In the beginning of the summer in which these events occurred, Publius Sulpicius, proconsul, and king Attalus, having passed the winter at Aegina, as before observed, united their fleets, consisting of twenty-three Roman quinqueremes and thirty-five belonging to the king, and proceeded to Lemnos.
Philip also, that he might be prepared for every kind of measure, whether it should be necessary to meet the enemy on land or sea, came down to the coast of Demetrias and appointed to his army a day on which to meet him at Larissa.
On the news of the king's arrival, ambassadors from his allies came to Demetrias from all sides. For the Aetolians, inspirited both by their
alliance with the Romans and the approach of king Attalus, were ravaging the neighbouring states;
not only the Acarnanians, Bœotians, and Eubœans were very much alarmed, but the Achaeans also were kept in a state of terror, both by the hostile proceedings of the Aetolians, and also by Machanidas, tyrant of Lacedaemon, who had encamped at a short distance from the borders of the Argives.
All of these stating the dangers which threatened their possessions, both by land and sea, entreated succour from the king.
Philip received accounts even from his own kingdom, that things were not in a state of tranquillity; that both Scerdiledus and Pleuratus were in motion, and that some of the Thracians, and particularly the Maedians, would certainly make incursions on the contiguous provinces of Macedonia, should the king be occupied with a distant war.
The Bœotians, indeed, and the people inhabiting the inland parts of Greece, told him that the Aetolians had obstructed by a ditch and rampart the straits of Thermopylae, where the road is very narrow and confined, in order to prevent their passing to the assistance of the allied states.
So many disturbances arising on all hands were sufficient to awaken an inactive general. He dismissed the ambassadors, promising to assist them all according as opportunity and circum- [p. 1167]
For the present, he sent to Peparethus a body of troops to garrison the city, for this was the most urgent business, as information had been received thence that Attalus, crossing over to Lemnos, was devastating all the neighbouring country.
He sent Polyphantas with a small detachment to Bœotia, and also Menippus, one of his guards, with one thousand targeteers (the target is not unlike the ordinary buckler) to Chalcis.
Five hundred Agrianians were added, that every part of the island might be secured. He went himself to Scotussa, and ordered the Macedonian soldiers to be removed thither from Larissa.
Here he heard that the Aetolians had been summoned to an assembly at Heraclea, and that king
Attalus was to come and advise with them as to the conduct of the war.
Determining to interrupt this meeting by his sudden approach, he led his troops by forced marches to Heraclea, where he arrived just after the assembly had broken up. However, he destroyed the crops, which were nearly ripe, particularly those round the Aenian bay.
He then marched back to Scotussa, and leaving there the main army, retired to Demetrias with the royal guards. In order to be prepared against every attempt of the enemy, he sent persons hence to Phocis, Eubœa, and Peparethus, to select elevated situations, from which fires lighted upon them might be seen from a distance.
He fixed a watchtower on Tisaeum, a mountain whose summit is prodigiously high, in order that when the enemy made any attempt he might instantly receive intimation of it by means of fires lighted up at a distance.
The Roman general and king Attalus then passed over from Peparethus to Nicaea, and thence sailed to Orcus, the first city of Eubœa, on the left as you proceed to Chalcis and the Euripus from the bay of Demetrias.
It was agreed upon between Attalus and Sulpicius, that the Romans should attack the town on the side neat the sea, and the king's forces on the land side.