A few days before this, Perseus, after the ambassadors returned from Rome, and cut off every hope of peace, held a council, in which a contest was carried on for some time between different opinions.
Some were of opinion that he ought to pay a tribute, or even to cede a part of his dominions, if they should deprive him of that; in short, that he [p. 2008]
ought not to refuse, for the sake of peace, whatever must be submitted to, nor act in such a manner as would expose himself and his kingdom to such a perilous hazard.
For, “if he retained undisputed possession of the throne, time and the revolution of affairs might produce many conjunctures, which would enable him not only to recover his losses, but to become formidable to those whom he now had reason to dread.”
A considerable majority, however, expressed sentiments of a bolder nature. They insisted that “the cession of any part would be followed by that of the whole kingdom.
The Romans were in want of neither money nor territory: but they considered that all human affairs, even kingdoms and empires, are subject to many casualties. They had themselves broken the power of the Carthaginians, and settled in the neighbourhood a very powerful king, as a yoke on their necks, and had removed Antiochus and his future successors beyond the mountains of Taurus.
There now remained only the kingdom of Macedonia near in situation, and such as might, if any where the fortune of Rome should waver, inspire its kings with the spirit of their forefathers.
Perseus therefore ought, while his affairs were yet in a state of safety, to consider well in his own mind, whether he should prefer to give
up one part of his dominions after another, until at length, stripped of all power and exiled from his kingdom, he should be reduced to beg from the Romans either Samothracia or some other island, where he might grow old in poverty and contempt;
or, on the other hand, armed in vindication of his fortune and his honour, as is the part of a brave man, either should endure with patience whatever misfortune the chance of war might bring upon him, or by victory deliver the world from the tyranny of Rome.
There would be nothing more wonderful in the Romans being driven out of Greece, than in Hannibal's being driven out of Italy; nor, in truth, did they see how it could consist with the character of the prince, to resist with the utmost vigour his brother, who unjustly aspired to the crown, and, after he had fairly obtained it himself, surrender it up to foreigners.
Lastly, that war had its vindication as well as peace, so that nothing was accounted more shameful than to yield up a dominion without a struggle, and nothing more glorious than for a prince to have experienced every kind of fortune in the defence of his crown and dignity.” [p. 2009]