Charles Bucke.

Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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with perpetual alarms, advancing to their walls by
night as well as by day.

When the mercenaries, who had been left in Sar-
dinia, heard of what their comrades had effected in


Africa, they shook off their yoke in imitation, mur-
dered the general who commanded them, and all the
Carthaginians who served under him ; and a suc-
cessor, who was sent from Carthage, also the forces
which had accompanied him, went over to the rebels.
They hung the new general on a cross, and put all
the Carthaginians then in Sardinia to the sword,
after making them suffer inexpressible torments.
They then besieged all the cities one after another,
and soon got possession of the whole country.

When they had effected this, they quarrelled
among themselves ; and the natives taking advantage
of that, became soon enabled to drive them out of
the island. They took refuge in Italy, where, after
some scruples on the part of the Romans, they in-
duced that people to sail over to Sardinia, and render
themselves masters of it. When the Carthaginians
heard of this, they were highly indignant ; and the
matter terminated, at length, in what is called the
Second Punic war.

This war had many remote causes besides the one
we have just stated : but for these, as well as its
astonishing variety of incidents and fortunes, we must
refer to the various histories of the two states. We can
only state the issue. We cannot, however, deny
ourselves the satisfaction of quoting what Rollin says
with regard to the general subject : " Whether we
consider the boldness of the enterprises ; the wisdom
employed in the execution ; the obstinate efforts of the
two rival nations, and the ready resources they found
in their lowest ebb of fortune; the variety of uncommon
events, and the uncertain issue of so long and bloody a
war ; or, lastly, the assemblage of the most perfect
models in every kind of merit ; we cannot but consider
them as the most instructive lessons that occur in his-
tory, cither with regard to war, policy, or government.
Neither did two more powerful, or, at least, more


warlike states or nations mnkcwur a_;.im-t t ach other ;

and never had those in question M-CII tliriiisrhrs
raised to a more exalted pitch of power and L, r h>ry."

Though, as we have already hinted, there were
many remote causes for this war, the more immediate
one was the taking of Saguntum by the Cartha-
ginian general, Hannibal. We shall speak of the
fall of this city when we come to describe its ruins,
which still remain.

Words, we are told, could never express the grief
and consternation with which the news of the taking
of Saguntum was received at Rome. The senate
sent immediately deputies to Carthago to inquire
whether Saguntum had been besieged by order of
the republic ; and, if so, to declare war : or, in case
the siege had been undertaken solely by the autho-
rity of Hannibal, that he should be delivered up to
the Romans. The senate not giving any answer to
this demand, one of the deputies took up the folded
lappet of his robe, and said in a proud voice, " I
bring here cither peace or war ; the choice is left to
yourselves." To this the senate answered, " We
leave the choice to you." The deputy then declared,
" I give you war then." " And we," answered the
senate, "as heartily accept it; and we are resolved
to prosecute it with the same cheerfulness." Such
was the beginning of the second Punic war.

During this war Hannibal made his celebrated
march over the Alps. He entered Italy, and fought
the battles of Ticinus, Trebia, Thrasymene, and
Cannae. He besieged Capua, and then Rome. In
the mean time Scipio conquers all Spain ; and
having been appointed consul, he sets sail for Africa,
and carries the war into the bosom of the Cartha-
ginian state. Success attended him every where.

When the council of "one hundred" found this,
they deputed thirty of their body to the tent of the


Roman general, when they all threw themselves
prostrate upon the earth, such being the custom of
the country, spoke to him in terms of great submis-
sion, and accused Hannibal of being the author of all
their calamities, and promised, in the name of the
senate, implicit obedience to whatever the Romans
should be pleased to ordain.

Scipio answered, that though he was come into
Africa for conquest, and not for peace, he would,
nevertheless, grant them one, upon condition, that
they should deliver up all the Roman prisoners and
deserters ; that they should recal their armies out of
Gaul and Italy ; that they should never set foot
again in Spain ; that they should retire out of all the
islands between Italy and Africa ; that they should
deliver up all their ships except twenty ; give the
Romans five hundred thousand bushels of wheat ;
three hundred thousand of barley ; and, moreover,
pay to the Romans fifteen thousand talents.

