Republic of Macedonia

Titus Quinticus Flamininus by Plutarch

What Titus Quintius [Flamininus], whom we select as a parallel to
Philopoemen, was in personal appearance, those who are curious may
see by the brazen statue of him, which stands in Rome near that of
the great Apollo, brought from Carthage, opposite to the Circus Maximus,
with a Greek inscription upon it. The temper of his mind is said to
have been of the warmest both in anger and in kindness, not indeed
equally so in both respects; as in punishing he was ever moderate,
never inflexible; but whatever courtesy or good turn he set about,
he went through with it, and was as perpetually kind and obliging
to those on whom he had poured his favours, as if they, not he, had
been the benefactors; exerting himself for the security and preservation
of what he seemed to consider his noblest possessions, those to whom
he had done good. But being ever thirsty after honour, and passionate
for glory, if anything of a greater and more extraordinary nature
were to be done, he was eager to be the doer of it himself; and took
more pleasure in those that needed, than in those that were capable
of conferring favours; looking on the former as objects for his virtue,
and on the latter as competitors in glory.
The manuscripts generally write the name incorrectly- Flaminius. Titus
was the name by which he was commonly known to the Greeks .
Rome had then many sharp contests going on, and her youth betaking
themselves early to the wars, learned betimes the art of commanding;
and Flamininus, having passed through the rudiments of soldiery, received
his first charge in the war against Hannibal, as tribune under Marcellus,
then consul. Marcellus, indeed, falling into an ambuscade, was cut
off. But Titus, receiving the appointment of governor, as well of
Tarentum, then retaken, as of the country about it, grew no less famous
for his administration of justice, than for his military skill. This
obtained him the office of leader and founder of two colonies which
were sent into the cities of Narnia and Cossa; which filled him with
loftier hopes, and made him aspire to step over those previous honours
which it was usual first to pass through, the offices of tribune of
the people, praetor and aedile, and to level his aim immediately at
the consulship. Having these colonies, and all their interest ready
at his service, he offered himself as candidate; but the tribunes
of the people, Fulvius and [Manius] and their party, strongly opposed
him; alleging how unbecoming a thing it was that a man of such raw
years, one who was yet, as it were, untrained, uninitiated in the
first sacred rites and mysteries of government, should, in contempt
of the laws, intrude and force himself into the sovereignty.
(Manius Curius is meant) .
However, the senate remitted it to the people's choice and suffrage;
who elected him (though not then arrived at his thirtieth year) consul
with Sextus Aelius. The war against Philip and the Macedonians fell
to Titus by lot, and some kind fortune, propitious at that time to
the Romans, seems to have so determined it; as neither the people
nor the state of things which were now to be dealt with were such
as to require a general who would always be upon the point of force
and mere blows, but rather were accessible to persuasion and gentle
usage. It is true that the kingdom of Macedon furnished supplies enough
to Philip for actual battle with the Romans; but to maintain a long
and lingering war he must call in aid from Greece; must thence procure
his supplies; there find his means of retreat; Greece, in a word,
would be his resource for all the requisites of his army. Unless,
therefore, the Greeks could be withdrawn from siding with Philip,
this war with him must not expect its decision from a single battle.
Now Greece (which had not hitherto held much correspondence with the
Romans, but first began an intercourse on this occasion) would not
so soon have embraced a foreign authority, instead of the commanders
she had been inured to, had not the general of these strangers been
of a kind, gentle nature, one who worked rather by fair means than
force; of a persuasive address in all applications to others, and
no less courteous and open to all addresses of others to him; and above all bent and determined on justice. But the story of his actions
will best illustrate these particulars.
Titus observed that both Sulpicius and Publius, who had been his predecessors
in that command, had not taken the field against the Macedonians till
late in the year; and then, too, had not set their hands properly
to the war, but had kept skirmishing and scouting here and there for
passes and provisions, and never came to close fighting with Philip.
He resolved not to trifle away a year, as they had done, at home in
ostentation of the honour, and in domestic administration, and only
then to join the army, with the pitiful hope of protracting the term
of office through a second year, acting as consul in the first, and
as general in the latter. He was, moreover, infinitely desirous to
employ his authority with effect upon the war, which made him slight
those home honours and prerogatives. Requesting, therefore, of the
senate, that his brother Lucius might act with him as admiral of the
navy, and taking with him to be the edge, as it were, of the expedition
three thousand still young and vigorous soldiers, of those who, under
Scipio, had defeated Asdrubal in Spain, and Hannibal in Africa, he
got safe into Epirus; and found Publius encamped with his army, over
against Philip, who had long made good the pass over the river Apsus,
and the straits there; Publius not having been able, for the natural
strength of the place, to effect anything against him. Titus therefore
took upon himself the conduct of the army, and, having dismissed Publius,
examined the ground. The place is in strength not inferior to Tempe,
though it lacks the trees and green woods, and the pleasant meadows
and walks that adorn Tempe. The Apsus, making its way between vast
and lofty mountains which all but meet above a single deep ravine
in the midst, is not unlike the river Peneus in the rapidity of its
current and in its general appearance. It covers the foot of those
hills, and leaves only a craggy, narrow path cut out beside the stream,
not easily passable at any time for an army, but not at all when guarded
by an enemy.
