"Romans, you desire a good name and reputation for piety in all that you do, and you announce and claim moderation in all your successes and acquisitions. Do not, I implore you in the name of Jove and of your other gods, as well as of those who still preside over Carthage (and may they never remember ill against you or your children), do not tarnish your good name for the first time in your dealings with us. Do not defile your reputation by an act so horrible to do and to hear, and which you will be the first in all history to perform. Greeks and barbarians have waged many wars, and you, Romans, have waged many against other nations, but no one has ever destroyed a city whose people had surrendered before the fight, and delivered up their arms and children, and submitted to every other penalty that could be imposed upon men. Reminding you of the oaths sworn before the gods, of the mutability of the human lot, and the avenging Nemesis that ever lies in wait for the fortunate, we beseech you not to do violence to your own fair record, and not to push our calamities to the last extremity. Or, if you cannot spare our city, grant us time to send another embassy to your Senate to present our petition. Although the intervening time is short, it will bring long agony to us through the uncertainty of the event. It will be all the same to you whether you execute your purposes now or a little later, and in the meantime you will have performed a pious and humane act."
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THE PUNIC WARS
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