on that day Scipio, after ordering Gaius Laelius with the marines to guard the city, himself led the legions back into camp.
and as the soldiers were exhausted by all the warlike operations combined in a single day —since they had fought in line of battle, [p. 183]
and in taking the city had been involved in such1
exertion and danger, and after the capture had contended, on unfavourable ground at that, with those who had sought refuge in the citadel —he ordered them to rest.
on the following day he called together the soldiers and marines, and first praised and thanked the immortal gods, who had made him master in a single day, not only of the richest of all the cities in Spain, but had previously accumulated there all the resources of Africa and Spain, so that nothing was left to the enemy, while for himself and his men there was abundance of everything.
he went on to praise warmly the courage of the soldiers because neither a sally of the enemy, nor the height of walls, nor the unsounded waters of the lagoon, nor the fortress on a lofty hill, nor the very strongly fortified citadel had deterred them from climbing over or bursting through every obstacle.
accordingly, although he owed everything to everybody, the special distinction of a mural crown belonged to the man who had been the first to climb the wall; let him who thought himself deserving of that gift declare himself.2
two came forward as claimants, Quintus Trebellius, a centurion of the fourth legion, and Sextus Digitius, a marine. and these men themselves were not so much hotly competing with one another, as already fanning the partisanship of the men of their respective arms of the service.
the marines were supported by Gaius Laelius, admiral of the fleet, the legionaries by Marcus Sempronius Tuditanus.
when the strife was verging on mutiny, Scipio announced that he would name three arbiters to hear the claims, and after taking testimony, to decide which of the two had been the first to climb [p. 185]
over the wall into the town.
then in addition to3
Gaius Laelius and Marcus Sempronius, who represented this faction and that, he named Publius Cornelius Caudinus, a neutral, and ordered the three arbiters to sit down and hear the case.
this was argued with all the more heat because the persons withdrawn, men of such high character, were restraining party feelings rather than representing their factions. whereupon Gaius Laelius left the council, went up to Scipio on his tribune, and informed him that the matter was being debated without limit or self —restraint, and that the soldiers were on the point of laying hands on each other.
but he said that, even if there should be no violence, they were nevertheless setting an abominable precedent in seeking by deception and perjury to win a reward for courage.
on one side the legionaries were standing, he said, on the other the marines, ready to swear by all the gods rather what they wished to have true than what they knew to be true, and ready to involve not only themselves and their own persons in the perjury, but also the military standards and eagles and the sanctity of the oath of allegiance; that he was making this report to him on the advice of Publius Cornelius and Marcus Sempronius.
Scipio warmly praised Laelius, summoned the soldiers to an assembly and declared that he was reliably informed that Quintus Trebellius and Sextus Digitius had climbed to the top of the wall at the same moment, and that for their courage he bestowed mural crowns upon them both.
then he rewarded the rest, each according to his desert and his courage. above all the others he placed Gaius Laelius, admiral of the fleet, on a level with himself in every kind [p. 187]
of commendation, and also presented him with a4
golden wreath and thirty oxen.