There were some, therefore, who would have had Titus make a circuit
through Dassaretis, and take an easy and safe road by the district
of Lyncus. But he, fearing that if he should engage himself too far
from the sea in barren and untilled countries, and Philip should decline
fighting, he might, through want of provisions, be constrained to
march back again to the seaside without effecting anything, as his
predecessor had done before him, embraced the resolution of forcing
his way over the mountains. But Philip, having possessed himself of
them with his army, showered down his darts and arrows from all parts
upon the Romans. Sharp encounters took place, and many fell wounded
and slain on both sides, and there seemed but little likelihood of
thus ending the war; when some of the men, who fed their cattle thereabouts,
came to Titus with a discovery, that there was a roundabout way which
the enemy neglected to guard: through which they undertook to conduct
his army, and to bring it, within three days at furthest, to the top
of the hills. To gain the surer credit with him, they said that Charops,
son of Machatas, a leading man in Epirus, who was friendly to the
Romans, and aided them (though, for fear of Philip, secretly), was
privy to the design. Titus gave their information belief, and sent
a captain with four thousand foot and three hundred horse; these herdsmen
being their guides, but kept in bonds. In the daytime they lay still
under the covert of the hollow and woody places, but in the night
they marched by moonlight, the moon being then at the full. Titus,
having detached this party, lay quiet with his main body, merely keeping
up the attention of the enemy by some slight skirmishing. But when
the day arrived that those who stole round were expected upon the
top of the hill, he drew up his forces early in the morning, as well
the light-armed as the heavy, and, dividing them into three parts,
himself led the van, marching his men up the narrow passage along
the bank, darted at by the Macedonians and engaging, in this difficult
ground, hand to hand with his assailants; whilst the other two divisions
on either side of him threw themselves with great alacrity among the rocks. Whilst they were struggling forward, the sun rose, and a thin
smoke, like a mist, hanging on the hills, was seen rising at a distance,
unperceived by the enemy, being behind them, as they stood on the
heights; and the Romans, also, as yet under suspense, in the toil
and difficulty they were in, could only doubtfully construe the sight
according to their desires. But as it grew thicker and thicker, blackening
the air, and mounting to a greater height, they no longer doubted
but it was the fire-signal of their companions; and, raising a triumphant
shout, forcing their way onwards, they drove the enemy back into the
roughest ground; while the other party echoed back their acclamations
from the top of the mountain.
The Macedonians fled with all the speed they could make; there fell,
indeed, not more than two thousand of them; for the difficulties of
the place rescued them from pursuit. But the Romans pillaged their
camp, seized upon their money and slaves, and, becoming absolute masters
of the pass, traversed all Epirus; but with such order and discipline,
with such temperance and moderation, that, though they were far from
the sea, at a great distance from their vessels, and stinted of their
monthly allowance of corn, and though they had much difficulty in
buying, they nevertheless abstained altogether from plundering the
country, which had provisions enough of all sorts in it. For intelligence
being received that Philip, making a flight, rather than a march,
through Thessaly, forced the inhabitants from the towns to take shelter
in the mountains, burnt down the towns themselves, and gave up as
spoil to his soldiers all the property which it had been found impossible
to remove, abandoning, as it would seem, the whole country to the
Romans, Titus was, therefore, very desirous, and entreated his soldiers
that they would pass through it as if it were their own, or as if
a place trusted into their hands; and, indeed, they quickly perceived,
by the event, what benefit they derived from this moderate and orderly
conduct. For they no sooner set foot in Thessaly, but the cities opened
their gates, and the Greeks, within Thermopylae, were all eagerness
and excitement to ally themselves with them. The Achaeans abandoned
their alliance with Philip, and voted to join with the Romans in actual
arms against him; and the Opuntians, though the Aetolians, who were
zealous allies of the Romans, were willing and desirous to undertake
the protection of the city, would not listen to proposals from them;
but sending for Titus, intrusted and committed themselves to his charge.
It is told of Pyrrhus, that when first, from an adjacent hill or watchtower
which gave him a prospect of the Roman army, he descried them drawn
up in order, he observed, that he saw nothing barbarian-like in this
barbarian line of battle, And all who came near Titus could not choose
but say as much of him, at their first view. For they who had been
told by the Macedonians of an invader, at the head of a barbarian
army, carrying everywhere slavery and destruction on his sword's point;
when, in lieu of such an one, they met a man, in the flower of his
age, of a gentle and humane aspect, a Greek in his voice and language,
and a lover of honour, were wonderfully pleased and attracted; and
when they left him, they filled the cities, wherever they went, with
favourable feelings for him, and with the belief that in him they
might find the protector and assertor of their liberties. And when
afterwards, on Philip's professing a desire for peace, Titus made
a tender to him of peace and friendship, upon the condition that the
Greeks he left to their own laws, and that he should withdraw his
garrisons, which he refused to comply with, now after these proposals
the universal belief even of the favourers and partisans of Philip
was, that the Romans came not to fight against the Greeks, but for
the Greeks against the Macedonians.
Accordingly, all the rest of Greece came to peaceable terms with him.
But as he marched into Boeotia, without committing the least act of
hostility, the nobility and chief men of Thebes came out of their
city to meet him, devoted under the influence of Brachylles to the
Macedonian alliance, but desirous at the same time to show honour
and deference to Titus; as they were, they conceived, in amity with both parties. Titus received them in the most obliging and courteous
manner, but kept going gently on, questioning and inquiring of them,
and sometimes entertaining them with narratives of his own, till his
soldiers might a little recover from the weariness of their journey.
