This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
To this the Roman commander replied: "It is not with you that we entered into friendship and alliance, but with Philip, the rightful and legitimate king of Lacedaemon.  His right to the crown has been usurped by the tyrants who ruled there while we were preoccupied by, first, the Punic War, then with wars in Gaul and elsewhere, just as you have usurped it during this war with Macedon.  What greater inconsistency could there be than for those who waged war against Philip for the liberation of Greece to form a league of unity with a tyrant, and a tyrant, too, who has always treated his subjects with the utmost oppression and cruelty?  In fact, even if you had not seized and were not now holding Argos by dishonest practices, it would still have been incumbent on us, whilst liberating the rest of Greece, to restore Lacedaemon also to her old free constitution and to those laws which you spoke about just now as though you put yourself on a par with Lycurgus.  Are we to make it our care that your garrisons shall be withdrawn from Iasos and Bargyliae and at the same time leave Argos and Lacedaemon, two of the most famous cities and at one time the lights of Greece, prostrate beneath your feet, and so let their servitude sully our title as the liberators of Greece? You say the sympathies of the Argives were with Philip.  Well, we release you from any obligation to be angry with them so far as we are concerned. We have sufficient evidence that the blame for that rests upon some two or at the most three persons, not upon the citizens as a [7??] body, just, in fact, as the invitation given to you and your troops and your admission into the citadel was in no way whatever the act of their government.  We know that the Thessalians and Phocians and Locrians were unanimous in their support of Philip, and yet we have given them their freedom in common with the rest of Greece; what, pray, do you suppose we shall do in the case of the Argives, who as a State were innocent of any complicity with him?  You said that the enfranchisement of the slaves and the assignment of land to the needy were brought up as charges against you, and they are certainly serious ones, but what are they in comparison with the crimes committed by you and your adherents day by day?  Produce an assembly where men are free to speak their minds, at either Argos or Lacedaemon, if you want to hear a true description of your unbridled tyranny.  Not to mention earlier instances, what about the massacre which that son-in-law of yours, Pythagoras, perpetrated in Argos almost before my very eyes? What about the murders you yourself committed when I was close to your frontiers?  Come now, order those prisoners to be produced whom you arrested in the Assembly after promising in the hearing of all present that they should be kept in custody.  Let their unhappy relatives know that those whom they are mourning are still alive. But you say, 'Even if these things are so, what have they got to do with you Romans?' Would you use this language to the liberators of Greece?  To those who, to effect this liberation have crossed the sea and carried on war by sea and land? 'At all events,' you say, 'I have not injured you directly or violated your friendship and alliance.' How many instances do you want me to allege of your having done this?  I do not want to bring many forward, I will sum them up briefly. What acts, then, constitute a violation of friendship? These two, most of all-to treat my allies as enemies, and to make common cause with my enemies.  Both of these things you have done. Though you were our ally you seized by force a city in alliance with us, namely Messene, which had been admitted to our friendship and enjoyed precisely the same privileges as Lacedaemon.  And further, you not only concluded an alliance with Philip, our enemy, but you actually established a relationship with him through Philocles, one of his viceroys.  In open hostility to us, you infested the sea round Malea with your piratical barques, and have seized and put to death almost more Roman citizens than Philip, so that our transports, which were supplying our armies, found coasting along the Macedonian shores safer than rounding the Cape of Malea.  Forbear henceforth, if you please, to talk about your loyal observance of treaties;  drop the language of a citizen and speak as a tyrant and an enemy."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.