Scipio kept Laelius with him until he had disposed of the captives, hostages, and booty, in accordance with his advice;
but when all these matters were satisfactorily arranged, he gave him a quinquereme; and selecting from the captives Mago, and about fifteen senators who had been made prisoners at the same time with him, put them on board, and sent him to Rome with the news of his victory.
He himself employed the few days he had resolved to stay at Carthage, in exercising his naval and land forces.
On the first day the legions under arms performed evolutions through a space of four miles; on the second day he ordered them to repair and clean their arms before their tents; on the third day they engaged in imitation of a regular battle with wooden swords, throwing javelins with the points covered with balls; on the fourth day they rested; on the fifth they again performed evolutions under arms. This succession of exercise and rest they kept up as long as they staid at Carthage.
The rowers and mariners, pushing out to sea when the weather was calm, made trial of the manageableness of their ships by mock sea-fights.
Such exercises, both by sea and land, without the city prepared their minds and bodies for war.
The city itself was all bustle with warlike preparations, artificers of every description being collected together in a public workshop. The general went round to all the works with equal attention.
At one time he was employed in the dock-yard with his fleet, at [p. 1087]
another he exercised with the legions; sometimes he would devote his time to the inspection of the works, which were every day carried on with the greatest eagerness by a multitude of artificers both in the workshops, and in the armoury and docks.
Having put these preparations in a train, repaired the walls in a part where they had been shattered, and placed bodies of troops to guard the city, he set out for Tarraco; and on his way thither was visited by a number of embassies, some of which he dismissed, having given them answers on his journey, others he postponed till his arrival at Tarraco; at which place he had appointed a meeting of all his new and old allies.
Here ambassadors from almost all the people dwelling on this side the Iberus, and from many dwelling in the farther Spain, met.
The Carthaginian generals at first industriously suppressed the rumour of the capture of Carthage; but afterwards, when it became too notorious to be concealed or dissembled, they disparaged its importance by their language.
They said, that “by an unexpected attack, and in a manner by stealth, in one day, one city of Spain had been snatched out of their hands; that a presumptuous youth, elated with the acquisition of this, so inconsiderable an advantage, had, by the extravagance of his joy, given it the air of an important victory; but that as soon as he should hear that three generals and three victorious armies of his enemies were approaching, the deaths which had taken place in his family would occur to his recollection.”
Such was the tone in which they spoke of this affair to the people, though
they were, at the same time, far from ignorant how much their strength had been diminished, in every respect, by the loss of Carthage.