Before the surrender, one of the Roman ambassadors, who had been sent to Alexandria, Marcus Aemilius, being the youngest of them, on the joint resolution of the three, on hearing of the present siege, came to Philip, and complained of his having made war on Attalus and the Rhodians;
and particularly that he was then besieging Abydus; and on Philip's saying that he had been forced into the war by Attalus and the Rhodians commencing hostilities against him, — “Did the people of Abydus, too,” said he, “commence hostilities against you?”
To him, who was unaccustomed to hear truth, this language seemed too arrogant to be used to a king, and he answered, —“Your youth, the beauty of your form, and, above all, the name of Roman, render you too presumptuous.
However, my first desire is, that you would observe the treaties, and continue in peace with me; but if you begin an attack, I am, on my part, determined to prove that the kingdom and name of the Macedonians is not less formidable in war than that of the Romans.”
Having dismissed the ambassador in this manner, Philip got possession of [p. 1359]
the gold and silver which had been thrown together in a heap, but lost his booty with respect to prisoners:
for such violent frenzy had seized the multitude, that, on a sudden, taking up a persuasion that those who had fallen in the battle had been treacherously sacrificed, and upbraiding one another with perjury, especially the priests, who would surrender alive to the enemy those persons whom they themselves had devoted, they all at once ran different ways to put their wives and children to death; and then they put an end to their own lives by every possible method.
The king, astonished at their madness, restrained the violence of his soldiers, and said, “that he would allow the people of Abydus three days to die in;” and, during this space, the vanquished perpetrated more deeds of cruelty on themselves than the enraged conquerors would have committed;
nor did any one of them come into his hands alive, except such as chains, or some other insuperable restraint, forbade to die.
Philip, leaving a garrison in Abydus, returned to his kingdom; and, just when he had been encouraged by the destruction of the people of Abydus to proceed in the war against Rome, as Hannibal had been by the destruction of Saguntum, he was met by couriers, with intelligence that the consul was already in Epirus, and had drawn his land forces to Apollonia, and his fleet to Corcyra, into winter quarters.