Offers of Eumenes and Seleucus Declined
The next subject introduced for debate was that of
king Ptolemy. The ambassadors who had been on the mission
to Ptolemy were called forward, and Lycortas, acting as spokesman, began by stating how they had interchanged
oaths of alliance with the king; and next announced that they brought a present from the
king to the Achaean league of six thousand stands of arms for
peltasts, and two thousand talents in bronze coinage.
Ptolemy. The speech of Lycortas.
added a panegyric on the king, and finished his speech by a
brief reference to the goodwill and active benevolence of the
king towards the Achaeans.
Upon this the Strategus of the
Achaeans, Aristaenus, stood up and asked
Lycortas and his colleagues in the embassy to
Ptolemy "which alliance it was that he had thus renewed?"
No one answering the question, but all the assembly
beginning to converse with each other, the Council chamber
was filled with confusion. The cause of this absurd state
of things was this. There had been several treaties of
alliance formed between the Achaeans and Ptolemy's
kingdom, as widely different in their provision as in the
circumstances which gave rise to them: but neither had
Ptolemy's envoy made any distinction when arranging for the
renewal, merely speaking in general terms on the matter, nor had
the ambassadors sent from Achaia; but they had interchanged
the oaths on the assumption of there being but one treaty.
The result was, that, on the Strategus quoting all the treaties,
and pointing out in detail the differences between them, which
turned out to be important, the assembly demanded to know
which it was that it was renewing. And when no one was able
to explain, not even Philopoemen himself, who had been in office
when the renewal was made, nor Lycortas and his colleagues
who had been on the mission to Alexandria, these men all
began to be regarded as careless in conducting the business of
the league; while Aristaenus acquired great reputation as being
the only man who knew what he was talking about; and finally,
the assembly refused to allow the ratification, voting on account
of this blunder that the business should be postponed.
Then the ambassadors from Seleucus entered with their
proposal. The Achaeans, however, voted to
renew the friendship with Seleucus, but to
decline for the present the gift of the ships.