They then returned to Hypata, nor were their plans cleared of difficulties. For they had no means of paying the thousand [p. 1662]
talents and, in case of an unconditional submission, they dreaded lest cruelty should be inflicted on their persons.
They, therefore, ordered the same ambassadors to return to the consul and Africanus, and to request, that if they meant in reality to grant them peace, and not merely to amuse them with a prospect of it, frustrating the hopes of the wretched, they would either remit some part of the money required to be paid, or order that the unconditional submission should not extend to their persons.
Nothing was accomplished whereby the consul might change his resolution; and that embassy, also, was dismissed without effect.
The Athenian ambassadors accompanied them. And Echedemus, their principal in the embassy, recalled to hope the Aetolians, dejected by so many repulses, and deploring with unavailing lamentations the hard fate of their nation —by advising them to request a suspension of arms for six months, in order that they might send an embassy to Rome.
He urged that "the delay could add nothing to their present calamities, which were already severe in the extreme; but that, if time intervened, their present calamities might be alleviated by many chances.
Agreeably to this advice of Echedemus, the same ambassadors were sent again; who, making their first application to Publius Scipio, obtained, through him, from the consul, a suspen- sion of arms for the time they desired:
and the siege of Amphissa being raised, Manius Acilius, the army being delivered to the consul, left the province; and the consul returned from Amphissa into Thessaly, with intention of leading his troops into Asia through Macedonia and Thrace.
Here Africanus said to his brother, Lucius Scipio, "I also, Lucius Scipio, approve of the route which you adopt.
But the whole matter rests on the inclinations of Philip; for if he be faithful to our government, he will afford us a passage, and provisions and all things which support and aid an army on a long march.
But if he should fail in this, you will find no safety in any part of Thrace. In my opinion, therefore, the king's disposition ought in the first place to be discovered. He will be best tested if the person who shall be sent will come suddenly upon him, doing nothing by a preconcerted plan.
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a young man, the most active of all the youths at that time, being selected for this purpose, by means of relays of horses, and travelling with almost incredi- [p. 1663]
ble expedition, made good the journey from Amphissa, whence he had been despatched, to Pella, on the third day.
The king was sitting at a banquet, and was far gone in his cups: that very relaxation of mind removed all suspicion of any intention of changing his measures.
His guest was kindly entertained for the present; and next day he saw provisions in abundance already prepared for the army, bridges made over rivers, and roads fortified where the passage was difficult.
As he was bringing back this intelligence, with the same speed which he had used in coming, he met the consul at Thaumaci.
From this the army rejoicing, marched with more certain and greater hopes into Macedon, where all things were prepared. On their arrival, the king received them with royal magnificence, and accompanied them on their march. Much pleasantry and good humour appeared in him, which recommended him much to Africanus, a man who, as he was unparalleled in other respects, was not averse to courteousness unaccompanied by luxury.
Passing from this not only through Macedon, but also through Thrace, they arrived at the Hellespont, Philip escorting them and making every preparation.