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Character of Hasdrubal

HASDRUBAL, the general of the Carthaginians, was a vain
The siege of Carthage, B. C. 147. Coss. P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus, C. Livius Donsus.
ostentatious person, very far from possessing real strategic ability. There are numerous proofs of his want of judgment. In the first place he appeared in full armour in his interview with Gulussa, king of the Numidians, with a purple dyed robe over his armour fastened by a brooch, and attended by ten bodyguards armed with swords; and in the next place, having advanced in front of these armed attendants to a distance of about twenty feet, he stood behind the trench and palisade and beckoned the king to come to him, whereas it ought to have been quite the other way.
Interview between Hasdrubal and King Gulussa.
However, Gulussa, after the Numidian fashion, being not inclined to stand on ceremony, advanced towards him unattended, and when he got near him asked him "Whom he was afraid of that he had come in full armour?" And on his answering, "The Romans," Gulussa remarked: "Then you should not have trusted yourself to the city, when there was no necessity for your doing so. However, what do you want, and what do you ask me to do?" To which Hasdrubal replied: "I want you to go as our ambassador to the Roman commander, and to undertake for us that we will obey every injunction; only I beg of you both to abstain from harming this wretched city." Then said Gulussa: "Your demand appears to me to be quite childish! Why, my good sir, what you failed to get by your embassies from the Romans, who were then quietly encamped at Utica, and before a blow had been struck,—how can you expect to have granted you now, when you have been completely invested by sea and land, and have almost given up every hope of safety?" To which Hasdrubal replied that "Gulussa was ill informed; for they still had good hopes of their outside allies,"—for he had not yet heard about the Mauretani, and thought that the forces in the country were still unconquered,1 —"nor were they in despair as to their own ultimate safety. And above all, they trusted in the support of the gods, and in what they might expect from them; for they believed that they would not disregard the flagrant violation of treaty from which they were suffering, but would give them many opportunities of securing their safety. Therefore he called on the Roman commander in the name of the gods and of Fortune to spare the city; with the distinct understanding that, if its inhabitants failed to obtain this grace, they would be cut to pieces to the last man sooner than evacuate it." After some more conversation of the same sort, these men separated for the present, having made an appointment to meet again on the third day from that time.

1 The task of subduing the country in B. C. 147 was entrusted to the proconsul Culpurnius Piso, while Scipio was engaged in completing the investment of Carthage. Appian, Pun. 113-126.

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