Lucius CORNELIUS SCIPIO and Caius Laelius being consuls, no business, after the duties of religion, was transacted in the senate prior to that of the Aetolians. Not only their ambassadors were urgent, because they had a truce of a short period, but they were aided by Titus Quinctius also, who had then returned to Rome from Greece.
The Aetolians, as being persons to whom there was more hope in the mercy of the senate than in their cause, acted suppliantly, weighing their by-gone services against their recent misconduct.
But when [p. 1656]
present, they were importuned by questions of the senators, wringing from them an acknowledgment of their guilt rather than replies, and when ordered to depart from the senate, they caused a great contest. Resentment had more power in their case than compassion; for the senate were incensed against them not merely as enemies, but as an uncivilized and unsocial race.
After it had been contested several days, it was at last resolved, that peace should neither be granted nor refused.
Two conditions were offered them, either that they should yield to the senate unconditional power over them, or pay one thousand talents,1
and have the same friends and enemies. To them, desirous to elicit in what things they should give to the senate unconditional power over them, no positive answer is given; but being thus dismissed, without having concluded a peace, they were ordered to quit the city that very day, and Italy within fifteen days.
They then began to debate concerning the provinces for the consuls. Both of these wished for Greece.
Laelius had a powerful interest in the senate; and when the senate had ordered that the consuls should either cast lots for the provinces, or settle them between themselves, he observed, that they would act with more propriety in leaving that matter to the wisdom of the senators, than to the decision of lot. To this Scipio, an answer being given that he would take advice how he ought to act, having spoken to his brother alone, and having been desired by him to leave it unhesitatingly to the senate, answered his colleague that he would do what he recommended.
When this plan, either original or supported by precedents of a record now lost by antiquity, being referred to the senate, had aroused them by the expectation of a contest, Publius Scipio Africanus said, that “if they decreed that province to his brother, Lucius Scipio, he would go along with him, as his lieutenant-general.”
This proposal being received with universal approbation, put an end to all dispute. The senate were well pleased to make the trial, whether king Antiochus should have more effectual aid in the vanquished Hannibal, or the Roman consul and legions in his conqueror Africanus; and they almost all voted Greece to Scipio, and Italy to Laelius.
The praetors then cast lots for their provinces: Lucius Aurunculeius obtained the city jurisdiction; Cneius Fulvius, the foreign; Lucius Aemilius Regil- [p. 1657]
lus, the fleet; Publius Junius Brutus, the Tuscans; Marcus Tuccius, Apulia and Bruttium; and Caius Atinius, Sicily.