Hannibal to the Carthaginian Army


On whatever side I turn my eyes, I behold all full of courage and strength. A veteran infantry; a most gallant cavalry; you, my allies, most faithful and valiant; you, Carthaginians, whom not only your country's cause, but the justest anger, impels to battle. The hope, the confidence of invaders, is always greater than those of the defensive party.

With hostile banners displayed, you pour down upon Italy. You bring the war. Grief, injuries, indignities, fire our minds. First they demanded me, that I, your general, should be delivered up to them for punishment; next, all of you, who had laid siege to Saguntum. And we were to be put to death by excruciating tortures.

Cruel and haughty Nation! Everything must be yours, and at your disposal! You are to prescribe to us with whom we shall have war, with whom to make peace! You are to set us boundaries of mountains and rivers, which we must not pass! But you —you are not to observe the limits which you yourselves have appointed!

Pass not the Iberus! What next? Touch not Saguntum; Saguntum is on the Iberus. We must not move a step in any direction! Is it a small thing that you have deprived us of our most ancient provinces, Sicily and Sardinia? Will you take Spain also? You would have Spain too?

Well, we shall yield Spain and then you will pass into Africa. Will pass, did I say? This very year, they ordered one of their consuls into Africa, the other into Spain. No soldiers, there is nothing left to us but what we can vindicate with our swords.

Come on then, be men! The Romans may, with more safety, be cowards. They have their own country behind them. They have places of refuge to flee to and are secure from danger in the roads thither. But for you, there is no middle fortune between death or victory. Let this be but well fixed in your minds and once again I say, you are conquerors!