Thursday, June 3, 2010

Never give up your weapons

From David Deming, writing over at American Thinker, comes this history lesson:
History demonstrates that destruction awaits those who attempt to placate their enemies by surrendering their weapons. In 149 BC, half a million citizens of Carthage tried to appease Rome by turning over their armaments. But instead of buying peace, they only facilitated their own destruction. Ninety percent of the Carthaginians were killed, and the city of Carthage was razed. Those who survived were sold into slavery, and Carthaginian civilization was forever wiped from the face of the earth. The story of how the Carthaginians sealed their fate by delivering their weapons into the hands of their enemy is chronicled in my book, Science and Technology in World History, Vol. 1.

Carthage was founded on the shores of North Africa by Phoenicians in the 9th century BC. It was the center of a powerful and ancient empire, and as the power of Rome grew, it was inevitable that the Romans and Carthaginians would come into conflict.


Once the hostages had been surrendered, the Carthaginian ambassadors expected peace. But the Romans had a new demand. They insisted that the Carthaginians surrender all of their weapons. The Roman Consul Censorinus explained, "If you are sincerely desirous of peace, why do you need any arms?" He continued, "Bring all your weapons and engines of war, both public and private, and deliver them to us." Oblivious to the Roman maxim, "If you want peace, prepare for war," the Carthaginians obsequiously complied. They turned over armor for two hundred thousand men, javelins, darts, and two thousand catapults. Appian said that it was an "unparalleled spectacle to behold the vast number of loaded wagons."

Having complied with the Roman request to surrender their weapons, the Carthaginian ambassadors foolishly thought they had bought peace by disarming themselves. The consul Censorinus praised the Carthaginians for having the wisdom to comply with the Romans' first two requirements. But there was yet another new demand. "Yield Carthage to us, and betake yourselves where you like within your own territory at a distance of at least ten miles from the sea, for we are resolved to raze your city to the ground." ...
Read it here. Never surrender your weapons. They, and your will to use them, are your only hope to remain free.

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