Orosius: book 4


Preface. Vergil relates that when Aeneas was having a hard time consoling the few companions he had left after their common dangers and the shipwreck of their fellows, he spoke these words:

Perchance some day it will be a joy to recollect even this.

This sentiment, so aptly expressed, always carries a meaning that may be interpreted in three different ways. The more trying past events were in actual experience, the more pleasing, it is held, they are to relate. Future events, which become desirable because of our feeling of disgust for the present, we always believe will be better. But so far as present events are concerned, we can make no just comparison of miseries; for no matter how insignificant present evils may be, they cause much more trouble than either those which have taken place in the past or those which will come in the future. Furthermore, even if we speak of past and future evils as great, they do not exist for us at the present moment.

A man who is annoyed by fleas at night and unable to sleep may happen to recall other wakeful hours that he once endured from burning fevers. Without doubt he will bear far less patiently the restlessness of these hours than the recollection of his earlier experience. Everyone on the basis of his own experience can testify that the time element does introduce a new consideration here. But will anyone come forth and assert, whatever his pain, that fleas cause greater suffering than do fevers? Or will anyone maintain that it is more unpleasant to be kept awake while in sound health than to be unable to sleep when at the point of death? Since this is so, I am quite willing to allow those dandies and my other critics to consider severe the evils confronting them (evils which occasionally reprove us for our benefit), yet I do not approve their making them more severe, by comparison, than they actually are.

It is as if a man should have left his soft bed and comfortable chamber early in the morning and should see in the distance that the surfaces of the ponds had become frozen from the chill of the night and that the plants had become white with hoarfrost. Prompted by the unexpected sight, he might say, "We have winter weather today." I should not consider that this man should in any way be censured, for in his description he employed the terms in their common usage and in their proper sense. But let us suppose that in a state of alarm he should rush back into his bedchamber and pull the covers over himself, completely hiding himself from view, and then should shout that there never had been such cold in the Apennines, no, not even at the time when Hannibal, overcome and buried by a heavy snowstorm, lost his elephants, horses, and most of his army. Then not only could I not bear a man talking in this way and uttering such childish nonsense, but I would also drag him out from under those covers, the witnesses of his idle life, and expose him before the people in a public place. Once I had led him out of doors, I should show him the children who were playing there, taking delight in the cold and yet perspiring in spite of it. Thus I would teach this man, so full of verbose nonsense and corrupted by his luxurious upbringing, that his discomfort was due not to the severity of the weather but to sluggishness in himself. By comparison and careful examination of the actual conditions, I would also prove to him that his ancestors bore really great burdens but that he himself is not even strong enough to bear little ones.

I shall prove this more clearly by turning over in my memory the disasters of the past in due order. Among the first, I shall discuss the Pyrrhic War. Its causes and origin were as follows.

1. Four hundred and sixty-four years after the founding of the City, some Tarentines, who were seated in a theatre, saw in the distance a Roman fleet that happened to be sailing by. They proceeded to attack this fleet, and only five boats managed to escape. The rest they dragged into the harbor and destroyed. They killed the captains of the ships and slew all men of any use in war; the remainder they sold into slavery. The Romans at once sent envoys to Tarentum to complain about the outrage that they had suffered. The Tarentines, however, beat these ambassadors, who then brought back the story of this still greater outrage. From these causes a great war arose.

After the Romans had made a careful survey to discover the identity and the number of the enemies who on all sides were raising a clamor, they were forced as a final measure to arm the proletariat and enroll them in the army. This proletariat was composed of those in the city who had always been free to devote themselves to raising children. As a matter of fact, any careful provision with regard to children was useless unless measures were taken to deal with present emergency. Therefore a Roman army under the consul Aemiliusinvaded all the territories of the Tarentines, laid waste everything with fire and sword, captured many towns, and exacted a cruel vengeance to expiate those outrages inflicted contrary to all custom.

The numbers of the Tarentines, who were supported by large contingents of their neighbors, were greatly increased by Pyrrhus, who, because of the magnitude of the forces and plans involved, took over the command and gave his name to the war. In order to free Tarentum, a city founded by the Lacedaemonians and thus related by blood to Greece, Pyrrhus brought the entire forces of Epirus, Thessaly, and Macedonia to Italy. Here he was the first to introduce elephants, which the Romans had never before seen. Pyrrhus would have inspired terror on land and sea on account of his men, horses, arms, and beasts, and especially on account of his own energy and skill in trickery, but he was deceived by the ambiguous response of the Delphian God, that most boastful and lying scoundrel whom they called a great prophet. Consequently he met the same end as one would have met who had not consulted the oracle.

The first battle between King Pyrrhus and the consul Laevinus  was fought near the Liris River  and Heraclea, a city of Campania. The terrible struggle lasted the whole day. On both sides every man expected death and did not know the meaning of retreat. When the Romans saw elephants, savage in appearance, strong in odor, and terrifying in their huge bulk, entering between the clashing lines of battle, they fled in all directions. In meeting this new kind of warfare they became terror-stricken, while the horses trembled greatly from fear. But Minucius, the first hastatus of the fourth legion, used his sword to cut off an elephant's trunk and forced the beast, now distracted by the pain of his wound, to leave the battle and to vent his rage upon the army to which he belonged. Pyrrhus's army began to be thrown into disorder and confusion by the wild charge of the beast. Darkness finally put an end to the battle.

The disgraceful flight showed that the Romans had been defeated. Their losses at that time were as follows: 14,880 of the infantry dead and 1,310 captured; 246 of the cavalry slain and 802 taken prisoner. Twenty-two standards were lost. Tradition does not tell us if as great a number of Pyrrhus's allies were destroyed on the opposite side. For it is certainly not the custom of writers of olden times to preserve for posterity the number of the victor's dead, lest his losses tarnish the glory of his victory, unless by chance so few fall that the number lost enhances the admiration for and the fear of the victor's courage. This was the case with Alexander the

Great in the first battle of the Persian War. It is reported that his army lost only nine infantrymen, whereas the enemy's losses numbered almost four thousand. Pyrrhus, however, bore witness before gods and men to the frightfulness of the disaster that he had suffered in that battle, when he wrote these words, adding them to the inscription in the temple of Jove at Tarentum:

Those men who were earlier unconquered, blessed father Olympus, I myself have defeated in battle and have been defeated by them.

When rebuked by his allies for saying that though a conqueror he had been defeated, Pyrrhus is said to have replied: "If I win another victory of the same kind, I shall return to Epirus without one soldier."

In the meantime the Roman army, which had been defeated and had fled secretly from its camp, saw plainly that the miserable disaster suffered in battle had been greatly increased and aggravated by still more troublesome portents. As if aiding the enemy, a terrific thunderstorm arose and by the fire of its dreadful lightning bolts destroyed some foragers who had gone out from camp and had been overtaken by the storm.

In fact that hurricane laid low thirty-four of the party, twenty-two were left half alive, and many of the baggage animals were driven mad and died: so that it is rightly said that this happened not as foreshadowing a disaster but was a disaster in itself.

A second battle was fought between Pyrrhus and the Roman consuls on the borders of Apulia. Both generals suffered severe losses, especially Pyrrhus. The victory, however, fell to the Romans. For a long time and with all their strength both armies hurled themselves against each other to their common destruction. While the outcome of the battle still hung in the balance, Pyrrhus was wounded by a thrust in his arm and was the first to withdraw from the battle. The legate Fabricius was also wounded at that time. In the first battle it had been discovered that elephants, if wounded, could be

forced to flee; that they could then be enraged by imbedding fiery brands in their hind-quarters and tender parts; and that the beasts, maddened by rage as they carried burning scaffolding on their backs, would bring destruction to their own army. In that battle five thousand Romans lost their lives, whereas Pyrrhus's army lost twenty thousand. The latter army lost also fifty-three royal standards, while the Romans lost only eleven.

Shattered by this battle, Pyrrhus betook himself to Syracuse, whither he had been summoned to the rule of Sicily on the death of Agathocles, the Syracusan king.

2. The misery of the Romans, however, did not end with the truce. Terrible diseases completely filled the time between wars and, when there was no war abroad, wrath from Heaven raged at home. In the consulship of Fabius Gurges (his second) and of C. Genucius Clepsina, a severe pestilence swept over the city and its environs. It seized all, but attacked with special severity the women and the flocks. By killing the unborn in their mothers' wombs, it left no chance for future offspring; miscarriages were of common occurrence and mothers were endangered by premature births. The terror assumed proportions so great that they thought that human and animal life would soon be extinct, because birth in the normal manner was no longer possible.

In the meantime the consul Curius intercepted Pyrrhus as he was returning from Sicily, and a third battle was fought against the Epirots at Lucania in the Arusinian Plains. In their first encounter the soldiers of Pyrrhus became panic-stricken under the attack of the Romans. Contemplating flight, they were attempting to withdraw from the battle when Pyrrhus ordered the elephants to be led up from the reserve. The Romans, who were now accustomed to fight with the beasts, prepared fire-darts, which they wound with tow, smeared with pitch, and capped with barbed spurs. They hurled these flaming missiles at the backs of the elephants and at the towers on their backs, and thus without difficulty turned back the raging and burning beasts to bring destruction upon the army of which they were part of the reserve. They say that the king had eighty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry in that battle. Of these, thirty-three thousand are reported to have been slain; thirty thousand, however, were captured. As a result of this defeat, Pyrrhus finally left Italy in the fifth year after his arrival. After waging many severe wars, he was carried away by his desire to win the Spartan kingdom. While he was in Greece at Argos, a flourishing city of Achaia, he was struck by a rock and died.

At this same time among the Romans, Sextilia, a Vestal Virgin, upon being found guilty of unchastity, was condemned and buried alive at the Colline Gate.

3. In the four hundred and seventy-fifth year of the City, the Tarentines, upon learning of the death of Pyrrhus, again stirred up war against the Romans. Through ambassadors they requested and obtained the aid of the Carthaginians. A battle took place in which the Romans were victorious. Then the Carthaginians fully realized for the first time that although they were not yet adjudged enemies, they could be defeated by the Romans.

