Sidor som bilder

magistrates: and as Hannibal perceived that he was heard with pleasure, and that the lowest and most inconsiderable of the people discovered on this occasion that they were no longer able to bear the insolent pride of these judges, who seemed to have a design upon their liberties, he proposed a law, which accordingly passed, by which it was enacted, that new judges should be chosen annually, with a clause that none should continue in office beyond that term. This law, at the same time that it acquired him the friendship and esteem of the people, drew upon

him proportionably the hatred of the greatest part of the grandees and nobility.

* He attempted another reformation, which created him new enemies, but gained him great honour. The public revenues were either squandered away by the negligence of those who had the management of them, or were plundered by the chief men of the city, and the magistrates; so that money being wanted to pay the annual tribute due to the Romans, the Carthaginians were going to levy it upon the people in general. Hannibal, entering into a large detail of the public revenues, ordered an exact estimate of them to be laid before him; inquired in what manner they had been applied ; the employments and ordinary expenses of the state ; and having discovered by this inquiry, that the public funds had been in a great measure embezzled, by the fraud of the officers who had the management of them, he declared and promised, in a full assembly of the people, that without laying any new taxes upon private men, the republic should hereafter be enabled to pay the tribute to the Romans : and he

[blocks in formation]

was as good as his word. The farmers of the revenues, whose plunder and rapine he had publicly detected, having accustomed themselves hitherto to fatten upon the spoils of their country, exclaimed vehemently against these regulations, as if their own property had been forced out of their hands, and not the sums they had plundered from the public.

The retreat and death of Hannibal. This double reformation of abuses raised great clamours against Hannibal. His enemies were writing incessantly to the chief men, or their friends at Rome, to inform them that he was carrying on a secret intelligence with Antiochus king of Syria ; that he frequently received couriers from him ; and that this prince had privately dispatched agents to Hannibal, to concert, with him, the measures for carrying on the war he was meditating: that as some animals are so extremely fierce, that it is impossible ever to tame them, in like manner this man was of so turbulent and implacable a spirit, that he could not brook ease, and therefore would, sooner or later, break out again. These informations were listened to at Rome; and as the transactions of the preceding war had been begun and carried on almost solely by Hannibal, they appeared the more probable. However, Scipio strongly opposed the violent measures which the senate were going to take, on their receiving this intelligence, by representing it as derogatory to the dignity of the Roman people, to countenance the hatred and accusations of Hannibal's enemies; to

Tum vero isti quos paverat per aliquot annos publicus peculatus, velut bonis ereptis, non furto eorum manibus extorto, infensi et irati, Romanos in Annibalem, et ipsos causam odii quærentes, instigaban.. Liv.

Liv. l. xxxiij. n. 45-49.

support, with their authority, their unjust passions ; and obstinately to pursue him even to the very heart of his country; as though the Romans had not hum. bled him sufficiently, in driving him out of the field, and forcing him to lay down his arms.

But notwithstanding these prudent remonstrances, the senate appointed three commissioners to go and make their complaints to Carthage, and to demand that Hannibal should be delivered up to them. On their arrival in that city, though other things were speciously pretended, yet Hannibal was perfectly sen. sible that himself only was aimed at. The evening being come, he conveyed himself on board a ship, which he had secretly provided for that purpose; on which occasion he bewailed his country's fate more than his own.

Sæpius patriæ quam suorumd eventus miseratus. This was the eighth year after the conclu. sion of the peace. The first place he landed at was Tyre, where he was received as in his second country, and had all the honours paid him which were due to his exalted merit. After staying some days here, he set out for Antioch, which the king had lately left, and from thence waited upon him at Ephesus. The arrival of so renowned a general gave great pleasure to the king, and did not a little contribute to determine him to engage in war against Rome; for hitherto he had ap. peared wavering and uncertain on that head. f In this city a philosopher, who was looked upon as the greatest orator of Asia, had the imprudence to harangue before Hannibal, on the duties of a general, and the rules of the art military. The speech charmed the whole audience : but Hannibal being asked his opinion of it, “I have seen,” says he, “many old dotards in my life, but this exceeds them all."!


& It should be, methinks, “

A. M. 3812. A. Rom. 556. f Cic. de Orat. I. ïi. n. 75, 76.

The Carthaginians, justly fearing that Hannibal's escape would certainly draw upon them the arms of the Romans, sent them advice that Hannibal was withdrawn to Antiochus." The Romans were very much disturbed at this news, and the king might have turned it extremely to his advantage, had he known how to make a proper use of it.

· The first counsel that Hannibal gave him at this time, and which he frequently repeated afterwards, was, to make Italy the seat of the war.

He required one hundred ships, eleven or twelve thousand land. forces, and offered to take upon himself the command of the fleet; to cross into Africa, in order to engage the Carthaginians in the war ; and afterwards to make a descent upon Italy, during which the king himself should be ready to cross over with his army into Italy, whenever it should be thought convenient. This was the only thing proper to be done, and the king approved very much the proposal at first.

8 Hic Pænus libere respondisse fertur, multos se deliros senes sæpe vidisse : Sed qui magis quam Phormio deliraret vidisse neminem. Sto. bæus, Serm. lii. gives the following account of this matter : 'Aniz ακετας Στοικε την επιχειρεντζ, οτι ο σοφος μονα σρατηγος εσιν, εγέλασε, νομιζων αδυνατον ειναι εκτός της δι εργων εμπειριας την 69 τετοις επισημη» έχει. i. e. Hannibal hearing a Stoic philosopher undertake to prove that the wise man was the only general, laughed, as thinking it impossible for a man to have any skill in war, without being long practised in it.

6 They did more, for they sent two ships to pursue Hannibal, and bring him back ; they sold off his goods, rased his house ; and, by a public decree, declared him an exile. Such was the gratitude the Carthaginians showed to the greatest general they ever had. Corn. Nep. in vita Hannib. c. 7.

i Liv. I. xxxiv. n. 60.

* Hannibal thought it would be expedient to prepare his friends at Carthage, in order to engage them the more strongly in his interest. The transmitting of particulars, by letters, is not only unsafe, but also gives an imperfect idea of things, and is never sufficiently particular. He therefore dispatched a trusty person, with ample instructions, to Carthage. This man was scarce arrived in the city, but his business was suspected. Accordingly he was watched and followed ; and, at last, orders were issued for his being seized. However, he prevented the vigilance of his enemies, and escaped in the night; after having fixed in several public places, papers which fully declared the occasion of his coming among them. The senate immediately sent advice of this to the Romans.

· Villius, one of the deputies who had been sent into Asia, to inquire into the state of affairs there, and, if possible, to discover the real designs of Antiochus, found Hannibal in Ephesus. He had many conferences with him, paid him several visits, and speciously affected to show him a particular esteem on all occasions. But his chief aim, by all this artificial beha. viour, was to make him be suspected, and to lessen his credit with the king, in which he succeeded but too well.

k Liv. l. xxxiv. n. 61.

: A. M. 3813. A. Rom. 557. Liv. l. xxxv. n. 14. Polyb. I. iii. p. 166, 167.

m Polybius represents this application of Villius to Hannibal, as a pre. meditated design, in order to render him suspected to Antiochus, be. cause of his intimacy with a Roman. Livy owns, that the affair succeed. ed as if it had been designed; but, at the same time, he gives, for a very obvious reason, another turn to this conversation, and says, that no more was intended by it, than to sound Hannibal, and to remove any fears or ape prehensions he might be under from the Romans.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »