Having addressed them to this purport, and with universal approbation, the king withdrew.
After his departure a warm debate ensued between two of the Aetolian chiefs, Phaeneas and Thoas. Phaeneas declared his opinion, that it would be better to employ Antiochus, as a
mediator of peace, and an umpire respecting the matters in dispute with the Roman people, than as leader in a war. That “his presence and his dignified station would impress the Romans with awe, more powerfully than his arms.
That in many cases men, for the sake of avoiding war, voluntarily remit preten- [p. 1600]
sions, which force and arms would never compel them to forego.”
Thoas, on the other hand, insisted, that “Phaeneas's motive was not a love of peace, but a wish to embarrass their preparations for war, with the view that, through the tediousness of the proceedings, the king's vigour might be relaxed, and the Romans gain time to put themselves in readiness.
That they had abundant proof from experience, after so many embassies sent to Rome, and so many conferences with Quinctius in person, that nothing reasonable could ever be obtained from the Romans in the way of negotiation; and that they would not, until every hope of that sort was out of sight, have implored the aid of Antiochus.
That as he had appeared among them sooner than any had expected, they ought not to sink into indolence, but rather to petition the king, that since he had come in person, which was the great point of all, to support the rights of Greece, he would also send for his fleets and armies. For the king, at the head of an army, might obtain something, but without that could have very little influence with the Romans, either in the cause of the Aetolians, or even in his own.”
This opinion was adopted, and the council voted, that the title of general should be conferred on the king. They also nominated thirty distinguished men with whom he might deliberate on any business which he might think proper.
—The council was then broken up, and all went home to their respective states.