These terms the Carthaginians consented to ; but
their compliance was only in appearance : their design
being to gain time to recal Hannibal. That general was
then in Italy. Rome was almost within his grasp.
He had, perhaps, seized it, had he marched thither
immediately on gaining the battle of Cannae. The
order to return home overwhelmed him with in-
dignation and sorrow. " Never banished man,"
says Livy, " showed so much regret at leaving his
native country as Hannibal did in going out
of that of an enemy." He was exasperated al-
most to madness to see himself thus forced to quit
his prey. Arriving in his own country for we must
hasten our narrative that celebrated meeting be-
tween the two generals at Zama took place, which
makes so conspicuous a figure in Roman and Car-
thaginian history.

The issue of this meeting was a battle, in which


the Carthaginians, after an obstinate
took to flight, leaving ten thousand men on the field
of battle. llannilial escaped in the tumult, and
entering Carthage, owned that he was overthrown ;
that the disaster was irrecoverable ; and that tin-
citizens had no other choice left but to accept what-
ever terms the conqueror chose to impose.

After some difficulty and opposition in the Car-
thaginian senate, jieace was agreed upon. The terms
were exceedingly hard. They were these : that the
Carthaginians should continue free and preserve their
laws, territories, and the cities they possessed in Africa
during the war. That they should deliver up to the
Romans all deserters, slaves, and captives belonging to
them ; all their ships, except ten triremes ; all their
tame elephants; and that they should not train up any
more for war. That they should not make war out of
Africa, nor even in that country, without obtaining
leave for that purpose of the Roman people; should
restore to Mnsinissa all they had dispossessed either
him or his ancestors of; should furnish money and
corn to the lioman auxiliaries, till their ambassadors
should be returned from Rome ; should pay to the
Romans ten thousand Euboic talents * of silver in
fifty annual payments, and give one hundred hostages,
who should be nominated by Suipio.

These were hard terms indeed; and when Scipio
burnt all the ships, to the amount of five hundred in
the harbour of Carthage, these ships which had
been the cause of all the power of Carthage, Car-
thage appeared to its inhabitants as if it never could
recover ; nor, indeed, did it ever do so. The blow
was fatal.

This war lasted seventeen years: the peace which
succeeded, fiftyt. Twenty- five years after it was

1,750,000/. ; that it, 35.000/. annually.
f Poljbiui acquaint* us, that the ratification of the articles of


concluded, Hannibal poisoned himself at the court of

We must now pass to the war, which soon after
occurred between the Carthaginians and Masinissa,
king of Numidia. In this war the Carthaginians
were, in the end, worsted. Scipio the younger, who
afterwards destroyed Carthage, was present at the
battle. He had been sent by Lucullus, who com-
manded in Spain, to Masinissa to desire some ele-
phants. During the whole engagement, he is repre-
sented as standing upon a neighbouring hill ; and
was greatly surprised to see. Masinissa, then eighty-
eight years of age, mounted, agreeably to the custom
of his country, on a horse without a saddle, flying
from rank to rank like a young officer, and sustaining
the most arduous toils. The fight was very obsti-
nate, and continued all day ; but at last the Cartha-
ginians gave way, and Masinissa afterwards turned
their camp into a blockade, so that no provisions
could reach them. A famine ensued, and then the
plague. They were, in consequence, reduced to
agreeing to the king's terms, which were no other
than these : to deliver up all deserters ; to pay five
thousands talents of silver in fifty years, and restore

agreement between the Romans and the Carthaginians, was per-
formed in this manner : the Carthaginians swore by the gods of
their country ; and the Romans, after their ancient custom, swore
by a stone, and then by Mars. They swore by a stone thus :

" If Ikeep my faith, may the gods vouchsafe their assistance, and
give me success ; if, on the contrary, I violate it, then may the
other party be entirely safe, and preserved in their country-; in their
laws, in their possessions, and, in a word, in all their rights and
liberties ; and may I perish and fall alone, as now this stone does :"
and then he lets the stone fall out of his hands.

