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The envoys who were sent to Syphax were accompanied by some first-rank centurions, men of tried courage and sagacity, who were disguised as camp-servants.  Whilst the envoys were in conference these men strolled about the camp noting all the adits and exits, the general arrangement of the camp, the positions of the Carthaginians and Numidians, respectively, and the distance between Hasdrubal's camp and that of Syphax. They also watched the methods adopted in posting the watches and guards, to see whether a surprise attack would be better made by night or by day.  The conferences were pretty frequent, and different men were purposely sent each time in order that these details might become known to a larger number.  As the discussions went on with increasing frequency, Syphax, and through him the Carthaginians, fully expected that peace would be attained with a few days. Suddenly the Roman envoys announced that they had been forbidden to return to headquarters unless a definite reply were given.  Syphax must either say what he had made up his mind to do or, if it was necessary for him to consult Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians, he should do so; the time had come for either a peace settlement or an energetic resumption of hostilities.  Whilst Syphax was consulting Hasdrubal and the Carthaginians, the Roman spies had time to visit every part of the camp, and Scipio was able to make all his arrangements.  The prospect of peace had, as usually happens, made Syphax and the Carthaginians less on the alert to guard against any hostile attempt which might be made in the meantime. At last a reply came, but as the Romans were supposed to be anxious for peace, the opportunity was taken of adding some unacceptable conditions.  This was just what Scipio wanted to justify him in breaking off the armistice.  He told the king's messenger that he would refer the matter to his council, and the next day he gave his reply to the effect that not a single member of the council beside himself was in favour of peace. The messenger was to take word that the only hope of peace for Syphax lay in his abandoning the cause of the Carthaginians.  Thus Scipio put an end to the truce in order that he might be free to carry out his plans without any breach of faith.  He launched his ships-it was now the commencement of spring-and placed his engines and artillery on board as though he were going to attack Utica from the sea. He also sent 2000 men to hold the hill commanding the city which he had previously occupied, partly with a view of diverting [12??] the enemy's attention from his real design, and partly to prevent his camp from being attacked from the city, as it would be left with only a weak guard while he was marching against Syphax and Hasdrubal.
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