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or whips with triple thongs terminating in brass claws.

All were placed facing the sun, in the direction of Moloch the Devourer,
and were stretched on the ground on their stomachs or on their backs,
those, however, who were sentenced to be flogged standing upright
against the trees with two men beside them, one counting the blows and
the other striking.

In striking he used both his arms, and the whistling thongs made the
bark of the plane-trees fly. The blood was scattered like rain upon the
foliage, and red masses writhed with howls at the foot of the trees.
Those who were under the iron tore their faces with their nails.
The wooden screws could be heard creaking; dull knockings resounded;
sometimes a sharp cry would suddenly pierce the air. In the direction of
the kitchens, men were brisking up burning coals with fans amid
tattered garments and scattered hair, and a smell of burning flesh was
perceptible. Those who were under the scourge, swooning, but kept in
their positions by the bonds on their arms, rolled their heads upon
their shoulders and closed their eyes. The others who were watching
them began to shriek with terror, and the lions, remembering the feast
perhaps, stretched themselves out yawning against the edge of the dens.

Then Salammbo was seen on the platform of her terrace. She ran wildly
about it from left to right. Hamilcar perceived her. It seemed to him
that she was holding up her arms towards him to ask for pardon; with a
gesture of horror he plunged into the elephants' park.

These animals were the pride of the great Punic houses. They had carried
their ancestors, had triumphed in the wars, and they were reverenced as
being the favourites of the Sun.

Those of Megara were the strongest in Carthage. Before he went away
Hamilcar had required Abdalonim to swear that he would watch over them.
But they had died from their mutilations; and only three remained, lying
in the middle of the court in the dust before the ruins of their manger.

They recognised him and came up to him. One had its ears horribly slit,
another had a large wound in its knee, while the trunk of the third was
cut off.

They looked sadly at him, like reasonable creatures; and the one that
had lost its trunk tried by stooping its huge head and bending its hams
to stroke him softly with the hideous extremity of its stump.

At this caress from the animal two tears started into his eyes. He
rushed at Abdalonim.

"Ah! wretch! the cross! the cross!"

Abdalonim fell back swooning upon the ground.

The bark of a jackal rang from behind the purple factories, the blue
smoke of which was ascending slowly into the sky; Hamilcar paused.

The thought of his son had suddenly calmed him like the touch of a
god. He caught a glimpse of a prolongation of his might, an indefinite
continuation of his personality, and the slaves could not understand
whence this appeasement had come upon him.

As he bent his steps towards the purple factories he passed before the
ergastulum, which was a long house of black stone built in a square pit
with a small pathway all round it and four staircases at the corners.

Iddibal was doubtless waiting until the night to finish his signal.
"There is no hurry yet," thought Hamilcar; and he went down into the
prison. Some cried out to him: "Return"; the boldest followed him.

The open door was flapping in the wind. The twilight entered through
the narrow loopholes, and in the interior broken chains could be
distinguished hanging from the walls.

This was all that remained of the captives of war!

Then Hamilcar grew extraordinarily pale, and those who were leaning
over the pit outside saw him resting one hand against the wall to keep
himself from falling.

But the jackal uttered its cry three times in succession. Hamilcar
raised his head; he did not speak a word nor make a gesture. Then when
the sun had completely set he disappeared behind the nopal hedge, and in
the evening he said as he entered the assembly of the rich in the temple
of Eschmoun:

"Luminaries of the Baalim, I accept the command of the Punic forces
against the army of the Barbarians!"



CHAPTER VIII

THE BATTLE OF THE MACARAS

In the following day he drew two hundred and twenty-three thousand
kikars of gold from the Syssitia, and decreed a tax of fourteen shekels
upon the rich. Even the women contributed; payment was made in behalf
of the children, and he compelled the colleges of priests to furnish
money - a monstrous thing, according to Carthaginian customs.

He demanded all the horses, mules, and arms. A few tried to conceal
their wealth, and their property was sold; and, to intimidate the
avarice of the rest, he himself gave sixty suits of armour, and fifteen
hundred gomers of meal, which was as much as was given by the Ivory
Company.

He sent into Liguria to buy soldiers, three thousand mountaineers
accustomed to fight with bears; they were paid for six moons in advance
at the rate of four minae a day.

