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."