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The Greek Slogan of Freedom and Early Roman Politics in Greece$

Sviatoslav Dmitriev

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195375183

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195375183.001.0001

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(p.433) Appendix 8 The Expeditions of Heracleides and Dicaearchos

(p.433) Appendix 8 The Expeditions of Heracleides and Dicaearchos

The Greek Slogan of Freedom and Early Roman Politics in Greece
Oxford University Press

Philip V is thought to have offered support to the Cretans in their war against Rhodes. This war, which has been known as the Cretan war, is generally thought to have started in 204 or 205 or, according to a more recent opinion, 206.1 At some point during this war, Philip provided the Aetolian Dicaearchos with a fleet against the Rhodians.2 Philip also sent a certain Heracleides of Tarentum on a secret mission to Rhodes at some unspecified date, but clearly before 202–201 when open hostilities between Philip and Rhodes had broken out. Heracleides pretended that he had broken with Philip and even showed the Rhodians what he claimed were Philip’s letters, in which the king plotted against the Rhodians, who were formally his allies at that time. Heracleides apparently managed to convince the Rhodians and even received certain privileges from them. As soon as the dust settled down, he set the Rhodian dockyards and arsenal on fire. After destroying thirteen ships in this way, he escaped back to his master.3

(p.434) Philip’s sudden push into the Aegean has been explained by the fact that the ongoing Cretan war gave him the “chance of a cheap intervention.”4 This explanation, however, leaves questions about the reasons for Philip’s intervention unanswered. The opinion about the date and reason for Philip’s advance into the Aegean largely depends on when the Cretan war took place. The precise chronological limits of this war are hard to establish, however. As we have seen above, the datings of its beginning differ within the period from 206 to 204. The date of its end has also been debated. The Rhodian victory in this war has generally been connected with the treaty between Rhodes and Hierapytna, which is traditionally dated to about 201–200.5 But the suggested datings of this treaty, and of the end of the Cretan war, are approximations. In his recent examination of the treaty between Rhodes and Hierapytna, Pierre Brulé opted for 205–204.6 Although he provided quite a convincing argument against what had been an authoritative dating up until then, the date that he offered instead is based on indirect evidence and can hardly be accepted without proof.

Establishing the date of this treaty, however, appears to be of little importance to the present discussion because, even according to Brulé, the Cretan war continued after Rhodes and Hierapytna drew a separate deal.7 When did it end? Brulé connected the end of the war with the decrees of several Cretan cities confirming the grant of inviolability (asylia) to Teos by Antiochos III (the Great). Earlier this grant had been dated to the very end of the third century.8 But Peter Herrmann, who published the inscription bearing Antiochos’s grant of asylia to Teos, has established its date as 204–203.9 Brulé thus tentatively put the end of the Cretan war at 204–203.10 However, Herrmann left open the possibility of 202 as being the date of Antiochos’s grant of asylia to Teos.11 The confirmation from Cretan cities could have followed the grant by Antiochos even after some interval: decrees acknowledging the asylia of Teos by the Aetolians and Delphi have been dated to 205–201, with those by Cretan cities to c.200.12 The date of 204–203 remains, therefore, only one of several options for the end of the Cretan war.13

(p.435) In practical terms, all this means that the expedition of Dicaearchos, and most probably the mission of Heracleides, could have taken place any time before 203, or maybe even after that year, since the Cretan war could have lasted past 203.14 Bengtson, Effenterre, Gelder, Holleaux, Benecke, Will, and (hesitantly) Brulé have been inclined to date the expedition of Dicaearchos to 205 simply because, among other things, they dated the beginning of the Cretan war to that year.15 The grounds of this dating are very shaky, however. The expedition of Dicaearchos did not have to take place at the very beginning of the Cretan war, and the war could have continued after 204. Therefore, others have dated the expedition of Dicaearchos to late 204 or early 203, or even to 202.16 It seems impossible to establish the precise dating for this expedition. On the one hand, Diodoros spoke of Dicaearchos’s expedition before referring to Philip’s campaign against the Dardanians (205–204). The latter reference was added, however, to round out a description of Philip’s personal qualities; therefore, one would hardly expect chronological coherence in this case. On the other hand, later in the text, Diodoros allegedly connected the story about Dicaearchos’s expedition with what has been interpreted as a reference to Hannibal’s return to Africa, which is dated to 203–202.17 The connection is far from obvious, however, especially with respect to the chronological proximity of the two events. Holleaux, followed by some, advanced the idea that the purpose of Dicaearchos’s expedition was to collect money for the construction of Philip’s fleet. The building of Philip’s fleet is said to have been completed in 202 and therefore, was probably started not long before.18 But Philip appointed Dicaearchos the “commander of all his fleet,” saying only that the task entrusted by Philip to Dicaearchos was to attack the Cyclades and the cities of the Hellespont.19 In short, the expedition of Dicaearchos could have taken place any time during the Cretan war.20

