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While the State was preoccupied by serious wars, some hardly yet over and others threatening, an incident occurred which though unimportant in itself resulted in a violent party conflict. Two of the tribunes of the plebs, M. Fundanius and L. Valerius, had brought in a proposal to repeal the Oppian Law. This law had been made on the motion of M. Oppius, a tribune of the plebs, during the consulship of Q. Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius, when the strain of the Punic War was most severely felt. It forbade any woman to have in her possession more than half an ounce of gold, to wear a dress of various colours or to ride in a two-horsed vehicle within a mile of the City or of any Roman town unless she was going to take part in some religious function. The two Brutuses - M. Junius and T. Junius - both tribunes of the plebs, defended the law and declared that they would not allow it to be repealed; many of the nobility came forward to speak in favour of the repeal or against it; the Capitol was crowded with supporters and opponents of the proposal; the matrons could not be kept indoors either by the authority of the magistrates or the orders of their husbands or their own sense of propriety. They filled all the streets and blocked the approaches to the Forum; they implored the men who were on their way thither to allow the women to resume their former adornments now that the commonwealth was flourishing and private fortunes increasing every day. Their numbers were daily augmented by those who came up from the country towns. At last they ventured to approach the consuls and praetors and other magistrates with their demands. One of the consuls at all events was inexorably opposed to their request - M. Porcius Cato. He spoke as follows in defence of the law:
"If we had, each one of us, made it a rule to uphold the rights and authority of the husband in our own households we should not now have this trouble with the whole body of our women. As things are now our liberty of action, which has been checked and rendered powerless by female despotism at home, is actually crushed and trampled on here in the Forum, and because we were unable to withstand them individually we have now to dread their united strength. I used to think that it was a fabulous story which tells us that in a certain island the whole of the male sex was extirpated by a conspiracy amongst the women; there is no class of women from whom the gravest dangers may not arise, if once you allow intrigues, plots, secret cabals to go on. I can hardly make up my mind which is worse, the affair itself or the disastrous precedent set up. The latter concerns us as consuls and magistrates; the former has to do more with you, Quirites. Whether the measure before you is for the good of the commonwealth or not is for you to determine by your votes; this tumult amongst the women, whether a spontaneous movement or due to your instigation, M. Fundanius and L. Valerius, certainly points to failure on the part of the magistrates, but whether it reflects more on you tribunes or on the consuls I do not know. It brings the greater discredit on you if you have carried your tribunitian agitation so far as to create unrest among the women, but more disgrace upon us if we have to submit to laws being imposed upon us through fear of a secession on their part, as we had to do formerly on occasions of the secession of the plebs. It was not without a feeling of shame that I made my way into the Forum through a regular army of women. Had not my respect for the dignity and modesty of some amongst them, more than any consideration for them as a whole, restrained me from letting them be publicly rebuked by a consul, I should have said, 'What is this habit you have formed of running abroad and blocking the streets and accosting men who are strangers to you? Could you not each of you put the very same question to your husbands at home? Surely you do not make yourselves more attractive in public than in private, to other women's husbands more than to your own? If matrons were kept by their natural modesty within the limits of their rights, it would be most unbecoming for you to trouble yourselves even at home about the laws which may be passed or repealed here.' Our ancestors would have no woman transact even private business except through her guardian, they placed them under the tutelage of parents or brothers or husbands. We suffer them now to dabble in politics and mix themselves up with the business of the Forum and public debates and election contests. What are they doing now in the public roads and at the street corners but recommending to the plebs the proposal of their tribunes and voting for the repeal of the law. Give the reins to a headstrong nature, to a creature that has not been tamed, and then hope that they will themselves set bounds to their licence if you do not do it yourselves. This is the smallest of those restrictions which have been imposed upon women by ancestral custom or by laws, and which they submit to with such impatience. What they really want is unrestricted freedom, or to speak the truth, licence, and if they win on this occasion what is there that they will not attempt?
"Call to mind all the regulations respecting women by which our ancestors curbed their licence and made them obedient to their husbands, and yet in spite of all those restrictions you can scarcely hold them in. If you allow them to pull away these restraints and wrench them out one after another, and finally put themselves on an equality with their husbands, do you imagine that you will be able to tolerate them? From the moment that they become your fellows they will become your masters. But surely, you say, what they object to is having a new restriction imposed upon them, they are not deprecating the assertion of a right but the infliction of a wrong. No, they are demanding the abrogation of a law which you enacted by your suffrages and which the practical experience of all these years has approved and justified. This they would have you repeal; that means that by rescinding this they would have you weaken all. No law is equally agreeable to everybody, the only question is whether it is beneficial on the whole and good for the majority. If everyone who feels himself personally aggrieved by a law is to destroy it and get rid of it, what is gained by the whole body of citizens making laws which those against whom they are enacted can in a short time repeal? I want, however, to learn the reason why these excited matrons have run out into the streets and scarcely keep away from the Forum and the Assembly. Is it that those taken prisoners by Hannibal - their fathers and husbands and children and brothers - may be ransomed? The republic is a long way from this misfortune, and may it ever remain so! Still, when this did happen, you refused to do so in spite of their dutiful entreaties. But, you may say, it is not dutiful affection and solicitude for those they love that has brought them together; they are going to welcome Mater Idaea on her way from Phrygian Pessinus. What pretext in the least degree respectable is put forward for this female insurrection? 'That we may shine,' they say, 'in gold and purple, that we may ride in carriages on festal and ordinary days alike, as though in triumph for having defeated and repealed a law after capturing and forcing from you your votes.'
"You have often heard me complain of the expensive habits of women and often, too, of those of men, not only private citizens but even magistrates, and I have often said that the community suffers from two opposite vices - avarice and luxury - pestilential diseases which have proved the ruin of all great empires. The brighter and better the fortunes of the republic become day by day, and the greater the growth of its dominion - and now we are penetrating into Greece and Asia, regions filled with everything that can tempt appetite or excite desire, and are even laying hands on the treasures of kings - so much the more do I dread the prospect of these things taking us captive rather than we them. It was a bad day for this City, believe me, when the statues were brought from Syracuse. I hear far too many people praising and admiring those which adorn Athens and Corinth and laughing at the clay images of our gods standing in front of their temples. I for my part prefer these gods who are propitious to us, and I trust that they will continue to be so as long as we allow them to remain in their present abodes.
In the days of our forefathers Pyrrhus attempted, through his ambassador Cineas, to tamper with the loyalty of women as well as men by means of bribes. The Law of Oppius in restraint of female extravagance had not then been passed, still not a single woman accepted a bribe. What do you think was the reason? The same reason which our forefathers had for not making any law on the subject; there was no extravagance to be restrained. Diseases must be recognised before remedies are applied, and so the passion for self-indulgence must be in existence before the laws which are to curb it. What called out the Licinian Law which restricted estates to 500 jugera except the keen desire of adding field to field? What led to the passing of the Cincian Law concerning presents and fees except the condition of the plebeians who had become tributaries and taxpayers to the senate? It is not therefore in the least surprising that neither the Oppian nor any other law was in those days required to set limits to the expensive habits of women when they refused to accept the gold and purple that was freely offered to them. If Cineas were to go in these days about the City with his gifts, he would find women standing in the streets quite ready to accept them.
There are some desires of which I cannot penetrate either the motive or the reason. That what is permitted to another should be forbidden to you may naturally create a feeling of shame or indignation, but when all are upon the same level as far as dress is concerned why should any one of you fear that you will not attract notice ? The very last things to be ashamed of are thriftiness and poverty, but this law relieves you of both since you do not possess what it forbids you to possess. The wealthy woman says, 'This levelling down is just what I do not tolerate. Why am I not to be admired and looked at for my gold and purple? Why is the poverty of others disguised under this appearance of law so that they may be thought to have possessed, had the law allowed it, what it was quite out of their power to possess?'
Do you want, Quirites, to plunge your wives into a rivalry of this nature, where the rich desire to have what no one else can afford, and the poor, that they may not be despised for their poverty, stretch their expenses beyond their means? Depend upon it, as soon as a woman begins to be ashamed of what she ought not to be ashamed of she will cease to feel shame at what she ought to be ashamed of. She who is in a position to do so will get what she wants with her own money, she who cannot do this will ask her husband. The husband is in a pitiable plight whether he yields or refuses; in the latter case he will see another giving what he refused to give. Now they are soliciting other women's husbands, and what is worse they are soliciting votes for the repeal of a law, and are getting them from some, against the interest of you and your property and your children. When once the law has ceased to fix a limit to your wife's expenses, you will never fix one. Do not imagine that things will be the same as they were before the law was made. It is safer for an evil-doer not to be prosecuted than for him to be tried and then acquitted, and luxury and extravagance would have been more tolerable had they never been interfered with than they will be now, just like wild beasts which have been irritated by their chains and then released. I give my vote against every attempt to repeal the law, and pray that all the gods may give your action a fortunate result."
After this the tribunes of the plebs who had announced their intention of vetoing the repeal spoke briefly to the same effect. Then L. Valerius made the following speech in defence of his proposal: "If it had been only private citizens who came forward to argue in favour of, or against, the measure we have brought in, I should have awaited your votes in silence as I should have considered that enough had been said on either side. But now, when a man of such weight of character as M. Porcius, our consul, is opposing our bill, not simply by exerting his personal authority which, even had he remained silent, would have had very great influence, but also in a long and carefully thought out speech, it is necessary to make a brief reply. He spent, it is true, more time in castigating the matrons than in arguing against the bill, and he even left it doubtful whether the action of the matrons which he censured was due to their own initiative or to our instigation. I shall defend the measure and not ourselves, for that was thrown out as a suggestion rather than as an actual charge. Because we are now enjoying the blessings of peace and the commonwealth is flourishing and happy, the matrons are making a public request to you that you will repeal a law which was passed against them under the pressure of a time of war. He denounces this action of theirs as a plot, a seditious movement, and he sometimes calls it a female secession. I know how these and other strong expressions are selected to bolster up a case, and we all know that, though naturally of a gentle disposition, Cato is a powerful speaker and sometimes almost menacing. What innovation have the matrons been guilty of by publicly assembling in such numbers for a cause which touches them so closely? Have they never appeared in public before? I will quote your own 'Origines' against you. Hear how often they have done this and always to the benefit of the State.
"At the very beginning, during the reign of Romulus, after the capture of the Capitol by the Sabines, when a pitched battle had begun in the Forum, was not the conflict stopped by the matrons rushing between the lines? And when after the expulsion of the kings the Volscian legions under their leader Caius Marcius had fixed their camp at the fifth milestone from the City, was it not the matrons who warded off that enemy by whom otherwise this City would have been laid in ruins? When it had been captured by the Gauls, how was it ransomed? By the matrons, of course, who by general agreement brought their contributions to the treasury. And without searching for ancient precedents, was it not the case that in the late war when money was needed the treasury was assisted by the money of the widows? Even when new deities were invited to help us in the hour of our distress did not the matrons go in a body down to the shore to receive Mater Idaea? You say that they were actuated by different motives then. It is not my purpose to establish the identity of motives, it is sufficient to clear them from the charge of strange unheard-of conduct. And yet, in matters which concern men and women alike, their action occasioned surprise to no one; why then should we be surprised at their taking the same action in a cause which especially interests them? But what have they done? We must, believe me, have the ears of tyrants if, whilst masters condescend to listen to the prayers of their slaves we deem it an indignity to be asked a favour by honourable women.
"I come now to the matter of debate. Here the consul adopted a twofold line of argument, for he protested against any law being repealed and in particular against the repeal of this law which had been passed to restrain female extravagance. His defence of the laws as a whole seemed to me such as a consul ought to make and his strictures on luxury were quite in keeping with his strict and severe moral code. Unless, therefore, we show the weakness of both lines of argument there is some risk of your being led into error. As to laws which have been made not for a temporary emergency, but for all time as being of permanent utility, I admit that none of them ought to be repealed except where experience has shown it to be hurtful or political changes have rendered it useless. But I see that the laws which have been necessitated by particular crises are, if I may say so, mortal and subject to change with the changing times. Laws made in times of peace war generally repeals, those made during war peace rescinds, just as in the management of a ship some things are useful in fair weather and others in foul. As these two classes of laws are distinct in their nature, to which class would the law which we are repealing appear to belong? Is it an ancient law of the kings, coeval with the City, or, which is the next thing to it, did the decemviri who were appointed to codify the laws inscribe it on the Twelve Tables as an enactment without which our forefathers thought that the honour and dignity of our matrons could not be preserved, and if we repeal it shall we have reason to fear that we shall destroy with it the self-respect and purity of our women? Who does not know that this is quite a recent law passed twenty years ago in the consulship of Q. Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius? If the matrons led exemplary lives without it, what danger can there possibly be of their plunging into luxury if it is repealed? If that law had been passed with the sole motive of limiting female excesses there might be some ground for apprehension that the repeal might encourage them, but the circumstances under which it was passed will reveal its object.
