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When this business was completed the consuls and praetors departed to their various provinces. They were all, however, interested in Africa, as much so indeed as if the ballot had assigned it to them, whether it was that they saw that the issue of the war and their country's fate would be decided there, or that they wished to do a service to Scipio as the man to whom all eyes were turned.  So it was that not only from Sardinia, as above stated, but from Sicily itself and from Spain, clothing, corn, even arms as well as supplies of all kinds were forwarded to him from the Sicilian harbours.  Throughout the winter there had been no pause in the numerous operations which Scipio was conducting on all sides.  He maintained the investment of Utica; his camp was in full view of Hasdrubal; the Carthaginians had launched their ships, their fleet was fully equipped and ready to intercept his supplies. Nevertheless he had not lost sight of his purpose to win Syphax, in case his passion for his bride should have cooled through unstinted enjoyment.  Syphax was anxious for peace and proposed as conditions that the Romans should evacuate Africa, and the Carthaginians Italy, but he gave Scipio to understand that if the war continued he should not desert his allies.  I believe that the negotiations were conducted through intermediaries-and most of the authorities take this view-rather than that Syphax, as Antias Valerius asserts, came to the Roman camp to confer personally with Scipio.  At first the Roman commander would hardly allow these terms to be mentioned; afterwards, however, in order that his men might have a plausible reason for visiting the enemies' camp he did not reject then so decidedly, and held out hopes that after frequent discussions they might come to an agreement.  The winter quarters of the Carthaginians, constructed as they were of materials collected haphazard from the country round, were almost wholly built of wood.  The Numidians in particular lived in huts made of wattled reeds and roofed with grass matting; they were dispersed all over the camp in no order or arrangement, and some even lay outside the lines.  When this was reported to Scipio, he was hopeful of burning the camp down if an opportunity presented itself.
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