|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVI Chapter 24: Laevinus forms an alliance with the Aetolians.[210 BC]
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|During the same time Marcus Valerius Laevinus, having first sounded the intentions of the leading men by means of secret conferences, came with some light ships to a council of the Aetolians, which had been previously appointed to meet for this very purpose. Here having proudly pointed to the capture of Syracuse and Capua, as proofs of the success of the Roman arms in Sicily and Italy, he added, that "it was a custom with the Romans, handed down to them from their ancestors, to respect their allies; some of whom they had received into their state, and had admitted to the same privileges they enjoyed themselves, while others they treated so favourably that they chose rather to be allies than citizens. That the Aetolians would be honoured by them so much the more, because they were the first of the nations across the sea which had entered into friendship with them. That Philip and the Macedonians were troublesome neighbours to them, but that he had broken their strength and spirits already, and would still further reduce them to that degree, that they should not only evacuate the cities which they had violently taken from the Aetolians, but have Macedonia itself disturbed with war. And that as to the Acarnanians, whose separation from their body was a source of grief to the Aetolians, he would place them again under their ancient system of jurisdiction and dominion." These assertions and promises of the Roman general, Scopas, who was at that time praetor of the nation, and Dorymachus, a leading man among the Aetolians, confirmed on their own authority, extolling the power and greatness of the Roman people with less reserve, and with greater force of conviction. However, the hope of recovering Acarnania principally moved them. The terms, therefore, were reduced to writing, on which they should enter into alliance and friendship with the Roman people, and it was added, that "if it were agreeable to them and they wished it, the Eleans and Lacedaemonians, with Attalus, Pleuratus, and Scerdilaedas, should be included on the same conditions." Attalus was king of Asia; the latter, kings of the Thracians and Illyrians. The conditions were, that the Aetolians should immediately make war on Philip by land, in which the Romans should assist, with not less than twenty quinqueremes. That the site and buildings, together with the walls and lands, of all the cities as far as Corcyra, should become the property of the Aetolians, every other kind of booty, of the Romans. That the Romans should endeavour to put the Aetolians in possession of Acarnania. If the Aetolians should make peace with Philip, they should insert a stipulation that the peace should stand good only on condition that they abstained from hostilities against the Romans, their allies, and the states subject to them. In like manner, if the Romans should form an alliance with the king, that they should provide that he should not have liberty to make war upon the Aetolians and their allies." Such were the terms agreed upon; and copies of them having been made, they were laid up two years afterwards by the Aetolians at Olympia, and by the Romans in the Capitol, that they might be attested by these consecrated records. The delay had been occasioned by the Aetolian ambassadors' having been detained at Rome. This, however, did not form an impediment to the war's proceeding. Both the Aetolians immediately commenced war against Philip, and Laevinus taking, all but the citadel, Zacynthus, a small island near to Aetolia, and having one city of the same name with the island; and also taking Aeniadae and Nasus from the Acarnanians, annexed them to the Aetolians; and also considering that Philip was sufficiently engaged in war with his neighbours to prevent his thinking of Italy, the Carthaginians, and his compact with Hannibal, he retired to Corcyra.