared, that, “in the conduct of that embassy, they could discover nothing of the Roman genius. Their ancestors waged war not by stratagems and attacks in the night, nor by counterfeiting flight, and returning unexpectedly on an unguarded foe, nor so as to glory in cunning more than in real valour. Their practice was, to declare their intentions to the party before they entered on action; nay, they sometimes appointed the spot whereon to fight. Actuated by these principles of honour, they gave information to King Pyrrhus of his physician plotting against his life; and, from the same motive, they delivered, bound, to the Faliscians the betrayer of their children. These were Roman acts, not resulting from the craft of Carthaginians or the subtilty of Greeks, among whom it is reckoned more glorious to deceive an enemy, than to overcome him by force. It sometimes happens that greater present advantages may be acquired by artifice than by bravery. But an adversary’s spirit is finally subdued for ever, when the confession has been extorted from him, that he was vanquished, not by artifice, nor by chance, but in a just and open war, in a fair trial of strength hand to hand.” Such were the sentiments of the elder members, who did not approve of this modern kind of wisdom. But the majority paid more regard to utility than to honour, and passed a vote approving of Marcius’s conduct in his former embassy, at the same time ordering that he should be sent again into Greece with some ships, and with authority to act in other matters as he should judge most conducive to the public good. They also sent Aulus Atilius to keep possession of Larissa in Thessaly; fearing lest, on the expiration of the armistice, Perseus might send troops, and secure to himself that metropolis. For the execution of this design it was ordered, that Atilius should be furnished by Cneius Sicinius with two thousand foot. Publius Lentulus, who had come home from Achaia, was commissioned to take the command of a party of three hundred soldiers, natives of Italy, to fix his quarters with them at Thebes, and to endeavour to keep Bœotia in obedience.
XLVIII. After these preparatory steps were taken, the senate; notwithstanding their determination for war was fixed, yet judged it proper to give audience to the King’s ambassadors. Their discourse was, principally, a repetition of what had been urged by Perseus in the conference. The point which they laboured with the greatest earnestness, was, the exculpating him from the guilt of the ambush laid for Eumenes; but their arguments carried no degree of conviction, the affair was so notorious. The rest consisted of apologies, and wishes for the continuance of amity. But their hearers were not in a temper to be either convinced or persuaded. They were ordered to quit the city of Rome instantly, and Italy within thirty days. Then Publius Licinius, the consul, to whose lot the province of Macedonia had fallen, was charged to appoint the day for assembling the army as early as possible. Caius Lucretius, the prætor, whose province was the fleet, sailed from the city with forty quinqueremes; for it was judged proper to keep at home, for other exigencies, some of the vessels that were repaired. The prætor sent forward his brother, Marcus Lucretius, with one quinquereme; ordering him to collect from the allies the ships due by treaty, and to join the fleet at Cephallenia. He received from the Rhegians one trireme, from the Locrians two, and from the Bruttians four; and then, coasting along the shore of Italy, until he passed the farthest promontory of Calabria, in the Ionian sea, he shaped his course over to Dyrrachium. Finding there ten barks belonging to the Dyrrachians, twelve belonging to the Issæans, and fifty-four to King Gentius, he affected to understand that they had been brought thither for the use of the Romans; and, carrying them all off, sailed in three days to Corcyra, and thence directly to Cephallenia. The prætor Caius Lucretius set sail from Naples, and, passing the streight, arrived on the fifth day at the same place. There the fleet halted until the land forces should be carried over, and until the transport vessels, which had been separated in the voyage, might rejoin it.
XLIX. About this time the consul Publius Licinius, after offering vows in the Capitol, marched out of the city in his military robes. This ceremony, which is always conducted with great dignity and solemnity, on this occasion particularly engaged people’s eyes and thoughts in an unusual degree — and this, by reason that they escorted the consul against an enemy formidable and conspicuous both for abilities and resources. Beside, they were drawn together, not only by their desire to pay him the customary respect, but by an earnest wish to behold the show, and to have a sight of the commander, to whose wisdom and conduct they intrusted the maintenance of the public safety. Then occurred such reflections as these: “How various were the chances of war; how uncertain the issue of the contest; how variable the success of arms; how frequent the vicissitudes of losses and successes; what disasters often happened through the unskilfulness and rashness of commanders; and, on the contary, what advantages accrued from their judgment and valour. What human being could yet know either the capacity or the fortune of the consul whom they were sending against the enemy; whether they were shortly to see him at the head of a victorious army mounting the Capitol, in triumph, to revisit the same gods from whom he now took his departure; or whether they were to give a like cause of exultation to their enemies.” Then King Perseus, against whom he was going, had a high reputation, derived from the great martial character of the Macedonian nation, and from his father Philip; who, besides many prosperous achievements, had gained a large share of renown even in his war with the Romans. Besides, the name of Perseus himself was formidable, having been, ever since his first accession to the throne, the constant subject of conversation and apprehension on account of the expected war. The consul was accompanied by two military tribunes of consular rank, Caius Claudius and Quintus Mucius; and by three illustrious young men, Publius Lentulus, and two Manlius Acidinuses, one the son of Marcus Manlius, the other of Lucius. With these he went to Brundusium to the army; and sailing over thence, with all his forces, pitched his camp at Nymphæum, in the territory of Apollonia.
