Book 30: Close of the Hannibalic War
[30.1]It was now the sixteenth year of the Punic War. The new consuls, Cnaeus Servilius and Caius Servilius, laid before the senate the questions of the general policy of the republic, the conduct of the war and the assignment of the provinces. It was resolved that the consuls should come to an arrangement, or failing that decide by ballot, which of them should oppose Hannibal in Bruttium whilst the other should have Etruria and the Ligurians as his province. The one to whom Bruttium fell was to take over the army from P. Sempronius, and Sempronius, whose command was extended for a year as proconsul, was to relieve P. Licinius; the latter was to return to Rome. Licinius was not only a fine soldier but he was in every respect one of the most accomplished citizens of the time; he combined in himself all the advantages which nature or fortune could bestow; he was an exceptionally handsome man and possessed remarkable physical strength; he was considered a most eloquent speaker, whether he was pleading a cause or defending or attacking a measure in the senate or before the Assembly, and he was thoroughly conversant with pontifical law. And his recent consulship had established his reputation as a military leader. Arrangements similar to those in Bruttium were also made in Etruria and Liguria; M. Cornelius was to hand over his army to the new consul and hold the province of Gaul with the legions which L. Scribonius had commanded the previous year. Then the consuls balloted for their provinces; Bruttium fell to Caepio, Etruria to Servilius Geminus. The balloting for the praetors' provinces followed; Aelius Paetus obtained the City jurisdiction, P. Lentulus drew Sardinia, P. Villius Sicily, and Quintilius Varus Ariminum with the two legions which had formed Lucretius Spurius' command. Lucretius had his command extended for a year to allow of his rebuilding Genua, which had been destroyed by Mago. Scipio's command was extended until the war in Africa was brought to a close. A decree was also made that, as he had entered upon his province of Africa, solemn intercessions should be offered up that the expedition might be to the advantage of the Roman people, of the general himself and of his army.
[30.2]3000 men were raised for service in Sicily, as all the troops in that province had been taken to Africa and it had been decided that Sicily should be protected by forty ships until the fleet returned from Africa. Villius took with him thirteen new ships, the rest were the old ones in Sicily which were refitted. M. Pomponius, who had been praetor the year before, was appointed to take charge of this fleet, and placed on board the new levies he had brought from Italy. A fleet of equal strength was assigned to Cnaeus Octavius, who also had been praetor the previous year and was now invested with similar powers for the protection of the Sardinian coast. The praetor Lentulus was ordered to furnish 2000 men for service with the fleet. In view of the uncertainty as to where the Carthaginian fleet would land, though they would be sure to seek some unguarded spot, M. Marcius was furnished with forty ships to watch the coast of Italy. The consuls were authorised by the senate to raise 3000 men for this fleet and also two legions to defend the City against all contingencies. The province of Spain was left in the hands of the former commanders, L. Lentulus and L. Manlius Acidinus, who retained their old legions. Altogether there were 20 legions and 160 ships of war on active service this year. The praetors were ordered to go to their respective provinces. Before the consuls left the City they received the commands of the senate to celebrate the Great Games which the vow of the Dictator T. Manlius Torquatus required to be celebrated every five years, if the condition of the republic remained unaltered. Numerous stories of portents filled men's minds with superstitious terrors. It was said that crows picked with their beaks some of the gold on the Capitol and actually ate it, and rats gnawed a golden crown at Antium. The whole of the country round Capua was covered by an immense flight of locusts, and no one knew whence they had come. At Reate a foal was born with five feet; at Anagnia fiery meteors were seen in different parts of the sky and these were followed by a huge blazing torch; at Frusino a thin bow encircled the sun, which afterwards grew to such a size that it extended beyond the bow; at Arpinum there was a subsidence of the ground and a vast chasm was formed. Whilst one of the consuls was sacrificing, the liver of the first victim was found to be without a head. These portents were expiated by sacrifices of full-grown animals, the college of pontiffs intimated the deities to whom they were to be offered.
[30.3]When this business was completed the consuls and praetors departed to their various provinces. They were all, however, interested in Africa, as much so indeed as if the ballot had assigned it to them, whether it was that they saw that the issue of the war and their country's fate would be decided there, or that they wished to do a service to Scipio as the man to whom all eyes were turned. So it was that not only from Sardinia, as above stated, but from Sicily itself and from Spain, clothing, corn, even arms as well as supplies of all kinds were forwarded to him from the Sicilian harbours. Throughout the winter there had been no pause in the numerous operations which Scipio was conducting on all sides. He maintained the investment of Utica; his camp was in full view of Hasdrubal; the Carthaginians had launched their ships, their fleet was fully equipped and ready to intercept his supplies. Nevertheless he had not lost sight of his purpose to win Syphax, in case his passion for his bride should have cooled through unstinted enjoyment. Syphax was anxious for peace and proposed as conditions that the Romans should evacuate Africa, and the Carthaginians Italy, but he gave Scipio to understand that if the war continued he should not desert his allies. I believe that the negotiations were conducted through intermediaries - and most of the authorities take this view - rather than that Syphax, as Antias Valerius asserts, came to the Roman camp to confer personally with Scipio. At first the Roman commander would hardly allow these terms to be mentioned; afterwards, however, in order that his men might have a plausible reason for visiting the enemies' camp he did not reject then so decidedly, and held out hopes that after frequent discussions they might come to an agreement. The winter quarters of the Carthaginians, constructed as they were of materials collected haphazard from the country round, were almost wholly built of wood. The Numidians in particular lived in huts made of wattled reeds and roofed with grass matting; they were dispersed all over the camp in no order or arrangement, and some even lay outside the lines. When this was reported to Scipio, he was hopeful of burning the camp down if an opportunity presented itself.
[30.4]The envoys who were sent to Syphax were accompanied by some first-rank centurions, men of tried courage and sagacity, who were disguised as camp-servants. Whilst the envoys were in conference these men strolled about the camp noting all the adits and exits, the general arrangement of the camp, the positions of the Carthaginians and Numidians, respectively, and the distance between Hasdrubal's camp and that of Syphax. They also watched the methods adopted in posting the watches and guards, to see whether a surprise attack would be better made by night or by day. The conferences were pretty frequent, and different men were purposely sent each time in order that these details might become known to a larger number. As the discussions went on with increasing frequency, Syphax, and through him the Carthaginians, fully expected that peace would be attained with a few days. Suddenly the Roman envoys announced that they had been forbidden to return to headquarters unless a definite reply were given. Syphax must either say what he had made up his mind to do or, if it was necessary for him to consult Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians, he should do so; the time had come for either a peace settlement or an energetic resumption of hostilities. Whilst Syphax was consulting Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians, the Roman spies had time to visit every part of the camp, and Scipio was able to make all his arrangements. The prospect of peace had, as usually happens, made Syphax and the Carthaginians less on the alert to guard against any hostile attempt which might be made in the meantime. At last a reply came, but as the Romans were supposed to be anxious for peace, the opportunity was taken of adding some unacceptable conditions. This was just what Scipio wanted to justify him in breaking off the armistice. He told the king's messenger that he would refer the matter to his council, and the next day he gave his reply to the effect that not a single member of the council beside himself was in favour of peace. The messenger was to take word that the only hope of peace for Syphax lay in his abandoning the cause of the Carthaginians. Thus Scipio put an end to the truce in order that he might be free to carry out his plans without any breach of faith. He launched his ships - it was now the commencement of spring - and placed his engines and artillery on board as though he were going to attack Utica from the sea. He also sent 2000 men to hold the hill commanding the city which he had previously occupied, partly with a view of diverting the enemy's attention from his real design, and partly to prevent his camp from being attacked from the city, as it would be left with only a weak guard while he was marching against Syphax and Hasdrubal.
[30.5]After making these arrangements he summoned a council of war and ordered the spies to report what they had discovered, and at the same time requested Masinissa who knew all about the enemy to give the council any information he could. He then laid before them his own plan of operations for the coming night and directed the tribunes to lead the troops out of camp as soon as the trumpets sounded on the break-up of the council. In obedience to his order the march out began at sunset. About the first watch the column of march was deployed into line of battle. After advancing in this order at an easy pace for seven miles they reached the hostile camp about midnight. Scipio assigned a portion of his force, including Masinissa and his Numidians, to Laelius with instructions to attack Syphax and fire his camp. Then he took Laelius and Masinissa apart and appealed to them each separately to make up by extra care and diligence for the confusion inseparable from a night attack. He told them that he should attack Hasdrubal and the Carthaginian camp, but would wait until he saw the king's camp on fire. He had not to wait long, for when the fire was cast on the nearest huts it very soon caught the next ones and then running along in all directions spread over the whole camp. Such an extensive fire breaking out at night naturally produced alarm and confusion, but Syphax's men thinking it was due to accident and not to the enemy rushed out without arms to try and extinguish it. They found themselves at once confronted by an armed foe, mainly Numidians whom Masinissa, thoroughly acquainted with the arrangement of the camp, had posted in places where they could block all the avenues. Some were caught by the flames, whilst half asleep in their beds, numbers who had fled precipitately, scrambling over one another were trampled to death in the camp gates.
[30.6]In the Carthaginian camp the first to see the glowing flames were the watch, then others wakened by the tumult observed them, and all fell into the same mistake of supposing that it was an accidental outbreak. They took the cries proceeding from wounded combatants as due to the nocturnal alarm, and so were unable to realise what had actually happened. Not in the least suspecting the presence of an enemy, they rushed out, each through the gate nearest to him, without any weapons carrying out what might help to extinguish the flames, and so came right on the Roman army. They were all cut down, for the enemy gave no quarter, that none might escape and give the alarm. In the confusion the gates were left unguarded, and Scipio at once seized them and fire was flung upon the nearest huts. The flames broke out at first in different places but, creeping from hut to hut, in a very few moments wrapped the whole camp in one vast conflagration. Men and animals alike scorched with the heat blocked the passages to the gates and fell crushed by each other. Those whom the fire did not overtake perished by the sword and the two camps were involved in one common destruction. Both the generals, however, saved themselves, and out of all those thousands only 2000 infantry and 500 cavalry made good their escape, the majority being wounded or suffering from the fire. Forty thousand men perished either from the fire or the enemy, over 5000 were taken alive, including many Carthaginian nobles of whom eleven were senators; 174 standards were captured, 2700 horses and 6 elephants, 8 others having been killed or burnt to death. An enormous quantity of arms was secured, these the general devoted to Vulcan, and they were all burnt.
[30.7]Hasdrubal, who was accompanied in his flight by a small body of horse, made for the nearest city, where he was subsequently joined by all who survived, but fearing that it might be surrendered to Scipio, he left it in the night. Soon after his departure the gates were opened to admit the Romans, and as the surrender was a voluntary one the place suffered no hostile treatment. Two cities were taken and sacked soon afterwards, and the loot found there with what had been rescued from the burning camp was all given to the soldiers. Syphax established himself in a fortified position about eight miles distant; Hasdrubal hastened to Carthage, fearing lest the recent disaster should frighten the senate into a more yielding mood. So great in fact was the alarm that people expected Scipio to leave Utica alone and instantly commence the siege of Carthage. The sufetes - a magistrate corresponding to our consul - convened a meeting of the senate. Here three proposals were made. One was to send envoys to Scipio to negotiate a peace; another, to recall Hannibal to protect his country from the ruin which threatened it; the third, which showed a firmness worthy of Romans in adversity, urged the reinforcement of the army to its proper strength and an appeal to Syphax not to abandon hostilities. The last proposal, which was supported by Hasdrubal and the whole of the Barcine party, was adopted. Recruiting began at once in the city and the country districts, and a deputation was sent to Syphax, who was already doing his utmost to repair his losses and renew hostilities. He was urged on by his wife, who did not now trust to the endearments and caresses with which she had formerly swayed her lover, but with prayers and piteous appeals and eyes bathed in tears she conjured him not to betray her father and her country, or allow Carthage to be devastated by the flames which had consumed his camp. The deputation gave him encouragement and hope by informing him that they had met near a city called Obba a body of 4000 Celtiberian mercenaries who had been raised in Spain, a splendid force, and that Hasdrubal would appear ere long with a formidable army. He answered them in friendly terms, and then took them to see a large number of Numidian peasants to whom he had just given arms and horses, and assured them that he would call out all the fighting men in his kingdom. He was well aware, he said, that he owed his defeat to fire, and not to the chances of battle; it was only the man who was vanquished by arms that was inferior in war. Such was the tenor of his reply to the deputation. A few days later, Hasdrubal and Syphax joined forces; their united strength amounted to about 30,000 men.
