The consul, perceiving in the folly and sloth of the enemy a most favourable prospect, not only of safety, but of success, sent back a messenger to Larissa, with orders to Spurius Lucretius to seize on the deserted forts about Tempe;
then, sending forward Popilius, to examine all the passes round Dium, and learning that all was clear, he marched in two days to that town, ordering the camp to be fixed under the walls of the temple, that no violation might be offered to that sacred place.
He went himself into the city; and seeing it, though not large, yet highly ornamented with public buildings and abundance of statues, and remarkably well fortified, he could scarcely believe that there was not some stratagem concealed in the abandonment of such important advantages without cause.
He waited therefore one day to examine all the country round; then he decamped; and supposing that he should find plenty of corn in Pieria, advanced to a river called the Mytis.
On the day following, continuing his march, he received the voluntary surrender of the city of Agasse; whereupon, in order [p. 2065]
to gain the good opinion of the rest of the Macedonians, he contented himself with receiving hostages, assuring the inhabitants, that he would leave them their city without a garrison, and that they should live free from taxes, and under their own laws.
Proceeding thence one day's march, he encamped at the river Ascordus; but, finding that the farther he removed from Thessaly, the greater was the scarcity of every thing, he returned to Dium;
which clearly demonstrated how much he must have suffered if he had been cut off from Thes- saly, since he found it unsafe to go to any great distance from it.
Perseus, having drawn all his forces into one body, and assembled all his generals, reprimanded severely the commanders of the garrisons, and particularly Hippias, and Asclepiodotus;
asserting that they had betrayed to the Romans the keys of Macedonia; of which charge no one was more truly guilty than himself.
The consul, on seeing the fleet at sea, conceived hopes that they were coming with provisions, for every article had now become very dear and very scarce; but when the ships came into harbour, he was informed that the transports had been left behind at Magnesia.
He was then under great perplexity to determine what measures to take; so hard did he find it to struggle with the difficulties of his situation, though not aggravated by any effort of the enemy;
when, very seasonably, a letter arrived from Lucretius, acquainting him that he was in possession of all the forts about Tempe and Phila, and had found in them great plenty of corn and other necessaries.