To this Quinctius replied that Archidamus had considered in whose presence he was speaking rather than whom he was addressing:
for the Achaeans knew well that all the fierceness of the Aetolians consisted in words and not in actions, and was seen in councils and assemblies more than in battle: therefore Archidamus took small account of the opinion of the Achaeans, to whom he realized that the Aetolians were known;
it was for the benefit of the king's ambassadors and through them of the king that he had boasted thus.
But if anyone had been ignorant before what cause had brought Antiochus and the Aetolians together, it could now be clear from the speeches of their delegates that by an exchange of lies and of boasts of strength which they did not possess they filled one another's minds, and in turn were filled, with groundless hopes.
“While they are saying that by them Philip was defeated and by their valour the Romans were preserved, and, as you just heard, that you and the other cities and peoples will follow in their path, the king on the other hand is boasting of his clouds of infantry and cavalry and is hiding the sea beneath his fleet.
But the whole affair is very like a dinner given by a friend of mine in Chalcis, both an excellent man and a witty table-companion, and when we were entertained at his house at the time of the solstice,1
and were wondering where at that time of the year he found so much game and of so many kinds,
this man, not boasting in the manner [p. 143]
of our opponents, said with a smile that by seasoning2
these varied forms of wild game had been made out of tame swine.”
This, he said, could be well applied to the forces of the king, about which there had been so much bragging a little while ago; the different kinds of weapons, the many names of unheard-of peoples, Dahae and Medes and Cadusians and Elymaeans —these were all Syrians, far better fitted to be slaves, on account of their servile dispositions, than to be a race of warriors.
“And would that I could, Achaeans, set before your eyes the frantic rush of the great king from Demetrias, now to Lamia for the council of the Aetolians, now to Chalcis; you would scarcely find the like of two poor legions of reduced strength in the camp of the king;
you would see the king now almost begging food from the Aetolians to be distributed to his troops, now seeking the loan of
funds on interest for their pay, now standing before the gates of Chalcis and presently, shut out from there, having done nothing more than look at Aulis and the Euripus, going back to Aetolia. Foolishly have they trusted, both Antiochus in the Aetolians and the Aetolians in the vainglory of the king: the less should you be deceived, but you should place your trust rather in the tried and known protection of the Romans.
For as to what they say is best, that you should not take any
part in the war, nothing, on the contrary, is so inconsistent with your interests; yes, disregarded and discredited you will be the prize of the conqueror.”