The council being thus adjourned, the people all scattered to their own cities; the king next day consulted the apocletes
as to where the war should begin.
It seemed best first to attack Chalcis, on which an attempt had recently been made in vain by the Aetolians; and it was agreed that speed was more necessary for this purpose than great strength or preparation.
The king therefore with a thousand infantry who had come with him from Demetrias set out through Phocis and by another road the chiefs of the Aetolians, calling out a few of their young men, hastened to Chaeronia and followed in ten decked ships.
The king himself encamped at Salganeus and crossed the Euripus by boat with the Aetolian chiefs and, since he had disembarked not far from the harbour, the magistrates of the Chalcidenses also and the foremost citizens came out before the gate. A few from each side met for a conference.
The Aetolians urged them strongly while retaining the Roman friendship to take the king also as an ally and friend:
for he had not come to Europe to make war but to free Greece, and to free it in reality, not in words and pretence, as the Romans had done;
nothing, moreover, was more useful to the Greek cities than to embrace both friendships, for thus they would always be guarded by the protection and good faith of the one from the injustice of the other.
For if they did not receive the king, they would see at once what they would have to endure, when Roman aid was far away and Antiochus, an enemy whom they [p. 135]
could not withstand by their own might, was at their1
At this Micythio, one of the chiefs, said that he wondered for whose liberation Antiochus had left his own kingdom and crossed to Europe: for he knew no state in Greece which had a garrison or paid tribute to the Romans or
suffered, under the compulsion of an unfair treaty, laws which it did not wish2
; therefore the people of Chalcis needed neither any champion of their liberty, since they were free, nor any protection, since by the kindness of the same Roman people they enjoyed peace along with liberty.
They did not reject, he said, the friendship of the king nor that of the Aetolians themselves.
In their capacity as friends their first act would be to retire from the island and go away:
for they were determined not only not to admit them within the walls, but not to conclude any alliance even except in accordance with the authorization of the Romans.