According to the policy hitherto pursued there was therefore no reason for depriving the Macedonians of the shadow of independence which the battle of Pydna had still left to them; nevertheless the kingdom of Alexander was now, by order of the senate, converted by Metellus into a Roman province. This case clearly showed that the Roman government had changed its system, and had resolved to substitute for the relation of clientship that of simple subjects; and accordingly the suppression of the four Macedonian confederacies was felt throughout the whole range of the client-states as a blow directed against all. The possessions in Epirus which were formerly after the first Roman victories detached from Macedonia--the Ionian islands and the ports of Apollonia and Epidamnus,(16) that had hitherto been under the jurisdiction of the Italian magistrates--were now reunited with Macedonia, so that the latter, probably as early as this period, reached on the north-west to a point beyond Scodra, where Illyria began. The protectorate which Rome claimed over Greece proper likewise devolved, of itself, on the new governor of Macedonia. Thus Macedonia recovered its unity and nearly the same limits which it had in its most flourishing times. It had no longer, however, the unity of a kingdom, but that of a province, retaining its communal and even, as it would seem, its district organization, but placed under an Italian governor and quaestor, whose names make their appearance on the native coins along with the name of the country. As tribute, there was retained the old moderate land-tax, as Paullus had arranged it(17)--a sum of 100 talents (24,000 pounds) which was allocated in fixed proportions on the several communities. Yet the land could not forget its old glorious dynasty. A few years after the subjugation of the pseudo-Philip another pretended son of Perseus, Alexander, raised the banner of insurrection on the Nestus (Karasu), and had in a short time collected 1600 men; but the quaestor Lucius Tremellius mastered the insurrection without difficulty and pursued the fugitive pretender as far as Dardania (612). This was the last movement of the proud national spirit of Macedonia, which two hundred years before had accomplished so great things in Hellas and Asia. Henceforward there is scarcely anything else to be told of the Macedonians, save that they continued to reckon their inglorious years from the date at which the country received its definitive provincial organization (608).

Thenceforth the defence of the northern and eastern frontiers of Macedonia or, in other words, of the frontier of Hellenic civilization against the barbarians devolved on the Romans. It was conducted by them with inadequate forces and not, on the whole, with befitting energy; but with a primary view to this military object the great Egnatian highway was constructed, which as early as the time of Polybius ran from Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, the two chief ports on the west coast, across the interior to Thessalonica, and was afterwards prolonged to the Hebrus (Maritza).(18) The new province became the natural basis, on the one hand for the movements against the turbulent Dalmatians, and on the other hand for the numerous expeditions against the Illyrian, Celtic, and Thracian tribes settled to the north of the Grecian peninsula, which we shall afterwards have to exhibit in their historical connection.


Greece proper had greater occasion than Macedonia to congratulate herself on the favour of the ruling power; and the Philhellenes of Rome might well be of opinion that the calamitous effects of the war with Perseus were disappearing, and that the state of things in general was improving there. The bitterest abettors of the now dominant party, Lyciscus the Aetolian, Mnasippus the Boeotian, Chrematas the Acarnanian, the infamous Epirot Charops whom honourable Romans forbade even to enter their houses, descended one after another to the grave; another generation grew up, in which the old recollections and the old antagonisms had faded. The Roman senate thought that the time for general forgiveness and oblivion had come, and in 604 released the survivors of those Achaean patriots who had been confined for seventeen years in Italy, and whose liberation the Achaean diet had never ceased to demand. Nevertheless they were mistaken. How little the Romans with all their Philhellenism had been successful in heartily conciliating Hellenic patriotism, was nowhere more clearly apparent than in the attitude of the Greeks towards the Attalids. King Eumenes II had been, as a friend of the Romans, extremely hated in Greece;(19) but scarcely had a coldness arisen between him and the Romans, when he became suddenly popular in Greece, and the Hellenic hopefuls expected the deliverer from a foreign yoke to come now from Pergamus as formerly from Macedonia. Social disorganization more especially was visibly on the increase among the petty states of Hellas now left to themselves. The country became desolate not through war and pestilence, but through the daily increasing disinclination of the higher classes to trouble themselves with wife and children; on the other hand the criminal or the thoughtless flocked as hitherto chiefly to Greece, there to await the recruiting officer. The communities sank into daily deeper debt, and into financial dishonour and a corresponding want of credit: some cities, more especially Athens and Thebes, resorted in their financial distress to direct robbery, and plundered the neighbouring communities. The internal dissensions in the leagues also--e. g. between the voluntary and the compulsory members of the Achaean confederacy-- were by no means composed. If the Romans, as seems to have been the case, believed what they wished and confided in the calm which for the moment prevailed, they were soon to learn that the younger generation in Hellas was in no respect better or wiser than the older. The Greeks directly sought an opportunity of picking a quarrel with the Romans.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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