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date: 17 January 2021


, c. 253–182 BCE
  • R. M. Errington


Son of Craugis of *Megalopolis, statesman and general of the *Achaean Confederacy, called ‘the last of the Greeks' by an anonymous Roman. Philopoemen's first known activity dates from the 220s, when he helped defend Megalopolis against *Cleomenes (2) III (223) and impressed *Antigonus (3) III Doson at the battle of Sellasia. He subsequently spent ten years in Crete as mercenary captain, perhaps serving Macedonian interests. During the First Macedonian War as hipparch (cavalry commander) of the Confederacy (209) and twice strategos (chief magistrate and general: 208/7 and 206/5) he defeated and killed the Spartan ruler Machanidas at Mantinea (207); see mantinea, battles of. Under *Nabis Sparta continued to trouble the Peloponnese. Philopoemen campaigned against him both as volunteer (202/1) and as strategos (201/299) and, after six more years in Crete, again as strategos (193/2) when, after Nabis' murder by the *Aetolians, he united Sparta with the Confederacy, against *Flamininus’ wishes.

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