In the following year Roman severity destroyed a large part of her own vitals. Shortly before the arrival of Pyrrhus, the eighth legion, despairing of the Roman cause, ventured to commit an unusual crime. The soldiers of this legion killed all the people of Rhegium who had been entrusted to their protection and claimed the town for themselves as well as the right to all the plunder taken from it. The consul Genucius was ordered to punish these criminals and rebels. After besieging the city of Rhegium and capturing all its defenders, he wrought a fit punishment upon the surviving deserters and freebooters, but sent the Roman soldiers of that legion unharmed to Rome. There, by order of the people, they were beaten to death and beheaded in the middle of the Forum.

At that time Rome thought that she was a conqueror when she slaughtered a legion of her own with its full complement, although she would clearly have suffered a defeat if she had lost that legion in battle with the enemy.

4. In the four hundred and seventy-eighth year of the City, inauspicious and dreadful omens were seen or reported at Rome. Lightning destroyed the Temple of Salus, and part of the wall in the same locality, it is said, was struck. Before dawn three wolves came into the city, bringing in a half-eaten corpse. When they were frightened by the shouts of the people, they left the remains strewn in the Forum. At Formiae  the walls everywhere were burned and destroyed by many bolts of lightning, while in the Calenian  Field, a flame suddenly burst forth from an opening in the ground and blazed frightfully for three days and three nights. Five jugera of land were burnt to ashes. The moisture which brought fertility was so completely exhausted that not only the plants of the fields but even the trees, so they say, were consumed to their very roots.

In the following year the consul Sempronius  led an army against the Picentes. Just as the battle lines had taken their position within spear range, the earth suddenly shook with so horrible a rumbling that both lines, amazed by the miracle, grew faint and were stricken with terror. For a long time each people was dumbfounded by the realization that their undertaking had been prejudged and stood motionless. At length they began the battle with a sharp attack. So disastrous was this engagement that people rightly say that the earth, destined to receive so much human blood, at that time trembled and groaned fearfully. The few Romans who escaped death in this battle won the victory.

5. Four hundred and eighty years after the founding of the City, among many other prodigies, blood was seen to come from the ground and milk from the sky. In many places indeed blood gushed forth and flowed from springs; and from clouds, drop by drop, milk fell like a kind of rain. Ill-omened storms, as it seemed to the people, flooded the land. At that time the Carthaginians, who had given assistance to the Tarentines against the Romans, were rebuked by the Senate through ambassadors. They added to the shame and disgrace incurred in breaking the treaty by committing a premeditated perjury.

At that time, too, the Volsinians, the most flourishing of the Etruscan peoples, almost perished as a result of their wantonness. After making license a habit, they indiscriminately freed their slaves, invited them to banquets, and honored them with marriage. The liberated slaves, admitted to a share of power, criminally plotted to usurp complete rule of the state, and, relieved of the yoke of slavery, were consumed with the desire for revolution. Once free, they cursed those masters whom they as slaves had devotedly loved, because they remembered that these men had once been their masters. The liberated slaves then conspired to commit a crime and claimed the captured city for their class alone. So great were their numbers that they accomplished their rash purpose without real resistance. They criminally appropriated the property and wives of their masters, and forced the latter to go into distant exile. These wretched and destitute exiles betook themselves to Rome. Here they displayed their misery and tearfully pleaded their cause. They were avenged and restored to their former positions through the stern rule of the Romans.

In the four hundred and eighty-first year after the founding of the City, a great plague raged at Rome. Its frightfulness I am satisfied merely to indicate because I am unable to describe it adequately. If anyone should inquire how long it lasted, I should say that its ravages lasted more than two years. As to the deaths it caused, the census gives the figures, not in terms of how many perished, but of how many survived. If anyone should inquire about the violence with which it raged, let him consult the Sibylline Books as witnesses. These testify that the plague was sent by the wrath of Heaven. But lest our temptation to scoff somewhat be offensive to anyone, because we appear to have said that it was the anger of Heaven whereas the Sibyl has said that the gods were angry, let him hear and recognize that, though these things do take place for the most part through the agency of heavenly powers, nevertheless they do not take place at all without the will of Omnipotent God.

At that time Caparronia, a Vestal Virgin, upon being convicted of unchastity, was hanged. Her seducer and the slaves, who were her accomplices, were also put to death.

Behold, how many and how great are the events of which we give a continuous record. These events followed one another in separate years in which certainly it was seldom, if ever, that something tragic did not take place. And this is true even despite the fact that those who recorded these events, in their determination to please, omitted great numbers of miseries. For they were afraid that they might hurt the feelings of those for whom and about whom they were writing and also that they might appear to frighten their audience rather than instruct them by examples from the past. Moreover, we ourselves, placed at the end of these ages, are able to learn the misfortunes of the Romans only through those who have praised them. Hence you can understand how much there must have been which was purposely suppressed on account of its horror, when we find so much which, amid the praises of historians, can only partially be known.

6. Since the Punic wars follow at this point, it is necessary to say something of Carthage, which we find was founded by Elissa  seventy-two years before the founding of Rome. We must also say something about her disasters and domestic misfortunes, just as Pompeius Trogus and Justin relate them. The Carthaginians have always had domestic and internal misfortunes. Because of this source of discord and its unhappy faculty of causing disturbance they have never yet enjoyed prosperity abroad, or peace at home. When they were suffering from plagues in addition to their other misfortunes, they resorted to homicides instead of to medicines; indeed they sacrificed human beings as victims and offered young children at their altars. In this way they aroused even the pity of the enemy.

Concerning this form of sacred rite—nay, rather of sacrilege—I am perplexed as to what I should discuss in preference to all else. For if some demons have dared to order rites of this character, requiring as they did that the death of men should be propitiated by human slaughter, it must be understood that these demons acted as partners and promoters of the plague and that they themselves killed those whom the plague had not seized; for it was customary to offer healthy and undefiled sacrificial victims. In doing this they not only failed to allay, but rather anticipated, the pestilences.

When the Carthaginians—the gods being alienated, as Pompeius Trogus and Justin admit, because of sacrifices of this kind, and, as we assert, because of their presumption and impiety toward an angered God—had long fought unsuccessfully in Sicily, they transferred the theatre of war to Sardinia, and there they were still more disastrously defeated. On account of this, they sentenced their general Malcus and the few surviving soldiers to exile. When their petition for clemency was denied, these exiles, led by Malcus, made war upon and besieged their native city. Malcus was met by his own son Carthalo, a priest of Hercules, who came clad in purple as if to insult him. Malcus had him crucified in the sight of his countrymen, still arrayed in his purple garments and wearing his sacred fillets. A few days later Malcus captured the city itself. He killed many of the senators and ruled with cruelty. Afterward he was himself slain. These events took place in the days of Cyrus, king of the Persians.

Later the Carthaginian king Himilco, while waging war in Sicily, unexpectedly lost his army by a horrible pestilence.

The plague spread rapidly and the people perished in droves. As soon as anyone was smitten he fell lifeless; there was no time to bury the dead. When the news of this catastrophe was bruited about Carthage, the city, stunned by this sudden blow, became as greatly agitated as if she had been captured. The whole city resounded with wailing, the gates were closed everywhere, and all public and private business was forbidden. Everybody rushed to the harbor and plied the few who were disembarking and who had survived the disaster with questions about their friends and relatives. When told their fate, some of the unhappy men were silent while others groaned. At one time the voices of those weeping and at another the cries and the sorrowful lamentations of the unhappy mothers were heard along the entire shore. In the midst of this mourning, the commander himself, ungirt and wearing the soiled tunic of a slave, disembarked from his ship. At his appearance the weeping hands gathered in one body. He himself, lifting up his hands to Heaven, bemoaned and lamented now his own misfortune, now the misfortune of the state; and crying aloud as he was making his way through the city, he finally entered his own house. He then dismissed with a final word of encouragement all the mourners, who wept as they followed him. After barring the doors and excluding even his own sons, he ended his sorrow and his life with a sword. These events took place in the time of Darius.

Subsequently, Hanno, a Carthaginian whose private fortune exceeded that of the state, was consumed with a covetous desire to usurp control of the government. As a useful means to this end, Hanno thought of killing all the senators, whose rank he considered would block his designs. His plan was to poison their cups at a sham marriage of his only daughter. His accomplices, however, betrayed this plot to the senators, who frustrated it without recourse to vengeance. For they feared that in the case of so powerful a man the recognition of his conspiracy might cause more trouble than what he originally intended. Defeated in this plot, Hanno tried to advance his villainy by another scheme. He roused slaves to a surprise attack upon the city when she was off her guard. But before the day set for the massacre, he learned that he had been betrayed and that his attack had been anticipated. With the help of twenty thousand of his slaves he then took possession of a certain fort. There he was captured while engaged in inciting the Africans and the king of the Moors to rebellion. First he was beaten with rods, next his eyes were torn out and his hands and legs broken—just as if punishments were exacted on every limb—and finally he was publicly executed. His body, mangled with stripes, was nailed to a cross. All his children and relatives were put to death, lest any of his family should ever think of following his example or of avenging him. These events took place in the time of Philip.

Afterward the Carthaginians learned that Tyre, their mother city, had been captured and destroyed by Alexander the Great. Fearing that he would come later to Africa, they sent one Hamilcar, whose surname was Rhodanus and who was a man of extraordinary eloquence and shrewdness, to investigate thoroughly what Alexander was doing. Rhodanus was received by Parmenio as a deserter and was later admitted to the royal army; he then informed his fellow countrymen about everything that was taking place by writing on tablets and covering the writing with wax. After the death of Alexander, Hamilcar returned to Carthage, where he was put to death just as if he had really betrayed his city to the king. An envy that knew no mercy rather than an ungrateful spirit brought him to his end.

