The Subject Countries Down to the Times of the Gracchi

The Subjects

With the abolition of the Macedonian monarchy the supremacy of Rome not only became an established fact from the Pillars of Hercules to the mouths of the Nile and the Orontes, but, as if it were the final decree of fate, it weighed on the nations with all the pressure of an inevitable necessity, and seemed to leave them merely the choice of perishing in hopeless resistance or in hopeless endurance. If history were not entitled to insist that the earnest reader should accompany her through good and evil days, through landscapes of winter as well as of spring, the historian might be tempted to shun the cheerless task of tracing the manifold and yet monotonous turns of this struggle between superior power and utter weakness, both in the Spanish provinces already annexed to the Roman empire and in the African, Hellenic, and Asiatic territories which were still treated as clients of Rome. But, however unimportant and subordinate the individual conflicts may appear, they have collectively a deep historical significance; and, in particular, the state of things in Italy at this period only becomes intelligible in the light of the reaction which the provinces exercised over the mother-country.


Except in the territories which may be regarded as natural appendages of Italy—in which, however, the natives were still far from being completely subdued, and, not greatly to the credit of Rome, Ligurians, Sardinians, and Corsicans were continually furnishing occasion for "village triumphs"—the formal sovereignty of Rome at the commencement of this period was established only in the two Spanish provinces, which embraced the larger eastern and southern portions of the peninsula beyond the Pyrenees. We have already(1) attempted to describe the state of matters in the peninsula. Iberians and Celts, Phoenicians, Hellenes, and Romans were there confusedly intermingled. The most diverse kinds and stages of civilization subsisted there simultaneously and at various points crossed each other, the ancient Iberian culture side by side with utter barbarism, the civilized relations of Phoenician and Greek mercantile cities side by side with an incipient process of Latinizing, which was especially promote by the numerous Italians employed in the silver mines and by the large standing garrison. In this respect the Roman township of Italica (near Seville) and the Latin colony of Carteia (on the bay Of Gibraltar) deserve mention—the latter being the first transmarine urban community of Latin tongue and Italian constitution. Italica was founded by the elder Scipio, before he left Spain (548), for his veterans who were inclined to remain in the peninsula—probably, however, not as a burgess-community, but merely as a market-place.(2) Carteia was founded in 583 and owed its existence to the multitude of camp-children—the offspring of Roman soldiers and Spanish slaves—who grew up as slaves de jure but as free Italians de facto, and were now manumitted on behalf of the state and constituted, along with the old inhabitants of Carteia, into a Latin colony. For nearly thirty years after the organizing of the province of the Ebro by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (575, 576)(3) the Spanish provinces, on the whole, enjoyed the blessings of peace undisturbed, although mention is made of one or two expeditions against the Celtiberians and Lusitanians.

Lusitanian War

But more serious events occurred in 600. The Lusitanians, under the leadership of a chief called Punicus, invaded the Roman territory, defeated the two Roman governors who had united to oppose them, and slew a great number of their troops. The Vettones (between the Tagus and the Upper Douro) were thereby induced to make common cause with the Lusitanians; and these, thus reinforced, were enabled to extend their excursions as far as the Mediterranean, and to pillage even the territory of the Bastulo-Phoenicians not far from the Roman capital New Carthage (Cartagena). The Romans at home took the matter seriously enough to resolve on sending a consul to Spain, a step which had not been taken since 559; and, in order to accelerate the despatch of aid, they even made the new consuls enter on office two months and a half before the legal time. For this reason the day for the consuls entering on office was shifted from the 15th of March to the 1st of January; and thus was established the beginning of the year, which we still make use of at the present day. But, before the consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior with his army arrived, a very serious encounter took place on the right bank of the Tagus between the praetor Lucius Mummius, governor of Further Spain, and the Lusitanians, now led after the fall of Punicus by his successor Caesarus (601). Fortune was at first favourable to the Romans; the Lusitanian army was broken and their camp was taken. But the Romans, partly already fatigued by their march and partly broken up in the disorder of the pursuit, were at length completely beaten by their already vanquished antagonists, and lost their own camp in addition to that of the enemy, as well as 9000 dead.

Celtiberian War

The flame of war now blazed up far and wide. The Lusitanians on the left bank of the Tagus, led by Caucaenus, threw themselves on the Celtici subject to the Romans (in Alentejo), and took away their town Conistorgis. The Lusitanians sent the standards taken from Mummius to the Celtiberians at once as an announcement of victory and as a warning; and among these, too, there was no want of ferment. Two small Celtiberian tribes in the neighbourhood of the powerful Arevacae (about the sources of the Douro and Tagus), the Belli and the Titthi, had resolved to settle together in Segeda, one of their towns. While they were occupied in building the walls, the Romans ordered them to desist, because the Sempronian regulations prohibited the subject communities from founding towns at their own discretion; and they at the same time required the contribution of money and men which was due by treaty but for a considerable period had not been demanded. The Spaniards refused to obey either command, alleging that they were engaged merely in enlarging, not in founding, a city, and that the contribution had not been merely suspended, but remitted by the Romans. Thereupon Nobilior appeared in Hither Spain with an army of nearly 30,000 men, including some Numidian horsemen and ten elephants. The walls of the new town of Segeda still stood unfinished: most of the inhabitants submitted. But the most resolute men fled with their wives and children to the powerful Arevacae, and summoned these to make common cause with them against the Romans. The Arevacae, emboldened by the victory of the Lusitanians over Mummius, consented, and chose Carus, one of the Segedan refugees, as their general. On the third day after his election the valiant leader had fallen, but the Roman army was defeated and nearly 6000 Roman burgesses were slain; the 23rd day of August, the festival of the Volcanalia, was thenceforth held in sad remembrance by the Romans. The fall of their general, however, induced the Arevacae to retreat into their strongest town Numantia (Guarray, a Spanish league to the north of Soria on the Douro), whither Nobilior followed them. Under the walls of the town a second engagement took place, in which the Romans at first by means of their elephants drove the Spaniards back into the town; but while doing so they were thrown into confusion in consequence of one of the animals being wounded, and sustained a second defeat at the hands of the enemy again issuing from the walls. This and other misfortunes— such as the destruction of a corps of Roman cavalry despatched to call forth the contingents—imparted to the affairs of the Romans in the Hither province so unfavourable an aspect that the fortress of Ocilis, where the Romans had their chest and their stores, passed over to the enemy, and the Arevacae were in a position to think, although without success, of dictating peace to the Romans. These disadvantages, however, were in some measure counterbalanced by the successes which Mummius achieved in the southern province. Weakened though his army was by the disaster which it had suffered, he yet succeeded with it in defeating the Lusitanians who had imprudently dispersed themselves on the right bank of the Tagus; and passing over to the left bank, where the Lusitanians had overrun the whole Roman territory, and had even made a foray into Africa, he cleared the southern province of the enemy.


To the northern province in the following year (602) the senate sent considerable reinforcements and a new commander-in-chief in the place of the incapable Nobilior, the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who had already, when praetor in 586, distinguished himself in Spain, and had since that time given proof of his talents as a general in two consulships. His skilful leadership, and still more his clemency, speedily changed the position of affairs: Ocilis at once surrendered to him; and even the Arevacae, confirmed by Marcellus in the hope that peace would be granted to them on payment of a moderate fine, concluded an armistice and sent envoys to Rome. Marcellus could thus proceed to the southern province, where the Vettones and Lusitanians had professed submission to the praetor Marcus Atilius so long as he remained within their bounds, but after his departure had immediately revolted afresh and chastised the allies of Rome. The arrival of the consul restored tranquillity, and, while he spent the winter in Corduba, hostilities were suspended throughout the peninsula. Meanwhile the question of peace with the Arevacae was discussed at Rome. It is a significant indication of the relations subsisting among the Spaniards themselves, that the emissaries of the Roman party subsisting among the Arevacae were the chief occasion of the rejection of the proposals of peace at Rome, by representing that, if the Romans were not willing to sacrifice the Spaniards friendly to their interests, they had no alternative save either to send a consul with a corresponding army every year to the peninsula or to make an emphatic example now. In consequence of this, the ambassadors of the Arevacae were dismissed without a decisive answer, and it was resolved that the war should be prosecuted with vigour. Marcellus accordingly found himself compelled in the following spring (603) to resume the war against the Arevacae. But—either, as was asserted, from his unwillingness to leave to his successor, who was to be expected soon, the glory of terminating the war, or, as is perhaps more probable, from his believing like Gracchus that a humane treatment of the Spaniards was the first thing requisite for a lasting peace—the Roman general after holding a secret conference with the most influential men of the Arevacae concluded a treaty under the walls of Numantia, by which the Arevacae surrendered to the Romans at discretion, but were reinstated in their former rights according to treaty on their undertaking to pay money and furnish hostages.


When the new commander-in-chief, the consul Lucius Lucullus, arrived at head-quarters, he found the war which he had come to conduct already terminated by a formally concluded peace, and his hopes of bringing home honour and more especially money from Spain were apparently frustrated. But there was a means of surmounting this difficulty. Lucullus of his own accord attacked the western neighbours of the Arevacae, the Vaccaei, a Celtiberian nation still independent which was living on the best understanding with the Romans. The question of the Spaniards as to what fault they had committed was answered by a sudden attack on the town of Cauca (Coca, eight Spanish leagues to the west of Segovia); and, while the terrified town believed that it had purchased a capitulation by heavy sacrifices of money, Roman troops marched in and enslaved or slaughtered the inhabitants without any pretext at all. After this heroic feat, which is said to have cost the lives of some 20,000 defenceless men, the army proceeded on its march. Far and wide the villages and townships were abandoned or, as in the case of the strong Intercatia and Pallantia (Palencia) the capital of the Vaccaei, closed their gates against the Roman army. Covetousness was caught in its own net; there was no community That would venture to conclude a capitulation with the perfidious commander, and the general flight of the inhabitants not only rendered booty scarce, but made it almost impossible for him to remain for any length of time in these inhospitable regions. In front of Intercatia, Scipio Aemilianus, an esteemed military tribune, the son of the victor of Pydna and the adopted grandson of the victor of Zama, succeeded, by pledging his word of honour when that of the general no longer availed, in inducing the inhabitants to conclude an agreement by virtue of which the Roman army departed on receiving a supply of cattle and clothing. But the siege of Pallantia had to be raised for want of provisions, and the Roman army in its retreat was pursued by the Vaccaei as far as the Douro. Lucullus thereupon proceeded to the southern province, where in the same year the praetor, Servius Sulpicius Galba, had allowed himself to be defeated by the Lusitanians. They spent the winter not far from each other— Lucullus in the territory of the Turdetani, Galba at Conistorgis— And in the following year (604) jointly attacked the Lusitanians. Lucullus gained some advantages over them near the straits of Gades. Galba performed a greater achievement, for he concluded a treaty with three Lusitanian tribes on the right bank of the Tagus and promised to transfer them to better settlements; whereupon the barbarians, who to the number of 7000 came to him for the sake of the expected lands, were separated into three divisions, disarmed, and partly carried off into slavery, partly massacred. War has hardly ever been waged with so much perfidy, cruelty, and avarice as by these two generals; who yet by means of their criminally acquired treasures escaped the one from condemnation, and the other even from impeachment. The veteran Cato in his eighty-fifth year, a few months before his death, attempted to bring Galba to account before the burgesses; but the weeping children of the general, and the gold which he had brought home with him, proved to the Roman people his innocence.


It was not so much the inglorious successes which Lucullus and Galba had attained in Spain, as the outbreak of the fourth Macedonian and of the third Carthaginian war in 605, which induced the Romans again to leave Spanish affairs in the first instance to the ordinary governors. Accordingly the Lusitanians, exasperated rather than humbled by the perfidy of Galba, immediately overran afresh the rich territory of the Turdetani. The Roman governor Gaius Vetilius (607-8?)(4) marched against them, and not only defeated them, but drove the whole host towards a hill where it seemed lost irretrievably. The capitulation was virtually concluded, when Viriathus—a man of humble origin, who formerly, when a youth, had bravely defended his flock from wild beasts and robbers and was now in more serious conflictsa dreaded guerilla chief, and who was one of the few that had accidentally escaped from the perfidious onslaught of Galba—warned his countrymen against relying on the Roman word of honour, and promised them deliverance if they would follow him. His language and his example produced a deep effect: the army entrusted him with the supreme command. Viriathus gave orders to the mass of his men to proceed in detached parties, by different routes, to the appointed rendezvous; he himself formed the best mounted and most trustworthy into a corps of 1000 horse, with which he covered the departure of his men. The Romans, who wanted light cavalry, did not venture to disperse for the pursuit under the eyes of the enemy's horsemen. After Viriathus and his band had for two whole days held in check the entire Roman army he suddenly disappeared during the night and hastened to the general rendezvous. The Roman general followed him, but fell into an adroitly-laid ambush, in which he lost the half of his army and was himself captured and slain; with difficulty the rest of the troops escaped to the colony of Carteia on the Straits. In all haste 5000 men of the Spanish militia were despatched from the Ebro to reinforce the defeated Romans; but Viriathus destroyed the corps while still on its march, and commanded so absolutely the whole interior of Carpetania that the Romans did not even venture to seek him there. Viriathus, now recognized as lord and king of all the Lusitanians, knew how to combine the full dignity of his princely position with the homely habits of a shepherd. No badge distinguished him from the common soldier: he rose from the richly adorned marriage- table of his father-in-law, the prince Astolpa in Roman Spain, without having touched the golden plate and the sumptuous fare, lifted his bride on horseback, and rode back with her to his mountains. He never took more of the spoil than the share which he allotted to each of his comrades. The soldier recognized the general simply by his tall figure, by his striking sallies of wit, and above all by the fact that he surpassed every one of his men in temperance as well as in toil, sleeping always in full armour and fighting in front of all in battle. It seemed as if in that thoroughly prosaic age one of the Homeric heroes had reappeared: the name of Viriathus resounded far and wide through Spain; and the brave nation conceived that in him it had at length found the man who was destined to break the fetters of alien domination.

His Successors

Extraordinary successes in northern and in southern Spain marked the next years of his generalship. After destroying the vanguard of the praetor Gaius Plautius (608-9), Viriathus had the skill to lure him over to the right bank of the Tagus, and there to defeat him so emphatically that the Roman general went into winter quarters in the middle of summer—on which account he was afterwards charged before the people with having disgraced the Roman community, and was compelled to live in exile. In like manner the army of the governor— apparently of the Hither province—Claudius Unimanus was destroyed, that of Gaius Negidius was vanquished, and the level country was pillaged far and wide. Trophies of victory, decorated with the insignia of the Roman governors and the arms of the legions, were erected on the Spanish mountains; people at Rome heard with shame and consternation of the victories of the barbarian king. The conduct of the Spanish war was now committed to a trustworthy officer, the consul Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus, the second son of the victor of Pydna (609). But the Romans no longer ventured to send the experienced veterans, who bad just returned from Macedonia and Asia, forth anew tothe detested Spanish war; the two legions, which Maximus brought with him, were new levies and scarcely more to be trusted than the old utterly demoralized Spanish army. After the first conflicts had again issued favourably for the Lusitanians, the prudent general kept together his troops for the remainder of the year in the camp at Urso (Osuna, south-east from Seville) without accepting the enemy's offer of battle, and only took the field afresh in the following year (610), after his troops had by petty warfare become qualified for fighting; he was then enabled to maintain the superiority, and after successful feats of arms went into winter quarters at Corduba. But when the cowardly and incapable praetor Quinctius took the command in room of Maximus, the Romans again suffered defeat after defeat, and their general in the middle of summer shut himself up in Corduba, while the bands of Viriathus overran the southern province (611).

