Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK XXXIV. - The History of Rome, Vol. 4
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BOOK XXXIV. - Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Vol. 4 [10 AD]
The History of Rome by Titus Livius. Translated from the Original with Notes and Illustrations by George Baker, A.M.. First American, from the Last London Edition, in Six Volumes (New York: Peter A. Mesier et al., 1823). Vol. 4.
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The Oppian law, respecting the dress of the women, after much debate, repealed, notwithstanding it was strenuously supported by Marcus Porcius Cato, consul. The consul’s successes in Spain. Titus Quintius Flamininus finishes the war with the Lacedæmonians and the tyrant Nabis; makes peace with them, and restores liberty to Argos. Separate seats at the public games, for the first time, appointed for the senators. Colonies sent forth. Marcus Porcius Cato triumphs on account of his successes in Spain. Farther successes in Spain against the Boians and Insubrian Gauls. Titus Quintius Flamininus having subdued Philip, King of Macedonia, and Nabis the Lacedæmonian tyrant, and restored all Greece to freedom, triumphs for three days. Carthaginian ambassadors bring intelligence of the hostile designs of Antiochus and Hannibal.
Y.R.557. 195.I. AMID the serious concerns of so many important wars, some scarcely ended, and others impending, an incident intervened, which may seem too trivial to be mentioned; but which, through the zeal of the parties concerned, occasioned a violent contest. Marcus Fundanius and Lucius Valerius, plebeian tribunes, proposed to the people the repealing of the Oppian law. This law, which had been introduced by Caius Oppius, plebeian tribune, in the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius, during the heat of the Punic war, enacted, that “no woman should possess more than half an ounce of gold, or wear a garment of various colours, or ride in a carriage drawn by horses, in a city, or any town, or any place, nearer thereto than one mile; except on occasion of some public religious solemnity.” Marcus and Publius Junius Brutus, plebeian tribunes, supported the Oppian law, and declared, that they would never suffer it to be repealed; while many of the nobility stood forth to argue for and against the motion proposed. The Capitol was filled with crowds, who favoured or opposed the law; nor could the matrons be kept at home, either by advice or shame, nor even by the commands of their husbands; but beset every street and pass in the city; beseeching the men as they went down to the Forum, that in the present flourishing state of the commonwealth, when the public prosperity was daily increasing, they would suffer the women so far to partake of it, as to have their former ornaments of dress restored. This throng of women increased daily, for they arrived even from the country towns and villages; and had at length the boldness to come up to the consuls, prætors, and other magistrates, to urge their request. One of the consuls, however, they found inexorable—Marcus Porcius Cato, who, in support of the law proposed to be repealed, spoke to this effect:—
II. “If, Romans, every individual among us had made it a rule to maintain the prerogative and authority of a husband with respect to his own wife, we should have less trouble with the whole sex. But now, our privileges, overpowered at home by female contumacy, are, even here in the Forum, spurned and trodden under foot; and because we are unable to withstand each separately, we now dread their collective body. I was accustomed to think it a fabulous and fictitious tale, that, in a certain island, the whole race of males was utterly extirpated by a conspiracy of the women. But the utmost danger may be apprehended equally from either sex, if you suffer cabals and secret consultations to be held: scarcely, indeed, can I determine, in my own mind, whether the act itself, or the precedent that it affords, is of more pernicious tendency. The latter of these more particularly concerns us consuls, and the other magistrates; the former, you, my fellow-citizens. For, whether the measure, proposed to your consideration, be profitable to the state or not, is to be determined by you, who are to vote on the occasion. As to the outrageous behaviour of these women, whether it be merely an act of their own, or owing to your instigations, Marcus Fundanius and Lucius Valerius, it unquestionably implies culpable conduct in magistrates. I know not whether it reflects greater disgrace on you, tribunes, or on the consuls: on you certainly, if you have brought these women hither for the purpose of raising tribunitian seditions; on us, if we suffer laws to be imposed on us by a secession of women, as was done formerly by that of the common people. It was not without painful emotion of shame, that I, just now, made my way into the Forum, through the midst of a band of women. Had I not been restrained by respect for the modesty and dignity of some individuals among them, rather than of the whole number; and been unwilling that they should be seen rebuked by a consul, I should not have refrained from saying to them, ‘What sort of practice is this, of running out into public, besetting the streets, and addressing other women’s husbands? Could not each have made the same request to her husband at home? Are your blandishments more seducing in public than in private; and with other women’s husbands than with your own? Although if females would let their modesty confine them within the limits of their own rights, it did not become you, even at home, to concern yourselves about any laws that might be passed or repealed here.’ Our ancestors thought it not proper that women should perform any, even private business, without a director; but that they should be ever under the control of parents, brothers, or husbands. We, it seems, suffer them, now, to interfere in the management of state affairs, and to thrust themselves into the Forum, into general assemblies, and into assemblies of election. For, what are they doing, at this moment, in your streets and lanes? What but arguing, some in support of the motion of tribunes; others, contending for the repeal of the law? Will you give the reins to their intractable nature, and then expect that themselves should set bounds to their licentiousness, and without your interference! This is the smallest of the injunctions laid on them by usage or the laws, all which, women bear with impatience: they long for entire liberty; nay, to speak the truth, not for liberty, but for unbounded freedom in every particular. For what will they not attempt, if they now come off victorious? Recollect all the institutions respecting the sex, by which our forefathers restrained their profligacy, and subjected them to their husbands; and yet, even with the help of all these restrictions, they can scarcely be kept within bounds. If, then, you suffer them to throw these off one by one, to tear them all asunder, and, at last, to be set on an equal footing with yourselves; can you imagine that they will be any longer tolerable? Suffer them once to arrive at an equality with you, and they will from that moment become your superiors.
III. “But, indeed, they only object to any new law being made against them: they mean to deprecate, not justice, but severity. Nay, their wish is, that a law which you have admitted, established by your suffrages, and found in the practice and experience of so many years to be beneficial, should now be repealed; and that by abolishing one law, you should weaken all the rest. No law perfectly suits the convenience of every member of the community: the only consideration is, whether, upon the whole, it be profitable to the greater part. If, because a law proves obnoxious to a private individual, it must therefore be cancelled and annulled, to what purpose is it for the community to enact laws, which those, whom they were particularly intended to comprehend, could presently repeal? Let us, however, inquire what this important affair is which has induced the matrons thus to run out into public in this indecorous manner, scarcely restraining from pushing into the Forum and the assembly of the people. Is it to solicit that their parents, their husbands, children, and brothers, may be ransomed from captivity under Hannibal? By no means: and far be ever from the commonwealth so unfortunate a situation. Yet, when such was the case, you refused this to the prayers which, upon that occasion, their duty dictated. But it is not duty, nor solicitude for their friends; it is religion that has collected them together. They are about to receive the Idæan Mother, coming out of Phrygia from Pessinus. What motive, that even common decency will allow to be mentioned, is pretended for this female insurrection? Hear the answer: That we may shine in gold and purple; that, both on festival and common days, we may ride through the city in our chariots, triumphing over vanquished and abrogated law, after having captured and wrested from you your suffrages; and that there may be no bounds to our expenses and our luxury. Often have you heard me complain of the profuse expenses of the women—often of those of the men; and that not only of men in private stations, but of the magistrates: and that the state was endangered by two opposite vices, luxury and avarice: those pests, which have ever been the ruin of every great state. These I dread the more, as the circumstances of the commonwealth grow daily more prosperous and happy: as the empire increases; as we have passed over into Greece and Asia, places abounding with every kind of temptation that can inflame the passions; and as we have begun to handle even royal treasures: for I greatly fear that these matters will rather bring us into captivity, than we them. Believe me, those statues from Syracuse made their way into this city with hostile effect. I already hear too many commending and admiring the decorations of Athens and Corinth, and ridiculing the earthen images of our Roman gods that stand on the fronts of their temples. For my part I prefer these gods,—propitious as they are, and I hope will continue, if we allow them to remain in their own mansions. In the memory of our fathers, Pyrrhus, by his ambassador Cineas, made trial of the dispositions, not only of our men, but of our women also, by offers of presents: at that time the Oppian law, for restraining female luxury, had not been made: and yet not one woman accepted a present. What, think you, was the reason? That for which our ancestors made no provision by law on this subject: there was no luxury existing which might be restrained. As diseases must necessarily be known before their remedies, so passions come into being before the laws, which prescribe limits to them. What called forth the Licinian law, restricting estates to five hundred acres, but the unbounded desire for enlarging estates? What the Cincian law, concerning gifts and presents, but that the plebeians* had become vassals and tributaries to the senate? It is not therefore in any degree surprising, that no want of the Oppian law, or of any other, to limit the expenses of the women, was felt at that time, when they refused to receive gold and purple that was thrown in their way, and offered to their acceptance. If Cineas were now to go round the city with his presents, he would find numbers of women standing in the public streets to receive them.
IV. “There are some passions, the causes or motives of which I can no way account for. To be debarred of a liberty in which another is indulged, may perhaps naturally excite some degree of shame or indignation; yet, when the dress of all is alike, what inferiority in appearance can any one be ashamed of? Of all kinds of shame, the worst, surely, is the being ashamed of frugality or of poverty; but the law relieves you with regard to both; you want only that which it is unlawful for you to have. This equalization, says the rich matron, is the very thing that I cannot endure. Why do not I make a figure, distinguished with gold and purple? Why is the poverty of others concealed under this cover of a law, so that it should be thought, that, if the law permitted, they would have such things as they are not now able to procure. Romans, do you wish to excite among your wives an emulation of this sort, that the rich should wish to have, what no other can have; and that the poor, lest they should be despised as such, should extend their expenses beyond their abilities? Be assured that when a woman once begins to be ashamed of what she ought not to be ashamed of, she will not be ashamed of what she ought. She who can, will purchase out of her own purse; she who cannot, will ask her husband. Unhappy is the husband, both he who complies with the request, and he who does not; for what he will not give himself, another will. Now, they openly solicit favours from other women’s husbands; and, what is more, solicit a law and votes. From some they obtain them; although, with regard to you, your property, or your children, you would find it hard to obtain any thing from them. If the law ceases to limit the expenses of your wife, you yourself will never be able to limit them. Do not suppose that the matter will hereafter be in the same state in which it was before the law was made on the subject. It is safer that a wicked man should never be accused, than that he should be acquitted; and luxury, if it had never been meddled with, would be more tolerable than it will be, now, like a wild beast, irritated by having been chained, and then let loose. My opinion is, that the Oppian law ought, on no account, to be repealed. Whatever determination you may come to, I pray all the gods to prosper it.”
V. After him the plebeian tribunes, who had declared their intention of protesting, added a few words to the same purport. Then Lucius Valerius, who made the motion, spoke thus in support of it:—“If private persons only had stood forth to argue for and against the proposition which we have submitted to your consideration, I, for my part, thinking enough to have been said on both sides, would have waited in silence for your determination. But since a person of most respectable judgment, the consul, Marcus Porcius, has reprobated our motion, not only by the influence of his opinion, which, had he said nothing, would carry very great weight, but also in a long and laboured discourse, it becomes necessary to say a few words in answer. He has spent more words in rebuking the matrons, than in arguing against the measure proposed; and even went so far as to mention a doubt, whether the conduct which he censured in them, arose from themselves, or from our instigation. I shall defend the measure, not ourselves: for the consul threw out those insinuations against us, rather for argument’s sake, than as a serious charge. He has made use of the terms cabal and sedition; and, sometimes, secession of the women: because the matrons had requested of you, in the public street, that, in this time of peace, when the commonwealth is flourishing and happy, you would repeal a law that was made against them during a war, and in times of distress. I know that to declaim is an easy task: that strong expressions, for the purpose of exaggeration, are easily found; and that, mild as Marcus Cato is in his disposition, and gentle in his manners, yet in his speeches he is not only vehement, but sometimes even austere. What new thing, let me ask, have the matrons done in coming out into public in a body? Have they never before appeared in public? I will turn over your own Antiquities* , and quote them against you. Hear now, how often they have done the same, and always to the advantage of the public. In the earliest period of our history, even in the reign of Romulus, when the Capitol had been taken by the Sabines, and a pitched battle was fought in the Forum, was not the fight stopped by the matrons running in between the two armies? When, after the expulsion of the Kings, the legions of the Volscians, under the command of Marcius Coriolanus, were encamped at the fifth stone, did not the matrons turn away that army, which would have overwhelmed this city? Again, when the city was taken by the Gauls, whence was the gold procured for the ransom of it? Did not the matrons, by unanimous agreement, bring it into the public treasury? In the late war, not to go back to remote antiquity, when there was a want of money, did not the widows supply the treasury? And when new gods were invited hither to the relief of our distressed affairs, did not the matrons go out in a body to the sea-shore to receive the Idæan Mother? The cases, he says, are dissimilar. It is not my purpose to produce similar instances; it is sufficient that I clear these women of having done any thing new. Now, what nobody wondered at their doing, in cases which concerned all in common, both men and women, can we wonder at their doing, in a case peculiarly affecting themselves? But what have they done? We have proud ears, truly, if, though masters disdain not the prayers of slaves, we are offended at being asked a favour by honourable women.
VI. “I come now to the question in debate, with respect to which the consul’s argument is two-fold: for, first, he is displeased at the thought of any law whatever being repealed; and then, particularly, of that law which was made to restrain female luxury. His mode of arguing, on the former head, in support of the laws in general, appeared highly becoming of a consul; and that, on the latter, against luxury, was quite conformable to the rigid strictness of his morals. Unless, therefore, I shall be able to point out to you which of his arguments, on both heads, are destitute of foundation, you may, probably, be led away by error. For while I acknowledge, that of those laws which are instituted, not for any particular time, but for eternity, on account of their perpetual utility, not one ought to be repealed; unless either experience evince it to be useless, or some state of the public affairs render it such; I see, at the same time, that those laws which particular seasons have required, are mortal (if I may use the term), and changeable with the times. Those made in peace, are generally repealed by war; those made in war, by peace; as in the management of a ship, some implements are useful in good weather, others in bad. As these two kinds are thus distinct in their nature, of which kind, do you think, is that law, which we now propose to repeal? Is it an ancient law of the kings, coeval with the city itself? Or, what is next to that, was it written in the twelve tables by the decemvirs, appointed to form a code of laws? Is it one, without which our ancestors thought that the honour of the female sex could not be preserved; and, therefore, we also have reason to fear, that, together with it, we should repeal the modesty and chastity of our females? Now, is there a man among you who does not know that this is a new law, passed more than twenty years ago, in the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius? And as, without it, our matrons sustained, for such a number of years, the most virtuous characters, what danger is there of their abandoning themselves to luxury on its being repealed? For, if the design of passing that law was to check the passions of the sex, there would be reason to fear lest the repeal of it might operate as an incitement to them. But the real reason of its being passed, the time itself will show. Hannibal was then in Italy, victorious at Cannæ, possessed of Tarentum, of Arpi, of Capua, and seemed ready to bring up his army to the city of Rome. Our allies had deserted us. We had neither soldiers to fill up the legions, nor seamen to man the fleet, nor money in the treasury. Slaves, who were to be employed as soldiers, were purchased on condition of their price being paid to the owners, at the end of the war. The farmers of the revenues declared, that they would contract to supply corn and other matters, which the exigencies of the war required, to be paid for at the same time. We gave up our slaves to the oar, in numbers proportioned to our properties, and paid them out of our own pockets. All our gold and silver, in imitation of the example given by the senators, we dedicated to the use of the public. Widows and minors lodged their money in the treasury. We were prohibited from keeping in our houses more than a certain quantity of wrought gold or silver, or more than a certain sum of coined silver or brass. At such a time as this, were the matrons so eagerly engaged in luxury and dress, that the Oppian law was requisite to repress such practices? When the senate, because the sacrifice of Ceres had been omitted, in consequence of all the matrons being in mourning, ordered the mourning to end in thirty days. Who does not clearly see, that the poverty and distress of the state requiring that every private person’s money should be converted to the use of the public, enacted that law, with intent that it should remain in force so long only as the cause of enacting it should remain? For, if all the decrees of the senate, and orders of the people, which were then made to answer the necessities of the times, are to be of perpetual obligation, why do we refund their money to private persons? Why do we pay ready money to contractors for public services? Why are not slaves brought to serve in the army? Why do we not, private subjects, supply rowers as we did then?
