previous next


Spoils of the Victory -- An Embassy to Scipio -- Speech of Hasdrubal Eriphus -- Scipio's Reply -- Scipio's Conditions of Peace

[48] Now Scipio, having gained this splendid victory, girded himself as for a sacrifice and burned the less valuable spoils of the enemy, as is the custom of the Roman generals. He sent to Rome ten talents of gold, 2500 talents of silver, a quantity of carved ivory, and many distinguished captives in ships, and Lælius to carry news of the victory. The remainder of the spoils he sold, and divided the proceeds among the troops. He also made presents for distinguished valor, and crowned Masinissa again. He also sent out expeditions and gathered in more cities. Such was the result of the engagement between Hannibal and Scipio, who here met in combat for the first time. The Roman loss was 2500 men, that of Masinissa rather more. That of the enemy was 25,000 killed, and 8500 taken prisoners. Three hundred Spaniards deserted to Scipio, and 800 Numidians to Masinissa.

[49] Before the news reached either Carthage or Rome, the former sent word to Mago, who was collecting Gallic mercenaries, to invade Italy if possible, and if not, to set sail with his forces for Africa. These letters being intercepted and brought to Rome, another army, together with horses, ships, and money, was despatched to Scipio. The latter had already sent Octavius by the land route to Carthage, and was going thither himself with his fleet. When the Carthaginians learned of Hannibal's defeat they sent ambassadors to Scipio on a small fast-sailing ship, of whom the principal ones were Hanno the Great and Hasdrubal Eriphus, who bore a herald's staff aloft on the prow and stretched out their hands toward Scipio in the manner of suppliants. He directed them to come to the camp, and when they had arrived he attended to their business in high state. They threw themselves on the ground weeping, and when the attendants had lifted them up and bade them say what they wished, Hasdrubal Eriphus spoke as follows:

[50] "For myself, Romans, and for Hanno here, and for all sensible Carthaginians, let me say that we are guiltless of the wrongs which you lay at our door. For when the same men, driven by hunger, did violence to your legates, we rescued them and sent them back to you. You ought not to condemn all the people of Carthage who so recently sought peace, and when it was granted eagerly took the oath to support it. But cities are easily swayed to their hurt, because the masses are always controlled by what is pleasing to their ears. We have had experience of these things, having been unable either to persuade or to restrain the multitude by reason of those who slandered us at home and who have prevented us from making ourselves understood by you. Romans, do not judge us by the standard of your own discipline and good counsel. If any one esteems it a crime to have yielded to the persuasions of these rabble-rousers, consider the hunger and the necessity that was upon us by reason of suffering. For it could not have been a deliberate intention on the part of our people, first to ask for peace, and give such a large sum of money to obtain it, and deliver up all their galleys except a few, and surrender the bulk of their territory, swear to these things, and send an embassy to Rome with the ratifications, and then wantonly to violate the agreement before our embassy had returned. Surely some god misled them and the tempest that drove your supplies into Carthage; and besides the tempest, hunger carried us away, for people who are in want of everything do not form the best judgments respecting other people's property. It would not be reasonable to punish with severity a multitude of men so disorganized and unfortunate.

[51] "But if you consider us more guilty than unfortunate, we confess our fault and ask pardon for it. Justification belongs to the innocent, entreaty to those who have offended. And much more readily will the fortunate extend pity to others, when they observe the mutability of human affairs, and see people craving mercy to-day who yesterday were carrying things with a high hand. Such is the condition of Carthage, the greatest and most powerful city of Africa, in ships and money, in elephants, in infantry and cavalry, and in subject peoples, which has flourished 700 years and held sway over all Africa and so many other nations, islands, and seas, standing for the greater part of this time on an equality with yourselves, but which now places her hope of safety not in her dominion of the sea, her ships, her horses, her subjects (all of which have passed over to you), but in you, whom we have heretofore shamefully treated. Contemplating these facts, Romans, it is fit that you should beware of the Nemesis which has come upon them and should use your good fortune mercifully, to do deeds worthy of your own magnanimity and of the former fortunes of Carthage, and to deal with the changes which Providence has ordered in our affairs without reproach, so that your conduct may be blameless before the gods and win the praises of all mankind.

[52] "There need be no fear that the Carthaginians will change their minds again, after being subjected to such repentance and punishment for their past folly. Wise men are prevented from wrong-doing by their wisdom, the wicked by their suffering and repentance. It is reasonable to suppose that those who have been chastised will be more trusty than those who have not had such experience. Be careful that you do not imitate the cruelty and the sinfulness that you lay at the door of the Carthaginians. The misfortunes of the miserable are the source of fresh transgressions arising from poverty. To the fortunate the opportunity for clemency exists in the abundance of their means. It will be neither to the glory nor to the advantage of your government to destroy so great a city as ours, instead of preserving it. Still, you are the better judges of your own interests. For our safety we rely on these two things: the ancient dignity of the city of Carthage and your well-known moderation, which, together with your arms, has raised you to so great dominion and power. We must accept peace on whatever terms you grant. It is needless to say that we place everything in your hands."

[53] At the conclusion of his speech Eriphus burst into tears. Then Scipio dismissed them and consulted with his officers a long time. After he had come to a decision, he called the Carthaginian envoys back and addressed them thus: "You do not deserve pardon, you who have so often violated your treaties with us, and only lately abused our envoys in such a public and heaven-defying manner that you can neither excuse yourselves nor deny that you are worthy of the severest punishment. But what is the use of accusing those who confess? And now you take refuge in prayers, you who would have wiped out the very name of Rome if you had conquered. We did not imitate your bad example. When your ambassadors were at Rome, although you had violated the agreement and maltreated our envoys, the city allowed them to go free, and when they were driven into my camp, although the war had been recommenced, I sent them back to you unharmed. Now that you have condemned yourselves, you may consider whatever terms are granted to you in the light of a gain. I will tell you what my views are, and our Senate will vote upon them as it shall think best.

[54] "We will yet grant you peace, Carthaginians, on condition that you surrender to the Romans all your warships ships except ten, all your elephants, the plunder you have lately taken from us, or the value of what has been lost, of which I shall be the judge, all prisoners and deserters and those whom Hannibal led from Italy. These conditions to be fulfilled within thirty days after peace is declared. Mago to depart from Liguria within sixty days, and your garrisons to be withdrawn from all cities beyond the Phoenician trenches and their hostages to be surrendered. You to pay to Rome the sum of 250 Euboïc talents per annum for fifty years. You shall not recruit mercenaries from the Celts or the Ligurians, nor wage war against Masinissa or any other friend of Rome, nor permit any Carthaginians to serve against them with consent of your people. You to retain your city and as much territory inside the Phœnician trenches as you had when I sailed for Africa. You to remain friends of Rome and be her allies on land and sea; all this, if the Senate please, in which case the Romans will evacuate Africa within 150 days. If you desire an armistice until you can send ambassadors to Rome, you shall forthwith give us 150 of your children as hostages whom I shall choose. You shall also give 1000 talents in addition for the pay of my army, and provisions likewise. When the treaty is ratified we will release your hostages."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide References (2 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: