Several prætors punished for cruelty and avarice in the administration of their provinces. Publius Licinius Crassus, proconsul, takes several cities in Greece, which he plunders, and treats the inhabitants with great cruelty; the captives, which he had sold as slaves, restored to their freedom by a decree of the senate. Successful operations of King Perseus in Thrace and Illyricum. Commotions excited in Spain by Olonicus; suppressed.
171.I. DURING that summer, in which the Romans were worsted in Thessaly in one battle of the cavalry, and successful in another, the lieutenant general, sent by the consul to Illyricum, having reduced, by force of arms, two opulent cities, gave the inhabitants all their effects, in hopes, by the reputation of his clemency, to allure to submission the inhabitants of Carnus, a city strongly fortified. But he could neither persuade them to surrender, nor hope to get the better of them by a siege. That the fatigue, therefore, which his soldiers had undergone in the two sieges, might not be quite fruitless, he sacked those cities, which he had spared before. The other consul, Caius Cassius, performed nothing worth mention in Gaul, the province that fell to his lot; but made an ill-judged attempt to lead his army through Illyricum to Macedonia. His having undertaken that march the senate learned from deputies of Aquileians, who came to represent, that their colony, which was new, weak, and but indifferently fortified, lay in the midst of hostile states, Istrians and Illyrians; and to beg the senate to take into consideration some method of strengthening it. These, being asked whether they wished that matter to be given in charge to the consul, Caius Cassius, replied, that Cassius, after assembling his forces at Aquileia, had set out on a march through Illyricum into Macedonia. The fact was at first deemed incredible, and it was generally supposed that he had gone on an expedition against the Carnians, or perhaps the Istrians. The Aquileians then said, that all that they knew, or could take upon them to affirm was, that the soldiers had been furnished with corn for thirty days, and that guides, who knew the roads from Italy to Macedonia, had been sought for, and carried with him. The senate were highly displeased that the consul should presume to act so improperly, as to leave his own province, and remove into that of another; leading his army through unknown and dangerous roads, through foreign states, thereby opening, for so many nations, a passage into Italy. It was unanimously decreed, that the prætor Caius Sulpicius should nominate out of the senate three deputies, who should set out that very day, make all possible haste to overtake the consul, and charge him not to engage in any war except that authorized by a vote of the senate. The three deputies accordingly left the city; they were Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, Marcus Fulvius, and Publius Marcius Rex. The fears entertained for the consul and his army caused the business of fortifying Aquileia to be postponed for that time.
II. Then were introduced to the senate ambassadors from several states of both the Spains; who, after complaining of the avarice and pride of the Roman magistrates, fell on their knees, and implored the senate not to suffer them, who were their allies, to be more cruelly plundered and ill-treated than their enemies. Among other hardships, it was clearly proved, that considerable sums of money had been extorted from them. A charge was therefore given to Lucius Canuleius, the prætor to whom Spain was allotted, to appoint, out of the body of the senate, five judges delegate, to try each person against whom demands of money might be made by the Spaniards; and that they should give the latter power to choose their patrons. The ambassadors were then called into the house; the decree of the senate was read to them, and they were ordered to select their protectors: on which they named four — Marcus Porcius Cato, Publius Cornelius Scipio, son of Cneius, Lucius Æmilius Paullus, son of Lucius, and Caius Sulpicius Gallus. Their first application to the judges was against Marcus Titinius, who had been prætor in Hither Spain in the consulate of Aulus Manlius and Marcus Junius. The cause was twice adjourned, and on the third hearing the accused was acquitted. A separation took place between the ambassadors of the two provinces; and the states of Hither Spain chose for their patrons, Marcus Cato and Scipio; those of Farther Spain, Lucius Paullus and Sulpicius Gallus. The states of the hither province brought to trial, before the judges, Publius Furius Philus: those of the farther, Marcus Matienus; the former of whom had been prætor, three years before, in the consulate of Spurius Postumius and Quintus Mucius; and the latter, two years before, when Lucius Postumius and Marcus Popillius were consuls. Both were accused of most heinous crimes, and the causes were adjourned; but, upon the re-hearing, it was represented on their behalf, that they had quitted the country, and were gone into voluntary exile — Furius to Præneste; Matienus to Tibur. There was a report, that the complainants were not suffered, by their patrons, to bring charges against people of high birth and power; a suspicion that was strengthened by the behaviour of the prætor Canuleius; for he neglected that business, and applied himself to the enlisting of soldiers; and then suddenly went off to his province, lest more accusations might be brought by the Spaniards. Although past transactions were thus consigned to silence, yet the senate took some care of the interest of the Spaniards in future: they passed an order, that the Roman magistrates should not have the valuation of the corn; nor should they compel the Spaniards to compound for their twentieths, at such prices as they were pleased to impose; and that officers should not be placed in command of their towns for the purpose of exacting money.
III. There came also from Spain, an extraordinary embassy, from a body of men who had never before been heard of. They represented, that they were the offspring of Roman soldiers and Spanish women, who had not been joined in marriage; that their number amounted to more than four thousand; and they petitioned for a grant of some town to be allotted to them for their residence. The senate decreed, that “they should exhibit their pretensions before Lucius Canuleius; and that as many as he should judge deserving of freedom, should be settled as a colony at Carteia, on the ocean. That such of the present inhabitants of Carteia, as wished to remain there, should have the privilege of being considered as colonists, and should have lands assigned them; that this should be deemed a Latine settlement, and be called a colony of freedmen.” At this time arrived from Africa, Gulussa, son of King Masinissa, as ambassador from his father; and likewise ambassadors from Carthage. Gulussa was first introduced to the senate, where he gave a detail of the succours sent by his father to the maintenance of the war in Macedonia, and assured them, that if they chose to lay any farther commands on him, he would cheerfully execute them, in gratitude for the many favours conferred on him by the Roman people. He warned the Conscript Fathers to be on their guard against the treachery of the Carthaginians, who “had formed the design of fitting out a powerful fleet, in favour, as they pretended, of the Romans, and against the Macedonians; but when it should be equipped, and ready for action, they would have it in their power to make their own option which party they would treat as a friend, and which as a foe.” [. . . .]