The date of Heracleides’s mission is similarly uncertain: the date of 205 (or 204), although suggested by Holleaux and Brulé and accepted (or not contested) by everybody else, has hardly been established once and for all.21 The accounts by Polybios and Polyaenos refer to the mission of Heracleides as having taken place sometime before the open conflict between Philip and Rhodes broke out in 202-201.22 Other than that, there is no direct indication about the (p.436) timing of the affair. For example, Holleaux put it in 205 simply because this was his date for the beginning of the Cretan war, whereas Walbank proposed that Heracleides’s affair could have taken place in 203.23 Nothing prevents us from dating the expedition of Dicaearchos, and the mission of Heracleides, to 204–203, as has been the majority opinion.

If the Cretan war started in 205 (or 206), the explanation for why Philip sent Dicaearchos against the Rhodians in 204 or 203, or even later, should be sought elsewhere. It seems logical to connect Philip’s sudden push into the Aegean, which included the missions of Dicaearchos and Heracleides, with the death of Ptolemy Philopator (probably in late summer or autumn of 204)24 and Philip’s desire to appropriate Ptolemaic possessions in the Aegean, using the fact that Ptolemy Epiphanes was too young to offer effective resistance.25 It is still unclear, however, if Philip instigated the Cretan war26 or if he simply reinvigorated it because of the death of the Egyptian king. The former opinion has been indirectly supported by those who disconnected Philip’s activity in the Aegean from the death of Philopator.27


(1.) For 206: Gabrielsen, “Economic Activity,” 229. For 205: H. van Effenterre, La Crète et le monde grec de Platon à Polybe (Paris: De Boccard, 1948), 221; Holleaux, Études, 4:139 n. 1, 165 n. 4; König, “Bund,” 35; P. Brulé, La piraterie crétoise hellénistique (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1978), 44; Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 248; S. Kreuter, “Die Beziehungen zwischen Rom und Kreta vom Beginn des zweiten Jahrhundert v.Chr. bis zur Einrichtung der Römischen Provinz,” in Rom und der Griechische Osten: Festschrift für H. H. Schmitt zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Ch. Schubert and K. Brodersen (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1995), 140. For 205–204: Bengtson, Geschichte 5, 425. For 204: Hiller von Gaertringen, “Rhodos,” 787; Bickerman, “Les préliminaires,” 162; Griffith, “Imperialism,” 4; Sippel, “Rhodes,” 19; Rawlings III, “Antiochus,” 18; Errington, Hellenistic World, 192.

(2.) Syll.3 567–570; Diod. 27.3, 28.1; Polyb. 18.54.8–12. Gelder, Geschichte, 121; Sippel, “Rhodes,” 14–15.

(3.) Polyb. 13.4–5; Polyaen. 5.17.2; Wiemer, Traditionen, 64–67. The open conflict between Rhodes and Philip: Polyb. 15.23.6; Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 252–254.

(4.) Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 252–254, with Errington, Hellenistic World, 192 (the Cretan war started “at a time when Philip was in any case on the lookout for new opportunities”); Sippel, “Rhodes,” 19, 21–22.

(5.) Syll.3 581 = Staatsverträge 3, no. 551 = IC III (Hierapytna), 3A with datings ad hoc. See also Effenterre, La Crète, 222; Brulé, La piraterie, 51; Souza, Piracy, 82; Kreuter, “Beziehungen,” 140.

(6.) Brulé, La piraterie, 51–56, followed by Pohl, Piraterie, 131. Earlier bibliography: Bengtson, Geschichte 5, 425.

(7.) Brulé, La piraterie, 53–54.

(8.) E.g., Holleaux, Études, 4:193–196 (201).

(9.) Herrmann, “Antiochos,” 93–97 = SEG 41, 1003.I.18, 47–48; A. Giovannini, in MH 40 (1983): 181–184; R. E. Allen, The Attalid Kingdom: A Constitutional History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 47–52; Rigsby, Asylia, 281, and most of the rest. Pace Piejko, “Antiochus,” 14: 197–196, i.e., as Antiochos advanced on the Attalids; S. Şahin, “Piratenüberfall auf Teos: Volksbeschluß über die Finanzierung der Erpressungsgelder,” EA 23 (1994): 13, 35.

(10.) Brulé, La piraterie, 40 and 41: 204–203 (with a question mark), 51.

(11.) Herrmann, “Antiochos,” 96–97; Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 252.