Livy's account of the like ceremony is something more par-
ticular ; yet differs little in substance, only that he says the herald's
concluding clause was, " otherwise may Jove strike the Roman peo-
ple, as I do this hog;" and accoidingly he killed a hog that stood
ready by, with the stone which he held in his hand. KENNETT.


all exiles. They were, also, made to sufl'er the igno-
miny of passing under the yoke ; and dismissed with
only one suit of clothes for each. Nor did their
misfortunes terminate here. Gulussa, the son of
Masinissn, whom the Carthaginians had treated in :i
disrespectful manner, intercepted them with a body
of cavalry. They could neither resist nor ese;ipr.
The consequence of which was, that out of fifty-
eight thousand men only a very few returned to

During the latter part of the second Punic war, it
was stated in the Roman senate, that Rome could
never be in safety while Carthage was permitted to
exist : " Carthage," said Cato, at the close of all
his speeches, " must be destroyed." The time soon
came, in which the threat was to be carried into
execution : and this brings us to the commencement
of the third and last Punic war. It lasted only
four years ; and yet it terminated in the total ruin
and destruction of Carthage.

This war arose out of that which the Cartha-
ginians had waged against Masinissa ; that prince
being an ally of the Romans. The vanquished party
sent to Rome to justify their proceedings. When
the matter came to be debated in the senate, Cato
and Scipio were of different opinions. Nasica de-
sired the preservation of Carthage, in order that the
people might, who were grown excessively insolent,
have something to fear. Cato, on the other hand,
thought, that as the people had become what Nasica
represented them, it was highly dangerous that so
powerful an enemy as Carthage should be allowed to
remain. " They may one day conquer us, so great
is our prosperity." He was but lately returned from
Africa ; and he represented in the senate, that he
had not found Carthage exhausted either of men or
money. On the contrary, that it was full of vigorous


young men, and abounded with immense quantities
of gold and silver, and prodigious magazines of arms
and all warlike stores ; and was, moreover, so haughty
and confident on account of all this, that their hopes
and ambition had no bounds. On saying this, he
took from the lappet of his coat a few figs, and,
throwing them on the table, and the senators ad-
miring them he called out, " Know, this ; it is but
three days those figs were gathered ; so short is the
distance between the enemy and us."

The Carthaginians not having made good their
cause in regard to their conduct towards Masinissa,
war was declared against them, and the generals *,
who were charged with the command, received strict
injunctions not to end the war but with the destruc-
tion of Carthage.

These instructions the Carthaginians did not
become acquainted with till some time after. They,
therefore, sent deputies to make all manner of sub-
mission. They were even instructed to declare, if neces-
sity required, that they were willing to give themselves
up, with all they possessed, to-the will and pleasure of
the Romans. On arriving at Rome, the deputies found
that the war had been, before their arrival, already
proclaimed, and that the army had actually sailed.
They therefore returned to Carthage with certain
proposals, in complying with which the Romans
declared they would be satisfied. Amongst the
terms demanded were three hundred hostages, the
flower and the last hopes of the noblest families
in Carthage. No spectacle, we are told, was ever
more moving : nothing was heard but cries ; notjiing
seen but tears ; and all places echoed with groans
and lamentations. Above all, the unhappy mothers,
bathed in tears, tore their dishevelled hair, beat their
breasts, and expressed their grief in terms so moving,
* M. Manilius and L. Marcius Censorinus.



that even savage beMto might ha\e liem moved to
comjia-sion. Hut tin- scene is stated to have heen
much more moving when the fatal moment arrived
when, after having accompanied their children to the
ship, they hade them a long and last farewell, per-
suaded that they should never see them again. They
wept a flood of tears over them, embraced them with
the utmost fondness, clasped them eagerly in their
arm-, and could not be prevailed upon to part with
them, till they were forced away.

