He, after the flight of Antiochus from Thermopylae and the expulsion of Amynander from Athamania by Philip, had at his own instance sent ambassadors to Diophanes, praetor of the Achaeans, had made a bargain for money, and transferred the island to the Achaeans.
That it should be their prize of war seemed fair to the Romans: for, they said, Manius Acilius the consul and the Roman legions had not fought for Diophanes and the Achaeans at Thermopylae.1
Diophanes in reply sometimes defended himself and the state, sometimes argued the legal aspects of the case.
Some of the Achaeans both bore witness that from the beginning they had objected to the proceeding and at this time taunted the praetor for his persistence; [p. 251]
and on their motion it was voted that the question2
be referred to Titus Quinctius.
Although Quinctius was harsh in the face of opposition, yet, if you gave in to him, he was also easy to please. Banishing all signs of passion from voice and expression, he said, “If I believed that the possession of the island was useful to you, Achaeans, I should urge upon the senate and the Roman people that they permit you to keep it;
but like a tortoise,3
which I see to be secure against all attacks when it has all its parts drawn up inside its shell, but when it sticks any part out it has that member which is exposed weak and open to injury, in no different fashion you, Achaeans, shut in
on all sides by the sea, can both easily unite to yourselves anything within the boundaries of the Peloponnesus, and, when thus united, easily defend it, but as soon
as in your desire for larger acquisitions you overstep those limits, I see that all the parts which lie outside are unprotected and vulnerable to every blow.”4
The whole council assenting and Diophanes not daring to struggle longer, Zacynthos was ceded to the Romans.