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25. Not yet had the envoys returned from Rome, nor was it known what had been the decision of the Roman senate in regard to war or peace;1 not yet had the term of the armistice expired. [2] For that reason Scipio thought it an even more shameful outrage that both the hope of peace and the sanctity of an armistice had been treated with disrespect by men who had sued for peace and an armistice. At once he sent Lucius Baebius, Lucius Sergius and Lucius Fabius as envoys to Carthage. [3] [p. 455]These narrowly escaped injury at the hands of a2 mob and foresaw that their return would be no safer. Accordingly they begged the magistrates whose help had prevented violence to send ships to escort them. [4] Two triremes were furnished, and having reached the river Bagradas,3 from which the Roman camp was visible, they returned to Carthage. [5] The Carthaginian fleet was lying at anchor near Utica. Three quadriremes from that fleet, just as the Roman quinquereme was rounding the promontory,4 suddenly attacked her from the seaward side, perhaps because a secret order to do so had been sent from Carthage, possibly because Hasdrubal, who was in command of the fleet, made bold to act without complicity on the part of the government. [6] But they were unable to ram her as she eluded them by her speed, and the marines could not spring across from the lower vessels to the higher one. Also she was brilliantly defended so long as their missiles held out. [7] When these failed them there was nothing else which could protect the ship but nearness to the land and the great numbers that poured out to the shore from the camp. [8] For propelled at full speed by the oars, they ran her on the shore with all possible momentum. Consequently the ship only was lost, and the men themselves5 escaped.

[9] Thus the armistice beyond doubt had been broken by one crime after another when Laelius and Fulvius arrived from Rome with the Carthaginian [p. 457]envoys. [10] Scipio informed these men that, although6 not only the sanctity of an armistice had been violated by the Carthaginians, but also the law of nations in regard to his envoys, nevertheless he would not in their case do anything unworthy of the established usages of the Roman people or of his own character. Whereupon he dismissed the envoys7 and made preparations for war.

[11] As Hannibal was already nearing land, one of the sailors was ordered to go aloft, in order to make out what region they were approaching. [12] When he reported that the bow was headed toward a ruined tomb, Hannibal with a prayer to avert such an omen ordered the pilot to sail on, brought his fleet in at Leptis,8 and there disembarked his troops.

1 Cf. xvi. 15 and note; also Appian Pun. 34; Dio Cass. frag. 57. 74 f.; Zonaras IX. xiii. 8. All these place ratification of the treaty after Hannibal had left Italy. Cf. Gsell III. 248.

2 B.C. 203

3 Now the Medjerda, principal river of Tunisia, 300 miles long but not navigable. See p. 344, n. 1 for the great changes in its lower course as the bay has silted up. The ancient mouth was half-way between Carthage and Utica.

4 At the north-east end of the long ridge upon which lay the camp, later called Castra Cornelia. Cf. p. 347, n. 1. Perhaps Livy is wrong in thinking the ship was beached on the less favourable west side; Gsell III. 250, n. 1. The Punic fleet was no farther away than Rusucmon (Porto Farina; x. 9); Appian Pun. 34.

5 Primarily the envoys, but also some of the crew; Polybius XV. ii. 15; of. Appian l.c. fin.

6 B.C. 203

7 In Polybius iv. 9 Scipio was absent, and Baebius, being left in command, carried out orders from the general.

8 On the east coast of Tunisia; Leptis Minor (or Lepti Minus) to distinguish it from Leptis Magna in Tripolitania. Cf. p. 308, n. 1. It was now probably autumn.

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load focus Notes (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
load focus Summary (English, Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus Summary (Latin, W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
load focus Summary (Latin, Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus English (Rev. Canon Roberts, 1912)
load focus English (Cyrus Evans, 1850)
load focus Latin (Frank Gardener Moore, Professor Emeritus in Columbia University, 1949)
load focus Latin (Robert Seymour Conway, Stephen Keymer Johnson, 1935)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1884)
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