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Aratus is Denounced and Defends Himself

A few days after the events just narrated the ordinary
Midsummer, B. C. 220.
meeting of the Achaean federal assembly took place, and Aratus was bitterly denounced, publicly as well as privately, as indisputably responsible for this disaster; and the anger of the general public was still further roused and embittered by the invectives of his political opponents. It was shown to every one's satisfaction that Aratus had been guilty of four flagrant errors. His first was that, having taken office before his predecessor's time was legally at an end, he had availed himself of a time properly belonging to another to engage in the sort of enterprise in which he was conscious of having often failed.
Attacked at the Achaean Congress, Aratus successfully defends himself.
His second and graver error was the disbanding the Achaeans, while the Aetolians were still in the middle of the Peloponnese; especially as he had been well aware beforehand that Scopas and Dorimachus were anxious to disturb the existing settlement, and to stir up war. His third error was to engage the enemy, as he did, with such a small force, without any strong necessity; when he might have retired to the neighbouring towns and have summoned a levy of the Achaeans, and then have engaged, if he had thought that measure absolutely necessary. But his last and gravest error was that, having determined to fight, he did so in such an ill-considered manner, and managed the business with so little circumspection, as to deprive himself of the advantages of the plain and the support of his heavy-armed troops, and allow the battle to be settled by light-armed troops, and to take place on the slopes, than which nothing could have been more advantageous or convenient to the Aetolians. Such were the allegations against Aratus. He, however, came forward and reminded the assembly of his former political services and achievements; and urged in his defence that, in the matters alleged, his was not the blame for what had occurred. He begged their indulgence if he had been guilty of any oversight in the battle, and claimed that they should at any rate look at the facts without prejudice or passion. These words created such a rapid and generous change in the popular feeling, that great indignation was roused against the political opponents who attacked him; and the resolutions as to the measures to be taken in the future were passed wholly in accordance with the views of Aratus.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.3
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