At about the same time, ambassadors both from King Attalus of Pergamum and from the Rhodians arrived in Rome and brought word that the cities of Asia also were being stirred up to discontent.
To these embassies the senate replied that they would look into the matter, and the whole question of the Macedonian war was referred to the consuls1
who were then in the provinces.
Meanwhile three ambassadors, Gaius Claudius Nero, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, were sent to King Ptolemy2
of Egypt, to announce the defeat of Hannibal and the Carthaginians, to thank the king because, in a
critical time, when even allies nearer home had revolted, he had remained loyal, and to ask that if the Romans, compelled by their wrongs, should declare war on Philip, he should preserve his ancient attitude toward the Roman people.
At about the same time the consul, Publius Aelius, who was in Gaul, having learned that before his arrival the Boi had been raiding the fields of the allies,3
enrolled an emergency force of two legions, to deal with this uprising, and
adding to them four cohorts from his own army, he ordered Gaius Ampius, [p. 9]
the commander of the allied forces, to take this4
improvised force and with it to invade the territory of the Boi, marching by way of Umbria, through the district known as the tribus Sapinia.5
Aelius himself led his forces thither by the open road over the mountains.
Ampius, after entering the enemy's country, at first conducted raids with considerable success and without losses; then, choosing, near the fortified town of Mutilum, a camp-site suitable for reaping the crops —for the grain was now ripe —he
set out without reconnoitring the neighbourhood or establishing sufficiently strong posts of armed men to protect the unarmed parties who were intent upon the work, and, when the Gauls made an unexpected attack, he and his foragers were surrounded. Thereupon terror and panic laid hold even of those who were under arms.
About seven thousand men, scattered through the grain-fields, were killed, among them Gaius Ampius himself, the officer in command; the rest were driven by terror into the camp.
Thence, on the next night, there being no one definitely in command, the soldiers by general consent abandoned most of their possessions, and travelling through well-nigh impassable forests rejoined the consul.
He, having in his province accomplished nothing worth mentioning, except that he had ravaged the fields of the Boi and had made a treaty with the Ingauni Ligures,6
returned to Rome.