The Cleomenic War
This was the origin of what is called the Cleomenic
Cleomenes, B. C. 227-221.
war. At first the Achaeans were for depending
on their own resources for facing the Lacedaemonians. They looked upon it as more honourable not to look to others for preservation, but to guard their
own territory and cities themselves; and at the same time the
remembrances of his former services made them desirous of
keeping up their friendship with Ptolemy,1
and averse from the
appearance of seeking aid elsewhere. But when the war had
lasted some time; and Cleomenes had revolutionised the constitution of his country, and had turned its constitutional
monarchy into a despotism; and, moreover, was conducting the war with extraordinary skill and boldness: seeing
clearly what would happen, and fearing the
reckless audacity of the Aetolians, Aratus
determined that his first duty was to be well
beforehand in frustrating their plans.
Aratus applies to Antigonus Doson.
He satisfied himself
that Antigonus was a man of activity and practical ability,
with some pretensions to the character of a man of honour;
he however knew perfectly well that kings look on no man
as a friend or foe from personal considerations, but ever
measure friendships and enmities solely by the standard of
expediency. He, therefore, conceived the idea of addressing
himself to this monarch, and entering into friendly relations
with him, taking occasion to point out to him the certain result of
his present policy. But to act openly in this matter he thought
inexpedient for several reasons. By doing so he would not
only incur the opposition of Cleomenes and the Aetolians, but
would cause consternation among the Achaeans themselves,
because his appeal to their enemies would give the impression
that he had abandoned all the hopes he once had in them.
This was the very last idea he desired should go abroad; and
he therefore determined to conduct this intrigue in secrecy.
The result of this was that he was often compelled to speak
and act towards the public in a sense contrary to his true
sentiments, that he might conceal his real design by suggesting one of an exactly opposite nature. For which reason
there are some particulars which he did not even commit to
his own commentaries.