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The Third Punic War

IT may occur to some to ask why I have not given a
The dramatic representation of debates though convenient is not history.
dramatic turn to my narrative, now that I have so striking a theme and a subject of such importance, by recording the actual speeches delivered; a thing which the majority of historians have done, by giving the appropriate arguments used on either side. That I do not reject this method altogether I have shown in several parts of my work, in which I have recorded popular harangues and expositions delivered by statesmen; but that I am not inclined to employ it on every occasion alike will now be made clear; for it would not be easy to find a subject more remarkable than this, nor material more ample for instituting a comparison of such a character. Nor indeed could any form of composition be more convenient to me. Still, as I do not think it becoming in statesmen to be ready with argument and exposition on every subject of debate without distinction, but rather to adapt their speeches to the nature of the particular occasion, so neither do I think it right for historians to practise their skill or show off their ability upon their readers: they ought on the contrary to devote their whole energies to discover and record what was really and truly said, and even of such words only those that are the most opportune and essential. . . .


The Romans Find a Justification for War

This idea having been firmly fixed in the minds of all,
The Romans were careful to have a fair pretext for war.
they looked out for a suitable opportunity and a decent pretext to justify them in the eyes of the world. For indeed the Romans were quite rightly very careful on this point. For instance, the general impression that they were justified in entering upon the war with Demetrius enhances the value of their victories, and diminishes the risks incurred by their defeats; but if the pretext for doing so is lame and poor the contrary effects are produced.
32, 20.
Accordingly, as they differed as to the sentiments of the outer world on the subject, they were very nearly abandoning the war. . .

The policy of Rome in Africa of constantly supporting Massanissa against Carthage was mentioned in 32, 2. Frequent complaints came to Rome from the Numidian King, and the Carthaginians were said to be collecting an army contrary to treaty. Commissioners were sent over in 154 B. C. on the advice of Cato, who were roughly treated at Carthage; and when, in B. C. 151, Massanissa sent his son Gulussa with similar complaints to Rome, Cato urged immediate war. The Senate, however, again sent commissioners, among whom was Cato himself, to examine into the matter. They reported that the Carthaginians had an army and navy. An ultimatum was therefore sent, that the army and navy were to be broken up within the year, or that the next consuls should bring the question of war before the Senate (B. C. 150). Just at this crisis Utica, in enmity with Carthage, placed itself under the protection of Rome. Livy, Ep. 48; Appian, Pun. 75.


War With Carthage Resolved Upon

When the Carthaginians had been some time deliberating
B. C. 149. Utica puts itself under the protection of Rome.
how they should meet the message from Rome they were reduced to a state of the utmost embarrassment by the people of Utica anticipating their design by putting themselves under the protection of Rome. This seemed their only hope of safety left: and they imagined that such a step must win them favour at Rome: for to submit to put themselves and their country under control was a thing which they had never done even in their darkest hour of danger and defeat, with the enemy at their very walls.
Carthaginian plenipotentiaries at Rome.
And now they had lost all the fruit of this resolve by being anticipated by the people of Utica; for it would appear nothing novel or strange to the Romans if they only did the same as that people. Accordingly, with a choice of two evils only left, to accept war with courage or to surrender their independence, after a long and anxious discussion held secretly in the Senate-house, they appointed two ambassadors with plenary powers, and instructed them, that, in view of the existing state of things, they should do what seemed for the advantage of their country. The names of these envoys were Gisco Strytanus, Hamilcar, Misdes, Gillimas, and Mago. When they reached Rome from Carthage, they found war already decreed and the generals actually started with their forces. Circumstances, therefore, no longer giving them any power of deliberating, they offered an unconditional surrender.


Meaning of Surrender

I have spoken before about what this implies, but I
What is implied by their surrender. See 20, 9-10.
must in this place also briefly remind my readers of its import. Those who thus surrender themselves to the Roman authority, surrender all territory and the cities in it, together with all men and women in all such territory or cities, likewise rivers, harbours, temples, and tombs, so that the Romans should become actual lords of all these, and those who surrender should remain lords of nothing whatever. On the Carthaginians making a surrender to this effect, they were summoned into the Senate-house and the Praetor delivered the Senate's decision, which was to this effect: "They had been well advised, and therefore the Senate granted them freedom and the enjoyment of their laws; and moreover, all their territory and the possession of their other property, public or private."
The Senate re-grant their liberty and territory to the Carthaginians,
The Carthaginian envoys were much relieved when they heard this; thinking that, where the alternatives were both miserable, the Senate had treated them well in conceding their most necessary and important requirements.
but on condition of giving 300 hostages, and obeying certain orders not yet expressed.
But presently the Praetor went on to state that they would enjoy these concessions on condition of sending three hundred hostages to Lilybaeum within thirty days, sons of members of the Hundred1 or the Senate, and obeying such commands as should be imposed on them by the consuls. This dashed their satisfaction for a time, because they had no means of knowing what orders were to be given them through the consuls; however, they started at once, being anxious to report what had occurred to their countrymen with all speed. When they arrived in Carthage and stated the facts, the citizens considered that the envoys had in all respects acted with proper caution; but they were greatly alarmed and distressed by the fact that in the answer no mention was made of the city itself.


