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[8] Scipio, who seemed to be divinely inspired from long ago against Carthage, having collected scarcely 7000 soldiers, cavalry and infantry, sailed for Sicily, taking as a body-guard 300 chosen youths whom he ordered to accompany him without arms. He then chose 300 wealthy Sicilians by conscription and ordered them to report on a certain day, provided with the best possible arms and horses. When they came he told them that they might furnish substitutes for the war if they preferred. As they all accepted this offer he brought forward his 300 unarmed youths and directed the others to supply them with arms and horses, and this they did willingly. So it came about that Scipio had in place of the Sicilians, 300 Italian youths admirably equipped at other people's expense, who at once thanked him for this favor and ever afterward rendered him excellent service.

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