Cassius Dio
Roman History


Fragments of Book XIX


At this time also Flamininus made a campaign against Argos, for the Romans, seeing that Nabis was not loyal to them and was a source of terror to the Greeks, regarded him as an enemy. With an accession of allies from Philip Flamininus marched upon Sparta, crossed Taÿgetus without difficulty, and advanced toward the city, meeting with no opposition. For Nabis, being afraid of the Romans and suspicious of the natives, did not rouse himself to the point of advancing to meet Flamininus; but when the latter drew near, he made a sortie, feeling contemptuous of his opponent while the latter was fatigued from the march and was busied, moreover, with the work of pitching camp; and he caused some confusion among them. The next day he came out to face the Romans when they assaulted, but as he lost large numbers, he did not try it again. So Flamininus left a portion of his army there to prevent Nabis from stirring anywhere, and with the rest turned his attention to the country, which he ravaged with the aid of his brother and the Rhodians and Eumenes, the son Attalus. Nabis was consequently in despair and despatched a herald to Flamininus in regard to peace. The latter listened to his proposals, but did not immediately conclude peace. For the terms which Nabis was asked to make were such that he neither dared to refuse them, nor yet would he consent to make them; but the populace prevented him from coming to an agreement. So at this time Nabis did not make peace, but when the Romans attacked again and captured nearly the whole of Sparta (for it was without a wall in places), he held out no longer, but made a truce with Flamininus, and by sending an embassy to Rome effected a settlement.

Flamininus at this time set all the Greeks free, and later he summoned them together and after reminding them of the benefits they had received urged them to maintain friendship with Rome; he then withdrew all the garrisons and departed with his entire army.

Upon the arrival of Flamininus at Rome Nabis rebelled. Thereupon practically the whole Greek world became aroused, being encouraged by the Aetolians; and they were making ready for war and were sending embassies to Philip and Antiochus. The latter they succeeded in persuading to become an enemy of the Romans, promising him that he should be king of both Greece and Italy. With affairs in this disturbed state, the Romans had no hope of overcoming Antiochus, but were content if only they could preserve their former conquests. For he was regarded as a mighty ruler even by virtue of his own power, by which he had subjugated Media among other exploits; but he became far mightier still through having gained as sons-in-law Ptolemy, king of Egypt, and Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia.

In view of this estimate of Antiochus, the Romans, so long as they were at war with Philip, were careful to court his favour, keeping up friendly relations with him through envoys and sending him gifts. But when they had vanquished their other enemy, they despised also this king whom they had formerly feared. Antiochus crossed over into Thrace and gained control of many districts. He also helped to colonize Lysimachia, which had been depopulated, intending to use it as a base; for Philip and Nabis had invited his assistance. Hannibal, to, had been with him, and had caused him to hope that he might sail to Carthage, and from there to Italy, and further that he might subjugate the races along the Ionian Gulf, and with them set out against Rome. Antiochus did, at any rate, succeed in crossing into Europe twice, and in reaching Greece. But learning now that Ptolemy was dead, and deeming it all-important to get possession of Egypt, he left his son Seleucus with a force at Lysimachia, and himself set out on the march. He found out, however, that Ptolemy was alive, and so kept away from Egypt, but made an attempt to sail to Cyprus; however, he was baffled by a storm and returned home. The Romans and he both now sent envoys to each other submitting mutual complaints, in order that they might find an excuse for war and also that they might observe conditions on the other side before the conflict began.

