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[94] While the Carthaginians were preparing for war with such haste and zeal, the consuls, who perhaps hesitated about performing such an atrocious act on the instant, or because they thought that they could easily capture an unarmed city whenever they liked, kept delaying. They thought also that the Carthaginians would give in for want of means, as it usually happens that those who are in desperate straits are very eager to resist at first, but as time brings opportunity for reflection, fear of the consequences of disobedience takes possession of them. Something of this kind happened in Carthage, where a certain citizen, conjecturing that fear had already come upon them, walked into the assembly as if on other business and dared to say that among evils they ought to choose the least, since they were unarmed, thus speaking his mind plainly. Masinissa was vexed with the Romans, and took it hard that when he had brought the Carthaginians to their knees others should carry off the glory, not even communicating with him beforehand as they had done in the former wars. Nevertheless, when the consuls, by way of testing him, asked his assistance, he said that he would send it whenever he should see that they needed it. Not long after he sent to inquire if they wanted anything at present. They, not tolerating his haughtiness and already suspicious of him as a disaffected person, answered that they would send for him whenever they needed him. Yet they were already in much trouble for supplies for the army, which they drew from Hadrumetum, Leptis, Saxo, Utica, and Acholla only, all the rest of Africa being in the power of Hasdrubal, from which he sent supplies to Carthage. Several days having been consumed in this way, the two consuls moved their forces against Carthage, prepared for battle, and laid siege to it.

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