This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Then the admission of the embassies from Philip and the Carthaginians was discussed.  It was decided that the Macedonians should be introduced first. Their address dealt with various points. They began by disclaiming all responsibility for the depredations on the friendly countries of which the Roman envoys had complained to the king.  Then they themselves brought charges against the allies of Rome and a much more serious one against M. Aurelius, one of the three envoys, who they said had stayed behind and after raising a body of troops commenced hostilities against them in violation of treaty rights, and fought several engagements with their commanders.  They ended with a demand that the Macedonians with their general Sopater who had served as mercenaries under Hannibal and were then prisoners in chains should be restored to them.  In reply, M. Furius, who had been sent from Macedonia by Aurelius to represent him, pointed out that Aurelius had certainly been left behind, but it was for the purpose of preventing the allies of Rome from being driven to secede to the king in consequence of the injuries and depredations from which they were suffering.  He had not overstepped their frontiers; he had made it his business to see that no hordes of plunderers crossed those frontiers with impunity. Sopater, who was one of the purple-clad nobles who stood near the throne and was related to the monarch, had recently been sent to Africa to assist Hannibal and Carthage with money and also with a force of 4000 Macedonians.  On being questioned as to these matters the Macedonians gave unsatisfactory and evasive replies, and consequently the answer they received from the senate was anything but favourable.  They were told that their king was looking for war, and if he went on as he was doing, he would very soon find it. He had been guilty of a twofold breach of treaty, for he had committed wanton aggression on the allies of Rome by hostile arms and he had also aided the enemies of Rome with men and money.  Scipio was acting rightly and legitimately in treating those taken in arms against Rome as enemies and keeping them in chains.  M. Aurelius also was acting in the interests of the State-and the senate thanked him for it-when he afforded armed protection to the allies of Rome since treaty rights were powerless for their defence. With this stern reply the Macedonian envoys were dismissed.  Then the Carthaginians were called in. As soon as their age and rank were recognised, for they were quite the foremost men in the State, the senators remarked that now it was really a question of peace. Conspicuous amongst them all was Hasdrubal, on whom his countrymen had bestowed the sobriquet of "Haedus."  He had always been an advocate of peace and an opponent of the Barcine party.  This gave his words additional weight when he disavowed all responsibility for the war on behalf of his government and fastened it on a few ambitious and grasping individuals.  His speech was discursive and eloquent. He repudiated some of the charges, others he admitted lest unabashed denials of established facts might lead to less consideration being shown. He warned the senators to use their good fortune in a spirit of moderation and self-restraint.  "If," he continued, "the Carthaginians had listened to Hanno and myself and had been willing to take advantage of their opportunity, they would have dictated the terms of peace which now they are seeking from you. Seldom are good fortune and good sense granted to men at the same time.  What makes Rome invincible is the fact that her people do not lose their sound judgment in the hour of prosperity.  And indeed it would be a matter for surprise were it otherwise, for those to whom good fortune is a novelty go mad with unrestrained delight because they are unused to it, but to you Romans the joy of victory is a usual, I might almost say a commonplace experience. It is by clemency towards the conquered more than by conquest itself that you have extended your dominion."  The others spoke in language more calculated to evoke compassion. They reminded their audience of the powerful and influential position from which Carthage had fallen. Those, they said, who lately held almost the whole world subject to their arms had nothing now left to them but their city walls.  Confined within these they saw nothing on land or sea which owned their sway. Even their city and their hearths and homes they would only keep if the Roman people were willing to spare them; if not, they lost everything.  As it became evident that the senators were moved with compassion, one of them, exasperated by the perfidy of the Carthaginians, is said to have called out, "By what gods will you swear to observe the treaty, since you have been false to those by whom you swore before?"  "By the same as before," Hasdrubal replied, "since they visit their wrath on those who violate treaties."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.