VII. “Shall, then, every other class of people, every individual, feel the improvement in the state; and shall our wives alone reap none of the fruits of the public peace and tranquillity? Shall we men have the use of purple, wearing the purple-bordered gown in magistracies and priests’ offices? Shall our children wear gowns bordered with purple? Shall we allow the privilege of such a dress to the magistrates of the colonies and borough towns, and to the very lowest of them here at Rome, the superintendants of the streets; and not only of wearing such an ornament of distinction while alive, but of being buried with it when dead; and shall we interdict the use of purple to women alone? And when you, the husband, may wear purple in your great coat, will you not suffer your wife to have a purple cloak? Shall the furniture of your house be finer than your wife’s clothes? But with respect to purple, which will be worn out and consumed, I can see an unjust, indeed, but still some sort of reason, for parsimony: but with respect to gold, in which, excepting the price of the workmanship, there is no waste, what motive can there be for denying it to them? It rather serves as a useful fund for both public and private exigencies, as you have already experienced. He says there will be no emulation between individuals, when no one is possessed of it. But, in truth, it will be a source of grief and indignation to all, when they see those ornaments allowed to the wives of the Latine confederates which have been forbidden to themselves; when they see those riding through the city in their carriages, and decorated with gold and purple, while they are obliged to follow on foot, as if empire were seated in the country of the others, not in their own. This would hurt the feelings even of men, and what do you think must be its effect on those of weak women, whom even trifles can disturb? Neither offices of state, not of the priesthood, nor triumphs, nor badges of distinction, nor military presents, nor spoils, can fall to their share. Elegance of appearance, and ornaments, and dress, these are the women’s badges of distinction; in these they delight and glory; these our ancestors called the women’s world. What other change in their apparel do they make, when in mourning, except the laying aside their gold and purple? And what, when the mourning is over, except resuming them? How do they distinguish themselves on occasion of public thanksgivings and supplications, but by adding unusual splendour to their dress? But then, if you repeal the Oppian law, should you choose to prohibit any of those particulars which the law at present prohibits, you will not have it in your power; your daughters, wives, and even the sisters of some, will be less under your control. The bondage of women is never shaken off, without the loss of their friends; and they themselves look with horror on that freedom which is purchased with the loss of a husband or parent. Their wish is, that their dress should be under your regulation, not under that of the law; and it ought to be your wish to hold them in control and guardianship, not in bondage; and to prefer the title of father or husband, to that of master. The consul just now made use of some invidious terms, calling it a female sedition and secession; because, I suppose, there is danger of their seizing the sacred mount, as formerly the angry plebeians did; or the Aventine. Their feeble nature must submit to whatever you think proper to enjoin; and, the greater power you possess, the more moderate ought you to be in the exercise of your authority.”
VIII. Notwithstanding all these arguments against the motion, the women next day poured out into public in much greater numbers, and, in a body, beset the doors of the protesting tribunes; nor did they retire until the tribunes withdrew their protest. There was then no farther demur, but every one of the tribes voted for the repeal. Thus was this law annulled, in the twentieth year after it had been made. The consul, Marcus Porcius, as soon as the business of the Oppian law was over, sailed immediately, with twenty-five ships of war, of which five belonged to the allies, to the port of Luna, where he ordered the troops to assemble; and having sent an edict along the sea-coast, to collect ships of every description, at his departure from Luna he left orders, that they should follow him to the harbour of Pyrenæus, as he intended to proceed thence against the enemy with all the force that he could muster. They accordingly, after sailing by the Ligurian mountains and the Gallic bay, joined him there on the day appointed. From thence they went to Rhoda, and dislodged a garrison of Spaniards that were in that fortress. From Rhoda they proceeded with a favourable wind to Emporiæ, and there landed all the forces, excepting the crews of the ships.
IX. At that time, as at present, Emporiæ consisted of two towns, separated by a wall. One was inhabited by Greeks, from Phocæa, whence the Massilians also derive their origin; the other by Spaniards. The Greek town, being open towards the sea, had but a small extent of wall, not above four hundred paces in circuit; but the Spanish town, being farther back from the sea, had a wall three thousand paces in circumference. A third kind of inhabitants was added by the deified Cæsar settling a Roman colony there, after the final defeat of the sons of Pompey. At present they are all incorporated in one mass; the Spaniards first, and, at length, the Greeks; having been admitted to the privilege of Roman citizens. Whoever had, at that period, observed the Greeks exposed on one side to the open sea, and on the other to the Spaniards, a fierce and warlike race, would have wondered by what cause they were preserved. Deficient in strength, they guarded against danger by regular discipline; of which, among even more powerful people, the best preservative is fear. That part of the wall which faced the country, they kept strongly fortified, having but one gate, at which some of the magistrates was continually on guard. During the night, a third part of the citizens kept watch on the walls, posting their watches, and going their rounds, not merely from the force of custom, or in compliance with the law, but with as much vigilance as if an enemy were at their gates. They never admitted any Spaniard into the city, nor did they go outside the walls without precaution. The passage to the sea was open to every one; but, through the gate, next to the Spanish town, none ever passed, but in a large body; these were generally the third division, which had watched on the walls the preceding night. The cause of their going out was this: the Spaniards, ignorant of maritime affairs, were fond of trafficking with them, and glad of an opportunity of purchasing, for their own use, the foreign goods, which the others imported in their ships; and, at the same time, of finding a market for the produce of their lands. Sensible of the advantages resulting from a mutual intercourse, the Spaniards gave the Greeks free admittance into their city. Another thing, which contributed to their safety, was, being sheltered under the friendship of the Romans, which they cultivated with as much cordial zeal, though not possessed of equal abilities, as the Massilians. On this account they received the consul, and his army, with every demonstration of courtesy and kindness. Cato staid there a few days, until he could learn what force the enemy had, and where they lay; and, not to be idle during even that short delay, he spent the whole time in exercising his men. It happened to be the season of the year when people have the corn in their barns. He therefore ordered the purveyors not to purchase any corn, and sent them home to Rome, saying, that the war would maintain itself. Then, setting out from Emporiæ, he laid waste the lands of the enemy with fire and sword, spreading terror and desolation over the whole country.
X. At the same time, as Marcus Helvius was going home from Farther Spain, with an escort of six thousand men, given him by the prætor, Appius Claudius, the Celtiberians, with a very numerous army, met him near the city of Illiturgi. Valerius says, that they had twenty thousand effective men; that twelve thousand of them were killed, the town of Illiturgi taken, and all the adult males put to the sword. Helvius, soon after, arrived at the camp of Cato; and as he had now no danger to apprehend from the enemy, in the country through which he was to pass, he sent back the escort to Farther Spain, and proceeded to Rome, where, on account of his successful services, he received the honour of an ovation. He carried into the treasury, of silver bullion, fourteen thousand pounds weight; of coined, seventeen thousand and twenty-three denariuses;* and Oscan† denariuses, twenty thousand four hundred and thirty-eight.‡ The reason for which the senate refused him a triumph was, because he fought under the auspices, and in the province, of another. As he had not come home until the second year after the expiration of his office, because, after he had resigned the government of the province to Quintius Minucius, he was detained there, during the succeeding year, by a severe and tedious sickness, he entered the city in ovation, only two months before the triumph of his successor. The latter brought into the treasury thirty-four thousand eight hundred pounds weight of silver, seventy-eight thousand denariuses,* and of Oscan denariuses two hundred and seventy-eight thousand.†
XI. Meanwhile, in Spain, the consul lay encamped at a small distance from Emporiæ. Thither came three ambassadors from Bilistages, chieftain of the Ilergetians, one of whom was his son, representing, that “their fortresses were besieged, and that they had no hopes of being able to hold out, unless the Romans sent them succour. Five thousand men,” they said, “would be sufficient;” and they added, that, “if such a force came to their aid, the enemy would evacuate the country.” To this the consul answered, that “he was truly concerned for their danger and their fears; but that his army was far from being so numerous, as that, while there lay in his neighbourhood such a powerful force of the enemy, with whom he daily expected a general engagement, he could safely diminish his strength by dividing his forces.” The ambassadors, on hearing this, threw themselves at the consul’s feet, and with tears conjured him not to forsake them at such a perilous juncture. For, if rejected by the Romans, to whom could they apply? They had no other allies, no other hope on earth. They might have escaped the present hazard, if they had consented to forfeit their faith, and to conspire with the rest; but no menaces, no appearances of danger had been able to shake their constancy; because they hoped to find in the Romans abundant succour and support. If there was no farther prospect of this; if it was refused them by the consul, they called gods and men to witness, that it was contrary to their inclination, and in compliance with necessity, that they should change sides, to avoid such sufferings as the Saguntines had undergone; and that they would perish together with the other states of Spain, rather than alone.”
XII. They were, that day, dismissed without any positive answer. During the following night, the consul’s thoughts were greatly perplexed and divided. He was unwilling to abandon these allies, yet equally so to diminish his army, which might either oblige him to decline a battle, or render an engagement too hazardous. At length, he determined not to lessen his forces, lest he should suffer some disgrace from the enemy; and therefore he judged it expedient, instead of real succour, to hold out hopes to the allies. For he considered that, in many cases, but especially in war, mere appearances have had all the effect of realities; and that a person, under a firm persuasion that he can command resources, virtually has them; that very prospect inspiring him with hope and boldness in his exertions. Next day he told the ambassadors, that “although he had many objections to lending a part of his forces to others, yet he considered their circumstances and danger more than his own.” He then gave orders to the third part of the soldiers of every cohort, to make haste and prepare victuals, which they were to carry with them on board ships, which he ordered to be got in readiness against the third day. He desired two of the ambassadors to carry an account of these proceedings to Bilistages and the Ilergetians; but, by kind treatment and presents, he prevailed on the chieftain’s son to remain with him. The ambassadors did not leave the place until they saw the troops embarked on board the ships; then reporting this at home, they spread, not only among their own people, but likewise among the enemy, a confident assurance of the approach of Roman succours.
XIII. The consul, when he had carried appearances as far as he thought sufficient, to create a belief of his intending to send aid, ordered the soldiers to be landed again from the ships; and, as the season of the year now approached, when it would be proper to enter on action, he pitched a winter camp at the distance of a mile from Emporiæ. From this post he frequently led out his troops to ravage the enemy’s country; sometimes to one quarter, sometimes to another, as opportunity offered, leaving only a small guard in the camp. They generally began their march in the night, that they might proceed as far as possible, and surprise the enemy unawares; by which practice, the new-raised soldiers gained a knowledge of discipline, and great numbers of the enemy were cut off; so that they no longer dared to venture beyond the walls of their forts. When he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the temper of the enemy, and of his own men, he ordered the tribunes and the præfects, with all the horsemen and centurions, to be called together, and addressed them thus: “The time is arrived, which you have often wished for, when you might have an opportunity of displaying your valour. Hitherto you have waged war, rather as marauders than as regular troops; you shall now meet your enemies face to face, in regular fight. Henceforward you will have it in your power, instead of pillaging country places, to rifle the treasures of cities. Our fathers, at a time when the Carthaginians had in Spain both commanders and armies, and they themselves had neither commander nor soldier there, nevertheless insisted on its being an article of treaty, that the river Iberus should be the boundary of their empire. Now, when two prætors of the Romans, one of their consuls, and three armies are employed in Spain, and, for near ten years past, no Carthaginian has been in either of its provinces, yet we have lost that empire on the hither side of the Iberus. This it is your duty to recover by your valour and arms; and to compel this nation, which is in a state rather of giddy insurrection than of steady warfare, to receive again the yoke which it has shaken off.” After thus exhorting them, he gave notice, that he intended to march by night to the enemy’s camp; and then dismissed them to take refreshment.
XIV. At midnight, after having duly performed what related to the auspices, he began his march, that he might take possession of such ground as he chose, before the enemy should observe him. Having led his troops beyond their camp, he formed them in order of battle, and at the first light sent three cohorts close to their very ramparts. The barbarians, surprised at the Romans appearing on their rear, ran hastily to arms. In the mean time, the consul observed to his men, “Soldiers, you have no room for hope, but in your own courage; and I have, purposely, taken care that it should be so. The enemy are between us and our tents; behind us is an enemy’s country. What is most honourable, is likewise safest: to place all our hopes in our own valour.” He then ordered the cohorts to retreat, in order to draw out the barbarians by the appearance of flight. Every thing happened, as he had expected. The enemy, thinking that the Romans retired through fear, rushed out of the gate, and filled the whole space between their own camp and the line of their adversaries. While they were hastily marshalling their troops, the consul, who had all his in readiness, and in regular array, attacked them before they could be properly formed. He caused the cavalry from both wings to advance first to the charge: but those on the right were immediately repulsed, and, retiring in disorder, spread confusion among the infantry also. On seeing this, the consul ordered two chosen cohorts to march round the right flank of the enemy, and show themselves on their rear, before the two lines of infantry should close. The alarm, which this gave the enemy, remedied the disadvantage occasioned by the cowardice of the cavalry, and restored the fight to an equality. But such a panick had taken possession of both the cavalry and infantry of the right wing, that the consul was obliged to lay hold of several with his own hand, and turn them about, with their faces to the enemy. As long as the fight was carried on with missile weapons, success was doubtful; and, on the right wing, where the disorder and flight had first begun, the Romans with difficulty kept their ground. On their left wing, the barbarians were hard pressed in front; and looked back, with dread, at the cohorts that threatened their rear. But when, after discharging their iron darts and large javelins, they drew their swords, the battle, in a manner, began anew. They were no longer wounded by random blows from a distance, but closing foot to foot, placed all their hope in courage and strength.
