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Philip Hears of Thrasymene

Accordingly, when he heard that the galleys of Scerdilaidas were committing acts of piracy off Malea, and treating all merchants as open enemies, and had treacherously seized some of his own vessels which were at anchor at Leucas, he fitted out twelve decked ships, eight open vessels, and thirty light craft called hemioliae,1 and sailed through the Euripus in hot haste to come up with the Illyrians; exceedingly excited about his plans for carrying on the war against the Aetolians, as he knew nothing as yet of what had happened in Italy. For the defeat of the Romans by Hannibal in Etruria took place while Philip was besieging Thebes, but the report of that occurrence had not yet reached Greece. Philip arrived too late to capture the galleys: and therefore, dropping anchor at Cenchreae, he sent away his decked ships, with orders to sail round Malea in the direction of Aegium and Patrae; but having caused the rest of his vessels to be dragged across the Isthmus, he ordered them to anchor at Lechaeum; while he went in haste with his friends to Argos to attend the Nemean festival.
Nemean festival. Midsummer of B. C. 217.
Just as he was engaged in watching the gymnastic contest, a courier arrived from Macedonia with news of the Romans having been defeated in a great battle, and of Hannibal being in possession of the open country.
Philip hears of the Battle of Thrasymene, 22d June.
Philip showed the letter to no one at the moment, except to Demetrius of Pharos, enjoining him not to say a word. The latter seized the occasion to advise Philip to throw over the war against the Aetolians as soon as possible; and to concentrate his efforts upon Illyria, and an expedition into Italy. "For Greece," said he, "is already entirely obedient to you, and will remain so: the Achaeans from genuine affection; the Aetolians from the with terror which their disasters in the present war have inspired them. Italy, and your crossing into it, is the first step in the acquirement of universal empire, to which no one has a better claim than yourself. And now is the moment to act when the Romans have suffered a reverse."

1 According to Suidas, these were light vessels used by pirates: but whether the name arose from their construction, capacity, or the number of their oars, seems uncertain. According to Hesychius they had two banks of oars (δίκροτος ναῦς: πλοῖον μικρόν).

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