previous next

6% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here

The Situation in the Summer of B. C. 218

THE year of office as Strategus of the younger Aratus had
May, B. C. 218.
now come to an end with the rising of the Pleiades; for that was the arrangement of time then observed by the Achaeans.1 Accordingly he laid down his office and was succeeded in the command of the Achaeans by Eperatus; Dorimachus being still Strategus of the Aetolians.

It was at the beginning of this summer that Hannibal entered upon open war with Rome; started from New Carthage; and crossing the Iber, definitely began his expedition and march into Italy; while the Romans despatched Tiberius Sempronius to Libya with an army, and Publius Cornelius to Iberia.

This year, too, Antiochus and Ptolemy, abandoning diplomacy, and the support of their mutual claims upon Coele-Syria by negotiation, began actual war with each other.

As for Philip, being in need of corn and money for his

Recognition of Philip's services by the assembly of the Achaean league.
army, he summoned the Achaeans to a general assembly by means of their magistrates. When the assembly had met, according to the federal law, at Aegium,2 the king saw that Aratus and his son were indisposed to act for him, because of the intrigues against them in the matter of the election, which had been carried on by Apelles; and that Eperatus was naturally inefficient, and an object of general contempt. These facts convinced the king of the folly of Apelles and Leontius, and he once more decided to stand by Aratus. He therefore persuaded the magistrates to transfer the assembly to Sicyon; and there inviting both the elder and younger Aratus to an interview, he laid the blame of all that had happened upon Apelles, and urged them to maintain their original policy. Receiving a ready consent from them, he then entered the Achaean assembly, and being energetically supported by these two statesmen, carried all the measures that he desired. For the Achaeans past3 a vote decreeing "that five hundred talents should be paid to the king at once for his last campaign; that three months' pay should be given to his army, and ten thousand medimni of corn: and that, for the future, so long as the king should remain in the Peloponnese as their ally in the war, he should receive seventeen talents a month from the Achaeans.

Philip Decides to Fight at Sea

Having passed this decree, the Achaeans dispersed to
The king prepares to carry on the war by sea.
their various cities. And now the king's forces mustered again from their winter quarters; and after deliberations with his friends, Philip decided to transfer the war to the sea. For he had become convinced that it was only by so doing that he would himself be able to surprise the enemy at all points at once, and would best deprive them of the opportunity of coming to each others' relief; as they were widely scattered, and each would be in alarm for their own safety, because the approach of an enemy by sea is so silent and rapid. For he was at war with three separate nations,—Aetolians, Lacedaemonians, and Eleans.

Having arrived at this decision, he ordered the ships of the Achaeans as well as his own to muster at Lechaeum; and there he made continual experiments in practising the soldiers of the phalanx to the use of the oar. The Macedonians answered to his instructions with ready enthusiasm; for they are in fact the most gallant soldiers on the field of battle, the promptest to undertake service at sea if need be, and the most laborious workers at digging trenches, making palisades, and all such engineering work, in the world: just such as Hesiod describes the Aeacidae to be “"Joying in war as in a feast."
4 The king, then, and the main body of the Macedonian army, remained in Corinth, busied with these practisings and preparations for taking the sea.

Fresh intrigue of Apelles.
But Apelles, being neither able to retain an ascendency over Philip, nor to submit to the loss of influence which resulted from this disregard, entered into a conspiracy with Leontius and Megaleas, by which it was agreed that these two men should stay on the spot and damage the king's service by deliberate neglect; while he went to Chalcis, and contrived that no supplies should be brought the king from thence for the promotion of his designs. Having made this arrangement and mischievous stipulation with these two men, Apelles set out for Chalcis, having found some false pretexts to satisfy the king as to his departure. And while protracting his stay there, he carried out his sworn agreement with such determination, that, as all men obeyed him because of this former credit, the king was at last reduced by want of money to pawn some of the silverplate used at his own table, to carry on his affairs.
Philip starts on his naval expedition, B. C. 218.
However, when the ships were all collected, and the Macedonian soldiers already well trained to the oar; the king, giving out rations of corn and pay to the army, put to sea, and arrived at Patrae on the second day, with six thousand Macedonians and twelve hundred mercenaries.

