home   :    index    :    ancient Rome    :    Appian of Alexandria's Roman History

Appian's History of Rome: The Macedonian Wars (2)

Legionary standard (of XXX Ulpia Traiana reenactment group). Photo Jona Lendering.
Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165) is the author of a Roman History and one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians. Although only his books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of other books have also come down to us. Unfortunately, the Macedonia wars do not belong to these; only a few fragments survive in Byzantine manuscripts. An appendix to Appian's book on the Roman conquest of Macedonia, the Illyrian wars, survives in a better condition.

Because the text has to be reconstructed from several medieval manuscripts, not all editions of Appian's History of the Macedonian Wars are numbered in the same way; here, the separate units are counted strictly chronologically. The translation was made by Horace White; additions in green by Jona Lendering.

The Second Macedonian War

[From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies:5] [201] Not long afterward [king] Philip [V of Macedonia], having ordered a fleet to be prepared by his maritime subjects, took Samos and Chios and devastated a part of the territory of king Attalus [I Soter of Pergamon]. He even attempted Pergamon itself, not sparing temples or sepulchers. He also ravaged Peraea,[1] which belonged to the Rhodians, who had been promoters of the treaty of peace. With another part of his army he ravaged Attica and laid siege to Athens, as though none of these countries concerned the Romans.

It was reported also that a league had been made between Philip and Antiochus [III the Great], king of Syria, to the effect that Philip should help Antiochus to conquer Egypt and Cyprus, of which [the Ptolemaic king] Ptolemy, surnamed Philopator, who was still a boy, was the ruler; and that Antiochus should help Philip to gain Cyrene, the Cyclades islands, and Ionia.

This rumor, so disquieting to all, the Rhodians communicated to Rome. After the Rhodians, ambassadors of Athens came complaining of the siege instituted by Philip. The Aetolians also had repented of their treaty, and they complained of Philip's bad faith toward them and asked to be inscribed again as allies. The Romans reproached the Aetolians for their recent defection, but they sent ambassadors to the kings ordering Antiochus not to invade Egypt, and Philip not to molest the Rhodians, or the Athenians, or Attalus, or any other ally of theirs. To them Philip made answer that it would be well if the Romans would abide by the treaty of peace they had entered into with him. [Summer 200] Thus was the treaty dissolved and a Roman army hastened to Greece, [consul] Publius [Sulpicius Galba] commanding the land forces and Lucius [Apustius Fullo] the fleet.

[At the beginning of the war, the Aetolians sided with Rome again, whereas Macedonia's allies, the Achaeans, did not support Philip. Soon, Sulpicius was able to invade Macedonia. From the beginning of 198, a new consul, Titus Quinctius Flamininus was in charge.]

[From the Vatican manuscript of Cardinal Mai: 6] Philip, king of Macedonia, had a conference with Flamininus, which had been brought about by the ambassadors of the Epirots. Flamininus ordered Philip to retire from Greece, not on account of the Romans, but of the Greek cities themselves and to make good the damage he had done to the aforesaid cities.

[From the Suda dictionary: 7] A shepherd promised to guide an army well equipped for the climb by a mountain path in three days' time.

[From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies:8] [Titus' brother] Lucius Quinctius [Flamininus] sent envoys to the Achaean League to persuade them, together with the Athenians and Rhodians, to abandon Philip and join the Romans, and to ask them to furnish aid as allies. But they, being troubled by a civil war and also by one with Nabis, the neighboring tyrant of Lacedaemon, were divided in mind and hesitated. The greater part of them preferred the alliance of Philip and sided against the Romans on account of certain outrages against Greece committed by Sulpicius, the former commander. When the Roman faction urged their views with vehemence, most of their opponents left the assembly in disgust, and the remainder, being forced to yield by the smallness of their number, entered into an alliance with Lucius and followed him at once to the siege of Corinth, bringing their engines with them.

[From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies:9] [Spring 197] [Titus Quinctius] Flamininus came into conference with Philip a second time at the Malian gulf. When the Rhodians, the Aetolians, and Amynander, king of the Athamanes, made their complaints against Philip, Flamininus ordered him to remove his garrison from Phocis, and required both parties to send ambassadors to Rome. When this was done the Greeks asked the Roman Senate to require Philip to remove from their country the three garrisons which he called "the fetters of Greece": the one at Chalcis, which threatened the Boeotians, the Euboeans, and the Locrians; the one at Corinth, which closed the door of the Peloponnese; and the third at Demetrias, which lay, as it were, in ambush for the Aetolians and the Magnesians. The Senate asked Philip's ambassadors what the king's views were respecting the garrisons. When they answered that they did not know, the Senate said that Flamininus should decide the question and do what he considered just. So the ambassadors took their departure from Rome. Flamininus and Philip, being unable to come to any agreement, resumed hostilities.

The battlefield of Cynoscephalae. Photo Jona Lendering.

[In June 197, the Romans defeated the Macedonians at Cynoscephalae.]

[From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies:10] Philip, being defeated again, sent a herald to Flamininus to sue for peace, and again Flamininus granted him a conference, whereat the Aetolians were greatly displeased and accused him of being bribed by the king, and complained of his sudden change of mind as to all these matters. But he thought that it would not be to the advantage of the Romans, or of the Greeks, that Philip should be deposed and the Aetolian power made supreme. Perhaps, also, the unexpected greatness of the victory made him satisfied.

