General Cornelius Flavius Silva
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Quotes for
General Cornelius Flavius Silva (Character)
from "Masada" (1981)

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"Masada: Part I (#1.1)" (1981)
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: These aren't Britons or Gauls we're fighting, good honest rustics who stand out in the sun like archery targets and dare you to do something about it. These are more like the Egyptians, brainy bastards without a dram of ethics.

Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: I've had very few conversations with Jews that didn't end in a brawl.

Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: This pretending to be indifferent to your own death is a trick you've picked up from us. I've always been good at it and I can smell it a mile off.

Gen. Marcus Quadratus: Sir, the tax payment has been promised.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: I know.
Gen. Marcus Quadratus: It may already be part of the budget. You know how the treasury works.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: They won't be disappointed. I'll cover it from my personal funds. The Empire and I have the same banker, it's merely a question of paperwork.

Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: I haven't asked you here to negotiate. I don't negotiate with bandits, whatever they call themselves. You've been called here so that I can tell you face to face, once and once only. If it takes the balance of the year or even another year on top of that one, your band will be captured and annihilated. That is not a threat, merely a statement of fact. No matter how many granaries you burn, no matter how long you can keep the distance between the legion and yourself, the end will be the same.
Eleazar ben Yair: Still and all, you know a way to avoid that.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: One way only. Disperse now! Listen to me. I've been here for seven years. Every one of those small insignia on my standard is a representation of of at least twenty thousand dead Jews. I have no wish to add to that record. I am sick of dead Jews, live Jews, men, women and children and of your miserable, unyielding country!
Eleazar ben Yair: Then do yourself a kindness. Go!
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: I was about to do just that when you made it impossible.
Eleazar ben Yair: But in the rush, General, you would have left five thousand men behind.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: The legion will stay, of course.
Eleazar ben Yair: And we also, of course. To keep fighting.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: For how long? How long do you think four hundred can escape five thousand?
Eleazar ben Yair: That's what you want to know. I won't give you a head count of our troops. But four hundred? Not even as a joke. At any rate it's not my worry. You want us to disperse and let your Syrians turn our barley into your money? We won't. You tell me you will catch us and kill us? I invite you to try.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: You invite me to try? Your country is one long and narrow graveyard already. Your cities are flatter than your deserts, your temple has been destroyed and most of the survivors are slaves. All for seven years of us trying. Give us our due, man, we know how to kill.

Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: Honor is like patience. It has its limits.
Eleazar ben Yair: Spoken like a Roman.

Eleazar ben Yair: We want our freedom back. We want our country back.
Gen. Cornelius Flavius Silva: Back? When was it ever yours? It has always belonged to somebody. Babylon, Egypt. For a thousand years it has been a recognized war trophy. A costly one.

"Masada: Part III (#1.3)" (1981)
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: You try, how you try to withhold yourself. At last you give it.
Sheva: If you want to understand me you must understand this. There is nothing I can give you. There is only that which you can take.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: We must face the truth. We laid out this camp for the execution of a siege. We didn't expect them to come visiting at odd hours. We expected them to be stubborn and they've turned out to be clever. I have cleverness! It's the soldier in me but we could use a little of it ourselves at the moment.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: A hundred men can come from an audience with the Emperor and there will be a hundred versions of his position.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: Stand still if you're happy with your face the way it is.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: Punishment as prescribed for these actions is that you be flayed alive and then beheaded with your own swords. For such punishment also denotes a military death and that is too good for you.
Albinus: It wasn't to good for Quadratus.
Plinius: And Merovius.
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: They were brighter than you! I don't think they'll be too pleased to welcome you into the presence of the immortals. Therefore this is my judgement. Since you are so anxious to leave us you shall have your wish. You will be taken to the gates of this camp and turned into the desert without food, without water and without your boots. Before you are set free you will be circumcized. Perhaps then if you meet any Jews in the wilderness they will be merciful enough to kill you.

"Masada: Part II (#1.2)" (1981)
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: [about to attack the mountain fortress of Masada] Impressive.
Rubrius Gallus: Impossible.
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: Exactly, which is why I sent for you.
Rubrius Gallus: Nobody can do the impossible. That's what the word means.
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: I've seen you do it.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: It's Sheva, isn't it?
Sheva: Correct.
Decurion: You are being addressed by the Governor General.
Sheva: Thankyou, I know.
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: He wants you to stand up.
Sheva: Do you?
General Cornelius Flavius Silva: I've spent too much time in this country to expect manners from a Jew of either sex. Keep your seat, in fact I'll join you.

General Cornelius Flavius Silva: The ground you occupy is the property and territory of the Emperor, Senate and people of Rome. In their name I order you to depart from it.
Eleazar ben Yair: The ground you occupy was given as promised to the children of Israel by almighty God, king of the universe and lord of mankind. Since time began he has punished anyone who trespassed on his children's land. I have warned you once and one warning is all that he allows. You have sentenced yourself and your soldiers to death.