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The Greeks Ask for Help Against Philip

Now these envoys arrived in Rome before the Senate
The speeches of the Greek envoys in the Senate.
had settled the provinces of the Consuls appointed for this year, and whether it would be necessary to send both to Gaul, or one of them against Philip. But the friends of Flamininus having assured themselves that both Consuls would remain in Italy owing to the threat of an attack from the Celts, all the ambassadors appeared and bluntly stated their grievances against Philip. The bulk of their accusations was to the same effect as what they had before stated to the king himself; but they also endeavoured carefully to instil this idea in the minds of the Senators, "That so long as Chalcis, Corinth, and Demetrias were subject to Macedonia, it was impossible for the Greeks to think of liberty; for Philip himself had spoken the exact truth when he called these places the 'fetters of Greece.' For neither could the Peloponnese breathe while a royal garrison was stationed in Cornith, nor the Locrians, Boeotians, and Phocians feel any confidence while Philip was in occupation of Chalcis and the rest of Euboea; nor indeed could the Thessalians or Magnesians raise a spark of liberty1 while Philip and the Macedonians held Demetrias. That, therefore, Philip's offer to evacuate the other places was a mere pretence in order to escape the immediate danger; and that on the very first day he chose he would with ease reduce the Greeks again under his power, if he were in possession of these places." They accordingly urged the Senate "either to force Philip to evacuate the cities they had named, or to stand by the policy they had begun, and vigorously prosecute the war against him. For in truth the most difficult part of the war was already accomplished, the Macedonians having already been twice defeated, and most of their resources on land already expended."

They concluded by beseeching the Senate "not to beguile the Greeks of their hopes of liberty, nor deprive themselves of the most glorious renown." Such, or nearly so, were the arguments advanced by the Greek envoys. Philip's envoys were prepared to make a long speech in reply: but they were stopped at the threshold. For being asked whether they were prepared to evacuate Chalcis, Corinth, and Demetrias, they declared that they had not any instructions as to those towns. They were accordingly rebuked by the Senate and obliged to discontinue their speech.

1 The reading ἐναύσασθαι, which I attempt to represent, is doubtful. Schweig. suggests ἐγγεύσασθαι "to taste."

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.28
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