While the war was being carried on in Macedonia, ambassadors came to Rome, from a chieftain of the Gauls beyond the Alps, whose name is said to have been Balanos, but of what tribe is not mentioned. They brought an offer of assistance towards the war in Macedonia.
The senate returned him thanks, and sent him presents, —a golden chain of two pounds weight, golden bowls to the amount of four pounds, a horse completely caparisoned, and a suit of horseman's armour.
After the Gauls, ambassadors from Pamphylia, brought into the senate-house a golden crown, of the value of twenty thousand Philippeans, and requested permission to deposit it, as an offering, in the shrine of Jupiter supremely good and great, and to offer sacrifice in the Capitol, which was granted.
The said ambassadors having expressed a wish to renew the treaty of friendship, a gracious answer was given, and a present was made to each of two thousand asses.1
Then audience was given to the ambassadors of king Prusias; and, a little after, to those of the Rhodians, who discoursed on the same subject, but in a widely different manner.
The purpose of both embassies was, to effect a peace with king Perseus. The address of Prusias consisted of entreaties rather than demands; for he declared, that “he had hitherto supported the cause of the Romans, and would continue to support it as long as the war should continue.
But, on Perseus sending ambassadors to him, on the subject of putting an end to the war with Rome, he had promised them to become a mediator with the senate:” and he requested that, “if they could prevail on themselves to lay aside their resentment, they would place him in the favourable position of mediator of the peace.” Such was the discourse of the king's ambassadors.
The Rhodians, after ostentatiously recounting their many services to the Roman people, and arrogating to themselves rather the greater share of its successes, particularly in the case of king Antiochus, proceeded in this manner;
that, “at a time when peace subsisted between the Macedonians and Romans, they likewise commenced a friendship with king Perseus, which they had, since, unwillingly broken, without having any reason to com- [p. 2073]
plain of him, but merely because it was the desire of the Romans to draw them into a confederacy in the war, that for three years past they had felt many inconveniences from that war.
In consequence of the interruption of commerce, and the loss of their port duties and provisions, their island was distressed by a general scarcity.
When their countrymen could no longer suffer this, they had sent other ambassadors into Macedonia, to Perseus, to announce to him that it was the wish of the Rhodians that he should conclude a peace with the Romans, and had sent them to Rome with the same message.
The Rhodians would afterwards consider what measures they should judge proper to be taken against either party that should prevent an end being put to the war.”
I am convinced that no person, even at the present time, can hear or read such expressions without indignation; we may, then, easily judge what was the state of mind of the senators when they listened to them.