"But even if we had met ruthless enemies we have suffered enough. Our leadership on land and sea has been taken from us; we delivered our ships to you, and we have not built others; we have abstained from the hunting and possession of elephants. We have given you, both before and now, our noblest hostages, and we have paid tribute to you regularly, we who had always been accustomed to receive it from others. These things were satisfactory to your fathers, with whom we had been at war. They entered into an agreement with us that we should be friends and allies, and we took the same oath together to observe the agreement. And they, with whom we had been at war, observed the agreement faithfully afterward. But you, with whom we have never come to blows, what part of the treaty do you accuse us of violating, that you vote for war so suddenly, and march against us without even declaring it? Have we not paid the tribute? Have we any ships, or any hateful elephants? Have we not been faithful to you from that time to this? Are we not to be pitied for the recent loss of 50,000 men by hunger? But we have fought against Masinissa, you say. He was always grabbing our property, and we endured all things on your account. While holding, all the time and contrary to right, the very ground on which he was nurtured and educated, he seized other lands of ours around Emporium, and after taking that he invaded still others, until the peace which we made with you was broken. If this is an excuse for the war, we condemned those who resisted him, and we sent our ambassadors to you to make the necessary explanations, and afterwards others empowered to make a settlement on any terms you pleased. What need is there of a fleet, an expedition, an army against men who do not acknowledge that they have done wrong, but who, nevertheless, put themselves entirely in your hands? That we are not deceiving you, and that we will submit ungrudgingly to whatever penalty you impose, we demonstrated plainly when we sent, as hostages, the children of our noblest families, demanded by you, as soon as the decree of your Senate ordered us to do so, not even waiting the expiration of the thirty days. It was a part of this decree that if we would deliver the hostages Carthage should remain free under her own laws and in the enjoyment of her possessions."
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THE PUNIC WARS
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