There was great rejoicing at Rome that this mighty city, which had brought so many calamities upon them and had been the second or third in the leadership of the world, had been completely vanquished. But there were differences of opinion as to what should be done. Some were exceedingly bitter toward the Carthaginians. Others had pity on them, thinking that this was a more becoming attitude to take respecting other people's misfortunes. One of Scipio's friends rose and said: "Gentlemen, this is not so much a question of saving Carthage as it is of preserving our faith with the gods and our reputation among men -- lest it be said that we, who have so often charged the carthaginians with cruelty, behave with greater cruelty than they, and that we, who always exercise moderation in small matters, neglect it wholly in large ones, which, on account of their very magnitude, cannot escape notice. The deed will be sounded through all the earth, now and hereafter, if we destroy this famous city, former mistress of the seas, ruler of so many islands, and of the whole expanse of water, and more than half of Africa, and which in contests with ourselves has exhibited such wonderful success and power. While they were in arms it was necessary to fight them; now that they have fallen they should be spared, just as athletes refrain from striking a fallen antagonist, and as many wild beasts spare the enemies they have thrown down. It is fitting, in the hour of success, to beware of the indignation of the gods and of the envy of mankind. If we consider closely what they have done to us, that is itself a most fearful example of the fickleness of fortune, that they are now asking us simply to save them from destruction, they who have been able to inflict so many and so great evils upon us, and not long ago were contending on even terms with us for the possession of Sicily and Spain. But, for these things they have already been punished. For their later transgressions blame the pangs of hunger, the most painful suffering that can afflict mankind, a torture that may easily dethrone the reasoning powers of men.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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