Philip In Cephallenia

Just at that time the Aetolian Strategus Dorimachus sent Agelaus and Scopas with five hundred Neo-Cretans5 into Elis; while the Eleans, in fear of Philip's attempting the siege of Cyllene, were collecting mercenaries, preparing their own citizens, and carefully strengthening the defences of Cyllene. When Philip saw what was going on, he stationed a force at Dyme, consisting of the Achaean-mercenaries, some of the Cretans serving with him, and some of the Gallic horse, together with two thousand picked Achaean infantry. These he left there as a reserve, as well as an advance guard to prevent the danger of an attack from Elis; while he himself, having first written to the Acarnanians and Scerdilaidas, that each of their towns should man such vessels as they had and meet him at Cephallenia, put to sea from Patrae at the time arranged, and arrived off Pronni in Cephallenia. But when he saw that this fortress was difficult to besiege, and its position a contracted one, he coasted past it with his fleet and came to anchor at Palus.
The siege of Palus.
Finding that the country there was full of corn and capable of supporting an army, he disembarked his troops and encamped close to the city: and having beached his ships close together, secured them with a trench and palisade, and sent out his Macedonian soldiers to forage. He himself made a personal inspection of the town, to see how he could bring his siege-works and artillery to bear upon the wall. He wished to be able to use the place as a rendezvous for his allies; but he was also desirous of taking it: first, because he would thereby deprive the Aetolians of their most useful support,—for it was by means of Cephallenian ships that they made their descents upon the Peloponnese, and ravaged the sea-boards of Epirus and Acarnania,—and, secondly, that he might secure for himself and his allies a convenient base of operations against the enemy's territory. For Cephallenia lies exactly opposite the Corinthian Gulf, in the direction of the Sicilian Sea, and commands the northwestern district of the Peloponnese, and especially Elis; as well as the south-western parts of Epirus, Aetolia, and Acarnania.

Philip Besieges Palus

The excellent position, therefore, of the island, both as a rendezvous for the allies and as a base of attack against the hostile, or of defence for the friendly, territory, made the king very anxious to get it into his power. His survey of the town showed him that it was entirely defended by the sea and steep hills, except for a short distance in the direction of Zacynthus, where the ground was flat; and he accordingly resolved to erect his works and concentrate his attack at that spot.

While the king was engaged in these operations fifty galleys

Arrival of the allies at Palus.
arrived from Scerdilaidas, who had been prevented from sending more by the plots and civil broils throughout Illyria, caused by the despots of the various cities. There arrived also the appointed contingents of allies from Epirus, Acarnania, and even Messenia; for the Messenians had ceased to excuse themselves from taking part in the war ever since the capture of Phigalia.

Having now made his arrangements for the siege, and

The walls are undermined and a breach made. Leontius plays the traitor.
having got his catapults and ballistae in position to annoy the defenders on the walls, the king harangued his Macedonian troops, and, bringing his siege-machines up to the walls, began under their protection to sink mines. The Macedonians worked with such enthusiastic eagerness that in a short time two hundred feet of the wall were undermined and underpinned: and the king then approached the walls and invited the citizens to come to terms. Upon their refusal, he set fire to the props, and thus brought down the whole part of the wall that rested upon them simultaneously. Into this breach he first sent his peltasts under the command of Leontius, divided into cohorts, and with orders to force their way over the ruin. But Leontius, in fulfilment of his compact with Apelles, three times running prevented the soldiers, even after they had carried the breach, from effecting the capture of the town. He had corrupted beforehand the most important officers of the several cohorts; and he himself deliberately affected fear, and shrunk from every service of danger; and finally they were ejected from the town with considerable loss, although they could have mastered the enemy with ease. When the king saw that the officers were behaving with cowardice, and that a considerable number of the Macedonian soldiers were wounded, he abandoned the siege, and deliberated with his friends on the next step to be taken.

