Philip's Desperate Measures
In this period a certain dreadful foreshadowing of misfortune fell upon king Philip and the whole of
The conflict of feelings in Philip's mind.
Macedonia, of a kind well worthy of close attention and record. As though Fortune had
resolved to exact from him at once the penalties for all the
impieties and crimes which he had committed in the whole
course of his life, she now visited him with furies, those deities
of retribution, those powers that had listened to the prayers of
the victims of his cruelties, who, haunting him day and night,
so plagued him to the last day of his life, that all the world was
forced to acknowledge the truth of the proverb, that "Justice
has an eye" which mere men should never despise. The first
idea suggested to him by this evil power was that, as he
was about to go to war with Rome, he had better remove from
the most important cities, and those along the sea-coast, the
leading citizens, with their wives and children, and place them
in Emathia, formerly called Paeonia, and fill up the cities with
Thracians and other barbarians, as likely to be more securely
loyal to him in the coming hour of danger.
carrying out of this measure, and the uprooting of these men
and their families, caused such an outburst of grief, and so
violent an outcry, that one might have supposed the whole district to have been taken by the sword. Curses and appeals to
heaven were rained upon the head of the king without any
further attempt at concealment. His next step, prompted by
the wish to leave no element of hostility or disaffection in the
kingdom, was to write to the governors of the several cities
ordering them to search out the sons and daughters of such
Macedonians as had been put to death by him, and place them
in ward; in which he referred especially to
Admetus, Pyrrhicus, and Samus, and those who
had perished with them: but he also included all others whosoever that had been put to death by order of the king, quoting
this verse, we are told:—1
“"Oh fool! to slay the sire and leave the sons."
Most of these men being persons of distinguished families, their
fate made a great noise and excited universal pity. But Fortune
had a third act in this bloody drama in reserve for Philip, in
which the young princes plotted against each other; and their
quarrels being referred to him, he was forced to choose between
becoming the murderer of his sons and living the rest of his
life in dread of being murdered by them in his old age; and
to decide which of the two he had the greater reason to fear.
Tortured day and night by these anxieties, the miseries and
perturbations of his spirit lead to the inevitable reflection that
the wrath of heaven fell upon his old age for the sins of his
previous life: which will be rendered still more evident by
what remains to be told. . . . Just when his soul was stung
to madness by these circumstances, the quarrel between his
sons blazed out: Fortune, as it were of set purpose, bringing
their misfortunes upon the scene all at one time. . . .
The Macedonians make offerings to Xanthus
Fragment referring to
the military sham fight in which Perseus and Demetrius quarrelled, B. C. 182. See Livy, 40, 6.
as a hero, and perform a purification of the
army with horses fully equipped. . . .