M'. Acilius Glabrio
C. F. L.N., was tribune of the plebs in B. C. 201, when he opposed the claim of Cn. Corn. Lentulus, one of the consuls of that year, to the province of Africa, which a unanimous vote of the tribes had already decreed to P. Scipio Africanus I. (Liv. 30.40
In the following year Glabrio was appointed commissioner of sacred rites (decemvir sacrorum
) in the room of M. Aurelius Cotta, deceased (31.50).
He was praetor in B. C. 196, having presided at the Ple beian Games in the Flaminian Circus; and from the fines for encroachment on the demesne lands he consecrated bronze statues to Ceres and her offspring Liber and Libera (33.25, comp. 3.55; Cic. de Nat. Deor.
2.24) at the end of 197. Glabrio was praetor peregrinus (Liv. 33.24
), and quelled an insurrection of the praedial slaves in Etruria, which was so formidable as to require the presence of one of the city legions. (Liv. 33.36
.) In B. C. 193 he was an unsuccessful competitor for the consulship, which, however, he obtained in 191. (35.10, 24.)
In this year Rome declared war against Antiochus the Great, king of Syria [ANTIOCHUS III.]; and the commencement of hostilities with the most powerful monarch of Asia was thought to demand unusual religious solemnities.
In the allotment of the provinces, Greece, the seat of war, fell to Glabrio; but before he took the field he was directed by the senate to superintend the sacred ceremonies and processions, and to vow, if the campaign were prosperous, extraordinary games to Jupiter, and offerings to all the shrines in Rome. (Liv. 36.1
Glabrio, to whom the senate had assigned, besides the usual consular army of two legions, the troops already quartered in Greece and Macedonia, appointed the month of May and the city of Brundisium as the time and place of rendezvous. From thence he crossed over to Apollonia, at the head of 10,000 foot, 2,000 horse, and 15 elephants, with power, if needful, to levy in Greece an additional force of 5000 men. (Liv. 36.14
; Appian. Syr.
He made Larissa in Thessaly his headquarters, from which, in co-operation with his ally, Philip II., king of Macedonia, he speedily reduced to obedience the whole district between the Cambunian mountain chain and mount Oeta. Limnaea, Pellinaeum, Pharsalus, Pherae, and Scotussa, expelled the garrisons of Antiochus, and his allies the Athamanes; Philip of Megalopolis, a pretender to the crown of Macedonia, was sent in chains to Rome; and Amynander, the king of the Athamanes, was driven from his kingdom. (Liv., Appian, ll. cc.
Antiochus, alarmed at Glabrio's progress, entrenched himself strongly at Thermopylae; but although his Aetolian allies occupied the passes of mount Oeta, the Romans broke through his outposts, and cut to pieces or dispersed his army. Boeotia and Euboea next submitted to Glabrio: he reduced Lamia and Heracleia at the foot of Oeta, and in the latter city took prisoner the Aetolian Damocritus, who the year before had threatened to bring the war to the banks of the Tiber. The Aetolians now sent envoys to Glabrio at Lamia. They proposed an unconditional surrender of their nation "to the faith of Rome."
The term was ambiguous; Glabrio put the strictest interpretation upon it (comp. Liv. 7.31
), and when the envoys remonstrated, threatened then with chains and the dungeon. His officers reminded Glabrio that their character as ambassadors was sacred, and he consented to grant the Aetolians a truce of ten days. During that time, however, the Aetolians received intelligence that Antiochus was preparing to renew the war. They concentrated their forces therefore at Naupactus, in the Corinthian gulf, and Glabrio hastened to invest the place. (Plb. 20.9
; Liv. 36.28
.) His march from Lamia to Naupactus lay over the highest ridge of Oeta; a handful of men might have held it against the whole consular army.
But the difficulties of the road were all that Glabrio had to contend with, so completely had his stern demeanour and his repeated victories quelled the spirit of the Aetolians. Naupactus was on the point of surrendering to Glabrio, but it was rescued by the intercession of the proconsul, T. Quintius Flamininus, and the besieged were permitted to send an embassy to Rome.
After attending the congress of the Achaean cities at Aegium, and a fruitless attempt to procure a recal of the exiles to Elis and Sparta, Glabrio returned to Phocis, and blockaded Amphissa. While yet engaged in the siege, his successor, L. Cornelius Scipio, arrived from Rome, and Glabrio gave up to him the command. (Plb. 21.1
; Liv. 36.35
; Appian, App. Syr. 21
A triumph was unanimously granted to Glabrio, but its unusual splendour was somewhat abated by the absence of his conquering army, which remained in Greece.
He triumphed in the autumn of B. C. 190. "De Aetoleis et rege Syriae Antiocho." Glabrio was a candidate for the censorship in B. C. 189.
But the party of the nobles which, in 192, had excluded him from the consulship, again prevailed.
It was rumoured that a part of the rich booty of the Syrian camp, which had not been displayed at his triumph, might be found in his house.
The testimony of his legatus, M. Porcius Cato, was unfavourable to him, and Glabrio withdrew from an impeachment of the tribunes of the plebs, under the decent pretext of yielding to a powerful faction. (Liv. 37.57
; Plut. Cat. Ma. 12
; Flor. 2.8.10
; Aur. Vict. Vir. Illustr.
47, 54; Frontin. Strat.
2.4.4; Eutrop. 3.4
; Appian, App. Syr. 17