Unwise Parsimony of Perseus
The ambassador sent to Genthius returned without
Genthius being unpersuaded by the second mission, Perseus sends a third, but still without offering money.
having accomplished anything more than the
previous envoys, and without any fresh answer;
for Genthius remained of the same mind,—
willing to join with Perseus in his war, but professing to be in want of money. Perseus disregarded the hint, and sent another mission
under Hippias to conclude the treaty, without taking any notice
of the main point, while professing a wish to do whatever
Genthius wished. It is not easy to decide whether to ascribe
such conduct to mere folly, or to a spiritual delusion. For my
part, I am inclined to regard it as a sheer spiritual delusion when
men aim at bold enterprises, and risk their life, and yet neglect the most important point in their plans, though they see it
all the time and have the power to execute it.
The dislike of Perseus to give money turned out happily for Greece.
For I do not think it will be denied by any
man of reflection that, had Perseus at that time
been willing to make grants of money either to
states as such, or individually to kings and
statesmen, I do not say on a great scale, but even to a moderate extent, they would all—Greeks and kings alike—have
yielded to the temptation. As it was, he happily did not take
that course, which would have given him, if successful, an
overweening supremacy; or, if unsuccessful, would have involved many others in his disaster. But he took the opposite
course: which resulted in confining the numbers of the Greeks
who adopted the unwise policy at this crisis to very narrow
limits. . . .
[Perseus now returned from Stubera to Hyscana, and after a vain
attempt upon Stratus in Aetolia, retired into Macedonia for the rest of the
winter. In the early spring of B. C. 169 Q. Marcius Philippus began his
advance upon Macedonia from his permanent camp in Perrhaebia. Perseus stationed Asclepiodotus
and Hippias to defend two passes of the Cambunian mountains, while he himself held Dium, which commanded the
coast road from Thessaly into Macedonia. Marcius however, after only a
rather severe skirmish with the light-armed troops of Hippias, effected the
passage of the mountains and descended upon Dium. The king was taken
by surprise: he had not secured the pass of Tempe, which would have cut
off the Romans from retreat; and he now hastily retired to Pydna. Q.
Marcius occupied Dium, but after a short stay there retired upon Phila, to
get provisions and secure the coast road. Whereupon Perseus reoccupied
Dium, and contemplated staying there to the end of the summer. Q.
Marcius took Heracleum, which was between Phila and Dium, and made
preparations for a second advance on Dium. But the winter (B. C. 169-168) was now approaching, and he contented himself with seeing that the
roads through Thessaly were put in a proper state for the conveyance of
provisions. Livy, 43, 19-23
; 44, 1-9