When the provinces had been thus assigned, -1
the consuls, before they left the city, were instructed, in accordance with the decision of the
priests, to conduct the ceremony of the “sacred spring” which the praetor Aulus Cornelius Mammula had vowed by decree of the senate and vote of the people, in the consulship of Gnaeus Servilius and Gaius Flaminius. The performance took place twenty-one years after the vow.2
At this time Gaius Claudius Pulcher, son of Appius, was chosen augur in place of Quintus Fabius Maximus, who had died the year before, and was installed in office.
When everyone wondered why the war which Spain had begun was receiving so little attention, a letter arrived from Quintus Minucius, saying that he had fought successfully in a pitched battle near the town of Turda with Budares and Baesadines, the Spanish commanders; that twelve thousand of the enemy had been killed, Budares their general captured, and the rest routed and put to flight.
When this letter was read, less fear was felt with respect to Spain, where a great war had been anticipated; all their anxieties, especially after the return of the ten commissioners, were centred on King Antiochus.
These reported what had been done in the matter of Philip and on what terms peace had been granted, and gave warning that a war of no less magnitude was threatened by Antiochus: he had already invaded Europe with a huge fleet and a splendid army, and if an idle hope —sprung
from an idler rumour —of invading Egypt, had not diverted his attention, Greece would presently be flaming with war; for not even the Aetolians would remain quiet, a people both naturally restless and ill-disposed towards the Romans.
There was, [p. 397]
they said, another great evil in Greece, clinging to its3
vitals, Nabis, now tyrant of the Lacedaemonians, but soon, if it were permitted, to be tyrant of all Greece, the equal in greed and cruelty of all the tyrants known to fame;
if he were allowed to hold Argos, which dominates Peloponnesus almost like a citadel, when the Roman armies were withdrawn to Italy, the liberation of Greece from Philip would prove to have been in vain, and in place of a king who was at least far distant, if nothing else could be said for him, they would have as master a tyrant close at hand.