Charles Rollin.

The ancient history of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Medes and Persians, Grecians and Macedonians online

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and exclaimed' agamst their conduct, so much did they unanimously
agree in applauding yoOng Scipio, and extolling his rare and'uncom
mon virtues. He was come to Rome,ln order to stand candidate for
the edileship. The instant he appeared in the assembly, his name,
bis countenance, his reputation, a general j)ersuasion that he was de-
signed by the gods to end the third Punic war, as the first Scipio,
his grandfather by adoption, bad terminated the second ; these seve-
ral circumstances made a very strong impression on tbe peoj5le ; and
though it was contrary to law, and therefore opposed by the ancient
men, instead of the edileship which he sued for, the people, disregard-
A. M. 3858. ing for once the laws, conferred the consulship upon
A. Rom. 60-2. him, and assigned him Alrica for his province, without
casting lots for the provinces, as usual, and as Drusus his colleague

As soon as Scipio had completed liis recruits,J he set out for Sicily,
and arrived soon after in Utica. He came very seasonably for Man-
cinus, Piso's Heutenant, who had rashly fixed himself in a post where
he was surrounded by the enemy, and would have been cut to pieces
that very morning, had not the new consul, who, on his arrival,
heard of the danger he was in, re-embarked his troops in the night,
and sailed with the utmost speed to his assistance.

Scipio's first care,} after liis arrival, was to' revive discipline among
the troops, which he found had been entirely neglected. There was
not the least regularity, subordination, or obedience. Nothing was
attended to but rapine, feasting, and' diversions. He drove from the
camp all useless perscms, settled the quality of the provisions he
would have brought in by the sutlers, and allowed of none but what
were plain and fit for soldiers, studiously banishing all dainties and

After he had made these regulations, which cost him but httle
time and pains, because he. himself first set the example, he was
persuaded that tdose under him were soldiers, and thereupon he pre-
pared to carry on the siege with vigour. Having ordered his troops
to provide themselves with axes, levers, and scaling-ladders, he led
them in the dead of the night, and without the least noise, to a dis-'
trict of the city, called Megara; when, ordering them to give a sud-
den and general shout, he attacked it with great vigour. Tbe ene-
my, who did not expect to be attacked in the night, were at first in

* Andrloctw. t AppUn^ p. 68 i Appian. p. 00 6 lb. o. TOi

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the utmost terror; bowevei:, they^ defended themselves so courageous-
ly, that Scipio could not scale the walls. But perceiving a tower
that was forsaken, and which stood without the city, very near the
walls, he detached thither a psirty of intrepid and resolute soldiers,
who, by the help of pontons,* got from the tower on the w^^ and
from thence into Megara, the fates of which they broke down.
Scipio entered it immediately after, and drove the enemies out of
that post; who, terrified at this unexpected assault, and imagining
that the whole city was taken, fled into the citadel, whither they
were followed by those forces that were encamped without the city,
who abandoned their camp to the Romans, and thought it necessa-
ry for them to fly to a place of security.

, Before I proceed farther,f it wHl be proper to give some account
of the situation and dimensions of Carthage, which,.in the begmninff
of the war aoainst the Romans, contained 700,000 inhabitants. It
stood at the bottom of a ^ ulf, surrounded by the sea, mid in the form
of a peninsula, whose neck, that is, the isthmus which joined it to the
continent, was twenty-five stadia, or tf lea^e and a quarter in
breadth. The peninsula was 360 stadia, or eighteen leagues round.
On the west side there projected from it a long neck of land, half a
stadium, or twelve fathoms, broad ; which, advancing into the sea,
divided it from a. morass, and was fenced on all sides with rocks and
a sin^e wall. On the south ^de, towards the continent, where stood
the citadel called Byrsa, the city was surrounded with a triple wall,
thirty cubits high, exclusive of the parapets and towers, with which
it was flanked all round at equal distances, each interval being four-
score fathoms. Every tower was four stories high, and the walls
but two ; they were arched, ^nd in the lower part were stalls to hold
300 elephants with their fodder, and over these were stables for 4000
horses, and lofts for their food. There likewise was room enough
to lodge 20,000 fix>t, and 4000 horse. All these were contained
within the walls alone. In one place only the walls were weak and
low ; and that was a neglected angle, which began at the neck of
land above mentioned, and extended as far as the harbours, which
were on the west side. Of these there were two, which communi-
cated with each other, but had only one entrance, seventy feet broad,
shut up with chains. The first was appropriated for the merchants,
and had several distinct habitations for the seamen. The second,
or inner harbour, was for the ships of war, in the midst of which
stood an island called Cothon, lined, as the harbour was, with large
quays, in which were distinct reoeptacles| for sheltering from the
weather 220 ships; over these were magazines or store-houses, where-
in was lodged whatever is necessary for arming and equipping fleets.
The entrance into each of these receptacles was adorned with two
marble pillars, of the Ionic order. So that both the harbour and the

