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In Montaigne's essay "Of Cannibals", Montaigne writes:

"I know not," said he, "what kind of barbarians" (for so the Greeks called all other nations) "these may be; but the disposition of this army that I see has nothing of barbarism in it."--[Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus, c. 8.]--As much said the Greeks of that which Flaminius brought into their country; and Philip, beholding from an eminence the order and distribution of the Roman camp formed in his kingdom by Publius Sulpicius Galba, spoke to the same effect.

What is the sentence in bold referring to, when it talks of "that which Flaminius brought into their country"? The wiki link for Flaminius seems to imply that all he did was sell cheap grain in Rome, but I don't know how that has anything to do with the sentence.

(There's also another person called Flamininus, so was it maybe a typo?)

  • Definitely looks like a typo. From your link: "In 197 BC he [Titus Quinctius Flamininus] defeated Philip at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, the Roman legions making the Macedonian phalanx obsolete in the process. Philip was forced to surrender, give up all the Greek cities he had conquered, and pay Rome 1,000 talents, but his kingdom was left intact to serve as a buffer state between Greece and Illyria." – Pieter Geerkens Aug 26 '16 at 5:58
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    Looks to me like from "that which Flaminius brought into their country", "that" = "this army" from the previous sentence. – T.E.D. Aug 26 '16 at 8:40
  • Concur with @T.E.D - the comment should be moved to an answer and (IMHO) accepted. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 26 '16 at 13:02
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    The wiki link for Flaminus indicates that he was a consul, which is a whole lot more than "seller of cheap grain". – Mark C. Wallace Aug 26 '16 at 13:04
  • Sounds like Flaminius brought an attitude problem. – Doctor Zhivago Aug 26 '16 at 18:20
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(Since I was requested to do this in a comment, and no closure or other answer appears to be forthcoming...)

My assumption on reading that passage, prior to even reading the text of your question was that in (Montaigne's?) phrase "that which Flaminius brought into their country", the "that" is referring to the "this army" from the previous quoted sentence.

A similar question about "that which" was raised over on the ELU site. Its a somewhat archaic turn of phrase. The accepted answer there contained this:

The that is a pronoun referring back to a noun phrase and the which is the relative pronoun used for non-animate antecedents

The King James Version of the Bible is about the only place a modern English reader is liable to come across this turn of phrase.

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This is just a confirmation of T.E.D. answer, but too long for a comment.


Michel de Montaigne wrote in French (when not in Latin), and the original text is available online:

Quand le Roy Pyrrhus passa en Italie, apres qu’il eut reconneu l’ordonnance de l’armée que les Romains luy envoyoient au devant, je ne sçay, dit-il, quels barbares sont ceux-ci (car les Grecs appelloyent ainsi toutes les nations estrangieres), mais la disposition de cette armée que je voy, n’est aucunement barbare. Autant en dirent les Grecs de celle que Flaminius fit passer en leur païs, et Philippus, voyant d’un tertre l’ordre et distribution du camp Romain en son royaume, sous Publius Sulpicius Galba.

(emphasis mine)

In French there is no ambiguity: the construction "de celle que" (translated as "that which") clearly refers to "l'armée" ("the army"). In short, Greeks were impressed by the organization of Flaminius' army and Philippus by Galba's as well as Pyrrhus had been impressed by the army Romans had sent towards him.

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