His successor, Quintus Fabius Maximus Servilianus, the adopted brother of Maximus Aemilianus, sent to the peninsula with two fresh legions and ten elephants, endeavoured to penetrate into the Lusitanian country, but after a series of indecisive conflicts and an assault on the Roman camp, which was with difficulty repulsed, found himself compelled to retreat to the Roman territory. Viriathus followed him into the province, but as his troops after the wont of Spanish insurrectionary armies suddenly melted away, he was obliged to return to Lusitania (612). Next year (613) Servilianus resumed the offensive, traversed the districts on the Baetis and Anas, and then advancing into Lusitania occupied a number of townships. A large number of the insurgents fell into his hands; the leaders—of whom there were about 500—were executed; those who had gone over from Roman territory to the enemy had their hands cut off; the remaining mass were sold into slavery. But on this occasion also the Spanish war proved true to its fickle and capricious character. After all these successes the Roman army was attacked by Viriathus while it was besieging Erisane, defeated, and driven to a rock where it was wholly in the power of the enemy. Viriathus, however, was content, like the Samnite general formerly at the Caudine passes, to conclude a peace with Servilianus, in which the community of the Lusitanians was recognized as sovereign and Viriathus acknowledged as its king. The power of the Romans had not risen more than the national sense of honour had sunk; in the capital men were glad to be rid of the irksome war, and the senate and people ratified the treaty. But Quintus Servilius Caepio, the full brother of Servilianus and his successor in office, was far from satisfied with this complaisance; and the senate was weak enough at first to authorize the consul to undertake secret machinations against Viriathus, and then to view at least with indulgence the open breach of his pledged word for which there was no palliation. So Caepio invaded Lusitania, and traversed the land as far as the territories of the Vettones and Callaeci; Viriathus declined a conflict with the superior force, and by dexterous movements evaded his antagonist (614). But when in the ensuing year (615) Caepio renewed the attack, and in addition the army, which had in The meantime become available in the northern province, made its appearance under Marcus Popillius in Lusitania, Viriathus sued for peace on any terms. He was required to give up to the Romans all who had passed over to him from the Roman territory, amongst whom was his own father-in-law; he did so, and the Romans ordered them to be executed or to have their hands cut off. But this was not sufficient; the Romans were not in the habit of announcing to the vanquished all at once their destined fate.

His Death

One behest after another was issued to the Lusitanians, each successive demand more intolerable than its predecessors; and at length they were required even to surrender their arms. Then Viriathus recollected the fate of his countrymen whom Galba had caused to be disarmed, and grasped his sword afresh. But it was too late. His wavering had sown the seeds of treachery among those who were immediately around him; three of his confidants, Audas, Ditalco, and Minucius from Urso, despairing of the possibility of renewed victory, procured from the king permission once more to enter into negotiations for peace with Caepio, and employed it for the purpose of selling the life of the Lusitanian hero to the foreigners in return for the assurance of personal amnesty and further rewards. On their return to the camp they assured the king of the favourable issue of their negotiations, and in the following night stabbed him while asleep in his tent. The Lusitanians honoured the illustrious chief by an unparalleled funeral solemnity at which two hundred pairs of champions fought in the funeral games; and still more highly by the fact, that they did not renounce the struggle, but nominated Tautamus as their commander- in-chief in room of the fallen hero. The plan projected by the latter for wresting Saguntum from the Romans was sufficiently bold; but the new general possessed neither the wise moderation nor the military skill of his predecessor. The expedition utterly broke down, and the army on its return was attacked in crossing the Baetis and compelled to surrender unconditionally. Thus was Lusitania subdued, far more by treachery and assassination on the part of foreigners and natives than by honourable war.


While the southern province was scourged by Viriathus and the Lusitanians, a second and not less serious war had, not without their help, broken out in the northern province among the Celtiberian nations. The brilliant successes of Viriathus induced the Arevacae likewise in 610 to rise against the Romans; and for this reason the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus, who was sent to Spain to relieve Maximus Aemilianus, did hot proceed to the southern province, but turned against the Celtiberians. In the contest with them, and more especially during the siege of the town of Contrebia which was deemed impregnable, he showed the same ability which he had displayed in vanquishing the Macedonian pretender; after his two years' administration (611, 612) the northern province was reduced to obedience. The two towns of Termantia and Numantia alone had not yet opened their gates to the Romans; but in their case also a capitulation had been almost concluded, and the greater part of the conditions had been fulfilled by the Spaniards. When required, however, to deliver up their arms, they were restrained like Viriathus by their genuine Spanish pride in the possession of a well- wielded sword, and they resolved to continue the war under the daring Megaravicus. It seemed folly: the consular army, the command of which was taken up in 613 by the consul Quintus Pompeius, was four times as numerous as the whole population capable of bearing arms in Numantia. But the general, who was wholly unacquainted with war, sustained defeats so severe under the walls of the two cities (613, 614), that he preferred at length to procure by means of negotiations the peace which he could not compel. With Termantia a definitive agreement must have taken place. In the case of the Numantines the Roman general liberated their captives, and summoned the community under the secret promise of favourable treatment to surrender to him at discretion. The Numantines, weary of the war, consented, and the general actually limited his demands to the smallest possible measure. Prisoners of war, deserters, and hostages were delivered up, and the stipulated sum of money was mostly paid, when in 615 the new general Marcus Popillius Laenas arrived in the camp. As soon as Pompeius saw the burden of command devolve on other shoulders, he, with a view to escape from the reckoning that awaited him at Rome for a peace which was according to Roman ideas disgraceful, lighted on the expedient of not merely breaking, but of disowning his word; and when the Numantines came to make their last payment, in the presence of their officers and his own he flatly denied the conclusion of the agreement. The matter was referred for judicial decision to the senate at Rome. While it was discussed there, the war before Numantia was suspended, and Laenas occupied himself with an expedition to Lusitania where he helped to accelerate the catastrophe of Viriathus, and with a foray against the Lusones, neighbours of the Numantines. When at length the decision of the senate arrived, its purport was that the war should be continued—the state became thus a party to the knavery of Pompeius.


With unimpaired courage and increased resentment the Numantines resumed the struggle; Laenas fought against them unsuccessfully, nor was his successor Gaius Hostilius Mancinus more fortunate (617). But the catastrophe was brought about not so much by the arms of the Numantines, as by the lax and wretched military discipline of the Roman generals and by—what was its natural consequence—the annually- increasing dissoluteness, insubordination, and cowardice of the Roman soldiers. The mere rumour, which moreover was false, that the Cantabri and Vaccaei were advancing to the relief of Numantia, induced the Roman army to evacuate the camp by night without orders, and to seek shelter in the entrenchments constructed sixteen years before by Nobilior.(5) The Numantines, informed of their sudden departure, hotly pursued the fugitive army, and surrounded it: there remained to it no choice save to fight its way with sword in hand through the enemy, or to conclude peace on the terms laid down by the Numantines. Although the consul was personally a man of honour, he was weak and little known. Tiberius Gracchus, who served in the army as quaestor, had more influence with the Celtiberians from the hereditary respect in which he was held on account of his father who had so wisely organized the province of the Ebro, and induced the Numantines to be content with an equitable treaty of peace sworn to by all the staff-officers. But the senate not only recalled the general immediately, but after long deliberation caused a proposal to be submitted to the burgesses that the convention should be treated as they had formerly treated that of Caudium, in other words, that they should refuse to ratify it and should devolve the responsibility for it on those by whom it had been concluded. By right this category ought to have included all the officers who had sworn to the treaty; but Gracchus and the others were saved by their connections. Mancinus alone, who did not belong to the circles of the highest aristocracy, was destined to pay the penalty for his own and others' guilt. Stripped of his insignia, the Roman consular was conducted to the enemy's outposts, and, when the Numantines refused to receive him that they might not on their part acknowledge the treaty as null, the late commander-in-chief stood in his shirt and with his hands tied behind his back for a whole day before the gates of Numantia, a pitiful spectacle to friend and foe. Yet the bitter lesson seemed utterly lost on the successor of Mancinus, his colleague in the consulship, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. While the discussions as to the treaty with Mancinus were pending in Rome, he attacked the free people of the Vaccaei under frivolous pretexts just as Lucullus had done sixteen years before, and began in concert with the general of the Further province to besiege Pallantia (618). A decree of the senate enjoined him to desist from the war; nevertheless, under the pretext that the circumstances had meanwhile changed, he continued the siege. In doing so he showed himself as bad a soldier as he was a bad citizen. After lying so long before the large and strong city that his supplies in that rugged and hostile country failed, he was obliged to leave behind all the sick and wounded and to undertake a retreat, in which the pursuing Pallantines destroyed half of his soldiers, and, if they had not broken off the pursuit too early, would probably have utterly annihilated the Roman army, which was already in full course of dissolution. For this conduct a fine was imposed on the high-born general at his return. His successors Lucius Furius Philus (618) and Gaius Calpurnius Piso (619) had again to wage war against the Numantines; and, inasmuch as they did nothing at all, they fortunately came home without defeat.

Scipio Aemilianus

Even the Roman government began at length to perceive that matters could no longer continue on this footing; they resolved to entrust the subjugation of the small Spanish country-town, as an extraordinary measure, to the first general of Rome, Scipio Aemilianus. The pecuniary means for carrying on the war were indeed doled out to him with preposterous parsimony, and the permission to levy soldiers, which he asked, was even directly refused—a result towards which coterie- intrigues and the fear of being burdensome to the sovereign people may have co-operated. But a great number of friends and clients voluntarily accompanied him; among them was his brother Maximus Aemilianus, whosome years before had commanded with distinction against Viriathus. Supported by this trusty band, which was formed into a guard for the general, Scipio began to reorganize the deeply disordered army (620). First of all, the camp-followers had to take their departure—there were found as many as 2000 courtesans, and an endless number of soothsayers and priests of all sorts—and, if the soldier was not available for fighting, he had at least to work in the trenches and to march. During the first summer the general avoided any conflict with the Numantines; he contented himself with destroying the stores in the surrounding country, and with chastising the Vaccaei who sold corn to the Numantines, and compelling them to acknowledge the supremacy of Rome. It was only towards winter that Scipio drew together his army round Numantia. Besides the Numidian contingent of horsemen, infantry, and twelve elephants led by the prince Jugurtha, and the numerous Spanish contingents, there were four legions, in all a force of 60,000 men investing a city whose citizens capable of bearing arms did not exceed 8000 at the most. Nevertheless the besieged frequently offered battle; but Scipio, perceiving clearly that the disorganization of many years was not to be repaired all at once, refused to accept it, and, when conflicts did occur in connection with the sallies of the besieged, the cowardly flight of the legionaries, checked with difficulty by the appearance of the general in person, justified such tactics only too forcibly. Never did a general treat his soldiers more contemptuously than Scipio treated the Numantine army; and he showed his opinion of it not only by bitter speeches, but above all by his course of action. For the first time the Romans waged war by means of mattock and spade, where it depended on themselves alone whether they should use the sword. Around the whole circuit of the city wall, which was nearly three miles in length, there was constructed a double line of circumvallation of twice that extent, provided with walls, towers, and ditches; and the river Douro, by which at first some supplies had reached the besieged through the efforts of bold boatmen and divers, was at length closed. Thus the town, which they did not venture to assault, could not well fail to be reduced through famine; the more so, as it had not been possible for the citizens to lay in provisions during the last summer. The Numantines soon suffered from want of everything. One of their boldest men, Retogenes, cut his way with a few companions through the lines of the enemy, and his touching entreaty that kinsmen should not be allowed to perish without help produced a great effect in Lutia at least, one of the towns of the Arevacae. But before the citizens of Lutia had come to a decision, Scipio, having received information from the partisans of Rome in the town, appeared with a superior force before its walls, and compelled the authorities to deliver up to him the leaders of the movement, 400 of the flower of the youth, whose hands were all cut off by order of the Roman general. The Numantines, thus deprived of their last hope, sent to Scipio to negotiate as to their submission and called on the brave man to spare the brave; but when the envoys on their return announced that Scipio required unconditional surrender, they were torn in pieces by the furious multitude, and a fresh term elapsed before famine and pestilence had completed their work. At length a second message was sent to the Roman headquarters, that the town was now ready to submit at discretion. When the citizens were accordingly instructed to appear on the following day before the gates, they asked for some days delay, to allow those of their number who had determined not to survive the loss of liberty time to die. It was granted, and not a few took advantage of it. At last the miserable remnant appeared before the gates. Scipio chose fifty of the most eminent to form part of his triumphal procession; the rest were sold into slavery, the city was levelled with the ground, and its territory was distributed among the neighbouring towns. This occurred in the autumn of 621, fifteen months after Scipio had assumed the chief command.

The fall of Numantia struck at the root of the opposition that was still here and there stirring against Rome; military demonstrations and the imposition of fines sufficed to secure the acknowledgment of the Roman supremacy in all Hither Spain.

The Callaeci Conquered
New Organization of Spain

In Further Spain the Roman dominion was confirmed and extended by the subjugation of the Lusitanians. The consul Decimus Junius Brutus, who came in Caepio's room, settled the Lusitanian war-captives in the neighbourhood of Saguntum, and gave to their new town Valentia (Valencia), like Carteia, a Latin constitution (616); he moreover (616-618) traversed the Iberian west coast in various directions, and was the first of the Romans to reach the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The towns of the Lusitanians dwelling there, which were obstinately defended by their inhabitants, both men and women, were subdued by him; and the hitherto independent Callaeci were united with the Roman province after a great battle, in which 50,000 of them are said to have fallen. After the subjugation of the Vaccaei, Lusitanians, and Callaeci, the whole peninsula, with the exception of the north coast, was now at least nominally subject to the Romans.

A senatorial commission was sent to Spain in order to organize, in concert with Scipio, the newly-won provincial territory after the Roman method; and Scipio did what he could to obviate the effects of the infamous and stupid policy of his predecessors. The Caucani for instance, whose shameful maltreatment by Lucullus he had been obliged to witness nineteen years before when a military tribune, were invited by him to return to their town and to rebuild it. Spain began again to experience more tolerable times. The suppression of piracy, which found dangerous lurking-places in the Baleares, through the occupation of these islands by Quintus Caecilius Metellus in 631, was singularly conducive, to the prosperity of Spanish commerce; and in other respects also the fertile islands, inhabited by a dense population which was unsurpassed in the use of the sling, were a valuable possession. How numerous the Latin-speaking population in the peninsula was even then, is shown by the settlement of 3000 Spanish Latins in the towns of Palma and Pollentia (Pollenza) in the newly-acquired islands. In spite of various grave evils the Roman administration of Spain preserved on the whole the stamp which the Catonian period, and primarily Tiberius Gracchus, had impressed on it. It is true that the Roman frontier territory had not a little to suffer from the inroads of the tribes, but half subdued or not subdued at all, on the north and west. Among the Lusitanians in particular the poorer youths regularly congregated as banditti, and in large gangs levied contributions from their countrymen or their neighbours, for which reason, even at a much later period, the isolated homesteads in this region were constructed in the style of fortresses, and were, in case of need, capable of defence; nor did the Romans succeed in putting an end to these predatory habits in the inhospitable and almost inaccessible Lusitanian mountains. But what had previously been wars assumed more and more the character of brigandage, which every tolerably efficient governor was able to repress with his ordinary resources; and in spite of such inflictions on the border districts Spain was the most flourishing and best-organized country in all the Roman dominions; the system of tenths and the middlemen were there unknown; the population was numerous, and the country was rich in corn and cattle.

