Scipio, aided by Masinissa, defeats the Carthaginians, Syphax and Hasdrubal, in several battles. Syphax taken by Lælius and Masinissa. Masinissa espouses Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax, Hasdrubal’s daughter; being reproved by Scipio, he sends her poison, with which she puts an end to her life. The Carthaginians, reduced to great extremity, by Scipio’s repeated victories, call Hannibal home from Italy; he holds a conference with Scipio on the subject of peace, and is again defeated by him in battle. The Carthaginians sue for peace, which is granted them. Masinissa reinstated in his kingdom. Scipio returns to Rome; his splendid triumph; is surnamed Africanus.
Y.R.549. 203.I. CNEIUS SERVILIUS CÆPIO and Caius Servilius Geminus, being consuls, in the sixteenth year of the Punic war, consulted the senate on the state of public affairs, the war, and the provinces. The senate decreed, that the consuls should settle between themselves, or determine by lot, which of them should hold the province of Bruttium, and act against Hannibal; and which that of Etruria and Liguria. That he to whose lot Bruttium fell, should receive the army from Publius Sempronius, late consul. That Publius Sempronius, to whom the command was continued, as proconsul, for a year, should succeed Publius Licinius, who was to come home to Rome. This commander had now acquired a high reputation for military skill, in addition to his other excellent qualifications, of which no citizen, at that time, possessed such an abundance; nature and fortune conspiring to confer on him every thing valuable in man. He was of a noble race, and possessed great wealth; he excelled in personal beauty and strength of body; he was esteemed the most eloquent of his time, whether he pleaded in the courts of justice, or enforced or opposed any measure, either in the senate, or before the people; and was, besides, remarkably skilled in the pontifical law. In addition to all these, the consulship enabled him to acquire fame in the field. The same method of proceeding, which the senate had decreed in regard to the province of Bruttium, was ordered to be followed in respect of Etruria and Liguria. Marcus Cornelius was ordered to deliver the army to the new consul; and, his command being continued, to hold the province of Gaul, with those legions which Lucius Scribonius, prætor, had commanded the year before. The consuls then cast lots for the provinces: Bruttium fell to Cæpio, Etruria to Servilius Geminus. The provinces of the prætors were next put to the lot: Pætus Ælius obtained the city jurisdiction; Cneius Lentulus, Sardinia; Publius Villius, Sicily; Quintilius Varus, Ariminum, with two legions, which had been under Lucretius Spurius. Lucretius remained on his station, in order that he might rebuild the city of Genoa, which had been demolished by Mago the Carthaginian. Publius Scipio’s command was continued, not for a period limited by time, but by the business, until an end should be put to the war in Africa; and it was decreed, that a supplication should be performed, to obtain from the gods, that his having passed into Africa might prove happy to the people, to the general himself, and to the army.
II. Three thousand men were raised for Sicily; and, because whatever strength it had possessed was carried over to Carthage, it was resolved that the coast of that island should be guarded by forty ships, lest any fleet should come thither from Africa. Villius carried with him to Sicily thirteen new ships, the rest were old ones repaired there. Marcus Pomponius, prætor of the former year, (his command of this fleet being continued,) took on board the new soldiers. An equal number of ships were decreed by the senate to Cneius Octavius, prætor likewise of the former year, with the same right of command, in order to protect the coast of Sardinia. Lentulus, prætor, was ordered to supply the fleet with two thousand soldiers. The defence of the coast of Italy was intrusted to Marcus Marcius, prætor of the former year, with the same number of ships; because it was uncertain to what place the Carthaginians might direct their attack, which would probably be against whatever part was destitute of forces for its defence. For that fleet, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, the consuls enlisted three thousand men, and also two city legions, for the exigencies of the war. Spain, with the armies there, and the command, was decreed to the former generals, Lucius Lentulus, and Lucius Manlius Acidinus. The Romans employed in their service, for that year, in all, twenty legions, and a hundred and sixty ships of war. The prætors were directed to repair to their provinces; and orders were given to the consuls, that, before their departure from the city, they should celebrate the great games, which Titus Manlius Torquatus, in his dictatorship, had vowed to be exhibited in the fifth year, if the condition of the state remained unaltered. Religious apprehensions were raised in men’s minds, by relations of prodigies brought from several places. It was believed that crows had not only torn with their beaks some gold in the Capitol, but had even eaten it. At Antium, mice gnawed a golden crown. A vast quantity of locusts filled all the country round Capua, though it could not be discovered from whence they came. At Reate, a foal was produced with five feet. At Anagnia, there appeared in the sky, at first, scattered fire, and afterwards a prodigious blaze. At Frusino, a circle encompassed the sun with a narrow line; then the orb of the sun, increasing in size, extended its circumference beyond the circle. At Arpinum, in a level plain, the earth sunk into a vast gulph. When one of the consuls sacrificed the first victims, the head of the liver was wanting. These prodigies were expiated by the greater victims, the college of pontiffs directing to what gods the sacrifices should be made.
III. As soon as this business was finished, the consuls and prætors set out for their respective provinces. They directed their chief attention to Africa, as if it were allotted to them, either because they saw that the grand interests of their country, and of the war, depended on the proceedings there, or from a desire to gratify Scipio, who was then the object of universal favour among all the members of the state. Therefore, thither were sent not only from Sardinia, as was mentioned before, but from Sicily also, and Spain, clothing, corn, and arms, with every other kind of stores: while Scipio relaxed not his diligence during any part of the winter in the operations of war, for which he found abundant occasion on every side. He was engaged in the siege of Utica; Hasdrubal’s camp was within sight; the Carthaginians had launched their ships, and kept their fleet equipped, and in readiness to intercept his convoys. Amidst so many objects which required his attention, he did not neglect endeavouring to recover the friendship of Syphax; hoping that he might now perhaps be cloyed with love, in the full enjoyment of his bride. The answers of Syphax contained, chiefly, proposals for an accommodation with the Carthaginians, on the terms of the Romans retiring from Africa, and the Carthaginians from Italy; but afforded scarcely any hopes, that he would relinquish his present engagements. I am more inclined to believe, that this business was transacted by messengers, as most authors affirm, than that Syphax came in person to the Roman camp to a conference, as Antias Valerius writes. At first, the Roman general hardly permitted those terms to be mentioned by his people; but afterwards, in order that they might have a plausible pretext for going frequently into the enemy’s camp, he softened his refusals, even seemingly inclining to a negociation. The winter-huts of the Carthaginians were composed almost entirely of timber, which they had hastily collected from the fields: those of the Numidians were formed of reeds interwoven, and most of them covered with mats, and dispersed up and down without any regularity, some of them even on the outside of the trench and rampart, for they were left to choose their own ground. These circumstances being related to Scipio, gave him hopes that he might find an opportunity of burning the enemy’s camp.
IV. In the retinue of the embassy to Syphax, he sent, instead of common attendants, centurions of the first rank, of approved courage and prudence, dressed as servants; who, while the ambassadors were engaged in conference, might ramble through the camp, and observe all the approaches and outlets; the situation and form, both of the whole and of the several parts of it; where the Carthaginians lay, where the Numidians; what distance there was between Hasdrubal’s station and the King’s; and, at the same time, discover their method of fixing outposts and watches, and whether they were more open to surprise by night, or by day. Many conferences being held, care was taken to send different persons at different times, in order that the greater number might be acquainted with every circumstance. These frequent conversations had led Syphax, and, through him the Carthaginians, to entertain daily more confident expectations of a peace, when the Roman ambassadors told him, that “they were ordered not to return to the general without a definitive answer: therefore, if his own determination was fixed, he should declare it; or, if Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians were to be consulted, he should do it without delay. It was time that either the terms of peace should be adjusted, or the war carried on with vigour.” While Syphax was consulting Hasdrubal, and Hasdrubal the Carthaginians, the spies had time to take a view of every thing, and Scipio also to make the preparations necessary to his design. From the mention of accommodation, and their expectation of it, the Carthaginians and Numidians took not the necessary precautions against any attempt which the enemy might make. At length an answer was returned, in which, as the Romans appeared exceedingly anxious for peace, the Carthaginians took the opportunity of adding some unreasonable conditions, which afforded a plausible pretence to Scipio, who now wished to break the truce. Accordingly, telling the King’s messenger, that “he would take the opinion of his council on the affair,” he answered him next day, that “he alone had laboured to put an end to the war, none of the other parties, in fact, showing any disposition towards it: that Syphax must entertain no hopes of entering into any treaty with the Romans, unless he renounced the party of the Carthaginians.” Thus he dissolved the truce, in order to mature his plans. Launching his ships, (for it was now the beginning of spring,) he put on board engines and machines, as if an attack on Utica were intended by sea; at the same time sending two thousand men to take possession of the hill which commanded that place, and which he had formerly occupied; with a view, at once to divert the attention of the enemy from his real design, and to prevent any sally being made from the city, while he should be employed at a distance against Syphax and Hasdrubal. He likewise feared an attack, should his camp be left with only a small force to defend it.
V. Having taken these preparatory steps, he summoned a council, ordering the spies to give an account of the discoveries which they had made; at the same time requesting Masinissa, who was well acquainted with every circumstance of the enemy, to deliver his opinion; and, lastly, he informed them of a plan, which he intended to execute on the following night. He gave orders to the tribunes, that, as soon as the trumpets had sounded on the breaking up of the meeting at the prætorium, they should march the legions out of the camp. In pursuance of these orders, the troops began to move a little before sunset: about the first watch, they formed their line of march; and about midnight, (for the way was seven miles,) proceeding in a moderate pace, they arrived at the enemy’s camp. He there gave Lælius the command of a part of the forces, to whom were joined Masinissa and the Numidians, with orders to fall upon the camp of Syphax, and set it on fire. Then, taking Lælius and Masinissa apart, he entreated each separately, that “as the night would be apt to impede the best-concerted measures, they should make up for the difficulties by their diligence and care;” telling them, also, that “he meant to attack Hasdrubal and the Carthaginian camp; but would not begin his operations until he should see the fire in that of the King.” The business was not long delayed; and as the huts all stood contiguously, the flames spread rapidly through every part of the camp. The alarm was great, by reason of its being night, and from the widely-extended blaze; but the King’s troops, thinking it an accidental calamity, rushed out, unarmed, in order to extinguish the flames, and met the enemy in arms, particularly the Numidians, whom Masinissa, being well acquainted with the King’s station, had posted at the openings of the passes. Many perished in their beds while half asleep; while many in their precipitate flight, crowding upon one another, were trodden to death in the narrow passages of the gates.
VI. When the Carthaginian centinels, awakened by the tumult of the night, beheld the fire, they also supposed it to be accidental; while the shout, raised amidst the slaughter and wounds, was so confused, (the alarm, too, being in the dark,) that they were unable to discover the cause or extent of the evil which assailed them. Running out, therefore, in the utmost hurry, by all the gates, without arms, as not suspecting an enemy to be near, and carrying nothing with them but what might serve to extinguish the flames, they rushed against the body of Romans. All of these were slain, not merely to gratify hostile animosity, but in order to prevent any one escaping with intelligence as to the truth of the affair. Scipio, immediately after, attacked the gates, which were neglected, as may be supposed, during such confusion, and set fire to the nearest huts; which, soon communicating to the others, the whole was enveloped in one general conflagration. Half-burned men and cattle stopped up the passages, first by the hurry of their flight, and afterwards with their carcases. Those who had escaped the flames were cut off by the sword; and the two camps were, by one fatal blow, involved in utter ruin. However, the two commanders, with two thousand foot and five hundred horse, half armed, and a great part wounded or scorched, got away. There were destroyed by fire or sword, forty thousand men; taken, above five thousand; many Carthaginian nobles, eleven senators, military standards a hundred and seventy-four, Numidian horses above two thousand seven hundred; six elephants were taken, and eight destroyed. A great quantity of arms was taken, all which the general dedicated to Vulcan, and committed to the flames.
VII. Hasdrubal, with a small number of Africans, had directed his flight to the nearest city; and thither, all who survived, following the steps of their general, had assembled; but, dreading lest he should be delivered into the hands of Scipio, he soon after quitted it. The Romans, who were, immediately after, received there, committed no act of hostility, because the surrender was voluntary. Two other cities were taken and plundered; and the booty found in them, together with what had been saved when the camps were burned, was given up to the soldiers. Syphax halted, in a fortified post, at about eight miles distance. Hasdrubal, lest any timorous measures should be adopted through the violent apprehensions occasioned by the late disaster, proceeded to Carthage, where such consternation had seized the people, that they made no doubt but Scipio would leave Utica, and instantly lay siege to Carthage. The senate was therefore assembled by the suffetes, who are invested with the same authority as our consuls. Three different opinions were offered on the occasion: one proposed sending ambassadors to Scipio, with proposals of peace; another, the recalling of Hannibal, to defend his country; the third showed Roman firmness in adversity, recommending to recruit the army, and to entreat Syphax not to abandon the war. This latter opinion prevailed, because Hasdrubal, who was present, and all of the Barcine faction, were disposed to fight to the last. On this they began to levy troops in the city and the country, and sent ambassadors to Syphax, who was himself most vigorously employed in making preparations for the renewal of hostilities. His queen had prevailed, not on this occasion as formerly, by her allurements, which were sufficiently powerful over the mind of her lover, but by prayers and appeals to his compassion; with tears having beseeched him, not to forsake her father and her country, nor suffer Carthage to be burned as the camps had been. Add to this, some new ground of hope which offered itself very seasonably, the ambassadors acquainting him, that they had met, near the city called Abba, four thousand Celtiberians, able young men, who had been inlisted by their recruiting parties in Spain; and that Hasdrubal would speedily arrive with a body of troops far from contemptible. Syphax not only gave a favourable answer to the Carthaginians, but showed them a multitude of Numidian peasants, to whom he had, within a few days, given arms and horses; and assured them also, that he would call out all the youth in his kingdom, observing that “their loss had been occasioned by fire, not by battle, and that he only who was defeated by arms, ought to be deemed inferior to his enemy.” Such was his reply; and, a few days after, he and Hasdrubal again joined their forces; when their whole army amounted to about thirty thousand fighting men.
