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might be ignorant; and we should have to inform you of them; but now, what need of many words? Some, as you see, have been already enslaved; they are at this moment intriguing against others, notably against allies of yours; and long ago they had made all their preparations in the prospect of war. Else why did they seduce Corcyra in defiance of us, and why did they blockade Potidæa, the latter a most advantageous post for the command of the Thracian region, the former a city that might have furnished the Peloponnesians with a very large fleet?
"And the blame of all this rests on you; for you originally allowed them to fortify their city after the Persian War and afterwards to build their Long Walls, and to this hour you have gone on defrauding of liberty not only the peoples they have enslaved but now your own allies as well. For enslavement is really the work of those who could bring it to an end but have no care about it; and all the more, if they enjoy the honorable claim of being the liberators of Hellas.
"We have met at last, but with what difficulty! And even now we have no definite object. By this time we ought to have been considering not whether we are wronged but how we are to resist. The aggressors have made up their minds while we are resolved about nothing; they are attacking without hesitation. And we know the path by which the Athenians gradually encroach upon their neighbors. While they think that you are too dull to observe them, they are less venturesome; but when they see that you are consciously overlooking their aggressions, they will strike and not spare. Of all Hellenes, Lacedæmonians, you are the only people who never do anything: you defend yourselves against an assailant, not by using your power, but by giving it out that you will; you alone do not destroy your enemies when their strength is beginning to grow, but when it is doubling in size. And yet it used to be said that you were trusty. The report exceeded the truth. We all know that the Persians made their way from the ends of the earth against the Peloponnese before you went out to meet them as you should; and now you look on at the doings of the Athenians, who are not at a distance like the Persians, but close at hand. Instead of attacking your enemy, you prefer to await attack and take the chances of a struggle that has been deferred until his power is much increased. And you know that the barbarians miscarried chiefly through their own errors and that we have more often survived against these very Athenians through blunders of their own than through any aid from you. Some have already been ruined by the hopes which you inspired in them, for so entirely did they trust you that they took no precautions themselves. These things we say in no spirit of enmity-let that be understood—but by way of expostulation. For men expostulate with erring friends but bring accusations against enemies who have done them a wrong.
"And surely we have a right to find fault with our neighbors, if any one ever had. There are important interests at stake to which, as far as we can see, you are insensible. And you have never fully considered what manner of men these Athenians are with whom you
will have to fight, and how utterly unlike yourselves. They are innovators, equally quick in the conception and in the execution of every plan; while you are careful only to keep what you have and uninventive; in action you
do not even go as far as you need. They are audacious beyond their strength; they run risks which policy would condemn; and in the midst of dangers, they are full of hope. Whereas it is your nature to act more feebly than your power allows, in forming your policy not even to rely on certainties, and when dangers arise, to think you will never be delivered from them. They are resolute, and you are dilatory; they are always abroad, and you are always at home. For they think they may gain something by leaving their homes; but you are afraid that any new enterprise may imperil what you have already. When conquerors, they pursue their victory to the utmost; when defeated, they give as little ground as possible. They devote their bodies to their country as though they belonged to other men, and their minds, their dearest possessions, to action in her service. When they do not carry out an intention which they have formed, they seem to themselves to have sustained a personal bereavement; when an enterprise succeeds, they think they have gained a small installment of what is to come; but if they suffer a reverse, they at once conceive new hopes to compensate and supply their wants. For with them alone, to hope is to have, as they lose not a moment in the execution of an idea. In all these activities they wear themselves out with exertions and dangers throughout their entire lives. None enjoy their good things less because they are always seeking for more. To do their duty is their only holiday, and they deem peaceful repose to be no less of a misfortune than incessant fatigue. If a man should say of them, in a word, that it is their nature neither to be at peace themselves nor to allow peace to other men, he would simply speak the truth.
"In the face of such a rival city, Lacedæmonians, you persist in doing nothing. You do not see that peace is best secured by those who use their strength justly yet show their determination not to submit to wrong. Justice with you seems to consist in giving no annoyance to others and in escaping harm in self-defense. But this policy would hardly be successful even if your neighbors were like yourselves; and in the present case, as we pointed out just now, your ways compared with theirs are old-fashioned. And, as in the arts, it is necessary that new inventions should always triumph. In a city at peace, undisturbed traditions are best; but when it is necessary for men to engage in numerous undertakings, much inventiveness is required. The Athenians have had a wide experience and have therefore introduced far more novelties than you.
