A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

2. The name of two leaders of one of the most formidable insurrections in the reign of Augustus. The one belonged to the Dysidiatian tribe of the Dalmatians, and the other to the Breucians, a Pannonian people. The insurrection broke out in Dalmatia, in A. D. 6, when Tiberius was engaged in his second German expedition, in which he was accompanied by Valerius Messallinus, the governor of Dalmatia and Pannonia, with a great part of the army stationed in those countries. The example of the Dalmatians was soon followed by the Breucians, who, under the command of their countryman Bato, marched against Sirmium, but were defeated by Caecina Severus, the governor of Moesia, who had advanced against them. Meantime the Dalmatian Bato had marched against Salonae, but was unable to accomplish anything in person in consequence of having received a severe wound from a stone in battle: he despatched others, however, in command of the troops, who laid waste all the sea-coast as far as Apollonia, and defeated the Romans in battle.

The news of this formidable outbreak recalled Tiberius from Germany, and he sent Messallinus ahead with part of the troops. The Dalmatian Bato had not yet recovered from his wound but he

nevertheless advanced against Messallinus, and gained a victory over him; but being shortly after defeated in his turn, he fled to his Breucian namesake. The two Batos now united their forces, and took possession of the mountain Alma, near Sirmium, where they remained on the defensive, and maintained themselves against the attacks of Caecina Severus. But after the latter had been recalled to Moesia by the ravages of the tribes bordering upon his province, the Batos, who had now no enemy to oppose them, since Tiberius and Messallina were remaining at Siscia, left their position and induced many of the neighbouring tribes to join them. They undertook predatory incursions on every side, and carefully avoided an engagement with Tiberius. At the commencement of winter, they marched into Macedonia, but here they were defeated by the Thracian Rhymetalces and his brother Rascyporis, allies of the Romans.

The continuance of the war alarmed Augustus, who thought that it was purposely prolonged by Tiberius. Germanicus was accordingly sent into the disturbed districts in the following year (A. D. 7) with a fresh army, but Tiberius, it appears, was not recalled, as he did not return to Rome till two years later. In the campaign of this year the Romans accomplished very little; the chief advantage which they gained was the conquest by Germanicus of the Mazaei, a Pannonian people. Next year (A. D. 8), the Pannonians and Dalmatians were afflicted by famine and pestilence, in consequence of which, and of having suffered some reverses, they concluded a peace with the Romans. When the Dalmatian Bato appeared before Tiberius to treat respecting the peace, and was asked why he had rebelled, he replied, " You are the cause. Instead of sending dogs and shepherds to take care of your flocks, you send wolves."

This peace was of short duration. The Breucian Bato had betrayed to the Romans Pinnes or Pinnetes, one of the principal Pannonian chiefs, and had obtained in consequence the sovereignty of the Breucians. The Dalmatian Bato, suspecting the designs of the Breucian, made war upon the latter, took him prisoner, and put him to death. This led to a fresh war with the Romans. Many of the Pannonians joined the revolt, but Silvanus Plautius subdued the Breucians and several other tribes ; and Bato, seeing no hope of success in Pannonia, laid waste the country and retired into Dalmatia.

At the beginning of the following year (A. D. 9), after the winter, Tiberius returned to Rome, while Germanicus remained in Dalmatia. But as the war was still protracted, Augustus resolved to make a vigorous effort to bring it to a conclusion. Tiberius was sent back to the army, which was now divided into three parts, one under the command of Silvanus, the second under M. Lepidus, and the third under Tiberius and Germanicus, all of whom prosecuted the war with the utmost vigour in different directions. Tiberius and Germanicus marched against Bato, who at length took refuge in a very strong fort, called Anderion or Andeterion, near Salonae. Before this place the Romans remained for some time, unable to obtain possession of it. Bato, however, mistrusting the issue, endeavoured to persuade his men to enter into negociations with Tiberius; but, as they refused, he abandoned them and went into concealment. The Romans eventually took the fort and subdued the greater part of Dalmatia; whereupon Bato offered to surrender himself to Tiberius upon promise of pardon. This was promised, and Bato accompanied Tiberius to Rome, where he was the chief object of attraction in the triumph. Tiberius, however, kept his word. He sent Bato to Ravenna laden with presents, which were given him, according to Suetonius, because he had on one occasion allowed Tiberius to escape, when he was shut up with his army in disadvantageous ground. (D. C. 55.29_34, 56.1, 10_16; Vell. 2.110_114; Suet. Tib. 9, 16, 20; Ov. ex Pont. 2.1. 46.)