After this outrageous deed of Philip's, and while he was striving more than ever to set the Messenians by the ears, Aratus reached the city. He showed clearly that he was indignant himself, and would not check his son when he bitterly reproached and reviled Philip. Now, it would seem that the young man was a lover of Philip; and so at this time he told Philip, among other things, that he no longer thought him fair to look upon, after so foul a deed, but the most repulsive of men.
Philip made no answer to him, although it was expected that he would, since in his anger he had many times cried out savagely while the young man was speaking, but as though he meekly submitted to what had been said and was a person of moderation and not above the ordinary citizen, he gave the elder Aratus his hand, led him forth from the theatre, and brought him to the Ithomatas,1
in order to sacrifice to Zeus and take a view of the place.
For it is quite as well walled in as Acrocorinthus, and with a garrison in it is difficult of access and a hard place for its neighbours to take by force. Thither Philip went up, and offered sacrifice, and when the seer brought him the entrails of the ox, he took them in both hands and showed them to Aratus and Demetrius of Pharos, leaning towards each one in turn and asking them what indications they saw in the omens; was he to be master of the citadel, or to give it back to the Messenians?
Demetrius, with a laugh, replied:
‘If thou hast the spirit of a seer, thou wilt give up the place; but if that of a king, thou wilt hold the ox by both its horns,’ speaking darkly of Peloponnesus, which, if Philip added the Ithomatas to Acrocorinthus, would be altogether subject and submissive to him.
Aratus held his peace for a long time, but upon Philip's asking him to express his opinion, said:
‘There are many lofty hills in Crete, O Philip, and many towering citadels in Boeotia and Phocis; in Acarnania, too, I suppose, as well inland as on its shores, there are many places which show an amazing strength; but not one of these dost thou occupy, and yet all these peoples gladly do thy bidding.
For it is robbers that cling to cliffs and crags, but for a king there is no stronger or more secure defence than trust and gratitude. These open up for thee the Cretan sea, these the Peloponnesus. Relying upon these, young as thou art, thou hast already made thyself leader here, and master there.’ While he was yet speaking, Philip handed the entrails to the seer, and drawing Aratus to him by the hand, said:
‘Come hither, then, and let us take the same road,’ implying that he had been constrained by him and made to give up the city.