XV. When the consul’s men were now spent with fatigue, he reanimated their courage, by bringing up into the fight some subsidiary cohorts from the second line. These formed a new front, and being fresh themselves, and with fresh weapons attacking the wearied enemy in the form of a wedge, by a furious onset they first made them give ground: and then, when they were once broken, put them completely to flight, and compelled them to seek their camp with all the speed they could make. When Cato saw the rout become general, he rode back to the second legion, which had been posted in reserve, and ordered it to advance in quick motion, and attack the camp of the enemy. If any of them, through too much eagerness, pushed forward beyond his rank, he himself rose up and struck them with his javelin, and also ordered the tribunes and centurions to chastise them. By this time the camp was attacked, though the Romans were kept off from the works by stones, poles, and weapons of every sort. But, on the arrival of the fresh legion, the assailants assumed new courage, and the enemy fought with redoubled fury in defence of their rampart. The consul attentively examined every place himself, that he might make his push where he saw the weakest resistance. At a gate on the left, he observed that the guard was thin, and thither he led the first-rank men and spearmen of the second legion. The party posted at the gate were not able to withstand their assault; while the rest, seeing the enemy within the rampart, abandoned the defence of the camp, and threw away their standards and arms. Great numbers were killed at the gates, being stopped in the narrow passages by the throng; and the soldiers of the second legion cut off the hindmost, while the rest were in search of plunder. According to the account of Valerius Antias, there were above forty thousand of the enemy killed on that day. Cato himself, who was not apt to be too sparing in his own praise, says that a great many were killed, but he specifies no number.
XVI. The conduct of Cato on that day is judged deserving of commendation in three particulars. First, in leading round his army so far from his camp and fleet, as to put the enemy between it and them, when he engaged, that his men might look for no safety but in their courage. Secondly, in throwing the cohorts on the enemy’s rear. Thirdly, in ordering the second legion, when all the rest were disordered by the eagerness of their pursuit, to advance at a full pace to the gate of the camp, in compact and regular order under their standards. He delayed not to improve his victory; but having sounded a retreat, and brought back his men laden with spoil, he allowed them a few hours of the night for rest; and then led them out to ravage the country. They spread their depredations the wider, as the enemy were dispersed in their flight; and this disaster, operating not less forcibly than the defeat of the preceding day, obliged the Spaniards of Emporiæ, and those of their neighbourhood, to make a submission. Many also, belonging to other states, who had made their escape to Emporiæ, surrendered; all of whom the consul received with kindness, and after refreshing them with victuals and wine, dismissed to their several homes. He quickly decamped thence, and wherever the army proceeded on its march, he was met by ambassadors, surrendering their respective states; so that, by the time when he arrived at Tarraco, all Spain on this side of the Iberus was in a state of perfect subjection; and the Roman prisoners, and those of their allies and the Latine confederates, who, by various chances, had fallen into the hands of the enemies in Spain, were brought back by the barbarians, and presented to the consul. A rumour afterwards spread abroad, that Cato intended to lead his army into Turdetania; and it was given out with equal falsehood, that he meant to proceed to the remote inhabitants of the mountains. On this groundless, unauthenticated report, seven forts of the Bergistans revolted; but the Roman, marching thither, reduced them to subjection without much fighting. In a short time after, when the consul returned to Tarraco, and before he removed to any other place, the same persons revolted again. They were again subdued; but, on this second reduction, met not the same mild treatment; they were all sold by auction, to put an end to their continual rebellions.
XVII. In the mean time, the prætor, Publius Manlius, having received the army from Quintus Minucius, whom he had succeeded, and joined to it the old army of Appius Claudius Nero, from farther Spain, marched into Turdetania. Of all the Spaniards, the Turdetanians are reckoned the least warlike; nevertheless, relying on their great numbers, they went to oppose the march of the Roman. One charge of the cavalry immediately broke their line; and, with the infantry, there was hardly any dispute. The veteran soldiers, well acquainted with the enemy, and their manner of fighting, effectually decided the battle. This engagement, however, did not terminate the war. The Turdulans hired ten thousand Celtiberians, and prepared to carry on the war with foreign troops. The consul, meanwhile, alarmed at the rebellion of the Bergistans, and suspecting that the other states would act in like manner, when occasion offered, took away their arms from all the Spaniards, on this side of the Iberus; which proceeding affected them so deeply, that many laid violent hands on themselves, thinking, according to the notions of that fierce race, that, without arms, life was nothing. When this was reported to the consul, he summoned before him the senators of every one of the states, to whom he spoke thus: “It is not more our interest, than it is your own, that you should not rebel; since your insurrections have, hitherto, always drawn more misfortune on the Spaniards, than labour on the Roman armies. To prevent such things happening in future, I know but one method, which is, to put it out of your power to rebel. I wish to effect this in the gentlest way, and that you would assist me therein with your advice. I will follow none with greater pleasure, than what yourselves shall offer. They all remained silent; and then he told them that he would give them a few days time to consider the matter. They were again called together; but, even in the second meeting, they uttered not a word. On which, in one day, he razed the walls of all their fortresses; and, marching against those who had not yet submitted, he received, in every country as he passed through, the submission of all the neighbouring states. Segestica alone, a strong and opulent city, he reduced by a regular siege.
XVIII. Cato had greater difficulties to surmount, in subduing the enemy, than had those commanders who came first into Spain; for this reason, that the Spaniards, through disgust at the Carthaginian government, came over to their side; whereas, he had the task of enforcing their submission to slavery, in a manner, after they had been in full enjoyment of liberty. Beside, he found the whole province in a state of commotion, insomuch, that some were in arms, and others, because they refused to join in the revolt, were held besieged, and would not have been able to hold out, if they had not received timely succour. But so vigorous was the spirit and capacity of the consul, that there was no kind of business, whether great or small, which he did not himself attend to and perform; and he not only planned and ordered, but generally executed in person, such measures as were expedient; nor did he practice greater strictness and severity over any one than over himself. In spare diet, watching and labour, he vied with the meanest of his soldiers; nor, excepting the honour of his post, and the command, had he any peculiar distinction above the rest of the army.
XIX. The Celtiberians, hired by the enemy as abovementioned, rendered the war in Turdetania difficult to the prætor, Publius Manlius. The consul, therefore, in compliance with a letter from the prætor, led his legions thither. The Celtiberians and Turdetanians were lying in separate camps at the approach of the Romans, who began immediately to skirmish with the Turdetanians, making attacks on their advanced guards; and they constantly came off victorious, though sometimes they engaged too rashly: The consul ordered some military tribunes to enter into a conference with the Celtiberians, and to offer them their choice of three proposals: first, to come over to the Romans, and receive double the pay for which they had agreed with the Turdetanians: the second, to depart to their own homes, on receiving assurance under the sanction of the public faith, that no resentment should be shown of their behaviour in joining the enemies of the Romans: the third was, that, if they were absolutely determined on war, they should appoint a day and place to decide the matter with him by arms. The Celtiberians desired a day’s time for consideration; but numbers of the Turdetanians mixing in their assembly, caused so great a confusion, as to prevent them from forming any resolution. Although it was uncertain whether there was to be war or peace with the Celtiberians, the Romans nevertheless, just as though the latter were determined on, brought provisions from the lands and forts of the enemy, and soon ventured to go within their fortifications, relying on private truces, as they would on a common intercourse established by authority. When the consul found that he could not entice the enemy to a battle, he first led out a number of cohorts, lightly accoutred, in regular order, to ravage a part of the country, which was yet unhurt; then hearing that all the baggage of the Celtiberians was deposited at Saguntia, he proceeded thither to attack that town, but was unable, notwithstanding, to provoke them to stir. Paying, therefore, his own troops, and those of Minucius, he left the bulk of his army in the prætor’s camp, and, with seven cohorts, returned to the Iberus.
XX. With that small force he took several towns. The Sidetonians, Ausetanians, and Suessetanians came over to his side. The Lacetanians, a remote and wild nation, still remained in arms; partly through their natural ferocity, and partly through consciousness of guilt, in having laid waste, by sudden incursions, the country of the allies, while the consul and his army were employed in the war with the Turdetanians. He therefore marched to attack their capital, not only with the Roman cohorts, but also with the troops of the allies, who were justly incensed against them. The town was stretched out into considerable length, but had not proportionable breadth. At the distance of about four hundred paces from it, he halted; and leaving there a party composed of chosen cohorts, he charged them not to stir from that spot until he himself should come to them; and then he led round the rest of the men to the farther side of the town. The greater part of his auxiliary troops were Suessetanians, and these he ordered to advance and assault the wall. The Lacetanians knowing their arms and standards, and remembering how often they had, themselves, with impunity, committed every kind of outrage and insult in their territory, how often defeated and routed them in pitched battles, hastily threw open a gate, and all, in one body, rushed out against them. The Suessetanians scarcely stood their shout, much less their onset; and the consul, on seeing this happen just as he had foreseen, galloped back under the enemy’s wall to his cohorts, brought them up quickly to that side, where all was silence and solitude, in consequence of the Lacetanians having sallied out on the Suessetanians, led them into the town, and took possession of every part of it before the return of its people, who, having nothing now left but their arms, soon surrendered themselves also.
XXI. The conqueror marched thence, without delay, to the fort of Vergium, which being now converted, almost entirely, into a receptacle of robbers and plunderers, incursions were made on the peaceable parts of the province. One of the principal inhabitants deserted out of the place to the consul, and endeavoured to excuse himself and his countrymen; alleging, that “the management of affairs was not in their hands; for the robbers, having gained admittance, had reduced the fort entirely under their own power.” The consul ordered him to return home, and pretend some plausible reason for having been absent; and then, “when he should see him advancing to the walls, and the robbers intent on making a defence, to seize the citadel with such men as favoured his party.” This was executed according to his directions. The double alarm, from the Romans scaling the walls in front, and the citadel being seized on their rear, at once entirely confounded the barbarians. The consul, having taken possession of the place, ordered, that those who had secured the citadel, should, with their relations, be set at liberty, and enjoy their property; the rest of the natives, he commanded the quæstor to sell; and he put the robbers to death. Having restored quiet, he settled the iron and silver mines on such a footing, that they produced a large revenue; and, in consequence of the regulations then made, the province daily increased in riches. On account of these services performed in Spain, the senate decreed a supplication for three days. During this summer, the other consul, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, fought a pitched battle with a body of the Boians in Gaul, near the forest of Litinæ, and gained a complete victory. We are told, that eight thousand of the Gauls were killed, the rest, desisting from farther opposition, retired to their several villages and lands. During the remainder of the season, the consul kept his army near the Po, at Placentia and Cremona, and repaired the buildings in these cities, which had been ruined in the war.
XXII. While the affairs of Italy and Spain were in this posture, Titus Quintius had spent the winter in Greece, in such a manner, that, excepting the Ætolians, who neither had gained rewards of victory adequate to their hopes, nor were capable of being long contented with a state of quiet, all Greece, being in full enjoyment of the blessings of peace and liberty, were highly pleased with their present state; and they admired not more the Roman general’s bravery in arms, than his temperance, justice, and moderation in success. And now, a decree of the senate was brought to him, containing a denunciation of war against Nabis, the Lacedæmonian. On reading it, Quintius summoned a convention of deputies from all the allied states, to be held, on a certain day, at Corinth. Accordingly, many persons of the first rank came together, from all quarters, forming a very full assembly, from which even the Ætolians were not absent. He then addressed them in this manner:—“Although the Romans and Greeks, in the war which they waged against Philip, were united in affections and counsels, yet they had each their separate reasons for entering into it. He had violated friendship with the Romans; first, by aiding our enemies, the Carthaginians; and then, by attacking our allies here: and, towards you, his conduct was such, that even if we were willing to forget our own injuries, those offered by him to you would be reason sufficient to make us declare war against him. But the business to be considered this day, rests wholly on yourselves: for the subject which I propose to your consideration is, whether you choose to suffer Argos, which, as you know, has been seized by Nabis, to remain under his dominion; or whether you judge it reasonable, that a city of such high reputation and antiquity, seated in the centre of Greece, should be restored to liberty, and placed in the same state with the rest of the cities of Peloponnesus and of Greece. This question, as you see, merely respects yourselves; it concerns not the Romans in any degree, excepting so far as the one city being left in subjection to tyranny, hinders their glory, in having liberated Greece, from being full and complete. If, however, you are not moved by regard for that city, nor by the example, nor by the danger of the contagion of that evil spreading wider, we, for our parts, shall rest content. On this subject I desire your opinions, resolved to abide by whatever the majority of you shall determine.”
XXIII. When the Roman general had ended his discourse, the several deputies proceeded to give their opinions. The ambassador of the Athenians extolled, to the utmost of his power, and expressed the greatest gratitude for the kindness of the Romans towards Greece, “in having, when applied to for assistance, brought them succours against Philip; and now, without being applied to, voluntarily offering assistance against the tyrant Nabis.” He at the same time severely censured the conduct of some, who, in their discourses, “depreciated those kindnesses, and propagated evil surmises of the future, when it would better become them rather to return thanks for the past.” It was evident that this was pointed at the Ætolians: wherefore Alexander, deputy of that nation, began with inveighing against the Athenians, who, having formerly been the most strenuous supporters of liberty, now betrayed the general cause, for the sake of recommending themselves by flattery. He then complained that “the Achæans, formerly soldiers of Philip, and lately, on the decline of his fortune, deserters from him, had regained possession of Corinth, and were aiming at the possession of Argos; while the Ætolians, who had first opposed their arms to Philip, who had always been allies of the Romans, and who had stipulated by treaty, that, on the Macedonian being conquered, the lands and cities should be theirs, were defrauded by Echinus and Pharsalus.” He charged the Romans with insincerity, because “while they made empty professions of establishing universal liberty, they held forcible possession of Demetrias and Chalcis; though, when Philip hesitated to withdraw his garrisons from those places, they always urged against him, that the Grecians would never be free, while Demetrias, Chalcis, and Corinth were in the hands of others. And lastly, that they named Argos and Nabis merely as a pretext for remaining in Greece, and keeping their armies there. Let them carry home their legions; and the Ætolians were ready to undertake, either that Nabis should voluntarily evacuate Argos, on terms; or they would compel him, by force of arms, to comply with the unanimous judgment of Greece.”
