But at that time the wars which were going on caused less concern to the Fathers than the anticipation of the war with Antiochus which had not yet begun.
For although everything was repeatedly investigated by commissioners, yet rumours, anonymous and groundlessly circulated, mingled much falsehood with the truth.
Among them was the story that Antiochus, on his arrival in Aetolia, would immediately send a fleet to Sicily.
Therefore the senate, although it had sent the praetor Atilius with a fleet to Greece, still, because there was need not only
of military forces to influence the temper of the allies, but also of prestige, sent Titus Quinctius and Gnaeus Octavius and Gnaeus Servilius and Publius Villius as ambassadors to Greece, and decreed that Marcus Baebius should march his legions from [p. 67]
Bruttian territory to Tarentum and Brundisium,1
thence, if the situation should demand it, should cross to Macedonia;
that Marcus Fulvius the praetor should send a fleet of twenty vessels to defend the coast of Sicily;
that he who commanded the fleet should have the imperium
(the commander was Lucius Oppius Salinator, who had been plebeian aedile the previous year); that the same praetor should write to his colleague Lucius Valerius that there was danger that the fleet of King Antiochus would
cross to Sicily from Aetolia, and that consequently the senate had resolved that in addition to the army which he had he should enlist an emergency force of about twelve thousand infantry and four hundred cavalry with which to defend the sea-coast of the province on the side which faced Greece.2
This levy the praetor raised not only from Sicily proper but from the surrounding islands also, and all the towns on the coast which looked toward Greece he strengthened with garrisons. Further food was given to the rumours by the coming of Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, who brought the news
that King Antiochus had crossed the Hellespont with his army and that the Aetolians were making such preparations that they would be in arms at his arrival.
Both Eumenes who was absent and Attalus who was present were thanked, and a free lodging was given Attalus, a place of entertainment and gifts were presented to him —two horses, two suits of equestrian armour, silver vases of one hundred pounds weight and golden vases of twenty pounds.