Thus passing on, he and the Thebans came together into their city,
not much to their satisfaction; but yet they could not well deny him
entrance, as a good number of his men attended him in. Titus, however,
now he was within, as if he had not had the city at his mercy, came
forward and addressed them, urging them to join the Roman interest.
King Attalus followed to the same effect. And he, indeed, trying to
play the advocate, beyond what it seems his age could bear, was seized,
in the midst of his speech, with a sudden flux or dizziness, and swooned
away; and, not long after, was conveyed by ship into Asia, and died
there. The Boeotians joined the Roman alliance.
But now, when Philip sent an embassy to Rome, Titus despatched away
agents on his part, too, to solicit the senate, if they should continue
the war, to continue him in his command, or if they determined an
end to that, that he might have the honour of concluding the peace.
Having a great passion for distinction, his fear was, that if another
general were commissioned to carry on the war, the honour even of
what was passed would be lost to him; and his friends transacted matters
so well on his behalf, that Philip was unsuccessful in his proposals,
and the management of the war was confirmed in his hands. He no sooner
received the senate's determination, but, big with hopes, he marched
directly into Thessaly, to engage Philip; his army consisting of twenty-six
thousand men, out of which the Aetolians furnished six thousand foot
and four hundred horse. The forces of Philip were much about the same
number. In this eagerness to encounter, they advanced against each
other, till both were near Scotussa, where they resolved to hazard
a battle. Nor had the approach of these two formidable armies the
effect that might have been supposed, to strike into the generals
a mutual terror of each other; it rather inspired them with ardour
and ambition; on the Romans' part, to be the conquerors of Macedon,
a name which Alexander had made famous amongst them for strength and
valour; whilst the Macedonians, on the other hand, esteeming of the
Romans as an enemy very different from the Persians, hoped, if victory
stood on their side, to make the name of Philip more glorious than
that of Alexander. Titus, therefore, called upon his soldiers to play
the part of valiant men, because they were now to act their parts
upon the most illustrious theatre of the world, Greece, and to contend
with the bravest antagonists. And Philip, on the other side, commenced
a harangue to his men, as usual before an engagement, and to be the
better heard (whether it were merely a mischance, or the result of
unseasonable haste, not observing what he did), mounted an eminence
outside their camp, which proved to be a burying-place; and much disturbed
by the despondency that seized his army at the unluckiness of the
omen, all that day kept in his camp, and declined fighting.
But on the morrow, as day came on, after a soft and rainy night, the
clouds changing into a mist filled all the plain with thick darkness;
and a dense foggy air descending, by the time it was full day, from
the adjacent mountains into the ground betwixt the two camps, concealed
them from each other's view. The parties sent out on either side,
some for ambuscade, some for discovery, falling in upon one another
quickly after they were thus detached, began the fight at what are
called the Cynos Cephalae, a number of sharp tops of hills that stand
close to one another, and have the name from some resemblance in their
shape. Now many vicissitudes and changes happening, as may well be
expected, in such an uneven field of battle, sometimes hot pursuit,
and sometimes as rapid a flight, the generals on both sides kept sending
in succours from the main bodies, as they saw their men pressed or
giving ground, till at length the heavens clearing up, let them see
what was going on, upon which the whole armies engaged. Philip, who
was in the right wing, from the advantage of the higher ground which
he had, threw on the Romans the whole weight of his phalanx, with a force which they were unable to sustain; the dense array of spears,
and the pressure of the compact mass overpowering them. But the king's
left wing being broken up by the hilliness of the place, Titus observing
it, and cherishing little or no hopes on that side where his own gave
ground, makes in all haste to the other, and there charges in upon
the Macedonians; who, in consequence of the inequality and roughness
of the ground, could not keep their phalanx entire, nor line their
ranks to any great depth (which is the great point of their strength),
but were forced to fight man for man under heavy and unwieldy armour.
For the Macedonian phalanx is like some single powerful animal, irresistible
so long as it is embodied into one, and keeps its order, shield touching
shield, all as in a piece; but if it be once broken, not only is the
joint force lost, but the individual soldiers also who composed it
lose each one his own single strength, because of the nature of their
armour; and because each of them is strong, rather, as he makes a
part of the whole, than in himself. When these were routed, some gave
chase to the flyers, others charged the flanks of those Macedonians
who were still fighting, so that the conquering wing, also, was quickly
disordered, took to flight, and threw down its arms. There were then
slain no less than eight thousand, and about five thousand were taken
prisoners; and the Aetolians were blamed as having been the main occasion
that Philip himself got safe off. For whilst the Romans were in pursuit,
they fell to ravaging and plundering the camp, and did it so completely,
that when the others returned, they found no booty in it.