XXIV. This arrogant speech called up, first, Aristænus, prætor of the Achæans, who said;—“Forbid, it Jupiter, supremely good and great, and imperial Juno, the tutelar deity of Argos, that that city should lie as a prize between the Lacedæmonian tyrant, and the Ætolian plunderers, under such unhappy circumstances, that its being retaken by us should be productive of more calamitous consequences than its capture by him. Titus Quintius, the sea lying between us, does not secure us from those robbers; what then will become of us, should they procure themselves a strong hold in the centre of Peloponnesus? They have nothing Grecian but the language, as they have nothing human but the shape. They live like beasts of prey, and are, in their manners and rites, more brutally savage than any barbarians. Wherefore, Romans, we beseech you, not only to recover Argos from Nabis, but also to establish the affairs of Greece on such a footing, as to leave these countries in a state of security from the robberies of the Ætolians.” The rest concurring in these censures on the Ætolians, the Roman general said, that “he had, himself, intended to have answered them, but that he perceived all so highly incensed against those people, that the general resentment required rather to be appeased than irritated. Satisfied, therefore, with the sentiments entertained of the Romans, and of the Ætolians, he would simply put this question: What was the general opinion concerning war with Nabis, in case of his refusing to restore Argos to the Achæans?” Every one voted for war; whereupon, he recommended to them, to send in their shares of auxiliary troops, each state in proportion to its ability. He even sent an ambassador to the Ætolians; rather to make them disclose their sentiments, in which he succeeded, than with any hope of obtaining their concurrence. He gave orders to the military tribunes, to bring up the army from Elatia. To the ambassadors of Antiochus, who at this time, proposed to treat of an alliance, he answered, that “he could say nothing on the subject in the absence of the ten ambassadors. They must go to Rome, and apply to the senate.”
XXV. As soon as the troops arrived from Elatia, Quintius put himself at their head, and began his march toward Argos. Near Cleone he was met by the prætor, Aristænus, with ten thousand Achæan foot, and one thousand horse; and having joined forces, they pitched their camp at a small distance from thence. Next day they marched down into the plains of Argos, and fixed their post about four miles from that city. The commander of the Lacedæmonian garrison was Pythagoras, the tyrant’s son-in-law, and his wife’s brother; who, on the approach of the Romans, posted strong guards in both the citadels, for Argos has two, and in every other place that was commodious for defence, or exposed to danger. But, while thus employed, he could by no means dissemble the dread inspired by the approach of the Romans; and, to the alarm from abroad, was added, an insurrection within. There was an Argive, named Damocles, a youth of more spirit than prudence, who held conversations, with proper persons, on a design of expelling the garrison, at first with the precaution of imposing an oath, but afterwards, through his eager desire to add strength to the conspiracy, he trusted to people’s sincerity with too little reserve. While he was in conference with his accomplices, an officer, sent by the commander of the garrison summoned him to appear before him, and this convinced him that his plot was betrayed; on which, exhorting the conspirators, who were present, to take arms with him, rather than be tortured to death, he went on with a few companions towards the Forum, crying out to all who wished the preservation of the state, to follow him: he would lead them to liberty, and assert its cause. He could prevail on none to join him; for they saw no prospect of any attainable advantage, and much less any support on which they could rely. While he exclaimed in this manner, the Lacedæmonians surrounded him and his party, and put them to death. Many others were afterwards seized, the greater part of whom were executed, and the remaining few thrown into prison. During the following night, great numbers, letting themselves down from the walls by ropes, came over to the Romans.
XXVI. These men affirmed, that if the Roman army had been at the gates, the commotion would not have ended without effect; and that, if the camp was brought nearer, the townsmen would not remain inactive. Quintius, therefore, sent some horsemen and infantry lightly accoutered, who, meeting at the Cylarabis, a place of exercise, less than three hundred paces from the city, a party of Lacedæmonians, who sallied out of a gate, engaged them, and without much difficulty drove them back into the town; and the Roman general encamped on the very spot where the battle was fought. There he passed one day, watching if any new commotion might arise; but perceiving that the inhabitants were quite disheartened, he called a council to determine whether he should lay siege to Argos. All the deputies of Greece, except Aristænus, were of one opinion, that, as that city was the sole object of the war, with it the war should commence. This was by no means agreeable to Quintius, but he listened, with evident marks of approbation, to Aristænus, arguing in opposition to the joint opinion of all the rest; while he himself added, that “as the war was undertaken in favour of the Argives, against the tyrant, what could be less proper than to leave the enemy in quiet, and lay siege to Argos? For his part, he was resolved to point his arms against the main object of the war, Lacedæmon and Nabis.” He then dismissed the meeting, and sent out light armed cohorts to collect forage. Whatever was ripe in the adjacent country, they reaped, and brought together; and what was green they trod down and destroyed, to prevent its being of use to the enemy. He then proceeded over Mount Parthenius, and, passing by Tygæa, encamped on the third day at Caryæ, where he waited for the auxiliary troops of the allies, before he entered the enemy’s territory. Fifteen hundred Macedonians came from Philip, and four hundred horsemen from Thessaly; and now the Roman general had no occasion to wait for more auxiliaries, having abundance; but he was obliged to stop for supplies of provisions, which he had ordered the neighbouring cities to furnish. He was joined also by a powerful naval force: Lucius Quintius came from Leucas, with forty ships, as did eighteen ships of war from the Rhodians; and King Eumenes was cruising among the Cyclades, with ten decked ships, thirty barks, and smaller vessels of various sorts. Of the Lacedæmonians themselves, also, a great many, who had been driven from home by the cruelty of the tyrants, came into the Roman camp, in hopes of being reinstated in their country; for the number was very great of those who had been banished by the several despots, during many generations, since they first got Lacedæmon into their power. The principal person among the exiles was Agesipolis, to whom the crown of Lacedæmon belonged in right of his birth; but who had been driven out when an infant by Lycurgus, after the death of Cleomenes, the first tyrant of Lacedæmon.
XXVII. Although Nabis was inclosed between such powerful armaments on land and sea, and who, on a comparative view of his own and his enemy’s strength, could scarcely conceive any degree of hope; yet neglected not preparing for a defence, but brought, from Crete, a thousand chosen young men of that country, in addition to a thousand whom he had before; he had, besides, under arms, three thousand mercenary soldiers, and ten thousand of his countrymen, with the peasants, who were vassals to the proprietors of land.* He fortified the city with a ditch and rampart; and, to prevent any intestine commotion, curbed the people’s spirits by fear, punishing them with extreme severity. As he could not hope for good wishes towards a tyrant, and had reason to suspect some designs against his person, he drew out all his forces to a field called Dromos (the course), and ordered the Lacedæmonians to be called to an assembly without their arms. He then formed a line of armed men round the place where they were assembled, observing briefly, “that he ought to be excused, if, at such a juncture, he feared, and guarded against every thing that might happen; and that, if the present state of affairs subjected any to suspicion, it was their advantage to be prevented from attempting any design, rather than to be punished for the attempt: he therefore intended,” he said, “to keep certain persons in custody, until the storm, which then threatened, should blow over; and would discharge them as soon as the country should be clear of the enemy, from whom the danger would be less, when proper precaution was taken against internal treachery.” He then ordered the names of about eighty of the principal young men to be called over, and as each answered to his name, he put them in custody. On the night following they were all put to death. Some of the Ilotans, or Helotes a race of rustics, who have been vassals even from the earliest times, being charged with an intention to desert, they were driven with stripes through all the streets, and put to death. The terror which this excited so enervated the multitude, that they gave up all thoughts of any attempt to effect a revolution. He kept his forces within the fortifications, knowing that he was not a match for the enemy in the field, and, besides, he was afraid to leave the city, while all men’s minds were in a state of such suspense and uncertainty.
XXVIII. Quintius, having finished every necessary preparation, decamped, and, on the second day, came to Sellasia, on the river Œnus, on the spot where it is said Antigonus, King of Macedonia, fought a pitched battle with Cleomenes, tyrant of Lacedæmon. Being told, that the ascent from thence was through a difficult and narrow pass, he made a short circuit by the mountains, sending forward a party to make a road, and came, by a broad and open passage, to the river Eurotas, where it flows almost immediately under the walls of the city. Here, the tyrant’s auxiliary troops attacked the Romans, while they were forming their camp; together with Quintius himself, (who, with a division of cavalry and light troops, had advanced beyond the rest,) and threw all into fright and confusion; for they had not expected any impediment on their whole march, they had met no kind of molestation; passing, as it were, through the territory of friends. The disorder lasted a considerable time, the infantry calling for aid on the cavalry, and the cavalry on the infantry, each relying on the others more than on themselves. At length, the foremost ranks of the legions came up; and no sooner had the cohorts of the vanguard taken part in the fight, than those, who had lately spread terror round them, were driven back into the city. The Romans, retiring so far from the wall as to be out of the reach of weapons, stood there for some time, in battle array, and then, none of the enemy coming out against them, retired to their camp. Next day Quintius led on his army in regular order along the bank of the river, passed the city, to the foot of the mountain of Menelaus, the legionary cohorts marching in front, and the cavalry and light-infantry bringing up the rear. Nabis kept his mercenary troops, on whom he placed his whole reliance, in readiness, and drawn up in a body, within the walls, intending to attack the rear of the enemy; and, as soon as the last of their troops passed by, these rushed out of the town, from several places at once, with as great fury as the day before. The rear was commanded by Appius Claudius, who having, beforehand, prepared his men to expect such an event, that they might not be disconcerted when it happened, instantly made his troops face about, and presented an entire front to the enemy. A regular engagement, therefore, took place, as if two complete lines had encountered, and it lasted a considerable time; but, at length, Nabis’s troops betook themselves to flight, which would have been attended with less dismay and danger, if they had not been closely pressed by the Achæans, who were well acquainted with the ground. These made dreadful havock, and dispersing them entirely, obliged the greater part to throw away their arms. Quintius encamped near Amyclæ, and, afterwards, when he had utterly laid waste all the pleasant and thickly inhabited country round the city, the enemy not venturing out of the gates, he removed his camp to the river Eurotas. From thence, he sent out parties that ravaged the valley lying under Taygetus, and the country reaching as far as the sea.
XXIX. About the same time, Lucius Quintius got possession of the towns on the sea-coast; of some by their voluntary surrender, of others, by fear or force. Then, learning that the Lacedæmonians made Gythium the repository of all their naval stores, and that the Roman camp was at no great distance from the sea, he resolved to attack that town with his whole force. It was, at that time, a place of considerable strength; well furnished with great numbers of native inhabitants and settlers from other parts, and with every kind of warlike stores. Very seasonably for Quintius, at the commencement of an enterprise of no easy nature, King Eumenes and the Rhodian fleet joined him. The vast multitude of seamen, collected out of the three fleets, finished in a few days all the works requisite for the siege of a city so strongly fortified, both on the land side and on that next the sea. Covered galleries were soon brought up; the wall was undermined, and, at the same time, shaken with battering rams. By the frequent shocks given with these, one of the towers was thrown down, and, by its fall, the adjoining wall on each side was laid flat. The Romans, on this, attempted to force in, both on the side next the port, to which the approach was more level than to the rest, hoping to divert the enemy’s attention from the more open passage, and, at the same time, to enter the breach caused by the falling of the wall. They were near effecting their design, of penetrating into the town, when the assault was suspended by a proposal of a capitulation; which, however, came to nothing. Dexagoridas and Gorgopas commanded there, with equal authority. Dexagoridas had sent to the Roman general the proposal of surrendering, and, after the time and the mode of proceeding had been agreed on, he was slain as a traitor by Gorgopas, and the defence of the city was maintained with redoubled vigour by this single commander. The farther prosecution of the siege would have been much more difficult, had not Titus Quintius arrived with a body of four thousand chosen men. He showed his army in order of battle, on the brow of a hill at a small distance from the city; and, on the other side, Lucius Quintius plied the enemy hard with his engines, both on the quarter of the sea, and of the land; on which Gorgopas was compelled to follow the plan, which, in the case of another, he had punished with death. After stipulating for liberty to carry away the soldiers whom he had there as a garrison, he surrendered the city to Quintius. Previous to the surrender of Gythium, Pythagoras, who commanded at Argos, left that place, intrusting the defence of the city to Timocrates of Pellene; and, with a thousand mercenary soldiers, and two thousand Argives, came to Lacedæmon and joined Nabis.
XXX. Although Nabis had been greatly alarmed at the first arrival of the Roman fleet, and the loss of the towns on the sea-coast, yet, as long as Gythium was held by his troops, the small degree of hope, which that afforded, had helped to quiet his apprehensions; but, when he heard that Gythium too was given up to the Romans, and saw that he had no room for any kind of hope on the land, where every place round was in the hands of the enemy, and that he was totally excluded from the sea, he found himself under the necessity of yielding to fortune. He first sent an officer, with a wand of parley, into the Roman camp, to learn whether permission would be given to send ambassadors. This being consented to, Pythagoras came to the general, with no other commission than to propose a conference between that commander and the tyrant. A council was summoned on the proposal, and every one present agreeing in opinion, that a conference should be granted, a time and place were appointed. They came, with moderate escorts, to some hills in the interjacent ground; and leaving their cohorts there, in posts open to the view of both parties, they went down to the place of meeting; Nabis attended by a select party of his life-guards; Quintius by his brother, King Eumenes; Sosilaus, the Rhodian; Aristænus, prætor of the Achæans, and a few military tribunes.