When the hostages arrived at Rome, the deputies
were informed that when they should arrive at Uti< -a,
the consuls would acquaint them with the orders of
the republic. The deputies, therefore, repaired to
Utica, where they received orders to deliver up,
without delay, all their arms. This command was
put immediately in execution ; and a long train of
waggons soon after arrived at the Roman camp,
laden with two hundred thousand complete sets of
armour, a numberless multitude of darts and javelins,
with two thousand engines for shooting darts and
tones. Then followed the deputies, and a :
number of the most venerable senators and pri
who came with the hope of moving the Romans to
compassion. When they arrived, Censorinusaddn -I
them in the following manner : " I cannot but com-
mend the readiness with which you execute the
orders of the senate. They have commanded me to
tell you, that it is their will and pleanure, that you
depart out of Carthage, which they have resolved
entirely to destroy ; and that you remove into any
other part of your dominions you shall think proper,
provided it be at the distance of eight stadia (twelve
miles) from the sea."

The instant the consul had pronounced this fulmi-
nating decree, nothing was heard among the Cartha-
ginians but shrieks and bowlings. Being now in a


manner thunderstruck, they neither knew where
they were, nor what they did ; but rolled themselves
in the dust, tearing their clothes, and unable to vent
their grief any otherwise but by broken sighs and
deep groans. Being afterwards a little recovered,
they lifted up their hands with the air of suppliants,
one moment towards the gods, and the next towards
the Romans, imploring their mercy and justice with
regard to a people, who would soon be reduced to the
extremities of despair. But as both the gods and
men were deaf to their fervent prayers, they now
changed them into reproaches and imprecations ;
bidding the Romans call to mind, that there were
such beings as avenging deities, whose severe eyes
were ever open on guilt and treachery. The Romans
themselves could not refrain from tears at so moving
a spectacle : but their resolution was fixed; The
deputies could not even prevail so far as to get the
execution of the order suspended, till they should
have an opportunity of presenting themselves again
before the senate, if possible, to get it revoked. They
were forced to set out immediately, and carry the
answer to Carthage.

The people waited for their return, with such an
impatience and terror, as words can never express.
It was scarcely possible for them to break through
the crowd that flocked around them, to hear the
answer which ^was but too strongly painted in their
faces. When they were come into the senate, and
had declared the barbarous orders of the Romans,
a general shriek informed the people of their too
lamentable fate ; and from that instant nothing was
seen or heard in every part of the city but howling
and despair, madness and fury. The consuls made
no great haste to march against Carthage ; not sus-
pecting they had reason to be under apprehension
from that city, as it was now disarmed. However,


tin- inhabitants took advantage of this delay to put
themselves in a posture of deft-no 1 , being all unani-
mously resolved not to quit the city. They ap-
pointed, as a general, without the walls, Asdruhal,
who was at the head of twenty thousand men ; ami
to whom deputies were sent accordingly, to entreat
him to forget, for his country's sake, the inju-tic.'
which had been done to him, from the dread they
were under of the Romans. The command of the
troops, within the walls, was given to another As-
drubal, grandson to Masinissa. They then applied
themselves to making arms with considerable
dition. The temples, the pahtces, the open markets
and squares, were all changed into so many arsenals,
where men and women worked day and night.
Every day were made one hundred and forty shields,
three hundred swords, five hundred pikes or javelins,
a thousand arrows, and a great number of engines to
discharge them ; and because they wanted materials
to make ropes, the women cut off their hair, and
abundantly supplied their wants on this occasion.

The combat, which was carried on from the tops
of the houses, continued six days, during which a
dreadful slaughter was made. To clear the streets,
and make way for the troops, the Romans dragged
aside with hooks the bodies of such of the inhabitants
as had been slain, or precipitated headlong from tin-
houses, and threw them into pits, the greatest part
of them being still alive and panting.

There was still reason to believe that the siege
would last much longer, and occasion a great effusion
of blood. But on the seventh day there appeared a
company of men, in a suppliant posture and habit,
who desired no other conditions, but that the Romans
would be pleased to spare the lives of all those who
should be willing to leave the citadel ; which request
was granted them. The deserters only were except -d.


Accordingly, there came out fifty thousand men and
women, who were sent into the fields under a strong
guard. The deserters were about nine hundred.
Finding they would be allowed no quarter, they for-
tified themselves in the temple of ^Esculapius, with
Asdrubal, his wife, and two children ; where, though
their number was but small, they might have held
out a long time, because the temple stood on a very
high hill, upon rocks, to which the ascent was by
sixty steps. But, at last, exhausted by hunger and
watchings, oppressed with fear, and seeing their
destruction at hand, they lost all patience, when,
abandoning the lower part of the temple, they retired
to the uppermost story, and resolved not to quit it
but with their lives.