[30.8]Just as though the war were at end, so far as Syphax and the Carthaginians were concerned, Scipio pressed on the siege of Utica and was already bringing his engines up to the walls when he received intelligence of the enemy's activity. Leaving a small force to keep up the appearance of an investment by land and sea, he marched with the main body of his army to meet his foes. His first position was on a hill some four miles distant from the king's camp. The next day he marched his cavalry down into what are called the Magni Campi, a stretch of level country extending from the foot of the hill, and spent the day in riding up to the enemies' outposts and harassing them with skirmishes. For the next two days both sides kept up this desultory fighting without any result worth mentioning; on the fourth day both sides came down to battle. The Roman commander drew up his principes behind the leading maniples of the hastati, and the triarii as reserves; the Italian cavalry were stationed on the right wing, Masinissa and the Numidians on the left. Syphax and Hasdrubal placed the Numidian cavalry opposite the Italian, and the Carthaginian horse fronted Masinissa, whilst the Celtiberians formed the centre to meet the charge of the legions. In this formation they closed. The Numidians and Carthaginians on the two wings were routed at the first charge; the former consisting mostly of peasants could not withstand the Roman horse, nor could the Carthaginians, also raw levies, hold their own against Masinissa, whose recent victory had made him more formidable than ever. Though exposed on both flanks the Celtiberians stood their ground, for as they did not know the country, flight offered no chance of safety, nor could they hope for any quarter from Scipio after carrying their mercenary arms into Africa to attack the man who had done so much for them and their countrymen. Completely enveloped by their foes they died fighting to the last, and fell one after another on the ground where they stood. Whilst the attention of all was turned to them, Syphax and Hasdrubal gained time to make their escape. The victors, wearied with slaughter more than with fighting, were at last overtaken by the night.
[30.9]On the morrow Scipio sent Laelius with the whole of the Roman and Numidian cavalry and some light-armed infantry in pursuit of Syphax and Hasdrubal. The cities in the neighbourhood, all of which were subject to Carthage, he attacked successively with his main body; some he won by appealing to their hopes and fears, some he took by storm. Carthage was in a state of terrible panic, they felt quite sure that when he had subjugated all their neighbours in the rapid progress of his arms, he would make a sudden attack on Carthage. The walls were repaired and protected by outworks, and each man carried off from the fields, on his own account, what would enable him to endure a long siege. Few ventured to mention the word "peace" in the senate, many were in favour of recalling Hannibal, the majority were of opinion that the fleet which was intended to intercept supplies should be sent to destroy the ships anchored off Utica, possibly the naval camp as well, which was insufficiently guarded. This proposal found most favour, at the same time they decided to send to Hannibal, "for even," it was argued, "supposing that the naval operations were completely successful, the siege of Utica would be only partly raised, and then there was the defence of Carthage - they had no general but Hannibal, no army but his that could undertake that task." The next day the ships were launched, and at the same time a party of delegates set sail for Italy. The critical state of affairs acted as strong stimulus, everything was done with feverish energy, any one who showed hesitation or slackness was regarded as a traitor to the safety of all. As Scipio was making slow progress, his army being encumbered with the spoils of many cities, he sent the prisoners and the rest of the booty to his old camp at Utica. As Carthage was now his objective, he seized Tyneta, from which the garrison had fled, a place about fifteen miles from Carthage, protected by its natural situation as well as by defensive works. It is visible from Carthage and its walls afford a view of the sea which surrounds that city.
[30.10]Whilst the Romans were busily engaged in intrenching they saw the hostile fleet sailing from Carthage to Utica. They at once ceased work, orders were given to march, and the army made a rapid advance, fearing lest the ships should be caught with their prows turned shorewards for siege operations, in utter unreadiness for a naval battle. "How" they asked themselves, "can a mobile and fully armed fleet in perfect sailing order be successfully resisted by ships loaded with artillery and war machines, or converted into transports, or brought up so close to the walls as to allow of scaling parties using them instead of an agger and gangways?" Under the circumstances Scipio abandoned the usual tactics. Bringing the warships which could have protected the others into the rearmost position close inshore, he lined up the transports in front of them four deep to serve as a wall against the enemy's attack. To prevent the lines from being broken by violent charges he laid masts and yard-arms from ship to ship and secured them by stout ropes which bound them together like one continuous chain. He then fastened planks upon the top of these, so making a free passage along the whole line, and under these bridges the despatch-boats had room to run out against the enemy and retire into safety. After making these hurried arrangements as complete as time would allow, he placed about 1000 picked men on board the transports and an immense quantity of missile weapons, so that however long the fighting went on there might be enough. Thus ready and eager, they waited for the enemy.
If the Carthaginians had moved more rapidly they would have found hurry and confusion everywhere, and they might have destroyed the fleet in the first onset. They were, however, disheartened by the defeat of their land forces, and now they did not feel confidence even on the sea, the element where they were strongest. After sailing slowly all through the day they brought up towards sunset at a harbour called by the natives Rusocmon. The following day, they put out to sea in line of battle, expecting the Romans to come out and attack them. After they had been stationary for a long time and no movement on the part of the enemy was visible, they at last commenced an attack on the transports. There was nothing in the least resembling a naval action, it looked almost exactly as if ships were attacking walls. The transports were considerably higher than their opponents, and consequently the missiles from the Carthaginian vessels, which had to be hurled from below, were mostly ineffective; those from the transports thrown from above fell with more force, their weight adding to the blow. The despatch-boats and light vessels which ran out through the intervals under the plank gangways were many of them run down by the momentum and bulk of the warships, and in time they became a hindrance to those fighting on the transports, who were often obliged to desist for fear of hitting them while they were mixed up with the enemy's ships. At last the Carthaginans began to throw poles with grappling-hooks at the end - the soldiers call them harpagones - on to the Roman ships, and it was impossible to cut away either the poles or the chains by which they were suspended. When a warship had hooked one of the transports it was rowed astern, and you would see the ropes which fastened the transports one to another give way, and sometimes a whole line of transports would be dragged off together. In this way all the gangways connecting the first line of transports were broken up, and there was hardly any place left where the defenders could spring back into the second line. Six transports were towed off to Carthage. Here the rejoicing was greater than the circumstances of the case warranted, but what made it all the more welcome was the fact that the Roman fleet had narrowly escaped destruction, an escape due to the Carthaginian commander's slackness and the timely arrival of Scipio. Amid such continual disasters and mourning this was an unhoped-for cause of congratulation.
[30.11]Meantime Laelius and Masinissa, after a fifteen days' march, entered Numidia, and the Maesulians, delighted to see their king whose absence they had so long regretted, placed him once more on his ancestral throne. All the garrisons with which Syphax had held the country were expelled and he was confined within the limits of his former dominions. He had no intention, however, of remaining quiet; he was goaded on by his wife, whom he passionately loved, and by her father, and he had such an abundance of men and horses that the mere sight of the resources afforded by a realm which had enjoyed many years of prosperity would have stimulated the ambition of even a less barbarous and impulsive nature than Syphax possessed. He assembled all who were fit for war, and after distributing horses, armour and weapons amongst them he formed the mounted men into squadrons and the infantry into cohorts, a plan which he had learnt in the old days from the centurions. With this army, quite as numerous as the one he had had before but consisting almost entirely of raw and untrained levies, he marched off to meet his enemies, and fixed his camp in their vicinity. At first he sent small bodies of cavalry from the outposts to make a cautious reconnaissance; compelled to retire by showers of darts they galloped back to their comrades. Sorties were made on both sides alternately, and indignant at being repulsed, larger bodies came up. This acts as an incentive in cavalry skirmishes when the winning side find their comrades flocking to them in hopes of victory and rage at the prospect of defeat brings supports to those who are losing. So it was then, the fighting had been begun by a few, but the love of battle at last brought the whole of the cavalry on both sides into the field. As long as the cavalry only were engaged the Romans had great difficulty in withstanding the immense numbers of Maesulians whom Syphax was sending forward. Suddenly, however, the Roman light infantry ran out between the cavalry who made way for them, and this gave steadiness to the line and checked the rush of the enemy. The latter slackened speed and then came to a halt, and were soon thrown into confusion by this unaccustomed mode of fighting. At last they gave ground not only before the infantry but before the cavalry also, to whom the support of their infantry had given fresh courage. By this time the legions were coming up, but the Maesulians did not wait for their attack, the mere sight of the standards and arms was enough, such was the effect either of the recollection of their past defeats or of the fear which the enemy now inspired.
[30.12]Syphax was riding up to the hostile squadrons in the hope that either a sense of honour or his own personal danger might check the flight of his men, when his horse was severely wounded and he was thrown, overpowered and made prisoner, and carried off to Laelius. Masinissa was especially delighted to see him as a captive. Cirta was Syphax's capital, and a considerable number escaped to that city. The losses sustained were insignificant compared with the importance of the victory, for the fighting had been confined to the cavalry. There were not more than 5000 killed, and in the storming of the camp, whither the mass of troops had fled after losing their king, less than half that number were made prisoners. Masinissa told Laelius that nothing would delight him more for the moment than to visit as conqueror his ancestral dominions which had after so many years been recovered, but prompt action was as necessary in success as in defeat. He suggested that he should be allowed to go on with the cavalry and the vanquished Syphax to Cirta, which he would be able to surprise amidst the general confusion and alarm; Laelius might follow with the infantry by easy stages. Laelius gave his consent and Masinissa advanced to Cirta and ordered the leading citizens to be invited to a conference. They were ignorant of what had happened to the king, and though Masinissa told them all that had occurred he found threats and persuasion equally unavailing until the king was brought before them in chains. At this painful and humiliating spectacle there was an outburst of grief, the defences were abandoned, and there was a unanimous resolve to seek the victor's favour by opening the gates to him. After placing guards round all the gates and at suitable places in the fortifications he galloped up to the palace to take possession of it.
As he was entering the vestibule, on the very threshold in fact, he was met by Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax and daughter of the Carthaginian Hasdrubal. When she saw him surrounded by an armed escort, and conspicuous by his arms and general appearance, she rightly guessed that he was the king, and throwing herself at his feet, exclaimed: "Your courage and good fortune aided by the gods have given you absolute power over us. But if a captive may utter words of supplication before one who is master of her fate, if she may touch his victorious right hand, then I pray and beseech you by the kingly greatness in which we too not long ago were clothed, by the name of Numidian which you and Syphax alike bear, by the tutelary deities of this royal abode who, I pray, may receive you with fairer omens than those with which they sent him hence, grant this favour at least to your suppliant that you yourself decide your captive's fate whatever it may be, and do not leave me to fall under the cruel tyranny of a Roman. Had I been simply the wife of Syphax I would still choose to trust to the honour of a Numidian, born under the same African sky as myself, rather than that of an alien and a foreigner. But I am a Carthaginian, the daughter of Hasdrubal, and you see what I have to fear. If no other way is possible then I implore you to save me by death from falling into Roman hands." Sophonisba was in the bloom of youth and in all the splendour of her beauty, and as she held Masinissa's hand and begged him to give his word that she should not be surrendered to the Romans, her tone became one of blandishment rather than entreaty. A slave to passion like all his countrymen, the victor at once fell in love with his captive. He gave her his solemn assurance that he would do what she wished him to do and then retired into the palace. Here he considered in what way he could redeem his promise, and as he saw no practical way of doing so he allowed his passion to dictate to him as a method equally reckless and indecent. Without a moment's delay he made preparations for celebrating his nuptials on that very day, so that neither Laelius nor Scipio might be free to treat as a prisoner one who was now Masinissa's wife. When the marriage ceremony was over Laelius appeared on the scene, and, far from concealing his disapproval of what had been done, he actually attempted to drag her from her bridegroom's arms and send her with Syphax and the other prisoners to Scipio. However, Masinissa's remonstrances so far prevailed that it was left to Scipio to decide which of the two kings should be the happy possessor of Sophonisba. After Laelius had sent Syphax and the other prisoners away, he recovered, with Masinissa's aid, the remaining cities in Numidia which were still held by the king's garrisons.