XXXI. Then the tyrant, having the choice given him to speak either before or after the Roman, began thus: “Titus Quintius, and you who are present; if I could collect, from my own reflections, the reason of your having either declared, or actually made war against me, I should have waited in silence the issue of my destiny. But in the present state of things, I could not repress my desire of knowing, before I am ruined, the cause for which my ruin is resolved on. And in truth, if you were such men as the Carthaginians are represented,—men who considered the obligation of faith, pledged in alliances, as in no degree sacred, I should not wonder, if you were the less scrupulous with respect to your conduct towards me. But, instead of that, when I look at you, I perceive that you are Romans: men who allow treaties to be the most solemn of religious acts, and faith, pledged therein, the strongest of human ties. Then, when I look back at myself, I am confident I am one who, as a member of the community, am, in common with the rest of the Lacedæmonians, included in a treaty subsisting with you, of very ancient date; and likewise have, lately, during the war with Philip, concluded anew, in my own name, a personal friendship and alliance with you. But I have violated and cancelled that treaty, by holding possession of the city of Argos. In what manner shall I defend this? By the consideration of the fact, or of the time? The consideration of the fact furnishes me with a twofold defence: for, in the first place, in consequence of an invitation from the inhabitants themselves, and of their voluntary act of surrender, I accepted the possession of that city, and did not seize it by force. In the next place, I accepted it, when the city was in league with Philip, not in alliance with you. Then the consideration of the time acquits me, for this reason: that when I was in actual possession of Argos, you entered into an alliance with me, and stipulated that I should send you aid against Philip, not that I should withdraw my garrison from that city. In this dispute, therefore, so far as it relates to Argos, I have unquestionably the advantage, both from the equity of the proceeding, as I gained possession of a city which belonged not to you, but to your enemy; and as I gained it by its own voluntary act, and not by forcible compulsion; and also from your own acknowledgment: since, in the articles of our alliance, you left Argos to me. But then, the name of tyrant, and my conduct, are strong objections against me: that I call forth slaves to a state of freedom; that I carry out the indigent part of the populace, and give them settlements in lands. With respect to the title by which I am styled, I can answer thus: That, let me be what I may, I am the same now, that I was, at the time when you yourself, Titus Quintius, concluded an alliance with me. I remember, that I was then styled King by you; now, I see, I am called tyrant. If, therefore, I had since altered the style of my office, I might be chargeable with fickleness: as you chose to alter it, the charge falls on you. As to what relates to the augmenting the number of the populace, by giving liberty to slaves, and the distribution of lands to the needy: on this head too, I might defend myself on the ground of a reference to the time of the facts charged. These measures, of what complexion soever they are, I had practised before you formed friendship with me, and received my aid in the war against Philip. But, if I did the same things, at this moment, I would not say to you, how did I thereby injure you, or violate the friendship subsisting between us? but, I would insist, that in so doing, I acted agreeably to the practice and institutions of my ancestors. Do not estimate what is done at Lacedæmon, by the standard of your own laws and constitution. I need not compare every particular: you are guided in your choice of a horseman, by the quantity of his property; in your choice of a foot soldier, by the quantity of his property; and your plan is, that a few should abound in wealth, and that the body of the people should be in subjection to them. Our law-giver did not choose that the administration of government should be in the hands of a few, such as you call a senate; or that this or that order of citizens should have a superiority over the rest: but he proposed, by equalizing the property and dignity of all, to multiply the number of those who were to bear arms for their country. I acknowledge that I have enlarged on these matters, beyond what consists with the conciseness customary with my countrymen, and that the sum of the whole might be comprised in few words: that, since I first commenced a friendship with you, I have given you no just cause of displeasure.”
XXXII. The Roman general answered: “We never contracted any friendship or alliance with you, but with Pelops, the right and lawful King of Lacedæmon; whose authority, while the Carthaginian, Gallic, and other wars, succeeding one another, kept us constantly employed, the tyrants, who after him held Lacedæmon under forced subjection, usurped into their own hands, as did you also during the late war with Macedonia. For what could be less consistent with propriety, than that we, who were waging war against Philip, in favour of the liberty of Greece, should contract friendship with a tyrant, and a tyrant who carried his violence and cruelty towards his subjects to as great an excess as any that ever existed. But, even supposing that you had not either seized or held Argos by iniquitous means, it would be incumbent on us, when we are giving liberty to all Greece, to reinstate Lacedæmon also in its ancient freedom, and the enjoyment of its own laws, which you just now spoke of, as if you were another Lycurgus. Shall we take pains to make Philip’s garrisons evacuate Tassus and Bargylii; and shall we leave Lacedæmon and Argos, those two most illustrious cities, formerly the lights of Greece, under your feet, that their continuance in bondage may tarnish our title of deliverers of Greece? But the Argives took part with Philip: we excuse you from taking any concern in that cause, so that you need not be angry with them on our behalf. We have received sufficient proof, that the guilt of that proceeding is chargeable on two only, or, at most, three persons, and not on the state; just, indeed, as in the case of the invitation given to you and to your army, and your reception in the town, not one step was taken by public authority. We know that the Thessalians, Phocians, and Locrians, to a man, unanimously joined in espousing the cause of Philip; and when, notwithstanding this, we have given liberty to all the rest of Greece, how, I ask you, can you suppose we shall conduct ourselves towards the Argives, who are acquitted of having publicly authorised your misconduct? You said, that your inviting slaves to liberty, and the distribution of lands among the indigent, were objected to you as crimes; and crimes, surely, they are, of no small magnitude. But what are they, in comparison with those atrocious deeds, that are daily perpetrated by you and your adherents, in continual succession? Show us a free assembly of the people, either at Argos or Lacedæmon, if you wish to hear a true recital of the crimes of the most abandoned tyranny. To omit all other instances of older date, what a massacre did your son-in-law, Pythagoras, make at Argos, almost before my eyes? What another did you yourself perpetrate, when I was on the borders of Laconia? Now, give orders, that the persons whom you took out of the midst of an assembly, and committed to prison, after declaring, in the hearing of all your countrymen, that you would keep them in custody, be produced in their chains, that their wretched parents may know that they are alive, and have no cause for their mourning. Well, but you say, though all these things were so, Romans, how do they concern you? Can you say this to the deliverers of Greece? to people who crossed the sea in order to deliver it, and have maintained a war, on sea and land, to effect its deliverance? Still you tell us, you have not directly violated the alliance, or the friendship established between us. How many instances must I produce of your having done so? But I will not go into a long detail: I will bring the matter to a short issue. By what acts is friendship violated? Most effectually by these two: by treating our friends as foes, and by uniting yourself with our enemies. Now, which of these has not been done by you? For Messene, which had been united to us in friendship, by one and the same bond of alliance with Lacedæmon, you, while professing yourself our ally, reduced to subjection by force of arms, though you knew it was in alliance with us; and you contracted with Philp, our professed enemy, not only an alliance, but even an affinity, through the intervention of his general, Philocles; and waging actual war against us, with your piratical ships, you made the sea round Malea unsafe, and you captured and slew more Roman citizens almost, than Philip himself; and it was less dangerous for our ships to bring supplies for our armies, by the coast of Macedonia, than by the promontory of Malea. Cease, therefore, to vaunt your good faith, and the obligations of treaties; and, dropping your affectation of popular sentiments, speak as a tyrant, and as an enemy.”
XXXIII. Aristænus then began, at first, to advise, and afterwards even to beseech Nabis, while it was yet in his power, and while the state of affairs permitted, to consider what was best for himself and his interests. He then mentioned the names of several tyrants in the neighbouring states who had resigned their authority, and restored liberty to their people, and afterwards lived to old age, not only in safety, but with the respect of their countrymen. After this conversation had passed, the approach of night broke up the conference. Next day Nabis said, that he was willing to cede Argos, and withdraw his garrison, since such was the desire of the Romans, and to deliver up the prisoners and deserters; and if they demanded any thing farther, he requested that they would set it down in writing, that he might deliberate on it with his friends. Thus the tyrant gained time for consultation, and Quintius also, on his part, called a council, to which he summoned the chiefs of the allies. The greatest part were of opinion, that “they ought to persevere in the war until the tyrant should be stripped of all power; otherwise the liberty of Greece would never be secure. That it would have been much better never to have entered on the war, than to drop it after it was begun; for this would be a kind of approbation of his tyrannical usurpation, and which would establish him more firmly, as giving the countenance of the Roman people to his ill-acquired authority; while the example would quickly spirit up many in other states to plot against the liberty of their countrymen.” The wishes of the general himself tended rather to peace, for he saw, that, as the enemy was shut up in the town, nothing remained but a siege, and that must be very tedious. For it was not Gythium, that they must besiege, though even that place had been gained by capitulation, not by assault; but Lacedæmon, a city most powerful in men and arms. The only hope which they could have formed, was, that, on the first approach of their army, dissensions and insurrections might have been raised within, but, though the standards had been seen to advance almost to the gates, not one person had stirred. To this he added, that “Villius the ambassador, returning from Antiochus, brought intelligence, that nothing but war was to be expected from that quarter; and that the King had come over into Europe with a much more powerful armament by sea and land than before. Now, if the army should be engaged in the siege of Lacedæmon, with what other forces could the war be maintained against a king of his great power and strength?” These arguments he urged openly; but he was influenced by another motive, which he did not avow, his anxiety, lest one of the new consuls should be appointed to the province of Greece; and then the honour of terminating the war, in which he had proceeded so far, must be yielded to a successor.
XXXIV. Finding that he could not, by opposition make any alteration in the sentiments of the allies, by pretending to go over to their opinion, he led them all into a concurrence in his scheme. “Be it so,” said he, “and may success attend us: let us lay siege to Lacedæmon, since that is your choice. However, as a business so slow in its progress, as you know the besieging of cities to be, very often wears out the patience of the besiegers, sooner than that of the besieged, you ought, before you proceed a step farther, to consider, that we must pass the winter under the walls of Lacedæmon. If this tedious enterprize brought only toil and danger, I would recommend to you, to prepare your minds and bodies to support these. But in the present case, vast expenses also will be requisite for the construction of works, for machines and engines, sufficient for the siege of so great a city, and for procuring stores of provisions for the winter to serve you and us: therefore, to prevent your being suddenly disconcerted, or shamefully deserting an enterprize which you had engaged in, I think it will be necessary for you to write home to your respective states, and learn what degree of spirit and of strength each possesses. Of auxiliary troops I have sufficient number, and to spare; but the more numerous we are, the more numerous will be our wants. The country of the enemy has nothing left but the naked soil. Besides, the winter is at hand, which will render it difficult to convey what we may stand in need of from distant places.” This speech first turned their thoughts to the domestic evils prevailing in their several states; the indolence of those who remained at home; the envy and misrepresentations to which those who served abroad were liable; the difficulty of procuring unanimity among men in a state of freedom; the emptiness of the public treasury, and people’s backwardness to contribute out of their private property. These considerations wrought such a sudden change in their inclinations, that they gave full power to the general, to do whatever he judged conducive to the general interest of the Roman people and their allies.
XXXV. Then Quintius, consulting only his lieutenant-generals and military tribunes, drew up the following conditions on which peace should be made with Nabis: “That there should be a suspension of arms for six months, between Nabis on one part, and the Romans, King Eumenes, and the Rhodians on the other. That Titus Quintius and Nabis should immediately send ambassadors to Rome, in order that the peace might be ratified by authority of the senate. That, whatever day a written copy of these conditions should be delivered to Nabis, on that day should the armistice commence; and, within ten days after, his garrisons should be withdrawn from Argos, and all other towns in the territory of the Argives; all which towns should be entirely evacuated, restored to freedom, and in that state delivered to the Romans. That no slave, whether belonging to the King, the public, or a private person, be removed out of any of them; and if any had been removed before, that they be faithfully restored to their owners. That he should give up the ships, which he had taken from the maritime states; and should not have any other than two barks; and these to be navigated with no more than sixteen oars. That he should restore to all the states, in alliance with the Roman people, the prisoners and deserters in his hands; and to the Messenians, all the effects that could be discovered, and which the owners could prove to be their property. That he should, likewise, restore to the exiled Lacedæmonians their children, and their wives, who chose to follow their husbands; provided that no woman should be obliged, against her will, to go with her husband into exile. That such of the mercenary soldiers of Nabis as had deserted him, and gone either to their own countries, or to the Romans, should have all their effects faithfully returned to them. That he should hold possession of no city in the island of Crete; and that such as were then in his possession, should be given up to the Romans. That he should not form any alliance, or wage war, with any of the Cretan states, or with any other. That he should withdraw all his garrisons from those cities which he should give up, and which had put themselves, and their country, under the dominion and protection of the Roman people; and should take care that, in future, neither he, nor any of his subjects, should give them any disturbance. That he should not build any town or fort in his own, or any other territory. That, to secure the performance of these conditions, he should give five hostages, such as the Roman general should choose, and among them his own son; and should pay, at present, one hundred talents of silver; and fifty talents, annually, for eight years.”
XXXVI. These articles were put into writing, and sent into Lacedæmon, the camp having been removed, and brought nearer to the town. The tyrant saw nothing in them that gave him much satisfaction, excepting that, beyond his hopes, no mention had been made of reinstating the exiles. But what mortified him most of all, was, the depriving him of his shipping, and of the maritime towns: for the sea had been a source of great profit to him; his piratical vessels having continually infested the whole coast from the promontory of Malea. Besides, he found in the young men of those towns, recruits for his army, who made by far the best of his soldiers. Though he discussed those conditions in private with his confidential friends, yet, as the ministers in the courts of kings, faithless in other respects, are particularly so with respect to the concealing of secrets, they soon became the subject of common conversation. The public, in general, expressed not so great a disapprobation of the whole of the terms, as did individuals, of the articles particularly affecting themselves. Those who had the wives of the exiles in marriage, or had possessed themselves of any of their property, were provoked, as if they were to lose what was their own, and not to make restitution of what belonged to others. The slaves, who had been set at liberty by the tyrant, perceived plainly, not only that their enfranchisement would be annulled, but that their servitude would be much more severe than it had been before, when they should be again put under the power of their incensed masters. The mercenary soldiers saw, with uneasiness, that, in consequence of a peace, their pay would cease; and they knew also, that they could not return among their own countrymen, who detested not tyrants more than they did their abettors.
XXXVII. They at first spoke of these matters, in their circles, with murmurs of discontent; and afterwards, suddenly ran to arms. From which tumultuous proceeding, the tyrant perceived that the passions of the multitude were of themselves inflamed as highly as he could wish; he, therefore, immediately ordered a general assembly to be summoned. Here he explained to them the terms which the Romans strove to impose, to which he falsely added others, more severe and humiliating. While, on the mention of each particular, sometimes the whole assembly, sometimes different parties raised a shout of disapprobation, he asked them, “What answer they wished him to give; or what they would have him do?” On which all, as it were with one voice, cried out, “To give no answer, to continue the war;” and they began, as is common with a multitude, every one to encourage the rest, to keep up their spirits, and cherish good hopes, observing, that “fortune favours the brave.” Animated by these expressions, the tyrant assured them, that Antiochus, and the Ætolians, would come to their assistance; and that he had, in the mean time, a force abundantly sufficient for the maintenance of a siege. Every thought of peace vanished from their minds, and, unable to contain themselves longer in quiet, they ran out in parties against the advanced guards of the enemy. The sally of these few skirmishers, and the weapons which they threw, immediately demonstrated to the Romans, beyond a doubt, that the war was to continue. During the four following days, several slight encounters took place, without any certain advantage; but, on the fifth day after, in a kind of regular engagement, the Lacedæmonians were beaten back into the town, in such a panick, that several Roman soldiers, pressing close on their rear, entered the city through open spaces, not secured with a wall, of which, at that time, there were several.
