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senate, after a faint resistance, complied. Asdrubal sailing out of the harbour, seized the greatest part
of the Roman ships, and brought them to Carthage, although the truce was still subsisting.
Scipio sent deputies to the Carthaginian senate, to complain of this, but they were little regarded. Hannibal's approach had revived their courage, and filled them with great hopes. The deputies were even in great danger of being ill treated by the populace. They therefore demanded a convoy, which was granted, and accordingly two ships of the republic attended them. But the magistrates, who were absolutely against peace, and determined to renew the war, gave private orders to Asdrubal, who was with the fleet near Utica, to attack the Roman galley when it should arrive in the river Bagrada near the Roman camp, where the convoy was ordered to leave them. He obeyed the order, and sent out two gallies, against the ambassadors, who nevertheless made their escape, but with difficulty and danger.
This was a fresh subject for a war between the two nations, who now were more animated, or rather more exasperated one against the other, than ever; the Romans, from the strong desire they had to revenge so black a perfidy; and the Carthaginians, from a persua. sion that they were not now to expect a peace.
At the same time Lelius and Fulvius, who carried the full powers with which the senate and people of Rome had invested Scipio, arrived in the camp, accompanied by the deputies of Carthage. As the Carthaginians had not only infringed the truce, but violated the law of nations, in the person of the Roman ambassadors, it was natural that their principals should order the Carthaginian deputies to be seized by way of reprisal. However, Scipio," more attentive to the Roman generosity, than to the demerits of the Carthaginians, in order not to deviate from the princi. ples and maxims of his own countrymen, nor his own character, dismissed the deputies, without offering them the least injury. So astonishing an instance of moderation, and at such a juncture, terrified the Carthaginians, and even put them to the blush ; and made Hannibal himself entertain a still higher idea of a gen. eral, who, to the dishonourable practices of his enemies, opposed only a rectitude and greatness of soul, that was still more worthy of admiration than all his military virtues.
In the mean time, Hannibal, being strongly importuned by his fellowcitizens, advanced forward into the country ; and, arriving at Zama, which is five days march from Carthage, he there pitched his camp. He thence sent out spies to observe the posture of the Romans. Scipio, having seized these, so far from punishing them, only commanded them to be led about the Roman camp, in order that they might take an exact survey of it, and then sent them back to Hannibal. The latter knew very well whence so noble an assurance flowed. After the strange reverses he had met with, he no longer expected that fortune would again be propitious. Whilst every one was exciting him to give battle, himself only meditated a peace. He flattered himself that the conditions of it would be more honourable for him, as he was at the head of an army,
η Εσκοπειτο παρ' αυτω συλλογιζομενος, εχ ετα τι σεον παθειν Καρχηδονιας, was to deov ny apzca. Ponants. Polyb. I. sv. p. 965, edit. Gronov.
Quibus Scipio. Etsi non induciarum modo fides, sed etiam jus gentium ja legatis violatum esset ; tamen se nihil nec institutis populi Romani nec quis moribus indignum in iis facturum esse. Liv. 1. xxx. n. 25.
and as the fate of arms might still appear uncertain. He therefore sent to desire an interview with Scipio, which accordingly was agreed to, and the time and
The interview between Hannibal and Scipio followed by a battle. These two generals, who were not only the most illustrious of their own age, but worthy of being ranked with the most renowned princes and war, riors that hadever lived, meeting at the place appointed, continued for some time in a deep silence, as though they were astonished, and struck with a mutual admiration at the sight of each other. At last Hannibal spoke; and, afterhaving praised Scipio in the most artful and delicate manner, he gave a very lively description of the ravages of the war, and the calamities in which it had involved both the victors and the vanquished. He conjured him not to suffer himself to be dazzled by the splendor of his victories. He represented to him, that how success. ful soever he might have hitherto been, he ought, how. ever, to tremble at the inconstancy of fortune : that without going far back for examples, he himself, who was then speaking to him, was a glaring proof of this: that Scipio was at that time what himself, Hannibal, had been at Thrasymene, and Cannae : that he ought to make a better use of opportunity than himself had done, and consent to peace, now it was in his power to propose the conditions of it. He concluded with declar. ing that the Carthaginians would willingly resign Sici. ly, Sardinia, Spain, and all the islands, between Africa and Italy, to the Romans. That they must be forced, since such was the will of the gods, to confine them.
• A. M. 3803. A. Rom. 547. Polyb. I. xv. p. 694703. Liv. I. III. P. 29--35.
selves to Africa ; whilst they should see the Romans extending their conquests to the most remote regions, and obliging all nations to pay obedience to their laws.
Scipio answered in few words, but not with less dignity. He reproached the Carthaginians for their perfidy, in plundering the Roman gallies before the truce was expired. He imputed to them only, and to their injustice, all the calamities with which the two wars had been attended. After thanking Hannibal for the admonition he gave him, with regard to the uncertainty of human events, he concluded with desiring him to prepare for battle, unless he, chose rather to accept of the conditions that had been already proposed; to which, he observed, some others would be added, in order to punish the Carthaginians for their having violated the truce.
Hannibal could not prevail with himself to accept these conditions, and the generals left one another, with the resolution to decide the fate of Carthage by a general battle. Each commander exhorted his troops to fight valiantly. Hannibal enumerated the victories he had gained over the Romans, the generals he had slain, the armies he had cut to pieces. Scipio represented to his soldiers, the conquests of both the Spains, his successes in Africa, and the tacit confession their enemies themselves made of their weakness, by thus coming to sue for peace. All this he spoke P with the tone and air of a conqueror. Never were motives more prevalent to prompt troops to behave gallantly. This day was to complete the glory of the one or the other of the generals; and to decide whether Rome or Carthage was to prescribe laws to all other nations.
Celsus hæc corpore vultuque ita læto, ut vicisse jam crederes, dice. bat. Liv. L. xxx. n. 32.
I shall not undertake to describe the order of the battle, nor the valor of the forces on both sides. The reader will naturally suppose that two such experienced generals did not forget any circumstance which could contribute to the victory. The Carthaginians, after a very obstinate fight, were obliged to fly, leaving twenty thousand men on the field of battle, and the like num. ber of prisoners were taken by the Romans. Hanni. bal escaped in the tumult, and, entering Carthage, owned that he was irrecoverably overthrown, and that the citizens had no other choice left, but to accept of peace on any conditions. Scipio bestowed great eulogiums on Hannibal, chiefly with regard to his capacity in taking advantages, his manner of drawing up his
and giving out his orders in the engagement; and he affirmed, that Hannibal had this day surpassed himself, although the success had not answered his valor and conduct.
With regard to himself, he well knew how to make a proper advantage of the victory, and the consternation with which he had filled the enemy. He commanded one of his lieutenants to march his land army to Car. thage, whilst himself prepared to sail the fleet thither.
He was not far from the city, when he met a vessel covered with streamers and olive branches, bringing ten of the most considerable persons of the state, as ambassadors to implore his clemency. However, he dismissed them without making any answer, and bid them come to him at Tunis, where he should halt. The deputies of Carthage, being thirty in number, came to him at the place appointed, and sued for peace in the most submissive terms. He then called a counsel there, the majority of which were for rasing Carthage, and