1. Education

Titus Quinctius Flamininus

2nd century B.C. Roman general and diplomat


Flamininus served as tribune of the soldiers under Marcellus in the latter's fifth consulship (208). After Marcellus' death, Flamininus administered the recently retaken Tarentum, gaining a reputation for justice. He led the establishment of colonies in Narnia and Cossa so successfully that he was able to serve as consul in 198 despite being under 30 and not having previously been held the positions of aedile or praetor.

He was appointed to carry on the war against Philip V of Macedon, a struggle which needed as much diplomatic sensitivity in detaching the resources of Greece proper from Macedon as military skill in the field. After being defeated at a battle on the river Aous, Philip fled through Thessaly operating as far as possible a scorched earth policy, which contrasted unfavourably with the respect for the locals' property enforced by Flamininus. This convinced the Aetolians to go over to the Roman side.

When Philip sued for peace, Flamininus insisted that all Macedonian garrisons be removed from Greece, and the Greeks left to their own laws. Philip refused, but the Greek states all went over to the Roman side. Thebes attempted to stay neutral, but when Flamininus appeared with his army joined the Roman side.

The senate agreed to prolong Flamininus' command and he marched into Thessaly where he defeated Philip again at the battle of Cynoscephalae (197). On Philip's surrender, Flamininus insisted again on Macedonian forces leaving Greece and the Macedonian fleet being dismantled. In return for their freedom from Macedon, the Greek cities arranged for the release of Romans captured by Hannibal and sold into slavery in Greece. When Nabis, tyrant of Lacedaemon, captured Argos, Flamininus invaded Laconia (195). After besieging Sparta, Flamininus agreed to a peace whereby Nabis gave up his conquests and agreed to restore Messenian territory. On Flamininus' return to Italy (194), he was granted a triumph.

When Antiochus III of Syria invaded Greece (192), the Aetolians encouraged the Greek cities to go over to his side. Flamininus was serving under the consul Manius Acilius, and he used his diplomatic skills to bring the wavering Greek cities back to the Roman side and to pacify Acilius' resentment at their temporary lapse in loyalty to their Roman 'liberators'.

Flamininus later served as ambassador to King Prusias of Bithynia (183). Hannibal was living in exile at Prusias' court, and Flamininus insisted on him being handed over. When it looked as if Prusias would have to comply, Hannibal committed suicide.

Flamininus was made an augur in 168, but nothing is known of his subsequent career, although Plutarch tells us that he had a peaceful death. Plutarch pairs Flamininus with his contemporary Philopoemen.

Ancient Sources

Livy Books 32-37 | 39

Polybius Books 18 and 23

Plutarch's Life of Flamininus

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