Libyssan earth shall cover the form of Hannibal.Hannibal thought this referred to Libya and a burial at Carthage, and believed that he would end his days there;  but there is a sandy tract in Bithynia on the sea-shore, and on its border a large village called Libyssa. Near this village Hannibal was living. But he had always distrusted the weakness of Prusias and feared the Romans, and therefore even before this time his house had been provided with seven underground exits leading from his own chamber. These ran in different directions beneath the surface of the ground, but all had secret issues far away.  Accordingly, when he now heard of the behest of Titus, he set out to make his escape by way of the underground passages, but encountered guards of the king, and therefore determined to take his own life. Some say that he wound his cloak about his neck and then ordered a servant to plant his knee in the small of his back, pull the rope towards him with all his might until it was twisted tight, and so to choke and kill him; some, too, say that he drank bull's blood in imitation of Themistocles3 and Midas; but Livy says4 that he had poison which he ordered to be mixed, and took the cup with these words: ‘Let us now at last put an end to the great anxiety of the Romans, who have thought it too long and hard a task to wait for the death of a hated old man. Nevertheless, Titus will riot bear away an enviable victory, nor one worthy of his forefathers, who sent secret information to Pyrrhus, when he was at war with them and a victor over them, of the poisoning that was going to be attempted.’ 5
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.