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Then Aristaenus resumed: "Leaders of the Achaeans, you are not lacking in counsel any more than you are in the power of speech, but each of you is unwilling to endanger his own safety in consulting for the safety of all.  Possibly I, too, should keep silence, were I only a private citizen, but as it is, I see that either the president ought not to have introduced the envoys into the council, or after he had introduced them they ought not to be dismissed without some reply being made to them. But how can I give them any reply except in accordance with the decree which you make?  And since none of you who have been summoned to this council is willing or has the courage to express his opinion, let us examine the speeches which the envoys delivered yesterday as though they were made by members of this council, let us regard them [4??] not as making selfish demands in their own interest, but as recommending a policy which they believe to be advantageous to us.  The Romans, the Rhodians and Attalus all ask for our alliance and friendship and consider that it is only just and right that we should give them assistance in the war they are waging against Philip.  Philip, on the other hand, reminds us of the fact that we are his allies and have pledged our oath to him. At one time he demands our active support, at another he assures us that he is content for us to remain neutral. Has it not occurred to any one why those who are not yet our allies ask more from us than those who are our allies?  This is not due to excess of modesty in Philip or to the lack of it in the Romans. It is the fortune of war which imparts confidence to the demands of one side and takes it away from those of the other. As far as Philip is concerned we see nothing belonging to him except his envoy.  As for the Romans, their fleet lies at Cenchreae, laden with the spoils of the cities of Euboea, and we see the consul with his legions overrunning Phocis and Locris which are only separated from us by a narrow strip of sea.  Do you wonder why Philip's envoy, Cleomedon, spoke in so diffident a tone when he urged us to take up arms against the Romans on behalf of his king?  He impressed upon us the sanctity of the same treaty and oath, but if we were to ask of him, by virtue of the same treaty and oath, that Philip should defend us from Nabis and the Lacedaemonians, he would not be able to find a force adequate for our protection or even an answer to our request, any more than Philip himself could have done last year.  For when he attempted to draw our fighting-men away into Euboea by promising that he would make war on Nabis, and saw that we would not sanction such an employment of our soldiers or allow [12??] ourselves to be involved in a war with Rome, he forgot all about the treaty which he is now making so much of, and left us to be despoiled and wasted by Nabis and the Lacedaemonians.  To me, indeed, the arguments that Cleomedon used appeared inconsistent with each other. He made light of a war with Rome and said that the issue would be the same as that of the former war. If so, then why does Philip keep away and ask for our assistance instead of coming in person and protecting us from Nabis and the Romans? 'Us,' do I say? Why, if this be so, did he allow Eretria and Carystus to be taken? why, all those cities in Thessaly?  why, Locris and Phocis? Why is he allowing Elatea to be attacked now? Why did he evacuate the passes leading into Epirus and the unsurmountable barriers commanding the river Aous? And when he had abandoned them, why did he march off into the heart of his kingdom?  If he deliberately left his allies to the mercies of their enemies how can he object to these allies taking measures for their own safety? If his action was dictated by fear he must pardon us for our fears. If he retreated because he was worsted shall we Achaeans, Cleomedon, withstand the arms of Rome when you Macedonians could not withstand them?  You tell us that the Romans are not in greater strength or employing greater forces in this war than in the last one; are we to take your word for it, rather than look at the actual facts?  On that occasion they only sent their fleet to help the Aetolians; they did not put a consul in command nor did they employ a consular army. The maritime cities belonging to Philip's allies were in a state of consternation and alarm, but the inland districts were so safe from the arms of Rome that Philip laid waste the land of the Aetolians while they were vainly imploring the Romans for help.  Now, however, the Romans have brought the war with Carthage to a close, that war which for sixteen years they have had to endure, whilst it preyed, so to speak, on the vitals of Italy, and [19??] they have not simply sent a detachment to aid the Aetolians, they have themselves assumed command of the war and are attacking Macedonia by land and sea. Their third consul is now conducting operations with the utmost energy.  Sulpicius met the king in Macedonia itself, routed him, put him to flight, and ravaged the richest part of his realm, and now, when he was holding the passes which form the key of Epirus, secured as he thought by his positions, his fortified lines and his army, [21??] Quinctius has deprived him of his camp, pursued him as he fled into Thessaly, stormed the cities of his allies and driven out his garrisons almost within sight of Philip himself.  Suppose there is no truth in what the Athenian delegate has said about the king's brutality and greed and lust, suppose that the crimes committed in Attica against all the gods, supernal and infernal, do not concern us, still less the sufferings of Chios and Abydos, which are a long way off;  let us forget our own wounds, the robberies and murders at Messene in the heart of the Peloponnesus, the king's assassination of his host almost at the banquet-table, the deaths of the two Arati of Sicyon, father and son-the king was in the habit of speaking of the hapless old man as though he were his father-the abduction of the son's wife into Macedonia as a victim to Philip's lusts, and [24??] all the other outrages on matrons and maids-let all these be consigned to oblivion.  Let us even imagine that we have not to do with Philip whose cruelty has struck you dumb (for what other reason can there be for you who have been summoned to the council keeping silence?), but with Antigonus, a gentle and just-minded monarch who has been the greatest benefactor to us all. Do you suppose that he would demand of us that we should do what cannot possibly be done?  The Peloponnesus, remember, is a peninsula connected with the mainland by the narrow strip of land called the Isthmus, open and exposed above all to a naval attack.  If a fleet of 100 decked ships and 50 undecked ships with lighter draught, and 30 Isaean cutters should begin to ravage our coast and attack the cities which stand exposed almost on the shore, we should, I suppose, withdraw into the inland cities just as if we were not caught by the flames of a war within our frontiers which is fastening upon our vitals. When Nabis and the Lacedaemonians are pressing us by land and the Roman fleet by sea, from what quarter am I to appeal to our alliance with the king and implore the Macedonians to help us?  Shall we protect with our own arms the threatened cities against the Romans? How splendidly we protected Dymae in the last war! The disasters of others afford ample warning to us, let us not seek how we may become a warning to others.  Because the Romans are asking for your friendship voluntarily, take care that you do not disdain what you ought to have desired and done your best to obtain.  Do you imagine that they are entrapped in a strange land and driven by their fears into wishing to lurk under the [31??] shadow of your assistance and seek the refuge of an alliance with you in order that they may have the entry of your harbours and make use of your supplies? The sea is under their control, whatever shores they visit they at once bring under their dominion, what they deign to ask for they can obtain by force.  It is because they wish to spare you that they do not allow you to take a step which would destroy you.  As to the middle course which Cleomedon pointed out as the safest, namely, that you should keep quiet and abstain from hostilities, that is not a middle course, it is no course at all.  We have either to accept or reject the proferred alliance with Rome; otherwise we shall win the gratitude of neither side, but like men who wait upon the event, leave our policy at the mercy of Fortune, and what is this but to become a prey of the conqueror? What you ought to have sought with the utmost solicitude is now spontaneously offered; beware lest you scorn the offer.  Either alternative is open to you today, it will not be open always. The opportunity will not long remain, nor will it often recur. For a long time you have wished rather than ventured to free yourselves from Philip. The men who would win your liberty for you without any risk or effort on your part have crossed the seas with mighty fleets and armies.  If you reject their alliance you are hardly in your right senses, but you will be compelled to have them as either friends or enemies."
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