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Affairs in Greece: Philip V. Called In Against the Aetolians

The Aetolians had recently become greatly encouraged
King Philip undertakes to aid the Achaean league, and other Greek states, against a threat-ened attack of the Aetolians in alliance with Rome, B. C. 208. Cp. Livy, 27, 30. See above Bk. 9, ch. 28-42.
by the arrival of the Romans and King Attalus: and accordingly began menacing every one, and threatening all with an attack by land, while Attalus and Publius Sulpicius did the same by sea. Wherefore Achaean legates arrived at the court of King Philip entreating his help: for it was not the Aetolians alone of whom they were standing in dread, but Machanidas also, as he was encamped with his army on the frontier of Argos. The Boeotians also, in fear of the enemy's fleet, were demanding a leader and help from the king. Most urgent of all, however, were the Euboeans in their entreaties to him to take some precaution against the enemy. A similar appeal was being made by the Acarnanians; and there was an embassy even from the Epirotes. News had arrived that both Scerdilaidas and Pleuratus were leading out their armies: and, over and above this, that the Thracian tribes on the frontier of Macedonia, especially the Maedi, were planning to invade Macedonia, if the king were induced to stir from his realm however short a distance. Moreover the Aetolians were already securing the pass of Thermopylae with trenches and stockades and a formidable garrison, satisfied that they would thus out Philip, and entirely prevent him from coming to the assistance of his allies south of the pass. It appears to me that a crisis of this sort is well worth the observation and attention of my readers; for it affords a trial and test of the vigour of the leader affected. As in the hunting-field the wild animals never show their full courage and strength until surrounded and brought to bay,—so it is with leaders. And no more conspicuous instance could be found than this of Philip. He dismissed the various embassies, promising each that he would do his best: and then devoted his attention to the war which surrounded him on all sides, watching to see in what direction, and against which enemy, he had best direct his first attack.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.32
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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 30
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