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The Politics of PlunderAitolians and their Koinon in the Early Hellenistic Era, 279-217 B.C.$

Joseph Scholten

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520201873

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520201873.001.0001

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(p.253) Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae

(p.253) Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae

The Politics of Plunder
University of California Press

Events of the 250s and 240s B.C.

Sorting out the crises that faced the Aitolians during the 250s and early 240s is difficult. The evidence for the various developments of this era is interconnected; each bit affects and is affected by the chronology we assign each particular event.

The Date of the Aitolian-Akarnanian Alliance

Not the least of the issues raised by the discovery of the remarkable inscription IGIX 12 1, 3A (= Stsv III, 480)—which records an otherwise unattested alliance between the Aitolian and Akarnanian koina—is its date. A series of scholars has tackled the problem in this century, and a consensus has emerged (accepted above in Chapter 2) that it belongs sometime in the later 260s or early 250s: that is, at the end of or soon after the Chremonidean War.1 J. D. Grainger has recently attempted to overturn this consensus in favor of a date a decade earlier, claiming that the argument for the current dating is “founded on sand” (329). The reasons he offers for his new dating are on no firmer footing.

The inscription’s eponymous dating could not be clearer: as noted above in Chapter 2, it provides (11. 16–22), intact, the names and demotics of not only the Aitolian stratēgos (Polykritos of Kallion [not “Kallia,” as Grainger inadvertently states: 329], for the second time), but also the hipparchos, the grammateus, seven epilektarchoi, and seven tamiai. Unfortunately, the (p.254) chronological sequence of eponymous Aitolian magistrates in the third century is even less certain than the Delphic archon list of that era. It is not quite the case, however, that there is “no independent evidence of the date” of this decree, as Grainger claims (329). A sufficient number of Aitolian federal documents are extant from the period of Polykritos’s first stratēgia to allow us to date that office to the late 270s or early 260s with a fair degree of confidence.2 Given the likelihood that League rules mandated a time interval before reelection to its highest office,3 it is unlikely that Polykritos held his second stratēgia before the mid-260s. The presence of a Metropolitan Dorian among the League magistrates in the year of this treaty (1. 21) carries a similar chronological implication. It now seems clear that the Aitolians assumed control over the Amphiktyonic vote of the Metropolitan Dorians in winter 270/69, signaling the final incorporation of that population into the League. Generally there was a time lag of several years between the annexation of a region and the first appearance of one of its inhabitants in federal office.4

Grainger’s reconstruction (327) of the course of events in Epeiros and Akarnania in the aftermath of Pyrrhos’s death in 272 is equally problematical. Essentially, the evidence offered does not support the conclusions drawn from it. Grainger’s analysis assumes a breakdown in the close Epeirote-Akarnanian relations of Pyrrhos’s reign after his death, and then uses that—assumed—breakdown as a pretext for an Akarnanian appeal to the Aitolians, whence came the treaty under discussion. Grainger offers Alexandras II’s conflict with the Illyrian dynast Mitylos as the pretext for an Akarnanian independence movement (whose motivations are seemingly self-evident). But Alexandros’s struggle with Mitylos is not mentioned in the source provided (Appian, Ill. 7; the war in fact appears in Trog. Prol 25, but only just, and with no reference to any repercussions to the south: Alexandros Illyricum cum rege Mitylo bellum habuerit). Further, Grainger presents the return to Epeiros of Alexandros’s brother, Helenos, bearing the ashes of their father, as a further distraction and so an opening to the unhappy Akarnanians, and (implicitly) intended as such by its author, Gonatas. Those sources that do mention Helenos’s release and journey, however, do so—again, briefly—in the context of praising Antigonos’s magnanimity (Just. 25.5.2; Val. Max. 5.1 ext. 4). It would be well to remember Antigonos’s general reputation for upright behavior, (p.255) and especially that he had played Helenos’s part at the death of his own father, Demetrios Poliorketes, thanks to the generosity of Seleukos I (Plut. Demetr. 53). As for Helenos’s subsequent disappearance from the historical record, it is more likely a result of the deficiencies in that record than of his elimination in an (undocumented) internal Epeirote power struggle, at which Grainger darkly hints.

What is more, Grainger’s assumption of an Akarnania eager to be free of Epeirote ties is hard to reconcile with the situation clearly attested a decade later, during the Chremonidean War. Then, after being driven from his realm as a consequence of his disastrous invasion of Makedonia, Alexandros fled to the Akarnanians, whence he subsequently recovered his realm (Just. 25.3.1). Grainger attempts to dismiss this evidence of continuity in good Epeirote-Akarnanian relations during the 260s by claiming that Justin is referring only to a nebulous group of pro-Epeirote (and pro-Aitolian) Akarnanians, rather than the League as a whole. This argument is not, in my view, persuasive.

Nor is Grainger’s assertion that the treaty itself is anti-Epeirote easily reconciled with the previous political and diplomatic history of the western and northwestern Greek mainland. If there was any group that the Akarnanians needed protection against in times of stress over the preceding decades (and, indeed, centuries), it had been the Aitolians. From the Athenian general Demosthenes in the fifth century, to the Spartan king Agesilaos and the Macedonian Kassandros in the fourth, to (most recently) Demetrios Poliorketes and Pyrrhos, ambitious outside players had continually attempted to exploit this diachronic rivalry in order to control the region. Indeed, this surprising treaty would be a complete puzzle were it not for the clear evidence of its outside sponsorship. Grainger’s failure to note the long, intimate association of the Aitolians and the Eleians undercuts his attempt (328) to deny the political significance of the sites chosen to receive copies of the treaty: Aktion, Thermon, Olympia, Delphi, Dodona (11. 14–15). This list reads like a catalogue of sanctuaries controlled by the major powers of the western region of southern, central, and northern Greece. The most logical moment for them to have been chosen as points of advertisement for an Aitolian-Akarnanian alliance, and so to have been associated with it, is in the aftermath of the Chremonidean War. At that point Antigonos’s position on the mainland was dominant and threatening to the lands and peoples to his west,5 in a way (p.256) that it had not been in the confused aftermath of Pyrrhos’s death a decade before. (Witness the confident Aitolian actions against Antigonos’s puppet Aristotimos of Elis, discussed in Chapter 1.)

Finally, Grainger rightly notes that the consensus dating of the Aitolian-Akarnanian treaty rests on unprovable inference and preconceptions. His own proposed redating of the Aitolian-Akarnanian treaty, however, is ultimately driven by an underlying desire to place the Aitolian incorporation of Metropolitan Doris into that League in the late 270s. That desire is, in turn, based upon his reading of the geographical and geopolitical imperatives of the time. Grainger is certainly justified in suggesting (320) that, when dealing with as tangled a subject as Aitolia’s third-century expansion, “common sense and geography are useful and necessary correctives.” It is important, however, to distinguish between the sensibilities, geographic and otherwise, of our day and those of the third century B.C. (a confusion from which my own analysis no doubt suffers at times, too). In this case Grainger’s analysis, rather than being driven by what evidence we do possess on Doris’s situation, and general Aitolian customs, seems to override or ignore it (on which see Chap. 2 and App. A). The consensus date for the Aitolian-Akarnanian treaty thus remains preferable to Grainger’s alternative.

The Date of the Aitolian-Epeirote Division of Akarnania

The breakdown of relations between Greater Aitolia and Akarnania has only the vaguest temporal context. Polybios twice mentions the Epeirote-Aitolian division of Akarnania in the course of rhetorical attacks against the Aitolians (2.45.1, 9.34.7). Indirect acknowledgment of the partition is found in Justin (28.1.1: Aitolian designs on the Epeirote portion of Akarnania after the death of Alexandres II) and perhaps Pausanias (10.16.6: Aitolian monument at Delphi for victory over the Akarnanians; ?IG IX 121, 180 = FD III 4, 178).6 The most that can be said on the basis of these reports is that the partition occurred after the Chremonidean War and before the death of Alexandres II—that is, sometime between the late 260s and the late 240s.7

The Revolt of Alexandros of Korinth

If the rebellion of Alexandros son of Krateros was indeed the event that encouraged the Aitolians and Epeirotes to attack Akarnania, then the partition of the region should fall in the late 250s or early 240s, because Alexandros’s revolt probably belongs prior to 251. Our only direct evidence for the (p.257) conflict between Antigonos and his nephew is a phrase in Trogus’s Prologues (26: [Antigonus] cum fratris sui Crateri filio Alexandro bellum habuit). Other passing allusions—to the son of Krateros ruling over the Euboians, holding Akrokorinth in opposition to Gonatas, or waging war against the Athenians and Argives, who were themselves led by the pro-Antigonos Aristomachos—are of little help for dating the revolt.8 In fact, the best clue may be provided by an event that we cannot conclusively connect to them: the overthrow of the Sikyonian tyrant Nikokles by the young Aratos.

As noted previously, this act itself can be placed in May 251 with a good deal of confidence.9 A fairly strong case can be made, as well, that Alexandros and Gonatas were already at odds by that point.10 Nikokles himself ousted another tyrant, Abantidas, and his clan four months before Aratos’s action. We are nowhere told that the members of this group were supporters of Antigonos, but there is strong indirect evidence that this was the case. Abantidas came to power in the midst of the Chremonidean War; the Sikyonians, alone among the states of the northern Peloponnese, abstained from that conflict.11 Furthermore, Aratos’s father, Kleinias, whom Abantidas overthrew, was a guest-friend to both Antigonos and Ptolemaios II and so kept Sikyon neutral (Plut. Arat. 4.2). Yet Abantidas survived after the end of the war. He is unlikely to have done so if he had opposed Gonatas; on the contrary, the fact that his coup seems to coincide with the death of Areus at Korinth suggests that part of Abantidas’s aim was to keep Sikyon out of the anti-Makedonian camp.12

It seems quite likely, then, that Abantidas’s enemies would have had to reckon with possible Antigonid support for their foe should they have tried to unseat him, and the more so the longer he remained in power. After a dozen or so years of his rule it would have taken a major development to give them hope of success. Alexandros’s revolt could have supplied that hope, since it both cut off Abantidas’s support and gave his opponents a ready-made (p.258) ally close at hand in Alexandros himself. An alliance between Alexandros and Nikokles seems especially likely, as Plutarch mentions that help nearly came to Nikokles from Korinth during Aratos’s assault (Plut. Arat. 9.1), and subsequently Aratos attempted to seize Akrokorinth from Alexandros (Arat. 18.2).

The interpretation that sees the subsequent fighting between Sikyon and Alexandros as just a bit of guerrilla warfare by Aratos and his Sikyonians, officially unacknowledged by the Achaian magistrates,13 is certainly reasonable. It is important to note, however, that it would have required some time for Aratos to recall the various exiles, for trouble then to develop, and for Aratos to join Sikyon to the Achaian League and arrange for Ptolemaic subsidies.14 This delay leaves plenty of time for continued skirmishing with Alexandros, which Sikyon’s entrance into the Achaian League brought to an end.15 Note as well that Plutarch (Arat. 11.2) also reports a subsidy to Aratos of twenty-five talents from “the king,” which Aratos used to ransom Sikyonian soldiers. This king is usually identified as Ptolemaios II, but Antigonos should not be ruled out. Fighting against Alexandros provides a good occasion for the capture of the troops in question, especially since the captives are specifically referred to as Sikyonians, rather than Achaians. A gift to Aratos from Antigonos makes good sense under these circumstances, because the Sikyonians would have been taken when fighting against his foe Alexandros.16

The Aitolian-Boiotian Conflict

Several of the Amphiktyonic council lists that appear to date between the mid-250s and early 240s contain no Boiotian delegation. Both Plutarch (Arat. 16.1) and Polybios (20.4.4–5.2) note a war between Boiotians and Aitolians, culminating in a devastating Aitolian victory at Chaironeia. The fact that this decisive battle occurred during Aratos of Sikyon’s first term as stratēgos of the Achaian League (Plut. Arat. 16.1, Polyb. 20.5) means the conflict ended in 245. Polybios’s comment that Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae (20.4.4) could mean, however, that the conflict at that point had been going on for some time, perhaps from the early 240s.17

(p.259) Polybios’s additional report that it was the Achaians who had pushed the Boiotians into war with the Aitolians may support this conclusion. As we have seen, Plutarch (Arat. 4.1) reports that, prior to Aratos’s coup against the Sikyonian tyrant Nikokles in May 251, Aitolians made an unsuccessful attempt to oust Nikokles. Since Nikokles reigned for only four months and the date of his overthrow by Aratos is well established, the Aitolian attack can safely be placed in early 251. If this date is correct, it is at least possible that the Aitolian attack on Sikyon was prompted by hostilities with the Achaians, who then began, in conjunction with their ally Alexandras, to try to reignite anti-Aitolian sentiments among the Boiotians evidenced by the latter’s recent Amphiktyonic absences.

The Status of Opountian Lokris between 245 and 228 B.C.

The relatively quick return of the Boiotians into the Aitolian alliance also argues against the common assumption that the Aitolian koinon seized Opountian Lokris from the Boiotian koinon in the aftermath of the battle of Chaironeia in 245.18 This communis opinio goes back to Beloch (Gr. G.2 IV 2, 429–32), who states the view without further substantiation. Beloch seems to have come to this conclusion from the clear evidence that the Antigonids occupied the area in the late 200s, a control that he attributed to Demetrios II’s campaign in Boiotia in the 230s. Beloch does not consider the possibility that Demetrios II could have taken Opous from the Boiotians, perhaps assuming such a move would have been counterproductive, not to mention hard to reconcile with the Boiotians’ positive reaction to Demetrios’s invasion. Accordingly, he assumed—apparently—that Demetrios must have taken Opous from someone else, and that that someone else was the Aitolians, who themselves took it from the Boiotians, the logical occasion being the aftermath of Chaironeia.