170.IV.During the following year, in which Aulus Hostilius Mancinus and Aulus Atilius Serranus were consuls, the Celtiberians raised disturbances in Spain, being instigated by a strange kind of leader named Olonicus. He was a man of great cunning and boldness; and showing himself to the people, brandishing a silver spear, which he pretended was sent to him from Heaven, with the agitation of a person inspired, he had attracted universal attention. Having formed the mad design of destroying the Roman general, he came to the camp with a single accomplice in the dusk of the evening, and was killed by a centinel with a javelin. His attendant met with the same fate. The prætor immediately ordered both their heads to be cut off and fixed on spears, and to be sent thus to their camp by some of their prisoners. When these arrived with their charge, such a panic ensued, that if the Romans had instantly advanced to the camp, they might have taken it: as it was, a general flight took place. Many, on this, advised to send ambassadors, and supplicate for peace; while a great number of states, on hearing of the affair, made their submission. These all asserted their innocence, laying the entire blame on the two who had suffered for their intended crime; on which the prætor granted them pardon, and proceeded immediately to the other states, every one of which acknowledged his authority; so that in traversing all that tract of country, where, a short time before, the flames of war had raged with the greatest violence, he had not once occasion to employ his arms, but found every thing in a state of peace and quietness. This lenity shown by the prætor, was the more pleasing to the senate and people, as the conduct of the consul Licinius, and the prætor Lucretius, in the war in Greece, had been marked with uncommon avarice and cruelty. The plebeian tribunes, daily, in their speeches to the people, censured Lucretius for being absent, though it was alleged in his favour, that he was abroad on the business of the public. But so little was then known of what passed, even in the vicinity of Rome, that he was, at that very time, at his own estate near Antium; and, with money amassed in his expedition, was bringing water thither from the river Locrina; for the execution of which work, it is said, he had agreed to pay one hundred and thirty thousand asses* . He also decorated the temple of Æsculapius with pictures taken from among the spoils. But the current of the public displeasure, and of disgrace, was diverted from Lucretius and turned on his successor, by ambassadors who came from Abdera. These stood weeping at the door of the senate-house, and complained, that “their town had been stormed and plundered by Hortensius. His only reason,” they said, “for destroying their city was, that, on his demanding from them one hundred thousand denariuses†, and fifty thousand measures of wheat, they had requested time until they could send ambassadors on the subject, both to the consul Hostilius, and to Rome; and that they had scarcely reached the consul, when they heard that the town was stormed, their nobles beheaded, and the rest sold for slaves.” At this the senate expressed much indignation, and passed a decree respecting the people of Abdera, of the same purport with that which they had passed concerning the Coronæans. They also ordered Quintus Mænius, the prætor, to publish notice, as had been done the year before, in a general assembly. Two ambassadors, Caius Sempronius Blæsus and Sextus Julius Cæsar, were sent to restore the Abderites to liberty; and were likewise commissioned to deliver a message from the senate to the consul Hostilius, and to the prætor Hortensius, that the senate judged the war made on the Abderites to be unjust, and had directed that all those who were in servitude should be sought out and restored to liberty.
V. At the same time, complaints were made to the senate, by ambassadors from Cincibilus, a King of the Gauls, against Caius Cassius, who had been consul the year before, and was then a military tribune in Macedonia, under Aulus Hostilius. His brother made a speech to the senate, saying, that Caius Cassius had entirely wasted the country of the Alpine Gauls, their allies, and carried off into slavery many thousands of their people. Ambassadors came likewise from the Carnians, Istrians, and Iapidians, who represented, that “the consul Cassius, at first, after obliging them to furnish him with guides to conduct his army, which he was leading into Macedonia, had gone away in a peaceable manner, as if to carry war elsewhere; but that, when he had proceeded half way, he returned, and overran their country, committing every act of hostility, and spreading depredations and fires through every quarter; nor had they been yet able to discover for what reason the consul treated them as enemies.” The absent prince of the Gauls, and the states present, were answered, that “the senate had no previous knowledge of those acts of which they complained; nor did they approve of them. But that it would still be unjust to condemn, unheard and absent, a man of consular rank, especially as he was employed abroad in the business of the public. That, when Caius Cassius should come home from Macedonia, if they chose then to prosecute their complaints against him, face to face, the senate, after examining the matter, would endeavour to give them satisfaction.” It was farther resolved, that ambassadors should be sent to those nations, (two to the transalpine chieftain, and three to the other states,) to notify to them the determinations of the senate. They voted, that presents, to the amount of two thousand asses,* should be sent to the ambassadors; and to the prince, and his brother, some of extraordinary value: two chains, containing five pounds weight of gold; five silver vases, amounting to twenty pounds; two horses, fully caparisoned, with grooms to attend them, and horsemen’s armour and cloaks, besides suits of apparel to their attendants, both freemen and slaves. These were presented to them; and, on their request, they were indulged with the liberty of purchasing ten horses each, and carrying them out of Italy. Caius Lælius and Marcus Æmilius were sent ambassadors with the Gauls, to the northern side of the Alps; and Caius Sicinius, Publius Cornelius Blasio, and Titus Memmius, to the other states.