Hannibal had obtained the most important office at Carthage and in his tenure of it had offended the most powerful nobles and incurred their hatred. Malicious reports about him were also conveyed to the Romans, to the effect that he was rousing the Carthaginians to revolt and was taking counsel with Antiochus. Learning now that some men from Rome were present, and fearing arrest, he fled from Carthage by night. And coming to Antiochus, he undertook to pave the way for his own restoration to his native country and for war against the Romans by promising the king that he would secure for him the rule of both Greece and Italy. This was before Scipio Africanus joined them. Scipio had been sent to Africa as an arbitrator between Masinissa not Carthaginians, who were at variance over some boundaries, and he had left their dispute still unsettled, in order that they might continue to quarrel and that neither of them might be angry at the Romans on account of their decision. From there he crossed into Asia, nominally as an envoy to Antiochus, but in reality to frighten both him and Hannibal by his coming and to accomplish what was for the advantage of the Romans. After his arrival Antiochus no longer paid the same deference to Hannibal. He suspected him because of his secret conversations with Scipio, and found him burdensome in any case, since everybody ascribed every plan to Hannibal, and all placed in him their hope for success in the war. For these reasons, then, he became both jealous and afraid of Hannibal, lest he might change his demeanour, in case he should get control of any power. So he neither supplied him with an army nor sent him to Carthage; furthermore, he did not favour him with any great intimacy, but even endeavoured to avoid all appearance of acting on his advice.

The fame of Antiochus occupied a large share of Rome's attention and caused the Romans no small degree of uneasiness. Many rumours were rife regarding him: some reported that he already held the whole of Greece, others that he was hastening toward Italy. The Romans accordingly sent envoys to Greece, among them Flamininus, who was on intimate terms with the people there, in order that he might prevent both Philip and them from beginning a revolt; and of the praetors they sent Marcus Baebius to Apollonia, in case Antiochus should undertake to cross over into Italy by that route, and Aulus Atilius against Nabis. Now Aulus accomplished nothing, for Nabis had already perished, the victim of a plot on the part of the Aetolians, and Sparta had been captured by the Achaeans; but Baebius and Philip strengthened the loyalty of many portions of Thessaly. For the Macedonian king had remained true to she agreement with the Romans, principally for the reason that Antiochus had annexed some settlements belonging to him in Thrace.

Flamininus went about Greece, persuading some not to revolt, and winning back others who had already revolted, with the exception of the Aetolians and a few others. The Aetolians had gone over to Antiochus and were forming a union out of various states with or without their consent. Antiochus, even though it was winter, hastened forward to fulfil the hopes of the Aetolians; and this is the reason why he did not bring a respectable force. With the troops he had, however, he took Chalcis and gained control of the rest of Euboea; and finding some Romans among the captives he released them all.


Antiochus and his generals were ruined at the outset; for by his general indolence and by his passion for a certain girl he drifted into a life of luxury and at the same time rendered the rest unfit for warfare.

Then he took up his winter-quarters at Chalcis, with the result that he himself and his generals and his soldiers had their moral energy ruined at the outset; for by his general indolence and by his passion for a certain girl he drifted into a life of luxury and rendered the rest unfit for warfare.

The people at Rome, learning that he was in Greece and that he had captured Chalcis, took up the war openly. Of the consuls they retained Scipio Nasica to guard Italy and sent Manius Glabrio with a large army into Greece. Nasica conducted a war against the Boii, and Glabrio drove Antiochus out of Greece. He also went to Thessaly, and with the help of Baebius and Philip gained control of many of the towns there. He captured Philip of Megalopolis and sent him to Rome, and drove Amynander out of his domain, which he then gave to the Macedonian ruler.

Antiochus meanwhile was remaining at Chalcis and keeping quiet. Afterward he went into Boeotia and awaited the advance of the Romans at Thermopylae; for he believed, in view of his small numbers, that the natural advantages of the place would be of assistance to him. But in order to avoid repeating the experience of the Greeks who had been arrayed there against the Persian he sent a division of the Aetolians up to the summit of the mountains to keep guard thee. Glabrio was little concerned about the nature of the region, and did not postpone battle; but he sent the lieutenants Porcius Cato and Valerius Flaccus by night against the Aetolians on the summit, and himself engaged in conflict with Antiochus at dawn. Now as long as he fought on level ground he had the best of it, but when Antiochus withdrew to a higher position, he found himself at a disadvantage, until Cato arrived in the enemy's rear. Cato had come upon the Aetolians while they were asleep and had killed most of them and scattered the rest; then he hurried down and participated also in the battle going on below. So they routed Antiochus and captured his camp. The king forthwith retired to Chalcis, but learning that the consul was approaching, he retired secretly to Asia.

