4. T. Quintius
Flamininus. As he is said to have been about thirty-three years old in B. C. 196, he must have been born about B. C. 230. (Liv. 33.33
He is called by Aurelius Victor (De Vir. Illustr.
51) a son of C. Flaminius, who fell in the battle on Lake Trasimenus; but this statement arises from a confusion of the Flaminia gens with the family of the Flaminini. [FLAMINIA GENS.] He was the brother of L. Quintius Flamininus [No. 3], and is first mentioned in history in B. C. 201, when he was appointed one of the ten commissioners to measure and distribute the public land in Samnium and Appulia among the veterans who had fought under P. Scipio in Africa, against the Carthaginians, and the year after he was one of the triunvirs appointed to complete the number of colonists at Venusia, which had been greatly reduced during the Hannibalian war. In B. C. 199 he was quaestor, and towards the expiration of his office he sued for the consulship.
He was opposed by two tribunes, who maintained that he ought first to go through the offices of aedile and praetor, before aiming at the consulship; but as he had reached the legitimate age, the senate declared that he was entitled to offer himself as a candidate.
The tribunes yielded, and T. Quintius Flamininus was elected consul for B. C. 198, together with Sex. Aelius Paetus. When the two consuls drew lots for their provinces, T. Flamininus obtained Macedonia.
According to a resolution of the senate, he levied an army of 3000 foot and 300 horse, as a supplement for the army engaged against Philip of Macedonia, and he selected such men as had already distinguished themselves in Spain and Africa. Some prodigies detained him for a short time in Rome, as the gods had to be propitiated by a supplication; but he then hastened without delay to his province, instead of spending the first months of his consulship at Rome, as had been the custom with his predecessors.
He sailed from Brundusium to Corcyra, where he left his troops to follow him, for he himself sailed to Epeirus, and thence hastened to the Roman camp.
After having dismissed his predecessor, cessor, he waited a few days, till the troops from Corcyra arrived in the camp; he then held a council, to deliberate by what route he should invade Macedonia.
He there showed at once that he was animated by a bold and heroic spirit : he did not despair of what appeared impossible to every one else, for he resolved to storm the pass of Antigoneia, which was occupied by the enemy, instead of going a round-about way.
He trusted, however, in this undertaking to the assistance of the Roman party in Epeirus, which was headed by Charops; and he further hoped to pave his way into Greece, where he wished to detach one state after another from the cause of Macedonia, and thus to crush Philip more effectually. For forty days he faced the enemy, without a favorable opportunity of attacking the enemy being offered. Philip had from the first conceived the hope of concluding a favourable treaty with the Romans, and, through the mediation of the Epeirots, he began to negotiate, but Flamininus demanded first of all the liberation of Greece and Thessaly.
This bold demand of the young hero, before he had gained an inch of ground, was equivalent to a call upon the Greeks to throw off the yoke of Macedonia.
An event, however, soon occurred which en abled Flamininus to rise from his inactivity: there was a path across the mountains, by which the pass of Antigoneia could be evaded, as at Thermopylae, and this path was either unknown to Philip, or neglected by him, because he did not fear any danger from that quarter. Charops informed Flamininus of the existence of the path, and sent a man well acquainted with it as his guide.
The consul then sent 4300 men, accompanied by the guide, across the mountain, and in a few days they arrived in the rear of the Macedonians.
The latter, being thus pressed on both sides, made a short resistance, and then fled in great consternation towards Thessaly : 2000 men were lost, and their camp fell into the hands of the Romans. Epeirus immediately submitted to Flamininus, and was mildly treated, for his ambition was to appear every where as the deliverer form the Macedonians.
The consul and his army now marched through the passes into Thessaly. Here Philip, in order to leave nothing for the enemy to take, had rivaged the country and destroyed the towns. Flamininus laid siege to Phaloria, the first Thessalian town to which he came, and, after a brave resistance of its garrison, it was taken by storm, and reduced to a heap of ashes, as a warning to the other Greeks.
But this severity did not produce the desired effect, nor did it facilitate his progress, for the principal towns were strongly garrisoned, and the Macedonian army was encamped in Tempe, whence the king could easily send succours to his allies. Flamininus next besieged Charax, on the Peneius, but in spite of his most extraordinary exertions, and even partial success, the heroic defence of its inhabitants thwarted all his attempts, and in the end he was obliged to raise the sieae.