[30.13]When the news arrived that Syphax was being brought into camp, the whole army turned out as though to watch a triumphal procession. The king himself, in chains, was the first to appear, he was followed by a crowd of Numidian nobles. As they passed the soldiers each in turn sought to magnify their victory by exaggerating the greatness of Syphax and the military reputation of his nation. "This is the king," they said, "whose greatness has been so far acknowledged by the most powerful States in the world - Rome and Carthage - that Scipio left his army in Spain and sailed with two triremes to Africa to secure his alliance, whilst the Carthaginian Hasdrubal not only visited him in his kingdom, but even gave him his daughter in marriage. He has had the Roman and the Carthaginian commanders both in his power at the same time. As each side has sought peace and friendship from the immortal gods by sacrifices duly offered, so each side alike has sought peace and friendships from him. He was powerful enough to expel Masinissa from his kingdom, and he reduced him to such a condition that he owed his life to the report of his death and to his concealment in the forest, where he lived on what he could catch there like a wild beast." Amidst these remarks of the bystanders, the king was conducted to the headquarters tent. As Scipio compared the earlier fortunes of the man with his present condition and recalled to mind his own hospitable relations with him, the mutually pledged right hands, the political and personal bonds between them, he was greatly moved. Syphax, too, thought of these things, but they gave him courage in addressing his conqueror. Scipio questioned him as to his object in first denouncing his alliance with Rome and then starting an unprovoked war against her. He admitted that he had done wrong and behaved like a madman but his taking up arms against Rome was not the beginning of his madness, it was the last act. He first exhibited his folly, his utter disregard of all private ties and public obligations, when he admitted a Carthaginian bride into his house. The torches which illuminated these nuptials had set his palace in a blaze. That fury of a woman, that scourge, had used every endearment to alienate and warp his feelings, and would not rest till she had with her own impious hands armed him against his host and friend. However, broken and ruined as he was, he had this to console him in his misery - that pestilential fury had entered the household of his bitterest foe. Masinissa was not wiser or more consistent than he had been, his youth made him even less cautious; at all events that marriage proved him to be more foolish and headstrong.
[30.14]This was the language of a man animated, not only by hatred towards an enemy, but also by the sting of hopeless love, knowing as he did that the woman he loved was in the house of his rival. Scipio was deeply distressed at what he heard. Proof of the charges was found in the hurrying on of the nuptials almost amid the clash of arms without consulting or even waiting for Laelius. Masinissa had acted with such precipitancy that the very first day he saw his prisoner he married her, and the rites were actually performed before the tutelary deities of his enemy's house. This conduct appeared all the more shocking to Scipio because when he himself was in Spain, young as he was, no captive girl had ever moved him by her beauty. Whilst he was thinking all this over, Laelius and Masinissa appeared. He extended the same gracious and friendly welcome to both, and in the presence of a large number of his officers addressed them in most laudatory terms. Then he took Masinissa quietly aside and spoke to him as follows: "I think, Masinissa, that you must have seen some good qualities in me when you went to Spain to establish friendly relations with me, and also when, afterwards, you trusted yourself and all your fortunes to me in Africa. Now, among all the virtues which attracted you there is none upon which I pride myself so much as upon my continence and the control of my passions. I wish, Masinissa, that you would add these to the other noble features of your own character. At our time of life we are not, believe me, so much in danger from armed foes as from the seductive pleasures which tempt us on every side. The man who has curbed and subjugated these by his self-control has won for himself greater glory and a greater victory than we have won over Syphax. The courage and energy you have displayed in my absence I have gladly dwelt upon and gratefully remember; the rest of your conduct I prefer that you should reflect upon when alone, rather than that I should make you blush by alluding to it. Syphax has been defeated and made prisoner under the auspices of the people of Rome, and this being so, his wife, his kingdom, his territory, his towns with all their inhabitants, whatever in short Syphax possessed, belong now to Rome as the spoils of war. Even if his wife were not a Carthaginian, if we did not know that her father is in command of the enemy's forces, it would still be our duty to send her with her husband to Rome, and leave it to the senate and people to decide the fate of one who is alleged to have estranged our ally and precipitated him in arms against us. Conquer your feelings and be on your guard against letting one vice mar the many good qualities you possess and sullying the grace of all your services by a fault which is out of all proportion to its cause."
[30.15]On hearing this Masinissa blushed furiously and even shed tears. He said that he would comply with the general's wishes, and begged him to take into consideration, as far as he could, the pledge he had rashly given, for he had promised that he would not let her pass into any one's power. Then he left the headquarters tent and retired to his own in a state of distraction. Dismissing all his attendants he remained there some time, giving vent to continual sighs and groans which were quite audible to those outside. At last with a deep groan he called one of his slaves in whom he placed complete confidence and who had in his keeping the poison which kings usually have in reserve against the vicissitudes of Fortune. After mixing it in a cup he told him to take it to Sophonisba, and at the same time tell her that Masinissa would have gladly fulfilled the first promise that he made to his wife, but as those who have the power were depriving him of the right to do so, he was fulfilling the second - that she should not fall into the hands of the Romans alive. The thought of her father, her country, and the two kings who had wedded her would decide her how to act. When the servant came with the poison and the message to Sophonisba, she said, "I accept this wedding gift, no unwelcome one if my husband can do nothing more for his wife. But tell him that I should have died more happily had not my marriage bed stood so near my grave." The high spirit of these words was sustained by the fearless way in which, without the slightest sign of trepidation, she drank the potion. When the news reached Scipio he was afraid that the young man, wild with grief, would take some still more desperate step, so he at once sent for him, and tried to console him. at the same time gently censuring him for having atoned for one act of madness by committing another and making the affair more tragic than it need have been. The next day, with the view of diverting his thoughts, Scipio mounted the tribunal and ordered the assembly to be sounded. Addressing Masinissa as king and eulogising him in the highest possible terms, he presented him with a golden crown, curule chair, an ivory sceptre and also with a purple-bordered toga and a tunic embroidered with palms. He enhanced the value of these gifts by informing him that the Romans considered no honour more splendid than that of a triumph, and that no more magnificent insignia were borne by triumphing generals than those which the Roman people deemed Masinissa, alone of all foreigners, worthy to possess. Laelius was the next to be commended, he was presented with a golden crown. Other soldiers received rewards according to their services. The honours which had had been conferred on the king went far to assuage his grief, and he was encouraged to hope for the speedy possession of the whole of Numidia now that Syphax was out of the way.
[30.16]Laelius was sent in charge of Syphax and the other prisoners to Rome, and envoys from Masinissa accompanied him. Scipio returned to his camp at Tyneta and completed the fortifications which he had commenced. The rejoicing of the Carthaginians over the temporary success of their naval attack was short-lived and evanescent, for when they heard of the capture of Syphax, on whom they had rested their hopes almost more than on Hasdrubal and his army, they completely lost heart. The war party could no longer gain a hearing and the senate sent the "Thirty Seniors" to Scipio to sue for peace. This body was the most august council in their state and controlled to a very large extent even the senate itself. When they reached the headquarters tent in the Roman camp, they made a profound obeisance and prostrated themselves - a practice, I believe, which they brought with them from their original home. Their language corresponded to their abject posture. They made no excuse for themselves, but threw the responsibility for the war on Hannibal and his supporters. They craved pardon for a city which had been twice ruined by the recklessness of its citizens and could only be preserved in safety by the good-will of its enemy. What Rome sought, they pleaded, was the homage and submission of the vanquished, not their annihilation. They professed themselves ready to execute any commands which he chose to give. Scipio replied that he had come to Africa in the hope - a hope which his successes had confirmed - of taking back to Rome a complete victory, and not merely proposals for peace. Still, though victory was almost within his grasp, he would not refuse to grant terms of peace, that all nations might know that Rome was actuated by the spirit of justice, whether she was undertaking a war or putting an end to one.
He stated the terms of peace, which were the surrender of all prisoners, deserters and refugees; the withdrawal of the armies from Italy and Gaul; the abandonment of all action in Spain; the evacuation of all the islands lying between Italy and Africa and the surrender of their entire navy with the exception of twenty vessels. They were also to provide 500,000 pecks of wheat and 300,000 of barley, but the actual amount of the money indemnity is doubtful. In some authors I find 5000 talents, in others 5000 pounds of silver mentioned; some only say that double pay for the troops was demanded. "You will be allowed," he added, "three days to consider whether you will agree to peace on these terms. If you decide to do so, arrange an armistice with me, and send envoys to the senate in Rome." The Carthaginians were then dismissed. As their object was to gain time to allow of Hannibal's sailing across to Africa they resolved that no conditions of peace should be rejected, and accordingly they sent delegates to conclude an armistice with Scipio, and a deputation was also sent to Rome to sue for peace, the latter taking with them a few prisoners and deserters for the sake of appearance, in order that peace might more be readily granted.
[30.17]Several days previously Laelius arrived in Rome with Syphax and the Numidian prisoners. He made a report to the senate of all that had been done in Africa and there were great rejoicings at the present position of affairs and sanguine hopes for the future. After discussing the matter the senate decided that Syphax should be interned at Alba and that Laelius should stay in Rome until the Carthaginian delegates arrived. A four days' thanksgiving was ordered. On the adjournment of the House, P. Aelius, the praetor, forthwith convened a meeting of the Assembly, and mounted the rostrum, accompanied by C. Laelius. When the people heard that the armies of Carthage had been routed, a far-famed king defeated and made prisoner, and a victorious progress made throughout Numidia, they could no longer restrain their feelings and expressed their unbounded joy in shouts and other demonstrations of delight. Seeing the people in this mood the praetor at once gave orders for the sacristans to throw open the holy places throughout the City in order that the people might have the whole day for going round the shrines to offer up their adoration and thanksgivings to the gods.
The next day he introduced Masinissa's envoys to the senate. They first of all congratulated the senate upon Scipio's successes in Africa and then expressed thanks on behalf of Masinissa for Scipio's action in not only conferring upon him the title of king, but also in giving practical effect to it by restoring to him his ancestral dominion where now that Syphax was disposed of he would, if the senate so decided, reign free from all fear of opposition. He was grateful for the way in which Scipio had spoken of him before his officers and for the splendid insignia with which he had been honoured and which he had done his best to prove himself worthy of and would continue to do so. They petitioned the senate to confirm by a formal decree the royal title and the other favours and dignities which Scipio had conferred upon him. And as an additional boon, Masinissa begged, if he was not asking too much, that they would release the Numidian prisoners who were under guard in Rome; that, he considered, would increase his prestige with his subjects. The reply given to the envoys was to the effect that the senate congratulated the king as much as themselves upon the successes in Africa; Scipio had acted rightly and in perfect order in recognising Masinissa as king, and the senators warmly approved of all he had done to meet Masinissa's wishes. They passed a decree that the presents which the envoys were to take to the king should comprise two purple cloaks with a golden clasp on each and two tunics embroidered with the laticlave; two richly caparisoned horses and a set of equestrian armour with cuirasses for each; two tents and military furniture such as the consuls are usually provided with. The praetor received instructions to see that these things were sent to the king. The envoys each received presents to the value of 5000 ases, and each member of their suite to the value of 1000 ases. Besides these, two suits of apparel were given to each of the envoys, and one to each of their suite and also to each of the Numidian prisoners who were to be restored to the king. During their stay in Rome a house was placed at their disposal and they were treated as guests of the State.
