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Book XXVII

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Library of History

of
Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. XI
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1957

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book XXIX

(Vol. XI) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

p229 Fragments of Book XXVIII

1 1 Philip, the king of the Macedonians,1 induced Dicaearchus of Aetolia, a bold adventurer, to engage in piracy, and gave him twenty ships. He ordered him to levy tribute on the islands and to support the Cretans in their war against the Rhodians.2 Obedient to these commands Dicaearchus harried commercial shipping, and by marauding raids exacted money from the islands.3

2 1 Philip, the king of the Macedonians, had by him a certain knavish fellow, Heracleides of Tarentum,4 who in private conversations with the king made many false and malicious charges against the friends whom Philip held in high esteem. Eventually Philip sank so low in impiety as to murder five leading members of the council. From that point on his situation deteriorated, and by embarking upon unnecessary wars he came near losing his kingdom at the hands of the Romans. For none of his friends any longer dared speak their minds or rebuke the p231king's folly for fear of his impetuous temper. He also led an expedition against the Dardanians, though they had done him no wrong, and after defeating them in pitched battle massacred more than ten thousand men.

3 1 Quite apart from his aggressive ambition, Philip, the king of the Macedonians, was so arrogant in prosperity that he had his friends put to death without benefit of trial, destroyed the tombs of earlier generations, and razed many temples to the ground. As for Antiochus,5 his project of pillaging the sanctuary of Zeus at Elymaïs brought him to appropriate disaster, and he perished with all his host. Both men, though convinced that their armies were irresistible, found themselves compelled by the outcome of a single battle6 to do the bidding of others. In consequence they ascribed to their own shortcomings the misfortunes that befell them, while for the generous treatment that they were accorded they were duly grateful to those who in the hour of victory practised such moderation. So it was that, as if following a design sketched in their own acts, they beheld the decline into which heaven was leading their kingdoms. The Romans, however, who both on this occasion and thereafter engaged only in just wars and were scrupulous in the observance of oaths and treaties, enjoyed, not without reason, the active support of the gods in all their undertakings.

p233 4 1 Not only, we may note, do those who wickedly violate private contracts fall foul of the law and its penalties, but even among kings all who engage in acts of injustice meet with retribution from on high. Just as the law is the arbiter of men's deeds for the citizens of a democratic state, so is God the judge of men in positions of authority: to those who seek after virtue he grants rewards appropriate to their virtue, and for those who indulge in greed or any other vice he appoints prompt and fitting punishment.

5 1 Driven by the need to obtain provisions, Philip, the king of the Macedonians, went about plundering the territory of Attalus, even to the very gates of Pergamum. He razed to the ground the sanctuaries round about the city, and did extreme violence to the richly bedecked Nicephorium and to other temples admired for their sculptures. He was, in fact, enraged with Attalus and, because he failed to find him in that part of the country, vented his spleen on the temples.7

6 1 Having sailed to Abydus to meet Philip, Marcus Aemilius announced to him the decisions of the senate respecting the allies.8 Philip replied that if the Romans abided by their agreements they would be acting rightly, but that, if they trampled them p235under foot, he would call the gods to witness their unjust agression and would defend himself against them.

7 1 On his arrival at Athens, Philip of Macedon encamped at Cynosarges, and proceeded to set fire to the Academy, to pull down the tombs, and even to outrage the sanctuaries of the gods.9 By thus indulging his anger as if it were Athens rather than the gods that he was offending, he now not only incurred the utter hatred of mankind, that had long reviled him, but also brought down upon his head swift and fitting chastisement from the gods. For through his own lack of prudence he was thoroughly defeated, and it was only through the forbearance of the Romans that he met with lenient treatment.

8 1 Philip, observing that his men were disheartened, pointed out to them by way of encouragement that none of these ills attend a victorious army, while for those who perish in defeat it makes no difference whether their death-wounds are large or small.10

2 As a general rule men of base character inculcate a similar baseness in their associates.

9 1 Philip, perceiving that most of the Macedonians were angry with him because of his friendship for Heracleidae, had him placed in custody.11 A native of Tarentum, Heracleidae was a man of surpassing wickedness, who had transformed Philip from a p237virtuous king into a harsh and godless tyrant, and had thereby incurred the deep hatred of all Macedonians and Greeks.

