When applause had followed this speech, [p. 421]
Marcius proposed his sending envoys to Rome;1
since the king believed that every recourse should be tried to the very last and no hope be overlooked, the rest of the conference was on means of safety for the envoys' journey.
Although for this a request for a truce was clearly essential and Marcius was eager for it and was seeking for nothing else at the conference, he granted it grudgingly and as a great favour to the petitioner.
For the Romans had nothing thoroughly ready for war at this time, neither army nor leader, while Perseus, had not an idle hope of peace blinded his counsels, would have had everything ready and on hand and could have begun the war at a time most favourable to himself and inopportune for the enemy.
From this conference the Roman envoys, relying on the truce as security, at once set out for Boeotia.2
In that region there already had begun to be disturbance as certain peoples departed from association in the common council of the Boeotians, after the report had come that the envoys had answered that it would become evident which peoples for their own part disliked the forming of an alliance with the king.
First envoys from Chaeronia, then from Thebes, met the Romans while still on the way, asserting that they had not been present in the council in which this alliance had been voted; the Roman envoys, giving them no answer for the time being, ordered them to follow them to Chalcis. At Thebes a great dispute arose from a different rivalry.
The party beaten in the election for general and the Governors of Boeotia, by way of avenging their [p. 423]
rebuff, gathered a mob and passed a vote at Thebes3
that the Governors be not received in the cities.
The exiles all departed to Thespiae; from there — for they had been received without hesitation —they were recalled, by a change of sentiment, to Thebes and passed a decree that twelve men who though private citizens had held an assembly and council should be punished by exile.
Next, the new general —he was Ismenias, a man of rank and power —by decree in their absence condemned these men to death. They fled to Chalcis; thence they set out to the Romans at Larisa4
and brought a charge of alliance with Perseus against Ismenias; from this dispute, they said, the contest had arisen.
Envoys of both factions came at that time to the Romans, both the exiles and accusers of Ismenias, and Ismenias himself.