[30.18]During this summer P. Quintilius Varus the praetor and M. Cornelius the proconsul fought a regular engagement with Mago. The praetor's legions formed the fighting line; Cornelius kept his in reserve, but rode to the front and took command of one wing, the praetor leading the other, and both of them exhorted the soldiers to make a furious charge on the enemy. When they failed to make any impression upon them, Quintilius said to Cornelius, "As you see, the battle is progressing too slowly; the enemy finding themselves offering an unhoped-for resistance have steeled themselves against fear, there is danger of this fear passing into audacity. We must let loose a hurricane of cavalry against them if we want to shake them and make them give ground. Either, then, you must keep up the fighting at the front and I will bring the cavalry into action, or I will remain here and direct the operations of the first line while you launch the cavalry of the four legions against the enemy." The proconsul left it to the praetor to decide what he would do. Quintilius, accordingly, accompanied by his son Marcus, an enterprising and energetic youth, rode off to the cavalry, ordered them to mount and sent them at once against the enemy. The effect of their charge was heightened by the battle-shout of the legions, and the hostile lines would not have stood their ground, had not Mago, at the first movement of the cavalry, promptly brought his elephants into action. The appearance of these animals, their trumpeting and smell so terrified the horses as to render the assistance of the cavalry futile. When engaged at close quarters and able to use sword and lance the Roman cavalryman was the better fighter, but when carried away by a frightened horse, he was a better target for the Numidian darts. As for the infantry, the twelfth legion had lost a large proportion of their men and were holding their ground more to avoid the disgrace of retreat than from any hope of offering effectual resistance. Nor would they have held it any longer if the thirteenth legion which was in reserve had not been brought up and taken part in the doubtful conflict. To oppose this fresh legion Mago brought up his reserves also. These were Gauls, and the hastati of the eleventh legion had not much trouble in putting them to rout. They then closed up and attacked the elephants who were creating confusion in the Roman infantry ranks. Showering their darts upon them as they crowded together, and hardly ever failing to hit, they drove them all back upon the Carthaginian lines, after four had fallen, severely wounded.
At last the enemy began to give ground, and the whole of the Roman infantry, when they saw the elephants turning against their own side, rushed forward to increase the confusion and panic. As long as Mago kept his station in front, his men retreated slowly and in good order, but when they saw him fall, seriously wounded and carried almost fainting from the field, there was a general flight. The losses of the enemy amounted to 5000 men, and 22 standards were taken. The victory was a far from bloodless one for the Romans, they lost 2300 men in the praetor's army, mostly from the twelfth legion, and amongst them two military tribunes, M. Cosconius and M. Maevius. The thirteenth legion, the last to take part in the action, also had its losses; C. Helvius, a military tribune, fell whilst restoring the battle, and twenty-two members of the cavalry corps, belonging to distinguished families, together with some of the centurions were trampled to death by the elephants. The battle would have lasted longer had not Mago's wound given the Romans the victory.
[30.19]Mago withdrew during the night and marching as rapidly as his wound would allow reached that part of the Ligurian coast which is inhabited by the Ingauni. Here he was met by the deputation from Carthage which had landed a few days previously at Genua. They informed him that he must sail for Africa at the earliest possible moment; his brother Hannibal, to whom similar instructions had been given, was on the point of doing so. Carthage was not in a position to retain her hold upon Gaul and Italy. The commands of the senate and the dangers threatening his country decided Mago's course, and moreover there was the risk of an attack from the victorious enemy if he delayed, and also of the desertion of the Ligurians who, seeing Italy abandoned by the Carthaginians, would go over to those in whose power they would ultimately be. He hoped too that a sea voyage would be less trying to his wound than the jolting of the march had been, and that everything would contribute to his recovery. He embarked his men and set sail, but he had not cleared Sardinia when he died of his wound. Some of his ships which had parted company with the rest when out at sea were captured by the Roman fleet which was lying off Sardinia. Such was the course of events in the Alpine districts of Italy. The consul C. Servilius had done nothing worth recording in Etruria, nor after his departure for Gaul. In the latter country he had rescued his father C. Servilius and also C. Lutatius after sixteen years of servitude, the result of their capture by the Boii at Tannetum. With his father on one side of him and Lutatius on the other he returned to Rome honoured more on personal than public grounds. A measure was proposed to the people relieving him from penalties for having illegally acted as tribune of the plebs and plebeian aedile while his father who had filled a curule chair was, unknown to him, still alive. When the bill of indemnity was passed he returned to his province. The consul Cnaeus Servilius in Bruttium received the surrender of several places, now that they saw that the Punic War was drawing to a close. Amongst these were Consentia, Aufugium, Bergae, Besidiae, Oriculum, Lymphaeum, Argentanum, and Clampetia. He also fought a battle with Hannibal in the neighbourhood of Croto, of which no clear account exists. According to Valerius Antias, 5000 of the enemy were killed, but either this is an unblushing fiction, or its omission in the annalists shows great carelessness. At all events nothing further was done by Hannibal in Italy, for the delegation summoning him to Africa happened to arrive from Carthage about the same time as the one to Mago.
[30.20]It is said that he gnashed his teeth, groaned, and almost shed tears when he heard what the delegates had to say. After they had delivered their instructions, he exclaimed, "The men who tried to drag me back by cutting off my supplies of men and money are now recalling me not by crooked means but plainly and openly. So you see, it is not the Roman people who have been so often routed and cut to pieces that have vanquished Hannibal, but the Carthaginian senate by their detraction and envy. It is not Scipio who will pride himself and exult over the disgrace of my return so much as Hanno who has crushed my house, since he could do it in no other way, beneath the ruins for Carthage." He had divined what would happen, and had got his ships ready in anticipation. The unserviceable portion of his troops he got rid of by distributing them ostensibly as garrisons amongst the few towns which, more out of fear than loyalty, still adhered to him. The main strength of his army he transported to Africa. Many who were natives of Italy refused to follow him, and withdrew into the temple of Juno Lacinia, a shrine which up to that day had remained inviolate. There, actually within the sacred precinct, they were foully murdered. Seldom, according to the accounts, has any one left his native country to go into exile in such gloomy sorrow as Hannibal manifested when quitting the country of his foes. It is stated that he often looked back to the shores of Italy, accusing gods and men and even cursing himself for not having led his soldiers reeking with blood from the victorious field of Cannae straight to Rome. Scipio, he said, who whilst consul had never seen a Carthaginian in Italy, had dared to go to Africa, whereas he who had slain 100,000 men at Thrasymenus and at Cannae had wasted his strength round Casilinum and Cumae and Nola. Amid these accusations and regrets he was borne away from his long occupation of Italy.
[30.21]The news of Mago's departure reached Rome at the same time as that of Hannibal. The joy with which the intelligence of this twofold relief was received was, however, chastened by the fact that their generals had, through lack of either courage or strength, failed to detain them, though they had received express instructions from the senate to that effect. There was also a feeling of anxiety as to what the issue would be now that the whole brunt of the war fell upon one army and one commander. Just at this time, a commission arrived from Saguntum bringing some Carthaginians who had landed in Spain for the purpose of hiring auxiliaries, and whom they had captured together with the money they had brought. 250 pounds of silver and 800 pounds of gold were deposited in the vestibule of the senate-house. After the men had been handed over and thrown into prison, the gold and silver was returned to the Saguntines. A vote of thanks was accorded to them, they were presented with gifts and also provided with ships in which to return to Spain. Following upon this incident some of the senior senators reminded the House of a great omission. "Men," they said, "are much more alive to their misfortunes than to the good things that come to them. We remember what panic and terror we felt when Hannibal descended upon Italy. What defeats and mourning followed! The enemy's camp was visible from the City - what prayers we one and all put up! How often in our councils have we heard the plaint of men lifting up their hands to heaven and asking whether the day would ever come when they would see Italy freed from an enemy's presence and flourishing in peace and prosperity! At last, after sixteen years of war, the gods have granted us this boon, and yet there are none who ask that thanks should be offered to them. Men do not receive even a present blessing with grateful hearts, much less are they are likely to remember past benefits." A general shout arose from all parts of the House calling upon the praetor P. Aelius to submit a motion. It was decreed that a five days' thanksgiving should be offered at all the shrines and a hundred and twenty full-grown victims sacrificed. Laelius had by this time left Rome with Masinissa's envoys. On tidings being received that the Carthaginian peace deputation had been seen at Puteoli and would come on from there by land it was decided to recall Laelius in order that he might be present at the interview. Q. Fulvius Gillo, one of Scipio's staff-officers, conducted the Carthaginians to Rome. As they were forbidden to enter the City they were domiciled in a country house belonging to the State, and an audience of the senate was granted them in the temple of Bellona.
[30.22]Their speech to the senate was much the same as the one they had made to Scipio; they disclaimed any responsibility for the war on the part of the government and threw the entire blame on Hannibal. "He had no orders from their senate to cross the Ebro, much less the Alps. It was on his own authority that he had made war not only on Rome but even on Saguntum; any one who took a just view would recognise that the treaty with Rome remained unbroken to that day. Their instructions accordingly were simply that they should ask to be allowed to continue on the same terms of peace as those which had been settled on the last occasion with C. Lutatius." In accordance with the traditional usage the praetor gave any one who wished permission to interrogate the envoys, and the senior members who had taken part in arranging the former treaties put various questions. The envoys, who were almost all young men, said that they had no recollection of what happened. Then loud protests broke out from all parts of the House; the senators declared that it was an instance of Punic treachery, men were selected to ask for a renewal of the old treaty who did not even remember its terms.
[30.23]The envoys were then ordered to withdraw and the senators were asked for their opinions. M. Livius advised that as the consul C. Servilius was the nearest he should be summoned to Rome in order that he might be present during the debate. No more important subject could be discussed than the one before them, and it did not seem to him compatible with the dignity of the Roman people that the discussion should take place in the absence of both the consuls. Q. Metellus, who had been consul three years previously and had also been Dictator, gave it as his opinion that as P. Scipio, after destroying their armies and devastating their land, had driven the enemy to the necessity of suing for peace, there was no one in the world who could form a truer judgment as to their real intention in opening negotiations than the man who was at that moment carrying the war up to the gates of Carthage. In his opinion they ought to take Scipio's advice and no other as to whether the offer of peace ought to be accepted or rejected. M. Valerius Laevinus, who had filled two consulships, declared that they had come as spies and not as envoys, and he urged that they should be ordered to leave Italy and escorted by a guard to their ships, and that written instructions should be sent to Scipio not to relax hostilities. Laelius and Fulvius supported this proposal and stated that Scipio thought that the only hope of peace lay in Mago and Hannibal not being recalled, but the Carthaginians would adopt every subterfuge whilst waiting for their generals and their armies, and would then continue the war, ignoring treaties however recent, and in defiance of all the gods. These statements led the senate to adopt Laevinus' proposal. The envoys were dismissed with no prospect of peace and the curtest of replies.
[30.24] The consul Cnaeus Servilius, fully persuaded that the credit of restoring peace in Italy was due to him, and that it was he who had driven Hannibal out of the country, followed the Carthaginian commander to Sicily, intending to sail from there to Africa. When this became known in Rome the senate decided that the praetor should write to him and inform him that the senate thought it right that he should remain in Italy. The praetor said that Servilius would pay no attention to a letter from him, and on this it was resolved to appoint P. Sulpicius Dictator, and he by virtue of his superior authority recalled the consul to Italy. The Dictator spent the remainder of the year in visiting, accompanied by M. Servilius, his Master of the Horse, the different cities of Italy which had fallen away from Rome during the war, and holding an enquiry in each case. During the armistice a hundred transports carrying supplies and escorted by twenty warships were despatched from Sardinia by Lentulus the praetor and reached Africa without any damage either from the enemy or from storms. Cnaeus Octavius sailed from Sicily with two hundred transports and thirty warships, but was not equally fortunate. He had a favourable voyage until he was almost within sight of Africa, when he was becalmed; then a south-westerly wind sprang up which scattered his ships in all directions. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the rowers against the adverse waves, Octavius succeeded in making the Promontory of Apollo. The greater part of the transports were driven to Aegimurus, an island which forms a breakwater to the bay on which Carthage is situated and about thirty miles distant from the city. Other were carried up to the city itself as far as the Aquae Calidae ("hot-springs"). All this was visible from Carthage, and a crowd gathered from all parts of the city in the forum. The magistrates convened the senate; the people who were in the vestibule of the senate-house protested against so much booty being allowed to slip out of their hands and out of their sight. Some objected that this would be a breach of faith whilst peace negotiations were going on, others were for respecting the truce which had not yet expired. The popular assembly was so mixed up with the senate that they almost formed one body, and they unanimously decided that Hasdrubal should proceed to Aegimurum with fifty ships of war and pick up the Roman ships which were scattered along the coast or in the harbours. Those transports which had been abandoned by their crews at Aegimurum were towed to Carthage, and subsequently others were brought in from Aquae Calidae.