The Protected States

Far more insupportable was the condition—intermediate between formal sovereignty and actual subjection—of the African, Greek, and Asiatic states which were brought within the sphere of Roman hegemony through the wars of Rome with Carthage, Macedonia, and Syria, and their consequences. An independent state does not pay too dear a price for its independence in accepting the sufferings of war when it cannot avoid them; a state which has lost its independence may find at least some compensation in the fact that its protector procures for it peace with its neighbours. But these client states of Rome had neither independence nor peace. In Africa there practically subsisted a perpetual border-war between Carthage and Numidia. In Egypt Roman arbitration had settled the dispute as to the succession between the two brothers Ptolemy Philometor and Ptolemy the Fat; nevertheless the new rulers of Egypt and Cyrene waged war for the possession of Cyprus. In Asia not only were most of the kingdoms—Bithynia, Cappadocia, Syria—likewise torn by internal quarrels as to the succession and by the interventions of neighbouring states to which these quarrels gave rise, but various and severe wars were carried on between the Attalids and the Galatians, between the Attalids and the kings of Bithynia, and even between Rhodes and Crete. In Hellas proper, in like manner, the pigmy feuds which were customary there continued to smoulder; and even Macedonia, formerly so tranquil, consumed its strength in the intestine strife that arose out of its new democratic constitutions. It was the fault of the rulers as well as the ruled, that the last vital energies and the last prosperity of the nations were expended in these aimless feuds. The client states ought to have perceived that a state which cannot wage war against every one cannot wage war at all, and that, as the possessions and power enjoyed by all these states were practically under Roman guarantee, they had in the event of any difference no alternative but to settle the matter amicably with their neighbours or to call in the Romans as arbiters. When the Achaean diet was urged by the Rhodians and Cretans to grant them the aid of the league, and seriously deliberated as to sending it (601), it was simply a political farce; the principle which the leader of the party friendly to Rome then laid down—that the Achaeans were no longer at liberty to wage war without the permission of the Romans— expressed, doubtless with disagreeable precision, the simple truth that the sovereignty of the dependent states was merely a formal one, and that any attempt to give life to the shadow must necessarily lead to the destruction of the shadow itself. But the ruling community deserves a censure more severe than that directed against the ruled. It is no easy task for a man—any more than for a state—to own to insignificance; it is the duty and right of the ruler either to renounce his authority, or by the display of an imposing material superiority to compel the ruled to resignation. The Roman senate did neither. Invoked and importuned on all hands, the senate interfered incessantly in the course of African, Hellenic, Asiatic, and Egyptian affairs; but it did so after so inconstant and loose a fashion, that its attempts to settle matters usually only rendered the confusion worse. It was the epoch of commissions. Commissioners of the senate were constantly going to Carthage and Alexandria, to the Achaean diet, and to the courts of the rulers of western Asia; they investigated, inhibited, reported, and yet decisive steps were not unfrequently taken in the most important matters without the knowledge, or against the wishes, of the senate. It might happen that Cyprus, for instance, which the senate had assigned to the kingdom of Cyrene, was nevertheless retained by Egypt; that a Syrian prince ascended the throne of his ancestors under the pretext that he had obtained a promise of it from the Romans, while the senate had in fact expressly refused to give it to him, and he himself had only escaped from Rome by breaking their interdict; that even the open murder of a Roman commissioner, who under the orders of the senate administered as guardian the government of Syria, passed totally unpunished. The Asiatics were very well aware that they were not in a position to resist the Roman legions; but they were no less aware that the senate was but little inclined to give the burgesses orders to march for the Euphrates or the Nile. Thus the state of these remote countries resembled that of the schoolroom when the teacher is absent or lax; and the government of Rome deprived the nations at once of the blessings of freedom and of the blessings of order. For the Romans themselves, moreover, this state of matters was so far perilous that it to a certain extent left their northern and eastern frontier exposed. In these quarters kingdoms might be formed by the aid of the inland countries situated beyond the limits of the Roman hegemony and in antagonism to the weak states under Roman protection, without Rome being able directly or speedily to interfere, and might develop a power dangerous to, and entering sooner or later into rivalry with, Rome. No doubt the condition of the bordering nations—everywhere split into fragments and nowhere favourable to political development on a great scale— formed some sort of protection against this danger; yet we very clearly perceive in the history of the east, that at this period the Euphrates was no longer guarded by the phalanx of Seleucus and was not yet watched by the legions of Augustus. It was high time to put an end to this state of indecision. But the only possible way of ending it was by converting the client states into Roman provinces. This could be done all the more easily, that the Roman provincial constitution in substance only concentrated military power in the hands of the Roman governor, while administration and jurisdiction in the main were, or at any rate were intended to be, retained by the communities, so that as much of the old political independence as was at all capable of life might be preserved in the form of communal freedom. The necessity for this administrative reform could not well be mistaken; the only question was, whether the senate would delay and mar it, or whether it would have the courage and the power clearly to discern and energetically to execute what was needful.

Carthage and Numidia

Let us first glance at Africa. The order of things established by the Romans in Libya rested in substance on a balance of power between the Nomad kingdom of Massinissa and the city of Carthage. While the former was enlarged, confirmed, and civilized under the vigorous and sagacious government of Massinissa,(6) Carthage in consequence simply of a state of peace became once more, at least in wealth and population, what it had been at the height of its political power. The Romans saw with ill-concealed and envious fear the apparently indestructible prosperity of their old rival; while hitherto they had refused to grant to it any real protection against the constantly continued encroachments of Massinissa, they now began openly to interfere in favour of the neighbouring prince. The dispute which had been pending for more than thirty years between the city and the king as to the possession of the province of Emporia on the Lesser Syrtis, one of the most fertile in the Carthaginian territory, was at length (about 594) decided by Roman commissioners to the effect that the Carthaginians should evacuate those towns of Eniporia which still remained in their possession, and should pay 500 talents (120,000 pounds) to the king as compensation for the illegal enjoyment of the territory. The consequence was, that Massinissa immediately seized another Carthaginian district on the western frontier of their territory, the town of Tusca and the great plains near the Bagradas; no course was left to the Carthaginians but to commence another hopeless process at Rome. After long and, beyond doubt, intentional delay a second commission appeared in Africa (597); but, when the Carthaginians were unwilling to commit themselves unconditionally to a decision to be pronounced by it as arbiter without an exact preliminary investigation into the question of legal right, and insisted on a thorough discussion of the latter question, the commissioners without further ceremony returned to Rome.

The Destruction of Carthage Resolved on at Rome

The question of right between Carthage and Massinissa thus remained unsettled; but the mission gave rise to a more important decision. The head of this commission had been the old Marcus Cato, at that time perhaps the most influential man in the senate, and, as a veteran survivor from the Hannibalic war, still filled with thorough hatred and thorough dread of the Phoenicians. With surprise and jealousy Cato had seen with his own eyes the flourishing state of the hereditary foes of Rome, the luxuriant country and the crowded streets, the immense stores of arms in the magazines and the rich materials for a fleet; already he in spirit beheld a second Hannibal wielding all these resources against Rome. In his honest and manly, but thoroughly narrow-minded, fashion, he came to the conclusion that Rome could not be secure until Carthage had disappeared from the face of the earth, and immediately after his return set forth this view in the senate. Those of the aristocracy whose ideas were more enlarged, and especially Scipio Nasica, opposed this paltry policy with great earnestness; and showed how blind were the fears entertained regarding a mercantile city whose Phoenician inhabitants were becoming more and more disused to warlike arts and ideas, and how the existence of that rich commercial city was quite compatible with the political supremacy of Rome. Even the conversion of Carthage into a Roman provincial town would have been practicable, and indeed, compared with the present condition of the Phoenicians, perhaps even not unwelcome. Cato, however, desired not the submission, but the destruction of the hated city. His policy, as it would seem, found allies partly in the statesmen who were inclined to bring the transmarine territories into immediate dependence on Rome, partly and especially in the mighty influence of the Roman bankers and great capitalists on whom, after the destruction of the rich moneyed and mercantile city, its inheritance would necessarily devolve. The majority resolved at the first fitting opportunity—respect for public opinion required that they should wait for such—to bring about war with Carthage, or rather the destruction of the city.

War between Massinissa and Carthage

The desired occasion was soon found. The provoking violations of right on the part of Massinissa and the Romans brought to the helm in Carthage Hasdrubal and Carthalo, the leaders of the patriotic party, which was not indeed, like the Achaean, disposed to revolt against the Roman supremacy, but was at least resolved to defend, if necessary, by arms against Massinissa the rights belonging by treaty to the Carthaginians. The patriots ordered forty of the most decided partisans of Massinissa to be banished from the city, and made the people swear that they would on no account ever permit their return; at the same time, in order to repel the attacks that might be expected from Massinissa, they formed out of the free Numidians a numerous army under Arcobarzanes, the grandson of Syphax (about 600). Massinissa, however, was prudent enough not to take arms now, but to submit himself unconditionally to the decision of the Romans respecting the disputed territory on the Bagradas; and thus the Romans could assert with some plausibility that the Carthaginian preparations must have been directed against them, and could insist on the immediate dismissal of the army and destruction of the naval stores. The Carthaginian senate was disposed to consent, but the multitude prevented the execution of the decree, and the Roman envoys, who had brought this order to Carthage, were in peril of their lives. Massinissa sent his son Gulussa to Rome to report the continuance of the Carthaginian warlike preparations by land and sea, and to hasten the declaration of war. After a further embassy of ten men had confirmed the statement that Carthage was in reality arming (602), the senate rejected the demand of Cato for an absolute declaration of war, but resolved in a secret sitting that war should be declared if the Carthaginians would not consent to dismiss their army and to burn their materials for a fleet. Meanwhile the conflict had already begun in Africa. Massinissa had sent back the men whom the Carthaginians had banished, under the escort of his son Gulussa, to the city. When the Carthaginians closed their gates against them and killed also some of the Numidians returning home, Massinissa put his troops in motion, and the patriot party in Carthage also prepared for the struggle. But Hasdrubal, who was placed at the head of their army, was one of the usual army-destroyers whom the Carthaginians were in the habit of employing as generals; strutting about in his general's purple like a theatrical king, and pampering his portly person even in the camp, that vain and unwieldy man was little fitted to render help in an exigency which perhaps even the genius of Hamilcar and the arm of Hannibal could have no longer averted. Before the eyes of Scipio Aemilanus, who at that time a military tribune in the Spanish army, had been sent to Massinissa to bring over African elephants for his commander, and who on this occasion looked down on the conflict from a mountain "like Zeus from Ida," the Carthaginians and Numidians fought a great battle, in which the former, though reinforced by 6000 Numidian horsemen brought to them by discontented captains of Massinissa, and superior in number to the enemy, were worsted. After this defeat the Carthaginians offered to make cessions of territory and payments of money to Massinissa, and Scipio at their solicitation attempted to bring about an agreement; but the project of peace was frustrated by the refusal of the Carthaginian patriots to surrender the deserters. Hasdrubal, however, closely hemmed in by the troops of his antagonist, was compelled to grant to the latter all that he demanded—the surrender of the deserters, the return of the exiles, the delivery of arms, the marching off under the yoke, the payment of 100 talents (24,000 pounds) annually for the next fifty years. But even this agreement was not kept by the Numidians; on the contrary the disarmed remnant of the Carthaginian army was cut to pieces by them on the way home.

Declaration of War by Rome

The Romans, who had carefully abstained from preventing the war Itself by seasonable interposition, had now what they wished: namely, A serviceable pretext for war—for the Carthaginians had certainly Now transgressed the stipulations of the treaty, that they should not wage war against the allies of Rome or beyond their own bounds(7)— and an antagonist already beaten beforehand. The Italian contingents were already summoned to Rome, and the ships were assembled; the declaration of war might issue at any moment. The Carthaginians made every effort to avert the impending blow. Hasdrubal and Carthalo, the leaders of the patriot party, were condemned to death, and an embassy was sent to Rome to throw the responsibility on them. But at the same time envoys from Utica, the second city of the Libyan Phoenicians, arrived there with full powers to surrender their Community wholly to the Romans—compared with such obliging submissiveness, it seemed almost an insolence that the Carthaginians had rested content with ordering, unbidden, the execution of their most eminent men. The senate declared that the excuse of the Carthaginians was found insufficient; to the question, what in that case would suffice, the reply was given that the Carthaginians knew that themselves. They might, no doubt, have known what the Romans wished; but yet it seemed impossible to believe that the last hour of their loved native city had really come. Once more Carthaginian envoys—on this occasion thirty in number and with unlimited powers—were sent to Rome. When they arrived, war was already declared (beginning of 605), and the double consular army had embarked. Yet they even now attempted to dispel the storm by complete submission. The senate replied that Rome was ready to guarantee to the Carthaginian community its territory, its municipal freedom and its laws, its public and private property, provided that it would furnish to the consuls who had just departed for Sicily within the space of a month at Lilybaeum 300 hostages from the children of the leading families, and would fulfil the further orders which the consuls in conformity with their instructions should issue to them. The reply has been called ambiguous; but very erroneously, as even at the time clearsighted men among the Carthaginians themselves pointed out. The circumstance that everything which they could ask was guaranteed with the single exception of the city, and that nothing was said as to stopping the embarkation of the troops for Africa, showed very clearly what the Roman intentions were; the senate acted with fearful harshness, but it did not assume the semblance of concession. The Carthaginians, however, would not open their eyes; there was no statesman found, who had the power to move the unstable multitude of the city either to thorough resistance or to thorough resignation. When they heard at the same time of the horrible decree of war and of the endurable demand for hostages, they complied immediately with the latter, and still clung to hope, because they had not the courage fully to realize the import of surrendering themselves beforehand to the arbitrary will of a mortal foe. The consuls sent back the hostages from Lilybaeum to Rome, and informed the Carthaginian envoys that they would learn further particulars in Africa. The landing was accomplished without resistance, and the provisions demanded were supplied. When the gerusia of Carthage appeared in a body at the head-quarters in Utica to receive the further orders, the consuls required in the first instance the disarming of the city. To the question of the Carthaginians, who was in that case to protect them even against their own emigrants— against the army, which had swelled to 20,000 men, under the command of Husdrubal who had saved himself from the sentence of death by flight—it was replied, that this would be the concern of the Romans. Accordingly the council of the city obsequiously appeared before the consuls, with all their fleet-material, all the military stores of the public magazines, all the arms that were found in the possession of private persons—to the number of 3000 catapults and 200,000 sets of armour—and inquired whether anything more was desired. Then the consul Lucius Marcius Censorinus rose and announced to the council, that in accordance with the instructions given by the senate the existing city was to be destroyed, but that the inhabitants were at liberty to settle anew in their territory wherever they chose, provided it were at a distance of at least ten miles from the sea.