VI. Embassies from many states of Greece and Asia arrived at Rome at the same time. The first that had audience of the senate were the Athenians, who represented, that “they had sent what ships and soldiers they had to the consul Publius Licinius, and the prætor Caius Lucretius, who did not think proper to employ their forces, but ordered the state to furnish one hundred thousand measures of corn; and, notwithstanding the sterility of the soil, and that they fed even the husbandmen with imported grain, yet, that they might not appear deficient in their duty, they had made up that quantity, and were ready to perform any other service that might be required of them.” The Milesians pretended not to any past service, but promised readily to afford any assistance in the war which the senate should think proper to demand. The Alabandians said, that they had erected a temple to the city of Rome, and instituted anniversary games to her divinity; that they had brought a golden crown, of fifty pounds weight, to be deposited in the Capitol, as an offering to Jupiter supremely good and great; also three hundred horsemen’s bucklers, which they were ready to deliver to any person appointed to receive them; and they requested permission to lodge the said offering as intended, and to perform sacrifice. The same request was made by ambassadors from Lampsacus, who brought a crown, of eighty pounds weight, and represented to the senate, that “they had renounced the party of Perseus as soon as the Roman army appeared in Macedonia, though they had been under the dominion of that monarch, and formerly of Philip. In return for which, and for their having contributed every assistance in their power to the Roman commanders, they only requested to be admitted into the friendship of the Roman people; and that, if peace should be made with Perseus, there might be a special clause in their favour, to prevent their falling again into his power.” The rest of the ambassadors received gracious answers, and the prætor, Quintus Mænius, was ordered to enrol the people of Lampsacus as allies. Presents were made to all, two thousand asses to each. The Alabandians were desired to carry back the bucklers into Macedonia, to the consul Aulus Hostilius. At the same time came ambassadors from Africa; those of the Carthaginians acquainted the senate, that they had brought down to the sea coast a million of measures of wheat, and five hundred thousand of barley, “to be transported to whatever place the senate should order. They were sensible,” they said, “that this offer, and act of duty, were very inferior to the deserts of the Roman people, and to their own inclinations; but that, on many other occasions, when the affairs of both nations flourished, they had performed the duties of faithful and grateful allies.” In like manner, ambassadors from Masinissa offered the same quantity of wheat, one thousand two hundred horsemen, and twelve elephants; desiring, that if he could be of service in any other particular, the senate would lay their commands on him, which he would execute with as much zeal as what he had proposed himself. Thanks were returned both to the Carthaginians and to the King; and they were requested to send the supplies, which they promised, into Macedonia, to the consul Hostilius. A present of two thousand asses was made to each of the ambassadors.
VII. Ambassadors of the Cretans mentioned, that they had sent into Macedonia the archers demanded by the consul Publius Licinius; but, being interrogated they did not deny, that a greater number of these were in the army of Perseus than in that of the Romans: on which they received this answer; that “if the Cretans were candidly and sincerely resolved to prefer the friendship of the Roman people to that of King Perseus, the Roman senate, on their part, would answer them as allies who could be relied on.” In the mean time, they were desired to tell their countrymen, that “the senate required that the Cretans should endeavour to call home, as soon as possible, all the soldiers who were in the service of King Perseus.” The Cretans being dismissed, the ambassadors from Chalcis were called, the chief of whom, by name Miction, having lost the use of his limbs, was carried on a litter: which demonstrated that their business was a matter of extreme necessity; since, either a man, in that infirm state, had not thought proper to plead ill health in excuse from being employed, or the plea had not been admitted. After premising, that no other part was alive but his tongue, which served him to deplore the calamities of his country, he represented, first, the friendly assistance given by his state to the Roman commanders and armies, both on former occasions, and in the war with Perseus; and then, the instances of pride, avarice, and cruelty, which his countrymen had suffered from the Roman prætor, Caius Lucretius, and were, at that very time, suffering from Lucius Hortensius; notwithstanding which, they were resolved to endure all hardships, should they be even more grievous than they underwent at present, rather than give themselves up to the power of Macedon. “With regard to Lucretius and Hortensius, they knew that it had been safer to have shut their gates against them, than to receive them into the city. For those cities, which had so done, remained in safety, as Emathea, Amphipolis, Maronea, and Ænus; whereas, in Chalcis, the temples were robbed of all their ornaments. Caius Lucretius had carried off in ships, to Antium, the plunder amassed by such sacrilege, and dragged persons of free condition into slavery; the property of the allies of the Roman people was subjected to rapine, and suffered daily depredations. For, pursuing the practice of Caius Lucretius, Hortensius kept the crews of his ships in lodgings both in summer and winter alike; so that their houses were filled with a crowd of seamen, and those men, who showed no regard to propriety, either in their words or actions, lived among the inhabitants, their wives, and children.”
VIII. The senate resolved to call Lucretius before them, that he might argue the matter in person, and exculpate himself. But when he appeared, he heard many more crimes alleged against him than had been mentioned in his absence; and two more weighty and powerful accusers stood forth in support of the charges, Marcus Juventius Thalna and Cneius Aufidius, plebeian tribunes. These not only arraigned him bitterly in the senate, but dragged him out into the assembly of the people; and there, reproaching him with many heinous crimes, they instituted a legal prosecution against him. By order of the senate, the prætor, Quintus Mænius, gave this answer to the ambassadors of Chalcis: that “the senate acknowledged their account of the good offices done by them to the Roman people, both on former occasions and during the present war, to be true; and that they retained a proper sense of their friendly conduct: that, as to the ill treatment, which they complained of having received formerly from Caius Lucretius, and now from Lucius Hortensius, Roman prætors, it could not possibly be supposed that such things were done with the approbation of the senate. It should be considered that the Roman people had made war on Perseus, and, before that, on his father Philip, for the express purpose of asserting the liberties of Greece, and not of subjecting friends and allies to such treatment from their magistrates: that they would give them a letter to the prætor Lucius Hortensius, informing him, that the proceedings, of which the people of Chalcis complained, were highly displeasing to the senate; charging him to take care that all free persons, who had been reduced to slavery, should be sought out as soon as possible, and restored to liberty; and commanding that no seamen, except the masters of vessels, should be permitted to lodge on shore.” Pursuant to the senate’s order, a letter, to this purport, was written to Hortensius. A present of two thousand asses was made to each of the ambassadors, and carriages were hired for Miction, at the public expence, to carry him commodiously to Brundusium. When the day of Caius Lucretius’s trial came, the tribunes pleaded against him before the people, and demanded that he should be fined in the sum of one million of asses;* and the tribes proceeding to vote, every one of the thirty-five pronounced him guilty, and confirmed the fine.
