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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 31: Further activities of Philip V (cont.)[208 BC]
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While the king was preoccupied with the preparations for the Games, and was allowing himself more recreation than was possible in a time of active warfare, Publius Sulpicius, setting sail from Naupactus, brought up his fleet between Sicyon and Corinth, and spread devastation far and wide over that wonderfully fertile land. This news brought Philip away from the Games. He hurried off with his cavalry, leaving the infantry to follow, and caught the Romans whilst they were dispersed through the fields in all directions, laden with plunder, and utterly unsuspicious of danger. They were driven to their ships, and the Roman fleet returned to Naupactus, far from happy at the result of their raid. Philip returned to see the close of the Games, and their splendour was enhanced by the news of his victory, for whatever its importance it was still a victory over the Romans. What added to the universal enjoyment of the festival was the way in which he gratified the people by laying aside his diadem and purple robe and the rest of his royal state so as to be, as far as appearance went, on a level with the rest. Nothing is more grateful than this to the citizens of a free State. He would indeed have given them every reason to hope that their liberties would remain unimpaired if he had not sullied and disgraced all by his insufferable debauchery. Accompanied by one or two boon companions, he ranged as he pleased through homes and families,day and night, and by stooping to the status of a private citizen he attracted less notice and was therefore under less restraint. The liberty with which he had cheated others he turned in his own case to unbridled licence, and he did not always effect his purpose by money or blandishments but even resorted to criminal violence. It was a dangerous thing for husbands and fathers to place obstacles in the way of the king's lusts by any untimely scruples on their part. A lady called Polycratia, the wife of Aratus, one of the leading men amongst the Achaeans, was taken away from her husband and carried off to Macedonia under a promise from the king to marry her. In the midst of these debaucheries the sacred festival of the Nemean Games came to a close. A few days afterwards Philip marched to Dymae to expel the Aetolian garrison which the Eleans had invited and admitted into their city. Here the king was met by the Achaeans under Cycliadas their captain-general, who were burning with resentment against the Eleans for having deserted the Achaean League, and furious against the Aetolians for having, as they believed, brought the arms of Rome against them. The combined force left Dymae and crossed the Larisus, which separates the territory of Elea from that of Dymae. |
First Macedonian War. 208 BC.