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sincerely desire peace,” he said, "why do you need any arms? Come,
, surrender to us all your weapons and war equipment, both public and private.”
The Carthaginians apparently promised to comply, but meekly pointed out that they would be defenseless against Hasdrubal, who had gathered an army of 20,000 men and threatened Carthage. Leave that to us, the consuls answered.
The consuls named two senators to supervise Carthage's disarmament; one was Nasica, and perhaps his presence inspired the Carthaginians to hope they would be treated justly. The Carthaginians collected and turned over to the Roman commission two hundred thousand complete sets of soldiers' equipment-helmets, shields, breastplates, greaves (shin guards), and weapons—swords and spears. In addition, they gave up two thousand catapults, which could huri stone projectiles or heavy arrows as far as five hundred yards, and "innumerable javelins and darts.” The Romans were incredulous, and Appian comments that "it was a remarkable and unparalleled spectacle to behold the vast number of loaded wagons which the enemy themselves brought in."
When the Roman armistice commission returned to Utica to report that all the arms had been delivered, the consuls summoned the Carthaginian delegation to hear the final condition for a peace treaty. This time Carthage had augmented its negotiators with “leading senators and citizens, priests and other distinguished persons, who hoped to inspire the consuls with respect or pity for them.” They stood before the consuls with bowed heads.
Censorinus rose. Frowning, he gazed long and silently at the Carthaginians. Then he said: Your ready obedience up to this point, Carthaginians, in the matter of the hostages and the arms, is worthy of all praise. But in cases of necessity, we must not multiply words. Bear bravely the remaining command of the Senate. Yield Carthage to us, and betake yourselves where you like within your own territory at a distance of at least ten miles from the sea, for we are resolved to raze your city to the ground.
The cringing suppliants straightened in fury. Tension against Rome had been mounting during the weeks of surrender, first of their children, then of their arms. Helpless, and few among thousands of armed men, the Carthaginians "virulently cursed the Romans, either because they wished to die, or because they were out of their minds, or because they were determined to provoke the Romans to sacrilegious violence to ambassadors. They flung themselves on the ground. When at last the frenzy was past they lay there, crushed and silent like dead men.” Even the Romans were moved.
It had taken the Carthaginians only seconds to realize the significance of Censorinus's words. Obedience meant the loss of their homes and occupations, their commercial and naval harbors, their maritime commerce and their industries, their temples and their public buildings. To build another Carthage would be a task of years, and without their
a city walls, how could they defend themselves against Masinissa and Utica?
An even more powerful motive may have animated them. Their gods dwelt in their temples, and beyond their material pursuits the Carthaginians, like their Phoenician ancestors, had only one interest: religion. They played no games, and they eschewed theaters and cir
cuses. They looked to their gods to protect their cities and their commerce, their cattle and their crops, their health and their homes, and they profoundly revered their shrines.
Materialism had motivated Carthage's repeated appeasement of Rome. Now appeasement was to cost the Carthaginians the homes of their gods. The price was too high. Whatever moderns may think of the Carthaginian religion, it was to the Carthaginians a spiritual force which was to arouse in them the fervor of a crusade.
Before dismissing the envoys, the consuls agreed to hear Banno. He said: If you still have any respect for what we have said to you before, Romans, we will speak, not as though we were contending for right (since disputation is never timely for the unfortunate), but that you may perceive that pity on your part toward us is not without excuse, and not without reason. We were once the rulers of Africa and of the greater part of the sea, and contended with yourselves for empire. We desisted from this in the time of Scipio, when we gave up to you all the ships and elephants we had. We agreed to pay you tribute and we pay it at the appointed time. Now, in the name of the gods who witnessed the oaths, spare us, respect the oath sworn by Scipio that the Romans and Carthaginians should be allies and friends. We have not violated the treaty. We have no ships, no elephants. The tribute is not in default. On the contrary, we have fought on your side against three kings. .
Banno concluded his eloquent plea with a request for permission to send another embassy to Rome. Perhaps the Senate might receive favorably their petition to preserve the city.
