“But nothing served Rome better than the respect it commanded everywhere. It immediately reduced kings to silence, and, as it were, stupefied them. Not only was the extent of their power at stake, but their own person came under attack. To risk a war with Rome was to expose oneself to captivity, death and the infamy of the triumph. Thus, kings who lived amid pomp and delights did not dare cast a steady glance at the Roman people. And losing courage, they hoped, through their patience and baseness, to gain some delay of the calamities with which they were menaced.”
“Since a general’s glory was judged by the amount of gold and silver carried at his triumph, he left nothing to the conquered enemy. Rome continually grew richer, and every war put it in a position to undertake another.
The peoples who were friends or allies all ruined themselves by the immense presents they gave to keep or gain favor, and half the money sent to the Romans for this purpose would have been enough to conquer them.
Masters Of the world, they assigned all its treasures to themselves, and in plundering were less unjust as conquerors than as legislators. Learning that Ptolemy, king of Cyprus, had immense riches, on the motion of a tribune they enacted a law by which they gave themselves the estate of a living man and a fortune confiscated from an allied prince.”
Montesquieu, Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, 1734 (CHAPTER VI. THE CONDUCT THE ROMANS PURSUED TO SUBJUGATE ALL PEOPLES)