So he spake, but whether he was telling the truth or was moved by jealousy and a desire to hurt Masinissa as much as possible, is not known. But Scipio called Syphax to the council, as he had shown himself sagacious and was acquainted with the country, and advised with him as Cyrus did with Crœsus, king of Lydia. Lælius having returned and told him the same things about Sophonisba that he had learned from many others, he commanded Masinissa to deliver up the wife of Syphax. When the latter tried to beg off and related the facts concerning her as above, Scipio ordered him more sharply not to possess himself by force of the Roman spoils of victory, but to ask for her after she was delivered up and obtain her if he could. Accordingly Masinissa went with a Roman detachment to fetch Sophonisba, but he went ahead secretly and gave her a dose of poison, explaining the circumstances and telling her that she must either drink it or go into voluntary captivity to the Romans. Without another word he mounted his horse. She showed the cup to her nurse, told her not to weep for her since she died gloriously, and drank the poison. Masinissa showed her dead body to the Romans who had now come up, then gave her a royal funeral; after which he returned to Scipio. The latter praised him, and to console him for the loss of a worthless woman, crowned him for his successful attack upon Syphax and gave him many presents. When Syphax arrived in Rome, some of the authorities thought that he ought to be spared because he had been their friend and ally in Spain, others, that he ought to be punished for fighting against his friends. In the meantime he sickened of grief and died.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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