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Paulus's Speech Continued

But now the conditions were quite different. For in the first place both Consuls were with the army: and were not only prepared to share the danger themselves, but had also induced the Consuls of the previous year to remain and take part in the struggle. While the men had not only seen the arms, order, and numbers of the enemy, but had been engaged in almost daily fights with them for the last two years. The conditions therefore under which the two former battles were fought being quite different, it was but natural that the result of the coming struggle should be different too. For it would be strange or rather impossible that those who in various skirmishes, where the numbers of either side were equal, had for the most part come off victorious, should, when drawn up all together, and nearly double of the enemy in number, be defeated."

"Wherefore, men of the army," he continued, "seeing that we have every advantage on our side for securing a victory, there is only one thing necessary,—your determination, your zeal! And I do not think I need say more to you on that point. To men serving others for pay, or to those who fight as allies on behalf of others, who have no greater danger to expect than meets them on the field, and for whom the issues at stake are of little importance,—such men may need words of exhortation. But men who, like you, are fighting not for others, but themselves,—for country, wives, and children; and for whom the issue is of far more momentous consequence than the mere danger of the hour, need only to be reminded: require no exhortation. For who is there among you who would not wish if possible to be victorious; and next, if that may not be, to die with arms in his hands, rather than to live and see the outrage and death of those dear objects which I have named? Wherefore, men of the army, apart from any words of mine, place before your eyes the momentous difference to you between victory and defeat, and all their consequences. Enter upon this battle with the full conviction, that in it your country is not risking a certain number of legions, but her bare existence. For she has nothing to add to such an army as this, to give her victory, if the day now goes against us. All she has of confidence and strength rests on you; all her hopes of safety are in your hands. Do not frustrate those hopes: but pay back to your country the gratitude you owe her; and make it clear to all the world that the former reverses occurred, not because the Romans are worse men than the Carthaginians, but from the lack of experience on the part of those who were then fighting, and through a combination of adverse circumstances." With such words Aemilius dismissed the troops.

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