This bred at first hard words, quarrels, and misunderstandings betwixt
them. But, afterwards, they galled Titus more by ascribing the victory
to themselves, and prepossessing the Greeks with reports to that effect;
insomuch that poets, and people in general in the songs that were
sung or written in honour of the action, still ranked the Aetolians
foremost. One of the pieces most current was the following epigram:-
"Naked and tombless see, O passer-by,
The thirty thousand men of Thessaly,
Slain by the Aetolians and the Latin band,
That came with Titus from Italia's land;
Alas for mighty Macedon! that day,
Swift as a roe, King Philip fled away." This was composed by Alcaeus
in mockery of Philip, exaggerating the number of the slain. However,
being everywhere repeated, and by almost everybody, Titus was more
nettled at it than Philip. The latter merely retorted upon Alcaeus
with some elegiac verses of his own:-
"Naked and leafless see, O passer-by,
The cross that shall Alcaeus crucify." But such little matters extremely
fretted Titus, who was ambitious of a reputation among the Greeks;
and he therefore acted in all after-occurrences by himself, paying
but very slight regard to the Aetolians. This offended them in their
turn; and when Titus listened to terms of accommodation, and admitted
an embassy upon the proffers of the Macedonian king, the Aetolians
made it their business to publish through all the cities of Greece,
that this was the conclusion of all; that he was selling Philip a
peace at a time when it was in his hand to destroy the very roots
of the war, and to overthrow the power which had first inflicted servitude
upon Greece. But whilst with these and the like rumours the Aetolians
laboured to shake the Roman confederates, Philip, making overtures
of submission of himself and his kingdom to the discretion of Titus
and the Romans, put an end to those jealousies, as Titus, by accepting
them, did to the war. For he reinstated Philip in his kingdom of Macedon,
but made it a condition that he should quit Greece, and that he should
pay one thousand talents; he took from him also all his shipping,
save ten vessels and sent away Demetrius, one of his sons, hostage
to Rome; improving his opportunity to the best advantage, and taking
wise precautions for the future. For Hannibal the African, a professed
enemy to the Roman name, an exile from his own country, and not long
since arrived at King Antiochus's court, was already stimulating that
prince, not to be wanting to the good fortune that had been hitherto so propitious to his affairs; the magnitude of his successes having
gained him the surname of the Great. He had begun to level his aim
at universal monarchy, but above all he was eager to measure himself
with the Romans. Had not, therefore, Titus, upon a principle of prudence
and foresight, lent an ear to peace, and had Antiochus found the Romans
still at war in Greece with Philip, and had these two, the most powerful
and warlike princes of that age, confederated for their common interests
against the Roman state, Rome might once more have run no less a risk,
and been reduced to no less extremities, than she had experienced
under Hannibal. But now, Titus opportunely introducing this peace
between the wars, despatching the present danger before the new one
had arrived, at once disappointed Antiochus of his first hopes and
Philip of his last.
When the ten commissioners, delegated to Titus from the senate, advised
him to restore the rest of Greece to their liberty, but that Corinth,
Chalcis, and Demetrias should be kept garrisoned for security against
Antiochus; the Aetolians on this, breaking out into loud accusations,
agitated all the cities, calling upon Titus to strike off the shackles
of Greece (so Philip used to term those three cities), and asking
the Greeks whether it were not matter of much consolation to them
that, though their chains weighed heavier, yet they were now smoother
and better polished than formerly, and whether Titus were not deservedly
admired by them as their benefactor, who had unshackled the feet of
Greece, and tied her up by the neck; Titus, vexed and angry at this,
made it his request to the senate, and at last prevailed in it, that
the garrisons in these cities should be dismissed, that so the Greeks
might be no longer debtors to him for a partial, but for an entire
favour. It was now the time of the celebration of the Isthmian games;
and the seats around the racecourse were crowded with an unusual multitude
of spectators; Greece, after long wars, having regained not only peace,
but hopes of liberty, and being able once more to keep holiday in
safety. A trumpet sounded to command silence; and the crier, stepping
forth amidst the spectators, made proclamation, that the Roman senate
and Titus Quintius, the proconsular general, having vanquished King
Philip and the Macedonians, restored the Corinthians, Locrians, Phocians,
Euboeans, Achaeans of Phthiotis, Magnetians, Thessalians, and Perrhaebians
to their own lands, laws, and liberties; remitting all impositions
upon them, and withdrawing all garrisons from their cities. At first,
many heard not at all, and others not distinctly, what was said; but
there was a confused and uncertain stir among the assembled people,
some wondering, some asking, some calling out to have it proclaimed
again. When, therefore, fresh silence was made, the crier raising
his voice, succeeded in making himself generally heard; and recited
the decree again. A shout of joy followed it, so loud that it was
heard as far as the sea. The whole assembly rose and stood up; there
was no further thought of the entertainment; all were only eager to
leap up and salute and address their thanks to the deliverer and champion
of Greece. What we often hear alleged, in proof of the force of human
voices, was actually verified upon this occasion. Crows that were
accidentally flying over the course fell down dead into it. The disruption
of the air must be the cause of it; for the voices being numerous,
and the acclamation violent, the air breaks with it and can no longer
give support to the birds, but lets them tumble, like one that should
attempt to walk upon a vacuum; unless we should rather imagine them
to fall and die, shot with the noise as a dart. It is possible, too,
that there may be a circular agitation of the air, which, like marine
whirlpools, may have a violent direction of this sort given to it
from the excess of its fluctuation.