VIII. While Scipio gave his whole attention to the siege of Utica, as if no farther hostilities were to be apprehended from Syphax and the Carthaginians, and was employed in bringing up his machines to the walls, he was called away by the news of the war being revived. Leaving, therefore, only a small number of men on sea and land, to keep up the appearance of a siege, he set out himself with the main body of the army to meet the enemy. At first, he took post on a hill, distant about four miles from the King’s camp. On the day following, descending into the great plains, as they are called, which lie under that hill, with a body of cavalry, he spent the day in advancing frequently to the enemy’s posts, and provoking them by slight skirmishes. For the two succeeding days, however, though irregular excursions were made by both parties in turn, nothing worth notice was performed. On the fourth day, both armies came out to battle. The Romans placed their first-rank men behind the front battalions, consisting of the spearmen, and the veterans in reserve; posting the Italian cavalry on the right wing, the Numidians and Masinissa on the left. Syphax and Hasdrubal, having placed their Numidians opposite to the Italian cavalry, and the Carthaginians opposite to Masinissa, drew the Celtiberians into the centre of the line, facing the battalions of the legions: in this order they began the engagement. On the first encounter, both wings (Numidians and Carthaginians) were forced to give way. For neither could the Numidians, most of whom were undisciplined peasants, withstand the Roman cavalry; nor the Carthaginians, who were also raw soldiers, withstand Masinissa, who, besides other circumstances, was rendered terrible by his late victory. The line of Celtiberians, (although, having lost the cover of the wings, they were exposed on both flanks,) yet resolutely kept their ground; for neither could they see any safety in flight, being unacquainted with the country, nor had they any hope of pardon from Scipio, having come into Africa to fight against him for the sake of hire, notwithstanding the favours which he had conferred on them and their nation. Surrounded, therefore, on all sides, they died with determined obstinacy, falling in heaps one over another; and, while the attention of all was turned on them, Syphax and Hasdrubal availed themselves of this opportunity, and gained a considerable space of time to effect their escape. Night came upon the conquerors, who were fatigued more with killing, than from the length of the contest.
IX. Next day Scipio sent Lælius and Masinissa, with all the Roman and Numidian cavalry, and the light infantry, in pursuit of Syphax and Hasdrubal. He himself, with the main body of the army, reduced all the cities in that part of the country which belonged to the Carthaginians, some by offering them hopes, others by threats, others by force. At Carthage, the consternation was excessive: they expected nothing less than that Scipio, who was extending his operations on every side, should quickly subdue all the neighbouring places, and then immediately invest their city. They therefore repaired the walls, and strengthened them with outworks; every one exerting himself, in bringing in from the country such things as were requisite for sustaining a long and powerful siege. Little mention was made of peace; very many advised that a deputation should be sent to recall Hannibal: but the greater number were earnest for despatching the fleet, (which had been equipped for the purpose of intercepting the convoys,) to surprise the ships stationed at Utica, where no attack was expected; alleging the probability, that they might, at the same time, make themselves masters of the naval camp, which had been left with a slight guard. This latter scheme met general approbation; but, at the same time, they determined to call Hannibal home, because, should the fleet meet with all possible success, Utica would, indeed, be relieved from some part of the pressure of the siege; but, for the defence of Carthage itself, there was now no general remaining but Hannibal, and no army but his. The ships were therefore launched on the following day; at the same time the deputies set out for Italy, and, the juncture being critical, every measure was executed with the utmost despatch; each man thinking, that if he were in any degree remiss, he was so far a betrayer of the public safety. Scipio led on his forces by slow marches, as they were heavily loaded with the spoils of many cities. After sending the prisoners, and other booty, to his old camp at Utica, directing his views to Carthage, he seized on Tunes, which was defenceless, the garrison having fled. This city was very strong both by nature and art; it may be seen from Carthage, from which it is distant about fifteen miles, and at the same time affords a prospect of that city, and the adjacent sea.
X. The Romans, while busily employed in raising a rampart at Tunes, descried the fleet which was steering to Utica. On this, the work was instantly dropped, and orders to march were issued. The troops set out with the utmost speed, lest the Roman fleet should be surprised, while attentive only to the siege, and in no condition for a naval fight. For how could any resistance have been made to a fleet of active ships, furnished with every kind of arms, by vessels loaded with engines and machines; and which were either converted to the purpose of transports, or pushed so close to the walls, that they served instead of mounds and bridges for the men to mount by? Scipio therefore, contrary to the usual practice in sea-engagements, drawing back the ships of war, which might be a protection to the others into the rear, near the land, opposed to the enemy a line of transports consisting of four in depth, to serve as a wall; and lest this line should be broken during the confusion of the fight, he fastened the vessels together by means of masts and yards, passed from one to another, with strong ropes, in such a manner as to form, as it might be called, one entire tier. Over these he laid planks, which formed a passage from ship to ship through the whole line; and under those bridges of communication he left openings, through which the scout boats might run out towards the enemy, and retreat with safety. Having completed these sea-works, as well as the time allowed, he put on board the transports about a thousand chosen men to defend them; with a vast quantity of weapons, chiefly missive, sufficient to serve for a battle of any continuance. Thus prepared, they waited attentively the coming of the enemy. Had the Carthaginians been expeditious, they might at the first onset have overpowered the Romans, every thing being in hurry and confusion; but dispirited by their losses on land, and losing thereby their confidence at sea also, where their strength, however, was superior, they spent the whole day in approaching slowly, and about sunset put into a harbour, which the Africans call Ruscino. On the following day, about sunrise, they formed their ships in a line towards the open sea, as if for a regular sea-fight, and as if the Romans were to come out to meet them. When they had stood thus for a long time, and saw that no motion was made by the enemy, they attacked the transports. The affair bore no resemblance to a naval engagement: it was more like an attack made by ships against walls. The transports had some advantage in their height; for the Carthaginians, being obliged to throw their weapons upward, discharged most of them to no purpose against the higher places; whereas those from the transports fell with greater force, at the same time gaining additional power from their own weight. The scouts and lighter Roman vessels, which pushed out through the openings under the bridges of communication between their ships, were at first run down by the weight and bulk of the Carthaginian ships of war; and afterwards they became an obstruction to those who defended the line, because, as they were mixed among the enemy’s ships, they often obliged them to stop the discharge of their weapons, lest, missing their aim, they should hit their friends. At length the Carthaginians threw among the Romans, beams furnished at the ends with iron hooks, which the soldiers call harpoons. They could neither cut the beams nor the chains by which they were raised in order to be thrown, so that as soon as any of the ships of war, hauling back, dragged a transport entangled by the hook, the fastenings of these vessels broke, and in some places several were dragged away together. By this means chiefly were all the bridges torn asunder, and scarcely had the defenders time to make their escape into the second row of ships. About six were towed away to Carthage; where the joy of the people was greater than the occasion merited. But they were the more sensibly affected, because this gleam of good fortune, however small, had unexpectedly shone on them, in the midst of a continued course of losses and lamentations. It appeared that the Roman fleet would hardly have escaped destruction, had not their own commanders been dilatory, so that Scipio had time to bring in relief.
XI. Lælius and Masinissa having, about the fifteenth day, arrived in Numidia, Massylia, Masinissa’s hereditary kingdom, submitted to him with joy, as to a prince whom they had long and earnestly wished to hail. Syphax, seeing all his commanders and garrisons expelled from thence, retired within his own original dominions, but in no disposition to remain quiet. In his ambitious views, he was spurred on by his queen and father-in-law; and indeed he possessed such abundance of men and horses, that a mind less barbarous and violent than his might well assume confidence; and when reflecting on the great strength of a kingdom, which had enjoyed prosperity for a long course of years. Wherefore, collecting together all who were able to bear arms, he distributed among them horses and weapons: he divided the horsemen into troops, and the footmen into cohorts, as he had formerly learned from the Roman centurions; and thus, with an army not less numerous than that which he had before, but composed almost entirely of raw undisciplined men, he advanced towards the enemy, and pitched his camp at a small distance from theirs. At first, a few horsemen advanced from the outposts, to make observations; these, being attacked with javelins, retreated to their friends. Skirmishing parties then came forth from both sides; and whichever of these were repulsed, their fellows, being inflamed with indignation, came up in greater numbers to their support. This is generally the prelude to engagements between the cavalry; hope encouraging the party which prevails, and rage exasperating that which is worsted. Thus, on the present occasion, the fight having commenced between small divisions, the eagerness of the dispute drew out at length the whole force of cavalry on both sides. While the contest lay entirely between these, the Masæsylians, whom Syphax sent out in immense bodies, could hardly be withstood. Afterwards the Roman infantry, rushing in suddenly between their own cavalry, who opened passages for them, gave firmness to their line, and terrified the enemy, who were advancing furiously to the charge. The barbarians at first pushed on their horses with less briskness; then halted, disconcerted somewhat by this new manner of fighting; at last, they not only gave way to the infantry, but did not dare to withstand even the horse, emboldened as they were by the support of the foot. And now, the battalions also of the legions approached, when the Masæsylians, so far from daring to meet their first attack, could not support even the sight of their ensigns and arms: so strongly were they affected, either by the recollection of their former calamities, or by the present danger. At this juncture Syphax, galloping up to try if, either by shame, or by the danger to which he was exposed, he could stop the flight of his men, being thrown from his horse, which was grievously wounded, was overpowered and taken, and dragged alive to Lælius; — a sight grateful to Masinissa above all others. To Cirtha, the capital of Syphax’s kingdom, a vast multitude fled. The number of slain in that battle was less than in proportion to the greatness of the victory, because the cavalry only had been engaged. Not more than five thousand were killed; less than half that number taken, in an attack on their camp, to which the multitude had retired in dismay at the loss of their King.
XII. Masinissa declared, that “nothing could be more highly gratifying to him, now that he was victorious, after so long a struggle, than to revisit his paternal kingdom: but that the present happy situation of his affairs required activity, as much as his former misfortunes. If Lælius would permit him to go on, before him, to Cirtha, with the cavalry, and Syphax as his prisoner, he would strike such terror, while the enemy were in confusion and dismay, as would crush all opposition; and that Lælius might follow, with the infantry, by easy marches.” Lælius assenting, he went forward to Cirtha, and ordered the principal inhabitants to be invited to a conference. But, as they were ignorant of their King’s misfortune, neither his relation of what had passed, nor his threats, nor persuasions, wrought any effect, until Syphax was produced to their view in chains. This shocking sight excited a general lamentation; some, in a panic, deserted the walls, others hastily agreed to endeavour to gain the favour of the conqueror, and opened the gates: whereupon Masinissa, having despatched guards to these and other parts of the fortifications, to prevent any person going out of the town, galloped on in full speed to take possession of the palace. As he entered the porch, Sophonisba, Syphax’s queen, daughter of Hasdrubal the Carthaginian, met him at the door; where, seeing Masinissa in the midst of a band of armed men, distinguished by his arms and apparel, and judging rightly that he was the King, she fell at his knees, and thus addressed him: “The favour of the gods, added to your own valour and good fortune, has given you absolute power to dispose of us. But if, in the presence of the sovereign disposer of her life and death, a captive may be allowed to utter the words of a suppliant, to touch his knees, or victorious right hand, I entreat and beseech you, by the majesty of a King, of which we also were just now possessed; by the name of the Numidian race, which is common to you and Syphax; by the guardian gods of this palace, who, I hope, will receive you with better omens than they sent Syphax hence, grant so much favour to your suppliant, as that you will, yourself, determine whatever you may think proper concerning your captive, and not suffer me to fall under the haughty and cruel disposal of any Roman. Were I nothing more than the wife of Syphax, I had much rather trust to the honour of a Numidian, one born in the same country with me, than to a foreigner, and from a distant part of the world: but what a Carthaginian, what the daughter of Hasdrubal, has reason to dread from a Roman, is manifest to you. If you cannot by any other means, I implore and beseech you, that you will, by my death, secure me from the power of the Romans.” She was remarkably beautiful, and in the full bloom of youth: so that, while she pressed his right hand, and implored his protection only so far, as that she should not be delivered up to any Roman, her discourse was more like caresses than entreaty; and the conqueror’s mind was not only subdued to pity, but, as all the Numidians are extremely amorous, the victorious King became the slave of his captive*: and, giving his right hand, as a pledge for the performance of what she had requested, he went into the palace. Immediately, he began to consider within himself, by what means he might fulfil his engagement; and not being able to devise any, he adopted a rash and shameful resolution, suggested by his love. He gave orders that every thing should be instantly prepared for a marriage on that same day, in order that he might leave no room for Lælius, or Scipio himself, to proceed against her as a captive, since she would then be his wife. After the marriage was concluded, Lælius arrived; and so far was he from dissembling his disapprobation of the proceeding, that at first he even resolved to drag her from the nuptial bed, and send her with Syphax to Scipio: but he was afterwards prevailed on by the entreaties of Masinissa, who besought him to leave it to the Romans to determine, which of the two kings should have Sophonisba a sharer of his fortune. Sending away, therefore, Syphax and the other prisoners, he reduced, with the assistance of Masinissa, all the cities of Numidia, which were held by the King’s garrisons.
