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The Achaean Prisoners Detained

The Senate next called in the Rhodians and heard
Rhodians appeal against the injury done to their trade, B. C. 165.
what they had to say. When Astymedes entered, he adopted a more moderate and more effective line of argument than on his former embassy. He omitted the invectives against others, and took the humble tone of men who are being flogged, begging to be forgiven, and declaring that his country had suffered sufficient punishment, and a more severe one than its crime deserved.
Speech of Astymedes.
And then he went briefly through the list of the Rhodian losses. "First, they have lost Lycia and Caria, which had already cost them a large sum of money, having been forced to support three wars against them; while at the present moment they have been deprived of a considerable revenue which they used to draw from those countries. But perhaps," he added, "this is as it should be: you gave them to our people as a free gift, because you regarded us with favour; and in now recalling your gift, because you suspect and are at variance with us, you may seem only to be acting reasonably. But Caunus, at any rate, we purchased from Ptolemy's officers for two hundred talents; and Stratoniceia we received as a great favour from Antiochus, son of Seleucus; and from those two towns our people had a revenue of a hundred and twenty talents a year. All these sources of revenue we have surrendered, in our submission to your injunctions. From which it appears that you have imposed a heavier penalty on the Rhodians for one act of folly, than on the Macedonians that have been continually at war with you. But the greatest disaster of all to our State is that the revenue from its harbour has been abolished by your making Delos a free port; and by your depriving our people of that independence by which the harbour, as well as other interests of the States, were maintained in suitable dignity.1 And it is easy to satisfy yourselves of the truth of my words. Our revenue from harbour dues amounted in past years to one million drachmae, from which you have now taken one hundred and fifty thousand; so that it is only too true, gentlemen of Rome, that your anger has affected the resources of the country. Now, if the mistake committed, and the alienation from Rome, had been shared in by the entire people, you might perhaps have seemed to be acting rightly in maintaining a lasting and irreconcilable anger against us; but if the fact is made clear to you that it was an exceedingly small number who shared in this foolish policy, and that these have all been put to death by this very people itself, why still be irreconcilable to those who are in no respect guilty? Especially when to every one else you are reputed to exhibit the highest possible clemency and magnanimity. Wherefore, gentlemen, our people having lost their revenues, their freedom of debate, and their position of independence, in defence of which in time past they have been ever willing to make any sacrifices, now beg and beseech you all, as having been smitten sufficiently, to relax your anger, and to be reconciled and make this alliance with them: that it may be made manifest to all the world that you have put away your anger against Rhodes, and have returned to your old feelings and friendship towards them." Such among others were the words of Astymedes.
The Senate is mollified by this speech and by
He was thought to have spoken much to the point in the circumstances; but what helped the Rhodians to the alliance more than anything else was the recent return of the embassy under Tiberius Gracchus.
the report of Gracchus, and grants the alliance.
For he gave evidence, in the first place, that the Rhodians had obeyed all the decrees of the Senate; and in the next place, that the men who were the authors of their hostile policy had all been condemned to death; and by this testimony overcame all opposition, and secured the alliance between Rome and Rhodes. . . .

1 He means that, they being no longer able to decide in mercantile affairs independently of Rome, the prestige (προστασία), and consequently the popularity, of this harbour is destroyed.

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165 BC (1)
hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.18
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CAUNUS
    • Smith's Bio, Mer'ula
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