Some time after these events, the Carthaginians were waging constant but never quite successful wars against the Sicilians. When they had besieged the city of Syracuse, at that time the most flourishing city of Sicily, they were tricked by the remarkable ingenuity of the Sicilian king Agathocles, and reduced to a state of utter desperation. For when the Carthaginians were besieging Agathocles at Syracuse, he saw that his forces were not large enough to fight on even terms nor his supplies sufficient to withstand a siege. He therefore crossed to Africa with his army, concealing his maneuver even better than he had anticipated. There for the first time he disclosed to his own people what he was attempting and then indicated what further must be done. All acting in agreement, they first set fire to the ships in the place where they had landed, so that there would be no possible hope of retreat. Then, while he was devastating the country wherever he went and reducing towns and fortresses to ashes, Agathocles encountered a certain Hanno accompanied by thirty thousand Carthaginians. Hanno and two thousand of his men were slain in the battle, but Agathocles himself lost only two men. This battle broke the spirit of the Africans almost beyond belief and immeasurably raised the spirit of his own men. Agathocles then stormed cities and fortresses, took an enormous amount of booty, and killed many thousands of the enemy. Next he pitched camp five milestones from Carthage, in order that the destruction of their most valuable possessions, the devastation of their fields, and the burning of their country houses might be seen from the very walls of the city.

To these evils a still gloomier report was added. It was announced that an African army with its leader had been destroyed in Sicily. Antander, the brother of Agathocles, had overwhelmed the army when it was completely off its guard and almost at ease. When this rumor had spread through all Africa, not only tributary cities but even royal allies revolted. Among the latter was Ophelias, the king of Cyrene, who at that time was eagerly endeavoring to obtain the rule of Africa. He entered into an alliance of war with Agathocles, but after the two kings had joined armies and made a common camp, he was deceived by the flattery and wiles of Agathocles and slain. In the meantime Carthaginian troops came together from all sides, eager for battle. Agathocles, who now had with him the troops of Ophelias, encountered them and won the victory after a severe battle. Much blood was shed on both sides. At the critical moment in the struggle the Carthaginians were driven to such a state of despair that, had not a mutiny arisen in the army of Agathocles, the Carthaginian general Hamilcar and his army would have deserted to the side of the enemy. For this intended offense the Carthaginians fastened Hamilcar to the patibulum  in the middle of the Forum, where he furnished a cruel spectacle to his countrymen. After the death of Agathocles, the Carthaginians then fitted out a fleet and ravaged Sicily. But after being defeated frequently on land and sea by Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, who had been summoned from Italy, they finally turned their attention to the wars against the Romans.

Oh, what tribulation! Do those who complain about recent events read about what happened in the past? They read, certainly, and then draw conclusions, yet not in a spirit of fairness but in one of bias. This is especially so because they themselves do not discern the great and ineffable spur which goads them on. It is not that the times are evil but that they are Christian. And this brings into existence that invidious ulcer which makes everything done in circumstances that are detestable seem much more horrible than it really is. We, too, are accustomed to look with just as unfriendly eyes upon those whom we detest. We, too, see in their words and deeds nothing that is not vicious, nothing that is not in excess, and nothing that is not to their own detriment. People deceive themselves in this way quite easily, for envy enslaves the heart and leads it astray to such a degree that things do not appear as they really are. These objectors belong to this number, but they are far more wretched because as enemies of God they are therefore enemies of truth. We say these things about them with tears in our eyes. If they suffer, we mercifully reprove them in order that we may restore them to health. For these people see these things with defective vision and thus what they see appears double; and being confused as it were by a fog of wickedness, they fall into a condition where by seeing less they see more, since they cannot see things as they are. Indeed, they consider the scourges inflicted by a father more painful than the fires started by an enemy; they call a God who caresses, admonishes, and redeems harsher than the devil who persecutes, bullies, and destroys them. Yet if they knew anything of the Father, they would delight in His chastisement and, if they had the knowledge to foresee the ends for which He sent it, the discipline would be bearable. Indeed, with the hope that has now been given to the nations—this did not exist earlier—they would consider the chastisement lighter even though they suffered more. Nevertheless, they can also learn to despise miseries from their own people who regard evils of the highest benefit, whenever they lead to both a glorious and illustrious renown. We can infer how much we, to whom a blessed immortality is promised, must suffer for life, when they have been able to bear so much merely for fame.

7. In the four hundred and eighty-third year of the City, that is, during the consulship of Appius Claudius  and Q. Fabius, the Romans sent Appius Claudius with an army and auxiliaries to help the Mamertines in their struggle against Hiero, the king of the Syracusans, and the Punic troops allied with him. At this time the Mamertines controlled Messana, a celebrated city in Sicily. So quickly did Appius Claudius overcome the Syracusans and the Carthaginians, that Hiero, terrified by the extent of the conflict, admitted that he had been beaten before battle had even begun. His power broken and his confidence lost, Hiero humbly begged for peace. This was granted after he had paid the fine of two hundred silver talents demanded by the consuls.

The consuls besieged Agrigentum, a city of Sicily, and the Punic garrison stationed there. They surrounded the city by earthworks and a wall. The elder Hannibal, commander of the Carthaginians, was shut in by this siege and reduced to the direst want. Then Hanno, the new leader of the Carthaginians, unexpectedly intervened with one thousand five hundred cavalry, thirty thousand infantry, and thirty elephants, and raised the siege of the city within a short time. Nevertheless, the Romans captured the city without much delay. They defeated the Carthaginians in a great battle, put them to flight, captured eleven elephants, and sold all the inhabitants of Agrigentum into slavery. But the elder Hannibal with a few men sallied forth and escaped.

In the consulship of Cn. Cornelius Asina and C. Duilius,when the elder Hannibal was laying waste the seacoast of Italy with a fleet of seventy vessels, the Romans and their consuls ordered a fleet to be built and equipped. Duilius completed this order with great speed, for within sixty days from the time the trees had been cut, a fleet of one hundred and thirty ships was launched and lay at anchor. Cornelius Asina, one of the consuls, accompanied by eleven ships made for the island of Lipara. Here Hannibal, by a typical Punic trick, induced him to go to a peace conference where he captured him. Hannibal later had him put to death while in prison. When Duilius, the other consul, learned of this outrage, he set out against Hannibal with thirty ships. In the course of the naval engagement, Hannibal lost the ship on which he was sailing and escaped by stealing away in a rowboat. Thirty-one of his ships were captured, and thirteen sunk, three thousand men were killed, and seven thousand, according to the report, captured.

Later, in the consulship of C. Aquillius Florus and L. Cornelius Scipio, the Carthaginians put Hanno in charge of naval operations, substituting him for Hannibal in the defense of the Sardinians and Corsicans. When Hanno was defeated by the consul Scipio and when he had lost his army, he threw himself into the midst of the dense ranks of the enemy and there lost his life. In the same year three thousand slaves and four thousand naval allies conspired to destroy the city of Rome. Had not their plan been betrayed at an opportune time and measures taken to thwart it, the city, which was without a garrison, would have perished at the hands of slaves.

8. The following year the consul Calatinus attacked the Sicilian city of Camarina. He heedlessly led his army down into a pass which the Punic troops had fortified a short time before. With no chance whatever to resist or to escape, he was rescued by the courage and the action of Calpurnius Flamma, who, with a picked band of three hundred men, seized the mound held by the enemy and diverted the entire Punic attack toward himself. In the meantime the Roman army crossed the blockaded entrances without being pressed by the enemy. In that battle all the three hundred lost their lives with the exception of Calpurnius. He, though weakened by many wounds, hid among the corpses and thus escaped.

For a second time the Carthaginians put the elder Hannibal in charge of the fleet. He had the misfortune to meet the Romans in a naval battle, was defeated, and finally during a mutiny was stoned to death by his own army. The consul Atilius  marched through Lipara and Melita, famous islands of Sicily, and left them in ruin. Both consuls were then ordered to transfer the war to Africa. With three hundred and thirty vessels they made for Sicily, where they were opposed by Hamilcar, the general of the Carthaginians, and by Hanno, who was in charge of the fleet. A naval engagement took place and the Carthaginians were put to flight, losing sixty-four ships. The victorious consuls crossed over to Africa and received in surrender first of all, the city of Clypea; then, setting out for Carthage, they destroyed three hundred or more forts and surrounded Carthage with hostile standards. The consul Manlius  and his victorious fleet left Africa and brought back to Rome twenty-seven thousand captives and a huge quantity of booty.

Regulus, chosen by lot for the Carthaginian War, marched with his army to a point not far from the Bagrada River and there pitched his camp. In that place a reptile of astonishing size devoured many of the soldiers as they went down to the river to get water. Regulus set out with his army to attack the reptile. Neither the javelins they hurled nor the darts they rained upon its back had any effect. These glided off its horrible scaly fins as if from a slanting testudo of shields and were in some miraculous fashion turned away from its body so that the creature suffered no injury. Finally, when Regulus saw that it was killing a great number of his soldiers with its bites, was trampling them down by its charge, and driving them mad by its poisonous breath, he ordered ballistae brought up. A stone taken from a wall was hurled by a ballista; this struck the spine of the serpent and caused its entire body to become numb. The formation of the reptile was such that, though it seemed to lack feet, yet it had ribs and scales graded evenly, extending from the top of its throat to the lowest part of its belly and so arranged that the creature rested upon its scales as if on claws and upon its ribs as if on legs. But it did not move like the worm which has a flexible spine and moves by first stretching its contracted parts in the direction of its tiny body and then drawing together the stretched parts. This reptile made its way by a sinuous movement, extending its sides first right and then left, so that it might keep the line of ribs rigid along the exterior arch of the spine; nature fastened the claws of its scales to its ribs, which extend straight to their highest point; making these moves alternately and quickly, it not only glided over levels, but also mounted inclines, taking as many footsteps, so to speak, as it had ribs. This is why the stone rendered the creature powerless. If struck by a blow in any part of the body from its bowels to its head, it is crippled and unable to move, because wherever the blow falls, it numbs the spine, which stimulates the feet of the ribs and the motion of the body. Hence this serpent, which had for a long time withstood so many javelins unharmed, moved about disabled from the blow of a single stone and, quickly overcome by spears, was easily destroyed. Its skin was brought to Rome—it is said to have been one hundred and twenty feet in length— and for some time was an object of wonder to all.