XIII. When it was announced, that the detachment was bringing Syphax to the camp, the whole multitude poured out, as if to the sight of a triumph. He preceded the rest in chains, and was followed by a number of noble Numidians. On this occasion, every one spoke in the most exalted terms of the greatness of Syphax, and the fame of his nation; thus exaggerating the renown of their victory. “That was the King,” they said, “to whose dignity the two most powerful states in the world, the Roman and Carthaginian, had paid such deference; that for the sake of procuring his friendship, their own general, Scipio, leaving his province and his army, sailed with only two quinqueremes to Africa; and the Carthaginian general, Hasdrubal, not only visited his kingdom, but also gave him his daughter in marriage. That the Roman and Carthaginian generals had been within his grasp at one and the same time. That as both parties had, by the offer of sacrifices, solicited the favour of the immortal gods, so his friendship had been equally sought for by both. That he lately possessed power so great as to enable him to expel Masinissa from his kingdom; and to reduce him to such a state, that his life was preserved by a report of his death, and by lurking in concealment, while he was obliged, like a wild beast, to live in the woods on prey.” Such were the discourses of the throng, through which the King was led to the general’s quarters. Scipio was moved on comparing the former situation of the man with the present; and also by the recollection of their connection in hospitality, of their right hands pledged, and the treaty concluded between themselves and their states. These circumstances gave Syphax courage in addressing his conqueror. For, when Scipio asked him, “what had been his views in not only renouncing his alliance with the Romans, but even making war on them?” he answered, that “he had indeed erred, or rather acted under an impulse of insanity; but not at that time, principally, when he took up arms against the Romans: that was the consequence of his madness, not the actual beginning of it. That he was indeed mad, when he banished from his thoughts all the ties of private friendship and public leagues; and when he received a Carthaginian wife into his house. By those nuptial torches, his palace had been set in flames; that mischievous fury had, by every kind of allurement, perverted his judgment, and led it astray; nor ever desisted, until with her own hands she clad him in detestable arms against his guest and his friend. Yet, ruined and hopeless as he was, he felt some comfort in his misfortunes, from seeing that pestilent woman removed into the house and family of his bitterest enemy. Adding, that Masinissa possessed neither more prudence nor firmness than himself. His youth, indeed, had made him incautious; but there was evidently more folly and rashness in the latter marriage than in his.”
XIV. These words, dictated not merely by animosity towards his enemy, but by anguish on seeing the woman whom he had loved in the possession of his rival, impressed the mind of Scipio with no small degree of solicitude. He was, however, the more induced to listen to Syphax, from the marriage having been hurried forward, in the midst of arms, without either consulting or waiting for Lælius; and from Masinissa’s haste, for on the very day in which he had seen Sophonisba made prisoner, he had contracted matrimony with her, and performed the nuptial sacrifice, in presence of the household gods of his enemy. These proceedings appeared to Scipio the more heinous, because he himself, when in Spain, and when a very young man, had not allowed himself to be moved by the beauty of any captive whatever. While he was revolving these circumstances in his mind, Lælius and Masinissa arrived, to both of whom he gave the same kind reception; and afterwards made known their conduct, with the highest praises, in a full assembly. Then retiring with Masinissa to a private place, he thus addressed him: “I suppose, Masinissa, that in first coming to Spain for the purpose of contracting a friendship with me; and afterwards in Africa, submitting yourself, and all your concerns, to my protection; you must have been influenced by some good qualities which I was said to possess. Now, of those virtues which made you think my favour worth soliciting, there is not one, on which I value myself so much, as temperance and the government of my passions. I wish, Masinissa, that to your other excellent qualifications, you had added this one also. There is not so much danger, believe me there is not, to persons of our time of life, from armed foes, as from the pleasures which every where surround us. He who has curbed and reduced his passions to subjection, has really acquired to himself much greater glory, and a far more honourable victory, than that which we now enjoy in our conquest of Syphax. The instances of courage and conduct, which you displayed while I was not present, I have mentioned with pleasure, and I retain a proper sense of them. As to other matters, I rather wish that you would review them in your own mind, than that you should blush at my recital of them. Syphax has been subdued and taken under the auspices of the Roman people: therefore he, his wife, his kingdom, his territories, his towns, and the inhabitants of them; in short, whatever was the property of Syphax, is now the prize of that people. Both the King and his wife, even though she were not a citizen of Carthage, and we had not seen her father heading the enemy’s army, ought to have been sent to Rome, where the Roman state should have had the power of judging and determining, concerning her — a woman who is said to have seduced a king in alliance with us, and to have precipitated him into the war. Restrain your feelings. Beware, lest by one vice you disparage a number of good qualities, and destroy the credit of so many meritorious deeds by a fault, too great to be palliated, even by the occasion of it.”
XV. On hearing this discourse, not only Masinissa’s countenance was suffused with blushes, but he even burst into tears; and after declaring, that “in future he would be directed entirely by Scipio,” and entreating him, “as far as the affair would permit, to consider the obligation into which he had rashly entered, not to give the Queen into the power of any one,” he retired in confusion from the general’s tent to his own. There, dismissing his attendants, he spent some time in sighs and moans, which could be heard distinctly by those who stood without. At last, having uttered a deep groan, he called one of his servants, in whom he confided, and who had the charge of the poison, which, according to the custom of kings, is kept against the uncertainties of fortune, and ordered him to mix some in a cup; to carry it to Sophonisba; and to tell her at the same time, that “Masinissa would gladly have fulfilled the first obligation which he owed her — that due from a husband to his wife: but that, since those, who had the power, had not left that in his option, he now performed his second engagement, that she should not come alive into the hands of the Romans. He, therefore, requested her to remember her father, the general, her country, and the two kings to whom she had been married; and to take such steps as she should judge proper.” When the servant, carrying this message and the poison, came to Sophonisba — “I receive” said she, “this nuptial present, by no means an unacceptable one, if my husband has not the power to perform more for his wife. Tell him, however, that I should have died better, had I not married in the very moment of my funeral.” The firmness with which she spoke, was not greater than the resolution with which she received, and drank off, the contents of the cup. When Scipio was informed of this event, dreading, lest the young man, whose passions were violent, might, in the present disorder of his mind, take some desperate measure, he sent for him instantly; and at one time consoled, at another gently chid him, for having atoned one act of rashness by another, and for having rendered the affair more horrid than was necessary. Next day, in order to divert his thoughts from the object which, at the present, distressed him, he mounted his tribunal, and ordered an assembly to be summoned. There, after he had first honoured Masinissa with the title of King, and passed high encomiums on his merit, he presented to him a golden crown, a golden goblet, a curule chair, an ivory sceptre, an embroidered robe, and a vest striped with purple; enhancing the honour by saying, that “among the Romans there was nothing more magnificent than a triumph, and that those, who were so distinguished, had not a more splendid dress than that of which Masinissa alone, of all foreigners, was esteemed worthy by the Roman people.” Lælius also he highly commended, and presented with a golden crown; and on others of the military he conferred gifts suitable to the services which they had performed. By these honours conferred on him, the King’s mind was soothed, and encouraged to hope that he should soon be in possession of the whole extent of Numidia, now that Syphax was removed out of his way.
XVI. Scipio, sending Caius Lælius, with Syphax and the other prisoners, to Rome, with whom went also ambassadors from Masinissa, led back his troops to Tunes, and completed the fortifications which he had begun some time before. The Carthaginians, who had been filled with a short-lived joy, on account of their success in the attack on the Roman fleet, (and which in their then circumstances they had considered as important,) on hearing of the capture of Syphax, in whom they had placed more of their hopes than in Hasdrubal and their own army, were struck with dismay, and would listen no longer to any who advised to continue the war; but sent, as their agents to sue for peace, thirty of the principal elders. These compose the assembly of the highest dignity among them, having the principal control over the senate itself. Arriving at the general’s tent, they prostrated themselves, like those who humbly fawn on kings, having learned that mode, I suppose, from the country whence they derived their origin. Their discourse was suitable to such servile adulation, not attempting to apologize for their conduct, but transferring the blame on Hannibal, and the favourers of his violent measures. They implored pardon for their state, which had been twice ruined by the rashness of its citizens, and would a second time be indebted for its restoration to the generosity of an enemy: they observed, that “the Roman people sought dominion over the conquered, not their destruction; and declared themselves ready to pay implicit obedience to any commands which their subjugators should be pleased to impose.” Scipio told them, that “he had come into Africa with the expectation, which had been farther encouraged by the happy fortune of his army, of carrying home conquest, not peace. That, however, although he had conquest within his reach, yet he did not reject peace; that all nations might know, that the Roman people were guided by the principles of justice, both in undertaking and concluding wars. That these were the terms of peace which he prescribed:— That they should give up the prisoners, deserters, and fugitives; withdraw their armies from Italy and Gaul; renounce all pretensions to Spain; retire from all the islands which lie between Italy and Africa, deliver up all their ships of war, except twenty, and furnish five hundred thousand measures of wheat, and three hundred thousand of barley.” What sum of money he demanded, authors are not agreed. In some, I find five thousand talents*; in others, five thousand pounds weight of silver; while it is also said, that double pay of the troops was imposed. “Three days,” said he, “shall be allowed you to consider whether you approve of peace on these conditions. If you do approve of it, then make a truce with me, and send ambassadors to Rome to the senate.” The Carthaginians, thus dismissed, thought it advisable to submit to any terms, as the only object they had in view was to gain time, until Hannibal should come over to Africa; and therefore they sent ambassadors to Scipio, to conclude a truce, and others to Rome to solicit peace. These carried with them a few prisoners, deserters, and fugitives, to make a show of obedience, and that they might attain their object with the less difficulty.
XVII. Lælius, with Syphax and the principal Numidian prisoners, arrived at Rome several days before them, and related, in order, to the senate the several transactions which had passed in Africa. Great was the rejoicing, on account of the present state of affairs, and the most sanguine hopes were entertained with respect to the future. The senate then, on the business being proposed, ordered that the King should be sent prisoner to Alba, and that Lælius should be detained until the arrival of the Carthaginian ambassadors. A supplication for four days was decreed. Publius Ælius, prætor, when the senate broke up, called an assembly of the people, and ascended the rostrum, with Caius Lælius. There on hearing that the Carthaginian armies had been routed; so renowned a monarch as Syphax vanquished and made prisoner; and conquest extended, with extraordinary success, over every part of Numidia, the people could not contain their joy, but by shouts, and other methods usually practised by the multitude, expressed immoderate transports. The prætor, therefore immediately issued orders, that the keepers should open the temples in every part of the city; and that all should be allowed, during the whole day, to go round them, and pay their worship and thanks to the gods. On the day following, he introduced Masinissa’s ambassadors, who first congratulated the senate on the success of Publius Scipio in Africa; then gave thanks for his having “not only honoured Masinissa with the title of King, but made him one, by reinstating him on the throne of his father; where (now that Syphax was removed) he had, if it so pleased the senate, a prospect of reigning without contest or apprehension; they likewise made their acknowledgments for praises he had bestowed on him in the assembly, and for the very magnificent presents with which he had loaded him.” They added, “that Masinissa had exerted his best endeavours to appear not unworthy of those favours, and would continue so to do. They then requested the senate to confirm by their decree the title of King, and the other distinguished marks conferred on him by Scipio; telling them that their monarch further entreated, that, if it so pleased them, the Numidian prisoners then at Rome might be sent home — a circumstance which would do him high honour among his countrymen.” The senate made answer, “that congratulations on the successes in Africa ought in the confederates to be mutual; that Scipio appeared to have acted properly and regularly, in giving to their Numidian ally the title of King; and that whatever else he should do grateful to Masinissa, the senate ratified and approved it.” They then ordered the prætor to prepare the following presents for the King:— two purple robes with a golden clasp and vests, with broad purple borders; two horses with trappings; two suits of horseman’s armour, with coats of mail; with tents and camp furniture, such as is customary to provide for a consul. Donatives were also voted for the ambassadors, not less than five thousand asses* to each; for their attendants a thousand asses†; two suits of apparel to each of the ambassadors, one to each of their attendants, and the same to the Numidians, who were to be freed from imprisonment, and sent back to the King. Besides which, they ordered entire suits of apartments and entertainment for the embassy.
