This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Perseus took them all by surprise; they were unaware of what had happened and were not in the least expecting him. He seized the throne which he had gained by crime.  The death of Philip occurred very opportunely as regarded the postponement of hostilities and the concentration of the resources for war.  A few days later the tribe of the Bastarnae, after repeated invitations, left their homes and crossed the Hister with a large body of infantry and cavalry. Antigonus and Cotto-a Bastarnian noble-went in advance to inform the king. Antigonus had previously been sent with this same Cotto to induce the Bastarnae to move. Not far from Amphipolis they heard a report, and soon afterwards were met by messengers who announced the king's death. This completely upset their plans.  It had been settled that Philip would afford the Bastarnae a safe passage through Thrace and supply them with provisions. To ensure this he had bribed the chiefs in the districts to be traversed and had pledged his word that the Bastarnae would pass through peacefully. It was intended to exterminate the Dardani and to make a home for the Bastarnae in their territory.  There was to be a double advantage in this;  the Dardani, who had always been bitter enemies to Macedonia, and ready to fall on her in times of misfortune, would be put out of the way, and the Bastarnae could leave their wives and children in Dardania and be sent on to devastate Italy.  The way to the Hadriatic and to Italy lay through the Scordisci; that was the only practicable route for an army, and the Scordisci were expected to grant a passage to the Bastarnae without any difficulty, for neither in speech nor habits were they dissimilar, and it was hoped that they would unite forces with them when they saw that they were going to secure the plunder of a very wealthy nation. Thus Philip's plans were adapted to either alternative.  If the Bastarnae were defeated by the Romans, the extermination of the Dardani, the plunder of what remained of the Bastarnae, and the unchallenged possession of Dardania would be some consolation to him;  if on the other hand they met with success and the Romans were recalled to a war with the Bastarnae, he would win back what he had lost in Greece. Such were Philip's schemes.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.