Origin of the Last Macedonian War
At this time were sowed the seeds of fatal evils to the
B. C. 186. The origin of the last Macedonian war.
royal house of Macedonia. I am aware that
some historians of the war between Rome and
Perseus, when they wish to set forth the causes
of the quarrel for our information, assign as the primary one
the expulsion of Abrupolis from his principality,
on the ground of having made a raid upon the
mines at Pangaeum after the death of Philip,
which Perseus repulsed, finally expelling him
entirely out of his own dominions.
Abrupolis, a Thracian prince
and friend of the Romans. See Livy, 42, 13, 40. Death of Philip V. B. C. 179.
mention the invasion of Dolopia, and the visit
of Perseus to Delphi, the plot against Eumenes at Delphi, and
the murder of the ambassadors in Boeotia; and
from these they say sprang the war between
Perseus and the Romans.
But my contention is that it is of
most decisive advantage, both to historians and their readers,
to know the causes from which the several events are born and
spring. Most historians confound these, because they do not
keep a firm hold upon the distinction between a pretext and
a cause, or again between a pretext and a beginning of a war.
And since events at the present time recall this distinction
I feel compelled to renew my discussion of this subject.
instance, of the events just referred to, the first
three are pretexts; the last two—the plot against
Eumenes, the murder of the ambassadors, and other similar
things that happened during the same period—are clear beginnings
of the war between Rome and Perseus, and of the final
overthrow of the Macedonian kingdom; but not one of them
is a cause
of these things. I will illustrate by examples. Just
as we say that Philip son of Amyntas contemplated and
determined upon accomplishing the war with Persia, while
Alexander put into execution what he had projected, so in the
present instance we say that Philip son of Demetrius first projected
the last war against Rome, and had all his preparations
ready for the execution of his design, but that after his death
Perseus became the agent in carrying out the undertaking
itself. If this be true, the following also is clear: it is impossible that the causes
of the war should have been subsequent to the death of him who resolved upon and projected it;
which would be the case if we accepted the account of these
historians; for the events alleged by them as its causes were
subsequent to the death of Philip. . . .