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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a Book of
The Histories


published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1922 thru 1927

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 XXI

(Vol. V) Polybius
The Histories

 p211  Fragments of Book XX

I. Affairs of Greece

(Suid.; cp. Livy XXXV.48.2)

1 1 "The Aetolians appointed thirty of the Apocleti1 to sit with King Antiochus," and again, "He summoned the Apocleti to meet and submitted the situation to them."

Antiochus and Boeotia

(Cp. Livy XXXV.50.5)

2 1 When Antiochus2 sent an embassy to the Boeotians, they replied to the envoys that on the king presenting himself in person, they would take his demands into consideration.

Embassies to Antiochus from Epirus and Elis

(Cp. Livy XXXVI.5.1‑8)

3 1 While Antiochus was at Chalcis at the beginning of the winter, Charops came to him as envoy on the part of the whole nation of Epirus, and Callistratus on that of the city of Elis. 2 The Epirots begged him not to involve them in the first place in a war with Rome, exposed as they were to Italy in front of all Greece. 3 If indeed he was capable of protecting Epirus and assuring their safety, they  p213 said they would be glad to receive him in their cities and harbours, 4 but if he did not decide to do this at present they asked him to pardon them if they were afraid of war with Rome. 5 The Eleans begged him to send succour to their city, for as the Achaeans had voted for war, they were apprehensive of being attacked by them. 6 The king replied to the Epirots that he would send envoys to speak to them on the subject of their joint interests, 7 and to Elis he dispatched a force of a thousand infantry under the command of the Cretan Euphanes.

Decadence of Boeotia

(Cp. Livy XXXVI.6)

4 1 For many years Boeotia had been in a morbid condition very different from the former sound health and renown of that state. 2 After the battle of Leuctra the Boeotians had attained great celebrity and power, but by some means or other during the period which followed they continued constantly to lose both the one and the other under the leadership of the strategus Abaeocritus, 3 and in subsequent years not only did this diminishment go on, but there was an absolute change for the contrary, and they did all they could to obscure their ancient fame as well. 4 For when the Achaeans had succeeded in making them go to war with the Aetolians, they took the side of the former and made an alliance with them, after which they continued to make war on the Aetolians. 5 On one occasion when the latter had invaded Boeotia, they marched out in full force, and the Achaeans having collected their forces and being about to come to their help, without  p215 waiting for their arrival they engaged the Aetolians. 6 When defeated in the battle they so much lost their spirit, that they never after that affair ventured to pretend to any honourable distinction, nor did they ever by public decree take part with the other Greeks in any action or in any struggle, 7 but abandoning themselves to good cheer and strong drink sapped the energy not only of their bodies but of their minds.

5 1 The chief errors into which they fell, leading to many minor ones, were the following. 2 After the defeat I mentioned they at once abandoned the Achaeans and attached their own League to that of the Aetolians. 3 Shortly afterwards, when the Aetolians undertook a war against Demetrius, the father of Philip, the Boeotians again deserted them and on the arrival of Demetrius with his army in Boeotia would not face any danger whatever but completely submitted to Macedonia. 4 But as there were some slight sparks left of their ancestral glory, there were some who were by no means pleased with the present situation and this implicit obedience to the Macedonians. 5 There was in consequence a violent opposition on the part of these to Ascondas and Neon, the grandfather and father of Brachylles, who were then the warmest partisans of Macedonia. 6 However, in the end, Ascondas and Neon got the upper hand owing to the following accident. 7 Antigonus, who after the death of Demetrius had become Philip's guardian, was sailing on some business to Larymna at the extremity of Boeotia, when owing to an extraordinary low ebb tide his vessels settled on the land. 8 It had just  p217 been reported that Antigonus was about to raid the country, and Neon, who was then hipparch and was on the move with the whole of the Boeotian cavalry with the object of protecting the country, lighted upon Antigonus, who was in a state of dismay and in a difficult position owing to the accident; 9 and though it was in his power to inflict much damage on the Macedonians, decided, contrary to their expectation, to spare them. 10 The other Boeotians approved of his conduct, but the Thebans were not entirely pleased with it. 11 Antigonus, when the flood tide very shortly came in and his ships having been lightened, was very thankful to Neon for not having availed himself of the accident to attack him, and now continued the voyage to Asia, upon which he had set out. 12 In consequence of this, when, at a later period, he had conquered Cleomenes of Sparta and become master of Lacedaemon, he left Brachylles in that town as his commissioner, bestowing this post on him out of gratitude for the kind of service that Neon, the father of Brachylles had rendered him. This contributed no little to the fortunes of Brachylles and his house; 13 and not only did Antigonus show him this mark of his regard, but ever afterwards both he and Philip continued to furnish him with money and strengthen his position, and thus they soon crushed those opposed to them at Thebes and compelled all, with quite a few exceptions, to take the part of Macedon.