Beloch’s reconstruction was entirely reasonable based upon the information then available. In recent years, however, new epigraphic evidence has appeared that renders it untenable. First, documents from Hyettos in Boiotia have revised our understanding of the sequence of Boiotian federal archons between the mid-third century and the early second century.19 In particular, these inscriptions indicate that the archon Charopinos served not, as Beloch had assumed, in the second quarter of the third century, (p.260) but in the 230s. This change is of great significance as other documents tell us that in Charopinos’s year of office Opous was part of the Boiotian koinon.20

More recently an inscription from Xanthos in Lykia (Bousquet, “Stèle”) has revealed that Antigonos Doson campaigned in central Greece in 228, and so had the opportunity and motive to seize Opous. Recent scholarship, however, has failed to see the implications of this new evidence for the validity of Beloch’s reconstruction of Opous’s status between 245 and the mid-2308. Certainly it is possible to connect Charopinos’s year of office with a reacquisition of Opous by Boiotia as a result of Demetrios II’s invasion.21 But it is much easier to assume that the documents from Charopinos’s year simply demonstrate continuing Boiotian control of Opous despite the difficulties of the early and mid-240s. After all, an Aitolian seizure of Opous in the mid-240s would have been no less counterproductive than such an action by Demetrios II a decade later, and certainly hard to reconcile with friendly Boiotian-Aitolian relations after Chaironeia. Doson’s appropriation of the region in reprisal for Boiotian inconstancy after the death of Demetrios II, on the other hand, makes perfect sense, and elicited a predictably surly Boiotian response in 227,22 when his fleet was temporarily grounded at Larymna en route to Karia.

Until such time as more positive evidence appears, then, we should assume that Opountian Lokris was part of the Boiotian koinon continuously from the late 270s until the early 220s (when it was seized by Antigonos).23

The Arrival of Aitolians in the Aegean

Precisely when Aitolian activity and influence began to grow in the Aegean is problematical. The most striking evidence, the privileges granted to the population of the island of Chios—including a vote on the Amphiktyonic council—must belong after about 250, when no Chian representative is yet found on the Amphiktyonic council, and 241, when such a member appears on Aitolian Soteria victor lists.24 Placing this grant around the reorganization (p.261) of the Soteria—again, the early 240s—is not unreasonable. The precise dates for the events that led to the grant are not clear but certainly must fall within the previous five or so years.25 As it happens, we can place one of our other best clues about early League attention to the Aegean in precisely this same time period. A dated Delian decree puts the extension of League asphaleia to Delos fairly close to 250.26

The Date of Eleian Acquisition of Triphylia

Polybios mentions the Eleians’ acquisition of control over the southern neighboring region of Triphylia in his narrative of Philip V’s winter 219/18 campaign in the area (4.77.9–10). His report places the Eleian acquisition a short time prior to the ceding of the town of Alipheira to the Eleians by Lydiades of Megalopolis. Since Lydiades’ concession occurred while he was still tyrant at Megalopolis, Alipheira must have become Eleian roughly between 245 and 235.

Lydiades’ gift probably belongs prior to about 239, however, as after that date the Aitolians and the Achaians were allies. The Megalopolitan tyrant is not likely to have made such a concession to a close friend of the Aitolians in a period when the latter were cooperating with Lydiades’ archrivals the Achaians.27 As a result, it seems reasonable to place the Eleian acquisition of Triphylia in the 240s.

It is certainly possible to date this development to the years 244–241 B.C. on the basis of the Polybian passage, as is commonly done. Yet there is enough additional evidence to make a date in the early 240s or even late 250s equally plausible. One key is to consider Lydiades’ motive for giving Alipheira to the Eleians. Polybios (4.77.10) tells us that Lydiades made his concession in return for certain personal considerations (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae). The most likely meaning of this obscure phrase is Eleian assistance in establishing him as tyrant in Megalopolis.28 If this interpretation is correct, then the Eleian acquisition of Triphylia does belong before 245, for it precedes the series of events surrounding Alipheira.29

(p.262) The clearest indication of how Greater Aitolia and its citizens benefited from Eleian expansion comes from the growth of Aitolian influence in Phigaleia and Messene. An inscription from Phigaleia (Stsv III, 495) records the mediation by an Aitolian delegation of a treaty of Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae and Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae between these two communities. Once again, the date of this inscription must be determined by inference. We know from Polybios that Messene had close political ties with Aitolia by 221 and that Phigaleia was functioning at that point as something of a base for Aitolians in the area.30 The League’s passivity during the Kleomenic War and its alliance with the Achaian League during both that conflict and the preceding war with Demetrios II make it unlikely that the Aitolian position in the southwest Peloponnese developed after 239.31 Moreover, the very ability of the koinon to mount an invasion of Lakonia around 240 implies that its relationship with neighboring Messene had already been established by then. One of the League presbeutai in the Phigaleian-Messenian treaty was in fact Timaios, whom we see presently at Lousoi, which establishes a further temporal link to the events of the 240s, as does his role as one of the commanders of the Lakonian invasion.32 Finally, Phigaleia was itself located on the southern border of Triphylia, a placement that makes it quite likely that the establishment of an Aitolian base in that city was a byproduct of the annexation of the rest of the region by the Eleians, the Aitolians’ close friends.

(p.263) Assigning a date to the expansion of Eleian power in another direction, eastward into northern Arkadia, is more difficult, because evidence for the expansion itself is so tenuous. Polybios tells us (once again during his narrative of Philip’s Triphylian campaign during the Social War) that in winter 219/18 the northern Arkadian city of Psophis was politically attached to Elis.33 Such an affiliation could conceivably have come about in the 220s through the agency of Kleomenes III of Sparta, for we know he ceded another town in the region to the Eleians in 226 after his victory at Hekatombaion.34 If he did so, however, it is difficult to explain why Doson’s Achaian allies allowed the situation to continue after the defeat of the Spartan king. Placing the Eleian acquisition of their positions in northern Arkadia in the same general period as the Eleians’ expansion to the south avoids this problem.

Other evidence may perhaps support this suggestion and point to Aitolian involvement in the entire process of Eleian expansion, as well. As already noted,35 Polybios (9.17) reports troubles during this period in the northern Arkadian city of Kynaitha. His story centers on an unsuccessful attempt by Aratos to capture Kynaitha when it was enduring a period of stasis. The fact that Aratos is described as being stratēgos although still young (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) and inexperienced (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) at the time, places the attack in the late 240s. Of the possibilities, 243 seems excluded because of all the activity surrounding the seizure of Akrokorinth and the entrance of Korinth into the Achaian League. The year 241 is usually chosen as the appropriate date for the attack, as 245 seems too busy already with Aratos’s raid against the south coast of Aitolia and then his reaction to Chaironeia.36 However, Aratos’s actions in 245 do leave a large question unanswered: Where was he when the Boiotians needed his help? Could he not perhaps have returned from his foray against Aitolia only to receive word from dissidents in Kynaitha? More important, could not the Aitolians have received reports on his whereabouts, and might this information have prompted their surprise attack against the isolated Boiotians? These are intriguing possibilities, but they remain only possibilities. At the very least, however, the evidence seems to suggest some connection between Eleian expansion in the northern Peloponnese and the Achaian-Aitolian War.

(p.264) Another Aitolian action, the attack led by Timaios against the sanctuary of Artemis Hemera at Lousoi near Kynaitha, may support the conjecture of Aitolian involvement in Kynaitha’s affairs before 220. Polybios’s account (4.18.9–12) gives little temporal context for Timaios’s action; but the fact that Timaios was active elsewhere in the Peloponnese during the 240s makes it at least possible to place his actions at Lousoi in the same general time period suggested by Polybios’s remarks about Aratos. It is worth noting that after their attack against Kynaitha in 220, the Aitolians also raided the temple at Lousoi (Polyb. 4.19.4–5).

The Invasion of Lakonia: 240 B.C.?

Unfortunately, Polybios and Plutarch give no more information about the date of this invasion than they do for most of the other incidents under consideration here. A reference to it in a speech of Kleomenes recorded by Plutarch provides a secure terminus ante quern of 227, and it is probably safe to push this date back further, prior to the beginning of his reign (235).37 For a general terminus post quern we have only Polybios’s statement (4.34.9) that the Aitolians’ goal was the forcible repatriation of a group of Spartan exiles. As we know of no cohesive band of Lakonian expatriates prior to the expulsion of Leonidas during the reign of Agis IV, we can safely place the Aitolian expedition after Agis’s bloodless coup of autumn 242.38 The general time frame for the Aitolian expedition is therefore late 242–235, which fits well with what we know of the careers of its two Aitolian commanders, Charixenos and Timaios.39

This span can probably be narrowed, however, by considering Greater Aitolia’s other contemporary foreign involvements. It seems unlikely that Aitolians were in a position to carry out such a massive operation in the Peloponnese in the years immediately following the outbreak of the war with Demetrios II. At that point, all their manpower must have been deployed to (p.265) check the Makedonian-Epeirote threat from the north and west.40 Moreover, there is no indication that the Achaian-Spartan alliance of the 240s died with Agis. It is therefore doubtful that the Aitolians would have conducted an expedition into Lakonia after 239, when they allied with Achaia.41 Accordingly, the Aitolian expedition probably occurred between 242 and 239.

Further narrowing of this time frame depends upon whom one identifies as the Spartan exiles the Aitolians were trying to reinstate. If they are seen as the opponents of Agis IV ousted in 242, then 241 is a reasonable date for the Aitolian action, in connection with both the fall of Agis and the series of events that ended with the Aitolian defeat at Pellene.42 Several considerations argue against this conclusion, however. First and foremost is the fact that Plutarch makes no such connection between this Aitolian invasion of Lakonia, the attack on Pellene, and the fall of Agis. Since Plutarch often fails to mention links between events that other sources tell us are connected, his silence here obviously is not conclusive;43 but it seems highly unlikely that Plutarch could simply have ignored such massive Aitolian participation in the downfall of Agis. Moreover, Polybios never mentions events at Pellene, and he also implies strongly that the Aitolians failed in their bid to restore their group of Spartan exiles.44 Yet we know from Plutarch that Leonidas, Agis’s rival, did in fact return.45 Finally, Polybios tells us that Agis’s brother (p.266) Archidamos fled to Messene, which by the late 240s was probably an Aitolian friend, and there spent many years in exile under the protection of Nikagoras.46 It seems reasonable, then, to assume that many of the other exiles mentioned in the sources went with him and that these were the exiles whom the Aitolian invasion attempted to restore to power.47

All these reasons make a date of 240 or 239 preferable for the Aitolian invasion of Lakonia. Between these two possibilities, a number of factors favor 240. First of all, an Aitolian invasion in that year would be a logical successor to the events of 241. As noted, the disaster at Pellene was at the very least a blow to Aitolian influence in the Peloponnese, which had been rising steadily in the previous period. The appeal from the Spartan exiles presented the League’s members with a golden opportunity not only to contain any damage done to their influence in the region but actually to expand it immeasurably by installing a friendly government in what was traditionally the most powerful state in the peninsula. One indication that many Aitolian leaders and citizens recognized the significance of this opportunity is the magnitude of the force sent to do the job.48 The fact that the regime they were being asked to reinstate had in the previous year sent its forces to oppose an Aitolian raiding party probably made little difference now, particularly since there had been no clash between the Aitolians and Spartans at the isthmus.49

One might object, of course, that all these factors were equally valid in 239, and that time considerations would appear to point to this year as well. Because the counterrevolution in Sparta began in late 241,50 the exiled partisans of Agis would probably have reached Messene early in 240. Some time must then have passed before their request for aid reached the Aitolian government, who would have needed yet further time to organize a response. These considerations would seem to make it prudent to place the expedition in 239. In such a case the invasion might have served as a catalyst to the (p.267) subsequent negotiations for alliance with the Achaians by demonstrating continued Aitolian vitality in the region.51

However, this last consideration would also have been true for an invasion in 240. Nor are the time considerations for 239 absolutely compelling. Influential leaders such as Charixenos and Timaios certainly would have lost no time convincing their cohorts to seize the opportunity offered by the exiles, both for the reasons outlined above and because delay could mean losing the advantage presented by the internal dissension that certainly gripped Sparta in the months following Agis’s execution.52

The identity of the Aitolian leadership also points toward 240 as the date for the Aitolian invasion. It seems likely that Charixenos and Timaios were the stratēgos and hipparchos of the League at the time of the invasion of Lakonia.53 Plutarch, however, strongly implies that at the time of the negotiation of the alliance between the Achaian and Aitolian leagues, the Aitolian stratēgos was Pantaleon.54 Because, as we shall see, these negotiations probably took place in 239 and the Lakonian invasion most probably preceded them, it follows that this invasion must have occurred in 240.

Of course, none of these arguments is absolutely persuasive by itself. Taken together, however, they point strongly to 240 as the date of the Aitolian expedition against Lakonia. Whatever the precise date of the Aitolian invasion of Lakonia, it is certainly the best context for Timaios’s pillaging of the temple of Poseidon at Tainaron, mentioned previously (Polyb. 9.34.9–10).


Much of the preceding discussion has been unavoidably speculative, due to the nature of the evidence. Appendix Table B1 presents simply one reasonable reconstruction of the course of events in the 240s.


Appendix Table Bl Proposed chronology of Aitolian military and diplomatic activity in the 240s B.C.

Date (B.C.)


late 250s/ early 240s

Eleians begin to acquire control over northwestern Arkadia and Triphylia; ? Aitolians provide assistance to Eleians (Polysperchon) and Kynaithans (Timaios)? Growing Aitolian influence leads to war with Achaians; Achaians push Boiotians into conflict.


Aratos raids Aitolian coast; Aitolians attack and defeat isolated Boiotians at Chaironeia (? aided by Achaian preoccupation with Kynaitha?) PLydiades seizes power in Megalopolis, grants Alipheira to Eleians in return for their assistance?

later 240s

Aitolians establish position at Phigaleia, then mediate Phigaleian conflict with Messene. Conflict with Achaia continues.


Unsuccessful Aitolian attack on Pellene.


Massive Aitolian invasion of Lakonia fails to reinstall Agis’s supporters; sack of temple of Poseidon at Tainaron by Timaios’s troops.

Events of the 230s and 220s B.C.

The Preliminaries to the War with Demetrios II

Justin’s reports about the breakdown of Aitolian-Epeirote relations after the death of Alexandros II and the consequent rise of the Epeirote-Makedonian alliance do not completely clarify the causal connection between the developments in northwest Greece and those in the Peloponnese. In fact, Justin does not even mention the Aitolian-Achaian alliance (just as Plutarch and Polybios do not mention the Epeirote-Makedonian accord). As a result determining even the relative chronology of events prior to the outbreak of war in 239/8 is difficult.

The chronological value of the information in Plutarch’s report (Arat. 33.1) is typically uneven. On the one hand, he does seem to distinguish two stages in the process of amelioration of relations between the Aitolian and Achaian leagues: a period of informal friendship (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) followed by the conclusion of an actual treaty of peace and alliance (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae). This sequence seems reasonable enough, if only from a logical standpoint; there must have been at least some period of warming in relations prior to the conclusion of the actual alliance.

