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Aratus a Moderating Influence on Philip

For as in this instance, under the influence of Aratus, Philip refrained from actually breaking faith with the Messenians in regard to the citadel; and thus, to use a common expression, poured a little balm into the wide wound which his slaughters had caused: so in the Aetolian war, when under the influence of Demetrius, he sinned against the gods by destroying the objects consecrated to them, and against man by transgressing the laws of war; and entirely deserted his original principles, by showing himself an implacable and bitter foe to all who opposed him. The same remark applies to the Cretan business.1 As long as he employed Aratus as his chief director, not only without doing injustice to a single islander, but without even causing them any vexation, he kept the whole Cretan people under control; and led all the Greeks to regard him with favour, owing to the greatness of character which he displayed. So again, when under the guidance of Demetrius, he became the cause of the misfortunes I have described to the Messenians, he at once lost the good-will of the allies and his credit with the rest of Greece. Such a decisive influence for good or evil in the security of their government has the choice by youthful sovereigns of the friends who are to surround them; though it is a subject on which by some unaccountable carelessness they take not the smallest care. . . .

1 Plutarch, Aratus, ch. 48.

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