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The Senate Refuses to Help Either Messene or Achaia

In the second year of this Olympiad, on the arrival of
After midsummer of B. C. 183.
ambassadors from Eumenes, Pharnaces, and the Achaean league, and also from the Lacedaemonians who had been banished from Sparta,1 and from those who were in actual possession of it, the Senate despatched their business. But there came after them a mission from Rhodes in regard to the disaster at Sinope; to whom the Senate replied that it would send legates to investigate the case of the Sinopeans and their grievances against those kings.
February, B. C. 182.
And Quintus Marcius having recently arrived from Greece and made his report on the state of affairs in Macedonia and the Peloponnese, the Senate did not require to hear much more; but having called in the envoys from the Peloponnese and Macedonia they listened indeed to what they had to say, but founded its reply, without any reference to their speeches, wholly on the report of Marcius, in which he had stated, in reference to king Philip, that he had indeed done all that was enjoined on him, but with great reluctance; and that, if he got an opportunity, he would go all lengths against the Romans. The Senate accordingly composed a reply to the king's envoys in which, while praising Philip for what he had done, they warned him for the future to be careful not to be found acting in opposition to the Romans. As to the Peloponnese, Marcius had reported that, as the Achaeans were unwilling to refer any matter whatever to the Senate, but were haughtily inclined and desirous of managing all their affairs themselves, if the Senate would only reject their present application and give ever so slight an indication of displeasure, Sparta would promptly come to an understanding with Messene; and then the Achaeans would be glad enough to appeal to the protection of Rome. In consequence of this report they answered the Lacedaemonian Serippus and his colleagues, wishing to leave this city in a state of suspense, that they had done their best for them, but that for the present they did not think this matter concerned them. But when the Achaeans besought for help against the Messenians2 in virtue of their alliance with Rome, or at least that they would take precautions to prevent any arms or corn from being brought from Italy into Messene, the Senate refused compliance with either request and answered that the Achaeans ought not to be surprised if Sparta or Corinth or Argos renounced their league, if they would not conduct their hegemony in accordance with the Senate's views. This answer the Senate made public, as a kind of proclamation that any people who chose might break off from the Achaeans for all the Romans cared; and they further retained the ambassadors in Rome, waiting to see the issue of the quarrel between the Achaeans and Messenians. . . .

1 That is, apparently, by some fresh disturbance towards the end of B. C. 183. See Strachan-Davidson, p. 495.

2 The Messenians revolted from the league B.C. 183, and in the course of the fighting which ensued Philopoemen fell into an ambush, was taken prisoner, and put to death by them. See ch. 12.

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