When they heard words like these from men whose opinion carried such weight, especially on matters which they had investigated personally, the
more important question, that which concerned Antiochus, called more for urgent action, but since the king for some reason or other had gone back to Syria, the question of the tyrant was rather one for debate.
After it had long been debated whether there seemed sufficient cause for declaring war, or whether the decision should be left to Titus Quinctius, they gave him the responsibility of taking such action, in the case of Nabis the Lacedaemonian, as would be to the
advantage of the state, thinking that such action, whether accelerated or retarded, was not of so very great importance to the general interest of the state;
it was more to be considered what Hannibal and the Carthaginians would do if war should break out with King Antiochus.
The members of the faction opposed to Hannibal kept writing, each to his own friends among the leaders at Rome, that Hannibal had been sending messengers and letters to Antiochus and receiving from the king his secret agents; that, as some wild [p. 399]
beasts can in no wise be tamed, so this man's temper1
was violent and implacable;
that he complained that a nation wasted away in a state of peace and could be aroused from its stupor only by the din of arms. The recollection of the recent war, not more waged than caused by this one man, made these accounts seem plausible.
He had, moreover, provoked the wrath of the leading citizens of Carthage by his recent conduct.