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Philip Intrigues Against Rhodes

Philip gave Heracleides a kind of problem to work out, —how to circumvent and destroy the Rhodian fleet. At the same time he sent envoys to Crete to excite and provoke them to go to war with the Rhodians. Heracleides, who was a born traitor, looked upon the commission as the very thing to suit his plans; and after revolving various methods in his mind, presently started and sailed to Rhodes.
Philip employs Heracleides of Tarentum.
He was by origin a Tarentine, of a low family of mechanics, and he had many qualities which fitted him for bold and unscrupulous undertakings. His boyhood had been stained by notorious immorality; he had great acuteness and a retentive memory; in the presence of the vulgar no one could be more bullying and audacious; to those in high position no one more insinuating and servile. He had been originally banished from his native city from a suspicion of being engaged in an intrigue to hand over Tarentum to the Romans: not that he had any political influence, but being an architect, and employed in some repairs of the walls, he got possession of the keys of the gate on the landward side of the town. He thereupon fled for his life to the Romans. From them, being detected in making communications by letters and messages with Tarentum and Hannibal, he again fled for fear of consequences to Philip. With him he obtained so much credit and influence that he eventually was the most powerful element in the overthrow of that great monarchy.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.5
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