Next day the king held a consultation with their select council, respecting the place from whence his operations should commence.
They judged it best to make the first trial on Chalcis, which had lately been attempted in vain by the Aetolians; and they thought that the business required rather expedition than any great exertion or preparation.
Accordingly the king, with a thousand foot, who had followed him from Demetrias, took his route through Phocis; and the Aetolian chiefs, going by another road, met at Cheronaea a small number of their young men whom they had called to arms, and thence, in ten decked ships, proceeded after him. Antiochus pitched his camp at Salganea, while himself, with the Aetolian chiefs, crossed the Euripus in the ships.
When he had advanced a little way from the harbour, the magistrates and other chief men of Chalcis came out before their gate. A small number from each side met to confer together.
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Aetolians warmly recommended to the others, “without violating the friendship subsisting between them and the Romans, to receive the king also as a friend and ally; for that he had crossed into Europe not for the purpose of making war, but of vindicating the liberty of Greece; and of vindicating it in reality, not in words and pretence merely, as the Romans had done.
Nothing could be more advantageous to the states of Greece than to embrace the alliance of both, as they would then be always secure against ill-treatment from either, under the guarantee and protection of the other.
If they refuse to receive the king, they ought to consider what they would have immediately to suffer;
the aid of the Romans being far distant, and Antiochus, whom with their own strength they could not possibly resist, in character of an enemy at their gates.” To this Mictio, one of the Chalcian deputies, answered that “he wondered who those people were, for the vindicating of whose liberty Antiochus had left his own kingdom, and come over into Europe.
For his part he knew not any state in Greece which either contained a garrison, or paid tribute to the Romans, or was bound by a disadvantageous treaty, and obliged to submit to terms which it did not like.
The people of Chalcis, therefore, stood not in need, either of any assertor of their liberty, which they already enjoyed, or of
any armed protector, since, through the kindness of the Roman people, they were in possession of both liberty and peace. They did not slight the friendship of the king, nor that of the Aetolians themselves.
The first instance of friendship, therefore, that they could give, would be to quit the island and go home;
for, as to themselves, they were fully determined not only not to admit them within their walls, but not even to agree to any alliance, but with the approbation of the Romans.”