This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
A deputation from Carthage was in Rome at that time, as was also Gulussa, Masinissa's son. There was a hot dispute between them in the senate-house.  The grievance of the Carthaginians was that in addition to the territory which had been adjudicated on the spot by the Roman commissioners, Masinissa had during the last two years taken forcible possession of more than seventy towns and forts standing on Carthaginian soil; an easy matter for a man who had no scruples.  As the Carthaginians were bound by their treaty they took no action, for they were forbidden [4??] to carry their arms outside their frontiers, though they knew quite well that if they were to drive the Numidians out, they would be warring within their own frontiers. They were, however, deterred by a clear clause in the treaty, which expressly forbade them to engage in war with the allies of Rome.  But the Carthaginians declared that they could no longer endure his insolence and cruelty and avarice; and they explained that they were sent to implore the senate to grant them one of three things, either themselves to decide, as between a king and a people, both of whom were their allies, what belonged to each;  or to leave the Carthaginians at liberty to defend themselves against unjust attacks in a just and righteous war; or, finally, if personal bias rather than truth swayed the senate, that they should settle once for all how much of other people's property they wished to make a present of to Masinissa.  The senate would at all events make their gift a more moderate one if they were to know what they had given, whereas Masinissa would fix no limits other than what his greed and ambition might determine.  If they were not to obtain any of these requests, and if they had in any way given offence since Scipio granted them peace, then let the Romans themselves punish them; they preferred the security of servitude under Roman masters rather than a liberty exposed to Masinissa's lawlessness.  It would, in fact, be better for them to perish at once than to draw their breath at the will of a tyrant and a butcher.  At these words they burst into tears and fell on their faces, and as they lay there prostrate they aroused not more pity for themselves than displeasure against the king.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.