Chap. 10: see below, after Chap. 12.

11 1 On the occasion of the Epirote embassy to Philip and Flamininus,12 Flamininus held that Philip must completely evacuate Greece, which should thereafter be ungarrisoned and autonomous, and that he must offer satisfactory compensation for damage done to those who had suffered from his breaches of faith. Philip replied that he must have assured possession of what he had inherited from his father, but that he would withdraw the garrisons from whatever cities he had himself won over and would submit the question of damages to arbitration. To this Flamininus replied that there was no need of arbitration, that Philip himself must make terms with those whom he had wronged; furthermore he himself was under orders from the senate to liberate Greece, the whole of it, not merely a part. Philip retorted by asking: "What heavier condition would you have imposed if you had defeated me in war?", and with these words he departed in a rage.

12 1 While Antiochus, the king of Asia, was engaged in refounding the city of Lysimacheia,13 the commissioners sent by Flamininus arrived. Having been led before the council, they called upon Antiochus to retire from the cities previously subject to Ptolemy or to Philip, and said that in general they wondered p239what purpose he had in assembling military and naval forces, and with what intention he had crossed the strait to Europe if not to undertake war against the Romans. By way of rejoinder, Antiochus expressed surprise that the Romans claimed interests in Asia though he did not meddle in any matter that concerned Italy; in resettling the Lysimacheians he was wronging neither the Romans nor anyone else; and as for his relations with Ptolemy, he himself had in mind a plan for avoiding all these disputes, for he would give him his daughter in marriage. After this exchange the Romans, though ill content, took their departure.

Chap. 13: see below, after Chap. 10.

10 1 The mere name and reputation of Hannibal had made him a celebrity the whole world through, and in every city each individual was eager for a sight of him.14

Chaps. 11‑12: see above, after Chap. 9.

13 1 Envoys were sent to Rome by Nabis and by Flamininus to conclude the treaty,15 and when they had discussed with the senate the matters contained in their instructions, the senate agreed to ratify the agreement and to withdraw its garrisons and armies in Greece. When news of the settlement reached him, Flamininus summoned the leading men of all Greece, and convoking an assembly16 repeated to p241them Rome's good services to the Greeks. In defence of the settlement made with Nabis he pointed out that the Romans had done what was in their power, and that in accordance with the declared policy of the Roman people all the inhabitants of Greece were now free, ungarrisoned, and most important of all, governed by their own laws. In return he asked the Greeks to seek out such Italians17 as were held in slavery among them, and to repatriate them within thirty days. This was accomplished.

14 1 Ptolemy, the king of Egypt,18 was for a time regarded with approval. Aristomenes had been appointed his guardian and had been in all respects an able administrator. Now at the start Ptolemy revered him like a father and was wholly guided by his judgement. Later, however, corrupted by the flattery of his courtiers, he came to hate Aristomenes for his frankness of speech, and finally compelled him to end his life with a draught of hemlock. His ever-increasing brutality and his emulation, not of kingly authority, but of tyrannical licence, brought on him the hatred of the Egyptian people and nearly cost him his kingdom.

15 1 Once more the senate granted audience to embassies from Greece and greeted them with friendly words, for they wanted the goodwill of the Greeks in case of war with Antiochus, which they considered imminent. The envoys of Philip were told that if he p243remained faithful, the senate would relieve him of the payments of indemnity and would release his son Demetrius.19 In the case of the envoys who had come from Antiochus a commission of ten senators was set up to hear of the matters with which they stated they had been charged by the king. 2 The session having convened, Menippus, the leader of the embassy, stated that he had come with the aim of forming a pact of friendship and alliance between Antiochus and the Romans. He said, however, that the king wondered what possible reason the Romans had for ordering him not to meddle in certain European affairs, to renounce his claims to certain cities, and not to exact from some the tribute owing to him: such demands as these were unprecedented when a pact of friendship between equals was being negotiated; they were the demands of conquerors settling a war, yet the envoys sent to the king at Lysimacheia had presumed to dictate to him precise instructions on these matters; Antiochus had never been at war with the Romans, and if they wished to effect a treaty of friendship with him, the king stood ready and willing. 3 Flamininus replied that two possible courses lay open, and that the senate allowed the king his choice of one: if he was willing to keep his hands off Europe, the Romans would not meddle with Asiatic affairs; if, however, he did not elect this policy, he must know that the Romans would go to the aid of their friends who were being enslaved. 4 The ambassadors p245having then made answer that they would agree to no condition of this nature, whereby they would impair the authority of the throne, the senate on the following day announced to the Greeks that if Antiochus interfered at all in European affairs the Romans would bend every effort to liberate the Asiatic Greeks. After the ambassadors of the Greek states had applauded this statement, the king's envoys called upon the senate to reflect how great was the risk to which they exposed each of the two parties, and to take no immediate action, but rather to give the king time to consider, and themselves to engage in more careful consideration of the case.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Philip V (221‑179 B.C.).

