After this Aristaenus began first to advise Nabis and then to plead with him, while he was in a position to do so and while there was opportunity, to consider his own interests
and prospects, and then to recall by name the tyrants of the neighbouring states who had laid down their authority and restored liberty to their subjects and so had passed not only a secure but also an honourable old age among their fellow-citizens.
After this interchange of speeches, the approach of night broke up the conference. The next day Nabis agreed to withdraw from Argos and lead away his garrison, since this was the Romans' pleasure, and to give back the prisoners and deserters;
if they had further demands, he requested that they deliver them in writing, that he might discuss them with his friends.
So an interval was granted the tyrant for his deliberations, and Quinctius also held a council to which he summoned the chiefs of the allies.
The opinion of the majority was that they should continue the war and get rid of the tyrant; never [p. 507]
under other conditions would the liberty of Greece1
be assured; it would have been much better not to have begun the war against him than to discontinue it when once begun;
and he, having obtained a quasi-approval of his despotism, would be
more firmly established for having won the sanction of the Roman people for his unjust rule, and by his example would prompt many in other states to plot against the freedom of their citizens. The mind of the commander himself was more inclined towards peace.
For he saw that with the enemy driven inside his fortifications nothing remained but a siege, but the siege would be of uncertain issue and long duration, since they would invest, not Gytheum (and this, besides, had been surrendered, not captured), but Lacedaemon, a city exceedingly powerful in men and arms.
There had been, he continued, one real hope, if dissension and insurrection among the Spartans themselves could have been begun while they were bringing up the army; when they saw the standards almost carried into the gates, no one had stirred.
He added that Villius, the ambassador, had reported on his return that the peace with Antiochus could not be depended upon, and that he had crossed into Europe with far greater military and naval forces than before.
If the siege of Sparta, he asked, kept the army busy, with what other troops would they conduct the war against a king so mighty and powerful?
Such was his spoken argument; unexpressed was another anxiety, that a new consul might obtain the province of Greece from the lots, and
that he might be compelled to hand over to a successor an incomplete victory in the war. [p. 509]