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Gesco and His Staff Arrested

This complete disorganisation and disorder did not escape the observation of Gesco. But his chief anxiety was to secure the safety of his country; and seeing clearly that, if these men were driven to exasperation, the Carthaginians would be in danger of total destruction, he exerted himself with desperate courage and persistence: sometimes summoning their officers, sometimes calling a meeting of the men according to their nationalities and remonstrating with them. But on one occasion the Libyans, not having received their wages as soon as they considered that they ought to have been paid to them, approached Gesco himself with some insolence.
Gesco and his staff seized and thrown into chains
With the idea of rebuking their precipitancy he refused to produce the pay, and bade them "go and ask their general Mathōs for it." This so enraged them, that without a moment's delay they first made a raid upon the money that was kept in readiness, and then arrested Gesco and the Carthaginians with him. Mathōs and Spendius thought that the speediest way to secure an outbreak of war was for the men to commit some outrage upon the sanctity of law and in violation of their engagements. They therefore co-operated with the mass of the men in their reckless outrages; plundered the baggage of the Carthaginians along with their money; manacled Gesco and his staff with every mark of insolent violence, and committed them into custody. Thenceforth they were at open war with Carthage, having bound themselves together by oaths which were at once impious and contrary to the principles universally received among mankind.

This was the origin and beginning of the mercenary, or, as

B.C. 240.
it is also called, the Libyan war. Mathōs lost no time after this outrage in sending emissaries to the various cities in Libya, urging them to assert their freedom, and begging them to come to their aid and join them in their undertaking. The appeal was successful: nearly all the cities in Libya readily listened to the proposal that they should revolt against Carthage, and were soon zealously engaged in sending them supplies and reinforcements. They therefore divided themselves into two parties; one of which laid siege to Utica, the other to Hippo Zarytus, because these two cities refused to participate in the revolt.

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