Philopcemen, a Greek general, born about 252 B. 0., died by poison in Messene in 183. His father, Oraugis, belonged to a noble family of Arcadia, and was one of the most prominent men of Megalopolis; but dying early, he left his son to be brought up by his friend Oleander. He first appears prominently in 222, when, Cleomenes III. of Sparta having seized upon Megalopolis by night, Philopoenien with a few others made a most determined resistance. In 221, Antigonus Doson coming into the Peloponnesus to the assistance of the Achaean league, Philopoenien joined his army with 1,000 foot and a detachment of cavalry, and contributed to the victory of Sellasia, where he refused to leave the field, though severely wounded. He afterward went to Crete and assisted the city of Lyctus in its war against Cnossus. Aratus, the leader of the Achaean league, died in 213, and Philopoemen in 210 was made commander of the cavalry. In 209 he accompanied Philip, the successor of Antigonus Doson, in the expedition against Elis, and in a battle near the river Larissus defeated the AEtolians and Eleans, and slew their leader, Demophantus, with his own hand. In 208 Philopoemen became strategus of the Achaean confederation.
A war broke out between the Achaeans and Machanidas, tyrant of Sparta, and in a battle fought at Man tinea he totally routed the enemy, himself killing the Spartan king. In 202 Nabis, who had succeeded Machanidas, seized upon Messene, and Philopoemen Collected a body of armed men and drove the tyrant back into Laconia, and the following year again defeated him at Scotitas. He subsequently again took part in Cretan conflicts. In 194 Nabis invaded Achaia, and besieged Gythium. To relieve this town Philopoemen fitted out a fleet, which failed to accomplish its jmrpose; but marohing against Sparta, although he fell into an ambush, he defeated the enemy with terrible slaughter. Shortly after his return Nabis was murdered by his AEtolian auxiliaries, whereupon Philopoemen hastened to Sparta and induced that city to join the Achaean league. in 189 the party hostile to him gained the supreme power there, and the connection with the league was dissolved, 30 of Philopoemen's friends being put to death. He now marched into Laconia. Sparta submitted, and was treated with great rigor. His severe measures offered an opportunity to the Romans of again interfering, who compelled the granting of a general amnesty and the restoration of political exiles.
In 183 Philopoemen was elected strategus for the -eighth and last time. Messene having dissolved its connection with the league, Philopoemen collected a detachment of cavalry and hastened forward to reduce it, but was repulsed and thrown from his horse, fell into the hands of the enemy, and was thrown into a dungeon by Dinocrates, the Messenian leader, who at night sent an executioner to him with a cup of poison. On receiving the news of his death Lycortas at the head of an army immediately entered Messenia and ravaged the country far and wide. Dinocrates slew himself, and his accomplices in poisoning Philopoemen were stoned to death. The body of Philopoemen was burned, and the ashes were put in an urn and carried to Megalopolis by the historian Polybius, in a solemn procession of the army; and statues to his memory were erected in almost all the cities of the league.