Translated by Rev. J.S.Watson (1853). See key to translations for an explanation of the format.
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[31.1] L Ptolemaeus Philopator, king of Egypt, being dead, and the youthful age of his son (who, left with the prospect of wielding the sceptre, was a prey even to his own domestics), being held in contempt, Antiochus, king of Syria, resolved to get possession of Egypt. 2 As he attacked Phoenice, accordingly, and several cities, which, though situated in Syria, belonged of right to Egypt, the senate despatched ambassadors to him, to warn him "not to molest the dominions of an orphan, who had been recommended to their protection by the last prayers of his dying father." 3 This embassy being disregarded, another arrived some time after, which, saying nothing on behalf of the orphan, ordered that "the cities, which had fallen to the Roman people by the right of war, should be restored to their former condition." 4 On his refusal to comply with this mandate, war was declared against him, which he, after lightly undertaking it, prosecuted with ill success.
5 At the same time, the tyrant Nabis had taken possession of several cities of Greece. 6 The senate, in consequence, that the Roman forces might not be distracted by two wars at once, sent orders to Flamininus, that "he should, if he thought it expedient, deliver Greece from Nabis, as he had delivered Macedonia from Philippus." 7 To this end, his term of command was prolonged. The name of Hannibal, indeed, rendered a war with Antiochus an object of dread; for Hannibal's enemies, by secret communications to the Romans, accused him of having entered into a league with Antiochus, 8 saying that "he, who was accustomed to command, and to extravagant military licentiousness, was unable to live patiently under the control of laws; and that, from disgust at the quiet of the city, he was always looking about for occasions for war." 9 These charges, though false, passed for true with such as were timid.
[31.2] L At length the senate, struck with alarm, sent Cnaeus Servilius, in the character of ambassador, into Africa, to watch the proceedings of Hannibal, giving him secret instruction "to compass his death, if he could, by the agency of his enemies, and deliver the Roman people from the terror of his hated name." 2 But this circumstance did not long escape the knowledge of Hannibal, a man sagacious in foreseeing and guarding against dangers, and not less thoughtful of adversity in prosperity than of prosperity in adversity. 3 Having shown himself in public, therefore, during the whole day, in the forum of Carthage, before the face of the chief personages and the Roman ambassador, he mounted his horse, on the approach of evening, and galloped off to a farm which he had in the suburbs, near the sea-coast, his attendants, who knew nothing of his intentions, being directed to wait for his return at the gate of the city. 4 He had vessels, with rowers, concealed in an unfrequented inlet on the coast; and he had also a large sum of ready money at his farm, so that, when occasion should require, neither difficulty nor want of resources might retard his escape. 5 Selecting the most vigorous of his slaves, therefore, the number of whom a body of Italian prisoners augmented, he went on board a ship, and directed his course towards the dominions of Antiochus. 6 The next day the city looked for their chief, who was then consul, in the forum; 7 and when intelligence was brought that he was gone, they were all in as much trepidation as if the city had been taken, and foreboded that his flight would prove fatal to them; 8 while the Roman ambassador, as if war was already commenced on Italy by Hannibal, returned privately to Rome, carrying the alarming news with him.
[31.3] L In Greece, meanwhile, Flamininus, having formed an alliance with several cities, defeated Nabis the tyrant in two successive battles, and left him sadly humbled, with his resources apparently exhausted, in his own dominions. 2 But after liberty was restored to Greece, the garrisons withdrawn from the cities, and the Romans returned to Italy, Nabis, as if tempted afresh by the deserted state of the country, possessed himself of several cities by sudden attacks; 3 when the Achaeans, alarmed at his proceedings, and fearing that the evils in their neighbourhood might reach themselves, determined upon war against him, and appointed to the command in it their strategus Philopoemen, a man of extraordinary energy, 4 and whose merit was so eminent in the contest, that he was thought equal, in public opinion, to the Roman general Flamininus.
5 Hannibal, arriving about the same time at the court of Antiochus, was received by him as a gift from the gods; 6 and such ardour, in consequence of his coming, was added to the courage of the king, that he thought less of the mode of conducting the war, than of the prizes of victory. 7 But Hannibal, to whom the spirit of Rome was well known, said that the Romans could not be subdued any where but in Italy. 8 To accomplish their overthrow, he asked for himself a hundred ships, ten thousand foot, and a thousand cavalry, promising that "with this force he would revive in Italy no less a war than he had formerly carried on there, 9 and would secure to the king, remaining quiet in Asia, either a triumph over the Romans, or equitable conditions of peace. 10 To the Spaniards," he added, "who were burning with ardour for war, nothing was wanting but a leader; that Italy was better known to him now than in past times; and that Carthage would not rest in peace, but join him as an ally without delay."
