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Nabis

Νάβις). A person who succeeded in making himself tyrant of Lacedaemon on the death of Machanidas, B.C. 207. He carried his tyranny to the furthest possible extent. All persons possessed of property were subjected to incessant exactions, and the most cruel tortures if they did not succeed in satisfying his rapacity. One of his engines of torture resembled “the Maiden” of more recent times. It was a figure resembling his wife Apega, so constructed as to clasp the victim and pierce him to death with the nails with which the arms and bosom of the figure were studded (Polyb. xiii. 7). The money which he got by these means and by the plunder of the temples enabled him to raise a large body of mercenaries, whom he selected from among the most abandoned and reckless villains. With these forces he was able to extend his sway over a considerable part of Peloponnesus; but his further progress was checked by Flaminius, who after a short campaign compelled him to sue for peace (B.C. 195). The tyrant, however, was allowed to retain the sovereignty of Sparta, and soon after the departure of Flamininus from Greece he resumed hostilities. He was opposed by Philopoemen, the general of the Achaean league; and though Nabis met at first with some success, he was eventually defeated by Philopoemen, and was soon afterwards assassinated by some Aetolians who had been sent to his assistance, B.C. 192 (Livy, xxxv. 12-35; Pausan. viii. 50).

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