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The siege of Carthage

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Chapter Summary

Mathos' and Spendius' decision to lay Carthage under actual siege was a propaganda coup as well as a bold military move, reinforcing the impact made by the Carthaginians' recent catastrophes. Besides encouraging the Libyans to keep supplying munitions and no doubt money, these developments seem to have prompted more recruits to join up. Polybius reports Spendius, Autaritus and the Libyan Zarzas at the head of bigger forces than ever. It was quite likely now that Zarzas brought in, or went out and recruited, a fresh Libyan division under his own command. The movement may have attracted fresh mercenary recruits from abroad too. Punic naval patrols could hardly hope to prevent all from getting through. Strikingly, envoys from Utica had been able to sail to Rome with an appeal for help, a mission the Carthaginians would dearly have wanted to thwart, but failed to.

Keywords: Autaritus; Carthage; Libyans; Mathos; Polybius; Rome; Spendius; Utica



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