[30.25]The envoys had not yet come back from Rome, and it was not known whether the senate had decided for peace or for war. What did most to arouse Scipio's indignation was the fact that all hopes of peace were destroyed and all respect for the truce flouted by the very men who had asked for a truce and were suing for peace. He at once sent L. Baebius, M. Servilius and L. Fabius to Carthage to protest. As they were in danger of ill-treatment from the mob and saw that they might be prevented from returning, they requested the magistrates who had protected them from violence to send ships to escort them. Two triremes were supplied to them, and when they reached the mouth of the Bagradas, from which the Roman camp was visible, the ships returned to Carthage. The Carthaginian fleet was lying off Utica, and whether it was in consequence of a secret message from Carthage, or whether Hanno, who was in command, acted on his own responsibility without the connivance of his government, in any case, three quadriremes from the fleet made a sudden attack upon the Roman quinquereme as it was rounding the promontory. They were, however, unable to ram it owing to its superior speed, and its greater height prevented any attempt to board it. As long as the missiles lasted, the quinquereme made a brilliant defence, but when these failed nothing could have saved it but the nearness of the land and the numbers of men who had come down from the camp to the shore to watch. The rowers drove the ships on to the beach with their utmost strength; the vessel was wrecked, but the passengers escaped uninjured. Thus, by one misdeed after another, all doubt was removed as to the truce having been broken when Laelius and the Carthaginians arrived on their return from Rome. Scipio informed them that in spite of the fact that the Carthaginians had broken not only the truce which they had pledged themselves to observe, but even the law of nations in their treatment of the envoys, he should himself take no action in their case which would be inconsistent with the traditional maxims of Rome or contrary to his own principles. He then dismissed them and prepared to resume operations. Hannibal was now nearing the land and he ordered a sailor to climb the mast and find out what part of the country they were making for. The man reported that they were heading for a ruined sepulchre. Hannibal regarding it as an evil omen ordered the pilot to sail past the place and brought up the fleet at Leptis, where he disembarked his force.
[30.26]The above-described events all happened during this year, the subsequent ones belong to the year following when M. Servilius the Master of the Horse and Tiberius Claudius Nero were the consuls. Towards the close of the year a deputation came from the Greek cities in alliance with us to complain that their country had been devastated and the envoys who had been sent to demand redress were not allowed to approach Philip. They also brought information that 4000 men under Sopater had sailed for Africa to assist the Carthaginians, taking a considerable sum of money with them. The senate decided to send to Philip and inform him that they regarded these proceedings as a violation of the treaty. C. Terentius Varro, C. Mamilius and M. Aurelius were entrusted with this mission, and they were furnished with three quinqueremes. The year was rendered memorable by an enormous fire, in which the houses on the Clivus Publicius were burnt to the ground, and also by a great flood. Food, however, was extremely cheap, for not only was the whole of Italy open, now that it was left in peace, but a great quantity of corn had been sent from Spain, which the curule aediles, M. Valerius Falto and M. Fabius Buteo, distributed to the people, ward by ward, at four ases the peck. The death occurred this year of Quintus Fabius Maximus at a very advanced age, if it be true, as some authorities assert, that he had been augur for sixty-two years. He was a man who deserved the great surname he bore, even if he had been the first to bear it. He surpassed his father in his distinctions, and equalled his grandfather Rullus. Rullus had won more victories and fought greater battles, but his grandson had Hannibal for an opponent and that made up for everything. He was held to be cautious rather than energetic, and though it may be a question whether he was naturally slow in action or whether he adopted these tactics as especially suitable to the character of the war, nothing is more certain that that, as Ennius says, "one man by his slowness restored the State." He had been both augur and pontifex; his son Q. Fabius Maximus succeeded him as augur, Ser. Sulpicius Galba as pontifex. The Roman and the Plebeian Games were celebrated by the aediles M. Sextius Sabinus and Cnaeus Tremellius Flaccus, the former for one day, the latter were repeated for three days. These two aediles were elected praetors together with C. Livius Salinator and C. Aurelius Cotta. Authorities are divided as to who presided over the elections, whether the consul C. Servilius did so or whether, owing to his being detained in Etruria by the conspiracy trials which the senate had ordered him to conduct, he named a Dictator to preside.
[30.27]In the beginning of the following year the consuls M. Servilius and Tiberius Claudius convened the senate in the Capitol to decide the allocation of the provinces. As they both wanted Africa they were anxious to ballot for that province and for Italy. Mainly, however, owing to the efforts of Q. Metellus, nothing was decided about Africa; the consuls were instructed to arrange with the tribunes of the plebs for a vote of the people to be taken as to whom they wished to conduct the war in Africa. The tribes were unanimously in favour of P. Scipio. In spite of this the senate decreed that the two consuls should ballot, and Africa was drawn by Ti. Claudius, who was to take across a fleet of fifty vessels - all quinqueremes - and exercise the same powers as Scipio. Etruria fell to M. Servilius. C. Servilius who had held that province had his command extended in case the senate should require his presence in Rome. The praetors were distributed as follows: M. Sextius received Gaul and P. Quintilius Varus was to hand over two legions which he had there; C. Livius was to hold Bruttium with the two legions which P. Sempronius had commanded there the year before; Cnaeus Tremellius was sent to Sicily and took over the two legions from P. Villius Tappulus, the praetor of the previous year; Villius in the capacity of propraetor was furnished with twenty warships and 1000 men for the protection of the Sicilian coast; M. Pomponius was to send 1500 men to Rome in the twenty remaining ships. The City jurisdiction passed into the hands of C. Aurelius Cotta. The other commands were unchanged. Sixteen legions were considered sufficient this year for the defence of the dominion of Rome. In order that all things might be undertaken and carried out with the favour of the gods, it was decided that before the consuls took the field they should celebrate the Games and offer the sacrifices which T. Manlius the Dictator had vowed during the consulship of M. Claudius Marcellus and T. Quinctius, if the republic should maintain its position unimpaired for five years. The Games were celebrated in the Circus, the celebration lasting four days, and the victims vowed to the several deities were duly sacrificed.
[30.28]All through this time there was a growing tension of feeling, hopes and fears alike were becoming stronger. Men could not make up their minds whether they had more to rejoice over in the fact that at the end of sixteen years Hannibal had finally evacuated Italy and left the unchallenged possession of it to Rome, or more to fear from his having landed in Africa with his military strength unimpaired. "The seat of danger," they said, "is changed, but not the danger itself. Quintus Fabius, who has just died, foretold how great the struggle would be when he declared in oracular tones that Hannibal would be a more formidable foe in his own country than he had been on alien soil. Scipio has not to do with Syphax, whose subjects are undisciplined barbarians and whose army was generally led by Statorius, who was little more than a camp menial, nor with Syphax's elusive father-in-law, Hasdrubal nor with a half-armed mob of peasants hastily collected from the fields. It is Hannibal whom he has to meet, who was all but born in the headquarters of his father, that bravest of generals; reared and brought up in the midst of arms, a soldier whilst still a boy, and when hardly out of his teens in high command. He has passed the prime of his manhood in victory after victory and has filled Spain and Gaul and Italy from the Alps to the southern sea with memorials of mighty deeds. The men he is leading are his contemporaries in arms, steeled by innumerable hardships such as it is hardly credible that men can have gone through, bespattered, times without number, with Roman blood, laden with spoils stripped from the bodies, not of common soldiers only, but even of commanders-in-chief. Scipio will meet many on the field of battle who with their own hands have slain the praetors, the commanders, the consuls of Rome, and who are now decorated with mural and vallarian wreaths after roaming at will through the camps and cities of Rome which they captured. All the fasces borne before Roman magistrates today are not so many in number as those which Hannibal might have had borne before him, taken on the field of battle when the commander-in-chief was slain." By dwelling on such gloomy prognostications they increased their fears and anxieties. And there was another ground for apprehension. They had been accustomed to seeing war going on first in one part of Italy and then in another without much hope of its being soon brought to a close. Now, however, all thoughts were turned on Scipio and Hannibal, they seemed as though purposely pitted against each other for a final and decisive struggle. Even those who felt the greatest confidence in Scipio and entertained the strongest hopes that he would be victorious became more nervous and anxious as they realised that the fateful hour was approaching. The Carthaginians were in a very similar mood. When they thought of Hannibal and the greatness of the deeds he had done they regretted that they had sued for peace, but when they reflected that they had been twice worsted in the open field, that Syphax was a prisoner, that they had been driven out of Spain and then out of Italy, and that all this was the result of one man's resolute courage, and that man Scipio, they dreaded him as though he had been destined from his birth to be their ruin.
[30.29].Hannibal had reached Hadrumetum where he remained a few days for his men to recover from the effects of the voyage, when breathless couriers announced that all the country round Carthage was occupied by Roman arms. He at once hurried by forced marches to Zama. Zama is a five days' march from Carthage. The scouts whom he had sent forward to reconnoitre were captured by the Roman outposts and conducted to Scipio. Scipio placed them in charge of the military tribunes and gave orders for them to be taken round the camp where they were to look at everything they wished to see without fear. After asking them whether they had examined all to their satisfaction, he sent them back with an escort to Hannibal. The report they gave was anything but pleasant hearing for him, for as it happened Masinissa had on that very day come in with a force of 6000 infantry and 4000 cavalry. What gave him most uneasiness was the confidence of the enemy which he saw too clearly was not without good grounds. So, although he had been the cause of the war, though his arrival had upset the truce and diminished the hope of any peace being arranged, he still thought that he would be in a better position to obtain terms if he were to ask for peace while his strength was still unbroken than after a defeat. Accordingly he sent a request to Scipio to grant him an interview. Whether he did this on his own initiative or in obedience to the orders of his government I am unable to say definitely. Valerius Antius says that he was defeated by Scipio in the first battle with a loss of 12,000 killed and 1700 taken prisoners, and that after this he went in company with ten delegates to Scipio's camp. However this may be, Scipio did not refuse the proposed interview, and by common agreement the two commanders advanced their camps towards each other that they might meet more easily. Scipio took up his position not far from the city of Naragarra on ground which, in addition to other advantages, afforded a supply of water within range of missiles from the Roman lines. Hannibal selected some rising ground about four miles away, a safe and advantageous position, except that water had to be obtained from a distance. A spot was selected midway between the camps, which, to prevent any possibility of treachery, afforded a view on all sides.