L. A few days before this, Perseus, having learned from his ambassadors, on their return from Rome, that every hope of peace was cut off, held a council, in which a long debate ensued. Some were of opinion, that he ought to pay a tribute, or even to cede a part of his dominions, if that were insisted on; in short, that he ought not to refuse submitting, for the sake of peace, to any hardship whatsoever; and by no means to pursue measures which would expose himself and his kingdom to such a perilous hazard. For, “if he retained undisputed possession of the throne, time and the revolution of affairs might produce many conjunctures, which would enable him not only to recover his losses, but to become formidable to those whom he now had reason to dread.” A considerable majority, however, expressed sentiments of a bolder nature. They insisted that “the cession of any part would be followed by that of the whole kingdom. The Romans were in want of neither money nor territory: but they considered that all human affairs, even kingdoms and empires, are subject to many casualties. They had themselves broken the power of the Carthaginians, and settled in their neighbourhood an over-powerful King, as a yoke on their necks; while they had removed Antiochus, and his future successors, beyond the mountains of Taurus. There now remained only the kingdom of Macedonia near in situation, and such as might, in case of any shock being given to the power of Rome, inspire its kings with the spirit of their forefathers. Perseus therefore ought, while his affairs were yet in a state of safety, to consider well in his own mind, whether it were more adviseable to give up one part of his dominions after another, until at length, stripped of all power and exiled from his kingdom, he should be reduced to beg from the Romans, either Samothracia or some other island, where he might grow old in poverty and contempt: or, on the other hand, to stand forth armed in vindication of his fortune and his honour; and, as is the part of a brave man, either to endure with patience whatever misfortune the chance of war might bring upon him, or by victory deliver the world from the tyranny of Rome. There would be nothing more wonderful, in the Romans being driven out of Greece, than in Hannibal’s being driven out of Italy; nor, in truth, did they see how it could consist with the character of the prince, who had shown the utmost vigour in resisting the unjust designs of his brother, aspiring to the throne, after he had fairly obtained it himself, to surrender it up to foreigners. That war was the proper means even for procuring peace, was so generally allowed by all the world, that nothing was accounted more shameful than to yield up a dominion without a struggle, and nothing more glorious than for a prince to have experienced every kind of fortune in the defence of his crown and dignity.”
LI. The council was held at Pella, in the old palace of the Macedonian Kings. In conclusion, Perseus said, “Let us then, with the help of the gods, wage war, since that is your opinion;” and, dispatching letters to all the commanders of the troops, he drew together his entire force at Cytium, a town of Macedonia. He himself, after making a royal offering of one hundred victims; which he sacrificed to Minerva, called Alcide, set out for Cytium, attended by a band of nobles and guards. All the forces, both of the Macedonians and foreign auxiliaries, had assembled here before his arrival. He encamped them before the city, and drew them all up, under arms, in order of battle, in a plain. The amount of the whole was forty-three thousand armed men; of whom about one-half composed the phalanx, and were commanded by Hippias of Berœa: there were then two cohorts selected for their superior strength, and the vigour of their age, out of the whole number of their shield-bearers: these they called a legion, and the command of them was given to Leonatus and Thrasippus of Eulyea. Antiphilus of Edessa commanded the rest of the shield-bearers, about three thousand men. About the same number, of three thousand, was made of Pæonians, and men from Parorea and Parstrymonia (places subject to Thrace), with Agrians, and a mixture of some native Thracians. These had been armed and embodied by Didas, the Pæonian, the murderer of young Demetrius. There were two thousand Gallic soldiers, under the command of Asclepiodotus; three thousand independent Thracians, from Heraclea, in the country of the Sintians, had a general of their own. An equal number nearly of Cretans followed their own general, Susus of Phalasarna, and Syllus of Gnossus. Leonides, a Lacedæmonian, commanded a body of five hundred Greeks, of various descriptions; this man was said to be of the royal blood, and had been condemned to exile in a full council of the Achæans on account of a letter to Perseus, which was intercepted. The Ætolians and Bœotians, in all not exceeding the number of five hundred, were commanded by Lycho, an Achæan. These auxiliaries, composed of so many states and so many nations, made up about twelve thousand fighting men. Of cavalry, he had collected from all parts of Macedonia, three thousand; and Cotys, son of Seutha, King of the Odrysian nation, was arrived with one thousand chosen horsemen, and nearly the same number of foot. The total number was thirty-nine thousand foot, and four thousand horse. Most certainly, since the army which Alexander the Great led into Asia, no King of Macedonia had ever been at the head of so powerful a force.
