صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

fore he would do well to send to the consul and propose a renovation of the treaty, upon the same conditions imposed by T. Quintius, when victorious, upon his father Philip: that he could not put an end to the war more gloriously for himself than after so memorable a battle, nor hope a more favourable occasion of concluding a sure and lasting peace, than at a conjuncture, when the check the Romans had received would render them more tractable, and better inclined to grant him good conditions: that if, notwithstanding that check, the Romans, out of a pride too natural to them, should reject a just and equitable accommodation, he would at least have the consolation of having the gods and men for witnesses of his own moderation and the haughty tenaciousness of the Romans.

The king gave in to these wise remonstrances, to which he never was averse. The majority of the council also applauded them. Ambassadors were accordingly sent to the consul, who gave them audience in the presence of a numerous assembly. Ihey told him they came to demand peace; that Perseus would pay the same tribute to the Romans his father Philip had done, and abandon all the cities, territories, and places, that prince had abandoned.

When they withdrew, the council deliberated upon the an swer it was proper to make. The Roman constancy showed it. self upon this occasion in an extraordinary manner. It was the custom at that time to express in adversity all the assurance and loftiness of good fortune, and to act with moderation in prosperity. The answer was, that no peace could be granted to Perseus, unless he submitted himself and his kingdom to the discretion of the senate. When it was related to the king and his friends, they were strangely surprised at so extraordinary, and, in their sense, so ill-timed a pride; most of them believed it needless to talk any further of peace, and that the Romans would be soon reduced to demand what they now refused. Per. seus was not of the same opinion: he judged rightly, that Rome was not so haughty, but from a consciousness of superi ority; and that reflection daunted him exceedingly. He sent again to the consul and offered a more considerable tribute than had been imposed upon Philip. When he saw the consul would retract nothing from his first answer, having no longer any hopes of peace, he returned to his former camp at Sycurium, determined to try again the fortune of the war.

*Ita tum mos erat in adversis vultum secundæ fortunæ gerere, mederari animos in secundis. Liv.

We may conclude from the whole conduct of Perseus, that The must have undertaken this war with great imprudence, and without having compared his strength and resources with those of the Romans. To believe himself happy, and after a signal victory to demand peace, and submit to more oppressive conditions than his father Philip had complied with till after a bloody defeat, seems to argue, that he had taken his measures, and concerted the means to success very ill, since after a first action entirely to his advantage, he begins to discover all his weakness and inferiority, and in some sort inclines to despair. Why then was he the first to break the peace? Why was hie the aggressor? Why was he in such haste? Was it to stop short at the first step? How came he not to know his weakness till his own victory showed it him? These are not the signs of a wise and judicious prince.

The news of the battle of the cavalry, which soon spread in Greece, made known what the people thought, and discovered in full light to which side they inclined. It was received with joy, not only by the partisans of Macedonia, but even by most of those the Romans had obliged, of whom some suffered with pain their haughty manners and insolence of power.

The prætor Lucretius at the same time besieged the city of Haliartus in Boeotia*. After a long and vigorous defence, it was taken at last by storm, plundered, and afterwards entirely demolished. Thebes soon after surrendered, and then Lucretius returned with his fleet.

Perseus, in the mean time, who was not far from the camp of the Romans gave them great trouble, harassing their troops and falling upon their foragers whenever they ventured out of their camp. He took one day 1000 carriages laden principally with sheaves of corn, which the Romans had been to reap, and made 600 prisoners. He afterwards attacked a small body of troops in the neighbourhood, of which he expected to make himself master with little or no difficulty; but he found more resistance than he had imagined. That small body was commanded by a brave officer, called L. Pompeius, who retiring to an eminence defended himself there with intrepid courage, determined to die with his troops rather than surrender. He was upon the point of being borne down by numbers, when the consul arrived to his assistance with a great detachment of horse and light-armed foot; the legions were ordered to follow him.

[blocks in formation]

The sight of the consul gave Pompeius and his troops new cour age, who were 800 men, all Romans. Perseus immediately sent for his Phalanx: but the consul did not wait its coming up, and came directly to blows. The Macedonians, after hav ing made a very vigorous resistance for some time, were at last broke and put to the rout: 300 foot were left upon the place with 24 of the best horse, of the troop called the sacred squadron, of which the commander himself, Antimachus, was killed.

The success of this action re-animated the Romans, and very much alarmed Perseus. After having put a strong garrison into Gonna, he marched back his army into Macedonia.

The consul having reduced Perrhæbia, and taken Larissa and some other cities, dismissed all the allies, except the Acha ans; dispersed his troops in Thessaly, where he left them in winter quarters; and went into Boeotia, at the request of the Thebans, upon whom the people of Coronaa had made incursions.

SECTION III.

MARCIUS ENTERS MACEDONIA.PERSEUS TAKES THE ALARM; BUT AFTERWARDS RESUMES COURAGE.

