The consuls, during that year, performed no business of the republic that deserved much notice. It appeared more advantageous to the republic, that the Ligurians, who had been highly exasperated, should be pacified and appeased.
While a Macedonian war was expected, ambassadors from Issa gave them reason to suspect the inclinations of Gentius, king of Illyria; for they complained that “he had, a second time, ravaged their country;” affirming likewise, that “the kings of Macedon and Illyria lived on terms of the closest intimacy;
that both were preparing, in concert, for war against the Romans, and that there were then in Rome [p. 1983]
Illyrian spies, under the appearance of ambassadors, and who were sent thither by the advice of Perseus, to ascertain what was going on.”
The Illyrians, being called before the senate, said, that they were sent by their king, to justify his conduct, if the Issans should make any complaint against him. They were then asked why they had not applied to some magistrate, that they might, according to the regular practice, be furnished with lodging and entertainment, that their arrival might be known, and the business on which they came;
when they hesitated in their reply, they were ordered to retire out of the senate-house.
It was not thought proper to give them any answer, as delegates, because they had not applied for an audience of the senate; they resolved, “that ambassadors should be sent to the king, to announce to him the complaints made by the allies of his having ravaged their country; and that he acted unjustly, since he did not refrain from offering injury to their allies.”
On this embassy Aulus Terentius Varro, Caius Plaetorius, and Caius Cicereius, were sent. The ambassadors, who had been sent to the several kings in alliance with the state, came home from Asia, and reported that “they had conferred in it with Eumenes; in Syria, with Antiochus; and at Alexandria, with Ptolemy; all of whom, though strongly solicited by embassies from Perseus, remained perfectly faithful to their engagements, and gave assurances of their readiness to execute every order of the Roman people.
That they had also visited the allied states; that all were firm in their attachment, except the Rhodians, who seemed to be wavering, and infected by the counsels of Perseus.”
Ambassadors had come from the Rhodians, to exculpate them from the imputations which, they knew, were openly urged against them; but a resolution was made, that “an audience of the senate should be given, when the new magistrates came into office.”