The order of judges1
at that time was in control in Carthage, principally because the same men were judges for life.
The property, reputation, and life of every citizen were in their hands. A man who offended one of the judges made enemies of them all, nor was there any lack of persons to bring accusations before hostile judges.
Under their administration, marked by such violence —for they did not use their excessive wealth in the spirit of a free state — Hannibal had been elected praetor and summoned a quaestor to report to him.
The quaestor ignored the order; for he belonged to the opposing faction, and since he would be promoted from the quaestorship to the all-powerful order of judges, he already displayed arrogance proportioned to the power he would presently exercise.
Hannibal, thinking this conduct highly improper, sent a messenger to arrest the quaestor, and haling him before the assembly, assailed him and not less the order of judges, in comparison with whose pride of place and power the laws were as nought, and the magistrates as well.
When he saw that his speech was well received, and that their haughty spirits menaced the liberty of the lowest classes also, he immediately proposed and enacted a law, that judges should be elected for one year [p. 401]
each, and that no one should be a judge for two consecutive2
But whatever influence he gained in this way with the commons, to the same extent he roused the animosity of a large party among the nobility.
Moreover, by another act he served the public interest but roused personal enmities against himself.
The public revenues were being partly wasted through carelessness, partly appropriated as their booty and spoils of office by some of the prominent men and magistrates, and money to pay the tribute to the Romans each successive year was lacking, and a heavy assessment seemed to threaten the citizens.3