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75. The Achæan League, which had been suppressed by the immediate successors of Alexander, had soon revived, and extended itself beyond the limits of Achaia, receiving cities from all the Peloponnesus. In 243 B. C., Ara'tus, its head, by a sudden and well-concerted movement captured Corinth, which immediately joined the League. Several important cities followed the example; and Antigonus, who had grown old and cautious, was unable to oppose them, except by stirring up Ætolia to attack the Achæans. He died B. C. 239, having lived eighty and reigned thirty-seven years.
76. Demetrius II. allied himself with Epirus, and broke friendship with the Ætolians, who were enemies of that kingdom. The consequence was, that the Ætolians made a junction with the Achæan League to oppose him. He was able to defeat them in Thessaly and Boeotia, but south of the isthmus the ascendency of Macedon was at an end. The Romans now for the first time interfered in Grecian affairs, by requiring the Ætolian confederacy to abstain from aggressions upon Acarnania. Corcyra, Apollonia, and Epidamnus fell into their hands, B. C. 228, a year after the death of Demetrius II.
77. Philip V. was but eight years old when he inherited his father's dominions, under the guardianship of his kinsman, Antigonus Doson. During this regency great changes took place in Sparta, which led to a brief return of her old energy. The laws of Lycurgus had continued in force more than five centuries, but the time of their fitness and usefulness had passed away. The rigid separation which they made between the different classes, now limited the number of true Spartans to 700, while the property tests were so severe, that only 100 enjoyed the full rights of citizens. The wealth of the community was concentrated in the hands of a few, who violated the old law by living in great luxury. In this condition, Sparta was unable even to defend herself against Illyrian pirates or Ætolian marauders, still less to exert any influence, as of old, in the general affairs of Greece.
The reforms proposed B. C. 230, by Agis IV., and carried, four years later, by Cleomenes, added 3,800 perio'ci to the number of citizens, and re-divided the lands of the state between these and 15,000 selected Laconians. Debts were abolished, and the old simple and frugal customs of Lycurgus restored. Sparta was now able to defeat the forces of the Achæan League, and to draw from it, into her own alliance, most of the Peloponnesian towns out of Achaia. But Aratus, the head of the League, violated all its principles by calling in Antigonus, the Macedonian regent, and putting him in possession of Acro-Corinthus. In the battle of Sellaʼsia, B. C. 221, Cleomenes was defeated, and forced to take refuge at the court of Ptolemy Philopator. The League which had been created to defend the liberties of Greece, had betrayed them; and there was no
longer any hope either of restoring the glories of Sparta, or of checking the overwhelming power of Macedon and Rome.
78. Antigonus died B. C. 220, and Philip, now seventeen years of age, assumed the government. The great advantages gained during the regency were soon lost by his rashness. He hastily allied himself with Hannibal against Rome, and then with Antiochus of Syria against Egypt. (See ?? 37, 59.) His first war, however, was against Ætolia, which had sprung to arms immediately upon his accession, hoping at once to overbalance its rival, Achaia, and to increase its own territories at the expense of Macedon. As early as the time of Alexander the Great, the Ætolian tribes had formed themselves into a federal republic, which occupied a similar position in central Greece to that of the Achæan League in the Peloponnesus. By the subjection or annexation of several states, it was now extended from the Ionian to the Ægean Sea. Philip overran Ætolia with great energy, captured its seat of government, and by his brilliant successes showed a military talent worthy of the early days of Macedonian conquest. But the news of a great victory gained by Hannibal at Lake Thrasyme'ne, recalled his attention to the object of his chief ambition, a war with Rome.
79. The first movement in the new war was the siege of Apollonia, a Roman colony in Illyricum. Philip hoped to drive the Romans from the western coast of Greece, and thus prepare the way for an invasion of Italy. His camp was surprised at night by Vale'rius, and he was forced to burn his ships and retreat in all haste. The Etolians and all their allies. Sparta, Elis, and the kings of Illyricum and Pergamus—took sides with Rome, and carried the war into Macedonia, forcing Philip to ask the aid of Carthage. The Romans captured Zacynthus, Ne'sos and Eniadæ, Antic ́yra in Locris, and the island of Ægina, and presented all to the Ætolians.
