"For myself, Romans, and for Hanno here, and for all sensible Carthaginians, let me say that we are guiltless of the wrongs which you lay at our door. For when the same men, driven by hunger, did violence to your legates, we rescued them and sent them back to you. You ought not to condemn all the people of Carthage who so recently sought peace, and when it was granted eagerly took the oath to support it. But cities are easily swayed to their hurt, because the masses are always controlled by what is pleasing to their ears. We have had experience of these things, having been unable either to persuade or to restrain the multitude by reason of those who slandered us at home and who have prevented us from making ourselves understood by you. Romans, do not judge us by the standard of your own discipline and good counsel. If any one esteems it a crime to have yielded to the persuasions of these rabble-rousers, consider the hunger and the necessity that was upon us by reason of suffering. For it could not have been a deliberate intention on the part of our people, first to ask for peace, and give such a large sum of money to obtain it, and deliver up all their galleys except a few, and surrender the bulk of their territory, swear to these things, and send an embassy to Rome with the ratifications, and then wantonly to violate the agreement before our embassy had returned. Surely some god misled them and the tempest that drove your supplies into Carthage; and besides the tempest, hunger carried us away, for people who are in want of everything do not form the best judgments respecting other people's property. It would not be reasonable to punish with severity a multitude of men so disorganized and unfortunate.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE PUNIC WARS
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.