Mathōs Captures Hannibal
This achievement of Hamilcar revived the hopes of
Siege of Mathōs in Tunes.
the Carthaginians who had been in absolute despair: while he, in conjunction with Narávas
and Hannibal, employed himself in traversing
the country and visiting the cities. His victory secured the
submission of the Libyans; and when they had come in, and
the greater number of the towns had been reduced to
obedience, he and his colleagues advanced to attack Tunes,
and commenced besieging Mathōs. Hannibal pitched his
camp on the side of the town nearest to Carthage
Hamilcar on the opposite side. When this was done they
brought the captives taken from the army of Spendius and
crucified them in the sight of the enemy.
Defeat and death of Hannibal.
But observing that
Hannibal was conducting his command with
negligence and over-confidence, Mathōs assaulted the ramparts, killed many of the Carthaginians, and drove the entire army from the camp. All the
baggage fell into the hands of the enemy, and Hannibal himself was made a prisoner. They at once took him up to the
cross on which Spendius was hanging, and after the infliction
of exquisite tortures, took down the latter's body and fastened
Hannibal, still living, to his cross; and then slaughtered thirty
Carthaginians of the highest rank round the corpse of Spendius.
It seemed as though Fortune designed a competition in cruelty,
giving either side alternately the opportunity of outdoing the
other in mutual vengeance. Owing to the distance of the two
camps from each other it was late before Barcas discovered
the attack made from the town; nor, when he had discovered it,
could he even then go to the rescue with the necessary speed,
because the intervening country was rugged and difficult. He
therefore broke up his camp, and leaving Tunes marched
down the bank of the river Macaras, and pitched his camp
close to its mouth and to the sea.