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Philip Decides to Fight at Sea

Having passed this decree, the Achaeans dispersed to
The king prepares to carry on the war by sea.
their various cities. And now the king's forces mustered again from their winter quarters; and after deliberations with his friends, Philip decided to transfer the war to the sea. For he had become convinced that it was only by so doing that he would himself be able to surprise the enemy at all points at once, and would best deprive them of the opportunity of coming to each others' relief; as they were widely scattered, and each would be in alarm for their own safety, because the approach of an enemy by sea is so silent and rapid. For he was at war with three separate nations,—Aetolians, Lacedaemonians, and Eleans.

Having arrived at this decision, he ordered the ships of the Achaeans as well as his own to muster at Lechaeum; and there he made continual experiments in practising the soldiers of the phalanx to the use of the oar. The Macedonians answered to his instructions with ready enthusiasm; for they are in fact the most gallant soldiers on the field of battle, the promptest to undertake service at sea if need be, and the most laborious workers at digging trenches, making palisades, and all such engineering work, in the world: just such as Hesiod describes the Aeacidae to be “"Joying in war as in a feast."
1 The king, then, and the main body of the Macedonian army, remained in Corinth, busied with these practisings and preparations for taking the sea.

Fresh intrigue of Apelles.
But Apelles, being neither able to retain an ascendency over Philip, nor to submit to the loss of influence which resulted from this disregard, entered into a conspiracy with Leontius and Megaleas, by which it was agreed that these two men should stay on the spot and damage the king's service by deliberate neglect; while he went to Chalcis, and contrived that no supplies should be brought the king from thence for the promotion of his designs. Having made this arrangement and mischievous stipulation with these two men, Apelles set out for Chalcis, having found some false pretexts to satisfy the king as to his departure. And while protracting his stay there, he carried out his sworn agreement with such determination, that, as all men obeyed him because of this former credit, the king was at last reduced by want of money to pawn some of the silverplate used at his own table, to carry on his affairs.
Philip starts on his naval expedition, B. C. 218.
However, when the ships were all collected, and the Macedonian soldiers already well trained to the oar; the king, giving out rations of corn and pay to the army, put to sea, and arrived at Patrae on the second day, with six thousand Macedonians and twelve hundred mercenaries.

1 Fragment from the Catalogs of Women.

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218 BC (1)
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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 43.17
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.29
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