[31.4] L As this counsel pleased the king, one of the attendants of Hannibal was despatched to Carthage, to encourage the Carthaginians, already forward enough of themselves, to take up arms, acquainting them that "Hannibal would support them with an army," and saying that "nothing was wanting, on the side of the Carthaginians, but resolution, as Asia would supply both troops and money for the enterprise." 2 When this announcement arrived at Carthage, the messenger was seized by Hannibal's enemies, and being asked, when he was brought before the senate, "to whom he was sent," he replied, with Punic subtlety, that "he was sent to the whole senate, as this was not the concern of a few individuals only, but of the entire people." 3 As they spent several days in deliberating, whether they should send him to Rome to clear them from guilt as a nation, he, in the meanwhile, went secretly on board his vessel, and returned to Hannibal. As soon as this was discovered, the Carthaginians sent intelligence of the matter to Rome by an ambassador. 4 The Romans also sent ambassadors to Antiochus, who, under colour of delivering a message, were to watch the preparations of the king, and either to soften Hannibal's feelings towards the Romans, or, by frequent association with him, to render him suspected and unpopular with Antiochus. 5 The ambassadors, accordingly, meeting with Antiochus at Ephesus, made their communication from the senate, 6 and, while they waited for an answer, were every day constantly visiting Hannibal, and observing that, "he had withdrawn from his country under needless apprehension, as the Romans would with the greatest honour observe a peace which was made not so much with his government as with himself; 7 and that they knew he had made war upon the Romans, less from hatred to them, than from love to his country (to which every honourable man owed life itself), since the reasons for going to war were public ones between the nations, and not private ones between the generals." They then extolled his exploits; 8 and he, pleased with their conversation, talked frequently and readily with them, not being aware that by his familiarity with the Romans, he was incurring the dislike of the king; for 9 Antiochus, supposing that by such frequent intercourse a good understanding had been effected between him and the Romans, communicated nothing to him as he had been used to do, and began to detest him, when he had excluded him from his councils, as an enemy and a traitor to him. This distrust ruined the mighty preparations for war, the skill of a leader being wanting to conduct it. 10 The communication from the senate was, that "Antiochus should confine himself within the limits of Asia, lest he should lay on them the necessity of invading that country." Slighting this message, he resolved not to wait for war, but to commence it.
[31.5] L It is said, that after the king had frequently held councils concerning the war, from which Hannibal was excluded, he at length desired that he should be called in, not that he might act in any respect according to his advice, but that he might not appear entirely to disregard him; and that, when all the rest had been asked their opinions, he in conclusion inquired his. 2 Hannibal, understanding what Antiochus's feelings were, observed that "he was aware he was asked to attend, not because the king wished for his advice, but to make up the full number of votes; yet, from his hatred towards the Romans, and regard for the king, with whom alone a secure retreat was left him in his exile, he would explain the method in which the war should be conducted." 3 Then, requesting indulgence for the freedom with which he was going to speak, he said, that "he approved none of the present suggestions or proceedings; nor did he like Greece as a seat of the war, when Italy was a far more advantageous field for it; 4 for the Romans could not be conquered but by their own arms, nor Italy subdued but by the resources of Italy; since that people differed from others, and their mode of warfare from that of other nations. 5 In other wars, it was of the greatest importance to have been the first to take advantage of any ground or opportunity, to have ravaged the lands, or to have captured towns, but that, with the Romans, whether you took their cities, or defeated them, you would still have to struggle with the enemy even when vanquished and fallen. 6 If anyone should attack them in Italy, therefore, he might conquer them with their own strength, their own resources, their own arms, as he himself had done; 7 but if anyone left Italy to them, which was the fountain-head, as it were, of their power, he would act just as absurdly, as a man who should attempt, not to exhaust rivers at their sources, but to alter their channels or dry them up when great floods of water had collected in them. 8 He had entertained this," he said, "as his private opinion, and had readily offered his advice to that effect; and that he repeated it now, in the presence of his friends, that they might all understand the way to go to war with the Romans, who, though invincible abroad, might be reduced at home; 9 for they might be deprived of their city sooner than of their empire, and of Italy sooner than of their provinces; since they had lost their city to the Gauls, and been almost crushed by him; nor was he ever defeated till he had quitted their country, but that, when he returned to Carthage, the fortune of the war was immediately changed with the seat of it."
[31.6] L The king's courtiers were all opposed to this advice, not regarding the advantages of the plan, but fearing that Hannibal, if his counsel were approved, would gain the first place in the king's favour. 2 As for Antiochus, he did not so much dislike the scheme as the proposer of it, in the apprehension that whatever glory resulted from its success would be given to Hannibal, and not to himself. 3 All proceedings were therefore rendered ineffectual by the various flatteries of those who sought to please the king; nothing was conducted with judgement or reason, Antiochus himself, resigning himself to luxury during the winter, was every day engaged in celebrating some new marriage. 4 Acilius the Roman consul, on the other hand, who had been appointed to command in this war, provided forces, arms, and every thing necessary for the contest, with the utmost activity: he animated the confederate cities, and drew to his interest such as were undecided. Nor was the result of the conflict at variance with the preparations of each party for it; 5 for, in the first engagement, when the king saw his men giving ground, he did not support those who were in distress, but put himself at the head of those that fled; and left his rich camp a prey to the conquerors. 6 But having reached Asia in his flight, while the Romans were busied about the spoil, he began to repent of having neglected Hannibal's counsel, and, taking that general again into his friendship, conducted every thing according to his directions. 7 In the mean time intelligence was brought that Livius, the Roman general, was approaching with eighty ships of war, having been despatched by the senate to carry on the war by sea. This news gave him hopes of retrieving his fortune; 8 and accordingly he resolved to fight a battle by sea before any of the cities in alliance with him could revolt to the enemy, hoping that the defeat which he had suffered in Greece might be compensated by a new victory. 9 The fleet was therefore entrusted to Hannibal, and a battle was fought; but neither were the Asiatic soldiers a match for the Romans, nor their vessels equal to the beaked ships of the enemy. The loss, however, was rendered less than it would otherwise have been, by the able management of the general. 10 The report of the victory had not yet reached Rome, and therefore the city was in suspense about the consuls to be chosen.
