By that time it was winter,1
and while Titus Quinctius, after the capture of Elatia,2
had his winter quarters distributed through Phocis and Locris, sedition broke out at Opus.
One faction called in the Aetolians, who were nearer, the other the Romans.
The Aetolians were first to arrive; but the richer faction3
excluded the Aetolians and, sending a messenger to the Roman commander, held [p. 251]
the city until he came.
A royal garrison held the4
citadel and could not be induced either by the threats of the people of Opus or by the influence of the Roman commander to withdraw from it.
A delay, preventing an immediate attack, occurred because a herald had come from the king requesting a time and place for a conference.
This was reluctantly granted to the king, not because Quinctius was not eager to seem to have ended the war himself, partly by arms, partly by diplomacy;
for he did not yet know whether a successor to him would be appointed, that is, one of the new consuls, or his own term would be extended, a thing which he had instructed his friends and relatives to strive for with all their might;
but on the whole he considered that a conference would be expedient, that he might be free to lean either towards war, if he remained, or towards peace, if he were relieved.
They chose a place on the shore of the Malian Gulf near Nicaea. Thither the king came from Demetrias with five light ships and one war-vessel.
There were with him nobles of Macedonia and the Achaean exile Cycliadas, a man of distinction.
King Amynander was with the Roman general, as well as Dionysodorus, representing Attalus, and Agesimbrotus, the commander of the Rhodian fleet, and Phaeneas, chief of the Aetolians, and two Achaeans, Aristaenus and Xenophon.
The Roman, attended by them, went out to the edge of the strand, and when the king had taken his place in the prow of his ship as it lay at anchor Quinctius spoke: “It will be more convenient if you come ashore, that we may be nearer and speak and listen in turn.”
When the king refused to do this, Quinctius asked, “Whom, pray, do you fear?”
With proud and kingly mien he replied, “None do5
I fear, save only the immortal gods; but I do not trust the word of all I see around you, and least of all that of the Aetolians.”
“As to that,” replied the Roman, “we all share the danger equally who come to conference with an enemy, if there is no trust.”
“Nevertheless, Titus Quinctius,” said the king, “Philip and Phaeneas are not equal rewards for perfidy, if there should be a breach of faith; for it would not be equally difficult for the Aetolians to find another praetor and the Macedonians another king to take my place.”