The commonwealth of the Achaeans was first raised to dignity and power by Aratus, who consolidated it when it was feeble and disrupted, and inaugurated an Hellenic and humane form of government. Then, just as in running waters, after a few small particles have begun to take a fixed position, others presently are swept against the first, adhere and cling to them, and thus form a fixed and solid mass by mutual support,
so the Achaeans, at a time when Greece was weak and easily dissolved and drifting along by individual cities, first united themselves together, and then, by receiving into their number some of the cities round about which they had aided and assisted in shaking off their tyrants, and by uniting others with themselves in a harmonious civil polity, they purposed to form the Peloponnesus into a single political body and one power.
As long, however, as Aratus lived, they were dependent for the most part on Macedonian armies, paying court to Ptolemy, and then again to Antigonus and Philip, all of whom busied themselves in the affairs of Greece. But when Philopoemen was advanced to leadership among them,1
they were at last capable of contending alone with their most powerful neighbours, and ceased to rely upon foreign protectors.
Aratus, indeed, who was thought to be too sluggish for warlike contests, accomplished most of his undertakings by conference, urbanity, and royal friendships, as I have written in his Life2
whereas Philopoemen, who was a good warrior and effective with his weapons, besides proving himself fortunate and successful in his very first battles, increased not only the power but also the courage of the Achaeans, who were accustomed to be victorious under him and to win success in most of their contests.