LII. It was now twenty-three years since peace had been granted to the suit of Philip; and Macedonia, having through all that period enjoyed quiet, was become exceedingly populous, and very many were now grown up, and become qualified for the duties of the field; the unimportant wars also, which they had sustained with the neighbouring states of Thrace, had given them exercise rather than fatigue, so that they were in continual practice of military service. Besides, as a war with Rome had been long meditated by Philip, first, and afterwards by Perseus, every requisite preparation was fully completed. The troops performed some few movements, but not the regular course of exercise, only that they might not seem to have stood motionless under arms. He then called them, armed as they were, to an assembly. He himself stood on his tribunal, with his two sons, one on each side of him; the elder of whom, Philip, was by birth his brother, his son by adoption; the younger, named Alexander, was his son by birth. The King endeavoured to animate the troops to a vigorous prosecution of the war. He enumerated the instances of injurious treatment practised by the Romans on Philip and himself; told them, that “his father, having been compelled, by every kind of indignity, to resolve on a renewal of hostilities, was, in the midst of his preparations for war, arrested by fate: that, when the Romans sent ambassadors to himself, they at the same time sent troops to seize the cities of Greece: that then, under the pretext of re-establishing peace, they spun out the winter, by means of a fallacious conference, in order to gain time to put themselves in force; that their consul was now coming, with two Roman legions, containing each six thousand foot and three hundred horse, and nearly the same number of auxiliaries; and that, should they even be joined by the troops of Eumenes and Masinissa, yet these could not amount to more than seven thousand foot and two thousand horse.” He desired them, “after hearing the state of the enemy’s forces, to reflect on their own army, how far it excelled, both in number and in the qualifications of the men, a body of raw recruits, enlisted hastily for the present occasion; whereas themselves had from childhood been instructed in the military art, and had been disciplined and seasoned in a course of many wars. The auxiliaries of the Romans were Lydians, Phrygians, and Numidians; while his were Thracians and Gauls, the fiercest nations in the world. Their troops had such arms as each needy soldier procured for himself: but those of the Macedonians were furnished out of the royal stores, and had been made with much care, at the expence of his father, in a course of many years. Provisions they must bring from a great distance, and subject to all the hazards of the sea; while he, besides his revenue from the mines, had laid up a store, both of money and food, sufficient for the consumption of ten years. Every advantage in point of preparation, that depended on the kindness of the gods, or the care of their sovereign, the Macedonians possessed in abundance: it would, therefore, become them to show the same spirit which animated their forefathers; who, after subduing all Europe, passed over into Asia, and opened by their arms a new world unknown even by report, and never ceased to conquer until they were stopped by the Red Sea, and when nothing remained for them to subdue. But the contest, to which Fortune now called them, was not about the remotest coasts of India, but, in truth, about the possession of Macedonia itself. When the Romans made war on his father, they held out the specious pretence of liberating Greece; now, they avowedly aimed at reducing Macedonia to slavery, that there might be no King in the neighbourhood of the Roman empire, and that no nation renowed in war should have the possession of arms; for these must be delivered up to their imperious masters, together with the King and kingdom, if they chose to decline a war, and submit to obey their orders.”
LIII. During the course of his speech, he was frequently interrupted by the exclamations of the multitude; but, on his uttering the last expression, their vociferations became so loud, expressing indignation and menaces against the foe, and urging him to act with spirit, that he put an end to his discourse. He only ordered them to be ready to march; because it was reported that the Romans were quitting their camp at Nymphæum; and then, dismissing the assembly, he went to give audience to deputies from the several states of Macedonia, who were come with offers of money and corn, in proportion to the abilities of each. He gave thanks to all, but declined their proffers; telling them that the royal stores were sufficient to answer every purpose. He only desired them to provide carriages, for the conveyance of the engines, and the vast quantity of missile weapons that was prepared, with other military implements. He then put his army in motion, directing his route to Eordea; and, after encamping at the lake Begorrites, advanced, next day, into Elimea, to the river Haliacmon. Then, passing the mountains through a narrow defile, called Cambunii, he marched against the inhabitants of the district called Tripolis, consisting of Azoras, Pythios, and Doliche. These three towns hesitated, for a little time, because they had given hostages to the Larissæans; but the view of immediate danger prevailed on them to capitulate. He received them with expressions of favour, not doubting that the Perrhæbians would be induced to follow their example; and accordingly, on his first arrival, he got possession of their city, without any reluctance being shown on the part of the inhabitants. He was obliged to use force against Cyretiæ, and was even repulsed the first day by bodies of armed men, who defended the gates with great bravery; but, on the day following, having assaulted the place with all his forces, he brought them to a surrender, before night.
LIV. Mylæ, the next town, was so strongly fortified, that the inhabitants, from the hope of their works being impregnable, had conceived too great a degree of confidence. Not content with shutting their gates against the King, they assailed him with opprobrious sarcams, on himself and on the Macedonians; which behaviour, while it provoked the enemy to attack them with greater rancour, kindled a greater ardour in themselves to make a vigorous defence, as they had now no hopes of pardon. During three days, therefore, uncommon spirit was displayed both in the assault and in the defence. The great number of Macedonians made it easy for them to relieve each other, and to support the fight by turns; but, on the part of the besieged, as the same persons were employed night and day, they were quite exhausted, not only by wounds, but by watching and incessant labour. On the fourth day, the scaling-ladders being raised on all sides, and one of the gates being attacked with unusual force, the townsmen, who were beaten off the walls, ran together to secure the gate, by which they made a sudden sally. This was the effect rather of inconsiderate rage, than of a well-grounded confidence in their strength: and the consequence was, that, being few in number, and worn down with fatigue, they were routed by men who were fresh; and, having turned their backs, and fled through the open gate, they gave entrance to the enemy. The city, thus taken, was plundered, and even the persons of free condition who survived the carnage, were sold. The King, after dismantling the place, and reducing it to ashes, removed, and encamped at Phalanna; and next day arrived at Gyrton; but, understanding that Titus Minucius Rufus, and Hippias, prætor of the Thessalians, had gone into the town with a body of troops, without even attempting a siege, he passed by, and received the submission of Elatia and Gonni, whose inhabitants were dismayed by his unexpected arrival. Both these towns, particularly Gonni, stand at the entrance of the pass which leads to Tempe; he therefore left the latter under an able guard of horse and foot, and strengthened it, besides, with a triple trench and rampart. Advancing to Sycurium, he determined to wait there the approach of the Romans; at the same time he ordered his troops to collect corn from all parts that owned the enemy’s authority: for Sycurium stands at the foot of Mount Ossa, the southern side of which overlooks the plains of Thessaly, and the opposite side Macedonia and Magnesia. Besides these advantages of situation, the place enjoys a most healthful air, with abundance of water, from numerous and never-failing springs in every quarter.