(12.) Teos Inscriptions, ed. D. F. McCabe and M. A. Plunkett (Princeton, N.J.: Institute for Advanced Studies, 1985) nos. 1–2 and 3–15, respectively. See Holleaux, Études 4:195 n. 1 (c.200); Rawlings III, “Antiochus,” 18–19 (190s).

(13.) Şahin, “Piratenüberfall,” 35, dated the Cretan war to 205–204 by following Brulé. But Brulé thought that the Cretan war continued even after the separate deal between Hierapytna and Teos in 205–204 and tentatively put the end of the war in 204–203. Nor was he certain about the date of Dicaearchos’s expedition. Furthermore, Brulé suggested the latter dating on the basis of Antiochos’s grant of asylia to Teos, which he dated after Herrmann to 204–203, whereas Şahin dated this grant following Piejko, to 197–196. See also Wiemer, Krieg, 172 (before 201).

(14.) Cf. H. Benecke, “Die Seepolitik der Aitoler” (diss., Hamburg: Kleinert, 1934), 41–42, on Dicaearchos as in the service of Ptolemy Epiphanes “from 203.” But Polyb. 18.54.6–11 offers no proof for this statement.

(15.) 205: Bengtson, Geschichte 5, 425; Effenterre, La Crète, 221; Gelder, Geschichte, 121; Holleaux, Études, 4:125, 139 n. 1; P. Ducrey, Le traitement des prisonniers de guerre dans la Grèce antique des origines à la conquête romaine (Paris: De Boccard, 1999), 182; Benecke, “Seepolitik,” 41; Will, Histoire, 2:89–90; Brulé, La piraterie, 44, 134 (with reservations), followed (without reservations) by Şahin, “Piratenüberfall,” 35, and Souza, Piracy, 82.

(16.) 204 or early 203: Griffith, “Imperialism,” 4, 7; Walbank, Philip V, 110; Walbank, Papers, 55; Sippel, “Rhodes,” 19; Gruen, Hellenistic World, 384 (204–201); Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 248; Pohl, Piraterie, 109; Eckstein, Rome Enters the Greek East, 193. 203–202: Petzold, Eröffnung, 31–32. 202: Niese, Geschichte, 2:581; König, “Bund,” 36–37; Geyer, “Philippos V.,” 2313.

(17.) Diod. 28.1, 10; see König, “Bund,” 36–37, who thus put Dicaearchos’s expedition in 202.

(18.) Holleaux, Rome, 285 n. 5, 287 n. 2; Griffith, “Imperialism,” 8; Walbank, Philip V, 112; Sippel, “Rhodes,” 23. See also Souza, Piracy, 82, and Niese, Geschichte, 2:583: Philip’s fleet was built by 201.

(19.) Polyb. 18.54.8.

(20.) Cf. König, “Bund,” 36.

(21.) Holleaux, Études, 4:138–139; Brulé, La piraterie, 45.

(22.) Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 252.

(23.) See Polyb. 13.4.1–2. Walbank, Philip V, 111. Cf. Diodoros’s Library 28.2, 9: Heracleides’s mission paralleled the expedition of Dicaearchos; so also Mommsen, Geschichte 9, 1:697–698; Petzold, Eröffnung, 31–32.

(24.) Griffith, “Imperialism,” 4; Bengtson, Geschichte 5, 425; Herrmann, “Antiochos,” 96; Will, Histoire, 2:92–96; Errington, “Rome against Philip and Antiochus,” 251; Habicht, Athens, 196; W. Ameling, “Ptolemaios IV. Philopator” and “Ptolemaios V. Epiphanes,” in NPauly 10 (2001): 539; Badian, “Philippos V.,” 804; Eckstein, Rome Enters the Greek East, 125, 142.

(25.) App. Mac. 4.1. This idea: Mommsen, Geschichte 9, 1:696; Petzold, Eröffnung, 32; Magie, “Agreement,” 34–35 (who dated Philopator’s death to late 205); Dahlheim, “Deditio,” 251–252; H. Heinen, “Die politische Beziehungen zwischen Rom und dem Ptolemäerreich von ihren Anfängen bis zum Tag von Eleusis (273–168 v.Chr.),” in ANRW I 1 (1972): 643 (who was uncertain as to how far this agreement could have gone); Badian, “Philippos V.,” 804; Eckstein, Rome Enters the Greek East, 118, 129–131, 178–179, 182.

(26.) As Magie, “Agreement,” 35; Hiller von Gaertringen, “Rhodos,” 78.

(27.) E.g., Gelder, Geschichte, 121 (who dated the beginning of Dicaearchos’s expedition to immediately after the “peace of Phoenice,” which he put in either 205 or 204); Niese, Geschichte, 2:582; Petzold, Eröffnung, 31; Will, Histoire, 2:89–90; Walbank, Philip V, 112.