[31.7] L But to oppose Hannibal, what fitter leader could be appointed than the brother of Africanus, since it was the business of the Scipios to conquer the Carthaginians? 2 Lucius Scipio was therefore made consul, and his brother Africanus appointed to be his lieutenant-general, to let Antiochus see that he had not more confidence in the conquered Hannibal than the Romans in the victorious Scipio. 3 As the Scipios were transporting their army into Asia, news reached them that the war, both by land and sea, was almost at an end; as Antiochus had been defeated in a battle by land, and Hannibal in a battle by sea. 4 As soon as they arrived, Antiochus sent ambassadors to them, desiring peace, and having with them, as an offering to Africanus individually, the son of that general, whom the king had captured as he was crossing in a small boat. 5 But Africanus replied, "that private favours were distinct from public concerns; that the obligations of a father, and the claims of one's country, were things entirely different; claims which were to be preferred not only to children, but even to life itself. 6 That he, however, thankfully accepted the kindness, and would make a return to the king's generosity at his own individual expense; but as to what related to war and peace, nothing could be allowed to private favour, or cut off from the interests of his country." 7 He had never, indeed, either treated about the ransom of his son, or allowed the senate to treat about it, but, as became his dignity, said that "he would recover his son by force of arms." 8 The terms of peace were then specified to the ambassadors: "that the king should give up Asia to the Romans; that he should confine himself to his kingdom of Syria; that he should give up all his ships, with the prisoners and deserters, and repay the Romans all the expenses of the war." 9 These terms being repeated to Antiochus, he said that "he was not yet so utterly reduced, as that he should suffer himself to be despoiled of his dominions; and that such proposals were provocations to war, not invitations to peace."
[31.8] L Preparations for a contest were in consequence made on both sides; and when the Romans, having entered Asia, had reached Troy, mutual gratulations took place between the Trojans and the Romans; the Trojans observing that "Aeneias, and the other leaders that accompanied him, had gone forth from them;" the Romans telling them that "they were their children;" 2 and such joy was among them all as is wont to be between parents and children met after a long separation. 3 The Trojans were delighted that their descendants, after having conquered the west and Africa, were now laying claim to Asia as their hereditary domain, remarking that "the ruin of Troy had been an event to be desired, since it was so happily to revive again." 4 On the other hand, an insatiable longing to gaze on their ancient home, the birth-place of their ancestors, and the temples and images of the gods, had taken possession of the Romans.
5 As the Romans were coming from Troy, king Eumenes met them with some auxiliary troops; and soon after a battle was fought with Antiochus; 6 in which one of the Roman legions, on the right wing, being beaten back, and fleeing to their camp with more disgrace than danger, Marcus Aemilius, a military tribune, who had been left to defend the camp, ordered his men to arm themselves, and advance without the rampart, and to threaten the fugitives with their swords drawn, saying that "they should be put to death unless they returned to the field, and should find their own camp more hostile to them than that of the enemy." 7 The legion, alarmed at such peril on both sides, returned to the battle, their fellow soldiers, who had stopped their flight, accompanying them, and, making great havoc among the enemy, were the first cause of the victory. Fifty thousand of the enemy were slain, and eleven thousand taken prisoners. 8 Antiochus suing for peace, nothing was added to the former articles, Africanus observing that "the spirit of the Romans was never broken if they were defeated, and, if they were victorious, they were not rendered tyrannical by success." 9 The cities that were taken they divided among their allies, deeming that glory was more desirable for the Romans than dominions merely for pleasure; and that the honour of victory was worthy of being attached to the Roman name, but that the luxuries of wealth might be left to their adherents.
[32.1] L The Aetolians, who had persuaded Antiochus to make war on the Romans, were left, after he was defeated, to oppose them by themselves, unequal in force, and unsupported by assistance. 2 Being soon after, in consequence, subdued, they lost that liberty which they alone, among so many states of Greece, had preserved inviolate against the power of the Athenians and Spartans. 3 This state of things was the more grievous to them, as it was later in befalling them; for they reflected on those times in which they had withstood the mighty power of the Persians by their own strength, and had humbled, in the Delphic war, the violent spirit of the Gauls that was dreaded by Asia and Italy; and these glorious recollections increased their grief at the loss of their liberty. 4 During the course of these occurrences, a dispute at first, and afterwards a war, arose between the Messenians and Achaeans, to determine which of the two should rule the other. 5 In this struggle Philopoemen, the famous general of the Achaeans, was taken prisoner, not from having been fearful of exposing his life in the field; but from having fallen from his horse in leaping a ditch, as he was rallying his men for the contest, and being overpowered by a host of enemies. 6 The Messenians, whether from fear of his valour, or respect for his dignity, did not venture to kill him as he lay on the ground; 7 but, as if they had ended the war by capturing him, they led him prisoner through their whole city as in triumph, while the people poured forth to meet him, as if it were their own general, and not that of the enemy, that was coming; 8 nor would the Achaeans have more eagerly beheld him victorious than the enemy saw him under defeat. They ordered him accordingly to be led into the theatre, that everyone might see him whose capture seemed incredible to every one. 9 Being then conducted to prison, they gave him, from respect for his high character, poison to drink, which he received with pleasure, just as if he had been conqueror, first asking "whether Lycortas," a general of the Achaeans, whom he knew to be next to himself in the art of war, "had got off safe?" Hearing that he had escaped, he observed that "things were not utterly desperate with the Achaeans," and expired. 10 The war being renewed shortly after, the Messenians were conquered, and made some atonement for putting Philopoemen to death.
