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of the Romans in the beginning. They acted with the utmost moderation towards such states and nations as addressed them for protection: they succoured them against their enemies; took the utmost pains in terminating their differences, and in suppressing all troubles which arose amongst them; and did not demand the least recompence for all these services done their allies. By these means their authority gained strength daily, and prepared the nations for entire subjection.
And, indeed, upon pretence of offering them their good offices, of entering into their interests, and of reconciling them, they rendered themselves the sovereign arbiters of those whom they had restored to liberty, and whom they now considered, in some measure, as their freedmen. They used to depute commissioners to them, to enquire into their complaints, to weigh and examine the reasons on both sides, and to decide their quarrels: but when the articles were of such a nature that there was no possibility of reconciling them on the spot, they invited them to send their deputies to Rome. But after. wards they used to summon those who refused to be reconciled, obliged them to plead their cause before the senate, and even to appear in person there. From arbiters and mediators, being become supreme judges, they soon assumed a magisterial tone, looked upon their decrees as irrevocable decisions, were greatly offended when the most implicit obedience was not paid to them, and gave the name of rebellion to a second resistance: thus there arose in the Roman senate a tribunal which judged all nations and kings, from which there was no appeal. This tribunal, at the end of every war, determined the rewards and punishments due to all parties. They dispossessed the vanquished nations of part of their territories, in order to bestow them on their allies, by which they did two things from which they reaped a double advantage; for they thereby engaged in the interest of Rome such kings as were no ways formidable to them; and weakened others, whose friendship the Romans could not expect, and whose arms they had reason to dread.
We shall hear one of the chief magistrates in the republic of the Achæans inveigh strongly in a public assembly against this unjust usurpation, and ask by what title the Romans are empowered to assume so haughty an ascendant over them; whether their republic was not as free and independent as that of Rome; by what right the latter pretended to force the Achæans to account for their conduct; whether they would be pleased, should the Achæans, in their turn, officiously pretend to inquire into their affairs; and whether matters ought not to
be on the same foot on both sides? All these reflections were very reasonable, just, and unanswerable; and the Romans had no advantage in the question but force.
They acted in the same manner, and their politics were the same with regard to their treatment of kings. They first won over to their interest such among them as were the weakest, and consequently the least formidable: they gave them the title of allies, whereby their persons were rendered in some measure sacred and inviolable; and was a kind of safeguard against other kings more powerful than themselves: they increased their revenues, and enlarged their territories, to let them see what they might expect from their protection. It was this raised the kingdom of Pergamus to so exalted a pitch of grandeur.
After this the Romans invaded, upon different pretences, those great potentates who divided Europe and Asia. And how haughtily did they treat them, even before they had conquered! A powerful king, confined within a narrow circle by a private man of Rome, was obliged to make his answer before he quitted it: how imperious was this! But then, how did they treat vanquished kings? They command them to deliver up their children, and the heirs to their crown, as hostages and pledges of their fidelity and good behaviour; oblige them to lay down their arms; forbid them to declare war, or to conclude any alliance, without first obtaining their leave; banish them to to the other side of the mountains; and leave them (in strictness of speech) only an empty title, and a vain shadow of royalty, divested of all its rights and advantages.
We are not to doubt but that providence had decreed to the Romans the sovereignty of the world, and the scriptures had prophesied their future grandeur: but they were strangers to those divine oracles; and besides, the bare prediction of their conquests was no justification with regard to them. Although it be difficult to affirm, and still more so to prove, that this people had from their first rise formed a plan, in order to conquer and subject all nations; it cannot be denied but that, if we examine their whole conduct attentively, it will appear that they acted as if they had had a foreknowledge of this; and that a kind of instinct determined them to conform to it in all things. But be this as it will, we see, by the event, to what this so much-boasted lenity and moderation of the Romans was confined. Enemies to the liberty of all nations; having the utmost contempt for kings and monarchy; looking upon the whole universe as their prey, they grasped with unsatiable am
bition, the conquest of the whole world: they seized indiscriminately all provinces and kingdoms, and extended their empire over all nations; in a word they prescribed no other limits to their vast projects, but those which deserts and seas made it impossible to pass.
ETOLIANS AND ASIATIC GAULS SUBDUED BY FULVIUS
DURING the expedition of the Romans in Asia*, some commotions had happened in Greece. Amynander, by the aid of the Ætolians, was restored to his kingdom of Athamania, after having driven out of his cities the Macedonian garrisons that held them for king Philip. He deputed some ambassadors to the senate of Rome, and others into Asia to the two Scipios, who were then at Ephesus, after their signal victory over Antiochus, to excuse his having employed the arms of the tolians against Philip, and also to make his complaints of that prince.
