"Triumphs have been celebrated in recent years over Philip, the father of this king, and over Antiochus; both were still on the throne when the triumph was celebrated. Shall no triumph be celebrated over Perseus, who was taken prisoner and brought with his children to Rome?
Nay, if while the other commanders were mounting the Capitol in [p. 385]
the chariot, arrayed in their gold and purple, from1
below them Lucius Paulus, a lone citizen in the crowd of civilians, should ask them, ' Lucius Anicius, Gnaeus Octavius, do you consider yourselves more worthy of a triumph, or me? ' they would, I believe, yield him their place in the chariot and for very shame hand their regalia over to him.
Do you prefer, fellow-citizens, to have Gentius rather than Perseus led in a triumph, and the celebration to be made for an appendage to the war rather than for the war itself?
The legions from Illyricum will also enter the city crowned with laurel, and so will the sailors; shall the legions of Macedonia witness the triumphs of others after their own has been cancelled? What then shall become of so kingly a booty, of the spoils of so rich a victory?
What, pray, shall be the hiding-place for all those thousand sets of arms stripped from the bodies of the enemy? Shall they be sent back to Macedonia? What of the golden statues, the marbles, the ivories, the paintings, the rare stuffs, all the embossed silver, all the gold, all the royal money?
Shall they be carried to the treasury by night as if stolen? And what is more —that greatest of shows, royal prisoner of highest birth and greatest riches —where shall he be displayed to the people who have gained the victory?
Many of us can recall what crowds were drawn by the sight of King Syphax as prisoner, an appendage to the war with Carthage. Shall our prisoner King Perseus, shall the king's sons, Philip and Alexander, names of such potency, —shall they be removed from the sight of the commonwealth?
Lucius Paulus himself, twice consul, conqueror of Greece —all eyes are eager to behold him entering the city in his chariot; to this end we made him consul, [p. 387]
that he might bring to an end the war which to2
nothing less than our great shame had dragged on through four years.
When he was allotted this field of operations, when he left home, we marked him for victory and triumph with minds that read the future; and shall we deny him a triumph when he has won his victory?
Nay more —shall we rob not only Paulus, but even the gods, of the honour that belongs to them? For it is to the gods too, not only to men, that we owe a triumph.3
Your ancestors made the gods their starting-point in every important enterprise, and likewise resorted to them at the conclusion.
When consul or praetor, his lictors in their military dress, sets out for his field of action and to war, he proclaims his vows upon the Capitol; when war has ended in victory, he returns in triumph to the same gods on the same Capitol, and brings them the well-earned gifts, as he promised them in his vows.
No small part of a triumphal procession is formed by the sacrificial animals going ahead, which make it clear that the general is returning with thanksgiving to the gods for success on behalf of the commonwealth.
Away with all those sacrificial victims which he has assigned to be led in the triumphal procession, and offer them up, some here, some there! I ask you! What of the banquet of the senate, which is not held on private property, nor on the unconsecrated land of the state, but on the Capitol-is this ceremony held for the pleasure of men, or in honour of the gods?
“Will you play havoc with all these rites at the4
instigation of Servius Galba? Will the gates be closed to the triumph of Lucius Paulus? Will King Perseus of Macedonia, together with his sons, the throng of other prisoners, and the spoils of Macedonia, be left behind in the Flaminian Circus?
Will Lucius Paulus go home from the gate as a private citizen, as if he were returning from his country house? You, centurion, and you, private, harken to what the senate decrees about General Paulus rather than what Servius Galba babbles, and harken too to my speech rather than his.
He has learned nothing except talk, and that of a slanderous and malicious sort; I have on twenty-three occasions challenged and fought an enemy; I brought back the spoils of every man with whom I duelled; I possess a body adorned with honourable scars, every one of them received in front.”
He then stripped, it is said, and told in which war he had received each wound.
While displaying these, he by chance uncovered what should have remained concealed, and the swelling of his groin raised a laugh among those nearby.
“This too,” he then said, "at which you are laughing I got by sitting my horse through whole days and nights; and I feel no more shame or regret for this than for these wounds of mine, since it never hindered me from successfully conducting affairs of state at home or in the field. As a veteran soldier before young soldiers, I have displayed this body of mine which has often been marred by the sword; let Galba uncover his sleek and untouched person.
Tribunes, call back the tribes, if you please, to the5
voting; I [will join] you, soldiers ...6