XXXVIII. Then Quintius, having, by this repulse, effectually checked the sallies of the enemy, and being fully convinced that he had now no alternative, but must besiege the city, sent persons to bring up all the marine forces from Gythium; and, in the mean time, rode himself, with some military tribunes, round the walls, to take a view of the situation of the place. In former times, Sparta had no wall; of late, the tyrants had built walls, in the places where the ground was open and level; but the higher places, and those more difficult of access, they secured by placingg guards of soldiers instead of fortifications. When he had sufficiently examined every circumstance, he resolved on making a general assault; and, for that purpose, surrounded the city with all his forces, the number of which, Romans and allies, horse and foot, naval and land forces, all together, amounted to fifty thousand men. Some brought scaling-ladders, some firebrands, some other matters, wherewith they might either assail the enemy, or strike terror. The orders were, that on raising the shout, all should advance at once, in order that the Lacedæmonians, being alarmed at the same time in every quarter, might be at a loss where, first, to make head, or whither to bring aid. The main force of his army he formed in three divisions, and ordered one to attack, on the side of the Phœbeum, another on that of the Dictynneum, and the third near a place called Heptagoniæ, all which are open places without walls. Though surrounded on all sides by such a violent alarm, the tyrant, at first, attentive to every sudden shout, and hasty message, either ran up himself, or sent others, wherever the greatest danger pressed; but afterwards, he was so stunned by the horror and confusion that prevailed all around, as to become incapable either of giving proper directions, or of hearing what was said, and to lose, not only his judgment, but almost his reason.
XXXIX. For some time the Lacedæmonians maintained their ground, against the Romans, in the narrow passes; and three armies, on each side, fought, at one time, in different places. Afterwards, when the heat of the contest increased, the combatants were, by no means, on an equal footing: for the Lacedæmonians fought with missile arms, against which, the Roman soldiers, by means of their large shields, easily defended themselves, and many of their blows either missed, or were very weak; for, the narrowness of the place causing them to be closely crowded together, they neither had room to discharge their weapons, with a previous run, which gives great force to them, nor clear and steady footing while they made their throw. Of those therefore, discharged against the front of the Romans, none pierced their bodies, few even their shields: but several were wounded, by those who stood on higher places, on each side of them; and presently, when they advanced a little, they were hurt unawares, both with javelins, and tiles also thrown from the tops of the houses. On this they raised their shields over their heads, and joining them so close together as to leave no room for injury from such random casts, or even for the insertion of a javelin, by a hand within reach, they pressed forward under cover of this tortoise fence. For some time the narrow streets, being thronged with the soldiers of both parties, considerably retarded the progress of the Romans; but when once, by gradually pushing back the enemy, they gained the wider passes, the impetuosity of their attack could no longer be withstood. While the Lacedæmonians, having turned their backs, fled precipitately to the higher places, Nabis, being utterly confounded, as if the town were already taken, began to look about for a way to make his escape. Pythagoras, through the whole affair, displayed the spirit and conduct of a general, and was now the sole means of saving the city from being taken. For he ordered the buildings nearest to the wall to be set on fire; and these being instantly in a blaze, those who, on another occasion, would have brought help to extinguish the fire, now helping to increase it, the roofs tumbled on the Romans; and not only fragments of the tiles, but also the half-burned timber reached the soldiers: the flames spread wide, and the smoke caused a degree of terror even greater than the danger. In consequence, the Romans who were without the city, and were just then advancing to the assault, retired from the wall; and those who were within, fearing lest the fire, rising behind them, should put it out of their power to rejoin the rest of the army, began to retreat. Whereupon Quintius, seeing how matters stood, ordered a general retreat to be sounded.—Thus, after they had almost mastered the city, they were obliged to quit it, and return to their camp.
XL. Quintius, conceiving greater hopes from the fears of the enemy, than from the immediate effect of his operations, kept them in a continual alarm during the three succeeding days; sometimes harassing them with assaults, sometimes inclosing several places with works, so as to leave no passage open for flight. These menaces had such an effect on the tyrant that he again sent Pythagoras to solicit peace. Quintius, at first, rejected him with disdain, ordering him to quit the camp; but afterwards, on his suppliant entreaties, and throwing himself at his feet, he admitted him to an audience in form. The purport of his discourse, at first, was, an offer of implicit submission to the will of the Romans; but this availed nothing, being considered as nugatory and indecisive. The business was, at length, brought to this issue, that a truce should be made on the conditions delivered in writing a few days before, and the money and hostages were accordingly received. While the tyrant was kept shut up by the siege, the Argives, receiving frequent accounts, one after another, that Lacedæmon was on the point of being taken, and having themselves resumed courage on the departure of Pythagoras, with the strongest part of his garrison, looked now with contempt on the small number remaining in the citadel; and, being headed by a person named Archippus, drove the garrison out. They gave Timocrates, of Pellene, leave to retire, with solemn assurances of sparing his life, in consideration of the mildness which he had shown in his government. In the midst of their rejoicing for this eyent, Quintius arrived, after having granted peace to the tyrant, dismissed Eumenes and the Rhodians from Lacedæmon, and sent back his brother, Lucius Quintius, to the fleet.
XLI. The Nemæan games, the most celebrated of all the Roman festivals, and their most splendid public spectacle, had been omitted, at the regular time, on account of the disasters of the war: the state, now, in the fullness of their joy, ordered them to be celebrated on the arrival of the Roman general and his army; and appointed the general himself, president of the games. Many circumstances concurred to render their happiness complete: their countrymen, whom Pythagoras, lately, and, before that, Nabis, had carried away, were brought home from Lacedæmon; those who, on the discovery of the conspiracy by Pythagoras, and when the massacre was already begun, had fled from home, now returned; they saw their liberty restored, after a long interval, and beheld, in their city, the Romans, the authors of its restoration, whose only view, in making war on the tyrant, was, the support of their interest. The freedom of the Argives was, also, solemnly announced, by the voice of a herald, on the very day of the Nemæn games. Whatever pleasure the Achæans felt on Argos being reinstated in the general council of Achaia, it was, in a great measure, allayed by Lacedæmon being left in slavery, and the tyrant close at their side. As to the Ætolians, they loudly railed at that measure in every meeting. They remarked, that “the war with Philip was not ended until he evacuated all the cities of Greece. But Lacedæmon was left to the tyrant, while the lawful king, who had been, at the time, in the Roman camp, and others, the noblest of the citizens, must live in exile: so that the Roman nation was become a partizan of Nabis’s tyranny.” Quintius led back his army to Elatia, whence he had set out to the Spartan war. Some writers say, that the tyrant’s method of carrying on hostilities was not by sallies from the city, but that he encamped in the face of the Romans; and that, after he had declined fighting a long time, waiting for succours from the Ætolians, he was forced to come to an engagement, by an attack which the Romans made on his foragers, when, being defeated in that battle, and beaten out of his camp, he sued for peace, after fifteen thousand of his men had been killed, and more than four thousand made prisoners.
XLII. Nearly at the same time, arrived at Rome a letter from Titus Quintius, with an account of his proceedings at Lacedæmon; and another, out of Spain, from Marcus Porcius, the consul; whereupon the senate decreed a supplication, for three days, in the name of each. The other consul, Lucius Valerius, as his province had remained quiet since the defeat of the Boians at the wood of Litana, came home to Rome to hold the elections. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, a second time, and Tiberius Sempronius Longus, were elected consuls. The fathers of these two had been consuls in the first year of the second Punic war. The election of prætors was then held, and the choice fell on Publius Cornelius Scipio, two Cneius Corneliuses, Merenda, and Blasio, Cneius Domitius Ænobarbus, Sextus Digitius, and Titus Juvencius Thalna. As soon as the elections were finished, the consul returned to his province. The inhabitants of Ferentinum, this year, laid claim to a privilege unheard of before: that Latines, giving in their names for a Roman colony, should be deemed citizens of Rome. Some colonists, who had given in their names for Puteoli, Salernum, and Buxentum, assumed, on that ground, the character of Roman citizens; but the senate determined that they were not.
Y.R.558. 194.XLIII. In the beginning of the year, wherein Publius Scipio Africanus, a second time, and Tiberius Sempronius Longus were consuls, two ambassadors from the tyrant Nabis came to Rome. The senate gave them audience in the temple of Apollo, outside the city. They entreated, that a peace might be concluded on the terms settled with Quintius, which was granted. When the question was put concerning the provinces, the majority of the senate were of opinion, that, as the wars in Spain and Macedonia were at an end, Italy should be the province of both the consuls: but Scipio contended that one consul was sufficient for Italy, and that Macedonia ought to be decreed to the other; that “there was every reason to apprehend a dangerous war with Antiochus, for he had already, of his own accord, come into Europe; and how did they suppose he would act in future, when he should be encouraged to a war, on one hand, by the Ætolians, avowed enemies of their state, and stimulated, on the other, by Hannibal, a general famous for his victories over the Romans?” While the consular provinces were in dispute, the prætors cast lots for theirs. The city jurisdiction fell to Cneius Domitius; the foreign, to Titus Juvencius; Farther Spain, to Publius Cornelius; Hither Spain, to Sextus Digitius; Sicily, to Cneius Cornelius Blasio; Sardinia, to Cneius Cornelius Merenda. It was resolved, that no new army should be sent into Macedonia, but that the one which was there should be brought home to Italy by Quintius, and disbanded; that the army which was in Spain, under Marcus Porcius Cato, should likewise be disbanded; that Italy should be the province of both the consuls, for the defence of which they should raise two city legions; so that, after the disbanding of the armies, mentioned in the resolution of the senate, the whole military establishment should consist of eight Roman legions.
XLIV. A sacred spring had been celebrated, in the preceding year, during the consulate of Marcus Porcius and Lucius Valerius; but Publius Licinius, one of the pontiffs, having made a report, first, to the college of pontiffs, and afterwards, by their direction, to the senate, that it had not been duly performed, a vote was passed, that it should be celebrated anew, under the direction of the pontiffs; and that the great games, vowed together with it, should be exhibited at the usual expense: that the sacred spring should be deemed to comprehend all the cattle born between the calends of March, and the day preceding the calends of May, in the year of the consulate of Publius Cornelius Scipio and Tiberius Sempronius Longus. Then followed the election of censors. Sextus Ælius Pætus, and Caius Cornelius Cethegus, being created censors, named as prince of the senate, the consul Publius Scipio, whom the former censors likewise had appointed. They passed by only three senators in the whole, none of whom had enjoyed the honour of a curule office. They obtained, on another account, the highest degree of credit with that body; for, at the celebration of the Roman games, they ordered the curule ædiles to set apart places for the senators, distinct from those of the people, whereas, hitherto, all the spectators used to sit promiscuously. Of the knights, also, very few were deprived of their horses; nor was severity shown towards any rank of men. The gallery of the temple of Liberty, and the Villa Publica, were repaired and enlarged by the same censors. The sacred spring, and the votive games, were celebrated, pursuant to the vow of Servius Sulpicius Galba, when consul. While every one’s thoughts were engaged by the shows then exhibited, Quintus Pleminius, who, for the many crimes, against gods and men, committed by him at Locri, had been thrown into prison, procured men who were to set fire, by night, to several parts of the city at once; in order that, during the general consternation, which such a disturbance would occasion, the prison might be broken open. But some of the accomplices discovered the design, and the affair was laid before the senate. Pleminius was thrown into the dungeon, and there put to death.
XLV. In this year, colonies of Roman citizens were settled at Puteoli, Vulturnum, and Liturnum; three hundred men in each place. The lands allotted to them had formerly belonged to the Campanians. Colonies of Roman citizens were likewise established at Salernum and Buxentum. The commissioners for conducting these settlements were, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, then consul, Marcus Servilius, and Quintus Minucius Thermus. Other commissioners, also, Decius Junius Brutus, Marcus Bæbius Tamphilus, and Marcus Helvius, led a colony of Roman citizens to Sipontum, into a district which had belonged to the Arpinians. To Tempsa, likewise, and to Croto, colonies of Roman citizens were led out. The lands of Tempsa had been taken from the Bruttians, who had formerly expelled the Greeks from them. Croto was possessed by Greeks. In ordering these establishments, there were named, for Croto,—Cneius Octavius, Lucius Æmilius Paullus, and Caius Pletorius; for Tempsa,—Lucius Cornelius Merula, and Caius Salonius. Several prodigies were observed at Rome that year, and others reported, from other places. In the Forum, Comitium, and Capitol, drops of blood were seen, and several showers of earth fell, and the head of Vulcan was surrounded with a blaze of fire. It was reported, that a stream of milk ran in the river at Interamna; that, in some reputable families at Ariminum, children were born without eyes and nose; and one, in the territory of Picenum, that had neither hands nor feet. These prodigies were expiated, according to an order of the pontiffs; and the nine days festival was celebrated, in consequence of a report from Adria, that a shower of stones had fallen in that neighbourhood.
XLVI. In Gaul, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, proconsul, in a pitched battle near Mediolanum, completely overthrew the Insubrian Gauls, and the Boians; who, under the command of Dorulacus, had crossed the Po, to rouse the Insubrians to arms. Ten thousand of the enemy were slain. About this time his colleague, Marcus Porcius Cato, triumphed over Spain. He carried in the procession twenty-five thousand pounds weight of unwrought silver, one hundred and three thousand silver denariuses,* five hundred and forty of Oscan silver,† and one thousand four hundred pounds weight of gold. Out of the booty, he distributed to each of his soldiers two hundred and seventy asses;‡ double that sum to each centurion, and triple to each horseman. Tiberius Sempronius, consul, proceeding to his province, led his legions, first, into the territory of the Boians. At this time Boiorix, their chieftain, with his two brothers, after having drawn out the whole nation into the field to renew the war, pitched his camp on level ground, with an evident intention to fight the enemy, in case they should pass the frontiers. When the consul understood what a numerous force, and what a degree of resolution the enemy had, he sent an express to his colleague, requesting him, “if he thought proper, to hasten to join him;” adding, that “he would act on the defensive, and defer engaging in battle, until his arrival.” The same reason which made the consul wish to decline an action, induced the Gauls, whose spirits were raised by the backwardness of their antagonists, to bring it on as soon as possible, that they might finish the affair before the two consuls should unite their forces. However, during two days, they did nothing more than stand in readiness for battle, if any should come out against them. On the third, they advanced furiously to the rampart, and assaulted the camp on every side at once. The consul, immediately, ordered his men to take arms, and kept them quiet, under arms, for some time; both to add to the foolish confidence of the enemy, and to arrange his troops at the gates, through which each party was to sally out. The two legions were ordered to march by the two principal gates; but, in the very pass of the gates, the Gauls opposed them in such close bodies as to stop up the way. The fight was maintained a long time in these narrow passes; nor were their hands or swords much employed in the business, but pushing with their shields and bodies, they pressed against each other, the Romans struggling to force their way out, the Gauls to break into the camp, or, at least, to hinder the Romans from issuing forth. However, neither party could make the least impression on the other, until Quintus Victorius, a first centurion, and Caius Atinius, a military tribune, the former of the second, the latter of the fourth legion, had recourse to an expedient often tried in desperate cases; snatching the standards from the officers who carried them, and throwing them among the enemy. In the struggle to recover the standards, the men of the second legion, first, made their way out of the gate.