Censorinus rose to reply. Stern and unyielding, he began by reminding the Carthaginians that he was acting under orders of the Roman Senate. Discussion was useless. He argued merely to convince the delegation that Carthage's destruction would benefit the Carthaginians. He said: The sea reminds you of the dominion and power you once acquired by means of it. It prompts you to wrongdoing and brings you thus into disaster. The sea made you invade Sicily and lose it again. Then you invaded Spain and were driven out of it. You lost Sardinia also because of the sea, which always begets a grasping disposition by the very facilities which it offers for gain. Believe me, Carthaginians, life inland, with the joys of agriculture and quiet, is much more equable. Although the gains of agriculture are, perhaps, smaller than those of mercantile life, they are surer and a great deal safer.
The Carthaginians ought to be grateful to the Romans, he went on, for removing them from temptation. He pointed out that the new Carthage could be built only ten miles from the sea, and reminded them that Rome was twelve miles from the coast.
In speciousness, Censorinus was matchless-until, perhaps, Hitler and the Russian and Chinese Communists. He concluded with a morsel of Roman generosity: We offer you whatever place you choose to take, and when you have taken it you shall live under your own laws. This is what we told you beforehand, that Carthage should have her own laws if you would obey our commands. We considered you to be Carthage, not the ground where
Censorinus paused, and the Carthaginians remained in stunned silence. Then he dismissed the delegation with these words: All that can be said in the way of persuasion and consolation has been said. The order of the Senate must be carried out, and quickly, too. Therefore, take your departure, for you are still ambassadors.
But the delegates feared to go home with such evil tidings. To prevent violence to themselves at their countrymen's hands, they asked the Romans to send a fleet to Carthage. Humiliated and ashamed, they ended: "To this state has fortune and necessity brought us that we ourselves ask you to hasten your ships against our fatherland.”
The Romans granted the favor: a task force of their fleet anchored near the city.
But the envoys had predicted correctly the wild and wrathf:il disorder that the Roman ultimatum occasioned. It was the Pearl Harbor that united a passive and unresisting people and transformed it into a resolute and courageous, if helpless, nation.
The choice for Carthage was death in combat or death by slow attrition.
The populace clamored for war, and that night the Senate declared
No peace treaty followed the Third Punic War. None was needed, for there was no one with whom to conclude it.
Scipio, beholding this city which had flourished 700 years from its foundation, and had ruled over so many lands, islands, and seàs, as rich in arms and fleets, elephants and money as the mightiest empires, but far surpassing them in reckless courage and in readiness to act (when aroused)—since, when stripped of all its ships and arms, it had sustained famine and a mighty war for three years—now come to its end in total destruction; Scipio, beholding this spectacle, is said to have shed tears and publicly lamented the fortune of the enemy.
[The New Testament (Revised Standard Version)
COUNTING THE COSTS
From The Gospel of Luke
Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, “. . . For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, "This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.”
(A Hitopadeśa Fable from Indian Tales and Legends, Retold by J. E. B. Gray,
Oxford University Press, 1965)
(c. 9th-12th Centuries) ONCE upon a time, even though it was the rainy season, no rain fell. A herd of elephants, being tormented by thirst, said to their leader: 'Sir, there seems to be no way for us to save our lives. Here there is but a tiny pond fit for small creatures only; we are all but blind for want of a bathe. Where shall we go? What shall we do?'
Thereupon the leader of the herd went a short distance away and showed them a lake full of clear water. As the days went by, however, the hares that dwelt on the banks of the lake were crushed under the trampling feet of the elephants. A hare, Shilīmukha by name, therefore summoned all the hares together and uttered the following thoughts: "This herd of elephant is troubled by thirst and will certainly come here every day; as a result, our tribe will be destroyed.'
At this an old hare named Vijaya spoke up: 'Do not despair! I shall put a stop to this.' With this promise he set off and as he went along, he thought to himself: How shall I address the herd of elephant when I approach them? For; as people say, an elephant can kill with a mere touch; a snake can kill just by smelling one; a king has only to smile for a man to die, while a rogue can slay even when paying one respect. I shall therefore climb to the top of this mound and address the leader of the herd.