[32.2] L In Syria, meanwhile, king Antiochus, being burdened, after he was conquered by the Romans, with a heavy tribute under his articles of peace, and being impelled by want of money or stimulated by avarice, brought up his army one night, and made an assault upon the temple of Jupiter in Elymais, hoping that he might more excusably commit sacrilege under plea of wanting money to pay his tribute. 2 But the affair becoming known, he was killed by a rising of the people who dwelt about the temple.
3 At Rome, as many cities of Greece had sent thither, to complain of injuries received from Philippus king of Macedonia, and as a dispute arose in the senate-house between Demetrius, Philippus' son, whom his father had sent to justify him to the senate, and the deputies of the cities, the young prince, confounded at the number of accusations brought forward, suddenly became speechless; 4 when the senate, moved at his modesty, which had been admired by everyone when he was a hostage at Rome, suffered the controversy to terminate in his favour. Thus Demetrius, by his modesty, obtained pardon for his father, which was granted, not to the justice of his defence, but from respect for his bashfulness; 5 and this was particularly signified in the decree of the senate, that it might be known that it was not so much the king that was acquitted, as the father that was excused for the sake of the son. 6 The circumstance, however, procured Demetrius no thanks for his embassy at home, but rather odium and detraction; 7 for envy drew upon him hatred from his brother Perseus, and with his father, the cause of the indulgence shown him, as soon as he knew it, became a source of dislike towards him, as he was indignant that the character of his son should have had more weight with the senate than his own authority as a father or his dignity as a king. 8 Perseus, in consequence, observing his father's chagrin, laid before him, day after day, accusations against Demetrius in his absence, and rendered him first an object of hatred, and afterwards of suspicion, charging him at one time with friendship for the Romans, and at another with treachery to his father. 9 At last he pretended that a plot was laid for his own life by Demetrius, and, to prove the charge, brought forward informers, suborned witnesses, and committed the very crime of which he accused his brother. 10 Impelling his father, by these artifices, to put his son to death, he filled the whole palace with mourning.
[32.3] L After Demetrius was killed, and his rival removed, Perseus grew not only more careless in his behaviour towards his father, but even more insolent, conducting himself, not as heir to the crown, but as king. 2 Philippus, offended at his manner, became every day more concerned for the death of Demetrius, and began at length to suspect that he had been deceived by treachery, and put to the torture all the witnesses and informers. 3 Having, by this means, come to the knowledge of the deception, he was not less afflicted at the dishonesty of Perseus than at the execution of the innocent Demetrius, whom he would have avenged, had he not been prevented by death; 4 for shortly after he died of a disease contracted by mental anxiety, leaving great preparations for a war with the Romans, of which Perseus afterwards made use. 5 He had induced the Scordiscan Gauls to join him, and would have had a desperate struggle with the Romans, had not death carried him off.
6 The Gauls, after their disastrous attack upon Delphi, in which they had felt the power of the divinity more than that of the enemy, and had lost their leader Brennus, had fled, like exiles, partly into Asia, and partly into Thrace, 7 and then returned, by the same way by which they had come, into their own country. 8 Of these, a certain number settled at the conflux of the Danube and Save, and took the name of Scordisci. The Tectosagi, on returning to their old settlements about Toulouse, were seized 9 with a pestilential distemper, and did not recover from it, until, being warned by the admonitions of their soothsayers, they threw the gold and silver, which they had got in war and sacrilege, into the lake of Toulouse; 10 all which treasure, a hundred and ten thousand pounds of silver, and fifteen hundred thousand pounds of gold, Caepio, the Roman consul, a long time after carried away with him. 11 But this sacrilegious act subsequently proved a cause of ruin to Caepio and his army. The rising of the Cimbrian war, too, seemed to pursue the Romans as if to avenge the removal of that devoted treasure. 12 Of these Tectosagi, no small number, attracted by the charms of plunder, repaired to Illyricum, and, after spoiling the Istrians, settled in Pannonia.
13 The Istrians, it is reported, derive their origin from those Colchians who were sent by king Aeetes in pursuit of the Argonauts, that had carried off his daughter, 14 who, after they had sailed from the Pontus Euxinus into the Ister, and had proceeded far up the channel of the river Save, pursuing the track of the Argonauts, conveyed their vessels upon their shoulders over the tops of the mountains, as far as the shores of the Adriatic sea, knowing that the Argonauts must have done the same before them, because of the size of their ship. 15 These Colchians, not overtaking the Argonauts, who had sailed off, remained, whether from fear of their king or from weariness of so long a voyage, near Aquileia, and were called Istrians from the name of the river up which they sailed out of the sea.
16 The Dacians are descendants of the Getae. This people having fought unsuccessfully, under their king Oroles, against the Bastarnae, were compelled by his order, as a punishment for their cowardice, to put their heads, when they were going to sleep, in the place of their feet, and to perform those offices for their wives which used previously to be done for themselves. Nor were these regulations altered, until they had effaced, by new exertions in the field, the disgrace which they had incurred in the previous war.
[32.4] L Perseus, having succeeded to the throne of his father Philippus, applied to all these nations to join him in a war against the Romans. 2 In the meanwhile a war broke out between king Prusias, to whom Hannibal had fled when peace was granted Antiochus by the Romans, and Eumenes; a war which Prusias was the first to begin, having broken his treaty with Eumenes through confidence in Hannibal.