But for Titus; the sports being now quite at an end, so beset was
he on every side, and by such multitudes, that had he not, foreseeing
the probable throng and concourse of the people, timely withdrawn,
he would scarce, it is thought, have ever got clear of them. When
they had tired themselves with acclamations all about his pavilion,
and night was now come, wherever friends or fellow-citizens met, they joyfully saluted and embraced each other, and went home to feast and
carouse together. And there, no doubt, redoubling their joy, they
began to recollect and talk of the state of Greece, what wars she
had incurred in defence of her liberty, and yet was never perhaps
mistress of a more settled or grateful one than this which other men's
labours had won for her; almost without one drop of blood, or one
citizen's loss to be mourned for, she had this day had put into her
hands the most glorious of rewards, and best worth the contending
for. Courage and wisdom are, indeed, rarities amongst men, but of
all that is good, a just man it would seem is the most scarce. Such
as Agesilaus, Lysander, Nicias, and Alcibiades, knew how to play the
general's part, how to manage a war, how to bring off their men victorious
by land and sea; but how to employ that success to generous and honest
purposes they had not known. For should a man except the achievement
at Marathon, the sea-fight at Salamis, the engagements at Plataea
and Thermopylae, Cimon's exploits at Eurymedon, and on the coasts
of Cyprus, Greece fought all her battles against, and to enslave,
herself; she erected all her trophies to her own shame and misery,
and was brought to ruin and desolation almost wholly by the guilt
and ambition of her great men. A foreign people, appearing just to
retain some embers, as it were, some faint remainders of a common
character derived to them from their ancient sires, a nation from
whom it was a mere wonder that Greece should reap any benefit by word
or thought, these are they who have retrieved Greece from her severest
dangers and distresses, have rescued her out of the hands of insulting
lords and tyrants, and reinstated her in her former liberties.
Thus they entertained their tongues and thoughts: whilst Titus by
his actions made good what had been proclaimed. For he immediately
despatched away Lentulus to Asia, to set the Bargylians free, Titillius
to Thrace, to see the garrisons of Philip removed out of the towns
and islands there, while Publius Villius set sail, in order to treat
with Antiochus about the freedom of the Greeks under him. Titus himself
passed on to Chalcis, and sailing thence to Magnesia, dismantled the
garrisons there, and surrendered the government into the people's
hands. Shortly after, he was appointed at Argos to preside in the
Nemean games, and did his part in the management of that solemnity
singularly well; and made a second publication there by the crier
of liberty to the Greeks; and, visiting all the cities, he exhorted
them to the practice of obedience to law, of constant justice, and
unity, and friendship one towards another. He suppressed their factions,
brought home their political exiles; and, in short, his conquest over
the Macedonians did not seem to give him a more lively pleasure, than
to find himself prevalent in reconciling Greeks with Greeks; so that
their liberty seemed now the least part of the kindness he conferred
upon them.
The story goes, that when Lycurgus the orator had rescued Xenocrates
the philosopher from the collectors who were hurrying him away to
prison for non-payment of the alien tax, and had them punished for
the licence they had been guilty of, Xenocrates afterwards meeting
the children of Lycurgus, "My sons," said he, "I am nobly repaying
your father for his kindness; he has the praises of the whole people
in return for it." But the returns which attended Titus Quintius and
the Romans, for their beneficence to the Greeks, terminated not in
empty praises only; for these proceedings gained them, deservedly,
credit and confidence, and thereby power, among all nations, for many
not only admitted the Roman commanders, but even sent and entreated
to be under their protection; neither was this done by popular governments
alone, or by single cities; but kings oppressed by kings cast themselves
into these protecting hands. Insomuch that in a very short time (though
perchance not without divine influence in it) all the world did homage
to them. Titus himself thought more highly of his liberation of Greece
than of any other of his actions, as appears by the inscription with
which he dedicated some silver targets, together with his own shield,
to Apollo at Delphi:-

"Ye Spartan Tyndarids, twin sons of Jove,
Who in swift horsemanship have placed your love,
Titus, of great Aeneas's race, leaves this
In honour of the liberty of Greece." He offered also to Apollo a golden
crown, with this inscription:-
"This golden crown upon thy locks divine,
O blest Latonia's son, was set to shine
By the great captain of the Aenean name.
O Phoebus, grant the noble Titus fame!
The same event has twice occurred to the Greeks in the city of Corinth.
Titus, then, and Nero again in our days, both at Corinth, and both
alike at the celebration of the Isthmian games, permitted the Greeks
to enjoy their own laws and liberty. The former (as has been said)
proclaimed it by the crier; but Nero did it in the public meeting-place
from the tribunal, in a speech which he himself made to the people.
This, however, was long after.
Titus now engaged in a most gallant and just war upon Nabis, that
most profligate and lawless tyrant of the Lacedaemonians, but in the
end disappointed the expectations of the Greeks. For when he had an
opportunity of taking him, he purposely let it slip, and struck up
a peace with him, leaving Sparta to bewail an unworthy slavery; whether
it were that he feared, if the war should be protracted, Rome would
send a new general who might rob him of the glory of it; or that emulation
and envy of Philopoemen (who had signalized himself among the Greeks
upon all other occasions, but in that war especially had done wonders
both for matter of courage and counsel, and whom the Achaeans magnified
in their theatres, and put into the same balance of glory with Titus),
touched him to the quick; and that he scorned that an ordinary Arcadian,
who had commanded in a few encounters upon the confines of his native
district, should be spoken of in terms of equality with a Roman consul,
waging war as the protector of Greece in general. But, besides, Titus
was not without an apology too for what he did, namely, that he put
an end to the war only when he foresaw that the tyrant's destruction
must have been attended with the ruin of the other Spartans.
The Achaeans, by various decrees, did much to show Titus honour: none
of these returns, however, seemed to come up to the height of the
actions that merited them, unless it were one present they made him,
which affected and pleased him beyond all the rest; which was this.
The Romans, who in the war with Hannibal had the misfortune to be
taken captives, were sold about here and there, and dispersed into
slavery; twelve hundred in number were at that time in Greece. The
reverse of their fortune always rendered them objects of compassion;
but more particularly, as well might be, when they now met, some with
their sons, some with their brothers, others with their acquaintance;
slaves with their free, and captives with their victorious countrymen.