2 See Book 27.3.

3 Polybius (18.54.10) records that wherever he landed he set up altars to Impiety and Lawlessness. Holleaux (R.E.G. 33 [1920], 223 ff. = Études d'épigraphie et d'histoire grecques, 4.124 ff.) dates the expedition in 205 or 204, rather than in 202 B.C. (as its place in the narrative might suggest), and considers its mention here incidental to a moral judgement on Philip. Dicaearchus was put to death at Alexandria by Aristomenes in 196 B.C.

4 Cp. below, chap. 9, and Polybius, 13.4.

5 Antiochus III, the Great, ruler of the Seleucid kingdom from 223 to 187 B.C. For the incident at Elymaïs (187 B.C.) see Book 29.15.

6 This refers to the battles of Cynoscephalae, 197 B.C., and Magnesia, 189 B.C., not to a single engagement affecting both monarchs. With the whole passage cp. Polybius, 15.20, on the unholy alliance of the two kings to divide the Ptolemaic Empire (c. 203/2 B.C.).

7 Cp. Polybius, 16.1. The Nicephorium was sacred to Athena "Bringer of Victory," whose type appears regularly on the Attalid coinage.

8 Cp. Polybius, 16.34.1‑7. Holleaux (Cambridge Ancient History, 8.164) argues that this mission of M. Aemilius Lepidus was coincident with the actual opening of hostilities, and was in fact the declaration of war, indictio belli, the Roman ultimatum having already been transmitted to Philip through Nicanor.

9 Cp. Livy, 31.24. The tombs were those of the famous cemetery of the Outer Cerameicus, beyond the Dipylon, where many of the finest examples of Attic funerary art have been discovered.

10 Livy, 31.34, speaks of the terror inspired in the Macedonians, at their first encounter, by the Romans' use of the Spanish sword.

11 Cp. Livy, 32.5.

12 Consul for 198 B.C. The texts of Diodorus, Dio, and Zonaras generally give his name as Φλαμίνιος instead of Φλαμινῖνος; Polybius uses only the praenomen and nomen, T. Quinctius. For this meeting of Philip and Flamininus at the Aoüs see Livy, 32.10.1‑8.

13 In Thrace. For a fuller account of the meeting see Polybius, 18.50‑52.

14 This fragment seems clearly to refer to Hannibal's flight from Carthage to the court of Antiochus III (cp. Livy, 33.48‑49), and consequently belongs here rather than to the place assigned it by Dindorf.

15 Cp. Livy, 34.22‑41, for the brief Spartan War 195 B.C., in which Nabis was defeated by Flamininus and the allied Greek forces.

16 This second panhellenic congress was held at Corinth in the spring of 194 B.C. (Livy, 34.48‑50). The optimates who formed the chief supporters of Rome were, as wealthy conservatives, bitterly opposed to Nabis.

17 Captives who had been sold into slavery by Hannibal.

18 Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203‑181/0 B.C.). For political reasons his minority was declared at an end in 197 or 196 B.C., though the king was then only 12 to 14 years old; the inscription of the famous "Rosetta Stone" commemorates his accession. On Aristomenes see Polybius, 15.31; the exact date of his death is uncertain (192 B.C. at the latest, according to Niese).

Thayer's Note: Ptolemy's career is covered in detail in Chapter 9 of Bevan's House of Ptolemy; it also gives the text of the Rosetta Stone.

19 Demetrius was one of the group of hostages taken to Rome after Cynoscephalae. Possibly the words τῆς ὁμηρείας (cp. Polybius, 21.3) have dropped from the text at this point. With the whole passage cp. Livy, 34.57‑59.


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