IX. In Liguria, nothing of moment occurred in that year; for the enemy made no hostile attempt, nor did the consul march his legions into their country; on the contrary, seeing a certain prospect of peace, he discharged the soldiers of the two Roman legions within sixty days after his arrival in the province, sent the troops of the Latine confederates early into winter-quarters at Luna and Pisæ, and himself, with the cavalry, visited most of the towns in the Gallic province. Although there was no open war any where but in Macedonia, yet there was reason to suspect the designs of Gentius, King of Illyria. The senate, therefore, voted that eight ships, fully equipped, should be sent from Brundusium to Issa, to Caius Furius, lieutenant-general, who, with only two vessels belonging to the inhabitants, held the government of that island. In this squadron were embarked four thousand soldiers, whom the prætor, Quintus Mænius, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, had raised in the quarter of Italy opposite Illyria; and the consul Hostilius sent Appius Claudius, with four thousand foot, into Illyria, to protect the neighbouring states. But Appius Claudius, not content with the force which he brought with him, collected aid from the allies, until he made up the number of eight thousand men; and, after overrunning all that country, took post at Lychnidus in the territory of the Dassaretians.
X. Not far from hence was Uscana, a town generally deemed part of the dominions of Perseus. It contained ten thousand inhabitants, and a small party of Cretans, who served as a garrison. From this place messengers came, secretly, to Claudius, telling him, that “if he brought his army nearer, there would be people ready to put the town into his hands; and that it would be well worth his while; for he would find booty sufficient to satisfy the utmost wishes, not only of his friends, but of his soldiers.” Such alluring hopes blinded his understanding to that degree, that he neither detained any of those who came, nor required hostages for his security, in a business which was to be transacted clandestinely and treacherously; neither did he send scouts to examine matters, nor require an oath from the messengers; but, on the day appointed, he left Lychnidus, and pitched his camp twelve miles from the city, which was the object of his design. At the fourth watch, he set out, leaving about one thousand men to guard the camp. His forces, extending themselves in a long irregular train, and in loose disorder, were separated, by mistaking their way in the might, and arrived in this state at the city. Their carelessness increased when they saw not a soldier on the walls. But, as soon as they approached within a weapon’s cast, a sally was made from two gates at once. Besides the shout raised by these, a tremendous noise was heard on the walls, composed of the yells of women and the sound of brazen instruments, while the rabble of the place, mixed with a multitude of slaves, made the air resound with various cries. Struck by such a number of terrifying circumstances, the Romans were unable to support the first onset; so that a greater number of them were killed flying than fighting, and scarcely two thousand, with the lieutenant-general himself, effected their escape. The distance from the camp being great, numbers sunk under fatigue, and were overtaken by the enemy. Appius, without even halting in the camp to collect his stragglers, which would have been the means of saving many, led back, directly, to Lychnidus, the remains of his unfortunate army.
XI. These, and other unfavourable occurrences in Macedonia were learned from Sextus Digitius, a military tribune, who came to Rome to perform a sacrifice. These advices having rendered the senate apprehensive of some greater disgrace ensuing, they deputed Marcus Fulvius Flaccus and Marcus Caninius Rebilus to go to Macedonia, and bring certain information of all transactions there; at the same time ordering that the consul Aulus Hostilius should summon the assembly for the election of consuls, so as that it might be held in the month of January, and should come home to the city as soon as possible. In the meantime it was resolved, that the prætor Marcus Recins should call home to Rome, by proclamation, all the senators, from every part of Italy, except such as were absent on public business; and that such as were in Rome should not go farther than one mile from the city. All this was done pursuant to the votes of the senate. The election of consuls was held on the fourth day before the calends of February. The persons chosen were, Quintus Marcius Philippus, a second time, and Cneius Servilius Cæpio. Three days after, were appointed prætors, Caius Decimius, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, Caius Sulpicius Gallus, Caius Marcius Figulus, Servius Cornelius Lentulus, and Publius Fonteius Capito. To the prætors elect were assigned, besides the two city provinces, these four: Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, and the fleet. Towards the end of Februrary the deputies returned from Macedonia, and gave an account of the successful enterprises of Perseus during the preceding summer, and of the great fears which had taken possession of the allies of the Roman people, on account of so many cities being reduced under the King’s power. They reported, that “the consul’s troops were very thin, in consequence of leave of absence being granted to great numbers, with the view of gaining the good will of the men; the blame of which the consul laid upon the military tribunes, and they, on the other hand, on the consul. The disgrace sustained through the rashness of Glaudius,” they represented as “not so considerable as was supposed; because, of the men who were lost very few were native of Italy, the greatest part being the soldiers raised in that country by an irregular levy.” The consuls elect received orders, immediately on entering into office, to propose the affairs of Macedonia to the consideration of the senate; and Italy and Macedonia were appointed their provinces. An intercalation was made in the calendar of this year, intercalary calends being reckoned on the third day after the feast of Terminus. There died of the priests during this year, Lucius Flaminius, augur, and two pontiffs, Lucius Furius Philus, and Caius Livius Salinator. In the room of Furius, the pontiffs chose Titus Manlius Torquatus, and in that of Livius, Marcus Servilius.
