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Perseus Summons a Council

After the Macedonian victory Perseus summoned
After beating the Roman cavalry on the Peneus, and obliging Licinius to retire south of the river, Perseus endeavours to make terms.
his Council, when some of his friends expressed an opinion that he ought to send an embassy to the Roman general, to signify his readiness even now to pay the Romans the same amount of tribute as his father had formerly undertaken to pay when beaten in war, and to evacuate the same places. "For if," they argued, "the Romans accept the terms the war will be ended in a manner honourable to the king after his victory in the field; and the Romans, after this taste of Macedonian valour, will be much more careful in the future not to impose an unjust or harsh burden upon the Macedonians. And if, on the other hand, in spite of the past, they prove obstinate and refuse to accept them, the anger of heaven will with justice fall on them; while the king by his moderation will gain the support of Gods and men alike." The majority of his friends held this view, and Perseus expressing his assent to it, Pantauchus, son of Balacrus, and Midon of Beroea, were forthwith sent as ambassadors to Licinius.
The Romans are inexorable.
On their arrival, Licinius summoned his Council, and the ambassadors having stated their proposals in accordance with their instructions, Pantauchus and his colleague were requested to withdraw, and they deliberated on the proposition thus made to them. They decided unanimously to return as stern an answer as possible. For this is a peculiarity of the Romans, which they have inherited from their ancestors, and are continually displaying,—to show themselves most peremptory and imperious in the presence of defeat, and most moderate when successful: a very noble peculiarity, as every one will acknowledge; but whether it be feasible under certain circumstances may be doubted. However that may be, on the present occasion they made answer that Perseus must submit without reserve himself, and give the Senate full power to take whatever measures it might think good concerning Macedonia and all in it. On this being communicated to Pantauchus and Midon, they returned and informed Perseus and his friends; some of whom were roused to anger at this astonishing display of haughtiness, and advised Perseus to send no more embassies or messages about anything whatever. Perseus, however, was not the man to take such a line. He sent again and again to Licinius, with continually enhanced offers, and promising a larger and larger sum of money. But as nothing that he could do had any effect, and as his friends found fault with him, and told him that, though he had won a victory, he was acting like one who had been defeated and lost all, he was at length compelled to renounce the sending of embassies, and remove his camp back to Sicyrium.
Perseus returns to Sicyrium.
Such was the position of the campaign. . . .

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.58
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 42.62
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