Tormented by these thoughts, he so bore1
himself in the African War, which followed hard upon the Roman peace and lasted for five years, and likewise afterwards, during the nine years he spent in Spain in extending the Punic empire, that it was plain to see that he meditated a more important war than the one he was engaged in, and that if his life had been prolonged,
the Phoenicians would have invaded Italy under the leadership of Hamilcar, as they did in fact under that of Hannibal.
Hamilcar's very timely death and the boyhood2
of Hannibal delayed the war. In the interval betwixt father and son, the supreme command devolved, for about eight years, on Hasdrubal.
It was his youthful beauty, they say, that won for him in the first instance the favour of Hamilcar, who subsequently selected him, no doubt for other, that is mental, qualifications, to be his son-in-law. As such —through the influence of the Barcine [p. 7]
which was very strong with the soldiers4
and the common people —he was given the command, though the leading citizens had no liking for this step.
Relying more often on policy than force, Hasdrubal enlarged the sway of Carthage rather by setting up friendly relations with the petty kings and winning over new tribes through the goodwill of their leaders than by war and arms.
But he was not a whit more safe for being at peace. A certain barbarian slew him openly, to avenge his master, whom Hasdrubal had put to death. On being seized by the bystanders he expressed in his countenance the cheerfulness of one who had escaped, and even as he was being tortured, joy so got the upper hand of agony that he seemed actually to smile.
With this Hasdrubal, because of the marvellous skill which he had shown in tempting the native tribes to join his empire, the Roman People had renewed their covenant,5
the stipulation that neither side should extend its dominion beyond the Ebro, while the Saguntines, situated between the empires of the two peoples,7
should be preserved in independence.