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The Senate Makes an Example of the Rhodian Ambassadors

Just when Perseus had been beaten and was trying to
The Rhodian mission deliver their message too late.
save himself by flight, the Senate determined to admit the ambassadors, who had come from Rhodes to negotiate a peace, to an audience: Fortune thus appearing designedly to parade the folly of the Rhodians on the stage,—if we may say "of the Rhodians," and not rather "of the individuals who were then in the ascendant at Rhodes." When Agesipolis and his colleagues entered the Senate, they said that "They had come to arrange an end to the war; for the people of Rhodes,—seeing that the war was become protracted to a considerable length of time, and seeing that it was disadvantageous to all the Greeks, as well as to the Romans themselves, on account of its enormous expenses,—had come to that conclusion. But as the war was already ended, and the wish of the Rhodians was thus fulfilled, they had only to congratulate the Romans." Such was the brief speech of Agesipolis.
Uncompromising answer of the Senate
But the Senate seized the opportunity of making an example of the Rhodians, and produced an answer of which the upshot was that "They did not regard this embassy as having been sent by the Rhodians in the interests either of the Greeks or themselves, but in those of Perseus. For if they had meant to send an embassy in behalf of the Greeks, the proper time for doing so was when Perseus was plundering the territory and cities of Greece, while encamped for nearly two years in Thessaly. But to let that time pass without notice, and to come now desiring to put an end to the war, at a time when the Roman legions had entered Macedonia, and Perseus was closely beleagured and almost at the end of his hopes, was a clear proof to any one of observation that the Rhodians had sent their embassy, not with the desire of ending the war, but to rescue and save Perseus to the best of their ability. Therefore they deserved no indulgence at the hands of the Romans at this time, nor any favourable reply." Such was the Senate's answer to the Rhodians. . . .

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