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Greece: Antiochus and the Aetolians Meet

THE Aetolians chose thirty of the
Antiochus the Great at a meeting of Aetolians at Lamia, autumn of B. C. 192. Livy, 35, 43-46.
Apocleti1 to confer with King Antiochus. . . .

He accordingly summoned a meeting of the Apocleti and consulted them on the state of affairs. . . .


The Boeotians Answer Antiochus

When Antiochus sent an embassy to the Boeotians, they answered that they would not consider his proposals until the king came in person. . . .


Epirus and Elis Ask Antiochus for Help

As Antiochus was staying at Chalcis, just as the winter
Antiochus passes the winter of B. C. 192-191 at Chalcis. Visit of envoys from Epirus and Elis.
was beginning, two ambassadors came to visit him, Charops from Epirus, and Callistratus from Elis. The prayer of the Epirotes was that "The king would not involve them in the war with Rome, for they dwelt on the side of Greece immediately opposite Italy; but that, if he could, he would secure their safety by defending the frontier of Epirus: in that case he should be admitted into all their towns and harbours: but if he decided not to do so at present, they asked his indulgence if they shrank from a war with Rome." The Eleans, in their turn, begged him "To send a reinforcement to their town; for as the Achaeans had voted war against them, they were in terror of an attack from the troops of the league." The king answered the Epirotes by saying that he would send envoys to confer with them on their mutual interests; but to Elis he despatched a thousand foot soldiers under the command of Euphanes of Crete. . . .


The Decline of Boeotia

The Boeotians had long been in a very depressed state, which offered a strong contrast to the former prosperity and reputation of their country.
from B. C. 371-361.
They had acquired great glory as well as great material prosperity at the time of the battle of Leuctra; but by some means or another from that time forward they steadily diminished both the one and the other under the leadership of Amaeocritus; and subsequently not only diminished them, but underwent a complete change of character, and did all that was possible to wipe out their previous reputation. For having been incited by the Achaeans to go to war with the Aetolians, they adopted the policy of the former and made an alliance with them, and thenceforth maintained a steady war with the Aetolians.
B. C. 245. See Plutarch, Arat. 16.
But on the Aetolians invading Boeotia, they marched out with their full available force, and without waiting for the arrival of the Achaeans, who had mustered their men and were on the point of marching to their assistance, they attacked the Aetolians; and being worsted in the battle were so completely demoralised, that, from the time of that campaign, they never plucked up spirit to claim any position of honour whatever, and never shared in any enterprise or contest undertaken by the common consent of the Greeks. They devoted themselves entirely to eating and drinking, and thus became effeminate in their souls as well as in their bodies.


Continued Decline of Boeotia

Such were, briefly, the steps in the degeneracy of
Demetrius II. B. C. 239-229.
Boeotia. Immediately after the battle just mentioned they abandoned the Achaeans and joined the Aetolians.2 But on the latter presently going to war with Philip's father Demetrius, they once more abandoned the Aetolians; and upon Demetrius entering Boeotia with an army, without attempting resistance they submitted completely to the Macedonians. But as a spark of their ancestral glory still survived, there were found some who disliked the existing settlement and the complete subservience to Macedonia: and they accordingly maintained a violent opposition to the policy of Ascondas and Neon, the ancestors of Brachylles, who were the most prominent in the party which favoured Macedonia.
The rise of the house of Neon.
However, the party of Ascondas eventually prevailed, owing to the following circumstance. Antigonus (Doson), who, after the death of Demetrius, was Philip's guardian, happened to be sailing on some business along the coast of Boeotia; when off Larymna he was surprised by a sudden ebb of the tide, and his ships were left high and dry. Now just at that time a rumour had been spread that Antigonus meant to make a raid upon the country; and therefore Neon, who was Hipparch at the time, was patrolling the country at the head of all the Boeotian cavalry to protect it, and came upon Antigonus in this helpless and embarrassed position: and having it thus in his power to inflict a serious blow upon the Macedonians, much to their surprise he resolved to spare them. His conduct in so doing was approved by the other Boeotians, but was not at all pleasing to the Thebans. Antigonus, however, when the tide flowed again and his ships floated, proceeded to complete the voyage to Asia on which he was bound, with deep gratitude to Neon for having abstained from attacking him in his awkward position.
B. C. 222.
Accordingly, when at a subsequent period he conquered the Spartan Cleomenes and became master of Lacedaemon, he left Brachylles in charge of the town, by way of paying him for the kindness done him by his father Neon. This proved to be the beginning of a great rise in importance of the family of Brachylles. But this was not all that Antigonus did for him: from that time forward either he personally, or king Philip, continually supported him with money and influence; so that before long this family entirely overpowered the political party opposed to them in Thebes, and forced all the citizens, with very few exceptions, to join the party of Macedonia. Such was the origin of the political adherence to Macedonia of the family of Neon, and of its rise to prosperity.