[30.30].When their respective escorts had withdrawn to an equal distance, the two leaders advanced to meet each other, each accompanied by an interpreter - the greatest commanders not only of their own age but of all who are recorded in history before their day, the peers of the most famous kings and commanders that the world had seen. For a few moments they gazed upon one another in silent admiration. Hannibal was the first to speak. "If," he said, "Destiny has so willed it that I, who was the first to make war on Rome and who have so often had the final victory almost within my grasp, should now be the first to come to ask for peace, I congratulate myself that Fate has appointed you, above all others, as the one from whom I am to ask it. Amongst your many brilliant distinctions this will not be your smallest title to fame, that Hannibal, to whom the gods have given the victory over so many Roman generals, has yielded to you, that it has fallen to your lot to put an end to a war which has been more memorable for your defeats than for ours. This is indeed the irony of fortune, that after taking up arms when your father was consul, and having him for my opponent in my first battle, it should be his son to whom I come unarmed to ask for peace. It would have been far better had the gods endowed our fathers with such a disposition that you would have been contented with the sovereignty of Italy, whilst we were contented with Africa. As it is, even for you, Sicily and Sardinia are no adequate compensation for the loss of so many fleets, so many armies, and so many splendid generals. But it is easier to regret the past than to repair it. We coveted what belonged to others, consequently we had to fight for our own possessions; not only has war assailed you in Italy and us in Africa, but you have seen the arms and standards of an enemy almost within your gates and on your walls while we hear in Carthage the murmur of the Roman camp. So the thing which we detest most of all, which you would have wished for before everything, has actually come about, the question of peace is raised when your fortunes are in the ascendant. We who are most concerned in securing peace are the ones to propose it, and we have full powers to treat, whatever we do here our governments will ratify. All we need is a temper to discuss things calmly. As far as I am concerned, coming back to a country which I left as a boy, years and a chequered experience of good and evil fortune have so disillusioned me that I prefer to take reason rather than Fortune as my guide. As for you, your youth and unbroken success will make you, I fear, impatient of peaceful counsels. It is not easy for the man whom Fortune never deceives to reflect on the uncertainties and accidents of life. What I was at Thrasymenus and at Cannae, that you are today. You were hardly old enough to bear arms when you were placed in high command, and in all your enterprises, even the most daring, Fortune has never played you false. You avenged the deaths of your father and your uncle, and that disaster to your house became the occasion of your winning a glorious reputation for courage and filial piety. You recovered the lost provinces of Spain after driving four Carthaginian armies out of the country. Then you were elected consul, and whilst your predecessors had hardly spirit enough to protect Italy, you crossed over to Africa, and after destroying two armies and capturing and burning two camps within an hour, taking the powerful monarch Syphax prisoner, and robbing his dominions and ours of numerous cities you have at last dragged me away from Italy after I had kept my hold upon it for sixteen years. It is quite possible that in your present mood you should prefer victory to an equitable peace; I, too, know the ambition which aims at what is great rather than at what is expedient; on me, too, a fortune such as yours once shone. But if in the midst of success the gods should also give us wisdom, we ought to reflect not only on what has happened in the past but also upon what may happen in the future. To take only one instance, I myself am a sufficient example of the fickleness of fortune. Only the other day I had placed my camp between your city and the Anio and was advancing my standards against the walls of Rome - here you see me, bereaved of my two brothers, brave soldiers and brilliant generals as they were, in front of the walls of my native place which is all but invested, and begging on behalf of my city that it may be spared the fate with which I have threatened yours. The greater a man's good fortune the less ought he to count upon it. Success attends you and has deserted us, and this will make peace all the more splendid to you who grant it; to us who ask for it it is a stern necessity rather than an honourable surrender. Peace once established is a better and safer thing than hoping for victory; that is in your hands, this in the hands of the gods. Do not expose so many years' good fortune to the hazard of a single hour. You think of your own strength, but think too of the part which fortune plays and the even chances of battle. On both sides there will be swords and men to use them, nowhere does the event less answer expectation than in war. Victory will not add so much to the glory which you can now win by granting peace, as defeat will take away from it. The chances of a single hour can annihilate all the honours you have gained and all you can hope for. If you cement a peace, P. Cornelius, you are master of all, otherwise you will have to accept whatever fortune the gods send you. M. Atilius Regulus on this very soil would have afforded an almost unique instance of the success which waits on merit, had he in the hour of victory granted peace to our fathers when they asked for it. But as he would set no bounds to his prosperity, nor curb his elation at his good fortune, the height to which he aspired only made his fall the more terrible.
"It is for him who grants peace, not for him who seeks it, to name the terms, but perhaps it may not be presumptuous in us to assess our own penalty. We consent to everything remaining yours for which we went to war - Sicily, Sardinia, Spain and all the islands that lie between Africa and Italy. We Carthaginians, confined within the shores of Africa, are content, since such is the will of the gods, to see you ruling all outside our frontiers by sea and land as your dominions. I am bound to admit that the lack of sincerity lately shown in the request for peace and in the non-observance of the truce justified your suspicions as to the good faith of Carthage. But, Scipio, the loyal observance of peace depends largely upon the character of those through whom it is sought. I hear that your senate have sometimes even refused to grant it because the ambassadors were not of sufficient rank. Now it is Hannibal who seeks it, and I should not ask for it if I did not believe it to be advantageous to us, and because I believe it to be so I shall keep it inviolate. As I was responsible for beginning the war and as I conducted it in a way which no one found fault with until the gods were jealous of my success, so I shall do my utmost to prevent any one from being discontented with the peace which I shall have been the means of procuring."
[30.31]To these arguments the Roman commander made the following reply: "I was quite aware, Hannibal, that it was the hope of your arrival that led the Carthaginians to break the truce and cloud all prospect of peace. In fact, you yourself admit as much, since you are eliminating from the terms formerly proposed all that has not already been long in our power. However, as you are anxious that your countrymen should realise what a great relief you are bringing them, I must make it my care that they shall not have the conditions they formerly agreed to struck out today as a reward for their perfidy. You do not deserve to have the old proposals still open and yet you are seeking to profit by dishonesty! Our fathers were not the aggressors in the war for Sicily, nor were we the aggressors in Spain, but the dangers which threatened our Mamertine allies in the one case and the destruction of Saguntum in the other made our case a righteous one and justified our arms. That you provoked the war in each case you yourself admit, and the gods bear witness to the fact; they guided the former war to a just and righteous issue, and they are doing and will do the same with this one. As for myself, I do not forget what weak creatures we men are; I do not ignore the influence which Fortune exercises and the countless accidents to which all our doings are liable. Had you of your own free will evacuated Italy and embarked your army before I sailed for Africa and then come with proposals for peace, I admit that I should have acted in a high-handed and arbitrary spirit if I had rejected them. But now that I have dragged you to Africa like a reluctant and tricky defendant I am not bound to show you the slightest consideration. So then, if in addition to the terms on which peace might have been concluded previously, there is the further condition of an indemnity for the attack on our transports and the ill-treatment of our envoys during the armistice, I shall have something to lay before the councils. If you consider this unacceptable. then prepare for war as you have been unable to endure peace." Thus, no understanding was arrived at and the commanders rejoined their armies. They reported that the discussion had been fruitless, that the matter must be decided by arms, and the result left to the gods.
[30.32]On their return to their camps, the commanders-in-chief each issued an order of the day to their troops. "They were to get their arms ready and brace up their courage for a final and decisive struggle; if success attended them they would be victors not for a day only but for all time; they would know before the next day closed whether Rome or Carthage was to give laws to the nations. For not Africa and Italy only - the whole world will be the prize of victory. Great as is the prize, the peril in case of defeat will be as great. "For no escape lay open to the Romans in a strange and unknown land; and Carthage was making her last effort, if that failed, her destruction was imminent. On the morrow they went out to battle - the two most brilliant generals and the two strongest armies that the two most powerful nations possessed - to crown on that day the many honours they had won, or for ever lose them. The soldiers were filled with alternate hopes and fears as they gazed at their own and then at the opposing lines and measured their comparative strength with the eye rather than the mind, cheerful and despondent in turn. The encouragement which they could not give to themselves their generals gave them in their exhortations. The Carthaginian reminded his men of their sixteen years' successes on Italian soil, of all the Roman generals who had fallen and all the armies that had been destroyed, and as he came to each soldier who had distinguished himself in any battle, he recounted his gallant deeds. Scipio recalled the conquest of Spain and the recent battles in Africa and showed up the enemies' confession of weakness, since their fears compelled them to sue for peace and their innate faithlessness prevented them from abiding by it. He turned to his own purpose the conference with Hannibal, which being private allowed free scope for invention. He drew an omen and declared that the gods had vouchsafed the same auspices to them as those under which their fathers fought at the Aegates. The end of the war and of their labours, he assured them, had come; the spoils of Carthage were in their hands, and the return home to their wives and children and household gods. He spoke with uplifted head and a face so radiant that you might suppose he had already won the victory.
[30.33]Then he drew up his men, the hastati in front, behind them the principes, the triarii closing the rear. He did not form the cohorts in line before their respective standards, but placed a considerable interval between the maniples in order that there might be space for the enemy elephants to be driven through without breaking the ranks. Laelius, who had been one of his staff-officers and was now by special appointment of the senate acting as quaestor, was in command of the Italian cavalry on the left wing, Masinissa and his Numidians being posted on the right. The velites, the light infantry of those days, were stationed at the head of the lanes between the columns of maniples with instructions to retire when the elephants charged and shelter themselves behind the lines of maniples, or else run to the right and left behind the standards and so allow the monsters to rush on to meet the darts from both sides. To make his line look more menacing Hannibal posted his elephants in front. He had eighty altogether, a larger number, than he had ever brought into action before. Behind them were the auxiliaries, Ligurians and Gauls, with an admixture of Balearics and Moors. The second line was made up of Carthaginians and Africans together with a legion of Macedonians. A short distance behind these were posted his Italian troops in reserve. These were mainly Bruttians who had followed him from Italy more from the compulsion of necessity than of their own free will. Like Scipio, Hannibal covered his flanks with his cavalry, the Carthaginians on the right, the Numidians on the left.
Different words of encouragement were required in an army composed of such diverse elements, where the soldiers had nothing in common, neither language nor custom nor laws nor arms nor dress, nor even the motive which brought them into the ranks. To the auxiliaries he held out the attraction of the pay which they would receive, and the far greater inducement of the booty they would secure. In the case of the Gauls he appealed to their instinctive and peculiar hatred of the Romans. The Ligurians, drawn from wild mountain fastnesses, were told to look upon the fruitful plains of Italy as the rewards of victory. The Moors and Numidians were threatened by the prospect of being under the unbridled tyranny of Masinissa. Each nationality was swayed by its hopes or fears. The Carthaginians had placed before their eyes, their city walls, their homes, their fathers' sepulchres, their wives and children, the alternative of either slavery and destruction or the empire of the world. There was no middle course, they had either everything to hope for or everything to fear. Whilst the commander-in-chief was thus addressing the Carthaginians, and the officers of the various nationalities were conveying his words to their own people and to the aliens mingled with them mostly through interpreters, the trumpets and horns of the Romans were sounded and such a clangor arose that the elephants, mostly those in front of the left wing, turned upon the Moors and Numidians behind them. Masinissa had no difficulty in turning this disorder into flight and so clearing the Carthaginian left of its cavalry. A few of the animals, however, showed no fear and were urged forward upon the ranks of velites, amongst whom, in spite of the many wounds they received, they did considerable execution. The velites, to avoid being trampled to death, sprang back to the maniples and thus allowed a path for the elephants, from both sides of which they rained their darts on the beasts. The leading maniples also kept up a fusillade of missiles until these animals too were driven out of the Roman lines on to their own side and put the Carthaginian cavalry, who were covering the right flank, to flight. When Laelius saw the enemy's horse in confusion he at once took advantage of it.
[30.34]When the infantry lines closed, the Carthaginians were exposed on both flanks, owing to the flight of the cavalry, and were losing both confidence and strength. Other circumstances, too, seemingly trivial in themselves but of considerable importance in battle, gave the Romans an advantage. Their cheers formed one united shout and were therefore fuller and more intimidating; those of the enemy, uttered in many languages, were only dissonant cries. The Romans kept their foothold as they fought and pressed the enemy by the sheer weight of their arms and bodies; on the other side there was much more agility and nimbleness of foot than actual fighting strength. As a consequence, the Romans made the enemy give ground in their very first charge, then pushing them back with their shields and elbows and moving forward on to the ground from which they had dislodged them, they made a considerable advance as though meeting with no resistance. When those in the rear became aware of the forward movement they too pressed on those in front thereby considerably increasing the weight of the thrust. This retirement on the part of the enemy's auxiliaries was not checked by the Africans and Carthaginians who formed the second line. In fact, so far were they from supporting them that they too fell back, fearing lest the enemy, after overcoming the obstinate resistance of the first line. should reach them. On this the auxiliaries suddenly broke and turned tail; some took refuge within the second line, others, not allowed to do so, began to cut down those who refused to admit them after refusing to support them. There were now two battles going on, the Carthaginians had to fight with the enemy, and at the same time with their own troops. Still, they would not admit these maddened fugitives within their ranks, they closed up and drove them to the wings and out beyond the fighting ground, fearing lest their fresh and unweakened lines should be demoralised by the intrusion of panic-struck and wounded men.
The ground where the auxiliaries had been stationed had become blocked with such heaps of bodies and arms that it was almost more difficult to cross it than it had been to make way through the masses of the enemy. The hastati who formed the first line followed up the enemy, each man advancing as best he could over the heaps of bodies and arms and the slippery bloodstained ground until the standards and maniples were all in confusion. Even the standards of the principes began to sway to and fro when they saw how irregular the line in front had become. As soon as Scipio observed this he ordered the call to be sounded for the hastati to retire, and after withdrawing the wounded to the rear he brought up the principes and triarii to the wings, in order that the hastati in the centre might be supported and protected on both flanks. Thus the battle began entirely afresh, as the Romans had at last got to their real enemies, who were a match for them in their arms, their experience and their military reputation, and who had as much to hope for and to fear as themselves. The Romans, however, had the superiority in numbers and in confidence, since their cavalry had already routed the elephants and they were fighting with the enemy's second line after defeating his first.
