Scipio's Treatment of the Prisoners
For, as the majority of mankind encounter miseries and
embrace dangers for the sake of gain, it is plain that when
such opportunity is presented to them as this, the men in the reserve or in the camp would be with difficulty induced to abstain
from taking advantage of it; because the usual idea is that everything belongs to the man who actually takes it: and though a
general or king may be careful to order all booty to be brought
into the common stock, yet everybody considers that what he
can conceal is his own. The result is that, while the ruck
of the army cannot be prevented from eagerly devoting themselves to plunder,
they often run the risk of a complete overthrow: and it has often in fact happened that after a successful
movement, such as the carrying of an entrenched camp or the
capture of a city, the victorious army has, from no other cause
but this, been not only ejected but even utterly defeated.
Therefore there is nothing about which leaders ought to exercise
more care or foresight, than that, on such an occasion, all
may have an absolutely equal prospect of sharing in the booty.
Thus on the present occasion, while the Tribunes were
busied in the distribution of the spoil; the Roman commander
caused the prisoners, who numbered little short of
Scipio's treatment of the prisoners. The citizens are dismissed to their homes.
ten thousand, to be assembled; and having first
ordered them to be divided into two groups,
one containing the citizens and their wives and
children, the other the craftsmen, he exhorted
the first of these to be loyal to the Romans,
and to remember the favour which they were now receiving,
and allowed them all to depart to their own houses.
tears of joy at this unexpected preservation, they bowed in
reverence to Scipio and dispersed.
The skilled slaves are promised their freedom at the end of the war.
told the craftsmen that they were for the present
public slaves of Rome
, but that, if they showed
themselves loyal and zealous in their several
crafts, he promised them their freedom, as soon as the war with
the Carthaginians had been brought to a successful issue.
Some are drafted into the navy.
then bade them go get their names enrolled in the office of
the Quaestor, and appointed a Roman overseer for every
thirty of them, their whole number being about two thousand.
From the remaining captives he selected the
strongest, those who were in the prime of
youth and physical vigour, and assigned them
to serve on board ship: and having thus increased the number
of his naval allies by one half, he manned the ships taken from
the enemy as well as his own; so that the number of men on
board each vessel were now little short of double what it was
before. For the captured ships numbered eighteen, his
original fleet thirty-five. These men he also promised their
freedom, if they showed themselves loyal and zealous, as soon
as they had conquered the Carthaginians. By this treatment
of the captives he inspired the citizens with warm feelings of
loyalty and fidelity, and the handicraftsmen with great
readiness to serve, from the hope held out to them of recovering