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[90] Having spoken thus, Censorinus paused. When the Carthaginians, thunderstruck, answered not a word, he added, "All that can be said in the way of persuasion and consolation has been said. The order of the Senate must be carried out, and quickly too. Therefore take your departure, for you are still ambassadors." When he had thus spoken they were thrust out by the lictors, but as they foresaw what was likely to be done by the people of Carthage, they asked permission to speak again. Being readmitted they said, "We see that your orders are inexorable since you will not even allow us to send an embassy to Rome. Nor can we hope to return to you again, since we shall be slain by the people of Carthage before we have finished speaking to them. We pray you, therefore, not on our account (for we are ready to suffer everything), but on account of Carthage itself, that you will, if possible, strike terror into them so that they may be able to endure this calamity. Advance your fleet to the city while we are returning by the road, so that, seeing and hearing what you have ordered, they may learn to bear it if they can. To this state has dire necessity brought us that we ask you to hasten your ships against our fatherland." Having spoken thus, they departed, and Censorinus set sail with twenty quinqueremes and cast anchor alongside the city. Some of the ambassadors wandered away from the road, but the greater part moved on in silence.


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