"This is what we have to say concerning the former treaties and those made with yourselves. If you do not care to hear it we will omit it altogether and have recourse to prayers and tears, the one refuge of the unfortunate, for which there is ample occasion in the greatness of our calamity. We beseech you, in behalf of an ancient city founded by command of the gods, in behalf of a glory that has become great and a name pervading the whole world, of the many temples it contains and of its gods who have done you no wrong. Do not deprive them of their festivals, solemnities, and sacrifices. Deprive not the dead who have never harmed you, of the offerings which their children bring to their tombs. If you have pity for us (as you say that out of pity you yield us another dwelling-place), spare our shrines, spare our forum, respect the deity who presides over our council, and all else that is dear and precious to the living. What fear can you have of Carthage when you are in possession of our ships and our arms and our hateful elephants? As to a change of dwelling-place (if that is considered in the light of a consolation), it is impracticable for our people, a countless number of whom get their living by the sea, to move into the country.1 We propose an alternative more desirable for us and more glorious for you. Spare the city which has done you no harm, but if you please, kill us, whom you have ordered to move away. In this way you will seem to vent your wrath upon men, not upon temples, gods, tombs, and an innocent city.
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THE PUNIC WARS
1 Literally: "It is impracticable for a seafaring people, a countless number of whom get their living by the sea," etc. Tautology, which weakens the force of an expression in English, gave it additional strength in Greek.
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