The Fall of Philopoemen
and proceeded on his way, though he
The death of Philopoemen, B.C. 183, or perhaps early in B.C. 182.
was oppressed at once by illness and the weight
of years, being now in the seventieth year of
his age. Conquering his weakness, however,
by the force of his previous habits he reached
Megalopolis, from Argos, in one day's journey. . . .
He was captured, when Achaean Strategus, by the Messenians
Philopoemen was murdered by the Messenians, who had abandoned the league
and were at war with it. See Livy, 39, 49-50.
and poisoned. Thus, though second to none
that ever lived before him in excellence, his
fortune was less happy; yet in his previous life
he seemed ever to have enjoyed her favour and
assistance. But it was, I suppose, a case of the
common proverb, "a man may have a stroke of
luck, but no man can be lucky always." We must, therefore,
call our predecessors fortunate, without pretending that they
were so invariably—for what need is there to flatter Fortune
by a meaningless and false compliment? It is those who
have enjoyed Fortune's smiles in their life for the longest
time, and who, when she changes her mind, meet with only
moderate mishaps, that we must speak of as fortunate. . . .
Philopoemen was succeeded by
Character of Philopoemen. He is succeeded by Lycortas as Strategus.
. . . and though
he had spent forty years of an active career in
a state at once democratic and composed of
many various elements, he had entirely avoided
giving rise to the jealousy of the citizens in any
direction: and yet he had not flattered their
inclinations, but for the most part had used great freedom of
speech, which is a case of very rare occurrence. . . .