Can you ask for more competent1
authorities? The denial comes from those virtues,
for it is characteristic of them to await nothing
with fear, to rise superior to all the vicissitudes of
earthly life, and to count nothing intolerable that
can befall a human being. What, then, did he do?
He came into the senate and stated his mission;
but he refused to give his own vote on the question;
for, he held, he was not a member of the senate so
long as he was bound by the oath sworn to his
enemies. And more than that, he said—“What a
foolish fellow,” someone will say, “to oppose his
own best interests” —he said that it was not expedient that the prisoners should be returned; for
they were young men and gallant officers, while he
was already bowed with age. And when his counsel
prevailed, the prisoners were retained and he himself returned to Carthage; affection for his country
and his family failed to hold him back. And even
then he was not ignorant of the fact that he was
going to a most cruel enemy and to exquisite torture;
still, he thought his oath must be sacredly kept.
And so even then, when he was being slowly put
to death by enforced wakefulness, he enjoyed a
happier lot than if he had remained at home an
aged prisoner of war, a man of consular rank forsworn.