Regulus waged an exceptionally severe campaign against three generals, that is, against the two Hasdrubals and Hamil-car, who had been summoned from Sicily. In this war seventeen thousand Carthaginians were slain, five thousand captured, eighteen elephants were led away, and eighty-two towns surrendered to the Romans.

9. The Carthaginians, crushed in battle and exhausted by disasters, sought peace from Regulus. But when they heard of the hard and intolerable conditions of peace, believing that it was better to die in arms than to live in misery, they decided to hire Greek auxiliaries in addition to the Spanish and Gallic troops. They therefore summoned the Lacedaemonian king Xanthippus and his auxiliaries, and appointed him chief in command. After inspecting the Punic forces, Xanthippus led them down into the plain where, with a vastly strengthened army, he engaged the Romans in battle. In this encounter the Romans suffered huge losses. Thirty thousand of their soldiers were slain and the renowned general Regulus, together with fifty of his men, was taken prisoner. He was cast into chains and finally in the tenth year of the Punic War shared in giving the Carthaginians a glorious triumphal procession. Xanthippus, aware of the consequences of his bold action and fearing a change in conditions already sufficiently unstable, left Africa and returned to Greece.

When the consuls Aemilius Paulus and Fulvius Nobilior heard of Regulus's imprisonment and of the destruction of the Roman army, they crossed under orders to Africa with a fleet of three hundred vessels and attacked Clypea. The Carthaginians arrived immediately with a fleet of equal size. The naval battle could not be long delayed. One hundred and four Carthaginian ships were sunk, thirty with their complement of soldiers were captured, and in addition thirty-five thousand soldiers were slain. The Romans lost nine ships and one thousand and one hundred soldiers perished. The consuls then pitched camp near Clypea. The two Hannos, the Punic commanders, again assembled a mighty army and, after engaging in battle with the Romans, lost nine thousand soldiers. But in those days the Romans never enjoyed long periods of good fortune, and whatever successes they won were forthwith eclipsed by a series of misfortunes. So it was that when the Roman fleet, loaded with booty, was returning to Italy, it was shattered by a storm of indescribable violence. Of three hundred ships two hundred and twenty were lost; the Romans saved the remaining eighty by throwing the cargo overboard. The Punic general Hamilcar who had been sent with an army into Numidia and Mauretania, treated all the people as enemies and acted with cruelty toward them, because they were said to have received Regulus in a friendly spirit. He had the leaders of all the districts fastened to the patibulum and fined the rest of the people a thousand silver talents and twenty thousand cattle.

In the third year—so quickly does uncontrolled fury forget danger—the consuls Servilius Caepio and Sempronius Blaesus  crossed to Africa with two hundred and sixty ships and laid waste the whole maritime coast that lies near the Syrtes. Advancing inland they captured and overthrew many cities and brought a huge amount of booty back to the fleet. When they were returning to Italy, their ships were dashed to pieces on the rocks near the Promontory of Palinurus, which extends from the Lucanian Mountains out into the deep. They lost one hundred and fifty transports and the splendid booty which they had acquired by great cruelty. The magnitude of the misfortunes which afflicted the Romans at times prevailed over their base greed. The fathers, now disgusted with the conduct of naval affairs, decreed that the fleet should not have more than sixty vessels with which to protect Italy; but under the compulsion of their ungovernable greed, they at once broke the terms of this decree. Moreover, the consul Cotta crossed to Sicily and fought many battles on land and sea against the Carthaginians and Sicilians, leaving throughout the whole of Sicily unburied heaps of the dead, not only of the enemy, but also of his own allies.

In the consulship of L. Caecilius Metellus and C. Furius Pacilus, Hasdrubal, the new general of the Carthaginians, came from Africa to Lilybaeum with one hundred and thirty elephants and more than thirty thousand infantry and cavalry. He immediately engaged in battle at Panormus  with the consul Metellus. The latter had earlier feared the great strength of the elephants, but he now managed to put the beasts to flight or to death by a brilliant maneuver. Thus he easily won the victory despite the great numbers of the enemy. Twenty thousand Carthaginians were slain in that battle; twenty-six elephants were killed and one hundred and four captured. The Italians enjoyed a great spectacle when these elephants were led through Italy. Hasdrubal took refuge in Lilybaeum  with a few men and while absent from Carthage was condemned to death by the Carthaginians.

10. Later the Carthaginians, who were now worn out by many misfortunes, decided that they must seek peace from the Romans. For this purpose they thought that they should send, among others, M. Atilius Regulus, the former Roman general, whom they had held a prisoner for five years. Their request for peace was rejected. They therefore killed Regulus on his return from Italy by cutting off his eyelids and binding him in a machine that prevented him from sleeping. Then the other Atilius Regulus and Manlius Vulso, both consuls for the second time, proceeded to Lilybaeum with a fleet of two hundred vessels and four legions. They attempted to besiege the town, which was situated on a promontory, but were defeated after the arrival of Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar. They lost the greater part of their army and they themselves escaped only with difficulty. After this, the consul Claudius, accompanied by a fleet of one hundred and twenty ships, made for the harbor of Drepanum  to engage the enemy. There he was soon overtaken by a Punic fleet and defeated. Claudius himself with thirty ships fled to the camp at Lilybaeum. All the rest of the ships, ninety in number, are said to have been captured or sunk. Eight thousand soldiers were slain and twenty thousand, according to report, were taken prisoner. Gaius Junius, a colleague of Claudius, also lost his entire fleet through shipwreck.

The following year, a Punic fleet crossed to Italy and brought devastation to many regions throughout the length and breadth of the land. In the meantime Lutatius  with a fleet of three hundred ships sailed over to Sicily, where he began a battle at the city of Drepana. While fighting in the front rank, he was grievously wounded in the thigh, but he was rescued when about to be overwhelmed by the enemy. Next the Carthaginians assembled at Sicily a fleet of forty vessels and a large body of troops, both of which were under the command of Hanno. Nor was Lutatius slow to move; on the contrary he was extraordinarily quick to anticipate the plans of the Carthaginians. The opposing fleets lay over against each other with anchors almost intermeshed all night long at the Aegates Islands. At daybreak Lutatius was the first to give the signal for battle. After a violent struggle Hanno was defeated; he abandoned his ship and was the first commander to flee. With him a considerable part of his army made for Africa; the rest fled to Lilybaeum. The Romans captured sixty-three Punic ships and sank one hundred and twenty-five; they took thirty-two thousand men prisoners and slew fourteen thousand. Of the Roman ships twelve were sunk. Lutatius then went to the city of Eryx, which the Carthaginians were holding, and there, after engaging in battle, killed two thousand Carthaginians.

11. At this juncture the Carthaginians with all possible speed communicated with the consul Lutatius  and then with Rome. They sued for peace and immediately obtained it on the terms formerly proposed. These conditions were: that they should withdraw from Sicily and Sardinia, and that they should defray the expenses of the war by paying three thousand Euboic talents of pure silver in equal installments over a period of twenty years. The terms of this peace were observed for more than twenty-three years from the opening of the Punic War.

Who, I ask, can know the extent of the wars which the two cities waged for twenty-three years? Who can state how many Carthaginian kings, how many Roman consuls, how many armies, how many ships, they brought together, overthrew, and crushed? Not until we have fully considered all of these things are we in a position to pass judgment.

In the five hundred and seventh year of the City, a sudden catastrophe which befell Rome herself prevented the Romans from celebrating a triumph. Nor do I speak rashly when I say that this affliction, not so severe as sudden, crushed Rome's immoderate joy; for in the consulship of Q. Lutatius Catulus and A. Manlius  various disastrous fires and floods almost destroyed the city. The Tiber, swollen by unusual rains, continued to overflow its banks to such an extent and for so long a time that no one would have believed it possible. It destroyed all the buildings of Rome that were situated in the plain, but all places, regardless of their location, suffered like destruction. For wherever the lingering flood waters spread, the structures were soaked through and crumbled, and wherever the raging torrent struck, buildings were overthrown and leveled. A fire causing even greater desolation followed in the wake of this most disastrous flood. This fire (it is impossible to state definitely where it began) swept through many parts of the city and took a pitiable toll of homes and human life. Indeed more than all the wealth gained by a great number of foreign victories was at that time consumed by one fire. After destroying everything around the Forum, this ephemeral fire swept the Temple of Vesta and overwhelmed that fire which was thought to be eternal. Even the gods themselves were unable to come to its assistance. While Metellus was rescuing the burning gods, his arm was half-burnt, and he barely managed to escape with his life.

12. In the consulship of T. Sempronius Gracchus and P. Valerius Falto, the Romans went to war with the Falisci. Fifteen thousand of the latter lost their lives in this war. In the same year war was waged, with varying success, against new enemies. In the first conflict, when Valerius was consul, three thousand Romans fell; in the second, fourteen thousand Gauls were slain and two thousand captured. The consul was denied a triumph, however, on account of the previous disaster.

In the consulship of T. Manlius Torquatus and C. Atilius Bulbus, the island of Sardinia rebelled against the Carthaginian rule. The Sardinians, however, were soon crushed and reduced to subjection. The Romans then voted to declare war on the Carthaginians as violators of the peace that they themselves had requested. The Carthaginians for their part humbly sued for peace. After they had accomplished nothing by twice sending ambassadors and even after ten of their leading men, twice acting as suppliants had failed in their mission, they finally obtained peace through the eloquence of Hanno, the most unimportant man among their ambassadors. At this time the gates of Janus Geminus were shut because there was no war anywhere. This had happened previously only in the reign of Numa Pompilius.

At this point I had better hold my peace and pass over in silence those days to which our own can in no way be compared, lest my loud voice arouse the disparagers of our own times to censure the age rather than themselves. Behold, the gates of Janus were closed. The Romans waged no war abroad, while Rome held all her children quiet in her bosom and did not breathe a sigh. And when was this? After the First Punic War. After how long a time? After four hundred and forty years. How long did this last? One year. And what followed? The Gallic War and the Second Punic War with Hannibal, not to mention other events.