14 It was thus that the attachment of the house of Neon to Macedonia and the increase in its fortunes originated. 6 1 But public affairs in Boeotia had fallen into such a state of disorder that for nearly twenty-five years justice, both civil and criminal,  p219 had ceased to be administered there, the magistrates by issuing orders, some of them for the dispatch of garrisons and others for general campaigns, 2 always contriving to abolish legal proceedings. Certain strategi even provided pay out of the public funds for the indigent, the populace thus learning to court and invest with power those men who would help them to escape the legal consequences of their crimes and debts 3 and even in addition to get something out of the public funds as a favour from the magistrates. 4 The chief abettor of these abuses was Opheltas, who was constantly contriving some scheme apparently calculated to benefit the populace for the moment, but perfectly sure to ruin everyone at the end. 5 Incident upon all this was another most unfortunate mania. For childless men, when they died, did not leave their property to their nearest heirs, as had formerly been the custom there, but disposed of it for purposes of junketing and banqueting and made it the common property of their friends. 6 Even many who had families distributed the greater part of their fortune among their clubs, so that there were many Boeotians who had each month more dinners than there were days in the calendar.

Defection of Megara from the Boeotian League

7 One consequence of this was that the Megarians, detesting this state of affairs and mindful of their former confederacy with the Achaean League, once more inclined towards the Achaeans and their policy. 8 For the Megarians had originally, from the days of Antigonus Gonatas, formed part of the  p221 Achaean League, but when Cleomenes intercepted them by occupying the Isthmus, they were cut off, and with the consent of the Achaeans, joined the Boeotian League. 9 But shortly before the time I am speaking of, they became displeased with the conduct of affairs in Boeotia, and again turned to the Achaeans. 10 Hereupon the Boeotians, indignant at seeming to be flouted, marched out with all their forces against Megara, 11 and when the Megarians treated their arrival as of no importance, they began in their anger to besiege Megara and make assaults on it. 12 But, being seized by panic owing to a report that Philopoemen with the Achaeans had arrived, they left their ladders against the wall and fled in utter rout to their own country.

7 1 Such being the condition of public affairs in Boeotia, they were lucky enough to scrape through by some means or other the critical period of Philip and Antiochus. 2 Subsequently, however, they did not escape, but Fortune, it seems as if purposely requiting them, fell heavily upon them, as I shall tell in due course.

(Cp. Livy XXXVI.6)

3 Most of the Boeotian people assigned as a reason for their hostility to Rome the assassination of Brachylles3 and the expedition made by Flamininus against Coronea owing to the frequent murders of Romans on the roads; 4 but the real reason was that morbid condition of their minds due to the causes I have mentioned. 5 For when King Antiochus was near at hand, those who had held office in Boeotia  p223 went out to meet him, and on joining him addressed him in courteous terms and brought him into Thebes.

Wedding of Antiochus

(From Athen. X.439c, f.)

8 1 Antiochus, surnamed the Great, he whom the Romans overthrew, upon reaching Chalcis, as Polybius tells us in his 20th Book, celebrated his wedding. He was then fifty years old, and had undertaken two very serious tasks, one being the liberation of Greece, as he himself gave out, the other a war with Rome. 2 He fell in love, then, with a maiden of Chalcis at the time of the war, and was most eager to make her his wife, being himself a wine-bibber and fond of getting drunk. 3 She was the daughter of Cleoptolemus, a noble Chalcidian, and of surpassing beauty. 4 So celebrating his wedding at Chalcis, he spent the whole winter there not giving a moment's thought to the situation of affairs. 5 He gave the girl the name Euboea, and when defeated in the war fled to Ephesus with his bride.

