In the meantime hunger wasted Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians and, being much debilitated, they were no longer able to assault the enemy. First they ate their pack animals, and after them their horses, and they boiled their leather straps for food. They also fell sick of various diseases due to lack of food, want of exercise, and the season, for they were enclosed in one place and in a contracted camp -- a great multitude of men exposed to the heat of an African summer. When the supply of wood for cooking failed they burned their shields. They could not carry out the bodies of the dead because Masinissa kept strict guard; nor could they burn them for want of fuel. So there was a terrible pestilence among them in consequence of living in the stench of putrefying corpses. The greater part of the army was already wasted away. The rest, seeing no hope of escape, agreed to give up the deserters to Masinissa and to pay him 5000 talents of silver in fifty years, and to take back those who had been banished, although this was contrary to their oath. They were to pass out through their enemies, one by one, through a single gate, and with nothing but a short tunic for each. Gulussa, full of wrath at the assault made upon him not long before, either with the connivance of his father or upon his own motion, made a charge upon them with a body of Numidian cavalry as they were going out. As they had neither arms to resist nor strength to fly, many were slain. So, out of 58,000 men composing the army only a few returned safe to Carthage, among them Hasdrubal, the general, and others of the nobility.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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