While the Achaeans and the tyrant were carrying on the war in this manner, the Roman ambassadors made a circuit through the cities of the allies; being anxious lest the Aetolians might seduce some of them to join the party of Antiochus.
They took but little pains, in their applications to the Achaeans; because, knowing their animosity against Nabis, they thought that they might be safely relied on with regard to other matters.
They went first to Athens, thence to Chalcis, thence to Thessaly; and, after addressing the Thessalians, in a full assembly, they directed their route to Demetrias, to which place a council of the Magnetians was summoned.
There a more studied address required to be delivered; for a great many of the leading men were disaffected to the Romans, and entirely devoted to the interests of An- [p. 1585]
tiochus and the Aetolians;
because, at the time when accounts were received that Philip's son, who was a hostage, would be restored to him, and the tribute imposed on him remitted, among other groundless reports it had been given out, that the Romans also intended to restore Demetrias to him.
Rather than that should take place, Eurylochus, a deputy of the Magnetians, and others of that faction, wished for a total change of measures to be effected by the coning of Antiochus and the Aetolians.
In opposition to those, it was necessary to reason in such a manner, that, in dispelling their mistaken fear, the ambassadors should not, by cutting off his hopes at once, give any disgust to Philip, to whom more importance attached, in all respects, than to the Magnetians.
They only observed to the assembly, that, “as Greece in general was under an obligation to the Romans for their kindness in restoring its liberty, so was their state in particular.
For there had not only been a garrison of Macedonians in their capital, but a palace had been built in it, that they might have a master continually before their eyes.
But all that had been done would be of no effect, if the Aetolians should bring thither Antiochus, and settle him in the abode of Philip, so that a new and unknown king should be set over them, in the place of an old one, with whom they had been long acquainted.”
Their chief magistrate is styled Magnetarch. This office was then held by Eurylochus, who assuming confidence from this powerful station, openly declared that he and the Magnetians saw no reason to dissemble their having heard the common report about the restoration of Demetrias to Philip;
to prevent which, the Magnetians were bound to attempt and to hazard every thing; and, in the eagerness of discourse, he was carried to such an inconsiderate length, as to throw out, that, “at that very time Demetrias was only free in appearance; and that, in reality, all things were at the nod of the Romans.”
Immediately after this expression there was a general murmur of dissent in the assembly; some of whom showed their approbation, others expressed indignation at his presumption, in uttering it. As to Quinctius, he was so inflamed with anger, that, raising his hands towards heaven, he invoked the gods to witness the ungrateful and perfidious disposition of the Magnetians.
This struck terror into the whole assembly; and one of the deputies, named Zeno, who [p. 1586]
had acquired a great degree of influence, by his judicious course of conduct in life, and by having been always an avowed supporter of the interests of the Romans, with tears besought Quinctius, and the other ambassadors, “not to impute to the state the madness of an individual.
Every man,” he said, “was answerable for his own absurdities. As to the Magnetians, they were indebted to Titus Quinctius and the Roman people, not only for liberty, but for every thing that mankind hold valuable or sacred.
By their kindness, they were in the enjoyment of every blessing, for which they could ever petition the immortal gods; and, if struck with phrensy, they would sooner vent their fury on their own persons, than violate the friendship with Rome.”