How ashamed am I to have investigated and exposed these matters! Was that one year's peace, or rather shadow of peace, an alleviation of miseries or an incentive to evils? Did that dripping oil as it fell into the midst of a great flame extinguish or kindle this fire? Did a small drink of cold water swallowed during a burning fever restore the patient to health or did it rather cause his fever to mount? During a period of almost seven hundred years, that is, from Hostilius Tullus to Caesar Augustus, there was only one year in which the Roman viscera did not sweat blood; amid the countless years of long centuries, the unhappy city, truly our unhappy mother, has scarcely once been wholly at rest from the fear of sorrows, not to mention from sorrows themselves. Can one say of any man who has enjoyed so little peace in his life, that he has really lived? Suppose that a man be assailed by grief and misfortune throughout a whole year and in the middle of that year passes only one day in peace without a struggle. Will that single day give him consolation for his misfortunes or will he not consider the whole year one of continuous misery? But these critics, he replies, have set up this year as a glorious example of indefatigable courage. Would that they might have passed over it and left in oblivion its uninterrupted succession of disasters. Now, we know that in the body of a man leprosy is finally diagnosed when a different color appears in various places on the healthy parts of the skin. But if the disease spreads everywhere so that the whole body assumes one color, however altered, then this method of distinguishing loses all value. Similarly, if people labor on uninterruptedly with cheerfulness and without a desire for a breathing spell, they apparently are governed both by a strong will power and the choices they have been accustomed to make. But once, during a very brief interval of peace, leisure releases their energies either for the enjoyment of the higher things or preoccupation with trifling matters, they can immediately see how much pleasure this brief interval afforded them and how much they suffered during that long period; that is, they now appreciate how much they would have enjoyed that interval of peace had it lasted a long time, and also how they would have avoided this unending succession of miseries, if they had been able in any possible way to do so.

13. In the five hundred and seventeenth year of the City, when Hamilcar, the Carthaginian general, was secretly preparing for another war against the Romans, he was killed by the Spaniards in battle.

The following year, the Illyrians put to death some Roman ambassadors. For this reason the Romans waged a very savage war against them. They destroyed many of their towns, and inflicted heavy losses in battle upon them. The surviving Illyrians then surrendered to the consuls Fulvius and Postumius.

Two years later, the pontiffs, who were mighty in their power to do evil, polluted the wretched city by sacrilegious rites. The decemviri, following the custom born of an ancient superstition, buried alive a Gallic man and woman and with them also a Greek woman at the Cattle Market in Rome. But this resort to magic, which was obligatory, produced an opposite effect from that desired. For a horrible massacre of their own men expiated the dreadful deaths of these strangers.

In the consulship of L. Aemilius Catulus and C. Atilius Regulus  the Senate became panic stricken by a rebellion of Cisalpine Gaul. At the same time they also heard of the approach of a huge army from Further Gaul. This army was composed largely of the Gaesati, which was the name not of a tribe but of Gallic mercenaries. The consuls, terror stricken, assembled the military forces of all Italy for the defense of the state. When the troops had assembled, there were, according to the historian Fabius who took part in that war, eight hundred thousand soldiers in the army of each consul. Of that number the Roman and Campanian infantry numbered 299,200 and the cavalry 26,600. There was also a vast number of allies. When battle was joined near Arretium, the consul Atilius was killed. After a part of the Roman army had been slain, the rest of the eight hundred thousand took flight. But their losses were by no means sufficient to cause them any apprehension, for the historians relate that only three thousand of them were killed on that occasion.

That so many columns fled when so few were lost is all the more ignominious and shameful, because it betrayed the fact that they had prevailed in other victories not by the strength of their spirit but by the fortunate issue of battle. Who, I ask, in the Roman army would believe that this was really the number? And I do not mean the number of those who fled. Later a second battle was fought with the Gauls in which at least forty thousand of their number were slaughtered.

The following year Manlius Torquatus and Fulvius Flaccus  were the first consuls to lead Roman legions across the Po. There the Romans engaged the Insubrian Gauls in battle. They killed twenty-three thousand and captured five thousand of them.

During the next year dreadful portents terrified the unhappy City. Wretched indeed was this City which was greatly alarmed by the clamor raised by the enemy on one side and by the wickedness of the demons on the other 1 For in Picenum  a river flowed blood, and in the land of the Tuscans the sky seemed to be aflame. At Ariminum, late at night, a bright light shone and three moons that had arisen in the distant parts of the heaven were visible. In addition so severe earthquakes shook the islands of Caria and Rhodes that even the huge Colossus fell, while buildings collapsed everywhere. The same year the consul Flaminius, disregarding the auspices which forbade fighting, fought the Gauls and defeated them. In that battle nine thousand Gauls were slain and seventeen thousand captured.

Later the consul Claudius  destroyed thirty thousand of the Gaesati. He advanced into the first line of battle and killed with his own hand their king Virdomarus. In addition to the many towns of the Insubres that he forced to surrender, Claudius also captured Milan, a very flourishing city.

Then new enemies, the Histri, became aroused. The consuls Cornelius and Minucius  subdued them only after shedding much Roman blood. Now happened an unimportant incident that illustrates the old passion of the Romans for fame, so debased as to lead to parricide. For Fabius Censorius killed his own son Fabius Buteo because he had been charged with theft: this crime the laws usually punished only by a fine or at the most by exile, whoever the guilty man might be, but the father thought it fitting and necessary to punish him by death.

14. In the five hundred and thirty-fourth year after the founding of the City, Hannibal, the Carthaginian commander, first attacked Saguntum, a flourishing city of Spain and a friend of the Roman people. He then laid siege to the city, which endured the tortures of hunger and bore heroically all sufferings, whether deserved or undeserved, in view of the promise its inhabitants had made to the Romans. In the eighth month he finally destroyed it. Acting in a way absolutely contrary to law he also refused an audience to the accredited ambassadors of Rome. As a result of his hatred of the Roman people which he had most solemnly sworn before the altar in the presence of his father Hamilcar when he was nine years old—though in other matters he was the most faithless of men—he crossed the Pyrenees in the consulship of P. Cornelius Scipio and P. Sempronius Longus,and by the sword opened a path through the fierce Gallic tribes. After a nine-day journey from the Pyrenees, he came to the Alps. There he defeated the Gallic hillsmen who strove to prevent his ascent and by employing fire and sword he cut a pass through the rocks that blocked his way. He was delayed for four days, but finally by a supreme effort he reached the plains on the fifth day. At that time they say that Hannibal's army did not exceed one hundred thousand infantry and twenty thousand cavalry.

The consul Scipio was the first to meet Hannibal. They joined battle at the Ticinus. Scipio himself was severely wounded but he escaped impending death by the help of his son, who was still wearing the toga praetexta and who later bore the cognomen of Africanus. In that battle almost the whole Roman army was cut to pieces. Another battle was fought by the same consul at the river Trebia. Again the Romans were defeated and suffered as great losses as before. When the consul Sempronius learned of the fate of his colleague, he returned from Sicily with his army. In like manner he engaged in battle at the same river, lost his army, and was himself almost the sole survivor. Hannibal was also wounded in this battle. Later in the spring, when Hannibal's army was crossing over into Etruria and was high in the Apennines, it was overtaken by a storm, shut in fast, and so weighted down by the snow that it could not move. For two continuous days both he and his army remained numb from the cold. A great number of men, many beasts of burden, and almost all the elephants died there from exposure to the wintry blasts. But the other Scipio, the brother of the consul Scipio, waged many battles in Spain at this time and succeeded in defeating and capturing Mago, the leader of the Carthaginians.

15. At this time the Romans were also terrified by dreadful prodigies. To give some examples: the sun's disk seemed to be contracted and at Arpi parmae were seen in the sky; the sun also seemed to be fighting with the moon; at Capena two moons arose in the daytime; in Sardinia two shields sweated blood; in the territory of the Faliscans the sky seemed to be rent in twain, as it were, by a great fissure; at Antium,when men were harvesting, bloody ears of corn fell into their baskets.

Hannibal, knowing that the consul Flaminius  was alone in his camp, moved forward in the spring and took the more direct road, even though it was marshy. By this maneuver he planned to surprise and overthrow him when he was off his guard. The Sarnus  happened at that time to have overflowed its banks far and wide and had left its bordering fields in ruin. Concerning this a poet has said:

and the plains which Sarnus waters.

Hannibal, advancing with his army into this country, lost a large part of his allies and beasts of burden, particularly when the mists, which rose from the swamps, cut off his view. Hannibal himself, seated aloft on the sole surviving elephant, barely managed to avoid the hardships of the march; but as a result of the severe cold, lack of sleep, and the strain of the work, he lost the sight of one of his eyes which had long been diseased.

When Hannibal was in the vicinity of the camp of the consul Flaminius, he laid waste the surrounding country in order to provoke him to fight. A battle took place at Lake Trasimene. There the Roman army had the misfortune to be tricked by a stratagem of Hannibal and was completely cut to pieces. The consul himself perished. In that battle it is reported that twenty-five thousand Romans were slain and six thousand captured. Of Hannibal's army, only two thousand fell. This battle at Lake Trasimene was especially notable, not only because of the great disaster suffered by the Romans, but also because the combatants in the tension and heat of the battle were completely unaware of a terrible earthquake. This assumed so violent proportions that, according to reports, it destroyed cities, moved mountains, tore rocks asunder, and forced rivers back in their courses. The battle of Cannae  followed the disaster of Trasimene. During the intervening period, however, Fabius Maximus, the dictator, slowed down the attack of Hannibal by his policy of delaying action.

