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Rome and the Achaean League

After delivering a speech in these words, or to this effect, Callicrates left the Senate-house. He was followed by the envoys of the exiles, who retired after delivering a short address, stating their case, and containing some of the ordinary appeals to pity.
The Romans adopt the policy of raising a party in Greece against the Achaean league.
The Senate was persuaded that much of what Callicrates had said touched the interests of Rome, and that it was incumbent upon it to exalt those who supported its own decrees, and to humble those who resisted them. It was with this conviction, therefore, and at this time that it first adopted the policy of depressing those who in their several states took the patriotic and honourable side, and promoting those who were for appealing to its authority on every occasion, right or wrong. The result of which was that gradually, as time went on, the Senate had abundance of flatterers, but a great scarcity of genuine friends. However, on this occasion the Senate did not write about the restoration of the exiles to the Achaeans only, but also to the Aetolians, Epirotes, Athenians, Boeotians, and Acarnanians, calling them all as it were to witness, in order to break down the power of the Achaeans. Moreover, they added to their answer, without saying a word to his colleagues, a remark confined entirely to Callicrates himself, that "everybody in the various states should be as Callicrates." This man accordingly arrived in Greece with his answer, in a great state of exultation, little thinking that he had become the initiator of great miseries to all the Greeks, but especially to the Achaeans. This nation had still at that time the privilege of dealing on something like equal terms with Rome, because it had kept faith with her from the time that it had elected to maintain the Roman cause, in the hour of her greatest danger—I mean during the wars with Philip and Antiochus. . . . The league, too, had made progress in material strength and in every direction from the period from which my history commences; but the audacious proceeding of Callicrates proved the beginning of a change for the worse. . . .

The Romans having the feelings of men, with a noble spirit and generous principles, commiserate all who have met with misfortunes, and show favour to all who fly to them for protection; but directly any one claims anything as of right, on the ground of having been faithful to their alliance, they at once draw in and correct their error to the best of their ability. Thus then Callicrates, who had been sent to Rome to plead for the rights of the Achaeans, acted in exactly the opposite spirit; and dragging in the subject of the Messenian war, on which the Romans themselves had made no complaint, returned to Achaia to overawe the people with the threat of the hostility of Rome. Having therefore by his official report frightened and dismayed the spirits of the populace, who were of course ignorant of what he had really said in the Senate, he was first of all elected Strategus, and, to make matters worse, proved to be open to bribery; and then, having got the office, carried out the restoration of the Lacedaemonian and Messenian exiles.

B. C. 180-179.
1 . . .

1 See Hicks's Greek Inscriptions, p. 330.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 39.50
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