3 Hannibal, when the Romans, among other articles of peace, demanded from Antiochus that he should be surrendered to them, received notice of this demand from the king, and, taking to flight, went off to Crete. 4 Here, when he had long led a quiet life, but found himself envied for his great wealth, he deposited some urns, filled with lead, in the temple of Diana, as if thus to secure his treasure. 5 The city, in consequence, being no longer concerned about him, as they supposed that they had his wealth in pledge, he betook himself to Prusias, putting his gold into some statues which he carried with him, lest his riches, if seen, should endanger his life. 6 Prusias being subsequently defeated in a battle by land, and transferring the war to the sea, Hannibal, by a new stratagem, was the cause of procuring him a victory; for he ordered serpents of every kind to be enclosed in earthen pots, and to be thrown, in the hottest of the engagement, into the enemy's ships. 7 This seemed at first ridiculous to the Pontic soldiers, that the enemy should fight with earthen pots, as if they could not fight with the sword. But when the ships began to be filled with serpents, and they were thus involved in double peril, they yielded the victory to the enemy.
8 When the news of these transactions was brought to Rome, ambassadors were despatched by the senate to require the two kings to make peace, and demand the surrender of Hannibal. But Hannibal, learning their object, took poison, and frustrated their embassy by his death.
9 This year was rendered remarkable by the deaths of the three greatest generals then in the world, Hannibal, Philopoemen, and Scipio Africanus. 10 Of these three it is certain that Hannibal, even at the time when Italy trembled at him, thundering in the war with Rome, and when, after his return to Carthage, he held the chief command there, never reclined at his meals, or indulged himself with more than one pint of wine at a time; 11 and that he preserved such continence among so many female captives, that one would be disposed to deny that he was born in Africa. 12 Such, too, was his prudence in command, that though he had to rule armies of different nations, he was never annoyed by any conspiracy among his troops, or betrayed by their want of faith, though his enemies had often attempted to expose him to both.
[33.1] L The Romans carried on the Macedonian war with less disturbance to their country than the Punic war, but with more renown, as the Macedonians surpassed the Carthaginians in honour, and were animated, moreover, by their glory in having conquered the east, and supported also by the auxiliary forces of all the neighbouring princes. 2 The Romans, accordingly, both raised a greater number of legions, and called for assistance from Masinissa, king of Numidia, and all the rest of their allies; while notice was also given to Eumenes, king of Bithynia, to aid them in the war with his whole force. 3 Perseus, besides his Macedonian army, which had had the reputation of being invincible, had supplies for a ten years' war, collected by his father, in his treasures and magazines. Elevated by these resources, and forgetful of his father's fortune, he bade his soldiers think of the past glory of Alexander. 4 The first engagement was one of cavalry only; and Perseus, being victorious in it, attracted the favourable regard of all who had previously been in suspense. 5 Yet he sent ambassadors to the consul to ask for peace, which the Romans had granted to his father even when conquered, offering to defray the expenses of the war, as if he had been defeated. But the consul P.Licinius offered him terms not less harsh than he would have offered to a vanquished enemy. 6 In the meantime, the Romans, under the dread of so formidable a war, created Aemilius Paulus consul, and conferred upon him, out of due course, the command in the Macedonian war. Aemilius, when he had reached the camp, lost no time in coming to a battle. 7 The night before it was fought, the moon was eclipsed; a phenomenon which all interpreted unfavourably for Perseus, and presaged that the downfall of the Macedonian empire was portended.
[33.2] L In this engagement, Marcus Cato, the son of Cato the orator, while he was fighting, with extraordinary bravery , among the thickest of the enemy, fell from his horse, and continued his efforts on foot. 2 A number of the enemy gathered about him when he fell, with loud shouts, as if they would kill him as he lay on the ground, but he, recovering himself sooner than they expected, made great slaughter among them. 3 The enemy flocking round him, however, to overpower him with their numbers, his sword, as he was aiming at a tall fellow among them, fell from his hand among a troop of his opponents; 4 when he, to recover it, plunged in among the points of the enemy's weapons, protecting himself with his shield, while both armies were looking on, and, having regained his sword, though not without receiving many wounds, he got back safe to his friends, amidst a loud shout from the enemy. The rest of the Romans, imitating his boldness, secured the victory. 5 King Perseus fled, and arrived, with ten thousand talents, at Samothrace; and Cnaeus Octavius, being sent by the consul in pursuit of him, took him prisoner, with his two sons Alexander and Philippus, and brought him to the consul.
6 Macedonia, from the time of Caranus, who was the first that reigned in it, to Perseus, had thirty kings; under whose government it continued for nine hundred and twenty-three years, but possessed supreme power for only a hundred and ninety-two. 7 When it fell under the power of the Romans, it was left free, magistrates being appointed in every city; and it received laws from Paulus Aemilius, which it still uses.
8 As to the Aetolians, the senators of every city in the country, whose fidelity had been suspected, were sent, together with their wives and children, to Rome; where, to prevent them from raising any disturbance in their country, they were long detained; and it was not without difficulty, and after the senate had been wearied with embassies from the cities for their release, that they were allowed to return to their own country.
