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Harangues of Hannibal and Scipio

Having by this example made the impression he desired upon the minds of his troops, Hannibal
Hannibal's speech.
then came forward himself and said, "that he had exhibited these captives in order that they might see in the person of others a vivid representation of what they had to expect themselves, and might so lay their plans all the better in view of the actual state of affairs. Fortune had summoned them to a life and death contest very like that of the two captives, and in which the prize of victory was the same. For they must either conquer, or die, or fall alive into the hands of their enemies; and the prize of victory would not be mere horses and military cloaks, but the most enviable position in the world if they became masters of the wealth of Rome: or if they fell in battle their reward would be to end their life fighting to their last breath for the noblest object, in the heat of the struggle, and with no sense of pain; while if they were beaten, or from desire of life were base enough to fly, or tried to prolong that life by any means except victory, every sort of misery and misfortune would be their lot: for it was impossible that any one of them could be so irrational or senseless, when he remembered the length of the journey he had performed from his native land, and the number of enemies that lay between him and it, and the size of the rivers he had crossed, as to cherish the hope of being able to reach his home by flight. They should therefore cast away such vain hopes, and regard their position as being exactly that of the combatants whom they had but now been watching. For, as in their case, all congratulated the dead as much as the victor, and commiserated the survivors; so they should think of the alternatives before themselves, and should, one and all, come upon the field of battle resolved, if possible, to conquer, and, if not, to die. Life with defeat was a hope that must by no means whatever be entertained. If they reasoned and resolved thus, victory and safety would certainly attend them: for it never happened that men who came to such a resolution, whether of deliberate purpose or from being driven to bay, were disappointed in their hope of beating their opponents in the field. And when it chanced, as was the case with the Romans, that the enemy had in most cases a hope of quite an opposite character, from the near neighbourhood of their native country making flight an obvious means of safety, then it was clear that the courage which came of despair would carry the day."

When he saw that the example and the words he had spoken had gone home to the minds of the rank and file, and that the spirit and enthusiasm which he aimed at inspiring were created, he dismissed them for the present with commendations, and gave orders for an advance at daybreak on the next morning.

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