Lastly, Philip entered into symmachy with the Romans, which obliged him to send a contingent when requested; indeed, Macedonian troops immediately afterwards fought side by side with the legions. Moreover, he paid a contribution of 1000 talents (244,000 pounds).

Greece Free

After Macedonia had thus been reduced to complete political nullity and was left in possession of only as much power as was needful to guard the frontier of Hellas against the barbarians, steps were taken to dispose of the possessions ceded by the king. The Romans, who just at that time were learning by experience in Spain that transmarine provinces were a very dubious gain, and who had by no means begun the war with a view to the acquisition of territory, took none of the spoil for themselves, and thus compelled their allies also to moderation. They resolved to declare all the states of Greece, which had previously been under Phillip free: and Flamininus was commissioned to read the decree to that effect to the Greeks assembled at the Isthmian games (558). Thoughtful men doubtless might ask whether freedom was a blessing capable of being thus bestowed, and what was the value of freedom to a nation apart from union and unity; but the rejoicing was great and sincere, as the intention of the senate was sincere in conferring the freedom.(2)

Scodra The Achaean League Enlarged The Aetolians

The only exceptions to this general rule were, the Illyrian provinces eastward of Epidamnus, which fell to Pleuratus the ruler of Scodra, and rendered that state of robbers and pirates, which a century before had been humbled by the Romans,(3) once more one of the most powerful of the petty principalities in those regions; some townships in western Thessaly, which Amynander had occupied and was allowed to retain; and the three islands of Paros, Scyros, and Imbros, which were presented to Athens in return for her many hardships and her still more numerous addresses of thanks and courtesies of all sorts. The Rhodians, of course, retained their Carian possessions, and the Pergamenes retained Aegina. The remaining allies were only indirectly rewarded by the accession of the newly-liberated cities to the several confederacies. The Achaeans were the best treated, although they were the latest in joining the coalition against Philip; apparently for the honourable reason, that this federation was the best organized and most respectable of all the Greek states. All the possessions of Philip in the Peloponnesus and on the Isthmus, and consequently Corinth in particular, were incorporated with their league. With the Aetolians on the other hand the Romans used little ceremony; they were allowed to receive the towns of Phocis and Locris into their symmachy, but their attempts to extend it also to Acarnania and Thessaly were in part decidedly rejected, in part postponed, and the Thessalian cities were organized into four small independent confederacies. The Rhodian city-league reaped the benefit of the liberation of Thasos, Lemnos, and the towns of Thrace and Asia Minor.

War Against Nabis Of Sparta

The regulation of the affairs of the Greek states, as respected both their mutual relations and their internal condition, was attended with difficulty. The most urgent matter was the war which had been carried on between the Spartans and Achaeans since 550, in which the duty of mediating necessarily fell to the Romans. But after various attempts to induce Nabis to yield, and particularly to give up the city of Argos belonging to the Achaean league, which Philip had surrendered to him, no course at last was left to Flamininus but to have war declared against the obstinate petty robber-chieftain, who reckoned on the well-known grudge of the Aetolians against the Romans and on the advance of Antiochus into Europe, and pertinaciously refused to restore Argos. War was declared, accordingly, by all the Hellenes at a great diet in Corinth, and Flamininus advanced into the Peloponnesus accompanied by the fleet and the Romano-allied army, which included a contingent sent by Philip and a division of Lacedaemonian emigrants under Agesipolis, the legitimate king of Sparta (559). In order to crush his antagonist immediately by an overwhelming superiority of force, no less than 50,000 men were brought into the field, and, the other towns being disregarded, the capital itself was at once invested; but the desired result was not attained. Nabis had sent into the field a considerable army amounting to 15,000 men, of whom 5000 were mercenaries, and he had confirmed his rule afresh by a complete reign of terror--by the execution -en masse- of the officers and inhabitants of the country whom he suspected. Even when he himself after the first successes of the Roman army and fleet resolved to yield and to accept the comparatively favourable terms of peace proposed by Flamininus, "the people," that is to say the gang of robbers whom Nabis had domiciled in Sparta, not without reason apprehensive of a reckoning after the victory, and deceived by an accompaniment of lies as to the nature of the terms of peace and as to the advance of the Aetolians and Asiatics, rejected the peace offered by the Roman general, so that the struggle began anew. A battle took place in front of the walls and an assault was made upon them; they were already scaled by the Romans, when the setting on fire of the captured streets compelled the assailants to retire.

Settlement Of Spartan Affairs

At last the obstinate resistance came to an end. Sparta retained its independence and was neither compelled to receive back the emigrants nor to join the Achaean league; even the existing monarchical constitution, and Nabis himself, were left intact. On the other hand Nabis had to cede his foreign possessions, Argos, Messene, the Cretan cities, and the whole coast besides; to bind himself neither to conclude foreign alliances, nor to wage war, nor to keep any other vessels than two open boats; and lastly to disgorge all his plunder, to give to the Romans hostages, and to pay to them a war-contribution. The towns on the Laconian coast were given to the Spartan emigrants, and this new community, who named themselves the "free Laconians" in contrast to the monarchically governed Spartans, were directed to enter the Achaean league.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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