On the third day from there they came to the Casus river; on their departure thence they took the town of Eriza at the first assault.
They came next to Thabusium, a fortress overlooking the Indus river, which derived its name from an Indian1
who fell from his elephant.
They were not far from Cibyra, and no embassy was coming from Moagetes, tyrant of that city, a man faithless and hard to deal with in every way.
To test his attitude, the consul sent Gaius Helvius ahead with four thousand infantry and five hundred cavalry. As this column was crossing the frontier ambassadors met them, bringing word that the tyrant was ready to do their bidding;
they begged that he would enter their country peacefully and restrain the soldiery from laying waste the land, and brought him fifteen talents in the form of a golden crown.2
Helvius, promising to keep the farms safe from pillage, ordered the ambassadors to go to the consul.
When they delivered the same message, the consul said, “We Romans have no indication of the good-will of the tyrant towards us, and it is well known to all that he is such a person that we must think about punishing him rather than cultivating his friendship.”3
Dismayed by this speech, the ambassadors asked nothing else than that he accept the crown and give the tyrant the opportunity to come to him, to speak and to defend himself.
With the permission of the consul the tyrant the next day came [p. 47]
to the camp, clothed and attended in a style inferior4
to that of a private person of moderate wealth, and his speech was humble and incoherent, the speech of a man who belittled his own station and lamented the poverty of the cities under his control.
Now there were under him, in addition to Cibyra, Sylleum and a city which they call ad Limnen.
From them, by robbing himself and his subjects, he promised, though hesitatingly, to raise twenty-five talents. “Come, come,” replied the consul, “this trifling cannot be endured.
It is not enough that you did not blush when, remaining away, you mocked us through your ambassadors; even when here you persist in the same shamelessness. Will five-and-twenty talents drain your tyranny dry?
Very well, unless you pay five hundred talents in three days, look forward to the devastation of your lands and the siege of your city.” Though terrified by this threat he nevertheless persisted in his stubborn pretence of poverty.
And little by little by grudging concessions, now amid much quibbling, now with prayers and feigned tears, he was worked up to the point of paying one hundred talents.
Ten thousand medimni
of grain were added. All this was collected within six days.