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The Assembly was duly convened in the Campus Martius, and before the question was put to the vote, the consul addressed the centuries in the following terms:  "You seem to be unaware, Quirites, that what you have to decide is not whether you will have peace or war; Philip will not leave you any option as to that, he is preparing war on an enormous scale both by land and sea. The only question is whether you will transport the legions into Macedonia or wait for the enemy in Italy.  You have learnt by experience, if not before, at all events in the late Punic War, what a difference it makes which you decide upon. When Saguntum was beseiged and our allies were imploring us for help, who doubts that if we had sent prompt assistance, as our fathers did to the Mamertines, we should have confined within the borders of Spain that war which, most disastrously for ourselves, we allowed through procrastination to enter Italy.  Why, this very Philip had entered into an agreement with Hannibal through his agents and in his despatches that he would invade Italy, and there is not the smallest doubt that we kept him in Macedonia by sending Laevinus with a fleet to take the offensive against him.  Are we hesitating to do now what we did then, when we had Hannibal for our enemy in Italy-now that Hannibal has been driven out of Italy and out of Carthage, and Carthage itself is completely vanquished?  If we allow the king to make proof of our slackness by storming Athens as we allowed Hannibal to do by storming Saguntum, it will not be in [7??] five months-the time Hannibal took from Saguntum-but in five days after he sails from Corinth that he will set foot in Italy. "Perhaps you do not put Philip on a par with Hannibal or consider the Macedonians equal to the Carthaginians.  At all events you will consider him the equal of Pyrrhus. Equal, do I say? How greatly the one man surpasses the other, how superior is the one nation to the other!  Epirus always has been and is today a very small accession to the kingdom of Macedonia. The whole of the Peloponnese is under the sway of Philip, not excepting even Argos, famous for the death of Pyrrhus, quite as much as for its ancient glory.  Now compare our position. Consider the flourishing state of Italy when all those generals and armies were safe and sound which have been since swept away by the Punic War. And yet when Pyrrhus attacked it, he shook it to its foundations and all but reached Rome itself in his victorious career!  Not only did the Tarentines revolt from us and the whole of that coastal district of Italy called Magna Graecia, which you would naturally suppose would follow a leader of the same language and nationality as themselves, but the Lucanians, the Bruttians and the Samnites did the same.  Do you suppose that if Philip landed in Italy, these nations would remain quiet and true to us? They showed their loyalty, I suppose, in the Punic War. No, those nations will never fall to revolt from us, unless there is no longer any one to whom they can revolt.  If you had thought it too much to go to Africa you would have had Hannibal and his Carthaginians in Italy today. Let Macedonia rather than Italy be the seat of war, let it be the enemy's cities and fields that are devastated with fire and sword. We have learnt by this time that our arms are more potent and more successful abroad than they are at home.  Go to the poll with the help of the gods, and confirm the decision of the senate.  It is not your consul only who urges you to take this course, the immortal gods also bid you do it, for when I was offering up the sacrifices and praying that this war might end happily for the senate, for myself, for you, for our allies and Latin confederates, for our fleets and armies, the gods vouchsafed every cheering and happy omen."
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