Resistance of the Carthaginians

This fearful command aroused in the Phoenicians all the—shall we say magnanimous or frenzied?—enthusiasm, which was displayed previously by the Tyrians against Alexander, and subsequently by the Jews against Vespasian. Unparalleled as was the patience with which this nation could endure bondage and oppression, as unparalleled was now the furious rising of that mercantile and seafaring population, when the things at stake were not the state and freedom, but the beloved soil of their ancestral city and their venerated and dear home beside the sea. Hope and deliverance were out of the question; political discretion enjoined even now an unconditional submission. But the voice of the few who counselled the acceptance of what was inevitable was, like the call of the pilot during a hurricane, drowned amidst the furious yells of the multitude; which, in its frantic rage, laid hands on the magistrates of the city who had counselled the surrender of the hostages and arms, made such of the innocent bearers of the news as had ventured at all to return home expiate their terrible tidings, and tore in pieces the Italians who chanced to be sojourning in the city by way of avenging beforehand, at least on them, the destruction of its native home. No resolution was passed to defend themselves; unarmed as they were, this was a matter of course. The gates were closed; stones were carried to the battlements of the walls that had been stripped of the catapults; the chief command was entrusted to Hasdrubal, the grandson of Massinissa; the slaves in a body were declared free. The army of refugees under the fugitive Hasdrubal—which was in possession of the whole Carthaginian territory with the exception of the towns on the east coast occupied by the Romans, viz. Hadrumetum, Little Leptis, Thapsus and Achulla, and the city of Utica, and offered an invaluable support for the defence—was entreated not to refuse its aid to the commonwealth in this dire emergency. At the same time, concealing in true Phoenician style the most unbounded resentment under the cloak of humility, they attempted to deceive the enemy. A message was sent to the consuls to request a thirty days' armistice for the despatch of an embassy to Rome. The Carthaginians were well aware that the generals neither would nor could grant this request, which had been refused once already; but the consuls were confirmed by it in the natural supposition that after the first outbreak of despair the utterly defenceless city would submit, and accordingly postponed the attack. The precious interval was employed in preparing catapults and armour; day and night all, without distinction of age or sex, were occupied in constructing machines and forging arms; the public buildings were torn down to procure timber and metal; women cut off their hair to furnish the strings indispensable for the catapults; in an incredibly short time the walls and the men were once more armed. That all this could be done without the consuls, who were but a few miles off, learning anything of it, is not the least marvellous feature in this marvellous movement sustained by a truly enthusiastic, and in fact superhuman, national hatred. When at length the consuls, weary of waiting, broke up from their camp at Utica, and thought that they should be able to scale the bare walls with ladders, they found to their surprise and horror the battlements crowned anew with catapults, and the large populous city which they had hoped to occupy like an open village, able and ready to defend itself to the last man.

Situation of Carthage

Carthage was rendered very strong both by the nature of its situation(8) and by the art of its inhabitants, who had very often to depend on the protection of its walls. Into the broad gulf of Tunis, which is bounded on the west by Cape Farina and on the east by Cape Bon, there projects in a direction from west to east a promontory, which is encompassed on three sides by the sea and is connected with the mainland only towards the west. This promontory, at its narrowest part only about two miles broad and on the whole flat, again expands towards the gulf, and terminates there in the two heights of Jebel-Khawi and Sidi bu Said, between which extends the plain of El Mersa. On its southern portion which ends in the height of Sidi bu Said lay the city of Carthage. The pretty steep declivity of that height towards the gulf and its numerous rocks and shallows gave natural strength to the side of the city next to the gulf, and a simple circumvallation was sufficient there. On the wall along the west or landward side, on the other hand, where nature afforded no protection, every appliance within the power of the art of fortification in those times was expended. It consisted, as its recently discovered remains exactly tallying with the description of Polybius have shown, of an outer wall 6 1/2 feet thick and immense casemates attached to it behind, probably along its whole extent; these were separated from the outer wall by a covered way 6 feet broad, and had a depth of 14 feet, exclusive of the front and back walls, each of which was fully 3 feet broad.(9) This enormous wall, composed throughout of large hewn blocks, rose in two stories, exclusive of the battlements and the huge towers four stories high, to a height of 45 feet,(10) and furnished in the lower range of the casemates stables and provender-stores for 300 elephants, in the upper range stalls for horses, magazines, and barracks.(11) The citadel-hill, the Byrsa (Syriac, birtha = citadel), a comparatively considerable rock having a height of 188 feet and at its base a circumference of fully 2000 double paces,(12) was joined to this wall at its southern end, just as the rock-wall of the Capitol was joined to the city-wall of Rome. Its summit bore the huge temple of the God of Healing, resting on a basement of sixty steps. The south side of the city was washed partly by the shallow lake of Tunes towards the south-west, which was separated almost wholly from the gulf by a narrow and low tongue of land running southwards from the Carthaginian peninsula,(13) partly by the open gulf towards the south-east. At this last spot was situated the double harbour of the city, a work of human hands; the outer or commercial harbour, a longish rectangle with the narrow end turned to the sea, from whose entrance, only 70 feet wide, broad quays stretched along the water on both sides, and the inner circular war-harbour, the Cothon,(14) with the island containing the admiral's house in the middle, which was approached through the outer harbour. Between the two passed the city wall, which turning eastward from the Byrsa excluded the tongue of land and the outer harbour, but included the war-harbour, so that the entrance to the latter must be conceived as capable of being closed like a gate. Not far from the war-harbour lay the marketplace, which was connected by three narrow streets with the citadel open on the side towards the town. To the north of, and beyond, the city proper, the pretty considerable space of the modern El Mersa, even at that time occupied in great part by villas and well-watered gardens, and then called Magalia, had a circumvallation of its own joining on to the city wall. On the opposite point of the peninsula, the Jebel-Khawi near the modern village of Ghamart, lay the necropolis. These three—the old city, the suburb, and the necropolis—together filled the whole breadth of the promontory on its side next the gulf, and were only accessible by the two highways leading to Utica and Tunes along that narrow tongue of land, which, although not closed by a wall, yet afforded a most advantageous position for the armies taking their stand under the protection of the capital with the view of protecting it in return.

The difficult task of reducing so well fortified a city was rendered still more difficult by the fact, that the resources of the capital itself and of its territory which still included 800 townships and was mostly under the power of the emigrant party on the one hand, and the numerous tribes of the free or half-free Libyans hostile to Massinissa on the other, enabled the Carthaginians simultaneously with their defence of the city to keep a numerous army in the field— an army which, from the desperate temper of the emigrants and the serviceableness of the light Numidian cavalry, the besiegers could not afford to disregard.

The Siege

The consuls accordingly had by no means an easy task to perform, when they now found themselves compelled to commence a regular siege. Manius Manilius, who commanded the land army, pitched his camp opposite the wall of the citadel, while Lucius Censorinus stationed himself with the fleet on the lake and there began operations on the tongue of land. The Carthaginian army, under Hasdrubal, encamped on the other side of the lake near the fortress of Nepheris, whence it obstructed the labours of the Roman soldiers despatched to cut timber for constructing machines, and the able cavalry-leader in particular, Himilco Phameas, slew many of the Romans. Censorinus fitted up two large battering-rams on the tongue, and made a breach with them at this weakest place of the wall; but, as evening had set in, the assault had to be postponed. During the night the besieged succeeded in filling up a great part of the breach, and in so damaging the Roman machines by a sortie that they could not work next day. Nevertheless the Romans ventured on the assault; but they found the breach and the portions of the wall and houses in the neighbourhood so strongly occupied, and advanced with such imprudence, that they were repulsed with severe loss and would have suffered still greater damage, had not the military tribune Scipio Aemilianus, foreseeing the issue of the foolhardy attack, kept together his men in front of the walls and with them intercepted the fugitives. Manilius accomplished still less against the impregnable wall of the citadel. The siege thus lingered on. The diseases engendered in the camp by the heat of summer, the departure of Censorinus the abler general, the ill-humour and inaction of Massinissa who was naturally far from pleased to see the Romans taking for themselves the booty which he had long coveted, and the death of the king at the age of ninety which ensued soon after (end of 605), utterly arrested the offensive operations of the Romans. They had enough to do in protecting their ships against the Carthaginian incendiaries and their camp against nocturnal surprises, and in securing food for their men and horses by the construction of a harbour-fort and by forays in the neighbourhood. Two expeditions directed against Hasdrubal remained without success; and in fact the first, badly led over difficult ground, had almost terminated in a formal defeat. But, while the course of the war was inglorious for the general and the army, the military tribune Scipio achieved in it brilliant distinction. It was he who, on occasion of a nocturnal attack by the enemy on the Roman camp, starting with some squadrons of horse and taking the enemy in rear, compelled him to retreat. On the first expedition to Nepheris, when the passage of the river had taken place in opposition to his advice and had almost occasioned the destruction of the army, by a bold attack in flank he relieved the pressure on the retreating troops, and by his devoted and heroic courage rescued a division which had been given up as lost While the other officers, and the consul in particular, by their perfidy deterred the towns and party-leaders that were inclined to negotiate, Scipio succeeded in inducing one of the ablest of the latter, Himilco Phameas, to pass over to the Romans with 2200 cavalry. Lastly, after he had in fulfilment of the charge of the dying Massinissa divided his kingdom among his three sons, Micipsa, Gulussa, and Mastanabal, he brought to the Roman army in Gulussa a cavalry-leader worthy of his father, and thereby remedied the want, which had hitherto been seriously felt, of light cavalry. His refined and yet simple demeanour, which recalled rather his own father than him whose name he bore, overcame even envy, and in the camp as in the capital the name of Scipio was on the lips of all. Even Cato, who was not liberal with his praise, a few months before his death—he died at the end of 605 without having seen the wish of his life, the destruction of Carthage, accomplished—applied to the young officer and to his incapable comrades the Homeric line:—

He only is a living man, the rest are gliding shades.(15)

While these events were passing, the close of the year had come and with it a change of commanders; the consul Lucius Piso (606) was somewhat late in appearing and took the command of the land army, while Lucius Mancinus took charge of the fleet. But, if their predecessors had done little, these did nothing at all. Instead of prosecuting the siege of Carthage or subduing the army of Hasdrubal, Piso employed himself in attacking the small maritime towns of the Phoenicians, and that mostly without success. Clupea, for example, repulsed him, and he was obliged to retire in disgrace from Hippo Diarrhytus, after having lost the whole summer in front of it and having had his besieging apparatus twice burnt. Neapolis was no doubt taken; but the pillage of the town in opposition to his pledged word of honour was not specially favourable to the progress of the Roman arms. The courage of the Carthaginians rose. Bithyas, a Numidian sheik, passed over to them with 800 horse; Carthaginian envoys were enabled to attempt negotiations with the kings of Numidia and Mauretania and even with Philip the Macedonian pretender. It was perhaps internal intrigues—Hasdrubal the emigrant brought the general of the same name, who commanded in the city, into suspicion on account of his relationship with Massinissa, and caused him to be put to death in the senate-house—rather than the activity of the Romans, that prevented things from assuming a turn still more favourable for Carthage.

Scipio Aemilianus

With the view of producing a change in the state of African affairs, which excited uneasiness, the Romans resorted to the extraordinary measure of entrusting the conduct of the war to the only man who had as yet brought home honour from the Libyan plains, and who was recommended for this war by his very name. Instead of calling Scipio to the aedileship for which he was a candidate, they gave to him the consulship before the usual time, setting aside the laws to the contrary effect, and committed to him by special decree the conduct of the African war. He arrived (607) in Utica at a moment when much was at stake. The Roman admiral Mancinus, charged by Piso with the nominal continuance of the siege of the capital, had occupied a steep cliff, far remote from the inhabited district and scarcely defended, on the almost inaccessible seaward side of the suburb of Magalia, and had united nearly his whole not very numerous force there, in the hope of being able to penetrate thence into the outer town. In fact the assailants had been for a moment within its gates and the camp- followers had flocked forward in a body in the hope of spoil, when they were again driven back to the cliff and, being without supplies and almost cut off, were in the greatest danger. Scipio found matters in that position. He had hardly arrived when he despatched the troops which he had brought with him and the militia of Utica by sea to the threatened point, and succeeded in saving its garrison and holding the cliff itself. After this danger was averted, the general proceeded to the camp of Piso to take over the army and bring it back to Carthage. Hasdrubal and Bithyas availed themselves of his absence to move their camp immediately up to the city, and to renew the attack on the garrison of the cliff before Magalia; but even now Scipio appeared with the vanguard of the main army in sufficient time to afford assistance to the post. Then the siege began afresh and more earnestly. First of all Scipio cleared the camp of the mass of camp-followers and sutlers and once more tightened the relaxed reins of discipline. Military operations were soon resumed with increased vigour. In an attack by night on the suburb the Romans succeeded in passing from a tower—placed in front of the walls and equal to them in height—on to the battlements, and opened a little gate through which the whole army entered. The Carthaginians abandoned the suburb and their camp before the gates, and gave the chief command of the garrison of the city, amounting to 30,000 men, to Hasdrubal. The new commander displayed his energy in the first instance by giving orders that all the Roman prisoners should be brought to the battlements and, after undergoing cruel tortures, should be thrown over before the eyes of the besieging army; and, when voices were raised in disapproval of the act, a reign of terror was introduced with reference to the citizens also. Scipio, meanwhile, after having confined the besieged to the city itself, sought totally to cut off their intercourse with the outer world. He took up his head-quarters on the ridge by which the Carthaginian peninsula was connected with the mainland, and, notwithstanding the various attempts of the Carthaginians to disturb his operations, constructed a great camp across the whole breadth of the isthmus, which completely blockaded the city from the landward side. Nevertheless ships with provisions still ran into the harbour, partly bold merchantmen allured by the great gain, partly vessels of Bithyas, who availed himself of every favourable wind to convey supplies to the city from Nepheris at the end of the lake of Tunes; whatever might now be the sufferings of the citizens, the garrison was still sufficiently provided for. Scipio therefore constructed a stone mole, 96 feet broad, running from the tongue of land between the lake and gulf into the latter, so as thus to close the mouth of the harbour. The city seemed lost, when the success of this undertaking, which was at first ridiculed by the Carthaginians as impracticable, became evident. But one surprise was balanced by another. While the Roman labourers were constructing the mole, work was going forward night and day for two months in the Carthaginian harbour, without even the deserters being able to tell what were the designs of the besieged. All of a sudden, just as the Romans had completed the bar across the entrance to the harbour, fifty Carthaginian triremes and a number of boats and skiffs sailed forth from that same harbour into the gulf—while the enemy were closing the old mouth of the harbour towards the south, the Carthaginians had by means of a canal formed in an easterly direction procured for themselves a new outlet, which owing to the depth of the sea at that spot could not possibly be closed. Had the Carthaginians, instead of resting content with a mere demonstration, thrown themselves at once and resolutely on the half-dismantled and wholly unprepared Roman fleet, it must have been lost; when they returned on the third day to give the naval battle, they found the Romans in readiness. The conflict came off without decisive result; but on their return the Carthaginian vessels so ran foul of each other in and before the entrance of the harbour, that the damage thus occasioned was equivalent to a defeat. Scipio now directed his attacks against the outer quay, which lay outside of the city walls and was only protected for the exigency by an earthen rampart of recent construction. The machines were stationed on the tongue of land, and a breach was easily made; but with unexampled intrepidity the Carthaginians, wading through the shallows, assailed the besieging implements, chased away the covering force which ran off in such a manner that Scipio was obliged to make his own troopers cut them down, and destroyed the machines. In this way they gained time to close the breach. Scipio, however, again established the machines and set on fire the wooden towers of the enemy; by which means he obtained possession of the quay and of the outer harbour along with it. A rampart equalling the city wall in height was here constructed, and the town was now at length completely blockaded by land and sea, for the inner harbour could only be reached through the outer. To ensure the completeness of the blockade, Scipio ordered Gaius Laelius to attack the camp at Nepheris, where Diogenes now held the command; it was captured by a fortunate stratagem, and the whole countless multitude assembled there were put to death or taken prisoners. Winter had now arrived and Scipio suspended his operations, leaving famine and pestilence to complete what he had begun.