XVIII. In the course of the summer, during which those transactions passed in Africa, and these decrees at Rome, Publius Quintilius Varus, prætor, and Marcus Cornelius, proconsul, fought a pitched battle with Mago the Carthaginian in the country of the Insubrian Gauls. The prætor’s legions were in the first line; Cornelius kept his in reserve, placing himself in the front. The prætor and proconsul exhorted the soldiers to make the attack with the utmost vigour. Finding that they made no impression on the Carthaginian line, Quintilius said to Cornelius, “The battle flags, as you may perceive; and the enemy, finding themselves able to make resistance beyond what they had hoped, are hardened against fear, and it is well if they do not assume boldness; we must bear down with the cavalry, if we expect to disorder or drive them from their ground. Do you, therefore, support the battle in front, and I will bring up the horse; or I will take care of matters here, while you charge with the cavalry of the four legions.” The proconsul offering to undertake either part of the business, as the prætor should direct, Quintilius the prætor, with his son Marcus, a youth of a high and ardent spirit, took the command of the cavalry, and having ordered them to mount their horses, led them on instantly to the charge. The confusion occasioned by these was increased by the shouts of the legions; nor would the Carthaginian line have stood their ground, had not Mago immediately brought up the elephants to the fight, having kept them in readiness against the first motion which the horse should make. By the snorting and sight of these animals, the horses were frightened to such a degree, as rendered the aid of the cavalry of no effect. As the Roman horseman had the advantage in point of strength, when in close fight, and when he could use his javelin and sword hand to hand; so the Numidian had the better in darting javelins at him from a distance, and when his horse’s fright would not suffer him to advance. Among the infantry, the twelfth legion having lost the greater part of their number, kept their ground, rather through shame, than that they had strength to maintain it. They must soon, however, have fallen back, had not the thirteenth legion, led up from the reserve to the front, supported the doubtful conflict. Mago, at the same time, brought up to oppose this fresh legion, the Gauls, drawn also from his reserve. These being routed without much difficulty, the spearmen of the eleventh legion formed themselves into a circular body, and attacked the elephants, which were now throwing the line of infantry into confusion; and, by discharging their spears at them, hardly any of which were thrown in vain, as the heasts were close together, they turned them all upon the line of their own party. Four of them, overpowered with wounds, fell. On this, the first line of the enemy began to give way; when all the infantry, seeing the elephants turning about, rushed on in order to increase the terror and confusion. As long, however, as Mago stood at the head of the troops, the ranks, retreating leisurely, kept up the spirit of the battle; but when they saw him fall on receiving a wound through his thigh, and carried lifeless out of the field, instantly all betook themselves to flight. There were five thousand Carthaginians slain on that day, and twenty-two military ensigns taken. Nor was the victory bloodless on the side of the Romans two thousand three hundred men of the prætor’s army were lost, by far the greater part of whom were of the twelfth legion; of which legion also fell two military tribunes, Marcus Cosconius and Marcus Mænius. Of the thirteenth legion, likewise, which had shared the latter part of the engagement, Cneius Helvius, military tribune, was slain while employed in restoring the fight. There perished, besides, thirty-two horsemen of some distinction, who were trodden down by the elephants, together with some centurions. Probably the contest would not have been so soon ended, had not the wound of their general made the enemy retire from the field.
XIX. Mago, setting out during the silence of the next night, and making as long journeys as his wound allowed him to bear, arrived at the sea-coast, in the country of the Ingaunian Ligurians. There the deputies from Carthage, who had a few days before arrived with the ships in the Gallic bay, waited on him, and delivered orders to him, to pass over to Africa as soon as possible; informing him, that his brother Hannibal, to whom messengers had been also sent, would do the same, for the affairs of the Carthaginians were not in a condition to hold possession of Gaul and Italy by arms. Mago was not only moved by the commands of the senate, and the danger that threatened his country, but dreaded lest, if he delayed, he might be hard pressed by the victorious enemy; and, also, lest the Ligurians themselves, seeing that the Carthaginians were about to relinquish Italy, might revolt to those under whose power they must speedily fall. He, at the same time, entertained hopes, that his wound might be less irritated on board a ship than on land, and that he might there be able to attend to the cure of it with more convenience. Embarking, therefore, his troops, he set sail, and had scarcely passed Sardinia when he died: on the coast of which island, several Carthaginian ships, which had been dispersed, were taken by the Roman fleet. Such were the occurrences by land and sea, on that side of Italy nearest to the Alps. The consul Cneius Servilius performed nothing memorable in Etruria, or in Gaul (for he had advanced into that country,) except that he rescued from slavery, which they had endured for sixteen years, his father Caius Servilius, and his uncle Caius Lutatius, who had been taken by the Boians at the village of Tanetum. He returned to Rome, accompanied by these on each side of him, distinguished rather by family-badges than public services. It was proposed to the people, that “Cneius Servilius should not be subject to penalty, for having, contrary to the laws, during the life of his father (a circumstance of which he was at that time ignorant,) and who sat in the curule chair, accepted the offices of tribune of the commons, and plebeian ædile;” this being admitted, he returned to his province. Consentia, Uffugum, Vergæ, Besidiæ, Hetriculum, Sypheum, Argentanum, Clampetia, and many other small states, perceiving that the Carthaginians grew languid in their operations, came over to Cneius Servilius, the consul, then in Bruttium; and who had fought a battle with Hannibal in the district of Croton, of which we have no clear account. Valerius Antias says, that five thousand of the enemy were slain. This is a circumstance of such importance, that either it must be an impudent fiction, or they were guilty of great negligence who omitted mentioning it. It is certain, that Hannibal made no farther efforts in Italy, for deputies came to him from Carthage, recalling him to Africa, nearly at the same time with Mago.
XX. Hannibal is said to have been thrown into the most violent agitation, and scarcely to have refrained from shedding tears, on hearing the words of the deputies. When they had delivered the orders, which they had in charge, he said — “Now, indeed, they recall me, not in ambiguous terms, but openly, who have, for a long time past, been dragging me home, by refusing me supplies both of men and money. It is not the Roman people, so often discomfited and routed, that has conquered Hannibal, but the Carthaginian senate, through the malicious suggestions of envy; nor will Scipio exult, and pride himself, so much in this my disgraceful retreat, as will Hanno; who, unable to do it by any other means, has crushed our family under the ruins of Carthage.” As he had, for some time, foreseen this event, he had ships already prepared: dismissing, therefore, a useless crowd of soldiers, under the appearance of garrisons, into the towns of Bruttium, a few of which adhered to him rather through fear than affection, he carried over to Africa such of the troops as were fit for service. A great number of natives of Italy, refusing to follow him to Africa, and flying to the sanctuary of Juno Lacinia, which, till that day, had never been violated, were barbarously put to death within the walls of the temple. We are told, that hardly any person ever showed more grief on leaving his native soil, to go into exile, than Hannibal on his departure from the country of his enemy; that he often looked back on the coasts of Italy, inveighing against gods and men, uttering curses on his own head, for not having led his men to Rome, yet reeking with blood from the slaughter at Cannæ: reflecting, with the bitterest vexation, that Scipio, who, since his appointment to the consulship, had not looked in the face of the Carthaginian enemy in Italy, had yet spirit to go and attack Carthage; while he, who had slain a hundred thousand fighting men at Thrasimenus and Cannæ, had suffered his strength to moulder away about Casilinum, Cumæ, and Nola. In the midst of such self-reproaches and complaints, he was forced away from Italy, in which he had so long maintained a divided power with the Romans.
XXI. News was brought to Rome at the same time, that both Mago and Hannibal had departed for Africa. But the exultation of the people was diminished by the reflection, that the Roman commanders had shown a want either of spirit or of strength, in not preventing such departure, though they had received orders to that purpose from the senate. They had also much anxiety concerning the final issue of affairs, now that the whole weight of the war fell upon one general and his army. About the same time, ambassadors arrived from Saguntum, bringing with them some Carthaginians who had come over to Spain to hire auxiliaries, and whom they had seized, together with their money. They laid down, in the porch of the senate-house, two hundred and fifty pounds weight of gold, and eighty of silver. The agents were thrown into prison; the gold and silver were returned, and thanks given to the Saguntines; presents were made to them besides, and ships provided to convey them home to Spain. Some of the older senators then observed, that “men had less lively sensations of good than of evil. Did they remember what terror and consternation Hannibal’s coming into Italy had excited? What losses they had sustained, and what lamentations had followed? When the Carthaginian camp was seen from the walls of the city, what vows were then offered up by each particular person, and by the whole body of the people! How often, in their assemblies, were their hands stretched out towards heaven, and exclamations heard — O! will that day ever arrive, when we shall see Italy cleared of the enemy, and blessed once more with the enjoyment of peace? That now, at length, in the sixteenth year, the gods had granted their wish, and yet not the slightest proposal had been made, of returning thanks to the gods. So deficient are men in gratitude, even at the time when a favour is received; and much less are they apt to retain a proper sense of it afterwards.” Immediately, a general exclamation broke forth from every part of the senate-house, that Publius Ælius, the prætor, should take the sense of the senate on the subject; and a decree passed, that a supplication should be solemnized in all the temples for five days, and a hundred and twenty of the greater victims offered in sacrifice.
XXII. After Lælius and Masinissa’s ambassadors were dismissed, accounts were brought, that the Carthaginian ambassadors, who were coming to treat of peace, had been seen at Puteoli, and would proceed from thence by land: on which the senate resolved, that Caius Lælius should be recalled, in order that he might be present at the proceedings. Quintus Fulvius Gillo, a lieutenant-general under Scipio, conducted the Carthaginians to Rome, but they were forbidden to enter the city. Apartments were provided for them in the Villa Publica, and an audience of the senate was granted them in the temple of Bellona. Their discourse was nearly the same with that which they had made to Scipio, throwing off all the blame of the war from the community, and laying it on Hannibal. They affirmed, that “he had acted contrary to the orders of the senate, not only in passing the Alps, but even in crossing the Iberus; and that he had, without any authority from them, made war, not only upon the Romans, but, before that, on the Saguntines: that, if the facts were duly considered, the senate and people of Carthage had, to that day, inviolably observed the treaty with the Romans. Therefore they had nothing farther in charge, than to request, that they might be allowed to abide by the terms of the peace which had been lately concluded with the consul Lutatius.” The prætor, according to the established custom, giving permission to the senators to make such inquiries of the ambassadors as any of them thought proper; the older members, who had been present at the concluding of the treaties, asked various questions relative to them. The Carthaginians replied, that they were not of an age to remember particulars (for almost all of them were young): on which, the house resounded with exclamations, that Punic faith was evident, in appointing such men as these to solicit the renewal of a former peace, with the terms of which they were themselves unacquainted.
XXIII. The ambassadors being ordered to withdraw, the senators proceeded to give their opinions. Marcus Livius recommended, that “Cneius Servilius, the consul who was the nearer home, should be sent for, to be present at the proceedings; for, as no subject of greater importance than the present could ever come under their consideration, so he did not think it consistent with the dignity of the Roman people, that an affair of such magnitude should be transacted in the absence of both the consuls.” Quintus Metellus, who three years before had been consul, and had also been dictator, proposed, that “whereas Publius Scipio, by destroying the armies of the enemy, and wasting their country, had reduced them to such necessity, that they sued for peace. No person whatever could be a more competent judge of their intention in making the application, and therefore they should be wholly directed by the advice of that general, who was carrying on the war under the walls of Carthage.” Marcus Valerius Lævinus, who had been twice consul, charged those men with being come as spies, and not as ambassadors; and advised, that “they should be ordered to depart from Italy; that guards should be sent with them to their ships; and that orders should be sent to Scipio, not to intermit his operations.” Lælius and Fulvius added, that “Scipio had grounded his hopes of success on Hannibal and Mago not being recalled from Italy. That the Carthaginians would feign a compliance with any measures, while they waited for the arrival of those generals and their armies; and would, afterwards, forgetting all gods, and all treaties, however recent, pursue the war.” This observation made them more readily concur in the opinion of Lævinus. The ambassadors were therefore dismissed, and almost without an answer.
XXIV. About the same time, the consul Cneius Servilius, not doubting but that he should enjoy the glory of having restored peace to Italy, passed over into Sicily in pursuit of Hannibal, (as if he himself had compelled him to retreat,) intending to proceed from thence to Africa. As soon as this became known at Rome, the senate at first voted, that the prætor should write to the consul, that they required him to return to Italy. Afterwards, on the prætor’s assuring them that Servilius would pay no regard to his letter, Publius Sulpicius, being created dictator for the purpose, recalled the consul by virtue of his superior authority; and then, with Marcus Servilius, master of the horse, he spent the remainder of the year in going round to the cities which had forfeited their allegiance during the war, and examining into the conduct of each. During the continuance of the truce, a hundred transports, with stores, under the convoy of twenty ships of war, sent from Sardinia by Lentulus the prætor, arrived safe in Africa, without meeting any obstruction, either from the enemy or bad weather. Cneius Octavius, who sailed from Sicily with two hundred transports, and thirty ships of war, had not the same good fortune. His voyage was prosperous, until he came almost within sight of Africa, when the wind at first subsided into a calm; then, springing up heavily from the south-west, his ships were dispersed on all sides. He himself, with the ships of war, struggling through the opposing waves, with excessive toil to the rowers, made the promontory of Apollo: the transports were most of them driven to Ægimurus, an island stretching across the mouth of the bay on which Carthage stands, distant from the city about thirty miles; the rest towards that part of it where the hot baths are found. All this happened within view of Carthage, and occasioned a concourse of people from all parts, in the Forum. The magistrates assembled the senate; the multitude in the porch of the senate-house expressed aloud their uneasiness, lest so great a booty should be allowed to escape out of their hands. Although some objected, that their faith was pledged in having sued for peace, others in their having agreed to a truce, and which had not yet expired, yet the assembly, being composed of nearly an equal number of the populace as of senators, came to a resolution, that Hasdrubal should go to Ægimurus with a fleet of fifty sail, and proceed from thence to pick up the scattered ships of the Romans, in the several harbours, and along the coasts. First, the transports from Ægimurus, abandoned by the mariners, who effected their escape, were towed to Carthage; afterwards those from the baths.