LV. About the same time the Roman consul, marching towards Thessaly, at first found the roads of Epirus clear and open; but afterwards, when he proceeded into Athamania, where the country is rugged, he encountered such difficulties as to be obliged to make very short marches, and endured much fatigue, before he could reach Gomphi. If, while he was leading his raw troops through such a territory, and while both his men and horses were debilitated by constant toil, the King had opposed him with his army in proper order, and at an advantageous place and time, the Romans themselves do not deny, that the battle must have been attended with very great loss on their side. When they arrived at Gomphi, without opposition, as they felt much joy at having effected their passage through such a dangerous road, so they conceived great contempt of the enemy, who showed such utter ignorance of their own advantages. The consul, after duly offering sacrifice, and distributing corn to the troops, halted a few days, to give rest to the men and horses; and then, hearing that the Macedonians were over-running Thessaly, and wasting the country of the allies, as all were by this time sufficiently refreshed, he marched on to Larissa. Proceeding thence, when he came within about three miles of Tripolis, called Scea, he encamped on the river Peneus. In the mean time, Eumenes arrived by sea at Chalcis, accompanied by his brothers Attalus and Athenæus, (bringing with him two thousand foot, the command of whom he gave to the latter,) having left his other brother Philetærus at Pergamus, to manage the business of his kingdom. From thence, with Attalus and four thousand foot and one thousand horse, he came and joined the consul: whither also arrived parties of auxiliaries from every one of the states of Greece; but most of them so small, that their numbers have not been transmitted to us. The Apollonians sent three hundred horse and one hundred foot. Of the Ætolians came a number equal to one cohort, being the entire cavalry of the nation; those of the Thessalians acted separately. The Romans had not in their camp above three hundred horse of their own. The Achæans furnished one thousand young men, armed mostly in the Cretan manner.
LVI. In the mean time, Caius Lucretius the prætor and naval commander at Cephallenia, ordered his brother Marcus Lucretius to conduct the fleet along the coast of Malea to Chalcis; and going himself on board a trireme, he sailed to the Corinthian gulf, that he might, as early as possible, put the affairs of Bœotia on a proper footing; but the voyage proved tedious to him, particularly from the weak state of his health. Marcus Lucretius, on his arrival at Chalcis, hearing that Haliartus was besieged by Publius Lentulus, sent a messenger to him, with an order, in the prætor’s name, to retire from the place: accordingly, the lieutenant-general, who had undertaken this enterprise with Bœotian troops, raised out of the party that sided with the Romans, abandoned the town. But the raising of this siege only made room for a new one: for Marcus Lucretius immediately invested Haliartus with troops from on board the fleet, amounting to ten thousand effective men, and who were joined by two thousand of the King’s forces under Athenæus. Just when they were preparing for an assault, the prætor came up from Creusa. At the same time, several ships sent by the allies arrived at Chalcis; two Carthaginian quinqueremes, two triremes from Heraclea in Pontus, four from Chalcedon, a like number from Samos, and also five quinqueremes from Rhodes. The prætor, having no enemy to oppose at sea, excused the allies from this service. Quintus Marcius also brought his squadron to Chalcis, having taken Alope, and laid siege to Larissa, called likewise Cremaste. While the affairs of Bœotia were in this state, Perseus, who, as has been mentioned, lay encamped at Sycurium, after drawing in the corn from all the adjacent parts, sent a detachment to ravage the lands of the Pheræans; hoping that the Romans might be drawn away from their camp to succour the cities of their allies, and then be caught at a disadvantage. But seeing that his depredations did not induce them to stir, he distributed all the booty, consisting mostly of cattle of all kinds, among the soldiers, that they might feast themselves with plenty. The prisoners he kept.
LVII. Both the consul and the King held councils nearly at the same time, to determine in what manner they should begin their operations. The King assumed fresh confidence, from the enemy having allowed him, without interruption, to ravage the country of the Pheræans; and, in consequence, resolved to advance directly to their camp, and not to suffer them to lie longer inactive. On the other side, the Romans were convinced that their inactivity had created a mean opinion of them in the minds of their allies, who were exceedingly offended at their having neglected to succour the Pheræans. While they were deliberating how they should act, Eumenes and Attalus being present in the council, a messenger in a violent hurry acquainted them, that the enemy were approaching in a great body. On this the council was dismissed, and an order to take arms instantly issued. It was also resolved, that, in the mean time, a party of Eumenes’ troops, consisting of one hundred horse, and an equal number of javelin-bearers on foot, should go out to observe the enemy. Perseus, about the fourth hour of the day, being nearly one thousand paces from the Roman camp, ordered the body of his infantry to halt, and advanced himself in front, with the cavalry and light infantry, accompanied by Cotys and the other generals of the auxiliaries. They were less than five hundred paces distant, when they descried the enemy’s horse, which consisted of two cohorts, mostly Gauls, commanded by Cassignatus, and attended by about one hundred and fifty light-infantry, Mysians and Cretans. The King halted, as he knew not the force of the enemy. He then sent forward two troops of Thracians, and two of Macedonians, with two cohorts of Cretans and Thracians. The fight, as the parties were equal in number, and no reinforcements were sent upon either side, ended without any decided advantage. About thirty of Eumenes’ men were killed, among whom fell Cassignatus, general of the Gauls. Perseus then led back his forces to Sycurium, and the next day, about the same hour, brought up his army to the same ground, being followed by a number of wagons carrying water; for, in a length of twelve miles of the road, none could be had, and the men were greatly incommoded by the dust: he also considered that, if, on first sight of the enemy, an engagement should take place, they would be greatly distressed in the fight by thirst. The Romans remained quiet, and even called in the advanced guards within the rampart; on which the King’s troops returned to their camp. In this manner they acted for several days, still hoping that the Roman cavalry might attack their rear on their retreat, which would bring on a battle; considering, likewise, that when they had once enticed the Romans to some distance from their camp, they could, being superior in both cavalry and light infantry, easily and in any spot face about upon them.