Disorganised State of Boeotia

But Boeotia as a nation had come to such a low pitch, that for nearly twenty-five years the administration of justice had been suspended in private and public suits alike. Their magistrates were engaged in despatching bodies of men to guard the country or in proclaiming national expeditions, and thus continually postponed their attendance at courts of law. Some of the Strategi also dispensed allowances to the needy from the public treasury; whereby the common people learnt to support and invest with office those who would help them to escape the penalties of their crimes and undischarged liabilities, and to be enriched from time to time with some portion of the public property obtained by official favour. No one contributed to this lamentable state of things more than Opheltas, who was always inventing some plan calculated to benefit the masses for the moment, while perfectly certain to ruin them in the future. To these evils was added another unfortunate fashion. It became the practice for those who died childless not to leave their property to the members of their family, as had been the custom of the country formerly, but to assign it for the maintenance of feasts and convivial entertainments to be shared in by the testator's friends in common; and even many who did possess children left the larger part of their property to the members of their own club. The result was that there were many Boeotians who had more feasts to attend in the month than there were days in it. The people of Megara therefore, disliking this habit, and remembering their old connexion with the Achaean league, were inclined once more to renew their political alliance with it.
Antigonus Gonatas, ob. B. C. 239.
For the Megarians had been members of the Achaean league since the time of Antigonus Gonatas; but upon Cleomenes blockading the Isthmus, finding themselves cut off from the Achaeans they joined the Boeotians, with the consent of the former.
Cleomenic war B. C. 227-221.
But a little before the time of which we are now speaking, becoming dissatisfied with the Boeotian constitution, they again joined the Achaeans. The Boeotians, incensed at what they considered acts of contempt, sallied out in full force to attack Megara; and on the Megarians declining to listen to them, they determined in their anger to besiege and assault their city. But being attacked by a panic, on a report spreading that Philopoemen was at hand at the head of a force of Achaeans, they left their scaling ladders against the walls and fled back precipitately to their own country.


Fortune and Degeneracy of the Boeotians

Such being the state of Boeotian politics, it was only by extraordinary good fortune that they evaded destruction in the dangerous periods of the wars of Philip and Antiochus. But in the succeeding period they did not escape in the same way. Fortune, on the contrary, seemed determined to make them pay for their former good luck by a specially severe retribution, as I shall relate hereafter. . . .

Many of the Boeotians defended their alienation from

Antiochus received in Thebes, B. C. 192.
the Romans by alleging the assassination of Brachylles,3 and the expedition made by Flamininus upon Coronea owing to the murders of Romans on the roads.4 But the real reason was their moral degeneracy, brought about by the causes I have mentioned. For as soon as the king approached, the Boeotian magistrates went out to meet him, and after holding a friendly conversation with him conducted him into Thebes. . . .


Submission of the Aetolian Officers

Antiochus the Great came to Chalcis in Euboea, and there
Antiochus wintering in Chalcis, B. C. 192-191.
completed his marriage, when he was fifty years old, and had already undertaken his two most important labours, the liberation of Greece—as he called it—and the war with Rome. However, having fallen in love with a young lady of Chalcis, he was bent on marrying her, though the war was still going on; for he was much addicted to wine and delighted in excesses. The lady was a daughter of Cleoptolemus, a man of rank, and was possessed of extraordinary beauty. He remained in Chalcis all the winter occupied in marriage festivities, utterly regardless of the pressing business of the time. He gave the girl the name of Euboea, and after his defeat5 fled with his bride to Ephesus. . . .


