Young Folks' History of Rome HTML version

21. The Conquest Of Greece, Corinth, And Carthage,
It was a great change when Rome, which to the Greeks of Pyrrhus' time had seemed so
rude and simple, was thought such a school of policy that Greek and half-Greek kings
sent their sons to be educated there, partly as hostages for their own peaceableness, and
partly to learn the spirit of Roman rule. The first king who did this was Philip of
Macedon, who sent his son Demetrius to be brought up at Rome; but when he came back,
his father and brother were jealous of him, and he was soon put to death.
When his brother Perseus came to the throne, there was hatred between him and the
Romans, and ere long he was accused of making war on their allies. He offered to make
peace, but they replied that they would hear nothing till he had laid down his arms, and
this he would not do, so that Lucius Æmilius Paulus (the brother-in-law of Scipio) was
sent to reduce him. As Æmilius came into his own house after receiving the appointment,
he met his little daughter crying, and when he asked her what was the matter, she
answered, "Oh, father, Perseus is dead!" She meant her little dog, but he kissed her and
thanked her for the good omen. He overran Macedon, and gained the great battle of
Pydna, after which Perseus was obliged to give himself up into the hands of the Romans,
begging, however, not to be made to walk in Æmilius' triumph. The general answered
that he might obtain that favor from himself, meaning that he could die by his own hand;
but Perseus did not take the hint, which seems to us far more shocking than it did to a
Roman; he did walk in the triumph, and died a few years after in Italy. Æmilius' two sons
were with him throughout this campaign, though still boys under Polybius, their Achaian
tutor. Macedon was divided into four provinces, and became entirely subject to Rome.
The Greeks of the Achaian League began to have quarrels among themselves, and when
the Romans interfered a fierce spirit broke out, and they wanted to have their old
freedom, forgetting how entirely unable they were to stand against the power of the
Romans. Caius Cæcilius Metellus, a man of one of the best and most gracious Roman
families, was patient with them and did his best to pacify them, being most unwilling to
ruin the noble old historical cities; but these foolish Greeks fancied that his kindness
showed weakness, and forced on the war, sending a troop to guard the pass of
Thermopylæ, but they were swept away. Unfortunately, Metellus had to go out of office,
and Lucius Mummius, a fierce, rude, and ignorant soldier, came in his stead to complete
the conquest. Corinth was taken, utterly ruined and plundered throughout, and a huge
amount of treasure was sent to Rome, as well as pictures and statues famed all over the
world. Mummius was very much laughed at for having been told they must be carried in
his triumph; and yet, not understanding their beauty, he told the sailors to whose charge
they were given, that if they were lost, new ones must be supplied. However, he was an
honest man, who did not help himself out of the plunder, as far too many were doing.
After that, Achaia was made a Roman province.
At this time the third and last Punic war was going on. The old Moorish king, Massinissa,
had been continually tormenting Carthage ever since she had been weak, and declaring
that Phoenician strangers had no business in Africa. The Carthaginians, who had no
means of defending themselves, complained; but the Romans would not listen, hoping,