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Titus Quinctius Flamininus

(c. 228—174 bc)


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Brother of Lucius Flamininus (consul 192 bc). Born c.229 bc, military tribune 208 under Marcellus, then quaestor, probably at Tarentum, where he held praetorian imperium (supreme military and civil authority) for some years from 205. Decemvir for distributing land to Scipio Africanus' veterans 201, he concurrently became triumvir (one of a board of three officials) to supplement the Roman colony at Venusia (200). In 198, against some opposition but with the support of the veterans he had settled, he was elected consul and sent to take over the war against Philip V of Macedon with a new army and a new political approach. After driving Philip from a strong position in the Aous gorge separating Macedonia from Epirus, he moved towards central Greece against stiff resistance, but with his brother's help forced the Achaean Confederacy into alliance and now gained some further allies. Meeting Philip late in 198, he demanded the evacuation of all of Greece (unacceptable to Philip at this point), but apparently hinted to Philip that the senate might modify the terms. He instructed his friends in Rome to work for peace if he could not be continued in command and for war if he could complete it; he was prorogued, and the senate insisted on his terms. In spring 197, after gaining the alliance of most of Greece, he decisively defeated Philip by superior tactical skill at the battle of Cynoscephalae (Thessaly). He now granted Philip an armistice on the same terms, which the senate confirmed as peace terms. Advancing implausible excuses, he refused to allow his Aetolian allies to annex some cities promised to them. He thus secured a balance of power in the north, but gravely offended the Aetolians, making them eager to welcome Antiochus III. In a spectacular ceremony (see Polyb. 18. 46) he announced the unrestricted freedom of the Greeks in Europe at the Isthmian games of 196 and persuaded a reluctant senate commission that this pledge had to be carried out if Greek confidence was to be retained against Antiochus, who was about to cross into Europe. He now initiated a diplomatic effort to keep Antiochus out of Europe and deprive him of the Greek cities in Asia Minor. The final settlement of Greece involved a difficult war against the Spartan ruler Nabis, nominally as head of an almost Panhellenic alliance. The settlement paralleled that with Philip: Nabis was left to rule Sparta, to secure a balance of power between him and Rome's Achaean allies. In 194 all Roman troops were withdrawn. Henceforth Flamininus was showered with honours (including divine honours) in Greece. He issued a commemorative gold coin with his portrait (RRC 548) and left for Rome to celebrate an unparalleled three-day triumph (Livy 34. 52). A bronze statue with a Greek inscription was erected to him in Rome by his Greek clients (Plut. Titus 1. 1).

In 193 he was entrusted with secret negotiations with Antiochus' envoys; when they refused his offer of undisturbed possession of Asia in return for withdrawal from Europe, he proclaimed to the Greek world that Rome would liberate the Greeks of Asia from Antiochus. Sent to Greece to secure the loyalty of the Greeks and of Philip, he was partly successful; but Demetrias in Thessaly, afraid of being surrendered to Philip, became an Aetolian bridgehead for Antiochus. He remained diplomatically active in 191–190, both in the war and in Peloponnesian affairs, handing Messene over to the Achaeans and annexing Zacynthus for Rome. In 189 he was censor. In 183, sent to Asia on an embassy, he unsuccessfully tried to intervene in Peloponnesian affairs on his way, then took it upon himself to demand the extradition of Hannibal from king Prusias I of Bithynia. (Hannibal committed suicide.) With the senate working to substitute Demetrius, Philip's pro-Roman younger son, for Perseus, his elder son, as designated successor, he hatched a plot to substitute Demetrius for Philip as king (see Polyb. 23. 3, cf. 7; Livy 40. 23, denying the charge). The result was Demetrius' execution (181). After this failure he disappears from public affairs until his death (174).

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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