Battle of Thermopylae

(Livy XXXVI.19.11)

6 Not a soul escaped from the whole army except the five hundred who were round the king, and a very small number of the ten thousand soldiers whom Polybius tells us he had brought over with him to Greece.

The Aetolians make Peace

(Cp. Livy XXXVI.27)

9 1 After Heraclea had fallen into the hands of the Romans, Phaeneas, the strategus of the Aetolians,  p225 seeing Aetolia threatened with peril on all sides and realizing what was likely to happen to the other towns, decided to send an embassy to Manius Acilius Glabrio to beg for an armistice and peace. 2 Having resolved on this he dispatched Archedamus, Pantaleon, and Chalepus. 3 They had intended on meeting the Roman general to address him at length, but at the interview they were cut short and prevented from doing so. 4 For Glabrio told them that for the present he had no time as he was occupied by the disposal of the booty from Heraclea, but granting them a ten days' armistice, he said he would send back with them Lucius Valerius Flaccus,º to whom he begged them to submit their request. 6 The armistice having been made, and Flaccus having met them at Hypata, there was considerable discussion of the situation. 7 The Aetolians, in making out their case, went back to the very beginning, reciting all their former deeds of kindness to the Romans, 8 but Flaccus cut the flood of their eloquence short by saying that this sort of pleading did not suit present circumstances. For as it was they who had broken off their originally kind relations, and as their present enmity was entirely their own fault, former deeds of kindness no longer counted as an asset. 9 Therefore he advised them to leave off trying to justify themselves and resort rather to deprecatory language, begging the consul to grant them pardon for their offences. 10 The Aetolians, after some further observations about the actual situation, decided to refer the whole matter to Glabrio, 11 committing themselves "to the faith"4 of the  p227 Romans, not knowing the exact meaning of the phrase, but deceived by the word "faith" as if they would thus obtain more complete pardon. 12 But with the Romans to commit oneself to the faith of a victor is equivalent to surrendering at discretion.a

10 1 However, having reached this decision they sent off Phaeneas and others to accompany Flaccus and convey it at once to Glabrio. 2 On meeting the general, after again pleading in justification of their conduct, they wound up by saying that the Aetolians had decided to commit themselves to the faith of the Romans. 3 Upon this Glabrio, taking them up, said, "So that is so, is it, ye men of Aetolia?" 4 and when they assented, "Very well," he said, "then in the first place none of you must cross to Asia, either on his own account or by public decree; 5 next you must surrender Dicaearchus and Menestratus of Epirus (the latter had recently come to their assistance at Naupactus) "and at the same time King Amynandres and all the Athamanians who went off to join you together with him." 6 Phaeneas now interrupted him and said, "But what you demand, O General, is neither just nor Greek." 7 Glabrio, not so much incensed, as wishing to make them conscious of the real situation they were in and thoroughly intimidate them, said: "So you still give yourselves Grecian airs and speak of what is meet and proper after surrendering unconditionally? I will have you all put in chains if I think fit." 8 Saying this he ordered a chain to be brought  p229 and an iron collar to be put round the neck of each. 9 Phaeneas and the rest were thunderstruck, and all stood there speechless as if paralysed in body and mind by this extraordinary experience. 10 But Flaccus and some of the other military tribunes who were present entreated Glabrio not to treat the men with excessive harshness, in view of the fact that they were ambassadors. 11 Upon his consenting, Phaeneas began to speak. He said that he and the Apocleti would do what Glabrio ordered, but that the consent of the people was required if the orders were to be enforced. 12 Glabrio now said that he was right, upon which he called for a renewal of the armistice for ten days more. This request also was granted, and they parted on this understanding. 13 On reaching Hypata the envoys informed the Apocleti of what had taken place and what had been said, and it was only now, on hearing all, that the Aetolians became conscious of their mistake and of the constraint now brought to bear on them. 14 It was therefore decided to write to the towns and call an assembly of the nation to take the demands into consideration. 15 When the report of the Roman answer was spread abroad, the people became so savage, that no one even would attend the meeting to discuss matters. 16 As sheer impossibility thus prevented any discussion of the demands, and as at the same time Nicander arrived from Asia Minor at Phalara5 in the Melian gulf, from which he had set forth, and informed them of King Antiochus's cordial reception  p231 of him and his promises of future assistance, they neglected the matter more and more; so that no steps tending to the conclusion of peace were taken. 17 In consequence, after the termination of the armistice, the Aetolians remained as before in statu belli.

