“Do not think that only the name of the Gallogrecians is a mixture; long since both their bodies and their minds have been mixed and corrupted.
Or if they were Gauls, with whom we have fought a thousand times in Italy with varying results, so far as the issue depended on our commander, would even a messenger have come back from there?
Twice he engaged in battle with them, twice he attacked over unfavourable ground and placed his battle-line in a valley below the enemy and almost at their feet. Without hurling a weapon from their higher position, and merely flinging their naked bodies down, they could have overwhelmed us. What happened then?
Great is the fortune of the Roman people, great and terrible is its name. By the recent overthrow of Hannibal, Philip, Antiochus, [p. 159]
they were well-nigh thunderstruck. Bodies of such1
huge size were thrown into panic by sling-bullets and arrows; no sword was made bloody in combat in the Gallic war'; like flocks of birds they flew away at the first whizzing of the missiles.
But, by Hercules, we, the same Romans —Fortune reminding us what would have happened if we had had an enemy —when
on our return we had fallen in with the Thracian brigands, were slaughtered, put to flight, robbed of our baggage.
Quintus Minucius Thermus, in whose death we suffered a far greater loss than if Gnaeus Manlius, through whose rashness this defeat had come about, had fallen, was killed along with many brave men;
the army which was bringing back the spoils of King Antiochus, scattered in three sections, the van in one place, the rear in another, the trains in a third, spent one night skulking in the lairs of beasts among the thickets. For such deeds is a triumph sought? If there had been no calamity and disgrace suffered in Thrace, over what foes would you seek a triumph?
Over those, I suppose, whom the senate or the Roman people had assigned to you as enemies. This is how triumphs were granted to Lucius Scipio here and Manius Acilius yonder over King Antiochus, to Titus Quinctius not long ago over King Philip, to Publius Africanus over Hannibal and the Carthaginians and Syphax.
And even after the senate had already voted for the war, the most unimportant matters none the less were inquired into to determine to whom it should be announced: should the declaration be given in any case to the kings themselves, or was it sufficient that the declaration be delivered at some military post?2
Do you wish all these formalities to be violated and [p. 161]
thrown into confusion, the fetial laws to be done3
away with and the fetials themselves abolished?
Let there be (may I speak without offence to the gods) neglect of religious observances, let forgetfulness of the gods take possession of your hearts —is it your will that the senate should not be consulted about war? Or the motion put to the people whether they 'wish and order' war to be waged with the Gauls?
Not long ago the consuls certainly wished for Greece and Asia; yet when you persisted in decreeing them the Ligurians as their province they obeyed.
Justly, therefore, when they have waged successful war, will they ask a triumph from you by whose authority they have waged it.”