then he ordered the hostages of the states of Spain to be summoned. how great was their number I dislike to state, since in one source I find that they were about three hundred,1
in another three thousand seven hundred and twenty —four.
there is no less disagreement on other matters also between the authorities. one writes that the Carthaginian garrison consisted of ten thousand men, another of seven thousand, another of not more than two thousand.2
as for the captives, in one writer3
i find ten thousand persons, in another above twenty —five thousand.
i should set down about sixty larger and smaller scorpions as captured, if I were to follow a Greek authority, Silenus,4
if Valerius Antias, then six thousand of the larger scorpions, thirteen thousand of the smaller; so lacking is any limit to his mendacity.
even as to the generals there is no agreement. most say that Laelius commanded the fleet, there are some who say it was Marcus Iunius Silanus.
Valerius Antias relates that Arines was in command of the Carthaginian garrison and surrendered to the Romans, other writers that it was Mago.
there is no agreement as to the number of ships captured, none as to the weight of gold and silver and of money brought in. if one must agree [p. 189]
with some authorities, moderate figures are the most5
to resume, calling the hostages, Scipio first bade them all to be of good cheer;
for they had come into the power of the Roman people, which prefers to bind men by favour rather than by fear, and to keep foreign nations linked by loyalty and alliance, rather than reduced to a harsh slavery.
then on learning the names of the states, he made a list of the captives, showing how many belonged to each people, and sent messengers to their homes, bidding that each man come to recover his own children.
if ambassadors of any states happened to be there, he restored their hostages to them directly.6
the task of kindly protecting the rest he assigned to Gaius Flaminius, the quaestor.
meanwhile out of the midst of the crowd of hostages came an elderly woman, the wife of Mandonius, who was the brother of Indibilis, prince of the Ilergetes, and weeping she fell at the feet of the general and began to implore him to charge the guards more strictly with the care and comfort of the women.
when Scipio said that they would surely lack nothing, the woman then replied: “we do not greatly care,” she said, “for such things; for in our condition what is not sufficient? it is another concern which impels me as I look at these maidens; for as for myself, I am beyond the danger of violence done to woman.”
and in the bloom of youth and beauty the daughters of Indibilis were standing about her, and others of no less rank, all of whom paid her the honour due a parent.
then Scipio said: “thanks to my own training and that of the Roman [p. 191]
people I would see to it that nothing which is7
anywhere sacred should suffer violence among us.
but as it is, I am moved to an even stricter care in that respect by the courage and dignity of you women also, who even in misfortune have not forgotten what is seemly for a matron.”
he then handed them over to a man of proved uprightness, and ordered him to protect them with no less respect and modesty than the wives and mothers of guest —friends.