Titus learned that the generals who had preceded him in this field, first Sulpicius, and then Publius Villius, had invaded Macedonia late in the season, had prosecuted the war slowly, and had wasted time in maneuvering for position or in long range skirmishes with Philip to secure roads and provisions.
These men had squandered the year of their consulship at home in the honours and political activities of their office, and afterwards had set out on their campaigns. But Titus did not think it right to imitate them and thus add a year to his term of office, acting as magistrate during one, and as general for a second. On the contrary, he was ambitious to prosecute the war at the same time that he served as consul, and therefore renounced his honours and special privileges in the city,
and after asking the senate that his brother Lucius might accompany him on his expedition as naval commander, he took with him as the main part of his force those of Scipio's soldiers who were still in full vigour of body and spirit after conquering Hasdrubal in Spain and Hannibal himself in Africa (they were three thousand in number), and crossed safely into Epirus.
He found Publius Villius encamped with his forces over against Philip, who for a long time now had been guarding the narrow passes along the river Apsus. Publius was making no progress, owing to the strength of his adversary's position, and Titus therefore took over his army, sent Publius home, and began an examination of the ground. It has no less natural strength than the Vale of Tempe, but is without the beautiful trees, green woods, agreeable haunts, and pleasant meadows which there abound.
Great and lofty mountains on either side slope down and form a single very large and deep ravine, and through this the Apsus dashes with a volume and speed which make it the equal of the Peneius. Its water covers all the rest of the ground at the foot of the mountains, but leaves a cut, precipitous and narrow, for a path along past its current; this path would not be easy for an army to traverse at any time, and when guarded, it would be utterly impassable.