Glabrio at once occupied Boeotia and Euboea, and proceeded to deliver assault upon Heraclea, since the Aetolians were unwilling to yield to him. The lower city he captured by siege, and later he received the capitulation of those who had fled to the acropolis. Among the prisoners taken at this time was Democritus, the Aetolian general, who had once refused alliance with Flamininus, and when the latter had asked for a decree that he might send it to Rome, had said: "Never fear. I will carry it there with my army and read it to you all on the banks of the Tiber." Philip was engaged in besieging Lamia when Glabrio came against it and appropriated both the victory and the booty. Although the remainder of the Aetolians were desirous of peace, still they made no truce, since Antiochus sent them envoys and money, but set themselves in readiness for war. Philip affected friendliness toward the Romans, but his heart was with Antiochus.


Dio, Book XIX. "... but I always champion our interests."

Meantime Glabrio was besieging Naupactus, which belonged to the Aetolians, and Flamininus, coming to them, persuaded the inhabitants to make peace, for he was well known to them.

So they, as well as the Epirots, despatched envoys to Rome. Philip sent a crown of victory to Capitoline Jupiter and received in return, among other presents, his son Demetrius, who had been living at Rome as a hostage. But with the Aetolians no truce was made, for they would not submit to any curtailment of privileges.

The Romans opposed to Antiochus the Scipios, Africanus and his brother Lucius. These generals granted the Aetolians an armistice for the purpose of once more sending an embassy to Rome regarding peace, and hurried on against Antiochus. On reaching Macedonia they secured allies from Philip, and marched on to the Hellespont. Then crossing into Asia, they found most of the coast districts already occupied by the Romans who had gone there first, as well as by Eumenes and the Rhodians; the latter had also conquered Hannibal near Pamphylia, as he was taking some ships up from Phoenicia. Eumenes and his brother Attalus were injuring the country of Antiochus, and cities kept coming over to the Romans, some under compulsion, some voluntarily, with the result that Antiochus was obliged to abandon Europe entirely and to recall his son Seleucus from Lysimachia. When this son had returned, he sent him with troops against Pergamum.


Seleucus, the son of Antiochus, had captured the son of Africanus, who was sailing across from Greece, and had given him the kindest treatment. Although his father many times requested the privilege of ransoming him, his captor refused, yet did him no harm; on the contrary, he showed him every honour, and finally, though he failed of securing a truce, released him without ransom.

Inasmuch, however, as he accomplished nothing by his siege and the Scipios presently approached, Antiochus promptly made overtures to them; for he expected to obtain peace, since he had got possession of the son of Africanus and was according him the kindest treatment. In the end, though he failed of securing a truce, he released him without ransom.

Now the reason why peace was not concluded was that Antiochus would not agree to the Roman demands.

