Villius proceeded from Ephesus to Apamea and there Antiochus came when he learned of the arrival of the Roman commissioners.
At Apamea there was almost the same debate that had taken place in Rome between Quinctius and the king's ambassadors.1
The announcement of the death of Antiochus, the king's son, who, as I had said just previously,2
had been sent to Syria, broke off the conference.
There was great grief at the court and great regret at the loss of the young man, for he had already shown such revelations of himself that it was clear that if longer life had been his fate the character of a great and just king would have been his.
The dearer and more pleasing he was to all, the more did his death cause a suspicion that his father, believing that such a successor, following close upon his own old age, would bring discredit upon him, had, through the agency of certain eunuchs, who, by their services in such crimes, commend themselves to kings, removed him by poison.
They even furnished a cause for this secret crime, that he had given Lysimachia to his son Seleucus, but had not had a similar capital to bestow upon Antiochus, that he might banish him far from his presence even while conferring a mark of honour upon him.3
Nevertheless, a show of deep mourning filled the palace for some days, and the Roman ambassador, not to be an inconvenient visitor at an inopportune time, withdrew to Pergamum.
The king gave up the war that he had undertaken and returned to Ephesus. There, while the palace was closed during the [p. 47]
mourning, the king continued secretly plotting with4
one Minnio, who was the chief of his friends.
Minnio, who was totally unacquainted with foreign affairs, and who judged the king's strength from events occurring in Syria or Asia, believed that Antiochus not only had a better cause, since the Roman demands were in no wise fair, but would conquer in war as well.
When the king shunned a meeting with the commissioners, whether he had already found this debate unprofitable or because he was confused in mind by his recent grief, Minnio convinced him that he would say whatever was appropriate to the situation and that the commissioners should be summoned from Pergamum.