LVIII. Finding that this scheme did not succeed, the King removed his camp; entrenching himself at the distance of five miles from the enemy. At the first dawn of the next day, having drawn up his line of infantry on the same ground as before, he led up the whole cavalry and light infantry to the enemy’s camp. The sight of the dust rising in greater abundance, and nearer than usual, caused a great alarm, though, for some time, little credit was given to the intelligence that was brought; because, during all the preceding days, the Macedonians had never appeared before the fourth hour, and it was now only sunrise. But the shouts set up by great numbers, and the men running off from the gates, soon removed all doubt of the matter, and great confusion ensued. The tribunes, præfects, and centurions, hastened to the general’s quarters, and the soldiers to their several tents. Perseus formed his troops within less than five hundred paces of the rampart, round a hill, called Callicinus. King Cotys, at the head of his countrymen, had the command of the left wing, the light infantry being placed between the ranks of the cavalry. On the right wing were the Macedonian horse, with whose troops the Cretans were intermixed. Milo of Berœa had the command of these last; Meno, of Antigone, that of the cavalry, and the chief direction of the whole division. Next to the wings were posted the royal horsemen, and a mixed kind of troops, selected out of the auxiliary corps of many nations; the commanders here were Patrocles of Antigone, and Didas the governor of Pæonia. In the centre was the King; and on each side of him the band called Agema, with the consecrated squadrons of horse; in his front the slingers and javelin-bearers, each body amounting to four hundred. The command of these he gave to Ion of Thessalonice, and Timanor, a Dolopian. Such was the disposition of the King’s forces. On the other side, the consul, drawing up his infantry in a line within the trenches, sent out likewise all his cavalry and light infantry, which were marshalled on the outside of the rampart. The command of the right wing, which consisted of all the Italian cavalry, with light infantry intermixed, was given to Caius Licinius Crassus, the consul’s brother. On the left wing, Marcus Valerius Lævinus commanded the cavalry of the allies, sent by the states of Greece, and the light infantry of the same nation; and the centre, under Quintus Mucius, was composed of a chosen body of select horsemen, of the allies. In the front of this body were placed two hundred Gallic horsemen; and of the auxiliaries of Eumenes, three hundred Cyrtians. Four hundred Thessalian horse were posted at a little distance, beyond the left wing. King Eumenes and Attalus, with their whole division, stood on the rear, between the rear rank and the rampart.
LIX. Formed in this manner, and nearly equal in numbers of cavalry and light-infantry, the two parties encountered; the fight being begun by the slingers and javelin-bearers, who preceded the lines. First of all the Thracians, just like wild beasts which had been long pent up, rushing on, with a hideous yell, fell upon the Italian cavalry in the right wing with such fury, that even those men, who were fortified against fear, both by experience in war and by their natural courage, were thrown into disorder. The footmen struck their spears with their swords; sometimes cut the hams of their horse, and sometimes stabbed them in the flanks. Perseus, making a charge on the centre, at the first onset routed the Greeks; and now, the Thessalian cavalry, who had been posted in reserve at a little distance from the left wing, and from their situation had not been engaged, but hitherto mere spectators of the fight, when affairs took this unfortunate turn, were of the utmost service to the Greeks, whose rear was hard pressed by the enemy. For, retreating leisurely, and preserving their order until they joined the auxiliary troops under Eumenes, in concert with him they afforded a safe retreat between their ranks to the confederates, who fled in disorder; and as the enemy did not follow in close bodies, they even had the courage to advance, and by that means saved many of the flying soldiers who made towards them. Nor did the King’s troops, who, in the ardour of the pursuit had fallen into confusion, dare to encounter men regularly formed, and marching with a steady pace. At this moment, the King, after his success in the fight of the cavalry, might, by a small degree of perseverance, have put an end to the war. The phalanx, however, came up seasonably while he was encouraging his troops; for Hippias and Leonatus, as soon as they heard of the victory gained by the horse, without waiting for orders, advanced with all haste, that they might be at hand to second any spirited design. While the King, struck with the great importance of the attempt, hesitated between hope and fear, Evander the Cretan, who had been employed by him to waylay King Eumenes at Delphi, seeing that body somewhat embarrassed as they advanced round their standards, ran up, and warmly recommended to him, “not to suffer himself to be so far elated by success, as rashly to risk his all on a precarious chance, when there was no necessity for it. If he would content himself with the advantage already obtained, and proceed no farther that day, he would have it in his power to make an honourable peace; or, if he chose to continue the war, he would be joined by abundance of allies, who would readily follow fortune.” The King’s own judgment rather inclined to this plan; wherefore, after commending Evander, he ordered the infantry to march back to their camp, and gave the signal of retreat to the cavalry. On the side of the Romans there were slain that day two hundred horsemen, and not less than two thousand footmen; about two hundred horsemen were made prisoners; but of the King’s only twenty horsemen and forty footmen were killed.
LX. When the victors returned to their camp, all were full of joy, but the Thracians particularly distinguished themselves by the intemperance of their transports; for on their way back they chaunted songs, and carried the heads of the enemy fixed on spears. Among the Romans there was not only grief for their misfortune, but the dread of an immediate attack of the enemy on their camp. Eumenes advised the consul to take post on the other side of the Peneus, that he might have the river as a defence, until the dismayed troops should recover their spirits. The consul was deeply struck with the shame which would attend such an acknowledgment of fear; yet he yielded to reason, and, leading over his troops in the dead of the night, fortified a camp on the farther bank. Next day the King advanced with intent to provoke the enemy to battle; and, on seeing their camp pitched in safety on the other side of the river, admitted that he had been guilty of error in not pushing the victory the day before, and of a still greater fault, in lying idle during the night; for, even by calling forth his light-infantry only, he might in a great measure have destroyed the army of the enemy during their confusion in the passage of the river. The Romans were delivered, indeed, from any immediate fears, as they had their camp in a place of safety; but, among many other afflicting circumstances, their loss of reputation affected them most. In a council held in presence of the consul, every one concurred in throwing the blame on the Ætolians, insisting that the panic and flight took place first among them; and that then the other allied troops of the Grecian states followed their cowardly example. It was asserted, that five chiefs of the Ætolians were the first persons seen turning their backs.
