These words, spoken with such magnificent spirit, caused more turmoil of soul to the hearers than if his speech had been a pitiable lamentation for his bereavement.
On the first of December, Gnaeus Octavius held a naval triumph over King Perseus. This triumph was unadorned with prisoners or spoils.
Octavius presented to each of the sailors seventy-five denarii, to the pilots of the ships twice as much, and to the captains, four times the amount.
The senate then met. The Fathers voted that Quintus Cassius should conduct King Perseus with his son Alexander to Alba1
for safe-keeping; he was to permit the king to keep intact the staff, money, silver, [p. 399]
and furnishings which he had.
Bithys, the son of2
Cotys, King of Thrace, was sent with the hostages to Carseoli for safe-keeping. It was voted to place in the prison the other prisoners who were led in the triumph.3
A few days after these transactions, envoys came from Cotys, King of Thrace, bringing money to ransom his son and the other hostages. When these envoys were brought before the senate, they used the fact itself as the theme of their apology, saying that Cotys had not voluntarily aided Perseus in the war, because he had been compelled to give hostages;
the envoys pleaded that they should be permitted to ransom them for whatever amount the Fathers themselves might determine.
The answer authorized by the senate was that the Roman People were mindful of the friendship which had existed between them and Cotys, his ancestors, and the people of Thrace;
but the giving of hostages constituted an accusation, not a defence against accusation, since the Thracian people had no reason to fear Perseus even when he was at peace, to say nothing of his being involved in a war against Rome.
However, although Cotys had preferred the favour of Perseus to the friendship of the Roman People, the latter would reckon rather what was worthy of themselves than what action would answer to his deserts, and would send him back his son and his hostages.
Benefits conferred by the Roman People, said the senate, are without charge; the Romans prefer to leave the price on deposit in the hearts of the recipients rather than to demand cash down. [p. 401]
Three envoys, Titus Quinctius Flamininus, Gaius4
Licinius Nerva, and Marcus Caninius Rebilus, were appointed to escort the hostages back to Thrace. Gifts of two thousand asses
apiece were given to the Thracians.
Bithys was summoned, along with the other hostages, from Carseoli, and was sent off to his father with the envoys.
The king's ships captured from the Macedonians, of a size never previously seen, were beached by the Campus Martius.