The Ætolians had likewise undertaken some enterprises against Philip, in which they had met with tolerable success : but when they heard of Antiochus's defeat, and found that the ambassadors they had sent to Rome were returning from thence without being able to obtain any of their demands, and that Fulvius the consul was actually_marching against them, they were seized with real alarms. Finding it would be impossible for them to resist the Romans by force of arms, they again had recourse to entreaties; and, in order to enforce them, they engaged the Athenians and Rhodians to join their ambassadors to those whom they were going to send to Rome, in order to sue for peace.
The consul being arrived in Greece, he, in conjunction with the Epirots, had laid siege to Ambracia, in which was a strong garrison of Ætolians, who had made a vigorous defence. However, being at last persuaded that it would be impossible for them to hold out long against the Roman arms, they sent new ambassadors to the consul, investing them with full powers to conclude a treaty on any conditions. Those which were pro. posed to them being judged exceedingly severe, the ambassa
* A. M. 3815. Ant. J. C. 189. Liv. 1. xxxviii, n. 1-11. Polyb in Excerpt. Leg. c. 26—28.
dors, notwithstanding their full powers, desired that leave might be granted them to consult the assembly once more; but the members of it were displeased with them for it, and therefore sent them back, with orders to terminate the affair. During this interval, the Athenian and Rhodian ambassadors, whom the senate had sent back to the consul, were come to him, to whom Amynander had also repaired. The latter having great credit in the city of Ambracia, where he had spent many years of his banishment, prevailed with the inhabitants to surrender themselves at last to the consul. A peace was also granted to the Etolians. The chief conditions of the trea ty were as follow: They should first deliver up their arms and horses to the Romans: should pay them 1000 talents of silver (about 150,0007. sterling), half to be paid down directly: should restore to both the Romans and their allies all the deserters and prisoners: should look upon, as their enemies and friends, all those who were such to the Romans: in fine, should give up 40 hostages, to be chosen by the consul. Their ambassadors being arrived in Rome, to ratify the treaty there, they found the people highly exasperated against the Ætolians, as well on account of their past conduct, as the complaints made against them by Philip, in his letters written on that head. At last, however, the senate were moved by their entreaties, and those of the ambassadors of Athens and Rhodes, who concurred in them, and therefore they ratified the treaty conformable to the conditions which the consul had prescribed. The Ætolians were permitted to pay in gold the sum imposed on them, in such a manner that every piece of gold should be estimated at ten times the value of ten pieces of silver of the same weight, which shows the proportion between gold and silver at that time.
* Fulvius the consul, after he had terminated the war with the Ætolians, crossed into the island of Cephalenia, in order to subdue it. All the cities, at the first summons, surrendered immediately. The inhabitants of Same only, after submitting to the conqueror, were sorry for what they had done, and accordingly shut their gates against the Romans, which obliged them to besiege it in form. Same made a very vigorous defence, insomuch that it was four months before the consu! could take it. From thence he went to Peloponnesus, whither he was called by the people of Ægium and Sparta, to decide the differences which interrupted their tranquillity.
Liv. 1. xxxviii. n. 28-30.
The general assembly of the Achæans had from time immemorial been held at Ægium: but Philopomen, who then was an officer of state, resolved to change that custom, and to cause the assembly to be held successively in all the cities which formed the Achæan league; and that very year he summoned it to Argos. The consul would not oppose this motion; and though his inclination led him to favour the inhabitants of Ægium, because he thought their cause the most just, yet, seeing that the other party would certainly prevail, he withdrew from the assembly without declaring his opinion.
*But the affair relating to Sparta was still more intricate, and at the same time of greater importance. Those who had been banished from that city by Nabis, the tyrant, had fortified themselves in towns and castles along the coast, and from thence infested the Spartans. The latter had attacked, in the night, one of those towns called Las, and carried it, but were soon after driven out of it. This enterprise alarmed the exiles, and obliged them to have recourse to the Achæans. Philopomen, who at that time was in employment, secretly favoured the exiles, and endeavoured, on all occasions, to lessen the credit and authority of Sparta. On his motion, a decree was enacted, the purport of which was, that Quintius and the Romans, having put the towns and castles of the sea-coast of Laconia under the protection of the Achæans, and having forbidden the Lacedæmonians access to it; and the latter having, however, attacked the town called Las, and killed some of the inhabitants; the Achæan assembly demanded that the contrivers of that massacre should be delivered up to them; and that otherwise they should be declared violaters of the treaty. Ambassadors were deputed to give them notice of this decree. A demand made in so haughty a tone, exceedingly exasperated the Lacedæmonians. They immediately put to death 30 of those who had held a correspondence with Philopomen and the exiles, dissolved their alliance with the Achæans, and sent ambassadors to Fulvius the consul, who was then in Cephalenia, in order to put Sparta under the protection of the Romans, and to entreat him to come and take possession of it. When the Achæans received advice of what had been transacted in Sparta they unanimously declared war against that city, which began by some slight incursions both by sea and land; the season being too far advanced for undertaking any thing considerable.
The consul being arrived in Peloponnesus, heard both parties
Ibid, n. 30-34.