Then they were summoned by Mandonius to a council, and there, after lamenting their heavy losses and berating those who were responsible for the war, they voted that envoys should be sent to arrange for a surrender of arms and a capitulation.
When the envoys laid the blame upon Indibilis as responsible-for the war and upon the rest of their leading men, most of whom, they said, had fallen in the battle, and offered to deliver their arms and surrender, the answer given them was: that their surrender would be accepted only in case they should deliver Mandonius and the other instigators of the war alive.
If not, the generals said they would lead their army into the lands of the Ilergetes and Ausetani and the other tribes one after another.
Such was the reply given to the legates and reported by them to the council.
Thereupon Mandonius and the other leaders were seized and handed over to be punished. For the peoples of Spain peace was restored, a double tribute for that year and grain for six months exacted, also cloaks and togas for the army; and hostages were accepted from about thirty tribes.
Thus a rebellious uprising in Spain was incited and suppressed within a few days with no serious consequences, and alarm was completely shifted to Africa.
Gaius Laelius, having reached Hippo Regius1
by night, led out his soldiers and marines under their standards at daybreak to lay the country [p. 221]
waste. Since everybody was free from concern, as2
if in peace-time, great losses were inflicted.
And excited messengers filled Carthage with great alarm, reporting that the Roman fleet and Scipio as commander-in-chief had arrived. In fact it had been previously rumoured that he had already crossed over to Sicily.
Lacking exact information also as to how many ships the messengers had seen and how large a force was laying waste the country, they exaggerated every report under the stimulus of fear. Accordingly alarm and panic at first, then dejection came over their spirits.
So far, they said, had fortune changed that those who as victors had but lately had their own army before the walls of Rome and, after laying low so many armies of the enemy, had by force or by voluntary action received the surrender of all the peoples of Italy, with the shifting fortune
of war were now destined to see the devastation of Africa and a siege of Carthage, when they had no such strength as the Romans had possessed to endure all that.
For them, they said, the Roman populace, for them Latium had always furnished a greater and more numerous body of young men growing up in place of so many armies slain.
As for their own populace, they were unwarlike in the city, unwarlike in the country. Hireling auxiliaries were being recruited from the Africans,3
a race shifting with every fickle breath of hope and lacking in loyalty.
Of the kings, moreover, Syphax had been alienated after his conference with Scipio,4
they said, and Masinissa by open defection had shown himself their bitterest enemy. Nowhere was there any hope, nowhere any aid.
Mago was neither setting in motion any uprising on the part of Gaul, [p. 223]
nor uniting with Hannibal; and Hannibal himself5
by this time was on the decline both in repute and in strength.