169.XII. In the beginning of the ensuing year, the new consuls, Quintus Marcius and Cneius Servilius, having proposed the distribution of the provinces for consideration, the senate voted that they should, without delay, either settle between themselves about Macedonia and Italy, or cast lots for them; and that, before the lot should decide this matter, and while the destination of each was uncertain, lest interest might have any influence, the supplies of men, requisite for each province, should be ordered. For Macedonia were voted six thousand Roman foot and six thousand of the Latine allies, two hundred and fifty Roman horse, and three hundred of the allies. The old soldiers were to be discharged, so that there should be in each Roman legion no more than six thousand foot and three hundred horse. The number of Roman citizens, which the other consul was to enlist for a reinforcement, was not precisely determined; there was only this limitation mentioned, that he should raise two legions, each of them to contain five thousand two hundred foot, and three hundred horse. Of Latine infantry, a larger number was decreed to him than to his colleague; no less than ten thousand foot, with six hundred horse. An order was given for raising four other legions, to serve wherever occasion might require. The consuls were not allowed the appointment of the military tribunes; they were created by the votes of the people. The Latine confederates were ordered to furnish sixteen thousand foot and one thousand horse. This force was intended only to be kept in readiness, to march out should any exigency demand it. Macedonia engrossed the greatest share of the senate’s attention; they ordered, that one thousand Roman citizens, of the rank of freedmen, should be enlisted in Italy, as seamen, to man the fleet, and the same number in Sicily; and that the prætor, to whose lot the government of the latter province fell, should take care to carry these over to Macedonia, to whatever place the fleet should be stationed at. To recruit the army in Spain, three thousand Roman foot and three hundred horse were voted. With regard to that army, too, the number of men in each legion was limited to five thousand foot and three hundred and thirty horse. Besides these, the prætor, to whose lot Spain should fall, was ordered to levy from the allies four thousand foot and three hundred horse.
XIII. I am well aware, that, through the same disregard to religion, which has led men into the present prevailing opinion, of the gods never giving portents of any future events, no prodigies are now either reported to government, or recorded in histories. But for my part, while I am writing the transactions of ancient times, my sentiments, I know not how, become antique; and I feel a kind of religious awe, which compels me to consider that events, which the men of those days, renowned for wisdom, judged deserving of the attention of the state and of public expiation, must certainly be worthy of a place in my history. From Anagnia two prodigies were reported this year: that a blazing torch was seen in the air; and that a cow spoke, and was maintained at the public expence. About the same time, at Minturnæ, the sky appeared as in a blaze of fire. At Reate, a shower of stones fell. At Cumæ, the image of Apollo, in the citadel, shed tears during three days and three nights. In the city of Rome, the keeper of a temple asserted, that in that of Fortune, a snake, with a mane like that of a horse, had been seen by many; and another, that, in the temple of Fortuna Primigenia, on the hill, a palm sprung up in the court, and that a shower of blood fell in the middle of the day. There were two others not attended to: one, because it happened in a place belonging to a private person; Titus Marcius Figulus having reported, that a palm sprung up in the inner court of his house: the other, because it occurred in a foreign place, Fregellæ — where, in the house of Lucius Atreus, a spear, which he had bought for his son, who was a soldier, burned, as was said, for more than two hours, yet no part of it was consumed. The decemvirs, having consulted the books, with regard to the public prodigies, directed, that the consuls should sacrifice forty of the larger victims to the deities, whom they pointed out; that a supplication should be performed; and that all the magistrates should sacrifice victims of the larger kinds, in all the temples, and the people wear garlands. All this was performed accordingly.
XIV. Then was held an assembly, for the creation of censors, which office was canvassed for by several of the first men in the state; Caius Valerius Lævinus, Lucius Postumius Albinus, Publius Mucius Scævola, Marcus Junius Brutus, Caius Claudius Pulcher, and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. The two last were created censors by the Roman people in assembly. As, on account of the Macedonian war, the business of levying troops was deemed of more importance than usual, the consuls made a complaint to the senate against the plebeians, that even the younger men did not obey their summons. But, in opposition to them, Caius Sulpicius and Marcus Claudius, tribunes of the people, pleaded in favour of the plebeians; asserting, that “the levying of soldiers proved difficult, not to the consuls in general, but to such consuls as affected popularity; that these enlisted no man against his inclination; and that, to convince the Conscript Fathers of the truth of this, the prætors, who in their office had less power and authority, would, with their approbation, complete the levies.” That business was accordingly committed to the care of the prætors by an unanimous vote of the senate, not without great murmuring on the part of the consuls. The censors, in order to forward it, published, in a general assembly, the following notice: that “they would make it a rule in conducting the survey, that, besides the common oath taken by all citizens, the younger part should swear, when challenged, in this manner — You are younger than forty-six years, and you shall attend at the levy, pursuant to the edict of Caius Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius, censors; and this, too, as often as there shall be a levy held by any magistrate during the aforesaid censors’ continuance in office, if you shall not have been already enlisted.” Also, as there was a report, that many men, belonging to the legions in Macedonia, were absent from the army, on leave granted by the commanders, without any time limited for their return; — in order to ingratiate themselves with the soldiers, they issued a proclamation concerning all who had been drafted for that country in the consulate of Publius Ælius and Caius Popillius, or since that period; that “such as were in Italy should, after being first registered by them in the survey, repair to Macedonia within thirty days; and that, if any were under the power of a father or grand-father, the names of such should be notified to them. That they would also make inquiry into the cases of the soldiers who had been discharged; and if any discharge should appear to have been obtained through favour, before the regular number of campaigns were served, they would order the persons so discharged to be enlisted again.” In consequence of this proclamation, and letters from the censors being dispersed through the market-towns and villages, such multitudes of young men flocked to Rome, that the extraordinary crowd was even inconvenient to the city. Beside the reinforcements for the armies, four legions were raised by the prætor Caius Sulpicius, and the levies were completed within eleven days.
