When the Romans heard of the irruption of Antiochus into Greece and the killing and capture of Romans at Delium, they declared war. In this way the war between them, which had been smouldering a long time, first actually broke out. So great was the dominion of Antiochus, ruler of many powerful nations of upper Asia, and of all but a few on the sea-coast, who had now invaded Europe; so formidable was his reputation and so complete his preparation, so many and so famous had been his exploits against other peoples, from which he had earned the title of Great, that the Romans anticipated that this war would be long and severe for them. They had their suspicions also of Philip of Macedon, whom they had lately conquered, and of the Carthaginians also, lest they should prove false to the treaty because Hannibal was cooperating with Antiochus. Other subject peoples were under suspicion lest revolution should break out among them in consequence of the fame of Antiochus. For these reasons they sent forces into all the provinces to watch them without provoking hostilities. With them were sent commanders called six-axe men (prætors), so called because the consuls
had twelve bundles of rods and axes (as the kings before them had), whereas the prætors had only half the dignity of the consuls and half the number of insignia of office. As in cases of great peril they showed their anxiety for Italy also, lest there should be some weakening or revolt against them there. They sent a large force of infantry to Tarentum to guard against an attack in that quarter, and also a fleet to patrol the coast. So great was the alarm caused by Antiochus at first. When everything appertaining to the government at home was arranged, they raised an army to serve against Antiochus, 20,000 from the city and double that number from the allies, to cross the Adriatic in the early spring. Thus they employed the whole winter in making preparations for war.