[30.35]Laelius and Masinissa, who had followed up the defeated cavalry a considerable distance, now returned from the pursuit at the right moment and attacked the enemy in the rear. This at last decided the action. The enemy were routed, many were surrounded and killed in action, those who dispersed in flight over the open country were killed by the cavalry who were in possession of every part. Above 20,000 of the Carthaginians and their allies perished on that day and almost as many were made prisoners. 132 standards were secured and 11 elephants. The victors lost 1500 men. Hannibal escaped in the melee with a few horsemen and fled to Hadrumetum. Before quitting the field he had done everything possible in the battle itself and in the preparation for it. Scipio himself acknowledged and all experienced soldiers agreed that Hannibal had shown singular skill in the disposition of his troops. He placed his elephants in front so that their irregular charge and irresistible force might make it impossible for the Romans to keep their ranks and maintain the order of their formation, in which their strength and confidence mainly lay. Then he posted the mercenaries in front of his Carthaginians, in order that this motley force drawn from all nations, held together not by a spirit of loyalty but by their pay, might not find it easy to run away. Having to sustain the first onset they might wear down the impetuosity of the enemy, and if they did nothing else they might blunt his sword by their wounds. Then came the Carthaginian and African troops, the mainstay of his hopes. They were equal in all respects to their adversaries and even had the advantage inasmuch as they would come fresh into action against a foe weakened by wounds and fatigue. As to the Italian troops, he had his doubts as to whether they would turn out friends or foes and withdrew them consequently into the rearmost line. After giving this final proof of his great abilities, Hannibal fled, as has been stated, to Hadrumetum. From here he was summoned to Carthage, to which city he returned thirty-six years after he had left it as a boy. He told the senate frankly that he had lost not a battle merely but the whole war, and that their only chance of safety lay in obtaining peace.
[30.36]From the battlefield Scipio proceeded at once to storm the enemies' camp, where an immense quantity of plunder was secured. He then returned to his ships, having received intelligence that P. Lentulus had arrived off Utica with 50 warships and 100 transports loaded with supplies of every kind. Laelius was sent to carry the news of the victory to Scipio, who, thinking that the panic in Carthage ought to be increased by threatening the city on all sides, ordered Octavius to march the legions thither overland while he himself sailed from Utica with his old fleet strengthened by the division which Lentulus had brought, and steered for the harbour of Carthage. As he was approaching it he was met by a vessel hung with bands of white wool and branches of olive. In it there were the ten foremost men of the State, who, on Hannibal's advice, had been sent as an embassy to sue for peace. As soon as they were near the stern of the general's vessel they held up the suppliant emblems, and made imploring appeals to Scipio for his pity and protection. The only answer vouchsafed them was that they were to go to Tunis, as Scipio was about to move his army to that place. Keeping on his course he entered the harbour of Carthage in order to survey the situation of the city, not so much for the purpose of acquiring information as of discouraging the enemy. He then sailed back to Utica and recalled Octavius thither also. As the latter was on his way to Tunis he was informed that Vermina, the son of Syphax, was coming to the aid of the Carthaginians with a force consisting mainly of cavalry. Octavius attacked the Numidians whilst on the march with a portion of his infantry and the whole of his cavalry. The action took place on December I7, and soon ended in the utter rout of the Numidians. As they were completely surrounded by the Roman cavalry all avenues of escape were closed; 15,000 were killed and 1200 taken prisoners, 1500 horses were also secured and 72 standards. The prince himself escaped with a few horsemen. The Romans then reoccupied their old position at Tunis, and here an embassy consisting of thirty delegates had an interview with Scipio. Though they adopted a much humbler tone than on the previous occasion, as indeed their desperate condition demanded, they were listened to with much less sympathy on account of their recent breach of faith. At first the council of war, moved by a righteous indignation, were in favour of the complete destruction of Carthage. When, however, they reflected on the greatness of the task and the length of time which the investment of so strong and well-fortified a city would occupy, they felt considerable hesitation. Scipio himself too was afraid that his successor might come and claim the glory of terminating the war, after the way had been prepared for it by another man's toils and dangers. So there was a unanimous verdict in favour of peace being made.
[30.37]The next day the envoys were again summoned before the council and severely taken to task for their want of truth and honesty, and they were admonished to lay to heart the lesson taught by their numerous defeats and to believe in the power of the gods and the sanctity of oaths. The conditions of peace were then stated to them. They were to be a free State, living under their own laws; all the cities, all the territory and all the frontiers that they had held before the war they were to continue to hold, and the Romans would on that day cease from all further depredations. They were to restore to the Romans all the deserters, refugees and prisoners, to deliver up their warships, retaining only ten triremes and all their trained elephants, at the same time undertaking not to train any more. They were not to make war either within or beyond the frontiers of Africa without the permission of Rome. They were to restore all his possessions to Masinissa and make a treaty with him. Pending the return of the envoys from Rome they were to supply corn and pay to the auxiliaries in the Roman army. They were also to pay a war indemnity of 10,000 talents of silver, the payment to be in equal annual instalments, extending over fifty years. One hundred hostages were to be handed over, to be selected by Scipio between the ages of fourteen and thirty years. Finally, he undertook to grant them an armistice if the transports which had been seized during the previous truce were restored with all that they contained. Otherwise there would be no armistice, nor any hopes of peace.
When the envoys brought these terms back and laid them before the Assembly, Gisgo came forward and protested against any proposals for peace. The populace, alike opposed to peace and incapable of war, were giving him a favourable hearing when Hannibal, indignant at such arguments being urged at such a crisis, seized him and dragged him by main force off the platform. This was an unusual sight in a free community, and the people were loud in their disapproval. The soldier, taken aback by the free expression of opinion on the part of his fellow-citizens, said, "I left you when I was nine years old, and now after thirty-six years' absence I have returned. The art of war which I have been taught from my boyhood, first as a private soldier and then in high command, I think I am fairly well acquainted with. The rules and laws and customs of civic life and of the forum I must learn from you." After this apology for his inexperience, he discussed the terms of peace and showed that they were not unreasonable and that their acceptance was a necessity. The greatest difficulty of all concerned the transports seized during the armistice, for nothing was to be found but the ships themselves, and any investigation would be difficult, as those who would be charged were the opponents of peace. It was decided that the ships should be restored and that in any case search should be made for the crews. It was left to Scipio to put a value on whatever else was missing and the Carthaginians were to pay the amount in cash. According to some writers, Hannibal went down to the coast straight from the battlefield, and going on board a ship which was in readiness, set sail immediately for the court of King Antiochus, and when Scipio insisted before all else upon his surrender, he was told that Hannibal was not in Africa.
[30.38]After the return of the envoys to Scipio the quaestors received instructions to make an inventory from the public registers of all the government property in the transports, and all the private property was to be notified by the owners. Twenty-five thousand pounds of silver were required to be paid down as an equivalent for the pecuniary value, and a three months' armistice granted to the Carthaginians. A further stipulation was made that as long as the armistice was in force, they should not send envoys to any place but Rome, and if any envoys came to Carthage they were not to allow them to leave until the Roman commander had been informed of the object of their visit. The Carthaginians envoys were accompanied to Rome by L. Veturius Philo, M. Marcius Ralla and L. Scipio the commander-in-chief's brother. During this time the supplies which arrived from Sicily and Sardinia made provisions so cheap that the traders left the corn for the sailors in return for its freight. The first news of the resumption of hostilities by Carthage created considerable uneasiness in Rome. Tiberius Claudius was ordered to take a fleet without loss of time to Sicily and from there to Africa; the other consul was ordered to remain in the City until the position of affairs in Africa was definitely known. Tib. Claudius was extremely slow in getting his fleet ready and putting out to sea, for the senate had decided that Scipio rather than he, though consul, should be empowered to fix the terms on which peace should be granted. The general alarm at the tidings from Africa was increased by rumours of various portents. At Cumae the sun's disk was seen to diminish in size and there was a shower of stones; in the district of Veliternum the ground subsided and immense caverns were formed in which trees were swallowed up; at Aricia the forum and the shops round it were struck by lightning, as were also portions of the walls of Frusino and one of the gates; there was also a shower of stones on the Palatine. The latter portent was expiated, according to the traditional usage, by continuous prayer and sacrifice for nine days, the others by sacrifice of full-grown victims. In the middle of all these troubles there was an extraordinarily heavy rainfall which was also regarded as supernatural. The Tiber rose so high that the Circus was flooded and arrangements were made to celebrate the Games of Apollo outside the Colline Gate at the temple of Venus Erucina. On the actual day, however, the sky suddenly cleared and the procession which had started for the Colline Gate was recalled and conducted to the Circus as it was announced that the water had subsided. The return of the solemn spectacle to its proper place added to the public joy and also to the number of spectators.
[30.39]At last the consul took his departure from the City. He was, however, caught in a violent storm between the ports of Cosa and Loretum, and was in the greatest danger, but he succeeded in making the harbour of Populonia, where he remained at anchor till the tempest wore itself out. From there he sailed to Elba, then on to Corsica and from there to Sardinia. Here, whilst rounding the Montes Insani, he was caught in a much more violent storm and off a much more dangerous coast. His fleet was scattered, many of his vessels were dismantled and sprang leaks, some were totally wrecked. With his fleet thus tempest-tossed and shattered he found shelter at Caralis. Whilst he was repairing his ships here winter overtook him. His year of office expired, and as he received no extension of command he brought his fleet back to Rome in a private capacity. Before leaving for his province M. Servilius named C. Servilius Dictator in order to avoid being recalled to conduct the elections. The Dictator appointed P. Aelius Paetus Master of the Horse. In spite of various dates being fixed for the elections the weather prevented them from being held. Consequently, when the magistrates went out of office on March 14 no new ones had been appointed and the republic was without any curule magistrates. The pontifex T. Manlius Torquatus died this year and his place was filled by C. Sulpicius Galba. The Roman Games were celebrated three times by the curule aediles L. Licinius Lucullus and Q. Fulvius. Some of the secretaries and messengers of the aediles were found guilty on the evidence of witnesses of abstracting money from the aediles' chest and Lucullus was seriously compromised in the matter. The plebeian aediles, P. Aelius Tubero and L. Laetorius, were found to have been irregularly appointed and resigned office. Before this happened, however, they had celebrated the Plebeian Games and the festival of Jupiter and had also placed in the Capitol three statues made out of the silver paid in fines. The Dictator and the Master of the Horse were authorised by the senate to celebrate the Games in honour of Ceres.
[30.40]On the arrival of the Roman commissioners from Africa, simultaneously with that of the Carthaginians, the senate met at the temple of Bellona. L. Veturius Philo reported that Carthage had made her last effort, a battle had been fought with Hannibal and an end had at last been put to this disastrous war. This announcement was received by the senators with huge delight, and Veturius reported a further success though comparatively an unimportant one, namely the defeat of Vermina, the son of Syphax. He was ordered to go to the Assembly and make the people sharers in the good news. Amidst universal congratulations all the temples in the City were thrown open and public thanksgivings were ordered for three days. The envoys from Carthage and those from Philip who had also arrived, requested an audience of the senate. The Dictator, at the instance of the senate, informed them that the new consuls would grant them one. The elections were then held and Cnaeus Cornelius Lentulus and P. Aelius Paetus were made consuls. The praetors elected were M. Junius Pennus, to whom the City jurisdiction was allotted; M. Valerius Falto, to whom Bruttium fell; M. Fabius Buteo, who received Sardinia, and P. Aelius Tubero, to whom the ballot gave Sicily. As to the consuls' provinces it was agreed that nothing should be done until Philip's envoys and those from Carthage had obtained an audience. No sooner was one war at an end than there was the prospect of another commencing. The consul Cnaeus Lentulus was keenly desirous of obtaining Africa as his province; if the war should continue, he looked forward to an easy victory; if it were coming to an end he was anxious to have the glory of terminating so great a struggle. He gave out that he would not allow any business to be transacted until Africa had been decreed to him as his province. His colleague being a moderate and sensible man gave way, he saw that to attempt to wrest Scipio's glory from him would be not only unjust but hopeless. Two of the tribunes of the plebs - Q. Minucius Thermus and Manlius Acilius Glabrio - declared that Cnaeus Cornelius was attempting to do what Tiberius Claudius had failed to do, and that after the senate had authorised the question of the supreme command in Africa to be referred to the Assembly, the thirty-five tribes had unanimously decreed it to Scipio. After numerous debates both in the senate and in the assembly it was finally settled to leave the matter to the senate. It was arranged that the senators should vote on oath, and their decision was that the consuls should come to a mutual understanding, or failing that, should resort to the ballot, as to which of them should have Italy and which should take command of the fleet of fifty vessels. The one to whom the fleet was assigned was to sail to Sicily, and if it proved impossible to make peace with Carthage, he was to proceed to Africa. The consul was to act by sea; Scipio, retaining his full powers, was to conduct the campaign on land. If the terms of peace were agreed upon the tribunes of the plebs were to ask the people whether it was their will that peace should be granted by the consul or by Scipio. And also if the victorious army was to be brought away from Africa, they were to decide who should bring it. Should the people resolve that peace was to be concluded through Scipio and that he was also to bring the army back, then the consul was not to sail for Africa. The other consul, who had Italy for his province, was to take over two legions from the praetor M. Sextius.