Nevertheless an army was wanted. But he did not, like Hanno, accept all
the citizens. First he rejected those engaged in sedentary occupations,
and then those who were big-bellied or had a pusillanimous look; and he
admitted those of ill-repute, the scum of Malqua, sons of Barbarians,
freed men. For reward he promised some of the New Carthaginians complete
rights of citizenship.

His first care was to reform the Legion. These handsome young fellows,
who regarded themselves as the military majesty of the Republic,
governed themselves. He reduced their officers to the ranks; he treated
them harshly, made them run, leap, ascend the declivity of Byrsa at a
single burst, hurl javelins, wrestle together, and sleep in the squares
at night. Their families used to come to see them and pity them.

He ordered shorter swords and stronger buskins. He fixed the number of
serving-men, and reduced the amount of baggage; and as there were three
hundred Roman pila kept in the temple of Moloch, he took them in spite
of the pontiff's protests.

He organised a phalanx of seventy-two elephants with those which
had returned from Utica, and others which were private property, and
rendered them formidable. He armed their drivers with mallet and chisel
to enable them to split their skulls in the fight if they ran away.

He would not allow his generals to be nominated by the Grand Council.
The Ancients tried to urge the laws in objection, but he set them aside;
no one ventured to murmur again, and everything yielded to the violence
of his genius.

He assumed sole charge of the war, the government, and the finances;
and as a precaution against accusations he demanded the Suffet Hanno as
examiner of his accounts.

He set to work upon the ramparts, and had the old and now useless inner
walls demolished in order to furnish stones. But difference of fortune,
replacing the hierarchy of race, still kept the sons of the vanquished
and those of the conquerors apart; thus the patricians viewed the
destruction of these ruins with an angry eye, while the plebeians,
scarcely knowing why, rejoiced.

The troops defiled under arms through the streets from morning till
night; every moment the sound of trumpets was heard; chariots passed
bearing shields, tents, and pikes; the courts were full of women engaged
in tearing up linen; the enthusiasm spread from one to another, and
Hamilcar's soul filled the Republic.

He had divided his soldiers into even numbers, being careful to place
a strong man and a weak one alternately throughout the length of his
files, so that he who was less vigorous or more cowardly might be at
once led and pushed forward by two others. But with his three thousand
Ligurians, and the best in Carthage, he could form only a simple phalanx
of four thousand and ninety-six hoplites, protected by bronze helmets,
and handling ashen sarissae fourteen cubits long.

There were two thousand young men, each equipped with a sling, a dagger,
and sandals. He reinforced them with eight hundred others armed with
round shields and Roman swords.

The heavy cavalry was composed of the nineteen hundred remaining
guardsmen of the Legion, covered with plates of vermilion bronze, like
the Assyrian Clinabarians. He had further four hundred mounted archers,
of those that were called Tarentines, with caps of weasel's skin,
two-edged axes, and leathern tunics. Finally there were twelve hundred
Negroes from the quarter of the caravans, who were mingled with the
Clinabarians, and were to run beside the stallions with one hand resting
on the manes. All was ready, and yet Hamilcar did not start.

Often at night he would go out of Carthage alone and make his way beyond
the lagoon towards the mouths of the Macaras. Did he intend to join the
Mercenaries? The Ligurians encamped in the Mappalian district surrounded
his house.

The apprehensions of the rich appeared justified when, one day, three
hundred Barbarians were seen approaching the walls. The Suffet opened
the gates to them; they were deserters; drawn by fear or by fidelity,
they were hastening to their master.

Hamilcar's return had not surprised the Mercenaries; according to their
ideas the man could not die. He was returning to fulfil his promise; - a
hope by no means absurd, so deep was the abyss between Country and
Army. Moreover they did not believe themselves culpable; the feast was
forgotten.

The spies whom they surprised undeceived them. It was a triumph for the
bitter; even the lukewarm grew furious. Then the two sieges overwhelmed
then with weariness; no progress was being made; a battle would be
better! Thus many men had left the ranks and were scouring the country.
But at news of the arming they returned; Matho leaped for joy. "At last!
at last!" he cried.