On the other hand, Plutarch also implies that this entire process happened (p.269) in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Pellene in 241.55 This impression contradicts the account of Polybios, who clearly makes the Aitolian-Achaian alliance a successor to the death of Antigonos Gonatas but places it prior to the outbreak of hostilities with Demetrios.56 The implication of Polybios’s report, then, is that the treaty between the two leagues was negotiated between winter 240/39 at the earliest and June 238 at the latest.57

When taken together these two reports argue at the very least against a formal peace between the two leagues in the aftermath of Pellene.58 If the Aitolian League’s invasion of Lakonia does indeed belong in 240, it would make any immediate warming of relations between Aitolians and Achaians after the events of 241 even less likely. The initial diplomatic rapprochement after the Aitolian defeat was probably indeed the more informal friendship agreement (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) that Plutarch mentions.

As usual, Justin provides little solid chronological evidence by which to date the cooling of Aitolian-Aiakid relations. He simply places his incident after the death of Alexandros II and, by implication, prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 239/8. Knowing the date of Alexandros’s death would provide an important clue on the order of events. Unfortunately Justin offers no further information about it, either.59 Polybios, however, provides us with at least a terminus ante quern for Olympias’s actions. He tells us that at his ascension to the Makedonian throne in 221, Philip V (son of Demetrios II and Phthia) was seventeen years old.60 Accordingly, he must have been born in fall 238 or a little before, at the latest, which means that the (p.270) marriage of his mother, Phthia, to Demetrios took place in fall 239 at the latest.61

It is certainly possible to squeeze all these reports together. The result would place the death of Alexandras in the same period as that of Antigonos, winter 240/39. The following spring Olympias would have developed her suspicions about Aitolian ambitions in Akarnania and begun her approach to Demetrios, a negotiation that culminated in a dynastic alliance in autumn 239. At the same time, talks between the Aitolians and the Achaians were underway, leading to their pact. Before the beginning of the Attic year 238/7, finally, the two new alliances were at war. Such a reconstruction would fit what Polybios’s comments require as to both the order of events and the date of Philip V’s birth. It would also seem to agree with Justin’s designation of Demetrios as rex at the time of the negotiations (28.1.1–2).

Justin’s terminology, however, is probably not exact here; it is perfectly possible that the Molossian turn toward Makedonia began while Gonatas was still alive.62 Justin’s own report certainly supports the latter conclusion. Even if we accept the tightest chronological scheme for Demetrios’s marriage to Phthia and the birth of Philip V, we are still left with Olympias turning to Makedonia in 239 at the latest. This conclusion, in turn, implies that whatever threat she feared from the Aitolians had materialized at least as early as 240: that is, while Antigonos was indeed still alive. Trouble may have begun even earlier, however, for as we have seen it seems likely that in 240 Aitolian attention was focused on Lakonia. If the Aitolian koinon made any actual moves against the section of Akarnania under Epeirote control, they must have come before this massive operation.

The possibility must also be considered, however, that members of the Aitolian koinon in fact did not take any overt action against western Akarnania. Justin does not say that they did so; he simply says that Olympias acted out of a fear of Aitolian designs. Her trepidation is easy to understand: just (p.271) as the growth of Aitolian power in central Greece had reversed that League’s power relationship with the Boiotians by the 250s, so had it altered the balance with Epeiros. At the same time the scope and boldness of Aitolian actions, both collective and individual, were becoming ever greater. The battle at Chaironeia in 245 was a telling demonstration of the new capability of the Aitolian koinon when its will was concentrated. The invasion of Lakonia about 240 more than reinforced this point because of its greater logistical obstacles. If in the intervening period of approximately half a decade Alexandres II had suddenly died, as seems likely, leaving a minor as heir, it is reasonable to suppose that some Aitolians, especially those from Trichonis basin communities, would have tried to take advantage of the situation,63 or at least that Alexandres’s widow feared—quite legitimately—that they would try to do so.

The Fall of the Aiakid Dynasty of Molossis

It seems clear that after the death of Alexandros II the Aiakid dynasty was under constant pressure. Their response to perceived threats from the Aitolian koinon was the alliance with Makedonia as well as a similar subsequent bond with the family of Hieron of Syracuse.64 Internal turmoil, however, coupled with the Aiakids’ own ill luck, led to the collapse of the dynasty. As noted in Chapter 4, Pyrrhos II, elder son of Alexandros II, seems to have died after only a brief reign,65 and was quickly followed to the grave by his younger brother and successor Ptolemaios, who apparently died trying to suppress a rebellion in the capital, Ambrakia.66 Perhaps as a result of these twin calamities, their mother, Olympias, promptly expired, leaving only two daughters of Pyrrhos to maintain the dynasty: Nereis, now wife of Gelon of Syracuse, and Deidameia. Deidameia reestablished control over Ambrakia only to be murdered herself, at which point Epeiros passed from Aiakid rule to control by a federal government based in Phoinike.67

The exact date of the fall of the Aiakid dynasty cannot be established. It must have occurred sometime after the Epeirote-Makedonian marriage (p.272) alliance. How long after is not clear, however, although the sequence of events leading to the fall of the dynasty appears to have been rather rapid. Justin’s claim (28.3.3) that Olympias died of grief at her two sons’ deaths makes best sense if that sequence of events occurred over a relatively short period, although how short remains an open question. The duration of Deidameia’s rule is equally difficult to determine. Pausanias (4.35.3) is our clearest evidence, but this passage does no more than imply that Deidameia did not long survive Ptolemaios and that the Illyrian raids recorded by Polybios followed soon after the rise of the Epeirote koinon.68 In any case, the Polybian account of events of the late 230s, noted previously, indicates that the Epeirote government in 230 was no longer the Aiakid dynasty.

The Date of Boiotia’s Defection to Demetrios II

As so often is true for events in these years, we cannot date Boiotia’s defection to Demetrios II from Polybios’s testimony alone, except to place it within the period of the Aitolian-Achaian war with him. The initial Boiotian tilt toward Makedonia is sometimes dated to around 237 on the basis of Plutarch’s report on Aratos’s activities during the war and especially because of a series of inscriptions demonstrating that a King Demetrios had control over Megara for a number of years.69 New evidence has come to light, however, to suggest that the Demetrios in question is Poliorketes rather than his grandson.70

Accordingly, the most we can say with confidence about the date of the Boiotian defection is that it occurred between 239/8 and early 229. We may perhaps be able to reduce this period to after about 236, based on an apparent return of control over the Attic border garrisons to Athens.71 Were we able to date a series of fragmentary Amphiktyonic lists, we could be even more certain, since Boiotian representatives are still present on them but are missing from the Amphiktyonic list of the fall session of Herys’s archonship.72 Their absence from the latter list, however, indicates that an (p.273) anti-Makedonian bloc did not succeed in swinging the entire koinon back to the Aitolian side after Demetrios’s death, as some have suggested.73 Polybios does not say that the Boiotians came back to the Aitolian side in the early 220s, but only that some Boiotians—specifically Thebans—were not pleased with their koinon’s pro-Makedonian policy (20.5.4–5). Other Boiotians seem to have supported the policies of Askondas and Neon (20.5.10; see the following discussion), a difference of opinion that may explain the Boiotian absence from the Amphiktyonic list of 229/8. (See App. A, Table A3.)

Aitolian Raids on Eastern Arkadia

Two other incidents normally associated with the expansion of Aitolian influence in the Peloponnese in the 240s are probably best dated slightly later. In describing the sacks of the sanctuary of Poseidon at Mantineia and the Argive Heraion, Polybios (9.34.9–10) says only that the former was carried out by Polykritos and the latter by a certain Pharykos. We may infer from the date in his narrative of this report that both incidents occurred prior to 210.74 Pharykos is otherwise unknown, but it is possible to identify Polykritos as either the Aitolian stratēgos of the treaty with Akarnania, discussed previously, or else one of his descendants.75

If this association is correct, it is then certainly possible to place the (p.274) attack on the Poseidon sanctuary in the 240s, since we know that Polykritos was active in the previous decade. We are not absolutely forced to draw such a chronological conclusion on the basis of this identification, however, since there are indications that Polykritos had a long career and the name is not uncommon.76 Accordingly, we could place the sack of the sanctuary of Poseidon at Mantineia as easily in the 250s or 230s as in the 240s. The 230s in fact seems the best candidate, for we have clear evidence of Aitolian involvement in eastern Arkadia during that decade in connection with the war with Demetrios II. This same general context also seems the best setting for Pharykos’s attack on the Argive Heraion.77

The Conflict with Antigonos III Boson

The account of the Aitolian struggle with Antigonos III Doson presented earlier remains hypothetical and itself raises a number of new questions.78 We have only one unambiguous report of interaction between the Aitolians and Doson during his reign, the refusal by the League’s members to allow Antigonos to bring his forces south into the Peloponnese via the pass at Thermopylai in 224 (Polyb. 2.52.8). While this incident indicates that relations between the two states were then far from warm, it also indicates that they at least had diplomatic ties. Thereafter Polybios provides us with a near complete chronicle of Doson’s activities to the end of his reign; nowhere in this narrative is there any sign of the sort of conflict with Greater Aitolia indicated by the reports cited above. Accordingly, the confrontation recorded in the Xanthos inscription must have occurred prior to 224.79

This date can probably be pushed back even further, prior to 227, based on other developments in Doson’s career. The most important is an expedition he undertook to Karia. This campaign is mentioned by both Trogus (Prol. 28) and Polybios (20.5.11–12). Epigraphic evidence from the sanctuary of Zeus Labraundios near Mylasa in Karia leaves no doubt as to its historicity.80 Polybios also provides strong evidence as to the date of Doson’s voyage. His report comes at the end of an anecdote describing how Antigonos’s fleet was left stranded by a sudden ebb tide at the port of Larymna on the Euboian channel. Doson’s force narrowly escaped attack by the Boiotian League’s cavalry, thanks to the pro-Makedonian proclivities (p.275) of the Boiotian hipparchos, Neon. Polybios (20.5.7–10) indicates that this incident marked the beginning of a pro-Makedonian turn in Boiotian diplomacy. We know, however, that this turn was complete by winter 227/6. The Achaian diplomatic approach to Doson that would eventually lead to alliance between the two former enemies began at that point, and Polybios’s account of these events implies that by then Boiotia was a firm friend to Antigonos.81 Accordingly, the incident at Larymna belongs between 229 and 227.

if we look for a reason for Boiotian hostility toward Doson, we need only cast a glance slightly to the north. As noted previously, epigraphic evidence indicates that Doson took control of Opountian Lokris during the 220s.82 Prior to this point, however, the region had been under Boiotian control since the late 270s.83 The Boiotian-Makedonian friendship after 227/6 indicates that Doson must have acted prior to this date. If we place Doson’s Karian expedition, and so the incident at Larymna, in 227, then his move against Opous belongs in either 229 or 228. In either case it provides a good background for the incident at Larymna. Doson’s attack on Opous most probably began with an amphibious assault from the Euboian channel. If so, then it would make good sense that, when he grounded at Larymna in one of the following years, Boi-otians assumed he was beginning a similar operation against their homeland.

Where all this ties into the conflict between Aitolia and Antigonos is in the invasion of Phokis and Doris, probably by Doson, recorded in the Xanthian inscription. As noted previously, it seems reasonable to tie this invasion to Antigonos’s occupation of Opous. If this contention is accepted, we can then place the Aitolian conflict with Doson in 229 or 228 as well. This conclusion, in turn, suggests that the war itself was nothing more than a continuation of the League’s conflict with Doson’s cousin and predecessor, Demetrios II.

Polybios on the Origins of the Social War

Polybios’s account of the events that led to the outbreak of the Social War in late 220 offers the most explicit testimony for Aitolian activities and attitudes that we possess for the League’s early Hellenistic heyday. Nonetheless, his commentary creates its own problems for our purposes, not least because the author is not particularly concerned with providing a full, balanced exposition of Aitolian behavior. Because Polybios’s pro-Achaian prejudices and (p.276) preoccupations are so obvious, we can filter his narrative and analysis for them without too much trouble.

When we do so, it becomes clear that, while the Peloponnese was indeed the epicenter of the crisis, it was far from being its only theater, as Polybios’s narrative might suggest. Similarly, the rise of a new group of aristocratic leaders from Trichonion on the south shore of Aitolia’s great lake certainly had a strong influence on the actions of League members in 221/0, but every Aitolian was not their pawn. Moreover, while these Trichonians clearly did convince their peers (if that was necessary) to test the mettle of Makedonia under young Philip V, the members of the Aitolian koinon were not the only ones trying to take advantage of the situation. Nor is it clear that any Aitolians had a general war in mind when they chose this route. Still, it does indeed appear that what finally led the League’s assembly to push the crisis to the brink—and other Aitolians to drag their cohorts over it—was their willingness to let individual freedom of action set collective agendas, driven by what Polybios (4.3.1) characterizes as alazoneia and pleonexia (pompous ostentation and unremitting cupidity).

