The council of the Aetolians, which they call Panaetolian,1
was to be held on the appointed day. To be present at it, both the king's representatives hastened their journey and Lucius Furius Purpurio2
the lieutenant, arrived, sent by the consul; ambassadors of the Athenians also came to this council.
The Macedonians, with whom the latest treaty3
had been made, were first heard.
They said that they had nothing new to say since [p. 85]
nothing new had happened; inasmuch as, for the4
same reasons for which they had made peace with Philip after trying the useless Roman alliance, they should wish to keep a peace once for all established.
“Or do you prefer,” said one of the ambassadors, “to imitate Roman presumption, or shall I call it fickleness? After ordering that your ambassadors at Rome should receive the answer, 'Why do you come to us, Aetolians, when without our authority you made peace with Philip?
', these same Romans now demand that you make war -on Philip along with them; as they formerly pretended that they had taken arms against him on your account and for your sakes, now they forbid you to be at peace with Philip.
They crossed to Sicily first to assist Messina; the second time, to rescue and restore to liberty Syracuse, besieged by the Carthaginians; now they themselves hold both Messina and Syracuse and all Sicily and they have made it a province, tributary and subject to their rods and axes.5
No doubt, just as you hold your council at Naupactus, under your own
laws, with magistrates elected by yourselves, able to choose freely whomsoever you wish as friend and enemy, able to have peace or war at your own discretion, so a council of the Sicilian cities is called at Syracuse or Messina or Lilybaeum: the Roman praetor presides at the council; the men whom he has summoned by his authority assemble;
they see him seated on his lofty platform, rendering haughty justice, with a throng of lictors around him; their rods threaten their backs, the axes their throats; and year by year the lots grant them one master after another.
At that they should not marvel, nor can they, when they see the [p. 87]
Italian cities, Rhegium, Tarentum, Capua, subject to6
the same rule, not to mention the nearer cities on whose ruins Rome rose to power.
Capua indeed, tomb and monument of the Campanian race, survives, its people buried, exiled, driven away, a city despoiled, without senate, without people, without magistrates, a monstrosity, more cruelly left habitable than if it had been destroyed.
It is madness to hope that anything will remain in the same condition if foreigners, separated from us more by language, manners and laws than by the space of land and sea, shall gain control.
The rule of Philip seems to interfere somewhat with your liberty; but he, though he would justly be angry with you, has asked nothing from you except peace and to-day desires nothing but your loyalty to your pledge of peace.
Make foreign armies at home in this land and wear their yoke: too late and all in vain will you call upon Philip to aid you when you have the Roman as master.
The Aetolians, the Acarnanians, the Macedonians, men of the same speech, are united or disunited by trivial causes that arise from time to time; with aliens, with barbarians, all Greeks wage and will wage eternal war; for they are enemies by the will of nature, which is eternal, and not from reasons that change from day to day.
But my speech shall end just where it began: in this same place you, the same men, decided three years7
ago on peace with this same Philip, with the disapproval of these same Romans who are now trying to break the peace we pledged and signed. In this situation fortune has made no change; why you should change, I do not see.”