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Quote of the day: Nero however, that he might not be known
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 30:The Appeal of the Campanians.[343 BC]
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On being admitted to an audience, their envoys addressed the senate to the following effect: senators! the people of Capua have sent us as ambassadors to you to ask for a friendship which shall be perpetual, and for help for the present hour. Had we sought this friendship in the day of our prosperity it might have been cemented more readily, but at the same time by a weaker bond. For in that case, remembering that we had formed our friendship on equal terms, we should perhaps have been as close friends as now, but we should have been less prepared to accept your mandates, less at your mercy. Whereas now, won over by your compassion and defended in our extremity by your aid, we should be bound to cherish the kindness bestowed on us if we are not to appear ungrateful and undeserving of any help from either gods or man. I certainly do not consider that the fact of the Samnites having already become your friends and allies should be a bar to our being admitted into your friendship; it only shows that they take precedence of us in the priority and degree of the honour which you have conferred upon them. There is nothing in your treaty with them to prevent you from making fresh treaties. It has always been held amongst you to be a satisfactory reason for friendship, when he who made advances to you was anxious to be your friend. Although our present circumstances forbid us to speak proudly about ourselves, still we Campanians are second to no people, save yourselves, in the size of our city and the fertility of our soil, and we shall bring, I consider, no small accession to your prosperity by entering into your friendship. Whenever the Aequi and Volscians, the perpetual enemies of this City, make any hostile movement we shall be on their rear, and what you lead the way in doing on behalf of our safety, that we shall always continue to do on behalf of your dominion and your glory. When these nations which lie between us are subjugated -- and your courage and fortune are a guarantee that this will soon come about -- you will have an unbroken dominion up to our frontier. Painful and humiliating is the confession which our fortunes compel us to make; but it has come to this, senators, we Campanians must be numbered either amongst your friends or your enemies. If you defend us we are yours, if you abandon us we shall belong to the Samnites. Make up your minds, then, whether you would prefer that Capua and the whole of Campania should form an addition to your strength or should augment the power of the Samnites It is only right, Romans, that your sympathy and help should be extended to all, but especially should it be so to those who, when others appealed to them, tried to help them beyond their strength and so have brought themselves into these dire straits. Although it was ostensibly on behalf of the Sidicines that we fought, we really fought for our own liberty, for we saw our neighbours falling victims to the nefarious brigandage of the Samnites, and we knew that when the Sidicines had been consumed the fire would sweep on to us. The Samnites are not coming to attack us because we have in any way wronged them, but because they have gladly seized upon a pretext for war. Why, if they only sought retribution and were not catching at an opportunity for satisfying their greed, ought it not to be enough for them that our legions have fallen on Sidicine territory and a second time in Campania itself? Where do we find resentment so bitter that the blood shed in two battles cannot satiate it? Then think of the destruction wrought in our fields, the men and cattle carried off, the burning and ruining of our farms, everything devastated with fire and sword -- cannot all this appease their rage? No, they must satisfy their greed. It is this that is hurrying them on to the storm of Capua; they are bent on either destroying that fairest of cities or making it their own. But you, Romans, should make it your own by kindness, rather than allow them to possess it as the reward of iniquity."

"I am not speaking in the presence of a nation that refuses to go to war when war is righteous, but even so, I believe if you make it clear that you will help us you will not find it necessary to go to war. The contempt which the Samnites feel for their neighbours extends to us, it does not mount any higher; the shadow of your help therefore is enough to protect us, and we shall regard whatever we have, whatever we are, as wholly yours. For you the Campanian soil shall be tilled, for you the city of Capua shall be thronged; you we shall regard as our founders, our parents, yes, even as gods; there is not a single one amongst your colonies that will surpass us in devotion and loyalty towards you. Be gracious, senators, to our prayers and manifest your divine will and power on behalf of the Campanians, and bid them entertain a certain hope that Capua will be safe. With what a vast crowd made up of every class, think you, did we start from the gates? How full of tears and prayers did we leave all behind. In what a state of expectancy are the senate and people of Capua, our wives and children, now living! I am quite certain that the whole population is standing at the gates, watching the road which leads from here, in anxious suspense as to what reply you are ordering us to carry back to them. The one answer will bring them safety, victory, light, and liberty; the other -- I dare not say what that might bring. Deliberate then upon our fate, as that of men who are either going to be your friends and allies, or to have no existence anywhere."

