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Conclusion of Hannibal's Speech

"But it is about you that I am anxious, Scipio. For you are still a young man, and everything has succeeded to your wishes both in Iberia and Libya, and you have as yet never experienced the ebb tide of Fortune; I fear, therefore, that my words, true as they are, will not influence you. But do look at the facts in the light of one story, and that not connected with a former generation, but our own. Look at me! I am that Hannibal who, after the battle of Cannae, became master of nearly all Italy; and presently advancing to Rome itself, and pitching my camp within forty stades of it, deliberated as to what I should do with you and your country; but now I am in Libya debating with you, a Roman, as to the bare existence of myself and my countrymen. With such a reverse as that before your eyes, I beg you not to entertain high thoughts, but to deliberate with a due sense of human weakness on the situation; and the way to do that is among good things to choose the greatest, among evils the least. What man of sense, then, would deliberately choose to incur the risk which is now before you. If you conquer, you will add nothing of importance to your glory or to that of your country; while, if you are worsted, you will have been yourself the means of entirely cancelling all the honours and glories you have already won. What then is the point that I am seeking to establish by these arguments? It is that the Romans should retain all the countries for which we have hitherto contended—I mean Sicily, Sardinia, and Iberia; and that the Carthaginians should engage never to go to war with Rome for these; and also that all the islands lying between Italy and Libya should belong to Rome. For I am persuaded that such a treaty will be at once safest for the Carthaginians, and most glorious for you and the entire people of Rome."

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
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