The Commissioners Arrive in Achaia
As Sextus Julius Caesar and his colleagues were on their
Arrival of Sextus Julius and the commissioners in Achaia.
way from Rome to the Peloponnese, they were
met by Thearidas and the other envoys, sent by
the Achaeans to make their excuse and give
the Senate an explanation of the intemperate acts
committed in regard to Aurelius Orestes. But Sextus Julius
persuaded them to turn back to Achaia, on the ground that
he and his colleagues were coming with full instructions to
communicate with the Achaeans on all these points. When
Sextus arrived in the Peloponnese, and in a conference with
the Achaeans in Aegium spoke with great kindness, he made no mention of the injurious treatment of the legates, and scarcely demanded
any defence at all, but took a more lenient
view of what had happened than even the Achaeans themselves; and dwelt chiefly on the subject of exhorting them
not to carry their error any further, in regard either to
the Romans or the Lacedaemonians.
Conference at Aegium. The envoys are conciliatory.
Thereupon the more
sober-minded party received the speech with satisfaction, and
were strongly moved to obey the suggestions, because they
were conscious of the gravity of what they had been doing,
and had before their eyes what happened to opponents of
Rome; but the majority, though they had not a word to say
against the justice of the injunctions of Sextus Julius, and were
quite silent, yet remained deeply tainted with disaffection.
Action of Diaeus and Critolaus and their party.
Diaeus and Critolaus, and all who shared their
sentiments,—and they consisted of all the greatest rascals in every city, men at war with the gods,
and pests of the community, carefully selected,—took, as the
proverb has it, with the left hand what the Romans gave with
the right, and went utterly and entirely wrong in their calculations. For they supposed that the Romans, owing to the
troubles in Libya and Iberia, feared a war with the Achaeans
and would submit to anything and say anything. Thinking,
therefore, that the hour was their own, they answered the
Roman envoys politely that "They would, nevertheless, send
Thearidas and his colleagues to the Senate; while they would
themselves accompany the legates to Tegea, and there in consultation with the Lacedaemonians would provide for some
settlement of the war that would meet the views of both parties."
With this answer they subsequently induced the unhappy
nation to follow the senseless course to which they had long
before made up their mind. And this result was only what
might have been expected from the inexperience and corruption of the prevailing party.