Having agreed upon a place where Philip should come, he directed the allies by cities to deliver their opinions. Some of them were disposed to be moderate, viewing suspiciously the mysteries of fortune as evinced in the calamities of Philip, and considering this disaster that had befallen him due not so much to weakness as to bad luck. But Alexander, the presiding officer of the Aetolians, said, "Flamininus cannot be ignorant that this victory will be of no advantage to the Romans or the Greeks unless the kingdom of Philip is overthrown."

[11] Flamininus replied, "Alexander cannot be ignorant of the custom of the Romans, who never destroy an enemy at once, but have spared many offenders, as recently the Carthaginians, restoring their property to them and making allies of those who had done them wrong. You forget also that there are many barbarous tribes on the border of Macedonia, who would make easy incursions into Greece if the Macedonian kings were taken away. Wherefore, I think that the Macedonian government should be left to protect you against the barbarians, but Philip must retire from those Greek places that he has hitherto refused to give up, and must pay the Romans 200 talents for the expenses of the war, and give hostages of the most noble families, including his own son, Demetrius. Until the Senate ratifies these conditions there shall be an armistice of four months."

Bust of Flamininus. Museum of Delphi (Greece). Photo Marco Prins.
Flamininus (Museum of Delphi)

[12] [196] Philip accepted all these conditions, and the Senate, when it learned the facts, ratified the peace, but considered the terms granted by Flamininus too lenient, and, accordingly, decreed that all the Greek cities that had been under Philip's rule should be free, and that he should withdraw his garrisons from them before the next celebration of the Isthmian games; that he should deliver to Flamininus all his ships, except one with six benches of oars and five small ones with decks; that he should pay the Romans 500 talents of silver down, and remit to Rome 500 more in ten years, in annual installments; and that he should surrender all prisoners and deserters in his hands. These conditions were added by the Senate and Philip accepted them all, by which it was made plain that those named by Flamininus were much too lenient. They sent to him as counselors ten men (as was customary at the end of a war), with whose aid he should regulate the new acquisitions.

[13] When he had arranged these things with them he went to the Isthmian games, and, the stadium being full of people, he commanded silence by trumpet and directed the herald to make this proclamation, "The Roman people and Senate, and Flamininus, their general, having vanquished the Macedonians and Philip, their king, order that Greece shall be free from foreign garrisons, not subject to tribute, and shall live under her own customs and laws."

Thereupon there was great shouting and rejoicing and a scene of rapturous tumult; and groups here and there called the herald back in order that he might repeat his words for them. They threw crowns and fillets upon the general and voted statues for him in their cities. They sent ambassadors with golden crowns to the Capitol at Rome to express their gratitude, and inscribed themselves as allies of the Roman people. Such was the end of the second war between the Romans and Philip.

[14] [190] Not long afterward Philip lent aid in Greece to the Romans in their war against [the Seleucid] king Antiochus [III the Great]. As they were moving against Antiochus in Asia, passing through Thrace and Macedonia by a difficult road, he escorted them with his own troops, supplied them with food and money, repaired the roads, bridged the unfordable streams, and dispersed the hostile Thracians, until he had conducted them to the Hellespont.[2] In return for these favors the Senate released his son Demetrius, who had been held by them as a hostage, and remitted the payments of money still due from him. But these Thracians fell upon the Romans when they were returning from their victory over Antiochus, when Philip was no longer with them, carried off booty and killed many - by which it was plainly shown how great a service Philip had rendered them when they were going.

[15] [183] That [Syrian] war being ended, many of the Greeks charged Philip with doing or omitting various things, in disregard of the orders given by Flamininus when he settled the affairs of Greece. To answer these charges Demetrius went as an envoy to Rome on his father's behalf, the Romans being well pleased with him aforetime, when he had been a hostage, and Flamininus strongly recommending him to the Senate. As he was a very young man and somewhat flustered, they directed him to read his father's memorandum in which were written down, one by one, the things already done and those yet to be done, although decided upon contrary to justice; for, indeed, his unjust acts were prominent in the thought of many.

Nevertheless, the Senate, having regard to his late zeal in the matter of Antiochus, said that it would pardon him, but added that it did so on account of Demetrius. Philip, having been confessedly most useful to them in the war with Antiochus, when he might have done them the greatest damage if he had cooperated with Antiochus, as the latter asked him to, expecting much on this account and now seeing himself discredited and accused, and considered worthy of pardon rather than of gratitude, and even this merely on account of Demetrius, was indignant and angry, but concealed his feelings for a time. Afterwards, in a certain arbitration before the Romans, they transferred much of his territory to [king]Eumenes [II Soter of Pergamon], seeking all the time to weaken him. Then, at once, he began secretly preparing for war.

[From the Suda dictionary: 16] Philip utterly destroyed all forces that sailed against him, lest the Romans should say that the Macedonian power was weakening.

Appian   :   Roman History   :   Macedonian wars, part 3

Note 1:
A part of the Carian mainland that belonged to Rhodes.

Note 2:
This subject matter is also treated by Appian in the Syrian War, 23.

 home   :    index    :    ancient Rome