XV. The consuls then cast lots for their provinces; the prætors, in order to provide for the civil jurisdiction, having determined theirs before. The civil jurisdiction had fallen to Caius Sulpicius; the foreign to Caius Decimius; Spain, to Marcus Claudius Marcellus; Sicily, to Servius Cornelius Lentulus; Sardinia, to Publius Fonteius Capito; and the fleet to Caius Marcius Figulus. Of the consuls, Servius obtained Italy for his province; Quintus Marcius, Macedonia; and, as soon as the Latine festival could be celebrated, the latter set out. Cæpio then desired the senate to direct which two of the new legions he should take with him into Gaul; when they ordered, that the prætors, Caius Sulpicius and Marcus Claudius, should give the consul such of the legions, which they had raised, as they should think fit. The latter, highly offended at a consul being subjected to the will of prætors, adjourned the senate; and, standing at the tribunal of the prætors, demanded, that, pursuant to the decree, they should assign him two legions: but the prætors left the choice of them to the consul. The censors then called over the list of the senate. Marcus Æmilius Lepidus was, now, by the third censors, chosen prince of the senate. Seven were expelled that body. In making the survey of the people, they discovered how many of the soldiers belonging to the army in Macedonia were absent, and obliged them all to return to that province. They inquired into the cases of the men who had been discharged; and, when any of their discharges appeared irregular in respect of time, they put an oath to them to this effect: “Do you sincerely swear, that you will, without deceit or evasion, return into the province of Macedonia, according to the edict of the censors Caius Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius?”
XVI. In the review of the knights they acted with much harshness and severity, depriving many of their horses; and, after giving this offence to the equestrian order, they inflamed the general displeasure to a higher degree by an edict, which ordered, that “no person who had farms of the public revenues or taxes from the censors Quintus Fulvius and Aulus Postumius, should again propose for them, nor should have any partnership or connexion in the farms then to be made.” Although the former farmers made many complaints to the senate, yet they could not prevail on that body to interfere, and check the power of the censors; but at last, they found a patron of their cause in Publius Rutilius, a plebeian tribune, who was incensed against the censors in consequence of a dispute about a private concern. They ordered a client of his, a freed man, to throw down a wall, which stood opposite to a public building in the sacred street, as being built on ground belonging to the public. The citizen appealed to the tribunes; but none of them would interfere except Rutilius; when the censors sent to seize his goods, and imposed a fine on him in a public assembly. When the present dispute broke out, and the old revenue farmers had recourse to the tribunes, a publication suddenly appeared, in the name of one tribune, of a proposed order of the people, that “all leases made of the public revenues and taxes by Caius Claudius and Tiberius Sempronius should be void: that they should all be let anew, and that every person, without distinction, should be at liberty to bid for and take them.” The tribune appointed the day for an assembly to consider this matter. When the day came, and the censors stood forth to argue against the order, Gracchus was heard with silent attention; but when Claudius began to speak, his voice was drowned in noise; on which he directed the crier to cause silence, that he might be heard. This was done; and the tribune, then, complaining that the assembly which he had summoned was taken out of his rule, and that he was stripped of the privilege of his office, retired from the Capitol, where the assembly met. Next day he raised a violent commotion. In the first place, he declared the property of Tiberius Gracchus forfeited to the gods, for having fined and seized the goods of a person who had appealed to a tribune; and for refusing to admit his right of protest. He instituted a criminal process against Caius Claudius for the same, declaring his intention to prosecute both the censors for treason; and he demanded of Caius Sulpicius, the city prætor, that he would fix a day for an assembly to try them. The censors declared, that they had no objection to the people passing their judgment on them as soon as they pleased; and the days for trial of the treason were fixed for the eighth and seventh before the calends of October. The censors went up immediately to the temple of Liberty, where they sealed the books of the public accounts, shut up the office, and dismissed the clerks; affirming, that they would do no kind of public business, until the judgment of the people was passed on them. Claudius was first brought to trial; and, after eight out of the eighteen centuries of knights, and many others of the first class, had given sentence against him, the principal men in the state, immediately taking off their gold rings, in the sight of the people, put on mourning; and, in that suppliant manner, solicited the commons in his favour. Yet, it is said, that Gracchus was the chief means of making a change in their sentiments; for, on the commons crying out, on all sides, that Gracchus was in no danger, he took a formal oath, that, if his colleague were condemned, he would not wait for their sentence on himself, but would accompany him into exile. After all, the case of the accused was so near being desperate, that the votes of eight centuries more would have condemned him. When Claudius was acquitted, the tribune said, that he had nothing to do with Gracchus.
XVII. This year, on the Aquileians petitioning, by their ambassadors, for an addition to the number of their settlers, the senate ordered one thousand five hundred families to be enrolled for the purpose; and Titus Annius Luscus, Publius Decius Subulo, and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, were appointed commissioners to conduct them. During the same year, Caius Popilius and Cneius Octavius, who had been sent ambassadors into Greece, read, first at Thebes, and afterwards carried about to all the other states of Peloponnesus, a decree, ordering, that “no person should furnish the Roman magistrates with any thing for the use of the war, except what should be directed by a vote of the senate.” This, besides present satisfaction, afforded the allies a pleaing confidence, with regard to the future, of being relieved from the heavy burdens and expences, in consequence of the various demands of those magistrates. In the council of Achaia, held at Argos, the ambassadors spoke, and were heard with sentiments of mutual esteem and affection; and then, leaving that faithful nation in confident assurance of lasting prosperity, they crossed over to Ætolia. No civil war had yet broke out in that country; but mistrust and jealousy universally prevailed, and nothing was heard but reciprocal accusations and recriminations. To put a stop to these, the ambassadors demanded hostages, and, without waiting to cure the evil effectually, passed on to Acarnania. The Acarnanians held a council at Thyrium to give them audience. Here, too, there was a struggle between opposite factions; some of the nobles requiring that garrisons might be placed in their cities, to protect them against the madness of those who laboured to engage the nation in favour of the Macedonians; and others, objecting to the measure, as throwing such an affront on peaceful and allied cities, as was practised only on towns taken in war, or engaged in hostilities. Their objection was reckoned reasonable. From thence the ambassadors returned to Larissa, to Hostilius, for by him they had been sent. He kept Octavius with him, and sent Popillius, with about a thousand soldiers, into winter quarters in Ambracia.
