“If your citizen Alcon, as he came to implore a peace from Hannibal, had in like manner brought back to you the terms of peace proposed by Hannibal, this journey of mine would have been unnecessary; by which circumstance I should not have had to come to you as the legate of Hannibal nor as a deserter.
Since he has remained with your [p. 713]
enemies, either through your fault or his own, (through his own, if he counterfeited fear; through yours, if among you there be danger to those who tell the truth,) that you may not be ignorant that there are some terms of safety and peace for you, I have come to you in consideration of the ancient ties of hospitality which subsist between us.
But that I speak what I address to you for your sake and that of no other, let even this be the proof: that neither while you resisted with your own strength, nor while you expected assistance from the Romans, did I ever make any mention of peace to you.
But now, after you have neither any hope from the Romans, nor your own arms nor walls sufficiently defend you, I bring to you a peace rather necessary than just:
of effecting which there is thus some hope, if, as Hannibal offers it in the spirit of a conqueror, you listen to it as vanquished; if you will consider not what is taken from you as loss, (since all belongs to the conqueror,) but whatever is left as a gift.
He takes away from you your city, which, already for the greater part in ruins, he has almost wholly in his possession; he leaves you your territory, intending to mark out a place in which you may build a new town; he commands that all the gold and silver, both public and private, shall be brought to him;
he preserves inviolate your persons and those of your wives and children, provided you are willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments.
These terms a victorious enemy dictates. These, though harsh and grievous, your condition commends to you. Indeed I do not despair, when the power of every thing is given him, that he will remit something from these terms.
But even these I think you ought rather to endure, than suffer, by the rights of war, yourselves to be slaughtered, your wives and children to be ravished and dragged into captivity before your faces.”