At this crisis, Philopo'men, the greatest Greek of his time, became commander of the Achæan cavalry, and, two years later, the head of the League. He improved the drill and tactics of the army, and infused new spirit into the whole nation. His invasion of Elis, in concert with Philip, was unsuccessful, and the king was defeated by Sulpic'ius Galba; but, in 207 B. C., the great victory of Mantinea placed the Macedonians and Achæans on a more equal footing with the Romans. Peace was made on terms honorable to all parties.
80. Philip, spoiled by ambition, had become unscrupulous and reckless. Instead of securing what he already possessed, he continually grasped after new conquests; and disregarding the storm that was sure to burst upon him sooner or later from the west, he now turned to the east and south. He made a treaty with Antiochus the Great for a partition of the Egyptian dependencies, by which he was to receive Thrace and the western part of
Asia Minor. This led at once to war with At'talus of Pergamus, an ally of Rome, as well as with Rhodes, which took the part of Egypt. His fleet was signally defeated off Chios, B. C. 201; and though he afterward gained a victory at Lade, his losses were not retrieved. He captured, however, the important islands of Samos, Thasos, and Chios, with the province of Caria, and several places in Ionia.
81. The great disaster of the war was the rupture of the treaty with Rome. That power interfered in behalf of her allies, Egypt, Rhodes, and Pergamus; and when Philip rejected all reasonable demands, she declared the peace at an end. In the second war with Rome, Greece was at first divided into three parties, some states remaining neutral, some siding with Rome, and some with Macedon. But when the consul, Fla'mini'nus, proclaimed liberty to all the Greeks, and declared himself their champion against the long detested power of Macedon, nearly every state went over to the Roman side. On the land, Macedonia was attacked by Sulpicius Galba, aided by the Illyrians and Dardanians; while by sea, a Romar fleet, increased by Rhodian and Pergamene vessels, threatened the coast. Several important towns in Euboea were taken, but the great decisive battle was fought (B. C. 197) at Cynocephala, where Philip was defeated and his power utterly prostrated. He was compelled to abandon all the Greek cities which he held, either in Europe or Asia, to surrender his entire navy, and to pay a war indemnity of one thousand talents ($1,250,000).
82. In settling the affairs of Greece, the Romans subdivided the states into still smaller sections than of old, and guaranteed perfect independence to each. The two leagues of Achaia and Ætolia were, however, left to balance each other. The states were generally satisfied with the arrangement, but the Etolians stirred up a new war in the very year of Flamininus's departure, and called in Antiochus from Asia to their aid. He was defeated at Thermopyla by the Romans, B. C. 191, and the great battle of Magnesia, in the following year, ended all hope of resistance to the power of Rome. The Achæan League, sustained by the wise and able management of Philopomen, gained in power by the weakening of its rival, and now included the whole Peloponnesus, with Megaris and some other territories beyond the peninsula.
83. Philip had aided the Romans in the recent war, and had been permitted to extend his dominions over part of Thrace, and southward into Thessaly. But when peace was secured, he was required to give up all except his hereditary kingdom. Demetrius, the second son of Philip, had long been a hostage at Rome, and acted now as his father's embassador. The Roman Senate conceded many points, for the sake of the warm friendship which it professed for this young prince; but its favor only aroused the suspicions of his father and the jealousy of his elder brother, Perseus. The latter forged letters to convince his father of the treason of Demetrius,
and the innocent youth was put to death by order of the king. But the grief and remorse of Philip exceeded all bounds, when he learned the deception that had been practiced. He believed that he was haunted by the spirit of Demetrius, and it was agony of mind, rather than bodily illness, that soon occasioned his death.
An ancient historian remarked that there were few monarchs of whom more good or more evil could justly be said, than of Philip V. If the promise of his youth had been fulfilled, and the opportunities of his reign improved, he would have done great things for Macedonia and Greece. But his talents became obscured by drunkenness and profligacy, his natural generosity was spoiled by the habit of supreme command, and he became in later years a gloomy, unscrupulous, and suspicious tyrant.
84. Philip had designed to punish the crime of Perseus by leaving the throne to a distant relative, Antigonus; but the sudden death of the father, while Antigonus was absent from court, enabled the son to make himself king without opposition. He pursued with much diligence the policy of Philip, in preparing Macedonia for a second struggle with Rome. The revenues were increased by a careful working of the mines; the population, wasted by so many wars, was recruited by colonies of Thracians and others; and close alliances were made with the kings of Asia, and with the hardy barbarians of the north, Gauls, Illyrians, and Germans, whose aid might be invaluable when the decisive moment should arrive. But Perseus failed to unite the states of Greece, in which a large party already preferred his supremacy to that of Rome; and instead of using his treasures to satisfy and confirm his allies, he hoarded them penuriously, only to enrich his enemies at the end of the war.