* A sort of moveable bridge. f Apfdan. p. 56, 57. Strabo, 1. xrli. p. 838

t Nia»cro/»ovc, Strabo.

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Mand represented on each side two magnificent gaQeries. In thin
island was the admiral's palace ; and as it stood opposite to thu
mouth of the harbour, he could from thence discover whatever wa«s
domg at sea, though no one, from thence, could see what was trans-
acting in the inwa^ part of the harbour. The merchants, in like
manner, had no prospect of the men of war ; the two ports being
separated by a double wall, each having its particular gate, that led to
the city, without paseing through the other harbour. So that Car-
thage maybe divided into three parts :* the harbour, which was dou-
ble, and called sometimes Cothon, from the little island of that name :
the citadel, named Byrsa: the city properly so called,. where the
inhabitants dwelt which lay around the citadel, a&d was called

At day-break,t AsdrubalJ perceiving the ignominious defeat of his
troops, in order that he might be revenged on the Romans, and, at
the same time, deprive the inhabitants of all hopes of accommodation
and pardon, brought all the Roman prisoners he had taken upon the
walls, in sight of the whole army. There he put them to the most
exquisite torture ; putting out their eyes, cutting off their noses,
ears, and fingers ; tearing their skin from their body with iron rakes
or harrows, and then threw them headlong from the top of the bat-
tlements. So inhuman a treatment filled the Carthaginians with
horror : however, he did not spare even them, but murdered many
senators who had ventured to oppose his tyranny.

Scipio,^ finding himself absolute master of the isthmus, burnt the
camp, which the enemy had deserted, and built a new one for 1ms
troops. It was of a square form, surrounded with large and deep
intrenchments, and fenced with strong palisades. On the side which
fiiced the Carthaginians, he built a wall twelve feet high, flanked at

E roper distances with towers and redoubts ; and on the middle tower,
e erected a very high wooden fort, from whence could be seen
whatever -was doing in the city. This wall was equal to the whole
breadth of the isthmus, that is, twenty-five stadia. || The enemy,
who were within bow-shot of it, employed their utmost efforts to
put a stop to this work; but as the whole army were employed upon
it day and mght without intermission, it was foiished in twenty-four
days. Scipio reaped a double advantage from tins work : First, his
forces were lodged more safely and comraodiously than before : Se-
condly, he cut off all provisions from the besieged, to whom none
could now be brought but by sea ; which was attended with many
difficulties, both because the sea is frequently very tempestuous in
that place, and because the Homan fleet kept a strict guard. This
proved one of the chief causes of the famine which raged soon after
in the city. Besides, Asdrubal distributed the corn that was brought

• Boch. in Phal. p. 512. t Appian. p. 72.

i It was he who had first commanded without the city, but having caused the other
Asdrubal, MaAuiasa's grandson, to be put to death, he got the command of the troops
within the walls. ^ Appian. p. 73 (1 Four miles and three quarters

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•nly among the 30,Q00 men who served under him^ caring very little
what became of the rest of the inhabitants.

To distress them still more by the want of provisions,* Scipio
attempted to stop up the mouth of the haven by a mole, beginning
at the above*mentioned neck of land, which ivas near the harbour.
The besieged, at first, looked upon tliis attempt as ridiculous, and
accordingly they insulted the workmen ; but, at. last, seeing them
make an astonishing progress every day, they beffan to be afraid ;
and to take such measures as might, if possible, render the at-
tempt unsuccessful. Every one, to the women and children, fell to
work, but so privately^ thtit all thai Scipio cotdd learn from the pri-
soners, was, that they had heard a great noise in the harbour, but did
not know the occasion of it. At last, all things being ready, the
Carthaginians opened, on a sudden, a new outlet on the other side of
the haven ; and appeared at sea with aoiumerous fleet, which they
had just then built with the old materials found in their magazines.
It is generally allowed, that had they attacked the Roman fleet
directly, they must infallibly have taken it ; because, as no such at-
tempt was expected, and every man was elsewhere employed,tbe Car
thaginians would have found it without rowers, soldiers or officers.
But the ruin of Carthage, says the historian, was decreed. Having
therefore only oflered a kind of insult or bravado to the Romans,
they returned into the harbour.

