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.
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.