Philip Invades Aetolia

Meanwhile Lycurgus had invaded Messenia; and Dorimachus had started for Thessaly with half the
Ambassadors from Acarnania urge Philip to invade Aetolia; others from Messenia beg him to come there.
Aetolian army,—both with the idea that they would thus draw off Philip from the siege of Palus. Presently ambassadors arrived at the court to make representations on these subjects from Acarnania and Messenia: the former urging Philip to prevent Dorimachus's invasion of Macedonia by himself invading Aetolia, and traversing and plundering the whole country while there was no one to resist him; the latter begged him to come to their assistance, representing that in the existing state of the Etesian winds the passage from Cephallenia to Messenia could be effected in a single day, whereby, so Gorgus of Messenia and his colleagues argued, a sudden and effective attack would be made upon Lycurgus. In pursuance of his policy Leontius eagerly supported Gorgus, seeing that by this means Philip would absolutely waste the summer. For it was easy enough to sail to Messenia; but to sail back again, while the Etesian winds prevailed, was impossible. It was plain therefore that Philip would get shut up in Messenia with his army, and remain inactive for what remained of the summer; while the Aetolians would traverse Thessaly and Epirus and plunder them at their pleasure. Such was the insidious nature of the advice given by Gorgus and Leontius. But Aratus, who was present, advocated an exactly opposite policy, urging the king to sail to Aetolia and devote himself to that part of the campaign: for as the Aetolians had gone on an expedition across the frontier under Dorimachus, it was a most excellent opportunity for invading and plundering Aetolia.
Philip decides on the invasion of Aetolia.
The king had begun to entertain distrust of Leontius since his exhibition of cowardice in the siege; and had detected his dishonesty in the course of the discussions held about Palus: he therefore decided to act in the present instance in accordance with the opinion of Aratus. Accordingly he wrote to the Achaean Strategus Eperatus, bidding him take the Achaean levies, and go to the aid of the Messenians; while he himself put to sea from Cephallenia, and arrived at night after a two days' voyage at Leucas: and having managed by proper contrivances to get his ships through the channel or Dioryctus,6 he sailed up the Ambracian Gulf, which, as I have already stated,7 stretches from the Sicilian Sea a long distance into the interior of Aetolia. Having made the whole length of this gulf, and anchored a short time before daybreak at Limnaea, he ordered his men to get their breakfast, and leaving the greater part of their baggage behind them, to make themselves ready in light equipment for a march; while he himself collected the guides, and made careful inquiries of them about the country and neighbouring towns.

