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Xanthippus of Sparta

Now it happened that just about this time one of their
Arrival of the Spartan Xanthippus in Carthage.
recruiting agents, who had some time before been despatched to Greece, arrived home. brought a large number of men with him, and among them a certain Lacedaemonian named Xanthippus, a man trained in the Spartan discipline, and of large experience in war. When this man was informed of their defeat, and of how it had taken place, and when he had reviewed the military resources still left to the Carthaginians, and the number of their cavalry and elephants, he did not take long to come to a decided conclusion. He expressed his opinion to his friends that the Carthaginians had owed their defeat, not to the superiority of the Romans, but to the unskilfulness of their own commanders. The dangerous state of their affairs caused the words of Xanthippus to get abroad quickly among the people and to reach the ears of the generals; and the men in authority determined to summon and question him. He appeared, and laid his views before the magistrates; in which he showed to what they owed their present disasters, and that if they would take his advice and keep to the flat parts of the country alike in marching, encamping, and giving battle, they would be able with perfect ease to secure safety for themselves and to defeat their opponents in the field. The generals accepted the suggestion, resolved to follow his advice, and there and then put their forces at his command. Among the multitude the observation of Xanthippus was passed from mouth to mouth, and gave rise, as was to be expected, to a good deal of popular rumour and sanguine talk. This was confirmed when he had once handled the troops. The way in which he got them into order when he had led them outside the town; the skill with which he manœuvred the separate detachments, and passed the word of command down the ranks in due conformity to the rules of tactics, at once impressed every one with the contrast to the blundering of their former generals. The multitude expressed their approbation by loud cheers, and were for engaging the enemy without delay, convinced that no harm could happen to them as long as Xanthippus was their leader. The generals took advantage of this circumstance, and of the extraordinary recovery which they saw had taken place in the spirits of the people. They addressed them some exhortations befitting the occasion, and after a few days' delay got their forces on foot and started. Their army consisted of twelve thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and nearly a hundred elephants.

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