Not a member?     Existing members login below:

Salammbo

CHAPTER VIII: THE BATTLE OF THE MACARAS
In the following day he drew two hundred and twenty-three thousand kikars of
gold from the Syssitia, and decreed a tax of fourteen shekels upon the rich. Even
the women contributed; payment was made in behalf of the children, and he
compelled the colleges of priests to furnish money—a monstrous thing,
according to Carthaginian customs.
He demanded all the horses, mules, and arms. A few tried to conceal their
wealth, and their property was sold; and, to intimidate the avarice of the rest, he
himself gave sixty suits of armour, and fifteen hundred gomers of meal, which
was as much as was given by the Ivory Company.
He sent into Liguria to buy soldiers, three thousand mountaineers accustomed to
fight with bears; they were paid for six moons in advance at the rate of four
minae a day.
Nevertheless an army was wanted. But he did not, like Hanno, accept all the
citizens. First he rejected those engaged in sedentary occupations, and then
those who were big-bellied or had a pusillanimous look; and he admitted those of
ill-repute, the scum of Malqua, sons of Barbarians, freed men. For reward he
promised some of the New Carthaginians complete rights of citizenship.
His first care was to reform the Legion. These handsome young fellows, who
regarded themselves as the military majesty of the Republic, governed
themselves. He reduced their officers to the ranks; he treated them harshly,
made them run, leap, ascend the declivity of Byrsa at a single burst, hurl javelins,
wrestle together, and sleep in the squares at night. Their families used to come
to see them and pity them.
He ordered shorter swords and stronger buskins. He fixed the number of serving-
men, and reduced the amount of baggage; and as there were three hundred
Roman pila kept in the temple of Moloch, he took them in spite of the pontiff's
protests.
He organised a phalanx of seventy-two elephants with those which had returned
from Utica, and others which were private property, and rendered them
formidable. He armed their drivers with mallet and chisel to enable them to split
their skulls in the fight if they ran away.
He would not allow his generals to be nominated by the Grand Council. The
Ancients tried to urge the laws in objection, but he set them aside; no one
ventured to murmur again, and everything yielded to the violence of his genius.
He assumed sole charge of the war, the government, and the finances; and as a
precaution against accusations he demanded the Suffet Hanno as examiner of
his accounts.
He set to work upon the ramparts, and had the old and now useless inner walls
demolished in order to furnish stones. But difference of fortune, replacing the
hierarchy of race, still kept the sons of the vanquished and those of the
conquerors apart; thus the patricians viewed the destruction of these ruins with
an angry eye, while the plebeians, scarcely knowing why, rejoiced.
 
Remove