11 1 The dangerous experience that had befallen Nicander must not be passed over in silence. 2 For starting from Ephesus he reached Phalara on the twelfth day after he had set sail from it. 3 Finding that the Romans were still near Heraclea and that the Macedonians had retired from Lamia, but were encamped not far from the town, 4 he managed by a wonder to convey the money to Lamia, and himself attempted at night to escape between the two armies to Hypata. 5 Falling into the hands of the Macedonian sentries, he was being brought before Philip while the banquet was still at its height, quite expecting to suffer the worst at the hands of the enraged king, or to be given up to the Romans. 6 But when the matter was reported to Philip, he at once ordered those whose business this was, to attend to Nicander's personal wants and treat him kindly in every respect. 7 After a little he himself rose from table and came to visit Nicander. He severely blamed the errors into which the Aetolian state had fallen, by calling in first of all the Romans and subsequently Antiochus to attack the Greeks, but nevertheless he still implored them to forget the past, and to cultivate their friendship with himself, and not be ever disposed to take advantage of circumstances adverse to either. 8 This message he begged him to convey to the leading Aetolian statesmen, and after exhorting  p233 Nicander himself to be ever mindful of the kindness he had shown him, sent him off with an adequate escort, ordering the officers whose duty it was to bring him back to Hypata in safety. 9 Nicander, finding himself thus met by Philip in a spirit which he never dared to hope for or expect, was now restored to his relatives, and after this friendly approach remained well inclined to the house of Macedon. 10 Thus even later in the time of Perseus still feeling the obligation he was under for this favour and ill disposed to oppose the projects of Perseus, he exposed himself to suspicion and obloquy, and finally was summoned to Rome and ended his days there.

Philopoemen at Sparta

(Cp. Plutarch, Philop. xv)

12 1 The Spartans wished to find one of their own citizens to speak to Philopoemen about this. But while in most cases there are many enterprising schemers ready to offer such favours and thus take the first steps to recommend and establish friendship, in the case of Philopoemen they could not find a single man willing to offer him this favour, 2 until at last being hard put to it they appointed by vote Timolaus, who though he was a family friend of Philopoemen and had been intimate with him for long, had visited Megalopolis twice for this very purpose without being able to summon up courage to mention the matter to him, until spurring himself on and going there a third time he ventured to address him on the subject of the gift. 3 When Philopoemen, as he never had expected, received  p235 the proposal quite courteously, 4 he was delighted, as he thought he had attained his object, and Philopoemen said he would come to Sparta in a few days, as he wished to thank all the magistrates for this favour. 5 Upon his going there later and being invited to attend the Council, he said that he had long recognized the kind feelings the Spartan entertained for him and now did so more than ever from the crown and very high honour that they offered him. 6 So, he said, he perfectly appreciated their intentions, but was a little abashed by the manner in which they proceeded. For such honours and such crowns, the rust of which he who once put them on would never wash off his head, should never be given to friends, 7 but much rather to enemies, in order that their friends, retaining the right to speak their minds, might be trusted by the Achaeans when they proposed to help Sparta, while their enemies, who had swallowed the bait, might either be compelled to support the proposal or have to hold their tongues and be incapacitated from doing any harm.

II. A Fragment, the Place of which is uncertain

8 It is not at all the same to judge of things from hearsay and from having actually witnessed them, but there is a great difference. In all matters a certainty founded on the evidence of one's eyes is of the greatest value.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 The Apocleti were a select council. See Livy XXXV.34.2.

2 The excerptor by mistake has substituted Philip for Antiochus.

3 Cp. XVIII.43.

4 fides.

5 The harbour of Lamia in Thessaly.

Thayer's Note:

a Polybius explains this in much greater detail in this passage of Book 36.

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