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Misery In Carthage

On Gulussa communicating to him what had been said,
Scipio's scorn of the proposal, B. C. 147
Scipio remarked with a laugh: "Oh, then, it was because you intended to make this demand that you displayed that abominable cruelty to our prisoners!1 And you trust in the gods, do you, after violating even the laws of men?" The king went on to remind Scipio that above all things it was necessary to finish the business speedily; for, apart from unforeseen contingencies, the consular elections were now close at hand, and it was only right to have regard to that, lest, if the winter found them just where they were, another Consul would come to supersede him, and without any trouble get all the credit of his labours.
He offers Hasdrubal personal security for delivering the town.
These words induced Scipio to give directions to offer Hasdrubal safety for himself, his wife and children, and ten families of his friends and relations, and permission to take ten talents of his private property and to bring out with him whichever of his slaves he chose. With these concessions therefore Gulussa went to his meeting with Hasdrubal on the third day, who again came forward with great pomp and at a dignified step, clothed in his purple robe and full suit of armour, so as to cast the tyrants of tragedy far into the shade. He was naturally fat, but at that time he had grown extremely corpulent, and had become more than usually red from exposure to the sun, so that he seemed to be living like fat oxen at a fair; and not at all like a man to be in command at a time of such terrible miseries as cannot easily be described in words. When he met the king, and heard the offer of the Consul, he slapped his thigh again and again, and appealing to the gods and Fortune declared that "The day would never come on which Hasdrubal would behold the sun and his native city in flames; for to the nobly-minded one's country and its burning houses were a glorious funeral pile."
The selfish and tyrannical conduct of Hasdrubal.
These expressions force us to feel some admiration for the man and the nobility of his language; but when we come to view his administration of affairs, we cannot fail to be struck by his want of spirit and courage; for at a time when his fellow-citizens were absolutely perishing with famine, he gave banquets and had second courses put on of a costly kind, and by his own excellent physical condition made their misery more conspicuous. For the number of the dying surpassed belief, as well as the number who deserted every day from hunger. However, by fiercely rebuking some, and by executing as well as abusing others, he cowed the common people: and by this means retained, in a country reduced to the lowest depths of misfortune, an authority which a tyrant would scarcely enjoy in a prosperous city.
Comparison between Hasdrubal and Diaeus.
Therefore I think I was justified in saying that two leaders more like each other than those who at that time directed the affairs of Greece and Carthage it would not be easy to find. And this will be rendered manifest when we come to a formal comparison of them. . . .

1 After the capture of Megara, the suburban district of Carthage, by Scipio, Hasdrubal withdrew into the Byrsa, got made commander-in-chief, and bringing all Roman prisoners to the battlements, put them to death with the most ghastly tortures. Appian, Pun. 118.

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