XXXI. While the war between the Achaeans and the tyrant was in progress, the Roman commissioners were going around the cities of the allies, being afraid that the Aetolians had turned the thoughts of some of the allies toward Antiochus.
They spent the least effort in approaching the Achaeans, who, since they were hostile to Nabis, were, they felt certain, faithful enough in other relations as well.
To Athens first, then to Chalcis, then to Thessaly they took their course, and after addressing the Thessalians in a full council they turned aside to Demetrias.
There a council of the Magnetes had been called. It was necessary to employ more carefully-chosen language at this council because some of the chiefs were alienated
from the Romans and wholly devoted [p. 91]
to Antiochus and the Aetolians because, when it2
was reported that Philip's son, who was a hostage, was being returned to him and the tribute which had been imposed remitted,3
other falsehoods it was said that Demetrias also would be given back to him by the Romans.
To prevent this from happening, Eurylochus, the chief of the Magnetes, and some members of his party preferred that everything be thrown into confusion by the coming of Antiochus and the Aetolians.
Against them such arguments had to be used that in taking from them their groundless fear the destruction of his hope might not alienate Philip, who was more important in every way than the Magnetes.
The main facts were merely mentioned, that not only all Greece was indebted to the Romans for the blessing of liberty, but this state especially; for not only had there been a Macedonian garrison there, but a royal palace had been built, that their master in person might always be held before their eyes;
but their liberation would prove to have been in vain if the Aetolians should install Antiochus in the palace of Philip and if they should have a new and unknown king in place of one who was old and tried.
They call their chief magistrate the Magnetarch: Eurylochus then held the office, and relying on that authority he said that he and the Magnetes should not dissemble regarding the rumour that was in circulation that Demetrias was to be given back to Philip;
to prevent that, the Magnetes would both try and venture anything.
And, carried too far away in the passion of speaking, he threw out the remark that even then Demetrias was free in appearance, while in reality everything was done at the Romans' nod. At these [p. 93]
words there arose a shout from the crowd, some expressing4
agreement, some indignation that he should have dared to say this; Quinetius, indeed, was so inflamed with wrath that raising his hands to heaven he implored the gods to witness the ungrateful and treacherous spirit of the Magnetes.
All were terrified by these words, and Zeno, one of the leading citizens, and possessed of great influence both because he pursued a seemly mode of life and because he had always indisputably belonged to the Roman party, with tears begged Quinctius and the other commissioners not to charge the insanity of one man against the community:
each one was mad at his own peril; the Magnetes, he admitted, owed not merely their freedom but everything which man holds sacred and dear to Titus Quinctius and the Roman people;
no man could pray to the immortal gods for anything which the Magnetes did not have from the Romans, and they would rather rage in madness against their own persons than violate the Roman friendship.