Then the resentment which he cherished against Salammbo was turned
against Hamilcar. His hate could now perceive a definite prey; and as
his vengeance grew easier of conception he almost believed that he
had realised it and he revelled in it already. At the same time he was
seized with a loftier tenderness, and consumed by more acrid desire.
He saw himself alternately in the midst of the soldiers brandishing
the Suffet's head on a pike, and then in the room with the purple bed,
clasping the maiden in his arms, covering her face with kisses, passing
his hands over her long, black hair; and the imagination of this, which
he knew could never be realised, tortured him. He swore to himself that,
since his companions had appointed him schalishim, he would conduct the
war; the certainty that he would not return from it urged him to render
it a pitiless one.

He came to Spendius and said to him:

"You will go and get your men! I will bring mine! Warn Autaritus! We are
lost if Hamilcar attacks us! Do you understand me? Rise!"

Spendius was stupefied before such an air of authority. Matho usually
allowed himself to be led, and his previous transports had quickly
passed away. But just now he appeared at once calmer and more terrible;
a superb will gleamed in his eyes like the flame of sacrifice.

The Greek did not listen to his reasons. He was living in one of the
Carthaginian pearl-bordered tents, drinking cool beverages from silver
cups, playing at the cottabos, letting his hair grow, and conducting the
siege with slackness. Moreover, he had entered into communications with
some in the town and would not leave, being sure that it would open its
gates before many days were over.

Narr' Havas, who wandered about among the three armies, was at that
time with him. He supported his opinion, and even blamed the Libyan for
wishing in his excess of courage to abandon their enterprise.

"Go, if you are afraid!" exclaimed Matho; "you promised us pitch,
sulphur, elephants, foot-soldiers, horses! where are they?"

Narr' Havas reminded him that he had exterminated Hanno's last
cohorts; - as to the elephants, they were being hunted in the woods,
he was arming the foot-soldiers, the horses were on their way; and the
Numidian rolled his eyes like a woman and smiled in an irritating manner
as he stroked the ostrich feather which fell upon his shoulder. In his
presence Matho was at a loss for a reply.

But a man who was a stranger entered, wet with perspiration, scared,
and with bleeding feet and loosened girdle; his breathing shook his
lean sides enough to have burst them, and speaking in an unintelligible
dialect he opened his eyes wide as if he were telling of some battle.
The king sprang outside and called his horsemen.

They ranged themselves in the plain before him in the form of a circle.
Narr' Havas, who was mounted, bent his head and bit his lips. At last he
separated his men into two equal divisions, and told the first to wait;
then with an imperious gesture he carried off the others at a gallop and
disappeared on the horizon in the direction of the mountains.

"Master!" murmured Spendius, "I do not like these extraordinary
chances - the Suffet returning, Narr' Havas going away - "

"Why! what does it matter?" said Matho disdainfully.

It was a reason the more for anticipating Hamilcar by uniting with
Autaritus. But if the siege of the towns were raised, the inhabitants
would come out and attack them in the rear, while they would have the
Carthaginians in front. After much talking the following measures were
resolved upon and immediately executed.

Spendius proceeded with fifteen thousand men as far as the bridge built
across the Macaras, three miles from Utica; the corners of it were
fortified with four huge towers provided with catapults; all the paths
and gorges in the mountains were stopped up with trunks of trees, pieces
of rock, interlacings of thorn, and stone walls; on the summits heaps
of grass were made which might be lighted as signals, and shepherds who
were able to see at a distance were posted at intervals.

No doubt Hamilcar would not, like Hanno, advance by the mountain of
the Hot Springs. He would think that Autaritus, being master of the
interior, would close the route against him. Moreover, a check at the
opening of the campaign would ruin him, while if he gained a victory he
would soon have to make a fresh beginning, the Mercenaries being further
off. Again, he could disembark at Cape Grapes and march thence upon one
of the towns. But he would then find himself between the two armies,
an indiscretion which he could not commit with his scanty forces.
Accordingly he must proceed along the base of Mount Ariana, then turn
to the left to avoid the mouths of the Macaras, and come straight to the
bridge. It was there that Matho expected him.