XVIII. Perseus ventured not to go out of Macedonia, lest the Romans might make an irruption into the kingdom by some unguarded quarter; but, on the approach of the winter solstice, when the depth of the snow renders the mountains between that and Thessaly impassable, he thought the season favourable for crushing the hopes and spirits of his neighbours, so as to relieve himself from all apprehension of danger from them, while he was employed elsewhere. As Cotys and Cephalus, by their sudden defection from the Romans, afforded him security on that part of the kingdom which lay next to Thrace and Epirus, and as he had lately subdued the Dardanians by arms, he considered that Macedonia was only exposed on the side next to Illyria, the Illyrians themselves being in motion, and having offered a free passage to the Romans. He hoped, however, that in case of reducing the nearest part of Illyria, Gentius himself, who had long been wavering, might be brought into alliance with him. Setting out, therefore, at the head of ten thousand foot, the greater part of whom were soldiers of the phalanx, two thousand light infantry, and five hundred horse, he proceeded to Stubera. Having there supplied himself with corn, sufficient for many days, and ordered every requisite for besieging towns to be sent after him, he continued his march, and on the third day encamped before Uscana, the largest city in the Penestian country. Before he employed force, he sent emissaries to sound the dispositions, sometimes of the commanders, sometimes of the inhabitants; for, besides some troops of Illyrians, there was a Roman garrison in the place. Perceiving no prospect of succeeding by negociation, he resolved to attack the town, and made an attempt to take it by storm; but though his men, relieving one another, continued without intermission, either by day or night, some to apply ladders to the walls, others to attempt setting fire to the gates, yet the besieged withstood all the fury of the assault; for they had hopes that the Macedonians would not be able to endure long the violence of the winter in the open field; and besides, that the Roman army would not give the King so long a respite as should allow him to stay there. But, when they saw the machines in motion, and towers erected, their resolution failed; for, besides that they were unequal to a contest with his force, they had not a sufficient store of corn, or any other necessary, as they had not expected a siege. Wherefore, despairing of being able to hold out, the Roman garrison sent Caius Carvilius Spoletinus and Caius Afranius to desire Perseus, first, to allow the troops to march out with their arms, and to carry their effects with them; and then, if they could not obtain that, to receive his promise of their lives and liberty. The King promised more generously than he performed; for, after desiring them to march out with their effects, the first thing he did was to take away their arms. As soon as they left the city, both the cohort of Illyrians, five hundred in number, and the inhabitants of Uscana, immediately surrendered themselves and the city.
XIX. Perseus, placing a garrison in Uscana, carried away to Stubera the whole multitude of prisoners, almost equal to his army in number. He then distributed the Romans, who amounted to four thousand, besides officers, among several cities, to be kept in custody; and, having sold the Uscanians and Illyrians, led back his army to Panestia, with design to reduce the city of Oæneus; which, besides other advantages of its situation, affords a passage into the country of the Labeatians, where Gentius was King. As he passed by a fort, named Draudacum, which was full of men, a person, well acquainted with the country, told him, that “there was on use in taking Oæneus unless he had Draudacum in his power; for the latter was situated more advantageously in every respect.” His army no sooner appeared before it, than all the inhabitants agreed to capitulate immediately. Encouraged by the early surrender of this place, and perceiving what terrors his march diffused, by taking advantage of the like fears, he reduced eleven other forts to submission. Against a very few he had occasion to use force; the rest submitted voluntarily; among whom were one thousand five hundred soldiers, who had been stationed there in garrison. Carvilius Spoletinus was very serviceable to him in his conferences with the garrison, by declaring that no severity had been shown to him and his party. At length he arrived at Oæneus, which could not be taken without a regular siege, having a much greater number of men than the others, with strong fortifications. It was inclosed on one side by a river called Artatus, and on another by a very high mountain of difficult access; circumstances, which gave the inhabitants courage to make resistance. Perseus, having drawn lines of circumvallation, began, on the higher ground, to raise a mound, which he intended should exceed the wall in height. By the time that this work was completed, the besieged, in their many actions, when sallying out to defend their works, or to obstruct those of the enemy, had lost great numbers by various chances; while the survivors were rendered useless by wounds, and by continual labour both in the day and night. As soon as the mound was brought close to the wall, the royal cohort (the men of which are called Nicators) rushed from it into the town, while an assault was made by scalade in many places at once. All the males, who had reached the age of puberty, were put to the sword, their wives and children were thrown into confinement, and every thing else was given as booty to the soldiers. Returning thence victorious to Stubera, he sent, as ambassadors to Gentius — Pleuratus, an Illyrian, who lived in exile at his court, and Aputeus, a Macedonian, from Berœa. Their instructions were, to represent his exploits against the Romans and Dardanians during the preceding summer and winter, and to add the recent operations of his winter campaign in Illyria, and to exhort Gentius to unite with him and the Macedonians in a treaty of friendship.
XX. They crossed over the top of Mount Scordus, and through desert tracts of Illyria, which the Macedonians had laid waste, for the purpose of preventing the Dardanians from passing easily into Illyria or Macedonia; and, at length, after undergoing prodigious fatigue, arrived at Scodra. King Gentius was at Lissus, to which place he invited the ambassadors, and lent a favourable car to their representations, but gave them an indecisive answer: that “he wanted not inclination to go to war with the Romans, but was in extreme want of money to enable him to enter on such an undertaking.” This answer they brought to the King, while he was busy at Stubera in selling the prisoners from Illyria. He immediately sent back the same ambassadors, to whom he added Glaucias, one of his body guards, but without any mention of money; the only thing that could induce the needy barbarian to take a part in the war. Then Perseus, after ravaging Ancyra, led back his army, once more, into Penestia; and, having strengthened the garrisons of Uscana, and the other fortresses which he had taken in that quarter, he retired into Macedonia.
