The consuls transacted the necessary business [p. 161]
at Rome and departed for their provinces.
Villius, on his arrival in Macedonia, found a dangerous mutiny in the army, begun some time before and not repressed with sufficient vigour at the outset.
There were about two thousand soldiers who had been brought back from Africa to Sicily after the defeat of Hannibal, and about a year later moved to Macedonia as volunteers.2
They asserted that this had not been done with their consent; they had been put on board by their tribunes in spite of their protests.
But whatever the facts were, whether their service was compulsory or voluntary, it was, they said, finished, and it was right that there be some end to their soldiering.
For many years they had not seen Italy; they had grown old under arms in Sicily, Africa, Macedonia; they were now worn out by labour and exertion and drained of blood by the many wounds they had received.
The consul replied that their demand for discharge seemed to have merit if properly presented; but neither this cause nor any other justified mutiny.
Accordingly, if they chose to remain with the standards and obey orders, he would write to the senate regarding their discharge; they would obtain what they wanted more easily by obedience than by resistance.