[34.1] L The Carthaginians and Macedonians being subdued, and the power of the Aetolians weakened by the captivity of their leading men, the Achaeans were the only people of all Greece who seemed to the Romans, at that time, to be too powerful; not, indeed, from any extraordinary strength existing in any individual city, but because of a confederacy maintained among all the cities. 2 For the Achaeans, though distributed through several towns, like so many different members, yet formed but one body and had but one government, and warded off danger from any single city by the united strength of all. 3 To the Romans, therefore, as they were seeking a pretext for war, fortune opportunely presented the complaints of the Spartans, whose lands the Achaeans, in consequence of hatred subsisting between the two people, had laid waste. 4 Answer was accordingly made by the senate to the Spartans, that "they would send commissioners into Greece, to examine into the affairs of their allies, and to prevent further injury;" 5 but secret directions were at the same time given the commissioners, that "they should dissolve the confederacy among the Achaeans, and make each city independent of the rest, that they might thus the more easily be reduced to obedience, while, if any cities were obstinate, they might be humbled by force." 6 The commissioners, in consequence, having summoned the chief men of the cities to meet them at Corinth, read to them the decree of the senate, and signified what their intentions were; 7 declaring it "expedient for all, that each city should have its own independent laws and government." 8 When this communication was known throughout the city, the people being thrown as it were into a fury, massacred all the foreigners that were there, 9 and would have laid violent hands on the Roman commissioners themselves, had they not fled away in haste as soon as they found a disturbance rising.
[34.2] L When the news of these occurrences reached Rome, the senate at once decreed war against the Achaeans, giving the conduct of it to the consul Mummius, who, conveying over his army with the utmost expedition, and actively providing himself with all necessaries, proceeded to offer the enemy battle. 2 As for the Achaeans, as if they had undertaken a matter of no difficulty in going to war with the Romans, every thing was neglected and out of order amongst them. 3 Thinking of plunder, too, and not of fighting, they brought vehicles to carry away the spoils of the enemy, and stationed their wives and children on the hills to view the engagement. 4 But when the battle commenced, they were cut to pieces before the eyes of their kindred, and afforded them only a dismal spectacle and sad remembrances of grief. 5 Their wives and children, also, were changed from spectators into prisoners, and became the prey of the enemy. 6 The city of Corinth itself was razed to the ground, and the inhabitants sold for slaves, that, by such an example, a dread of insurrection might be thrown on other cities.
7 During these transactions, Antiochus, king of Syria, made war upon Ptolemaeus king of Egypt, his elder sister's son, a prince naturally inactive, and so weakened by daily luxurious indulgence, that he not only neglected the duties of his royal station, but even, through excessive gluttony, had lost all human feeling. 8 Being expelled from his throne, he fled to Alexandria to his younger brother Ptolemaeus, and, having shared the kingdom with him, they jointly sent ambassadors to the Roman senate, imploring assistance, and the protection of their alliance; and their solicitations prevailed with the senate.
[34.3] L Accordingly Popilius was despatched, in the character of ambassador, to Antiochus, to desire him "to refrain from invading Egypt, or, if he had already entered it, to quit it without delay." 2 Having found him in Egypt, and the king having offered to kiss him (for Antiochus, when he was a hostage at Rome, had been friendly with Popilius among others), Popilius said that "private friendship must be set aside, when the commands of his country stood in the way," 3 and having produced and delivered to him the decree of the senate, but observing that he hesitated, and referred the consideration of it to his friends, he drew a circle round him with a staff which he carried in his hand, so large that it also enclosed his friends, and desired him "to decide on the spot, and not to go out of that ring, till he had given an answer to the senate whether he would have peace or war with Rome." 4 This firmness so daunted the king's spirit, that he replied that "he would obey the senate."
5 Antiochus, on returning to his kingdom, died, leaving a son quite a boy. 6 Guardians being assigned him by the people, his uncle Demetrius, who was a hostage at Rome, and who had heard of the death of his brother, went to the senate, and said that "he had come to Rome as a hostage while his brother was alive, but that now he was dead, he did not know for whom he was a hostage. 7 It was therefore reasonable," he added, "that he should be released to claim the throne, which, as he had conceded it to his elder brother by the law of nations, now of right belonged to himself, as he was superior to the orphan in age." 8 But finding that he was not released by the senate (their private opinion being that the throne would be better in the hands of the young prince than in his), he left the city on pretence of going to hunt, and secretly took ship at Ostia, with such as attended him in his flight. 9 On arriving in Syria, he was favourably received by the whole people, and the orphan being put to death, the throne was resigned to him by the guardians.
[34.4] L About the same time, Prusias, king of Bithynia, conceived a resolution to kill his son Nicomedes, with a desire to benefit his younger children by a second marriage, whom he had sent to Rome. 2 But the design was betrayed to the young prince by those who had undertaken the execution of it, and who exhorted him, since he had become an object of his father's cruelty, to anticipate his schemes, and turn the villainy on the head of its contriver." Nor was it difficult to prevail upon him; 3 and when, being sent for, he had come into his father's dominions, he was immediately selected as king. 4 Prusias, deprived of his throne by his son, and reduced to a private station, was forsaken even by his slaves. 5 While he lived in retirement, he was killed by his son, with no less guilt than that with which he himself had ordered his son to be put to death.
