From the time he was appointed as strategos in 209 BC, Philopoemen helped turn the Achaean League into an important military power in Greece. He was called "the last of the Greeks" by an anonymous Roman.
The son of Craugis of Megalopolis, his father died early in his life. He was then adopted by an important citizen of Megalopolis, Cleander.
Philopoemen was educated by academic philosophers Ecdemus and Demophanes. Both were Megapolitans, who had helped to depose previous tyrants of Megalopolis, Sicyon and Cyrene. Thus, he was inculcated with notions of freedom and democracy. Philopoemen strove to emulate the 4th-century BC Theban general and statesman, Epaminondas. Philopoemen believed that as a public servant, personal virtue was at all times a necessary condition. So Philopoemen wore humble garments for the rest of his life, spurning any expensive adornments.
Philopoemen first came to the attention of key Greek politicians when he helped defend Megalopolis against the Spartan king Cleomenes III in 223 BC. Cleomenes III had seized Megalopolis. Philopoemen was amongst the first defending the city. During the battle, Philopoemen lost his horse and he was wounded. Nevertheless, he remained involved in the battle until the end. His actions helped give the citizens of Megalopolis enough time to evacuate the city.
The king of Macedonia, Antigonus III Doson was keen to restore Macedonian influence in the Peloponnese for the first time in almost two decades. In 224 BC, he signed an alliance with the Achaeans, Boeotians, Thessalians and the Acarnanians. With his rear secured by treaties, Antigonus invaded the Peloponnese and drove the Spartans out of Argos, taking Orchomenus and Mantineia in the process.
Philopoemen commanded a cavalry force, which included soldiers from Megalopolis. He was supported by Illyrian infantry. When the latter entered into the battle, they were surrounded by the enemy. So Philopoemen launched his own attack. While his forces suffered many casualties, the surprised Spartan forces fled. In the encounter, Philopoemen's horse fell and he was wounded by a javelin. Yet he continued to fight behind the enemy's lines.
In the end the Spartan forces were massacred by the Macedonians and their allies and Cleomenes was forced to flee to Egypt. As the leader of the Achaeans, Philopoemen's actions impressed Antigonus III.
In the same year, in one of the battles associated with the First Macedonian War between Macedonia and the Roman Republic, Philopoemen faced Damophantus, whose army was composed of Aetolians and Eleans, near the Larissa river (on the border of Elis). During the battle, Damophantus charged directly against Philopoemen with his spear. Bravely, Philopoemen didn't retreat, but waited with his lance, which he mortally thrust into Damophantus' chest. Immediately, the enemy fled from the battlefield. By this action, Philopoemen's fame increased across Greece.
Philopoemen was appointed strategos of the Achaean League in 209 BC. Philopoemen used his position to modernise and increase the size of the Achaean army and updated the soldiers’ equipment and battle tactics.
His efforts to make the Achaeans an effective fighting force bore fruit a couple of years later.
In the years following the defeat of the Spartan king Cleomenes III at the Battle of Sellasia, Sparta experienced a power vacuum that eventually led to the Spartan kingship being bestowed on a child, Pelops, for whom Machanidas ruled as regent.
The Battle of Mantinea was fought in 207 BC between the Spartans led by Machanidas and the Achaean League, whose forces were led by Philopoemen. The Achaeans defeated the Spartans. In the battle, Philopoemen defeated and killed the Spartan ruler Machanidas in one-on-one combat. Afterward, the Achaeans erected at Delphi a bronze statue which captured the fight between Machanidas and Philopoemen.
Following Machanidas' death, Nabis, a nobleman from the royal house of the Eurypontids, a descendant of King Demaratus, rose to power in Sparta and became the new regent for Pelops. Nabis soon overthrew Pelops. Under Nabis, Sparta continued to trouble the Peloponnese.
In 205 BC, Philip V of Macedon made a temporary peace (the Peace of Phoenice) with Rome on favourable terms for Macedonia thus ending the First Macedonian War. After the Peace, Nabis went to war against the Achaean League. However, Philopoemen was able to expel Nabis from Messene.
