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An audience was granted them, and the senior delegate addressed the senate in the following terms: "Whatever importance, senators, you attach to our complaints must, I am well aware, depend very largely upon your knowing accurately the circumstances under which Locri was betrayed to Hannibal, and after the expulsion of his garrison was again brought under your suzerainty.  For if our senate and people were in no way responsible for the defection, and it can be shown that our return to your obedience was brought about not only with our full consent, but even by our own efforts and courage, then you will feel all the more indignation at such shameful outrages having been inflicted by your officer and soldiers upon good and faithful allies.  I think, however, that we ought to put off for another time any explanation of our double change of sides, for two reasons.  One is that the matter ought to be discussed when P. Scipio is present, as he recaptured Locri and was an eyewitness of all our acts, both good and bad, and another reason is that, however bad we may be, we ought not to have suffered as we have done.  We do not deny, senators, that when we had the Carthaginian garrison in our citadel we had to submit to many acts of insolence and cruelty at the hands of Hamilcar and his Numidians and Africans, but what were they compared with what we are going through today?  I pray, senators, that you will not take offence at what I am most reluctantly compelled to say. The whole world is waiting in feverish expectation to see whether you or the Carthaginians are to be the lords of the earth.  If the choice between Roman and Punic supremacy depended upon the way in which the Carthaginians have treated us Locrians as compared with what we are suffering today from your soldiers, there is not one of us who would not prefer their rule to yours.  And yet in spite of all this, see what our feeling towards you has been. When we were suffering comparatively slight injuries from the Carthaginians we betook ourselves to your commander; now that we are suffering from your troops injuries worse than any enemy would inflict it is before you and no one else that we lay our complaint.  If you, senators, do not show any regard for our misery, there is nothing left which we can pray for, even to the immortal gods themselves."  Q. Pleminius was sent with a body of troops to recover Locri from the Carthaginians and was left with his troops in the city.  In this officer of yours-the extremity of misery gives me courage to speak freely-there is nothing human except his face and appearance, there is no trace of the Roman save in his garb and speech;  he is a wild beast, a monster such as were fabled to haunt the waters which divide us from Sicily, to the destruction of navigators.  If he were content with wreaking his own villainy and lust and rapacity upon your allies, we might fill up this one gulf, deep as it is, by patient endurance, but as it is, he has been so [14??] eager to spread licentiousness and wickedness indiscriminately that he has made every centurion and every private soldier into a Pleminius.  They all alike rob, plunder, beat, wound, kill, outrage matrons, maidens and boys torn from their parent's arms.  Each day witnesses a fresh storm, a fresh sack of our city; everywhere, day and night, it is echoing with the shrieks of women who are being seized and carried off.  Any one who knows what is going on might wonder how we are able to endure it all, or why they have not become weary of their crimes. I cannot go into details, nor is it worth your while to hear what each of us has suffered; I will give you a general description.  There is not a single house in Locri, I venture to assert, not a single individual who has escaped ill-treatment; there is no form of villainy or lust or rapacity which has not been practiced upon everyone who was a suitable victim.  It is difficult to decide which is the worst misfortune for a city, to be captured by an enemy in war, or to be crushed by force and violence by a sanguinary tyrant.  All the horrors which attend the capture of a city we have suffered and are suffering to the utmost; all the tortures which ruthless and cruel tyrants inflict on their down-trodden subjects Pleminius has inflicted on us, our children and our wives."
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