But neither the Boii nor the Spaniards, with whom war was carried on that year, were so hostile and so dangerous to the Romans as the people of the Aetolians.1
After the evacuation of Greece by the armies they had at first been in hopes that Antiochus would come to occupy masterless Europe2
and that neither Philip3
would remain quiet.
When they saw that no movement was being made, thinking that some agitation and confusion should be caused, lest their scheming should become feeble from lack of exercise, they called a council at Naupactus.5
There Thoas, their chief magistrate, complained of the injuries inflicted by the Romans and of the condition of Aetolia, because of all the states and cities of Greece they were the
least honoured, after that victory for which they [p. 35]
themselves had been the chief cause, and proposed that6
ambassadors should be sent around to the kings, who should not only sound out their sentiments but should rouse each, by proper inducements, to a Roman war.
Damocritus was dispatched to Nabis, Nicander7
to Philip, Dicaearchus, the praetor's brother, to Antiochus.
To the Spartan tyrant Damocritus pointed out the weakening of the tyranny from the loss of the coast towns;8
thence he had drawn soldiers, thence ships and naval allies; shut up, almost, within his own walls, he saw the Achaeans lording it in the Peloponnesus;
he would never have a chance to recover his own if he let pass the one which then existed; there was, moreover, no Roman army in Greece; Gytheum and the other Spartan towns on the coast would not be considered by the Romans an adequate reason why they should again transport their legions to Greece.
This was said to rouse the zeal of the tyrant, that, when Antiochus had crossed to Greece, the consciousness that the Roman friendship had been violated by the injuries done their allies might unite him with Antiochus.
As to Philip, Nicander tried to provoke him by a somewhat similar argument; there was also more material for his persuasiveness, in proportion to the greater height from which the king had fallen, in comparison with the tyrant, and in proportion to the heavier losses he had suffered.
In addition, he spoke of the ancient renown of the kings of Macedonia and the victorious progress of that race throughout the earth.
He said, moreover, that the advice which he offered was safe, whether in the beginning or at the end: for he would not counsel Philip to move before Antiochus with his [p. 37]
army should cross to Greece, and
when he, who9
without Antiochus had so long sustained the war against the Romans and the Aetolians, was joined by Antiochus and had as allies the Aetolians, who had been at that time more dangerous foes than the Romans, with what strength, pray, could the Romans withstand him?
He spoke further of the general Hannibal, born an enemy to the Romans, who had destroyed both their commanders and their soldiers in greater numbers than now remained.
Such was Nicander's message to Philip; Dicaearchus approached Antiochus in another fashion, and first of all he said that the booty from Philip had become the Romans', the victory was the Aetolians'; none other than the Aetolians had given the Romans ingress to Greece and furnished them with the strength to conquer.
Finally, he told Antiochus how great forces, infantry and cavalry, they would furnish him for the war, what stations for his land forces, what harbours for his navies.
Then he employed a gratuitous lie regarding Philip and Nabis: each was ready to rebel and would seize the earliest opportunity to regain what he had lost in war. Thus throughout the whole world at once the Aetolians were arousing war against the Romans.