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Furnished with these instructions the king's envoys repaired to Syracuse to interview Scipio.  He recognised that he was deprived of the valuable support which he had hoped for in his African campaign, but he decided to send the envoys back at once before their mission became generally known.  He gave them a letter for the king in which he reminded him of the personal ties between them, and the alliance he had formed with Rome, and solemnly warned him against breaking those ties or violating the solemn engagements he had undertaken, and so offending the gods who had witnessed and would avenge them.  The visit of the Numidians could not, however, be kept secret, for they strolled about the city and were seen at headquarters, and there was a danger of the real object of their visit becoming all the more widely known through the efforts made to conceal it, and of the army being discouraged at the prospect of having to fight the king and the Carthaginians at the same time. To prevent this Scipio determined to keep them from the truth by preoccupying their minds with falsehood.  The troops were summoned to assembly and Scipio told them that there must be no further delay. The friendly princes were urging him to start for Africa as soon as possible;  Masinissa himself had already gone to Laelius to complain of the way in which time was being wasted, and now Syphax had sent envoys to express his surprise at the delay and to demand that the army should be sent to Africa or, if there was a change of plan, that he should be informed of it in order that he might take measures to safeguard himself and his kingdom.  As therefore all the preparations were completed and circumstances did not admit of any further delay, it was his intention to order the fleet to Lilybaeum, to muster the whole of his infantry and cavalry there and on the very first day which promised a favourable voyage set sail, with the blessing of heaven, for Africa.  He then wrote to M. Pomponius requesting him, if he thought it advisable, to come to Lilybaeum that they might consult together as to what legions should be selected and what ought to be the total strength of the invading force.  Orders were also sent all round the coast for every transport vessel to be requisitioned and brought to Lilybaeum.  When the whole of the military and naval forces in Sicily were assembled there, the town could not afford accommodation for all the men, nor could the harbour hold all the ships, and such enthusiasm prevailed in all ranks that it seemed as though instead of marching to war they were to reap the fruits of a victory already won.  This was particularly the case with the survivors of Cannae, who felt quite certain that under no other leader would they be able to do such service for the commonwealth as would put an end to their ignominious condition.  Scipio was far from despising these men, he was quite aware that the defeat at Cannae was not brought about by any cowardice on their part, and he knew, too, that there were no soldiers in the Roman army who had had such a long experience in every kind of fighting, and in the conduct of sieges. They formed the fifth and sixth legions.  After announcing to them that he would take them with him to Africa, he inspected them man by man, and those whom he did not consider suitable he left behind, replacing them from the men whom he had brought from Italy.  In this way he brought up the strength of each legion to 6200 men and 300 cavalry. He selected the Latin contingent also, both horse and foot, out of the army of Cannae.
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