Confusion and Terror in Greece
As these measures came all at once, the dismay caused
by the hardship of each individually prevented people from
attending to or grasping the general question; or they must
have foreseen that they were all being led on to secure the
certain destruction of their wives and children. But, as though
caught in the rush of some winter torrent and carried on by
its irresistible violence, they followed the infatuation and
madness of their leader.
The Eleians and Messenians do not move.
The Eleians and
Messenians indeed did not stir, in terror of the
Roman fleet; for nothing could have saved them
if the storm had burst when it was originally intended.
people of Patrae, and of the towns which were
leagued with it, had a short time before suffered
disasters in Phocis;1
and their case was much the most pitiable
one of all the Peloponnesian cities: for some of them sought
a voluntary death; others fled from their towns through deserted
parts of the country, with no definite aim in their wanderings, from
the panic prevailing in the towns. Some arrested and delivered
each other to the enemy, as having been hostile to Rome; others
hurried to give information and bring accusations, although no
one asked for any such service as yet; while others went to
meet the Romans with suppliant branches, confessing their
treason, and asking what penance they were to pay, although as
yet no one was asking for any account of such things.
The distracted state of Greece.
whole country seemed to be under an evil spell:
everywhere people were throwing themselves
down wells or over precipices; and so dreadful
was the state of things, that as the proverb has it "even an
enemy would have pitied" the disaster of Greece. For in
times past the Greeks had met with reverses or indeed complete
disaster, either from internal dissensions or from treacherous
attacks of despots; but in the present instance it was from
the folly of their leaders and their own unwisdom that they
experienced the grievous misfortunes which befell them.
Thebans also, abandoning their city en masse,
left it entirely empty; and among the rest
Pytheas retired to the Peloponnese, with his
wife and children, and there wandered about the country.2
. . .
He came upon the enemy much to his surprise. But to my
mind the proverb, "the reckonings of the foolish are foolishness"
applies to him. And naturally to such men things clear as
day come as a surprise. . . .
He was even forming plans for getting back home, acting
very like a man who, not having learnt to swim and being
about to plunge into the sea, should not consider the question
of taking the plunge; but, having taken it, should begin to
consider how he is to swim to land. . . .
Having secured Boeotia, Metellus advanced to Megara, where
the Achaean Alcamenes had been posted by Diaeus with five
thousand men. Alcamenes hastily evacuated Megara and rejoined Diaeus at Corinth, the latter having meanwhile been reelected Strategus. Pausanias, 7, 15, 10.