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Quote of the day: As for you, the exile of your father, an
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 40: Speech of Scipio[218 BC]
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"If, soldiers, I [Note 1] were leading out that army to battle which I had with me in Gaul, I should have thought it superfluous to address you; for of what use would it be to exhort either those horsemen who so gloriously vanquished the cavalry of the enemy at the river Rhone, or those legions with whom, pursuing this very enemy flying before us, I obtained in lieu of victory, a confession of superiority, shown by his retreat and refusal to fight? Now because that army, levied for the province of Spain, maintains the warunder my auspices [Footnote: Because Spain was his proper province as consul.] and the command of my brother Gnaeus Scipio, in the country where the senate and people of Rome wished him to serve, and since I, that you might have a consul for your leader against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, have offered myself voluntarily for this contest, few words are required to be addressed from a new commander to soldiers unacquainted with him. That you may not be ignorant of the nature of the war nor of the enemy, you have to fight, soldiers, with those whom in the former war you conquered both by land and sea; from whom you have exacted tribute for twenty years; from whom you hold Sicily and Sardinia, taken as the prizes of victory. In the present contest, therefore, you and they will have those feelings which are wont to belong to the victors and the vanquished. Nor are they now about to fight because they are daring, but because it is unavoidable; except you can believe that they who declined the engagement when their forces were entire, should have now gained more confidence when two-thirds of their infantry and cavalry have been lost in the passage of the Alps, and when almost greater numbers have perished than survive. Yes, they are few indeed, (some may say,) but they are vigorous in mind and body; men whose strength and power scarce any force may withstand. On the contrary, they are but the resemblances, nay, are rather the shadows of men; being worn out with hunger, cold, dirt, and filth, and bruised and enfeebled among stones and rocks. Besides all this, their joints are frost-bitten, their sinews stiffened with the snow, their limbs withered up by the frost, their armour battered and shivered, their horses lame and powerless. With such cavalry, with such infantry, you have to fight: you will not have enemies in reality, but rather their last remains. And I fear nothing more than that when you have fought Hannibal, the Alps may appear to have conquered him. But perhaps it was fitting that the gods themselves should, without any human aid, commence and carry forward a war with a leader and a people that violate the faith of treaties; and that we, who next to the gods have been injured, should finish the contest thus commenced and nearly completed."

Note 1: I = Publius Cornelius Scipio

Event: Hannibal in North Italy. Battle of Ticinus and Trebia