Capture of the City

How fearfully these mighty agencies had laboured in the work of destruction during the interval while Hasdrubal continued to vaunt and to gormandize, appeared so soon as the Roman army proceeded in the spring of 608 to attack the inner town. Hasdrubal gave orders to set fire to the outer harbour and made himself ready to repel the expected assault on the Cothon; but Laelius succeeded in scaling the wall, hardly longer defended by the famished garrison, at a point farther up and thus penetrated into the inner harbour. The city was captured, but the struggle was still by no means at an end. The assailants occupied the market-place contiguous to the small harbour, and slowly pushed their way along the three narrow streets leading from this to the citadel—slowly, for the huge houses of six stories in height had to be taken one by one; on the roofs or on beams laid over the street the soldiers penetrated from one of these fortress-like buildings to that which was adjoining or opposite, and cut down whatever they encountered there. Thus six days elapsed, terrible for the inhabitants of the city and full of difficulty and danger also for the assailants; at length they arrived in front of the steep citadel-rock, whither Hasdrubal and the force still surviving had retreated. To procure a wider approach, Scipio gave orders to set fire to the captured streets and to level the ruins; on which occasion a number of persons unable to fight, who were concealed in the houses, miserably perished. Then at last the remnant of the population, crowded together in the citadel, besought for mercy. Bare life was conceded to them, and they appeared before the victor, 30,000 men and 25,000 women, not the tenth part of the former population. The Roman deserters alone, 900 in number, and the general Hasdrubal with his wife and his two children had thrown themselves into the temple of the God of Healing; for them—for soldiers who had deserted their posts, and for the murderer of the Roman prisoners—there were no terms. But when, yielding to famine, the most resolute of them set fire to the temple, Hasdrubal could not endure to face death; alone he ran forth to the victor and falling upon his knees pleaded for his life. It was granted; but, when his wife who with her children was among the rest on the roof of the temple saw him at the feet of Scipio, her proud heart swelled at this disgrace brought on her dear perishing home, and, with bitter words bidding her husband be careful to save his life, she plunged first her sons and then herself into the flames. The struggle was at an end. The joy in the camp and at Rome was boundless; the noblest of the people alone were in secret ashamed of the most recent grand achievement of the nation. The prisoners were mostly sold as slaves; several were allowed to languish in prison; the most notable, Hasdrubal and Bithyas, were sent to the interior of Italy as Roman state-prisoners and tolerably treated. The moveable property, with the exception of gold, silver, and votive gifts, was abandoned to the pillage of the soldiers. As to the temple treasures, the booty that had been in better times carried off by the Carthaginians from the Sicilian towns was restored to them; the bull of Phalaris, for example, was returned to the Agrigentines; the rest fell to the Roman state.

Destruction of Carthage

But by far the larger portion of the city still remained standing. We may believe that Scipio desired its preservation; at least he addressed a special inquiry to the senate on the subject. Scipio Nasica once more attempted to gain a hearing for the demands of reason and honour; but in vain. The senate ordered the general to level the city of Carthage and the suburb of Magalia with the ground, and to do the same with all the townships which had held by Carthage to the last; and thereafter to pass the plough over the site of Carthage so as to put an end in legal form to the existence of the city, and to curse the soil and site for ever, that neither house nor cornfield might ever reappear on the spot. The command was punctually obeyed. The ruins burned for seventeen days: recently, when the remains of the Carthaginian city wall were excavated, they were found to be covered with a layer of ashes from four to five feet deep, filled with half-charred pieces of wood, fragments of iron, and projectiles. Where the industrious Phoenicians had bustled and trafficked for five hundred years, Roman slaves henceforth pastured the herds of their distant masters. Scipio, however, whom nature had destined for a nobler part than that of an executioner, gazed with horror on his own work; and, instead of the joy of victory, the victor himself was haunted by a presentiment of the retribution that would inevitably follow such a misdeed.

Province of Africa

There remained the work of arranging the future organization of the country. The earlier plan of investing the allies of Rome with the transmarine possessions that she acquired was no longer viewed with favour. Micipsa and his brothers retained in substance their former territory, including the districts recently wrested from the Carthaginians on the Bagradas and in Emporia; their long-cherished hope of obtaining Carthage as a capital was for ever frustrated; the senate presented them instead with the Carthaginian libraries. The Carthaginian territory as possessed by the city in its last days— viz. The narrow border of the African coast lying immediately opposite to Sicily, from the river Tusca (near Thabraca) to Thaenae (opposite to the island of Karkenah)—became a Roman province. In the interior, where the constant encroachments of Massinissa had more and more narrowed the Carthaginian dominions and Bulla, Zama, and Aquae already belonged to the kings, the Numidians retained what they possessed. But the careful regulation of the boundary between the Roman province and the Numidian kingdom, which enclosed it on three sides, showed that Rome would by no means tolerate in reference to herself what she had permitted in reference to Carthage; while the name of the new province, Africa, on the other hand appeared to indicate that Rome did not at all regard the boundary now marked off as a definitive one. The supreme administration of the new province was entrusted to a Roman governor, who had his seat at Utica. Its frontier did not need any regular defence, as the allied Numidian kingdom everywhere separated it from the inhabitants of the desert. In the matter of taxes Rome dealt on the whole with moderation. Those communities which from the beginning of the war had taken part with Rome—viz. Only the maritime towns of Utica, Hadrumetum, Little Leptis, Thapsus, Achulla, and Usalis, and the inland town of Theudalis— retained their territory and became free cities; which was also the case with the newly-founded community of deserters. The territory of the city of Carthage—with the exception of a tract presented to Utica—and that of the other destroyed townships became Roman domain- land, which was let on lease. The remaining townships likewise forfeited in law their property in the soil and their municipal liberties; but their land and their constitution were for the time being, and until further orders from the Roman government, left to them as a possession liable to be recalled, and the communities paid annually to Rome for the use of their soil which had become Roman a once-for-all fixed tribute (stipendium), which they in their turn collected by means of a property-tax levied from the individuals liable. The real gainers, however, by this destruction of the first commercial city of the west were the Roman merchants, who, as soon as Carthage lay in ashes, flocked in troops to Utica, and from this as their head-quarters began to turn to profitable account not only the Roman province, but also the Numidian and Gaetulian regions which had hitherto been closed to them.

Macedonia and the Pseudo-Phillip
Victory of Metellus

Macedonia also disappeared about the same time as Carthage from the ranks of the nations. The four small confederacies, into which the wisdom of the Roman senate had parcelled out the ancient kingdom, could not live at peace either internally or one with another. How matters stood in the country appears from a single accidentally mentioned occurrence at Phacus, where the whole governing council of one of these confederacies were murdered on the instigation of one Damasippus. Neither the commissions sent by the senate (590), nor the foreign arbiters, such as Scipio Aemilianus (603) called in after the Greek fashion by the Macedonians, were able to establish any tolerable order. Suddenly there appeared in Thrace a young man, who called himself Philip the son of king Perseus, whom he strikingly resembled, and of the Syrian Laodice. He had passed his youth in the Mysian town of Adramytium; there he asserted that he had preserved the sure proofs of his illustrious descent. With these he had, after a vain attempt to obtain recognition in his native country, resorted to Demetrius Soter, king of Syria, his mother's brother. There were in fact some who believed the Adramytene or professed to believe him, and urged the king either to reinstate the prince in his hereditary kingdom or to cede to him the crown of Syria; whereupon Demetrius, to put an end to the foolish proceedings, arrested the pretender and sent him to the Romans. But the senate attached so little importance to the man, that it confined him in an Italian town without taking steps to have him even seriously guarded. Thus he had escaped to Miletus, where the civic authorities once more seized him and asked the Roman commissioners what they should do with the prisoner. The latter advised them to let him go; and they did so. He now tried his fortune further in Thrace; and, singularly enough, he obtained recognition and support there not only from Teres the chief of the Thracian barbarians, the husband of his father's sister, and Barsabas, but also from the prudent Byzantines. With Thracian support the so-called Philip invaded Macedonia, and, although he was defeated at first, he soon gained one victory over the Macedonian militia in the district of Odomantice beyond the Strymon, followed by a second on the west side of the river, which gave him possession of all Macedonia. Apocryphal as his story sounded, and decidedly as it was established that the real Philip, the son of Perseus, had died when eighteen years of age at Alba, and that this man, so far from being a Macedonian prince, was Andriscus a fuller of Adramytium, yet the Macedonians were too much accustomed to the rule of a king not to be readily satisfied on the point of legitimacy and to return with pleasure into the old track. Messengers arrived from the Thessalians, announcing that the pretender had advanced into their territory; the Roman commissioner Nasica, who, in the expectation that a word of earnest remonstrance would put an end to the foolish enterprise, had been sent by the senate to Macedonia without soldiers, was obliged to call out the Achaean and Pergamene troops and to protect Thessaly against the superior force by means of the Achaeans, as far as was practicable, till (605?) the praetor Juventius appeared with a legion. The latter attacked the Macedonians with his small force; but he himself fell, his army was almost wholly destroyed, and the greater part of Thessaly fell into the power of the pseudo-Philip, who conducted his government there and in Macedonia with cruelty and arrogance. At length a stronger Roman army under Quintus Caecilius Metellus appeared on the scene of conflict, and, supported by the Pergamene fleet, advanced into Macedonia. In the first cavalry combat the Macedonians retained the superiority; but soon dissensions and desertions occurred in the Macedonian army, and the blunder of the pretender in dividing his army and detaching half of it to Thessaly procured for the Romans an easy and decisive victory (606). Philip fled to the chieftain Byzes in Thrace, whither Metellus followed him and after a second victory obtained his surrender.

Province of Macedonia

The four Macedonian confederacies had not voluntarily submitted to the pretender, but had simply yielded to force. According to the policy hitherto pursued there was therefore no reason for depriving the Macedonians of the shadow of independence which the battle of Pydna had still left to them; nevertheless the kingdom of Alexander was now, by order of the senate, converted by Metellus into a Roman province. This case clearly showed that the Roman government had changed its system, and had resolved to substitute for the relation of clientship that of simple subjects; and accordingly the suppression of the four Macedonian confederacies was felt throughout the whole range of the client-states as a blow directed against all. The possessions in Epirus which were formerly after the first Roman victories detached from Macedonia—the Ionian islands and the ports of Apollonia and Epidamnus,(16) that had hitherto been under the jurisdiction of the Italian magistrates—were now reunited with Macedonia, so that the latter, probably as early as this period, reached on the north-west to a point beyond Scodra, where Illyria began. The protectorate which Rome claimed over Greece proper likewise devolved, of itself, on the new governor of Macedonia. Thus Macedonia recovered its unity and nearly the same limits which it had in its most flourishing times. It had no longer, however, the unity of a kingdom, but that of a province, retaining its communal and even, as it would seem, its district organization, but placed under an Italian governor and quaestor, whose names make their appearance on the native coins along with the name of the country. As tribute, there was retained the old moderate land-tax, as Paullus had arranged it(17)—a sum of 100 talents (24,000 pounds) which was allocated in fixed proportions on the several communities. Yet the land could not forget its old glorious dynasty. A few years after the subjugation of the pseudo-Philip another pretended son of Perseus, Alexander, raised the banner of insurrection on the Nestus (Karasu), and had in a short time collected 1600 men; but the quaestor Lucius Tremellius mastered the insurrection without difficulty and pursued the fugitive pretender as far as Dardania (612). This was the last movement of the proud national spirit of Macedonia, which two hundred years before had accomplished so great things in Hellas and Asia. Henceforward there is scarcely anything else to be told of the Macedonians, save that they continued to reckon their inglorious years from the date at which the country received its definitive provincial organization (608).

Thenceforth the defence of the northern and eastern frontiers of Macedonia or, in other words, of the frontier of Hellenic civilization against the barbarians devolved on the Romans. It was conducted by them with inadequate forces and not, on the whole, with befitting energy; but with a primary view to this military object the great Egnatian highway was constructed, which as early as the time of Polybius ran from Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, the two chief ports on the west coast, across the interior to Thessalonica, and was afterwards prolonged to the Hebrus (Maritza).(18) The new province became the natural basis, on the one hand for the movements against the turbulent Dalmatians, and on the other hand for the numerous expeditions against the Illyrian, Celtic, and Thracian tribes settled to the north of the Grecian peninsula, which we shall afterwards have to exhibit in their historical connection.


Greece proper had greater occasion than Macedonia to congratulate herself on the favour of the ruling power; and the Philhellenes of Rome might well be of opinion that the calamitous effects of the war with Perseus were disappearing, and that the state of things in general was improving there. The bitterest abettors of the now dominant party, Lyciscus the Aetolian, Mnasippus the Boeotian, Chrematas the Acarnanian, the infamous Epirot Charops whom honourable Romans forbade even to enter their houses, descended one after another to the grave; another generation grew up, in which the old recollections and the old antagonisms had faded. The Roman senate thought that the time for general forgiveness and oblivion had come, and in 604 released the survivors of those Achaean patriots who had been confined for seventeen years in Italy, and whose liberation the Achaean diet had never ceased to demand. Nevertheless they were mistaken. How little the Romans with all their Philhellenism had been successful in heartily conciliating Hellenic patriotism, was nowhere more clearly apparent than in the attitude of the Greeks towards the Attalids. King Eumenes II had been, as a friend of the Romans, extremely hated in Greece;(19) but scarcely had a coldness arisen between him and the Romans, when he became suddenly popular in Greece, and the Hellenic hopefuls expected the deliverer from a foreign yoke to come now from Pergamus as formerly from Macedonia. Social disorganization more especially was visibly on the increase among the petty states of Hellas now left to themselves. The country became desolate not through war and pestilence, but through the daily increasing disinclination of the higher classes to trouble themselves with wife and children; on the other hand the criminal or the thoughtless flocked as hitherto chiefly to Greece, there to await the recruiting officer. The communities sank into daily deeper debt, and into financial dishonour and a corresponding want of credit: some cities, more especially Athens and Thebes, resorted in their financial distress to direct robbery, and plundered the neighbouring communities. The internal dissensions in the leagues also—e. g. between the voluntary and the compulsory members of the Achaean confederacy— were by no means composed. If the Romans, as seems to have been the case, believed what they wished and confided in the calm which for the moment prevailed, they were soon to learn that the younger generation in Hellas was in no respect better or wiser than the older. The Greeks directly sought an opportunity of picking a quarrel with the Romans.