At night he used to inspect the pioneers by torch-light. He would hasten
to Hippo-Zarytus or to the works on the mountains, would come back
again, would never rest. Spendius envied his energy; but in the
management of spies, the choice of sentries, the working of the engines
and all means of defence, Matho listened docilely to his companion. They
spoke no more of Salammbo, - one not thinking about her, and the other
being prevented by a feeling of shame.

Often he would go towards Carthage, striving to catch sight of
Hamilcar's troops. His eyes would dart along the horizon; he would
lie flat on the ground, and believe that he could hear an army in the
throbbing of his arteries.

He told Spendius that if Hamilcar did not arrive in three days he would
go with all his men to meet him and offer him battle. Two further days
elapsed. Spendius restrained him; but on the morning of the sixth day he
departed.

The Carthaginians were no less impatient for war than the Barbarians.
In tents and in houses there was the same longing and the same distress;
all were asking one another what was delaying Hamilcar.

From time to time he would mount to the cupola of the temple of Eschmoun
beside the Announcer of the Moons and take note of the wind.

One day - it was the third of the month of Tibby - they saw him descending
from the Acropolis with hurried steps. A great clamour arose in the
Mappalian district. Soon the streets were astir, and the soldiers were
everywhere beginning to arm themselves upon their breasts; then they ran
quickly to the square of Khamon to take their places in the ranks. No
one was allowed to follow them or even to speak to them, or to approach
the ramparts; for some minutes the whole town was silent as a great
tomb. The soldiers as they leaned on their lances were thinking, and the
others in the houses were sighing.

At sunset the army went out by the western gate; but instead of taking
the road to Tunis or making for the mountains in the direction of Utica,
they continued their march along the edge of the sea; and they soon
reached the Lagoon, where round spaces quite whitened with salt
glittered like gigantic silver dishes forgotten on the shore.

Then the pools of water multiplied. The ground gradually became softer,
and the feet sank in it. Hamilcar did not turn back. He went on still
at their head; and his horse, which was yellow-spotted like a dragon,
advanced into the mire flinging froth around him, and with great
straining of the loins. Night - a moonless light - fell. A few cried out
that they were about to perish; he snatched their arms from them, and
gave them to the serving-men. Nevertheless the mud became deeper and
deeper. Some had to mount the beasts of burden; others clung to the
horses' tails; the sturdy pulled the weak, and the Ligurian corps drove
on the infantry with the points of their pikes. The darkness increased.
They had lost their way. All stopped.

Then some of the Suffet's slaves went on ahead to look for the buoys
which had been placed at intervals by his order. They shouted through
the darkness, and the army followed them at a distance.

At last they felt the resistance of the ground. Then a whitish curve
became dimly visible, and they found themselves on the bank of the
Macaras. In spite of the cold no fires were lighted.

In the middle of the night squalls of wind arose. Hamilcar had the
soldiers roused, but not a trumpet was sounded: their captain tapped
them softly on the shoulder.

A man of lofty stature went down into the water. It did not come up to
his girdle; it was possible to cross.

The Suffet ordered thirty-two of the elephants to be posted in the river
a hundred paces further on, while the others, lower down, would check
the lines of men that were carried away by the current; and holding
their weapons above their heads they all crossed the Macaras as though
between two walls. He had noticed that the western wind had driven the
sand so as to obstruct the river and form a natural causeway across it.

He was now on the left bank in front of Utica, and in a vast plain, the
latter being advantageous for his elephants, which formed the strength
of his army.

This feat of genius filled the soldiers with enthusiasm. They recovered
extraordinary confidence. They wished to hasten immediately against the
Barbarians; but the Suffet bade them rest for two hours. As soon as the
sun appeared they moved into the plain in three lines - first came the
elephants, and then the light infantry with the cavalry behind it, the
phalanx marching next.

