At this juncture the wars in which they were actually engaged, caused not so great anxiety in the minds of the senate, as the expectation of one with Antiochus, which had not yet commenced.
For although, through their ambassadors, they had, from time to time, made careful inquiries into every particular, yet rumours, rashly propagated without authentic foundation, intermixed many falsehoods with the truth.
Among the rest, a report was spread, that Antiochus intended, as soon as he should come into Aetolia, to send a fleet immediately into Sicily.
The senate, therefore, though they had already despatched the praetor, Atilius, with a squadron to Greece,
yet, considering that not only a military force, but also the influence of reputation, would be necessary towards securing the attachment of the allies, they sent into Greece, in quality of ambassadors, Titus Quinctius, Caius Octavius, Cneius Servilius, and Publius Villius; at the same time ordering, in their decree, that Marcus Baebius should lead forward his legions from Bruttium to Tarentum and Brundusium, so that, if occasion required, he might transport them thence into Macedonia.
They also ordered, that Marcus Fulvius, the praetor, should send a fleet of thirty ships to protect the coast of Sicily; and that, whoever had the direc- [p. 1576]
tion of that fleet, should be invested with supreme authority. To this commission was appointed Lucius Oppius Salinator, who had been plebeian aedile the year before.
They likewise determined, that the same praetor should write to his colleague, Lucius Valerius, that “there was reason to apprehend that the ships of king Antiochus would pass over from Aetolia to Sicily;
for which reason the senate judged it proper, that, in addition to the army which he then had, he should enlist tumultuary soldiers, to the number of twelve thousand foot and four hundred horse, with which he might be able to defend that coast of his province which lay next to Greece.”
This enlistment the praetor carried on, not only from Sicily, but from the circumjacent islands; and strengthened all the towns on the coast which lay opposite to Greece with garrisons.
To the rumours already current, the arrival of Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, added confirmation, for he brought intelligence that king Antiochus had crossed the Hellespont with his army, and that the Aetolians were putting themselves into such a posture, that by the time of his arrival they would be in arms.
Thanks were given to Eumenes, in his absence, and to Attalus, who was present; and there were decreed to him free lodgings and every accommodation; that he should be presented with two horses, two suits of horsemen's armour, vases of silver to a hundred pounds' weight, and of gold to twenty pounds.