Two days after ,t they brought forward their ships, with a reso,
lotion to fight in good earnest, and found the enemy ready for them.
This battle was to determine the fate of both parties. The conflict
was long and obstinate, each exerting themselves to the utmost ;
the one to save their country, pow reduced to the last extremity, and
the other to complete their victory. During the fight, the Cartha-
ginian brigantines running along under the large Roman ships, broke
to pieces sometimes their stems, and at other times their rudders
and oars ; and, when briskly attacked, retreated with surprising
swiftness, and returned immediately to the charge. At last, after the
two armies had fought with equal success till sun-set, the Carthagini-
ans thopght proper to retire ; npt that they believed themselves over-
come, but in order to begin the fight on the morrow. Part of their
ships, not being able to run swiftly enough in the harbour, because
the mouth of it was too narrow, took shelter under a very spacious ter-
race, which had been thrown up against the walls to unload goods, on
the side of which a smaU rampart had been raised during this war, to
prevent the enemy from possessing themselves of it. Here the fight
was again renewed with more vigour than ever, and lasted till lata
at night. The Carthaginians suffered very much» and the few shipt
which got off, sailed for refuge to the city. Morning being corner
Scipio attacked the terrace, and carried it, though with great diffi
cuity ; after which he made a lodgment there, and Fortified himself

Applftiu p. 74. t Appian p. 75.

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on it, and built a brick wall close to those of ths city, vvA cfdjo stmiQ
height. When it was finished, he commanded 4000 men to n^ct on
the top of it, and to discharge from it a perpetual shower of darts
and arrows upon the enemy, which did great execution ; because, as
the two walls were of equal height, aJSnOst every dart took effect.
Thus ended this campaign.

During the winter-quarters,* Scipio endeavoured to overpower
the enemy's troops without the city, who very much harassed the
convoys that brought his provisions, and protected such .as were sent
to the besieged. For this purpose he attacked a neighbouring fort,
called Nepheris, where they used to shelter themselves. In the last
action, above 70,000 of the enemy, as well soldiers as peasants,
who had been enlisted, were cut to pieces ; and the fort was carried
with great difficulty, afler sustaining a siege of two-and-twehty days.
The seizure of this fort was followed by the surrender of almost aD
the strong holds in Africa ; and contributed very much to the takinj^r
of Carthage itself, into which, frotn that time, it was almost impossi-
ble to bring any provisions.

A. M. 3859. Early in the spring,! Scipio attacked, at one and the

A. Roin.eo3. same time, the harbour called Cothon, and the citadel.
Having possessed himself of the wall which surrounded this port, he
threw himself into the great square of the city that was near it,
from whence was an ascent to the citadd, up three streets, on each
side of which were houses, from the tops whereof a shower of darts
was discharged upon the Romans, who were obliged, before they
could advance farther, to force the houses they came first to, and
post themselves in them, in order to dislodge from thence the enemy
who fought from the neighbouring houses. The combat which waa
carried on from the tops, and in every part 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 buch of the inhabitants as had been slain or preci-
pitated headlong from the houses, and threw them into pits, the great-
est part of them being still alive and panting. Tn this toil, whichlasted
six days and as many nights, the soldiers were relieved from time to
time by fresh ones, without which they would have been quite spent.
Scipio was the only person T«^ho did not take a wink of sleep all this
time ; giving orders in all places, and scarce allowing himself leisure
to take the least refreshment.