XLVII. These were now fighting on the outside of the rampart, the fourth legion still entangled in the gate, when a new alarm arose on the opposite side of the camp. The Gauls had broke in by the Quæstorian Gate, and had slain the quæstor, Lucius Postumius, surnamed Tympanus, with Marcus Atinius and Publius Sempronius, præfects of the allies, who made an obstinate resistance; and also, near two hundred soldiers. The enemy were masters of that part of the camp, until a cohort of those which are called Extraordinaries, sent by the consul to defend the Quæstorian Gate, killed some who had got within the rampart, drove out the rest, and opposed others who were attempting to break in. About the same time, the fourth legion, and two cohorts of Extraordinaries, burst out of the gate; and thus there were three battles, in different places, round the camp; while the various kinds of shouts raised by them, called off the attention of the combatants from the fight in which they themselves were immediately engaged, to the dangers which threatened their friends. The battle was maintained until mid-day with equal strength, and with nearly equal hopes. At length, the fatigue and heat so far got the better of the soft relaxed bodies of the Gauls, who are incapable of enduring thirst, as to make most of them give up the fight; and the few who stood their ground were attacked by the Romans, routed, and driven to their camp. The consul then gave the signal for retreat, which the greater part obeyed; but some, eager to continue the fight, and hoping to get possession of the camp, pressed forward to the rampart, on which the Gauls, despising their small number, rushed out in a body. The Romans were then routed in turn, and compelled, by their own fear and dismay, to retreat to their camp, which they had refused to do at the command of their general. Thus both parties experienced, in turn, the vicissitudes of flight and victory. The Gauls, however, had eleven thousand killed, the Romans but five thousand. The Gauls retreated into the heart of their country, and the consul led his legions to Placentia. Some writers say, that Scipio, after joining his forces to those of his colleague, overran and plundered the country of the Boians and Ligurians, as far as the woods and marshes suffered him to proceed; others that, without having effected any thing material, he returned to Rome to hold the elections.
XLVIII. Titus Quintius passed the entire winter season of this year at Elatia, where he had established the winterquarters of his army, in adjusting political arrangements, and reversing the measures which had been introduced in the several states under the arbitrary domination of Philip and his deputies, while they crushed the rights and liberties of others, in order to augment the power of those who formed a faction in their favour. Early in the spring he came to Corinth, where he had summoned a general convention. Ambassadors having attended from every one of the states, so as to form a numerous assembly, he addressed them in a long speech, in which, beginning from the first commencement of friendship between the Romans and the nation of the Greeks, he enumerated the proceedings of the commanders who had been in Macedonia before him, and likewise his own. His whole narration was heard with the warmest approbation, until he came to make mention of Nabis; and then they expressed their opinion, that it was utterly inconsistent with the character of the deliverer of Greece, to have left seated, in the centre of one of its most respectable states, a tyrant, who was not only insupportable to his own country, but a terror to all the states in his neighbourhood. Whereupon Quintius, who well knew their sentiments on the occasion, freely acknowledged, that “if the business could have been accomplished without the entire destruction of Lacedæmon, no mention of peace with the tyrant ought ever to have been listened to; but that, as the case stood, when it was not possible to crush him without involving the city in utter ruin, it was judged more eligible to leave Nabis in a state of debility, stripped of almost every kind of power to do injury, than to suffer the city, which must have perished in the very process of its delivery being effectuated, to sink under remedies too violent for it to support.”
XLIX. To the recital of matters past, he subjoined, that “his intention was to depart shortly for Italy, and to carry with him all his troops; that they should hear, within ten days, of the garrisons having evacuated Demetrias; and that Chalcis, the citadel of Corinth, should instantly be delivered up to the Achæans: that all the world might know which deserved better the character of deceivers, the Romans or the Ætolians, who had spread insinuations, that when the cause of liberty was intrusted to the Romans it was put into dangerous hands, and that they had only changed masters, being subjugated now to the Romans, as formerly to the Macedonians. But they were men who never scrupled what they either said or did. The rest of the nations, he advised, to form their estimate of friends from deeds, not from words; and to satisfy themselves whom they ought to trust, and against whom they ought to be on their guard; to use liberty with moderation: for, when regulated by prudence, it was productive of happiness both to individuals and to states; but, when pushed to excess, it became not only obnoxious to others, but precipitated the possessors of it themselves into dangerous rashness and extravagance. He recommended, that those at the head of affairs, and all the several ranks of men in each particular state, should cultivate harmony between themselves; and that all should direct their views to the general interest of the whole. For, while they acted in concert, no king or tyrant would ever be able to overpower them: but discord and dissension gave every advantage to the arts of an adversary; as the party worsted in a domestic dispute, generally chose to unite with foreigners, rather than submit to a countryman of their own. He then exhorted them, as the arms of others had procured their liberty, and the good faith of foreigners had returned it safe into their hands, to apply now their own diligent care to the watching and guarding of it; that the Roman people might perceive, that those on whom they had bestowed liberty were deserving of it, and that their kindness was not ill placed.”
L. On hearing these admonitions, such as parental tenderness might dictate, every one present shed tears of joy; and so great were their transports, that they affected his feelings to such a degree as to interrupt his discourse. For some time a confused noise prevailed, all together expressing their approbation, and charging each other to treasure up those expressions in their minds and hearts, as if they had been uttered by an oracle. Then silence ensuing, he requested of them to make diligent search for such Roman citizens as were in servitude among them, and to send them into Thessaly to him, within two months; observing, that “it would not redound to their honour, if, in a land restored to liberty, its deliverers should remain in servitude.” This was answered with a shout of applause; and they acknowledged, as an obligation added to the rest, his reminding them of the discharge of a duty so indispensably incumbent on their gratitude. There was a vast number of these who had been made prisoners in the Punic war, and sold by Hannibal when their countrymen refused to ransom them. That they were very numerous, is proved by what Polybius says, that this business cost the Achæans one hundred talents* , though they had fixed the price to be paid for each captive, to the owner, so low as five hundred denariuses† . For, at that rate, there were one thousand two hundred in Achaia. Calculate now, in proportion to this, how many were probably in all Greece.
LI. Before the convention broke up, they saw the garrison march down from the citadel of Corinth, proceed forward to the gate, and depart. The general followed them, accompanied by the whole assembly, who, with loud acclamations, blessed him as their preserver and deliverer. At length taking leave of these, and dismissing them he returned to Elatia by the same road through which he came. He thence sent Appius Claudius, lieutenant-general, with all the troops, ordering him to march through Thessaly and Epirus, and to wait for him at Oricum, where he intended to embark the army for Italy. He also wrote to his brother, Lucius Quintius, lieutenant-general, and commander of the fleet, to collect thither transport ships from all the coasts of Greece. He himself proceeded to Chalcis; and, after sending away the garrisons, not only from that city, but likewise from Oreum and Eretria, he held there a congress of the Eubœan states, whom he reminded of the condition in which he had found their affairs, and of that in which he was leaving them; and then dismissed the assembly. He then proceeded to Demetrias, and removed the garrison. Accompanied by all the citizens, as at Corinth and Chalcis, he pursued his route into Thessaly, where the states were not only to be set at liberty, but also to be reduced, from a state of utter anarchy and confusion, into some tolerable form: for they had been thrown into disorder, not only through the faults of the times, and the arbitrary acts of the king and his adherents, but also through the restless disposition of the nation, who, from the earliest times, even to our days, have never conducted any election, or assembly, or council, without dissensions and tumult. He chose both senators and judges, with regard, principally, to their property, and vested the chief share of power in that part of the state which was more particularly interested in its safety and tranquillity.
LII. When he had completed these regulations in Thessaly, he went on, through Epirus, to Oricum, whence he intended to take his passage; all the troops being transported thence to Brundusium. From this place to the city, they passed the whole length of Italy, in a manner, like a triumph; the captured effects, which they brought with them, forming a train as large as that of the troops themselves. When they arrived at Rome, the senate assembled outside the city, to receive from Quintius a recital of his services; and, with high satisfaction, voted him a triumph, which he had so justly merited. His triumph lasted three days. On the first day were carried in procession, armour, weapons, brazen and marble statues, of which he had taken greater numbers from Philip, than from the states of Greece. On the second, gold and silver wrought, unwrought, and coined. Of unwrought silver, there were eighteen thousand pounds weight; and, of wrought, two hundred and seventy thousand; consisting of many vessels of various sorts, most of them engraved, and several of exquisite workmanship; also a great many others made of brass, and, besides these, ten shields of silver. The coined silver amounted to eighty-four thousand of the Attic coin, called Tetradrachmus, containing each, of silver, about the weight of four denariuses* . Of gold there were three thousand seven hundred and fourteen pounds, and one shield of massy gold; and of the gold coin, called Philippics, fourteen thousand five hundred and fourteen† . On the third day were carried golden crowns, presented by the several states, in number one hundred and fourteen; then the victims. Before his chariot went many illustrious captives, with the hostages, among whom were Demetrius, son of King Philip, and Armenes, a Lacedæmonian, son of the tyrant Nabis. Then Quintius himself rode into the city, followed by a numerous body of soldiers, as the whole army had been brought home from the province. Among these he distributed two hundred and fifty asses‡ to each footman, double to a centurion, triple to a horseman. Those who had been redeemed from captivity, added to the grandeur of the procession, walking after him with their heads shaven.
LIII. In the latter part of this year, Quintus Ælius Tubero, plebeian tribune, in pursuance of a decree of senate, proposed to the people, and the people ordered, that “two Latine colonies should be settled, one in Bruttium, the other in the territory of Thurium.” For making these settlements, commissioners were appointed, who were to hold the office for three years: for Bruttium, Quintus Nævius, Marcus Minucius Rufus, and Marcus Furius Crassipes; and for the district of Thurium, Cneius Manlius, Quintus Ælius, and Lucius Apustius. The assemblies of election to these two appointments were held in the Capitol by Cneius Domitius, city prætor. Several temples were dedicated this year: one of Juno Sospita, in the herb-market, vowed and contracted for four years before, in the time of the Gallic war, by Cneius Cornelius, consul; and the same person, now censor, performed the dedication. Another of Faunus, the building of which had been agreed for two years before, and a fund formed for it, out of fines estreated by the ædiles, Caius Scribonius and Cneius Domitius; the latter of whom, now city prætor, dedicated it. Quintus Marcius Ralla, constituted commissioner for the purpose, dedicated the temple of Fortuna Primigenia, on the Quirinal Hill. Publius Sempronius Sophus had vowed this temple ten years before, in the Punic war; and, being afterwards censor, had employed persons to build it. Caius Servilius, duumvir, also dedicated a temple of Jupiter, in the island. This had been vowed in the Gallic war, six years before, by Lucius Furius Purpureo, who afterwards, when consul, contracted for the building. Such were the transactions of that year.
LIV. Publius Scipio came home from his province of Gaul to choose new consuls; and the people, in assembly, elected Lucius Cornelius Merula, and Quintus Minucius Thermus. Next day, were chosen prætors, Lucius Cornelius Scipio, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, Cains Scribonius, Marcus Valerius Messala, Lucius Porcius Licinus, and Caius Flaminius. The curule ædiles of this year, Caius Atilius Serranus and Lucius Scribonius, first exhibited the Megalesian games, in which were introduced performances on the stage. At the Roman games, celebrated by these ædiles, the senators, for the first time, sat separate from the people, which, as every innovation usually does, gave occasion to various observations. Some considered this as “an honour, shown at length to that most respectable body, and which ought to have been done long before;” while others contended, that “every addition, made to the grandeur of the senate, was a diminution of the dignity of the people; and that all such distinctions, as tended to set the orders of the state at a distance from each other, were equally subversive of liberty and concord. During five hundred and fifty-eight years,” they asserted, “all the spectators had sat promiscuously: what reason then, had now occurred, on a sudden that should make the senators disdain to have the commons intermixed with them, or make the rich scorn to sit in company with the poor? It was an unprecedented gratification of pride, and overbearing vanity, never even desired, or certainly not assumed, by the senate of any other nation.” It is said, that even Africanus himself, at last, became sorry for having proposed that matter in his consulship: so difficult is it to bring people to approve of any alteration of ancient customs; they are always naturally disposed to adhere to old practices, unless experience evidently proves their inexpediency.
LV. In the beginning of the year, which was the consulate of Lucius Cornelius and Quintus Minucius, such frequent reports of earthquakes were brought, that people grew weary, not only of the matter itself, but of the religious rites enjoined in consequence; for neither could the senate be convened, nor the business of the public be transacted, the consuls were so constantly employed in sacrifices and expiations. At last, the decemvirs were ordered to consult the books, and, in pursuance of their answer, a supplication was performed, during three days. People offered prayers at all the shrines, with garlands on their heads. An order was published, that all the persons belonging to one family should pay their worship together; and the consuls, by direction of the senate, published an edict, that, on any day, whereon religious rites should be ordered, in consequence of the report of an earthquake, no person should report another earthquake on that day. Then the consuls first, afterwards the prætors, cast lots for their provinces. Cornelius obtained Gaul; Minucius, Liguria; Caius Scribonius, the city jurisdiction; Marcus Valerius, the foreign; Lucius Cornelius, Sicily; Lucius Porcius, Sardinia; Caius Flaminius, Hither Spain; and Marcus Fulvius, Farther Spain.
LVI. While the consuls supposed, that, for that year, they should have no employment in the military line, a letter was brought from Marcus Cincius, who was commander at Pisæ, announcing, that twenty thousand armed Ligurians, in consequence of a conspiracy of that whole nation, formed in the meetings of their several districts, had, first, wasted the lands of Luna, and then passing through the territory of Pisæ, had overrun the whole sea coast.” In consequence of this intelligence, the consul, Minucius, whose province Liguria was, by direction of the senate, mounted the rostrum, and published orders, that, “the two legions, enlisted the year before, should, on the tenth day from that, attend him at Arretium; and mentioned his intention of levying two legions, for the city, in their stead.Y.R. 559. 193. He likewise gave notice to the magistrates and ambassadors of such of the allies* , and of the Latine confederates, as were bound to furnish soldiers, to attend him in the Capitol. Or these the wrote out a list, amounting to fifteen thousand foot, and five hundred horse, proportioning the contingent of each state to the number of its young men, and ordered those present to go directly from the spot to the gate of the city; and, in order to expedite the business, to proceed to their homes to raise the men. To Fulvius and Flaminius were assigned equal numbers of men, to each three thousand Roman foot, and a reinforcement of one hundred horse, with five thousand foot of the Latine allies, and two hundred horse; and orders were given to those prætors, to disband the old troops immediately on their arrival in their provinces. Although great numbers of the soldiers belonging to the city legions had made application to the plebeian tribunes, to take cognizance of the cases of such men as claimed exemption from the service, on account either of having served out their time, or of bad health; yet a letter from Tiberius Sempronius banished all thoughts of such proceeding; for he sent an account, that “fifteen thousand of the Ligurians had come into the lands of Placentia, and wasted them with fire and sword, to the very walls of that city and the bank of the Po; and that the Boian nation also appeared disposed to renew hostilities.” In consequence of this information, the senate passed a vote, that “there was a Gallic tumult subsisting,” and that “it would be improper for the plebeian tribunes to take cognizance of the claims of the soldiers, so as to prevent their attending, pursuant to the proclamation; and they added an order, that the Latine confederates, who had served in the army of Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius, and had been discharged by those consuls, should reassemble, on whatever day and in whatever place of Etruria the consul Lucius Cornelius should appoint; and that the consul Lucius Cornelius, on his way to his province, should enlist, arm, and carry with him all such persons as he should think fit, in the several towns and countries through which he was to pass, and should have authority to discharge such of them, and at such times, as he might judge proper.