The Aetolians Seek a Truce

When the Romans took Heracleia, Phaeneas the
Heracleia Trachinia taken by Acilius after the battle of Thermopylae. B. C. 191.
Aetolian Strategus, in view of the danger threatening Aetolia, and seeing what would happen to the other towns, determined to send an embassy to Manius Acilius to demand a truce and treaty of peace. With this purpose he despatched Archidamus, Pantaleon and Chalesus, who on meeting the Roman consul were intending to enter upon a long argument, but were interrupted in the middle of their speech and prevented from finishing it.
Embassy of the Aetolians.
For Acilius remarked that "For the present he had no leisure to attend to them, being much engaged with the distribution of the spoils of Heracleia: he would, however, grant a ten days' truce and send Lucius Valerius Flaccus with them, with instructions as to what he was to say." The truce being thus made, and Valerius having come to Hypata, a lengthened discussion took place on the state of affairs. The Aetolians sought to establish their case by referring to their previous services to Rome. But Valerius cut this line of argument short by saying that "Such justification did not apply to the present circumstances; for as these old friendly relations had been broken off by them, and the existing hostility was owing entirely to the Aetolians themselves, the services of the past could be of no assistance to them in the present. They must therefore abandon all idea of justification, and adopt a tone of supplication, and beseech the consul's pardon for their transgressions." After a long discussion on various details, the Aetolians eventually decided to leave the whole matter to Acilius, and commit themselves without reserve to the good faith of the Romans. They had no comprehension of what this really involved; but they were misled by the word "faith" into supposing that the Romans would thereby be more inclined to grant them terms. But with the Romans for a man "to commit himself to their good faith" is held to be equivalent to "surrendering unconditionally."


The Aetolians Do Not Confirm the Terms

Having come to this resolution, Phaeneas despatched
Aetolian embassy to Acilius.
legates with Valerius to announce the decision of the Aetolians to Acilius. On being admitted to the presence of the Consul, these legates, after once more entering upon a plea of self-justification, ended by announcing that the Aetolians had decided to commit themselves to the good faith of the Romans.
Roman terms.
Hereupon Acilius interrupted them by saying, "Is this really the case, men of Aetolia?" And upon their answering in the affirmative, he said: "Well then, the first condition is that none of you, individually or collectively, must cross to Asia; the second is that you must surrender Menestratus the Epirote" (who happened at that time to be at Naupactus, where he had come to the assistance of the Aetolians), "and also King Amynander, with such of the Athamanians as accompanied him in his desertion to your side." Here Phaeneas interrupted him by saying: "But it is neither just nor consonant with Greek customs, O Consul, to do what you order." To which Acilius replied,—not so much because he was angry, as because he wished to show him the dangerous position in which he stood, and to thoroughly frighten him,— "Do you still presume to talk to me about Greek customs, and about honour and duty, after having committed yourselves to my good faith? Why, I might if I chose put you all in chains and commit you to prison!" With these words he ordered his men to bring a chain and an iron collar and put it on the neck of each of them. Thereupon Phaeneas and his companions stood in speechless amazement, as though bereft of all power of thought or motion, at this unexpected turn of affairs. But Valerius and some others who were present besought Acilius not to inflict any severity upon the Aetolians then before him, as they were in the position of ambassadors. And on his yielding to these representations, Phaeneas broke silence by saying that "He and the Apocleti were ready to obey the injunctions, but they must consult the general assembly if they were to be confirmed." Upon Acilius agreeing to this, he demanded a truce of ten days to be granted. This also having been conceded, they departed with these terms, and on arrival at Hypata told the Apocleti what had been done and the speeches that had been made. This report was the first thing which made their error, and the compulsion under which they were placed, clear to the Aetolians. It was therefore decided to write round to the various cities and call the Aetolians together, to consult on the injunctions imposed upon them.
The Aetolians fail to ratify the peace.
When the news of the reception Phaeneas had met with was noised abroad, the Aetolian people were so infuriated that no one would even attend the meeting to discuss the matter at all. It was thus impossible to hold the discussion. They were further encouraged by the arrival of Nicander, who just at that time sailed into Phalara, on the Malian gulf, from Asia, bringing news of the warm reception given him by Antiochus, and the promises for the future which the king had made; they therefore became quite indifferent as to the noncompletion of the peace. Thus when the days of the truce had elapsed the Aetolians found themselves still at war with Rome.


