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Philip Withdraws to Cephallenia

As he neared the mouth of the Aous, which flows
Panic-stricken at the reported approach of a Roman squadron, Philip retreats to Cephallenia.
past Apollonia, a panic fell upon his fleet such as happens to land forces. Certain galleys on the rear of the fleet being anchored at an island called Sason, which lies at the entrance to the Ionian Sea, came by night to Philip with a report that some men who had lately come from the Sicilian Strait had been anchored with them at Sason, who reported that they left some Roman quinqueremes at Rhegium, which were bound for Apollonia to support Scerdilaidas. Thinking this fleet must be all but upon him, Philip, in great alarm, promptly ordered his ships to weigh anchor and sail back the way they came. They started and got out to sea in great disorder, and reached Cephallenia, after sailing two nights and days without intermission. Having now partially recovered his courage, Philip remained there, covering his flight under the pretext of having returned for some operations in the Peloponnese. It turned out that it was a false alarm altogether. The truth was that Scerdilaidas, hearing in the course of the winter that Philip was having a number of galleys built, and expecting him to come to attack him by sea, had sent messages to Rome stating the facts and imploring help; and the Romans had detached a squadron of ten ships from the fleet at Lilybaeum, which were what had been seen at Rhegium. But if Philip had not fled from them in such inconsiderate alarm, he would have had the best opportunity possible of attaining his objects in Illyria; because the thoughts and resources of Rome were absorbed in the war with Hannibal and the battle of Cannae, and it may fairly be presumed that he would have captured the ten Roman ships. As it was, he was utterly upset by the news and returned to Macedonia, without loss indeed, but with considerable dishonour.

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