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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI


Texte grec :

[6,36] Διῳκίσμεθα γὰρ ὡς ὁρᾶτε καὶ δύο πόλεις ἔχομεν, τὴν μὲν {μίαν} ὑπὸ πενίας τε καὶ ἀνάγκης ἀρχομένην, τὴν δ´ ὑπὸ κόρου καὶ ὕβρεως. αἰδὼς δὲ καὶ κόσμος καὶ δίκη, ὑφ´ ὧν ἅπασα πολιτικὴ κοινωνία σώζεται, παρ´ οὐδετέρᾳ μένει τῶν πόλεων. τοιγάρτοι χειρὶ τὸ δίκαιον ἤδη παρ´ ἀλλήλων λαμβάνομεν κἂν τῷ βιαιοτέρῳ τίθεμεν τὸ δικαιότατον, ὥσπερ τὰ θηρία, τὸ ἀντίπαλον ἐξολέσαι μετὰ τοῦ σφετέρου κακοῦ βουληθέντες, ἢ τὸ ἑαυτοῖς ἀσφαλὲς φυλάττοντες μετὰ τοῦ διαφόρου κοινῇ σεσῶσθαι. ὧν ἐγὼ ὑμᾶς ἀξιῶ πολλὴν πρόνοιαν ποιήσασθαι βουλὴν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν τούτων καθίσαντες, ἐπειδὰν ἀπολύσητε τὰς πρεσβείας. ἃ δὲ ταῖς πρεσβείαις ἀποκρίνασθαι ἐν τῷ παρόντι παραινεῖν ἔχω, ταῦτ´ ἐστιν· ἐπειδὴ Οὐολοῦσκοι μὲν ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἡμᾶς ἃ ὅπλοις κρατήσαντες ἔχομεν καὶ πόλεμον ἀπειλοῦσι μὴ πειθομένοις, τάδε λέγωμεν, ὅτι Ῥωμαῖοι καλλίστας ὑπολαμβάνομεν κτήσεις εἶναι καὶ δικαιοτάτας, ἃς ἂν κατάσχωμεν πολέμου λαβόντες κατὰ νόμον, καὶ οὐκ ἂν ὑπομείναιμεν μωρίᾳ τὴν ἀρετὴν ἀφανίσαι· παραδόντες δὲ ταῦτα τοῖς ἀπολωλεκόσιν ὧν κοινωνητέον τε παισὶ καὶ τοῖς ἐκ τούτων γενομένοις καταλιπεῖν ἀεὶ ἀγωνιούμεθα, τῶν νῦν γε ὑπαρχόντων ἤδη στερησόμεθα καὶ ἑαυτοὺς ὅσα πολεμίους βλάψομεν. Λατίνων δὲ τὸ εὔνουν ἐπαινέσαντες ἀναθαρσύνωμεν τὸ δεδιὸς ὡς οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψομεν αὐτούς, ἕως ἂν τὸ πιστὸν φυλάσσωσιν, ἐν οὐδενὶ δεινῷ γενομένους δι´ ἡμᾶς, ἀλλὰ δύναμιν ἱκανὴν ἀμύνειν αὐτοῖς πέμψομεν οὐ διὰ μακροῦ. ταύτας ἡγοῦμαι κρατίστας τε καὶ δικαιοτάτας ἔσεσθαι τὰς ἀποκρίσεις. ἀπαλλαγεισῶν δὲ τῶν πρεσβειῶν πρώτην φημὶ χρῆναι βουλὴν τοῖς κατὰ τὴν πόλιν θορύβοις ἡμᾶς ἀποδοῦναι καὶ ταύτην οὐκ εἰς μακράν, ἀλλὰ τῇ ἐπιούσῃ ἡμέρᾳ.

Traduction française :

[6,36] "For we are living apart from one another, as you see, and inhabit two cities, one of which is ruled by poverty and necessity, and the other by satiety and insolence; but modesty, order and justice, by which alone any civil community is preserved, remain in neither of these cities. For this reason we already exact justice from one another by force and make superior strength the measure of that justice, like wild beasts choosing rather to destroy our enemy though we perish with him, than, by consulting our own safety, to be preserved together with our adversary. I ask you to give much thought to this matter and to hold a session for this very purpose as soon as you have dismissed the embassies. As to the answers to be now given to them, this is the advice I have to offer. Since the (p349) Volscians demand restitution of what we are in possession of by right of arms, and threaten us with war if we refuse to restore it, let our answer be, that we Romans look upon those acquisitions to be the most honest and the most just which we have acquired in accordance with the law of war, and that we will not consent to destroy the fruits of our valour by an act of folly. Whereas, by restoring to those who lost them these possessions, which we ought to share with our children and which we shall strive to leave to their posterity, we shall be depriving ourselves of what is already ours and be treating ourselves as harshly as we would our enemies. As to the Latins, let us commend their goodwill and dispel their fears by assuring them that we will not abandon them in any danger they may incur on our account, so long as they keep faith with us, but will shortly send a force sufficient to defend them. These answers, I believe, will be the best and the most just. After the embassies have departed, I say we ought to devote the first meeting of the senate to the consideration of the tumults in the city and that this meeting ought not to be long deferred, but appointed for the very next day."

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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007