And the Roman people, for its part, was thus making itself ready for any undertaking of Antiochus;
Nabis by now was not putting off the [p. 71]
war but was besieging Gytheum with all his might,1
and in his wrath at the Achaeans, because
they had sent aid to the besieged, was devastating their fields.
The Achaeans did not venture to begin hostilities until their deputies had returned from Rome, that they might know what was the will of the senate, but after the return of the ambassadors they both called a council at Sicyon and sent agents to Titus Quinctius to ask advice from him.
In the council the votes of all were for an immediate beginning of the war; the letter of Titus Quinctius caused some hesitation, since in it he suggested that the praetor and the Roman fleet should be awaited.
When some of the chiefs thought that they should abide by their decision, while others argued that the advice of him whom they themselves had consulted should be followed, the multitude waited for the opinion of Philopoemen.2
He was then chief magistrate and surpassed everyone at that time in wisdom and influence. Beginning his speech by saying that it was a good practice among the Aetolians that the praetor, when he had put the question of war before them, should not himself state his opinion, he bade them to take as soon as possible what action they wished:
as praetor he would carry out their orders faithfully and diligently and would strive, so far as this depended on human wisdom, that they should not regret either peace or war.
This speech had more weight in urging them to war than if he had, by openly counselling it, revealed a desire to command.
And so with complete agreement the war was decreed, and the time and method of prosecuting it left to the discretion of the praetor.
Philopoemen himself, in addition to the fact that Quinctius wished it, also [p. 73]
believed that he should wait for the Roman fleet3
which could defend Gytheum by sea;
but fearing that the situation would not permit delay and that both Gytheum and the garrison sent to defend the city would be lost, he launched the ships of the Achaeans.