[35.1] L Demetrius, having possessed himself of the throne of Syria, and thinking that peace might be dangerous in the unsettled state of his affairs, resolved to enlarge the borders of his kingdom, and increase his power, by making war upon his neighbours. 2 Accordingly, being incensed with Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, for having disdained to marry his sister, he kindly received his brother Orophernes, who had been unjustly deprived of the throne, and who came to him as a suppliant; and, rejoicing that a plausible pretext for war was afforded him, determined to reinstate him in his dominions. 3 But Orophernes, with extreme ingratitude, having entered into a compact with the people of Antioch, at that time enraged against Demetrius, formed a plot to expel him from his throne by whom he was to have been restored to his own. 4 The conspiracy being discovered, Demetrius spared indeed the life of Orophernes, that Ariarathes might not be freed from the dread of war on the part of his brother, but caused him to be apprehended, and kept a close prisoner at Seleuceia. 5 Nor were the people of Antioch so alarmed at this discovery as to desist from their rebellion. 6 Being in consequence attacked by Demetrius, but receiving aid from Ptolemaeus king of Egypt, Attalus king of Asia, and Ariarathes of Cappadocia, they suborned one Balas, a young man of mean condition, to claim the throne of Syria, on pretence that it had been his father's, by force of arms; 7 and that nothing might be wanting to render him insolent, the name of Alexander was given him, and he was reported to be the son of King Antiochus. 8 And such was the detestation of Demetrius among all classes, that not only royal power, but also nobility of birth, was unanimously attributed to his rival. 9 Alexander, in consequence, amidst this wonderful change of fortune, forgetful of his original meanness, and supported by the strength of almost all the east, made war upon Demetrius, and, having defeated him, deprived him at once of his throne and his life. 10 Demetrius, however, did not want courage to resist him in the field; for he both routed the enemy in the first encounter, and, when the kings renewed the contest, he killed several thousands in the struggle. 11 But at last he fell, with his spirit still unsubdued, and fighting most valiantly, among the thickest of the enemy.
[35.2] L At the commencement of the war, Demetrius had entrusted two of his sons to a friend of his at Cnidus, with a large quantity of treasure, that they might be removed from the perils of the war, and might be preserved, if fortune should so order it, to avenge their father's death. 2 The elder of the two, Demetrius, who had passed the age of boyhood, hearing of the luxurious life of Alexander (whom his unexpected grandeur, and the fascination of enjoyments to which he was a stranger, held captive as it were in his palace, idling away his days among troops of concubines), fell upon him, with the assistance of some Cretans, when he was quite at his ease, and free from all apprehension of danger. 3 The people of Antioch, too, to atone for their injuries to the father by new services, devoted themselves to him; and his father's soldiers, fired with love for the young prince, and preferring the obligation of their former oath to the haughty rule of the new king, ranged themselves on the side of Demetrius; 4 and thus Alexander, cast down with no less violent a freak of fortune than that with which he had been raised, was defeated and killed in the first battle, paying the penalty of his conduct both to Demetrius whom he had slain, and to Antiochus, from whom he had pretended to derive his birth.
[36.1] L Demetrius, having gained possession of his father's throne, and being spoiled by his good fortune, fell, from the effects of the vices of youth, into habits of indolence, and incurred as much contempt for his slothfulness, as his father had incurred hatred for his pride. 2 As the cities, in consequence, began every where to revolt from his government, he resolved, in order to wipe off the stain of effeminacy from his character, to make war upon the Parthians. 3 The people of the east beheld his approach with pleasure, both on account of the cruelty of Arsacides, king of the Parthians, and because, having been accustomed to the old government of the Macedonians, they viewed the pride of the new race with indignation. 4 Being assisted, accordingly, by auxiliary troops from the Persians, Elymaeans, and Bactrians, he routed the Persians in several pitched battles. 5 At length, however, being deceived by a pretended offer of peace, he was made prisoner, and being led from city to city, was shown as a spectacle to the people that had revolted, in mockery of the favour that they had shown him. 6 Being afterwards sent into Hyrcania, he was treated kindly, and suitably to the dignity of his former condition.
7 During the course of these proceedings, Trypho, in Syria, who had exerted his efforts to be made by the people guardian to Antiochus, the step-son of Demetrius, killed his ward, and seized upon the Syrian throne. 8 When he had enjoyed it for some time, and the liking of the people for his new government began at length to wear off, he was defeated in a battle by Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius, who was then quite a boy, and who had been educated in Asia; and the throne of Syria again returned to the family of Demetrius.
9 Antiochus, remembering that his father had been hated for his pride, and his brother despised for his indolence, was anxious not to fall into the same vices, and having married Cleopatra, his brother's wife, proceeded to make war, with the utmost vigour, on the provinces that had revolted through the badness of his brother's government, and, after subduing them, re-united them to his dominions. 10 He also reduced the Jews, who, during the Macedonian rule under his father Demetrius, had recovered their liberty by force of arms; and whose strength was such, that they would submit to no Macedonian king after him, but, electing rulers from their own people, harassed Syria with fierce wars.