NOTHING memorable passed the following year*. The consul Hostilius had sent Ap. Claudius into Illyria with 4000 foot to defend such of the inhabitants of that country as were allies of the Romans; and the latter had found means to add 8000 men, raised among the allies, to his first body of troops. He encamped at Lychnidus, a city of the Dassareta. Near that place was another city, called Uscana, which belonged to Perseus, and where he had a great garrison. Claudius, upon the promise which had been made him of having the place put into his hands, in hopes of making great booty, approached it with all his troops, without any order, distrust, or precaution. Whilst he thought least of it, the garrison made a furious sally upon him, put his whole army to flight, and pursued them a great way with dreadful slaughter. Of 11,000 men scarce 2000 escaped into the camp, which-1000 had been left to guard: Claudius returned to Lychnidus with the ruins of his army. The news of this loss very much afflicted the senate, and the more because it had been cccasioned by the imprudencc and avarice of Claudius.

A. M. 3834. Ant. J. C. 170. Liv. I. xliii. n. 9, 10.

This was the almost universal disease of the commandersjat that time. The senate received various complaints from many cities, as well of Greece as the other provinces, against the Ronan officers, who treated them with unheard of rapaciousness and cruelty. They punished some of them, redressed the wrongs they had done the cities, and dismissed the ambassadors, well satisfied with the manner in which their remonstrances had been received. Soon after, to prevent such disorders for the future, they passed a decree, which expressed, that the cities should not furnish the Roman magistrates with any thing more than what the senate expressly appointed; which ordinance was published in all the cities of Peloponnesus.

C. Popilius and Cn. Octavius, who were charged with this commission, went first to Thebes, where they very much praise 1 the citizens, and exhorted them to continue firm in their alliance with the Roman people. Proceeding afterwards to the other cities of Peloponnesus, they boasted every where of the lenity and moderation of the senate, which they proved by their late decree in favour of the Greeks. They found great divisions in almost all the cities, especially among the Etolians, eccasioned by two factions, which divided them, one for the Romans, and the other for the Macedonians. The assembly of Achaia was not exempted from these divisions; but the wisdom of the persons of greatest authority prevented their con sequences. The advice of Archon one of the principal persons of the league, was to act according to conjunctures, to leave no room for calumny to irritate either of the contending parties against the republic, and to avoid the misfortunes into which those were fallen who had not sufficiently comprehended the power of the Romans. This advice prevailed; and it was resolved, that Archon should be made chief magistrate, and Polybius captain-general of the horse.

About this time Attalus, having something to demand of the Achæan league, caused the new magistrate to be sounded; who determined in favour of the Romans and their allies, promised that prince to support his suit with all his power. The affair in question was to have a decree reversed, by which it was ordained, that all the statues of king Eumenes should be removed from the public places. At the first council that was held, the ambassadors of Attalus were introduced to the assembly, who demanded, that in consideration for the prince who sent them, Eumenes his brother should be restored to the honours

* Polyb. Legat. 74. Liv. 1. xliii.. n. 17,

the republic had formerly decreed him. Archon supported this demand but with great moderation. Polybius spoke with more force, enlarged upon the merit and services of Eumenes, demonstrated the injustice of the first decree, and concluded, that it was proper to repeal it. The whole assembly applauded his discourse, and it was resolved that Eumenes should be restored to all his honours.

It was at this time Rome * sent Popilius to Antiochus Epiphanes, to prevent his enterprises, against Egypt, which we have mentioned before,

The Macedonian war gave the Romans great employment. Q. Marcius Philippus, one of the two consuls lately elected, was charged with it.

Before he set out, Perseus had conceived the design of taking the advantage of the winter to make an expedition against li lyria, which was the only province from whence Macedonia had reason to fear irruptions during the king's being employed against the Romans. This expedition succeeded very happily for him, and almost without any loss on his side. He began with the siege of Uscana, which had fallen into the hands of the Romans, it is not known how, and took it, after a defence of some duration. He afterwards made himself master of all the strong places in the country, the most part of which had Roman garrisons in them, and took a great number of prisoners.

Perseus, at the same time, sent ambassadors to Gentius, one of the kings of Illyria, to induce him to quit the party of the Romans, and come over to him. Gentius was far from being averse to it; but he observed, that having neither munitions of war nor money he was in no condition to declare against the Romans; which was explaining himself sufficiently. Perseus, who was avaricious, did not understand, or rather affected not to understand, his demand; and sent a second embassy to him, without mention of money, and received the same answer. Polybius observes, that this fear of expences, which denotes a little mean soul, and entirely dishonours a prince, made many of his enterprises miscarry; and that if he would have sacrific ed certain sums, and those far from considerable, he might have engaged several republics and princes in his party. Can such blindness be conceived in a rational creature! Polybius considers it as a punishment from the gods.

Perseus having led back his troops into Macedonia, made

*A. M. 3835. Ant. J. C. 169. Liv. 1. xliii. n. 11. et 18-23Polyb. Legat. 76, 77.

« السابقةمتابعة »