In the mean time, Asdrubal, being desirous of
saving his own life, came down privately to Scipio,
carrying an olive-branch in his hand, and threw him-
self at his feet. Scipio showed him immediately to
the deserters, who, transported with rage and fury
at the sight, vented millions of imprecations against
him, and set fire to the temple. Whilst it was light-
ing, we are told that Asdrubal's wife, dressing her-
self as splendidly as possible, and placing herself and
her two children in sight of Scipio, addressed him
with a loud voice : " I call not down," says she,
" curses on thy head, O Roman, for thou only takest
the privilege allowed by the laws of war : but may
the gods of Carthage, and thou, in concert with them,
punish, according to his deserts, the false wretch who
lias betrayed his country, his gods, his wife, his
children!" Then directing herself to Asdrubal,
" perfidious wretch ! " says she, " thou basest of
creatures ! this fire will presently consume both me
and my children ; but as to thee, too shameful general
of Carthage, go, adorn the gay triumph of thy
conqueror, suffer, in the sight of all Rome, the tor-


tares thou so ju-tl\ !" She had no sooner

pronounced these words, but, Bei/ing her childrrii,
-he out their throat? 1 , threw tlu-in into tlie thinu >,
and afterwards rushed into them hei>elf ; in which
she was imitated by all the desi-rters. With regard
to Sci|>io, when he saw this famous city, which h;ul
flourished seven hundred years, and might have been
compared to the greatest empires on account of the
extent of its dominions both by sea and land, its
mighty armies, its fleets, elephants, and riches, and
that the Carthaginians were even superior to other
nations, by their courage and greatness of soul, as,
notwithstanding their being deprived of armies and
ships, they had sustained, for three whole years, all
the hardships and calamities of a long siege ; seeing,
I say, this city entirely ruined, historians relate, that
he could not refuse his tears to the unhappy fate of
Carthage. He reflected that cities, nations, and
empires, are liable to revolutions no less than parti-
cular men ; that the like sad fate had attended Troy,
anciently so powerful ; and in latter times, the Assy-
rians, Medea, and Persians, whose dominions wire
once of so great an extent; and lastly, the Macedo-
nians, whose empire had been so glorious throughout
the world. Full of these mournful ideas, he repeated
the following verses of Homer :

The day shall come, that great avenging day,
Which Tro\ ' proud glories in the dust shall lay ;
When Priam's powers, and Priam's self shall fall,
And one prodigious ruin follow all.

Thereby denouncing the future destiny of Rome, as
he himself confessed to Polybius, who desired Scipio
to explain himself on that occasion. Carthage being
taken in this manner, Scipio gave the plunder of it
(the gold, silver, statues, and other offerings which
should be found in the temples excepted) to his sol-
diers for seven days. After this, adorning a very


small ship with the enemy's spoils, he sent it to
Rome, with the news of the victory. At the same
time he ordered the inhabitants of Sicily to come and
take possession of the pictures and statues, which the
Carthaginians had plundered them of in former wars.
When the news of the taking of Carthage was
brought to Rome, the people abandoned themselves
to the most immoderate transports of joy, as if the
public tranquillity had not been secured till that
instant. All ranks and degrees of men emulously
strove who should show the greatest gratitude to-
wards the gods; and the citizens were, for many
days, employed wholly in solemn sacrifices, in public
prayers, games, and spectacles.

After those religious duties were ended, the senate
sent ten commissioners into Africa, to regulate, in
conjunction with Scipio, the fate and condition of
that country in times to come. Their first care was
to demolish whatever was still remaining of Carthage:
and we may guess at the dimensions of this famous
city by what Florus says, viz., that it was seventeen
days on fire before it could be all consumed. Rome,
though mistress of almost the whole world, could not
believe herself safe as long as even the name of Car-
thage was in being. Orders were given that it should
never be inhabited again ; and dreadful imprecations
were denounced against those, who, contrary to this
prohibition, should attempt to rebuild any parts of
it. In the mean time, every one, who desired it, was

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 36)