He fearfully ravaged the country, and marched into Phocis, where several places and maritime towns, which enabled him to communicate with the fleet under the command of his brother Lucius, opened their gates to him; but Elateia, the principal place, which was strongly fortified, offered a brave re sistance, and for a time checked his progress. While he was yet engaged there, his brother Lucius, at his request, contrived to draw the Achaean league into an alliance with the Romans, which was effected the more easily, as Aristaenetus, then strategus of the Achaeans, was well disposed towards Rome. Megalopolis, however, Dyme, and Argos, remained faithful to Macedonia.
After capturing Elateia, Flamininus took up his winter-quarters in Phocis and Locris; but he had not been there long when an insurrection broke out at Opus, in which the Macedonian garrison was compelled to withdraw to the acropolis. Some of the citizens called in the assistance of the Aetolians, and others that of the Romsnans.
The former came, but the gates were not opened till Flamininus arrived, and took possession of the town.
This seems to have been the first cause of the ill feeling of the Aetolians towards the Romans. The Macedonian garrison remained in the acropolis, and Flamininus for the present abstained from besieging them, as king Philip had just made proposals of peace. Flamininus accepted the proposals, but only with the view of employing them as a means of satisfying his own ambition; for as he did not yet know whether he was to be left in his province for another year, his object was to give matters such a turn as to have it in his own power to decide upon war or peace.
A congress was held at the Malean gulf, in the neighbourhood of Nicaea, which lasted for three days. Flamininus and his allies, among whom the Aetolians distinguished themselves by their invectives against Philip, who was present, drew up a long list of demands, and the conditions of a peace : the principal demand, however, was, that Philip should withdraw his garrisons from all the towns of Greece.
The allies of the Romans were of opinion that the negotiations should be broken off at once, unless Philip would consent to this fundamental condition; but the consul, whose object it was to defer giving any decision, acted with very great diplomatic skill.
At last a truce of two months was concluded, during which ambassadors of both parties were sent to Rome.
The condition, however, on which Philip was permitted to send his ambassadors was, the evacuation of the towns in Phocis and Locris which were still in his possession. When the ambassadors arrived at Rome, those of Flamininus and his allies actted according to the dictates of the consul : they declared that Greece could not possibly be free, so long as Demetrias, Chalcis, and Corinth were occupied by Macedonian garrisons, and that, unless Philip withdrew his garrisons, the war ought to be continued, and that it would now be an easy matter to compel the king to submit to the terms of the Romans. When Philip's ambassadors were asked whether their king was willing to give up the three fortresses just mentioned, they replied that they had no instructions to answer that question.
The senate then dismissed them, and told them that if their sovereign wanted to negotiate further, he must apply to Flamininus, to whom the senate gave full power to act as he thought proper, and whose imperium was now prolonged for an indefinite period. Flamininus, after having thus gained his end, declared to Philip, that if any further negotiations were to be carried on, he must first of all withdraw his garrisons from the Greek towns.
The king, on hearing this, resolved to venture any thing rather than yield to such a demand, although his army was in an incomparably inferior condition to that of the Romans. Philip immediately took steps to form an alliance with Nabis, the tyrant of Sparta. When every thing was prepared, and Nabis had treacherously put himself in possession of Argos, he invited Flamininus to a conference at Argos, where a treaty between Flamininus and Sparta was concluded without any difficulty, for the Romans demanded only auxiliaries, and the cessation of hostilities against the Achaeans. Nabis remained in the possession of Argos, but no clause respecting it was inserted in the treaty. When Flamininus had received the auxiliaries of Nabis, he marched against Corinth, hoping that the commander of its garrison, Philocles, a friend of Nabis, would follow the tyrant's example, but in vain. Flamininus then went into Boeotia, which he compelled to renounce the alliance with Philip, and to join the Romans. Most of the Boeotian men, however, capable of bearing arms, were serving inthe Macedonian army, and afterwards fought against the Romans. The Acarnanians were the only allies of Macedonia that remained faithful.
In the spring of B. C. 197, Flamininus left his winter-quarters to enter upon his second campaign against Philip. His army, which was already strengthened by the Achaeans and other auxiliaries, was increased at Thermopylae by a considerable number of Aetolians.
He advanced slowly into Phthiotis. Philip, at the head of his army, which was about equal in numbers to that of his opponent, advanced more rapidly towards the south, and was determined to seize the first favourable opportunity for fighting a decisive battle.
