"And although no crime has a reasonable ground, nevertheless I should like to know what was your purpose, what your plan, seeing that we are dealing with a flagrant offence.
A legion formerly sent as a garrison to Regium,1
after foully slaying the leading men of the state, held that wealthy city for ten years.
For that crime the entire legion, four thousand men,2
were beheaded in the Forum at Rome. But in the first place they did not follow the lead of Atrius the Umbrian, half-soldier half-sutler, with an ominous name3
also, but of Decimus Vibellius, a tribune of the
soldiers; neither did they ally themselves with Pyrrhus, nor with the Samnites and Lucanians, enemies of the Roman people. You [p. 117]
have shared your plans with Mandonius and Indibilis4
and were to have been their comrades in arms as
well. The legion would have held Regium as its permanent abode, just as the Campanians5
held Capua, wrested away from its former Etruscan inhabitants, just as the Mamertines
held Messana in
Sicily; and it would not have gone so far as to attack the Roman people or allies of the Roman people. Was Sucro to have been your
domicile? If I had left you there when as general-in-command I was retiring from my province completely subdued, it would have been right for you to implore the help of gods and men because you were not returning to your wives and children.
"But granted that you have banished their memory also from your minds, as you have that of your country and of myself, I wish to follow up the outcome of your plan, a criminal one but not utterly
insane. If I lived and the rest of the army was intact with which I captured (New) Carthage in a single day and with which I routed, put to flight, drove out of Spain, four generals,6
four armies of the Carthaginians, would you —eight thousand men, all of you certainly of less consequence than Albius and Atrius, to whom you submitted yourselves —would you really have intended to wrest the province of Spain from the Roman
people? Suppose I take no account whatever of my name — granted that I have not been wronged by you except in your readiness to believe me dead,
tell me, if I had been dying would the state have breathed its last with me, would the empire of the Roman people have fallen with me? May Jupiter the best and greatest forbid that the city, founded with due auspices and [p. 119]
favour of the gods to endure forever,7
should live no8
longer than this frail, mortal
body! Although Flaminius, Paulus, Gracchus, Postumius Albinus, Marcus Marcellus, Titus Quinctius Crispinus, Gnaeus Fulvius, my Scipios —so many generals and so distinguished —have perished in one war, the Roman people survives and will survive, although a thousand others die, now by the sword, now by disease. At my
funeral —one man's —would the republic have been borne to its
tomb? You yourselves here in Spain, after the slaying of my father and uncle, two generals,9
appointed Septimus Marcius as your commander against the Carthaginians, who were overjoyed by their recent victory. And I am speaking just as if the Spanish provinces would have been without a
commander. But would Marcus Silanus, who was sent with me into the province with the same authority, the same command, would my brother Lucius Scipio and Gaius Laelius, my lieutenants, have failed to avenge the dignity of the high command? Could army have been compared with army, or generals with
generals? Could rank or cause have been matched? If in all these respects you had been superior, would you have borne arms against your country, against your fellow-citizens? Would you have wished Africa to rule over Italy, Carthage over the city of Rome? For what offence on the part of your country?