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The Mercenaries Accept an Arbitration

The Carthaginians saw their folly when it was too late.
The mercenaries at Tunes.
It was a grave mistake to have collected so large a number of mercenaries into one place without any warlike force of their own citizens to fall back upon: but it was a still graver mistake to have delivered up to them their children and wives, with their heavy baggage to boot; which they might have retained as hostages, and thus have had greater security for concerting their own measures, and more power of ensuring obedience to their orders. However, being thoroughly alarmed at the action of the men in regard to their encampment, they went every length in their eagerness to pacify their anger.
Attempts to pacify them.
They sent them supplies of provisions in rich abundance, to be purchased exactly on their own terms, and at their own price. Members of the Senate were despatched, one after the other, to treat with them; and they were promised that whatever they demanded should be conceded if it were within the bounds of possibility. Day by day the ideas of the mercenaries rose higher.
The demands of the mercenaries.
For their contempt became supreme when they saw the dismay and excitement in Carthage; their confidence in themselves was profound; and their engagements with the Roman legions in Sicily had convinced them, that not only was it impossible for the Carthaginians to face them in the field, but that it would be difficult to find any nation in the world who could. Therefore, when the Carthaginians conceded the point of their pay, they made a further claim for the value of the horses they had lost. When this too was conceded, they said that they ought to receive the value of the rations of corn due to them from a long time previous, reckoned at the highest price reached during the war. And in short, the ill-disposed and mutinous among them being numerous, they always found out some new demand which made it impossible to come to terms. Upon the Carthaginian government, however, pledging themselves to the full extent of their powers, they eventually agreed to refer the matter to the arbitration of some one of the generals who had been actually engaged in Sicily. Now they were displeased with Hamilcar Barcas, who was one of those under whom they had fought in Sicily, because they thought that their present unfavourable position was attributable chiefly to him. They thought this from the fact that he never came to them as an ambassador, and had, as was believed, voluntarily resigned his command.
The dispute referred to the arbitration of Gesco.
But towards Gesco their feelings were altogether friendly. He had, as they thought, taken every possible precaution for their interests, and especially in the arrangements for their conveyance to Libya. Accordingly they referred the dispute to the arbitration of the latter.

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load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
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