Yet in many places the wall had been overthrown when the word was brought that the new consul had disembarked at Apollonia and was marching through Epirus and Thessaly.
The consul had with him thirteen thousand infantry and five hundred [p. 307]
cavalry. He had already arrived at the Malian gulf;1
and sending messengers ahead to Hypata to order the city to surrender, when they replied that they would do nothing except in accord with the general decision of the Aetolians, that the siege of Hypata might not detain him while Amphissa was as yet uncaptured, he sent his brother Africanus in advance and led the army to Amphissa.
At their coming the citizens abandoned the town —for it was in large part stripped of its defences —and retired, armed and unarmed together, to the citadel, which they held impossible to capture.
The consul pitched camp about six miles away from there. Thither came Athenian envoys, first to Publius Scipio, who had preceded the main body, as has been said before, then to the consul, interceding for the Aetolians.2
They received a fairly amicable response from Africanus, who was looking for an occasion for an honourable withdrawal from the Aetolian campaign, with his eyes on Asia and King Antiochus, and had ordered the Athenians to urge not only the Romans to prefer peace to war, but also the Aetolians.
Quickly, on the advice of the Athenians, a large delegation of Aetolians came from Hypata, and the words of Africanus, to whom they first addressed themselves, increased their hopes of peace, as he reminded them of the many tribes and peoples, first in Spain, later in Africa, who had put themselves under his protection; in all these he had left more conspicuous monuments of his kindness and generosity than of his military renown.
The matter seemed settled, when the consul, on being addressed, quoted the response by which they had been rebuffed by the senate.3
When the Aetolians [p. 309]
were dealt this unexpected blow —for they saw that4
nothing had been accomplished either by the embassy of the Athenians or by the generous reply of Africanus —they said that they wished to consult their people.