4 In the same year4 a concussion of the earth happened between the islands Thera3 and Therasia, in the midst of the sea at an equal distance from either shore, where, to the astonishment of those that were sailing past, an island rose suddenly from the deep, the water being at the same time hot. In Asia too, on the same day, the same earthquake shattered Rhodes,4 and many other cities, with a terrible ruin; some it swallowed up entire. As all men were alarmed at this prodigy, the soothsayers predicted that “the rising power of the Romans would swallow up the ancient empire of the Greeks and Macedonians.”
In the meantime, Philip, as his terms of peace were rejected by the senate, prevailed on the tyrant Nabis5 to join him in prosecuting the war. Having then led out his army into the field, he began to encourage his men, while the enemy stood in array on the opposite side, by saying that “the Persians, Bactrians, and Indians, and all Asia to the utmost boundaries of the east, had been subdued by the Macedonians; and that this war was more bravely to be maintained than those which had preceded it, in proportion as liberty was more precious than empire.” Flamininus, too, the Roman consul, animated his men to battle by representing what had lately been achieved by the Romans, observing that “Carthage and Sicily on one side, and Italy and Spain on the other, had been thoroughly reduced by Roman valour; and that Hannibal, by whose expulsion from Italy they had become masters of Africa, a third part of the world, was not to be thought inferior to Alexander the Great. Nor were the Macedonians to be estimated by their ancient reputation, but by their present power; for that the Romans were not waging war with Alexander the Great, whom they had heard called invincible, or with his army, which had conquered all the east, but with Philip, a youth of immature years,6 who could scarcely defend the frontiers of his dominions against his neighbours, and with those Macedonians who were not long ago a prey to the Dardanians. That they might recount the achievements of their forefathers, but that he could relate those of his own soldiers; since Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and almost all the west, had not been conquered by any other army, but by those very troops which he had with him in the field.” The soldiers on both sides, roused by these exhortations, rushed to the encounter, the one army exulting in their conquest of the east, the other in that of the west; the one carrying to the battle the ancient and fading glory of their ancestors, the other the flower of valour fresh from recent exertions. But the fortune of Rome was superior to that of the Macedonians; and Philip, exhausted by his efforts in war, and suing for peace from Flamininus, the consul, was allowed to retain indeed the name of king; but, being deprived of all the cities of Greece, as being parts of his dominion beyond the bounds of its ancient territory, he preserved only Macedonia. The Aetolians, however, were displeased, because Macedonia was not taken from the king at their suggestion, and given to themselves as a reward for their service in the war, and sent ambassadors to Antiochus, to induce him, by flattering his greatness, to engage in a war with the Romans, in the hope of securing the alliance of all Greece.
1 Tympana et crepundia.] It is impossible to ascertain exactly what musical instruments are meant by crepundia. Lemaire supposes them to be something like the Egyptian sistra, used in the ceremonies of Isis.
2 No; for it was several years before that this commotion of the earth took place, namely, in the first year of the 139th Olympiad, as is apparent from Polybius, v. 88, and the Chronicon of Eusebius. But Pliny, H. N. ii. 87, says that Automata or Hiera, the island here signified, arose between Thera and Therasia in the second year of the 156th Olympiad; how this can be correct, I do not understand.Is. Vossius. Vossius, however, is not quite right in his computation. Pliny says that Thera and Therasia sprung from the sea in the fourth year of the 135th Olympiad, and that Automata or Hiera arose one hundred and thirty years afterwards; this would be in the third year of the 167th Olympiad. Concerning the rise of this island from the deep, see Strabo, i. 3; Sen. Nat. Quaest. vi. 21; ii. 26; it is also noticed by Livy, xxxix. 56, and Amm. Marcell. xvii. 6. Other islands have since risen in these parts. See Virlet, Bull. de la Soc. Geol. de France, tom. iii.
3 The largest of the Sporades in the Aegean Sea, now called Santorin. Therasia lies near it. Hiera is not exactly between the two islands, as Justin represents.
4 Diodorus, xviii. 8, assigns this island to Europe. The epitome of the 78th book of Livy, however, gives it to Asia.Berneccerus.
5 Tyrant of Sparta. He began to reign B.C. 206.
6 Puero immaturae aetatis.] Why does he call him puero, a youth, when, in the year B.C. 220, in which he succeeded Antigonus, he had completed his fourteenth year? See xxviii. 4. In this year, therefore, B.C. 198, he was in his thirty-sixth year.Wetzel. So that Philip had now attained a greater age than Alexander the Great lived to attain. Scheffer would strike out puero, asking whether there are also pueri maturae aetatis?