Decision at Alesia - Handout C

Provided Translation

Numbers in brackets refer to the line number in the Latin text where the sentence begins.

[1] I am not, he said, going to say anything about the opinion of those who give the name "surrender" to what is, in fact, the foulest slavery; I do not think these men should be citizens or be invited to the Assembly.

[3] My issue, however, is with the men who plan a break-out. Everyone seems to agree that the plan has within it a memory of that old-time valor.

[5] But it is the softness of the spirit, not valor, that cannot endure a lack of resources for a short time.

[6] Moreover, men who offer themselves to death are more easily found than those who bear grief patiently.

[7] I would approve of the break-out (for dignity has such power over me), if I were to see that nothing except our lives were to be lost. But in deciding upon a plan, let us consider all of Gaul, which we called to our aid.

[8] After 80,000 men have been killed in one place, what do you suppose the morale of our neighbors and relatives will be, if they are compelled to fight a battle nearly on top of our corpses?

[12] Don't strip of our help those who, for the sake of our safety, neglected their own danger. Don't ruin all of Gaul and subject it to eternal slavery because of your stupidity or your rashness or your lack of resolution.

[14] Or, because our promised reinforcements have not come on time, do you doubt their loyalty or constancy? But what of this?

[16] Do you think that the Romans labor daily on those far-off fortifications for amusement?

[17] If you are not able to be given information about the reinforcements from messengers since all the exits have been barricaded, use these witnesses that they come; the Romans, frightened with the fear of them, toil night and day in their work.

[20] What then is my plan? It is to do what our ancestors did in a war hardly equal to this one with the Cimbri and Teutoni. They, forced into their towns and subjected to a similar lack of resources, remained alive by eating those who seemed useless in war due to their age. They did not hand themselves over to the enemy.

[23] Even if we had no example of this kind of action, nevertheless I would judge it a most beautiful thing to do both for the sake of freedom and to give as an example to our descendants.

[24] For what is similar between these wars? The Cimbri, after Gaul had been devastated and had suffered a great calamity, finally left our borders after some time and sought other lands. They left us our rights, our laws, our lands, and our freedom.

[27] Do the Romans, led by envy, really seek or want anything except to settle themselves in the lands and cities of people whom they know are noble and powerful in war by their reputation, and to yoke them to eternal slavery?

[30] For they do not wage war for any other reason. If you are ignorant of the things that they did to far-off nations, look back to neighboring Gaul which, reduced to a province and with their laws and autonomy destroyed, is oppressed by perpetual slavery.