Hannibal was in Italy; he had won the victory of Cannae; he was now master of Tarentum, Arpi and Capua; there was every likelihood that he would bring his army up to Rome. Our allies had fallen away from us, we had no reserves from which to make good our losses, no seamen to render our navy effective, and no money in the treasury. We had to arm the slaves and they were bought from their owners on condition that the purchase money should be paid at the end of the war; the contractors undertook to supply corn and everything else required for the war, to be paid for at the same date. We gave up our slaves to act as rowers in numbers proportionate to our assessment and placed all our gold and silver at the service of the State, the senators setting the example. Widows and minors invested their money in the public funds and a law was passed fixing the maximum of gold and silver coinage which we were to keep in our houses. Was it at such a crisis as this that the matrons were so given to luxury that the Oppian Law was needed to restrain them, when, owing to their being in mourning, the sacrificial rites of Ceres had been intermitted and the senate in consequence ordered the mourning to be terminated in thirty days? Who does not see that the poverty and wretched condition of the citizens, every one of whom had to devote his money to the needs of the commonwealth, were the real enactors of that law which was to remain in force as long as the reason for its enactment remained in force? If every decree made by the senate and every order made by the people to meet the emergency is to remain in force for all time, why are we repaying to private citizens the sums they advanced? Why are we making public contracts on the basis of immediate payment? Why are slaves not being purchased to serve as soldiers, and each of us giving up our slaves to serve as rowers as we did then?
"All orders of society, all men will feel the change for the better in the condition of the republic; are our wives alone to be debarred from the enjoyment of peace and prosperity? We, their husbands, shall wear purple, the toga praetexta will mark those holding magisterial and priestly offices, our children will wear it, with its purple border; the right to wear it belongs to the magistrates in the military colonies and the municipal towns. Nor is it only in their lifetime that they enjoy this distinction; when they die they are cremated in it. You husbands are at liberty to wear a purple wrap over your dress, will you refuse to allow your wives to wear a purple mantle? Are the trappings of your horses to be more gorgeous than the dress of your wives? Purple fabrics, however, become frayed and worn out, and in their case I recognise some reason, though a very unfair one, for his opposition; but what is there to offend with regard to gold, which suffers no waste except on the cost of working it? On the contrary, it rather protects us in the time of need and forms a resource available for either public or private requirements, as you have learnt by experience. Cato said that there was no individual rivalry amongst them since none possessed what might make others jealous. No, but most certainly there is general grief and indignation felt among them when they see the wives of our Latin allies permitted to wear ornaments which they have been deprived of, when they see them resplendent in gold and purple and driving through the City while they have to follow on foot, just as though the seat of empire was in the Latin cities and not in their own. This would be enough to hurt the feelings of men, what then think you must be the feelings of poor little women who are affected by small things? Magistracies, priestly functions, triumphs, military decorations and rewards, spoils of war - none of these fall to their lot. Neatness, elegance, personal adornment, attractive appearance and looks - these are the distinctions they covet, in these they delight and pride themselves; these things our ancestors called the ornament of women. What do they lay aside when they are in mourning except their gold and purple, to resume them when they go out of mourning? How do they prepare themselves for days of public rejoicing and thanksgiving beyond assuming richer personal adornment? I suppose you think that if you repeal the Oppian Law, and should wish to forbid anything which the law forbids now, it will not be in your power to do so, and that some will lose all legal rights over their daughters and wives and sisters. No; women are never freed from subjection as long as their husbands and fathers are alive; they deprecate the freedom which orphanhood and widowhood bring. They would rather leave their personal adornment to your decision than to that of the law. It is your duty to act as their guardians and protectors and not treat them as slaves; you ought to wish to be called fathers and husbands, instead of lords and masters. The consul made use of invidious language when he spoke of female sedition and secession. Do you really think there is any danger of their seizing the Sacred Mount as the exasperated plebs once did, or of their taking possession of the Aventine? Whatever decision you come to, they in their weakness will have to submit to it. The greater your power, so much the more moderate ought you to be in exercising it."
After these speeches in support of and against the law the women poured out into the streets the next day in much greater force and went in a body to the house of the two Brutuses, who were vetoing their colleagues' proposal, and beset all the doors, nor would they desist till the tribunes had abandoned their opposition. There was no doubt now that the tribes would be unanimous in rescinding the law. It was abrogated twenty years after it had been made. After this matter was settled Cato at once left the City and with twenty-five ships of war, five of which belonged to the allies, sailed to the port of Luna, where the army had also received orders to muster. He had published an edict through the whole length of the coast requiring ships of every description to be assembled at Luna, and there he left orders that they should follow him to the Port of the Pyrenees, it being his intention to advance against the enemy with his full naval strength. Sailing past the Ligurian coast and the Gulf of Gaul, they assembled there by the appointed day. Cato sailed on to Rhoda and expelled the Spanish garrison who were holding the fort. From Rhoda a favourable wind brought him to Emporiae. Here he disembarked the whole of his force with the exception of the crews of the vessels.
At that time Emporiae consisted of two towns divided by a wall. One was inhabited by Greeks who had, like the people of Massilia, originally come from Phocaea; the other contained a Spanish population. As the Greek town was almost entirely open to the sea its walls were less than half a mile in circuit; the Spanish town, further back from the sea, had walls with a circuit of three miles. A third element in the population was formed by some Roman colonists who had been settled there by the deified Caesar after the final defeat of Pompey's sons. At the present day all have been fused into one municipal body by the grant of Roman citizenship, in the first instance to the Spaniards and then to the Greeks. Anyone who saw how the Greeks were exposed to attacks on the one side from the open sea and from the Spaniards on the other side might wonder what there was that afforded them protection. Discipline was the guardian of their weakness, a quality which among stronger nations is best maintained by fear. They kept that portion of the wall which faced inland extremely well fortified, only one gate was situated on that side and it was always guarded night and day by one of the magistrates. During the night one-third of the citizens were on duty on the walls, not simply as a matter of routine or regulation, they kept up their watches and patrols as if an enemy were at their gates. No Spaniards were allowed within their city, nor did they themselves venture outside their walls without proper precautions. The exits to the sea were open to all. They never went out through the gate which faced the Spanish town unless a large number went together, and it was generally the body who had mounted guard on the walls the night before. The object of their going outside this gate was as follows: the Spaniards, unfamiliar with the sea, were glad to purchase the goods which the Greeks received from abroad and at the same time to sell the products of their fields to them. Owing to the need of this mutual intercourse the Spanish city was always open to the Greeks. An additional security was found in the friendship of Rome, under whose shelter they lay and to which they were quite as loyal as the Massilians, though their strength and resources were so much less. On this occasion they gave the consul and his army a hearty welcome. Cato made a short stay there, and while he was gaining intelligence as to the strength and position of the enemy he spent the interval in exercising his troops, that they might not waste their time. It happened to be the time of the year when the Spaniards had their corn stored in the barns. Cato forbade the army contractors to supply any corn to the troops, and sent them back to Rome with the remark, "War feeds itself." Then, advancing from Emporiae, he laid the enemy's fields waste with fire and sword, and spread terror and flight in all directions.
During this time M. Helvius, who was on his way from Further Spain with a force of 6000 men sent by the praetor Appius Claudius to escort him, fell in with an immense body of Celtiberians near the town of Iliturgi. Valerius states that they amounted to 20,000 men and that 12,000 were killed, the town of Iliturgi taken and all the adult males put to the sword. After this Helvius reached Cato's camp and as the country was now safe he sent his escort back to Further Spain and on his arrival at Rome celebrated his victory by entering the City in ovation. He brought into the treasury 732 pounds' weight of uncoined silver, 17,023 Spanish denarii, and 11,943 of Oscan silver. The reason why the senate refused him a triumph was that he had fought under another man's auspices and in another man's province. Moreover he did not return till two years after he had given up his command, for after handing over the administration to his successor, Q. Minucius, he was detained in the province by a long and dangerous illness. In consequence of this he entered the City only two months before Q. Minucius celebrated his triumph. The latter brought home 34,800 pounds' weight of silver, 73,000 denarii, and 278,000 of Oscan silver.
The consul in Spain was encamped not far from Emporiae. Here he was approached by three envoys from Bilistages, the chief of the Ilergetes, one of them the chief's son. They reported that their strongholds were being attacked and they were hopeless of making a successful resistance unless the Roman general sent a force: 3000 men would be sufficient; the enemy would not stay to fight if such a large body of troops came into the field. The consul told them that he was greatly concerned for their danger and their fears, but his numbers were by no means sufficient to allow of his reducing his strength by dividing his forces while the enemy were so near and he was daily expecting to have to fight a pitched battle with them. On hearing this the envoys flung themselves in tears at the consul's feet and implored him not to desert them in an hour of such sore distress. Where could they, they cried, go if they were repulsed by the Romans? They had no allies, no hope of succour anywhere else in the world. They could have avoided this danger had they been willing to break faith and make common cause with the rest of their countrymen. No threats, no intimidation had moved them so long as they hoped to find sufficient help and support from the Romans. If there was none to be had, if their request was refused by the consul, they called gods and men to witness that, against their will and through sheer compulsion, they would have to desert the cause of Rome lest they should suffer what the Saguntines had suffered. They would rather perish with the rest of the Spaniards than meet their fate alone.
The envoys were dismissed for the day without receiving any reply. The consul passed an anxious night trying to decide between the two alternatives: he did not want to desert his allies nor did he want to weaken his army, a course which might possibly delay the decisive conflict, or, if it should come on, endanger his success. He finally made up his mind not to part with any of his troops lest the enemy should inflict some humiliation upon him, and he decided to hold out the hope of assistance to his allies instead of actually giving it. He reflected that promises have often been as effective as performance, especially in war; to the man who believes that he has help to fall back upon it is just the same as if he had it, his very belief nerves him to hope and to dare. The next day he gave his reply to the envoys, and assured them that though he was afraid of weakening his force for the benefit of others, he nevertheless made more account of the critical and dangerous position they were in than he did of his own. He then ordered a third of the men in each cohort to cook the food, which they were to take on board in good time, and orders were at the same time issued for the ships to be ready to sail in three days' time. He told two of the envoys to report these measures to Bilistages and the Ilergetes; the third, the chief's son, he succeeded, by his affability and the presents he gave him, in keeping with him. The envoys did not leave until they saw the soldiers actually on board, then, no longer feeling any doubts, they spread far and wide amongst friends and foes the news of the approach of Roman succour.
When the consul had kept up appearances long enough he recalled the soldiers from the ships, and as the season for active operations was now approaching, he fixed his camp at a distance of three miles from Emporiae. From this position he sent his men into the enemy's fields in quest of plunder, first in one quarter and then in another as occasion served, leaving only a small guard in the camp. They generally started at night in order to cover as great a distance from the camp as possible and also to take the enemy by surprise. This kind of thing was a training for the new levies and led to the capture of numerous prisoners, till the enemy no longer ventured outside the defences of their forts. When he had thoroughly tested the temper of his own men and that of the enemy he ordered the military tribunes and prefects of the allies, as well as all the cavalry and centurions, to appear on parade and addressed them as follows: "You have often wished for the time when you might have an opportunity of displaying your courage; that time has now come. So far your operations have resembled those of marauders rather than of warriors, now you shall join issue with the enemy in a regular battle. Henceforth you will be allowed, instead of ravaging fields, to drain cities of their wealth. When the Carthaginian commanders and armies were in Spain, our fathers had not a single soldier here, and yet they insisted upon a clause being added to the treaty fixing the Ebro as the boundary of their dominion. Now, when a consul, two praetors and three Roman armies are occupying Spain, and not a single Carthaginian has been seen in this province for the last ten years, our dominion on this side of the Ebro has been lost to us. It is your duty to win this back by your arms and courage and to compel a nation, which starts a war in a spirit of recklessness rather than of steady determination, to submit once more to the yoke which it has cast off." After these words of encouragement he announced that he should lead them that night against the enemy's camp. They were then dismissed to take food and rest.
After attending to the auspices the consul started at midnight in order that he might take up the position which he intended to secure before the enemy were aware of his movements. He led his troops round to the rear of the enemy's camp and formed them into line at daybreak, after which he sent three cohorts right up to the hostile rampart. Startled by the appearance of the Romans behind their lines, the barbarians flew to arms. Meanwhile the consul briefly addressed his men. "There is no hope," he said, "anywhere but in courage, and indeed I have taken care that there shall not be. Between us and our camp is the enemy, and behind us enemy country. The noblest course is also the safest, and that is to rest all your hopes in your valour." Then he ordered the cohorts to be recalled that their feigned retreat might draw the natives out of their camp. His anticipations were realised. They thought that the Romans had retired through fear, and bursting out of their camp they covered with their numbers the whole of the ground between their camp and the Roman line of battle. Whilst they were hurriedly forming their ranks the consul, whose dispositions were completed, commenced the attack. The cavalry on the two wings were the first to get into action, but those on the right were immediately repulsed and their hasty retirement created alarm amongst the infantry. On seeing this, the consul ordered two picked cohorts to be taken round the enemy's right and to show themselves in his rear before the infantry became engaged. This menace to the enemy made the battle a more even one; still, the right wing, both cavalry and infantry, had become so demoralised that the consul seized some of them with his own hand and turned them towards the foe. As long as the action was confined to the discharge of missiles it was equally contested on both sides, but now the Roman right where the panic and flight began was with difficulty holding its ground; the left, on the other hand, was pressing back the barbarians in front, and the cohorts in the rear were creating a panic amongst them. When they had discharged their iron javelins and fire darts they drew their swords and the fighting became more furious. They were no longer wounded by chance hits from a distance, but foot to foot with the foe they had only their strength and courage to trust to.
