After the time allotted for the truce had expired, Antiochus' officers sailed to Pelusium via the mouth of the Nile, while he marched through the Arabian Desert and, after being received by the inhabitants of Memphis and the rest
of the Egyptians, partly through good-will and partly through fear, he came down to Alexandria by short marches.1
When he had crossed the river at Eleusis, a place four miles away from Alexandria, the Roman envoys met him.
As they approached, he greeted them and offered his hand to Popilius; whereat Popilius handed him the tablets containing the decree of the senate in writing, and bade him read this first of all.
On reading the decree, he said that he would call in his friends and consider what he should do; Popilius, in accordance with the usual harshness of his temper, [p. 283]
drew a circle around the king with a rod that he2
carried in his hand, and said, “Before you step out of this circle, give me an answer which I may take back to the senate.” After the king had hesitated a moment, struck dumb by so violent an order, he replied, “I shall do what the senate decrees.”
Only then did Popilius extend his hand to the king as to an ally and friend.
Later, when Antiochus had quitted Egypt by the appointed day, and the envoys had also confirmed by their own weighty approval the agreement of the brothers, who with great difficulty had settled on terms of peace, the Romans sailed for Cyprus, whence they sent away the fleet of Antiochus which had already defeated the Egyptian ships in battle.3
This embassy gained a great reputation among the nations, because Egypt had clearly been taken away from Antiochus after he had possession of it, and their ancestral kingdom had been restored to the House of Ptolemy.
The term of one of the consuls of this year was distinguished by a notable victory; the reputation of the other was correspondingly undistinguished, because he did not have the wherewithal for achievement.
At the very outset, when he proclaimed a day for his legions to assemble, he entered the sacred enclosure4
without taking the auspices. When the augurs were consulted on this matter, they declared that the day had been wrongfully set.
The consul set out for Gaul, and had a fixed camp near Campi Macri5
close to Mounts Sicimina and Papinus. Later he spent the winter in the same region with [p. 285]
the allies of the Latin Name; the Roman legions had6
remained at Rome, because the day for the assembly of the army was wrongfully appointed.
The praetors also went to their provinces, except Gaius Papirius Carbo, to whom Sardinia had fallen.
The senate decreed that he should conduct at Rome the court for suits between citizens and aliens, for this also had been allotted to him.7