16. In the five hundred and fortieth year of the City, the consuls L. Aemilius Paulus and P. Terentius Varro  were sent against Hannibal. They had the ill fortune to lose at Cannae, a village of Apulia, almost the entire resources upon which Rome had based her hope. In that battle forty-four thousand Romans were killed, although a great part of Hannibal's army also lost their lives. In no other battle of the Punic War were the Romans so close to annihilation, for in that battle the consul Aemilius Paulus perished, twenty men of consular and praetorian rank were killed, and thirty senators were either captured or killed; three hundred nobles, forty thousand infantry, and thirty-five hundred cavalry also lost their lives. The consul Varro fled to Venusia  with five hundred cavalry. Without doubt that would have been the last day of the Roman state had Hannibal after his victory hastened to reach Rome at once. He sent to Carthage, as proof of his victory, three pecks of gold rings that he had pulled from the hands of the slain Roman knights and senators.

So desperate was the plight of the remaining Romans that the senators thought it necessary to consider a plan of abandoning Italy and seeking new homes. This plan would have been confirmed on the motion of Caecilius Metellus, had not Cornelius Scipio, then military tribune and the same man who was later called Africanus, prevented him with drawn sword and forced him instead to swear to maintain the defense of his country. The Romans, daring to breathe again, and emerging, as it were, from death to the hope of life, chose Decimus Junius dictator. He made a levy of those above seventeen years of age and gathered fifteen legions of immature and untrained soldiery. With a promise of freedom he then induced slaves of proven strength and purpose to take the military oath. Some of these slaves volunteered, but others, when urgently needed, were bought with public money. The arms that were lacking were taken from the temples, and private wealth poured into the impoverished public treasury. The equestrian order as well as the frightened plebeians forgot their own interests and planned for the common welfare. The dictator Junius, resuming an ancient practice of the days of Rome's misery, in order to reinforce the army, decreed that all men subject to punishment for crime or debt should be promised immunity and turned over to the military service—opening for them, as it were, a haven of refuge. Their number amounted to six thousand. Campania, or rather all Italy, in utter despair of restoring Rome to her former position, finally went over to Hannibal's side. After this, the praetor L. Postumius, who was sent to wage war against the Gauls, was destroyed with his army.

In the consulship of Sempronius Gracchus and Q. Fabius Maximus, Claudius Marcellus, the ex-praetor who had been chosen proconsul, routed the army of Hannibal in a battle.He was the first man, after the great disasters to the Republic, to offer hope that Hannibal could be defeated. In Spain, moreover, the Scipios  crushed the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal in a hard-fought battle as he was preparing his army for an invasion of Italy, causing him to lose thirty-five thousand by death or capture. The Romans now bribed some Celtiberian soldiers to leave the enemy and to join them. This was the first occasion when Romans allowed foreign troops to be in their camp. Sempronius Gracchus was led into ambush by a Lucanian, his host, and slain. Of his own accord the centurion Centenius Paenula asked for the command of the war against Hannibal; but he, together with the eight thousand troops that he had led to the line of battle, was slain by the Carthaginian leader. Following him, the praetor Cn. Fulvius was defeated by Hannibal and, after losing his army, barely escaped with his life.

I am ashamed to recall these things. Of what am I to speak first, the depravity of the Romans or their wretchedness? Nay more truly of their depraved wretchedness or of their wretched depravity? Who would believe that in those days, when the public treasury of the Romans was soliciting trifling contributions from private citizens there was not a single soldier in camp who was not either a boy, a slave, a criminal, or a debtor, that even then the number was insufficient, that the Senate in the Curia seemed composed almost wholly of new members, and finally that, in the face of all their losses and defeats, despair so overwhelmed them that a plan of abandoning Italy was submitted? And who would believe that at this time when, as we have said, they could not wage even one war at home, they undertook three more wars across the seas: one in Macedonia against Philip, the very powerful king of Macedonia; another in Spain against Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal; a third in Sardinia against the Sardinians and the other Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian general. Besides these wars, they undertook a fourth against Hannibal, who was pressing them hard in Italy. And yet a display of courage, bred of desperation, led to better fortune in every case; for in all these wars it was desperation that made them fight, and fighting that made them victorious. From this it is clearly evident that the times then were not more peaceful for the pursuits of leisure than they are at present, but that the men were braver as a result of their miseries.

17. In the five hundred and forty-third year of the City, Claudius Marcellus took Syracuse, the richest city in Sicily. He barely succeeded in this and then only after a second assault. His earlier attempt to besiege this city had failed, for he had been driven back by a machine of remarkable ingenuity made by Archimedes of Syracuse. In the tenth year after his arrival in Italy and during the consulship of Cn. Fulvius and P. Sulpicius, Hannibal moved his army from Campania, and as he proceeded through the territory of the Sidicini and Suessani by way of the Via Latina to the Anio River, he slaughtered great numbers of the people. He encamped three miles from the City and terrified all the inhabitants beyond belief. The Senate and the people became panic stricken and were unable to perform their several duties. The women, frantic with anxiety, ran along the fortifications, brought stones to the walls, and excelled all others in eagerness to fight in defense of the walls. Hannibal himself with his light-armed cavalry then advanced in hostile array to the Colline Gate  and drew up his entire forces in battle line. The consuls and the proconsul Fulvius did accept the challenge to battle. But just as both battle lines stood ready within plain sight of Rome, which was destined to be the prize of the victor, a hailstorm suddenly burst forth from the clouds with so terrific force that the disorganized lines barely managed to save their arms and reach their camps in safety. Fair weather returned and the troops again took their positions in battle line. A still more violent storm then arose. This inspired an even greater fear and curbed the presumption of mortal men, forcing the terror stricken armies to flee back to their tents. At that time Hannibal was overcome by religious awe. He is reported to have said that on the one occasion he did not desire to take Rome, but that on the other he did not have the power.

Let the defamers of the true God answer me at this point. Did Roman bravery or did Divine compassion prevent Hannibal from seizing and overthrowing Rome? Or perhaps those left unharmed are loath to confess that Hannibal became terrified in the hour of victory and proved it by retreating. If it is clear that this Divine protection came from Heaven in the form of rain but that it only rained at the opportune and necessary moment through the intervention of Christ, Who is the true God, I think then that this fact is sufficiently well established and cannot be denied. This truth is now completely proved by a further demonstration of His power. During a period of distressing drought, continuous intercessions of rain were made. In turn the Gentiles and the Christians prayed, but the desired rain fell, as they themselves testified, only on the day when it was agreed that Christ should be the object of their prayers and that Christians should pray. It is therefore beyond dispute that it was the intercession of this same true God, Who is Jesus Christ, Who governs according to the dictates of His ineffable judgment, that in those days saved the city of Rome, so that it might accept the faith in the future and yet now be partially punished for her unbelief.

In Spain, however, both Scipios were killed by Hasdrubal's brother. In Campania, Q. Fulvius, the proconsul, captured Capua. The leaders of the Campanians committed suicide by taking poison and Fulvius put to death the entire Senate of Capua despite the order of the Roman Senate to spare them. After the death of the Scipios in Spain, action was delayed because everyone was terror stricken. At this juncture, Scipio, though still a young man, volunteered his services. In the meantime the scarcity of money in the public treasury had become a source of shame. On the proposals of Claudius Marcellus and Valerius Laevinus  who were consuls at that time, all the senators openly brought gold and silver coins to the quaestors at the treasury. Nothing except individual rings and bullae  remained for themselves and for their sons, and for their daughters and wives they left only a single ounce of gold and not more than a single pound of silver.

18. Scipio, when twenty-four years old, was chosen with the rank of proconsul for the command in Spain. He crossed the Pyrenees with his mind bent upon avenging his father and uncle especially. On the first assault he captured New Carthage, where the Carthaginians had vast tributes from tax payments, strong defenses, and great stores of gold and silver. There Scipio also captured Mago, the brother of Hannibal, and sent him with others to Rome. The consul Laevinus, returning from Macedonia, took the Sicilian city of Agrigentum by storm and there made a prisoner of Hanno, the African commander. He also accepted the surrender of forty cities and took twenty-six by storm. In Italy, Hannibal killed the proconsul Cnaeus Fulvius, and also eleven tribunes and seventeen thousand soldiers. The consul Marcellus fought with Hannibal continuously for three days. On the first day the battle was drawn and on the following the consul was defeated; but on the third he was victorious and killed eight thousand of the enemy, forcing Hannibal himself and other survivors to flee to their own camp. The consul Fabius Maximus  stormed Tarentum a second time and captured the city, which had withdrawn from its alliance with Rome. On that occasion he destroyed huge numbers of Hannibal's army and also killed their general Carthalo. He sold thirty thousand of the captives and remitted the proceeds of the sale to the state treasury.

In Italy, the following year, the consul Claudius Marcellus was slain and his army destroyed by Hannibal. In Spain, however, Scipio defeated the Carthaginian leader Hasdrubal and sacked his camp. In addition Scipio reduced to subjection eighty cities. Some of these cities surrendered while others were taken in battle. He sold the Carthaginians into slavery, but let the Spaniards go without ransom. Meanwhile Hannibal lured both consuls, Marcellus and Crispinus, into ambush and killed them.

In the consulship of Claudius Nero and M. Livius Salinator, Hasdrubal, Hannibal's brother, made his way from Spain through the Gallic provinces to Italy. He had been ordered by the Carthaginians to join his forces to his brother's and was bringing with him great bodies of Spanish and Gallic auxiliaries. But when it was reported to the consuls that he had already descended from the Alps by a forced march, the Roman army, anticipating his plans, killed him and destroyed his whole army. Hannibal knew nothing of this disaster. The issue of the battle was long in doubt because the elephants proved very troublesome to the Roman battle line. In the Roman army there were soldiers called velites, so termed from their practice of flying to and fro. This mode of warfare had been developed a short time before. Young men, chosen for their agility, would take weapons and mount horses, seating themselves behind the cavalrymen; as soon as they came in contact with the enemy, after leaping from the horses, they would immediately become real infantrymen and fall upon the enemy; the cavalry, who had brought them, would fight in another part of the battle field. These velites, then, drove back the elephants when these beasts got out of the control of their own masters, and finally killed them by driving artificer's knives through their ears. This method of killing elephants, when need arose, was first discovered by this same general Hasdrubal.

