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What will they do at Mitylene? which has undoubtedly become yours, O Romans, by the laws of war and by the rights of victory; a city both by nature and situation, and by the description of its houses, and by its general beauty, most eminently remarkable; and its lands are pleasant and productive. That city, forsooth, comes under the same head. [41] What will become of Alexandria, and of all Egypt? How much it is out of sight! how completely is it hidden! how stealthily is it abandoned entirely to the decemvirs! For who is there among you who is ignorant that that kingdom has become the property of the Roman people by the will of king Alexander? Here now I, the consul of the Roman people, not only give no decision, but I do not even express my opinion. For it appears to me a most important matter not merely to decide oil, but even to speak of. I see a man who assures me that the will was certainly made; I know that there is a resolution of the senate extant to the effect that it accepted the inheritance; which was passed when, after the death of Alexander, we sent ambassadors to Tyre, to recover for the people money which had been deposited there by him. [42] I recollect that Lucius Philippus has often stated these things positively in the senate. I see that is agreed upon by all men, that he, who is at this present moment in possession of the kingdom, is neither of the royal family nor of any royal disposition.

It is said, on the other hand, that there is no will; that the Roman people ought not to seem to covet every kingdom under the sun; that our citizens will emigrate to those regions, on account of the fertility of the soil and the abundance of everything which exists there. [43] Will Publius Rullus, with the rest of the decemvirs, his colleagues, decide upon so important an affair as this? And which way will he decide? For each alternative is so important that it is quite impossible for you to entrust the decision to him, or to put up with his sentence. Will he desire to be popular? He will adjudge the kingdom to the Roman people. In consequence, he will also, in accordance with his own law, sell Alexandria, and sell Egypt. He will be found to be the judge, the arbiter, the master, of a most wealthy city, and of a most beautiful country; yes, he will be found to be the king of a most opulent kingdom. Will he abstain from taking all this? from desiring all this? He will decide that Alexandria belongs to the king; he will by his sentence deprive the Roman people of it.

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