The Fate of Nicander

But I ought not to omit to describe the subsequent career and fate of Nicander. He arrived back at Phalara on the twelfth day after leaving Ephesus, and found the Romans still engaged in Heracleia, and the Macedonians having already evacuated Lamia, but encamped at no great distance from the town: he thereupon conveyed his money unexpectedly into Lamia, and attempted himself to make his way between the two camps into Hypata. But, falling into the hands of the Macedonian pickets, he was taken to Philip, while his evening party was still at the midst of their entertainment, greatly alarmed lest he should meet with rough treatment from having incurred Philip's resentment, or should be handed over to the Romans. But when the matter was reported to the king, he at once gave orders that the proper officers should offer Nicander refreshments, and show him every politeness and attention. After a time he got up from table and went personally to visit him; and after enlarging at great length on "the folly of the Aetolians, for having first brought the Romans into Greece, and afterwards Antiochus," he still, even at this hour, urged that "they should forget their past, adhere to their loyalty to himself, and not show a disposition to take advantage of each other's difficulties." He bade Nicander convey this message to the leaders of the Aetolians, and exhorting him personally to remember the favours which he had received at his hands, he despatched him with a sufficient escort, which he ordered to see him safe into Hypata. This result was far beyond Nicander's hopes or expectations. He was restored in due course to his friends, and from the moment of this adventure remained devoted to the royal family of Macedonia. Thus, in the subsequent period of the war with Perseus, the obligations which this favour had imposed upon him caused him to offer such an unwilling and lukewarm opposition to the designs of Perseus, that he exposed himself to suspicion and denunciation, and at last was summoned to Rome and died there. . . .


Philopoemen's Disinterestedness

The Spartans could not find one of their own citizens
The Spartans wish to offer Philopoemen the palace of Nabis, as a reward, and as an inducement to defend their liberty. Plutarch, Philop. 15.
willing to address Philopoemen on this subject. To men who for the most part undertake work for what they can get by it there are plenty of people to offer such rewards, and to regard them as the means of founding and consolidating friendship: but in the case of Philipoemen no one could be found willing to convey this offer to him at all. Finally, being completely at a loss, they elected Timolaus to do it, as being his ancestral guest-friend and very intimate with him. Timolaus twice journeyed to Megalopolis for this express purpose, without daring to say a word to Philopoemen about it. But having goaded himself to making a third attempt, he at length plucked up courage to mention the proposed gifts. Much to his surprise Philopoemen received the suggestion with courtesy; and Timolaus was overjoyed by the belief that he had attained his object. Philopoemen, however, remarked that he would come to Sparta himself in the course of the next few days; for he wished to offer all the magistrates his thanks for this favour. He accordingly came, and, being invited to attend the Senate, he said: "He had long been aware of the kindness with which the Lacedaemonians regarded him; but was more convinced than ever by the compliments and extraordinary mark of honour they now offered him. But while gratefully accepting their intention, he disliked the particular manner of its exhibition. They should not bestow such honour and rewards on their friends, the poison of which would indelibly infect the receiver, but rather upon their enemies; that the former might retain their freedom of speech and the confidence of the Achaeans when proposing to offer assistance to Sparta; while the latter, by swallowing the bait, might be compelled either to support their cause, or at any rate to keep silence and do them no harm. . . ."

The remaining events of the war against Antiochus in this year are related by Livy, 36, 41-45. Acilius was engaged for two months in the siege of Naupactus: while the Roman fleet under Gaius Livius defeated that of Antiochus, under his admiral Polyxenidas, off Phocaea.

To see an operation with one's own eyes is not like merely hearing a description of it. It is, indeed, quite another thing; and the confidence which such vivid experience gives is always greatly advantageous. . . .

1 The Apocleti, of the numbers of whom we have no information, acted as a consultative senate to prepare measures for the Aetolian Assembly. See Freeman, History of Federal Government, p. 335. Livy, 35, 34.

2 προσένειμαν Αἰτώλοις τὸ ἔθνος, cp. 2, 43. Some have thought that a regular political union with the Aetolian League is meant. But the spirit of the narrative seems to point rather to an alliance.

3 Brachylles, when a Boeotarch in B. C. 196, was assassinated by a band of six men, of whom three were Italians and three Aetolians, on his way home from a banquet. Livy, 33, 28.

4 Livy, 33, 29.

5 At Thermopylae, in which battle Livy (36, 19) states on the authority of Polybius that only 500 men out of 10,000 brought by Antiochus into Greece escaped, B. C. 191.

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