By Richard Evans
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7 Negotiations opened at once. Livy provides an extended account: About this time there was a sudden wave of superstition at Rome. The Sibylline Books were consulted because it had hailed more often than was usual and it was duly noted that it was prophesised that if an enemy ever invaded Italy it would be defeated and turned away if Cybele, the Idaean Great Mother was brought to Rome from Pessinus. 8) This news seems to have occurred soon after envoys had returned with a favourable oracle from Delphi, which also spoke about a future great victory and, says Livy, was moreover in tune with the opinion of P.
Initially this presence was not a welcome sight to most Athenians although Attalus later came to their aid when attacked by Philip. 6 That Pergamum did not lend material aid to Rome in its campaigns against Hannibal should not be a surprise either. Even if one grants a certain amount of the wealth to Attalus’ kingdom by this stage, it certainly did not have access to the resources more easily available to the Romans from their home turf. Pergamum was not a state of resources on the scale of Egypt and it is doubtful that, at such distance, Attalus could have sent anything worthwhile by sea to the Romans, who similarly declined aid from Egypt.
And it will probably have occurred to bystanders that just as Pyrrhus was unable to extract a peace from Rome, so too was Hannibal, even after success in three major land battles. For all its defeats, the Roman state was still immeasurably stronger in 215 than it had been in 275. 5 Here it should be noted that the Romans always had warships around the coast of Greece and in the Aegean Sea, so that this struggle was not allowed to spill out and create new arenas of conflict or touch others and especially affect Rome’s countermeasures against Hannibal in Italy and rebellions in Sicily.
A History of Pergamum: Beyond Hellenistic Kingship by Richard Evans