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in the Spanish wars; and when, in B. C. 221, Hasdrubal was assassinated, he

was called to the chief command of the Carthaginian army. He was now in his

twenty-ninth year, and was the idol of the soldiers. It was his preference

to begin at once a war with Rome, while that power was still engaged with

the Gauls and Illyrians; but the still unsettled condition of Spain and

Africa forbade, and two years elapsed before a sufficient degree of

security had been reached to permit him to pursue his purpose. In the

spring of B. C. 219, however, he proceeded to Saguntum, which, under the

rather flimsy pretext of being originally a Greek town, had claimed the

protection of Rome. The Roman Senate sent a warning to Hannibal to stand

off and leave the Saguntines in peace; but the young general was by no

means to be deterred. He proceeded against the town, began a siege,

pressed it with great vigor for eight months, and compelled the place to


Rome, now thoroughly aroused, made haste to send an embassy to Carthage.

The authorities of that city were required to disavow the work of Hannibal,

and to give him up as a pledge that there should be no further aggression

either in Spain or elsewhere. A long debate ensued. The Carthaginian

Senate, although the party of Hanno was still powerful in that body, was

little disposed to surrender the son of Hamilcar to the tender mercies of a

Roman prison-keeper. At last Quintus Fabius, who was the chief oracle of

the embassy, gathered up his cloak, and said: "Ye men of Carthage, here in

this toga I carry peace and war; which do you choose?" "Whichever you

will," was the answer. "Then," said Fabius, dropping the folds of his toga,

"we pour out war upon you." "And we accept it," was the reply-And thus

began one of the most memorable conflicts recorded in the annals of the

ancient world.

In the mean time the city of New Carthage (1) had been founded as the

capital of the __________________ 1 The modern Cartagena.