They were then summoned to an assembly by Mandonius, at which, after complaining bitterly of the losses they had sustained, and upbraiding the instigators of the war, they resolved that ambassadors should be sent with proposals to deliver up their arms and make a surrender.
These, laying the blame on Indibilis, the instigator of the war, and the other chiefs, most of whom had fallen in the battle, and offering to deliver up their arms and surrender themselves, received for answer, that their surrender would be accepted on condition that they delivered up alive Mandonius and the rest of the persons who had fomented the war;
but if they refused to comply, that armies should be marched into the territories of the Ilergetians and Ausetanians, and afterwards into those of the other states in succession.
This answer given to the ambassadors, was reported to the assembly, and Mandonius and the other chiefs were there seized and delivered up for punish- [p. 1236]
Peace was restored to the states of Spain, which were ordered to pay double taxes that year, and furnish corn for six months, together with cloaks and gowns for the army; and hostages were taken from about thirty of the states.
The tumult occasioned by the rebellion in Spain having been thus excited and suppressed within the space of a few days, without any great disturbance, the whole terror of the war was directed against Africa.
Caius Laelius having arrived at Hippo Regius by night, at break of day led his soldiers and mariners in regular array to lay waste the country.
As all the inhabitants were living unguardedly, as in a time of peace, great damage was done; and messengers, flying in terror, filled Carthage with alarm, by reporting that the Roman fleet and the general, Scipio, had arrived; for there was a rumour that Scipio had already crossed over into Sicily.
Not knowing accurately how many ships they had seen, or how large a body of troops was devastating the country, they, under the influence of fear, which represented them as greater than they really were, exaggerated every thing.
Accordingly, at first, terror and dismay took possession of their minds, but afterwards grief, when they reflected that their circumstances had undergone so great a change; that they, who lately as conquerors had an army before the walls of Rome, and, after having laid prostrate so many armies of the enemy, had received the surrender of all the states of Italy, either by force or choice, now, the war having
taken an unfavourable turn, were destined to behold the devastation of Africa and the siege of Carthage, without any thing like the resources to enable them to bear up against those calamities which the Romans possessed.
To the latter the Roman commons and Latium afforded a supply of young men, which continually grew up more vigorous and more numerous, in the room of so many armies destroyed, while their own people, both those in the city and those in the country, were unfit for military service;
their troops consisted of auxiliaries, procured by hire from the Africans, a faithless nation, and veering about with every gale of fortune.
Now too, with regard to the kings, Syphax was alienated from them since his conference with Scipio, and Masinissa, by an open defection, had become their most determined enemy. Wherever they turned their eyes there was no hope, no aid.
Neither did Mago ex- [p. 1237]
cite any commotion on the side of Gaul, nor join his forces with those of Hannibal; while Hannibal himself was now declining both in reputation and strength.