When the ambassadors of the Cretans mentioned that they had sent into Macedon the number of archers which had been
demanded by the consul, Publius Licinius, on being interrogated, they did not deny that a greater number of their archers were serving in the army of Perseus than in that of the Romans:
on which they received this answer; that “if the Cretans were candidly and sincerely resolved to prefer the friendship of the Roman people to that of king Perseus, the Roman senate, on their part, would answer them as allies who could be relied on.
In the mean time, that they should announce to their countrymen, that the senate required that the Cretans should endeavour to call home, as soon as possible, all the soldiers who were in the service of king Perseus.”
The Cretans being dismissed, the ambassadors from Chalcis were called, whose embassy seemed to be a matter of extreme necessity, from the very circumstance of their entering the senate-house at all, since Miction, their chief, having lost the use of his limbs, was introduced on a litter:
and either the plea of bad health had not appeared to himself an adequate motive for seeking exemption from duty, though he was in such a distressing state, or exemption had not been given him at his request.
After premising that no other part was alive but his tongue, which served him to deplore the calamities of his country, he represented, first, the friendly assistance given [p. 2040]
by his state to the Roman commanders and armies, both on former occasions and in the war with Perseus;
and then, the instances of pride, avarice, and cruelty, which his countrymen had suffered from the Roman praetor, Caius Lucretius, and were at that very time suffering from Lucius Hortensius; notwithstanding which, they were resolved to endure all hardships, should they be even more grievous than they underwent at present, rather than swerve from their allegiance.
“With regard to Lucretius and Hortensius, they knew that it would have been safer to have shut their gates against them, than to receive them into the city.
For those cities which had so done, remained in safety, as Emathea, Amphipolis, Maronea, and Aenus; whereas, in Chalcis, the temples were robbed of all their ornaments. Caius Lucretius had carried off in ships, to Antium, the plunder amassed by such sacrilege, and had dragged persons of free condition into slavery; the property of the allies of the Roman people was subjected to rapine and plunder every day.
For Hortensius, pursuing the practice of Caius Lucretius, kept the crews of his ships in lodgings both in summer and winter alike; so that their houses were filled with a crowd of seamen, and those men who showed no regard to propriety, either in their words or actions, lived among the inhabitants, their wives, and children.”