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Fall of Carthage

The pompous Hasdrubal threw himself on his knees before the Roman commander, quite forgetful of his proud language. . . .

When the Carthaginian commander thus threw himself as a suppliant at Scipio's knees, the proconsul with a glance at those present said: "See what Fortune is, gentlemen! What an example she makes of irrational men! This is the Hasdrubal who but the other day disdained the large favours which I offered him, and said that the most glorious funeral pyre was one's country and its burning ruins. Now he comes with suppliant wreaths, beseeching us for bare life and resting all his hopes on us. Who would not learn from such a spectacle that a mere man should never say or do anything presumptuous?" Then some of the deserters came to the edge of the roof and begged the front ranks of the assailants to hold their hands for a little; and, on Scipio ordering a halt, they began abusing Hasdrubal, some for his perjury, declaring that he had sworn again and again on the altars that he would never abandon them, and others for his cowardice and utter baseness: and they did this in the most unsparing language, and with the bitterest terms of abuse. And just at this moment Hasdrubal's wife, seeing him seated in front of the enemy with Scipio, advanced in front of the deserters, dressed in noble and dignified attire herself, but holding in her hands, on either side, her two boys dressed only in short tunics and shielded under her own robes.1 First she addressed Hasdrubal by his name, and when he said nothing but remained with his head bowed to the ground, she began by calling on the name of the gods, and next thanked Scipio warmly because, as far as he could secure it, both she and her children were saved.2 And then, pausing for a short time, she asked Hasdrubal how he had had the heart to secure this favour from the Roman general for himself alone, . . . and, leaving his fellow-citizens who trusted in him in the most miserable plight, had gone over secretly to the enemy? And how he had the assurance to be sitting there holding suppliant boughs, in the face of the very men to whom he had frequently said that the day would never come in which the sun would see Hasdrubal alive and his native city in flames. . . .

Hasdrubal's wife finally threw herself and children from the citadel into the burning streets. Livy, Ep. 51.

After an interview with [Scipio], in which he was kindly treated, Hasdrubal desired leave to go away from the town. . . .

1 μετὰ τῶν ἰδίων ἐνδυμάτων. The German translator Kraz gives up these words in despair. Kampe translated them in ihrer gewöhnlicher Tracht. Mr. Strachan-Davidson says, "προσειληφυῖα, etc., 'folding them in her own robe with her hands,'" which seems straining the meaning of προσειληφυῖα. The French translator says, deux enfans suspendus à ses vétemens.

2 According to Livy (Ep. 51) she had tried to induce her husband to accept the offer described in 38, 2.

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