This boastful speech first provoked Aristae1
nus, praetor of the Achaeans, to speak:
“May Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Queen Juno,2
under whose protection Argos is, forbid that that city be the prize to be contended for by the Spartan tyrant and the Aetolian robbers, in such a critical moment that its recovery by you would be a greater misery than its possession by him.
The sea that lies between does not protect us from those brigands, Titus Quinctius; what will become of us if they establish their citadel in the heart of the Peloponnesus? They have only the tongue of Greeks, as they have only the shape of men; they live under rules and practices more savage than any barbarians, yes, than any wild beasts.
Therefore we beg you, Romans, both to recover Argos from Nabis and to establish the affairs of Greece in such a way as to leave us well protected from the brigandage of the Aetolians as well.”
When men from all sides were uniting in censuring the Aetolians, the Roman said that he would have answered them, did he not see that all men were so enraged at them that they required to be soothed rather than provoked.
He said that he was content with the opinions expressed about the Romans and the Aetolians, and therefore put the question what they would do about a war against Nabis if he would not give Argos back to the Achaeans. When a unanimous decree for war had been passed, he urged them that each state should send auxiliaries in proportion to its strength.
He even sent an ambassador to the Aetolians, more for the purpose of laying bare their intentions (and in this he succeeded) than from the hope that he could gain their adherence.