Thereupon he presented the ambassadors from Saguntum. The eldest of these spoke as follows: "Although no calamity exists which goes beyond what we have suffered, conscript fathers, in our desire to keep our faith with you to the very end, nevertheless, such have been your services and those of your generals towards us that we do not regret our disasters.
You undertook the war on our account; having undertaken it you have carried it on with such persistence through thirteen years that often you yourselves reached the extreme of danger and brought the Carthaginian people often to the same pass.
Although in Italy you had so terrible a war and Hannibal as your enemy, you sent a consul with his army into Spain, as if to gather up the flotsam of our shipwreck.
Publius Cornelius and Gnaeus Cornelius from the time when they came into the province never ceased doing what was in our favour and against our enemies.
First of all they restored our city to us; they sent men all over Spain in search of [p. 157]
our citizens who had been sold and out of slavery1
restored them to freedom.
When now we had almost attained an enviable lot after the utmost misery, Publius Cornelius and Gnaeus Cornelius, your generals, brought almost more sorrow to us than to you by their death.
."Then indeed we seemed to ourselves to have been dragged back from distant places to our former abode merely to perish again and to witness a second destruction of our native city.
We were thinking also that there was no need whatever of a Carthaginian general or army for our ruin, that we could be wiped out by the Turduli,2
our oldest enemies, who had been responsible for our former destruction as well, when suddenly and unexpectedly you sent us this Publius Scipio.
In seeing him declared consul and in reporting, as we intend, to our citizens that we have seen him, our hope, our help, our safety, so elected we deem ourselves the most fortunate of all the Saguntines.
On capturing many cities of your enemies in Spain he everywhere separated Saguntines from the number of captives and sent them back to their native city. Finally, as for Turdetania, which was so hostile to us that Saguntum could not stand if that tribe was
preserved, he so crushed it in war that not only we, but even our descendants do not need to fear it —without boasting be it said! We see the ruined city of a people to favour whom Hannibal had destroyed Saguntum.
We receive [p. 159]
from their territory a revenue which is not more3
welcome to us as income than as vengeance. For these things —and we could not hope or pray for greater things from the immortal gods —the
senate and people of Saguntum have sent us, ten ambassadors, to you to express our thanks, at the same time to congratulate you because for these years you have so conducted the war in Spain
and in Italy that you hold Spain subdued by arms, not merely so far as the river Hiberus, but even where Ocean sets bounds to the most distant lands, and have left the Carthaginian only so much of Italy as the fortification of his camp encircles.
To Jupiter greatest and best, defender of the Capitoline citadel, we have been bidden not merely to render thanks for all this but with your permission to carry this gift of a golden wreath also to the Capitol on account of your victory. We beg you to permit this, and if it seems best to you, that you ratify and perpetuate by your authority those advantages which your generals have bestowed upon us.
The senate replied to the Saguntine ambassadors that the destruction and restoration of Saguntum would be to all nations an example of a loyalty which both allies have maintained;
that its generals had been entirely right and had complied with the wish of the senate in restoring Saguntum and rescuing the citizens of Saguntum from slavery;
and that where ever the generals had treated them with consideration the senate had approved of such action; that they permitted them to deposit their gift on the Capitol. It was then ordered that lodgings and [p. 161]
be provided for the ambassadors, and that to5
each of them be presented not less than ten thousand asses
as a gift.6
Then the rest of the embassies were introduced into the senate and had their hearing.
And upon request of the Saguntines that they might make
a tour of Italy so far as they could safely do so, guides were furnished them and letters sent to the different towns, bidding them to receive the Spaniards hospitably.
Thereupon the senate took up matters concerning the state, the enrolment of armies, the assignment of posts.7