|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
FLAMININUS IS COVERED WITH GARLANDS
 TEN years before the struggle with Hannibal ended, Rome had
declared war against Philip, King of Macedonia. This
was the beginning of a war that ended with the conquest
of the East.
But the Romans soon found that, with Hannibal in Italy,
they would have neither time nor troops to spare for
Macedonia. So for a time King Philip was left
undisturbed, although he had dared to defy the Romans,
and in 215 B.C. to make a treaty with Hannibal. Before
the battle of Zama too, he sent four thousand
Macedonian soldiers to help the Carthaginians in their
struggle against Rome.
But when peace was made with Carthage, the day of
reckoning with King Philip speedily came. A Roman army
of twenty thousand men was sent across the Adriatic to
The Consul Flamininus was made commander of the Roman
army in Greece in 198 B.C., and in the autumn of the
following year he met Philip at Cynoscephalæ, where a
great battle was fought.
In the morning, before the struggle began, a thick mist
hid the armies from one another. Flamininus, wishing
to find out the position of the enemy, sent a
detachment of cavalry and infantry to reconnoitre.
Suddenly the detachment found itself face to face with
the Macedonian reserves, which were stationed on the
ridges of the hill named Cynoscephalæ, or Dogshead, as
the difficult name is translated in our language.
 The Macedonians, being on a higher slope of the hill
than the Romans, were at first the more successful.
In their triumph at having worsted even a detachment of
Romans, they sent messengers to tell King Philip of
their success, and to urge him to bring up the main
body of his army without delay.
The king hesitated. He had not expected to meet the
enemy that day, and had sent off a large number of his
men to forage. His army, too, was on rough and even
precipitous ground, which was quite unsuitable for the
movement of the phalanx, which needed a wide open space
in which to move.
The Macedonian phalanx was as important a part of
Philip's army as the elephants had been in that of
Hannibal. It was formed by sixteen thousand men in
close order, sixteen rows deep, and the men were armed
with long spears. These spears were held in such a way
that those of the first five ranks reached to the front
row, so that a wall of solid steel seemed to stare the
enemy in the face.
The eleven ranks behind held their weapons in a
slanting position over the heads of those before them,
and thus shielded their comrades from the darts aimed
Now the men forming the phalanx marched so close
together that they could turn neither to flank nor
rear, but must move straight forward. Their spears,
which varied from sixteen to fourteen cubits, could
only be used for the one forward movement.
In the days of Pyrrhus, the Romans had dreaded the
attack of the phalanx, but now they had lost all fear
of this body. They were lightly armed, could move
swiftly, and had grown used to annoy and defeat it.
On this misty autumn morning, then, in 197 B.C., Philip
reluctantly yielded to the wishes of his soldiers, and
ordered his army to move to the ground, from which the
advanced guard of the Romans had already been driven.
 Here he arranged his right wing in the form of a
phalanx, and himself led it to charge the left wing of
As the solid mass of men moved down the slope of the
hill, it gathered force, and struck with such weight
against the Romans that they were scattered.
Before, however, Philip's left wing could form, owing
to its steep and difficult position, Flamininus was
upon it, and his men fought with such vigour and
determination that the Macedonians were put to flight.
Then one of the tribune ventured on a daring deed, one
which, as it proved successful, really settled the
Instead of joining the rest of the army in pursuit of
the left wing of the enemy, he led his men to the rear
of King Philip's right wing.
All at once the king saw that something was wrong. His
men, who had scattered the left wing of the Roman army,
seemed in difficulty. They began to throw away their
weapons, to fly from the field. And not only so, but
the Romans, who shortly before had been worsted, had
now once again turned to face the foe.
Quickly Philip climbed higher up the hill, and then he
understood what had happened. For he saw that his men
had been attacked in the rear by the Roman tribune, and
that they had been seized with panic at finding
themselves attacked both before and behind.
It was soon plain that the battle was lost. Rallying
the remnant of his cavalry, King Philip put spurs to
his horse and fled from the fatal hills of
The king foresaw that this defeat would strike a great
blow at the influence of Macedonia in Greece.
Henceforth Greece would be more likely to appeal to
Rome than to Macedonia when she was in need of help
against her foes.
He therefore saw little good in prolonging a struggle
which he felt to be useless. So, collecting the
remnant of his army, Philip withdrew to his own
When Rome heard of the victory of Cynoscephalæ she
 was greatly pleased, but perhaps her people were even
more delighted that after the victory peace was
proclaimed. They were growing weary of incessant war.
Flamininus stayed in Greece during 196 B.C., to arrange
terms of peace, with the aid of commissioners sent from
Rome. It was determined that his decision should be
announced at the Isthmian games, which were held at
Corinth in the month of July.
Crowds always flocked to see the games, but this year
the number of people was greater than ever, for the
decree of Rome was awaited with anxiety.
On the appointed day, while the people stood idly
talking to one another in the Stadium or racecourse,
the herald's trumpet suddenly rang out. When silence
was secured this is what he read:—
"The Senate of Rome and Quinctius Flamininus,
pro-Consul and Imperator, having conquered King Philip
and the Macedonians, declare the following peoples
free, without garrison or tribute, in full enjoyment of
their respective countries."
The list of names which followed was drowned, for the
people, hearing that freedom was to be granted to many
of their towns, burst into loud shouts of joy, which
could not be controlled.
At length there was a pause, and the herald again read
the names of the favoured towns.
Then in their gratitude the people pressed around
Flamininus, until he was in danger of being crushed to
death. Garlands and flowers were showered upon him, so
that he was forced to beg the people not to smother him
in their wild delight. But it was long before the
Roman could escape from the expressions of their joy.
Two years later Flamininus, having finished his work in
Greece, prepared to return to Rome. Before he left he
summoned the free states of Greece to meet him at
Corinth, that he might bid them farewell.
 Wisely he spoke, telling them to live in "harmony and
moderation." Then, as a farewell gift, he promised to
remove the Roman garrisons from three other towns.
As at the Isthmian games in 196 B.C., so now again, the
easily moved people overwhelmed Flamininus with their
gratitude. But when at length the tumult grew less,
the Roman said that there was a practical proof of
their goodwill which he would like them to give to him.
Many Romans had been taken prisoners and sold as slaves
in Greece during the wars with Hannibal. These he
begged them to set free.
The Greeks were eager to show that their gratitude was
sincere. So when Flamininus reached the coast of
Epirus, where his fleet was lying, he found a great
band of Roman captives awaiting him. They had been
ransomed by the grateful citizens.
In Rome, when Flamininus celebrated his triumph, he had
in his procession no more splendid trophies than these
prisoners, who had been redeemed by his unselfish
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