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Philopoemen's Policy

Philopoemen, however, said that "People should not
Philopoemen's answer in defence of his policy.
suppose him so stupid as not to be able to estimate the difference between the Achaean and Roman states, or the superiority of the power of the latter. But as it is the inevitable tendency of the stronger to oppress the weaker, can it be expedient to assist the designs of the superior power, and to put no obstacle in their way, so as to experience as soon as possible the utmost of their tyranny? Is it not, on the contrary, better to resist and struggle to the utmost of our power? . . . And if they persist in forcing their injunctions upon us,1 . . . and if, by reminding them of the facts we do something to soften their resolution, we shall at any rate mitigate the harshness of their rule to a certain extent; especially as up to this time the Romans, as you yourself say, Aristaenus, have always made a great point of fidelity to oaths, treaties, and promises to allies. But if we at once condemn the justice of our own cause, and, like captives of the spear, offer an unquestioning submission to every order, what will be the difference between the Achaeans and the Sicilians or Capuans, who have been notoriously slaves this long time past? Therefore it must either be admitted that the justice of a cause has no weight with the Romans, or, if we do not venture to say that, we must stand by our rights, and not abandon our own cause, especially as our position in regard to Rome is exceedingly strong and honourable. That the time will come when the Greeks will be forced to give unlimited obedience, I know full well. But would one wish to see this time as soon or as late as possible? Surely as late as possible! In this, then, my policy differs from that of Aristaenus. He wishes to see the inevitable arrive as quickly as possible, and even to help it to come: I wish to the best of my power to resist and ward it off."

From these speeches it was made clear that while the policy of the one was honourable, of the other undignified, both were founded on considerations of safety. Wherefore while both Romans and Greeks were at that time threatened with serious dangers from Philip and Antiochus, yet both these statesmen maintained the rights of the Achaeans in regard to the Romans undiminished; though a report found its way about that Aristaenus was better affected to the Romans than Philopoemen. . . .

1 Something is lost from the text.

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