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Chapter 16

Beauteous Greece, Torn from her joys, in vain, with languid arm, Half raised her lusty shield.--Dyer.

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1. While the Romans were engaged with Hannibal, they carried on also a vigorous war against Philip, king of Ma'cedon, not a little incited thereto by the prayers of the Athe'nians; who, from once controlling the powers of Persia, were now unable to defend themselves. The Rho'dians with At'talus, king of Per'gamus, also entered into the confederacy against Philip. 2. He was more than once defeated by Galba, the consul. He attempted to besiege Athens, but the Romans obliged him to raise the siege. He tried to take possession of the Straits of Thermop'ylæ, but was driven from thence by Quin'tus Flamin'ius, with great slaughter. He attempted to take refuge in Thes'saly, where he was again defeated, with considerable loss, and obliged to beg a peace, upon condition of paying a thousand talents. 3. Peace with Philip gave the Romans an opportunity of showing their generosity, by restoring liberty to Greece.

4. Antio'chus, king of Syria, was next brought to submit to the Roman arms: after embassies on the one side and on the other, hostilities were commenced against him five years after the conclusion of the Macedo'nian war. 5. After many mistakes and great misconduct, he attempted to obtain a peace, by offering to quit all his places in Europe, and such in Asia as professed alliance to Rome. 6. But it was now too late; Scip'io perceived his own superiority, and was resolved to avail himself of it. 7. Antio'chus, thus driven into resistance, for some time retreated before the enemy, till, being pressed hard, near the city of Magnesia he was forced to draw out his men, to the number of seventy thousand foot, and twelve thousand horse.

8. Scip'io opposed him with forces as much inferior in number, as they were superior in courage and discipline. Antio'chus, therefore, was in a short time entirely defeated; his own chariots, armed with scythes, being driven back upon his men, contributed much to his overthrow. 9. Being thus reduced to the last extremity, he was glad to procure peace from the Romans, upon their own terms; which were, to pay fifteen thousand talents; to quit his possessions in Europe, and in Asia, on the hither side of Mount Taurus; to give twenty hostages, as pledges of his fidelity; and to deliver up Hannibal, the inveterate enemy of Rome, who had taken refuge at his court.

10. In the mean time Hannibal, whose destruction was one of the articles of this extorted treaty, endeavoured to avoid the threatened ruin. 11. This consummate general had long been a wanderer, and an exile from his ungrateful country. He had taken refuge at the court of Antio'chus who, at first, gave him a sincere welcome, and made him admiral of his fleet, in which station he showed his usual skill in stratagem.

12. But he soon sunk in the Syrian's esteem for projecting schemes which that monarch had neither genius to understand, nor talents to execute. 13. Sure, therefore, to find no safety or protection, he departed by stealth; and, after wandering for a time among the petty states, which had neither power nor generosity to protect him, he took refuge at the court of Pru'sias, king of Bythin'ia. 14. In the mean time, the Romans, with a vindictive spirit utterly unworthy of them, sent Æmil'ius, one of their most celebrated generals, to demand him of this king; who, fearing the resentment of Rome, and willing to conciliate their friendship by this breach of hospitality, ordered a guard to be placed upon Hannibal, with an intent to deliver him up. 15. The poor old general, thus implacably persecuted from one country to another, and finding every method of safety cut off, determined to die. He, therefore, desired one of his followers to bring him poison; and drinking it, he expired as he had lived, with intrepid bravery.

[Sidenote: U. C 513]

16. A second Macedo'nian war was soon after proclaimed against Per'seus, the son of that Philip who had been obliged to beg peace of the Romans. 17. Perseus, in order to secure the crown, had murdered his brother Deme'trius; and, upon the death of his father, pleased with the hopes of imaginary triumphs, made war against Rome. 18, During the course of this war, which continued about three years, opportunities were offered him of cutting off the Roman army; but being ignorant how to take advantage of their rashness, he spent the time in empty overtures for peace. 19. At length Æmil'ius gave him a decisive overthrow. He attempted to procure safety by flying into Crete: but being abandoned by all, he was obliged to surrender himself, and to grace the splendid triumph of the Roman general.[1]

20. About this time Massinis'sa, the Numidian, having made some incursions into a territory claimed by the Carthaginians, they attempted to repel the invasion. 21. This brought on a war between that monarch and them; while the Romans, who pretended to consider this conduct of theirs as an infraction of the treaty, sent to make a complaint. 22. The ambassadors who were employed upon this occasion, finding the city very rich and flourishing, from the long interval of peace which it had now enjoyed for nearly fifty years, either from motives of avarice to possess its plunder, or from fear of its growing greatness, insisted much on the necessity of a war, which was soon after proclaimed, and the consuls set out with a thorough resolution utterly to demolish Carthage.

