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Greece At This Time

At the same period the Achaean league and King
Social war, B. C. 220-217.
Philip, with their allies, were entering upon the war with the Aetolian league, which is called the Social war. Now this was the point at which I proposed to begin my general history; and as I have brought the account of the affairs of Sicily and Libya, and those which immediately followed, in a continuous narrative, up to the date of the beginning of the Social and Second Punic, generally called the Hannibalic, wars, it will be proper to leave this branch of my subject for a while, and to take up the history of events in Greece, that I may start upon my full and detailed narrative, after bringing the prefatory sketch of the history of the several countries to the same point of time. For since I have not undertaken, as previous writers have done, to write the history of particular peoples, such as the Greeks or Persians, but the history of all known parts of the world at once, because there was something in the state of our own times which made such a plan peculiarly feasible,—of which I shall speak more at length hereafter,—it will be proper, before entering on my main subject, to touch briefly on the state of the most important of the recognised nations of the world.

Of Asia and Egypt I need not speak before the time at which my history commences. The previous history of these countries has been written by a number of historians already, and is known to all the world; nor in our days has any change specially remarkable or unprecedented occurred to them demanding a reference to their past.

The progress of the Achaean league.
But in regard to the Achaean league, and the royal family of Macedonia, it will be in harmony with my design to go somewhat farther back: for the latter has become entirely extinct; while the Achaeans, as I have stated before, have in our time made extraordinary progress in material prosperity and internal unity. For though many statesmen had tried in past times to induce the Peloponnesians to join in a league for the common interests of all, and had always failed, because every one was working to secure his own power rather than the freedom of the whole; yet in our day this policy has made such progress, and been carried out with such completeness, that not only is there in the Peloponnese a community of interests such as exists between allies or friends, but an absolute identity. of laws, weights, measures, and currency.1 All the States have the same magistrates, senate, and judges. Nor is there any difference between the entire Peloponnese and a single city, except in the fact that its inhabitants are not included within the same wall; in other respects, both as a whole and in their individual cities, there is a nearly absolute assimilation of institutions.

1 That is, each city struck its own coin, but on a common standard of weight and value. See P. Gardner's Introduction to Catalogue of Greek Coins (Peloponnesus) in the British Museum, p. xxiv.

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