Then Appius raised himself up where he was and said:
‘Up to this time, 0 Romans, I have regarded the misfortune to my eyes as an affliction, but it now distresses me that I am not deaf as well as blind, that I might not hear the shameful resolutions and decrees of yours which bring low the glory of Rome. For what becomes of the words that ye are ever reiterating to all the world, namely, that if the great Alexander of renown had come to Italy and had come into conflict with us, when we were young men, and with our fathers, when they were in their prime, he would not now be celebrated as invincible, but would either have fled, or, perhaps, have fallen there, and so have left Rome more glorious still?
Surely ye are proving that this was boasting and empty bluster, since ye are afraid of Chaonians and Molossians, who were ever the prey of the Macedonians, and ye tremble before Pyrrhus, who has ever been a minister and servitor to one at least of Alexander's bodyguards,1
and now comes wandering over Italy, not so much to help the Greeks who dwell here, as to escape his enemies at home, promising to win for us the supremacy here with that army which could not avail to preserve for him a small portion of Macedonia.
Do not suppose that ye will rid yourselves of this fellow by making him your friend; nay, ye will bring against you others, and they will despise you as men whom anybody can easily subdue, if Pyrrhus goes away without having been punished for his insults, but actually rewarded for them in having enabled Tarantines and Samnites to mock at Romans.’
After Appius had thus spoken, his hearers were seized with eagerness to prosecute the war, and Cineas was sent back with the reply that Pyrrhus must first depart out of Italy,
and then, if he wished, the Romans would talk about friendship and alliance; but as long as he was there in arms, they would fight him with all their might, even though he should rout in battle ten thousand men like Laevinus. It is said, too, that Cineas, while he was on this mission, made it his earnest business at the same time to observe the life and manners of the Romans, and to understand the excellences of their form of government;
he also conversed with their best men, and had many things to tell Pyrrhus, among which was the declaration that the senate impressed him as a council of many kings, and that, as for the people, he was afraid it might prove to be a Lernaean hydra for them to fight against, since the consul already had twice as many soldiers collected as those who faced their enemies before, and there were many times as many Romans still who were capable of bearing arms.