[36.2] L The origin of the Jews was from Damascus, a most famous city of Syria, whence also the Assyrian kings and queen Semiramis sprung. 2 The name of the city was given it from King Damascus, in honour of whom the Syrians consecrated the sepulchre of his wife Arathis as a temple, and regard her as a goddess worthy of the most sacred worship. 3 After Damascus, Azelus, and then Adores, Abraham, and Israhel were their kings. 4 But a prosperous family of ten sons made Israhel more famous than any of his ancestors. 5 Having divided his kingdom, in consequence, into ten governments, he committed them to his sons, and called the whole people Jews from Judas, who died soon after the division, and ordered his memory to be held in veneration by them all, as his portion was shared among them. 6 The youngest of the brothers was Joseph, whom the others, fearing his extraordinary abilities, secretly made prisoner, and sold to some foreign merchants. 7 Being carried by them into Egypt, and having there, by his great powers of mind, made himself master of the arts of magic, he found in a short time great favour with the king; 8 for he was eminently skilled in prodigies, and was the first to establish the science of interpreting dreams; and nothing, indeed, of divine or human law seems to have been unknown to him; 9 so that he foretold a dearth in the land some years before it happened, and all Egypt would have perished by famine, had not the king, by his advice, ordered the corn to be laid up for several years; 10 such being the proofs of his knowledge, that his admonitions seemed to proceed, not from a mortal, but a god. 11 His son was Moses, whom, besides the inheritance of his father's knowledge, the comeliness of his person also recommended. 12 But the Egyptians, being troubled with scabies and leprosy, and moved by some oracular prediction, expelled him, with those who had the disease, out of Egypt, that the distemper might not spread among a greater number. 13 Becoming leader, accordingly, of the exiles, he carried off by stealth the sacred utensils of the Egyptians, who, endeavouring to recover them by force of arms, were obliged by tempests to return home; 14 and Moses, having reached Damascus, the birth-place of his forefathers, took possession of mount Sinai, on his arrival at which, after having suffered, together with his followers, from a seven days' fast in the deserts of Arabia, he consecrated every seventh day (according to the present custom of the nation) for a fast-day, and to be perpetually called a sabbath, because that day had ended at once their hunger and their wanderings. 15 And as they remembered that they had been driven from Egypt for fear of spreading infection, they took care, in order that they might not become odious, from the same cause, to the inhabitants of the country, to have no communication with strangers; a rule which, from having been adopted on that particular occasion, gradually became a custom and part of their religion. 16 After the death of Moses, his son Aruas was made priest for celebrating the rites which they brought from Egypt, and soon after created king; and ever afterwards it was a custom among the Jews to have the same chiefs both for kings and priests; and, by uniting religion with the administration of justice, it is almost incredible how powerful they became.
[36.3] L The wealth of the nation was augmented by the duties on balm, which is produced only in that country; 2 for there is a valley, encircled with an unbroken ridge of hills, as it were a wall, in the form of a camp, the space enclosed being about two hundred acres, and called by the name of Hierichus; 3 in which valley there is a wood, remarkable both for its fertility and pleasantness, and chequered with groves of palm and balm-trees. 4 The balm-trees resemble pitch-trees in shape, except that they are not so tall, and are dressed after the manner of vines; and at a certain season of the year they exude the balm. 5 But the place is not less admired for the gentle warmth of the sun in it, than for its fertility; for though the sun in that climate is the hottest in the world, there is constantly in this valley a certain natural subdued tepidity in the air.
6 In this country also is the lake Asphaltites, which, from its magnitude and the stillness of its waters is called the Dead Sea; 7 for it is neither agitated by the winds, because the bituminous matter, with which all its water is clogged, resists even hurricanes; nor does it admit of navigation, for all inanimate substances sink to the bottom; and it will support no wood, except such as is smeared with alum.
8 The first that conquered the Jews was Xerxes, king of Persia. Subsequently they fell, with the Persians themselves, under the power of Alexander the Great; and they were then long subject to the kings of Syria, under its Macedonian dynasty. 9 On revolting from Demetrius, and soliciting the favour of the Romans, they were the first of all the eastern people that regained their liberty, the Romans readily affecting to bestow what it was not in their power to give.
[36.4] L During the same period, in which the government of Syria was passing from hand to hand among its new sovereigns, King Attalus in Asia polluted a most flourishing kingdom, which he inherited from his uncle Eumenes, by murders of his friends and executions of his relatives, pretending sometimes that his old mother, and sometimes his wife Berenice, had been destroyed by their wicked contrivances. 2 After this atrocious outburst of rage, he assumed a mean dress, let his beard and hair grow like those of persons under legal prosecution, never went abroad or showed himself to the people, held no feasts in his palace, and behaved in no respect, indeed, like a man in his senses; so that he seemed to be paying penalty for his crimes to the manes of those whom he had murdered. 3 Abandoning the government of his kingdom, too, he employed himself in digging and sowing in his garden, mixing noxious herbs with harmless ones, and sending them all indiscriminately, moistened with poisonous juices, as special presents to his friends. 4 From this employment he turned to that of working in brass, and amused himself with modelling in wax, and casting and hammering out brazen figures. 5 He then proceeded to make a monument for his mother, but while he was busy about the work, he contracted a disorder from the heat of the sun, and died on the seventh day afterwards. By his will the Roman people was appointed his heir.
6 There was however a son of Eumenes, named Aristonicus, not born in wedlock, but of an Ephesian mistress, the daughter of a player on the harp; and this young man, after the death of Attalus, laid claim to the throne of Asia as having been his father's. 7 When he had fought several successful battles against the provinces, which, from fear of the Romans, refused to submit to him, and seemed to be established as king, Asia was assigned by the senate to the command of Licinius Crassus, 8 who, being more eager to plunder the treasures of Attalus than to distinguish himself in the field, and fighting a battle, at the end of the year, with his army in disorder, was defeated, and paid the penalty for his blind avarice by the loss of his life. 9 The consul Perperna being sent in his place, reduced Aristonicus, who was defeated in the first engagement, under his power, and carried off the treasures of Attalus, bequeathed to the Roman people, on ship-board to Rome. 10 Marcus Aquilius, Perperna's successor, envying his good fortune, hastened, with the utmost expedition, to snatch Aristonicus from Perperna's hands, as if he ought rather to grace his own triumph. 11 But the death of Perperna put an end to the rivalry between the consuls.
12 Asia, thus becoming a province of the Romans, brought to Rome its vices together with its wealth.
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