Philip Retorts On His Accusers
When Flamininus expressed some wonder at what he
Philip explains the peculiar law of the Aetolians.
meant by this, the king tried to explain it to him
by saying that "The Aetolian custom was this.
They not only plundered those with whom
they were at war, and harried their country; but, if certain
other nations were at war with each other, even though both
were friends and allies of the Aetolians, none the less the
Aetolians might, without a formal decree of the people, take
part with both combatants and plunder the territory of both.
The result was that in the eyes of the Aetolians there were no
defined limits of friendship or enmity, but they were ready to
be the enemies and assailers of all who had a dispute on anything.
"How then," he added, "have they any right to blame
me if, while on terms of friendship with the Aetolians, I did
anything against the Ciani in support of my own allies? But
the most outrageous part of their conduct is that they try to
rival Rome, and bid me entirely evacuate Greece! The
demand in itself is sufficiently haughty and dictatorial: still, in
the mouths of Romans, it is tolerable, but in that of Aetolians
quite intolerable. What is this Greece, pray, from which ye
bid me depart? How do you define it? Why, most of the
Aetolians themselves are not Greeks; for neither the Agrai,
nor the Apodoti, nor the Amphilochi are counted as Greek.
Do you then give up those tribes to me?"