Finding that his men were becoming exhausted, the consul rekindled their courage by bringing up the reserves from the second line. The front was re-formed, and these fresh troops attacking the wearied enemy with fresh weapons made a fierce charge in a dense body and broke their lines, and once broken they soon scattered in flight and rushed through the fields in the direction of their camp. When Cato saw the whole battleground filled with fugitives he galloped back to the second legion which was stationed in reserve, ordered the standards to be borne before him and the whole legion to follow him at the double to attack the hostile camp. When a man in his eagerness ran out of his rank the consul rode up and struck him with his sparus and ordered the military tribunes and centurions to chastise him. The attack on the camp had already begun, but the Romans were unable to reach the stockade, as they were held up by stones and stakes and every description of missile. The appearance of the fresh legion put heart into the assailants and made the enemy fight still more desperately in front of their breastwork. The consul surveyed the whole position that he might find out where there was the weakest resistance and therefore the best chance of breaking through. He saw that the defenders were in least force at the left-hand gate of their camp, and to this point he directed the hastati and principes of the second legion. The defenders who were holding the gate could not withstand their charge, and when the others saw the enemy within their lines they abandoned all further attempts to retain their camp and flung away their arms and standards. Many were killed at the gates, jammed together by the crowding in the narrow space, and whilst the soldiers of the second legion were cutting the enemy from behind, the rest plundered the camp. Valerius Antias says that more than 40,000 of the enemy were killed that day. Cato, who certainly does not depreciate his own merits, says that many were killed, but does not give the actual numbers.
(He is considered to have done three things on that day which deserve praise. One was his leading his army round the hostile camp into a position far from his ships and his own camp where his men had nothing to trust to but their courage, and also joining battle with the enemy on both sides of him. The second was his maneuver of throwing the cohorts on the enemy's rear. The third was his order to the second legion to advance in battle formation right up to the gate of the camp while the rest of his troops were scattered in pursuit of the enemy.) After this battle the consul's victorious advance was uninterrupted. When the signal had been given to retire and he had withdrawn his men loaded with spoil into camp, he allowed them a few hours' rest and then led them off to harry the fields. As the enemy had been scattered in flight they extended their depredations over a wider extent of country, and this action contributed no less than the battle to force the inhabitants of Spanish Emporiae and the settlers amongst them to surrender; many from other communities who had taken refuge in Emporiae also surrendered. The consul addressed them all in kind terms and dismissed them to their homes. He at once resumed his advance, and wherever his army marched delegates from the various communities met him to make their surrender. By the time he reached Tarraco the whole of Spain on this side the Ebro had been subjugated and the soldiers belonging to the Roman and allied troops who had through various mishaps been made prisoners in Spain were brought by the natives as a gift to the consul. Then a rumour was spread that the consul intended to take his army into Turdetania, and it was even reported - quite falsely - that he had actually marched against the secluded dwellers in the mountains. On this idle and absolutely groundless rumour seven fortified places belonging to the Bergistani revolted. The consul reduced them to submission without any serious fighting. After he had returned to Tarraco and before he made any further advance these same people again revolted and again they were subdued, but they were not treated so leniently. They were all sold into slavery to prevent any further disturbance of peace.
In the meantime the praetor, P. Manlius, marched into Turdetania with the army which he had taken over from his predecessor Q. Minucius and, in addition, the force which Appius Claudius Nero had commanded in Further Spain. The Turdetani are considered the least warlike of all the Spanish tribes; nevertheless, trusting to their numbers, they ventured to oppose the Roman armies. A cavalry charge threw them at once into disorder; the infantry encounter was hardly a contest, the seasoned troops, familiar with the tactics of the enemy, left no doubt as to the issue of the fight. Still, that battle did not end the war. The Turduli hired a force of 10,000 Celtiberian mercenaries and prepared to carry on hostilities with foreign arms. While this was going on, the consul, seriously perturbed by the rising of the Bergistani, and convinced that all the other tribes would do the same whenever they had the chance, disarmed the whole of the Spanish population on this side of the Ebro. This step aroused such bitter feeling that many of them destroyed themselves, for they were a brave and high-spirited nation, and did not think life worth living without the possession of arms. On this being reported to the consul he summoned the senators in all the cities to meet him. "It is not," he told them, "more in our interest than in yours that you should abstain from hostilities; hitherto your wars have always involved more suffering for the Spaniards than toil and trouble for the Romans. I know of only one way in which this can be prevented, and that is to put it out of your power to commence hostilities. I am anxious to attain that result with as little harshness as possible. You must help me in this matter with your advice. I shall adopt no plan more gladly than the one which you yourselves suggest." As they remained silent, he said he would give them a few days for deliberation. After they had been summoned to a second conference, at which they still remained silent, he levelled the walls of all their cities in a single day, and during his advance against those which were still refractory he received the submission of all the cities in each district into which he came. The sole exception was Segestica, and this important and wealthy city he took by storm.
The subjugation of the enemy was a more difficult task for Cato than it had been for those generals who had entered Spain for the first time. The Spaniards went over to them because they were sick of the domination of Carthage, but Cato had, so to speak, to reclaim them like slaves who had asserted and enjoyed freedom. He found commotion everywhere, some tribes were in arms, others were having their cities besieged to drive them into revolt, and had it not been for his timely succour their powers of resistance must have been exhausted. But the consul was a man of such force and energy that he took up and executed single-handed the greatest and smallest tasks alike; he not only thought out and gave directions as to what was best to be done, but he carried most of his measures through personally. Over no one in the army did he exercise severer discipline than over himself; in his frugal mode of life, in his incessant vigilance and hard work he rivalled the meanest of his soldiers. The only privilege he enjoyed in his army was his rank and authority.
The Turdetani, as I have already stated, were employing Celtiberian mercenaries, and this added to the praetor's difficulties in his campaign against them. He wrote to Cato for assistance and the consul marched his legions thither, and found on arrival that the Celtiberians and the Turdetani were occupying separate camps. With the Turdetanian patrols encounters commenced at once and the Romans always came off victorious, however desultory the fighting. The Celtiberians were treated differently; the consul ordered the military tribunes to go to them and give them the choice of three courses: to go over to the Romans and receive double the pay that they were to get from the Turdetanians, or to depart to their homes under a guarantee from the Roman Government that they should not suffer for having joined their enemies, or, if they were in any case bent on war, to fix a time and place where they could decide the matter by arms. The Celtiberians asked for a day's grace for consultation. A council was held, but owing to the presence of the Turdetani and the confusion and disorder which prevailed, no decision could be arrived at. Whilst the question of war or peace was still in suspense the Romans were bringing provisions from the fields and fortified villages of the enemy, and often entered their entrenchments as many as ten at a time, just as though there was a tacit truce admitting of general intercourse. As the consul could not induce the enemy to fight, he sent some light-armed cohorts on a plundering expedition into a part of the country which had not yet suffered spoliation. He next marched to Segestia with the view of attacking it, as he heard that all the baggage and personal belongings of the Celtiberians had been left there. As, however, nothing would make them move, he returned with an escort of seven cohorts to the Ebro, after discharging the arrears of pay to his own men and to the praetor's army as well. The whole of his army he left in the praetor's camp.
Small as the force was which he had with him, the consul captured several towns; the Sedetani, the Ausetani, and the Suessetani went over to him. The Lacetani, a remote forest tribe, remained in arms, partly through their native love of fighting and partly through the fear of retribution from the tribes friendly to Rome, amongst whom they had made plundering raids whilst the consul was occupied with the war against the Turdetani. It was for this reason that the consul brought up to attack them not only his Roman cohorts but also the troops of the friendly tribes who had their own accounts to settle with them. Their town was considerably greater in length than in breadth. The consul halted his men a little less than half a mile from the place. Leaving some picked cohorts on guard with strict orders not to move from the spot till he returned to them, he led the rest of his force round to the further side of the town. His auxiliaries were mostly Suessetani, and he ordered them to advance up to the walls for the assault. As soon as the Lacetani recognised their arms and standards and remembered how often they had raided their fields with impunity and routed and scattered them in battle they flung open their gates and all in a body rushed upon them. The Suessetani did not wait for their battle-shout, much less their charge. The consul expected this, and on seeing what had happened he galloped close under the enemy's walls back to his cohorts and hurried them up to a part of the town where all was silence and solitude, as the defenders had gone off in pursuit of the Suessetani. The whole place passed into his hands before the Lacetani returned. Finding that they had nothing left them but their arms, they soon surrendered.
The victorious consul at once led his army against Vergium, a fortified place which served mainly as a haunt and shelter for brigands who were in the habit of raiding the peaceable districts of the province. Vergestanus, the chief, came over to the consul and on his own behalf and that of his fellow-townsmen disavowed any complicity with them. He and his friends could take no part in public affairs, when the brigands had been once admitted they made themselves masters of the whole place. The consul directed him to return home and make up some plausible reason for his absence. Then, when he saw the Romans approaching the walls and the brigands fully occupied in defending them, he was not to forget to seize the citadel with his sympathisers. Vergestanus carried out his instructions and the brigands found themselves menaced by a double danger, on the one side by the Romans who were scaling the walls and on the other by the seizure of the citadel. When the consul had gained possession of the town he gave orders for those who had held the citadel to be set at liberty, together with all their relations, and to retain their property; the rest of the townsfolk be made over to the quaestor to be sold as slaves, and the brigands were summarily executed. After the province was pacified Cato organised the working of the iron and silver mines so satisfactorily that they produced a considerable revenue, and the province in consequence became constantly richer. For these successful operations the senators decreed a three days' thanksgiving.
During this summer the other consul, L. Valerius Flaccus, fought a successful action in Gaul with a body of Boii near the forest of Litanae; 8000 Gauls are stated to have been killed; the rest, abandoning all further resistance, dispersed to their homes. During the remainder of the summer the consul kept his army around the Po in the neighbourhood of Placentia and Cremona, and repaired the ravages which had been made in war. Such was the position of affairs in Spain and Italy. In Greece T. Quinctius had made such use of his time through the winter that, with the exception of the Aetolians who had not received the rewards of victory which they expected and were quite incapable of remaining quiet for any length of time, the whole of Greece was supremely happy in the enjoyment of the blessings of peace and liberty, and was filled with admiration at the moderation and justice and self-control which the Roman general displayed in the hour of victory no less than at the courage and ability he had shown in war.
At this juncture there was handed to him the decree of the senate declaring war on Nabis the Lacedaemonian. After reading it he summoned a meeting of delegates from every State in Greece to be held in Corinth. It was attended by representatives from all quarters, even the Aetolians put in an appearance. The consul addressed the gathering in the following terms: "The war against Philip was conducted by the Romans and the Greeks with a common aim and united action, though each had their own grounds of quarrel. He had broken off friendly relations with Rome by first assisting her enemies the Carthaginians and then by attacking her allies in this country. Towards you his conduct has been such that, if we could have forgotten our own wrongs, those inflicted on you would have been a sufficient justification for war. Today's deliberation, however, solely concerns yourselves. The question I am laying before you is whether you are willing that Argos, which as you know has been taken possession of by Nabis, should remain under his rule, or whether you think it right that a city of such antiquity and renown, situated in the heart of Greece, should be restored to liberty and placed in the same condition as all the other cities in the Peloponnese and the mainland of Greece. This question, as you see, is one that you must decide wholly for yourselves; it in no way touches the Romans except so far as the servitude of any one city deprives them of the full and untarnished glory of effecting the liberation of Greece."
After the Roman commander's speech others were asked to express their views. The Athenian delegate began by expressing the utmost gratitude for the services which the Romans had rendered to Greece. He pointed out that they had given assistance against Philip in answer to most pressing appeals, but their offer of help against Nabis was purely spontaneous, and he expressed strong indignation against remarks which some had made who had tried to belittle these great services and thrown out dark hints about the future when they ought rather to have expressed their grateful acknowledgments for the past. It was obvious that this was a hit at the Aetolians, and Alexander, their foremost citizen, replied with a bitter attack upon the Athenians, who, he said, had in old days been the first champions of liberty and were now betraying the common cause and trying to curry favour for themselves. He then protested against the action of the Achaeans in first fighting under Philip's banner and then, when his fortunes declined, turning renegades and after capturing Corinth scheming to get possession of Argos. The Aetolians, he declared, were the first to oppose Philip, they had always been allies of Rome, and though it was laid down in the treaty that after Philip was conquered their cities and territories should be restored, they were fraudulently kept out of Echinus and Pharsalus. He accused the Romans of hypocrisy, for after their ostentatious and empty proclamation of liberty to Greece they were holding Chalcis and Demetrias with their garrisons, although while Philip hesitated to withdraw his garrisons from those cities they were always protesting that as long as Demetrias, Chalcis and Corinth were held by him Greece could never be free. And now they were putting forward Argos and Nabis as an excuse for keeping their armies in Greece. Let them carry their armies back to Italy, the Aetolians would guarantee that Nabis would withdraw his garrison from Argos either voluntarily or for a consideration, otherwise they would forcibly compel him to submit to the will of a united Greece.