Titus, though deeply concerned on their behalf, yet took none of them
from their masters by constraint. But the Achaeans, redeeming them
at five pounds a man, brought them altogether into one place, and
made a present of them to him, as he was just going on shipboard,
so that he now sailed away with the fullest satisfaction; his generous
actions having procured him as generous returns, worthy a brave man
and a lover of his country. This seemed the most glorious part of
all his succeeding triumph; for these redeemed Romans (as it is the
custom for slaves, upon their manumission, to shave their heads and
wear felt hats) followed in that habit in the procession. To add to
the glory of this show, there were the Grecian helmets, the Macedonian
targets and long spears, borne with the rest of the spoils in public
view, besides vast sums of money; Tuditanus says, 3,713 pounds weight
of massy gold, 43,270 of silver, 14,514 pieces of coined gold, called
Philippics, which was all over and above the thousand talents which
Philip owed, and which the Romans were afterwards prevailed upon,
chiefly by the mediation of Titus, to remit to Philip, declaring him
their ally and confederate, and sending him home his hostage son.
Shortly after, Antiochus entered Greece with a numerous fleet and a powerful army, soliciting the cities there to sedition and revolt;
abetted in all and seconded by the Aetolians, who for this long time
had borne a grudge and secret enmity to the Romans, and now suggested
to him, by the way of a cause and pretext of war, that he came to
bring the Greeks liberty. When, indeed, they never wanted it less,
as they were free already, but, in lack of really honourable grounds,
he was instructed to employ these lofty professions. The Romans, in
the interim, in the great apprehension of revolutions and revolt in
Greece, and of his great reputation for military strength, despatched
the consul Manius Acilius to take the charge of the war, and Titus,
as his lieutenant, out of regard to the Greeks: some of whom he no
sooner saw, but he confirmed them in the Roman interests; others,
who began to falter, like a timely physician, by the use of the strong
remedy of their own affection for himself, he was able to arrest in
the first stage of the disease, before they had committed themselves
to any great error. Some few there were whom the Aetolians were beforehand
with, and had so wholly perverted that he could do no good with them;
yet these, however angry and exasperated before, he saved and protected
when the engagement was over. For Antiochus, receiving a defeat at
Thermopylae, not only fled the field, but hoisted sail instantly for
Asia. Manius, the consul, himself invaded and besieged a part of the
Aetolians, while King Philip had permission to reduce the rest. Thus
while, for instance, the Dolopes and Magnesians on the one hand, the
Athamanes and Aperantians on the other, were ransacked by the Macedonians,
and while Manius laid Heraclea waste, and besieged Naupactus, then
in the Aetolians' hands, Titus, still with a compassionate care for
Greece, sailed across from Peloponnesus to the consul: and began first
of all to chide him, that the victory should be owing alone to his
arms, and yet he should suffer Philip to bear away the prize and profit
of the war, and set wreaking his anger upon a single town, whilst
the Macedonians overran several nations and kingdoms. But as he happened
to stand then in view of the besieged, they no sooner spied him out,
but they call to him from their wall, they stretch forth their hands,
they supplicate and entreat him. At the time, he said not a word more,
but turning about with tears in his eyes, went his way. Some little
while after he discussed the matter so effectually with Manius, that
he won him over from his passion, and prevailed with him to give a
truce and time to the Aetolians to send deputies to Rome to petition
the senate for terms of moderation.
But the hardest task, and that which put Titus to the greatest difficulty,
was to entreat with Manius for the Chalcidians, who had incensed him
on account of a marriage which Antiochus had made in their city, even
whilst the war was on foot; a match noways suitable in point of age,
he an elderly man being enamoured with a mere girl; and as little
proper for the time, in the midst of a war. She was the daughter of
one Cleoptolemus, and is said to have been wonderfully beautiful.
The Chalcidians, in consequence, embraced the king's interests with
zeal and alacrity, and let him make their city the basis of his operations
during the war. Thither, therefore, he made with all speed, when he
was routed and fled; and reaching Chalcis, without making any stay,
taking this young lady, and his money and friends with him, away he
sails to Asia. And now Manius's indignation carrying him in all haste
against the Chalcidians, Titus hurried after him, endeavouring to
pacify and to entreat him; and at length succeeded both with him and
the chief men among the Romans.
The Chalcidians, thus owing their lives to Titus, dedicated to him
all the best and most magnificent of their sacred buildings, inscriptions
upon which may be seen to run thus to this day: THE People DEDICATE
THE DELPHINIUM TO TITUS AND TO HERCULES; and what is yet more, even
in our time, a priest of Titus was formerly elected and declared;
and after sacrifice and libation, they sing a set song, much of which
for the length of it we omit, but shall transcribe the closing verses-
"The Roman Faith, whose aid of yore                                                                                                    Our vows were offered to implore,
We worship now and evermore.
To Rome, to Titus, and to Jove,
O maidens, in the dances move.
Dances and Io-Paeans too
Unto the Roman Faith are due,
O Saviour Titus, and to you."

