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The Murder of Gesco

It was now the turn of Autaritus the Gaul. "Your only hope," he said, "of safety is to reject all hopes which rest on the Carthaginians. So long as any man clings to the idea of indulgence at their hands, he cannot possibly be a genuine ally of yours. Never trust, never listen, never attend to anyone, unless he recommend unrelenting hostility and implacable hatred towards the Carthaginians: all who speak on the other side regard as traitors and enemies." After this preface, he gave it as his advice that they should put to death with torture both Gesco and those who had been seized with him, as well as the Carthaginian prisoners of war who had been captured since. Now this Autaritus was the most effective speaker of any, because he could make himself understood to a large number of those present at a meeting. For, owing to his length of service, he knew how to speak Phoenician; and Phoenician was the language in which the largest number of men, thanks to the length of the late war, could listen to with satisfaction. Accordingly his speech was received with acclamation, and he stood down amidst loud applause. But when many came forward from the several nationalities at the same time; and, moved by Gesco's former kindnesses to themselves, would have deprecated at least the infliction of torture, not a word of what they said was understood: partly because many were speaking at the same time, and partly because each spoke in his own language.
Murder of Gesco.
But when at length it was disclosed that what they meant was to dissuade the infliction of torture, upon one of those present shouting out "Throw!" they promptly stoned to death all who had come forward to speak; and their relations buried their bodies, which were crushed into shapeless masses as though by the feet of elephants. Still they at least were buried. But the followers of Spendius now seized Gesco and his fellow prisoners, numbering about seven hundred, led them outside the stockade, and having made them march a short distance from the camp, first cut off their hands, beginning with Gesco, the man whom a short while before they had selected out of all Carthage as their benefactor and had chosen as arbitrator in their controversy. When they had cut off their hands, they proceeded to lop off the extremities of the unhappy men, and having thus mutilated them and broken their legs, they threw them still alive into a trench.

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