Accordingly, save for being admitted and allowed a hearing, this mission also was idle and of no effect.
Hanno stood alone in pleading for the treaty against the views of the senate. There was a deep hush while he spoke, by reason of his personal authority, but he was listened to without approval. He adjured the senators in the name of the gods, vouchers for treaties and their witnesses, to provoke not a Roman along with the Saguntine war.
He had advised them and forewarned them not to send the offspring of Hamilcar to the army; neither the man's ghost nor his progeny was at rest, nor ever, so long as any of the lineage and name of Barca should survive, would the treaty with the Romans rest untroubled.
“You have sent to your armies,” he went on, “as though heaping fuel on a fire, a youth who burns with lust for sovereign power and sees but one way to obtain it —if, by sowing seeds of war, he can raise up other wars and live girt round with arms and legions.
You have therefore fed these flames with which you are now ablaze. Your armies now invest Saguntum, which the treaty forbids them to approach: ere long the Roman legions will be investing Carthage, led by those very gods who helped them in the former war to avenge the broken treaty.
Is it your enemy you know not, or yourselves, or the fortunes of both peoples? When [p. 29]
ambassadors came from allies on behalf of allies,1
your worthy general would not admit them to his camp, but thrust aside the law of nations; nevertheless these men, being driven from a place where even an enemy's envoys are admitted, have come to you. They seek amends in accordance with a treaty. That the state may be void of offence, they demand the author of the wrong, the man on whom they charge the guilt.
The more mildly they proceed, the more slowly they begin, the more obstinate, I fear, when they have
begun, will be their rage. Set Eryx and the Aegatian islands2
before your eyes, and all that you suffered by land and sea for four and twenty years.
Nor was this boy your leader, but Hamilcar himself, the father, a second Mars, as his partisans will have it.3
But we could not keep our hands from Tarentum, that is, from Italy, as by treaty bound, even as now we cannot keep them from Saguntum.
Gods therefore vanquished men, and that which had been verbally disputed —which people of the twain had broken the treaty — the outcome of the war, like an impartial judge, decided, and to those who had the right granted the victory.
It is Carthage against which Hannibal is now bringing up his pent-houses and towers; it is the walls of Carthage he is battering with his rams. Saguntum's walls —may my prophecy prove false! — will fall upon our
heads, and the war we have entered upon with the Saguntines we must carry on against the Romans.
'Shall we then surrender Hannibal?' someone will ask. I know that my [p. 31]
influence is slight, because of my quarrel with his4
father; but I rejoiced when Hamilcar perished, for this reason, that were he living, we should now be at war with Rome;
and this young man, who, like a fury, now brandishes the torch of war, I loathe and abominate, and I hold, not only that he ought to be surrendered in expiation of the broken treaty, but that, if none demanded him, he ought to be deported to the farthest limits of land and sea —to be banished to a place whence neither name nor fame of his could reach us, nor he be able to vex the quiet of our state.
My opinion is this: we should send ambassadors at once to Rome, to give satisfaction to the senate; and others to announce to Hannibal that he must withdraw his army from Saguntum, and to hand over Hannibal himself to the Romans as the treaty requires; a third embassy I would send to make restitution to the Saguntines.”