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The other consul, Laevinus, then consulted the senate as to what reply was to be given to the petition of the Sicilians. There was a long debate and great divergence of opinion.  Many of those present supported the view expressed by T. Manlius Torquatus. They were of opinion that hostilities ought to have been directed against the tyrants, who were the common enemies of Syracuse and of Rome. The city ought to have been allowed to surrender, not taken by storm, and when surrendered it ought to have had its own laws and liberties guaranteed to it, instead of being ruined by war after it had been worn out by a deplorable servitude under its tyrants.  The struggle between the tyrants and the Roman general in which Syracuse was the prize of victory had resulted in the utter destruction of a most famous and beautiful city, the granary and treasury of the Roman people. The commonwealth had frequently experienced its generosity, especially in the present Punic war, and the City had been embellished by its munificent gifts.  If Hiero, that loyal supporter of the power of Rome, could rise from the dead, with what face would any one dare to show him either Rome or Syracuse? In the one-his own city-he would see universal spoliation and a large part of it burnt, and as he approached the other he would see just outside its walls, almost within its gates, the spoils of his country. This was the line of argument urged by those who sought to create a feeling against the consul and evoke sympathy for the Sicilians.  The majority, however, did not take such an [6??] unfavourable view of his conduct, and a decree was passed confirming the acts of Marcellus both during the war and after his victory, and declaring that the senate would for the future make the interests of the Syracusans their charge and would instruct Laevinus to safeguard the property of the citizens so far as he could without inflicting any loss on the State.  Two senators were sent to the Capitol to request the consul to come back, and after the Sicilians had again been brought in, the decree was read to them. Some kind words were addressed to the envoys and they were dismissed.  Before they left the House they flung themselves on their knees before Marcellus and implored him to forgive them for what they had said in their anxiety to gain sympathy and relief in their distress. They also begged him to take them and their city under his protection, and look upon them as his clients. The consul promised that he would do so, and after a few gracious words dismissed them.
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