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Paullus

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

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

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

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

Defeat and Capture of Genthius

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

Macedonia Broken Up

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

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

Illyria Broken Up

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

Cotys

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

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

Humiliation of the Greeks in General
Course Pursued with Pergamus

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

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

Humiliation of Rhodes

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

Intervention in the Syro-Egyptian War

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

Measures of Security in Greece

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

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



Online LibraryTheodor MommsenThe History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) → online text (page 84 of 216)