Greece: Murder of Brachylles
After the battle of Cynoscephalae, as Flamininus was
Philip allows his Boeotian followers to return home.
wintering at Elateia, the Boeotians, being anxious
to recover their citizens who had served in
Philip's army, sent an embassy to Flamininus
to try and secure their safety. Wishing to encourage the loyalty
of the Boeotians to himself, because he was already anxious
as to the action of Antiochus, he readily assented to their
petition. These men were promptly restored from Macedonia,
and one of them named Brachylles the Boeotians at once
elected Boeotarch; and in a similar spirit honoured and promoted,
as much as before, such of the others as were thought
to be well disposed to the royal house of Macedonia.
Zeuxippus and Peisistratus, heads of the Romanising party, determine to get rid of Brachylles, B. C. 196.
also sent an embassy to Philip to thank him for the return
of the young men, thus derogating from the favour done them
by Flamininus,—a measure highly disquieting
to Zeuxippus and Peisistratus, and all who were
regarded as partisans of Rome; because they
foresaw what would happen to themselves and
their families, knowing quite well that if the
Romans quitted Greece, and Philip remained
closely supporting the political party opposed to themselves, it
would be unsafe for them to remain citizens of Boeotia. They
therefore agreed among themselves to send an embassy to
Flamininus in Elateia: and having obtained an interview
with him, they made a lengthy and elaborate statement on
this subject, describing the state of popular feeling which was
now adverse to themselves, and discanting on the untrustworthiness of democratic assemblies. And finally, they
ventured to say that "Unless they could overawe the common
people by getting rid of Brachylles, there could be no security
for the party in favour of Rome as soon as the legions departed."
After listening to these arguments Flamininus replied that
"He would not personally take any part in such a measure,
but he would not hinder those who wished to do so." Finally,
he bade them speak to Alexamenus the Strategus of the
Aetolians. Zeuxippus and his colleagues accepted the suggestion,
and communicated with Alexamenus, who at once consented; and agreeing to carry out their proposal sent three
Aetolians and three Italians, all young men, to assassinate
Brachylles. . . .
There is no more terrible witness, or more
Zeuxippus condemned by his own conscience. See Livy, 33, 28.
formidable accuser, than the conscience which
resides in each man's breast. . . .