"I shall presently explain, in regard to this plan of my colleagues, who have not been willing to withdraw the army from Veii with its task unaccomplished, —how not merely profitable but even necessary it was.
But first I wish to speak about the actual condition of the soldiers; and I think that if I should express my meaning not in your presence only but also in the camp, the army itself [p. 13]
would judge it reasonable. Indeed, though I were1
unable to think of anything to urge myself, I could be quite content with the speeches of my opponents.
They were lately insisting that pay ought not to be given to the men, because it never had been given. How then can they object, if to those who have gained some new advantage be allotted new labour also, in proportion.
Nowhere, as a rule, is service given without recompense, nor recompense except for service; toil and pleasure, most unlike in nature, have been linked together in a sort of natural bond.
Formerly the soldier was vexed that he must serve the state at his own cost; yet he was happy to be able, for a half of the year, to till his own field and gain the means of keeping himself and his family, whether he were at home or with the army.
Now he is happy that the state affords him gain, and is glad to receive his pay. Let him therefore be resigned to remaining away a little longer from his home and his property, which is now under no heavy charges.
Why, if the commonwealth should call him to a reckoning, would it not justly say, 'You have a year's stipend, render a year's service; do you think it right that for a campaign of six months you should receive the pay of twelve?'
I dislike to dwell upon this point, Quirites; for it is thus that men who employ mercenaries ought to argue; we would deal as though with fellow citizens, and we think it only right that you deal with us as with your native country.
Either we ought not to have undertaken the war, or we ought to conduct it as befits the Roman People, and end it as quickly as possible.
And we shall end it, if we press our beleaguered foes, and quit them not till we have fulfilled our [p. 15]
hopes and captured Veii. Truly, if there were no2
other reason, the very indignity of the thing should compel us to persist!
Did all Greece once, for one woman's sake, war ten years against a city so far from home, with all those lands and seas between?
And does it irk us, being less than twenty miles away and almost within sight of Rome, to maintain a siege for a single year? Doubtless our reason for fighting is a trivial one, and we have no proper and sufficient grievance to incite us to persevere!
Seven times have they renewed the war; never have they kept faith in peace; our fields they have pillaged a thousand times; they forced the Fidenates to forsake us; our settlers there they put to death;
it was they who instigated, in violation of the law of nations, the impious murder of our envoys; they sought to raise up all Etruria against us, and they are striving to this end to-day; when our ambassadors sought redress they well-nigh did them bodily injury.