LVII. After the consuls had finished the levies, and were gone to their provinces, Titus Quintius demanded, that “the senate should receive an account of the regulations which he in concert with the ten ambassadors, had settled; and, if they thought proper, ratify them by their authority.” He told them, that “it would facilitate this business, if they were first to give audience to the ambassadors, who had come from all parts of Greece, and a great part of Asia, and to those from the two Kings.” These embassies were introduced to the senate, by the city prætor Caius Scribonius, and all received kind answers. As the discussion of the affair with Antiochus required too much time, it was referred to the ten ambassadors, some of whom had conferred with the King in Asia, or at Lysimachia. Directions were given to Titus Quintius, that, in conjunction with these, he should hear what the King’s ambassadors had to say, and should give them such answer as comported with the dignity and interest of the Roman people. At the head of the embassy were Menippus and Hegesianax; the former of whom said, that “he could not conceive what intricacy there was in the business of their embassy, as they came simply to ask friendship, and conclude an alliance. Now, there were three kinds of treaties, by which kings and states formed friendships with each other: one, when terms were dictated to a people vanquished in war; for after every thing has been surrendered to him who has proved superior in war, he has the sole power of judging and determining what share shall remain to the vanquished, and what they shall forfeit. The second, when parties, equally matched in war, conclude a treaty of peace and friendship on terms of equality; for then demands are proposed and restitution made, reciprocally, in a convention; and if, in consequence of the war, confusion has arisen with respect to any parts of their properties, the matter is adjusted on the footing either of ancient right or of the mutual convenience of the parties. The third kind was, when parties who had never been foes, met to form a friendly union by a social treaty: these neither dictate nor receive terms, for that is the case between a victor and a party vanquished. As Antiochus came under this last description, he wondered, he said, at the Romans taking upon them to dictate terms to him; and to prescribe, which of the cities of Asia they chose should be free and independent, which tributary, and which of them the King’s troops and the King himself should be prohibited to enter. This might be a proper method of concluding a peace with Philip, who was their enemy, but not of making a treaty of alliance with Antiochus, their friend.”
LVIII. To this Quintius answered: “Since you choose to deal methodically, and enumerate the several modes of contracting amity, I also will lay down two conditions, without which, you may tell your King, that he must not expect to contract any friendship with the Romans. One, that, if he does not choose that we should concern ourselves in the affairs of the cities of Asia, he must refrain from interfering, in any particular, with the affairs of Europe. The other, that if he does not confine himself within the limits of Asia, but passes over into Europe, the Romans will think themselves at full liberty to maintain the friendships which they have already formed with the states of Asia, and also to contract new ones.” On this Hegesianax exclaimed, that “such propositions were highly improper to be listened to, as their tendency was to exclude Antiochus from the cities of Thrace and the Chersonese,—places which his great-grandfather, Seleucus, had acquired with great honour, after vanquishing Lysimachus in war, and killing him in battle, and had left to his successors; and part of which, after they had been seized by the Thracians, Antiochus had, with equal honour, recovered by force of arms; as well as others which had been deserted,—as Lysimachia, for instance, he had repeopled, by calling home the inhabitants;—and several, which had been destroyed by fire, and buried in ruins, he had rebuilt at a vast expense. What kind of resemblance was there, then, in the cases of Antiochus being ejected from possessions so acquired, so recovered; and of the Romans refraining from intermeddling with Asia, to which they never had any claim? Antiochus wished to obtain the friendship of the Romans; but he wished it on terms that would redound to his honour, not to his shame.” In reply to this, Quintius said,—“Since honour is the point on which our disquisitions turn, and which, indeed, with a people who held the first rank among the nations of the world, and with so great a King, ought to be the sole, or at least the primary object of regard; tell me, I pray you, which do you think more honourable, to wish to give liberty to all the Grecian cities in every part of the world; or to make them slaves and vassals? Since Antiochus thinks it conducive to his glory, to reduce to slavery those cities, which his great-grandfather held by the right of arms, but which his grandfather or father never occupied as their property; while the Roman people, having undertaken the patronage of the liberty of the Greeks, deem it incumbent on their faith and constancy not to abandon it. As they have delivered Greece from Philip, so they intend to deliver, from Antiochus, all the states of Asia which are of the Grecian race. For colonies were not sent into Æolia and Ionia to be enslaved to kings; but with design to increase the population, and to propagate that ancient race in every part of the globe.”
LIX. Hegesianax hesitating, as he could not deny, that the cause, which professed the bestowing of liberty, carried a more honourable semblance than one that pointed to slavery, Publius Sulpicius, who was the eldest of the ten ambassadors, said,—“Let us cut the matter short. Choose one of the two conditions clearly propounded just now by Quintius; or cease to speak of friendship.” But Menippus replied: “We neither will, nor can, accede to any proposition, which tends to lessen the dominions of Antiochus.” Next day, Quintius brought into the senate-house all the ambassadors of Greece and Asia, in order that they might learn the dispositions entertained by the Roman people, and by Antiochus, towards the Grecian states. He then acquainted them with his own demands, and those of the King; and desired them to “assure their respective states, that the same disinterested zeal and courage, which the Roman people had displayed in defence of their liberty against the encroachments of Philip, they would, likewise, exert against those of Antiochus, if he should refuse to retire out of Europe.” On this, Menippus earnestly besought Quintius and the senate, “not to be hasty in forming their determination, which, in its effects, might disturb the peace of the whole world; to take time to themselves, and allow the King time for consideration; that, when informed of the conditions proposed, he would consider them, and either obtain some relaxation in the terms, or accede to them.” Accordingly, the business was deferred entire; and a resolution passed, that the same ambassadors should be sent to the King, who had attended him at Lysimachia,—Publius Sulpicius, Publius Villius, and Publius Ælius.
LX. Scarcely had these begun their journey, when ambassadors from Carthage brought information, that Antiochus was evidently preparing for war, and that Hannibal was employed in his service; which gave reason to fear, that the Carthaginians might take arms at the same time. Hannibal, on leaving his own country, had gone to Antiochus, as was mentioned before, and was held by the King in high estimation, not so much for his other qualification, as because, to a person who had long been revolving schemes for a war with Rome, there could not be any fitter counsellor to confer with on such a subject. His opinion was always one and the same: that Italy should be made the seat of the war; because “Italy would supply a foreign enemy both with men and provisions; but, if it were left in quiet, and the Roman people were allowed to employ the strength and forces of Italy, in making war in any other country, no king or nation would be able to cope with them.” He demanded, for himself, one hundred decked ships, ten thousand foot, and one thousand horse. “With this force,” he said, “he would first repair to Africa; and he had confident hopes, that he should be able to prevail on the Carthaginians to revive hostilities. If they should hesitate, he would raise a war against the Romans in some part of Italy. That the King ought to cross over into Europe with all the rest of his force, and keep his army in some part of Greece; not to pass over immediately into Italy, but to be in readiness to do so; which would be sufficient to give the war a formidable appearance, and impress a terrifying notion of its magnitude.”
LXI. When he had brought the King to agree in his opinion, he judged it necessary to predispose the minds of his countrymen in favour of the design; but he durst not send a letter, lest it might, by some accident, be intercepted, and his plans by that means be discovered. He had found at Ephesus a Tyrian called Aristo, and, in several less important commissions, had discovered him to possess a good degree of ingenuity. This man he now loaded with presents and promises of rewards, which were confirmed by the King himself, and sent him to Carthage with messages to his friends. He told him the names of the persons to whom they were to be delivered, and furnished him with secret tokens, by which they would know, with certainty, that the messages came from him. On this Aristo’s appearing at Carthage, the reason of his coming was not discovered by Hannibal’s friends sooner than by his enemies. At first, they spoke of the matter publicly, in their circles and at their tables; and at last some persons declared in the senate, that “the banishment of Hannibal answered no purpose, if, while resident in another country, he was still able to propagate designs for changing the administration, and disturb the quiet of the state by his intrigues. That a Tyrian stranger, named Aristo, had come with a commission from Hannibal and King Antiochus; that certain men daily held secret conferences with him, and caballed in private, the consequences of which would soon break out, to the ruin of the public.” This produced a general outcry, “that Aristo ought to be summoned, and examined respecting the reason of his coming; and if he did not disclose it, to be sent to Rome, with ambassadors accompanying him; that they had already suffered enough of punishment in atonement of the headstrong rashness of one individual; that the faults of private citizens should be at their own risk, and the state should be preserved free, not only from guilt, but even from the suspicion of it.” Aristo, being summoned, contended for his innocence; and urged, as his strongest defence, that he had brought no letter to any person whatever: but he gave no satisfactory reason for his coming, and was chiefly embarrassed to obviate the charge of conversing solely with men of the Barcine faction. A warm debate ensued; some earnestly pressing, that he should be immediately seized as a spy, and kept in custody; while others insisted, that there were not sufficient grounds for such violent measures; that “putting strangers into confinement, without reason, was a step that afforded a bad precedent; for doubtless the same treatment would be retaliated on the Carthaginians at Tyre, and other marts, where they frequently traded.” They came to no determination that day. Aristo practised on the Carthaginians an artifice suited to their own genius; for, having early in the evening hung up a written tablet, in the most frequented place of the city, over the tribunal where the magistrates daily sat, he went on board his ship at the third watch, and fled. Next day, when the suffetes had taken their seats to administer justice, the tablet was observed, taken down, and read. Its contents were, that “Aristo came not with a private commission to any person, but with a public one to the elders;” by this name they called the senate. The imputation being thus thrown on the state, less pains were taken in searching into the suspicions harboured of a few individuals: however, it was determined, that ambassadors should be sent to Rome, to represent the affair to the consuls and the senate, and, at the same time, to complain of injuries received from Masinissa.
LXII. When Masinissa observed, that the Carthaginians were looked on with jealousy by others, and were full of dissensions among themselves; the nobles being suspected by the senate, on account of their conferences with Aristo, and the senate by the people, in consequence of the information given by the same Aristo, he thought that, at such a conjuncture, he might successfully encroach on their rights; and accordingly he laid waste their country, along the seacoast, and compelled several cities, which were tributary to the Carthaginians, to pay their taxes to him. This tract they call Emporia; it forms the shore of the lesser Syrtis, and has a fertile soil; one of its cities is Leptis, which paid a tribute to the Carthaginians of a talent a day. At this time, Masinissa not only ravaged that whole tract, but, with respect to a considerable part of it, disputed the right of possession with the Carthaginians; and when he learned that they were sending to Rome, both to justify their conduct, and, at the same time, to make complaints of him, he likewise sent ambassadors to Rome, to aggravate the suspicions entertained of them, and to manage the dispute about the right to the taxes. The Carthaginians were heard first, and their account of the Tyrian stranger gave the senate no small uneasiness, as they dreaded being involved in war with Antiochus and the Carthaginians at the same time. What contributed chiefly to strengthen a suspicion of evil designs, was, that though they had resolved to seize Aristo, and send him to Rome, they had not placed a guard either on himself, or his ship. Then began the controversy with the King’s ambassadors, on the claims of the territory in dispute. The Carthaginians supported their cause, by insisting, that “it must belong to them, as being within the limits which Scipio, after conquering the country, had fixed as the boundaries of the Carthaginian territory; and also, by the acknowledgment of the King, who when he was going in pursuit of Aphir, a fugitive from his kingdom, then hovering about Cyrene, with a party of Numidians, had solicited as a favour, a passage through that very district, as being confessedly a part of the Carthaginian dominions.” The Numidians insisted, “that they were guilty of misrepresentation, with respect to the limits fixed by Scipio; and if a person chose to recur to the real origin of their property, what title had the Carthaginians to call any land in Africa their own: foreigners and strangers, to whom had been granted as a gift, for the purpose of building a city, as much ground as they could encompass with the cuttings of a bull’s hide? Whatever acquisitions they had made beyond Byrsa, their original settlement, they held by fraud and violence: for, in relation to the land in question, so far were they from being able to prove uninterrupted possession, from the time when it was first acquired, that they cannot even prove that they ever possessed it for any considerable time. As occasions offered, sometimes they, sometimes the kings of Numidia, had held the dominion of it; and the possession of it always fell to the party which had the stronger army. They requested the senate to suffer the matter to remain on the same footing, on which it stood, before the Carthaginians became enemies to the Romans, or the King of Numidia their friend and ally; and to interfere, so as to hinder whichever party was able, from keeping possession.” The senate resolved to tell the ambassadors of both parties, that they would send persons into Africa to determine, on the spot, the controversy between the people of Carthage and the King. They accordingly sent Publius Scipio Africanus, Caius Cornelius Cethegus, and Marcus Minucius Rufus; who, after viewing the ground, and hearing what could be said on both sides, left every thing as they found it, without giving any opinion. Whether they acted in this manner from their own judgment, or in pursuance of directions received at home, is, by no means certain; but, thus much is most certain, that, as affairs were circumstanced, it was highly expedient to leave the dispute undecided: for, had the case been otherwise, Scipio alone, either from his own knowledge of the business, or the influence which he possessed, and to which he had a just claim, on both parties, could, with a nod, have ended the controversy.
END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.
[* ]Previous to the passing of the Cincian law, about ten years before this time, the advocates who pleaded in the courts received fees and presents; and as all or most of these were senators, the plebeians are here represented as tributary to the senate. By the above law they were forbidden to receive either fees or presents.
[* ]Alluding to a treatise by Cato, upon the antiquities of Italy, entitled “Origenes,” which is the word used here by Valerius.
[* ]549l. 14s.
[† ]Osca, now Huesca, was a city in Spain, remarkable for silver mines near it.
[‡ ]659l. 11s. 9½d.
[* ]2,430l. 11s. 3d.
[† ]8,889l. 6s. 9d.
[* ]These were the Helotes, kept in a state of slavery.
[* ]3,971l. 17s. 6d.
[† ]17l. 8s. 9d.
[‡ ]17s. 5½d.
[† ]16l. 2s. 11d.
[* ]10,849l. 18s.
[† ]936l. 10s.
[‡ ]16s. 1¼d.
[* ]It was not customary to levy recruits from all the states of the allies at once, but from a certain number of them at a time: so that they all furnished supplies in their turn, except when a pressing exigency demanded an extraordinary force.