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[120] This was at the same time a camp for himself and a rather long fort commanding the enemy's country. From this base he could intercept all the supplies sent to the Carthaginians from the interior, since Carthage was every-where washed by the sea except on this neck. Hence this fort was the first and principal cause of famine and other troubles to them, for, while the great multitude betook themselves from the fields to the city, and none could go out on account of the siege, foreign merchants ceased to frequent the place on account of the war. Thus they had to rely on food brought from Africa alone, little coming in by sea and only when the weather was favorable, much the greater part being forwarded by the land route. Deprived of this, they began to suffer severely from hunger. Bithya, their cavalry general, who had been sent out some time before to procure food, did not venture to make the attempt by attacking and breaking through Scipio's fortification, but he sent supplies a long way around by water, although Scipio s ships were blockading Carthage. The latter did not keel) their place all the time, nor did they stand thickly together, as they had no shelter and the sea was full of reefs. Nor could they anchor near the city itself, with the Carthaginians standing on the walls and the sea pounding on the rocks there worst of all. Thus the ships of Bithya and an occasional merchant, whom the love of gain made reckless of danger, watching for a strong and favorable wind, spread their sails and ran the blockade, the Roman galleys not being able to pursue merchant ships sailing before the wind. But these chances were rare and only when a strong wind was blowing from the sea. These supplies Hasdrubal distributed to his 30,000 soldiers exclusively, for he despised the multitude; for which reason they suffered greatly from hunger.

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