85. In the spring of 171 B. C., the Romans landed in Epirus, and spent some months in winning the Greek states to their side by money and influence. In the autumn they met Perseus in Thessaly, with nearly equal forces, and were defeated. The Macedonian made no use, however, of his victory, and nothing of importance was done for two years. In 168 B. C., L. Æmilius Paulus assumed the command, and forced Perseus to a battle near Pydna. Here the fate of Macedon was finally decided. Perseus was defeated and fled to Samothrace, where he was soon captured with all his treasures. He was taken to Rome, and compelled to walk in chains in the splendid triumph of Æmilius. After several years, the last of the Macedonian kings died in imprisonment at Alba.
Macedonia was not immediately made a Roman province, but was divided into four distinct states, which were forbidden all intercourse with each other. The people were consoled by a great reduction in the taxes, the Romans demanding only half the amount which they had been accustomed to pay their native kings.
86. In Greece, all confederacies, except the Achæan League, were dissolved. Achaia had been the constant friend of Rome during the war; but to insure its submission, one thousand of the principal citizens were accused of having secretly aided Perseus, and were carried to Italy for trial. They were imprisoned seventeen years without a hearing; and then, when all but three hundred had died, these were sent back, in the certainty that their resentment against Rome would lead them to some rash act of hostility.
All happened as the Romans had foreseen. The three of the exiles who were most embittered by this unprovoked outrage came into power, and their enmity gave to their foes what they most desired, a pretext for an armed invasion of the territories of the League. In 146 B. C., war was declared. One of the Achæan leaders was disastrously defeated and slain near Thermopyla; another, with the remnant of the army, made a last stand at Corinth, but he was defeated and the city was taken, plundered, and destroyed. Within a few years Greece was placed under proconsular government, like other provinces of Rome. It remained nearly sixteen centuries a part of that great empire, which, though driven from Italy, maintained its existence in the East, until it was overthrown by the Turks, A. D. 1453.
Lamian War ended in the subjection of Greece to Macedonia. Cassander reigned B. C. 316–297. Death of all his sons within three years, left the crown to Demetrius, son of Antigonus, (B. C. 294-287,) who lost it by rash enterprises, and died a prisoner in Asia. Pyrrhus, the Epirote, reigned a year. Macedonia was then annexed to Thrace (B. C. 286–281). On the death of Lysimachus, it fell to Seleucus, who was murdered in turn by Ptolemy Ceraunus. In the reign of Ptolemy (B. C. 281-279), Meleager, Antipater II., and Sosthenes (B. C. 279-277), the Gauls ravaged Macedonia and Greece, gained Thermopyle, but were defeated at Delphi. Antigonus, son of Demetrius (B. C. 277-273), was expelled by Pyrrhus, whose second reign lasted B. C. 273-271, but who was killed at Argos, and Antigonus restored (B. C. 271–239). He captured Athens and Corinth; the latter was retaken by the Achæan League. Demetrius II. (B. C. 239-229) allied himself with Epirus against the Achæan and Etolian Leagues. First interference of Rome in Grecian affairs, B. C. 238. Regency of Antigonus Doson, B. C. 229-220. Reform and renewed energy in Sparta. Macedonians, in alliance with the Achæan League, defeated the Spartans at Sellasia, B. C. 221. Independent reign of Philip V., B. C. 220–179. His wars against Ætolia, Rome, Egypt. Romans, in a second war, proclaimed liberty to the Greeks; overthrew Philip at Cynocephalæ, B. C. 197; subdivided and reorganized the Grecian states. The Etolians provoked another war, their ally, Antiochus, was defeated at Thermopyle and Magnesia. Death of Prince Demetrius and his father. Efforts of Perseus, the last king of Macedon (B. C. 179-168). His war with Rome; defeat at Pydna; capture and death. Division of Macedonia. Reduction of tribute. Treachery of the Romans toward the Achæan League. Last war with Rome. Battle of Leucopetra, near Corinth, B. C. 146.