1 THE Romans carried on the Macedonian war with less disturbance to their country than the Punic war, but with more renown, as the Macedonians surpassed the Carthaginians in honour, and were animated, moreover, by their glory in having conquered the east, and supported also by the auxiliary forces of all the neighbouring princes.1 The Romans, accordingly, both raised a greater number of legions, and called for assistance from Masinissa, king of Numidia, and all the rest of their allies; while notice was also given to Eumenes, king of Bithynia, to aid them in the war with his whole force. Perseus, besides his Macedonian army, which had had the reputation of being invincible, had supplies for a ten yearsí war. collected by his father, in his treasures and magazines. Elevated by these resources, and forgetful of his fatherís fortune, he bade his soldiers think of the past glory of Alexander.
The first engagement was one of cavalry only; and Perseus, being victorious in it, attracted the favourable regard of all who had previously been in suspense. Yet he sent ambassadors to the consul to ask for peace, which the Romans had granted to his father even when conquered, offering to defray the expenses of the war, as if he had been defeated. But the consul Sulpicius offered him terms not less harsh than he would have offered to a vanquished enemy. In the meantime, the Romans, under the dread of so formidable a war, created Aemilius Paulus consul, and conferred upon him, out of due course,2 the command in the Macedonian war.
Aemilius, when he had reached the camp, lost no time in coming to a battle. The night before it was fought, the moon was eclipsed; a phenomenon which all interpreted unfavourably for Perseus, and presaged that the downfall of the Macedonian empire was portended.
2 In this engagement, Marcus Cato, the son of Cato the orator, while he was fighting, with extraordinary bravery, among the thickest of the enemy, fell from his horse, and continued his efforts on foot. A number of the enemy gathered about him when he fell, with loud shouts, as if they would kill him as he lay on the ground, but he, recovering himself sooner than they expected, made great slaughter among them. The enemy flocking round him, however, to overpower him with their numbers, his sword, as he was aiming at a tall fellow among them, fell from his hand among a troop of his opponents; when he, to recover it, plunged in among the points of the enemyís weapons, protecting himself with his shield, while both armies were looking on, and, having regained his sword, though not without receiving many wounds, he got back safe to his friends, amidst a loud shout from the enemy.3 The rest of the Romans, imitating his boldness, secured the victory. King Perseus fled, and arrived, with ten thousand talents, at Samothrace; and Cnaeus Octavius, being sent by the consul in pursuit of him, took him prisoner, with his two sons Alexander and Philip, and brought him to the consul.
Macedonia, from the time of Caranus, who was the first that reigned in it, to Perseus, had thirty kings; under whose government it continued for nine hundred and twenty-three years, but possessed supreme power for only a hundred and ninety-two.4 When it fell under the power of the Romans, it was left free, magistrates being appointed in every city; and it received laws from Paulus Aemilius, which it still uses.
As to the Aetolians, the senators of every city in the country, whose fidelity had been suspected, were sent, together with their wives and children, to Rome; where, to prevent them from raising any disturbance in their country, they were long detained; and it was not without difficulty, and after the senate had been wearied with embassies from the cities for their release, that they were allowed to return to their own country.
1 Omnium regum.] A hyperbolical expression, such as our author often uses. Previously, xxxii. 3, he mentions only the Gauls as auxiliaries of Perseus; Livy, xlii 29, adds Cotys, king of the Odrysae.Wetzel.
2 Extra ordinem.] He had his province by lot in the usual way; Macedonia fell to him, and Italy to his colleague Crassus.Durand. See Livy, xliv. 17.
3 Hostium.] Seven of the old editions have omnium, which Scheffer prefers, as it was a shout of congratulation, proceeding from the Romans, not from the enemy.Wetzel.
4 Sed rerum non nisi centum nonaginta duobus annis potita.] Macedonia attained its height when Alexander conquered Darius, B.C. 329, in which year Justin, x. 3, considers that the Persian empire terminated, and the Macedonian began. Between that year and the defeat of Perseus elapsed only 160 years, and if we would wish to make up our authorís number of 192, we must take in thirty-two from the previous period, going back to B.C. 361, when Philip was a hostage at Thebes. Hence the reading of Bongarsiusís codices, 152, seems preferable; or, to take a round number, 150, the reading of three other copies; and this is the number given by Livy, xlv. 9.Wetzel.