There was every 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 the posture and
habit of suppliants, who desired no - other conditions, than that
the Romans would please to spare the lives of all those who should
be willing to leave the citadel : which request^ was granted them,
only the deserters were excepted. Accordingly, there came out

* Applau. p. 78. , -t Ibid. p. 79. t Appian. p. 81

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50,000 men and women, whp^were sent into the fields under astronf
guard. The deserters, who were about 900, finding they wouS
not be allowed quarter, fortified themselves in the temple of iEscu-
lapius, 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, the as-
cent to which was by sixty steps. But at last, exhausted by hun-
ger and watching, oppressed with fear, and seeing their destruction
at hand, they lost slU patience ; and abandoning the lower part of
the temple, they retired to the uppermost story, resolved not to quit
It but with their lives.

In the meantime, Asdrubal, being desirous of saving his life, came
down privately to Scipio, carrying an olive-branch in his hand, and
threw himself t.i his feet. Scigio showed him immediately to the
deserters, who, transported withi ra^e and fury at the sight, vented
milUons of imprecations against him, and set fire -to the temple.
Whilst it was kindling, we are told that Asdrubal's wife, dressing
herself as splendidly as possible, and placing herself with her two
children in siglit of Scipio, addressed him with a loud voice : / call
not down, says she, curses upon tky head, O Roman ; for thou only
takest the privilege allowed by the laws of war: hut may the gods ^
Carthage, and thouHn concert with them, punisJi, according to his de-
serts, thefolse wretch who hffjs betrayed his country t his gods, his wifo^
his children ! Then directing herself to Asdrubal — Perfidious wretch^
says shcj thou barest of men! this Jire will presently consume both me
and my children; but as to thee, unwovthy general of Carthage, go,
adorn the gay triumph of thy conqueror ; st^er, in the sight of all
Rome, the tortures thou so justly deservest. She had no sooner pro-
nounced these words, than seizing her children, she cut their throats,
threw them into the flames, and afterv/ards rushed into them her-
self; in which she was imitated by all the deserters.

With regard to Scipio,* when he saw this famous city, which had
been so flourishing for 700 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 ; it&fleets, elephants, and riches ;
while the. Carthaginians were even superior to other nations by their
courage and greatness of soul ; as notwithstanding their being de-
prived of arms 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. lie reflected, that cities, na-
tions,* and empires, are liable tp revolutions no less than private
men ; that the like sad fate had befallen Troy, anciently so power-
ful; and, in later times, the Assyrians, Modes and Persians, whose
dominions were once of so great an extent ; and very recently, the
Macedonians, whose empire had been so glorious throughout the

* Appian. D- 82.

Vol. IL C

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woild. Full of these mournful idei^, he repeated the ibBowiog rer
M of Homer:

"ErrtAt N/Uflt|, vrav wot' oKwA« "Ujoc i^i,

K«2 n^UfAQf, »Ai xecoc Wf^/uttkim Tl^idfAoto IL /. 164» 165*

The day diall come, that great avenging dav.
Whfeh Troy*8 proud glories in the dust shall lay ;
When Priam's pnw'rs and Priam's self shall QUI,
And one prodiglo\is ruin swaUow all.— Pope.

Thereby denotmcing the future destiny of Rome, as he himself con-
fessed to Polybius, who desired Scipio to explain himself on that

Had the truth enlightened his soul, he would have discovered
what we are taught m the Scriptures, that'&^caiae ofvnrighUouM
deaUngt^ infuries, and riches goi by -deteii^ a kingdom is trantlaJted
from one people to another-** Carthage is destrojred, because its
avarice, perfidiousness, and cruelty, have attained their utmoit hd^ht.
The like fate will attend Rome, when its luxury, ambition, pnde,
and unjust usurpations, concealed beneath a specious and dekisivG
show of justice and virtue, shall have compelled the sovereign Lord,
the disposer of empires, to give the universe an important lesson in
A. M. 3359. its fall. Carthage being taken in this manner,f Scipio
a! Cartii. 701. gave the plunder oi it (the gold, silver, statues, and
Am*j"c^i45. ®^^^ offerings which should be found in the templed,
excepted) to Ins soMiers for some days. He afterwards
bestowed several military reward on them, as well as on the officers,
two of whom had particularly distiiiguished themselves, viz, Tib.
Gracchus and Caius Fannios, who first scaled the walls. After this,
adorning a small ship (an excellent sailer) with the enemy's spoils,
he sent it to Rome with the news of the victory.

