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[77] The Carthaginians had some suspicion of this Senate resolution, since there was no security given for the return of the hostages. Nevertheless, the danger was so great that they could omit nothing in which hope could be placed. So, anticipating the appointed time, they sent their children into Sicily, amid the tears of the parents, the kindred, and especially the mothers, who clung to their little ones with frantic cries and seized hold of the ships and of the officers who were taking them away, even holding the anchors and tearing the ropes, and throwing their arms around the sailors in order to prevent the ships from moving; some of them even swam out far into the sea beside the ships, shedding tears and gazing at their children. Some of them tore out their hair on the shore and smote their breasts in the extremity of their grief. It seemed to them that they were giving hostages only nominally, but were really giving up the city, when they surrendered their children without any fixed conditions. Many of them predicted, with lamentations, that it would profit the city nothing to have delivered up their children. Such were the scenes that took place in Carthage when the hostages were sent away. When the consuls received them in Sicily they sent them to Rome, and said to the Carthaginians that they would give them further information at Utica in reference to the ending of the war.

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