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Scipio's Treatment of Women

He next took Mago and the Carthaginians with him
Mago is entrusted to Laelius.
separately, consisting of one member of the Council of ancients and fifteen of the Senate.1 These he put under the charge of Gaius Laelius, with orders that he should take due care of them. He next summoned the hostages, who numbered more than three hundred.
The hostages.
Such of them as were children he called to him one by one, and stroking their heads told them not to be afraid, for in a few days they would see their parents. The others also he exhorted to be of good cheer, and to write word to their relations in their several cities, first, that they were safe and well; and, secondly, that the Romans were minded to restore them all unharmed to their homes, if only their relations adopted the Roman alliance. With these words, having already selected from the spoils such articles as were fitting for his purpose, he presented each with what was suitable to their sex and age: the girls with ear-rings and bracelets, the young men with daggers and swords.
The women.
Among the captive women was the wife of Mandonius, brother of Andobalus king of the Ilergētes. This woman fell at his feet and besought him with tears to protect their honour better than the Carthaginians had done. Touched by her distress Scipio asked her in what respect she and the other women were left unprovided. She was a lady of advanced years and of a certain majestic dignity of appearance: and upon her meeting his question by perfect silence, he summoned the men who had been appointed to take charge of the women; and when they reported that they had supplied them with all necessaries in abundance, and when the woman again clasped his knees and repeated the same request, Scipio felt still more embarrassed; and, conceiving the idea that their guardians had neglected them, and were now making a false report, he bade the women fear nothing, for that he would appoint different men to see to their interests, and secure that they were not left in want of anything. Then after a brief hesitation the woman said, "You mistake my meaning, General, if you think that we are asking you for food." Scipio then at length began to understand what she wished to convey; and seeing under his eyes the youthful beauty of the daughters of Andobalus, and of many of the other nobles, he could not refrain from tears, while the aged lady indicated in a few words the danger in which they were. He showed at once that he understood her words: and taking her by the hand, he bade her and the others also be of good cheer, for that he would watch over them as he would over his own sisters and daughters, and would accordingly put men in charge of them on whom he could rely.

1 This seems to be the distinction between the words γερουσιά and σύγκλητος. Cp. 36, 4. The latter is the word used by Polybius for the Roman Senate; for the nature of the first see Bosworth Smith, Carthage and he Carthaginians, p. 27. It was usually called "The Hundred." Mommsen (Hist. of Rome,, vol. ii. p. 15) seems to doubt the existence of the larger council: its authority at any rate had been superseded by the oligarchical gerusia.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.61
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