After a skirmish between the Roman and Macedonian cavalry, near Pherae, in which the Romans gained the uppei hand, both belligerents moved towards Phlarsalus and Scotussa.
A battle ensued near a range of hills called Cynoscephalae (Dog's heads), in which the fate of Macedonia was decided in a few hours : 8000 Macedonians were killed in their light, and 5000 were taken prisoners, while Flamininus lost only 700 men.
The result of this battle was, that the towns of Thessaly surrendered to the Romans, and Philip sued for peace. The Aetolians, who had been of great service during the battle, now showed their arrogance and pretensions in a manner which wounded the pride of Flamininnus : they boasted that he had to thank them for his victory, and their vaunting was believed by many Greeks. Flamininus in return treated them with haughtiness and contempt, and, without consulting them, he granted to Philip a truce of fifteen days, and permission to begin negotiations for peace, while the Aetolians desired nothing short of the entire destruction of the Macedonian empire. They even went so far as to say that Flamininus was bribed by the king.
The consequence was, that they derived less advantages from the victory at Cynoscephalae than they had in reality deserved, and Philip only profited by the disunion thus existing between the Romans and their allies. Flamininus felt inclined to conclude peace with Philip, for his own ambition was satisfied, and Antiochus of Syria was threatening to come over to Europe and assist Philip against the Romans. When, therefore, Philip, at a meeting which he had with Flamininus, declared himself willing to conclude peace on the terms proposed before the opening of the campaign, and to submit all further points to the Roman senate, Flamininus at once concluded a truce for several months, and embassies from both parties were sent to Rome.
After the battle of Cynoscephalae Flamininus had generously restored to freedom all the Boeotians that had served in Philip's army and were taken prisoners.
But, instead of thanking him for it, they acted as if they owed their delivery to Philip, and even insulted the Romans by conferring the office of boeotarchus upon the man who had been their commander in the Macedonian army. The Roman party at Thebes, however, soon after secretly caused his assassination, with the knowledge of Flamininus. When this became known, the people conceived a burning hatred of the Romans, whose army was stationed in and about Elateia in Phocis. All the Romans who had to travel through Boeotia, were murdered and their bodies left unburied on the roads.
The number of persons who thus lost their lives, is said to have amounted to 500. After Flaminus had in vain demanded reparation for these crimes, he began ravaging Boeotia, and blockaded Coroneia and Acraephia, near which places most of the bodies of the murdered Romans had been found.
This frightened the Boeotians, and they now sent envoys to Flamininus, who, however, refused to admit them into his presence; but the mediation of the Achaeans prevailed upon him to treat the Boeotians leniently.
He accordingly made peace with them, on condition of their delivering up to him the guilty persons, and paying thirty talents as a reparation, instead of 100 which he had demanded before.
In the spring of B. C. 196, and shortly after the peace with Boeotia, ten Roman commissioners arrived in Greece to arrange, conjointly with Flamininus, the affairs of the country; they also brought with them the terms on which a definite peace was to be concluded with Philip.
He had to give up all the Greek towns in Europe and Asia which he had possessed and still possessed. The Aetolians again exerted themselves to excite suspicions among the Greeks as to the sincerity of the Romans in their dealings with them. Flamnininus, however, insisted upon immediate compliance with the terms of the peace, and Corinth was at once given over to the Achaeans.
In this summer the Isthmian games were celebrated at Corinth, and thousands of people from all parts of Greece flocked thither. Flamininus accompanied by the ten commissioners entered the assembly, and, at his command, a herald, in the name of the Roman senate, proclaimed the freedom and independence of Greece.
The joy and enthusiasm at this unexpected declaration was beyond all description : the throngs of people that crowded around Flamininus to catch a sight of their liberator or touch his garment were so enormous, that even his life was endangered.
When the festive days were over, Flamininus and the ten commissioners set about settling the affairs of Greece, especially of those districts and towns which had till then been occupied by the Macedonians. Thessaly was divided into four separate states, -- Magnesia, Perrhaebia, Dolopia, and Thessaliotis : the Aetolians received back Ambracia, Phocis, and Locris; they claimed more, but they were referred to the Roman senate, and the senate again referred them to Flamininus, so that they were obliged to acquiesce in his decision. The Achaeans received all the Macedonian possessions in Peloponnesus, and, as a particular favour towards Athens, Flamininus extended her dominions also.
