Next day, when the gates had been closed and then suddenly thrown open, because troops of Attalus from Aegina and Romans from Piraeus had entered the city, the king moved his camp about three miles from the city.
Thence, making for Eleusis, in the hope of capturing, by an unexpected attack, the temple and the citadel which commands and surrounds the temple, when he found that vigilance was not in the least relaxed and that reinforcements were coming from the fleet at Piraeus, he gave up that plan and marched toward Megara and straight on to Corinth, and hearing that the Achaean council1
was in session at Argos, he suddenly appeared at the meeting itself, to the surprise of the Achaeans.
They were deliberating about a [p. 75]
war against Nabis,2
the tyrant of Sparta, who, -3
seeing that the military power of the Achaeans had declined with the transfer of command from Philopoemen to Cycliadas,4
by no means his equal as a general, had renewed the war and was ravaging their territories and was now even threatening their towns.
While they were debating how many men should be enlisted from each city for the war against this enemy, Philip promised that, so far as Nabis and the Spartans were concerned, he would free them from that responsibility, and by the immediate despatch of
an army would not only prevent Nabis from ravaging the lands of the allies, but would transfer the whole terror of the war into Laconia itself.
When this offer was received with great applause, “nevertheless,” he said, “it is proper that your possessions be defended by my arms in such a way that meantime mine shall not be deprived of protection.
Prepare, then, if it seems wise, a force of soldiers sufficient to hold Oreus and Chalcis and Corinth, that, with my rear protected, I may safely make war upon Nabis and the Spartans.”
The Achaeans were not deceived as to the real meaning of so generous an offer and promise of aid against the Lacedaemonians: the purpose was to lead the Achaean youth as hostages from the Peloponnesus in order to commit the people to war with Rome.
So Cycliadas, praetor of the Achaeans, thinking it not at all to the point to argue about that,
when he had simply replied that it was not allowable under the laws of the Achaeans to vote upon other subjects than those for which the meeting was called, after [p. 77]
passing a decree regarding raising an army
Nabis, adjourned the congress that was held fearlessly and spiritedly, although up to that time he had been counted among the king's partisans.
Philip, disappointed in this great hope, enlisted a few volunteer soldiers and returned to Corinth and to the land of Attica.