Other parts of Greece also heaped honours
upon him suitable to his merits, and what made all those honours true
and real, was the surprising goodwill and affection which his moderation
and equity of character had won for him. For if he were at any time
at variance with anybody in matters of business, or out of emulation
and rivalry (as with Philopoemen, and again with Diophanes, when in
office as general of the Achaeans), his resentment never went far,
nor did it ever break out into acts; but when it had vented itself
in some citizen-like freedom of speech, there was an end of it. In
fine, nobody charged malice or bitterness upon his nature, though
many imputed hastiness and levity to it; in general, he was the most
attractive and agreeable of companions, and could speak, too, both
with grace and forcibly. For instance, to divert the Achaeans from
the conquest of the isle of Zacynthus, "If," said he, "they put their
head too far out of Peloponnesus, they may hazard themselves as much
as a tortoise out of its shell." Again, when he and Philip first met
to treat of a cessation and peace, the latter complaining that Titus
came with a mighty train, while he himself came alone and unattended,
"Yes," replied Titus, "you have left yourself alone by killing your
friends." At another time, Dinocrates, the Messenian, having drunk
too much at a merry-meeting in Rome, danced there in woman's clothes,
and the next day addressed himself to Titus for assistance in his
design to get Messene out of the hands of the Achaeans. "This," replied
Titus, "will be matter for consideration; my only surprise is that
a man with such purposes on his hands should be able to dance and
sing at drinking parties." When, again, the ambassadors of Antiochus
were recounting to those of Achaea the various multitudes composing
their royal master's forces, and ran over a long catalogue of hard
names, "I supped once," said Titus, "with a friend, and could not
forbear expostulating with him at the number of dishes he had provided,
and said I wondered where he had furnished himself with such a variety;
'Sir,' replied he, 'to confess the truth, it is all hog's flesh differently
cooked.' And so, men of Achaea, when you are told of Antiochus's lancers,
and pikemen, and foot-guards, I advise you not to be surprised; since
in fact they are all Syrians, differently armed."
After his achievements in Greece, and when the war with Antiochus
was at an end, Titus was created censor; the most eminent office,
and, in a manner, the highest preferment, in the commonwealth. The
son of Marcellus, who had been five times consul, was his colleague.
These, by virtue of their office, cashiered four senators of no great
distinction, and admitted to the roll of citizens all freeborn residents.
But this was more by constraint than their own choice; for Terentius
Culeo, then tribune of the people, to spite the nobility, spurred
on the populace to order it to be done. At this time, the two greatest
and most eminent persons in the city, Africanus Scipio and Marcus
Cato, were at variance. Titus named Scipio first member of the senate;
and involved himself in a quarrel with Cato, on the following unhappy
occasion. Titus had a brother, Lucius Flamininus, very unlike him
in all points of character, and, in particular, low and dissolute
in his pleasures, and flagrantly regardless of all decency. He kept
as a companion a boy whom he used to carry about with him, not only
when he had troops under his charge, but even when the care of a province
was committed to him. One day at a drinking-bout, when the youngster
was wantoning with Lucius, "I love you, sir, so dearly," said he,
"that preferring your satisfaction to my own, I came away without
seeing the gladiators, though I have never seen a man killed in my
life." Lucius, delighted with what the boy said, answered, "Let not
that trouble you; I can satisfy that longing," and with that orders

a condemned man to be fetched out of the prison, and the executioner
to be sent for, and commands him to strike off the man's head, before
they rose from table. Valerius Antias only so far varies the story
as to make it a woman for whom he did it. But Livy says that in Cato's
own speech the statement is that a Gaulish deserter coming with his
wife and children to the door, Lucius took him into the banqueting-room,
and killed him with his own hand, to gratify his paramour. Cato, it
is probable, might say this by way of aggravation of the crime; but
that the slain was no such fugitive, but a prisoner, and one condemned
to die, not to mention other authorities, Cicero tells us in his treatise
on Old Age, where he brings in Cato, himself, giving that account
of the matter.
However, this is certain; Cato, during his censorship, made a severe
scrutiny into the senators' lives in order to the purging and reforming
the house, and expelled Lucius, though he had been once consul before,
and though the punishment seemed to reflect dishonour on his brother
also. Both of them presented themselves to the assembly of the people
in a suppliant manner, not without tears in their eyes, requesting
that Cato might show the reason and cause of his fixing such a stain
upon so honourable a family. The citizens thought it a modest and
moderate request. Cato, however, without any retraction or reserve,
at once came forward, and standing up with his colleague interrogated
Titus as to whether he knew the story of the supper. Titus answered
in the negative, Cato related it, and challenged Lucius to a formal
denial of it. Lucius made no reply, whereupon the people adjudged
the disgrace just and suitable, and waited upon Cato home from the
tribunal in great state. But Titus still so deeply resented his brother's
degradation, that he allied himself with those who had long borne
a grudge against Cato; and winning over a major part of the senate,
he revoked and made void all the contracts, leases, and bargains made
by Cato, relating to public revenues, and also got numerous actions
and accusations brought against him; carrying on against a lawful
magistrate and excellent citizens, for the sake of one who was indeed
his relation, but was unworthy to be so, and had but gotten his deserts,
a course of bitter and violent attacks, which it would be hard to
say were either right or patriotic. Afterwards, however, at a public
spectacle in the theatre, at which the senators appeared as usual,
sitting, as became their rank, in the first seats, when Lucius was
spied at the lower end, seated in a mean, dishonourable place, it
made a great impression upon the people, nor could they endure the
sight, but kept calling out to him to move, until he did move, and
went in among those of consular dignity, who received him into their
This natural ambition of Titus was well enough looked upon by the
world whilst the wars we have given a relation of afforded competent
fuel to feed it; as, for instance, when after the expiration of his
consulship, he had a command as military tribune, which nobody pressed
upon him. But being now out of all employ in the government, and advanced
in years, he showed his defects more plainly; allowing himself, in
this inactive remainder of life, to be carried away with the passion
for reputation, as uncontrollably as any youth. Some such transport,
it is thought, betrayed him into a proceeding against Hannibal, which
lost him the regard of many. For Hannibal, having fled his country,
first took sanctuary with Antiochus; but he, having been glad to obtain
a peace, after the battle in Phrygia, Hannibal was put to shift for
himself, by a second flight, and, after wandering through many countries,
fixed at length in Bithynia, proffering his service to King Prusias.
