While all the other states of Greece expressed their approbation of these terms of peace, the Aetolians alone, in private murmurs, made severe strictures on the determination of the ten ambassadors.
They said, “it consisted merely of an empty piece of writing varnished over with a fallacious appearance of liberty.
For why should some cities be put into the hands of the Romans without being named, while others were particularized, and ordered to be enfranchised without such consignment; unless the intent was, that those in Asia, which, from their distant situation, were more secure from danger, should be free; but those in Greece, not being even mentioned by name, should be made their property: Corinth, Chalcis, and Oreum; with Eretria, and Demetrias.”
Nor was this charge entirely without foundation: for there was some hesitation with respect to Corinth, Chalcis, and Demetrias; because, in the decree of the senate in pursuance of which the ten ambassadors had been sent from Rome, all Greece and Asia, except these three, were expressly ordered to be set at liberty;
but, with regard to these, ambassadors [p. 1472]
were instructed, that, whatever measures the exigencies of the state might render expedient, they should determine to pursue in conformity to the public good and their own honour.
King Antiochus was one of whom they did not doubt that, so soon as he was satisfied that his forces were adequate, he would cross over into Europe; and they were unwilling to let these cities, the possession of which would be so advantageous to him, lie open to his occupation.
Quinctius, with the ten ambassadors, sailed from Elatia to Anticyra, and thence to Corinth. Here the plans they had laid down respecting the liberation of Greece were discussed for about three days in a council of the ten ambassadors.
Quinctius frequently urged, that “every part of Greece ought to be set at liberty, if they wished to refute the cavils of the Aetolians; if they wished, that sincere affection and respect for the Roman nation should be universally entertained;
or if they wished to convince the world that they had crossed the sea with the design of liberating Greece, and not of transferring the sovereignty of it from Philip to themselves.”
The Macedonians alleged nothing in opposition to the arguments made use of in favour of the freedom of the cities; but “they thought it safer for those cities themselves that they should remain, for a time, under the protection of Roman garrisons, than be obliged to receive Antiochus for a master in the room of Philip.”
Their final determination was, that “Corinth be restored to the Achaeans, but that a Roman garrison should continue in the citadel; and that Chalcis and Demetrias be retained, until their apprehensions respecting Antiochus should cease.”