This speech made a profound impression upon the conscript Fathers. But at the time no one was allowed to know anything except that the king had been in the senate-house; with such silence was the senate-house closed. Finally, after the war was over, information leaked out as to what the king had said and what response had been made.
Then a few days later an audience before the senate was given to the ambassadors of King Perseus. But the senators' feelings even more than their ears having been prepossessed by King Eumenes, every plea and every excuse of the ambassadors was rejected: and the excessively arrogant demeanour of Harpalus, who was the leader of the embassy, [p. 333]
exasperated their minds.
He said that the king1
really wished and exerted himself that he should be believed when he pled in his defence that he had neither said nor done anything with hostile intent;
but if he saw that a pretext for war was being all too eagerly sought, he would defend himself with resolution. Mars, he said, was impartial, and the result of war uncertain.
All the cities of Greece and Asia were interested in what the ambassadors of Perseus and what Eumenes had said in the senate; and by reason of his coming, which they believed would provoke some action, most of the cities had sent ambassadors alleging this or that as to their errands.
[And an embassy of the Rhodians was also present in Rome, the leading man in which was insolent, although what he was to say was not devoid of truth];2
he felt certain that Eumenes had included some charges against their state too, along with his charges against Perseus.
And so in every fashion, through their patrons and Roman hosts, the envoy sought the opportunity to argue with the king in the senate.
When this did not fall to his lot, assailing the king with unrestrained violence, because he had stirred up the Lycian people against the Rhodians and because he was more oppressive to Asia than Antiochus had been, he delivered a speech which was ingratiating and not displeasing to the peoples of Asia —for
the popularity of Perseus had spread even there —but [p. 335]
was offensive to the senate and useless to the Rhodians3
and their state.
But the conspiracy4
against Eumenes won for him greater favour with the Romans. And so all honours were conferred upon him and the most generous gifts were bestowed upon him, together with a curule chair and an ivory sceptre.