Publius Sulpicius, after making his vows in the Capitol, set out robed from the city with his lictors, and arrived at Brundusium;
where, having formed into legions the veteran soldiers of the African army who were willing to follow him, and chosen his ships out of the fleet of the late consul, Cornelius, he crossed and arrived in Macedonia the day after he had set sail from Brundusium.
There he was met by ambassadors from the Athenians, entreating him to relieve them from the siege. Immediately, Caius Claudius Centho was despatched to Athens, with twenty ships of war, and a thousand of land forces.
For it was not the king himself who carried on the siege of Athens; he was at that time besieging [p. 1355]
Abydus, after having tried his strength in naval contests against Attalus, and against the Rhodians, without success in either engagement.
But, besides the natural presumptuousness of his temper, he acquired confidence from a treaty which he had formed with Antiochus, king of Syria, in which they had divided the wealth of Egypt between them; on which, on hearing of the death of Ptolemy, they were both intent.
The Athenians now had entangled themselves in a war with Philip on too trifling an occasion, and at a time when they retained nothing of their former condition but their pride.
During the celebration of the mysteries, two young men of Acarnania, who were not initiated, unapprized of its being an offence against religion, entered the temple of Ceres along with the rest of the crowd:
their discourse readily betrayed them, by their asking some absurd questions; whereupon, being carried before the presidents of the temple, although it was evident that they went in through mistake, yet they were put to death, as if for a heinous crime.
The Acarnanian nation made complaint to Philip of this barbarous and hostile act. and prevailed on him to grant them some aid of Macedonian soldiers, and to allow them to make war on the Athenians.
At first this army, after ravaging the lands of Attica with fire and sword, retired to Acarnania with booty of all kinds. This was the first provocation to hostilities. The Athenians afterwards, on their side, entered into a regular war, and proclaimed it by order of the state.
For king Attalus and the Rhodians, having come to Aegina in pursuit of Philip, who was retiring to Macedonia, the king crossed over to Piraeus, for the purpose of renewing and confirming his alliance with the Athenians.
On entering the city, the whole inhabitants received him, pouring forth with their wives and children to meet him; the priests, with their emblems of religion; and in a manner the gods themselves, called forth from their abodes.