There seems little reason to question Polybios’s view (4.3.3) that many Aitolians looked upon the death of Doson and the succession of Philip V as an opportunity for a revival of their fortunes. This should be clear from both the volume and the extent of Aitolian actions in the immediately succeeding period. As a Megalopolitan Achaian, Polybios understandably concentrates his narrative on the conflict that this renewed Aitolian assertiveness caused with Greater Achaia over Messene. He also mentions, however, Aitolian predations by sea (aided and abetted by the Kephallenians) along the west coast of the mainland from Epeiros to the southern Peloponnese and overland attacks against targets in Boiotia, eastern Phokis, and western Akarnania (4.6.1–3; cf. 25.1–6).84

It also seems clear that the main proponents of renewed, bold external activities came from the western Aitolian settlement of Trichonion, as Polybios says. We have already seen epigraphic testimony of their emergence in the later 220s in the person of the stratēgos Dorimachos son of Sosandros. (p.277) Skopas II, one of the main villains in Polybios’s account, was evidently this Dorimachos’s (younger?) brother; the enfant terrible Dorimachos, son of the infamous Nikostratos, was their kinsman, as was the stratēgos for 221/0, Ariston (Polyb. 4.3.5, 5.1). Further, the Aitolian agonothetaifor the Soteria festivals of 221 and 217, Charixenos and Xennias, were both Trichonians, too.85

Polybios says the younger Dorimachos planned and instigated all the Aitolian activity noted above in order to satisfy his wounded pride and unquenchable greed, the latter a genetic Aitolian condition that made Skopas a willing partner in crime.86 Clearly this Dorimachos was an important player in League decisions about western Peloponnesian matters. Dispatched in some official capacity to Phigaleia in Triphylia in autumn 221,87 before returning to Aitolia early in the following year he bore the brunt of heated Messenian complaints over his failure to reign in freebooters raiding their territory from Phigaleia (Polyb. 4.3.5–4.9). Thereafter a large Aitolian force crossed to the Peloponnese under the leadership of Skopas and Dorimachos, undoubtedly in response to the latter’s report. That force did indeed collect a considerable amount of plunder as it marched via Achaia to Phigaleia and then invaded Messene. Once the Aitolian force reached Messene, it did a thorough job of pillaging (Polyb. 4.6.8–12). When subsequently threatened by an Achaian League force that had gathered at Megalopolis in response to a Messenian appeal, Dorimachos and Skopas accepted Aratos’s ultimatum to withdraw but took two days to wrap up their looting in Messene (Polyb. 4.7.1–11, 9.1–10). Taking into account the time necessary for the Messenian appeal to the Achaians, the Achaian muster at Megalopolis, and the Aitolian withdrawal, Dorimachos, Skopas, and company must have been in Messene for at least a week. They then carefully chose a return route that would protect their newly acquired assets against repossession (Polyb. 4.9.9–10). Fear of an enemy attack while loading the booty in fact caused Dorimachos to double back with part of the force and march toward Methydrion, (p.278) in the center of the Peloponnese (Polyb. 4.10.3–10). Dorimachos’s primary intention probably was to draw an enemy shadowing force away from the Aitolian booty train and so ensure its safe crossing to Aitolia.

This summary of the Aitolians’ actions should make it clear that Polybios’s claim about the motivations of their leaders is at least partially correct. It does indeed appear to have been important to Skopas, Dorimachos, and their associates that their expedition to Messene be as profitable as possible. We have already seen (above, Chaps. 46) that residents of landlocked Tricho-nion may have been more dependent on the nearby Peloponnese for income supplements than their peers in, say, Naupaktos or Herakleia, who had relatively easy access to the sea and so to other venues. Still, Polybios’s other contention, that Dorimachos’s private concern with acquiring wealth was entirely responsible for events at Phigaleia and Messene during these months as well as for the various other Aitolian initiatives, seems to distort both chronology and the dynamics of League politics and policy making.

To begin with, it is not absolutely necessary to accept Polybios’s assurances that Aitolians really were responsible for all the outrages he lists. For example, Polybios (4.6.1) makes much of the sale in Aitolia of a Makedonian royal vessel, along with its crew and passengers, that was captured off the island of Kythera. Could not the perpetrators here have been non-Aitolians who simply put in at, for example, Naupaktos because no other port’s market would dare handle their prize? The same could be said of some, at least, of the freebooters operating out of Phigaleia under Dorimachos’s nose, not to mention a band that set up at Klarion in Megalopolitan territory early in 220. We have only Polybios’s word that those involved here were all Aitolians. Polybios (4.6.3) is unequivocal that the attack on Klarion was instigated by Dorimachos and Skopas. It is noteworthy, however, that the incident is not mentioned again in Achaian complaints against Aitolians until the actual war vote in 220 (Polyb. 4.25.4). It is as though the Achaians recall the incident only as an afterthought and decide to add it to their litany of Aitolian crimes in order to lengthen their dossier of misdeeds. Evidence from the League’s various asylia and isopoliteia decrees suggests that Greater Aitolia had become home to a growing number of resident aliens across the third century whose activities seem to have been as unrestrained as those of full citizens.88

(p.279) Clearly, however, many Aitolians were indeed active in 221/0. Yet from what we have seen repeatedly in the preceding pages they hardly needed prompting from the young Dorimachos (Polyb. 4.4.8–9) to embark upon self-help operations, nor did they need any explicit League sanction for that matter. In the case of Epeiros, the recent addition of Kephallenia to the League and the revival of Illyrian raiding in the Adriatic-Ionian region that led to renewed Roman intervention in 219 may well have drawn acquisitive Aitolians to the area previously. More specific turmoil may likewise have beckoned in several of the other cases mentioned. If, for example, Thyrrheion in Akarnania had never previously come under Aitolian control, some elements of this settlement had remained on good enough terms with their ethnic kin in Metropolis and Oini-adai after both became part of the Stratian telos of Greater Aitolia that they could act as arbitrators in the latter poleis’ boundary dispute of the 240s or 230s (IG IX 12, 3B).89 Perhaps the failed nighttime attack on that town mentioned by Polybios was in coordination with that same element, as in the subsequent, solicited attack on Kynaitha. The same could be said about the unsuccessful attempts to take Daulis and Phanoteus in eastern Phokis.90 All three sites certainly possessed a feature Aitolians had found magnetically attractive in the past: strategic location that could both bolster the territorial defenses of Greater Aitolia and also expand the fiscal horizons of individual Aitolians. On the other hand, it is equally possible that any or all of these actions were simple acts of reprisal by individual Aitolians against communities with whom their koinon or polis had no special agreements.91 The unregulated confusion of individual and communal motivation and advantage in earlier Aitolian activities certainly makes it risky to lay all these current actions at Dorimachos’s feet alone or even to define them as ventures with clear communal sanction.

In Polybios’s report on the Phigaleia-Messene affair are hints of similar ambiguity in Aitolian dealings with the southwest Peloponnese. Dorimachos was sent to Phigaleia in some official capacity conferred by the League.92 The expedition that he and Skopas led to the area the following spring also had official sanction, despite Polybios’s assurances that Skopas’s decision to join Dorimachos was purely a private matter and that the ensuing invasion of the (p.280) Peloponnese was not based upon any communal Aitolian decisions (4.5.2–10). After all, Polybios also tells us (4.5.1) that the League’s chief magistrate at the time, Ariston, had delegated responsibility for conduct of federal military operations to Skopas. His comment that Ariston and Skopas were relatives does not diminish the legitimacy of this sanction. Since Skopas had been League grammateus the previous year, and he and Dorimachos held the next two League stratēgiai, it is in fact a reasonable assumption that they each held elected positions in 221/0, as well.93 Dorimachos’s appointment to Phigaleia certainly strengthens this possibility. Perhaps he was grammateus (he was, after all, by Polybios’s reckoning, at the beginning of his career in League politics) and so considered the right official to investigate and report to the apoklēsia and synedrion. Were Skopas serving as Ariston’s hipparchos, he would also be the logical person to assume the military leadership of which Ariston was physically incapable. The hipparchia certainly seems to have become a prerequisite for the stratēgiahy the mid-260s, although given the incompleteness of our epigraphic record Skopas could just as easily have held that position earlier; the same is true for Dorimachos. Either could also have been one of the epilektarchoi, whose functions are poorly documented and poorly understood but seem to have been military. Whatever the case, Polybios says that the expedition they led to Messene was not some small raiding party but an all-out (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) invasion, carried across to the Peloponnese on both ferryboats and Kephallenian ships. Finally, when Dorimachos and Skopas decided to withdraw in the face of Aratos’s ultimatum, they sent a message to Ariston; he was not in Aitolia but at Kyllene in Elis, apparently looking after the logistics of the operation (Polyb. 4.6.8, 9.9). Clearly, then, the campaign Dorimachos and Skopas led against Messene was not simply a privately organized plundering operation of the sort for which Aitolians were so notorious. Here the League’s members and leaders had deliberated and authorized a major operation in order to achieve some perceived common goal.94

The communal concerns that drove the Peloponnesian phase of Aitolian actions in 221/0 also seem fairly clear. Polybios says that Dorimachos was originally sent to Phigaleia on the pretext of protecting the city and its territory although the actual reason for his dispatch was to act as an observer of the situation in the Peloponnese (4.3.5–7). What Polybios does not tell (p.281) us is from whom the citizens of the Aitolian koinon expected Dorimachos to protect Phigaleia and its territory and what developments in the region required a League official to observe them.95

A careful reading of Polybios’s account indicates that the Aitolian koinon was not the only polity of the Greek mainland that treated Doson’s death as an invitation to test the stability of the diplomatic status quo. Their recent friends the Achaians apparently took the opportunity to try to draw Messene into their koinon. We have seen previously how Messene came under Aitolian influence when League representatives mediated a treaty of friendship and isopoliteia between the Messenians and the Phigaleians, probably in the late 240s. The need for such a treaty, however, testifies to a history of tension between these neighboring populations. Given the unstable political climate in the Pelo-ponnese during the 220s, it seems entirely conceivable that new trouble would develop between them in this period. Apparently that conflict was at least in part a consequence of Achaian meddling in Messenian internal politics.96

Polybios’s first direct acknowledgment of Achaian involvement in Messenian affairs occurs in his discussion of his own League’s spring meeting of 220, when it made a seemingly altruistic response to Messenian appeals for help in the face of Aitolian aggression.97 The zeal with which Aratos supported this supposedly unsolicited appeal, however, raises the suspicion that the Achaian statesman had been practicing his customary intrigue in Messene prior to his election in the spring of 220.98 Two other items strengthen this conjecture. First, among the arguments Polybios attributes to Dorimachos in the winter of 221/0, when he was trying to persuade Skopas to join his campaign against Messene, was that they would have an easy excuse for their behavior because the Messenians had long been doing the Aitolians wrong by promising to join the Achaian and Makedonian alliance (4.5.8). How Polybios could have known of this private conversation half a century after the fact will not trouble us here.99 More important is the fact that Polybios viewed (p.282) this line of argument as one that Dorimachos would use and that it apparently would have been a telling complaint. Moreover, Polybios has the Aito-lian leaders taking possible Achaian obstruction into account when they planned their foray even though according to his own narrative the Messenians had not yet made their first appeal to the Achaians.100 Perhaps this segment, as well as the reference to Sparta in the same discussion, is merely anachronistic foreshadowing. It is, however, more likely to be a sign that Achaian attempts to draw Messene into its koinon were already under way in 221.101

Another sign of Achaian interest in Messene prior to spring 220 has already been mentioned (see above, Chap. 4 n. 109): their garrison at Pylos. As noted, this crucial site on the coast of western Messenia was already in Achaian hands by 220 and probably had been for some time previously.102 Combined with their recent addition of Megalopolis, the Achaians’ possession of this coastal stronghold gave them the ability to exert a considerable influence on Messenian internal politics. The very decline of Aitolian activity elsewhere in the peninsula certainly left the Messenians more open to the approach of other polities during the 220s, such as the Achaians and more specifically the Megalopoli-tans. We know that the Messenians maintained an official neutrality during the Kleomenic War, as had the Aitolian koinon. During the course of the conflict, however, they also served as a refuge for the population of Megalopolis when it fled a surprise attack by Kleomenes (Plut. Philop. 5.2, Kleom. 24.1; Polyb. 2.61.4). It would be only natural if during the course of these events some Messenians developed political attachments to Greater Achaia, which was probably already protecting the west coast of Messenia against Illyrian and other raids from its base at Pylos. Such pressuring might also explain the seizure of Klarion in Megalopolitan territory in early 221, whether at Dorimachos’s and Skopas’s instigation (as Polybios says: 4.6.3) or simply as an independent act by a group of privateers capitalizing on the turmoil in the region.

Consequently, when Dorimachos arrived in Phigaleia late in 221 he probably found evidence that Achaians had acquired a group of friends within the population of Messene and especially its leadership. Polybios describes this group as “the Messenians” throughout his narrative of the events of 221–220. The subsequent behavior of the Messenian polity, however, indicates that it was far from solidly pro-Achaian. Those who turned to the Achaians for help were probably merely one faction vying for power there. The Messenians who confronted Dorimachos were probably members of this group; he himself may well have come to Messene in response to the appeals of pro-Aitolian Messenians. The Achaian demand that the sons of their Messenian suppliants (p.283) become hostages before the Achaians would face the Aitolians in spring 220 demonstrates further the lack of Messenian unanimity at that point.103 So does the subsequent Messenian refusal to join in the allied war effort, a decision that Polybios tries to explain away as the work of only a few oligarchs.104 Supporters of ties to Greater Aitolia must in fact have had considerable backing in Messene if they were able to keep the Messenians out of a war allegedly begun on their own behalf. Polybios glosses over similar deep divisions within several of the other members of the Hellenic Alliance, not to mention within the citizen body of Greater Aitolia itself, or casts such divisions in a light favorable to the Achaians, as in the subsequent case of Kynaitha.

Even if we can identify Achaian machinations in Messene as a major stimulus for the communal Aitolian decision to invade the western Peloponnese in early 220, however, we are not completely clear of Polybios’s economic explanation for this series of events. After all, and to return to the point from which this discussion of Peloponnesian matters departed, the Messene expedition was just one of several Aitolian actions in the months under consideration that carried both strategic political implications and economic benefit for the League’s members. Why was their influence in the Peloponnese so important to Aitolians? Their alliance with Greater Achaia had been as good as dead for several years now, but the two koina were still at peace. What threat did the southwestern Peloponnese pose to the fundamental security of Greater Aitolia, or, rather, how would a major expedition to Messene help residents of Herakleia or Trichonion sleep more easily?

The economic motives Polybios offers to explain Aitolian actions have some merit. His statement that Aitolian raiding had been held in check in the 220s by fear of Doson is believable as far as the mainland is concerned. Given the evidence noted even earlier about the public and private wealth created by expanded Aitolian activities in the 250s and 240s and its likely inflationary impact on sociopolitical relations and expectations among Greater Aitolia’s population, restrictions in the 220s may well have caused serious problems. The numismatic record supports Polybios’s picture of an Aitolian economic crisis in the late 220s. About this time League production oflarge-denomination silver coins dwindles, and smaller coins begin to dominate.105

(p.284) This phenomenon would be appropriate for a public mint trying to maintain its output on reduced income. Smaller coins make it easier to increase the volume produced from a given amount of bullion (the seigniorage), and so its buying power, since debasement in the content of each coin is less obvious. Similar constraints on individuals may account for the behavior of the League’s common soldiery at the time of the march on Messene. Their commanders tried to restrain them from plundering en route but were unable to do so (Polyb. 4.6.9–10).106 Dorimachos was even less able to restrain Aito-lian freebooters he found already operating out of Phigaleia on his arrival; in any case his authority to do so was by Aitolian custom weak.107 Given the recent run of peace and poverty, the coincidence of the death of Doson and the renewal of Phigaleian-Messenian tensions may well have drawn a considerable crowd of private Aitolians to the area and convinced others to support and accompany a federal expedition of the following spring. While its past collective diplomatic activities in the area gave at least a patina of legitimacy to the koinon’s involvement now, Polybios nevertheless seems correct to highlight individual economic considerations as an important impetus for Aitolian actions between mid-221 and mid-220, even if he is wrong to concentrate exclusively on Dorimachos’s and Skopas’s personal motives in explaining these League operations. Communal and individual motives were clearly intertwined in Aitolian conduct during these months.

