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The Achaeans Agree to Help the Ptolemies

The people were alarmed lest they should be thought
Polybius advocates the cause of the Ptolemies.
to fail the Romans in any way: and accordingly Lycortas and Polybius rose in their turn, and, among other advice which they impressed upon them, argued that "When in the previous year the Achaeans had voted to join the Roman army with their full levy, and sent Polybius to announce that resolution, Quintus Marcius, while accepting the kindness of their intention, had yet stated that the assistance was not needed, since he had won the pass into Macedonia. Their opponents therefore were manifestly using the need of helping the Romans merely as a pretext for preventing this aid being sent to Alexandria. They entreated the Achaeans, in view of the greatness of the danger surrounding the king of Egypt, not to neglect the right moment for acting; but keeping in mind their mutual agreement and good services, and above all their oaths, to fulfil the terms of their agreement."

The people were once more inclined to grant the aid when

Callicrates defeats the motion, but at a smaller meeting at Sicyon Polybius prevails.
they heard this: but Callicrates and his party managed to prevent the decree being passed, by staggering the magistrates with the assertion that it was unconstitutional to discuss the question of sending help abroad in public assembly.1 But a short time afterwards a meeting was summoned at Sicyon, which was attended not only by the members of the council, but by all citizens over thirty years of age; and after a lengthened debate, Polybius especially dwelling on the fact that the Romans did not require assistance,—in which he was believed not to be speaking without good reason, as he had spent the previous summer in Macedonia at the headquarters of Marcius Philippus,—and also alleging that, even supposing the Romans did turn out to require their active support, the Achaeans would not be rendered incapable of furnishing it by the two hundred horse and one thousand foot which were to be despatched to Alexandria,—for they could, without any inconvenience, put thirty or forty thousand men into the field,— the majority of the meeting were convinced, and were inclined to the idea of sending the aid. Accordingly, on the second of the two days on which, according to the laws, those who wished to do so were bound to bring forward their motions, Lycortas and Polybius proposed that the aid should be sent. Callicrates, on the other hand, proposed to send ambassadors to reconcile the two Egyptian kings with Antiochus. So once more, on these two motions being put, there was an animated contest; in which, however, Lycortas and Polybius got a considerable majority on their side. For there was a very wide distinction between the claims of the two kingdoms. There were very few instances to be found in past times of any act of friendship on the part of Syria to the Greeks,—though the liberality of the present king was well known in Greece,—but from Egypt the acts of kindness in past times to the Achaeans had been as numerous and important as any one could possibly expect. By dwelling on this point Lycortas made a great impression, because the distinction between the two kingdoms in this respect was shown to be immense. For it was as difficult to count up all the benefactions of the Alexandrine kings, as it was impossible to find a single act of friendship done by the dynasty of Antiochus to the Achaeans. . . .

1 ἐν ἀγορᾶ. The objection, though it served to divert the magistrates from going on with the proposition at the time, seems to have been got over before the meeting at Sicyon; unless, indeed, the latter was considered to be of a different nature in regard to the age of those attending. But we have no information as to this restriction of thirty years of age,—whether it was universal, or confined to particular occasions. This passage would seem to point to the latter alternative.

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