The same day, besides other booty, the camp of the Spaniards was taken, together with about three thousand men.
Of the Romans and their allies as many as one thousand two hundred fell in that battle; more than three thousand were wounded. The victory would have been less bloody had the battle taken place in a plain more extended, and affording facilities for flight.
Indibilis, renouncing his purpose of carrying on war, and considering that his safest reliance in his present distress was on the tried honour and clemency of Scipio, sent his brother Mandonius to him; who, falling prostrate before his knees, ascribed his conduct to the fatal frenzy of those times, when, as it were
from the effects of some pestilential contagion, not only the Ilergetians and Lacetanians, but even the Roman camp had been infected with madness.
He said that his own condition, and that of his brother and the rest of his countrymen, was such, that either, if it seemed good, they would give back their lives to him from whom they had received them, or if preserved a second time, they would in return for that favour devote their lives for ever to the service of him to whom alone they were indebted for them.
They before placed their reliance on their cause, when they had not yet had experience of his clemency, but now, on the contrary, placing no reliance on their cause, all their hopes were centred in the mercy of the conqueror.
It was a custom with the Romans, observed from ancient times, not to ex- [p. 1209]
ercise any authority over others, as subject to them, in cases where they did not enter into friendship with them by a league and on equal terms, until they had surrendered all they possessed, sacred and profane; until they had received hostages, taken their arms from them, and placed garrisons in their cities.
In the present instance, however, Scipio, after inveighing at great length against Mandonius, who stood before him, and Indibilis, who was absent, said “that they had justly forfeited their lives by their wicked conduct, but that they should be preserved by the kindness of himself and the Roman people.
Further, that he would neither take their arms from them, (which only served as pledges to those who feared rebellion,) but would leave them the free use of them, and their minds free from fear; nor would he take vengeance on their unoffending hostages, but upon themselves, should they revolt, not inflicting punishment upon a defenceless but an armed enemy.
That he gave them the liberty of choosing whether they would have the Romans favourable to them or incensed against them, for they had experienced them under both circumstances.”
Thus Mandonius was allowed to depart, having only a pecuniary fine imposed upon him to furnish the means of paying the troops. Scipio himself, having sent Marcius in advance into the Farther Spain, and sent Silanus back to Tarraco, waited a few days until the Ilergetians had paid the fine imposed upon them;
and then, setting out with some troops lightly equipped, overtook Marcius when he was now drawing near to the ocean.