What of Polybios’s other contentions, that the goal of the Aitolians in late 221 and early 220 was to start a war and that the events of those months actually did spark the Social War? A look at the evidence he presents indicates that both claims require some modification. The idea that the Aitolian koinon in general, and Dorimachos and Skopas in particular, set out from the beginning to start a general war (Polyb. 4.4.9, 10.3, 10.7, 11.4) is not supported by their actions.

(p.285) To begin with the best-documented Aitolian initiative, the Messene affair: the Aitolian decision to march on Messene via western Achaia could be seen as a deliberate challenge to their recent allies; but this route was also the quickest and safest they could follow to get from Aitolia to the southwest Peloponnese. Right of passage for a military force en route to a theater of action (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) was a vexed issue in Greek international law. Indeed, the entire concept of international law itself was problematic. As nominal allies of the Achaians, Aitolians may have thought they were still entitled to pass through Achaian territory without explicit permission. Judging from the reaction of the Hellenic allies to subsequent Achaian complaints on this score, it seems that contemporary opinion was on the Aitolian side.108 What is more, the Aitolian commanders made at least some effort to hold their troops in check while crossing Achaian territory (Polyb. 4.6.10, although Polybios scoffs at the Aitolian show of good intentions), and when Aratos demanded that they withdraw from Messene—by what right is not clear—the Aitolian commanders complied (Polyb. 4.9.10).

Aratos then shadowed them with a mixed force of Makedonian and Achaian troops, causing the Aitolians to fear that he meant to attack them as they loaded their booty on board ship. Accordingly, after accompanying the loot partway and assigning an escort to it for the rest of the trip, Dorimachos doubled back upon Olympia with part of the Aitolian force, intending eventually to rendezvous with the transports at Rhion. The news that Makedonians were near Kleitor, however, dissuaded him from this plan. Instead, he struck out for Methydrion, between Megalopolis and Orchomenos (Polyb. 4.10.1–10). At Kaphyai, north of Orchomenos, Aratos attacked the Aitolians as they were ascending the pass at Mt. Oligyrtos and was heavily defeated. The victorious Aitolians continued, attacking Pellene and ravaging the territory of Sikyon before exiting the Peloponnese via the Isthmus of Korinth (Polyb. 4.11.1–13.5).

Polybios once again casts Dorimachos here as the aggressor, presenting his decision to turn back and head for Methydrion as a ploy to force a confrontation with Achaian forces (4.10.3, 6–9). Certainly the path Dorimachos chose was not the most obvious route for a safe withdrawal from the peninsula;109 embarking at Kyllene or elsewhere in Elis would have been less dangerous. Dorimachos probably had two goals in mind: to draw enemy forces away from the Aitolian booty train (Polyb. 4.10.3) and to demonstrate the continuing right and renewed determination of Aitolians to go wherever they wished. Dorimachos clearly was playing a cat-and-mouse game of intimidation (p.286) and bluff with Aratos (Polyb. 4.10.3–5). Still, he and his compatriots offered no blatant provocations; rather, it was they who were attacked at Ka-phyai by the Achaians.110 After this Achaian aggression the raid on Pellene and the pillaging of Sikyonian territory could both be seen as legitimate retaliatory acts on the way out of the Peloponnese. The choice of Pellene as a target for reprisal was obviously also influenced by the events of 241.

Initial Aitolian intentions in their Peloponnesian expedition of 220 thus do not appear to have included stirring up a general war in Greece. Whenever forces from other members of the Hellenic Alliance, especially the Makedonians under the command of Taurion, confronted Aitolian forces, the behavior of League commanders was circumspect.111 The only conflict they seem to have been willing to pursue was with Messenians and Achaians; but they stopped short of giving the Achaians an excuse to expand their bilateral dispute into a showdown between Greater Aitolia and the entire Hellenic Alliance.

The actions of the Aitolian koinon and also those of the Achaians’ Hellenic allies in the aftermath of the battle near Kaphyai reinforce this conclusion. Polybios reports that around midsummer 220 the Aitolian assembly gathered to consider what to do in response to the events of the previous months. The decision of this assembly was to remain at peace with the Messenians, Spartans, and all others, and also to maintain the peace with Achaia provided the Achaians withdrew from their alliance with the Messenians (Polyb. 4.15.8–10).112

If we accept Polybios’s portrait of Dorimachos and Skopas as all-powerful masters of Greater Aitolia’s fate bent on rushing to war,113 this extraordinary calling of their League’s assembly and the cautious ultimatum it issued also require explanation. One possibility is that each is an early sign of the internal division among the koinon’s leadership and rank and file that is so evident only a few months later. As we shall see, a shadowy peace party failed (p.287) to rein in the Trichonian fire-eaters at that later meeting; perhaps they did manage to do so in this earlier case.114

It is not absolutely necessary, however, to assume any split in League counsels already in July and August 220. Forces of another sovereign polity, quite probably still a treaty ally, had attacked Aitolians who were taking part in an officially sanctioned campaign. This was a serious development; the issues it raised made an extraordinary meeting of the assembly nearly mandatory, for it was sovereign in questions of war and peace.115 There was no need for a group of pacifists in the synedrion to force the issue. The assembly’s decree is also consistent with the behavior of its commanders in the Peloponnese. It focuses on Messene and the Achaians and places the onus for any past or future conflict squarely on the latter. Conspicuously, just as Dorimachos, Skopas, and their associates carefully avoided any direct confrontation with the Achaians’ allies, Makedonian and other, the League assembly made absolutely no moves toward a more general war. Further, just as Aitolians in the Peloponnese had seemed careful not to confront even Achaian forces, the participants at the assembly were also careful to leave the Achaians a way to avoid war. In response to the Achaian League’s attempt to involve the entire Hellenic Alliance in its struggle with Greater Aitolia over Messene, the Aitolians’ public position was that the actions of their forces had been strictly defensive and aimed at Achaian aggression alone.116

Polybios, of course, considers this Aitolian effort to segregate the Achaians from their Hellenic allies illegitimate and is incensed by it (4.15. 10–11).117 He is equally annoyed that those same allies accepted the Aitolian interpretation: that is, that events in the western Peloponnese leading up to the clash at Kaphyai did not constitute an egregious breach of the general peace but rather were a bilateral matter between the Aitolians and the Achaians (4.16.1–4).118 The allies’ attitude is foreshadowed by the fact (p.288) that the Makedonians holding Korinth made no attempt to stop Dorima-chos’s Aitolians from exiting the Peloponnese via the isthmus. Thereafter the government of Philip V, as well as that of the Epeirotes, specifically replied to their Achaian allies that there had been nothing particularly out of the ordinary in any of the various Aitolian actions up to that point (Polyb. 4.16.1–3).

If Aitolian actions culminating in the battle near Kaphyai in early summer 220 had not been intended to spark the ensuing Social War and had not made that conflict inevitable, as Polybios claims they did,119 what did lead the Hellenic Alliance to issue its ultimatum to the koinon a scant few months later? The genuine casus belli seems to have been an Aitolian expedition to the north Arkadian polis of Kynaitha in the intervening weeks. Ironically, the circumstances of this later event largelyjustify the assessment of the war’s causes that Polybios formulated from earlier events. The seizure, and then destruction, of Kynaitha and much of its population by Aitolians was clearly a brazen act and a direct challenge to the existing political and diplomatic order on the mainland. Its authors were indeed Skopas and Dorimachos, and they do seem to have acted without federal sanction and partly out of private interest—that is, the opportunity for booty. Polybios’s analysis also seems accurate in that the actions of these Aitolians seem to have grown out of the previous success of their policy with regard to the Achaians. Their Hellenic allies had gone along with the Achaians as far as supporting the Messe-nian application for admission to the symmachia.120 Given the decision of the emergency Aitolian assembly, this allied act technically created a state of war between the Aitolian and Achaian koina. The allies, however, had flatly (p.289) refused the Achaian demand for support in accordance with the terms of Do-son’s alliance. Some Aitolians seem to have taken this lack of solidarity as a signal of ambivalence and indecision, particularly on the part of the young Philip V. As a result, they decided to act upon new opportunities in the Pelo-ponnese and elsewhere, perhaps in the additional hope of shattering Doson’s diplomatic legacy and so reclaiming the position Aitolians and their koinon had enjoyed before 228.

Polybios reports that in the period after the return of the Messenian expedition, Dorimachos and Skopas joined a compatriot from Naupaktos, Agelaos, in negotiating with a group of Kynaithans for the betrayal of their city. Sometime in the period between Aratos’s unsuccessful attack in 243 and the late summer of 220, the faction supported by Greater Achaia had evidently prevailed. An Achaian governor and garrison had subsequently been dismissed, however, and the opposition party recalled from exile. This latter group then began to negotiate with the Aitolians (4.16.11–17.12). The three Aitolian leaders made arrangements for transport with their former Illyrian nemesis Skerdi-laidas by the agency of his in-law the Athamanian monarch Amynas.121 The Aitolian-Illyrian force then crossed the Gulf of Korinth and seized Kynaitha through the treachery of their friends inside (4.16.8–17.1, 18.1–6).122

Once in control of the town, however, the Aitolians turned on their erstwhile Kynaithan allies and massacred them. They then set about looting the rest of the town, butchering much of its remaining population in the process. Leaving a garrison in charge, they next marched on Kleitor, stopping at the sanctuary of Artemis at Lousoi along the way to extort a bribe from its priests. Having tried and failed first to persuade and then to force Kleitor into the Aitolian alliance, they returned to Kynaitha, driving off the sacred cattle from Lousoi despite the previous bribe (Polyb. 4.18.7–19.4).

In the meantime Aratos had sent an urgent message to Philip V begging for help and had also begun reassembling the Achaian levy. While this was going on the Aitolians attempted to hand Kynaitha over to their Eleian friends. When the Eleian government declined the gift, it was decided to (p.290) install a garrison under the command of the Aitolian Euripidas.123 Upon receiving intelligence of the impending arrival of the Makedonian king in the Peloponnese, however, the Aitolian commanders decided to burn Kynaitha and withdrew to Aitolia via Rhion. Taurion, the Makedonian commander in the Peloponnese, engaged the services of the Illyrian Demetrios of Pharos in order to block the Aitolian crossing, but he missed them by two days (Polyb. 4.19.1–10).

Philip also arrived too late to confront the Aitolians. Instead, after calling for a meeting of the allies at Korinth to consider a joint course of action, he quickly marched south to settle affairs in Sparta, for Lakonia had shown distinct signs of pro-Aitolian leanings during the Kynaitha episode. He then returned to Korinth to preside over the meeting of the alliance (Polyb. 4.22.1–25.8). The representatives of the various member states there registered the mass of accusations against Aitolians that Polybios recited: an attack on the sanctuary of Athena Itonia in Boiotia, the attempt to seize Am-brysos and Daulis in Phokis and Thyrrheion in Akarnania, raiding along the Epeirote coast—not to mention all their actions against the Achaians in the Peloponnese. In response the delegates unanimously voted for war. A manifesto was appended to the allied declaration calling for the expulsion of the Aitolians from any allied territory occupied since the death of Demetrios II, the freeing of any other area forced into the League against its will, and the reestablishment of an independent Amphiktyonic council in control over Delphi (Polyb. 4.25.6–8).124

As the various delegates departed to obtain their respective states’ ratifications of the war declaration, Philip made a final attempt at reconciliation by sending an offer of negotiation to the magistrates of the Aitolian koinon (Polyb. 4.26.3–4). Initially they accepted his offer, naming a time and place; subsequently, however, they changed their minds and put off a response until the matter could be put before the pending meeting of the League assembly at the Thermika (Polyb. 4.26.5–6). That assembly’s decision to elect Skopas to the League’s stratēgia for 220/19 apparently signaled to all that Greater Aitolia had opted for war. Immediately upon the conclusion of the Achaian fall meeting, which was contemporary with that of the Aitolians, Philip departed for Makedonia to prepare for the spring campaign (Polyb. 4.27.1–10).

(p.291) Polybios presents the Aitolian seizure of Kynaitha as simply the final expression of the koinon’s desire for war.125 As far as Skopas and Dorimachos go, Polybios is probably correct. His own narrative, however, belies his claim that this operation had the sanction of a federation that had decided on a larger conflict. Quite the contrary: the attack on Kynaitha looks like a classic example of individual Aitolians seizing a personal opportunity and then trying to use it to influence larger, collective policy questions—here, war or peace.

In many ways, of course, the Kynaitha operation looks much like the march on Messene of a few months before. Both expeditions included considerable amounts of hostile acquisition; and the objective of the later attempt was certainly of greater immediate importance to Greater Aitolia’s security. As noted in the earlier discussion, Kynaitha was a key site for controlling access between Achaia proper, Arkadia, and Elis.126 The failure of the attempt on Kleitor and the incidents at Lousoi going and returning do not lessen this strategic connection:127 Kleitor was another key position in northern Arkadia. Acquisition of these two sites would have given Aitolians a golden opportunity to harass and plunder both Achaia proper and its Arkadian annex and perhaps even to split them. No doubt Skopas and Dorimachos had some such scheme in mind.

