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Scipio Fears a Carthaginian Attack on the Fleet

Upon this decision being come to, those who were to sail to Italy went straight from the council chamber to the sea, while the Navarch went to prepare the ships. The rest began to take measures for securing the city, and remained in constant consultation on the measures necessary for the purpose.

Meanwhile Scipio's camp was getting gorged with booty; for he found no one to resist him, and everybody yielded to his attacks. He therefore determined to despatch the greater part of the booty to his original camp; while he advanced with his army in light marching order to seize the entrenchment near Tunes, and pitched his camp within the view of the inhabitants of Carthage, thinking that this would do more than anything else to strike terror into their hearts and lower their courage.

The Carthaginians had in a few days manned and provisioned their ships, and were engaged in getting under sail and carrying out their plan of operations, when Scipio arrived at Tunes, and, the garrison flying at his approach, occupied the town, which is about a hundred stades from Carthage, of remarkable strength both natural and artificial, and visible from nearly every point of Carthage.

Just as the Romans pitched their camp there, the Carthaginians were putting out to sea on board their

Scipio recalled to Utica by the fear of an attack upon his fleet.
ships to sail to Utica. Seeing the enemy thus putting out, and fearing some misfortune to his own fleet, Scipio was rendered exceedingly anxious, because no one there was prepared for such an attack, or had anything in readiness to meet the danger. He therefore broke up his camp and marched back in haste to support his men. There he found his decked ships thoroughly well fitted out for raising siege-engines and applying them to walls, and generally for all purposes of an assault upon a town, but not in the least in the trim for a sea-fight; while the enemy's fleet had been under process of rigging for this purpose the whole winter. He therefore gave up all idea of putting to sea to meet the enemy and accepting battle there; but anchoring his decked ships side by side he moored the transports round them, three or four deep; and then, taking down the masts and yard-arms, he lashed the vessels together firmly by means of these, keeping a space between each sufficient to enable the light craft to sail in and out. . . .

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