XXV. The ambassadors had not yet returned from Rome, nor was it known what were the sentiments of the Roman senate concerning war or peace; neither was the term of the truce expired. Scipio, on this account, more highly resented the injury offered by those who had petitioned for peace, and the truce; and, considering it as breaking off the negociations, and an infraction of the truce, he instantly sent Marcus Bæbius, Lucius Sergius, and Lucius Fabius, ambassadors to Carthage. These, having narrowly escaped suffering violence from the populace, and still apprehending themselves exposed to danger, applied to the magistrates, who had protected them from ill-treatment, for a guard of ships on their return. Two triremes were assigned them; which, as soon as they came to the river Bagrada, from whence there was a view of the Roman camp, returned to Carthage. There was a Carthaginian fleet stationed at Utica, from which two quadriremes were sent, either in consequence of private orders from Carthage, or Hasdrubal, who commanded that fleet, (for the infraction was unauthorized by the public,) and which suddenly attacked the Roman quinquereme, as it came round the promontory. The Carthaginian vessels attempted to strike the Roman with their prows, but which they could not effect by reason of its activity, nor could the fighting men leap from those lower ships into the higher ones. The quinquereme was gallantly defended, as long as weapons lasted. These, however, spent, there was nothing that could save them, but the land being near, and the multitude which poured out from the camp to the coast. They, therefore, pressed forward, using their utmost efforts with their oars; and running on shore, the men escaped, but the ship was entirely lost. After the truce had been thus broken, by outrage after outrage, Lælius and Fulvius arrived from Rome, with the Carthaginian ambassadors. To these Scipio declared, that “although the Carthaginians had violated not only their faith pledged in the truce, but also the laws of nations respecting ambassadors, yet they should meet no treatment from him unbecoming the maxims of the Roman people, and his own principles;” and thus dismissing them, he prepared for war. Hannibal now drew nigh the land, when one of the sailors was ordered to climb the mast, and discover what part of the country they were arrived at; and on his saying that their course pointed to a ruined sepulchre, the Carthaginian, struck with the ill omen, ordered the pilot to steer past that place, put in his fleet at Leptis, and there disembarked his forces.
XXVI. These were the transactions in Africa during that year; those which follow belong to the period in which Marcus Servilius Geminus, who was then master of the horse, and Tiberius Claudius Nero, were consuls. However, towards the end of the former year deputies arrived from the allied cities of Greece. They complained, that their lands were ravaged by Philip’s garrisons; and that their ambassadors, who had gone into Macedonia to solicit reparation of their injuries, had not been admitted to the presence of the King. At the same time, they gave information, that four thousand soldiers, under the command of Sopater, had gone over to Africa, and were marching to the assistance of the Carthaginians; and that some money also had been sent with them; whereupon the senate ordered, that an embassy should be sent to the King, to acquaint him, that the senate considered those proceedings as contrary to the treaty subsisting between them. Caius Terentius Varro, Caius Mamilius, and Marcus Aurelius, were despatched on this business, with an escort of three quinqueremes. That year was remarkable for a great fire, by which the buildings on the Publician hill were burned to the ground; and also for an uncommon overflowing of the rivers: but provisions were plentiful, because, in consequence of peace, all parts of Italy were open for importation; and besides, a great quantity of corn, which had been sent from Spain, was delivered out to the inhabitants, at the easy rate of four asses a bushel, by the curule ædiles, Marcus Valerius Falto, and Marcus Fabius Buteo. In the same year died Quintus Fabius Maximus, in extreme old age, if it be true, as some writers affirm, that he had been augur for sixty-two years. He was certainly a man worthy of the great surname which he bore, even if he were the first to whom it was applied. He surpassed his father, and was equal to his grandfather, in the honourable posts which he filled. His grandfather, Rullus, was distinguished by a greater number of victories, and greater battles; but the actions of Fabius, having such an antagonist as Hannibal, may be considered as equivalent to them all. He was deemed to possess more caution than spirit: but though it may be doubted, whether the dilatoriness of his conduct arose from his natural disposition, or from a conviction that it was best suited to the war in which he was engaged; yet nothing is more certain, than that this man alone, as the poet Ennis says, by his delays retrieved our affairs. Quintus Fabius Maximus, his son, was consecrated augur in his place, and Servius Sulpicius Galba pontiff, in his place also; for he held two offices in the college of priests. The Roman games were repeated for one day; the plebeian thrice repeated entire, by the curule ædiles, Marcus Sextius Sabinus, and Caius Tremellius Flaccus. Both of these were elected prætors, and, with them, Caius Livius Salinator, and Caius Aurelius Cotta. The different accounts given by writers render it uncertain whether Caius Servilius, consul, presided at the elections that year, or Publius Sulpicius, nominated dictator by him, because he himself was detained in Etruria, being employed, pursuant to a decree of the senate, in holding inquisitions relative to the conspiracies of the principal inhabitants.
Y.R. 550. 202.XXVII. In the beginning of the following year, Marcus Servilius and Tiberius Claudius, summoning the senate to the Capitol, consulted them concerning the provinces. Both were desirous of obtaining Africa; they therefore wished that Italy and Africa should be disposed of by lot: but this was opposed, though by Quintus Metellus chiefly. The consuls were ordered to apply to the tribunes, to take the sense of the people, as to who should conduct the war in Africa. All the tribes concurred in appointing Publius Scipio. Nevertheless the consuls put the province of Africa to the lot, for so the senate had decreed, and it fell to Tiberius Claudius, who was to carry to Africa a fleet of fifty ships, all quinqueremes, with authority equal to that of Scipio. Marcus Servilius obtained Etruria; and in the same province, the command was continued to Caius Servilius, if the senate thought proper that the consul should remain in the city. Of the prætors, Marcus Sextius obtained Gaul, where Publius Quintilius Varus was to deliver to him two legions with the province; Caius Livius, Bruttium, with the two legions which Publius Sempronius, proconsul, had commanded the year before; Cneius Tremellius, Sicily, with directions to receive from Publius Villius Tappulus, prætor of the former year, the province and two legions; Villius, as proprætor, was appointed to protect the coast of Sicily with twenty ships of war and one thousand troops; Marcus Pomponius to convey from thence to Rome, with the remaining twenty ships, one thousand five hundred soldiers. The city jurisdiction fell to Caius Aurelius Cotta: the rest were continued in their provinces, and with the armies to which they were first appointed. Not more than sixteen legions were employed that year in the service of the empire. In order to conciliate the favour of the gods to all their undertakings and proceedings, it was ordered that the consuls should, before they set out to the campaign, celebrate those games, and with the greater victims, which Titus Manlius, dictator, in the consulate of Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and Titus Quintus had vowed, provided the commonwealth should for the next five years continue in the same state. The games were exhibited in the Circus during four days, and the victims sacrificed to the gods to whom they had been vowed.
XXVIII. Meanwhile, both hope and anxiety daily increased in equal proportion; nor could people judge with certainty, whether it was a proper subject of rejoicing, that Hannibal had, at the end of sixteen years, departed from Italy, and thereby left the possession of it open to the Roman people, or whether they had not rather cause of fear, in his having carried his army safe into Africa. They considered, that although the place was “changed, the danger was still the same. That Quintus Fabius, lately deceased, who foretold the violence of this struggle, had grounds for what he further presaged, namely, that Hannibal would prove a more formidable enemy in his own country than he had been in a foreign one. Scipio, he said, would not have to deal with Syphax, a King of undisciplined barbarians, whose army had been sometimes commanded by Statorius, a man but little elevated above the condition of a slave; nor with such a dastardly general as his father-in-law, Hasdrubal; nor with tumultuary armies, hastily collected out of a crowd of armed rustics; but with Hannibal, a general of the greatest bravery; brought up from his infancy in the midst of arms; in his childhood a soldier; when scarcely arrived at the age of youth, a general: who had advanced to an old age, through a course of victories; had filled Spain, Gaul, and Italy, from the Alps to the streight, with monuments of his mighty atchievements; who was at the head of an army equally experienced in service with himself, hardened by having gone through every kind of difficulty, even beyond what men could be supposed to endure; which had been stained numberless times, with Roman blood, and had carried with them the spoils, not only of Roman soldiers, but of Roman commanders. That many would meet Scipio in battle, who with their own hands had slain prætors, generals, and consuls; who, in fine, were decorated with the highest military honours, accustomed as they were to ravage camps, and the cities of Italy; and that the magistrates of the Roman people were not in possession of such a number of fasces, as Hannibal could have carried before him, of those which had been taken from the generals who had fallen by his arms.” While their thoughts were employed in these discouraging considerations, their anxiety and fears were farther aggravated by other circumstances: for after being accustomed during several years to wage war in different parts of Italy, without any sanguine hopes or prospect of its speedy conclusion; Scipio and Hannibal, champions matched as it were for the final decision, had now raised their eagerest attention. Even those who had the greatest confidence in Scipio, and the strongest hopes of victory, the nearer they saw the completion of their wishes, the more was their solicitude heightened. In a similar manner were the minds of the Carthaginians affected; who, when they turned their eyes on Hannibal, and the greatness of his exploits, repented that they had sued for peace. Then recollecting that they had been twice vanquished in battle; that Syphax had been made prisoner; that they had been expelled from Spain; and finally, that they had been obliged to quit Italy for the defence of their own shores; and that all this had been effected by the valour and conduct of Scipio alone, they looked on him with terror, as a leader whose birth the fates had ordained for their destruction.
XXIX. Hannibal, in the mean time, arrived at Hadrumetum, and spent a few days there in refreshing his soldiers after the fatigues of the voyage; when, roused by the alarming accounts, that all the country round Carthage was possessed by the enemy’s troops, he advanced by long marches to Zama, which lies at the distance of five days’ journey from that city. Some spies whom he sent out, being intercepted by the Roman guards, and brought to Scipio, he gave them in charge to the military tribunes, with orders to conduct them through the camp, wherever they chose; he encouraged them to lay aside fear, and view every thing; and then, inquiring whether they had taken a satisfactory view of every particular, he gave them an escort back to Hannibal. Hannibal received no pleasure from any of their accounts. They informed him that Masinissa happened to arrive that very day with six thousand foot, and four thousand horse; and he was particularly struck by the confidence of the enemy, which, he well knew, was not conceived without reason. Wherefore, although he was himself the cause of the war, and had, by his coming, occasioned the violation of the truce, and the breaking off the negociations; yet, thinking that he might obtain more reasonable terms, by suing for peace while his strength was entire, than after being discomfited, he sent a message to Scipio, requesting a conference. Whether he took this step on his own judgment or by the order of the government, I cannot take upon me to affirm. Valerius Antias says, that after he had been defeated by Scipio in the first engagement, in which twelve thousand fighting men were slain, and one thousand seven hundred taken, he came as ambassador, with ten others, into the camp to Scipio. Scipio did not decline the conference; and the two generals, by concert, moved forward their camps, in order that they might the more conveniently meet. Scipio sat down at a small distance from the city Nedagara, in a spot every way commodious, besides having water within a javelin’s cast: Hannibal took possession of a hill, four miles distant; safe and convenient in all respects, except that there was no water near. In the space between them a spot was chosen, open to view on all sides, that there might be no room for treachery.