The Barbarians encamped at Utica, and the fifteen thousand about the
bridge were surprised to see the ground undulating in the distance. The
wind, which was blowing very hard, was driving tornadoes of sand before
it; they rose as though snatched from the soil, ascended in great
light-coloured strips, then parted asunder and began again, hiding the
Punic army the while from the Mercenaries. Owing to the horns, which
stood up on the edge of the helmets, some thought that they could
perceive a herd of oxen; others, deceived by the motion of the cloaks,
pretended that they could distinguish wings, and those who had travelled
a good deal shrugged their shoulders and explained everything by
the illusions of the mirage. Nevertheless something of enormous size
continued to advance. Little vapours, as subtle as the breath, ran
across the surface of the desert; the sun, which was higher now, shone
more strongly: a harsh light, which seemed to vibrate, threw back
the depths of the sky, and permeating objects, rendered distance
incalculable. The immense plain expanded in every direction beyond the
limits of vision; and the almost insensible undulations of the soil
extended to the extreme horizon, which was closed by a great blue line
which they knew to be the sea. The two armies, having left their tents,
stood gazing; the people of Utica were massing on the ramparts to have a
better view.

At last they distinguished several transverse bars bristling with level
points. They became thicker, larger; black hillocks swayed to and fro;
square thickets suddenly appeared; they were elephants and lances. A
single shout went up: "The Carthaginians!" and without signal or command
the soldiers at Utica and those at the bridge ran pell-mell to fall in a
body upon Hamilcar.

Spendius shuddered at the name. "Hamilcar! Hamilcar!" he repeated,
panting, and Matho was not there! What was to be done? No means of
flight! The suddenness of the event, his terror of the Suffet, and above
all, the urgent need of forming an immediate resolution, distracted him;
he could see himself pierced by a thousand swords, decapitated, dead.
Meanwhile he was being called for; thirty thousand men would follow him;
he was seized with fury against himself; he fell back upon the hope of
victory; it was full of bliss, and he believed himself more intrepid
than Epaminondas. He smeared his cheeks with vermilion in order to
conceal his paleness, then he buckled on his knemids and his cuirass,
swallowed a patera of pure wine, and ran after his troops, who were
hastening towards those from Utica.

They united so rapidly that the Suffet had not time to draw up his
men in battle array. By degrees he slackened his speed. The elephants
stopped; they rocked their heavy heads with their chargings of ostrich
feathers, striking their shoulders the while with their trunks.

Behind the intervals between them might be seen the cohorts of the
velites, and further on the great helmets of the Clinabarians,
with steel heads glancing in the sun, cuirasses, plumes, and waving
standards. But the Carthaginian army, which amounted to eleven thousand
three hundred and ninety-six men, seemed scarcely to contain them, for
it formed an oblong, narrow at the sides and pressed back upon itself.

Seeing them so weak, the Barbarians, who were thrice as numerous, were
seized with extravagant joy. Hamilcar was not to be seen. Perhaps he
had remained down yonder? Moreover what did it matter? The disdain
which they felt for these traders strengthened their courage; and before
Spendius could command a manoeuvre they had all understood it, and
already executed it.

They were deployed in a long, straight line, overlapping the wings of
the Punic army in order to completely encompass it. But when there
was an interval of only three hundred paces between the armies, the
elephants turned round instead of advancing; then the Clinabarians were
seen to face about and follow them; and the surprise of the Mercenaries
increased when they saw the archers running to join them. So the
Carthaginians were afraid, they were fleeing! A tremendous hooting broke
out from among the Barbarian troops, and Spendius exclaimed from the top
of his dromedary: "Ah! I knew it! Forward! forward!"

Then javelins, darts, and sling-bullets burst forth simultaneously. The
elephants feeling their croups stung by the arrows began to gallop more
quickly; a great dust enveloped them, and they vanished like shadows in
a cloud.

But from the distance there came a loud noise of footsteps dominated by
the shrill sound of the trumpets, which were being blown furiously.
The space which the Barbarians had in front of them, which was full
of eddies and tumult, attracted like a whirlpool; some dashed into it.
Cohorts of infantry appeared; they closed up; and at the same time
all the rest saw the foot-soldiers hastening up with the horseman at a
gallop.

Hamilcar had, in fact, ordered the phalanx to break its sections, and
the elephants, light troops, and cavalry to pass through the intervals
so as to bring themselves speedily upon the wings, and so well had he
calculated the distance from the Barbarians, that at the moment when
they reached him, the entire Carthaginian army formed one long straight
line.

In the centre bristled the phalanx, formed of syntagmata or full squares
having sixteen men on each side. All the leaders of all the files
appeared amid long, sharp lanceheads, which jutted out unevenly around


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