This pretentious harangue called up Aristaenus, the captain-general of the Achaean League. "I pray," he began, "that Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Queen Juno, the tutelary deities of Argos, may never allow that city to be a bone of contention between the tyrant of Lacedaemon and the robbers of Aetolia, or suffer more after you have recovered it than it did when he captured it. No intervening sea protects us from these brigands. What, then, will be our fate, T. Quinctius, if they make a stronghold for themselves in the very heart of Greece? They have nothing Greek about them but the language, any more than they have anything human about them but the form and appearance of men; their customs and rites are more horrid than those of any barbarians, nay, even than those of savage beasts. We ask you therefore, Romans, to rescue Argos from Nabis and settle the affairs of Greece in such a way that you may leave this country at peace and security even against the robber practices of the Aetolians." A general outcry against the Aetolians arose, and the Roman commander said that he would have replied to their charges had he not seen that the delegates were all so incensed against them that they needed to be calmed rather than excited further. He should now put the question, "What do you decide as to war with Nabis, if he does not restore Argos to the Achaeans?" There was a unanimous decision in favour of war, and he impressed upon them the duty of each city sending a contingent in proportion to their strength. He also sent an envoy to the Aetolians, not so much in the expectation of compliance with his demands as to make them disclose their real sentiments, and in this he succeeded.
The military tribunes received orders to bring up the army from Elatia. Envoys from Antiochus arrived about the same time to negotiate an alliance; Quinctius told them that he could express no opinion in the absence of the ten commissioners; the envoys would have to go to Rome and consult the senate. On the arrival of the troops from Elatia he proceeded to Argos. Near Cleonae he was met by Aristaenus with 10,000 Achaean infantry and the united armies encamped not far from that place, and the following day marched down into the plain of Argos and selected a site for their camp some four miles distant from the city. The commander of the Lacedaemonian garrison was Pythagoras, son-in-law and also brother-in-law of the tyrant. Just before the arrival of the Romans he had considerably strengthened the defences of the citadels - Argos possessed two - and other points which appeared weak or vulnerable. Whilst carrying out these tasks, however, he was quite unable to disguise the alarm he felt at the appearance of the Romans, and his fears of a foreign foe were aggravated by disturbances at home. There was an Argive named Damocles, a young man of more courage than prudence. He got hold of those who seemed likely to support him, and after binding them by an oath discussed the question of expelling the garrison, and in his efforts to strengthen the conspiracy was somewhat incautious in testing the sincerity of those whom he addressed. While he was conferring with his supporters one of the commandant's officials summoned him to appear before him. Seeing that his designs were betrayed, he appealed to his fellow-conspirators who were present to take arms with him rather than be tortured to death. He went off accordingly with a few followers to the forum, calling upon all who had the safety of their State at heart to follow him as the champion of their liberty. He did not induce a single person to move, for they saw that there was no chance of success at the time nor any hope of sufficient support. While thus appealing loudly to the bystanders he was surrounded by the Lacedaemonians and killed together with his supporters. Others were arrested afterwards, and many of these were put to death; a few were imprisoned. During the following night several were lowered by cords from the walls and fled to the Romans.
These men assured Quinctius that if the Roman army had been at their gates the movement would have succeeded, and if he moved his camp nearer to the city the Argives would rise. He sent forward some light troops, cavalry and infantry, and the Lacedaemonians sallied out to meet them. They met near the Cylarabis, a gymnasium not three hundred paces from the city, and the Lacedaemonians were without much trouble driven back behind their walls. The Roman general then fixed his camp at the spot where the battle had taken place and remained there for a day on the watch in case any fresh movement was started. When he saw that the citizens were paralysed by fear, he summoned a council of war to consider the question of attacking Argos. All with the exception of Aristaenus were agreed that as Argos was the sole cause of the war, so it ought certainly to be the starting-point. This was very far from what Quinctius wanted, and when Aristaenus spoke in opposition to the unanimous sense of the council he listened to him with unmistakable signs of approval. He wound up the discussion by stating that it was on behalf of the Argives that war had been begun, and he could not imagine anything less consistent than to leave the real enemy alone and attack Argos. As far as he was concerned he should direct all his efforts against Lacedaemon and its tyrant, the head and front of the war.
After the council broke up he sent some cohorts of light troops, infantry and cavalry, to collect corn. All that was ripe was cut and carried off; what was still green was trampled down and spoilt to prevent the enemy from using it. Then he commenced his march, and after crossing Mount Parthenius and leaving Tegea on his right he encamped on the third day at Caryae, and here he awaited the allied contingents before entering the enemy's country; 1500 Macedonian troops came in from Philip and 400 Thessalian cavalry. He had now an adequate force, but he was still detained as he was waiting for the corn which had been requisitioned from the cities in the neighbourhood. A large naval force was also concentrating; L. Quinctius had arrived from Leucas with 40 ships; there were 18 decked ships from Rhodes; Eumenes was cruising amongst the Cyclades with 10 decked ships, 30 despatch-boats and various others of smaller build. Even refugees from Lacedaemon itself, driven away by the tyrant's violence and disregard of all law, gathered in large numbers at the Roman camp in the hope of recovering their country. The number of those expelled by the various tyrants who for several generations held Lacedaemon was very considerable. The principal man among the refugees was Agesipolis, and the sovereignty of Lacedaemon belonged by right to his family. He had been expelled when only an infant by Lycurgus, who became tyrant after the death of Cleomenes, the first of the Lacedaemonian tyrants.
Although Nabis was confronted by so serious a war both by land and sea, and a just comparison of his own strength with that of the enemy left him hardly any hope of success, he did not give up the struggle. He called up 1000 picked troops from Crete in addition to the 1000 he had already; there were 10,000 of his own subjects under arms including the garrisons in the country districts, and he also fortified the city of Sparta with rampart and fosse. To prevent any internal disturbance he kept the citizens in check by the fear of ruthless punishment, as he could not expect them to desire a tyrant's safety and success. There were certain citizens whom he suspected, and after marching all his forces on to a level space called the Dromos he then assembled the Lacedaemonians in front of him, ordering them to lay down their arms, and surrounding them with his armed bodyguard. He then explained briefly why he ought to be excused for feeling grave apprehensions and taking strict precautions at such a critical time, and he pointed out that it was in their own interest that any persons whom the present state of affairs brought under suspicion should be prevented from doing mischief rather than punished for having done it. He should therefore keep certain persons in custody until the storm which was threatening had passed over. If he was sufficiently on his guard against domestic treason he would have all the less cause to fear a foreign foe, and when the enemy had been repulsed they would at once be set at liberty. He then directed the names of some eighty of the principal men of military age to be called over, and as each answered to his name he ordered him into custody. During the night they were all put to death. The Helots are a class who from early times have occupied the fortified villages in the country districts and worked on the land. Some of these were now charged with attempted desertion and after being whipped through all the streets were put to death. The terror thus created so completely quelled the population that all attempts at revolution were at an end. Nabis kept his troops within their lines, as he did not feel himself a match for the enemy in the field and he was afraid to leave the city in such a state of suspense and uncertainty.
As his preparations were now completed, Quinctius broke up his camp and on the second day reached Sellasia on the river Oenus, the place where Antigonus, King of Macedon, was said to have fought with Cleomenes, tyrant of the Lacedaemonians. On hearing that the descent into the valley was by a difficult and narrow path, he sent an advance party by a short circuit over the heights to make a road, and thus by a fairly broad and open route he arrived at the Eurotas, which flows almost under the very walls of Sparta. Whilst the Romans were measuring out the site of their camp, and Quinctius had ridden forward with some infantry and cavalry, they were attacked by the tyrant's auxiliary troops. They were not prepared for anything of the kind, as they had met with no opposition on their march; the country through which they passed might have been a friendly territory. For some time there was considerable confusion, the cavalry calling for help from the infantry and the infantry from the cavalry, no man feeling any confidence in himself. At last the standards of the legions appeared in sight, and then those who a moment before had been spreading alarm were now driven in disorder back to the city. The Romans fell back just beyond the range of missiles from the walls and stood for some time in line of battle, but as none of the enemy came out against them they returned to camp. The next day Quinctius led his army along the river past the city to the foot of Mount Menelaus. The legionary cohorts marched in front and the light infantry and the cavalry closed the column. Nabis was keeping his mercenaries, his sole hope, drawn up under their standards inside the city wall, ready to attack the Roman rear.
As soon as the end of the column had gone by they made the same tumultuous dash as on the previous day from different points. Appius was in command of the rear and had told his men beforehand what to expect. He rapidly faced about, and bringing the whole column into line presented an unbroken front to the enemy. So the two armies met one another in battle order, and for some time there was a regular action. At length Nabis' men began to waver and finally took to flight. The rout would not have been so complete had not the Achaeans who were pursuing them been familiar with the country. They inflicted heavy losses upon them and deprived most of the scattered fugitives of their arms. Quinctius fixed his camp near Amyclae. This city lay in a populous and fertile district and he laid the whole of it waste. None of the enemy, however, ventured outside their gates, and he shifted his camp to the bank of the Eurotas and from there he carried devastation throughout the district which stretched from the foot of Taygetus to the sea.
Lucius Quinctius in the meantime was securing the towns on the coast, in some cases by voluntary surrender, in others by threats or force. Gytheum was the great seaport of Lacedaemonia, and when he learnt that the Romans were in camp at no great distance from the sea Lucius determined to attack it with his united strength. In those days it was a strong city with a large mixed population of citizens and aliens and was thoroughly equipped with all the apparatus for war. Lucius was attempting a far from easy task, and very opportunely for him Eumenes and the Rhodian fleet appeared on the scene. The immense number of seamen which had been drawn from the three fleets constructed in a few days all that was required for an attack upon the city, which was fortified on its landward as well as its seaward side. The testudines had been brought up and the wall was being undermined; in other places it was being battered by the rams. One turret had been brought down by repeated blows and the wall adjacent had fallen with it. To draw off the enemy from the breach thus caused, the Romans delivered an assault from the harbour, where the ground was more level, while at the same time they attempted to fight their way over the ruins of the wall. They had almost succeeded in penetrating at this point when the assault was suddenly stopped as a prospect presented itself of the city being surrendered, a prospect, however, which soon vanished. Two men, Dexagoridas and Gorgopas, shared the command of the city between them. Dexagoridas had sent to the Roman general to say that he would deliver up the city. After the time and manner of procedure had been settled he was put to death by Gorgopas as a traitor, and the latter, now in sole command, offered a more determined resistance. The assault would have become much more difficult had not Quinctius appeared with a body of 4000 picked troops. When he had shown himself with his army drawn up on the brow of a hill not far from the city, whilst Lucius on the other side was pressing the assault with his siege works both by land and Sea, Gorgopas was driven to despair and compelled to take the very course which in the case of another he had punished with death. After stipulating for the withdrawal of the soldiers who had formed his garrison he handed the city over to Quinctius. Before the surrender of Gytheum, Pythagoras, who had been left in command at Argos, transferred the custody of the city to Timocrates of Pellene and joined Nabis at Sparta with 1000 mercenary troops and 2000 Argives.
Nabis was thoroughly alarmed at the appearance of the Roman fleet and the loss of the towns on the coast, but as long as Gytheum was held by his men he accepted the situation though with faint hopes of success. When, however, he heard that it too had passed into the hands of the Romans he realised the hopelessness of his position with the enemy all round his frontiers and the sea entirely closed to him. He saw that he must yield to circumstances, and accordingly he sent a herald to the Roman camp to find out whether they would allow him to send envoys to them. His request was granted, and Pythagoras was sent to the general for the sole purpose of asking him to meet the tyrant in conference. The military council was convened and they were unanimously of opinion that a conference should be granted and the time and place were settled. The two principals proceeded to some rising ground midway between their camp accompanied by small escorts. Here the escorts were left well in view of the troops on both sides and Nabis went forward with some of his bodyguard, whilst Quinctius advanced to meet him accompanied by his brother, Eumenes, Sosilaus the Rhodian, Aristaenus, the captain-general of the Achaeans, and the military tribunes.
