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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 5: Many fights in Greece[207 BC]
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It was in the beginning of this summer that the proconsul Publius Sulpicius and King Attalus who, as already stated, had wintered at Aegina, sailed for Lemnos with their combined fleets, the Roman vessels numbering twenty-five and the king's ships, thirty-five. In order to be in readiness to meet his enemies by land or sea, Philip went down to Demetrias on the coast and issued orders for his army to assemble at Larissa by a given day. When they heard of the king's arrival at Demetrias, deputations from all his allies visited him there. The Aetolians, emboldened by their alliance with Rome and the arrival of Attalus, were ravaging their neighbours' lands. Great alarm was created amongst the Acarnanians, the Boeotians and the inhabitants of Euboea, and the Achaeans had further cause for apprehension, for, in addition to their war with the Aetolians, they were threatened by Machanidas the tyrant of Lacedaemon, who had encamped not far from the Argive frontiers. The deputations informed the king of the state of things, and one and all begged him to render them assistance against the dangers which were threatening by land and sea. The condition of his own kingdom was far from tranquil; reports were brought to him announcing that Scerdilaedus and Pleuratus were again active and that Thracian tribes, especially the Maedi, were prepared to invade Macedonia as soon as the king was involved in a distant war. The Boeotians and the States in the interior of Greece reported that the Aetolians had closed the pass of Thermopylae at its narrowest part with a fosse and rampart to prevent him from carrying succour to the cities of his allies. Even a lethargic leader would have been roused to activity by all these disturbances round him. He dismissed the deputations with a definite promise that he would furnish assistance to them all as time and circumstances allowed. For the moment the most pressing care was the city of Peparethos, as king Attalus, who had sailed thither from Lemnos, was reported to be plundering and destroying all the country round. Philip sent a detachment to protect the place. He also sent Polyphantas with a small force into Boeotia, and Menippus, one of his generals, with 1000 peltasts to Chalcis. This force was supplemented by 500 Agrianians, in order that the whole of the island might be protected. Philip himself proceeded to Scotusa and ordered the Macedonian troops at Larissa to march there. Information was brought to him here that the national council of the Aetolians had been summoned to meet at Heraclea and that Attalus would be present to consult with them as to the conduct of the war. Philip accordingly proceeded thither by forced marches, but did not reach the place till the council was broken up. He destroyed the crops, however, which were almost ripe, especially round the gulf of the Aenianes, and then led his army back to Scotusa. Leaving the bulk of his forces there he returned to Demetrias with his household troops. With the view of meeting any movement on the part of the enemy, he sent men into Phocis, Euboea and Peparethos to select elevated positions on which beacon fires might be lighted, and himself fixed an observation post on Tisaeos, a peak of immense height. In this way he hoped to receive instant notice from the distant fires of any movement on the part of the enemy. The Roman general and Attalus sailed from Peparethos to Nicaea, and from there to the city of Oreus in Euboea. This is the first city in Euboea which you pass on your left hand as you leave the Gulf of Demetrias for Chalcis and the Euripus. It was arranged between Attalus and Sulpicius that the Romans should attack by sea and the king's troops by land. |
First Macedonian War, 207 BC.