XXX. Their armed attendants having retired to an equal distance on both sides, here met (each attended by a signal interpreter) the two greatest generals, not only of the age they lived in, but of all who have been recorded in any former time, and equal to any of the kings or commanders of any nations whatever. On sight of each other they both stood, for some time, silent, struck dumb as it were by mutual admiration. At length, Hannibal began thus: “Since it has been so ordered by fate, that I, who first commenced hostilities against the Roman people, and have so often been on the point of making a conquest of them, should voluntarily come to sue for peace, I am glad that it is to you, rather than to any other person, that I am to apply. On your part too, among the many illustrious events of your life, it ought not to be reckoned the least glorious, that Hannibal, to whom the gods granted victory over so many Roman generals, has yielded to you; and that you put an end to this war, which was first rendered remarkable by the calamities of your country, before it was so by those of ours. Here also we may observe, the sport of fortune in the disposal of events, that, in the consulate of your father, I took up arms. He was the first Roman general with whom I engaged in battle, and to his son I now come unarmed to solicit peace. It were indeed above all things to be wished, that the gods had so disposed the minds of our fathers, that your countrymen had been contented with the dominion of Italy, and ours with that of Africa; for, even on your side, Sicily and Sardinia are not an adequate compensation for the loss of so many fleets, so many armies, so many excellent generals. But what is past, however it may be blamed, cannot be retrieved. Our attempts on the possessions of others have ended in our being necessitated to fight in defence of our own. Thus we not only brought war home to you in Italy, but to ourselves in Africa. You beheld the arms and ensigns of an enemy almost within your gates and on your walls; and we now, from the ramparts of Carthage, hear the din of a Roman camp. The event, therefore, for which we ought most earnestly to pray, and you to wish, above all things, now comes in view: you are negociating a peace in the midst of a successful career. We who negociate are the persons most interested in its establishment, and whose stipulations, whatever they may be, will certainly be ratified by our respective states. We want nothing but a disposition not averse from pacific counsels. For my part, so much instruction have I received from age, returning now an old man to my country, which I left a boy, and also both from prosperity and adversity, that I wish to follow reason rather than fortune. But your early time of life and uninterrupted flow of prosperity, both apt to inspire a degree of warmth ill suited to peaceful plans, excite in my mind very serious apprehensions. He whom fortune has never deceived, rarely considers the uncertainty of future events. What I was at Thrasimenus and at Cannæ, that you are at present. Appointed to a command at an age scarcely fit for service, though your enterprises were of the boldest nature, you were ever successful. By avenging the death of your father and uncle, you acquired a distinguished character of uncommon bravery and filial duty. You recovered Spain which had been lost, and drove out of it four Carthaginian armies. On being elected consul, when others wanted spirit sufficient to defend Italy, you passed into Africa; and, by there destroying two armies, by taking and burning two camps in one hour, by making a captive of Syphax, a most powerful king, and by seizing on so many of his cities, and so many of ours, you compelled me to relinquish the possession of Italy, which I had continued to hold for sixteen years. Perhaps your wishes tend rather to conquest, than to peace. I know the spirit of you Romans, that it ever aims at grand rather than useful objects. Fortune once shone on me with the same benign countenance. But if, along with prosperity, the gods would grant us a sound judgment, we should consider not only what had already happened, but what may possibly happen hereafter. Although you should forget all other instances, I am a sufficient example of every kind of fortune. Me, whom you formerly saw pitching my camp between the Anio and your city, and on the point of scaling the walls of Rome, you now behold here, under the walls of my native city, which is threatened with a siege; deprived of my two brothers, generals of consummate skill and valour; deprecating, in behalf of my own city, those calamities, by which formerly I struck terror into yours. The most exalted state of fortune is ever the least to be relied on. A peace concluded at a juncture wherein your affairs flourish, and ours are distressed, reflects splendour and dignity on you who grant it: to us, who request it, it is rather necessary, that honourable. A certain peace is better and safer than a victory in expectation: the former is in your own disposal, the latter in that of the gods. Risk not, on the chance of one hour, the happy successes of so many years. When you consider your own strength, recollect, at the same time, the chances of war. Arms there will be on both sides; but, on both sides, the bodies that contend will be but human. Events less correspond to men’s expectations in war, than in any other case whatever. Even supposing that you should gain the victory in battle, the proportion of glory which you would thereby acquire, in addition to what you may now securely enjoy on granting peace, would be, by no means, commensurate to that which you must lose, should any misfortune happen to you. The chance of but a single hour may destroy, at once, both the honours which you have attained, and those for which you hope. In the adjusting of matters, every thing, Publius Scipio, will be in your own power; in the other case, you must abide by the pleasure of the gods. Formerly, Marcus Atilius, in this same land, would have been celebrated among the few most extraordinary examples of bravery and success, had he, when possessed of victory, granted peace to the request of our fathers; but by setting no bounds to his ambition, by laying no restraint on his passions; in proportion to the height of glory to which he had attained, was his fall dishonourable. Certainly it is his right who grants peace, not his who sues for it, to prescribe the terms; yet, perhaps, we might not be deemed altogether inadequate to the estimation of what degree of punishment should be inflicted on us. We are ready to give up to you the possession of all those places, on account of which the war was begun: Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, with all the islands that lie in any part of the sea between Africa and Italy. Let us, Carthaginians, confined within the shores of Africa, behold you (since such is the will of the gods) extending your sovereignty, both by land and sea, over foreign realms. I am far from denying that you have some reason to distrust the faith of the Carthaginians, on account of the insincerity which they showed in their solicitations, and in not waiting the issue of the negotiation. Scipio, the security of a peace being observed depends much on the character of those who sue for it. Your senate, I hear, refused to grant it, partly from the consideration that the persons employed in the embassy were not sufficiently respectable. Hannibal sues for peace, who would not sue for it unless he thought it expedient; and who, on account of the same expediency which induces him to sue for it, will also maintain it. And as because the war was begun by me, I took effectual care, until the gods themselves declared against me, that my countrymen should have no reason to complain of it, so will I exert my utmost endeavours to make them satisfied with a peace procured by my means.”
XXXI. The Roman general answered to this effect: “Hannibal, it was not unknown to me that their expectation of your arrival was what urged the Carthaginians to violate the truce subsisting, and to break off the treaty of peace. Nor do you dissemble it; as you deduct, from the former conditions, every particular, except those which are, for some time past, in our own power. But as you are solicitous that your countrymen should understand how great a burden they are relieved from by your means, so it is my business to endeavour that they shall not now retract the concessions which they then agreed to make, and enjoy what they then ceded, as a reward of their perfidy. Unworthy of being allowed the same terms, you require additional advantages in consequence of your treachery. Neither were our fathers the aggressors in the war of Sicily, nor we in that of Spain. In the former case, the danger of their allies the Mamertines; in the latter, the destruction of Saguntum, armed us in the cause of justice and in duty. That you were the aggressors, you yourself acknowledge; and the gods bear witness to it, who directed the issue of the former war according to equity, and who are now directing, and will bring the present to the same issue. As to myself, I am sensible of the instability of human affairs; I am mindful of the power of fortune; and I know that all our undertakings are subject to a thousand casualties. But as on the one hand, if you were retiring from Italy of your own accord, and, after embarking your troops, were come to solicit peace, if in that case I refused to listen to you, I should acknowledge that I behaved with pride and arrogance: so, on the other hand, now that I have dragged you into Africa, in spite of every effort which you used to prevent it, I am not bound to show you any particular respect. If, therefore, in addition to the terms on which it was then intended to conclude a peace (and with which you are acquainted,) a full compensation be proposed for having seized our ships and stores, during the subsistence of a truce, and for the insult offered to my ambassadors, I shall then have matter to lay before my council. But if this also seem severe, prepare for war, since you must be insincere in proposing peace.” Thus, without coming to any accommodation, they retired to their respective armies, and informed them that words had been tried to no purpose, that the business must be decided by arms, and they must abide the fortune which the gods should allot them.
XXXII. Arrived at their camps, both gave orders to their soldiers to “get ready their arms, and call forth their courage, for a decisive contest; in which, if success attended them, they would secure a superiority, not for a day, but for ever. That it would be seen before to-morrow night, whether Rome or Carthage was to give laws to all nations: for not Africa, nor Italy, but the world, was to be the prize of victory; while the calamities to those who should be overcome, were proportionate to the prize;” for as, on the one hand, the Romans had no chance of escaping, in a foreign, and to them unknown, country; so, on the other, Carthage, having exhausted her last resources, seemed to be threatened with immediate ruin. Next day, advanced two by far the most illustrious generals, and two most puissant armies, of the two most powerful states, to complete the splendid fabric of glory which they had erected, and which each were desirous of securing to himself. The minds of all were anxiously suspended between hope and fear; and whilst they viewed, at one time, their own, at another, the enemy’s army, estimating their powers either by the eye or judgment, they met with objects both of encouragement and of dread. Such as did not occur to their own thoughts, were suggested by the generals in their admonitions and exhortations. The Carthaginian recounted the exploits of sixteen years in the heart of Italy; so many Roman generals, so many armies utterly destroyed; and when he came to any soldier, who had been distinguished for his behaviour in a former battle, he reminded him of the honours which he had received. Scipio called to his men’s recollection Spain, the late engagements in Africa, and the acknowledgment of the enemy, that they had been compelled by their fears to sue for peace; which, yet, the natural perfidy of their disposition would not allow them to establish. He related also his conference with Hannibal; which, as it had passed in secret, he might have misrepresented at his pleasure. He mentioned, as an encouraging omen, that, as they were coming out to battle, the gods had shown them the same portents, under the auspices of which their fathers had fought at the islands Ægates. “The end of the war, and of all their toils,” he said, “was now at hand; they had, within their reach, the plunder of Carthage: and might speedily return home to their country, to their parents, their children, their wives and their household gods.” These words he uttered in an erect attitude, and with a countenance so animated with joy, that he seemed as if he had already obtained the victory.
XXXIII. He then drew up the spearmen in the van, behind them the first-rank men, and closed the rear with the veterans. He did not, as usual, form the cohorts in close order, each before their own colours, but placed the companies at some distance from each other, that there might be room to admit the elephants of the enemy, without disturbing the ranks. Lælius, who formerly served under him as lieutenant-general, but that year as quæstor, by particular appointment, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, he posted with the Italian cavalry on the left wing; Masinissa and the Numidians on the right. The openings between the companies of the cohorts he filled up with light-armed troops, and gave them directions, on the attack of the elephants, either to retire to the rear of the files, or, opening to right and left, to form along with the cohorts, so as to leave a passage for those beasts, through which they might advance, exposed on both sides to their weapons. Hannibal, in order to strike terror, placed his elephants in the front: of these there were eighty (a number greater than he had ever before brought into the field;) next to them, the auxiliary Ligurians and Gauls, with the Balearians and Moors intermixed. In the second line, he placed the Carthaginians, Africans, and the legion of Macedonians; and then, (leaving a moderate interval,) he formed the line of reserve, consisting of Italian soldiers, chiefly Bruttians, a greater number of whom followed him on his departure from Italy, by compulsion and through necessity, rather than from inclination. He also covered the flanks with cavalry, the Carthaginians being posted on the right, the Numidians on the left. Various were the methods of encouragement made use of among such a number of men, differing from each other in language, in manners, in laws, in arms, in garb, in temper, and in their motives for engaging in the service. To the auxiliaries was held out present gain; and that to be greatly increased by future plunder. The Gauls were inflamed by rousing their peculiar and natural hatred to the Romans. To the Ligurians, who had been brought down from craggy mountains, the fertile plains of Italy were pointed out as the reward of success. The Moors and Numidians he terrified with the prospect of cruel tyranny under Masinissa. Different objects of hope and fear were proposed to each; but to the Carthaginians, nothing but extremes, either on the side of hope or of fear, was presented to view; the walls of their native city, their household gods, the sepulchres of their ancestors, their children, parents, and wives distracted with terror; in a word, utter ruin and abject slavery, or the empire of the world. While the general was thus employed among the Carthaginians, and the commanders of the several nations among their respective countrymen, (many of them speaking by interpreters, being intermixed with foreigners,) the trumpets and cornets sounded on the side of the Romans; and such a shout was raised, that the elephants, particularly in the left wing, turned about against their own men, the Moors and Numidians. Masinissa, charging them while in disorder, easily drove them in, and stripped their line on that flank of the cover of the cavalry. However, a few of these beasts, unaffrighted, being driven forward on the Romans, made great slaughter among the light troops, but not without receiving many wounds; for, springing back to the companies, and, to avoid being trodden under foot, opening a passage for the elephants, they discharged their spears at them from both sides, being entirely exposed as they passed through; nor did the javelins from the first line of troops cease, until, being driven away from the Roman line by the weapons showered on them, they put to flight even the Carthaginian cavalry, in their own right wing. Lælius, seeing the enemy in this confusion, charged their disordered troops, and put them to flight.
XXXIV. The Carthaginian line was exposed on both flanks, not having cavalry to cover them, when the infantry began to engage; but no longer on an equality with the Roman, either in hope or in strength. There was another circumstance which, though trifling in appearance, is yet of great consequence in action. The shout on the side of the Romans was composed of the same sounds uttered by every one; consequently it was the stronger, and more terrible: on the other side, the sounds were dissonant, uttered in the discordant languages of many different nations. Besides, the Roman manner of fighting was steady, being accustomed to press against the enemy with their own weight, and that of their arms. That of the Carthaginian was more loose, with greater agility than strength. Immediately, therefore, at the first onset, the Romans made the line of the enemy give way; and then, thrusting against them with their elbows and the bosses of their shields, and stepping forward into the place from which they had pushed them, they rapidly gained ground. The rear ranks also, on perceiving the enemy’s line shrink, pushed forward those who were before them, which greatly encreased their force in repelling the enemy. On the other side, the Africans and Carthaginians, so far from supporting the auxiliaries, who were giving way, drew back; fearing lest, if that first line made an obstinate resistance, the enemy, in cutting through those, might close with them. The auxiliaries, therefore, quickly turned their backs, and facing about to their own party, some of them retreated into the second line; others, who were not received there, made use of their arms against them, enraged at not having been supported before, and at being now excluded. So that there were, in a manner, two battles carried on together; the Carthaginians being obliged to engage in fight, and at the same time, both with their mercenaries and with the Romans. They did not, however, admit those craven soldiers into their line, which was still firm and fresh; but, closing the ranks, drove them off to the wings, and to the open plains round the field of battle. The place where the auxiliaries had lately stood was filled up with such a number of slain, and such a quantity of arms, that it was rather more difficult to make way through them, than it had been through the body of troops; the spearmen, however, who were in the van, pursuing the enemy, as each could find a passage through the heaps of carcases and weapons and streams of blood, disordered both their battalions and ranks. The battalions of the first-rank men also, seeing the line before them in confusion, began to waver; which, as soon as Scipio observed, he instantly ordered a retreat to be sounded for the spearmen, and carrying off the wounded to the rear, brought up the first-rank men and veterans to the wings, in order that the line of the spearmen, in the centre, might be the more secure and firm. Thus was a new battle begun, for they had now come up to their real antagonists, who were upon an equality with them, both in respect to the kind of arms which they used, of their experience in war, the fame of their exploits, and the greatness both of their hopes and dangers. But the Romans had the advantage in number, and also in spirit, as having already routed the cavalry and the elephants, and, after having defeated the first line, engaging now with the second.
