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The Mutineers Resolve to Murder Gesco

This conspiracy of Mathōs and Spendius caused an outbreak about this same time in another quarter.
Mutiny in Sardinia.
For the mercenaries who were in garrison in Sardinia, inspired by their example, attacked the Carthaginians in the island; beleaguered Bostarus, the commander of the foreign contingent, in the citadel; and finally put him and his compatriots to the sword. The Carthaginians thereupon sent another army into the island under Hanno. But the men deserted to the mutineers; who then seized Hanno and crucified him, and exercising all their ingenuity in the invention of tortures racked to death every Carthaginian in the island. Having got the towns into their power, they thenceforth kept forcible possession of the island; until they quarrelled with the natives and were driven by them into Italy. This was the way in which Carthage lost Sardinia, an island of first-rate importance from its size, the number of its inhabitants, and its natural products. But as many have described it at great length, I do not think that I need repeat statements about which there is no manner of dispute.

To return to Libya. The indulgence shown by Hamilcar

B. C. 239. Plan of Spendius for doing away with the good impression made by the leniency of Barcas.
to the captives alarmed Mathōs and Spendius and Autaritus Gaul. They were afraid that conciliatory treatment of this sort would induce the Libyans, and the main body of the mercenaries, to embrace with eagerness the impunity thus displayed before their eyes. They consulted together, therefore, how they might by some new act of infamy inflame to the highest pitch of fury the feelings of their men against the Carthaginians. They finally determined upon the following plan. They summoned a meeting of the soldiers; and when it was assembled, they introduced a bearer of a despatch which they represented to have been sent by their fellow conspirators in Sardinia. The despatch warned them to keep a careful watch over Gesco and all his fellow prisoners (whom, as has been stated, they had treacherously seized in Tunes), as certain persons in the camp were secretly negotiating with the Carthaginians for their release. Taking this as his text, Spendius commenced by urging the men not to put any trust in the indulgence shown by the Carthaginian general to the prisoners of war, "For," said he, "it is with no intention of saving their lives that he adopted this course in regard to the prisoners; his aim was, by releasing them, to get us into his power, that punishment might not be confined to some of us, but might fall on all at once." He went on to urge them to be on their guard, lest by letting Gesco's party go they should teach their enemies to despise them; and should also do great practical damage to their own interests, by suffering a man to escape who was an excellent general, and likely to be a most formidable enemy to themselves. Before he had finished this speech another courier arrived, pretending to have been sent by the garrison at Tunes, and bearing a despatch containing warnings similar to that from Sardinia.

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