This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Whilst the debate was revolving entirely round these details Hannibal was asked for his opinion, and in what he said he turned the thoughts of the king and of all present to the consideration of the war as a whole.  He spoke as follows: "If I had been taken into your counsels after we landed in Greece and you were deliberating about Euboea and the Achaeans and Boeotia, I should have expressed the same view which I am expressing now with regard to the Thessalians.  I consider that it is of the first importance that we should use every possible means to bring Philip and the Macedonians into an armed alliance with us.  As to Euboea and the Boeotians and the Thessalians, who can doubt that these people who have no strength of their own and always cringe before a power which is present to their eyes will display the same craven spirit which marks the proceedings of their councils in suing for pardon, and as soon as they see a Roman army in Greece will turn to their accustomed obedience?  Nor will they be blamed for refusing to try conclusions with your strength when you and your army are amongst them and the Romans are far away.  How much sooner ought we-how much better would it be-to secure the adhesion of Philip than of these people! For if he once takes up the cause he will have everything at stake, and he will contribute an amount of strength which will not only be an accession to us in a war with Rome, but was not long ago sufficient of itself to withstand the Romans.  I trust I shall not give offence in saying that with him as our ally I cannot feel doubtful as to the issue, for I see that those through whose assistance the Romans prevailed against Philip will now be the men by whom the Romans themselves are opposed.  The Aetolians, who as is universally admitted defeated Philip, will now be fighting in company with him against the Romans.  Amynander and the Athamanians, who next to the Aetolians rendered the greatest service in the war, will be on our side.  While you, Antiochus, had not yet moved, Philip sustained the whole weight of the war; now you and he, the mightiest monarchs in Asia and Europe, will direct your united strength against a single people who-to say nothing of my own fortunes, good or bad-were at all events in the days of our fathers no match for even one king of Epirus, and how can he possibly be compared with you?  "What considerations then give me ground for believing that Philip can be made our ally? One is the identity of interests, which is the surest bond of alliance. The other is your own assurance, Aetolians.  For amongst the reasons which your envoy Thoas gave for inducing Antiochus to come to Greece, the strongest was his constant asseveration that Philip was complaining and chafing under the servile conditions imposed upon him in the guise of peace. He used to compare the king's rage to that of some animal chained or shut up and longing to burst his prison bars.  If that is his state of mind, let us loose his chains and burst the bars that hold him in so that he can vent his long-restrained rage on our common foe. But if our delegates are unable to influence him, let us at all events see to it that if we cannot get him on our side the enemy does not get him on his side.  Your son Seleucus is at Lysimachia; if with the army he has with him he traverses Thrace and begins to lay waste the adjacent parts of Macedonia, he will easily turn Philip aside from actively assisting the Romans to the defence of his own dominions.  "You are in possession of my opinions about Philip. As regards the general strategy of the war, you have known from the outset what my views are.  Had I been listened to then, it would not have been the capture of Chalcis or the storming of a fort on the Euripus that the Romans would have heard about; they would have learnt that Etruria and Liguria and the coastal districts of Cisalpine Gaul were wrapped in the flames of war and, what would have alarmed them most of all, that Hannibal was in Italy. I am of opinion that even now you ought to bring up the whole of your military and naval forces and let a fleet of transports accompany them laden with supplies.  We here are too few for the requirements of war and too many for our scanty commissariat. When you have concentrated your entire strength, Antiochus, you might divide your fleet and keep one division cruising off Corcyra, that there may be no safe and easy passage for the Romans, the other you would [18??] send across to the coast of Italy opposite Sardinia and Africa.  You yourself would advance with all your land forces into the country round Byllis; from there you would protect Greece and give the Romans the impression that you are going to sail to Italy, and should circumstances render it necessary you will be in readiness to do so.  This is what I advise you to do, and though I may not be profoundly versed in every phase of war, how to war with the Romans at all events I have learnt through success and failure alike. In the measures which I have advised you to take I promise to co-operate most loyally and energetically.  I trust that whatever course, Antiochus, seems best to you may receive the approval of the gods."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.