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Deinocrates of Messene

When Deinocrates of Messene arrived on a mission at
Deinocrates of Messene.
Rome, he was delighted to find that Titus Flamininus had been appointed by the Senate to go as ambassador to Prusias and Seleucus. For having been very intimate with Titus during the Lacedaemonian war, he thought that this friendship, combined with his disagreements with Philopoemen, would induce him on his arrival in Greece to settle the affairs of Messene in accordance with his own views. He therefore gave up everything else to attach himself exclusively to Titus, on whom he rested all his hopes. . . .

This same Deinocrates was a courtier and a soldier by nature as well as habit, but he assumed the air of consummate statesmanship. His parts, however, were showy rather than solid. In war his fertility of resource and boldness were beyond the common run; and he shone in feats of personal bravery. Nor were these his only accomplishments: he was attractive and ready in conversation, versatile and courteous in society. But at the same time he was devoted to licentious intrigue, and in public affairs and questions of policy was quite incapable of sustained attention or far-sighted views, of fortifying himself with well-considered arguments, or putting them before the public. On this occasion, for instance, though he had really given the initiative to grave misfortunes, he did not think that he was doing anything of importance; but followed his usual manner of life, quite regardless of the future, indulging day after day in amours, wine, and song. Flamininus, however, did once force him to catch a glimpse of the seriousness of his position. For seeing him on a certain occasion in a party of revellers dancing in long robes, he said nothing at the time; but next morning, being visited by him with some request in behalf of his country, he said: "I will do my best, Deinocrates; but it does astonish me that you can drink and dance after having given the start to such serious troubles for Greece." He appears, indeed, at that to have a little recovered his soberer senses, and to have understood what an improper display he had been making of his tastes and habits. However, he arrived at this period in Greece in company with Flamininus, fully persuaded that the affairs of Messene would be settled at a blow in accordance with his views. But Philopoemen and his party were fully aware that Flamininus had no commission from the Senate in regard to affairs in Greece; they therefore awaited his arrival without taking any step of any sort. Having landed at Naupactus, Flamininus addressed a despatch to the Strategus and Demiurgi1 bidding them summon the Achaeans to an assembly; to which they wrote back that "they would do so, if he would write them word what the subjects were on which he wished to confer with the Achaeans; for the laws enjoined that limitation on the magistrates." As Flamininus did not venture to write this, the hopes of Deinocrates and the so-called "old exiles," but who had at that time been recently banished from Sparta, came to nothing, as in fact did the visit of Flamininus and the plans which he had formed. . . .

1 The ten federal magistrates of the league, who formed a council to act with the general. Their number probably arose from the number of the Achaean cantons or towns, after two of the twelve—Helice and Olenus—were destroyed. Polybius nowhere else gives them this title in any part of the history we possess, but its use by Livy, 32, 22, seems to point to his having used it—in other places. It also occurs in a letter of Philip II. (perhaps genuine) quoted in Demosth. de Cor. 157. Polybius calls them also οἱ ἄρχοντες, ἀρχαί, προεστῶτες συνάρχοντες, συναρχίαι. See Freeman's Federal Gov. p. 282.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CLEITOR
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 157
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 22
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