Event: First war with Samnites

Legati introducti in senatum maxime in hanc sententiam locuti sunt. "Populus nos Campanus legatos ad uos, patres conscripti, misit amicitiam in perpetuum, auxilium in praesens a uobis petitum. Quam si secundis rebus nostris petissemus, sicut coepta celerius, ita infirmiore uinculo contracta esset; tunc enim, ut qui ex aequo nos uenisse in amicitiam meminissemus, amici forsitan pariter ac nunc, subiecti atque obnoxii uobis minus essemus; nunc, misericordia uestra conciliati auxilioque in dubiis rebus defensi, beneficium quoque acceptum colamus oportet, ne ingrati atque omni ope diuina humanaque indigni uideamur. Neque hercule, quod Samnites priores amici sociique uobis facti sunt, ad id ualere arbitror ne nos in amicitiam accipiamur sed ut ii uetustate et gradu honoris nos praestent; neque enim foedere Samnitium, ne qua noua iungeretis foedera, cautum est. Fuit quidem apud uos semper satis iusta causa amicitiae, uelle eum uobis amicum esse qui uos appeteret: Campani, etsi fortuna praesens magnifice loqui prohibet, non urbis amplitudine, non agri ubertate ulli populo praeterquam uobis cedentes, haud parua, ut arbitror, accessio bonis rebus uestris in amicitiam uenimus uestram. Aequis Volscisque, aeternis hostibus huius urbis, quandocumque se mouerint, ab tergo erimus, et quod uos pro salute nostra priores feceritis, id nos pro imperio uestro et gloria semper faciemus. Subactis his gentibus quae inter nos uosque sunt, quod propediem futurum spondet et uirtus et fortuna uestra, continens imperium usque ad nos habebitis. Acerbum ac miserum est quod fateri nos fortuna nostra cogit: eo uentum est, patres conscripti, ut aut amicorum aut inimicorum Campani simus. Si defenditis, uestri, si deseritis, Samnitium erimus; Capuam ergo et Campaniam omnem uestris an Samnitium uiribus accedere malitis, deliberate. Omnibus quidem, Romani, uestram misericordiam, uestrum auxilium aequum est patere, iis tamen maxime, qui ea implorantibus aliis auxilium dum supra uires suas praestant, [ante] omnes ipsi in hanc necessitatem uenerunt. Quamquam pugnauimus uerbo pro Sidicinis, re pro nobis, cum uideremus finitimum populum nefario latrocinio Samnitium peti et, ubi conflagrassent Sidicini, ad nos traiecturum illud incendium esse. Nec enim nunc, quia dolent iniuriam acceptam Samnites sed quia gaudent oblatam sibi esse causam, oppugnatum nos ueniunt. An, si ultio irae haec et non occasio cupiditatis explendae esset, parum fuit quod semel in Sidicino agro, iterum in Campania ipsa legiones nostras cecidere? Quae est ista tam infesta ira quam per duas acies fusus sanguis explere non potuerit? Adde huc populationem agrorum, praedas hominum atque pecudum actas, incendia uillarum ac ruinas, omnia ferro ignique uastata. Hiscine ira expleri non potuit? Sed cupiditas explenda est. Ea ad oppugnandam Capuam rapit; aut delere urbem pulcherrimam aut ipsi possidere uolunt. Sed uos potius, Romani, beneficio uestro occupate eam quam illos habere per maleficium sinatis. Non loquor apud recusantem iusta bella populum; sed tamen, si ostenderitis auxilia uestra, ne bello quidem arbitror uobis opus fore. Vsque ad nos contemptus Samnitium peruenit, supra non ascendit; itaque umbra uestri auxilii, Romani, tegi possumus, quidquid deinde habuerimus, quidquid ipsi fuerimus, uestrum id omne existimaturi. Vobis arabitur ager Campanus, uobis Capua urbs frequentabitur; conditorum, parentium, deorum immortalium numero nobis eritis; nulla colonia uestra erit, quae nos obsequio erga uos fideque superet. Adnuite, patres conscripti, nutum numenque uestrum inuictum Campanis et iubete sperare incolumem Capuam futuram. Qua frequentia omnium generum multitudinis prosequente creditis nos illinc profectos? Quam omnia uotorum lacrimarumque plena reliquisse? In qua nunc exspectatione senatum populumque Campanum, coniuges liberosque nostros esse? Stare omnem multitudinem ad portas uiam hinc ferentem prospectantes certum habeo. Quid illis nos, patres conscripti, sollicitis ac pendentibus animi renuntiare iubetis? Alterum responsum salutem uictoriam lucem ac libertatem; alterum—ominari horreo quae ferat. Proinde ut aut de uestris futuris sociis atque amicis aut nusquam ullis futuris nobis consulite."