In 201 BC, Nabis invaded and captured Messene. However, the Spartans were forced to retreat when the Achaean League army under Philopoemen intervened. Nabis' forces were decisively defeated at Tegea by Philopoemen and Nabis was forced to check his expansionist ambitions for the time being.
The Cretan city of Gortyna then asked for Philopoemen's help. So in 199 BC Philopoemen returned to Crete again as a mercenary leader. Philopoemen had to change his tactics as the fighting on the island was more in the style of guerrilla warfare. Nonetheless, with Philopoemen's experience, he was able to defeat his enemies. Philopoemen spent six years in Crete.
In the meantime, Nabis took advantage of Philopoemen's absence, laying siege to Megalopolis for a lengthy period. Nabis also acquired the important city of Argos from Philip V of Macedon, as the price of his alliance with the Macedonians. Nabis then defected to the Romans in the expectation of being able to hold on to his conquest.
In 196 BC, Roman general and pro-consul Titus Quinctius Flamininus accused the Spartan ruler, Nabis, of tyranny, took Gythium in Laconia and forced Nabis to surrender Argos. After checking the ambitions of the Spartan tyrant, Nabis, the Roman forces under Flamininus withdraw in 194 BC from Greece. With the Romans no longer having a military presence in Greece, the dominant powers in the region were the kingdom of Macedon, the Aetolians, the strengthened Achaean League and a weakened Sparta. The Aetolians, who had opposed the Roman intervention in Greek affairs, incited the Spartan leader, Nabis, to retake his former territories and regain his influence in Greek affairs.
Returning to the Greek mainland as strategos in 193 BC, Philopoemen was appointed strategos for a second time to lead the fight against Nabis.
In 192 BC, Nabis attempted to recapture the Laconian coastline. The Achaeans responded to Sparta's renewed interest in recovering lost territory by sending an envoy to Rome with a request for help. In response, the Roman Senate sent the praetor Atilius with a navy, as well as an embassy headed by Flamininus.
Not waiting for the Roman fleet to arrive, the Achaean army and navy headed towards Gythium under the command of Philopoemen. The Achaean fleet under Tiso was defeated by the Spartan fleet. On land, the Achaeans were unable to defeat the Spartan forces outside Gythium and Philopoemen retreated to Tegea.
When Philopoemen re-entered Laconia for a second attempt, his forces were ambushed by Nabis, but nevertheless Philopoemen managed to gain a victory over the Spartan forces. Philopoemen's plans for capturing Sparta itself were put on hold at the request of the Roman envoy, Flaminius, after his arrival in Greece. In return, Nabis decided, for the moment, to accept the status quo.
Nabis then appealed to the Aetolians for help. They sent 1,000 cavalry to Sparta under the command of Alexamenus. However, the Aetolians murdered Nabis and temporarily occupied Sparta. The Aetolian troops seized the palace and set about looting the city, but the inhabitants of Sparta were able to rally and forced them to leave the city.
But Philopoemen took advantage of the Aetolian treachery and entered Sparta with his Achaean army. Now in full control of Sparta, Philopoemen forced Sparta to become a member state of the Achaean League.
Sparta's entry into the league raised the problem of how to deal with all of the Spartans exiled by the social-revolutionary regimes that had dominated Sparta for a number of years. Philopoemen wanted to restore only those Spartans who were willing to support the league. This meant that he adopted an uncompromising hostility to traditional Spartan concerns.
In 188 BC, Philopoemen entered northern Laconia with his army and a group of Spartan exiles. His army demolished the wall that the former tyrant of Sparta, Nabis, had built around Sparta. Philopoemen then restored Spartan citizenship to the exiles and abolished Spartan law and its education system, introducing Achaean law and institutions in their place. Sparta's role as a major power in Greece ended, while the Achaean League became the dominant power throughout the Peloponnese.
