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Titus Quinctius Flāminīnus

(b. c. 229 bc)


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B. c.229 bc,

military tribune 208 under Claudius Marcellus 1, then quaestor, probably at Tarentum, where he held praetorian imperium for some years from 205. He was Decemvir for distributing land to Cornelius Scipio Africanus' veterans 201. 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. Meeting Philip late in 198, he demanded the evacuation of all of Greece, but apparently hinted to Philip that the senate might modify the terms. He told 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 (see prorogation), 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 Cynoscephalae, in eastern Thessaly. He now granted Philip an armistice on the same terms, which the senate confirmed as peace terms. In a spectacular ceremony he announced the unrestricted freedom of the Greeks in Europe at the Isthmia 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 the Seleucid Antiochus III, 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 Nabis of Sparta. In 194 all Roman troops were withdrawn.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 and left for Rome to celebrate an unparalleled three‐day triumph. A bronze statue with a Greek inscription was erected to him in Rome by his Greek clients.

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. In 189 he was censor. In 183, sent to Asia on an embassy, he took it upon himself to demand the extradition of Hannibal from Prusias I of Bithynia. (Hannibal killed himself.) Flamininus died in 174.

A typical patrician noble, his was a world of personal ambition, Roman patriotism, family loyalty, and patron–client relationships. He was the first to develop a policy of turning the Greek world—cities, leagues, and kings—into clients of Rome and of himself, nominally free or allied, but subject to interference for Rome's advantage. The Greeks, whom he had liberated, he expected to follow his instructions even without a public mandate. Aware of Greek history and traditions, he attracted many Greeks by charm and tact, but aroused antagonism by unscrupulous trickery. Midway between arrogant imperialists and the genuine philhellenes of a later period, he laid the foundations of the uneasy acceptance of Roman hegemony by the Greek world. See also philhellenism.

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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