Six days and nights were consumed in this kind of fighting, the soldiers being changed so that they might not be worn out with toil, slaughter, want of sleep, and these horrid sights. Scipio alone toiled without rest, hurrying here and there, without sleep, taking food while he was at work, until, utterly fatigued and relaxed, he sat down on a high place where he could overlook the work. Much remained to be ravaged, and it seemed likely that the carnage would be of longer duration, but on the seventh day some suppliants presented themselves to Scipio bearing the sacred garlands of Æsculapius, whose temple was much the richest and most renowned of all in the citadel. These, taking olive branches from the temple, besought Scipio that he would spare the lives of all who might wish to depart from Byrsa. This he granted to all except the deserters. Forth-with there came out 50,000 men and women together, a narrow gate in the wall being opened, and a guard furnished for them. The Roman deserters, about 900 in number, despairing of their lives, betook themselves to the temple of Æsculapius with Hasdrubal and his wife and their two boys. Here they might have defended themselves a long time although they were few in number, on account of the height and rocky nature of the place, which in time of peace was reached by an ascent of sixty steps. But, finally, overcome by hunger, want of sleep, fear, toil, and approaching dissolution, they abandoned the enclosures of the temple and fled to the shrine and roof.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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