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3rd Period: Graeco-Macedonian Age, down to Roman Conquest (338-146 b.c.). page 2

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The AEtolian League, deriving its name from the large territory in the west of central Greece, inhabited at the time of the Peloponnesian war by many "barbarian" tribes, was formed against Macedon about 284 b.c., and included Acarnania, Locris, part of Thessaly, and some towns in Peloponnesus. It had never the importance of the Achaean League and needs no further notice. The end of the eventful history of ancient Greece is now at hand. Roman interference brought the great Power into collision with Philip V. of Macedon, who reigned 220-178 b.c. He was an able man, skilful in war, but no troops could resist the legions of Rome. In 197 he was totally defeated by the Roman general Flamininus at Cynoscephate in Thessaly. In the following year - a vain mockery for those who could read aright the signs of the times - Greece was declared "free and independent" of the Macedonian power by Flamininus at the Isthmian Games. This act, really a transfer of supremacy from Macedon to Rome, was received by the Greeks with the warmest gratitude. Henceforth Rome's policy was to foster quarrels between the Greek states, so as to diminish the influence of the Achaean League, and Roman and anti-Roman parties arose in the cities. In 171 b.c. another "Macedonian war" arose between the Romans and Perseus of Macedonia, son of Philip V. Three years later he was totally defeated at Pydna, in his own country, by the Roman general AEmilius Paulus, and afterwards died a wretched captive in Rome. In 147 Macedonia was divided into four districts, and became virtually a part of the Roman empire. It is instructive to know that the conqueror of Macedon, a man who is held up to us as one of the models of Roman "virtue," which at Rome, indeed, meant "manhood," "warlike courage," obeyed a decree of the Senate in giving up 70 little towns of Epirus to be sacked and destroyed by his troops after all hostilities were at an end. Deceit was used in order to prevent resistance or escape and this horrible cruelty was all perpetrated in one day and one hour, with the selling into slavery of 150,000 human beings. The long agony of Greece drew to an end when the Achaean League was brought into conflict with Rome. The capture of its leading city, Corinth, by the Roman Consul Mummius in 146 b.c., was attended and followed by the slaughter of most of the citizens who had not fled, the selling of the women and children into slavery, the ransacking of the temples and the private buildings, the destruction of the whole place by fire, and the carrying away to Rome of countless precious works of art. The whole of Greece at last became a Roman province as "Achaea," the governments of the several cities being organised on a democratic basis, and a praetor being appointed over the whole. Athens, Delphi, and one or two other towns, alone remained free. At some places, as at Corinth, Platsea, and Megara, Roman "colonies" were planted. The land had become a mere wilderness from war; for days' journeys in succession the territory was depopulated or only haunted by banditti; and 3,000 fighting men were all that Greece could furnish for the Roman legions. From this melancholy spectacle we turn with relief to a view of Athens in her best days, and to a slight acknowledgment of the debt due to her from the civilised world.

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