Histories (Philip Begins to Become a Tyrant)

Author Polybius
Subject History of Mt. Lykaion and Area

Polybius, History, 7.13 from The Perseus Digital Library.

Aratus seeing that Philip was now openly engaging in war with Rome, and entirely changed in his policy toward his allies, with difficulty diverted him from his intention by suggesting numerous difficulties and scruples.

I wish now to remind my readers of what, in my fifth Book, I put forward merely as a promise and unsupported statement, but which has now been confirmed by facts; in order that I may not leave any proposition of mine unproved or open to question.

In the course of my history of the Aetolian war, where I had to relate the violent proceedings of Philip in destroying the colonnades and other sacred objects at Thermus; and added that, in consideration of his youth, the blame of these measures ought not to be referred to Philip so much as to his advisers; I then remarked that the life of Aratus sufficiently proved that he would not have committed such an act of wickedness, but that such principles exactly suited Demetrius of Pharos; and I promised to make this clear from what I was next to narrate. I thereby designedly postponed the demonstration of the truth of my assertion, till I had come to the period of which I have just been speaking; that, namely, in which with the presence of Demetrius, and in the absence of Aratus, who arrived a day too late, Philip made the first step in his career of crime; and, as though from the first taste of human blood and murder and treason to his allies, was changed not into a wolf from a man, as in the Arcadian fable mentioned by Plato, but from a king into a savage tyrant. But a still more decisive proof of the sentiments of these two men is furnished by the plot against the citadel of Messene, and may help us to make up our minds which of the two were responsible for the proceedings in the Aetolian war; and, when we are satisfied on that point, it will be easy to form a judgment on the differences of their principles.

Greek Text

Ὅτι ὁ Ἄρατος, θεωρῶν τὸν Φίλιππον ὁμολογουμένως τόν τε πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἀναλαμβάνοντα πόλεμον καὶ κατὰ τὴν πρὸς τοὺς συμμάχους αἵρεσιν ὁλοσχερῶς ἠλλοιωμένον, πολλὰς εἰσενεγκάμενος ἀπορίας καὶ σκήψεις μόλις ἀπετρέψατο τὸν Φίλιππον. ἡμεῖς δέ, τοῦ κατὰ τὴν πέμπτην βύβλον ἡμῖν ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ καὶ φάσει μόνον εἰρημένου νῦν δι᾽ αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων τὴν πίστιν εἰληφότος, βουλόμεθα προσαναμνῆσαι τοὺς συνεφιστάνοντας τῇ πραγματείᾳ, πρὸς τὸ μηδεμίαν τῶν ἀποφάσεων ἀναπόδεικτον μηδ᾽ ἀμφισβητουμένην καταλιπεῖν. καθ᾽ ὃν γὰρ καιρὸν ἐξηγούμενοι τὸν Αἰτωλικὸν πόλεμον ἐπὶ τοῦτο τὸ μέρος τῆς διηγήσεως ἐπέστημεν, ἐν ᾧ Φίλιππον ἔφαμεν τὰς ἐν Θέρμῳ στοὰς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν ἀναθημάτων θυμικώτερον καταφθεῖραι, καὶ δεῖν τούτων τὴν αἰτίαν οὐχ οὕτως ἐπὶ τὸν βασιλέα διὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν ὡς ἐπὶ τοὺς συνόντας αὐτῷ φίλους ἀναφέρειν, τότε περὶ μὲν Ἀράτου τὸν βίον ἐφήσαμεν ἀπολογεῖσθαι τὸ μηδὲν ἂν ποιῆσαι μοχθηρόν, Δημητρίου δὲ τοῦ Φαρίου τὴν τοιαύτην εἶναι προαίρεσιν. δῆλον δὲ τοῦτο ποιήσειν ἐπηγγειλάμεθα διὰ τῶν ἑξῆς ῥηθησομένων, εἰς τοῦτον ὑπερθέμενοι τὸν καιρὸν τὴν πίστιν τῆς προρρηθείσης ἀποφάσεως, ἐν ᾧ παρὰ μίαν ἡμέραν Δημητρίου μὲν παρόντος, ὡς ἀρτίως ὑπὲρ τῶν κατὰ Μεσσηνίους ὑπεδείξαμεν, Ἀράτου δὲ καθυστερήσαντος, ἤρξατο Φίλιππος ἅπτεσθαι τῶν μεγίστων ἀσεβημάτων. καὶ καθάπερ ἂν ἐγγευσάμενος αἵματος ἀνθρωπείου καὶ τοῦ φονεύειν καὶ παρασπονδεῖν τοὺς συμμάχους, οὐ λύκος ἐξ ἀνθρώπου κατὰ τὸν Ἀρκαδικὸν μῦθον, ὥς φησιν ὁ Πλάτων, ἀλλὰ τύραννος ἐκ βασιλέως ἀπέβη πικρός. τούτου δ᾽ ἐναργέστερον ἔτι δεῖγμα τῆς ἑκατέρου γνώμης τὸ περὶ τῆς ἄκρας συμβούλευμα πρὸς τὸ μηδὲ περὶ τῶν κατ᾽