These words, expressed with such magnanimity, moved the minds of the audience with deeper commiseration than if he had with tears bewailed the loss of his children in the most plaintive terms.
Cneius Octavius celebrated a naval triumph over king Perseus, on the calends of December. That triumph was without prisoners or spoils.
He distributed to each seaman seventy-five denariuses;1
to the pilots who were on board, twice that sum; and to the masters of ships, four times.
A meeting of the senate was then held. The fathers ordered that Quintus Cassius should conduct king Perseus and his son Alexander to Alba, to be there kept in custody; but that he should retain his attendants, money, plate, and furniture.
Bitis, son to the king of Thrace, was sent to Carseoli; with the hostages he had given to Macedon, the rest, who had been led in triumph, were ordered to be shut up in prison.
A few days after this passed, ambassadors came from Cotys, king of Thrace, bringing money to ransom his son and the said hostages. When they were introduced to an audience of the senate, and alleged, as an argument, in excuse of Cotys, that he had not voluntarily assisted Perseus in the war, but had been compelled to do it;
and likewise requested the senate to allow the hostages to be ransomed, at any price that should be judged proper; the following answer was returned to them: that “the Roman people remembered the friendship which had subsisted between them and Cotys, and likewise his predecessors, and the Thracian nation;
that the giving of hostages was the very fault laid to his charge, and not an id="p.2171" n="2171"/> apology for it;
for Perseus, even when at rest from others, could not be formidable to the Thracian nation, much less when he was embroiled in a war with Rome.
But that notwithstanding that Cotys had preferred the favour of Perseus to the friendship of the Roman people, yet the senate would consider rather what suited their own dignity, than what treatment he had merited; and would send home his son and the hostages; that the kind acts of the Roman people were always gratuitous, and that they chose to leave the value of them in the memory of the receivers, rather than to demand it at the time.”
Titus Quintius Flamininus, Caius Licinius Nerva, and Marcus Caninius Rebilus were nominated ambassadors to conduct the hostages to Thrace; and a present of two thousand asses2
was made to each of the Thracian ambassadors. Bithys was fetched from Carseoli, and, accompanied by the hostages, was sent to his father along with the ambassadors.
Some of the king's ships which were taken from the Macedonians, which were of a size never seen before, were hauled ashore in the field of Mars.