There they left the fleet and with ten light vessels entered the Malian gulf for a conference with the Aetolians regarding the plan of campaign.
Pyrrhias the Aetolian was the head of the embassy Which came to Heraclea to discuss plans with the king and the Roman lieutenant.
Attalus was asked to furnish one thousand soldiers in accordance with the treaty; for he was bound to supply that number for the armies fighting against Philip.
This was refused the Aetolians because they had previously [p. 135]
objected to marching out to devastate Macedonia, -1
at the time when they might have compelled Philip, who was burning everything sacred and profane around Pergamum, to withdraw through concern for his own property.
So the Aetolians were dismissed with hopes rather than actual assistance, the Romans making lavish promises; Apustius with Attalus returned to the fleet.
The question of an attack on Oreus was next discussed. The city was defended both by walls and, because it had been attacked before, by a strong garrison. After the capture of Andros twenty Rhodian ships, all decked, under command of Agesimbrotus, had joined the fleet.
They were left on guard off Zelasium —this promontory in Phthiotis occupied a very strategic position beyond Demetrias —to watch if any movement from there was made by the Macedonian fleet.
Heraclides, the king's prefect, was in command of the fleet there, intending to take advantage of any opportunity which was offered by the enemy's negligence rather than to undertake anything by open force.
The Romans and King Attalus attacked Oreus from opposite sides, the Romans by way of the maritime citadel, the king's troops up the valley lying between the two citadels, where the city was guarded by a wall as well.
And as they occupied different places, so they fought in different ways: the Romans by moving against the walls the mantlets, and sheds and battering-ram, the king's troops hurling missiles and huge stones with balistae, catapults, and every sort of artillery; they dug tunnels too, and whatever else had proved useful in the former siege.
But the Macedonians defending the city and citadels were not only more [p. 137]
numerous than before, but they fought with greater2
courage, mindful at once of the king's rebuke for their former error3
and also of his threats and promises for the future. Accordingly, when more time than was expected was being spent there, and a blockade and siege-works held out more hope than a sudden assault, the lieutenant, thinking that something else should be done in the meantime, leaving what seemed a sufficient force to complete the works, crossed to the nearest part of the mainland, to Larisa —this
is not the famous Larisa in Thessaly, but another, which they call Cremaste —and by a surprise attack captured everything but the citadel.
Attalus too took Pteleum when the citizens were fearing nothing of the sort, while the siege of the other city was going on.
And now not only were the siege-works completed around Oreus, but the garrison which was inside was exhausted by continuous toil, by watchfulness day and night alike, and by wounds.
Parts of the wall, moreover, fell in several places under the blows of the battering-ram; and the Romans, entering through the breaches by night penetrated to the citadel which is above the harbour. Attalus at daybreak, when the signal was given by the Romans from the citadel, also assailed the city, large parts of the wall having collapsed;
the garrison and the townspeople fled to the other citadel, where they surrendered two days later. The city was given to the king, the prisoners to the Romans.