These actions provoked opposition even from Philopoemen's supporters in Sparta. As a result, his opponents in Sparta appealed directly to the Roman Senate, which repeatedly suggested solutions to the disagreements, all of which Philopoemen and his supporters rejected. In fact, Philopoemen and his supporters refused to recognise any Roman role in Achaean internal affairs as they argued that Rome had previously recognised the Achaean League's independence through a formal treaty.
This aggressive attitude towards Sparta and towards Rome split Achaean politics. However, Philopoemen died before these matters were resolved.
In 183 BC, Dinocrates, who strongly opposed Philopoemen, encouraged Messene to revolt against the League. After Dinocrates announced that he would capture Colonis, Philopoemen decided that he needed to subdue the rebellion.
In the ensuing battle, Philopoemen found himself behind the enemy's lines and was captured by the Messeneans after his horse threw him. He was then invited to drink poison to allow him to have what was then regarded as an honourable death.
On hearing of his death, the members of the Achaean League joined forces to capture Messene.
With his death, Philopoemen's body was cremated. At his public funeral, the historian Polybius carried the urn with Philopoemen's ashes and later wrote a biography and defended his memory in his Histories. Pausanias wrote that after Philopoemen's death, 'Greece ceased to bear good men'.
| Strategos of the Achaean League
209 BC – 208 BC
Aristaenos of Megalopolis
| Strategos of the Achaean League
193 BC – 192 BC
| Strategos of the Achaean League
191 BC – 186 BC
Aristaenos of Megalopolis
| Strategos of the Achaean League
183 BC – 182 BC
Lykortas of Megalopolis
This article concerns the period 199 BC – 190 BC.192 BC
Year 192 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Flamininus and Ahenobarbus (or, less frequently, year 562 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 192 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.200s BC (decade)
This article concerns the period 209 BC – 200 BC.Achaean League
The Achaean League (Greek: Κοινὸν τῶν Ἀχαιῶν, Koinon ton Akhaion 'League of Achaeans') was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Achaea in the northwestern Peloponnese, which formed its original core. The first league was formed in the fifth century BC. The second Achaean League was established in 280 BC. As a rival of Antigonid Macedon and an ally of Rome, the league played a major role in the expansion of the Roman Republic into Greece. This process eventually led to the League's conquest and dissolution by the Romans in 146 BC.
The League represents the most successful attempt by the Greek city states to develop a form of federalism, which balanced the need for collective action with the desire for local autonomy. Through the writings of the Achaean statesman Polybius, this structure has had an influence on the constitution of the United States and other modern federal states.Aegium
Aegium or Aigion (Ancient Greek: Αἴγιον), or Aegeium or Aigeion (Αἴγειον), was a town and polis (city-state) of ancient Achaea, and one of the 12 Achaean cities. It was situated upon the coast west of the river Selinus, 30 stadia from Rhypae, and 40 stadia from Helice.
The city stood between two promontories in the corner of a bay, which formed the best harbour in Achaea next to that of Patrae. It is said to have been formed out of an union of 7 or 8 villages. It was already mentioned in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad. When the neighbouring city of Helice sank into the sea following an earthquake in 373 BCE, Aegium annexed its territory and became the chief city of the Achaean League. When the League dissolved later in the same century, however, Aegium came for some time under Macedonian rule.
