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Antiochus Sends an Envoy To Discuss Peace

After sustaining this defeat at sea, Antiochus remained
Antiochus despairs of resistance, and sends an envoy to the Scipios to treat of peace.
in Sardis, neglecting to avail himself of such opportunities as he had left, and taking no steps whatever to prosecute the war; and when he learnt that the enemy had crossed into Asia he lost all heart, and determined in despair to send an envoy to Lucius and Publius Scipio to treat of peace. He selected Heracleides of Byzantium for this purpose, and despatched him with instructions to offer to surrender the territories of Lampsacus and Smyrna as well as Alexandria (Troas), which were the original cause of the war, and any other cities in Aeolis and Ionia of which they might wish to deprive him, as having embraced their side in the war; and in addition to this to promise an indemnity of half the expenses they had incurred in their quarrel with him. Such were the offers which the envoy was instructed to make in his public audience; but, besides these, there were others to be committed to Publius Scipio's private ear, of which I will speak in detail later on. On his arrival at the Hellespont the envoy found the Romans still occupying the camp which they had constructed immediately after crossing. At first he was much cheered by this fact, for he thought it would materially aid his negotiation that the enemy were exactly where they were at first, and had not as yet taken any further action. But when he learnt that Publius Scipio was still on the other side of the water he was much disturbed, because the turn which his negotiations were to take depended principally on Scipio's view of the matter.
The laws relating to the Salii or priests of Mars.
The reason of the army being still in their first camp, and of Publius Scipio's absence from the army, was that he was one of the Salii. These are, as I have before stated, one of the three colleges of priests by whom the most important sacrifices to the gods are offered at Rome. And it is the law that, at the time of these sacrifices, they must not quit the spot for thirty days in which it happens to find them.1 This was the case at the present time with Publius Scipio; for just as the army was on the point of crossing this season arrived, and prevented him from changing his place of abode. Thus it came about that he was separated from the legions and remained in Europe, while, though the army crossed, it remained encamped, and could take no further step, because they were waiting for him.

1Dies forte, quibus Ancilia moventur, religiosi ad iter inciderant.Livy. 37, 33. The festival of Mars, during which the ancilia were carried about, was on the 1st of March and following days. If this incident, therefore, took place in the late spring or summer of B. C. 190, the Roman Calendar must have been very far out.

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190 BC (1)
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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 33
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