It remains that the forces be compared together, with respect to their numbers, the quality of the men, and their supplies of auxiliaries.
Now, in the general surveys of that age, there were rated two hundred and fifty thousand men; so that, on every revolt of the Latin confederates, ten legions were enlisted almost entirely in the city levy.
It often happened during those years, that four or five armies were employed at a time, in Etruria, in Umbria, the Gauls also being at war, in Samnium, in Lucania.
Then as to all Latium, with the Sabines, and Volscians, the Aequans, and all Campania; half of Umbria, Etruria, and the Picentians, the Marsians, Pelignians, Vestinians, and Apulians; to whom we may add, the whole coast of the lower sea, possessed by the Greeks, from Thurii to Neapolis and Cumae; and the Samnites from thence as far as Antium and Ostia: all these he would have found either powerful allies to the Romans, or [p. 587]
deprived of power by their arms. He would have crossed the sea with his veteran Macedonians, amounting to no more than thirty thousand infantry and four thousand horse, these mostly Thessalians.
This was the whole of his strength. Had he brought with him Persians and Indians, and those other nations, it would be dragging after him an encumbrance rather than a support.
Add to this, that the Romans, being at home, would have had recruits at hand: Alexander, waging war in a foreign country, would have found his army worn out with long service, as happened afterwards to Hannibal.
As to arms, theirs were a buckler and long spears; those of the Romans, a shield, which covered the body more effectually, and a javelin, a much more forcible weapon than the spear, either in throwing or striking. The soldiers, on both sides, were used to steady combat, and to preserve their ranks.
But the Macedonian phalanx was unapt for motion, and composed of similar parts throughout: the Roman line less compact, consisting of several various parts, was easily divided as occasion required, and as easily conjoined.
Then what soldier is comparable to the Roman in the throwing up of works? who better calculated to endure fatigue? Alexander, if overcome in one battle, would have been overcome in war. The Roman, whom Claudium, whom Cannae, did not crush, what line of battle could crush?
In truth, even should events have been favourable to him at first, he would have often wished for the Persians, the Indians, and the effeminate tribes of Asia, as opponents;
and would have acknowledged, that his wars had been waged with women, as we are told was said by Alexander, king of Epirus, after receiving his mortal wound, when comparing the wars waged in Asia by this very youth, with those in which himself had been engaged.
Indeed, when I reflect that, in the first Punic war, a contest was maintained by the Romans with the Carthaginians, at sea, for twenty-four years, I can scarcely suppose that the life of Alexander would have been long enough for the finishing of one war [with either of
those nations]. And perhaps, as both the Punic state was united to the Roman by ancient treaties, and as similar apprehensions might arm against a common foe those two nations the most potent of the time in arms and in men, he might have been overwhelmed in a Punic and a Roman war at once.
The Romans have had experience of the boasted prowess of [p. 588]
the Macedonians in arms, not indeed under Alexander as their general, or when their power was at the height, but in the wars against Antiochus, Philip, and Perses; and not only not with any losses, but not even with any danger to themselves.
Let not my assertion give offence, nor our civil wars be brought into mention; never were we worsted by an enemy's cavalry, never by their infantry, never in open fight, never on equal ground, much less when the ground was favourable.
Our soldiers, heavy laden with arms, may reasonably fear a body of cavalry, or arrows; defiles of difficult passage, and places impassable to convoys.
But they have defeated, and will defeat a thousand armies, more formidable than those of Alexander and the Macedonians, provided that the same love of peace and solicitude about domestic harmony, in which we now live, continue permanent.