Quam provinciam tenuistis a praedonibus liberam per hosce annos? quod vectigal vobis tutum fuit? quem socium defendistis? cui praesidio classibus vestris fuistis? quam multas existimatis insulas esse desertas? quam multas aut metu relictas aut a praedonibus captas urbis esse sociorum? Sed quid ego longinqua commemoro? Fuit hoc quondam, fuit proprium populi Romani, longe a domo bellare, et propugnaculis imperi sociorum fortunas, non sua tecta defendere. Sociis ego nostris mare per hos annos clausum fuisse dicam, cum exercitus vestri numquam a Brundisio nisi hieme summa transmiserint? Qui ad vos ab exteris nationibus venirent captos querar, cum legati populi Romani redempti sint? Mercatoribus tutum mare non fuisse dicam, cum duodecim secures in praedonum potestatem pervenerint?
Which province through these self-same years have you held free from pirates? What revenue for you has been safe? What ally did you defend? For whom were you a source of protection with your fleets? How many islands do you reckon have been deserted? How many cities of allies have been either abandoned through fear or captured by pirates? But why do I mention distant events? Once this was – it was characteristic of the Roman people: to wage war far from home and to defend the fortunes of the allies with bulwarks of the empire, not their own homes. Need I say that the sea has been shut off to our allies through these years, when your armies never went across from Brundisium except at the height of winter? Should I complain that those who came to you from foreign nations were taken prisoner, when the ambassadors of the Roman people were ransomed? Need I say that the sea was not safe for merchants, when twelve axes came into the power of the pirates?