The peace thus established in Greece by the victory over Macedonia did not last long, for the alliance of the Romans with Nabis was as disagreeable to the Romans as it was disgraceful, and in the spring of B. C. 195 Flamnininus was invested with full power by the Roman senate to act towards Nabis as lie might think proper.
He forthwith convoked a meeting of the Greeks at Corinth. All were delighted at the hope of getting rid of this monster of a tyrant, and it was only the Aetolians who again gave vent to their hostile feelings towards the Romans.
But the war against Nabis was decreed, and after receiving reinforcements from the Achaeans, Philip, Eumenes of Pergamus, and the Rhodians, Flamininus marched to Argos, the Lacedaemonian garrison of which was commanded by Pythagoras, the brother-in-law of Nabis.
As the people of Argos, being kept down by the strong garrison, did not rise in a body against their oppressors, Flamininus resolved to leave Argos and march into Laconia. Nabis, although his army was inferior to that of his opponents, made preparations for a most vigorous defence. Two battles were fought under the walls of Sparta, in which Nabis was beaten; but Flamininus abstained from besieging the tyrant in his own capital; he ravaged the country and endeavoured to cut off the supplies.
With the assistance of his brother Lucius he took the populous and strongly fortified town of Gythium.
The unexpected fall of this place convinced Nabis that he could not hold out much longer, and he sued for peace. Flamininus, who feared lest a successor should be sent into his province, was not disinclined to come to some arrangement with Nabis. His allies, on the other hand, urged the necessity of exterminating his tyranny completely; but the Romans looked at the state of things in a different light, and probably thought Nabis an useful check upon the Achaeans; Flamininus, therefore, without openly opposing his allies, brought them round to his views by various considerations.
But the terms on which peace was offered to Nabis were rejected, and Flamininus now advanced against Sparta and tried to take the place by assault; and, as he was on the point of making a second attempt, in which Sparta would probably have fallen into his hands, Nabis again began to negotiate for peace, and was glad to obtain it on the terms he had before rejected. The Argives, who had heard of the probable reduction of Sparta, had expelled their Spartan garrison. Flamininus now went to Argos, attended the celebration of the Nemean games, and proclaimed the freedom of Argos, which was made over to the Achaeans.
In the winter following Flamininus exerted himself, as he had done hitherto, in restoring the internal peace and welfare of Greece, for there can be no doubt that he loved the Greeks, and it was his noble ambition to be their benefactor, and wherever his actions appear at variance with this object, he was under the influence of the policy of his country.
The wisdom of several of his arrangements is attested by their long duration.
In order to refute the malignant insinuations of the Aetolians, Flamininus prevailed upon the Roman senate to withdraw the Roman garrisons from Acrocorinthus, Chalcis, Demetrias, and the other Greek towns, before his departure from the country. When the affairs of Greece were thus satisfactorily settled, he convoked, in the spring of B. C. 194, an assembly of the Greeks at Corinth, to take leave of his beloved people.
He parted from them like a father from his children, exhorting them to use their freedom wisely, and to remain faithful to Rome.
Before he left lie performed another act of humanity which history ought not to pass over. During the Hannibalian war a number of Romans had been taken prisoners, and, as the republic refused to ransom them, they were sold as slaves, and many of them had been bought by the Greeks. Flatmininus now prevailed on the Roman senate to grant him a sum of money for the purpose of purchasing the liberty of those men. On his return to Rome, he celebrated a magnificent triumph which lasted for three days.
Soon after the Romans had quitted Greece, Antiochus of Syria, and Nabis of Sparta, were instigated by the Aetolians to take up arms against Rome. Nabis did not require much persuasion.
He besieged Gythium, which was occupied by the Achaeans. The Roman senate, which was informed of every thing that was going on in Greece, sent a fleet under C. Atilius, B. C. 192, and an embassy, headed by Flamininus, who had more influence there than any one else, and who was to exercise it, partly to keep up the good understanding with the allies of Rome, and partly to make new friends.
He arrived in Greece before Atilius, and advised the Greeks not to undertake any thing before the arrival of the Roman fleet.
But as the danger which threatened Gythium required quick action, the war against Nabis was decreed.
