While the Romans were busily employed in preparing for a new war, Antiochus, on his part, was not idle.
Three cities detained him some time, Smyrna, Alexandria in Troas, and Lampsacus, which hitherto he had not been able either to reduce by force, or to persuade into a treaty of amity; and he was unwilling, on going into Europe, to leave these behind (as enemies). A deliberation also respecting Hannibal occasioned him further delay.
First, the open ships, which the king was to have sent with him to Africa, were slowly prepared, and afterwards a consultation was set on foot whether he ought to be sent at all, chiefly by Thoas the Aetolian;
who, after setting all Greece in commotion, came with the account of Demetrias being in the hands of his countrymen; and as he had, by false representations concerning the king, and multiplying, in his assertions, the numbers of his forces, exalted the expectations of many in Greece;
so now, by the same artifices, lie puffed up the hopes of the king; telling him, that "every one was inviting him with their prayers, and that there would be a general rush to the shore, from which the people could catch a view of the royal fleet.
He even had the audacity to attempt altering the king's judgment respecting Hannibal when it was nearly settled. For he alleged, that “the fleet ought not to be weakened by sending away any part of it, but that if ships must be
sent no person was less fit for the command than Hannibal, for he was an exile and a Carthaginian, to whom his own circumstances or his disposition might daily suggest a thousand new schemes.
Then as to his military fame, by which, as by a dowry, he was recommended to notice, it was too splendid for an officer acting under a king.
The king ought to be the grand object of view; the king ought to appear the sole leader, the sole commander. If Hannibal should lose a fleet or an army the amount of the damage would be the same as if the loss were incurred by any other general;
but should success be obtained, all the honour would be ascribed to Hannibal, and not to Antiochus.
Besides, if the war should prove so fortunate as to terminate finally in [p. 1598]
the defeat of the Romans, could it be expected that Hannibal would live under a king; subject, in short, to an individual; he who could scarcely bear subjection to his own country?
That he had not so conducted himself from early youth, having embraced the empire of the globe in his hopes and aspirations, that in his old age he would be likely to endure a master. The king wanted not Hannibal as a general: as an attendant and a counsellor in the business of the war, he might properly employ him.
A moderate use of such abilities would be neither unprofitable nor dangerous;
but if advantages of the highest nature were sought through him, they, probably, would be the destruction both of the giver and the receiver.”