Achaean War

In order to screen a foul transaction, Diaeus, the president of the Achaean league for the time being, about 605 threw out in the diet the assertion that the special privileges conceded by the Achaean league to the Lacedaemonians as members—viz. their exemption from the Achaean criminal jurisdiction, and the right to send separate embassies to Rome—were not at all guaranteed to them by the Romans. It was an audacious falsehood; but the diet naturally believed what it wished, and, when the Achaeans showed themselves ready to make good their assertions with arms in hand, the weaker Spartans yielded for the time, or, to speak more correctly, those whose surrender was demanded by the Achaeans left the city to appear as complainants before the Roman senate. The senate answered as usual that it would send a commission to investigate the matter; but instead of reporting this reply the envoys stated in Achaia as well as in Sparta, and in both cases falsely, that the senate had decided in their favour. The Achaeans, who felt more than ever their equality with Rome as allies and their political importance on account of the aid which the league had just rendered in Thessaly against the pseudo-Philip, advanced in 606 under their -strategus- Damocritus into Laconia: in vain a Roman embassy on its way to Asia, at the suggestion of Metellus, admonished them to keep the peace and to await the commissioners of the senate. A battle took place, in which nearly 1000 Spartans fell, and Sparta might have been taken if Damocritus had not been equally incapable as an officer and as a statesman. He was superseded, and his successor Diaeus, the instigator of all this mischief, zealously continued the war, while at the same time he gave to the dreaded commandant of Macedonia assurances of the full loyalty of the Achaean league. Thereupon the long-expected Roman commission made its appearance, with Aurelius Orestes at its head; hostilities were now suspended, and the Achaean diet assembled at Corinth to receive its communications. They were of an unexpected and far from agreeable character. The Romans had resolved to cancel the unnatural and forced(20) inclusion of Sparta among the Achaean states, and generally to act with vigour against the Achaeans. Some years before (591) these had been obliged to release from their league the Aetolian town of Pleuron;(21) now they were directed to renounce all the acquisitions which they had made since the second Macedonian war—viz. Corinth, Orchomenus, Argos, Sparta in the Peloponnesus, and Heraclea near to Oeta—and to reduce their league to the condition in which it stood at the end of the Hannibalic war. When the Achaean deputies learned this, they rushed immediately to the market-place without even hearing the Romans to an end, and communicated the Roman demands to the multitude; whereupon the governing and the governed rabble with one voice resolved to arrest at once the whole Lacedaemonians present in Corinth, because Sparta forsooth had brought on them this misfortune. The arrest accordingly took place in the most tumultuary fashion, so that the possession of Laconian names or Laconian shoes appeared sufficient ground for imprisonment: in fact they even entered the dwellings of the Roman envoys to seize the Lacedaemonians who had taken shelter there, and hard words were uttered against the Romans, although they did not lay hands on their persons. The envoys returned home in indignation, and made bitter and even exaggerated complaints in the senate; but the latter, with the same moderation which marked all its measures against the Greeks, confined itself at first to representations. In the mildest form, and hardly mentioning satisfaction for the insults which they had endured, Sextus Julius Caesar repeated the commands of the Romans at the diet in Aegium (spring of 607). But the leaders of affairs in Achaia with the new -strategus- Critolaus at their head -strategus- (from May 607 to May 608), as men versed in state affairs and familiar with political arts, merely drew from that fact the inference that the position of Rome with reference to Carthage and Viriathus could not but be very unfavourable, and continued at once to cheat and to affront the Romans. Caesar was requested to arrange a conference of deputies of the contending parties at Tegea for the settlement of the question. He did so; but, after Caesar and the Lacedaemonian envoys had waited there long in vain for the Achaeans, Critolaus at last appeared alone and informed them that the general assembly of the Achaeans was solely competent in this matter, and that it could only be settled at the diet or, in other words, in six months. Caesar thereupon returned to Rome; and the next national assembly of the Achaeans on the proposal of Critolaus formally declared war against Sparta. Even now Metellus made an attempt amicably to settle the quarrel, and sent envoys to Corinth; but the noisy -ecclesia-, consisting mostly of the populace of that wealthy commercial and manufacturing city, drowned the voice of the Roman envoys and compelled them to leave the platform. The declaration of Critolaus, that they wished the Romans to be their friends but not their masters, was received with inexpressible delight; and, when the members of the diet wished to interpose, the mob protected the man after its own heart, and applauded the sarcasms as to the high treason of the rich and the need of a military dictatorship as well as the mysterious hints regarding an impending insurrection of countless peoples and kings against Rome. The spirit animating the movement is shown by the two resolutions, that all clubs should be permanent and all actions for debt should be suspended till the restoration of peace.

The Achaeans thus had war; and they had even actual allies, namely the Thebans and Boeotians and also the Chalcidians. At the beginning of 608 the Achaeans advanced into Thessaly to reduce to obedience Heraclea near to Oeta, which, in accordance with the decree of the senate, had detached itself from the Achaean league. The consul Lucius Mummius, whom the senate had resolved to send to Greece, had not yet arrived; accordingly Metellus undertook to protect Heraclea with the Macedonian legions. When the advance of the Romans was announced to the Achaeo-Theban army, there was no more talk of fighting; they deliberated only how they might best succeed in reaching once more the secure Peloponnesus; in all haste the army made off, and did not even attempt to hold the position at Thermopylae. But Metellus quickened the pursuit, and overtook and defeated the Greek army near Scarpheia in Locris. The loss in prisoners and dead was considerable; Critolaus was never heard of after the battle. The remains of the defeated army wandered about Greece in single troops, and everywhere sought admission in vain; the division of Patrae was destroyed in Phocis, the Arcadian select corps at Chaeronea; all northern Greece was evacuated, and only a small portion of the Achaean army and of the citizens of Thebes, who fled in a body, reached the Peloponnesus. Metellus sought by the utmost moderation to induce the Greeks to abandon their senseless resistance, and gave orders, for example, that all the Thebans with a single exception, should be allowed their liberty; his well-meant endeavours were thwarted not by the energy of the people, but by the desperation of the leaders apprehensive for their own safety. Diaeus, who after the fall of Critolaus had resumed the chief command, summoned all men capable of bearing arms to the isthmus, and ordered 12,000 slaves, natives of Greece, to be enrolled in the army; the rich were applied to for advances, and the ranks of the friends of peace, so far as they did not purchase their lives by bribing the ruling agents in this reign of terror, were thinned by bloody prosecutions. The war accordingly was continued, and after the same style. The Achaean vanguard, which, 4000 strong, was stationed under Alcamenes at Megara, dispersed as soon as it saw the Roman standards. Metellus was just about to order an attack upon the main force on the isthmus, when the consul Lucius Mummius with a few attendants arrived at the Roman head-quarters and took the command. Meanwhile the Achaeans, emboldened by a successful attack on the too incautious Roman outposts, offered battle to the Roman army, which was about twice as strong, at Leucopetra on the isthmus. The Romans were not slow to accept it. At the very first the Achaean horsemen broke off en masse before the Roman cavalry of six times their strength; the hoplites withstood the enemy till a flank attack by the Roman select corps brought confusion also into their ranks. This terminated the resistance. Diaeus fled to his home, put his wife to death, and took poison himself. All the cities submitted without opposition; and even the impregnable Corinth, into which Mummius for three days hesitated to enter because he feared an ambush, was occupied by the Romans without a blow.

Province of Achaia

The renewed regulation of the affairs of Greece was entrusted to a commission of ten senators in concert with the consul Mummius, who left behind him on the whole a blessed memory in the conquered country. Doubtless it was, to say the least, a foolish thing in him to assume the name of "Achaicus" on account of his feats of war and victory, and to build in the fulness of his gratitude a temple to Hercules Victor; but, as he had not been reared in aristocratic luxury and aristocratic corruption but was a "new man" and comparatively without means, he showed himself an upright and indulgent administrator. The statement, that none of the Achaeans perished but Diaeus and none of the Boeotians but Pytheas, is a rhetorical exaggeration: in Chalcis especially sad outrages occurred; but yet on the whole moderation was observed in the infliction of penalties. Mummius rejected the proposal to throw down the statues of Philopoemen, the founder of the Achaean patriotic party; the fines imposed on the communities were destined not for the Roman exchequer, but for the injured Greek cities, and were mostly remitted afterwards; and the property of those traitors who had parents or children was not sold on public account, but handed over to their relatives. The works of art alone were carried away from Corinth, Thespiae, and other cities and were erected partly in the capital, partly in the country towns of Italy:(22) several pieces were also presented to the Isthmian, Delphic, and Olympic temples. In the definitive organization of the country also moderation was in general displayed. It is true that, as was implied in the very introduction of the provincial constitution,(23) the special confederacies, and the Achaean in particular, were as such dissolved; the communities were isolated; and intercourse between them was hampered by the rule that no one might acquire landed property simultaneously in two communities. Moreover, as Flamininus had already attempted,(24) the democratic constitutions of the towns were altogether set aside, and the government in each community was placed in the hands of a council composed of the wealthy. A fixed land-tax to be paid to Rome was imposed on each community; and they were all subordinated to the governor of Macedonia in such a manner that the latter, as supreme military chief, exercised a superintendence over administration and justice, and could, for example, personally assume the decision of the more important criminal processes. Yet the Greek communities retained "freedom," that is, a formal sovereignty—reduced, doubtless, by the Roman hegemony to a name—which involved the property of the soil and the right to a distinct administration and jurisdiction of their own.(25) Some years later not only were the old confederacies again allowed to have a shadowy existence, but the oppressive restriction on the alienation of landed property was removed.

Destruction of Corinth

The communities of Thebes, Chalcis, and Corinth experienced a treatment more severe. There is no ground for censure in the fact that the two former were disarmed and converted by the demolition of their walls into open villages; but the wholly uncalled-for destruction of the flourishing Corinth, the first commercial city in Greece, remains a dark stain on the annals of Rome. By express orders from the senate the Corinthian citizens were seized, and such as were not killed were sold into slavery; the city itself was not only deprived of its walls and its citadel—a measure which, if the Romans were not disposed permanently to garrison it, was certainly inevitable—but was levelled with the ground, and all rebuilding on the desolate site was prohibited in the usual forms of accursing; part of its territory was given to Sicyon under the obligation that the latter should defray the costs of the Isthmian national festival in room of Corinth, but the greater portion was declared to be public land of Rome. Thus was extinguished "the eye of Hellas," the last precious ornament of the Grecian land, once so rich in cities. If, however, we review the whole catastrophe, the impartial historian must acknowledge— what the Greeks of this period themselves candidly confessed—that the Romans were not to blame for the war itself, but that on the contrary, the foolish perfidy and the feeble temerity of the Greeks compelled the Roman intervention. The abolition of the mock sovereignty of the leagues and of all the vague and pernicious dreams connected with them was a blessing for the country; and the government of the Roman commander-in-chief of Macedonia, however much it fell short of what was to be wished, was yet far better than the previous confusion and misrule of Greek confederacies and Roman commissions. The Peloponnesus ceased to be the great harbour of mercenaries; it is affirmed, and may readily be believed, that with the direct government of Rome security and prosperity in some measure returned. The epigram of Themistocles, that ruin had averted ruin, was applied by the Hellenes of that day not altogether without reason to the loss of Greek independence. The singular indulgence, which Rome even now showed towards the Greeks, becomes fully apparent only when compared with the contemporary conduct of the same authorities towards the Spaniards and Phoenicians. To treat barbarians with cruelty seemed not unallowable, but the Romans of this period, like the emperor Trajan in later times, deemed it "harsh and barbarous to deprive Athens and Sparta of the shadow of freedom which they still retained." All the more marked is the contrast between this general moderation and the revolting treatment of Corinth—a treatment disapproved by the orators who defended the destruction of Numantia and Carthage, and far from justified, even according to Roman international law, by the abusive language uttered against the Roman deputies in the streets of Corinth. And yet it by no means proceeded from the brutality of any single individual, least of all of Mummius, but was a measure deliberated and resolved on by the Roman senate. We shall not err, if we recognize it as the work of the mercantile party, which even thus early began to interfere in politics by the side of the aristocracy proper, and which in destroying Corinth got rid of a commercial rival. If the great merchants of Rome had anything to say in the regulation of Greece, we can understand why Corinth was singled out for punishment, and why the Romans not only destroyed the city as it stood, but also prohibited any future settlement on a site so pre-eminently favourable for commerce. The Peloponnesian Argos thenceforth became the rendezvous for the Roman merchants, who were very numerous even in Greece. For the Roman wholesale traffic, however, Delos was of greater importance; a Roman free port as early as 586, it had attracted a great part of the business of Rhodes,(26) and now in a similar way entered on the heritage of Corinth. This island remained for a considerable time the chief emporium for merchandise going from the east to the west.(27)

In the third and more distant continent the Roman dominion exhibited a development more imperfect than in the African and Macedono-Hellenic countries, which were separated from Italy only by narrow seas.

Kingdom of Pergamus

In Asia Minor, after the Seleucids were driven back, the kingdom of Pergamus had become the first power. Not led astray by the traditions of the Alexandrine monarchies, but sagacious and dispassionate enough to renounce what was impossible, the Attalids kept quiet; and endeavoured not to extend their bounds nor to withdraw from the Roman hegemony, but to promote the prosperity of their empire, so far as the Romans allowed, and to foster the arts of peace. Nevertheless they did not escape the jealousy and suspicion of Rome. In possession of the European shore of the Propontis, of the west coast of Asia Minor, and of its interior as far as the Cappadocian and Cilician frontiers, and in close connection with the Syrian kings—one of whom, Antiochus Epiphanes (d. 590), had ascendedthe throne by the aid of the Attalids—king Eumenes II had by his power, which seemed still more considerable from the more and more deep decline of Macedonia and Syria, instilled apprehension in the minds even of its founders. We have already related(28) how the senate sought to humble and weaken this ally after the third Macedonian war by unbecoming diplomatic arts. The relations— perplexing from the very nature of the case—of the rulers of Pergamus towards the free or half-free commercial cities within their kingdom, and towards their barbarous neighbours on its borders, became complicated still more painfully by this ill humour on the part of their patrons. As it was not clear whether, according to the treaty of peace in 565, the heights of the Taurus in Pamphylia and Pisidia belonged to the kingdom of Syria or to that of Pergamus,(29) the brave Selgians, nominally recognizing, as it would seem, the Syrian supremacy, made a prolonged and energetic resistance to the kings Eumenes II and Attalus II in the hardly accessible mountains of Pisidia. The Asiatic Celts also, who for a time with the permission of the Romans had yielded allegiance to Pergamus, revolted from Eumenes and, in concert with Prusias king of Bithynia the hereditary enemy of the Attalids, suddenly began war against him about 587. The king had had no time to hire mercenary troops; all his skill and valour could not prevent the Celts from defeating the Asiatic militia and overrunning his territory; the peculiar mediation, to which the Romans condescended at the request of Eumenes, has already been mentioned.(30) But, as soon as he had found time with the help of his well-filled exchequer to raise an army capable of taking the field, he speedily drove the wild hordes back over the frontier, and, although Galatia remained lost to him, and his obstinately-continued attempts to maintain his footing there were frustrated by Roman influence,(31) he yet, in spite of all the open attacks and secret machinations which his neighbours and the Romans directed against him, at his death (about 595) left his kingdom in standing un-diminished. His brother Attalus II Philadelphia (d. 616) with Roman aid repelled the attempt of Pharnaces king of Pontus to seize the guardianship of Eumenes' son who was a minor, and reigned in the room of his nephew, like Antigonus Doson, as guardian for life. Adroit, able, pliant, a genuine Attalid, he had the art to convince the suspicious senate that the apprehensions which it had formerly cherished were baseless. The anti-Roman party accused him of having to do with keeping the land for the Romans, and of acquiescing in every insult and exaction at their hands; but, sure of Roman protection, he was able to interfere decisively in the disputes as to the succession to the throne in Syria, Cappadocia, and Bithynia. Even from the dangerous Bithynian war, which king Prusias II, surnamed the Hunter (572?-605), a ruler who combined in his own person all the vices of barbarism and of civilization, began against him, Roman intervention saved him—although not until he had been himself besieged in his capital, and a first warning given by the Romans had remained unattended to, and had even been scoffed at, by Prusias (598-600). But, when his ward Attalus III Philometor ascended the throne (616-621), the peaceful and moderate rule of the citizen kings was replaced by the tyranny of an Asiatic sultan; under which for instance, the king, with a view to rid himself of the inconvenient counsel of his father's friends, assembled them in the palace, and ordered his mercenaries to put to death first them, and then their wives and children. Along with such recreations he wrote treatises on gardening, reared poisonous plants, and prepared wax models, till a sudden death carried him off.