XXXV. Lælius and Masinissa, who had pursued the flying cavalry to some distance, returning at this critical juncture, fell upon the rear of the enemy; and by this charge effectually routed them. Many were surrounded in the field and slain; many, being dispersed in flight through the open country adjoining, where the cavalry were entirely masters, perished in various places. Of the Carthaginians and their allies there were slain, on that day, above twenty thousand; about the same number were taken, with an hundred and thirty-three military standards, and eleven elephants. Of the conquerors there fell two thousand. Hannibal, escaping during the confusion with a few horsemen, fled to Hadrumetum, having left no effort untried to rally his troops before he left the field. Scipio himself, and all who were skilled in the military art, allowed him the merit of having made the disposition of his forces with singular judgment; placing the elephants in the front, in order that their ungoverned onset and insupportable violence might put it out of the power of the Romans to follow their ensigns, and preserve their ranks, in which they placed their chief confidence; then the auxiliaries, before the line of Carthaginians, in order that these men, made up of the refuse of all nations, who were retained in their duty, not by any sense of honour, but by gain, should have no prospect of safety in flight, and at the same time should stand the first brunt and fury of the foe, that, if they did no other service, they might at least be as shields to blunt their swords: next, the Carthaginian and African soldiers, in whom lay all his hopes, in order that they, being equal in all respects with the Romans, might have the advantage of engaging fresh, against men fatigued and wounded; separating the Italians at some distance from the rest, and placing them in the rear, as he knew not, with certainty, whether they were friends or foes. Hannibal, after exerting this last effort of bravery, having fled to Hadrumetum, on receiving a summons, returned to Carthage, in the thirty-sixth year after he had left it, and when a boy. He acknowledged, in the senate-house, that he was vanquished, not only in the recent battle, but in the whole of the war; and that there was no other hope of avoiding ruin, but in obtaining peace.
XXXVI. Immediately after the battle, Scipio having taken and plundered the enemy’s camp, returned with immense booty to the sea-coast, to his fleet, having received an account that Publius Lentulus was arrived at Utica with fifty ships of war, a hundred transports, and stores of all kinds. With a view, therefore, of increasing the consternation at Carthage, by showing them objects of terror on every side, after despatching Lælius to Rome with news of the victory, he ordered Cneius Octavius to conduct the legions to that city by land; and, joining the fleet of Lentulus, lately arrived, with his own which he had before, he himself, setting sail from Utica, steered for the harbour of Carthage. When he had arrived within a small distance, he was met by a Carthaginian ship, dressed with fillets and branches of olive, on board of which were ten ambassadors, the chief men of the state, sent, by the advice of Hannibal, to sue for peace. These coming under the stern of the general’s ship, holding out the badges of supplicants, besought and implored the favour and compassion of Scipio: but they received no other answer, than that they should come to Tunes, to which place he intended to remove his camp. Then, after taking a view of the situation of Carthage, not so much for the sake of any present use which he intended to make of his knowledge of it, as of dispiriting the enemy, he returned to Utica, and at the same time recalled Octavius thither. As they advanced towards Tunes, an account was brought that Vermina, son of Syphax, with a greater number of horse than of foot, was coming to the aid of the Carthaginians. A detachment of the army, with all the cavalry, attacking this body of Numidians on their march, on the first day of the Saturnalia, routed them without much difficulty; and every possibility of flight being cut off by the surrounding cavalry, fifteen thousand men were slain, one thousand two hundred taken, together with fifteen hundred horses, and seventy-two military standards. The prince himself, with very few attendants, made his escape during the tumult. The camp was then pitched near Tunes, in the same place as before, whither thirty ambassadors came from Carthage to Scipio, and the behaviour of these was much more calculated to excite compassion than that of the former, as their distress was still encreasing. But, from the recollection of their late perfidy, they were heard with the less pity. In the council, though all were stimulated by just resentment to pursue Carthage to destruction, yet, when they considered how great an undertaking it was, and what a length of time the siege of a city, so strong and so well fortified, would require, (Scipio himself also being uneasy, under the apprehension of a successor being appointed in his place, who might claim the glory of having terminated the war, though it had been actually brought to an issue by the labours and dangers of another,) they all became inclined to peace.
XXXVII. The next day, the ambassadors being again called, and, with severe rebukes for their perfidy, admonished, that, instructed by so many calamities, they should at length be convinced of the regard due to the gods, and to an oath, these terms of peace were prescribed to them; —“That they should live free under their own laws, should enjoy the possession of whatever cities, whatever territories, and whatever boundaries, they possessed before the war; and that the Roman general would, on that day, put an end to the devastation of their country. That they should deliver up to the Romans all deserters, fugitives, and prisoners; and should surrender their ships of war, except ten, together with all their trained elephants, and should not train any more. That they should wage no war, either in or out of, Africa, without the permission of the Roman people; should make restitution to Masinissa, and conclude a treaty with him; should supply corn and pay to the auxiliaries, until their ambassadors should return from Rome. That they should pay, within fifty years, ten thousand talents of silver,* by equal payments, according to a mode laid down in writing, and should give a hundred hostages to be approved of by Scipio, none younger than fourteen years, or older than thirty. That he would grant them a truce on this condition: that the transports which had been captured during the former truce, together with their cargoes, be restored; if this were not complied with, they were not to expect either truce or peace.” When the ambassadors, who were sent home with these conditions, reported them in an assembly of the people, Gisgo having stood forth to dissuade them from accepting the terms, and being listened to by the multitude, who were as impatient of quiet, as unfit for war, Hannibal, filled with indignation on finding objections made, and listened to, at such a juncture, laid hold of Gisgo with his hand, and pulled him down from the place on which he stood. When this sight, unusual in a free state, raised a murmur among the citizens, he, being accustomed to military manners, and disconcerted by their reception of him, said to them: “At nine years of age I left this city, at the end of the thirty-sixth I have returned. The rules of war, I think, I perfectly understand, having, from my childhood, been continually supplied with opportunities of learning them, at some times by the state of my own affairs, at others by that of the public. The privileges, laws, and manners of the city and of the Forum, you ought to teach me.” Having thus apologized for his imprudence, he spoke at large concerning the peace, showing how necessary it was, and that the terms were not unreasonable. The greatest difficulty of all was that of the fleet, which had been captured during the truce; nothing was to be found but the ships themselves, nor was it easy to collect the effects, those who were charged with having them in their possession, making opposition to all that was proposed. It was at length resolved, that the ships should be restored, that the men at all events should be collected, and that the other matters which could not be produced, should be left to the valuation of Scipio, according to which the Carthaginians should make compensation in money. Some say, that Hannibal, having gone from the field to the sea-coast, sailed immediately in a ship which had been prepared, and went to King Antiochus; and that when Scipio made it a principal demand, that Hannibal should be given up to him, he was told that Hannibal had quitted Africa.
XXXVIII. On the return of the ambassadors to Scipio, the quæstors were ordered to give in a return, extracted from the public accounts, of the public property which had been on board the ships; and the owners to make a return of the private property. For the amount of the value, twenty-five thousand pounds weight of silver were required to be immediately paid, and a truce for three months was granted to the Carthaginians. A clause was added, that, during the truce, they should not send ambassadors to any other place than to Rome; and that if any such should come to Carthage, they should not dismiss them until the Roman general was made acquainted with their business. With the Carthaginian ambassadors were sent to Rome, Lucius Veturius Philo, Marcius Ralla, and Lucius Scipio, the general’s brother. From that time, the great supplies from Sicily and Sardinia caused such cheapness of provisions, that the merchant often furnished corn to the mariners for the freight. At Rome there had been some uneasiness on the first account of the Carthaginians having recommenced hostilities, and Tiberius Claudius had been ordered to conduct the fleet to Sicily with all expedition, and to pass over from thence to Carthage; and the other consul, Marcus Servilius, to remain in the city, until the state of affairs in Africa should be known. Tiberius Claudius proceeded slowly in every step towards the equipment and sailing of the fleet, being offended at the senate having voted, that Scipio, in preference to the consul, should have the honour of prescribing the terms of peace. Accounts of prodigies also, arriving a little before the news of the revival of hostilities, had raised people’s apprehensions. At Cumæ, the orb of the sun seemed to be diminished, and a shower of stones fell; and in the district of Veliturnum, the earth sunk in great chasms, in which trees were swallowed. At Aricia, the Forum, and the shops round it; at Frusino, several parts of the wall and a gate, were struck by lightning. On the Palatine hill, too, a shower of stones fell. This prodigy, according to the method handed down by tradition, was expiated by a nine day’s solemnity; the others by the greater victims. Among the rest, an unusual overflowing of the rivers was also considered as a prodigy: for there was such an inundation of the Tiber, that, the Circus being filled with water, preparations for the games of Apollo were made on the outside of the Colline gate, near the temple of Venus Erycina. But on the very day of the games, the weather suddenly clearing up, the procession, which had begun to advance toward the Colline gate, was recalled, and conducted to the Circus, on its being known that the water had retired from thence. Its own proper place being thus restored to this solemn exhibition, gave much joy to the people, and added considerably to the splendour of the games.
XXXIX. The consul Claudius, having at last set out from the city, was overtaken by a violent storm between the ports of Cosa and Laureta, and brought into imminent danger: however, having got as far as Populonii, where he continued until a change of weather, he proceeded to the island Ilva; from Ilva to Corsica, and from thence to Sardinia. There, as he was sailing by the Mad Mountains, a still more furious tempest surprised him, and dispersed his fleet. Many ships were damaged, and lost their rigging, and several were wrecked. In this harassed and shattered condition, the fleet arrived at Carales, where the winter came upon them while they were employed in docking and repairing the ships. Meanwhile the year coming to a conclusion, and it not being proposed to continue him in command, Tiberius Claudius, after he had ceased to hold any public office, brought home the fleet. Marcus Servilius, having nominated Caius Servilius Geminus dictator, lest he might be recalled on account of the elections, set out for his province. The dictator named Publius Ælius Pætus master of the horse. The elections, though many days were appointed for the purpose, were still prevented by storms; so that the magistrates of the former year going out of office, on the day preceding the ides of March, and no successors being appointed, the state was without curule magistrates. Lucius Manlius Torquatus, a pontiff, died that year: in his place was substituted Caius Sulpicius Galba. The Roman games were thrice repeated, entire, by the curule ædiles, Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Quintus Fulvius. Some of the inferior officers belonging to the ædiles, being convicted, on the testimony of a discoverer, of having secretly conveyed money out of the treasury, were condemned, not without reflecting dishonour on the ædile Lucullus. Publius Ælius Tubero and Lucius Lætorius, plebeian ædiles, on some irregularity being discovered in their election, abdicated their office, after they had celebrated the games, and, on occasion thereof, a feast to Jupiter; having also erected in the Capitol three images, formed out of silver raised by fines. The dictator and master of the horse, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, celebrated the games of Ceres.
XL. When the Roman deputies, together with the Carthaginian ambassadors, were come to Rome from Africa, the senate assembled in the temple of Bellona. Lucius Veturius Philo acquainted them (to the great joy of the Fathers), that a battle had been fought with Hannibal, in which the Carthaginians were finally overpowered, and an end put at last to that disastrous war: he added, as a small accession to that great and happy event, that Vermina, son of Syphax, had also been vanquished. He was then ordered to go out to the general assembly, and to communicate the joyful news to the people. On this, after mutual congratulations, a public thanksgiving being ordered, all the temples in the city were thrown open, and a supplication for three days decreed. The ambassadors of the Carthaginians, and of King Philip, for they also had arrived, requesting an audience of the senate, the dictator answered, by order of the Fathers, that the new consuls would procure them an audience.Y.R.551. 201. The elections were then held. The consuls elected were, Cneius Cornelius Lentulus, and Publius Ælius Pætus: the prætors, Marcus Junius Pennus, to whom the city jurisdiction fell; Marcus Valerius Falto acquired, by lot, Bruttium; Marcus Fabius Buteo, Sardinia; Publius Ælius Tubero, Sicily. With respect to the provinces of the consuls, it was determined that nothing should be done until the ambassadors of King Philip and the Carthaginians were heard: for it was plainly foreseen, that the conclusion of the one war would be quickly followed by the commencement of another. The consul Cneius Lentulus was inflamed with a strong desire of obtaining the province of Africa; having in view either an easy conquest, or, if it were now to be concluded, the glory of terminating so great a war in his consulate. He declared, therefore, that he would not suffer any business to be done until Africa were decreed to him; for his colleague declined putting in his claim for it, being a moderate, prudent man, who perceived, that a contest with Scipio for that honour, besides being unjust, would be also unequal. Quintus Minucius Thermus, and Manius Acilius Glabrio, tribunes of the people, said, that “Cneius Cornelius was endeavouring to carry a point which had been attempted in vain, the year before, by the consul Tiberius Claudius: that, by the direction of the senate, the question had been proposed to the people respecting the command in Africa, and that the thirty-five tribes unanimously decreed that command to Publius Scipio.” The affair, after being canvassed with much heat both in the senate and in the assembly of the people, was at last brought to this conclusion — that it should be left to the determination of the former. The Fathers, therefore, on oath, for so it had been agreed, voted that the consuls should settle between themselves, or cast lots for their provinces, which of them should have Italy, and which a fleet of fifty ships. That he to whose lot it fell to command the fleet, should sail to Sicily; and if peace could not be concluded with the Carthaginians, should pass over from thence to Africa, where he the said consul should command at sea, and Scipio on land, with the same extent of authority as heretofore. If the terms of peace should be agitated, that then the tribunes should take the opinion of the people, whether they would order the consul or Publius Scipio to settle those terms, and if the victorious army was to be conducted home, whom they would order to do it. If they should order the peace to be granted by Publius Scipio, and the army also to be brought home by him, that then the consul should not cross over from Sicily to Africa. That the other consul, to whose lot Italy fell, should receive two legions from Marcus Sextius, prætor.
