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[86] So spake Banno, but the consuls showed by their stern looks that they would yield nothing. When he had ceased, Censorinus replied: "What is the use of repeating what the Senate has ordered? It has issued its decrees and they must be carried out. We have no power to alter the commands already laid upon us. If we were addressing you as enemies, Carthaginians, it would be necessary only to speak and then to use force, but since this is a matter of the common good (somewhat of our own and still more of yours), I have no objection to giving you the reasons, if you may be thus persuaded instead of being coerced. The sea reminds you of the dominion and power you once acquired by means of it. It prompts you to wrong-doing and brings you to grief. By this means you invaded Sicily and lost it again. Then you invaded Spain and were driven out of it. While a treaty was in force you plundered merchants on the sea, and ours especially, and in order to conceal the crime you threw them overboard, until finally you were caught at it, and then you gave us Sardinia by way of penalty. Thus you lost Sardinia also by means of this sea, which always begets a grasping disposition by the very facilities which it offers for gain.1

1 Here Censorinus touches the real cause of the expedition. "It was, of course, the commercial monopolists," says Professor Mahaffy, "and not old Cato and his figs, who destroyed Carthage. These horse-leeches of the world could not bear the modest rivalry of either Corinth or Carthage."

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