It was sufficiently clear to all that what he feared was the paying of such a multitude, and nothing else; but as none had the courage to declare their opinion, when asked, Antigonus was sent again, with a message; that the king chose to employ only five thousand horsemen, but that he could not receive the rest of their number.
When the barbarians heard this, they began to murmur, and show a great deal of anger at being brought so far from home for no purpose; but Clondicus again asked him, whether he would pay even the five thousand the hire agreed on.
When he perceived that an evasive answer was given to this question also, the Gauls, dismissing the insidious envoy unhurt, which was what he himself had scarcely hoped could be his fate, returned home to the Danube, after utterly wasting such lands of Thrace as lay near their road.
Now had this body of troops, while the king lay quiet on the Enipeus, been led against the Romans through the passes of Perrhaebia, into Thessaly, it might not only have stripped that country so bare, that the Romans could not expect supplies from thence;
but might even have destroyed the cities themselves, while Perseus, by detaining his enemy at the Enipeus, would have put it out of their power to succour their allies.
The Romans, indeed, would have been obliged to look out for their own safety, since they could neither stay where they were, after losing Thessaly, whence their army drew sustenance, nor move forward, as the camp of the Macedonians stood in their way.
By this error, Perseus enlivened the hopes of the Romans,
and damped not a little those of the Macedonians,1
who had depended much on that project. Through the same [p. 2087]
avarice, he alienated from him king Gentius. When he paid, at Pella, three hundred talents to the persons sent by Gentius, he allowed them to seal up the money. He then ordered ten talents to
be carried to Pantauchus, and these he desired should be given immediately to the king. He ordered his people, who were carrying the rest
of the money, sealed with the seals of the Illyrians, to convey it by short journeys, and when they should come
to the bounds of Macedonia, to halt there, and wait for a message from him. Gentius, having received this small portion of the money, and being incessantly urged by Pantauchus to provoke the Romans by some hostile act, threw into
custody Marcus Perperna and Lucius Petilius, who happened to come at that time as ambassadors. Having heard this, Perseus, thinking that the Illyrian had now laid himself under a necessity of waging war with the Romans at least, sent to recall those who were conveying the money, as if for no other object, than that the greatest possible booty might be reserved for the Romans on his defeat. Herophon,
too, returned from Eumenes, without any one knowing what had been secretly negotiated between them. The parties themselves had mentioned publicly that the business of the prisoners had been concluded, and Eumenes, for the sake of avoiding suspicion, acquainted the consul with it.