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Table of Contents:
1 Postumius' Advice taken.
2 Pontius Rejects the Sham Surrender.
3 ‘It is hard to say whether this trickery, at once so base and so foolish, should be ascribed to mere hypocrisy or to fanaticism; for the fanatic is as prone to falsehood as to cruelty, and justifies to himself the one no less than the other by holding that the end sanctifies the means. Yet it is a fanaticism less wicked indeed, but even more extraordinary, when a man like Livy can describe such a scene, and can represent, as he has done, the conduct of Pontius in such strong contrast with that of the Romans, without appearing to feel any admiration of the one or any shame for theother.’ (Arnold, History of Rome, II. p. 225.) Most English readers will sympathise with Dr. Arnold here; few probably will read without a sense of pain Dr. Mommsen's defence of the part the Romans played in this transaction (pp. 364-5, Vol. I.). The proposition he lays down that ‘a great nation does not surrender what it possesses except under the pressure of extreme necessity: all treaties making concessions are acknowledgments of such a necessity, not moral obligations’ is undoubtedly true from the Roman standpoint, but surely is subversive of any ehtical basis on which international amity can rest to-day.
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