[30.41]Scipio received an extension of his command and retained the armies he had in Africa. The two legions in Bruttium which had been under C. Livius were transferred to the praetor M. Valerius Falto and the two legions in Sicily under Cnaeus Tremellius were to be taken over by the praetor P. Aelius. The legion in Sardinia, commanded by the propraetor P. Lentulus, was assigned to M. Fabius. M. Servilius, the consul of the previous year, was continued in command of his two legions in Etruria. With regard to Spain, L. Cornelius Lentulus and L. Manlius Acidinus had been there for some years and the consuls were to arrange with the tribunes to ask the Assembly to decide who should command in Spain. The general appointed was to form one legion of Romans out of the two armies and fifteen cohorts of Latin allies, with which to hold the province, and L. Cornelius and L. Manlius were to bring the old soldiers home. Whichever consul received Africa as his province was to select fifty ships out of the two fleets, i.e., the one which Cnaeus Octavius was commanding in African waters and the one with which P. Villius was guarding the Sicilian seaboard. P. Scipio was to keep the forty warships which he had. Should the consul wish Cn. Octavius to continue in command of his fleet, he would take rank as propraetor; if he gave the command to Laelius, then Octavius was to leave for Rome and bring back the ships which the consul did not want. Ten warships were also assigned to M. Fabius for Sardinia. In addition to the above-mentioned troops the consuls were ordered to raise two City legions so that there might be fourteen legions and one hundred ships of war at the disposal of the republic for the year.
[30.42]Then the admission of the embassies from Philip and the Carthaginians was discussed. It was decided that the Macedonians should be introduced first. Their address dealt with various points. They began by disclaiming all responsibility for the depredations on the friendly countries of which the Roman envoys had complained to the king. Then they themselves brought charges against the allies of Rome and a much more serious one against M. Aurelius, one of the three envoys, who they said had stayed behind and after raising a body of troops commenced hostilities against them in violation of treaty rights, and fought several engagements with their commanders. They ended with a demand that the Macedonians with their general Sopater who had served as mercenaries under Hannibal and were then prisoners in chains should be restored to them. In reply, M. Furius, who had been sent from Macedonia by Aurelius to represent him, pointed out that Aurelius had certainly been left behind, but it was for the purpose of preventing the allies of Rome from being driven to secede to the king in consequence of the injuries and depredations from which they were suffering. He had not overstepped their frontiers; he had made it his business to see that no hordes of plunderers crossed those frontiers with impunity. Sopater, who was one of the purple-clad nobles who stood near the throne and was related to the monarch, had recently been sent to Africa to assist Hannibal and Carthage with money and also with a force of 4000 Macedonians.
On being questioned as to these matters the Macedonians gave unsatisfactory and evasive replies, and consequently the answer they received from the senate was anything but favourable. They were told that their king was looking for war, and if he went on as he was doing, he would very soon find it. He had been guilty of a twofold breach of treaty, for he had committed wanton aggression on the allies of Rome by hostile arms and he had also aided the enemies of Rome with men and money. Scipio was acting rightly and legitimately in treating those taken in arms against Rome as enemies and keeping them in chains. M. Aurelius also was acting in the interests of the State - and the senate thanked him for it - when he afforded armed protection to the allies of Rome since treaty rights were powerless for their defence. With this stern reply the Macedonian envoys were dismissed. Then the Carthaginians were called in. As soon as their age and rank were recognised, for they were quite the foremost men in the State, the senators remarked that now it was really a question of peace. Conspicuous amongst them all was Hasdrubal, on whom his countrymen had bestowed the sobriquet of "Haedus." He had always been an advocate of peace and an opponent of the Barcine party. This gave his words additional weight when he disavowed all responsibility for the war on behalf of his government and fastened it on a few ambitious and grasping individuals.
His speech was discursive and eloquent. He repudiated some of the charges, others he admitted lest unabashed denials of established facts might lead to less consideration being shown. He warned the senators to use their good fortune in a spirit of moderation and self-restraint. "If," he continued, "the Carthaginians had listened to Hanno and myself and had been willing to take advantage of their opportunity, they would have dictated the terms of peace which now they are seeking from you. Seldom are good fortune and good sense granted to men at the same time. What makes Rome invincible is the fact that her people do not lose their sound judgment in the hour of prosperity. And indeed it would be a matter for surprise were it otherwise, for those to whom good fortune is a novelty go mad with unrestrained delight because they are unused to it, but to you Romans the joy of victory is a usual, I might almost say a commonplace experience. It is by clemency towards the conquered more than by conquest itself that you have extended your dominion." The others spoke in language more calculated to evoke compassion. They reminded their audience of the powerful and influential position from which Carthage had fallen. Those, they said, who lately held almost the whole world subject to their arms had nothing now left to them but their city walls. Confined within these they saw nothing on land or sea which owned their sway. Even their city and their hearths and homes they would only keep if the Roman people were willing to spare them; if not, they lost everything. As it became evident that the senators were moved with compassion, one of them, exasperated by the perfidy of the Carthaginians, is said to have called out, "By what gods will you swear to observe the treaty, since you have been false to those by whom you swore before?" "By the same as before," Hasdrubal replied, "since they visit their wrath on those who violate treaties."
[30.43]Whilst all were in favour of peace the consul Cnaeus Lentulus, who was in command of the fleet, prevented the House from passing any resolution. Thereupon, two tribunes of the plebs, Manius Acilius and Q. Minucius, at once brought the questions before the people: Was it their will and pleasure that the senate should pass a decree for the conclusion of peace with Carthage? Who was to grant the peace? and Who was to bring away the army from Africa? On the question of peace all the tribes voted in the affirmative; they also made an order that Scipio should grant the peace and bring the army home. In pursuance of this decision the senate decreed that P. Scipio should, in agreement with the ten commissioners, make peace with the people or Carthage on such terms as he thought right. On this the Carthaginians expressed their thanks to the senators, and begged that they might be allowed to enter the City and converse with their fellow-countrymen who were detained as State-prisoners. These were members of the nobility, some of them their own friends and relations, and others there were for whom they had messages from their friends at home. When this was arranged they made a further request that they might be allowed to ransom any of the prisoners whom they wished. They were told to furnish the names, and they gave in about two hundred. The senate then passed a resolution that a commission should be appointed to take back to P. Scipio in Africa two hundred of the prisoners whom the Carthaginians had selected and to inform him that if peace were established he was to restore them to the Carthaginians without ransom. When the fetials received orders to proceed to Africa for the purpose of striking the treaty they requested the senate to define the procedure. The senate accordingly decided upon this formula: "The fetials shall take with them their own flints and their own herbs; when a Roman praetor orders them to strike the treaty they shall demand the sacred herbs from him." The herbs given to the fetials are usually taken from the Citadel. The Carthaginian envoys were at length dismissed and returned to Scipio. They concluded peace with him on the terms mentioned above, and delivered up their warships, their elephants, the deserters and refugees and 4000 prisoners including Q. Terentius Calleo, a senator. Scipio ordered the ships to be taken out to sea and burnt. Some authorities state that there were 500 vessels, comprising every class propelled by oars. The sight of all those vessels suddenly bursting into flames caused as much grief to the people as if Carthage itself were burning. The deserters were dealt with much more severely than the fugitives; those belonging to the Latin contingents were beheaded, the Romans were crucified.
[30.44]The last time peace was concluded with Carthage was in the consulship of Q. Lutatius and A. Manlius, forty years previously. Twenty-three years afterwards the war began in the consulship of P. Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius. It ended in the consulship of Cnaeus Cornelius and P. Aelius Paetus, seventeen years later. Tradition tells of a remark which Scipio is said to have frequently made to the effect that it was owing to the jealous ambition of Tiberius Claudius and afterwards to that of Cnaeus Cornelius that the war did not end with the destruction of Carthage. Carthage found a difficulty in meeting the first instalment of the war indemnity as her treasury was exhausted. There was lamentation and weeping in the senate and in the middle of it all Hannibal is said to have been seen smiling. Hasdrubal Haedus rebuked him for his mirth amid the nation's tears. "If," Hannibal replied, "you could discern my inmost thoughts as plainly as you can tell the expression of my countenance you would easily discover that this laughter which you find fault with does not proceed from a merry heart but from one almost demented with misery. All the same, it is very far from being so ill-timed as those foolish and misplaced tears of yours. The proper time to weep was when we were deprived of our arms, when our ships were burnt, when we were interdicted from all war beyond our frontiers. That is the wound that will prove fatal. There is not the slightest reason for supposing that the Romans are consulting your peace and quietness. No great State can remain quiet; if it has no enemy abroad it finds one at home, just as excessively strong men, whilst seemingly safe from outside mischief, fall victims to the burden of their own strength. Of course we only feel public calamities so far as they affect us personally, and nothing in them gives us a sharper pang than the loss of money. When the spoils of victory were being dragged away from Carthage when you saw yourselves left naked and defenceless amidst an Africa in arms, nobody uttered a groan; now because you have to contribute to the indemnity from your private fortunes you lament as loudly as though you were present at your country's funeral. I greatly fear that you will very soon find that it is the least of your misfortunes which you are shedding tears over today." Such was the way in which Hannibal spoke to the Carthaginians. Scipio summoned his troops to assembly, and in the presence of the whole army rewarded Masinissa by adding to his ancestral realm the town of Cirta and the other cities and districts which had belonged to the dominion of Syphax and had passed under the rule of Rome. Cnaeus Octavius received instructions to take the fleet to Sicily and hand it over to the consul Cnaeus Cornelius. Scipio told the Carthaginian envoys to start for Rome in order that the arrangements he had made in consultation with the ten commissioners might receive the sanction of the senate and the formal order of the people.
[30.45]As peace was now established on land and sea Scipio embarked his army and sailed to Lilybaeum. From there he sent the greater part of his army on in the ships, whilst he himself travelled through Italy. The country was rejoicing quite as much over the restoration of peace as over the victory he had won, and he made his way to Rome through multitudes who poured out from the cities to do him honour, and crowds of peasants who blocked the roads in the country districts. The triumphal procession in which he rode into the City was the most brilliant that had ever been seen. The weight of silver which he brought into the treasury amounted to 123,000 pounds. Out of the booty he distributed forty ases to each soldier. Syphax had died shortly before at Tibur whither he had been transferred from Alba, but his removal, if it detracted from the interest of the spectacle, in no way dimmed the glory of the triumphing general. His death, however, provided another spectacle, for he received a public funeral. Polybius, an authority of considerable weight, says that this king was led in the procession. Q. Terentius Culleo marched behind Scipio wearing the cap of liberty, and in all his after-life honoured as was meet the author of his freedom. As to the sobriquet of Africanus, whether it was conferred upon him by the devotion of his soldiers or by the popular breath, or whether as in the recent instances of Sylla the Fortunate and Pompey the Great it originated in the flattery of his friends, I cannot say for certain. At all events, he was the first commander-in-chief who was ennobled by the name of the people he had conquered. Since his time men who have won far smaller victories have in imitation of him left splendid inscriptions on their busts and illustrious names to their families.
End of Book 30
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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