When the outcome of the struggle had long been doubtful, and the Saguntines, because they were holding out beyond their hopes, had gained new courage, while the Phoenician, because he had not conquered, was as good as beaten;
suddenly the townspeople set up a shout and thrust forth their enemies amongst the ruins of the wall, and routing them out from thence, confused and frightened, drove them back at last in full flight to their camp.
In the meantime it was announced that ambassadors had come from Rome.
Hannibal sent men to the shore to meet them and say that it would not be safe for them to come to him through the armed bands of so many unruly tribes, and that he had no time for listening to embassies at so critical a juncture. It was clear that, if they were denied a hearing, they would at once proceed to [p. 27]
He therefore dispatched couriers before1
them, with a letter for the leaders of the Barcine faction, so that they might prepare the minds of their adherents to prevent the opposing party from affording any satisfaction to the Roman People.