Next day the council assembled; and when, through the herald, after the Greek custom, the magistrates gave the opportunity to offer a motion, if anyone wished, and no one came forward, there was a long silence as men looked at one another.
Nor was it strange, if men whose minds were in a way bewildered by pondering independently the conflicting claims, were rendered still more uncertain by the speeches on both sides, delivered through an entire day, bringing forward and urging arguments that were hard to meet.
At length Aristaenus, the praetor of the Achaeans, so as not to dismiss the council without debate, spoke thus: “Where are those rivalries of feeling, Achaeans, which cause you hardly to refrain from blows, when mention is made of Philip and the Romans at your dinners and social gatherings?
Now, in a council called for this one purpose, after you have heard the words of representatives of both sides, when the magistrates lay the question before you and the herald asks for motions, you are silent!
If there is no concern for the general welfare, can no personal interest even, which has turned your minds this way or that, draw a word from anyone?
Especially as there is no one so [p. 211]
dull as not to know that this is the time to speak and to1
advise what each either desires or thinks best, before we reach any decision; when once a decree has been passed, all, even those who formerly opposed it, must defend it as good and expedient.”
This exhortation of the praetor not only prompted no one to make a proposal, but provoked no groan or whisper from so large a council, drawn from so many peoples.