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Quote of the day: The one hope of Rome, Lucius Quinctius,
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 18: Scipio and Hasdrubal visit Syphax (cont.)[206 BC]
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Syphax regarded it as an exceptional honour as indeed it was for the captains of the two most powerful nations of their time to come to him seeking his friendship and alliance. He invited them both to be his guests, and as Fortune had willed that they should be under the same roof and at the same hearth he tried to induce them to confer together with the view of removing all causes of quarrel. Scipio declined on the ground that he had no personal quarrel with the Carthaginian and he was powerless to discuss affairs of State without the orders of the senate. The king was anxious that it should not seem as if one of his guests was excluded from his table, and he did his utmost to persuade Scipio to be present. He raised no objection, and they both dined with the king, and at his particular request occupied the same couch. Such was Scipio's charm of manner and innate tact in dealing with everybody that he completely won over not only Syphax, who as a barbarian was unaccustomed to Roman manners, but even his deadly enemy. Hasdrubal openly avowed that "he admired Scipio more now that he had made his personal acquaintance than after his military successes, and he had no doubt that Syphax and his kingdom were already at the disposal of Rome, such skill did the Roman possess in winning men. The question for the Carthaginians was not how Spain had been lost, but how Africa was to be retained. It was not from a love of travel or a passion for sailing along pleasant shores that a great Roman commander had quitted his newly subjugated province and his armies and crossed over with two vessels to Africa, the land of his enemies, and trusted himself to the untried honour of a king. His real motive was the hope of becoming master of Africa; this project he had long been pondering over; he openly complained that Scipio was not conducting war in Africa as Hannibal was in Italy."' After the treaty with Syphax was concluded Scipio set sail from Africa and, after a four days' passage in which he was buffeted by changeable and mostly stormy winds, reached the harbour of New Carthage.