Alexander the Acarnanian was present at this council;
he had once been the friend of Philip, but lately had left him and attached himself to the more flourishing court of Antiochus and, as a man well acquainted with Greece and not without knowledge of the Romans, had advanced so far in the friendship of the king that he was accepted as a member even of secret councils.
He, as if the question were not whether there should be war or no, but where and in what fashion the war should be conducted, asserted that he foresaw in his mind a certain victory if the king should have crossed to Europe and fixed the seat of hostilities in some part of Greece.
Even now, at the beginning, he would find the Aetolians, who dwelt in the navel of Greece, in arms, advanced troops ready for the utmost hardships;
on the two wings of Greece, so to speak, Nabis from the [p. 55]
Peloponnesus would cause universal confusion, trying to1
recover the city of the Argives, trying to recover the coast towns from which the Romans had ousted him when they shut him up within the walls of Lacedaemon;
from Macedonia Philip, the moment he heard the trumpet sound, would take up arms; he was acquainted with his high spirits and with his temper; he knew that like wild beasts which were confined in cages or by chains he had long been turning over in his mind wild passions;
he himself, moreover, recalled how often in the war Philip had been wont to pray to the gods that they would grant him Antiochus as an ally; if now he should attain the fulfilment of his prayer, he would delay not one instant in rebelling.
Only let there be no delay or hesitation, for victory turned upon the question whether suitable ground and allies were secured in advance. Hannibal too should be sent to Africa without delay in order to distract the Romans.2