Scipio's Treatment of Women
He next took Mago and the Carthaginians with him
Mago is entrusted to Laelius.
separately, consisting of one member of the
Council of ancients and fifteen of the Senate.1
These he put under the charge of Gaius Laelius,
with orders that he should take due care of them. He next
summoned the hostages, who numbered more than three
Such of them as were children he
called to him one by one, and stroking their
heads told them not to be afraid, for in a few days they would
see their parents. The others also he exhorted to be of good
cheer, and to write word to their relations in their several cities,
first, that they were safe and well; and, secondly, that the
Romans were minded to restore them all unharmed to their
homes, if only their relations adopted the Roman alliance.
With these words, having already selected from the spoils such
articles as were fitting for his purpose, he presented each with
what was suitable to their sex and age: the girls with ear-rings
and bracelets, the young men with daggers and swords.
the captive women was the wife of Mandonius,
brother of Andobalus king of the Ilergētes.
This woman fell at his feet and besought him with tears to
protect their honour better than the Carthaginians had done.
Touched by her distress Scipio asked her in what respect she
and the other women were left unprovided. She was a lady
of advanced years and of a certain majestic dignity of appearance: and upon her meeting his question by perfect silence,
he summoned the men who had been appointed to take charge
of the women; and when they reported that they had supplied
them with all necessaries in abundance, and when the woman
again clasped his knees and repeated the same request, Scipio
felt still more embarrassed; and, conceiving the idea that their
guardians had neglected them, and were now making a false
report, he bade the women fear nothing, for that he would
appoint different men to see to their interests, and secure that
they were not left in want of anything. Then after a brief
hesitation the woman said, "You mistake my meaning, General,
if you think that we are asking you for food." Scipio then at
length began to understand what she wished to convey; and
seeing under his eyes the youthful beauty of the daughters of
Andobalus, and of many of the other nobles, he could not
refrain from tears, while the aged lady indicated in a few words
the danger in which they were. He showed at once that he
understood her words: and taking her by the hand, he bade
her and the others also be of good cheer, for that he would
watch over them as he would over his own sisters and
daughters, and would accordingly put men in charge of them
on whom he could rely.