‘Well now, suppose that either through crime or accident a fire broke out in Veii, and the flames, as is quite possible, fanned by the wind, consumed a great part of the city, are we going to look out for Fidenae or Gabii, or any other city you please, as a place to which to migrate?
Has our native soil, this land we call our motherland, so slight a hold upon us? Does our love for our country cling only to its buildings?
Unpleasant as it is to recall my sufferings, still more your injustice, I will nevertheless confess to you that whenever I thought of my native City all these things came into my mind —the hills, the plains, the Tiber, this landscape so familiar to me, this sky beneath which I was born and bred —and I pray that they may now move you by the affection they inspire to remain in your City, rather than that, after you have abandoned it, they should make you pine with home-sickness.
Not without good reason did gods and men choose this spot as the site of a City, with its bracing hills, its commodious river, by means of which the produce of inland countries may be brought down and over-sea supplies obtained; a sea near enough for all useful purposes, but not so near as to be exposed to danger from foreign fleets; a district in the very centre of Italy —in a word, a position singularly adapted by nature for the expansion of a city.
The mere size of so young a City is a proof of this. This is the 365th year of the City, Quirites, yet in all the wars you have for so long been carrying on amongst all those ancient nations —not to mention the separate cities —the Volscians in conjunction with the Aequi and all their strongly fortified towns, the whole of Etruria, so powerful by land and sea, and stretching across Italy from sea to sea —none have proved a match for you in war. This has hitherto been your Fortune; what sense can there be —perish the thought!
—in making trial of another Fortune? Even granting that your valour can pass over to another spot, certainly the good Fortune of this place cannot be transferred.
Here is the Capitol where in the old days a human head was found, and this was declared to be an omen, for in that place would be fixed the head and supreme sovereign power of the world. Here it was that whilst the Capitol was being cleared with augural rites, Juventas and Terminus, to the great delight of your fathers, would not allow themselves to be moved. Here is the Fire of Vesta; here are the Shields sent down from heaven; here are all the gods, who, if you remain, will be gracious to you.’