"Let your procrastination end here; assist your allies, especially the Potidæans, to whom your word is pledged, by invading Attica at once. Do not betray friends and kindred to their worst enemies or drive the rest of us in despair to seek the alliance of others; in taking such a course, we should be doing nothing wrong either before the gods who
are the witnesses of our oaths or before men whose eyes are upon us. For treaties are not broken by men who, when forsaken, turn to others, but by men who forsake allies whom they have sworn to defend. We will remain your friends if you choose to exert yourselves, for we should be guilty of impiety if we deserted you, nor should we easily find allies equally congenial to us. You must come to a wise decision on these questions and try to ensure that you exercise the leadership of the Peloponnese, transmitted to you by your fathers, no less honorably than they."
(From "On the Embassy,” Demosthenes' Public Orations, translated by A. W.
Pickard-Cambridge, J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd., London, 1963]
ON LOSING OPPORTUNITIES
(384-322 B.C.) If Aeschines in his private capacity has spoken wildly on some occasion or committed some blunder, do not be over-strict with him, but let it pass and grant him pardon: but if as your ambassador he has deliberately deceived you for money, then do not let him go, or tolerate the plea that he ought not to be called to account for what he said. Why, for what, if not for his words, is an ambassador to be brought to justice? Ambassadors have no control over ships or places or soldiers or citadels-no one puts such things in their hands—but over words and times. As regards times, if he did not cause the times of the city's opportunities to be lost, he is not guilty; but if he did so, he has committed crime. And as to his words, if the words of his report were true or expedient, let him escape; but if they were at once false, venal, and disastrous, let him be convicted. No greater wrong can a man do you, than is done by lying speeches. For where government is based upon speeches, how can it be carried on in security, if the speeches are not true? and if, in particular, a speaker takes bribes and speaks to further the interests of the enemy, how can you escape real danger? For to rob you of your opportunities is not the same thing as to rob an oligarchy or a tyrant. Far from it. Under such governments, I imagine, everything is done promptly at a word of command. But with you the Council must first hear about everything, and pass
its preliminary resolution—and even that not at any time, but only when notice has been given of the reception of heralds and embassies: then you must convoke an Assembly, and that only when the time comes for one, as ordained by law: then those who speak for your true good have to master and overcome those who, through ignorance or wickedness, oppose them. Besides all this, even when a measure is resolved upon, and its advantages are already plain, time must be granted to the impecuniosity of the majority, in which they may procure whatever means they require in order to be able to carry out what has been resolved. And so he who causes times so critical to be lost, in a state constituted as ours is, has not caused you to lose times, but has robbed you absolutely of the realization of your aims.
[The Old Testament (Moffatt Translation) ]
ABRAHAM'S INTERCESSION FOR SODOM
Then said the Eternal, “Loud is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin must be heavy indeed, we will go down and see if their deeds answer to the outcry that has reached us; we would find out whether it is so."
So the men turned away towards Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Eternal. Then Abraham went nearer and said, “Wilt thou really sweep away good and bad together? Suppose there are fifty good folk in the town; wilt thou really sweep away the place, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty good folk in it? Far be it from thee to act like that, to slay good and bad together, letting the good fare as the bad fare! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth be just?” The Eternal said, "If I can find fifty good folk in the town of Sodom, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” Then Abraham went on, "Here am I venturing to speak to the Lord, I who am mere dust and dross! Suppose five are wanting out of the fifty good folk, wilt thou sweep away the whole town for lack of five?" He replied, “I will not sweep it away, if I can find forty-five in it.” Once more he asked him,"Perhaps forty may be found in it." "I will spare it,” he said, "for the sake of the forty.”' Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, let me say one word: suppose thirty are found in it?" "I will spare it," he answered, "if can find thirty there." And he said, "Here am I venturing to speak to the Lord: suppose there are twenty found in it?”! “I will not sweep it away,” he replied, "for the sake of the twenty.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, let me say one word more: suppose ten are to be found in it?" "I will not sweep it away," he replied, "for the sake of the ten.” The Eternal went away, as soon as he ceased talking to Abraham, and Abraham went home.
