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Philip Devastates Messene

Upon arriving in Messenia Philip began devasting the
Philip's second devastation of Messene, B.C. 214.
country, like an open enemy, with more passion than reason; for while pursuing this continuous course of injurious actions, he expected, it appears to me, that the sufferers would feel no anger or hatred towards him.
See Plutarch, Aratus, ch. 51. Cp. supra, 7, 10-14.
I was induced to speak of these proceedings in somewhat full detail in the present as well as in the last book, not alone by the same motives as those which I have assigned for other parts of my work, but also by the fact that of our historians, some have entirely omitted this Messenian episode; while others from love or fear of kings have maintained that, so far from the outrages committed by Philip in defiance of religion and law upon the Messenians being a subject of blame, his actions were on the contrary matters for praise and gratulation. But it is not only in regard to the Messenians that we may notice the historians of Philip acting thus; they have done much the same in other cases also. And the result is that their compositions have the appearance of a panegyric rather than of a history. I however hold that an historian ought neither to blame or praise kings untruly, as has often been done; but to make what we say consistent with what has been written before, and tally with the characters of the several persons in question. But it may be urged perhaps that this is easy to say, but very difficult to carry out; because situations and circumstances are so many and various, to which men have to give way in the course of their life, and which prevent them from speaking out their real opinions. This may excuse some, but not others.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 43.20
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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plutarch, Aratus, 51
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