For some time after this, however, the antagonists remained quiet; but finally they fell to fighting again. The nature of the struggle was as follows. Antiochus placed the chariots in front, with the elephants next, and behind these the slingers and the archers. Now the Romans anticipated the charge of the chariots by a charge of their own, and with a mighty shout they rushed straight at them and repulsed them, so that most of the chariots turned back toward the elephants, and thus threw their own army into confusion; for in their wild flight they terrified and scattered the men marshalled beside them. Moreover, a heavy rain which now came up rendered the efforts of the archers and slingers of little effect. There followed a dense and heavy mist, which in no wise hindered the Romans, since they had the upper hand and were fighting at close range; but in the case of their opponents, who were terrified and who employed cavalry and archers for the most part, it made it impossible for them to see which way to shoot their arrows and caused them to stumble over one another as if they were wandering about in the dark. Nevertheless Antiochus was able with his mail-clad cavalry to rout those confronting him, and to advance in pursuit as far as their camp. Indeed, he would have taken it, had not Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who was charged with guarding it, killed the first Romans who came up, after he had failed to persuade them to check their flight. Thereupon the rest of the fugitives faced about, and Lepidus himself also made a sortie with the garrison, which was fresh; and by their united efforts they repulsed Antiochus. While this action was taking place, Zeuxis had assailed the ramparts in another quarter, had succeeded in getting within them, and continued to pillage until Lepidus became aware of it and came to the rescue of his own camp. At the same time Scipio captured the camp of Antiochus, where he found many people, many horses, baggage animals, silver and gold and ivory, and many other precious objects besides. Antiochus after this defeat at once retired into Syria, and the Asiatic Greeks attached themselves to the Roman cause.

After this, upon overtures made by Antiochus, an armistice was arranged. Africanus was well disposed toward him for his son's sake, and the consul, moreover, did not wish to have the victory left to his successor, who was now drawing near; consequently they laid upon Antiochus conditions no more severe than those they had originally made before the battle. Hence Gnaeus Manlius, who succeeded them in office, was not pleased with the erms agreed upon, and he made additional demands upon the king, besides requiring him to give hostages, one of whom should be his son Antiochus, and to deliver up all the deserters, among them Hannibal. Antiochus reluctantly yielded obedience on all the other points; to give up Hannibal, however, was out of his power, since the latter had already fled to Prusias, king of Bithynia. On these conditions Antiochus sent envoys to Rome and secured peace. Lucius Scipio was praised for his victory, and received the title of Asiaticus because of it, just as his brother had been called Africanus for conquering Carthage, the most powerful city in Africa.

These brothers, who had proved themselves men of such valour, and as a result of their excellence had attained such a great reputation were not long afterward brought to trial before the assembly.


Many were jealous of the Scipios because the two brothers, distinguished alike for birth and integrity, had accomplished all that has been related and had secured such titles. For that they were guilty of no wrong-doing is made plain even by my former statements, and was shown still more conclusively on the occasion of the confiscation of the property of Asiaticus — which was found to consist merely of his original inheritance — or again by the retirement of Africanus to Liternum and the security that he enjoyed there to the end of his life. At first, to be sure, he had appeared in court, thinking that the truth respecting his integrity would save him.

Lucius was condemned nominally for having appropriated a large share of the spoil, and Africanus for having made the terms of peace milder on account of his son; but the true cause of their conviction was jealousy. That they were guilty of no wrong-doing is made plain both by other evidence and in particular by the fact that when the properties of Asiaticus was confiscated it was found to consist merely of his original inheritance, and that though Africanus retired to Liternum before a vote was taken and lived there to end, no one ever again voted to condemn him.

Manlius at this time won over Pisidia, Lycaonia, and Pamphylia, and a large part of Asiatic Gaul . For thee exists in that region too a race of Gauls, which broke off from the European stock. With their king, Brennus, at their head they once overran Greece and Thrace, and crossing hence to Bithynia, they detached certain portions of Phrygia, Paphlagonia, Mysia adjacent to Olympus, and Cappadocia, and took up their residence in them; and they constitute to-day a separate nation bearing the name of Gauls Galatians. This people caused Manlius trouble, but he managed to overcome them also, capturing their city Ancyra by assault and gaining control of the rest of the towns by capitulation. After he had accomplished this and had received a large price for peace from Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, he set sail for home.

