“What, if by some evil design or accident a file should break out at Veii, and the flames spread by the wind, as may happen, should consume a considerable portion of the city; are we then to seek Fidenae, or Gabii, or any other city to remove to?
Has our native soil so slight a hold on us, or this earth which we call mother; or does our love of country lie merely in the surface and in the timber of the houses?
For my part, I will acknowledge to you, whilst I was absent, though I am less disposed to remember this as the effect of tour injustice than of my own misfortune, as often as my country came into my mind, all these circumstances occurred to me, the hills, the plains, the Tiber, the face of the country familiar to my eyes, and this sky, beneath which I had been born and educated; may these now induce you, by their endearing hold on you, to remain in your present settlement, rather than they should cause you to pine away through regret, after having left them.
Not without good reason did gods and men select this place for founding a city: these most healthful hills; a commodious river, by means of which the produce of the soil may be conveyed from the inland countries, by which maritime supplies may be obtained; close enough to the sea for all purposes of convenience, and not exposed by too much proximity to the dangers of foreign fleets; a situation in the centre of the regions of Italy, singularly adapted by nature for the increase of a city.
The very size of so new a city is a proof. Romans, the present year is the three hundred and sixty-fifth year of the city; for so long a time are you waging war amid nations of such long standing; yet not to mention single cities, neither the Volscians combined with the Aequans, so many and such strong towns, nor all Etruria, so potent by land and sea, occupying the breadth of Italy between the two seas, can [p. 390]
cope with you in war.
And as the case is so, where, in the name of goodness, is the wisdom in you who have tried [this situation] to make trial now of some other, when, though your own valour may be removed elsewhere, the fortune of this place certainly cannot be transferred?
Here is the Capitol, where, a human head being found, it was foretold that in that place would be the head of the world, and the chief seat of empire. Here, when the Capitol was to be freed by the rites of augury, Juventas and Terminus, to the very great joy of our fathers, suffered not themselves to be moved. Here is the fire of Vesta, here the Ancilia sent down from heaven, here are all the gods propitious to you if you stay.”