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42. "Foreign examples are these that I am recalling and too ancient. Let that same Africa of yours and Marcus Atilius,1 a striking example of good fortune and bad, be a lesson to [2] us. Verily, Publius Cornelius, when you sight Africa from the sea your [p. 171]Spanish provinces will seem to you to have been mere2 child's [3] play. For what is there that is comparable? Over an unmolested sea you sailed along the coast of Italy and Gaul,3 and put in with your fleet at Emporiae, a city of our [4] allies. Landing your troops you led them through country everywhere perfectly safe and reached allies and friends of the Roman people at Tarraco. From Tarraco it was then a march from one Roman post to [5] another. Along the Hiberus were the armies of your father and uncle, which after losing their generals had gained more spirit even from disaster. Their commander also was the well-known Lucius Marcius,4 irregularly appointed, to be sure, being chosen for an emergency by vote of the soldiers, but if nobility and the normal magistracies added their distinction, equal to famous generals in all the arts of [6] war. (New) Carthage was taken without any interference, since none of the three Punic armies came to the defence of their allies. The rest of your campaign —and I do not belittle it [7] —cannot, however, be compared in any way with a war in Africa, where there is no harbour open to our fleet, no subjugated territory, no allied city, no friendly king, no place anywhere to hold your ground, no place to advance, while wherever you look, the country all about you will be hostile and dangerous.

"Can it be that you trust Syphax and the Numidians? Let it suffice to have trusted them [8] once. Not always is rashness successful, and treachery seeks in small matters to ensure trustfulness, so that when it becomes worth while, it may deceive with great profit. The enemy did not overpower your father and uncle by force of arms until the Celtiberian allies had done so by [9] treachery. Nor in your own case was [p. 173]there as much danger from Mago and Hasdrubal,5 generals of the enemy, as from Indibilis and Mandonius, who had come under your protection. Can you trust the Numidians after experiencing a mutiny of your own [10] soldiers? Both Syphax and Masinissa prefer that they themselves rather than the Carthaginians should be supreme in Africa, and the Carthaginians rather than anyone else. At present rivalry between them and all possible reasons for contention spur them on because the foreigners whom they fear are far [11] away. Show them Roman arms and a foreign-born army, and now they will rush, as it were, to put out a fire that concerns them [12] all. In one fashion those same Carthaginians have defended Spain; in quite another fashion will they defend the walls of their native city, the temples of the gods, their altars and hearths, when as they go out to battle a frightened wife will escort them and little children will throw themselves in their way.

[13] "Furthermore, what if the Carthaginians, confidently relying upon the united spirit of Africa, the loyalty of the allied kings, and their own walls, shall take the initiative themselves when they have seen Italy stripped of protection from yourself and your [14] army? What if they either send a new army into Italy from Africa, or order Mago —and it is known that he has crossed from the Balearic Islands on his fleet and is already sailing along the coast held by the Alpine Ligurians —to unite with [15] Hannibal? Surely we shall be in the same panic as we were recently when Hasdrubal crossed into Italy —the man whom you, who are about to invest not merely Carthage but all Africa by your army, allowed to slip out of your hands into Italy. He had been defeated by you, [p. 175]you will say; all the more do I regret —and this for6 your own sake, not merely for that of the state — that a passage into. Italy was allowed to the [16] defeated. Permit us to attribute to your strategy all that resulted favourably for you and the empire of the Roman people, to ascribe the unfavourable to the uncertainties of war and to fortune. The better and braver man you are the more do your native city and all Italy keep their hold upon so capable a [17] defender. You are unable even yourself to conceal the fact that where Hannibal is, there is the centre and stronghold of this war, since you declare that your reason for crossing over to Africa is in order to draw Hannibal thither. Therefore, be it here, be it there, you will have Hannibal to deal with.

“Will you, therefore, be stronger, pray, -in Africa when alone, or here, uniting your army with that of your colleague? Do not Claudius also and Livius, the consuls, by a very recent instance prove how great a difference that [18] makes? And tell me, pray, will the remote and secluded Bruttian territory make Hannibal stronger in arms and men, when he: has long been begging in vain for auxiliaries from home, or rather Carthage near at hand and all Africa her [19] ally? What is that plan of yours, to prefer to decide the issue just where your forces are reduced by one-half, the forces of the enemy greatly increased, rather than where two armies have to fight against one exhausted by so many battles and a service so long and so [20] hard? Reflect how different is your plan from that of your father. He as consul had set out for Spain, but he [p. 177]returned to Italy from his province in order to meet7 Hannibal as he came down from the [21] Alps.8 You, although Hannibal is in Italy, are preparing to leave Italy, not because you think it to the advantage of the state, but because you hold it great and glorious for yourself. It was thus that leaving province and army, unauthorized by any law or decree of the senate, you, a commanding general of the Roman people, entrusted to two ships the fortune of the state and majesty of the empire, which were at that time endangered in your [22] person. My opinion is that Publius Cornelius was elected consul for the republic and for us, not for himself and his personal ends, and that armies were enlisted for the defence of the city and Italy, not that consuls in the arrogant manner of tyrants may transport them to whatever lands they choose.”

1 Regulus; Periocha 17 f.; Polybius I. xxv. 7 —xxxv.; Diodorus Sic. XXIII. 12. 15. Cf. below XXX. xxx. 23.

2 B.C. 205

3 For this voyage cf. XXVI. xix. 11 ff.

4 Cf. on xiv. 15.

5 B.C. 205

6 B.C. 205

7 B.C. 205

8 Cf XXI. xxxii. 1 ff.

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load focus Notes (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
load focus Summary (Latin, W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
load focus Summary (Latin, Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus Summary (English, Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus English (Cyrus Evans, 1850)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
load focus Latin (Robert Seymour Conway, Stephen Keymer Johnson, 1935)
load focus Latin (Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus English (Rev. Canon Roberts, 1912)
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  • Commentary references to this page (9):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.11
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.48
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.58
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 37.47
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 37.47
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 40.8
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 41.7
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.9
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.31
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (16):
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