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The Treaty With the Aetolians

While these envoys, accompanied by those from Rhodes and Athens, were on their voyage with this object, Marcus Fulvius sent Caius Valerius also, and some others of his friends to Rome to secure the ratification of the treaty. But when they arrived at Rome they found that a fresh cause of anger with the Aetolians had arisen by the instrumentality of king Philip; who, looking upon himself as wronged by the Aetolians having taken Athamania and Dolopia from him, had sent to some of his friends at Rome, urging them to share his displeasure and secure the rejection of the pacification. Accordingly, on the first arrival of the Aetolians, the Senate would not listen to them; but afterwards, at the intercession of the Rhodians and Athenians, changed its mind and consented to their request: for Damis,1 besides other excellences displayed in his speech, was thought to have introduced a very apt simile, extremely applicable to the case in hand.
Speech of Damis.
He said "The Romans had good cause for anger with the Aetolians; for, instead of being grateful for the many kindnesses received at their hands, they had brought the Roman Empire into great danger by causing the war with Antiochus to break out. But the Senate were wrong in one point, namely in directing their anger against the masses. For in states the common people were like the sea, which left to its own nature was ever calm and unmoved, and not in the least likely ever to trouble any of those who approached or used it; but directly violent winds blew upon and disturbed it, and forced it against its nature to become agitated, then indeed nothing could be more dreadful or formidable than the sea. This was just the case with the Aetolians. As long as they were left to themselves, no people in Greece were more loyal to you or more staunch in supporting your active measures. But when Thoas and Dicaearchus brought a storm from Asia, and Mnestas and Damocritus from Europe, and, disturbing the calm of the Aetolian masses, compelled them to become reckless of what they said or did,—then indeed their good disposition gave way to bad, and while intending to do mischief to you they really inflicted damage upon themselves. It is against these mischief-makers therefore that you should be implacable; while you should take pity on the masses and make peace with them: with the assurance that, if once more left to themselves, with the additional feeling of having owed their safety on the present occasion to you, their attachment to you will be the warmest in Greece."

1 Hultsch's text, supported by the MSS., has Δάμις κιχησίων, from which no sense seems obtainable. According to Suidas, Damis was a philosopher from Nineveh who had settled in Athens. Livy (38, 10), has “Leon Hicesiae filius.” He must therefore have found the name Leon in his copy, which could hardly have been substituted for Δᾶμις by mistake, though ἹΚΕΣίου may have become κιχησίων.

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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 10
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