Eventually, the Achaean League was refounded by the cities of Dyme and Patras in 280 BC, and the citizens of Aegium, taking courage to expel the Macedonian garrison, joined in 275 BC. From this time on Aegium served as the capital of the Achaean League. It was the meeting place for the assembly of the Achaeans and retained this distinction until Philopoemen carried a law that the meeting might be held in any of the towns of the confederacy. Even under the Roman Empire the Achaeans were allowed to keep up the form of their periodical meetings at Aegium, just as the Amphictyons were permitted to meet at Thermopylae and Delphi.The meetings were held in a grove near the sea, called Homagyrium or Homarium, sacred to Zeus Homagyrius or Homarius (Ὁυαγν́ιον, Ὁυάριον); a temple was also there called Homarium. Close to this grove was a temple of Demeter Panchaea. The words Homagyrium, 'assembly', and Homarium, 'union', refer to those meetings, though in later times they were explained as indicating the spot where Agamemnon assembled the Grecian chieftains before the Trojan War. There were several other temples and public buildings at Aegium, of which an account is given by Pausanias.Aegium had several Olympic winners including Xenophon, Ladas (stadion race), Athenodorus (Αθηνόδωρος) (stadion race), Straton (Στράτων) (pancration and wrestling).
Its site is located near the modern city of Aigio.Alexander (Antigonid general)
Alexander (Gr. Ἀλέξανδρος) was commander of the cavalry in the army of Antigonus III Doson during the war against Cleomenes III of Sparta. He fought against Philopoemen, then a young man, whose prudence and valor forced him to a disadvantageous engagement at Sellasia. This Alexander is probably the same person as the one whom Antigonus, as the guardian of Philip (son of Demetrius II of Macedon), had appointed commander of Philip's body-guard, and who was slandered by Apelles. Subsequently he was sent by Philip as ambassador to Thebes, to persecute the Macedonian Megaleas. Polybius states that at all times he manifested a most extraordinary attachment to his king.Antirrhea philoctetes
Antirrhea philoctetes, the common brown morpho or northern antirrhea, is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. It was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It is found in Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.
The larvae feed on Geonoma longivaginata.Battle of Mantinea (207 BC)
The Battle of Mantinea was fought in 207 BC between Sparta under the Tyrant Machanidas, as part of the Aetolian League, and the Achaean League whose forces were led by Philopoemen. Both sides were supplemented by mercenaries. It was the major land battle in Greece of the First Macedonian War, which had occurred due to Macedonian alliance with Carthage in the aftermath of Hannibal's victory at the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War.
Machanidas routed and chased from the field the mercenaries of Philopoemen. They pursued, however, too eagerly and when Machanidas led his men back to the battle the outnumbered Spartan infantry had been defeated and the Achaeans were strongly positioned behind a water filled ditch. Going back on to the attack Machanidas was dismounted as he attempted to leap his horse over the ditch and was slain. The Achaeans, allies of Macedonia, were victorious.Colonides
Colonides or Kolonides (Ancient Greek: Κολωνίδες), also known as Colonis or Kolonis (Κολωνίς) or as Colone or Kolone (Κολώνη), was a town in the southwest of ancient Messenia described by Pausanias as standing upon a height at a short distance from the sea, and 40 stadia from Asine. The inhabitants affirmed that they were not Messenians, but a colony led from Athens by Colaenus. It is mentioned by Plutarch as a place which Philopoemen marched to relieve leading to his capture and execution; but according to the narrative of Livy, Corone was the place towards which Philopoemen marched.Its site is located near the modern Vournaria.Corone (Messenia)
Corone or Korone (Ancient Greek: Κορώνη) was a town of ancient Messenia, situated upon the western side of the Messenian Gulf, which was sometimes called after it, the Coronaean. According to Pausanias, it was built on the site of the Homeric Aepeia, at the time of the restoration of the Messenians to their native country, by Epaminondas; and received the name of Coroneia because Epimelides, who founded the new town, was a native of Coroneia, in Boeotia. This name was changed by the Messenians into that of Corone. According to others, Corone corresponded to the Homeric Pedasus.In the acropolis of the city was a brazen statue of Athena, who became the patron deity of Corone in consequence of her worship at Coroneia. In the agora there was a statue of Zeus Zoter, as at Messene; and there were likewise in the lower city temples of Artemis, of Dionysus, and of Asclepius. The harbour of Corone was called the port of the Achaeans, probably because the city belonged to the Achaean League.Pausanias says that Corone was situated to the right of the Pamisus, close to the sea, and at the foot of a mountain called Temathia or Mathia (the reading is doubtful). The name of the mountain in the 19th century was Lykódimo, at the foot of which stands Petalidhi, on the site of Corone, in a small but fertile plain. The modern town of Koroni, named after the ancient one, however, is situated upon a promontory some distance south of Petalidhi, occupies the site of Asine. It is probable that the inhabitants of Corone migrated at some period to Asine, carrying with them their ancient name.