(From The Rcluctant Warriors by Donald Armstrong, Thomas Y. Crowell Com
pany, New York, 1966)
THE EXAMPLE OF CARTHAGE
By Donald Armstrong
In the years immediately before and after 150, Rome's foreign policy changed from the slow procedure she had used for decades against Carthage to a more militant and aggressive imperialism.
In February of 149 B.C., Utica abruptly defected from Carthage and made her ports and their facilities available to Rome. The news shocked Carthage, but failed to surprise Rome, which had had agents busy in the city. .
Correctly interpreting Utica's treachery as an omen of a Roman threat of war, the desperate Carthaginians convened the Senate in secret session. What to do? Polybius writes that the Carthaginians could only choose between two evils, either to accept war with brave hearts or to entrust themselves to the faith of Rome," a Roman euphemism for unconditional surrender.
While Carthage talked, Rome acted. Carthage's envoys reached Rome only to learn that the Roman Senate, meeting in the Capitol, in March 149 had declared war.
The Carthaginian envoys faced a fait accompli, and "as the situation left them no choice,” they committed Carthage to the faith of Rome, i.e., they surrendered unconditionally.
It seemed, in fact, a good deal, on the basis of Roman promises. Polybius writes: Shortly after this surrender had been made by the Carthaginians, they were called into the Senate, where the praetor conveyed to them the decision of the Senate, that as they had been well advised, THE SENATE GRANTED THEM FREEDOM AND THEIR LAWS, BESIDES THEIR WHOLE TERRITORY AND ALL OTHER POSSESSIONS BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE (emphasis mine, D.A.), The Carthaginians on hearing this were pleased, thinking that in the choice of evils they had been well treated by the Senate, as all that was most essential and important had been conceded to them.
The praetor informed them that these were the peace terms provided that within thirty days they delivered to the Roman consuls three hundred hostages, sons of the senators and other distinguished Carthaginians, and if they obeyed the orders of the consuls."
Although this meant for most of them the personal loss of a son, Carthage's senators decreed immediate selection and departure of the hostages; swift compliance might soften Roman hearts. Polybius writes that without delay they chose "three hundred of their young men (and) dispatched them with great lamentations and tears, as each was escorted by his near friends and relatives, the women being especially violent in their grief."
The Roman expeditionary force had pitched camp two miles west of Utica, on a long, narrow, fairly high, steep-sided promontory extending into the Gulf of Tunis, and field fortifications made it virtually impregnable to direct attack or siege. It was called Castra Cornelia, after Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, who had camped there in the Second Punic War.
To Castra Cornelia went Carthage's envoys, headed by a spokesman named Banno. The Roman consuls had prepared for them with a spectacular exhibition of Roman military might. Lining the long road from the camp gate to the dais where the consuls waited, the 80,000 Roman infantrymen and the 4,000 horsemen stood at attention. Each legion displayed its silver eagle, each cohort a standard mounting a bronze animal, each cavalry unit its banner. Swords and spears, hel
, mets and shields gleamed in the spring sun. Trumpets sounded fanfares as the envoys slowly advanced.
Surrounded by tribunes and other aides, the consuls sat behind ropes arranged to keep the suppliants at their distance, and haughtily ordered the Carthaginians to state their requests.
Banno pleaded for reconciliation and clemency. Rome, he argued, had not needed to declare war or to send its army and fleet, for the Carthaginians had already surrendered. For fifty years they had faithfully fulfilled the terms of the old peace treaty, and now they were ready to submit to any penalty; this they had proved by giving the hostages. He enumerated Carthage's acts of appeasement. True, the Carthaginians had taken up arms against Masinissa, but that had been a natural reaction to the seizure of their territory. And had they not condemned to death the officers who had caused the war? Now they prayed for mercy and moderation, and reminded the consuls of Rome's promise that "Carthage should remain free under her own laws and in the enjoyment of her possessions."
In the Roman tradition, the Consul Censorinus responded ambiguously, then came to the point or the first of his points. "If you