First Illyrian War -- Second Illyrian War -- War with Genthius -- War with the Dalmatians
Agron was king of that part of Illyria which borders 434 the Adriatic Sea, over which sea Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, and his successors held sway. Agron captured a part of Epirus and also Corcyra, Epidamnus, and Pharus in succession, where he established garrisons. When he threatened the rest of the Adriatic with his fleet, the isle of Issa implored the aid of the Romans. The latter sent ambassadors to accompany the Issii and to ascertain what offences Agron imputed to them. The Illyrian vessels attacked the ambassadors on their voyage and slew Cleemporus, the envoy of Issa, and the Roman Coruncanius; the remainder escaped 435 by flight. Thereupon the Romans invaded Illyria by land 436 and sea. Agron, in the meantime, had died, leaving an infant son named Pinnes, having given the guardianship and regency to his wife, although she was not the child's mother. Demetrius, who was Agron's governor of Pharus and who held Corcyra also, surrendered both places to the invading Romans by treachery. The latter then entered into an alliance with Epidamnus and went to the assistance of the Issii and of the Epidamnians, who were besieged by the Illyrians. The latter raised the siege and fled, and one of their tribes, called the Atintani, went over to the Romans. After these 437 events the widow of Agron sent ambassadors to Rome to 438 surrender the prisoners and deserters into their hands. She begged pardon also for what had been done, not by herself, but by Agron. They received for answer that Corcyra, Pharus, Issa, Epidamnus, and the Illyrian Atintani were already Roman subjects, that Pinnes might have the remainder of Agron's kingdom and be a friend of the Roman people if he would keep hands off the aforesaid territory, and agree not to sail beyond Lissus nor to keep more than two Illyrian pinnaces, both to be unarmed. The woman accepted all these conditions.
This was the first conflict and treaty between the Romans and the Illyrians. Thereupon the Romans made Corcyra and Apollonia free. To Demetrius they gave certain castles as a reward for his treason to his own people, adding the express condition that they gave them only conditionally, for they suspected the man's bad faith; and 439 before long he began to show it. While the Romans were 440 engaged in a three years' war with the Gauls on the river Po, Demetrius, thinking that they had their hands full, set forth on a piratical expedition, brought the Istrians, another Illyrian tribe, into the enterprise, and detached the Atintani from Rome. The Romans, when they had settled their business with the Gauls, immediately sent a naval force and overpowered the pirates. The following year they marched against Demetrius and his Illyrian fellow-culprits. Demetrius fled to Philip, king of Macedon, but when he returned and resumed his piratical career in the Adriatic they slew him and utterly demolished his native town of Pharus, 441 which was associated with him in crime. They spared the 442 Illyrians on account of Pinnes, who again besought them to do so. And such was the second conflict and treaty between them and the Illyrians.
The following events I have written as I have found them, not in due order according to their times of occurrence, but rather taking each Illyrian nation separately. When the Romans were at war with the Macedonians during the reign of Perseus, the successor of Philip, Genthius, an Illyrian chief, made an alliance with Perseus for money and 443 attacked Roman Illyria. When the Romans sent ambassadors 444 to him on this subject he put them in chains, charging that they had not come as ambassadors, but as spies. The Roman general, Anicius, in a naval expedition, captured some of Genthius' pinnaces and then engaged him in battle on land, defeated him, and shut him up in a castle. When he begged a parley Anicius ordered him to surrender himself to the Romans. He asked and obtained three days for consideration, at the end of which time, his subjects having meanwhile gone over to Anicius, he asked for an interview with the latter, and, falling on his knees, begged pardon in the most abject manner. Anicius encouraged the trembling wretch, lifted him up, and invited him to supper, but as he was going away from the feast he ordered the lictors to cast him into prison. Anicius afterward led both him and his sons in triumph at Rome. The whole war with Genthius was finished within twenty days. When milius Paulus, the conqueror of Perseus, returned to Rome, he received secret orders from the Senate to go back on particular business relating to the seventy towns that 445 had belonged to Genthius. They were much alarmed, but 446 he promised to pardon them for what they had done if they would deliver to him all the gold and silver they had. When they agreed to do so he sent a detachment of his army into each town appointing the same day for all the commanding officers to act, and ordering them to make proclamation at daybreak in each that the inhabitants should bring their money into the market-place within three hours, and when they had done so to plunder what remained. Thus Paulus despoiled seventy towns in one hour.
The Ardei and the Palarii, two other Illyrian tribes, made a raid on Roman Illyria, and the Romans, being otherwise occupied, sent ambassadors to scare them. When they refused to be obedient, the Romans collected an army of 10,000 foot and 600 horse to be despatched against them. 447 When the Illyrians learned this, as they were not yet prepared 448 for fighting, they sent ambassadors to crave pardon. The Senate ordered them to make reparation to those whom they had wronged. As they were slow in obeying, Fulvius Flaccus marched against them. This war resulted in an excursion only, for I cannot find any definite end to it. 449 Sempronius Tuditanus and Tiberius Pandusa waged war 450 with the Iapydes, who live among the Alps, and seem to 451 have subjugated them, as Lucius Cotta and Metellus seem 452 to have subjugated the Segestani; but both tribes revolted not long afterward.
The Dalmatians, another Illyrian tribe, made an 454 attack on the Illyrian subjects of Rome, and when ambassadors were sent to them to remonstrate they were not received. The Romans accordingly sent an army against them, with Marcius Figulus as consul and commander. While Figulus was laying out his camp the Dalmatians over-powered the guard, defeated him, and drove him out of the camp in headlong flight to the plain as far as the river Naro. As the Dalmatians were returning home (for winter was now approaching), Figulus hoped to fall upon them unawares, but he found them reassembled from their towns at the news of his approach. Nevertheless, he drove them into the city of Delminium, from which place they first got the name of Delmatenses, which was afterward changed to Dalmatians. As he was not able to attack this strongly defended town from the road, nor to use the engines that he had, on account of the height of the place, he attacked and captured some other towns that were partially deserted on account of the concentration of forces at Delminium. Then, returning to Delminium, he hurled sticks of wood, two cubits long, covered with flax and smeared with pitch and sulphur, from catapults into the town. These caught fire from friction and, flying in the air like torches, wherever they fell caused a conflagration, so that the greater part of the town was burned. This was the end of the war waged by Figulus against the Dalmatians. At a later period, in 455 the consulship of Ccilius Metellus, war was declared 456 against the Dalmatians, although they had been guilty of no offence, because he desired a triumph. They received him as a friend and he wintered among them at the town of Salona, after which he returned to Rome and was awarded a triumph.