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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 30: Further activities of Philip V[208 BC]
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This being the position of affairs, Philip moved southward into Greece. The Aetoliansunder the command of Pyrrhias, who had been elected Attalus' colleague, met Philip at the city of Lamia. They were supported by a contingent furnished by Attalus, and also by about 1000 men whom Publius Sulpicius had sent from his fleet.Philip won two battles against Pyrrhias, and in each battle the enemy lost not less than 1000 men. From that time the Aetolians were afraid to meet him in the field and remained inside the walls of Lamia. Philip accordingly marched his army to Phalara. This place lies on the Maliac Gulf, and was formerly the seat of a considerable population, owing to its splendid harbour, the safe anchorages in the neighbourhood, and other maritime and commercial advantages. Whilst he was here he was visited by embassies from Ptolemy king of Egypt, and from Rhodes and Athens and Chios, with the view of bringing about a reconciliation between him and the Aetolians. Amynandor,king of the Athamanians, a neighbour of the Aetolians. was also acting on their behalf as peacemaker. But the general concern was not so much for the Aetolians, who were more warlike than the rest of the Greeks, as for the liberty of Greece, which would be seriously endangered if Philip and his kingdom took an active part in Greek politics. The question of peace was held over for discussion in the meeting of the Achaean League. The place and time for this meeting were settled, and in the meantime a thirty days' armistice was arranged. From Phalara the king proceeded through Thessaly and Boeotia to Chalcis in Euboea, in order to prevent Attalus, who he understood was sailing thither, from landing on the island. Leaving a force there in case Attalus should sail across in the meantime, he went on with a small body of cavalry and light infantry to Argos. Here the presidency of the Heraean and Nemean Games was conferred upon him by the popular vote, on the ground that the kings of Macedon trace their origin to Argos. As soon as the Heraean Games were over he went off to Aegium to the meeting of the League which had been fixed some time previously. The discussion turned upon the question of putting a stop to the war with the Aetolians, so that neither the Romans nor Attalus might have any reason for entering Greece. But everything was upset by the Aetolians almost before the armistice had expired, after they learnt that Attalus had reached Aegina and that a Romanfleet was anchored off Naupactus. They had been invited to attend the meeting of the League, and the deputations who had been trying to secure peace at Phalara were also present. They began by complaining of certain trivial infringements of the armistice, and ended by declaring that hostilities could never cease until the Achaeans restored Pylos to the Messenians, and Atintania was given back to Rome, and the Ardiaei to Scerdilaedus and Pleuratus. Philip was naturally indignant at those whom he had defeated proposing terms of peace to him, their conqueror. He reminded the assembly that when the question of peace was referred to him and an armistice was granted, it was not with any expectation that the Aetolians would remain quiet, but solely in order that all the allies might bear him witness that whilst he was seeking a basis for peace, the other side were determined to find a pretext for war. Since there was no chance of peace being established, he dismissed the council and returned to Argos, as the time for the Nemean Games was approaching and he wished to add to their popularity by his presence. He left a force of 4000 to protect the Achaeans, and at the same time took over from them five ships of war. He intended to add these to the fleet recently sent from Carthage; with these vessels and the ships which Prusias was despatching from Bithynia he had made up his mind to offer battle to the Romans who were masters of the sea in that part of the world. |
First Macedonian War. 208 BC.