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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 4: War with Veii. Speech of Appius Claudius[403 BC]
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I [Note 1] shall subsequently show not only the expediency but even the necessity of the policy which my colleagues have adopted of refusing to withdraw the army from Veii until their object was effected. For the present I prefer to speak of the actual conditions under which it is serving, and if I were speaking not before you only but in the camp as well, I think that what I say would appear just and fair in the judgment of the soldiers themselves. Even if no arguments presented themselves to my mind, I should find those of my opponents quite sufficient for my purpose. They were saying lately that pay ought not to be given to the soldiers because it never had been given. How then can they now profess indignation at those who have gained additional benefits being required to undergo additional exertion in proportion? Nowhere do we find labour without its reward, nor, as a rule, reward without some expenditure of labour. Toil and pleasure, utterly dissimilar by nature, have been brought by nature into a kind of partnership with each other. Formerly, the soldier felt it a grievance that he gave his services to the State at his own cost, he had the satisfaction, however, of cultivating his land for a part of the year, and acquiring the means of supporting himself and his family whether he were at home or on service. Now he has the pleasure of knowing that the State is a source of income to him, and he is glad to receive his pay. Let him therefore take it patiently that he is a little longer absent from his home and his property, on which no heavy expense now falls. If the State were to call him to an exact reckoning, would it not be justified in saying, "You receive a year's pay, put in a year's work. Do you think it fair to receive a whole twelve-month's pay for six months' service?" It is with reluctance, Quirites, that I dwell on this topic, for it is those who employ mercenaries who ought to deal thus with them, but we want to deal with you as with fellow-citizens, and we think it only fair that you should deal with us as with your fatherland." |
"Either the war ought not to have been undertaken, or it ought to be conducted as befits the dignity of Rome and brought to a close as soon as possible. It will certainly be brought to a close if we press on the siege, but not if we retire before we have fulfilled our hopes by the capture of Veii. Why, good heavens! if there were no other reason, the very discredit of the thing ought to inspire us with perseverance. A city was once besieged by the whole of Greece for ten years, for the sake of one woman [Note 2], and at what a distance from home, how many lands and seas lay between! Are we growing tired of keeping up a siege for one year, not twenty miles off, almost within sight of the City? I suppose you think the reason for the war is a trivial one, and we do not feel enough just resentment to urge us to persevere. Seven times have they recommenced war against us; they have never loyally kept to the terms of peace; they have ravaged our fields a thousand times; they forced the Fidenates to revolt; they slew the colonists whom we settled there; they instigated the impious murder of our ambassadors in violation of the law of nations; they wanted to raise the whole of Etruria against us, and they are trying to do so today; when we sent ambassadors to demand satisfaction, they very nearly outraged them."
|Atqui ego, quam hoc consilium collegarum meorum, quo abducere infecta re a Veiis exercitum noluerunt, non utile solum sed etiam necessarium fuerit, postea disseram: nunc de ipsa condicione dicere militantium libet; quam orationem non apud uos solum sed etiam in castris si habeatur, ipso exercitu disceptante, aequam arbitror uideri posse. In qua si mihi ipsi nihil quod dicerem in mentem uenire posset, aduersariorum certe orationibus contentus essem. Negabant nuper danda esse aera militibus, quia nunquam data essent. Quonam modo igitur nunc indignari possunt, quibus aliquid noui adiectum commodi sit, eis laborem etiam nouum pro portione iniungi? Nusquam nec opera sine emolumento nec emolumentum ferme sine impensa opera est. Labor uoluptasque, dissimillima natura, societate quadam inter se naturali sunt iuncta. Moleste antea ferebat miles se suo sumptu operam rei publicae praebere; gaudebat idem partem anni se agrum suum colere, quaerere unde domi militiaeque se ac suos tueri posset: gaudet nunc fructui sibi rem publicam esse, et laetus stipendium accipit; aequo igitur animo patiatur se [ab domo] ab re familiari, cui grauis impensa non est, paulo diutius abesse. An si ad calculos eum res publica uocet, non merito dicat: "annua aera habes, annuam operam ede: an tu aequum censes militia semestri solidum te stipendium accipere?" Inuitus in hac parte orationis, Quirites, moror; sic enim agere debent qui mercennario milite utuntur; nos tamquam cum ciuibus agere uolumus, agique tamquam cum patria nobiscum aequum censemus. Aut non suscipi bellum oportuit, aut geri pro dignitate populi Romani et perfici quam primum oportet. Perficietur autem si urgemus obsessos, si non ante abscedimus quam spei nostrae finem captis Veiis imposuerimus. Si hercules nulla alia causa, ipsa indignitas perseuerantiam imponere debuit. Decem quondam annos urbs oppugnata est ob unam mulierem ab uniuersa Graecia, quam procul ab domo? Quot terras, quot maria distans? Nos intra uicesimum lapidem, in conspectu prope urbis nostrae, annuam oppugnationem perferre piget. Scilicet quia leuis causa belli est nec satis quicquam iusti doloris est quod nos ad perseuerandum stimulet. Septiens rebellarunt; in pace nunquam fida fuerunt; agros nostros miliens depopulati sunt; Fidenates deficere a nobis coegerunt; colonos nostros ibi interfecerunt; auctores fuere contra ius caedis impiae legatorum nostrorum; Etruriam omnem aduersus nos concitare uoluerunt, hodieque id moliuntur; res repetentes legatos nostros haud procul afuit quin uiolarent.|