It was left to the tyrant to decide whether he would speak first or not, and he began the discussion in the following speech: "Titus Quinctius and all who are present: If I could have discovered for myself the reason why you have declared war against me or actually commenced it, I should have awaited in silence the issue of my fortunes. But as things are now I cannot control myself sufficiently to refrain from asking, before I perish, why I am to perish. If you were what the Carthaginians are reported to be, a people for whom the honourable observance of treaties possesses no sanctity, I should not be surprised at your considering it a matter of small moment in what way you treat me. But when I look at you I see that you are Romans who hold treaties to be the most solemn of all religious obligations, and fidelity to allies the most sacred of human duties. When I look at myself I hope I am still the man who in common with the rest of the Lacedaemonians is bound to you by an age-long treaty of alliance and who renewed in the recent war with Philip the personal tie of friendship. But, you say, I have violated and destroyed it by holding the city of the Argives. How shall I justify this? By appealing to facts or to the circumstances of the time? As to the facts I have a double defence, for it was the townsmen themselves who invoked my aid and put the place in my hands; I did not occupy it by force, I accepted it and that too when Philip's partisans were in power, not when it was your ally. The circumstance of time clears me too, because it was when I was actually holding Argos that the alliance between us was formed, and the stipulation was not that I should withdraw my garrison from Argos, but only that I should furnish assistance to you in the war. In this question of Argos I most certainly have the best of the argument both on the ground of equity and justice - for I took a city which belonged not to you but to your enemy, not by force but at the wish of the inhabitants - and also on the strength of your own admission, for under the terms of peace you left Argos to me.
But however that may be, the title of 'tyrant' and the arbitrary acts of a tyrant, such as summoning slaves to freedom and settling the poverty-stricken masses on the land, are alleged against me. As to the title I can make this reply, whatever my character is I am the same man with whom you yourself, T. Quinctius, entered into alliance. Then, I remember, you called me 'king,' now I see that you have dubbed me 'tyrant.' Now, if I had altered the designation of my rule, I should have to defend my inconsistency; as you are altering it, you must justify yours. As to my augmenting the civil population by freeing the slaves and dividing up the land amongst the poor and needy, I can defend myself against this charge also by pleading the time at which I did it. Whatever these measures were I had carried them out when you contracted alliance with me and accepted my assistance in the war with Philip. But even supposing that I had carried them out to-day, I do not ask how I could have injured you or disturbed the amity between us, I content myself with asserting that I have acted in accordance with our ancestral laws and customs. Do not weigh what is done in Lacedaemon by your own institutions. There is no necessity for going into details. You select your cavalry as you do your infantry, according to their assessment; you will have a few preeminent for their wealth and the mass of the population subject to them. Our legislator would not have the government in the hands of a small class such as you designate your senate, nor would he allow any one order to be preponderant in the State; he believed that an equality of rank and fortune was necessary in order that there might be a large number of men to bear arms for their country. I have spoken at greater length, I confess, than is usual with my countrymen. It could have been put very briefly - I have done nothing since I formed a league of amity with you which should make you regret it."
To this the Roman commander replied: "It is not with you that we entered into friendship and alliance, but with Philip, the rightful and legitimate king of Lacedaemon. His right to the crown has been usurped by the tyrants who ruled there while we were preoccupied by, first, the Punic War, then with wars in Gaul and elsewhere, just as you have usurped it during this war with Macedon. What greater inconsistency could there be than for those who waged war against Philip for the liberation of Greece to form a league of unity with a tyrant, and a tyrant, too, who has always treated his subjects with the utmost oppression and cruelty? In fact, even if you had not seized and were not now holding Argos by dishonest practices, it would still have been incumbent on us, whilst liberating the rest of Greece, to restore Lacedaemon also to her old free constitution and to those laws which you spoke about just now as though you put yourself on a par with Lycurgus. Are we to make it our care that your garrisons shall be withdrawn from Iasos and Bargyliae and at the same time leave Argos and Lacedaemon, two of the most famous cities and at one time the lights of Greece, prostrate beneath your feet, and so let their servitude sully our title as the liberators of Greece? You say the sympathies of the Argives were with Philip. Well, we release you from any obligation to be angry with them so far as we are concerned. We have sufficient evidence that the blame for that rests upon some two or at the most three persons, not upon the citizens as a body, just, in fact, as the invitation given to you and your troops and your admission into the citadel was in no way whatever the act of their government. We know that the Thessalians and Phocians and Locrians were unanimous in their support of Philip, and yet we have given them their freedom in common with the rest of Greece; what, pray, do you suppose we shall do in the case of the Argives, who as a State were innocent of any complicity with him?
You said that the enfranchisement of the slaves and the assignment of land to the needy were brought up as charges against you, and they are certainly serious ones, but what are they in comparison with the crimes committed by you and your adherents day by day? Produce an assembly where men are free to speak their minds, at either Argos or Lacedaemon, if you want to hear a true description of your unbridled tyranny. Not to mention earlier instances, what about the massacre which that son-in-law of yours, Pythagoras, perpetrated in Argos almost before my very eyes? What about the murders you yourself committed when I was close to your frontiers? Come now, order those prisoners to be produced whom you arrested in the Assembly after promising in the hearing of all present that they should be kept in custody. Let their unhappy relatives know that those whom they are mourning are still alive. But you say, 'Even if these things are so, what have they got to do with you Romans?' Would you use this language to the liberators of Greece? To those who, to effect this liberation have crossed the sea and carried on war by sea and land? 'At all events,' you say, 'I have not injured you directly or violated your friendship and alliance.' How many instances do you want me to allege of your having done this? I do not want to bring many forward, I will sum them up briefly. What acts, then, constitute a violation of friendship? These two, most of all - to treat my allies as enemies, and to make common cause with my enemies. Both of these things you have done. Though you were our ally you seized by force a city in alliance with us, namely Messene, which had been admitted to our friendship and enjoyed precisely the same privileges as Lacedaemon. And further, you not only concluded an alliance with Philip, our enemy, but you actually established a relationship with him through Philocles, one of his viceroys. In open hostility to us, you infested the sea round Malea with your piratical barques, and have seized and put to death almost more Roman citizens than Philip, so that our transports, which were supplying our armies, found coasting along the Macedonian shores safer than rounding the Cape of Malea. Forbear henceforth, if you please, to talk about your loyal observance of treaties; drop the language of a citizen and speak as a tyrant and an enemy."
Aristaenus followed. He advised and even implored Nabis to take the course which was safest for himself and his fortunes while he had the opportunity. He alluded by name to several who after ruling as tyrants in the surrounding cities had been deposed on the restoration of liberty and had passed a safe and even an honoured old age amongst their fellow-citizens. Further discussion was put an end to by the approach of night. The next day Nabis said that he would evacuate Argos and withdraw his garrison whenever the Romans wished, and would also surrender the prisoners and deserters. Should any further demands be made, he requested that they might be put in writing in order that he might consult his friends about them. Time was allowed him for the purpose, and Quinctius on his side also called the friendly cities into council. The majority were in favour of continuing the war and getting rid of the tyrant; for they felt certain that the freedom of Greece would never be safe otherwise. They declared that it would have been better not to commence war against him than to abandon it after it had begun, for Nabis would be in a much stronger position if he could assume that his usurpation was sanctioned by Rome, and his example would incite many in other cities to plot against the liberties of their fellow-citizens.
The general himself was more inclined to peace. He saw clearly that if the enemy were driven within his walls there was nothing for it but a siege, and a long one too, for it was not Gytheum they would have to attack - that place had, however, been surrendered, not stormed - but Lacedaemon, a city exceptionally strong in men and arms. His one hope had been, so he told the council, that on the approach of his army a revolutionary outbreak might occur, but though the citizens saw the standards carried up to the gates no one stirred. He went on to inform them that Villius had returned from his mission to Antiochus and reported that they could no longer depend upon maintaining peace with him, as he had landed in Europe with a far larger force, both military and naval, than on the former occasion. If he, Quinctius, employed his army in investing Lacedaemon, what other troops, he asked, would he have available for war against so strong and powerful a monarch? This was what he gave out in public; his secret motive was the fear that when the new consuls balloted for their provinces Greece might fall to one of them, and the war which he had begun so victoriously might be brought to a triumphant close by his successor.
As his arguments failed to make any impression on the allies he tried another course, and by apparently falling in with their view he brought them over to his own. "Well and good," he continued, "let us undertake the siege of Lacedaemon, if such is your resolve. Do not close your eyes, however, to the fact that the investment of a city is a slow business and often wearies out the besiegers sooner than the besieged, and you must now face the certainty of having to pass the winter round the walls of Lacedaemon. If these tedious processes only involved toil and danger I should urge you to prepare yourselves in mind and body to sustain them. But a vast outlay will be necessary for the siege works and engines and artillery which will be required for the investment of so great a city, and supplies for you and for us will have to be collected against the winter. So, to prevent your suddenly finding yourselves in difficulties, and abandoning to your shame a task after you have undertaken it, I am of opinion that you ought to write to your respective cities and find out what they really intend doing and what resources they possess. Of auxiliary troops I have enough and more than enough, the greater our number the greater our requirements. The enemy's territory contains nothing now but the bare soil, and besides, winter will be here, making it difficult to bring supplies from a distance." This speech at once reminded them of the evils they had to take account of in their own cities, the indolence, the jealousy, the malicious way in which those remaining at home spoke about those on active service, the unrestrained liberty which hindered united action, the low state of their national exchequers and the niggardliness displayed by individuals in contributing towards public expenses. So they quickly changed their minds and left it to the commander-in-chief to do what he thought best in the interest of Rome and the allies.
After consultation with his staff officers and military tribunes, Quinctius put into writing the conditions on which peace was to be made with the tyrant. There was to be a truce for six months between Nabis and his opponents - the Romans, Eumenes and the Rhodians. T. Quinctius and Nabis were each to send forthwith commissioners to Rome to secure the confirmation of the peace by the senate. The armistice was to commence from the day on which the document containing the conditions was handed to Nabis, and within ten days from that date he was to withdraw all his garrisons from Argos and the other towns in Argive territory and the places were to be handed over, evacuated and free, to the Romans. No slaves were to be removed from those places, whether they had belonged to the king or the public authorities or private individuals, and if any had previously been so removed they were to be duly restored to their owners. Nabis was to return the ships he had taken from the maritime cities, and he himself was not to possess any vessel beyond two light barques with not more than sixteen oars. All the cities allied with Rome were to have their prisoners and deserters restored to them, and all the property which the people of Messene could collect together and identify was to be given back to them. Further, he was to allow the Lacedaemonian refugees to have their wives and children with them, provided that no woman should be forced to join her husband whilst in exile against her will. Such of the tyrant's mercenaries as had gone back to their homes or deserted to the Romans were to have all their property restored to them. He was not to possess a single city in Crete, those which he had held he was to deliver up to the Romans, nor was he to form alliances with or make war against any of the Cretan cities, or anyone else. All the cities which he had to surrender, and all who had voluntarily accepted the suzerainty of Rome, were to be relieved of the presence of his garrisons; neither he nor his subjects were in any way to interfere with them. He was not to build a walled town or fortified post either on his own soil or elsewhere. As a guarantee for the due observance of these conditions he was to give five hostages to be selected by the Roman commander - one being his own son - and he was to pay an indemnity of 100 talents of silver at once and an annual instalment of 50 talents for the next eight years.
After the Roman camp had been moved nearer the city, these conditions were sent to Lacedaemon. None of them, of course, were very agreeable to the tyrant, though he was relieved to find that nothing was said about repatriating the refugees, but what he resented most of all was being deprived of his ships and his seaports. The sea had been a great source of profit to him as long as he could infest the whole Maleatic coastline with his pirate ships, and, moreover, the men drawn from the maritime cities furnished him with by far the finest of his troops. He had discussed the conditions privately with his friends, but as courtiers are untrustworthy in all other matters, so are they especially in keeping secrets, and the consul's demands soon became generally known. They were not objected to so strongly by the great body of the citizens as they were by the different individuals who were immediately affected by them. Those who had married the wives of the political exiles and those who had appropriated any of their property were as indignant as though they were to lose what belonged to themselves, instead of restoring what belonged to others. The slaves who had been freed by the tyrant saw not only their liberty gone but an even worse slavery awaiting them if they had to pass into the power of their enraged masters. The mercenary troops were angry at losing their pay when peace was established, and they saw no chance of returning to their own cities, which were as bitterly opposed to the supporters of tyrants as to the tyrants themselves.
They began by gathering together and discussing their grievances, and at last they flew to arms. The tyrant saw from this outbreak that the populace were sufficiently excited for his purpose, and he called a public assembly. As he went separately through the consul's demands and added some of his own invention which were more burdensome and humiliating, each item called forth angry protests, at one time from the whole assembly, at another from separate groups. When he had finished he asked the people what answer they wished him to give, or what action he was to take. The whole assembly almost with one voice forbade him to return any answer and insisted that the war should go on. As usual with the crowd they encouraged one another by saying that they hoped for the best and that Fortune helped the brave. Encouraged by the general voice, the tyrant gave out that Antiochus and the Aetolians would assist them, and he meanwhile had enough troops to stand a siege. Nobody now still talked of peace, and unable to remain quiet any longer they ran off to attack the enemy's advanced posts. The offensive movements of small bodies of skirmishers and the discharge of their missiles removed any doubt from the minds of the Romans that war was inevitable. For four days slight actions took place without any decisive result, but on the fifth day the fighting almost amounted to a regular battle and the Lacedaemonians were driven back into their town in such a state of demoralisation that some of the Roman soldiers in hot pursuit entered the city at places where at that time there was no wall.