XLI. Publius Scipio’s command in the province of Africa was prolonged, with the armies which he then had. To Marcus Valerius Falto, prætor, were decreed the two legions in Bruttium, which Caius Livius had commanded the preceding year. Publius Ælius, prætor, was to receive two legions in Sicily from Cneius Tremellius. One legion, which had been under Publius Lentulus, proprætor, was decreed to Marcus Fabius, for Sardinia. The command in Etruria was continued to Marcus Servilius, consul of the former year, with his own two legions. With regard to Spain, the senate ordered, that whereas Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, and Lucius Manlius Acidinus, had now remained in that country for several years, the consuls should therefore make application to the tribunes, that, if they thought proper, they should ask the people, whom they would order to have charge in Spain; and that the person so ordered should collect such a number of Romans out of the two armies, as would make up one legion, and as many of the allies of the Latine confederacy as would form fifteen cohorts; with which he should conduct the business of the province; and that Lucius Cornelius and Lucius Manlius shall lead home the veteran soldiers to Italy. To the consul Cornelius was decreed a squadron of fifty ships out of the two fleets, one of which was under Cneius Octavius in Africa, the other under Publius Vellius, guarding the coast of Sicily; with liberty to take such of those vessels as he might please. It was also decreed, that Publius Scipio should keep the fifty ships of war on his station as before; and that if Cneius Octavius chose to continue in the command of these as heretofore, he should have it for that year as proprætor: that if Lælius should be set at the head of the fleet, then Octavius should return to Rome, and bring home such ships as the proconsul had not occasion for. Ten ships of war were also decreed to Marcus Fabius for Sardinia; and the consuls were ordered to inlist two legions for the city, so that the state should have in its service, for that year, fourteen legions, and one hundred and ten ships of war.
XLII. The next business attended to was that of the envoys of Philip and the Carthaginians. It was thought proper that the Macedonians should be first introduced. Their discourse comprehended a variety of subjects: they first endeavoured to clear themselves of those matters, of which the ambassadors sent from Rome to the King had complained, relative to the depredations committed on the allies. Then, on their part, they remonstrated on the conduct of the allies of the Romans, and particularly on that of Marcus Aurelius, who, they said, being one of the three ambassadors sent to them, had staid behind the rest, levied soldiers, committed hostilities against them, and fought several pitched battles with their commanders. They afterwards demanded, that the Macedonians, and their captain, Sopater, who had served for pay under Hannibal, and having been made prisoners were still detained, might be restored to them. In opposition to this, Marcus Furius, who had been sent from Macedonia to Aurelius for the purpose, asserted, that “Aurelius had been directed to take care, lest the allies, wearied out by insults and depredations, should go over to the King: that he had not gone beyond the boundaries of the confederated states, but had endeavoured to prevent devastations being committed with impunity within their territories: that Sopater was one of the King’s particular favourites, one of those distinguished with the purple, and that he had been lately sent with four thousand men and a sum of money into Africa, to the assistance of Hannibal and the Carthaginians.” The Macedonians being interrogated on these points, and not giving any clear answers, the senate, without farther discussion, told them, that “the King was seeking war, and, if he persisted, would quickly find it. That the treaty had been doubly violated by him: first, in offering injury to the allies of the Roman people, assaulting them in open hostilities; secondly, in assisting their enemies with troops and money. That Publius Scipio had acted and was acting properly, and regularly, in treating as foes, and throwing into confinement, those who were taken in arms against the Roman people; and that Marcus Aurelius did his duty to the state, and in a manner agreeable to the senate, in protecting the allies of the Roman people by arms, since he could not do it by the authority of the treaty.” The Macedonians being dismissed with this severe answer, the Carthaginian ambassadors were called; on sight of whose ages and dignities, every one was ready to observe, that they were now in earnest in their application for peace, for that these were by far the most respectable persons of their nation. Hasdrubal, (by his countrymen surnamed Hædus,) was distinguished above the rest, having always recommended peace, and opposed the Barcine faction. On that account, great attention was paid to him, when he transferred the blame of the war from the state on the ambition of a few. After discoursing on various heads, at one time refuting charges which had been made against them; at another, acknowledging some, lest, by denying what was manifestly true, he might render forgiveness more difficult; and then going so far as to admonish the Conscript Fathers to show mildness and moderation in prosperity, he added, that “if the Carthaginians had listened to him and Hanno, and made a proper use of occurrences as they happened, they would have been in a condition of prescribing terms, instead of begging a peace, as they now did: but men were seldom blessed with good fortune and a good understanding at the same time. That the Roman people were therefore invincible, because, when successful, they never lost sight of the maxims of wisdom and prudence; and, indeed, it would have been surprising, had they acted otherwise: while those who are unaccustomed to success, unable to restrain their transports, run into extravagance. To the Roman people the joy of victory was now habitual, and almost a matter of course; and they had enlarged their empire more by their lenity to the vanquished, than by their victories.” The discourse of the others was more calculated to excite compassion; they represented, “to what a low state, from an exalted height, the affairs of the Carthaginians had fallen. That they who had lately extended the power of their arms over almost the whole world, had now little left them except the walls of Carthage. Shut up within these, they could see nothing, either on land or sea, that they could call their own. Even of the city itself, and of their habitatations, they had no other tenure, than the Romans not choosing to wreak their vengeance on those also, when no other object for it now remained.” When it appeared, that the Fathers were moved by compassion, one of the senators, it is said, incensed at the perfidy of the Carthaginians, called out to them, and asked, “What gods they would now invoke as witnesses in the pending treaty, having broken faith with those in whose name the former one was concluded.” “The same,” said Hasdrubal, “who now show such resentment against the violators of treaties.”
XLIII. The minds of all inclining to peace, Cneius Lentulus, consul, whose province was the fleet, protested against the senate passing a decree. On which the tribunes, Manius Acilius and Quintus Minucius, put the question to the people, “Whether they would choose and order the senate to decree that peace should be made with the Carthaginians; whom they would order to grant peace, and whom to conduct the armies home from Africa?” All the tribes unanimously passed the question as it was put, and ordered Publius Scipio to grant the peace, and also to conduct the armies home. In consequence of this order of the people, the senate decreed, that Publius Scipio, in concert with the ten ambassadors, should conclude a peace with the people of Carthage, on such terms as he should judge proper. The Carthaginians then, after returning thanks to the senate, requested that they might be permitted to enter the city, and to converse with their countrymen, who, having been made prisoners, were still kept so: among whom some of them had relations and friends, men of distinction, and to others they had messages from their relations. After a meeting with their friends, on making a second request, that liberty might be allowed them to ransom such of them as they chose, they were ordered to give in a list of their names; and when they had given in about two hundred, a decree of the senate was passed, that “the Roman ambassadors should carry two hundred of the prisoners, such as the Carthaginians should select, into Africa, to Publius Cornelius Scipio, and give him directions, that, if peace were concluded, he should restore them, without ransom, to the Carthaginians.” The heralds being ordered to go to Africa to ratify the treaty, at their desire the senate passed a decree in these words: that “they should carry with them flint stones of their own, and vervain of their own: that the Roman commander should give them the order to strike the treaty, and that they should call on him for the herbs.” This was a kind of herb brought from the Capitol, and given to the heralds on such occasions. The deputies being dismissed from Rome in this manner, as soon as they came to Scipio in Africa, concluded a peace on the terms beforementioned. The Carthaginians delivered up the ships of war, elephants, deserters, fugitives, and four thousand prisoners, among whom was Quintus Terentius Culleo, a senator. The ships Scipio ordered to be carried out into the deep, and burned. Some say that they amounted to five hundred, of all sorts, which were worked with oars; and that the sudden sight of these in flames was as great a shock to the Carthaginians, as if Carthage itself had been set on fire. The deserters were treated with more severity than the fugitives: those who were of the Latine confederacy were beheaded, the Romans were crucified.
XLIV. The last peace with the Carthaginians had been made forty years before this, in the consulate of Quintus Lutatius and Aulus Manlius. The late war began twenty-three years after, in the consulate of Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius, and ended in the seventeenth year, when Cneius Cornelius and Publius Ælius Pætus were consuls. We are told that Scipio often said afterwards, that the ambition, first of Tiberius Claudius, and then of Cneius Cornelius, was what prevented that war from ending in the utter destruction of Carthage.
The Carthaginians having been exhausted by the long continuance of the late struggles, found it difficult to raise the first contribution money, so that the senate-house was filled with grief and lamentations; on which occasion, it is said, that Hannibal was observed to laugh; and that being observed by Hasdrubal Hædus, for laughing in a moment of public sorrowing, and when he himself was the cause of their tears, he said — “If the inward thoughts could be perceived, in the same manner as the look of the countenance is perceived by the eye, you would be immediately convinced that the laughter which you blame, proceeds not from a heart elated with joy, but from one driven almost to madness by misfortunes; and yet it is not, by any means, so unseasonable as those absurd and inconsistent tears of yours. Then ought you to have wept, when our arms were taken from us, our ships burned, and we ourselves forbidden to engage in foreign wars: that was the wound by which we fell. And do not imagine that the measures taken against you by the Romans, were dictated merely by animosity. No great state can remain long at rest. If it has no enemies abroad, it finds them at home; as overgrown bodies seem safe from external injuries, but suffer grievous inconveniences from their own strength. We feel, it seems, for the public misfortunes, only in proportion as our private affairs are affected by them; and none of them stings more deeply than the loss of money. Thus, when the spoils were stripped off from vanquished Carthage, and you saw her left naked among so many armed states of Africa, not one of you uttered a groan; now, because a contribution must be made to the tribute out of your private properties, you lament as if the existence of the state were terminated. Much I dread lest you quickly feel that the subject of your tears this day is the lightest of your misfortunes.” Such were Hannibal’s sentiments which he delivered to the Carthaginians. Scipio, having called an assembly, bestowed on Masinissa, in addition to his paternal kingdom, the city of Cirtha, and the other cities and lands belonging to the territories of Syphax, which had fallen into the hands of the Roman people. He ordered Cneius Octavius to conduct the fleet to Sicily, and deliver it to the consul Cneius Cornelius; and the ambassadors of the Carthaginians to go to Rome, in order that the terms stipulated for by him, might be ratified by the authority of the senate and the order of the people.
XLV. Peace being established by sea and land, he embarked his army, and carried it over to Lilybæum in Sicily, and from thence, sending a great part of his troops round by sea, he himself landed in Italy. As he proceeded through the country, he found it no less delighted at finding there was an end to the war, than at his success in it; not only the inhabitants of the cities pouring out to show their respect to him, but crowds of the country people also filling up the roads; and thus he arrived at Rome, where he entered the city in the most splendid triumph which had ever been beheld. He carried into the treasury a hundred and twenty-three thousand pounds weight of silver, and out of the spoil distributed to each of his soldiers four hundred asses* . The death of Syphax caused some diminution in the splendour of the show, but none in the glory of the general who triumphed. He died a short time before at Tibur, to which place he had been removed from Alba. His death, however, made some noise, for he was honoured with a public funeral. Polybius, a writer of no contemptible authority, asserts, that this King was led in triumph. Quintus Terentius Culleo followed Scipio in his triumph, with a cap on his head†; and through his whole life after, as became him, he respected him as the author of his liberty. I have not been able to discover whether it was the affection of the soldiers, or the attachment of the people, which honoured Scipio with the surname of Africanus; nor whether it was first brought into use by the flattery of his friends, as that of Felix given to Sylla, and of Magnus to Pompey, in the memory of our fathers. He was certainly the first general distinguished by the title of a nation which he had subdued. Others, afterwards, following his example, though far inferior in the greatness of their atchievements, assumed pompous inscriptions for their statues, and splendid surnames for their families.
* Sophonisba had been formerly betrothed to Masinissa, and being afterwards given to Syphax, was one reason of his quarrelling with the Carthaginians, and joining the Romans. Another was, that in the contest between him and Mezetulus for the throne, his rival had been aided by the Carthaginians.
* 16l. 2s. 11d.
† 3l. 4s. 7d.
* 1l. 5s. 10d.
† The symbol of liberty.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:52