At the same time he invited the inhabitants of Sicily to come and
take possession of the motures and statues which the Carthaginians
had plundered them of in the former wars-J When he restored to
the citizens of Agrigeritum, Phalans's famous bull,f he told them that
this bull, which was, at ode and the same time, a monument of the-
cruelty of their ancient kings and of the lenity of their present ^ovfe-
reigns, ought to make them sensible which would be most advanta-
geous for them, to liva under the yoke of Sicilians, or the govern-
ment of the Romans.

Having exposed to sale part of the spoils of Carthage, he com
manded, on the most severe penalties, his family not to take or even
buv any of them; so careful was he to remove from himself, and all
belonging to him, the least suspicion of avarice.

* EccJes. X. 8. t Anpian. p. 83. % Ibid.

^ (luHm taiiriim Sripiocaiii rHd(it>ret AerltieminH, dixi^^se (iicituc,.sqtinm e<«se %Wm
eogiiarc utiumesset Siculis utiiius. Riij.sne serviiw, an popuin K . obtf>in]ierare, emu idem
monuiuentum et domestice crudeliiatis, et nostra: maavuetudinis habcrent. Cic. Verr
vi n. 73.

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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 tranquil] ity had not been secured till that in*
stant. They revolved in their minds, all the calamities which the
Carthaginians had brought Upon them, in Sicily, in Spain, and even
in Italy, for sixteen years together: during woich, Hannibal had
plundered 400 towns, destroyed in different engagements 300,000
men, and reduced Rome itself to the utmost extremity. Amidst the
remembrance of these past evils, the people in Rome would ask one
another, whether it were really true that Carthage was ui ashes.
All ranks and degrees of men eniulously strove who should show the
greatest gratitude towards the gods; and the citizens were, for many
days, employed only in solemn sacrifices, in pubUc prayers, games,
and spectacles.

After these religious duties were ended,f the senate sent ten com-
missioners into Africa, to regulate, in conjunction with Scipio, the
fate and condition of that country for the time to come. The first
care was, to demolish whatever was stiU remaining of Carthage.^
Rome,} though mistress of almost the whole world, could not behove
herself safe as long as even the name of Carthage was in being. So
true it is, that an inveterate hatred, fomented by long and bloodv
wars, lasts even beyond the time when all cause of fear is removed,
and does not cease till the object that occasio];is it is no more. Or-
ders were given, in the name of the Romans, that it should never be
mhabited again ; and dreadfu} imprecations were denounced against
those, who, contrary to this prohibition, should attempt to rebuild
any parts of it, especially those called Byrsa and Megara. In the
mean time, evenr one who desired it, was admitted to see Carthage;
Scipio being well pleased, to have people view the sad ruins of a city
which had dared to contend vnth Rome for empire.|| The commis-
sioners decreed &rther, that those cities which, during this war,
had joined with the enemy, should be all razed, and their territories
be given to the Roman allies; they particularly made a grant to the
citizens of Utica, of the ^bolo country lying between Carthage and
Hippo. All the rest they made tributary, and reduced it mto a Ro«
man province, whither a pretor was sent annually.

All matters being thus settled,^ Sqipio returned to Rome, where
he made his entry in triumph. So magnificent a one had never been
seen before, the whole exhibiting nothing but statues, rare invalua-

* Appian. p. 83. f Appian. p. 84.

{ Wo may guess at the dimensions of this famous ci^, by what Floras says, vis.
that it was seventeen days on fire, before ir could be consumed. Qiumta urb» aeUts
«tt, lit de emteris taeeam^ vel ignium mord probaripotestj qu^rpcper oontittuos decern m
t^tent dies vixpotuit vneend^m ezUUgvi. Lib. if c. 15.

^ Neque se Roma, jam terrarum orbe superato, securam speravit fore, si nomen us*
quam maneret Carthaginis. Adeo odium certaminibusortum ultra metum durat, et ne
in victis quidem depooitur, neque ant^ invisom esse desinit, quim esse desiit. Fel
Faterc. Y. i. 0. 12.

II Ut ipie locus eorom, qui cum li&c urbe de imperio cert&runt, vestlgiB calamitaUf
wteoderet. Gc. Agrar. ii. n. 50. IT Appian. "p. 84.

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ble pictoree, and other curiosities, which the Carthaginians had, f<Nr

Online LibraryCharles RollinThe ancient history of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Medes and Persians, Grecians and Macedonians → online text (page 3 of 42)