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 The Rhodians of distinction were alarmed at the prospect of a conflict with Romans, but the common people were in high spirits, because they recalled former victories achieved over men of different character. They launched thirty-three of their best ships, but while doing so they sent messengers to Myndus nevertheless to urge Cassius not to despise Rhodes, which had always defended herself against those who underestimated her, and not to disregard the treaty which existed between the Rhodians and the Romans which bound them not to bear arms against each other. If he complained of them for not rendering military assistance, they would be glad to hear from the Roman Senate, and if called upon they would lend such assistance. When they had spoken thus Cassius replied that as to the other matters1 war would decide instead of words, but as regarded the treaty, which forbade them to bear arms against each other, the Rhodians had violated it by allying themselves with Dolabella against Cassius. The treaty required them to assist each other in war, but when Cassius asked for assistance they quibbled about the Roman Senate, which was either in flight or held captive at present by the tyrants who had mastered the city. Those tyrants would be punished, and the Rhodians would be punished also for siding with them, unless they speedily obeyed his commands. Such was the answer Cassius returned to them. The more prudent Rhodians were still more alarmed, but the multitude were excited by two public speakers named Alexander and Mnaseas, who reminded them that Mithridates had invaded Rhodes with a still larger fleet,2 and that Demetrius had done so before him; whereupon they elected Alexander as prytanis, who is the magistrate exercising the supreme power among them, and Mnaseas as admiral of their fleet.
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