Every one at Rome knew where he was, but looked upon him, now in his
weakness and old age, with no sort of apprehension, as one whom fortune
had quite cast off. Titus, however, coming thither as ambassador,
though he was sent from the senate to Prusias upon another errand,
yet seeing Hannibal resident there, it stirred up resentment in him
to find that he was yet alive. And though Prusias used much intercession
and entreaties in favour of him, as his suppliant and familiar friend, Titus was not to be entreated. There was an ancient oracle, it seems,
which prophesied thus of Hannibal's end:-
"Libyssan earth shall Hannibal inclose." He interpreted this to be
meant of the African Libya, and that he should be buried in Carthage;
as if he might yet expect to return and end his life there. But there
is a sandy place in Bithynia, bordering on the sea, and near it a
little village called Libyssa. It was Hannibal's chance to be staying
here, and, having ever from the beginning had a distrust of the easiness
and cowardice of Prusias, and a fear of the Romans, he had, long before,
ordered seven underground passages to be dug from his house, leading
from his lodging and running a considerable distance in various opposite
directions, all undiscernible from without. As soon, therefore, as
he heard what Titus had ordered, he attempted to make his escape through
these mines; but finding them beset with the king's guards, he resolved
upon making away with himself. Some say that, wrapping his upper garment
about his neck, he commanded his servant to set his knee against his
back, and not to cease twisting and pulling it till he had completely
strangled him. Others say he drank bull's blood, after the example
of Themistocles and Midas. Livy writes that he had poison in readiness,
which he mixed for the purpose, and that, taking the cup in his hand,
"Let us ease," said he, "the Romans of their continual dread and care,
who think it long and tedious to await the death of a hated old man.
Yet Titus will not bear away a glorious victory, nor one worthy of
those ancestors who sent to caution Pyrrhus, an enemy, and a conqueror
too, against the poison prepared for him by traitors."
Thus various are the reports of Hannibal's death; but when the news
of it came to the senator's ears, some felt indignation against Titus
for it, blaming as well his officiousness as his cruelty; who when
there was nothing to urge it, out of mere appetite for distinction
to have it said that he had caused Hannibal's death, sent him to his
grave when he was now like a bird that in its old age has lost its
feathers, and incapable of flying, is let alone to live tamely without
They began also now to regard with increased admiration the clemency
and magnanimity of Scipio Africanus, and called to mind how he, when
he had vanquished in Africa the still then invincible and terrible
Hannibal, neither banished him his country, nor exacted of his countrymen
that they should give him up. At a parley just before they joined
battle, Scipio gave him his hand, and in the peace made after it,
he put no hard article upon him, nor insulted over his fallen fortune.
It is told, too, that they had another meeting afterwards, at Ephesus,
and that when Hannibal, as they were walking together, took the upper
hand, Africanus let it pass, and walked on without the least notice
of it; and that then they began to talk of generals, and Hannibal
affirmed that Alexander was the greatest commander the world had seen,
next to him Pyrrhus, and the third was himself; Africanus, with a
smile, asked, "What would you have said, if I had not defeated you?"
"I would not then, Scipio," he replied, "have made myself the third,
but the first commander." Such conduct was much admired in Scipio,
and that of Titus, who had as it were insulted the dead whom another
had slain, was no less generally found fault with. Not but that there
were some who applauded the action, looking upon a living Hannibal
as a fire, which only wanted blowing to become a flame. For when he
was in the prime and flower of his age, it was not his body nor his
hand that had been so formidable, but his consummate skill and experience,
together with his innate malice and rancour against the Roman name,
things which do not impair with age. For the temper and bent of the
soul remains constant, while fortune continually varies; and some
new hope might easily rouse to a fresh attempt those whose hatred
made them enemies to the last. And what really happened afterwards
does to a certain extent tend yet further to the exculpation of Titus.
Aristonicus, of the family of a common musician, upon the reputation
of being the son of Eumenes, filled all Asia with tumults and rebellion.
Then again, Mithridates, after his defeats by Sylla and Fimbria, and vast slaughter as well among his prime officers as common soldiers,
made head again, and proved a most dangerous enemy, against Lucullus,
both by sea and land. Hannibal was never reduced to so contemptible
a state as Caius Marius; he had the friendship of a king, and the
free exercise of his faculties, employment and charge in the navy,
and over the horse and foot, of Prusias; whereas those who but now
were laughing to hear of Marius wandering about Africa, destitute
and begging, in no long time after were seen entreating his mercy
in Rome, with his rods at their backs, and his axes at their necks.
So true it is, that looking to the possible future, we can call nothing
that we see either great or small; as nothing puts an end to the mutability
and vicissitude of things but what puts an end to their very being.
Some authors accordingly tell us that Titus did not do this of his
own head, but that he was joined in commission with Lucius Scipio,
and that the whole object of the embassy was to effect Hannibal's
death. And now, as we find no further mention in history of anything
done by Titus, either in war or in the administration of the government,
but simply that he died in peace, it is time to look upon him as he
stands in comparison with Philopoemen.


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