Other aspects of the entire affair, however, indicate that our Trichonian cousins were individuals trying to blaze new trails in League policy rather than official representatives of the koinon following the precharted plans of its leadership. To begin with, their diplomatic efforts are suspiciously ineffective. The Eleian refusal of the gift of Kynaitha is a surprise; one would expect them to accept gratefully a gift from their ally that extended their reach from Psophis and so rolled back the Achaians’ sway. One would also expect an officially organized League operation to have secured Eleian approval and cooperation beforehand. Also, the invaders’ inability either to overawe or overpower the Kleitorans or to hold Kynaitha afterwards implies a much smaller force than the one that went to Messene. Where were the other Aitolians? And why were Dorimachos, Skopas, and their associates unable or unwilling to maintain even the minimum discipline they established for the earlier operation, if their cohorts on this later expedition were on equally official (p.292) business? Even if the execution of their own local partisans was a cold-blooded move to cement their control by removing the most demonstrably disloyal element in the Kynaithan populace, delivering as well in the process a message to any who might contemplate disloyalty to the new masters,128 the ensuing slaughter of part of the remaining Kynaithan civilian population looks more like the work of an undisciplined rank and file.129

Most important, however, where are the signs of federal support for the Kynaitha expedition like those we have seen in the earlier Messene campaign? Then the League stratēgos accompanied the expedition and arranged the logistics of its transport to and from the Peloponnese. On this later occasion Ariston stayed home and publicly disassociated himself—and so the koinon—from any anti-Achaian aggression.130 By Aitolian custom he evidently could not prevent his kinsmen from acting on the opportunity at Kynaitha, but neither did he support them. It is especially noteworthy that there were no Kephallenian ships at Skopas’s and Dorimachos’s disposal; in order even to get to the Peloponnese, they had to scrape together transport where they could, going so far as to track down Illyrian help.131 The fact that they used the Athamanian despot Amynas as a go-between to Skerdilaidas may be one final indication that the raid was privately organized. Perhaps the Illyrian’s in-law shared ties of guest-friendship with leading west Aitolian families just as the Aiakids of neighboring Molossos seem to have done.

(p.293) One final aspect of the Kynaitha affair that points to private initiative is its ending: the destruction of the city and the withdrawal of the raiders upon the report of Philip’s arrival.132 As noted, their retreat reinforces the impression that the invaders were not numerous. Even so, they should have been able to hold Kynaitha until additional League forces arrived if the leaders of the expedition thought they could expect them. Clearly they did not. After Kaphyai the League’s assembly had publicly left open the question of conflict with Greater Achaia, but it had just as specifically rejected a larger confrontation with the Hellenic Alliance.

Philip’s appearance in the Peloponnese at the head of a considerable Makedonian force caught Skopas and his friends by surprise.133 No doubt they had underestimated the young king’s resolve and commitment to the Achaians on the basis of his ambivalent reaction to previous events.134 While Philip’s arrival forced them to surrender a position of great potential for lack of League sanction, it nevertheless does not seem to have increased their respect for him. Quite the contrary: their decision to burn Kynaitha looks like a flagrant challenge to the Hellenic Alliance. As such it strongly suggests that the Trichonians and their supporters now did indeed want a larger war and were eager to press their compatriots to embrace one.

Philip certainly had little choice but to accept this challenge. For the second time in less than three months Achaians had come to him invoking the terms of their alliance. His credibility was automatically an issue because of his youth and inexperience. This time he had to act decisively or else risk losing the Makedonian position in Greece so carefully reestablished by his uncle.135 The members of the Aitolian koinon, on the other hand, were at this point still under no obligation to fight. Philip had, after all, followed up the alliance’s ultimatum with an offer of negotiation. The fact that his message was couched in severe language does not mean that his basic offer was insincere; the young king simply needed to strike a strong public (p.294) posture.136 The other citizens of the koinon could have repudiated the actions of Skopas and his associates around Kynaitha, not to mention the other incidents Polybios cites but does not recount in detail. Only the ambivalent and, finally, hostile Aitolian response to Philip’s initiative guaranteed widescale hostilities.

Polybios thus seems correct in assigning responsibility for the outbreak of the Social War to the citizens of Greater Aitolia. His other charge, that it was Aitolian pompous ostentation and greed (alazoneia and pleonexia), personified by Skopas and his faction, that drove these later events, also appears to have at least some justification. The attack on Kynaitha was clearly the casus belli; it was just as clearly a typical example of Aitolian freelancing. On one level those Aitolians who elected Skopas stratēgos at the Thermika of 220 signaled their refusal to yield to their recent Achaian allies in the Pelopon-nese in order to preserve the peace. In doing so, however, they were also signaling their renewed resolve to allow League members to “take booty from booty” wherever the opportunity arose, no matter what the consequences for the territorial security of their koinon.

Philip V’s Route to Thermon in 218 B.C.

W. K. Pritchett follows Soteriades in suggesting that the Agrielia Road from the northwest corner of the Lake Trichonis plain to the plateau of Thermon was the last stage of Philip’s march, a view that identifies the modern village of Sitaralona as the site Polybios calls Pamphia.137 This reconstruction fits the most obvious translation of Polybios’s description of the path that the Makedonians used: “exceptionally steep and difficult, and what is more having on each side deep ravines, so that the passage is exceedingly dangerous and narrow at some points” (5.8.1–2: Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae). The Agrielia Road is indeed steep and flanked by ravines as it runs up the open face of the plateau ridge in a series of reinforced switchbacks.

On the other hand, Polybios’s phrase Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae could also mean “having tall cliffs on each side”—that is, that the (p.295) path ran up a ravine, rather than between a pair of ravines. The Agrielia Road is flanked on either side by a series of steep gullies that drain the plateau; one of these would fit this alternative translation of Polybios’s description nicely, as well as the other topographic identifications made by Pritchett.

One other possibility for Pamphia, however, is the kastro at Mesovouni. (Woodhouse [249, 262] identifies the site as Ellopion.) If the Mesovouni site is Pamphia, Philip could have struck inland and climbed up to Thermon by one of the ravines or ridges (depending on how you translate Polybios) that run from Agia Marina to the southeast corner of the plateau.


(1.) Most notably Klaftenbach, “Zeit”; see also Cabanes, Épire 90–91, Will, Hist, pol.2 I, 227–28; Walbank, Comm. I, 239–40; HM III, 285–86; Ager no. 33.

(2.) See Klaffenbach’s commentary to IG IX 12 1, 13; Funke, “Untersuchungen” 210 n. 255; Antonetti, “Decreto” 133; the latter two works are not noted by Grainger.

(3.) See above, Introd. n. 106, Chap. 2 n. 14. Grainger does not seem to be aware of this restriction.

(4.) For the date of Aitolian acquisition of the Amphiktyonic vote of the Metropolitan Dorians see above, App. A n. 27. The practical reasons for the general pattern of a delay before a new population places one of its own in the League executive are discussed above, Chap. 1 n. 81.

(5.) Given their opposition to Antigonos in the Chremonidean War, the Eleians will have been only too happy to advertise through this document their connections to the triple alliance to the north. Grainger (327) erroneously identifies the small fragment of the Aitolian-Akarnanian treaty found at Olympia (Insc. v. Ol. 40) as our prime example of this document. The text of IG IX 12 1, 3 A, is actually based almost entirely upon the nearly complete bronze stele recovered during the excavations at Thermon.

(6.) See also Flaceliere, Ait. 201–2; Cabanes, Épire 91–93.

(7.) Cabanes, Épire 61–62 (following Cross 133; Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. xx; Walbank, Comm. 1, 239–40), 92. Funke, “Untersuchungen” 105 and nn. 245, 246, places the partition in the late 250s; Hammond (Epirus 589–90), ca. 243.

(8.) Alexandros ruling over (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae) Euboia: Suda s.v. “Euphorion.” Honorary decree of Athens thanking Aristomachos and the Argives for their help: IG II2 774 = ISE I, 23. Herakleitos honored by Salaminians for fighting off pirates during the war with Alexandros son of Krateros: Syll3 454. Hostility between Alexandros, his wife, Nikaia, and Antigonos: Plut. Arat. 17. IG XII 9, 212, which honors a Makedonian officer who had fought under King Alexandros, is usually associated with these events (e.g., Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 247) but is more likely to refer to events of the late fourth century (see Billows, “IG”).

(9.) The date was established by Niese, “Beiträge”; followed by Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 2, 226–28; Walbank, Comm. I, 233–35; and most recently Urban 13 and n. 47.

(10.) Beloch, Gr. G2 IV 2, 521; Flacelière, Ait. 205; Will, Hist, pol.2 I, 317–18. The argument for a later date has been accepted by Urban 16–33 (with a review of scholarship) and, most recently, Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 247; HM III, 301. See also Orsi, “Rivolta.”

(11.) Northern Peloponnesian states joining the alliance against Makedonia: Elis, Achaia, Tegea, Mantineia, Orchomenos, Phlious, and Kaphyai (Stav III, 476.23–25).

(12.) See Heinen, Untersuchungen 199–202.

(13.) See Porter xl.

(14.) As Porter himself admits: xxxiv.

(15.) The aorist participle Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae used to describe the alliance suggests a previously existing condition.

(16.) See also Will, Hist, pol.2 I, 319–21.

(17.) The high chronology of the Delphic documents (on which see App. A and Table A3) could support this argument, as it leaves a gap of several years prior to the archonship of Praochos, at whose fall session (245) the Boiotians are absent, only to return the following spring (a development F. Lefèvre sees as an argument for the high chronology [see Chap. 2 n 116]). For the dale of Aratos’s first stratēgia and the battle at Chaironeia see Porter xlviii–lix; Will, Hist. pol.2 I, 319. Events surrounding the later battle at Pellene are dealt with above in Chapter 3, in “The Aitolian Attack on Pellene in 241 B.C.”

(18.) A view reiterated most recently by le Bohec, Antigone 162–63, citing without further comment the works of previous scholars such as Walbank, Étienne, and Knoepfler.

(19.) See Étienne and Knoepfler, Hyettos.

(20.) Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 2, 432; Étienne and Knoepfler 288.

(21.) See Étienne and Knoepfler 331–37.

(22.) Étienne and Knoepfler 334, refuting Feyel’s argument that this incident actually reflects friendship between Makedonia and Boiotia.

(23.) The idea that Opountian Lokris became Aitolian at the time the League acquired the East Lokrian Amphiktyonic vote (Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 450, 455 [following Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 1, 631 n. 4; Étienne and Knoepfler 331]; see also HM III, 327) is also not supported by the epigraphic evidence on the wandering Lokrian vote (see above, Chap. 2 nn. 37–42), which indicates that Epiknēmedian Lokris was the area affected by the Aitolian takeover. Note, however, Knoepfler’s intention (signaled in “Relations” 148 n. 62) to challenge in a forthcoming monograph (La cité de Ménédème) the current consensus on the date of Boiotian acquisition of Opous.

(24.) See above, App. A, Table A3.

(25.) See above, Chap. 3 n. 42.

(26.) IG XI 2, 287A80–81, orders payment for the inscribing of the Aitolian grant; see Dürrbach p. 47. The Aitolian grant of asphaleia is IG IX 12 1, 185 = IG XI 4, 1050 = Dürrbach 41. Note also that Benecke places a decree for Tenos in the second quarter of the third century (21), for Smyrna in the early to mid-240s (23; but cf. Elwyn, “Reorganization”), and for Miletos in 240/39 (23).

(27.) Walbank, “Aratos’ Attack” 67; Comm. I, 531.

(28.) The phrase is taken in this sense by Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 1, 620; Walbank, “Aratos’ Attack” 67; Comm. I, 531.

(29.) Polyb. 4.77.10. Eleian acquisition of Triphylia is Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae than Lydiades’ gift of Alipheira while tyrant (see Niese, GGMS II, 259 n. 5), rather than Polybios’s narrative date of winter 219/8 (as Beloch [Gr. G.2 IV 1, 620 n. 1] and those who follow him [Flacelière, Ait. 239–40; Walbank, Aratos 181; Will, Hist. pol.2 I, 329–33; Porter xlix; Marasco, Comm. 86] seem to believe).

(30.) For the political relationship between Aitolia, Phigaleia, and Messene in the late 220s, see above, Chap. 6, “From Phigaleia to Kynaitha,” and below, text after n. 87. Polybios (4.3.6–7) says that the Messenians were Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae with the Aitolian League at this point. Although this claim is probably a technical inaccuracy (Walbank, Comm. I, 452; cf. 243), the obvious closeness of the relationship implies the existence of some special privileges. The presence of a League official at Phigaleia in autumn 221 who was seen by locals as the competent authority with whom to raise complaints (Polyb. 4.3.5–11), as well as the presence of a large Aitolian population from at least 221 until winter 218 (Polyb. 4.3.8, 79.5–8), further underscores the special status of Phigaleia at this point.

(31.) As an indication of Aitolian inactivity during the Kleomenic War recall the contest between Kleomenes and Achaia for influence in Elis in 226 (Plut. Kleom. 14.5, although note as well the manuscript problem with the name of the site; see also Marasco, Comm. 469). If the Aitolians were unable to help their own (fictive) kinsmen during this period, it is doubtful that they were establishing influence farther south at the same time.

(32.) Timaios as a commander of the Aitolian attack on Lakonia: Polyb. 4.34.9; as Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae in the Phigaleian-Messenian negotiations: Stsv III, 495.2. This connection, of course, is only enough to place the two events within ten or twenty years of each other.

(33.) For the status of Psophis in 219/18 see Polyb. 4.70.3–5, who makes a distinction between the city’s ethnic and political ties.

(34.) Plut. Kleom. 14.5, although note the manuscript problem with the name of the site: Laggon (Lasion?). See also Marasco, Comm. 469.

(35.) Above, Chap. 3, text after n. 102.

(36.) Walbank, “Aratos’ Attack” 69–70.

(37.) Plutarch (Kleom. 10.11, 18.3) mentions the Aitolian invasion as an example of the low ebb of Spartan fortunes prior to Kleomenes. The implication is that the invasion occurred before Kleomenes came to the throne. For the date of his accession see Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 1, 629 n. 1; Marasco, Comm. 368.

(38.) For the expulsion of Leonidas by Agis see Plut. Agis 12.6; for the date see Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 1, 629 n. 1; Marasco, Comm. 656.

(39.) Charixenos is probably to be identified with the Charixenos son of Kydrion who erected the massive bicolumnar monument to himself at Delphi in the mid-third century and was stratēgos of the League in the year when the Soteria was reorganized (see above, Chap. 3 nn. 14, 34, 35; also Walbank, Comm. I, 483; Kirchner, “Charixenos”; Flacelière, Ait. 267 and n. 4). For the career of Timaios, and especially his connections with the Peloponnese in the 240s, see Ziegler, “Timaios,” and the discussion above, Chap. 3 nn. 17, 69, 101, 102, 110, 114, 133.

(40.) It is generally assumed that the war began with a Makedonian campaign in support of Epeiros (see Niese, GGMS II, 264–69; Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 2, 258; Walbank, Aratos 57, 185; Comm. I, 237; HM III, 323–24; Manni, “Antigono” 268; Will, Hist. pol.2 I, 346; also above, Chap. 4 n. 58). Manni (and initially Walbank [Aratos 58], although he subsequently joined the majority: Comm. I, 483) argued that the invasion of Lakonia should be located toward the end of the period and seen in the context of the Aitolian-Achaian alliance against Demetrios II. This view should probably be rejected for the reasons presented here.