As the fear thus inspired had checked all further offensive on the part of the enemy, Quinctius saw that there was nothing left but to invest the place, and after despatching officers to bring up the whole of the naval contingent from Gytheum, he proceeded with his military tribunes to ride round the city and examine its position. Sparta had formerly been unwalled, but in recent years the various tyrants had protected those parts which were level and exposed by a wall; the higher and less accessible positions were defended by permanent military posts instead of fortifications. When the consul had made a thorough inspection of the place he saw that he would have to employ the whole of his force in the attack. Accordingly he completely invested the city with Roman and allied troops, mounted and unmounted; in fact, his entire military and naval strength, amounting to 50,000 men. Some were carrying scaling ladders, others fire, others the different things with which to attack and still more to appal the enemy. Orders were issued for all to raise the battle-shout and rush straight forward to the assault at the same moment so that the Lacedaemonians, threatened on every side, would not know where first to meet the attack or where assistance would be most required. Quinctius formed his main army into three divisions: the first was to deliver the assault in the neighbourhood of the Phoebeum; the second towards the Dictynneum; the third at the place called the Heptagoniae. All these points were unprotected by walls. Though the city was now encompassed on every side by so menacing a foe the tyrant was most energetic in its defence; wherever shouts arose on some sudden onset, when breathless messengers came asking for help, he either hurried to the threatened spot himself or sent others to assist. When, however, demoralisation and panic had set in everywhere, he completely lost his nerve, and was unable either to give the necessary orders or to listen to the messages that came; he not only lost all power of judgment, but was almost beside himself.
As long as they were in the narrow streets the Lacedaemonians stood their ground against the Romans, and three separate actions were going on at different places, but as the struggle became more intense it became more unequal. The Lacedaemonians were carrying on the fight with missiles, against which the Romans were easily able to protect themselves by their large shields, and whilst some fell harmlessly others came with little force. Owing to the confined space and the crowding together they had no room to run before hurling their missiles to give them greater force, nor could they keep a firm and steady footing while they tried to throw them. None of the darts which the enemy flung penetrated the bodies and very few the shields of the Romans. Some wounds were caused by the enemy who were on higher ground around them, but soon their advance exposed them to an unlooked-for attack from the houses, not only darts but even tiles being hurled upon them. On this they held their shields above their heads and closed up so that with shield joined to shield there might be no room for a chance missile or even for one thrown at close range to penetrate. In this testudo formation they went on.
For a short time the Romans were held up by the narrowness of the streets as they and the enemy were closely packed together, but when they got into a broader thoroughfare they pushed the enemy back and were able to advance, and the violence of their attack made further resistance impossible. When the Lacedaemonians had once turned to flight and were making for the higher parts of the city, Nabis, in a state of distraction as though the city was actually taken, was looking round for some way of escape, but Pythagoras, who in all other respects was showing the spirit and leadership of a general, was now the one man who saved the city from capture. He gave orders for the buildings nearest the walls to be set alight and they instantly burst into flames, the townsmen, who at other times would naturally have helped to extinguish them, fanning the conflagration. The roofs collapsed upon the Romans, broken tiles and pieces of burning wood struck the soldiers, the flames spread far and wide, and the smoke caused them alarm out of all proportion to the danger incurred. Those who were still outside the city making the final assault fell back from the walls; those who were already within, afraid of being cut off by the outbreak of fire in their rear, retired, and Quinctius, seeing the state of matters, sounded the retreat. Recalled from the assault when the city was all but captured, they returned to camp.
Quinctius came to the conclusion that he would gain more from playing on the enemy's fears than by what he had hitherto achieved, and he kept them in a constant state of alarm for three successive days by harassing them with attacks and throwing up barriers at certain points to close the avenues of escape. Driven at last to submission by this perpetual menace, the tyrant sent Pythagoras once more to open negotiations. At first Quinctius refused to see him and ordered him to quit the camp, but when he assumed a suppliant tone and fell on his knees, the consul granted him an audience. He began by leaving everything at the absolute discretion of the Romans, but he gained nothing by taking this line, which was regarded as idle and leading to no result. Finally it was arranged that, conditionally upon the acceptance of the terms which had a few days previously been presented in writing, there should be a suspension of hostilities; the money and the hostages were accepted. While the siege was going on message after message reached Argos announcing the imminent capture of Lacedaemon, and the spirits of the population were raised higher by the departure of Pythagoras with the main strength of his garrison. Feeling contempt for the few still remaining, they expelled them from the citadel under the direction of a man called Archippus. Timocrates of Pellene was allowed to leave under a safe-conduct owing to the clemency and moderation he had shown as commandant. After granting peace to the tyrant, and dismissing Eumenes and the Rhodians and sending his brother Lucius back to the fleet, Quinctius went to Argos, where he found everybody very happy.
The famous Nemean Games, the most popular of all their festivals, had been suspended by he Argives owing to the sufferings of the war, but on the arrival of the Roman commander with his army they manifested their delight by ordering the Games to be celebrated and making the general himself the president. There were many circumstances which enhanced their joy - those of their fellow-citizens whom Pythagoras had lately removed and those whom Nabis had previously carried off had now been brought back from Lacedaemon; those who had succeeded in escaping after the discovery of the plot by Pythagoras and the consequent bloodshed had returned home; once more after a long interval they had their liberty restored, and they saw with their own eyes the Romans who were the authors of its restoration and who for their sake had undertaken the war with the tyrant. Moreover, on the very day the Nemean Games were exhibited the voice of the herald confirmed by public proclamation "the liberty of the Argives." The satisfaction which the Achaeans felt at the restoration of Argos to their league was considerably impaired by the fact that Lacedaemon was left in servitude to the tyrant, who remained as a thorn in their side. As for the Aetolians, they were perpetually harping upon the subject at every meeting of their council. They declared that the war was not at an end till Philip had evacuated every city in Greece; Lacedaemon was left to the tyrant, but her rightful king, who was in the Roman camp, and the noblest of her citizens would have to live in exile; Rome had made herself the minister to his tyranny. Quinctius led his forces back to Elatia, which had been his starting-point for the Spartan War. Some authorities state that the tyrant did not conduct operations by making sorties from the town, but after fixing his camp face to face with that of the Romans and waiting for a considerable time in expectation of assistance from the Aetolians, he was in the end compelled to give battle owing to the Romans attacking his foragers. In that battle they state that he was defeated and lost his camp and so was driven to ask for peace, after losing 14,000 in killed and wounded and more than 4000 who were made prisoners.
The despatch from T. Quinctius reporting his operations at Lacedaemon and one from M. Porcius, the consul in Spain, reached Rome almost simultaneously. A three days' thanksgiving was ordered by the senate on behalf of each of them. The consul, L. Valerius, who after routing the Boii near the Litanean forest had no further trouble in his province, returned to Rome for the elections. The new consuls were P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Tiberius Sempronius Longus. Their fathers had both been consuls in the first year of the Second Punic War. The election of praetors followed. Those elected were P. Cornelius Scipio, the two Cornelii - Merenda and Blasio - Cneius Domitius Ahenobarbus, Sextus Digitius, and T. Juventius Thalna. After the elections were over the consul went back to his province. During the year the people of Ferentinum tried to claim the right of those Latins who had been enrolled in Roman colonies to be deemed Roman citizens. Those who had given in their names had been assigned to the colonies of Puteoli, Salernum and Buxentum, and on the strength of this assumed the status of Roman citizens. The senate decided that they were not Roman citizens.
At the beginning of the year of office of the new consuls the envoys from Nabis arrived in Rome. An audience of the senate was granted them outside the City in the temple of Apollo. They asked that the treaty of peace which had been arranged with T. Quinctius might be confirmed, and their request was granted. When the allocation of provinces came under discussion there was a large attendance of senators, and the general opinion was that as the wars in Spain and Macedonia had come to an end Italy should be assigned to both consuls as their province. Scipio was of opinion that one consul was enough for Italy, the other ought to have Macedonia assigned to him. He pointed out that a serious war was impending with Antiochus, who had deliberately landed in Europe. What, Scipio asked, did they suppose he would do when he was invited to commence hostilities by the Aetolians on the one side, who were undoubtedly hostile, and on the other side urged on by Hannibal, the commander so renowned for the defeats he had inflicted on the Romans? While the consular provinces were being discussed the praetors balloted for their provinces. Cneius Domitius received the urban jurisdiction and T. Juventius that over aliens. To P. Cornelius was allotted Further Spain, and Hither Spain to Sextus Digitius. Of the two Cornelii, Blasio was appointed to Sicily and Merenda to Sardinia. It was decided not to send a fresh army to Macedonia, the one which was there was to be brought back by Quinctius and disbanded, as was also the army with M. Porcius Cato in Spain. Italy was decreed as the province of both consuls, and they were empowered to raise two legions in the City in order that after the disbandment of the two armies which the senate had decreed there might be in all eight Roman legions.
In the previous year a Sacred Spring had been observed, and the Pontifex Maximus P. Licinius reported to the pontifical college that its observance had not been properly carried out. The college authorised him to bring the matter to the notice of the senate, and they decided that there should be an entirely fresh observance under the direction of the pontiffs. The Great Games, which had been vowed at the same time, were also ordered to be celebrated, and the usual outlay incurred upon them. The victims to be offered included all the cattle born between 1st March and 1st May during the consulship of P. Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius. Then came the election of the censors. The new censors, Sextus Aelius Paetus and C. Cornelius Cethegus, selected, as their predecessors had done, P. Scipio as leader of the senate. Only three senators in all were removed from the roll, none of whom had enjoyed curule honours. Another thing which added immensely to their popularity with the patricians was the order they issued to the curule aediles, requiring them to reserve special places for the senators at the Roman Games; previously they sat amongst the crowd. Very few of the equestrian order were deprived of their horses, nor did the censors treat any order in the State harshly. The Hall of Liberty and the Villa Publica were also restored and enlarged by these censors. The Sacred Spring and the Games, vowed by Servius Sulpicius Galba, were duly carried out. Q. Pleminius, who for his many crimes against gods and men at Locri had been thrown into prison, seized the opportunity whilst all were preoccupied with the spectacle of the Games to get together a number of men who were to set the City on fire at various points during the night so that he might break out of gaol during the confusion created. The plot was disclosed by some of his accomplices and the information laid before the senate. Pleminius was thrown into the lowest dungeon and put to death.
During the year a number of Roman citizens were settled as colonists in Puteoli, Volturnum and Liternum; three hundred were assigned to each place. Similar settlements were made in Salernum and Buxentum. The commissioners who supervised the emigration were Tiberius Sempronius Longus who was consul at the time, M. Servilius and Q. Minucius Thermus. The land distributed amongst them had formed part of the domain of Capua. A colony of Roman citizens was also established at Sipontum on land which had belonged to Arpi. The commissioners in this case were D. Junius Brutus, M Baebius Tamphilus and M. Helvius. Roman citizens were also sent as colonists to Tempsa and Croto; the territory of the former had been taken from the Brutii, who had expelled the Greeks from it; Croto was still held by the Greeks. The commissioners for the colonisation at Croto were Cneius Octavius, L. Aemilius Paulus and C. Laetorius; those for Tempsa were L. Cornelius Merula and C. Salonius. Some portents appeared in Rome this year and others were announced from various places. In the Forum, the Comitium and the Capitol drops of blood were seen; there were several showers of mud, and the head of the statue of Vulcan appeared to be on fire. It was reported that the river Nar had flowed with milk, that boys of respectable parents at Ariminum had been born without eyes or nose, and one in the district of Picenum without hands or feet. These portents were expiated as directed by the pontiffs. Sacrifices were also offered for nine days in consequence of a report from the people of Hadria that a shower of stones had fallen on their soil.
L. Valerius, who was still in command in Gaul, fought a hotly contested action with the Insubrians and the Boii; the latter had crossed the Po in order to rouse the Insubrians to arms. His colleague M. Porcius Cato celebrated his triumph over the Spaniards during this period. In the procession there were carried 25,000 pounds of unwrought silver, 12,300 silver denarii, 540 of Oscan coinage, and 1200 pounds' weighs of gold. To each of the infantry soldiers he distributed 270 ases and treble the amount to the cavalry. On arriving in his province Tiberius Sempronius marched his troops first of all into the country of the Boii. Boiorix was their chief at the time, and after he and his two brothers had induced the whole nation to resume hostilities he fixed his camp in an exposed position in the open country to show that they were prepared to fight if they were invaded. When the consul became aware of the numbers and confidence of the enemy he sent to his colleague asking him, if he thought he could do so, to hasten to his assistance, and he would by one means or another delay an action till he came. The same reason which led the consul to delay made the Gauls seek an early decision, for their confidence was increased by their enemy's hesitation and they determined to engage him before the two consuls united their forces. For two days, however, they merely stood ready for battle in case there was any advance from the Roman camp; on the third day they went up to the rampart and attacked the camp simultaneously on all sides.
