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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.

1 Ptolemy Euergetes (B. C. 247-222).

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.26
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