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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI

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Texte grec :

[6,78] Ἐφ´ οἷς δὲ πρεσβεύετε καὶ τίνων δεόμενοι ἥκετε, τί οὐ λέγετε φανερῶς; ἐπὶ ποίαις ἐλπίσι κατελθεῖν ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἀξιοῦτε; ποίαν ἡγεμόνα τῆς ὁδοῦ λαβόντας τύχην; τίνος ὑποδεξομένης ἡμᾶς εὐθυμίας ἢ χαρᾶς; οὐδὲν γὰρ ἄχρι τοῦδε φιλάνθρωπον ὑμῶν ἢ χρηστὸν προτεινομένων ἀκούομεν, οὐ τιμάς, οὐκ ἀρχάς, οὐκ ἐπανόρθωσιν ἀπορίας, οὐκ ἄλλο ἁπλῶς οὐδ´ ὁτιοῦν. καίτοι οὐ λέγειν ὑμᾶς ἐχρῆν, ἃ μέλλετε ποιεῖν, ἀλλὰ ποιήσαντες λέγειν, ἵνα προειληφότες ἤδη τι ἔργον ἀπ´ εὐνοίας γενόμενον καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τοιαῦτα ἔσεσθαι εἰκάσωμεν. οἴομαι τοίνυν πρὸς ταῦτα ἐρεῖν αὐτούς, ὅτι περὶ πάντων ἥκουσιν αὐτοκράτορες, ὥσθ´, ὅ τι ἂν πείσωμεν ἀλλήλους, τοῦτ´ ἔσται κύριον. ἔστω ταῦτ´ ἀληθῆ· γιγνέσθω τἀκόλουθα τούτοις· οὐδὲν ἀντιλέγω. βούλομαι δὲ τὰ μετὰ ταῦτ´ ἐσόμενα παρ´ αὐτῶν μαθεῖν, ἐπειδὰν εἴπωμεν ἡμεῖς, ἐφ´ οἷς ἀξιοῦμεν ποιεῖσθαι τὴν κάθοδον καὶ συγχωρηθῇ ταῦτα ὑπὸ τούτων, τίς ἐγγυητὴς ἔσται τῶν ὁμολογιῶν ἡμῖν; τίνι πιστεύσαντες ἀσφαλείᾳ τὰ ὅπλα θήσομεν ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν καὶ καταστήσομεν αὖθις εἰς τὴν τούτων ἐξουσίαν τὰ σώματα; πότερον τοῖς ψηφίσμασι τῆς βουλῆς τοῖς ὑπὲρ τούτων γραφησομένοις, οὐ γὰρ δὴ γεγραμμένοις; καὶ τί πάλιν κωλύσει ἑτέροις ἀκυρωθῆναι ταῦτα ψηφίσμασιν, ὅταν Ἀππίῳ καὶ τοῖς ὅμοια φρονοῦσιν ἐκείνῳ φανῇ; ἢ τοῖς ἀξιώμασι τῶν πρεσβευτῶν, οἳ τὰς ἑαυτῶν παρέχονται πίστεις; ἀλλὰ διὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων καὶ πρότερον ἡμᾶς ἐξηπάτησαν. ἢ ταῖς ἐπὶ τῶν θεῶν ὁμολογίαις δι´ ὅρκων τὰ πιστὰ πορισάμενοι παρ´ αὐτῶν; ἀλλ´ ἔγωγ´ ὑπὲρ ἅπασαν πίστιν ἀνθρωπίνην ταύτην δέδοικα, ἣν ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν ταῖς ἡγεμονίαις ὄντων καταφρονουμένην ὁρῶ, καὶ τὰς ἀκουσίους συμβάσεις τοῖς ἄρχειν ἀξιοῦσι πρὸς τοὺς ἐλευθερίας μεταποιουμένους, οὐ νῦν πρῶτον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πολλάκις ἤδη καταμαθών, ἐπίσταμαι τοσοῦτον ἰσχυούσας χρόνον, ὅσον ἂν αὐτῶν αἱ ἀνάγκαι κρατῶσι. τίς οὖν ἡ τοιαύτη φιλία καὶ πίστις, ἐν ᾗ παρὰ γνώμην ἀλλήλους θεραπεύειν ἀναγκασθησόμεθα φυλάττοντες τοὺς οἰκείους ἑκάτεροι καιρούς; ὑποψίαι δὲ δὴ τό γε μετὰ τοῦτο καὶ διαβολαὶ συνεχεῖς κατ´ ἀλλήλων φθόνοι τε καὶ μίση καὶ πᾶς´ ἄλλη κακῶν ἰδέα καὶ πολὺς ὁ περὶ τοῦ φθάσαι διολέσαντας τὸ ἀντίπαλον ἀγών, ὡς ἐν τῷ μέλλειν κειμένου τοῦ παθεῖν.

Traduction française :

[6,78] "But why do you not declare openly the terms of your mission and say plainly what you have come to ask? On the strength of what hopes do you ask us to return to the city? The prospect of what kind of fortune awaiting us are we to take to guide us on the way? The prospect of what cheer or joy that is going to receive us? For we have not as yet heard you promise any act of kindness or of benefit — no honours, no magistracies, no relief of our poverty, nor, in a word, anything else whatever. And yet it is not what you intend to do that you should tell us, but what you have already done, in (p87) order that, having already some action before us as an earnest of your goodwill, we may infer that the remaining actions will be of like nature. I suppose, though, that they will answer to this that they are come with full powers in all matters, so that whatever we can persuade one another to accept is to be valid. Grant this to be so, and let the natural results follow; I offer no objections. But I desire to learn from them what is to happen afterwards, when we have stated the conditions upon which we think fit to return and these conditions have been accepted by them: Who will stand surety to us for the carrying out of the terms? Trusting to what assurance shall we drop the arms from our hands and put our persons again in the power of these men? Shall we trust to the decrees of the senate that will be drawn up concerning these matters? For surely they have not been drawn up already. And what shall hinder these from being annulled in turn by other decrees, whenever Appius and those of his faction shall think fit? Or shall we trust to the high standing of the envoys who pledge their own good faith? But the senate has already made use of these men to deceive us. Or shall we trust to agreements sworn to by oaths taken in the name of the gods, gaining our assurance from these? But for my part, I am more afraid of this than of any other kind of assurance men can give, because I observe that it is treated contemptuously by those in positions of command, and because I understand, not now for the first time, but as the result of many experiences in the past, that forced agreements made by men desirous of ruling with those who strive to retain their freedom last only as long as the necessity exists which p89compelled those agreements. What kind of friendship, therefore, and good faith is that under which we shall be obliged to court one another against our will while we each are watching for our own opportunities? And after this will come suspicions and continual accusations of one another, jealousies and hatreds and every other kind of evil, and a constant struggle to see which of us shall first effect the destruction of his adversary, each believing that in delay lies disaster.





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