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Antigonus Doson Will Help the League

These arguments seemed to Antigonus to have been put by Aratus with equal sincerity and ability: and after listening to them, he eagerly took the first necessary step by writing a letter to the people of Megalopolis with an offer of assistance, on condition that such a measure should receive the consent of the Achaeans. When Nicophanes and Cercidas returned home and delivered this despatch from the king, reporting at the same time his other expressions of goodwill and zeal in the cause, the spirits of the people of Megalopolis were greatly elated; and they were all eagerness to attend the meeting of the league, and urge that measures should be taken to secure the alliance of Antigonus, and to put the management of the war in his hands with all despatch.
Aratus wishes to do without the king if possible.
Aratus learnt privately from Nicophanes the king's feelings towards the league and towards himself; and was delighted that his plan had not failed, and that he had not found the king completely alienated from himself, as the Aetolians hoped he would be. He regarded it also as eminently favourable to his policy, that the people of Megalopolis were so eager to use the Achaean league as the channel of communication with Antigonus. For his first object was if possible to do without this assistance; but if he were compelled to have recourse to it, he wished that the invitation should not be sent through himself personally, but that it should rather come from the Achaeans as a nation. For he feared that, if the king came, and conquered Cleomenes and the Lacedaemonians in the war, and should then adopt any policy hostile to the interests of the national constitution, he would have himself by general consent to bear the blame of the result: while Antigonus would be justified, by the injury which had been inflicted on the royal house of Macedonia in the matter of the Acrocorinthus. Accordingly when Megalopolitan envoys appeared in the national council, and showed the royal despatch, and further declared the general friendly disposition of the king, and added an appeal to the congress to secure the king's alliance without delay; and when also the sense of the meeting was clearly shown to be in favour of taking this course, Aratus rose, and, after setting forth the king's zeal, and complimenting the meeting upon their readiness to act in the matter, he proceeded to urge upon them in a long speech that "They should try if possible to preserve their cities and territory by their own efforts, for that nothing could be more honourable or more expedient than that: but that, if it turned out that fortune declared against them in this effort, they might then have recourse to the assistance of their friends; but not until they had tried all their own resources to the uttermost." This speech was received with general applause: and it was decided to take no fresh departure at present, and to endeavour to bring the existing war to a conclusion unaided.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.21
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