XXI. Lucius Cælius, a Roman lieutenant-general, commanded, at that time, in Illyria. While the King was in that country, he did not venture to stir; but, on his departure, he made an attempt to recover Uscana, in Penestia; in which, being repulsed, with great loss, by the Macedonian garrison, he led back his forces to Lychnidus. In a short time after he sent Marcus Trebellius Fregellanus, with a very strong force, into Penestia, to receive hostages from the cities which had faithfully remained in friendship. He ordered him, also, to march on to the Parthinians, who had likewise covenanted to give hostages, and he received them from both nations without any trouble: those of the Penestians were sent to Apollonia; those of the Parthinians to Dyrrachium, then more generally called by the Greeks Epidamnus. Appius Claudius wishing to repair the disgrace which he had suffered in Illyria, made an attack on Phanote, a fortress of Epirus; bringing with him, besides the Roman troops, Athamanian and Thesprotian auxiliaries, to the amount of six thousand men: but he gained no advantage; for Clevas, who had been left there with a strong garrison, effectually defended the place. Perseus marched to Elimea, and, after purifying his army, led it to Stratus, in compliance with an invitation of the Ætolians. Stratus was then the strongest city in Ætolia. It stands on the Ambracian gulph, near the river Achelous. Thither he marched with ten thousand foot and three hundred horse; for he did not choose to bring a larger party of the latter, on account of the narrowness and ruggedness of the roads. On the third day he came to Mount Citium, which he could scarcely climb over, by reason of the depth of the snow; and, afterwards, with difficulty found even a place for his camp. Leaving that spot, rather because he could not conveniently stay, than that either the road, or the weather, was tolerable, the army, after suffering severe hardships, which fell heaviest on the beasts of burden, encamped on the second day at the temple of Jupiter, called Nicæus. After a very long march thence, he arrived at the river Aracthus, where the depth of the water obliged him to halt until a bridge could be made. As soon as this was finished, he led over his army; and, having proceeded one day’s march, met Archidamus, an Ætolian of distinction, who proposed delivering Stratus into his hands.
XXII. On that day Perseus encamped at the bounds of the Ætolian territory; and, on the next, arrived before Stratus, where, pitching his camp near the river Achelous, he expected that the Ætolians would come in crowds, to put themselves under his protection; but, on the contrary, he found the gates shut, and discovered that, the very night before he arrived, a Roman garrison, under Caius Popillius, lieutenant-general, had been received into the town. The nobles, who, while Archidamus was present, had, out of deference to his authority, submitted to invite the King, as soon as he went out for that purpose, had become less zealous, and had given an opportunity to the opposite faction to call in Popillius, with one thousand foot, from Ambracia. At the same juncture came also Dinarchus, general of the Ætolian cavalry, with six hundred foot and one hundred horse. It was well known that he came to Stratus intending to act with Perseus; but that, with the change of fortune, he had changed his mind, and joined the Romans. Nor was Popillius less on his guard than was requisite among people of such fickle tempers. He immediately took into his own keeping the keys of the gates, with the direction of the guard of the walls, removing Dinarchus and the Ætolians, together with the young men of Stratus, into the citadel, under pretence of garrisoning it. Perseus sounded the garrison, by addressing them from the eminences that hung over the upper part of the city, and finding that they were obstinate, and even kept him at a distance with weapons, removed his camp to the other side of the river Petitarus, about five miles from the town: there he held a council, wherein Archidamus and the refugees from Epirus advised, that he should remain there; but the Macedonian nobles argued, that it would be wrong to fight against the severity of the season without having magazines of provisions; in which case the besiegers would feel a scarcity sooner than the besieged; especially, as the winter-quarters of the enemy were at no great distance: which considerations so much discouraged him, that he marched away into Aperantia. The Aperantians, in consequence of the great interest and influence which Archidamus possessed among them, submitted to Perseus, with universal consent; and Archidamus himself was appointed their governor, with a body of eight hundred soldiers.
XXIII. The King then marched into Macedonia, his men and horses suffering, on the way, hardships no less severe than they had encountered on leaving home. However, the report of Perseus’s march to Stratus obliged Appius to raise the siege of Phanote. Clevas, with a body of active young men, pursued him to the foot of a mountain, in a defile almost impassable, killed one thousand men of his disordered troops, and took two hundred prisoners. Appius, when he got clear of the defile, encamped in a plain named Eleon, where he remained for some days. Meanwhile Clevas, being joined by Philostratus, governor of Epirus, proceeded over the mountains into the lands of Antigonea. The Macedonians setting out to plunder, Philostratus, with his party, posted himself in ambush. The troops at Antigonea hastened out against the straggling plunderers, but, on their flying, pursued them with too great eagerness, until they precipitated themselves into the valley which was beset by the enemy, who killed one thousand, and made about one hundred prisoners. Being thus successful every where, they encamped near the post of Appius, in order to prevent the Roman army from offering violence to any of their allies. Appius, finding that he wasted time there to no purpose, dismissed the Chaonian and other Epirotes, and with his Italian soldiers marched back to Illyria; then, sending the troops to their several winter-quarters, in the confederate cities of the Parthinians, he went home to Rome to perform a sacrifice. Perseus recalled from Penestia one thousand foot and two hundred horse, whom he sent to garrison Cassandria. His ambassadors returned from Gentius with the same answer as before. Still he did not give up his design, but sent embassy after embassy, to solicit him; yet, notwithstanding that he was sensible of the powerful support he would find in Gentius, the Macedonian could not prevail on himself to expend money on the business. [. . . .]
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:52