The Metaurus River, where Hasdrubal was overwhelmed, proved as disastrous to the Carthaginians as Lake Trasimene, the city of Cesena in Picenum, and that famous village of Cannae had been to the Romans. Fifty-eight thousand of Hasdrubal's army were slaughtered there and five thousand four hundred were captured. Among the latter were found (our thousand Roman citizens who were repatriated. This was a source of consolation to the victorious consuls, for they themselves had lost eight hundred of their own army. Hasdrubal's head was thrown out in the sight of Hannibal's camp. When Hannibal saw his brother's head, he at once knew that the Carthaginians had met disaster and he himself took refuge among the Bruttians. These events took place thirteen years after his arrival in Italy. Following this period of violence and of war, peace between Hannibal and the Romans seems to have prevailed for a whole year, because there was fever and disease in the camps and a very severe pestilence was taking its toll from both armies.

In the meantime, Scipio had reduced all Spain from the Pyrenees to the Ocean to the status of a province. He now returned to Rome and was elected consul along with Licinius Crassus. He then crossed to Africa, killed the Punic general Hanno, the son of Hamilcar, and scattered his army, slaughtering part and capturing the remainder. Eleven thousand Carthaginians fell in that battle. Meanwhile the consul Sempronius  met Hannibal, was defeated, and fled back to Rome. In Africa, Scipio attacked the winter quarters of the Carthaginians and also those of the Numidians, both of which were not far from Utica. In the early hours of the night he set these quarters on fire. The Carthaginians, in their alarm, imagined that the fire had started by accident and ran out to extinguish it. Therefore the Romans, who were armed, easily conquered them. In the two camps forty thousand men met death either by fire or by sword and five thousand were captured. The leaders themselves, in a pitiful condition from their burns, barely escaped. Hasdrubal, the commander, came to Carthage as a fugitive. Then Syphax and Hasdrubal recruited a great army and at once engaged in a second battle with Scipio. They were defeated and fled. Laelius and Masinissa captured Syphax as he was fleeing. The rest of the great army took refuge in Cirta, which, after being stormed, surrendered to Masinissa, who led Syphax, bound in chains, to Scipio. The latter handed him over for safe conduct to Laelius, together with huge spoils and many captives.

19. Hannibal was ordered to return to Africa to give assistance to the worn-out Carthaginians. After killing all soldiers of Italian stock who were unwilling to accompany him, he abandoned Italy, shedding tears as he departed. As the African coast drew near, one of the sailors was ordered to climb a mast and from that vantage point to observe what land they were approaching. He answered that he saw in the distance a ruined sepulchre. Hannibal regarded this report as an ill omen, changed his course, and disembarked his forces at the town of Leptis.

While his army was resting, Hannibal proceeded at once to Carthage and there sought a conference with Scipio. On meeting, the two famous generals regarded each other for a long time in wonder and mutual admiration. After they had failed to negotiate peace, they engaged once more in battle. This battle, arranged in advance carefully and with great skill by the commanders, was waged by large masses of troops, and ended with a great display of' spirit on the part of the soldiers. The Romans were victorious. Eighty elephants were captured or killed and twenty thousand five hundred Carthaginians lost their lives. After vainly trying every possible expedient both before and during the conflict, Hannibal with a few men, that is, with only four horsemen, slipped away amid the din of battle and took refuge in Hadrumentum. Later he returned to Carthage, which he had left as a small boy with his father thirty-six years earlier. He persuaded the Senate, which was then in session, that their only hope was to make peace.

In the consulship of C. Cornelius Lentulus and P. Aelius Paetus, through the good offices of Scipio, the Romans granted peace to the Carthaginians by the vote of the Senate and of the people. They convoyed more than fifty ships out to sea and burned them in sight of the City. Scipio, who now bore the cognomen of Africanus, entered the City in a triumph. Terentius, one of the noble Carthaginian captives and later a comic poet, wore the pilleus—which was a symbol of the liberty granted him—and followed the chariot of the conqueror.

20. In the five hundred and forty-sixth year after the founding of the City, the Second Punic War, which had been waged for seventeen years, came to an end. The Macedonian War followed immediately. Quintius Flamininus  was chosen consul. After he had defeated the Macedonians in many severe battles, he granted peace to Philip. He then fought against the Lacedaemonians. After defeating their leader Nabis,he led before his chariot Demetrius, the son of Philip, and Armenes, the son of Nabis, who were the noblest of the hostages. The Roman captives, who had been sold throughout Greece by Hannibal, were all restored to freedom and followed the chariot of the conqueror with their heads shaven as a sign of their new liberty. At the same time the Insubres, the Boii, and the Cenomani united their forces under the leadership of the Punic Hamilcar, who had remained in Italy. After laying waste Cremona and Placentia, they were overcome by the praetor L. Furius in a very hard-fought battle. Later the proconsul Flamininus vanquished King Philip in battle  and also the Thracians, Macedonians, and Illyrians, besides many other tribes that had come to their assistance. The Macedonians were defeated and lost their camp. According to Polybius, eight thousand Macedonian soldiers were slain on that day and five thousand were captured. Valerius says that forty thousand were slaughtered; but Claudius tells us that the number was thirty-two thousand.

This inconsistency of the historians is certainly an evidence of falsehood. But flattery is surely the cause of their misrepresentation, since they eagerly heap praises upon the victor and extol the virtue of their own country for the edification of present and future generations. Otherwise, if the number had not been investigated, it never would have been spoken of at all. But if it is glorious for a commander and a country to have destroyed so many of the enemy, how much more joyful is it for a country and how much happier for a commander if they have lost none or very few of their men. The intent to deceive becomes absolutely plain, because with like shamelessness they lied by exaggerating the number of the enemy dead while they either minimized the losses suffered among their own allies or kept them entirely secret.

Shortly after this battle, Sempronius Tuditanus was crushed in a battle in Hither Spain. He was killed and the entire Roman army was destroyed. The consul Marcellus was defeated by the Boii in Etruria and lost a great part of his army. The other consul Furius, however, later brought assistance to him and together they ravaged the entire Boii nation with fire and sword, almost annihilating this people.

In the consulship of L. Valerius Flaccus and M. Porcius Cato, Antiochus, the king of Syria, prepared for war against the Roman people and crossed from Asia into Europe. At that time also, the Senate ordered Hannibal to be brought to Rome, because rumors were circulating among the Romans that he was stirring up war. Hannibal secretly set out from Africa and went to Antiochus. He met the latter tarrying at Ephesus and urged him to begin war immediately. At that time, too, the law, that no woman should have more than a half ounce of gold, or should wear a colored garment or use a carriage anywhere in the City, which had been proposed by Oppius, a tribune of the plebs, was repealed after being in force for twenty years.

In the second consulship of P. Scipio Africanus and T. Sempronius Longus, the Romans slew ten thousand Gauls at Milan. In a later battle eleven thousand Gauls were slain, but only five thousand Romans lost their lives. The praetor Pub-lius Digitius lost almost his entire army in Hither Spain. The praetor M. Fulvius defeated the Celtiberi together with neighboring peoples and captured their king. Minucius was drawn into a situation of extreme peril by the Ligurians. He was surrounded by enemy ambuscades and barely managed to escape as a result of the activity of the Numidian cavalry. Scipio Africanus with other ambassadors was sent to Antiochus and had a private talk with Hannibal. Peace negotiations failed, however, and Scipio parted from Antiochus. In both Spains, the praetors Flaminius and Fulvius waged wars that brought terror and destruction to each people.

During the consulship of P. Cornelius Scipio and M. Acilius Glabrio, Antiochus seized the passes of Thermopylae, the fortification of which, in view of the uncertain issue of battle, gave him a greater measure of safety. Nevertheless, when battle began, he was overcome by the consul Glabrio and was barely able to escape with a few men from the battlefield and to reach Ephesus. Antiochus is said to have had sixty thousand troops; of these forty thousand were slain and more than five thousand, according to the report, were captured. Scipio, the other consul, engaged in war with the Boii nation and slew twenty thousand of the enemy in battle.

The following year Scipio Africanus and his ally Eumenes, the son of Attalus, engaged in a naval battle against Hannibal, who was then in command of the fleet of Antiochus. Hannibal was defeated, put to flight, and lost his entire army. Antiochus therefore sued for peace. Of his own free will he sent back the son of Africanus, whom he had taken prisoner. It is uncertain whether this son of Africanus was captured while he was scouting or while he was fighting in battle. In Further Spain the proconsul L. Aemilius perished after his whole army had been slaughtered by the Lusitani. L. Baebius, who had set out for Spain, was surrounded by the Ligurians; he and his entire army were destroyed. Since it was certain that not even a messenger had survived this battle, the Massilians took it upon themselves to inform Rome of the disaster.

The consul Fulvius traveled from Greece to Gallo-Greece, which is now Galatia, and came to Mount Olympus,on which all the Gallo-Greeks with their wives and children had taken refuge. There they fought a very bitter battle. The Romans suffered serious losses from arrows, leaden balls, rocks, and other missiles sent from the higher ground. Finally, however, they forced their way through to meet the enemy. It is reported that forty thousand Gallo-Greeks lost their lives in that battle. The consul Marcius  set out against the Ligurians, was defeated, and lost four thousand troops; had he not quickly fled back to his camp after his defeat, he would have met the same fate as that which overtook Baebius a short time before when he was slaughtered by these same enemies.

In the consulship of M. Claudius Marcellus and Q. Fabius Labeo, King Philip, who had put to death the ambassadors of the Roman people, was pardoned after his son Demetrius, whom he had sent as his envoy, had pleaded most humbly in his behalf. Despite this service, Philip almost at once poisoned and killed him on the pretext that he had acted as a friend of the Romans and had been a traitor to his own father. Another son aided the father in the murder of his brother who, poor wretch, suspected nothing evil from either of them.