Speech of Mago Brettius

At this juncture they say that Mago Brettius delivered a manly and statesmanlike speech. He said: "The Carthaginians had two opportunities of taking counsel in regard to themselves and their country, one of which they had let pass; for in good truth it was no use now to question what was going to be enjoined on them by the consuls, and why it was that the Senate had made no mention of the city: they should have done that when they made the surrender. Having once made that, they must clearly make up their mind to the necessity of submitting to every possible injunction, unless it should prove to be something unbearably oppressive or beyond what they could possibly expect. If they would not do this, they must now consider whether they preferred to stand an invasion and all its possible consequences, or, in terror of the attack of the enemy, accept without resistance every order they might impose upon them."
The hostages are sent to Lilybaeum.
But as the imminence of war and the uncertainty of the future made every one inclined to submit to these injunctions, it was decided to send the hostages to Lilybaeum. Three hundred young men were forthwith selected and sent to Lilybaeum amidst loud expressions of sorrow and tears, each of them being escorted by his nearest friends and relations, the whole scene being made especially moving by the lamentations of the women. On landing at Lilybaeum the hostages were at once handed over by the consuls to Quintus Fabius Maximus, who had been appointed to the command in Sicily at that time. By him they were safely conveyed to Rome and confined in the dockyard of the six-benched ships.


The Roman Army In Africa

The hostages being thus disposed of, the consuls brought their fleet to the citadel of Utica. When news of this reached Carthage, the city was in the utmost excitement and panic, not knowing what to expect next.
The Consuls, L. Marcius Censorinus, M'. Manilius, land in Africa. B. C. 149.
However, it was decided to send envoys to ask the consuls what they were to do, and to state that they were all prepared to obey orders. The envoys arrived at the Roman camp: the general's council was summoned: and they delivered their commission.
They demand the disarming of the Carthaginians.
The senior Consul thereupon, after complimenting them on their policy and readiness to obey, bade them hand over all arms and missiles in their possession without subterfuge or concealment. The envoys answered that they would carry out the directions, but begged the Consul to consider what would happen if the Carthaginians surrendered all their arms, and the Romans took them and sailed away from the country. However, they gave them up. . . .

It was clearly shown that the resources of the city were enormous, for they surrendered to the Romans more than two hundred thousand stands of arms and two thousand catapults. . . .

This was followed by a second injunction of the consuls that the whole people of Carthage should remove to some other spot, to be not less than ten miles from the sea, and there build a new city. Livy, Ep. 49.


Panic at the Envoys' Report

The people had no idea what the announcement was going to be, but suspecting it from
Return of the envoys with the last orders from the Consuls.
the expression of the envoys' countenances, they immediately burst into a storm of cries and lamentations. . . .

Then all the Senators,2 uttering a cry of horror, remained as though paralysed by the shock. But

The popular fury.
the report having quickly spread among the people, the general indignation at once found expression. Some made an attack on the envoys, as the guilty authors of their misfortunes, while others wreaked their wrath upon all Italians caught within the city, and others rushed to the town gates. . . .

The Carthaginians determine to resist, and the consuls, who had not hurried themselves, because they believed that resistance from an unarmed populace was impossible, found, when they approached Carthage, that it was prepared to offer a vigorous resistance. The scene which followed the announcement of the Consul's orders, and the incidents of the siege, are chiefly known to us from Appian, Pun. 91 sq. Livy, Ep. 49. Scipio was serving as military Tribune, B. C. 149-148; consul, B. C. 147.


Character of Hamilcar Phameas

Hamilcar Phameas3 was the general of the
Hamilcar Phameas, the commander of the Punic cavalry. Appian, Pun. 100.
Carthaginians, a man in the very prime of life and of great physical strength. What is of the utmost importance too for service in the field, he was an excellent and bold horseman. . . .

When he saw the advanced guard, Phameas, though not at all deficient in courage, avoided coming to close quarters with Scipio: and on one occasion when he had come near his reserves, he got behind the cover of the brow of a hill and halted there a considerable time. . . .

The Roman maniples fled to the top of a hill; and when all had given their opinions, Scipio said, "When men are consulting what measures to take at first, their object should be to avoid disaster rather than to inflict it."4 . . .

It ought not to excite surprise that I am

Polybius's personal knowledge of Scipio.
more minute than usual in my account of Scipio and that I give in detail everything which he said. . . .

When Marcius Porcius Cato heard in Rome of the glorious achievements of Scipio he uttered a palinode to his criticisms of him: "What have you heard? He alone has the breath of wisdom in him: the rest are but flitting phantoms."5

1 τῶν ἐκ συγκλήτου καὶ τῆς γερουσίας. The same distinction occurs in 10, 18, and seems to refer to the two bodies known as the Hundred and the Gerusia. See Bosworth Smith's Carthage and the Carthaginians, p. 27.

2 The envoys first report to the Gerusia. Appian, Pun. 91.

3 Phameas was afterwards persuaded by Massanissa to join the Romans. Livy, Ep. 50.

4 The incident referred to is narrated in Appian. Punica, 103. Scipio relieved this body of men, who were beleaguered on the top of a hill, by a rapid and bold movement of his cavalry.

5 Odyssey, 20, 495. Cato had always been opposed to the Scipios, but Livy seems to attribute his former criticisms of the younger Africanus to his general habit of caustic disparagement (vir promptioris ad vituperandum linguae), and we know that his elder son had married a daughter of Paulus, sister to the younger Africanus.

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