Character of Hasdrubal
HASDRUBAL, the general of the Carthaginians, was a vain
The siege of Carthage, B. C. 147. Coss. P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus, C. Livius Donsus.
ostentatious person, very far from possessing
real strategic ability. There are numerous
proofs of his want of judgment. In the first
place he appeared in full armour in his interview with Gulussa, king of the Numidians, with
a purple dyed robe over his armour fastened by
a brooch, and attended by ten bodyguards armed with swords;
and in the next place, having advanced in front of these
armed attendants to a distance of about twenty feet, he stood
behind the trench and palisade and beckoned the king to
come to him, whereas it ought to have been quite the other way.
Interview between Hasdrubal and King Gulussa.
However, Gulussa, after the Numidian fashion, being not
inclined to stand on ceremony, advanced
towards him unattended, and when he got near
him asked him "Whom he was afraid of that he
had come in full armour?" And on his answering, "The
Romans," Gulussa remarked: "Then you should not have
trusted yourself to the city, when there was no necessity for
your doing so. However, what do you want, and what do
you ask me to do?" To which Hasdrubal replied: "I want
you to go as our ambassador to the Roman commander, and
to undertake for us that we will obey every injunction; only
I beg of you both to abstain from harming this wretched city."
Then said Gulussa: "Your demand appears to me to be quite
childish! Why, my good sir, what you failed to get by your
embassies from the Romans, who were then quietly encamped
at Utica, and before a blow had been struck,—how can you
expect to have granted you now, when you have been completely
invested by sea and land, and have almost given up every hope
of safety?" To which Hasdrubal replied that "Gulussa was
ill informed; for they still had good hopes of their outside
allies,"—for he had not yet heard about the Mauretani, and
thought that the forces in the country were still unconquered,1
—"nor were they in despair as to their own ultimate safety.
And above all, they trusted in the support of the gods, and in
what they might expect from them; for they believed that
they would not disregard the flagrant violation of treaty from
which they were suffering, but would give them many opportunities of securing their safety. Therefore he called on the
Roman commander in the name of the gods and of Fortune to
spare the city; with the distinct understanding that, if its
inhabitants failed to obtain this grace, they would be cut to
pieces to the last man sooner than evacuate it." After some
more conversation of the same sort, these men separated for
the present, having made an appointment to meet again on
the third day from that time.