The Aetolians, after sending ambassadors to Rome the second time in regard to peace, were themselves once more beginning a rebellion. Hence the Romans immediately dismissed their envoys and assigned Greece to Marcus Fulvius. He set out first for the large city of Ambracia, once the royal residence of Pyrrhus and now occupied by the Aetolians, and proceeded to besiege it. The Aetolians, accordingly, held a conference with him and regard to peace, but since he was unwilling to make terms, they sent a part of their army into Ambracia. The Romans now undertook to capture the town by an underground passage, beginning their mine at a remote point, and so for a time eluding the notice of the besieged; but the latter suspected the true state of affairs when the excavated earth began to accumulate. Since, however, they were not aware in what direction the tunnel was being dug, they proceeded to apply a bronze shield to the surface of the ground along the circuit of the wall. And discovering the place by means of the resonance they went to work in their turn to dig a tunnel from inside, and so approached the Romans, with whom they battled in the darkness. Finally they devised the following sort of defence. Filling a huge jar with feathers, they put fire in it and attached a bronze cover perforated with numerous holes. Then, after carrying the jar into the mine and turning the mouth of it toward the enemy, they inserted a bellows in the bottom, and by blowing this bellows vigorously they caused a tremendous amount of disagreeable smoke, such as feathers would naturally create, to pour forth, so that none of the Romans could endure it. Hence the Romans, in despair of success, made a truce and raised the siege. When these had reached an agreement, the Aetolians also changed their course. They secured an armistice and subsequently obtained peace from the people at Rome by the gift of considerable money and many hostages. Fulvius gained Cephallenia by capitulation and established order in the Peloponnesus, which was torn by dissension.

Some youths who had insulted envoys of the Carthaginians when they came to Rome were sent to Carthage and delivered up to the people there; however, they received no injury at their hands, but were released.

The Romans, when they had had a taste of Asiatic luxury and had spent some time among the possessions of the vanquished amid the abundance of spoils and the licence granted by success in arms, rapidly came to emulate the prodigality of these peoples and ere long to trample under foot their own ancestral traditions. Thus the terrible influence, starting in that quarter, invaded the city as well.

Gracchus was thoroughly a man of the people and a very eloquent public speaker, yet his disposition was very different from Cato's. For, although he had an enmity of long standing against the Scipios, he did not acquiesce in what was taking place, but spoke in defence of Africanus, who was accused while absent, and he exerted himself to prevent any stain from attaching to his name; he also prevented the imprisonment of Asiaticus. Consequently the Scipios gave up their enmity toward him and arranged a family alliance, Africanus bestowing upon him his own daughter.

Dio, Book XIX. "When even thus they the troops still had leisure, the consuls had the roads built by them."

Afterwards, in the consulship of Gaius Flaminius and Aemilius Lepidus, Antiochus died and his son Seleucus succeeded him. Much later, at the demise of Seleucus, the Antiochus who was living as a hostage in Rome became king. And Philip undertook to revolt because he had been deprived of some towns in Thessaly and of Aenus and Maronea besides; but he was unable to do so because of his age and of what had happened to his sons. And some Gauls crossed the Alps and desired to found a city to the south of the mountains. Marcus Marcellus took away their arms and everything that they had brought along; but the people at Rome, upon receiving an embassy from them, restored everything on condition that they should at once retire.

Tzetzes, Chil. 1, 798-805

At this time also occurred the death of Hannibal. Envoys had been sent from Rome to Prusias, monarch of Bithynia, a part of whose errand was to get him to give up Hannibal, who was at his court. But Hannibal learned of this beforehand, and being unable to escape, committed suicide. An oracle had once announced to him that he should die in the Libyssan or Libyan land, and he was expecting to die in Libya, his native country; but, as it happened, his death occurred while he was staying in a certain place called Libyssa. Scipio Africanus also died at this time.

He himself Hannibal died by drinking poison near Bithynia in a place called Libyssa by name, though he expected to die in his own Libyan land. For an oracle had once been written out for Hannibal to the following effect: "A Libyssan or Libyan clod shall hide the form of Hannibal." Later the Roman Emperor Severus, being of Libyan birth, placed in a tomb of white marble this man, the general Hannibal.