The language employed by the others was of a nature more calculated to excite compassion; they represented from what a height of power the Carthaginian affairs had fallen.
Continuing Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage,
our selection from History of Rome, Book XII by Livy published in between 27 BC and 9 BC. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in seven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage.
Time: 202 BC
Place: Zama, Tunisia
The Roman, together with the Carthaginian, ambassadors having arrived at Rome from Africa, the senate was assembled at the temple of Bellona; when Lucius Veturius Philo stated, to the great joy of the senate, that a battle had been fought with Hannibal which was decisive of the fate of the Carthaginians, and that a period was at length put to that calamitous war. He added what formed a small accession to their successes, that Vermina, the son of Syphax, had been vanquished. He was then ordered to go forth to the public assembly and impart the joyful tidings to the people. Then, a thanksgiving having been appointed, all the temples in the city were thrown open and supplications for three days were decreed. Publius Scipio was continued in command in the province of Africa with the armies which he then had. The Carthaginian ambassadors were called before the senate. On observing their ages and dignified appearance, for they were by far the first men of the State, all promptly declared their conviction that now they were sincere in their desire to effect a peace. Hasdrubal, however, surnamed by his countrymen Haedus, who had invariably recommended peace and was opposed to the Barcine faction, was regarded with greater interest than the rest.
On these accounts the greater weight was attached to him when transferring the blame of the war from the State at large to the cupidity of a few. After a speech of varied character, in which he sometimes refuted the charges which had been brought, at other times admitted some, lest by imprudently denying what was manifestly true their forgiveness might be the more difficult; and then, even admonishing the conscript fathers to be guided by the rules of decorum and moderation in their prosperity, he said that if the Carthaginians had listened to himself and Hanno, and had been disposed to make a proper use of circumstances, they would themselves have dictated terms of peace, instead of begging it as they now did. That it rarely happened that good fortune and a sound judgment were bestowed upon men at the same time. That the Roman people were therefore invincible, because when successful they forgot not the maxims of wisdom and prudence; and indeed it would have been matter of astonishment did they act otherwise. That those persons to whom success was a new and uncommon thing proceeded to a pitch of madness in their ungoverned transports in consequence of their not being accustomed to it. That to the Roman people the joy arising from victory was a matter of common occurrence, and was now almost become old-fashioned. That they had extended their empire more by sparing the vanquished than by conquering.
The language employed by the others was of a nature more calculated to excite compassion; they represented from what a height of power the Carthaginian affairs had fallen. That nothing besides the walls of Carthage remained to those who a little time ago held almost the whole world in subjection by their arms; that shut up within these, they could see nothing anywhere on sea or land which owned their authority. That they would retain possession of their city itself and their household gods only in case the Roman people should refrain from venting their indignation upon these, which is all that remains for them to do. When it was manifest that the fathers were moved by compassion, it is said that one of the senators, violently incensed at the perfidy of the Carthaginians, immediately asked with a loud voice by what gods they would swear in striking the league, since they had broken their faith with those by whom they swore in striking the former one? By those same, replied Hasdrubal, who have shown such determined hostility to the violators of treaties.
The minds of all being disposed to peace, Cneius Lentulus, whose province the fleet was, protested against the decree of the senate. Upon this, Manius Acilius and Quintus Minucius, tribunes of the people, put the question to the people whether they willed and ordered that the senate should decree that peace should be made with the Carthaginians? whom they ordered to grant that peace, and whom to conduct the army out of Africa? All the tribes ordered respecting the peace according as the question had been put. That Publius Scipio should grant the peace, and that he also should conduct the army home. Agreeably to this order, the senate decreed that Publius Scipio, acting according to the opinion of the ten deputies, should make peace with the Carthaginian people on what terms he pleased. The Carthaginians then returned thanks to the senate, and requested that they might be allowed to enter the city and converse with their countrymen who had been made prisoners and were in custody of the State; observing that some of them were their relations and friends, and men of rank, and some, persons to whom they were charged with messages from their relations.
Having obtained these requests, they again asked permission to ransom such of them as they pleased; when they were desired to give in their names. Having given in a list of about two hundred, a decree of the senate was passed to the effect that the Carthaginian ambassadors should be allowed to take away into Africa to Publius Cornelius Scipio two hundred of the Carthaginian prisoners, selecting whom they pleased; and that they should convey to him a message that if the peace were concluded he should restore them to the Carthaginians without ransom.
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