Hamilcar Captures Spendius
But when they had used up for food the captives in
this horrible manner, and then the bodies of their slaves,
and still no one came to their relief from Tunes, their
sufferings became too dreadful to bear; and the common
soldiers broke out into open threats of violence against
their officers. Thereupon Autaritus, Zarzas, and Spendius
decided to put themselves into the hands of the enemy and
to hold a parley with Hamilcar, and try to make terms.
They accordingly sent a herald and obtained permission for
the despatch of an embassy.
Spendius and Autaritus fall into the hands of Hamilcar.
It consisted of
ten ambassadors, who, on their arrival at the
Carthaginian camp, concluded an agreement
with Hamilcar on these terms: "The Carthaginians may select any ten men they choose from the enemy,
and allow the rest to depart with one tunic apiece." No
sooner had these terms been agreed to, than Hamilcar said at
once that he selected, according to the terms of the agreement,
the ten ambassadors themselves. The Carthaginians thus got
possession of Autaritus, Spendius, and the other most conspicuous officers. The Libyans saw that their officers were arrested,
and not knowing the terms of the treaty, believed that some
perfidy was being practised against them, and accordingly flew
to seize their arms. Hamilcar thereupon surrounded them
with his elephants and his entire force, and destroyed them to
a man. This slaughter, by which more than forty thousand
perished, took place near a place called the Saw, so named from
its shape resembling that tool.