The territory thus invaded by Massinis'sa, was Tysca, a rich province, undoubtedly belonging to the Carthaginians. One of the ambassadors sent from Rome was the celebrated Cato, the censor, who, whatever his virtues may have been, appears to have imbibed an inveterate hatred to Carthage. For, on whatever subject he debated in the senate, he never failed to conclude in these words, "I am also of opinion that Carthage should be destroyed." The war, however, which had broken out in Spain, and the bad success of the Roman arms in that quarter, for some time delayed the fate of that devoted city; and it might, perhaps, have stood much longer, had not some seditious demagogues incited the populace to insult the Roman ambassador, and to banish those senators who voted for peace.

To account for the apparent pusillanimity of the Carthaginians, it is necessary to observe, that they had suffered repeated defeats in their war with Massinis'sa; and that fifty thousand of their troops, after having been blocked up in their camp till from want they were obliged to submit to the most humiliating conditions, were inhumanly massacred by Gulus'sa, the son of the Numidian king. The Romans chose this distressing juncture to declare war against them.

As one proof of their sincere desire for peace, they had previously delivered up to the Romans all their arms and warlike engines, of which they possessed prodigious magazines; thus leaving themselves still more defenceless than before.

23. The wretched Carthaginians, finding that the conquerors would not desist from making demands, while the vanquished had any thing to give, attempted to soften the victors by submission; but they received orders to leave the city, which was to be levelled with the ground. 24. This severe command they received with all the distress of a despairing people: they implored for a respite from such a hard sentence: they used tears and lamentations; but finding the consuls inexorable, they departed with a gloomy resolution, prepared to suffer the utmost extremities, and fight to the last for their seat of empire.

25. Those vessels, therefore, of gold and silver, which their luxury had taken such pride in, were converted into arms. The women parted also with their ornaments, and even cut off their hair to be converted into strings for the bowmen. As'drubal, who had been lately condemned for opposing the Romans, was now taken from prison to head their army; and such preparations were made, that when the consuls came before the city, which they expected to find an easy conquest, they met with such resistance as quite dispirited their forces and shook their resolution. 26. Several engagements were fought before the walls, with disadvantage to the assailants; so that the siege would have been discontinued, had not Scip'io Æmilia'nus, the adopted son of Africa'nus, who was now appointed to command it, used as much skill to save his forces after a defeat, as to inspire them with fresh hopes of a victory. 27. But all his arts would have failed, had he not found means to seduce Phar'nes, the master of the Carthaginian horse, who came over to his side. The unhappy townsmen soon saw the enemy make nearer approaches; the wall which led to the haven was quickly demolished; soon after the forum itself was taken, which offered to the conquerors a deplorable spectacle of houses nodding to their fall, heaps of men lying dead, hundreds of the wounded struggling to emerge from the carnage around them, and deploring their own and their country's ruin. The citadel soon after surrendered at discretion. 28. All now but the temple was subdued, and that was defended by deserters from the Roman army, and those who had been most forward to undertake the war. These expected no mercy, and finding their condition desperate, set fire to the building, and voluntarily perished in the flames. This was the end of one of the most renowned cities in the world, for arts, opulence, and extent of dominion; it had rivalled Rome for above a hundred years, and, at one time, was thought to have the superiority.

29. The conquest of Carthage was soon followed by many others. The same year Corinth, one of the noblest cities of Greece, was levelled to the ground. Scip'io also having laid siege to Numan'tia, the strongest city in Spain, the wretched inhabitants, to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy, fired the city, over their own heads; and all, to a man, expired in the flames. Thus Spain became a Roman province, and was governed thenceforward by two annual prætors.

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Questions for Examination.

1. With whom were the Romans at war besides Carthage, and who assisted in it?

2. What was the success of Philip in this war?

3. What was the consequence of peace with Philip?

4. Who next fell under the displeasure of the Romans?

5. What was the result?

6. Were his offers accepted?

7. Did Antiochus boldly face the Romans?

8. What were the strength and character of the Roman army, and what the result of the battle?

9. Was he able to make further resistance?

10. Was Hannibal delivered up?

11. What occasioned Hannibal to put himself in the power of Antiochus?

12. Was this kindness lasting?

13. Whither did he next betake himself?

14. Was he in safety at this court?

15. How did Hannibal escape his persecution?

16. Against whom did the Romans next direct their arms?

17. What occasioned it?

18. Was Perseus a skilful general?

19. What was the result of the war?

20. What farther happened about this time?

21. What was the consequence?

22. Was this misunderstanding peaceably accommodated?

23. By what means did the Carthaginians endeavour to avert their fate?

24. Did they obey these orders?

25. What extraordinary efforts were made for the defence of the city?

26. Were the Romans successful in their attempts?

27. Describe the progress of the siege.

28. Was the city now completely in the power of the Romans?

29. What other conquests were made by the Romans?

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] From this time, Macedon became a Roman province.

Oliver Goldsmith