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The Abydenians Carry Out Their Resolution

While this was going on, king Attalus, having heard
A Roman envoy arrives to warn Philip to desist.
that Abydos was being besieged, sailed through the Aegean to Tenedos; and similarly the youngest of the Roman ambassadors, Marcus Aemilius, arrived on board ship at Abydos itself. For the Roman ambassadors, having learnt at Rhodes the fact of the siege of Abydos, and wishing in accordance with their commission to deliver their message to Philip personally, put off their purpose of visiting the two kings, and despatched this man to him. Having found the king outside Abydos, he explained to him that "The Senate had resolved to order him not to wage war with any Greek state; nor to interfere in the dominions of Ptolemy; and to submit the injuries inflicted on Attalus and the Rhodians to arbitration; and that if he did so he might have peace, but if he refused to obey he would promptly have war with Rome." Upon Philip endeavouring to show that the Rhodians had been the first to lay hands on him, Marcus interrupted him by saying: "But what about the Athenians? And what about the Cianians? And what about the Abydenians at this moment? Did any one of them also lay hands on you first?" The king, at a loss for a reply, said: "I pardon the offensive haughtiness of your manners for three reasons: first, because you are a young man and inexperienced in affairs; secondly, because you are the handsomest man of your time" (this was true); "and thirdly, because you are a Roman. But for my part, my first demand to the Romans is that they should not break their treaties or go to war with me; but if they do, I shall defend myself as courageously as I can, appealing to the gods to defend my cause." With these words they separated. On becoming master of Abydos, Philip found all the property of the citizens collected by themselves ready to his hand.
The voluntary death of the Abydenians.
But when he saw the numbers and fury of those who were stabbing, burning, hanging, throwing into wells, or precipitating themselves from housetops, and their children and wives, he was overpowered with surprise; and resenting these proceedings he published a proclamation, announcing, that "he gave three days' grace to those who wished to hang or stab themselves." The Abydenians, already bent on executing their original decree, and looking upon themselves as traitors to those who had fought and died for their country, could not endure remaining alive on any terms; and, accordingly, with the exception of those who had previously been put in chains or some similar restraint, they all without delay hastened to their death, each family by itself.

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