(41.) Note that in Plut. Agis 13.5 the Achaians summon help from Sparta by writing to the ephors, not Agis. Their alliance was thus with the Spartan state, not with its king or any particular group within Sparta. Accordingly, this alliance technically lasted until the outbreak of the Kleomenic War in 229 (see Urban 64 n. 302; Will, Hist, pol.2 I, 337).

(42.) Urban 57–59.

(43.) Urban (58) makes this objection. His analogy is drawn from the biography of Aratos, however, which is perhaps not applicable to the biography of Agis. In the latter case Plutarch probably had much less source material at hand and was therefore unlikely to have suppressed a story, as Urban proposes. In fact, Plutarch was more likely to have inserted extraneous information to fill out his story. For example, the section on the eagerness of Agis and his young revolutionary troops (Plut. Agis 13.5–15.5) is almost certainly a topos, of little historical value (see Marasco, Comm. 308–14).

(44.) Polyb. 4.34.9, Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae, tells us what the Aitolians were plotting. It says nothing of their success or failure. If the Aitolians had succeeded we would expect Polybios to say so.

(45.) Plut. Agis 16.4. In fact, Leonidas was recalled by his supporters, not reinstated by external force. Urban, in raising objections to the identification of the Spartan exiles as supporters of Agis (58–59), fails to argue, as by implication he ought, that these exiles were actually the supporters of Leonidas. Rather, after dismissing the pro-Agis theory, he lets the question drop.

(46.) Plut. Kleom. 1.1; Polyb. 5.37, 8.35.3–5. To untangle the differing traditions behind the fate of Archidamos see Walbank, Comm. I, 568–69.

(47.) For the other exiles see Plut. Agis 16–18; Teles ap. Stob. Anth. 2.72; Syll3 502 = IG XII 8, 156.

(48.) The Aitolian leadership must have known that it would require a major effort to overthrow the Spartan regime. Polybios calls the Aitolian invasion Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae, and his testimony seems borne out by the lack of Spartan opposition in the countryside, as well as the huge number of prisoners taken (Plut. Kleom. 18.3; although see Oliva 230 on the numbers).

(49.) Urban (59, 64 n. 302) argues that the actions of Agis in 241 eliminated the possibility of Aitolian help for his supporters in 240/39. However, interstate relations in this period were nothing if not flexible and opportunistic; just consider the shifting of the alliance structure in Greece between 245 and 235.

(50.) For the counterrevolution in Sparta see Plut. Agis 16–21; its date: Marasco, Comm. 656–57; Walbank, “Aratos’ Attack” 71.

(51.) The question of who was the real instigator of the Aitolian-Achaian alliance is discussed above, Chap. 4 nn. 22–26. Plutarch (Arat. 33.1) naturally gives all the credit to Aratos.

(52.) Plut. Agis 16.4–19.1 makes it clear that some period of time elapsed between the expulsion of Agis’s supporters and the actual arrest and execution of the king. His supporters could well have turned to the Aitolians while Agis was still in sanctuary, hoping to save him. The Aitolians, for their part, may have expected to use Agis as a popular rallying point to stir internal dissension and ease their task.

(53.) As noted, the number of prisoners taken (although probably exaggerated) and the political objectives of the operation both support Polybios’s contention that the invasion was Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae. The mention of two commanders, both leading figures in the League during the period, suggests that they were functioning as the two highest military and political officers of the League at the time. See also Niese, GGMS II, 262; Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 1, 628–29; Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. xxi 11. 51–66; Flacelière, Ait. 242–43; Walbank, Comm. I, 483; Will, Hist. pol.2 I, 337; Marasco, Comm. 496–97.

(54.) For Pantaleon see Treves, “Pantaleon”; Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. xxi 11. 4–10; Flacelière, Ait. 242 and n. 1. Plutarch is probably exaggerating when he calls Pantaleon the most powerful of the Aitolians (Arat. 33.1); see Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. xxi 11. 4–11; Porter 70.

(55.) Plut. Arat. 33. l: Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae, Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae.

(56.) Polyb. 2.44.1: Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae. …

(57.) For the dates of the death of Antigonos and the outbreak of the war, see above, Chap. 4 nn. 5, 6.

(58.) As suggested by Flacelière, Ait. 242; Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. xxi; and Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 255.

(59.) The late 240s seems as close as the current evidence allows us to date the death of Alexandros II (see Cross 124–27). Corsten’s date of between ca. 252 and 247 (201; see also Cabanes, Épire 93–95, who favors 252–250) places too much faith in Justin’s synchronism of the departure of Demetrios II’s first wife, Stratonike, with the Laodikean War (Just. 28.1.4). More likely, Justin has here confused a number of different persons with the same name and events with similar outcomes that occurred in the 240s and 230s. See the fragment of Agatharchides quoted injosephus, Contra Apionem 1.206–8 (which Corsten op. cit. 199 n. 11 attempts to sidestep), and the discussion in Will, Hist, pol.2 I, 299–300; and Walbank, HM III, 323 and n. 1.

(60.) Polyb. 4.5.3; 24.1 (preferable to Justin [28.4.16], who claims that Philip was only 14 at his ascension). See Walbank, Philip 9, 295; Comm. I, 450.

(61.) For the date of Philip’s birth see Dow and Edson 158; Walbank, Philip 9 and n. 3, 295–99; Porter lii. It is generally accepted that Philip’s mother was in fact Phthia, most recently by le Bohec, “Phthia.” Le Bohec’s additional thesis, however, that Phthia died soon after the birth of Philip and that he was then adopted by Chryseis, Demetrios’s new wife, who subsequently married Antigonos Doson, is unconvincing. The literary and epigraphic evidence does seem to refer to both women as the mother of Philip. Tarn’s conclusion (“Phthia-Chryseis”) that they were in fact the same woman remains convincing in its simplicity (see Walbank, Comm. I, 621).

(62.) Note in this regard the evidence that Demetrios may in fact have been coregent with his father from the mid-250s onward: ISEII, 109 = SEG XII, 314, dating from year 27 of the reign of King Demetrios. R. M. Errington (“Inscription”; GM 157 n. 42) argues that this inscription could be a recut document using a posthumous regnal year of Poliorketes. Errington may be correct, but the alternative of a coregency between Gonatas and his son seems preferable, especially when one bears in mind that Demetrios seems to have held independent military command as early as Alexandras II’s invasion of Makedonia in the late 260s (see Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 446; HM III, 317–18). Cf., however, J. D. Morgan’s forthcoming study.

(63.) See also above, Chap. 4 nn. 19, 20.

(64.) On this latter marriage see above, Chap. 4 n. 15.

(65.) It is clear from Just. 28.3.1 that Pyrrhos was king for at least a brief period before his death. Perhaps it was then that Olympias assumed the regency for Ptolemaios, a subtlety lost in Justin’s compressed account. See the modern works cited above, Chap. 4 n. 15.

(66.) Justin (28.3.2) simply says that Ptolemaios died while on campaign against enemies, without specifying who they were. If these foes had been the Aitolians (as Cabanes, Épire 97–98, believes), it seems strange that Justin would omit this fact, as they play such a large role in the rest of this segment. More likely these enemies were the rebels in Ambrakia, as Polyaenus, strat. 8.52, clearly implies (see Cross 124–27).

(67.) Polyaenus, Strat. 8.52; Just. 28.3.1–8; Paus. 4.35.3. See Cabanes, Épire 97–100, 198–200; also Hammond, Epirus 591–93.

(68.) See Beloch, Gr. G.2 IV 2, 154, although he probably places the death of Alexandres II too early.

(69.) See Feyel, Polybe 83–105; accepted most recently by Ehrhardt (“Studies” 215) and Will (Hist, pol.2 I, 348). Walbank (Comm. III, 69) is more cautious. The inscriptions are IG VII, 1 (= Syll3 331), 2–14, 3473; Heath, “Proxeny Decrees” nos. I–III; Feyel 85–93.

(70.) See Étienne and Knoepfler 323–31; Kaloyeropoulou, “Nouveau décret.” On the implications of this new evidence for Feyel’s methods and conclusions, see Urban 66–71.

(71.) See Habicht (Studien 57–59, Athen 164; accepted by Walbank, HM III, 326–27); documents demonstrating Boiotian possession of Opountian Lokris in the 230s, however, cannot be used—as they often are—to date Demetrios’s invasion for, as argued above, there is no independent evidence that the Aitolians took control of the region between 245 and the mid-230s, as is commonly assumed.

(72.) See above, App. A, Table A-3 n. e, although the date of this document is not certain (see also above, App. A n. 37). In any event, Feyel’s rejection (Polybe 85, following Treves, “Studi” 400 n. 1) of Roussel’s attempt to date the Boiotian defection after 236/5 purely on the basis of a decree from Rhamnous (“Nouveau document” 268–82) remains convincing.

(73.) Beloch (Gr. G.2 IV 1, 638), Flaceliére (Ait. 257, 279), Walbank (Comm. III, 70; cf., however, HM III, 341), and Will (Hist, pol.2 I, 362) all conclude that the behavior of the Boiotians in 227 (Polyb. 20.5.7–10) implies another, anti-Makedonian swing in Boiotian attitudes prior to that year. In part their assumption is based upon an overly tight dating of the Amphiktyonic lists, which groups together a number of archons and their lists that in fact should probably be spread out over about twenty years (see above, App. A, esp. n. 10).

(74.) The context is a speech delivered by an Akarnanian, Lykiskos, to a Spartan assembly in 210 at the latest. Lykiskos is speaking in opposition to an Aitolian attempt to convince the Spartans to join the Roman alliance in the First Makedonian War. In the course of this speech he rehearses a catalogue of Aitolian outrages: their alleged secret agreement with Antigonos Gonatas for the partition of the Achaian League, modeled on a similar pact with Alexandres II of Epeiros directed against the Akarnanian League; Timaios’s plundering of the temples of Poseidon at Tainaron and Artemis Hemera at Lousoi; Pharykos’s and Polykritos’s outrages; and the violation of the Pamboiotian truce by Lattabos and Nikostratos. The probable dates for the first two (the alleged pact between Gonatas and the Aitolians mid-240s; partition of Akarnania late 250s) and the last (Nikostratos’s violation of the Pamboiotian truce to defeat the Boiotians 245) argue against drawing chronological conclusions based on Lykiskos’s, or rather Polybios’s, order (as Pozzi 231–32 attempts to do). This is simply a litany of Aitolian sins. Champion (“Poly-bius” 321–24) makes a strong case for the veracity of Polybios’s version of this speech.

(75.) For the possible identification of this Polykritos with the man thrice (and perhaps four times) stratēgos of the League, see Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, p. 101. Cf. above, however, Chap. 2 nn. 104, 105.

(76.) We know that a Polykritos was stratēgos of the League for the second time in the year of the Aitolian-Akarnanian treats, but he may have held the office a third and fourth time. See Klaffenbach, IG IX 12 1, 171.25, 55; also Scherling, “Polykritos”; Lenschau, “Polykritos.”

(77.) See also the discussion of Aitolian involvement in east Arkadian affairs in the mid- and late 230s above in Chapter 4, text after n. 109.

(78.) See above, Chap. 5, “Low Tide: Antigonos III Doson in Phokis and Doris, 228 B.C”

(79.) See also Feyel, Polybe 114–15.

(80.) See Crampa 33; Bengtson, “Inschriften” 20–37.

(81.) Polyb. 2.49.6; see Dow and Edson 179 n. 1; also Fine, “Background” 142–43; Rigsby’s view (61, 70) that there was a war between the Boiotians and Makedonians in 227 is hard to reconcile with Polybios’s clear indication that hostilities were avoided by Neon’s restraint (cf. Feyel, Polybe 116–18, who also notes that the pro-Antigonid Neon’s holding of the important elective post of federal second-in-command [hipparchos] demonstrates that most Boiotians were not then deeply hostile to Makedonia).

(82.) See Étienne and Knoepfler 331–41.

(83.) See above, “The Status of Opountian Lokris between 245 and 228 B.C.”

(84.) Modern studies of the origins of the Social War sometimes stretch the time frame for this dossier of Aitolian misdeeds back to the mid-220s (see Walbank, Comm. I, 452, 471; also le Bohec, Antigone400). Polybios (4.5.9–6.2, 25.1–5) fairly explicitly places all these events in the year or so after Doson’s death.

If the high chronology for the Aitolian Soteria lists is correct (see above, App. A and Table A3), then we can add Thessalia to the list of areas of .Aitolian agitation in 221, for it would be at that year’s festival (late summer) that the Aitolian Amphiktyonic delegation reached its zenith of fifteen votes. Presumably this last vote was that of the Perrhaibians (see above, Chap. 6 n. 6; App. A n. 39).

Further, the Aitolian agōnothetai for the Soteria festivals of this period, Charixenos and Xen-nias, were both Trichonians, too.

(85.) See above, App. A, Table A3 nn. g, h.

(86.) Polyb. 4.3.1: Aitolian addiction to pillaging their neighbors to satisfy their own avarice and desire for display; see also 4.5.5, 6.12. Polybios’s contention that all these incidents were part of a coordinated policy of Dorimachos and friends is usually accepted, whether Dorimachos’s actions are viewed as legitimate (Larsen, “Aetolian-Achaean Alliance” 169; Fine, “Background” 159) or not (Walbank, Philip 25; CAH VII2 1, 474; although compare Rice 64).

(87.) The major Aitolian expedition against Messene that resulted from Dorimachos’s sojourn in Phigaleia is prior to the Achaian electoral assembly of 220, which puts it in the early spring of that year; for the date of the Achaian electoral assembly in this period see Larsen, GFS 220. The initial Messenian activities of Dorimachos must therefore belong in the previous autumn if he had time subsequently to return to Aitolia and prepare the spring campaign. A likely terminus post quern for his activities is the Aitolian elections of the fall of 221, at which he probably received the official appointment to Phigaleia that Polybios attributes to him (4.3.6), although his precise office is not clear.