In the same year Scipio Africanus, long an exile from his ungrateful city, died of disease in the town of Liternum.At this time also Hannibal committed suicide at the court of Prusias, the king of Bithynia; he took poison when the Romans demanded his surrender. Philopoemen, the king of the Achaeans, was captured and executed by the Messenians. Near Sicily, the island of Vulcan, which had not been visible before, suddenly, to everyone's astonishment, emerged from the sea and it remains there even to this day. In a great battle in Hither Spain the praetor Q. Fulvius routed twenty-three thousand men and took captive four thousand, while in Further Spain Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus forced into surrender one hundred and five towns that had been weakened and shattered by war. During the same summer, L. Postumius killed forty thousand of the enemy in battle in Hither Spain, and in the same region the praetor Gracchus in a second campaign stormed and captured two hundred towns.

In the consulship of Lepidus and Mucius, a very savage people, the Basternae, met destruction in this way. They followed the advice of Perseus, son of Philip, and were also attracted by the prospect of booty and the possibility of crossing the Ister River without encountering the enemy. For at that time the Danube, which is also called the Ister, happened to be covered with solid ice and hence could easily be crossed on foot. A vast number of men improvidently crossed with their horses, advancing all together in one great column. Under the enormous weight and the impact of those moving over it, the icy, frozen surface gave way and cracked. The ice, which had so long supported the entire column, finally crumbled in midstream and broke up into small pieces. These pieces of ice, passing over them and preventing them from reaching the surface, caused them to drown. Thus, out of the entire number only a few, badly cut up, managed to reach the shore.

In the consulship of P. Licinius Crassus and C. Cassius Longinus, the Macedonian War was waged. This war must rightly be classed among the really important ones. Those who aided the Romans were as follows: first, all of Italy; then, Ptolemy the king of Egypt; and finally, Ariarathes of Cappadocia, Eumenes of Asia, and Masinissa of Numidia. Perseus and the Macedonians had as allies the Thracians and their king Cotys, and the Illyrians united under their king Gentlus.

When the consul Crassus was approaching, Perseus advanced to meet him and engaged him in battle. The Romans suffered a miserable defeat and fled. In a later battle both sides met with almost equal losses and they then retired to winter quarters. Having conquered the Roman army in many battles, Perseus went over into Illyricum, where he attacked and captured Uscana, a town defended by a Roman garrison. Some members of the large Roman garrison he killed, others he sold into slavery, and the rest he took with him to Macedonia.

Later the consul L. Aemilius Paulus fought and conquered Perseus in a battle in which the consul's forces killed twenty thousand of the enemy's infantry. The king, who escaped with his cavalry, was soon captured and with his sons was led in triumph before the chariot. Subsequently he died in a prison at Alba. The younger son of Perseus, on account of his dire want, learned the art of working brass in Rome and later died there. For the sake of brevity I have omitted the most of the wars which many peoples in different places fought with varying results.

21. In the six hundredth year of the City, in the consulship of L. Licinius Lucullus and A. Postumius Albinus, the Celtiberi greatly terrified all the Romans. Not one Roman, either tribune or legate, dared to go into Spain. P. Scipio, who later was to be called Africanus, volunteered his services for the Spanish campaign, although he had already been chosen by lot for the Macedonian command. He then set out for Spain and overthrew many tribes. Taking the part of a soldier more often than that of a general, he met and killed in single combat a barbarian who had challenged him. The praetor Sergius, however, was defeated by the Lusitani in a great battle, and after the loss of his entire army he himself barely managed to slip away and escape. This same year the censors decided to build a stone theatre in the city. Scipio Nasica made an impressive speech opposing its construction at that time; he maintained that this measure would foster wantonness and laziness and would be most harmful to a warlike people. He therefore moved that the Senate should not only order the sale of everything prepared for the theatre but should even prohibit the tiers of seats for the games from being put into place.

Today our people consider whatever runs counter to the satisfaction of their lusts to be a misfortune. As a result they feel weaker, and even admit that they are weaker, than their enemies. Let them understand, then, that they should blame the theatres and not the times. Neither should they blaspheme the true God Who has ever forbidden these unlawful pleasures. Rather let them detest their own gods or demons who have required these pleasures. Indeed these gods have given sufficiently clear evidence of their malignity by demanding this kind of a sacrifice, since they fed on the corrupt nature of men no less than on the spilt blood of cattle. Surely in former days there was no lack of enemies, famines, diseases, and prodigies; on the contrary there were a great number. But there were no theaters in which—however difficult it may be to believe—virtues were slaughtered like victims on the altar of voluptuousness. It is true that at one time the Carthaginians thought it right to sacrifice human beings, but they soon discarded this belief which they had so wickedly conceived. The Romans, however, demanded that men should apply themselves to their own destruction. It has happened, it is happening. People love it and cry aloud that it should continue. Those who perhaps might be offended by the sacrificing of cattle from their herds rejoice at the slaughter of the virtue of their own hearts. Nay, let those who think that the Christians ought to be reproached rather be ashamed in the presence of Nasica. And let them not complain to us about enemies who have ever been with them, but to Nasica about the theatre which he prevented from being built.

In Spain, the praetor Sergius Galba accepted the voluntary surrender of the Lusitani who were living on the nearer side of the Tagus River. Later he committed a crime by putting them to death. Although he had pretended that he would act in their interest, he surrounded them with troops and destroyed them while they were unarmed and off their guard. This treachery on the part of the Romans was later the source of the greatest disturbance throughout all Spain.

22. The Third Punic War began six hundred and two years after the founding of the City in the consulship of L. Censorinus and M. Manilius. The Senate voted that Carthage must be destroyed. The consuls and Scipio, who was then tribune of the soldiers, then proceeded to Africa and reached the camp of the elder Africanus near Utica. There they summoned the Carthaginians and ordered them to surrender both their arms and ships without delay. The quantity of arms hastily surrendered was easily great enough to arm all Africa. But after the Carthaginians had surrendered their arms, they were ordered to abandon the city and to withdraw inland ten miles from the sea. Grief brought them to despair. Resolving either to defend the city or to be buried with her in her fall, they chose two Hasdrubals  as their leaders. Then they set about to manufacture arms, using gold and silver to supplement the scarce supply of bronze and iron. The consuls decided to attack Carthage, the situation of which is said to have been somewhat as follows: the city was surrounded by a wall nearly twenty-two miles long and was almost entirely enclosed by the sea except for a neck of land. This extended for three miles and had a wall thirty feet wide constructed of hewn rock forty cubits in height. The citadel, the name of which was Byrsa, was a little more than two miles long. On one side, a continuous wall, connecting the city with Byrsa, towered above the Stagnum Sea. This was so named because a projecting strip of land formed a breakwater and thus made its waters calm.

Although the consuls by means of machines had shattered and demolished a considerable part of the wall, nevertheless they were defeated and driven back by the Carthaginians. Scipio, however, drove the enemy behind their walls and came to the rescue of those who were fleeing. Censorinus returned to the City. Manilius passed by Carthage and directed his forces against Hasdrubal. In the meantime Masinissa died, and Scipio divided the Numidian kingdom among Masinissa's three sons. When Scipio had returned to the vicinity of Carthage, Manilius stormed and plundered the city of Tezaga, slaying twelve thousand Africans and capturing six thousand. Hasdrubal, the Punic general and the grandson of Masinissa, was suspected of treachery. His own countrymen wielded pieces torn from the benches in the Senate House and beat him to death. At the same time the praetor Juventius fought an engagement with Psuedo-Philip in Macedonia. He was slain and the entire Roman army suffered very heavy losses.

23. In the six hundred and sixth year of the city, that is, in the fiftieth year after the Second Punic War, in the consulship of Cn. Cornelius Lentulus and L. Mummius, P. Scipio,the consul of the year before, tempted fortune for the last time in an effort to destroy Carthage. He advanced to Gothon, where he fought a battle lasting six days and six nights. Utter despair forced the Carthaginians to surrender. They begged that the survivors of the disastrous battle might at least be permitted to become slaves. First a line of women came down —a wretched enough sight—and following them a still more miserable looking body of men. Tradition says that there were twenty-five thousand women and thirty thousand men. Hasdrubal, the king, voluntarily surrendered himself. The Roman deserters, who had taken possession of the temple of Aesculapius, now of their own accord hurled themselves down from the walls and were burned to death. The wife of Hasdrubal, acting as would a man in grief and a woman in rage, threw herself and her two sons into the middle of the fire. Thus the last queen of Carthage came to her end by the same death as that which in ages past had claimed the first queen. The city burned for seventeen consecutive days, furnishing the conquerors with a pitiable spectacle to illustrate the fickleness of human fortune. Thus Carthage was destroyed and her entire stone wall reduced to dust seven hundred years after her foundation. With the exception of a few leading men, every one of the captives was sold into slavery. The Third Punic War now came to an end in the fourth year after it had begun.

In regard to the Third Punic War it has never appeared to me, a very diligent but not brilliant inquirer, that Carthage was so far instrumental in causing the war that her destruction was justly decreed. And I am especially moved by the fact that there would have been no need for deliberation, if, as in previous wars, an obvious cause and resentment had inflamed the Romans against a rising power. But there was deliberation. While some of the Romans proposed that Carthage be destroyed to insure the permanent safety of Rome, there were others who, with a view to the permanent schooling of Roman courage—a task they always imposed upon themselves through suspicion of a rival city—held that Carthage should be left to herself intact, lest Roman energy, always trained in war, should relax through peace and leisure into listless indolence. Consequently I find the cause, not in unfair aggression on the part of Carthage, but in the loss of steadfastness and morale among the Romans. Such being the case, why do they charge to Christian times the dullness and rust with which they themselves are outwardly stolid and inwardly corroded? Moreover, some six hundred years ago the Romans lost, as their men of wisdom and caution had predicted, that great whetstone of their brilliance and keenness— Carthage.

So I shall close this book, lest I meet with unnecessary harshness. For though I may remove rust for the moment by the violence of the encounter, I will be unable to stimulate the keen judgment that is needed. Yet I should have no fear of open and harsh attack if I could discover a hope of that keen judgment within.