According to the account of Claudius, no answer was given; and a decree of the senate only was read, by which the Roman people ordered, that the Carians and Lycians should enjoy independence; and that a letter should be sent immediately to each of those nations, acquainting them therewith.
On hearing which the principal ambassador, whose arrogant demeanour, just before, the senate could scarce contain, fell down insensible.
Other writers say, that an answer was given to this effect: “That, at the commencement of the present war, the Roman people had learned, from unquestionable authority, that the Rhodians, in concert with king Perseus, had formed secret machinations against their commonwealth;
and that, if that matter had been doubtful hitherto, the words of their ambassadors, just now, had reduced it to a certainty; as, in general, treachery, though at first sufficiently cautious, yet, in the end, betrays itself. Were the Rhodians now to act the part of arbiters of war and peace throughout the world?
were the Romans at their nod to take up arms and lay them down? and henceforth to appeal, not to the gods, but to the Rhodians, for their sanction of treaties?
And was this indeed the case, that, unless their orders were obeyed, and the armies withdrawn from Macedonia, they would consider what measures they should take?
What the Rhodians might determine, they themselves knew best; but the [p. 2074]
Roman people, as soon as the conquest of Perseus should be completed, an event which they hoped was at no great distance, would most certainly consider how to make due retribution to each state, according to its deserts in the course of the war.”
Nevertheless the usual presents of two thousand asses
each were sent to the ambassadors, which they did not accept.