The tyrant was reduced to the last extremity, and Philopoemen had it in his power to decide his downfall by one more blow, but it was prevented by Flamininus, partly from the same political motives which had before induced him to spare Nabis, and partly because his ambition was wounded by the dislike with which the Greeks had regarded and still regarded the peace which he had concluded with Nabis. Flamininus was invested with full power; and he might have destroyed the evil at once at its root, but he preferred carrying out the scheme of the Roman policy : Philopoemen was checked in his progress, and obliged to conclude a truce with Nabis. Antiochus was now making serious preparations to cross over into Greece; and Flamininus, by various favourable promises, induced Philip of Macedonia to join the Romans in the impending war.
The intrigues of the Aetolians, on the other hand, alienated several important places from the cause of Rome.
The arrival of Antiochus in Greece increased their number. Flamininus attended the congress at Aegium. at which Syrian and Aetolian deputies likewise appeared. The Aetolians, as usual, indulged in bitter invectives against the Romans, and in personal attacks on Flamininus, and they demanded that the Achaeans should remain neutral; but Flamininus, now joined by Philopoemen, opposed this advice, and the Achaeans themselves, who had too much to win or to lose, could not have looked with indifference at what was going on. Most of the allies remained faithful to Rome; and, at the request of Flamininus, troops were immediately sent to Peiraeeus and Chalcis to suppress the Syrian party in those places.
In the mean time, the war with Antiochus ended in Europe, in the battle of Thermopylae, B. C. 191. Flamininus still remained in Greece, in the capacity of ambassador plenipotentiary, and exercising a sort of protectorate over Greece.
After the departure of Antiochus, the consul, Acilius Glabrio, wanted to chastise Chalcis for the homage it had paid to the foreign invader, but Flamininus interfered : he soothed the anger of the consul, and saved the place.
The war against the Aetolians now commenced; aud there again Flamininus used his influence in protecting the weaker party, although it is more than doubtful whether, on that occasion, he acted from a pure feeling of humanity or from ostentation. While the consul was besieging Naupactus, Flamininus came from Peloponnesus into the Roman camp; and as soon as the Aetolians saw him, they implored his protection.
He shed tears of compassion, and induced the consul to raise the siege. Anxious not to share his protectorate in Greece with any one else, he directed the consul's attention to the increasing power of Macedonia. About this time insurrections broke out in several parts of Peloponnesus ; and Flamininus agreed with the strategus of the Achaeans to march against Sparta : lie himself accompanied the Achaeans into Laconia. But Philopoemen succeeded in restoring peace without any severe measures. The Messenians refused to join the Achaean league; and when the strategus advanced with an army against Messene, Flamininus, who was then staying at Chalcis, hastened into Messenia, whither he was invited by the people.
He again acted as mediator ; he made the Messenians join the Achaeans, but left them the means of defying their decrees.
At the same time, he obliged the Achaeans to give up to Rome the island of Zacynthus, which they had purchased, saying, that it was best for the Achaean state to be compact, and limited to Peloponnesus.
This opinion was true enough, but the Romans took care to sow the seeds of discord in Peloponnesus, or at least to keep them alive where they existed.
In B. C. 190 Flamininus returned to Rome, and was appointed censor for the year following with M. Claudius Marcellus. In B. C. 183 he was sent as ambassador to Prusias of Bithynia, who, afraid of what he had done to offend the Romans, offered to deliver up Hannibal, who had taken refuge with him. But Hannibal prevented the treachery by taking poison.
The fact of Flamininus allowing himself to be made an accomplice in this attempt upon Hannibal is a stain on his character, and was severely censured by many of his contemporaries.
He seems to have died either during or shortly before B. C. 174, for in that year his son celebrated funeral games in his honour. (Plutarch, Flaminius ; Liv. 31.4
, &c., xxxiii., 34.22, &c., 35.23, &c., 36.31, &c., 37.58, 38.28, 39.51, 56; Plb. 17.1
, &c., 18.1, &c., 22.15, 23.2, 24.3, &c.; Diod. Excerpt. de Legat.
iii. p. 619; Eutrop. 4.1
, &c.; Flor. 2.7
; Paus. 7.8
; Appian, Aac.
4.2, vi. vii. Syr.
2, 11; Cic. Phil. 5.17
, De Senect. 1, 12, in Verr.
4.58, 1.21, pro Muren. 14, in Pison. 25, de Leg. Agr.
1.2; Schorn, Gesch. Griechenlands,
p. 237, &c.; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece,
vol. viii.; Niebuhr, Lect. on Rom. Hist.
vol. i. p. 232, &c., ed. L. Schmitz; Brandstäter, Die Gesch. des Aetol. Landes,
p. 413, &c.)