Province of Asia
War against Aristonicus

With him the house of the Attalids became extinct. In such an event, according to the constitutional law which held good at least for the client-states of Rome, the last ruler might dispose of the succession by testament. Whether it was the insane rancour against his subjects which had tormented the last Attalid during life that now suggested to him the thought of bequeathing his kingdom by will to the Romans, or whether his doing so was merely a further recognition of the practical supremacy of Rome, cannot be determined. The testament was made;(32) the Romans accepted the bequest, and the question as to the land and the treasure of the Attalids threw a new apple of contention among the conflicting political parties in Rome. In Asia also this royal testament kindled a civil war. Relying on the aversion of the Asiatics to the foreign rule which awaited them, Aristonicus, a natural son of Eumenes II, made his appearance in Leucae, a small seaport between Smyrna and Phocaea, as a pretender to the crown. Phocaea and other towns joined him, but he was defeated at sea off Cyme by the Ephesians—who saw that a steady adherence to Rome was the only possible way of preserving their privileges—and was obliged to flee into the interior. The movement was believed to have died away when he suddenly reappeared at the head of the new "citizens of the city of the sun,"(33) in other words, of the slaves whom he had called to freedom en masse, mastered the Lydian towns of Thyatira and Apollonis as well as a portion of the Attalic townships, and summoned bands of Thracian free-lances to join his standard. The struggle was serious. There were no Roman troops in Asia; the Asiatic free cities and the contingents of the client-princes of Bithynia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Armenia, could not withstand the pretender; he penetrated by force of arms into Colophon, Samos, and Myndus, and already ruled over almost all his father's kingdom, when at the close of 623 a Roman army landed in Asia. Its commander, the consul and -pontifex maximus- Publius Licinius Crassus Mucianus, one of the wealthiest and at the same time one of the most cultivated men in Rome, equally distinguished as an orator and as a jurist, was about to besiege the pretender in Leucae, but during his preparations for that purpose allowed himself to be surprised and defeated by his too-much-underrated opponent, and was made a prisoner in person by a Thracian band. But he did not allow such an enemy the triumph of exhibiting the Roman commander-in-chief as a captive; he provoked the barbarians, who had captured him without knowing who he was, to put him to death (beginning of 624), and the consular was only recognised when a corpse. With him, as it would seem, fell Ariarathes king of Cappadocia. But not long after this victory Aristonicus was attacked by Marcus Perpenna, the successor of Crassus; his army was dispersed, he himself was besieged and taken prisoner in Stratonicea, and was soon afterwards executed in Rome. The subjugation of the last towns that still offered resistance and the definitive regulation of the country were committed, after the sudden death of Perpenna, to Manius Aquillius (625). The same policy was followed as in the case of the Carthaginian territory.

The eastern portion of the kingdom of the Attalids was assigned to the client kings, so as to release the Romans from the protection of the frontier and thereby from the necessity of maintaining a standing force in Asia; Telmissus(34) went to the Lycian confederacy; the European possessions in Thrace were annexed to the province of Macedonia; the rest of the territory was organized as a new Roman province, which like that of Carthage was, not without design, designated by the name of the continent in which it lay. The land was released from the taxes which had been paid to Pergamus; and it was treated with the same moderation as Hellas and Macedonia. Thus the most considerable state in Asia Minor became a Roman province.

Western Asia

The numerous other small states and cities of western Asia— the kingdom of Bithynia, the Paphlagonian and Gallic principalities, the Lycian and Pamphylian confederacies, the free cities of Cyzicus and Rhodes—continued in their former circumscribed relations.

Beyond the Halys Cappadocia—after king Ariarathes V Philopator (591-624) had, chiefly by the aid of the Attalids, held his ground against his brother and rival Holophernes who was supported by Syria— followed substantially the Pergamene policy, as respected both absolute devotion to Rome and the tendency to adopt Hellenic culture. He was the means of introducing that culture into the hitherto almost barbarous Cappadocia, and along with it its extravagancies also, such as the worship of Bacchus and the dissolute practices of the bands of wandering actors—the "artists" as they were called. In reward for the fidelity to Rome, which had cost this prince his life in the struggle with the Pergamene pretender, his youthful heir Ariarathes VI was not only protected by the Romans against the usurpation attempted by the king of Pontus, but received also the south-eastern part of the kingdom of the Attalids, Lycaonia, along with the district bordering on it to the eastward reckoned in earlier times as part of Cilicia.


In the remote north-east of Asia Minor "Cappadocia on the sea," or more briefly the "sea-state," Pontus, increased in extent and importance. Not long after the battle of Magnesia king Pharnaces I had extended his dominion far beyond the Halys to Tius on the frontier of Bithynia, and in particular had possessed himself of the rich Sinope, which was converted from a Greek free city into the residence of the kings of Pontus. It is true that the neighbouring states endangered by these encroachments, with king Eumenes II at their head, had on that account waged war against him (571-575), and under Roman mediation had exacted from him a promise to evacuate Galatia and Paphlagonia; but the course of events shows that Pharnaces as well as his successor Mithradates V. Euergetes (598?-634), faithful allies of Rome in the third Punic war as well as in the struggle with Aristonicus, not only remained in possession beyond the Halys, but also in substance retained the protectorate over the Paphlagonian and Galatian dynasts. It is only on this hypothesis that we can explain how Mithradates, ostensibly for his brave deeds in the war against Aristonicus, but in reality for considerable sums paid to the Roman general, could receive Great Phrygia from the latter after the dissolution of the Attalid kingdom. How far on the other hand the kingdom of Pontus about this time extended in the direction of the Caucasus and the sources of the Euphrates, cannot be precisely determined; but it seems to have embraced the western part of Armenia about Enderes and Divirigi, or what was called Lesser Armenia, as a dependent satrapy, while the Greater Armenia and Sophene formed distinct and independent kingdoms.

Syria and Egypt

While in the peninsula of Asia Minor Rome thus substantially conducted the government and, although much was done without or in opposition to her wishes, yet determined on the whole the state of possession, the wide tracts on the other hand beyond the Taurus and the Upper Euphrates as far down as the valley of the Nile continued to be mainly left to themselves. No doubt the principle which formed the basis of the regulation of Oriental affairs in 565, viz. That the Halys should form the eastern boundary of the Roman client-states,(35) was not adhered to by the senate and was in its very nature untenable. The political horizon is a self-deception as well as the physical; if the state of Syria had the number of ships of war and war-elephants allowed to it prescribed in the treaty of peace,(36) and if the Syrian army at the bidding of the Roman senate evacuated Egypt when half-won(37), these things implied a complete recognition of hegemony and of clientship. Accordingly the disputes as to the throne in Syria and in Egypt were referred for settlement to the Roman government. In the former after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (590) Demetrius afterwards named Soter, the son of Seleucus IV, living as a hostage at Rome, and Antiochus Eupator, a minor, the son of the last king Antiochus Epiphanes, contended for the crown; in the latter Ptolemy Philometor (573-608), the elder of the two brothers who had reigned jointly since 584, had been driven from the country (590) by the younger Ptolemy Euergetes II or the Fat (d. 637), and had appeared in person at Rome to procure his restoration. Both affairs were arranged by the senate entirely through diplomatic agency, and substantially in accordance with Roman advantage. In Syria Demetrius, who had the better title, was set aside, and Antiochus Eupator was recognized as king; while the guardianship of the royal boy was entrusted by the senate to the Roman senator Gnaeus Octavius, who, as was to be expected, governed thoroughly in the interest of Rome, reduced the war-marine and the army of elephants agreeably to the treaty of 565, and was in the fair way of completing the military ruin of the country. In Egypt not only was the restoration of Philometor accomplished, but—partly in order to put an end to the quarrel between the brothers, partly in order to weaken the still considerable power of Egypt—Cyrene was separated from that kingdom and assigned as a provision for Euergetes. "The Romans make kings of those whom they wish," a Jew wrote not long after this, "and those whom they do not wish they chase away from land and people." But this was the last occasion—for a long time—on which the Roman senate came forward in the affairs of the east with that ability and energy, which it had uniformly displayed in the complications with Philip, Antiochus, and Perseus. Though the internal decline of the government was late in affecting the treatment of foreign affairs, yet it did affect them at length. The government became unsteady and vacillating; they allowed the reins which they had just grasped to slacken and almost to slip from their hands. The guardian-regent of Syria was murdered at Laodicea; the rejected pretender Demetrius escaped from Rome and, setting aside the youthful prince, seized the government of his ancestral kingdom under the bold pretext that the Roman senate had fully empowered him to do so (592). Soon afterwards war broke out between the kings of Egypt and Cyrene respecting the possession of the island of Cyprus, which the senate had assigned first to the elder, then to the younger; and in opposition to the most recent Roman decision it finally remained with Egypt. Thus the Roman government, in the plenitude of its power and during the most profound inward and outward peace at home, had its decrees derided by the impotent kings of the east; its name was misused, its ward and its commissioner were murdered. Seventy years before, when the Illyrians had in a similar way laid hands on Roman envoys, the senate of that day had erected a monument to the victim in the market-place, and had with an army and fleet called the murderers to account. The senate of this period likewise ordered a monument to be raised to Gnaeus Octavius, as ancestral custom prescribed; but instead of embarking troops for Syria they recognized Demetrius as king of the land. They were forsooth now so powerful, that it seemed superfluous to guard their own honour. In like manner not only was Cyprus retained by Egypt in spite of the decree of the senate to the contrary, but, when after the death of Philometor (608) Euergetes succeeded him and so reunited the divided kingdom, the senate allowed this also to take place without opposition.

India, Bactria

After such occurrences the Roman influence in these countries was practically shattered, and events pursued their course there for the present without the help of the Romans; but it is necessary for the right understanding of the sequel that we should not wholly omit to notice the history of the nearer, and even of the more remote, east. While in Egypt, shut off as it is on all sides, the status quo did not so easily admit of change, in Asia both to the west and east of the Euphrates the peoples and states underwent essential modifications during, and partly in consequence of, this temporary suspension of the Roman superintendence. Beyond the great desert of Iran there had arisen not long after Alexander the Great the kingdom of Palimbothra under Chandragupta (Sandracottus) on the Indus, and the powerful Bactrian state on the upper Oxus, both formed from a mixture of national elements with the most eastern offshoots of Hellenic civilization.

Decline of the Kingdom of Asia

To the west of these began the kingdom of Asia, which, although diminished under Antiochus the Great, still stretched its unwieldy bulk from the Hellespont to the Median and Persian provinces, and embraced the whole basin of the Euphrates and Tigris. That king had still carried his arms beyond the desert into the territory of the Parthians and Bactrians; it was only under him that the vast state had begun to melt away. Not only had western Asia been lost in consequence of the battle of Magnesia; the total emancipation of the two Cappadocias and the two Armenias—Armenia proper in the northeast and the region of Sophene in the south-west—and their conversion from principalities dependent on Syria into independent kingdoms also belong to this period.(38) Of these states Great Armenia in particular, under the Artaxiads, soon attained to a considerable position. Wounds perhaps still more dangerous were inflicted on the empire by the foolish levelling policy of his successor Antiochus Epiphanes (579-590). Although it was true that his kingdom resembled an aggregation of countries rather than a single state, and that the differences of nationality and religion among his subjects placed the most material obstacles in the way of the government, yet the plan of introducing throughout his dominions Helleno-Roman manners and Helleno-Roman worship and of equalizing the various peoples in a political as well as a religious point of view was under any circumstances a folly; and all the more so from the fact, that this caricature of Joseph II was personally far from equal to so gigantic an enterprise, and introduced his reforms in the very worst way by the pillage of temples on the greatest scale and the most insane persecution of heretics.