(88.) See Gómez Espelosín, “Estratgía” 66, referring to the phrase “those living in Aitolia” (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae: IG IX 1a 1, l69a 2–3, 169b 1–2, 176.9, 179.19), 189.3–4, 192.9–10). On Klarion, cf. Amandry, “Dèdicaces” 70–75. Amandry notes the seizure of Klarion as a likely parrallel, and therefore a historical context, for the events recorded in FD III 4, 239. The Achaian exiles who set up this memorial to the Aitolian Simos did so to thank him for seizing and then turning over to them a place called Skiros. Amandry makes the reasonable suggestion that Skiros is a site in the Skiritis, a strategic region in the southern Peloponnese at the intersection of Arkadia, Lakonia, and Messenia. Placing Simos’s actions in the context of the Social War is also reasonable, given the presence of a homonymous hieromnemon on an Amphiktyonic list of the 220s (SGD1 2525 = CID IV no. 68). On the Achaians, see above, Chap. 5, n. 91.

(89.) On the status of Thyrrheion from the later 240s to 220s, see above, Chap. 2 n. 110; Chap. 4, text after n. 19.

(90.) Polyb. 5.96.4–8, where the Aitolian stratēgos Hagetas is drawn to Phanoteus early in 217 on the promise of betrayal by pro-Aitolians within.

(91.) See above, Introd. n. 40.

(92.) Polyb. 4.3.5–6: Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae.

(93.) Polybios’s report (4.5.1) that Ariston’s physical incapacity for military command led him to cede his office to Skopas must refer strictly to field command. Ariston is subsequently the source of the official Aitolian response to apparent complaints from the Achaian government about the situation in Kynaitha (Polyb. 417.1), which indicates that he was still carrying out the diplomatic responsibilities of the League’s chief magistrate. Walbank suggests (Philip 24–25) that Ariston’s condition was only a temporary illness. Skopas is listed as League grammateus in IG IX 12 1, 4C8, which dates to 222/1 (see Rigsby 192).

(94.) On the official status of Dorimachos and the unified Aitolian approach to Messene that Polybios tries to obscure, see Fine, “Background” 158.

(95.) See Fine, “Background” 153.

(96.) On the earlier dispute between the Phigaleians and Messenians, see above, Chap. 3, text after n. 109. The events under discussion here should be added to Ager’s dossier (no. 40) of evidence for this conflict, which seems subsequently to have persisted, perhaps into the second century. Le Bohec (Antigone 414–15) follows Fine (“Background”) in accepting Polybios’s report that the Messenians were members of Doson’s Hellenic Alliance and had fought against Sparta at Sellasia. Dorimachos’s task, in le Bohec’s view, was to keep the Messenians from taking the further step of joining the Achaian League.

(97.) Polyb. 4.7.1–6: Messenians come begging for Achaian help and admission into the Hellenic Alliance at the same time as western Achaian towns complain to the general assembly about the passage of the Aitolian invasion force.

(98.) Aratos as the sponsor of Achaian encroachment in Messene: Fine, “Background” 156–57; Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 475.

(99.) Walbank, Comm. I, 453.

(100.) Polyb. 4.5.7; Walbank (Philip 26, n. 4) notes this evidence of previous negotiations, but not its implications for contemporary Aitolian thinking on this matter.

(101.) Fine, “Background” 129.

(102.) See above, Chap. 4 n. 109. See also Walbank, Comm. I, 453; Larsen, GFS 327.

(103.) Polyb. 4.9.5, clearly a security measure against the very real prospect of Messenian backsliding (see Walbank, Philip 26).

(104.) Polyb. 4.31–33.12 (an extended harangue); on all this see Fine, “Background” 160; Feyel, Polybe 140.

(105.) For the replacement ca. 220 of Corcyrean-standard staters and drachms by triobols (hemidrachms) as the League’s primary silver currency, see my forthcoming numismatic study. Feyel (Polybe 219–281) offers a general survey of internal conditions in Boiotia in the late third century, in which he notes a similar shortage of bullion for public use there. He attributes this shortage to a general economic and social crisis that placed increasing pressure (from debt?) on average small farmers, causing them to be ever more dependent on benefactions from the extremely wealthy and to expect such economic support as a prerequisite for positions of leadership. Feyel views this phenomenon as part of a larger problem across the mainland, evident also in Thessalia, Achaia, and—of course—Aitolia.

(106.) Polybios’s use of the verb Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae implies both immediate complaints to the Aitolian commanders from the locals and that their disappointment with the behavior of their troops was strictly for public consumption.

(107.) As we have seen, Aitolian customs on self-help and third-party intervention left Dorimachos essentially (and perhaps conveniently) powerless to rein in any of his compatriots who were at Phigaleia in autumn 220. As we shall see, Ariston used this explanation to disassociate the League from the actions of Dorimachos, Skopas, Agelaos, Euripidas, and their henchmen at Kynaitha the following summer.

(108.) The Achaians made the initial Aitolian crossing of the western portions of their territory, as well as Dorimachos’s subsequent march through the center of the Peloponnese, the focal point of their initial complaint to the allies (Polyb. 4.15.2), a claim that their allies refused to accept (4.16.2–3).

(109.) But cf. Walbank, Comm. I, 458–59.

(110.) Polyb. 4.10.10–12.14. There is no mention of” Aitolian depredations prior to the battle; the Aitolians approached the pass at Oligyrtos in good order (Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae). The Achaian attack caught the Aitolians by surprise as they mounted the pass, requiring a considerable delaying action by their cavalry in order to allow time for their infantry to turn around and form up. The view that the Achaians were merely escorting the Aitolians out of the Peloponnese (Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 474) is hard to square with Polybios’s clear indication that the Achaians attacked at Kaphvai when the Aitolians were most vulnerable; cf. Comm. I, 459); Larsen, GFS 332.

(111.) Polyb. 4.10.6: Aitolian care to avoid Taurion (Larsen, GFS 332; Rice 68; Walbank, Comm. I.459).

(112.) Polybios (4.14.9) dates the deliberations of the Achaians and the Aitolians to just after the beginning of the 140th Olympiad: that is, midsummer 220. As Walbank (Comm. I, 462) notes, this Aitolian assembly must therefore not have been the regular gathering, as Polybios says, but rather an extraordinary meeting, because the annual fall Thermika occurred not too long afterward. See also Larsen, GFS 333.

(113.) Walbank, Philip 24–25; Larsen, GFS 330.

(114.) Will (Hist. pol.2 II, 72) and Larsen (GFS 333) both see the very meeting of the Aitolian assembly as evidence of a peace party within the League’s leadership and citizenry.

(115.) Cf. Walbank, Philip 25, who believes Polybios’s claim that Dorimachos and Skopas here simply ignored the assembly.

(116.) It is not clear that by their action the Aitolians acknowledged Achaian possession of Pylos, as Larsen (“Aetolian-Achaean Alliance” 172) believes, although it is possible. See also Fine, “Background” 162, on Aitolian rights in this situation.

(117.) Walbank (Philip 27; Comm. I, 463) rightly criticizes Polybios’s sophistic condemnation of the Aitolian ultimatum but perhaps gives too little credit to the ability of the Aitolian leadership to respond to a fluid situation in an adept manner. In this case, they clearly did.

(118.) See Feyel, Polybe 139–45; Walbank, Philip 55; Larsen, GFS 348 n. 1, 356–57; also id., “Aetolian-Achaean Alliance” 170–71; Fine, “Background” 163; and Rice 67. All point to the political implications behind this decision. For the legal aspects of the Aitolian-Achaian clash, see Larsen, “Aetolian-Achaean Alliance” 168–71, who concludes that the response of the allies indicates that up through the battle at Kaphyai the Achaians were in the wrong; cf. Walbank, Comm. I, 456.

It is difficult to determine just what were the synthēkai that the Achaians claimed the Aitolians had twice violated. If they are the alliance of 238 (Walbank, Comm. I, 239), what matter was this for the Achaians to bring in accusation before the allies (4.15.2)? Then again, it may be a reflection of the weakness of the Achaian case that they had to resort to legal irrelevancies to bolster their claim.

(119.) Polybios (4.13.6–7) refers to this series of events as the origin and starting point of the Social War, as opposed to the actual beginning of formal hostilities in the declaration of war by the alliance later in the year: Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae, Appendix B Additional Chronology and Other Minutiae.

(120.) Polyb. 4.16.1; it is unclear whether the mention of only Philip and the Epeirotes in this incident means that there was no appeal to other members of the symmachy; cf. Larsen, GFS 334. Walbank’s conclusion (Philip 28) that their response indicates official acknowledgment of the propriety of the Achaian position while still trying to avoid war with the Aitolians seems a bit strained. If the allies recognized that the Achaians had been attacked, they would have had no choice but to declare war on the Aitolians. There was no room for maneuver once that point had been reached, as the events following the attack on Kynaitha show.

(121.) Stsv III, 515. As a Naupaktian and League stratēgos in the preceding year (see Rigsby 192), Agelaos must have been a doubly attractive partner to those attempting to organize this attempt. Larsen (GFS 336) objects that Amynas of Athamania could not have been able to contact Skerdilaidas after the latter’s participation in an attack on Pylos. The western Peloponnesian coast north of Pylos, however, was still an area of Aitolian involvement, not to mention cruising, and so word could have come to him wherever he put in.

(122.) The raiders probably sailed from Naupaktos to Cape Psaromyta, crossed there to the Cape of Gyftissa, and then coasted down to the mouth of the Bouraikos River, just west of modern Diakofto. On Kynaitha and Lousoi, see Jost 46–52, 419–25; Rigsby (91–92) questions Polybios’s claims that the cult of Artemis Hemera at Lousoi had been granted asylia by the international community (as opposed to the specific Aitolian grant [IG IX 12 1, 135], whose date is uncertain).

(123.) The service of Euripidas in Elis and elsewhere during the Social War is noted above, Chap. 6 n. 54. He must have been a fairly prominent adherent of the Trichonian faction already by 220 to be included in this enterprise and considered for such a key position as commander at Kynaitha.

(124.) See Walbank, Comm. I, 471–73, who notes that the skillful way Aratos marshaled his accusations offered an incentive to each of the allies to join in the war. For the implications of the allied manifesto with regard to the situation in Thessalia see above, Chap. 6 n. 22.

(125.) For Polybios (and the Achaians themselves) the events at Kynaitha were a flagrant violation of Achaian sovereignty (4.16.10–17.12, 25.4). See also Walbank, Philip 28; but cf. Comm. 1,464–65; and Larsen, GFS 334. Both associate these Aitolians with the preceding Illyrian raiders of Pylos, on the basis of the Achaian complaint at the allied congress: Polyb. 4.25.4. This passage is probably a suggestio falsi, however, for when actually narrating the expedition Polybios (4.16.7–11) makes it clear that the Aitolians were involved only later.

(126.) See above, Chap. 3, text after n. 102.

(127.) The relationship of these actions to an Aitolian decree of asylia for the sanctuary (IG IX 12 1, 135) is unclear, because the date of this decree is equally uncertain; see Walbank, Comm. I, 464–65; Rigsby 91–92.

(128.) Polybios says this initial massacre was a deliberate act (4.18.7); his grim satisfaction at its justice argues against any distortion of the facts.

(129.) Walbank, Comm. I, 464, although his argument that a calculated reign of terror would violate a general Aitolian policy of appealing to the Kleomenic element in the Peloponnese is less convincing. The Aitolians did indeed play to disaffected segments of the population here and elsewhere for their own purposes, but once in control they did as they pleased. Aitolians were not ideologues: their Eleian and Messenian supporters were oligarchs. Indeed, as we have seen, while their own federal assembly was democratic and primary, Greater Aitolia’s synedrion (boula) and apoklēsia both allowed a rather limited aristocracy to dominate the koinon. Note also the subsequent failure of reform programs: e.g., that sponsored by Skopas (Polyb. 13.1.1).

(130.) To implied Achaian complaints, Ariston replied that he was not attacking Achaia: Polyb. 4.17.1. See Fine, “Background” 163, who considers Ariston’s response an ineffectual conciliatory gesture. It should also be judged in the context of permissive Aitolian customs about benefiting from third-party disputes. As official spokesman for the League, Ariston could perhaps have been implicitly denying Achaian sovereignty over northern Arkadia, as part of the overall Aitolian propaganda campaign to cast themselves as the injured party and brand the Achaians the aggressors during the current dispute. By such reasoning, the Aitolians at Kynaitha were not in fact attacking Achaia proper but merely reasserting the previous status quo in the region, which the Achaians had wrongly overthrown. If one may judge by the actions of the raiding force once it arrived in Arkadia, it seems likely that its Aitolian leaders, at least, were following some such line.

(131.) Agelaos was probably brought into the project for this very reason. As a Naupaktian, he probably had better maritime connections than Trichonian landlubbers like Skopas and Dorimachos.

(132.) Walbank, CAH VII2 1, 475, treats this destruction as part of the initial pillaging of the town, which it certainly was not. Between the two events the Aitolians made their attempt on Kleitor. The destruction of the town was a deliberate move to keep it from being reoccupied by forces hostile to the Aitolians and their friends in the region. Supporters in the town may in fact have been relocated to a key point in southern Arkadia, if Amandry has interpreted a Delphic inscription (“Dédicaces” no. 5) correctly (see Walbank, Comm. I, 464).

(133.) Polyb. 4.19.6–7; Larsen, GFS 335, seems to believe that the Aitolians were not caught unawares by Philip; but their hurried change of plans and withdrawal on news of his imminent arrival seems a clear sign that they did not expect him.

(134.) Will, Hist, pol.2 II, 73.

(135.) Walbank (Philip 28–30) and Hammond (HM III, 372) probably overemphasize the importance of Skerdilaidas’s participation in the Kynaitha affair among the motives for Philip’s actions. The ease with which the Illyrian’s loyalties were purchased during the following winter shows that Philip and his counselors had a clear grasp of his significance.

(136.) Walbank (Philip 34; Comm. I, 474) views Philip’s offer as a mere propaganda ploy. It was the Aitolians, however, who broke off’ the negotiations: Holleaux, Rome 149 n. 1; Larsen, GFS 337; Will, Hist. pol.2 II, 73. The actual language of Philip’s letter (Polyb 4.26.4) sounds suspiciously like Polybios’s harangues at 4.16.3–4 and 4.17.1. It nevertheless provides a clear indication of what pressures Polybios (or his sources) thought were then motivating the young king. Feyel (Polybe 136–63) repeatedly notes signs that Philip was ambivalent about the Social War both at its inception and throughout its prosecution (following Niese, GGMS II, 245; Holleaux, Rome 147–50).

(137.) Studies, part 7, 41–45 and pls. 54–56; cf. part 6, 128–30 and pl. 206.