When the consul saw that the higher ground was held by the Aetolians, he sent Marcus [p. 209]
and Lucius Valerius Flaccus,2
lieutenants of consular rank, with two thousand picked men each, against the strong points of the Aetolians, Flaccus to Rhoduntia and Tichius, Cato to Callidromum.
He himself, before he moved his troops forward against the enemy, called the soldiers to an assembly and harangued them briefly: “I see that most among you, soldiers, are men of all ranks, who fought in this same province under the leadership and auspices of Titus Quinctius.
In the Macedonian war the pass of Aous was more difficult to traverse than this;
for surely this is a gate and the one natural aisle, so to speak, between the two seas, all other ways being closed;3
the fortifications were then both more suitably situated and more strongly constructed; that hostile army was both larger in numbers and composed of a somewhat better grade of soldiers;
there, as you know, there were Macedonians and Thracians land Illyrians, all most warlike nations, here Syrians and Asiatic Greeks, the most worthless peoples among mankind and born for slavery;
that king was most devoted to war and trained from youth up in wars with the neighbouring Thracians and Illyrians and all the inhabitants round about; here, to pass over in silence all the rest of his career, is one who, after crossing from Asia to
Europe to make war upon the Roman people, did nothing more worthy of note during the whole season of the winter than for love's sake to marry a woman [p. 211]
from a private home, of a family obscure and even4
common, and the new bridegroom, stuffed, let me say, with wedding feasts, went forth to battle.
The substance of his strength and hope is in the Aetolians, a most boastful and ungrateful race, as you have learned before this and as Antiochus is now learning.
For neither did they come in great numbers nor could they be kept in camp, and they are even at odds with one another, and although they had demanded the guardianship of Hypata and Heraclea, they defended neither, but some fled to the mountain-tops and some shut themselves up in Heraclea.
The king himself, confessing that he not only does not dare to trust himself to battle on level ground anywhere but does not even venture to encamp in the open, abandoning all that country in front of him5
which he boasted he had taken from us and from Philip, has shut himself up within the cliffs, not even placing his camp in front of the entrance to the pass, as they say the Spartans once did, but withdrawing it deep inside;
and how does this differ, as an exhibition of fear, from shutting himself up to be besieged within the walls of some city?
But neither the narrow defile will protect Antiochus nor the heights which they have seized the Aetolians. Sufficient care and precaution have been taken on every side to prevent your facing any peril except the enemy.
You should hold this thought before your minds, that you are fighting not merely for the liberty of Greece, although this is a noble cause to defend, but to set free a people, formerly freed from Philip, now from the Aetolians and Antiochus, nor will your reward consist only of those things which are in the king's camp, but all that equipment too
which is daily [p. 213]
expected from Ephesus will be booty, and6
thereafter Asia and Syria and the treasure-laden realms right up to the sunrise will be opened to Roman rule.
What then will be lacking, that we shall not bound our empire by the ocean from Gades to the Red Sea, that ocean which holds the earth in its embrace, and that the whole human race will not reverence the Roman name next after the gods?
Make your minds ready to deserve such great rewards, that to-morrow with the good aid of the gods we may fight it out in battle-line.”7