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The Boys are Restored to Their Native Cities

Abilyx then went away, after arranging a fixed day on which he would appear with everything necessary for conveying the boys. At night he made his way to the Roman lines, and, having fallen in with some Iberians serving in the Roman army, was by them conducted to the generals; to whom he discoursed at great length on the revulsion of feeling of the Iberians in their favour, which would be caused if they got possession of the hostages: and finally offered to put the boys in their hands. Publius Scipio received the proposal with extreme eagerness: and, promising him large rewards, he agreed with him on a day, hour, and place at which a party were to be waiting to receive him. After returning home, Abilyx next went with a band of chosen friends to Bostar; and, after receiving the boys, left the camp at night, as though he wished not to be seen by the Roman camp as he passed it, and came at the appointed time to the place arranged, and there handed over all the boys to the Roman officers. Publius treated Abilyx with special honour, and employed him in restoring the boys to their native cities, along with certain of his own friends. He accordingly went from city to city, giving them a visible proof by the restoration of the boys of the Roman mildness and magnanimity, in contrast to the Carthaginian suspiciousness and harshness; and bidding them also observe that he had found it necessary to change sides, he induced many Iberians to join the Roman alliance. Bostar was thought, in thus surrendering the hostages to the enemy, to have behaved more like a child than became a man of his age, and was in serious danger of his life. For the present, however, as it was getting late in the season, both sides began dispersing into winter quarters; the Romans having made an important step towards success in the matter of the boys.

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