For the last two years the affairs of Greece had been [p. 1247]
neglected. Accordingly, as the Aetolians were deserted by the Romans, on whom alone they depended for assistance, Philip compelled them to sue for and agree to a peace on whatever conditions he pleased.
Had he not exerted himself to the utmost in expediting this measure, he would have been overpowered, while engaged in war with the Aetolians, by Publius Sempronius, the proconsul, who had been sent to succeed Sulpicius in the command, with ten thousand infantry and a thousand horse, together with thirty-five ships of war, a force of no small importance to bring to the assistance of allies.
Ere the peace was well concluded, news was brought to the king that the Romans had arrived at Dyrrachium; that the Parthinians, and other bordering nations, were up in arms on seeing hopes of effecting a change; and that Dimallum was besieged.
The Romans had turned their efforts to that quarter instead of assisting the Aetolians, for which purpose they had been sent, from resentment at the conduct of the Aetolians for making peace with the king without their sanction, contrary to the league.
When Philip had received intelligence of these events, lest any greater commotion should arise in the neighbouring nations and states, he proceeded by forced marches to Apollonia, to which place Sempronius had retired, having sent Laetorius, his lieutenant-general, with a part of his forces and fifteen ships into Aetolia, to look into the state of affairs, and, if he could, dissolve the peace.
Philip laid waste the lands of the Apollonians, and, advancing his troops to the tower, offered the Romans battle.
But seeing that they remained quiet, only defending the walls, and not having sufficient confidence in his strength to assault the town, being desirous also of making peace with the Romans if possible, as he had with the Aetolians, or at least a truce, he withdrew into his own dominions, without further exciting their animosity by a fresh contest.
During the same time the Epirots, wearied by the long continuance of the war, having first sounded the disposition of the Romans, sent ambassadors to Philip on the subject of a common peace;
affirming that they were well satisfied that it might be arranged if he would come to a conference with Publius Sempronius, the Roman general.
They easily prevailed on him to pass into Epirus, for neither were the king's own inclinations averse from this measure.
Phœnice is a [p. 1248]
city of Epirus; here Philip first conferred with Aeropus Dardas and Philip, praetors of the Epirots, and afterwards met Publius Sempronius. Amynander, king of the Athamanians, and other magistrates of the Epirots and Acarnanians, were present at the conference.
The praetor Philip spoke first, and requested at once of the king and the Roman general, that they would put an end to the war, and grant this boon to the Epirots.
Publius Sempronius proposed as the conditions of the peace, that the Parthinians, and Dimallum, and Bargulum, and Eugenium, should be under the dominion of the Romans; that Atintania, if on sending ambassadors to Rome they could prevail upon the senate to acquiesce, should be added to the dominions of the Macedonian.
The peace having been agreed upon on these terms, Prusias king of Bithynia, the Achaeans, the Bœotians, the Thessalians, the Acarnanians, and the Epirots, were included in the treaty by the king; by the Romans, the Ilians, king Attalus, Pleuratus, Nabis tyrant of the Lacedaemonians, the Eleans, the Messenians, and Athenians.
These conditions were committed to writing and sealed; and a truce was agreed upon for two months, to allow time for ambassadors being sent to Rome, that the people might order the peace upon these terms.
All the tribes agreed in ordering it, because now that the operations of the war were removed into Africa, they were desirous to be relieved for the present from all other wars. The peace being concluded, Publius Sempronius took his departure for Rome, to attend to the duties of his consulship.