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CHAPTER VI Scipio visits Africa -- Other operations in Spain -- Destruction of Ilurgia -- The Fate of Astapa Y.R. 548 Now Lucius [his brother], having returned from B.C. 206 Rome, told Scipio that the Romans were thinking of sending the latter as general to Africa. Scipio had strongly desired this for some time and hoped that events might take this turn. Accordingly he sent Lælius with five ships to Africa on a mission to King Syphax, to make presents to him and remind him of the friendship of the Scipios, and ask him to join the Romans if they should make an expedition to Africa. He promised to do so, accepted the presents, and sent others in return. When the Carthaginians discovered this they also sent envoys to Syphax to seek his alliance. When Scipio heard of this, judging that it was a matter of importance to win and confirm the alliance of Syphax against the Carthaginians, he took Lælius and went over to Africa with two ships, to see Syphax in person.