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
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. . . .