previous next

Machatas Addresses the Spartan Public

In the matter of the commissioners from the allies, to
Division of opinion in Sparta, B. C. 220.
go back to my story, the behaviour of the Lacedaemonians was very characteristic. For their own ill-considered and tortuous policy had placed them in such a difficulty, that they finally dismissed them without an answer: thus illustrating, as it seems to me, the truth of the saying, that, "boldness pushed to extremes amounts to want of sense, and comes to nothing." Subsequently, however, on the appointment of new Ephors, the party who had originally promoted the outbreak, and had been the causes of the massacre, sent to the Aetolians to induce them to despatch an ambassador to Sparta. The Aetolians gladly consented, and in a short time Machatas arrived there in that capacity. Pressure was at once put upon the Ephors to allow Machatas to address the people,1 and to re-establish royalty in accordance with the ancient constitution, and not to allow the Heraclid dynasty to be any longer suppressed, contrary to the laws. The Ephors were annoyed at the proposal, but were unable to withstand the pressure, and afraid of a rising of the younger men: they therefore answered that the question of restoring the kings must be reserved for future consideration; but they consented to grant Machatas an opportunity of addressing a public assembly. When the people accordingly were met, Machatas came forward, and in a long speech urged them to embrace the alliance with Aetolia; inveighing in reckless and audacious terms against the Macedonians, while he went beyond all reason and truth in his commendations of the Aetolians. Upon his retirement, there was a long and animated debate between those who supported the Aetolians and advised the adoption of their alliance, and those who took the opposite side. When, however, some of the elders reminded the people of the good services rendered them by Antigonus and the Macedonians, and the injuries inflicted on them by Charixenus and Timaeus,—when the Aetolians invaded them with their full force and ravaged their territory, enslaved the neighbouring villages, and laid a plot for attacking Sparta itself by a fraudulent and forcible restoration of exiles,—these words produced a great revulsion of feeling, and the people finally decided to maintain the alliance with Philip and the Macedonians. Machatas accordingly had to go home without attaining the object of his mission.

1 The text is uncertain here.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Aetolia (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
220 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: