“If Alco, your own fellow citizen, after going to Hannibal to sue for peace, had brought back to you the terms of peace which Hannibal offers, this journey of mine would have been superfluous, [p. 39]
for I should have come to you neither as Hannibal's1
spokesman nor yet as a deserter.
But seeing that, whether through your fault or his own, he has stopped behind with your enemy —his own if his fears were feigned, yours if it is unsafe to bring you a true report —that you might not be ignorant that terms there are upon which you may enjoy both life and peace, I have come to you myself, having regard to the long-standing friendship which subsists between us.
Moreover, that I say what I say for your sake and no other's, you may take this as proof: so long as you held your ground with your own forces, and expected to receive help from the Romans, I never mentioned peace to you;
but now that you have no longer any hope from Rome, and neither your arms nor your fortifications are adequate to defend you, I bring you a peace more necessary than equitable.
That this peace may be realized there is some ground for hoping only if, even as Hannibal proposes it in the spirit of a conqueror, so you shall hearken to it in the spirit of the conquered, and shall not consider as lost what is taken from you, since all things are the victor's, but consider whatever is left you as a gift.
Your city, which he has in great part overthrown, and almost wholly captured, he takes from you: your lands he leaves you, and intends to designate a site whereon you may erect a new town.
All your gold and silver, both public and private, he orders to be brought to him: your persons, with those of your wives and children, he preserves inviolate, if you are willing to go forth unarmed from Saguntum with two garments each.2
These [p. 41]
terms a victorious enemy imposes on you; these3
terms, albeit harsh and cruel, your fortune counsels you to accept. Indeed I am not without hope that when full control of everything shall have been granted him, he may remit somewhat of this severity;
but even this you ought, I think, rather to endure than to suffer yourselves to be massacred and your wives and children to be forcibly dragged away into captivity before your eyes, in accordance with the laws of war.”