Aristophanes the Acarnanian Joins Forces with Philip

Before they started, Aristophanes the Acarnanian

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.
Coele-Syria (Lebanon) (31)
Seleucia (Iraq) (23)
Asia (20)
Aetolia (Greece) (19)
Thessaly (Greece) (17)
Italy (Italy) (17)
Greece (Greece) (17)
Messenia (Greece) (16)
Tegea (13)
Alexandria (Egypt) (13)
Macedonia (Macedonia) (12)
Leucas (Greece) (12)
Tigris (11)
Elis (Greece) (11)
Corinth (Greece) (11)
Rhodes (Greece) (9)
Egypt (Egypt) (9)
Syria (Syria) (8)
Peloponnesus (Greece) (8)
Patrae (Greece) (8)
Laconia (Greece) (8)
Apollonia (Libya) (8)
Thebes (Greece) (7)
Selge (7)
Phoenicia (7)
Phocis (Greece) (7)
Rome (Italy) (6)
Ptolemais (Libya) (6)
Apameia (Turkey) (6)
Acarnania (Greece) (6)
Megalopolis (Greece) (5)
Illyria (5)
Epirus (Greece) (5)
Chalcis (Greece) (5)
Memphis (Egypt) (4)
Meliteia (Greece) (4)
Magnesia (Greece) (4)
Libya (Libya) (4)
Dyme (Greece) (4)
Dura (Syria) (4)
Berytus (Lebanon) (4)
Berenice (Libya) (4)
Aspendus (Turkey) (4)
Antioch (Turkey) (4)
Zacynthus (Greece) (3)
Tyre (Lebanon) (3)
Susiana (Iran) (3)
Sicyon (Greece) (3)
Pisidia (Turkey) (3)
Persian Gulf (Iran) (3)
Persia (Iran) (3)
Pamphylia (Turkey) (3)
Larisa (Greece) (3)
Ilium (Turkey) (3)
Helos (3)
Hellespont (Turkey) (3)
Gorgus (Cyprus) (3)
Gaza (Israel) (3)
Europe (3)
Dodona (Greece) (3)
Cannae (Italy) (3)
Babylon (Iraq) (3)
Argolis (Greece) (3)
Achaia (Greece) (3)
Troad (Turkey) (2)
Thrace (Greece) (2)
Spain (Spain) (2)
Smyrna (Turkey) (2)
Sidon (Lebanon) (2)
Sicily (Italy) (2)
Scythopolis (Israel) (2)
Sason (Turkey) (2)
Samaria (Israel) (2)
Rhegium (Italy) (2)
Pontus (2)
Philippopolis (Bulgaria) (2)
Pelusium (Egypt) (2)
Pella (Greece) (2)
Panormus (Turkey) (2)
Mesopotamia (Iraq) (2)
Marathus (Syria) (2)
Lydia (Turkey) (2)
Lilybaeum (Italy) (2)
Laodiceia (Turkey) (2)
Gythium (Greece) (2)
France (France) (2)
Demetrias (2)
Cyprus (Cyprus) (2)
Carthage (Tunisia) (2)
Byzantium (Turkey) (2)
Athens (Greece) (2)
Arabia (2)
Acrae (Italy) (2)
Zeugma (Turkey) (1)
Thrace (Turkey) (1)
Teos (1)
Syracuse (Italy) (1)
Susa (Iran) (1)
Sellasia (Greece) (1)
Seest (Denmark) (1)
Sardis (Turkey) (1)
Raphia (Israel) (1)
Phrygia (Turkey) (1)
Phocaea (Turkey) (1)
Phigalia (Greece) (1)
Phasis (Georgia) (1)
Pharsalus (Greece) (1)
Persis (Iran) (1)
Pergamus (Turkey) (1)
Pelagonia (Macedonia) (1)
Parthia (Iran) (1)
Palestine (1)
Padus (Italy) (1)
Olympus (Greece) (1)
Nicephorium (Syria) (1)
Mysia (Turkey) (1)
Milyas (Turkey) (1)
Mesopotamia (1)
Melita (Malta) (1)
Mede (Italy) (1)
Maroneia (1)
Lycaonia (Turkey) (1)
Lampsacus (Turkey) (1)
Lacedaemon (Greece) (1)
Jordan (1)
Ionian Sea (1)
Halic (Slovakia) (1)
Gortyna (Greece) (1)
Euphrates (1)
Ephesus (Turkey) (1)
Cyzicus (1)
Ctesiphon (Iraq) (1)
Crete (Greece) (1)
Colophon (1)
Cnossus (Greece) (1)
Cirrha (Greece) (1)
Cilicia (Turkey) (1)
Chaeronea (Greece) (1)
Carchi (Ecuador) (1)
Cappadocia (Turkey) (1)
Canopus (Egypt) (1)
Boeotia (Greece) (1)
Boeae (1)
Behistun (Iran) (1)
Barca (Libya) (1)
Bantia (1)
Attica (Greece) (1)
Asine (Greece) (1)
Arsinoe (Libya) (1)
Apia (Samoa) (1)
Antioch (Turkey) (1)
Andreas (1)
Andania (1)
Alabanda (1)
Aeolis (Turkey) (1)
Aenus (1)
Aegae (Greece) (1)
Acriae (1)
Abydos (Egypt) (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.
217 BC (11)
218 BC (7)
216 BC (5)
222 BC (3)
226 BC (2)
221 BC (2)
220 BC (2)
338 BC (1)
335 BC (1)
318 BC (1)
301 BC (1)
272 BC (1)
240 BC (1)
224 BC (1)
223 BC (1)
219 BC (1)
hide References (9 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: