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Callicrates Turns Traitor

For he said that "The Romans were themselves responsible for the Greeks neglecting their letters
Callicrates, instead of obeying his instructions, denounces his opponents, and persuades the Senate that their interference is necessary.
and orders instead of obeying them. For in all the democratic states of the day there were two parties,—one recommending obedience to the Roman rescripts, and holding neither law nor tablet nor anything else to be superior to the will of Rome; the other always quoting oaths and tablets, and exhorting the people to be careful about breaking them. Now the latter policy was by far the most popular in Achaia, and the most influential with the multitude; consequently the Romanisers were discredited and denounced among the populace—their opponents glorified. If then the Senate would give some sign of their interest in the matter, the leaders, in the first place, would quickly change to the Romanising party, and, in the next place, would be followed by the populace from fear. But if this were neglected by the Senate, the tendency towards the latter of the two parties would be universal, as the more creditable and honourable in the eyes of the populace. Thus it came about that at that very time certain statesmen, without any other claims whatever, had obtained the highest offices in their own cities, merely from coming forward to speak against the rescripts of the Senate, with the view of maintaining the validity of the laws and decrees made in the country. If then the Senate was indifferent about having their rescripts obeyed by the Greeks, by all means let it go on as it is now doing. But if the Senate wished that its orders should be carried out, and its rescripts be despised by no one, it must give serious attention to that subject. If it did not do so, he knew only too well that the exact opposite of the Senate's wishes would come about, as in fact had already been the case. For but lately, in the Messenian disturbance, though Quintus Marcius had taken many precautions to prevent the Achaeans adopting any measures with regard to the Messenians without the consent of the Romans, they had disobeyed that order; had voted the war on their own authority; had not only wasted the whole county in defiance of justice, but had in some cases driven its noblest citizens into exile, and in others put them to death with every extremity of torture, though they had surrendered, and were guilty of no crime but that of appealing to Rome on the points in dispute. Again, too, though the Senate had repeatedly written to order the restoration of the Lacedaemonian exiles, the Achaeans were so far from obeying, that they had actually set up an engraved tablet, and made a sworn agreement with the men actually in possession of the city that these exiles should never return. With these instances before their eyes, the Romans should take measures of precaution for the future."

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.26
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