There are considerable remains of Corone. Part of a mole may still be traced jutting out into the sea, and in the plain have been found foundations of houses and walls, and some works of ancient art. There are likewise traces of the walls of the acropolis upon the heights above the plain.
Corone was supplied with water for drinking from the fountain Plataniston, which flowed from a hollow plane tree 20 stadia from the road, leading from the Pamisus. Eighty stadia south of Corone, near the coast, was the temple of Apollo Corynthus, the site of which is probably indicated by some ancient remains on the hill of St. Elias, near the sea, above the village of Kastélia.
Corone belonged to the Achaean League. According to Livy, it was on his march to relieve this city that Philopoemen was made prisoner, and put to death at Messene on the following day (183 BCE). Plutarch, however, relates that Philopoemen was captured on his march towards Colonis; but the statement of Livy is the more probable one. Corone is also mentioned by Ptolemy.Its site is located near the modern Petalidhi.Cycliadas
Cycliadas was an ancient Greek statesman and general. He was the son of Damaretos of Pharae in Achaea. Elected as strategos of the Achaean League in 208 BC, he joined Philip V of Macedon at Dyme with the Achaean forces, and aided him in his invasion of Elis. In 200 BC, Cycliadas being made strategos instead of Philopoemen, the Spartan king Nabis took advantage of the change to make war on the Achaeans. Philip offered to help them, and to carry the war into the enemy's country, if they would give him a sufficient number of their soldiers to garrison Chalcis, Oreus and Corinth in the meantime. The Achaeans however mistrusted Philip, and suspected that it was a ploy to obtain hostages from them and so to force them into a war with the Romans. Cycliadas therefore answered, that their laws precluded them from discussing any proposal except that for which the assembly was summoned.In 199/8 BC, Cycliadas was expelled as a result of his position as leader of the pro-Macedonian party. In 198 BC we find him an exile at the court of Philip, whom he attended in that year at his conference with Flamininus at Nicaea in Locris.
After the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC, Cycliadas was sent with Demosthenes and Limnaeus as ambassador from Philip to Flamininus, who granted the king a truce of 15 days with a view to the arrangement of a permanent peace.Laconicus
Laconicus (Greek: Λακωνικός; reigned in 192 BC) was the last known king of Sparta. Laconicus was appointed as a king after the murder of Nabis. He was a boy, possibly of royal descent, who had been raised with Nabis' own sons. After the Achaean general Philopoemen captured the city in 192 BC Sparta was forced to join the Achaean League and the position of king was abolished. After Laconicus was deposed his fate is unknown.Lyttian War
The Lyttian War was an internal conflict fought from around 220 BC to about 216 BC between two coalitions of Cretan city-states, led by Cnossus and Polyrrhenia respectively. The events of the war are recorded by the historian Polybius. It is considered "the greatest war in Cretan history" during Antiquity.Machanidas
Machanidas (Greek: Μαχανίδας) was a tyrant of Lacedaemon near the end of the 3rd century BC.Megalopolis, Greece
Megalopoli (Greek: Μεγαλόπολη) is a town in the southwestern part of the regional unit of Arcadia, southern Greece. It is located in the same site as ancient Megalopolis (Ancient Greek: Μεγαλόπολις). When it was founded in 371 BC, it was the first large urbanization in rustic Arcadia. Its theater had a capacity of 20,000 visitors, making it one of the largest ancient Greek theaters. Megalopoli has several schools, shops, churches, hotels and other services. The population of Megalopoli in 2011 was 5,779 for the town proper.Monime
Monime, sometimes known as Monima (Greek: Μονίμη; died 72/71 BC), was a Greek Macedonian noblewoman from Anatolia and one of the wives of King Mithridates VI of Pontus.
