Fall of Corinth
Aulus Postumius deserves some special notice from us
Character of Aulus Postumius Albinus.
here. He was a member of a family and gens
of the first rank, but in himself was garrulous and wordy, and exceedingly ostentatious.
From his boyhood he had a great leaning to Greek studies
and literature: but he was so immoderate and affected in
this pursuit, that owing to him the Greek style became
offensive to the elder and most respectable men at Rome.
Finally he attempted to write a poem and a formal history
in Greek, in the preface to which he desired his readers
to excuse him if, being a Roman, he could not completely
command the Greek idiom or method in the handling
of the subject. To whom M. Porcius Cato made a very
pertinent answer. "I wonder," said he, "on what grounds
you make such a demand. If the Amphictyonic council had
charged you to write the history, you might perhaps have been
forced to allege this excuse and ask for this consideration.
But to write it of your own accord, when there was no compulsion to do so, and then to demand consideration, if you
should happen to write had Greek, is quite unreasonable. It
is something like a man entering for the boxing match or
pancratium in the public games, and, when he comes into the
stadium, and it is his turn to fight, begging the spectators to
pardon him 'if he is unable to stand the fatigue or the blows.'
Such a man of course would be laughed at and condemned at
And this is what such historiographers should experience, to prevent them spoiling a good thing by their rash presumption. Similarly, in the rest of his life, he had imitated all the
worst points in Greek fashions; for he was fond of pleasure and
averse from toil. And this may be illustrated from his conduct
in the present campaign: for being among the first to enter
Greece at the time that the battle in Phocis took place, he retired
to Thebes on the pretence of illness, in order to avoid taking
part in the engagement; but, when the battle was ended, he
was the first to write to the Senate announcing the victory,
entering into every detail as though he had himself been
present at the conflict. . . .
On the arrival of the Consul Mummius, Metellus was sent
back into Macedonia. Mummius was accompanied by L. Aurelius Orestes, who had been
nearly murdered in the riot at Corinth (38, 7),
and, pitching his camp in the Isthmus, was joined
by allies who raised his army to three thousand five
hundred cavalry and twenty-six thousand infantry. The
Achaeans made a sudden attack upon them and gained a
slight success, which was a few days afterwards revenged
by a signal defeat. Instead of retiring into Corinth, and
from that stronghold making some terms with Mummius,
Diaeus fled to Megalopolis, where he poisoned himself, after first
killing his wife. The rest of the beaten Achaean army took
refuge in Corinth, which Mummius took and fired on the third
day after the battle with Diaeus. Then the commissioners were
sent from Rome to settle the whole of Greece. Pausanias, 7,
16-17; Livy, Ep. 52.
B. C. 146. Coss. Cn. Cornelius Lentulus, L. Mummius.