A truce of fifteen days had been granted to the enemy and a conference arranged with the king; but before the time for this arrived, he called a council of the allies and referred to them the terms of peace [p. 307]
which they wished to be imposed.
king of the Athamanes, spoke briefly: the peace should be so arranged that Greece, even in the absence of the Romans, should be strong enough to maintain at once peace and liberty.
The language of the Aetolians was more harsh; they said, after a brief preface, that the Roman commander was acting correctly and in order in discussing the conditions of peace with those whom he had had as his allies in the war;
but that he was totally wrong if he thought that he would leave either assured peace to the Romans or liberty to the Greeks unless Philip were either killed or dethroned, either of which was easy if he were willing to follow up his good fortune.
In reply, Quinctius asserted that the Aetolians neither remembered Roman policy nor employed arguments consistent with themselves.
On the one hand, in all previous conferences and conversations they had always spoken of conditions of peace and not of waging a war of extermination;
on the other, the Romans, in addition to observing, from remote antiquity, their custom of sparing conquered peoples, had given striking proof of their mercifulness in the peace granted to Hannibal and the Carthaginians.
He would say nothing about the Carthaginians: how many conferences had been held with Philip himself? Never was there any suggestion that he should give up his kingdom. Or, because he had been defeated in battle, did that make war an unpardonable offence?
An armed enemy should be met in hostile mood; towards the conquered, the mildest possible attitude was the greatest thing.
The Macedonian kings seemed a menace to Greek liberty; if that kingdom and people were removed, [p. 309]
the Thracians, the Illyrians, and then the Gauls, fierce2
arid untamed peoples, would pour into Macedonia and into Greece.
They should not, by breaking up all the nearest states, open the way to themselves for larger and more powerful tribes. Then, when Phaeneas, the Aetolian praetor, interrupted, reminding him that if Philip escaped this time he would soon cause a greater war, Quinctius replied, “Cease causing disturbance when we should be deliberating.
The conditions by which the king will be bound will not be such that he will be able to start a war.”