The consul ordered his men instantly to seize their weapons, and for a few minutes kept them standing under arms, partly to encourage the unthinking confidence of the enemy and also to allow of his distributing the troops at the different gates from which each body was to make the sortie. The two legions were ordered to advance through the principal gates, but the Gauls blocked the exits in such dense masses that they could not emerge. The struggle went on for a long time in the confined space; it was not so much fighting with their right hands and swords as pushing with their shields and bodies, the Romans trying to force a way for their standards, the Gauls endeavouring to get into the camp, or at all events to keep the Romans from getting out. Neither the one side nor the other could make any advance until Q. Victorius, a centurion of the first rank, and C. Atilius, a military tribune, the former belonging to the second legion, the latter to the fourth, did what had often been tried in desperate struggles, and snatching the standards from the bearers flung them amongst the enemy. In their effort to recover the standards the men of the second legion were the first to force their way out of the camp.
They were now fighting outside the rampart while the fourth legion were still held up in their gate. Suddenly a new alarm arose on the opposite side of the camp. The Gauls had broken through the quaestorian gate, and after meeting with the most obstinate resistance had killed the quaestor, L. Postumius Tympanus, M. Atinius and P. Sempronius, praefects of allies, and nearly 200 men. This side of the camp was in the enemy's hands until one of the "special cohorts" which had been sent by the consul to defend the quaestorian gate drove them out of the camp after killing many of them, and stopped those who were breaking in. Almost at the same moment the fourth legion, with two of the special cohorts, forced their way out of another gate. So there were three separate actions going on simultaneously on different sides of the camp, and the confused shouts which arose called off the attention of the combatants from their own struggle to the doubtful position of their comrades. Up to noonday the battle was fought with equal strength on both sides, and almost equal hopes of victory. But the heat and the exertion told upon the Gauls with their soft and perspiring bodies, utterly incapable as they were of enduring thirst, and compelled them to beat a retreat. The few who still stood their ground were charged by the Romans and driven in rout to their camp. Then the consul gave the signal to retire; most of the men obeyed it, but some in their eagerness for battle and in the hope of securing the hostile camp pushed on to the rampart. The Gauls, deriding this weak force, rushed in a body out of their camp. Now it was the Romans who were routed, and those who refused to return to camp at the consul's order were driven thither by their fears. So first on one side and then on the other victory and flight alternated. The Gauls, however, lost as many as 11,000 men, the Romans 5000.
They retired into the most distant part of their country; the consul led his legions to Placentia. Some writers assert that Scipio formed a junction with his colleague and marched through the fields of the Boii and the Ligurians, plundering as he went, until the forests and marshes forbade further progress; others, on the contrary, state that he returned to Rome to conduct the elections without doing anything worth recording. T. Quinctius had returned to his former quarters at Elatia, and he spent the whole winter in administering justice and reforming the judicial procedure. He also made changes in the political arrangements which had been imposed on the cities by the lawless tyranny of Nabis and his lieutenants, and which by augmenting the power of his own party crushed the rights and liberties of the others. At the beginning of spring he went to Corinth, where he had summoned a general meeting of the allies. Representatives from all the States were present, so that it was practically a Pan-Hellenic council. He began his address by reminding them of the friendly relations which had from the first existed between the Romans and the Greeks as a nation and the work which had been done by himself and the commanders who had been in Macedonia before him. His speech was listened to with universal approbation except where he alluded to the treatment of Nabis. It was felt by those present to be quite inconsistent with the part of a Liberator of Greece to leave the tyrant as a scourge to his own country and a terror to all the surrounding States.
Quinctius was quite aware of their feelings on this question, and he frankly admitted that he would not have listened to any overtures of peace if this course would not have involved the destruction of Lacedaemon. As matters were, since Nabis could not be crushed without ruining a city of the first importance it seemed better to leave him weakened and almost entirely deprived of any power to injure others rather than allow this city to succumb from the effect of remedies too strong for it and perish in the very process of recovering its liberty. After this review of the past he went on to announce his intention of leaving for Italy, taking the whole of his army with him. He told them that in less than ten days they would hear that the troops in occupation of Demetrias and Chalcis had been withdrawn, and they would see with their own eyes Acrocorinthus evacuated and handed over to the Achaeans immediately. This would show the whole world whether it was the Romans who were in the habit of telling lies or the Aetolians, who in their public speeches had spread abroad the notion that it was a mistake to entrust their liberties to Rome and that they had only changed their Macedonian for Roman masters. But that people never cared in the least what they said or what they did. He advised the other States to measure their friends by their deeds and not by their words, and so learn whom to trust and whom to beware of. They must use their liberty in moderation; under proper restraints liberty was a blessing to individuals and communities alike; in excess it was a danger to others and led to recklessness and violence on the part of those who possessed it. The nobility, together with the various classes of society in the different cities, must study to preserve internal harmony, and the States as a whole must endeavour after mutual concord. As long as they were of one mind neither king nor tyrant would ever be strong enough to hurt them, but discord and sedition gave every advantage to those who were seeking to destroy their liberty, since the party which was worsted in a domestic struggle would rather join hands with a foreigner than submit to a fellow-citizen. It must be their care to defend and maintain the freedom which had been won for them by foreign arms and restored to them on the faith of a foreign power. Then the Roman people would know that the gift of liberty had been made to those who were worthy of it and that their boon had been well bestowed.
These sentiments, such as a father might have uttered called forth tears of joy from all who heard them, and for some time the voice of the speaker was drowned amidst the expressions of approval and the exhortations which the audience addressed to each other to let these words sink into their hearts and minds as though they were the words of an oracle. At last, when silence was restored, he asked them to find out any Roman citizens who were living as slaves amongst them and send them within two months' time to him in Thessaly. They would not, he felt sure, think it right or honourable for their liberators to be in the position of slaves in the land which they had liberated. They all exclaimed that among the other things for which they were grateful they thanked him especially for reminding them of so sacred and imperative a duty. There was an immense number who had been made prisoners in the Punic War, and as they were not ransomed by their countrymen Hannibal sold them as slaves. That they were very numerous is evident from what Polybius says. He asserts that this undertaking cost the Achaeans 100 talents, as they fixed the price to be paid to the owners at 500 denarii a head. On this reckoning Achaia must have held 1200 of them; you can estimate proportionally what was the probable number throughout Greece. The assembly was still sitting when, on looking round, they saw the troops coming from Acrocorinthus; they marched straight through to the gate and left the city. The general followed them amidst universal applause and shouts of "Saviour and Liberator." Then taking his final leave of them he returned to Elatia by the same route by which he had come. From there he despatched Appius Claudius with the whole of his forces, they were to march through Thessaly and Epirus to Oricum and wait for him there, as he intended to sail from there with his army to Italy. His brother Lucius, who was in command of the fleet, received written instructions to collect ships from every part of the Greek coast.
He then proceeded to Chalcis and withdrew the forces in occupation not only from that city, but from Oreus and Eretria as well. Here he summoned a convention of all the cities in Euboea, and after reminding them of the condition in which he found them and the condition in which he was leaving them, sent them back to their homes. Going on to Demetrias, he withdrew his troops from that place amidst the same enthusiasm on the part of the citizens as at Corinth and Chalcis. He then resumed his progress into Thessaly, where the cities had not only to be liberated but also brought back from confusion and chaos into some tolerable form of government. This state of confusion arose from the disorders of the time and the violence and lawlessness introduced by Philip, but it was due quite as much to the quarrelsome character of the people, who never conducted public proceedings of any kind, whether elections or conventions or councils, without tumult and riot. Quinctius selected the senate and the judges mostly from the propertied classes and placed power in the hands of those whose interest it was to keep everything in peace and security.
After thus traversing Thessaly he went on through Epirus to Oricum, his starting place for Italy. From this point the whole of his army was carried across to Brundisium, and from Brundisium they marched through the whole length of Italy to the City in what was almost a triumphal procession, of which the captured spoils formed as large a part as the troops themselves. On his reaching Rome the senate met outside the City to receive his report and they gladly decreed the triumph he had so well earned. Its celebration lasted three days. On the first day he had carried through the City the arms and armour and the bronze and marble statues; those taken from Philip were more numerous than those which he had secured in the various cities. On the second day all the gold and silver, coined and uncoined, were borne in the procession. There were 18,000 pounds of uncoined and unwrought silver and 270 of silver plate, including vessels of every description, most of them embossed and some exquisitely artistic. There were also some made of bronze. In addition to these there were ten silver shields. Of the silver coinage 84,000 were Attic pieces, known as tetrachma, each nearly equal in weight to four denarii. The gold weighed 3714 pounds, including one shield made entirely of gold, and there were 14,514 coins from Philip's mint. In the third day's procession were carried 114 golden coronets, the gifts of various cities, and before the victor's chariot went the sacrificial victims and many noble prisoners and hostages, amongst the latter Philip's son Demetrius and Armenes the son of the Lacedaemonian tyrant. Then came Quinctius himself in his chariot followed by a long train of soldiers, as the whole of his army had been brought back from the province. Each infantryman received a largess of 250 ases, each centurion twice as much, and each cavalryman treble the amount. A striking feature in the procession was furnished by those who had been rescued from slavery, and who with shaven heads followed their deliverer.
At the close of the year Q. Aelius Tubero, a tribune of the plebs, acting on a resolution of the senate, brought a proposal before the plebs, which was adopted, for the settlement of two Latin colonies, one in Bruttium and the other in the territory of Thurium. The commissioners who were to supervise the settlement were appointed for three years. Those who were to make the arrangements in Bruttium were Q. Naevius, M. Minucius Rufus and M. Furius Crassipes; those put in charge of the Thurium settlement were A. Manlius, Q. Aelius and L. Apustius. The elections in which they were chosen were held by the City praetor, Cn. Domitius, in the Capitol. A number of temples were dedicated this year. One was the temple of Juno Matuta in the Forum Olitorium. This had been vowed four years previously and its building contracted for by C. Cornelius during his consulship, and he dedicated it when he was censor. Another was the temple of Faunus; the aediles C. Scribonius and Cn. Domitius had contracted for its building two years before out of the money raised by fines, and Cn. Domitius dedicated it when he was City praetor. Q. Marcius Rulla dedicated a temple to Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal, having been made duumvir for the purpose. P. Sempronius Sophus had vowed it in the Punic War ten years previously, when he was consul, and he had made the contract for it during his censorship. C. Servilius also dedicated a temple to Jupiter on the Island, which had been vowed six years before in a war with the Gauls by the praetor L. Furius Purpurio, who when consul signed the contract for its construction.
P. Scipio returned from his province of Gaul to conduct the elections. The new consuls were L. Cornelius Merula and Q. Minucius Thermus. The praetors were elected on the following day; they were L. Cornelius Scipio, M. Fulvius Nobilior, C. Scribonius, M. Valerius Messala, L. Porcius Licinus and C. Flaminius. Atilius Serranus and L. Scribonius Libo were the first aediles who made the Megalesia scenic Games. It was when these same aediles exhibited the Roman Games that the senate for the first time sat apart from the people. This, like all innovations, excited much comment. Some regarded it as a tribute which had long been due to the highest order in the State; others considered that whatever enhanced the greatness of the patricians detracted from the dignity of the people, and that all such distinctions as mark off the different orders in the State impair the concord and liberty which all ought equally to enjoy. For 557 years the spectators had sat promiscuously, what, people asked, had happened all of a sudden that the patricians refused to have the plebeians amongst them? Why should a rich man object to a poor man sitting by his side? It was a piece of unheard-of arrogance neither adopted nor wished for by any other senate in the world. Even Africanus himself, who when consul was responsible for the change, was said to have regretted it. So distasteful is any departure from ancient usage; so much do men prefer to stand in the old ways except where they are clearly condemned by experience.
At the beginning of the year of office of the new consuls there were such frequent reports of the occurrence of earthquakes that men grew tired not only of the subject itself, but also of the suspension of business which was ordered on account of it. No meeting of the senate could be held nor any public proceedings conducted, as the consuls were entirely occupied with sacrifices and expiations. At last the decemvirs received instructions to consult the Sacred Books, and in accordance with their injunctions a three days' intercession was proclaimed. Prayers were offered at all the shrines, the suppliants wearing laurel wreaths, and a notice was issued requiring all the members of a family to offer up their prayers together. The senate authorised the consuls to publish an edict forbidding anyone to report an earthquake on any day on which business had been suspended on account of one already reported. After this the consuls balloted for their provinces. Gaul fell to Cornelius and Liguria to Minucius. The praetors' ballot resulted in C. Scribonius receiving the City jurisdiction, M. Valerius that over aliens, L. Cornelius Sicily, L. Porcius Sardinia, C. Flaminius Hither Spain and M. Fulvius Further Spain.