LXI. The Thessalians were publicly commended in a general assembly, and their commanders even received presents for their good behaviour. The spoils of the enemies who fell in the engagement, were brought to the King, out of which he made presents — to some, of remarkable armour, to some, of horses, and to others he gave prisoners. There were above one thousand five hundred shields; the coats of mail and breast-plates amounted to more than one thousand, and the number of helmets, swords, and missile weapons of all sorts, was much greater. These spoils, ample in themselves, were much magnified in a speech which the King made to an assembly of the troops: he said, “you have anticipated the issue of the war: you have routed the best part of the enemy’s force, the Roman cavalry, which they used to boast of as invincible. For, with them, the cavalry is the flower of their youth; the cavalry is the seminary of their senate; out of them they choose the members of that body, who afterwards are made their consuls; out of them they elect their commanders. The spoils of these we have just now divided among you. Nor have you a less evident victory over their legions of infantry, who, stealing away in the night, filled the river with all the disorderly confusion of people shipwrecked, swimming here and there. But it will be easier for us to pass the Peneus in pursuit of the vanquished, than it was for them in the hurry of their fears; and, immediately on our passing, we will assault their camp, which we should have taken this morning if they had not run away. If they should choose to meet us in the field, be assured that the event of a battle with the infantry will be similar to that of yesterday’s dispute with the cavalry.” Those troops who had gained the victory, while they bore on their shoulders the spoils of the enemies whom they had killed, were highly animated at hearing their own exploits, and, from what had passed, conceived sanguine hopes of the future; while the infantry, especially those of the Macedonian phalanx, were inflamed with emulation of the glory acquired by the others, wishing impatiently for an opportunity to show their zeal in the King’s service, and to acquire equal glory from the defeat of the enemy. The King then dismissed the assembly; and next day, marching thence, pitched his camp at Mopsius, a hill situate half way between Tempe and Larissa.
LXII. The Romans, without quitting the bank of the Peneus, removed their camp to a place of greater safety, where they were joined by Misagenes, the Numidian, with one thousand horse, and a like number of foot, besides twenty-two elephants. The King soon after held a council, on the general plan to be pursued; and, as the presumption inspired by the late success had by this time subsided, some of his friends ventured to advise him to employ his good fortune, as the means of obtaining an honourable peace, rather than to let himself be so far transported with vain hopes, as to expose himself to the hazard of an irretrievable misfortune. They observed, that “to use moderation in prosperity, and not to confide too much in the calm of present circumstances, was the part of a man of prudence, who deserved success; and they recommended it to him to send to the consul, to renew the treaty, on the same terms which had been granted to his father by Titus Quintius, his conqueror; for the war could never be terminated in a more glorious manner than by such a memorable battle, nor could any conjuncture afford firmer hopes of a lasting peace, as the Romans, dispirited by their defeat, would be more reasonable in a negotiation. But, should they, with their native obstinacy, refuse to accede to reasonable conditions, then gods and men would bear witness both to the moderation of Perseus, and to the stubborn pride of the others.” The King’s inclination was never averse from such measures; and the majority, therefore, approved of the advice. The ambassadors sent to the consul, had audience in a full council, summoned for the purpose. They requested, that “a peace might be concluded; promising, that Perseus should pay the Romans the same tribute which was engaged for by Philip, and should evacuate the same cities, lands, and places, which Philip had evacuated.” Such were the proposals of the ambassadors. When they withdrew, and the council took them under consideration, the Roman firmness prevailed in their determination. The practice of that time was, to assume in adversity the countenance of prosperity, and in prosperity to moderate the temper. They resolved to give this answer: “that peace should be granted on this only condition; that the King should refer himself entirely to the senate, who were to make such terms as they thought proper, and to determine concerning him, and concerning all Macedonia.” When the ambassadors brought back this answer, such as were unacquainted with their usual mode of acting, were astonished at the obstinate perseverance of the Romans, and most people advised the King to make no farther mention of peace, for “the enemy would soon come to solicit that, which they now disdained when offered.” But this haughtiness, as flowing from confidence in their own strength, created no small fears in the breast of Perseus, who continued his endeavours to prevail on the consul, offering a larger sum of money, if a peace might be purchased. The consul adhered inflexibly to his first answer. The King, therefore, at length despairing of success, determined to try again the fortune of war, and marched back to Sycurium.
