The Aetolians Do Not Confirm the Terms
Having come to this resolution, Phaeneas despatched
Aetolian embassy to Acilius.
legates with Valerius to announce the decision
of the Aetolians to Acilius. On being admitted
to the presence of the Consul, these legates, after
once more entering upon a plea of self-justification, ended by
announcing that the Aetolians had decided to commit themselves to the good faith of the Romans.
interrupted them by saying, "Is this really the case, men of
Aetolia?" And upon their answering in the affirmative, he
said: "Well then, the first condition is that
none of you, individually or collectively, must
cross to Asia; the second is that you must surrender Menestratus the Epirote" (who happened at that time to be at
Naupactus, where he had come to the assistance of the
Aetolians), "and also King Amynander, with such of the
Athamanians as accompanied him in his desertion to your side."
Here Phaeneas interrupted him by saying: "But it is neither
just nor consonant with Greek customs, O Consul, to do what
you order." To which Acilius replied,—not so much because
he was angry, as because he wished to show him the dangerous
position in which he stood, and to thoroughly frighten him,—
"Do you still presume to talk to me about Greek customs,
and about honour and duty, after having committed yourselves to my good faith? Why, I might if I chose put
you all in chains and commit you to prison!" With these
words he ordered his men to bring a chain and an iron
collar and put it on the neck of each of them. Thereupon
Phaeneas and his companions stood in speechless amazement, as though bereft of all power of thought or motion, at
this unexpected turn of affairs. But Valerius and some
others who were present besought Acilius not to inflict any
severity upon the Aetolians then before him, as they were in
the position of ambassadors. And on his yielding to these
representations, Phaeneas broke silence by saying that "He and
the Apocleti were ready to obey the injunctions, but they must
consult the general assembly if they were to be confirmed."
Upon Acilius agreeing to this, he demanded a truce of ten days
to be granted. This also having been conceded, they departed
with these terms, and on arrival at Hypata told the Apocleti
what had been done and the speeches that had been made.
This report was the first thing which made their error, and the
compulsion under which they were placed, clear to the Aetolians.
It was therefore decided to write round to the various cities
and call the Aetolians together, to consult on the injunctions
imposed upon them.
The Aetolians fail to ratify the peace.
When the news of the
reception Phaeneas had met with was noised
abroad, the Aetolian people were so infuriated
that no one would even attend the meeting to discuss the matter
at all. It was thus impossible to hold the discussion. They
were further encouraged by the arrival of Nicander, who just
at that time sailed into Phalara, on the Malian gulf, from
Asia, bringing news of the warm reception given him by
Antiochus, and the promises for the future which the king had
made; they therefore became quite indifferent as to the noncompletion of the peace. Thus when the days of the truce had
elapsed the Aetolians found themselves still at war with Rome.