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Scipio's Speech Continued

"Nor again can it have been any dissatisfaction with the position of affairs. For when was any prosperity greater? When has Rome won more victories, when have her arms had brighter prospects than now? But perhaps some faint-heart will say that our enemies have more numerous advantages, fairer and more certain prospects than ourselves. Which, pray, of these enemies? Is it Andobales and Mandonius? But which of you is ignorant of the fact that these men first betrayed the Carthaginians and joined us, and now once more, in defiance of their oaths and pledges, have come forward as our opponents? It is a fine thing surely to become the enemies of your country in reliance on such men as these! Nor again had you any prospect of becoming masters of Iberia by your own prowess: for you would not have been strong enough, even in conjunction with Andobales, to meet us in the field, to say nothing of doing so without such aid. I should like then to ask,—what was it in which you trusted? Surely not in the skill and valour of the leaders whom you have now elected, or in the fasces and axes which were borne in front of them,—men of whom I will not deign to say even another word. All this, my men, is absolutely futile; nor will you be able to allege even the smallest just complaint against me or your country. Wherefore I will undertake your defence to Rome and myself, by putting forward a plea which all the world will acknowledge to hold good. And it is that, a crowd is ever easily misled and easily induced to any error. Therefore it is that crowds are like the sea, which in its own nature is safe and quiet; but, when winds fall violently upon it, assumes the character of the blasts which lash it into fury: thus a multitude also is ever found to be what its leaders and counsellors are. Acting on this consideration, I and all my fellow-officers hereby offer you pardon and amnesty for the past: but to the guilty authors of the mutiny we are resolved to show no mercy, but to punish them as their misconduct to their country and to ourselves deserves."

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