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After the new consuls had taken office and the obligations of religion had been discharged the position of the Aetolians took precedence of all other subjects of discussion in the senate. Their envoys pressed for an audience as the period of the armistice was drawing to a close, and they were backed up by T. Quinctius, who had by that time returned to Rome.  Knowing that they had more to hope from the clemency of the senate than from the strength of their case, they adopted a suppliant attitude and brought up their former good services as a counterpoise to their recent misdoings.  However, while in the House, they were subjected to a fire of questions from all sides, the senators endeavouring to force from them a confession of guilt rather than definite replies, and after they were ordered to withdraw they gave rise to a very lively debate.  The feeling of resentment against them was stronger than that of compassion, for the senate were embittered against them not only as enemies, but as a wild race whose hand was against every man.  The debate went on for several days, and it was finally decided that peace should neither be granted to them nor refused. They were offered two alternatives: either to place themselves unreservedly in the hands of the senate or to pay a fine of 1000 talents and have the same friends and enemies as Rome.  When they endeavoured to get some idea of the matters in regard to which they were to be at the senate's disposal they got no definite reply. The same day they were sent away from the City without having obtained peace and were ordered to leave Italy within the fortnight.  Then the question of the consular provinces came up. Both the consuls wanted Greece. Laelius possessed great influence in the senate, and when it was decided that the consul should either ballot or come to a mutual agreement about their provinces he observed that he and his colleague would act more gracefully if they left the matter to the judgment of the senate rather than to the chances of the ballot.  Scipio said in reply that he should consider what he ought to do, and after a private conversation with his brother, who insisted upon his leaving the matter in the hands of the senate, he told his colleague that he would do what he advised.  This method of procedure as being either unprecedented or resting on precedents of which no record survived was expected to lead to a debate, but P. Scipio Africanus declared that if the senate decreed Greece to his brother Lucius he would serve under him.  This declaration met with universal approval and put an end to any further discussion. The senate were glad of the opportunity of finding out which would receive most help-Antiochus from the vanquished Hannibal or the consul and legions of Rome from his vanquisher Scipio, and they almost unanimously decreed Greece to Scipio and Italy to Laelius.
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