Marcius was then sent against the barbarians, to reduce under the authority and dominion of the Romans such of them as had not yet been subdued. Scipio returned to Carthage, to pay his vows to the gods, and to exhibit a gladiatorial show, which he had prepared on account of the death of his father and uncle. This exhibition of gladiators was not formed from that description of men which the lanistae are accustomed to procure, such as slaves, or those who sell their blood.
All the service of the combatants was voluntary and gratuitous; for some were sent by the petty princes,
to show an example of the natural courage of their people; others came forward to fight, in compliment to their general;
others were induced to give and accept challenges, by a spirit of emulation and a desire of victory.
Some decided by the sword disputes which they either could not or were unwilling to determine by argument, with an agreement that the matter in question should be given up to the victor.
Nor was it confined to men of obscure rank, but comprehended persons of distinction and celebrity; such were Corbis and Orsua, cousins-german, who, having a dispute about the sovereignty of a city called Ibis, declared that they would contest it with the sword. Corbis was the elder of the two.
The father of Orsua was the last sovereign, having succeeded to that dignity on the death of his elder brother.
When Scipio was desirous of settling the dispute by argument and allaying their irritation, they both declared that they had refused that to their mutual kinsmen, and that they would appeal to no other judge, whether god or man, than Mars.
The elder presuming upon his strength, the younger on the prime of youth, each wished to die in the combat rather than become the subject of the other; and every effort failing to prevent their prosecuting their mad design, they exhibited to the army a most interesting spectacle, and a proof how great mischief is occasioned among men by a thirst for power.
The elder, in consequence of his experience in arms and his address, easily mastered the unscientific efforts of the younger. To this show [p. 1191]
of gladiators were added funeral games, proportioned to the means possessed, and with such magnificence as the provinces and the camp afforded.