LXIII. When the news of this battle of the cavalry spread through Greece, it produced a discovery of the wishes of the people. For, not only those who professed an attachment to the Macedonians, but the generality, who were bound to the Romans under the weightiest obligations, and some who had even felt the power and haughty behaviour of the Macedonians — all received the account with joy; and that, for no other cause, than out of an unaccountable passion, which actuates the vulgar, even in contests of sports, of favouring the worse and weaker party. Meanwhile, in Bœotia, the prætor Lucretius pushed the siege of Haliartus with all imaginable vigour. The besieged, though destitute of foreign aid, excepting some young Corinæans, who had come into the town at the beginning of the siege, and without hope of relief, yet maintained the defence with courage beyond their strength. They made frequent irruptions against the works; when the ram was applied, they crushed it to the ground by dropping on it a mass of lead; and whenever those who directed the blows, changed their position, they set all hands to work, and, collecting stones out of the rubbish, quickly erected a new wall in the room of that which had been demolished. The prætor, finding that he made but little progress by means of his machines, ordered scaling-ladders to be distributed among the companies, resolving to make a general assault on the walls. He thought the number of his men sufficient for this; beside, that on one side of the city, which is bounded by a morass, it would neither be useful nor practicable to form an attack. Lucretius himself led two thousand chosen men to a place where two towers, and the wall between them, had been thrown down; hoping that, while he endeavoured to climb over the ruins, and the townsmen crowded thither to oppose him, some part or other might be left defenceless, and open to be mastered by scalade. The besieged were not remiss in preparing to repel his assault; for, on the ground, overspread with the rubbish, they placed faggots of dry bushes, and stood with burning torches in their hands, in order to set them on fire; that, being covered from the enemy by the smoke and flames, they might have time to fence themselves with a wall. But this plan was rendered abortive; for there fell suddenly such a quantity of rain, as hindered the faggots from being kindled; so that it was not difficult to clear a passage, by drawing them aside. Thus, while the besieged were attending to the defence of one particular spot, the walls were mounted by scalade in many places at once. In the first tumult of storming the town, the old men and children, whom chance threw in the way, were put to the sword indiscriminately, while the men who carried arms fled into the citadel. Next day, these, having no remaining hope, surrendered, and were sold by public auction. Their number was about two thousand five hundred. The statues and pictures, with all the valuable booty, were carried off to the ships, and the city was rased to the ground. The prætor then led his army into Thebes, which fell into his hands without a dispute; when he gave the city in possession to the exiles, and the party that sided with the Romans; selling, as slaves, the families of those who were of the opposite faction, and favoured the King and the Macedonians. As soon as he had finished this business in Bœotia, he marched back to the sea-coast to his fleet.
LXIV. During these transactions in Bœotia, Perseus lay a considerable time encamped at Sycurium. Having learned there, that the Romans were busily employed in collecting corn from all the adjacent grounds, and that, when it was brought in, they cut off the ears with sickles, each before his own tent, in order that the grain might be the cleaner when threshed, and had by this means formed large heaps of straw in all quarters of the camp, he conceived that he might set it on fire. Accordingly, he ordered torches, faggots, and bundles of tow, dipped in pitch, to be got ready; and, thus prepared, he began his march at midnight, that he might make the attack at the first dawn, and without discovery. But his stratagem was frustrated: the uproar among the advanced guards, who were surprised, alarmed the rest of the troops: orders were given to take arms with all speed, and the soldiers were instantly drawn up on the rampart and at the gates in readiness to defend the camp. Perseus immediately ordered his army to face about; the baggage to go foremost, and the battalions of foot to follow, while himself, with the cavalry and light infantry, kept behind, in order to cover the rear; for he expected, what indeed happened, that the enemy would pursue, and harass the hindmost of his troops. There was a short scuffle between the light infantry, mostly in skirmishing parties. The infantry and cavalry returned to their camp, without any disturbance. After reaping all the corn in that quarter, the Romans removed into the territory of Cranno, which was yet untouched, While they lay there, without any apprehension of danger, from which they thought themselves secured by the distance between the camps, and by the difficulty of the march, through a country destitute of water, as was that between Sycurium and Cranno, the King’s cavalry and light infantry appeared suddenly, at the dawn of day, on the nearest hills, and caused a violent alarm. They had marched from Sycurium at noon, the preceding day, and had left their body of foot in the next plain. Perseus stood a short time on the hills, in expectation that the Romans might be tempted to come out with their cavalry; but seeing that they did not move, he sent a horseman to order the infantry to return to Sycurium, and he himself soon followed. The Roman horse pursued at a small distance, in expectation of being able to pick up any scattered parties that might separate from the rest; but, seeing them retreat in close order, and attentive to their standards and ranks, they desisted, and returned to their camp.
LXV. The King, disliking such long marches, removed his camp to Mopsium; and the Romans having cut down all the corn about Cranno, marched into the lands of Phalanna. Perseus, being informed by a deserter, that they carried on their reaping there, without any armed guard, straggling at random through the fields, set out with one thousand horsemen and two thousand Thracians and Cretans, and, hastening his march with all possible speed, fell on the Romans while quite unprepared. Nearly a thousand carts, with horses harnessed to them, most of them loaded, were seized, and about six hundred men were taken. The charge of guarding this booty, and conducting it to the camp, he gave to a party of three hundred Cretans, and calling in the rest of his infantry and the cavalry who were spread about, killing the enemy, he led them against the nearest station, where any of their troops were posted, which he supposed might be overpowered without much difficulty. The commanding officer there was Lucius Pompeius, a military tribune; who, while his men were dismayed by the sudden approach of the enemy, led them off to a hill at a little distance, hoping to defend himself by means of the advantage of the ground, as he was inferior in number and strength. There he collected his men in a circular body, that, by closing their shields, they might guard themselves from arrows and javelins; on which, Perseus, surrounding the hill, ordered a party to strive to climb it on all sides, and come to close fighting, and the rest to throw missile weapons against them from a distance. The Romans were environed with dangers, in whatever manner they acted; for they could not fight in a body, on account of the enemy who endeavoured to mount the hill; and, if they broke their ranks in order to skirmish with these, they were exposed to the arrows and javelins. What galled them most severely was, a new kind of weapon invented in that war, and called Cestrophendanon. A dart, two palms in length, was fixed to a shaft, half a cubit long, and of the thickness of a man’s finger, round which, as is commonly done with arrows, three feathers were tied, to balance it. To throw this, they used a sling, which had two beds, unequal in size, and in the length of the strings. When the weapon was balanced in these, and the slinger whirled it round by the longer string and discharged it, it flew with the rapid force of a leaden bullet. When one half of the soldiers had been wounded by these and other weapons of all kinds, and the rest were so fatigued that they could hardly bear the weight of their arms, the King pressed them to surrender, assured them of safety, and sometimes promised them rewards; but not one could be prevailed on to yield. Just at this juncture, when they had determined to hold out till death, they were unexpectedly cheered by the enlivening prospect of relief. For some of the foragers, having made their escape, and got back to the camp, acquainted the consul that the party was surrounded; whereupon, alarmed for the safety of such a number of his countrymen, (for they were near eight hundred, and all Romans,) he set out with the cavalry and light infantry, joined by the newly-arrived Numidian auxiliaries, horse, foot, and elephants, leaving orders with the military tribunes, that the battalions of the legions should follow. He himself, having strengthened the light-armed auxiliaries with his own light infantry, hastened forward at their head to the hill. He was accompanied by Eumenes, Attalus, and the Numidian prince Misagenes.
