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This was the position of affairs when P. Scipio, whose command had been extended after he ceased to be consul, came to the province which had been assigned to him by the senate. He brought a reinforcement of thirty ships of war and 8000 troops, also a large convoy of supplies.  This fleet, with its enormous column of transports, excited the liveliest delight among the townsmen and their allies when it was seen in the distance and finally reached the port of Tarracona.  There the soldiers were landed and Scipio marched up country to meet his brother; thenceforward they carried on the campaign with their united forces and with one heart and purpose.  As the Carthaginians were preoccupied with the Celtiberian war, the Scipios had no hesitation in crossing the Ebro and, as no enemy appeared, marching straight to Saguntum, where they had been informed that the hostages who had been surrendered to Hannibal from all parts of Spain were detained in the citadel under a somewhat weak guard.  The fact that they had given these pledges was the only thing that prevented all the tribes of Spain from openly manifesting their leanings towards alliance with Rome; they dreaded lest the price of their defection from Carthage should be the blood of their own children.  From this bond Spain was released by the clever but treacherous scheme of one individual. Abelux was a Spaniard of high birth living at Saguntum, who had at one time been loyal to Carthage, but afterwards, with the usual fickleness of barbarians, as the fortunes of Carthage changed so he changed his allegiance.  He considered that any one going over to the enemy without having something valuable to betray was simply a worthless and disreputable individual, and so he made it his one aim to be of the greatest service he could to his new allies.  After making a survey of everything which Fortune could possibly put within his reach, he made up his mind to effect the delivery of the hostages; that one thing he thought would do more than anything else to win the friendship of the Spanish chieftains for the Romans.  He was quite aware, however, that the guardians of the hostages would take no step without the orders of Bostar, their commanding officer, and so he employed his arts against Bostar himself.  Bostar had fixed his camp outside the city quite on the shore that he might bar the approach of the Romans on that side. After obtaining a secret interview with him he warned him, as though he were unaware of it, as to the actual state of affairs.  "Up to this time," he said, "fear alone has kept the Spaniards loyal because the Romans were far away; now the Roman camp is on our side the Ebro, a secure stronghold and refuge for all who want to change their allegiance. Those, therefore, who are no longer restrained by fear must be bound to us by kindness and feelings of gratitude."  Bostar was greatly surprised, and asked him what boon could suddenly effect such great results. "Send the hostages," was the reply, "back to their homes.  That will evoke gratitude from their parents, who are very influential people in their own country, and also from their fellow-countrymen generally. Every one likes to feel that he is trusted; the confidence you place in others generally strengthens their confidence in you.  The service of restoring the hostages to their respective homes I claim for myself, that I may contribute to the success of my plan by my own personal efforts, and win for an act gracious in itself still more gratitude." He succeeded in persuading Bostar, whose intelligence was not on a par with the acuteness which the other Carthaginians showed.  After this interview he went secretly to the enemy's outposts, and meeting with some Spanish auxiliaries he was conducted by them into the presence of Scipio, to whom he explained what he proposed to do. Pledges of good faith were mutually exchanged and the place and time for handing over the hostages fixed, after which he returned to Saguntum.  The following day he spent in receiving Bostar's instructions for the execution of the project. It was agreed between them that he should go at night in order, as he pretended, to escape the observation of the Roman outposts.  He had already arranged with these as to the hour at which he would come, and after awakening those who were in guard of the boys he conducted the hostages, without appearing to be aware of the fact, into the trap which he had himself prepared.  The outposts conducted them into the Roman camp; all the remaining details connected with their restoration to their homes were carried out as he had arranged with Bostar, precisely as if the business were being transacted m the name of Carthage.  Yet though the service rendered was the same, the gratitude felt towards the Romans was considerably greater than would have been earned by the Carthaginians, who had shown themselves oppressive and tyrannical in the time of their prosperity, and now that they experienced a change of fortune their act might have appeared to be dictated by fear.  The Romans, on the other hand, hitherto perfect strangers, had no sooner come into the country than they began with an act of clemency and generosity, and Abelux was considered to have shown his prudence in changing his allies to such good purpose.  All now began with surprising unanimity to meditate revolt, and an armed movement would have begun at once had not the winter set in, which compelled the Romans as well as the Carthaginians to retire to their quarters.
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