XII. Now, that Aemilius Paulus, after setting out upon his campaign, had a fortunate voyage and an easy passage and came speedily and safely to the Roman camp, I attribute to the favour of Heaven; but when I see that the war under his command was brought to an end partly by his fierce courage, partly by his excellent plans, partly by the eager assistance of his friends, and partly by his resolute adoption of fitting conclusions in times of danger, I cannot assign his remarkable and brilliant success to his celebrated good fortune, as I can in the case of other generals.
Unless, indeed, it be said that the avaricious conduct of Perseus was good fortune for Aemilius, since it utterly subverted the great and brilliant prospects of the Macedonians for the war (wherein their hopes ran high), because Perseus played the coward with his money. For there came to him from the Bisternae, at his request, ten thousand horsemen with ten thousand men to run at their sides, all professional soldiers, men who knew not how to plough or to sail the seas, who did not follow the life of herdsmen, but who were ever practising one business and one art, that of fighting and conquering their antagonists.
And when these had encamped in Maedica and mingled with the soldiers of the king,—men of lofty stature, admirable in their discipline, great boasters, and loud in their threats against their enemies,—they inspired the Macedonians with courage and a belief that the Romans could not withstand them, but would be utterly terrified by their looks and movements, which were strange and repulsive.
But after Perseus had disposed the feelings of his men in this way and filled them with so great hopes, upon being asked to pay each captain of the mercenaries a thousand pieces, he was bewildered and crazed at the amount of gold required, and out of parsimony renounced and abandoned the alliance, as if he were a steward, rather than a foe, of the Romans, and was to give an exact account of his expenditures for the war to those against whom he waged it; and yet he had his foes to give him lessons, for, apart from their other preparations, they had a hundred thousand men assembled and ready for their needs.
But he, though contending against so large a force, and in a war where such large reserves were maintained, measured out his gold and sealed it up in bags, as afraid to touch it as if it had belonged to others. And this he did although he was no Lydian or Phoenician born, but laid claim to a share in the virtues of Alexander and Philip, whose descendant he was,—men who mastered the world through their belief that empire was to be bought with money, not money with empire.
At all events, it was a common saying that the cities of Greece were taken, not by Philip, but by Philip's money. And Alexander, when he was starting on his expedition to India, and saw that his Macedonians were dragging along after them their Persian wealth, which was already burdensome and heavy, set fire to the royal baggage-waggons first, and then persuaded his followers to do the same with theirs, and to set out for the war in light marching order, like men released from bondage.
But Perseus would not consent to pour out his gold upon himself, his children, and his kingdom, and thus purchase salvation with a small part of his treasures, but chose to be carried with many treasures as the wealthy captive, and to show the Romans how much he had saved and watched for them.