He did so, and the leader of the herd said to him: Who are you? From where have you come?'
'I am an ambassador,' the hare replied, ‘sent by the worshipful Moon.'
'Then state your business,' said the leader of the herd.
Vijaya then went on: 'Listen, most mighty elephant; even though weapons be raised against him, a messenger never speaks falsely; indeed, because his life is held sacred, he always relates the truth. I therefore speak at the command of the Moon. Listen! This is what he says: "You have acted wrongly in scattering the hares, the guardians of the Moonlake. These guardians, these hares, they are my subjects, and for this reason I am known among men as the Harein-the-Moon." 1
At these words of the hare, the leader of the herd was terrified and said: 'We did this out of ignorance. I will not go there again.'
'In that case then,' replied Vijaya, 'make your bow to the worshipful Moon who is trembling with anger in the lake here; ask his pardon and go!' So he took the leader of the herd by night and showed him the rippling reflection of the moon in the waters and made him bow the deepest of bows.
'Great lord Moon!' said the hare, 'this fellow did what he did through ignorance; let him be forgiven! With that he sent the leader of the herd about his business. Even the powerful, people say, can be overcome by pretending there is a higher authority; in this way the hares lived happily through pretending to be subjects of the Moon. 1 The Hindus see the shape of a hare in the moon; not as with us, a face.
[From The Life of St. Louis by John of Joinville, Translated by René Hague,
Sheed and Ward, New York, 1955)
A REALISTIC PEACEMAKER
By John of Joinville
(1224-1317) It was through St. Louis' negotiations that the King of England, with his wife and children, came to France to discuss the peace between the two Kingdoms. His Councillors were much opposed to this peace and said to him, "Sir, we are astonished that you should have decided to surrender to the King of England so large a part of your territory which you and your predecessors obtained from him by your conquest and his forfeiture. Our opinion of the matter is that if you do not think that you have a right to the territory you are not making proper restitution to the King of England unless you surrender all your predecessors' conquests; but if you do believe that you have a right to them, then we think that you are simply throwing away all the territory which you are ceding to him."
To this St. Louis replied, "My Lords, I know quite well that it was with complete justice that the King of England's predecessors lost the possessions which I hold; and the territory which I am giving him I am not giving because I am under any obligation to him or his heirs, but simply to foster love between his children and mine, who are first cousins. Moreover, I think that I am obtaining this advantage from my gift, that before the King of England was not my liegeman, but now he owes me homage.”'
There was no man in the whole world who worked harder for peace among his subjects, and particularly between great men who were neighbours, and the princes of the blood; as, for example, between the Count of Chalon, uncle of the Lord of Joinville, and his son, the Count of Burgundy, who, when we returned from overseas, were engaged in a bitter war. He sent some of his Council to Burgundy, at his own expense, to make peace between the father and the son, and his efforts were successful.
Later there was serious fighting between King Thibaut II of Champagne and Count John of Chalon, and his son, the Count of Burgundy, about the Abbey of Luxeuil. To put an end to this war, my Lord the King sent my Lord Gervase of Escraines, at the time Master Cook of France, whose efforts resulted in peace.
After this war, which was settled by the King, another broke out between Count Thibaut of Bar and Count Henry of Luxembourg, who had married Thibaut's sister; they fought a battle near Prény in which Count Thibaut of Bar captured Count Henry of Luxembourg and took the Castle of Ligny, which belonged to Count Henry in his wife's right. To bring them to terms, the King sent, at his own expense, my Lord Peter the Chamberlain, the man whom of all he most trusted, and again the King was successful in making peace.
Some of his Council said of foreigners whom he had reconciled that the King was unwise not to allow them to fight one another, since if he left them to impoverish themselves they would not be so ready to attack him as when they were rich. The King answered that they were wrong. “For if these neighbouring princes see that I am leaving them to