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to the Romans. In the course of the negotiations between the young Numidian

and Scipio, the latter crossed over into Africa, and was entertained for

some days at the court of Syphax. It is related that he here also met that

Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, who had suffered the recent defeat in Spain.

While Scipio was absent a serious trouble occurred in the Spanish army. A

large division of the troops, having been neglected in the matter of pay,

mutinied, and at the same time several of the vacillating native tribes

rose in rebellion against the Roman authority. But on the return of the

general the mutineers were reduced to obedience and the insurgent natives

quickly subdued. The city of Gades was presently (B. C. 206) invested and

taken, and thus the last foothold of Carthage in Spain was obliterated.

The circumstances just narrated will explain in part the inefficiency of

the support given by the home government to Hannibal in Italy. The

continuance of the struggle in Italy, the broken allegiance of the

Numidians, the natural difficulties of transporting troops and supplies to

such a distance, and the jar of an opposing faction in Carthage, all

conspired to hinder any movements for the relief of the great leader, whose

hold on the throat of Rome was weakening from year to year.

The interval of B. C. 216-214 was passed without any material successes in

Italy. Neither could Hannibal again reduce the Romans to the desperate

straits in which he had once held them, nor could they succeed in his

expulsion from the peninsula. The war had thus far developed no general who

was his equal, unless Cornelius Scipio should be so regarded-and he was

still in Spain. The attention of the Carthaginian was now directed to the

capture of Tarentum, and of the Romans to the recovery of Capua. Both of

these purposes lagged in the execution. In B. C. 212, however, Hannibal

succeeded in securing his prize. Tarentum was taken-though not without an

act of treachery on the part of its defenders. His attempt upon Cumae

failed; for the place was defended by Sempronius Gracchus, the first great

Roman of that illustrious name. Hannibal was also defeated, with a loss of

five thousand men, in a battle before Nola-a disaster to his cause not

easily repaired. About the same time Fabius crossed the Vulturnus, and

gained some advantages in the neighborhood of Capua. Hanno was defeated by

Sempronius Longus in an engagement at Grumentum; and Marcellus, sallying

forth from Nola, overran nearly all of Samnium. A defection of the Numidian

cavalry and a body of Spanish infantry still further reduced the now

slender army of Hannibal, who, with each succeeding loss, was less likely

to receive needed succor from home.

After the capture of Tarentum, however, he turned his course to the north,

and with the greatest audacity undertook the capture of Rome. The consuls

were now engaged in an effort to reconquer Capua, and the Carthaginian

imagined that he might be able to force his way into the capital. In this

enterprise he was completely foiled. Rome, no longer alarmed at his

approach, shut her gates and bade him defiance. The army before Capua was

divided, and one-half sent to the relief of the capital. At the approach of

this force Hannibal was obliged to retire. He had seen Rome!

The year B. C. 211 was marked by the siege of Capua. The Roman armies, now

swollen to great proportions, began a regular investment. Hannibal,

realizing the importance to his waning cause of holding the city, made a

great effort against the besiegers. He made an attack upon their lines from

Mount Tifata, but was repulsed. He then attempted by ravaging the

surrounding country to divert the efforts of the Romans from the siege; but

all to no purpose. Capula was taken, and was punished with almost

unparalleled severity. The city, one of the most refined and cultured in

Italy, was given up to pillage. Nothing was spared. The art treasures were

either destroyed or carried away to Rome. Seventy Capuan senators were

beheaded for their adherence to the cause of Hannibal. Three hundred nobles

and officers were thrown into prison. The rest of the people were sold as

slaves. The town-so much as remained of the ruin-and the adjacent territory

were confiscated to Rome, and colonies were sent out