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.When their respective escorts had withdrawn to an equal distance, the two leaders advanced to meet each other, each accompanied by an interpreter-the greatest commanders not only of their own age but of all who are recorded in history before their day, [2??] the peers of the most famous kings and commanders that the world had seen.  For a few moments they gazed upon one another in silent admiration. Hannibal was the first to speak. "If," he said, "Destiny has so willed it that I, who was the first to make war on Rome and who have so often had the final victory almost within my grasp, should now be the first to come to ask for peace, I congratulate myself that Fate has appointed you, above all others, as the one from whom I am to ask it.  Amongst your many brilliant distinctions this will not be your smallest title to fame, that Hannibal, to whom the gods have given the victory over so many Roman generals, has yielded to you, that it has fallen to your lot to put an end to a war which has been more memorable for your defeats than for ours.  This is indeed the irony of fortune, that after taking up arms when your father was consul, and having him for my opponent in my first battle, it should be his son to whom I come unarmed to ask for peace.  It would have been far better had the gods endowed our fathers with such a disposition that you would have been contented with the sovereignty of Italy, whilst we were contented with Africa.  As it is, even for you, Sicily and Sardinia are no adequate compensation for the loss of so many fleets, so many armies, and so many splendid generals. But it is easier to regret the past than to repair it.  We coveted what belonged to others, consequently we had to fight for our own possessions; not only has war assailed you in Italy and us in Africa, but you have seen the arms and standards of an enemy almost within your gates and on your walls while we hear in Carthage the murmur of the Roman camp.  So the thing which we detest most of all, which you would have wished for before everything, has actually come about, the question of peace is raised when your fortunes are in the ascendant. We who are most concerned in securing peace are the ones to propose it, and we have full powers to treat, whatever we do here our governments will ratify. All we need is a temper to discuss things calmly. As far as I am concerned, coming back to a country which I left as a boy, years and a chequered experience of good and evil fortune have so disillusioned me that I prefer to take reason rather than Fortune as my guide.  As for you, your youth and unbroken success will make you, I fear, impatient of peaceful counsels.  It is not easy for the man whom Fortune never deceives to reflect on the uncertainties and accidents of life. What I was at Thrasymenus and at Cannae, that you are today. You were hardly old enough to bear arms when you were placed in high command, and in all your enterprises, even the most daring, Fortune has never played you false.  You avenged the deaths of your father and your uncle, and that disaster to your house became the occasion of your winning a glorious reputation for courage and filial piety.  You recovered the lost provinces of Spain after driving four Carthaginian armies out of the country.  Then you were elected consul, and whilst your predecessors had hardly spirit enough to protect Italy, you crossed over to Africa, and after destroying two armies and capturing and burning two camps within an hour, taking the powerful monarch Syphax prisoner, and robbing his dominions and ours of numerous cities you have at last dragged me away from Italy after I had kept my hold upon it for sixteen years.  It is quite possible that in your present mood you should prefer victory to an equitable peace; I, too, know the ambition which aims at what is great rather than at what is expedient; on me, too, a fortune such as yours once shone.  But if in the midst of success the gods should also give us wisdom, we ought to reflect not only on what has happened in the past but also upon what may happen in the future. To take only one instance, I myself am a sufficient example of the fickleness of fortune.  Only the other day I had placed my camp between your city and the Anio and was advancing my standards against the walls of Rome-here you see me, bereaved of my two brothers, brave soldiers and brilliant generals as they were, in front of the walls of my native place which is all but invested, and begging on behalf of my city that it may be spared the fate with which I have threatened yours.  The greater a man's good fortune the less ought he to count upon it. Success attends you and has deserted us, and this will make peace all the more splendid to you who grant it; to us who ask for it it is a stern necessity rather than an honourable surrender.  Peace once established is a better and safer thing than hoping for victory; that is in your hands, this in the hands of the gods. Do not expose so many years' good fortune to the hazard of a single hour.  You think of your own strength, but think too of the part which fortune plays and the even chances of battle. On both sides there will be swords and men to use them, nowhere does the event less answer expectation than in war.  Victory will not add so much to the glory which you can now win by granting peace, as defeat will take away from it. The chances of a single hour can annihilate all the honours you have gained and all you can hope for.  If you cement a peace, P. Cornelius, you are master of all, otherwise you will have to accept whatever fortune the gods send you.  M. Atilius Regulus on this very soil would have afforded an almost unique instance of the success which waits on merit, had he in the hour of victory granted peace to our fathers when they asked for it. But as he would set no bounds to his prosperity, nor curb his elation at his good fortune, the height to which he aspired only made his fall the more terrible.  "It is for him who grants peace, not for him who seeks it, to name the terms, but perhaps it may not be presumptuous in us to assess our own penalty.  We consent to everything remaining yours for which we went to war-Sicily, Sardinia, Spain and all the islands that lie between Africa and Italy. We Carthaginians, confined within the shores of Africa, are content, since such is the will of the gods, to see you ruling all outside our frontiers by sea and land as your dominions.  I am bound to admit that the lack of sincerity lately shown in the request for peace and in the non-observance of the truce justified your suspicions as to the good faith of Carthage.  But, Scipio, the loyal observance of peace depends largely upon the character of those through whom it is sought.  I hear that your senate have sometimes even refused to grant it because the ambassadors were not of sufficient rank.  Now it is Hannibal who seeks it, and I should not ask for it if I did not believe it to be advantageous to us, and because I believe it to be so I shall keep it inviolate.  As I was responsible for beginning the war and as I conducted it in a way which no one found fault with until the gods were jealous of my success, so I shall do my utmost to prevent any one from being discontented with the peace which I shall have been the means of procuring."
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