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Scipio Sends the Envoys Home

Having secured his fleet, Scipio left Baebius in
B.C. 202. Scipio traverses the Carthaginian territory, and summons Massanissa to his aid.
command of it in his place, while he himself went a round of the cities. This time he did not admit to mercy those who voluntarily surrendered, but carried all the towns by force, and enslaved the inhabitants, to show his anger at the treachery of the Carthaginians. To Massanissa he sent message after message, explaining to him how the Punic government had broken the terms, and urging him to collect the largest army he was able and join him with all speed. For as soon as the treaty had been made, Massanissa, as I have said, had immediately departed with his own army and ten Roman cohorts, infantry and cavalry, accompanied by some commissioners from Scipio, that he might not only recover his own kingdom, but secure the addition of that of Syphax also, by the assistance of the Romans. And this purpose was eventually effected.

It happened that just at this time the envoys from Rome

Scipio orders the Carthaginian envoys to be released.
arrived at the naval camp. Those of them who had been sent by the Roman government, Baebius at once caused to be escorted to Scipio, while he retained those who were Carthaginians. The latter were much cast down, and regarded their position as one of great danger; for when they were informed of the impious outrage committed by their countrymen on the persons of the Roman envoys, they thought there could be no doubt that the vengeance for it would be wreaked upon themselves. But when Scipio learnt from the recently-arrived commissioners that the senate and people accepted with enthusiasm the treaty which he had made with the Carthaginians, and were ready to grant everything he asked, he was highly delighted, and ordered Baebius to send the envoys home with all imaginable courtesy. And he was very well advised to do so, in my opinion. For as he knew that his countrymen made a great point of respecting the rights of ambassadors, he considered in his own mind, not what the Carthaginians deserved to have done to them, but what it was becoming in Romans to inflict. Therefore, though he did not relax his own indignation and anger at what they had done, he yet endeavoured, in the words of the proverb, "to maintain the good traditions of his sires." The result was that, by this superiority in his conduct, a very decided impression was made upon the spirits of the Carthaginians and of Hannibal himself.

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