Titus Quinctius Flamininus

Titus Quinctius Flamininus (ca. 228-174 B.C.) was a Roman general and diplomat whose victory over Philip V of Macedon at Cynoscephalae freed Greece from Macedonian domination but led to an increasing Roman involvement in Greek affairs.

Flamininus was a member of the Roman patrician nobility. About the age of 20, in 208 B.C., he was elected a military tribune and in 205 was put in charge of the southern Italian city of Tarentum, with the rank and powers of a propraetor. It was in this city, largely Greek in language and culture, that he probably formed the philhellenism which was to be of importance in his life and work.

After holding various minor offices, in (or before) 199 Flamininus became quaestor and in the same year was chosen consul for 198, although he had neither been aedile and praetor nor attained the required age of 30. His election was probably dictated by the combination of philhellenism and diplomatic skills which he had already displayed, for Rome was involved in the Second Macedonian War and needed the support of Greece.

Flamininus proceeded to Greece and after some preliminary victories entered into extensive diplomatic negotiations. His command in Greece as proconsul was extended from 197 to 194. In June 197 at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, Flamininus defeated Philip V and in the peace treaty forced Philip's withdrawal from Greece proper. After settling various side issues of the war, Flamininus proclaimed the freedom of Greece at the Isthmian Games in 196. Danger from Antiochus III of Syria caused Roman troops to be retained in Greece, and in 195 Flamininus defeated the adventurer Nabis of Sparta. In 194 Flamininus departed from Greece, was honored by the Greeks as their liberator, and celebrated a magnificent triumph in Rome.

The following years were involved in defending Roman interests in, and the autonomy of, Greece, both through military action and diplomacy. In 189 Flamininus was made censor, but after this he played an increasingly less important and active role in politics, perhaps because of disagreement over Roman policy toward Greece, which grew ever more imperialistic. In 183 he led a Roman mission to Prusias, King of Bithynia, to demand the extradition of Hannibal, who had fled to him for protection, but Hannibal committed suicide.

Further Reading on Titus Quinctius Flamininus

The ancient sources for the life of Flamininus are Polybios, Livy, and Plutarch. A recent study of his career is E. Badian, Titus Quinctius Flamininus: Philhellenism and Realpolitik (1970). See also J. B. Bury and others, eds., Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 8 (1930); F. W. Walbank, Philip V of Macedon (1940); and H. H. Scullard, Roman Politics, 220-150 B.C. (1951).