When all were seated there, (the Roman ambassadors in the character of arbitrators, the Thessalians, Perrhaebians, and Athamanians professedly as accusers, and Philip as defendant, to hear the accusations brought against him,) those
who were the heads of the embassies, according to their several tempers, their favour, or their hatred towards the king, spoke, some with acrimony, others with mildness.
Philippopolis, Trica, Phaloria, Eurymenae, and the other towns in their neighbourhood, became the subject of dispute. The point in controversy was, whether these towns were the property of the Thessalians, when they
were forcibly taken from them, and held by the Aetolians, (for from these it was acknowledged that Philip had received them,) or whether they were originally belonging to the Aetolians: Acilius having granted them to the king, on the condition that “they had been the property of the Aetolians;
and if they had sided with the Aetolians of their own free will, and not compelled by violence and arms.”
The question in regard to the towns of the Perrhaebians and Magnesians turned on the same points; for the Aetolians, by holding possession of them occasionally, had confused the rights of all.
To these particulars, which were matter of discussion, the complaints of the Thessalians were added, that “if these towns were now restored to them, they would come into their hands in a state of desolation, and depopulated;
for besides the loss of inhabitants through the casualties of war, Philip had carried away [p. 1818]
five hundred of their young men of the first rank into Macedonia, and abused their labour by employing them in servile offices; and had taken pains to render useless whatever he should be compelled to restore to the Thessalians.
That Thebes in Phthiotis was the only sea-port they had, which formerly produced much profit and advantage to the inhabitants of Thessaly; but that Philip, having collected there a number of ships of burthen, made them steer their course past Thebes to Demetrias, and turned thither the whole commerce by sea.
That he did not now scruple to offer violence, even to ambassadors, who, by the law of nations, are every where held inviolable, but had laid an ambush for theirs who were going to Titus Quintius, that the Thessalians were in consequence seized with such dread, that not one of them, even in their own states, or in the general assemblies of the nation, ventured to open his lips.
For the Romans, the defenders of their liberty, were far distant; and a severe master close at their side, debarring them from using the kindness of the Romans.
If speech were not free, what else could be said to be so: at present, through confidence in the protection of the ambassadors, they uttered their groans rather than words; but, unless the Romans would take some precautions that both the fears of the Greeks bordering on Macedonia and the arrogance of Philip should be abated, his having been conquered, and their being set at liberty, would prove utterly fruitless. Like a restive, unmanageable horse, he required to be checked with a strong bridle.”
These bitter expressions were used by the last speakers among them; those who spoke before having endeavoured by mildness to mitigate his resentment;
requesting of him “that he should pardon persons pleading in defence of their liberty; that he should, laying aside the harshness of a master, generally display himself an ally and friend;
that he should imitate the Roman people, who wished to unite their allies to them by the ties of affection, rather than of fear.”
When the Thessalians had finished, the Perrhaebians pleaded that Gonnocondylos, to which Philip had given the name of Olympias, belonged to Perrhaebia, and ought to be restored to them; and the same demand was made with respect to Malœa, and Ericinium. The Athamanians claimed a restoration of liberty, and the forts Athenaeus and Pœtneus.