The emigrants did not receive back their property, as the district assigned to them was regarded as a compensation for it; it was stipulated, on the other hand, that their wives and children should not be detained in Sparta against their will. The Achaeans, although by this arrangement they gained the accession of the free Laconians as well as Argos, were yet far from content; they had expected that the dreaded and hated Nabis would be superseded, that the emigrants would be brought back, and that the Achaean symmachy would be extended to the whole Peloponnesus. Unprejudiced persons, however, will not fail to see that Flamininus managed these difficult affairs as fairly and justly as it was possible to manage them where two political parties, both chargeable with unfairness and injustice stood opposed to each other. With the old and deep hostility subsisting between the Spartans and Achaeans, the incorporation of Sparta into the Achaean league would have been equivalent to subjecting Sparta to the Achaeans, a course no less contrary to equity than to prudence. The restitution of the emigrants, and the complete restoration of a government that had been set aside for twenty years, would only have substituted one reign of terror for another; the expedient adopted by Flamininus was the right one, just because it failed to satisfy either of the extreme parties. At length thorough provision appeared to be made that the Spartan system of robbery by sea and land should cease, and that the government there, such as it was, should prove troublesome only to its own subjects. It is possible that Flamininus, who knew Nabis and could not but be aware how desirable it was that he should personally be superseded, omitted to take such a step from the mere desire to have done with the matter and not to mar the clear impression of his successes by complications that might be prolonged beyond all calculation; it is possible, moreover, that he sought to preserve Sparta as a counterpoise to the power of the Achaean confederacy in the Peloponnesus. But the former objection relates to a point of secondary importance; and as to the latter view, it is far from probable that the Romans condescended to fear the Achaeans.

Final Regulation Of Greece

Peace was thus established, externally at least, among the petty Greek states. But the internal condition of the several communities also furnished employment to the Roman arbiter. The Boeotians openly displayed their Macedonian tendencies, even after the expulsion of the Macedonians from Greece; after Flamininus had at their request allowed their countrymen who were in the service of Philip to return home, Brachyllas, the most decided partisan of Macedonia, was elected to the presidency of the Boeotian confederacy, and Flamininus was otherwise irritated in every way. He bore it with unparalleled patience; but the Boeotians friendly to Rome, who knew what awaited them after the departure of the Romans, determined to put Brachyllas to death, and Flamininus, whose permission they deemed it necessary to ask, at least did not forbid them. Brachyllas was accordingly killed; upon which the Boeotians were not only content with prosecuting the murderers, but lay in wait for the Roman soldiers passing singly or in small parties through their territories, and killed about 500 of them. This was too much to be endured; Flamininus imposed on them a fine of a talent for every soldier; and when they did not pay it, he collected the nearest troops and besieged Coronea (558). Now they betook themselves to entreaty; Flamininus in reality desisted on the intercession of the Achaeans and Athenians, exacting but a very moderate fine from those who were guilty; and although the Macedonian party remained continuously at the helm in the petty province, the Romans met their puerile opposition simply with the forbearance of superior power. In the rest of Greece Flamininus contented himself with exerting his influence, so far as he could do so without violence, over the internal affairs especially of the newly-freed communities; with placing the council and the courts in the hands of the more wealthy and bringing the anti-Macedonian party to the helm; and with attaching as much as possible the civic commonwealths to the Roman interest, by adding everything, which in each community should have fallen by martial law to the Romans, to the common property of the city concerned. The work was finished in the spring of 560; Flamininus once more assembled the deputies of all the Greek communities at Corinth, exhorted them to a rational and moderate use of the freedom conferred on them, and requested as the only return for the kindness of the Romans, that they would within thirty days send to him the Italian captives who had been sold into Greece during the Hannibalic war. Then he evacuated the last fortresses in which Roman garrisons were still stationed, Demetrias, Chalcis along with the smaller forts dependent upon it in Euboea, and Acrocorinthus--thus practically giving the lie to the assertion of the Aetolians that Rome had inherited from Philip the "fetters" of Greece--and departed homeward with all the Roman troops and the liberated captives.


It is only contemptible disingenuousness or weakly sentimentality, which can fail to perceive that the Romans were entirely in earnest with the liberation of Greece; and the reason why the plan so nobly projected resulted in so sorry a structure, is to be sought only in the complete moral and political disorganization of the Hellenic nation. It was no small matter, that a mighty nation should have suddenly with its powerful arm brought the land, which it had been accustomed to regard as its primitive home and as the shrine of its intellectual and higher interests, into the possession of full freedom, and should have conferred on every community in it deliverance from foreign taxation and foreign garrisons and the unlimited right of self-government; it is mere paltriness that sees in this nothing save political calculation.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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