The Jews

One consequence of this policy was, that the inhabitants of the province next to the Egyptian frontier, the Jews, a people formerly submissive even to humility and extremely active and industrious, were driven by systematic religious persecution to open revolt (about 587). The matter came to the senate; and, as it was just at that time with good reason indignant at Demetrius Soter and apprehensive of a combination between the Attalids and Seleucids, while the establishment of a power intermediate between Syria and Egypt was at any rate for the interest of Rome, it made no difficulty in at once recognizing the freedom and autonomy of the insurgent nation (about 593). Nothing, however, was done by Rome for the Jews except what could be done without personal exertion: in spite of the clause of the treaty concluded between the Romans and the Jews which promised Roman aid to the latter in the event of their being attacked, and in spite of the injunction addressed to the kings of Syria and Egypt not to march their troops through Judaea, it was of course entirely left to the Jews themselves to hold their ground against the Syrian kings. The brave and prudent conduct of the insurrection by the heroic family of the Maccabees and the internal dissension in the Syrian empire did more for them than the letters of their powerful allies; during the strife between the Syrian kings Trypho and Demetrius Nicator autonomy and exemption from tribute were formally accorded to the Jews (612); and soon afterwards the head of the Maccabaean house, Simon son of Mattathias, was even formally acknowledged by the nation as well as by the Syrian great-king as high priest and prince of Israel (615).(39)

The Parthian Empire

Of still more importance in the sequel than this insurrection of the Israelites was the contemporary movement—probably originating from the same cause—in the eastern provinces, where Antiochus Epiphanes emptied the temples of the Persian gods just as he had emptied that at Jerusalem, and doubtless accorded no better treatment there to the adherents of Ahuramazda and Mithra than here to those of Jehovah. Just as in Judaea—only with a wider range and ampler proportions— the result was a reaction on the part of the native manners and the native religion against Hellenism and the Hellenic gods; the promoters of this movement were the Parthians, and out of it arose the great Parthian empire. The "Parthwa," or Parthians, who are early met with as one of the numerous peoples merged in the great Persian empire, at first in the modern Khorasan to the south-east of the Caspian sea, appear after 500 under the Scythian, i. e. Turanian, princely race of the Arsacids as an independent state; which, however, only emerged from its obscurity about a century afterwards. The sixth Arsaces, Mithradates I (579?-618?), was the real founder of the Parthian as a great power. To him succumbed the Bactrian empire, in itself far more powerful, but already shaken to the very foundation partly by hostilities with the hordes of Scythian horsemen from Turan and with the states of the Indus, partly by internal disorders. He achieved almost equal successes in the countries to the west of the great desert. The Syrian empire was just then in the utmost disorganization, partly through the failure of the Hellenizing attempts of Antiochus Epiphanes, partly through the troubles as to the succession that occurred after his death; and the provinces of the interior were in full course of breaking off from Antioch and the region of the coast. In Commagene for instance, the most northerly province of Syria on the Cappadocian frontier, the satrap Ptolemaeus asserted his independence, as did also on the opposite bank of the Euphrates the prince of Edessa in northern Mesopotamia or the province of Osrhoene, and the satrap Timarchus in the important province of Media; in fact the latter got his independence confirmed by the Roman senate, and, supported by Armenia as his ally, ruled as far down as Seleucia on the Tigris. Disorders of this sort were permanent features of the Asiatic empire: the provinces under their partially or wholly independent satraps were in continual revolt, as was also the capital with its unruly and refractory populace resembling that of Rome or Alexandria. The whole pack of neighbouring kings—those of Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, Pergamus— incessantly interfered in the affairs of Syria and fostered disputes as to the succession, so that civil war and the division of the sovereignty de facto among two or more pretenders became almost standing calamities of the country. The Roman protecting power, if it did not instigate these neighbours, was an inactive spectator. In addition to all this the new Parthian empire from the eastward pressed hard on the aliens not merely with its material power, but with the whole superiority of its national language and religion and of its national military and political organization. This is not yet the place for a description of this regenerated empire of Cyrus; it is sufficient to mention generally the fact that powerful as was the influence of Hellenism in its composition, the Parthian state, as compared with that of the Seleucids, was based on a national and religious reaction, and that the old Iranian language, the order of the Magi and the worship of Mithra, the Oriental feudatory system, the cavalry of the desert and the bow and arrow, first emerged there in renewed and superior opposition to Hellenism. The position of the imperial kings in presence of all this was really pitiable. The family of the Seleucids was by no means so enervated as that of the Lagids for instance, and individuals among them were not deficient in valour and ability; they reduced, it may be, one or another of those numerous rebels, pretenders, and intermeddlers to due bounds; but their dominion was so lacking in a firm foundation, that they were unable to impose even a temporary check on anarchy. The result was inevitable. The eastern provinces of Syria under their unprotected or even insurgent satraps fell into subjection to the Parthians; Persia, Babylonia, Media were for ever severed from the Syrian empire; the new state of the Parthians reached on both sides of the great desert from the Oxus and the Hindoo Coosh to the Tigris and the Arabian desert—once more, like the Persian empire and all the older great states of Asia, a pure continental monarchy, and once more, just like the Persian empire, engaged in perpetual feud on the one side with the peoples of Turan, on the other with the Occidentals. The Syrian state embraced at the most Mesopotamia in addition to the region of the coast, and disappeared, more in consequence of its internal disorganization than of its diminished size, for ever from the ranks of the great states. If the danger— which was repeatedly imminent—of a total subjugation of the land by the Parthians was averted, that result must be ascribed not to the resistance of the last Seleucids and still less to the influence of Rome, but rather to the manifold internal disturbances in the Parthian empire itself, and above all to the incursions of the peoples of the Turanian steppes into its eastern provinces.

Reaction of the East against the West

This revolution in the relations of the peoples in the interior of Asia is the turning-point in the history of antiquity. The tide of national movement, which had hitherto poured from the west to the east and had found in Alexander the Great its last and highest expression, was followed by the ebb. On the establishment of the Parthian state not only were such Hellenic elements, as may still perhaps have been preserved in Bactria and on the Indus, lost, but western Iran also relapsed into the track which had been abandoned for centuries but was not yet obliterated. The Roman senate sacrificed the first essential result of the policy of Alexander, and thereby paved the way for that retrograde movement, whose last offshoots ended in the Alhambra of Granada and in the great Mosque of Constantinople. So long as the country from Ragae and Persepolis to the Mediterranean obeyed the king of Antioch, the power of Rome extended to the border of the great desert; the Parthian state could never take its place among the dependencies of the Mediterranean empire, not because it was so very powerful, but because it had its centre far from the coast, in the interior of Asia. Since the time of Alexander the world had obeyed the Occidentals alone, and the east seemed to be for these merely what America and Australia afterwards became for the Europeans; with Mithradates I the east re-entered the sphere of political movement. The world had again two masters.

Maritime Relations

It remains that we glance at the maritime relations of this period; although there is hardly anything else to be said, than that there no longer existed anywhere a naval power. Carthage was annihilated; the war-fleet of Syria was destroyed in accordance with the treaty; the war-marine of Egypt, once so powerful, was under its present indolent rulers in deep decay. The minor states, and particularly the mercantile cities, had doubtless some armed transports; but these were not even adequate for the task—so difficult in the Mediterranean—of repressing piracy. This task necessarily devolved on Rome as the leading power in the Mediterranean. While a century previously the Romans had come forward in this matter with especial and salutary decision, and had in particular introduced their supremacy in the east by a maritime police energetically handled for the general good,(40) the complete nullity of this police at the very beginning of this period as distinctly betokens the fearfully rapid decline of the aristocratic government. Rome no longer possessed a fleet of her own; she was content to make requisitions for ships, when it seemed necessary, from the maritime towns of Italy, Asia Minor, and elsewhere. The consequence naturally was, that buccaneering became organized and consolidated. Something, perhaps, though not enough, was done towards its suppression, so far as the direct power of the Romans extended, in the Adriatic and Tyrrhene seas. The expeditions directed against the Dalmatian and Ligurian coasts at this epoch aimed especially at the suppression of piracy in the two Italian seas; for the same reason the Balearic islands were occupied in 631.(41) But in the Mauretanian and Greek waters the inhabitants along the coast and the mariners were left to settle matters with the corsairs in one way or another, as they best could; for Roman policy adhered to the principle of troubling itself as little as possible about these more remote regions. The disorganized and bankrupt commonwealths in the states along the coast thus left to themselves naturally became places of refuge for the corsairs; and there was no want of such, especially in Asia.


A bad pre-eminence in this respect belonged to Crete, which, from its favourable situation and the weakness or laxity of the great states of the west and east, was the only one of all the Greek settlements that had preserved its independence. Roman commissions doubtless came and went to this island, but accomplished still less there than they did even in Syria and Egypt. It seemed almost as if fate had left liberty to the Cretans only in order to show what was the result of Hellenic independence. It was a dreadful picture. The old Doric rigour of the Cretan institutions had become, just as in Tarentum, changed into a licentious democracy, and the chivalrous spirit of the inhabitants into a wild love of quarrelling and plunder; a respectable Greek himself testifies, that in Crete alone nothing was accounted disgraceful that was lucrative, and even the Apostle Paul quotes with approval the saying of a Cretan poet,

—Kretes aei pseustai, kaka theria, gasteres argai—.

Perpetual civil wars, notwithstanding the Roman efforts to bring about peace, converted one flourishing township after another on the old "island of the hundred cities" into heaps of ruins. Its inhabitants roamed as robbers at home and abroad, by land and by sea; the island became the recruiting ground for the surrounding kingdoms, after that evil was no longer tolerated in the Peloponnesus, and above all the true seat of piracy; about this period, for instance, the island of Siphnus was thoroughly pillaged by a fleet of Cretan corsairs. Rhodes—which, besides, was unable to recover from the loss of its possessions on the mainland and from the blows inflicted on its commerce(42)—expended its last energies in the wars which it found itself compelled to wage against the Cretans for the suppression of piracy (about 600), and in which the Romans sought to mediate, but without earnestness and apparently without success.


Along with Crete, Cilicia soon began to become a second home for this buccaneering system. Piracy there not only gained ground owing to the impotence of the Syrian rulers, but the usurper Diodotus Tryphon, who had risen from a slave to be king of Syria (608-615), encouraged it by all means in his chief seat, the rugged or western Cilicia, with a view to strengthen his throne by the aid of the corsairs. The uncommonly lucrative character of the traffic with the pirates, who were at once the principal captors of, and dealers in slaves, procured for them among the mercantile public, even in Alexandria, Rhodes, and Delos, a certain toleration, in which the very governments shared at least by inaction. The evil was so serious that the senate, about 611, sent its best man Scipio Aemilianus to Alexandria and Syria, in order to ascertain on the spot what could be done in the matter. But diplomatic representations of the Romans did not make weak governments strong; there was no other remedy but that of directly maintaining a fleet in these waters, and for this the Roman government lacked energy and perseverance. So all things just remained on the old footing; the piratic fleet was the only considerable naval power in the Mediterranean; the capture of men was the only trade that flourished there. The Roman government was an onlooker; but the Roman merchants, as the best customers in the slave market, kept up an active and friendly traffic with the pirate captains, as the most important wholesale dealers in that commodity, at Delos and elsewhere.

General Result

We have followed the transformation of the outward relations of Rome and the Romano-Hellenic world generally in its leading outlines, from the battle of Pydna to the period of the Gracchi, from the Tagus and the Bagradas to the Nile and the Euphrates. It was a great and difficult problem which Rome undertook, when she undertook to govern this Romano-Hellenic world; it was not wholly misunderstood, but it was by no means solved. The untenableness of the idea of Cato's time— that the state should be limited to Italy, and that its rule beyond Italy should be only over clients—was doubtless discerned by the leading men of the following generation; and the necessity of substituting for this ruling by clientship a direct sovereignty of Rome, that should preserve the liberties of the communities, was doubtless recognized. But instead of carrying out this new arrangement firmly, speedily, and uniformly, they annexed isolated provinces just as convenience, caprice, collateral advantage, or accident led them to do so; whereas the greater portion of the territory under clientship either remained in the intolerable uncertainty of its former position, or even, as was the case with Syria especially, withdrew entirely from the influence of Rome. And even the government itself degenerated more and more into a feeble and short-sighted selfishness. They were content with governing from one day to another, and merely transacting the current business as exigency required. They were stern masters towards the weak. When the city of Mylasa in Caria sent to Publius Crassus, consul in 623, a beam for the construction of a battering-ram different from what he had asked, the chief magistrate of the town was scourged for it; and Crassus was not a bad man, and a strictly upright magistrate. On the other hand sternness was wanting in those cases where it would have been in place, as in dealing with the barbarians on the frontiers and with the pirates. When the central government renounced all superintendence and all oversight of provincial affairs, it entirely abandoned not only the interests of the subjects, but also those of the state, to the governor of the day. The events which occurred in Spain, unimportant in themselves, are instructive in this respect. In that country, where the government was less able than in other provinces to confine itself to the part of a mere onlooker, the law of nations was directly trampled under foot by the Roman governors; and the honour of Rome was permanently dragged in the mire by a faithlessness and treachery without parallel, by the most wanton trifling with capitulations and treaties, by massacring people who had submitted and instigating the assassination of the generals of the enemy. Nor was this all; war was even waged and peace concluded against the expressed will of the supreme authority in Rome, and unimportant incidents, such as the disobedience of the Numantines, were developed by a rare combination of perversity and folly into a crisis of fatal moment for the state. And all this took place without any effort to visit it with even a serious penalty in Rome. Not only did the sympathies and rivalries of the different coteries in the senate contribute to decide the filling up of the most important places and the treatment of the most momentous political questions; but even thus early the money of foreign dynasts found its way to the senators of Rome. Timarchus, the envoy of Antiochus Epiphanes king of Syria (590), is mentioned as the first who attempted with success to bribe the Roman senate; the bestowal of presents from foreign kings on influential senators soon became so common, that surprise was excited when Scipio Aemilianus cast into the military chest the gifts from the king of Syria which reached him in camp before Numantia. The ancient principle, that rule was its own sole reward and that such rule was as much a duty and a burden as a privilege and a benefit, was allowed to fall wholly into abeyance. Thus there arose the new state-economy, which turned its eyes away from the taxation of the burgesses, but regarded the body of subjects, on the other hand, as a profitable possession of the community, which it partly worked out for the public benefit, partly handed over to be worked out by the burgesses. Not only was free scope allowed with criminal indulgence to the unscrupulous greed of the Roman merchant in the provincial administration, but even the commercial rivals who were disagreeable to him were cleared away by the armies of the state, and the most glorious cities of neighbouring lands were sacrificed, not to the barbarism of the lust of power, but to the far more horrible barbarism of speculation. By the ruin of the earlier military organization, which certainly imposed heavy burdens on the burgesses, the state, which was solely dependent in the last resort on its military superiority, undermined its own support. The fleet was allowed to go to ruin; the system of land warfare fell into the most incredible decay. The duty of guarding the Asiatic and African frontiers was devolved on the subjects; and what could not be so devolved, such as the defence of the frontier in Italy, Macedonia, and Spain, was managed after the most wretched fashion. The better classes began to disappear so much from the army, that it was already difficult to raise the necessary number of officers for the Spanish armies. The daily increasing aversion to the Spanish war-service in particular, combined with the partiality shown by the magistrates in the levy, rendered it necessary in 602 to abandon the old practice of leaving the selection of the requisite number of soldiers from the men liable to serve to the free discretion of the officers, and to substitute for it the drawing lots on the part of all the men liable to service—certainly not to the advantage of the military esprit de corps, or of the warlike efficiency of the individual divisions. The authorities, instead of acting with vigour and sternness, extended their pitiful flattery of the people even to this field; whenever a consul in the discharge of his duty instituted rigorous levies for the Spanish service, the tribunes made use of their constitutional right to arrest him (603, 616); and it has been already observed, that Scipio's request that he should be allowed a levy for the Numantine war was directly rejected by the senate. Accordingly the Roman armies before Carthage or Numantia already remind one of those Syrian armies, in which the number of bakers, cooks, actors, and other non-combatants exceeded fourfold that of the so-called soldiers; already the Roman generals are little behind their Carthaginian colleagues in the art of ruining armies, and the wars in Africa as in Spain, in Macedonia as in Asia, are regularly opened with defeats; the murder of Gnaeus Octavius is now passed over in silence; the assassination of Viriathus is now a masterpiece of Roman diplomacy; the conquest of Numantia is now a great achievement. How completely the idea of national and manly honour was already lost among the Romans, was shown with epigrammatic point by the statue of the stripped and bound Mancinus, which he himself, proud of his patriotic devotedness, caused to be erected in Rome. Wherever we turn our eyes, we find the internal energy as well as the external power of Rome rapidly on the decline. The ground won in gigantic struggles is not extended, norin fact even maintained, in this period of peace. The government of the world, which it was difficult to achieve, it was still more difficult to preserve; the Roman senate had mastered the former task, but it broke down under the latter.

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