He then ordered the embassies of the cities to be summoned, which had previously been made ready and coached by Eumenes, who considered that in whatsoever degree the strength of Antiochus was diminished, by so much his own power would be increased.
These embassies, being admitted in great numbers, while each one brought in now its own complaints, now its demands, and all mingled the just with the unjust, converted the meeting from an orderly debate into a wrangle. And so, with nothing conceded or gained, just as they had come, the ambassadors, uncertain of everything, returned to Rome.
When they had been dismissed the king held a council regarding the Roman war.
There each tried to outdo the other in violence, since each thought that he would win greater favour in proportion to the severity of his attitude towards the Romans, while others assailed the insolence of their demands, seeing that they were imposing terms upon Antiochus the supreme monarch of Asia, just as upon the conquered Nabis;
and yet to Nabis had been left the control in his own homeland and in the country of Lacedaemon;
while in the ease of Antiochus it seemed monstrous should Zmyrna and Lampsacus do his bidding;
others argued that these [p. 53]
states were of small importance and scarcely worthy of1
mention as causes of war for so great a king; but always the beginnings of tyrannical rule were small, unless one believed that the Persians, when they demanded water and earth from the Spartans,2
actually needed a clod of soil or a sip of water.
A like experiment the Romans were attempting in the case of the two cities; but other states, once they saw these two throwing off the yoke, would revolt to the people that would set them free.
If liberty was not preferable to slavery,3
nevertheless, no existing situation was so attractive to anyone as the hope of a change of circumstances.