According to the ancient sources she was a citizen of either Miletus or Stratonicea, Caria. Monime was the daughter of a prominent citizen called Philopoemen. Monime was a beautiful, intelligent woman and was much talked about among the Greeks.When King Mithridates VI of Pontus and his army successfully captured her native city in 89/88 BC, her beauty made a great impression on Mithridates VI. He was strongly drawn to her, as he was attracted to powerful personalities whose intelligence complemented his own.
Mithridates VI thought of making Monime the jewel of his harem, and began negotiations with Philopoemen. Mithridates VI offered him 1500 gold pieces. Monime rejected the offer and held out for more. Monime demanded from Mithridates VI a marriage contract and insisted that he give her a royal Diadem and the title of Queen. Because he found Monime irresistible, Mithridates VI agreed.
The royal scribes prepared the marriage contract. Mithridates VI tied a purple and gold ribbon around the head of Monime, the pair withdrew to the private rooms of the palace at Sinope. They married in 89/88 BC and through her marriage to Mithridates VI, Monime became his second wife and Queen of Pontus. Her father received his gold from Mithridates VI and was appointed overseer in Ephesus. Monime bore Mithridates VI a child, a daughter called Athenais.In the beginning of their marriage, she exercised great influence over her husband; however this did not last long. In the end they had an unhappy marriage and he later became dissatisfied with her. Monime later repented her marriage to Mithridates VI, her elevation, and leaving her native city.
In 72/71 BC, when her husband was compelled to abandon his dominions and took refuge in the Kingdom of Armenia, Monime was put to death at Pharnacia. Her correspondence to Mithridates VI, which was of a licentious character, fell into the hands of Roman General Pompey at the capture of the fortress at Caenon Phrourion.Nabis
Nabis (Greek: Νάβις) was ruler of Sparta from 207 BC to 192 BC, during the years of the First and Second Macedonian Wars and the eponymous "War against Nabis", i.e. against him. After taking the throne by executing two claimants, he began rebuilding Sparta's power. During the Second Macedonian War, he sided with King Philip V of Macedon and in return he received the city of Argos. However, when the war began to turn against the Macedonians, he defected to Rome. After the war, the Romans, urged by the Achaean League, attacked Nabis and defeated him. He then was assassinated in 192 BC by the Aetolian League and was Sparta's last independent ruler. He represented the last phase of Sparta's reformist period.Philopoemen Constantinidi
Philopoemen Constantinidi (born Konstantinidis; Greek: Φιλοποίμην Κωνσταντινίδης; 1909–1992) was a Greek painter and engraver.War against Nabis
The War against Nabis, or the Laconian War, of 195 BC was fought between the Greek city-state of Sparta and a coalition composed of Rome, the Achaean League, Pergamum, Rhodes, and Macedon.
During the Second Macedonian War (200–196 BC), Macedon had given Sparta control over Argos, an important city on the Aegean coast of Peloponnese. Sparta's continued occupation of Argos at the end of war was used as a pretext for Rome and its allies to declare war. The anti-Spartan coalition laid siege to Argos, captured the Spartan naval base at Gythium, and soon invested and besieged Sparta itself. Eventually, negotiations led to peace on Rome's terms, under which Argos and the coastal towns of Laconia were separated from Sparta and the Spartans were compelled to pay a war indemnity to Rome over the next eight years. Argos joined the Achaean League, and the Laconian towns were placed under Achaean protection.
As a result of the war, Sparta lost its position as a major power in Greece. Subsequent Spartan attempts to recover the losses failed and Nabis, the last sovereign ruler, was eventually murdered. Soon after, Sparta was forcibly made a member of its former rival, the Achaean League, ending several centuries of fierce political independence.
The works of Plutarch
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