LXVI. The first sight of the standards of their friends raised the distressed Romans from the lowest depth of despair, and inspired them with fresh spirits. Perseus’s best plan would have been to have contented himself with his accidental good fortune, in having killed and taken so many of the foragers, and not to have wasted time in besieging this detachment of the enemy; or, after he had engaged in the attempt, as he was sensible that he had not a proper force with him, to have gone off, while he might, with safety; instead of which, intoxicated with success, he waited for the arrival of the enemy, and sent people in haste to bring up the phalanx. But it must have come too late for the exigency. From its rapid celerity, too, the men must have engaged in all the disorder of a hurried march, against troops duly formed and prepared. The consul, arriving first, proceeded instantly to action. The Macedonians, for some time, made resistance; but finding themselves overmatched in every respect, and having lost three hundred foot, and twenty-four of the best of their horse, of what they call the sacred cohort, (among whom fell Antimachus, who commanded that body,) they endeavoured to retreat: but this was conducted in a manner more disorderly and confused than the battle itself. As the phalanx, after receiving the hasty order, was marching at full speed, it met first, in a narrow pass, the carts laden with corn, with the mass of prisoners. These they put to the sword, and both parties suffered by this encounter abundance of trouble and perplexity: but none waited till the troops might pass in some sort of order, but the soldiers tumbled the loads down a precipice, which was the only possible way to clear the road, and the horses being goaded, pushed furiously through the crowd. Scarcely had they disentangled themselves from the disorderly throng of the prisoners, when they met the King’s party and the discomfited horsemen. And now the shouts of the men, calling to their comrades to go back, raised a scene of consternation and tumult, not unlike a total rout; insomuch, that if the enemy had ventured to enter the defile, and carry the pursuit a little farther, they might have done them very great damage. But the consul, when he had relieved his party from the hill, content with that moderate share of success, led back his troops to the camp. Some authors affirm, that a general engagement took place that day, in which eight thousand of the enemy were killed, among whom were Sopater and Antipater, two of the King’s generals, and about two thousand eight hundred taken, with twenty-seven military standards; that the victory was not without loss on the side of the Romans, for that above four thousand three hundred fell, and five standards of the left wing of the allies were lost.
LXVII. The event of this day revived the spirits of the Romans, and greatly disheartened Perseus; insomuch that, after staying at Mopsium a few days, which were employed chiefly in burying his dead, he left a very strong garrison at Gonnus, and led back his army into Macedonia. He left Timotheus, one of his generals, with a small party at Phila, ordering him to endeavour to gain the affection of the Magnesians, and other neighbouring states. On his arrival at Pella, he sent his troops to their winter quarters, and proceeded with Cotys to Thessalonica. There an account was received, that Atlesbis, a petty prince of Thrace, and Corragus, an officer belonging to Eumenes, had made an inroad into the dominions of Cotys, and seized on the district called Marene. Seeing, therefore, the necessity of letting Cotys go home to defend his own terrritories, he honoured him, at his departure, with very magnificent presents, and paid to his cavalry two hundred talents,* which was but half a year’s pay, though he had agreed to give them the pay of a whole year. The consul, hearing that Perseus had left the country, marched his army to Gonnus, in hopes of being able to take that town. It stands directly opposite to the pass of Tempe, and close to the entrance of it; so that it serves as the safest barrier to Macedonia, and renders a descent into Thessaly easy. But the city, from the nature of its situation, and the strength of the garrison, was impregnable; he therefore gave up the design, and turning his route to Perrhæbia, took Mallæa at the first assault, and demolished it; and, after reducing Tripolis, and the rest of Perrhæbia, returned to Larissa. From that place he sent home Eumenes and Attalus, and quartered Misagenes and his Numidians, for the winter, in the nearest towns of Thessaly. One half of his army he distributed through Thessaly, in such a manner, that while all had commodious winter quarters, they served, at the same time, as a defence to the cities. He sent Quintus Mucius, lieutenant-general, with two thousand men, to secure Amdracia, and dismissed all the allied troops belonging to the Grecian states, except the Achæans. With the other half of his army he marched into the Achæan Phthiotis; where, finding Pteleum deserted by the inhabitants, he levelled it to the ground. The people of Antron made a voluntary surrender, and he then marched against Larissa: this city was likewise deserted, the whole multitude taking refuge in the citadel, to which he laid siege. First, the Macedonian garrison, belonging to the King, withdrew through fear; and then the townsmen, on being abandoned by them, surrendered immediately. He then hesitated whether he should first attack Demetrius, or take a view of affairs in Bœotia. The Thebans, being harassed by the Coronæans, pressed him to go into Bœotia; wherefore, in compliance with their entreaties, and because that country would afford better winter quarters than Magnesia, he led his army thither.
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