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Dorimachus In the Peloponnese

The Aetolians had long been discontented with a state of
The Aetolians.
peace and tired at living at their own charges; they were accustomed to live on their neighbours, and their natural ostentation required abundant means to support it. Enslaved by this passion they live a life as predatory as that of wild beasts, respecting no tie of friendship and regarding every one as an enemy to be plundered. Hitherto, however, as long as Antigonus Doson was alive, their fear of the Macedonians had kept them quiet.
B. C. 222.
But when he was succeeded at his death by the boy Philip, they conceived a contempt for the royal power, and at once began to look out for a pretext and opportunity for interfering in the Peloponnese: induced partly by an old habit of getting plunder from that country, and partly by the belief that, now the Achaeans were unsupported by Macedonia, they would be a match for them. While their thoughts were fixed on this, chance to a certain extent contributed to give them the opportunity which they desired.

There was a certain man of Trichonium1 named Dorimachus, son of that Nicostratus who made the treacherous attack on the Pan-Boeotian congress.2 This Dorimachus, being young and inspired with the true spirit of Aetolian violence and aggressiveness, was sent by the state to Phigalea in the Peloponnese, which, being on the borders of Arcadia and Messenia, happened at that time to be in political union with the Aetolian league. His mission was nominally to guard the city and territory of Phigalea, but in fact to act as a spy on the politics of the Peloponnese. A crowd of pirates flocked to him at Phigalea; and being unable to get them any booty by fair means, because the peace between all Greeks which Antigonus had concluded was still in force, he was finally reduced to allowing the pirates to drive off the cattle of the Messenians, though they were friends and allies of the Aetolians. These injurious acts were at first confined to the sheep on the border lands; but becoming more and more reckless and audacious, they even ventured to break into the farm-houses by sudden attacks at night. The Messenians were naturally indignant, and sent embassies to Dorimachus; which he at first disregarded, because he wanted not only to benefit the men under him, but himself also, by getting a share in their spoils. But when the arrival of such embassies became more and more frequent, owing to the perpetual recurrence of these acts of depredation, he said at last that he would come in person to Messene, and decide on the claims they had to make against the Aetolians. When he came, however, and the sufferers appeared, he laughed at some, threatened to strike others, and drove others away with abusive language.

1 A town on the lake of Trichonis, in Aetolia, but its exact situation is uncertain. Strabo (10, 2, 3) says that it was on a fertile plain, which answers

The raids of Dorimachus in Messenia.
best to a situation north of the lake.

2 Cf. 9, 34. We know nothing of this incident.

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Peloponnesus (Greece) (4)
Messenia (Greece) (2)
Trichonis (Greece) (1)
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222 BC (1)
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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.2
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