As yet the Roman people had none of the states of Asia in alliance with them. Recollecting, however, that formerly Aesculapius, on account of a sickness among the people, was fetched from Greece, which was not then united with them by any treaty;
recollecting, also, that a friendship had already commenced between them and king Attalus, on
account of the war which they waged in common against Philip, and that he would do whatever he could to oblige the Roman people, they resolved to send, as ambassadors to him, Marcus Valerius Laevinus, who had been twice consul, and had carried on operations in Greece; Marcus Caecilius Metellus, who had been praetor; Servius Sulpicius Galba, who had been aedile; and two who had been quaestors, Caius Tremellius [p. 1246]
Flaccus and Marcus Valerius Falto.
To these five quinqueremes were assigned, in order that, in a manner suitable to the dignity of the Roman people, they might visit those lands where it was important to gain respect for the Roman name.
The ambassadors, on their way to Asia, having landed at Delphi, immediately approached the oracle, inquiring what hopes the deity held out to themselves and the Roman people, of accomplishing the business for which they had been sent from home.
It is said that the answer given was, “that they would obtain what they were seeking by means of king Attalus. When they had conveyed the goddess to Rome, they must take care that the best man at Rome should receive her to his hospitality.”
They came to Pergamus to the king, who received the ambassadors graciously, and conducted them to Pessinus in Phrygia, and putting into their hands a sacred
stone, which the inhabitants said was the mother of the gods, bid them convey it to Rome.
Marcus Valerius Falto, who was sent in advance, brought word that the goddess was on her way, and that the most virtuous man in the state must be sought out, who might in due form receive and entertain her. Quintus Caecilius Metellus was nominated dictator for holding the elections, by the consul in Bruttium, and his army was disbanded.
Lucius Veturius Philo was made master of the horse.
The elections were held by the dictator; the consuls elected were Marcus Cornelius Cethegus and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, who was absent, being engaged in his province of Greece. The praetors were then elected: Titus Claudius Nero, Marcus Marcius Ralla, Lucius Scribonius Libo, Marcus Pomponius Matho.
On the conclusion of the elections, the dictator abdicated his office. The Roman games were repeated thrice, the plebeian seven times.
The curule aediles were Cneius and Lucius Cornelius Lentulus: Lucius had the province of Spain; he was elected in his absence, and was absent while he filled the office. The plebeian aediles were Titus Claudius Asellus and Marcus Junius Pennus. Marcus Marcellus this year dedicated the temple of Virtue at the Porta Capena, in the seventeenth year after it had been vowed by his father during his first consulate at Clastidium in Gaul:
also Marcus Aemilius Regillus, flamen of Mars, died this year.