The consuls were not looking forward to any war during their year of office, when a despatch arrived from M. Cincius, the commandant of Pisae, announcing a rising in Liguria. Warlike resolutions had been passed in all the councils of the nation, and 20,000 Ligurians were now in arms. They had ravaged the country round Luna, and after crossing the frontiers of Pisae had traversed the whole length of the coast. Minucius, to whom the province of Liguria had been allotted, acting on the instructions of the senate, mounted the Rostra and issued an edict for the two City legions which had been enrolled the year before to muster in ten days' time at Arretium, their place would be taken by two legions which he was going to raise. He also notified the magistrates and officers of those Latin and allied communities which were bound to furnish troops that they should attend upon him in the Capitol. Here he arranged with them what contingent each city should supply in proportion to the number of men they had of military age, the total being fixed at 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry. They were then instructed to start for home at once and raise their troops without a moment's delay. Fulvius and Flaminius were each reinforced with Roman troops to the number of 3000 infantry and 100 cavalry and also 5000 infantry and 200 cavalry furnished by the Latins and allies, and the praetors were ordered to disband the old soldiers as soon as they arrived in their provinces. Large numbers of the soldiers in the City legions urged the tribunes of the plebs to investigate the cases of the men who pleaded either length of service or ill-health as reasons why they should not be called up. This matter was quite thrown aside by a despatch from Tiberius Sempronius, in which he stated that a body of 10,000 Ligurians had appeared in the neighbourhood of Placentia and had wasted the country with fire and sword up to the very walls of the colony and the banks of the Po, and the Boii also were contemplating a revival of hostilities.
In view of this announcement the senate decreed that a state of emergency had arisen, and that they disapproved of the tribunes investigating the soldiers' grievance and so preventing them from assembling in obedience to the edict. They further ordered that the men of the allied contingents who had served under P. Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius and had been disbanded by them should reassemble on the day which L. Cornelius named and in whatever place in Etruria he notified to them. Whilst on his way to his province the consul was to enlist and arm and take with him whatever men he thought fit in the towns and country districts through which he passed, and he was empowered to disband any of them whenever he wanted to do so.
After the consuls had raised the necessary troops and left for their provinces, T. Quinctius requested the senate to listen to his report of the arrangements which he had made in concert with the ten commissioners, and if they thought good to ratify and confirm them. They would, he said, be in a better position to do this if they heard the statements of the envoys who had come from every State in Greece as well as those who had come from the three kings. These deputations were introduced to the senate by the City praetor, Caius Scribonius, and they all met with a favourable reception. As the negotiations with Antiochus were somewhat protracted they were entrusted to the ten commissioners, some of whom had been with the king either in Asia or in Lysimachia. T. Quinctius was authorised to hear the envoys in the presence of the commissioners and make such a reply as was consistent with the interests and the honour of the Roman people. Menippus and Hegesianax were the leaders of the embassy, and the former was the spokesman. He professed himself at a loss to understand what difficulty or complications his mission could create as he had simply come to ask that friendly relations might be established and an alliance formed. There were three kinds of treaties by means of which States and monarchs came to terms with one another. In one case the conditions were dictated to those who had been vanquished in war, for when everything had been surrendered to the one who was the stronger in arms he had the absolute right to say what they might retain and of what they were to be deprived. In the second case powers who have been equally matched in war form a league of peace and amity on equal terms, for then they arrive at a mutual understanding in respect of claims for indemnity, and where proprietorship has been disturbed by the war, matters are adjusted either in accordance with the former legal status or as is most convenient to the contracting parties. The third class of treaties comprises those made by States which have never been enemies and who unite in forming a league of friendship; no conditions are either imposed or accepted, for these only exist between victors and vanquished. It was this latter kind of league that Antiochus was seeking, and he (the speaker) was surprised that the Romans should think it just and fair to impose conditions upon the king as to which of the cities in Asia they decided should be free and autonomous and which should pay tribute, and in the case of some forbidding the king to garrison them. These were terms on which to make peace with Philip their enemy, not a treaty of alliance with Antiochus, who was their friend.
The following was Quinctius' reply: "Since it pleases you to draw these distinctions and to enumerate the various ways in which friendly relations can be established, I too will lay down the two conditions apart from which, you may tell your king, no friendship with Rome can be established. One is this - if he does not wish us to concern ourselves with the cities of Asia, he must himself keep his hands off every part of Europe. The other is this - if instead of confining himself within the frontiers of Asia he crosses over into Europe, the Romans will be perfectly justified in protecting their friendship with those cities where it exists and in winning new ones." Hegesianax replied: "Surely it is an unworthy suggestion to say that Antiochus is excluded from the cities of Thrace and the Chersonese which his great-grandfather Seleucus won most gloriously after defeating Lysimachus, who fell in the battle, and some of which Antiochus himself recovered by force of arms from the Thracians who had taken possession of them, whilst others which had been deserted, like Lysimachia, he repeopled with tillers of the soil, and where they had been burnt or laid in ruin he rebuilt them at a vast expense. What resemblance could there be between the renunciation by Antiochus of his right to cities which had been acquired or recovered in this way and the non-interference of the Romans in Asia, which had never belonged to them? Antiochus was asking for the friendship of Rome, but it was such a friendship as would bring him honour, not shame." On this Quinctius observed: "As it is a question of honour - a question which ought to be the sole, or at all events the primary, one for the foremost nation in the world and for a monarch so great as yours, which course appears to you the more honourable, to desire the freedom of all the Greek cities wherever they are or to keep them tributary and in bondage? If Antiochus thinks that he is acting honourably in claiming the lordship of cities which his great-grandfather held by the right of war, a right which his father and grandfather never asserted, the Roman people also consider that their sense of honour and consistency forbid them to abandon their championship of the liberties of Greece. As they liberated Greece from Philip, so it is their intention to liberate the Greek cities in Asia from Antiochus. Colonies were not founded in Aeolis and Ionia to be in bondage to monarchs, but that their stock might multiply and a nation of ancient lineage be propagated throughout the world."
As Hegesianax hesitated and could not deny that the cause of liberty carried a more honourable title than that of slavery, P. Sulpicius, the senior of the ten commissioners, said: "Let us have no more beating about the bush; choose one of the two conditions which Quinctius has just put forward so clearly; choose or drop this idle plea of friendship." "It is not our wish," said Menippus, "nor is it in our power to enter into any compact by which the sovereign rule of Antiochus will be impaired." The next day Quinctius introduced to the senate all the deputations from Greece and Asia, in order that they might learn the attitude of the Romans and that of Antiochus towards the cities of Greece. He laid his own demands before them and then those of the king, and told them to report to their governments that the Romans would show the same courage and fidelity in vindicating their liberties against Antiochus, if he did not quit Europe, which they had shown in liberating them from Philip. On this Menippus earnestly begged Quinctius and the senate not to precipitate a decision which might, when once taken, throw the world into confusion. He asked them to take time for reflection and allow the king to do the same. When the conditions were reported to him, he would take them into consideration and would obtain some modification of them or make some concessions for the sake of peace. So the whole matter was postponed and it was decided that the same commissioners should be sent to the king who had been with him at Lysimachia, namely P. Sulpicius, P. Villius and P. Aelius.
Scarcely had they started on their mission when envoys came from Carthage with the intelligence that Antiochus was undoubtedly preparing for war with the advice and assistance of Hannibal, and apprehensions were felt as to the outbreak of a war with Carthage at the same time. As was stated above, Hannibal, a fugitive from his native country, had reached the court of Antiochus, where he was treated with great distinction, the only motive for this being that the king had long been meditating a war with Rome, and no one could be more qualified to discuss the subject with him than the Carthaginian commander. He had never wavered in his opinion that the war should be conducted on Italian soil; Italy would furnish both supplies and men to a foreign foe. But, he argued, if that country remained undisturbed and Rome were free to employ the strength and resources of Italy beyond its frontiers, no monarch, no nation could meet her on equal terms. He wanted 100 decked ships and a force of 10,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry; he would take the fleet to Africa first as he felt confident of being able to persuade the Carthaginians to enter upon another war, and if they hung back he would raise up war against Rome in some part of Italy. The king should cross over into Europe with the rest of his army and keep his troops somewhere in Greece, not actually sailing for Italy, but prepared to do so; this would give a sufficient impression of the magnitude of the war.
When he had brought the king over to his view, he thought he ought to prepare his countrymen, but he would not run the risk of sending a written communication lest it should be intercepted and his plans discovered. During his visit to Ephesus he had picked up a Tyrian servant named Aristo and, as he had experience of the intelligent way in which he executed less important commissions, Hannibal decided to make use of him. By means of bribes and lavish promises, which the king himself endorsed, he was induced to go to Carthage with instructions. Hannibal supplied him with a list of those whom it was necessary to interview, and he also provided him with secret signs by which they might know that he had really been commissioned by Hannibal. As the man was constantly going about Carthage, Hannibal's enemies found out the reason for his visit quite as soon as his friends, and the matter became the subject of conversation at social gatherings and in the clubs. At last it gave rise to discussion in the senate, where various speakers asserted that nothing was gained by Hannibal's banishment if he was able to form treasonable designs, and by carrying on an agitation amongst the citizens threaten the peace and security of the State. They declared that one Aristo, a Tyrian stranger, had come furnished with instructions from Hannibal and Antiochus, that men who were well known were holding furtive colloquies with him every day, and that a mischief was being secretly hatched which would soon break out and bring about universal ruin. There was a general outcry and all present demanded that Aristo should be summoned and questioned as to the object of his visit, and unless he explained it, sent with a deputation to Rome. "We have suffered enough," they said, "for one man's recklessness; if private citizens offend it will be at their own risk, the State must be preserved from the taint and even from the suspicion of guilt."
When Aristo appeared he endeavoured to clear himself by relying mainly on the fact that he had brought nothing in the shape of a letter to anyone. Still he did not give a satisfactory explanation of the object of his visit, and what caused him most embarrassment was the allegation that his interviews were confined to the members of the Barcine party. On this a heated discussion arose, one side demanding his arrest and detention as a spy, the other asserting that there was no ground for such irregular action, and it would form a bad precedent if visitors from abroad were to be apprehended for no reason whatever. The same thing would happen to the Carthaginians at Tyre and the other commercial cities which they so largely frequented. The debate was adjourned. Aristo, having to do with Carthaginians, adopted a Carthaginian stratagem. Early in the evening he hung up a placard in the busiest part of the city over the tribunal where the magistrates sat day by day. In the third watch of the night he boarded a vessel and fled away. When the suffetes took their seats the next morning to administer justice they saw the placard, took it down and read it. It stated that Aristo's instructions were not intended for private citizens; they were public and addressed to the "elders" - for so they designated their senate. As this involved the whole government there was less eagerness to investigate the few cases where suspicion fell. It was, however, decided that a deputation should be sent to Rome to report the affair to the consuls and the senate and at the same time lay a complaint against Masinissa.
When Masinissa saw that the Carthaginians were falling into bad odour with Rome and at variance amongst themselves - the leaders of the Barcine party suspected by the senate owing to their interviews with Aristo, and the senate suspected by the people in consequence of the notice which Aristo had put up - he thought it a good opportunity for attacking them. The coastal district which skirts the Lower Syrtis is called Emporia. It is a very fertile country and there is one city in it - Leptis - which alone paid Carthage tribute to the extent of a talent a day. This district Masinissa overran and ravaged from end to end and occupied parts of it, so that it appeared doubtful whether it belonged to him or to the Carthaginians. On learning that they had sent envoys to Rome to meet the charges which had been made against them, and also to complain of his conduct, he too sent a deputation to strengthen the suspicions against Carthage and also to question the right of that government to exact tribute from the district which he had invaded. The Carthaginians were received in audience first, and their account of the Tyrian stranger made the senate feel anxious lest they should be involved in war with both Antiochus and Carthage at the same time. What strengthened their suspicions most of all was the fact that after deciding to arrest Aristo and send him to Rome they had neglected to keep either him or his ship under guard. Then came the argument with Masinissa's representatives as to the territory in dispute. The Carthaginians rested their case on the adjudication of Scipio, as the district lay within the frontiers of what, after his victory, he declared to be Carthaginian territory, and they also relied on Masinissa's own admission. When Aphthires was a fugitive from his kingdom and was roaming with a body of Numidians in the neighbourhood of Cyrenae, Masinissa who was pursuing him asked permission to traverse that district, showing thereby that he had no doubt as to its belonging to Carthage.
The Numidians contended that false statements had been made as to Scipio's delimitation. If the origin of any rights they claimed was inquired into, what ground in all Africa really belonged to the Carthaginians? When they landed on its shores and sought a settlement they were granted as much land on which to build their city as they could enclose within an ox-hide cut into strips. Whatever ground they had gained outside Bursa they had gained by violence and robbery. As to the territory in question, it was impossible for them to prove that it had been in their possession from the beginning or even for any considerable length of time. The Carthaginians and the kings of Numidia laid alternate claims to it as opportunity offered; it always became the possession of those who for the time being were the strongest in arms. They begged the senate to let matters remain in the same state in which they were before Carthage became the enemy or Masinissa the friend and ally of Rome, and not to prevent him who was able to hold it from doing so. The reply given to both parties was to the effect that the senate would send a commission to Africa to settle the dispute on the spot. The commissioners were P. Scipio Africanus, C. Cornelius Cethegus and M. Minucius Rufus. After surveying the locality and hearing both sides they decided for neither of them and left the whole question in abeyance. Whether they did this of their own motion or whether they had received instructions to do so is uncertain. What is certain is that under the circumstances it was a matter of expediency that the question should remain unsettled. Had it not been so Scipio, either through his knowledge of the facts or his personal influence with both the contending parties, could have settled it by a nod.