These events occurred during the winter; but1
in the beginning of spring Quinctius summoned Attalus to Elatia, and, wishing to bring under his control the Boeotians, a people whose attitude had thus far been uncertain, he set out through Phocis and encamped five miles from Thebes, which is the capital of Boeotia.
Thence the next day, taking the soldiers of one company and Attalus and the numerous embassies which had come in from all directions, he set out to march towards the city, ordering the hastati2
of the legion —they amounted to two thousand men —to follow at the distance of a mile.
When they had completed about half the march, Antiphilus, the praetor of the Boeotians, met them; the rest of the people from the wall watched the approach of the Roman commander and the king.
Only weapons here and there and a few soldiers were seen around them; the windings of the road and the intervening valleys hid the hastati
who were following at a distance.
When Quinctius was close to the city he decreased his pace, as if to show respect to the approaching throng; the real reason for the delay was to allow the hastati
time to overtake him.
The townspeople, since the crowd was gathered in front of the lictor, did not see the rapidly [p. 281]
approaching column of armed men until they arrived at the3
Then all were dumbfounded, thinking that the city had been betrayed and captured by the treachery of Antiphilus the praetor, and it seemed clear that no opportunity was left the Boeotians for freedom of action in the council which had been called for the next day.
They concealed their sorrow, the display of which would have been both fruitless and not without risk.