When it was announced that Syphax was being brought into the camp, the whole multitude poured out, as if to behold a triumphal pageant.
The king himself walked first in chains, and a number of Numidian nobles followed. On this occasion every one strove to the utmost to increase the splendour of their victory, by magnifying the greatness of Syphax and the renown of his nation.
“That was the king,” they said, “to whose dignity the two most powerful nations in the [p. 1299]
world, the Roman and the Carthaginian, had paid so much deference, that their own general, Scipio, leaving his province of Spain and his army, sailed into Africa with only two quinqueremes
to solicit his friendship; while Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian general, not only visited him in his dominions, but gave him his daughter in marriage.
That he had in his power two commanders, one a Roman and the other a Carthaginian, at the same time.
That as both the contending parties sought the favour of the immortal gods by the immolation of victims, so had they both equally solicited his friendship.
That he had lately possessed such great power, that after expelling Masinissa from his kingdom, he reduced him to such a state, that his life was protected by a report of his death, and by concealment, while he supported himself in the woods on prey, after the manner of wild beasts.”
Thus signalized by the observations of the surrounding multitude, the king was brought into the pavilion before Scipio, who was moved by the former condition of the man compared with his present, and particularly by the recollection of their relation of hospitality, his right hand pledged, and the public and private connexion which had been formed between them.
These same considerations inspired Syphax also with confidence in addressing the conqueror; for when Scipio asked what had been his object in not only renouncing his alliance with the Romans, but in making war against them without provocation, he fully admitted “that he had indeed done wrong, and acted like a madman; but not at that time only when he took up arms against the Roman people; that was the consummation of his frenzy, not its commencement.
Then it was that he was mad;
then it was that he banished from his mind all regard for private friendship and public treaties, when he received a Carthaginian wife into his house.
It was by the flames kindled by those nuptial torches that his palace had been consumed. That fury and pest had by every kind of fascination engrossed his affections and obscured his reason; nor had she rested till she had with her own hands clad him with impious arms against his guest and friend.
Yet ruined and fallen as he was, he derived some consolation in his misfortunes when he saw that that same pest and fury had been transferred to the dwelling and household gods of the man who was of all others his greatest enemy.
That Masinissa [p. 1300]
was neither more prudent nor more firm than Syphax; but even more incautious by reason of his youth. Doubtless he had shown greater folly and want of self-control in marrying her than he himself had.”