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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI

ἣν



Texte grec :

[6,16] Ὡς δὲ ταύτῃ προσέθεντο τῇ γνώμῃ καὶ οἱ προχειρισθέντες ὑπ´ αὐτῶν πρέσβεις ἀφικόμενοι πρὸς τὸν δικτάτορα καὶ παραχθέντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν διεξῆλθον τοὺς ἐξαπατήσοντας λόγους, ὀλίγον ἐπισχὼν ὁ Ποστόμιος χρόνον πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπε· Πονηρὰ βουλεύματα, ὦ Οὐολοῦσκοι, χρηστοῖς λόγοις ἀμφιέσαντες ἥκετε· καὶ πολεμίων ἔργα πράττοντες φίλων ἐξενέγκασθαι βούλεσθε δόξαν. ὑμεῖς γὰρ ἀπέσταλθε ὑπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ Λατίνοις συμμαχήσοντες καθ´ ἡμῶν, ἐπεὶ δ´ ὕστεροι τῆς μάχης ἥκετε καὶ κρατουμένους αὐτοὺς ὁρᾶτε, παρακρούσασθαι βούλεσθε ἡμᾶς τἀναντία, ὧν ἐμέλλετε πράττειν, λέγοντες. καὶ οὐδ´ ἡ φιλανθρωπία τῶν λόγων, ἣν πλάττεσθε πρὸς τὸν παρόντα καιρὸν οὐδὲ τὸ προσποίημα ὑμῶν τῆς δεῦρο ἀφίξεως ὑγιές ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ μεστὸν δόλου καὶ ἀπάτης. οὐ γὰρ συνησθησόμενοι τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ἡμετέροις ἐξαπέσταλθε, ἀλλὰ κατασκεψόμενοι, πῶς ἡμῖν ἀσθενείας ἢ δυνάμεως τὰ πράγματα ἔχει· καί ἐστε πρεσβευταὶ μὲν λόγῳ, κατάσκοποι δ´ ἔργῳ. ἀρνουμένων δὲ πρὸς ἅπαντα τῶν ἀνδρῶν οὐ διὰ μακροῦ τὴν πίστιν ἔφησεν αὐτοῖς παρέξεσθαι· καὶ αὐτίκα τὰς ἐπιστολὰς αὐτῶν, ἃς ἔλαβε πρὸ τῆς μάχης τοῖς ἡγεμόσι τῶν Λατίνων φερομένας, ἐν αἷς ὑπισχνοῦντο αὐτοῖς πέμψειν ἐπικουρίαν, προήνεγκε, καὶ τοὺς φέροντας αὐτὰς προήγαγεν. ἀναγνωσθέντων δὲ τῶν γραμμάτων καὶ τῶν αἰχμαλώτων ἃς ἔλαβον ἐντολὰς διηγησαμένων, τὸ μὲν πλῆθος λίθοις ὥρμησε βαλεῖν τοὺς Οὐολούσκους ὡς ἑαλωκότας ἐπ´ αὐτοφώρῳ κατασκόπους, ὁ δὲ Ποστόμιος οὐκ ᾤετο δεῖν ὁμοίους γενέσθαι τοῖς κακοῖς τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς κρεῖττον εἶναι λέγων καὶ μεγαλοψυχότερον εἰς τοὺς ἀποστείλαντας φυλάττειν τὴν ὀργὴν ἢ εἰς τοὺς ἀποσταλέντας, καὶ διὰ τὸ φανερὸν ὄνομα τῆς πρεσβείας ἀφεῖναι τοὺς ἄνδρας μᾶλλον ἢ διὰ τὸ ἀφανὲς τῆς κατασκοπῆς ἔργον ἀπολέσαι· ἵνα μήτε Οὐολούσκοις ἀφορμὴν παράσχωσιν εὐπρεπῆ τοῦ πολέμου πρεσβευτῶν ἀνῃρῆσθαι σώματα σκηπτομένοις παρὰ τὸν ἁπάντων νόμον, μήτε τοῖς ἄλλοις ἔχθρας πρόφασιν αἰτίας {εἶναι} εἰ καὶ ψευδοῦς, ἀλλ´ οὐκ ἀλόγου γε οὐδὲ ἀπίστου.

Traduction française :

[6,16] After they had adopted this proposal, the ambassadors they had chosen came to the dictator, and being brought before the assembly, delivered their messages that were intended to deceive the Romans. And Postumius, after a short pause, said to them: "You have brought with you, Volscians, evil designs clothed in good words, and while you perform hostile acts, you want us to regard you as friends. For you were sent by your nation to assist the Latins against us, but arriving after the battle and seeing them overcome, you wish to deceive us by saying the very opposite of what you intended to do. And neither the friendliness of your words, simulated for the present occasion, nor the pretence under which you are come hither, is sincere, but is full of fraud and deceit. For you were sent, not to congratulate us upon our good fortune, but to spy out the weakness or the strength of our condition; and while you are ambassadors in name, you are spies in reality." When the men denied everything, he said he would soon offer them the proof; and straightway he produced their letters which he had intercepted before the battle as they were being carried to the commanders of the Latins, in which they promised to send them reinforcements, and produced the persons who carried the letters. After these were read out and the prisoners had given an account of the orders they had received, the soldiers were eager to (p289) stone the Volscians as spies caught in the act; but Postumius thought that good men ought not to imitate the wicked, saying it would be better and more magnanimous to reserve their anger against the senders rather than against the sent, and to let the men go in consideration of their ostensible title of ambassadors rather than to put them to death because of their disguised task of spying, lest they should give either a specious ground for war to the Volscians, who would allege that their ambassadors had been put to death contrary to the law of nations, or an excuse to their other enemies for bringing a charge which, though false, would appear neither ill-grounded nor incredible.





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