Quinctius and the ambassadors returned to Corinth. The Aetolians, that they might appear to intend taking every step through Antiochus, and none directly of themselves, and, sitting inactive, to be waiting for the arrival of the king, though
they did not, after the departure of the Romans, hold a council of the whole nation, yet endeavoured, by their Apocleti, (a more confidential council, composed of persons selected from the rest,) to devise schemes for setting Greece in commotion.
It was well known to them all, that in the several states the principal people, particularly those of the best characters, were disposed to maintain the Roman alliance, and well pleased [p. 1589]
with the present state of affairs; but that the populace, and especially such as were not content with their position, wished for a general revolution.
The Aetolians, at one day's sitting, formed a scheme, the very conception of which argued not only boldness, but impudence, —that of making themselves masters of Demetrias, Chalcis, and Lacedaemon. One of their principal men was sent to each of these places; Thoas to Chalcis, Alexamenus to Lacedaemon, Diocles to Demetrias.
This last was assisted by the exile Eurylochus, whose flight, and the cause of it, have been mentioned above, because there was no other prospect of his restoration to his country.
Eurylochus, by letter, instructed his friends and relations, and those of his own faction, to order his wife and children to assume a mourning dress:
and, holding the badges of supplicants, to go into a full assembly, and to beseech each individual, and the whole body, not to suffer a man, who was innocent and uncondemned, to grow old in exile. The simpleminded were moved by compassion; the ill-disposed and seditious, by the hope of seeing all things thrown into confusion, in consequence of the tumults which the Aetolians would excite; and every one voted for his being recalled.
These preparatory measures being effected, Diocles, at that time general of the horse, with all the cavalry, set out under pretext of escorting to his home the exile, who was his guest.
Having, during that day and the following night, marched an extraordinary length of way, and arrived within six miles of the city at the first dawn, he chose out three troops, at the head of which he went on before the rest of the cavalry, whom he ordered to follow.
When he came near the gate he made all his men dismount, and lead their horses by the reins, without keeping their ranks, but like travellers on a journey, in order that they might appear to be the retinue of the general, rather than a military force.
Here he left one troop at the gate, lest the cavalry, who were coming up, might be shut out; and then, holding Eurylochus by the hand, conducted him to his house through the middle of the city and the forum, and through crowds who met and congratulated him.
In a little time the city was filled with horsemen, and convenient posts were seized; and then parties were sent to the houses of persons of the opposite faction, to put them to death. In this manner Demetrias fell into the hands of the Aetolians. [p. 1590]