In the winter of 220/219 BC, a Roman delegation meets with Hannibal in Qart Hadasht (New Carthage/Cartagena). Rome thinks Hannibal is planning to use Iberia as a basis for another war against Rome. Hannibal thinks Rome is using Saguntum as a bridgehead into Iberia and as a casus belli
for another war against Carthage.
An arrogant Rome, a humiliated Carthage. A bad combination for peace in the Mediterranean.
The following text is mine. Warning: Punic bias.
The conversation is held in Greek; Hannibal uses the Greek "Karchedon" and "Zakantha" for Carthage and Saguntum, while Marcellus supplies the Latin words.
“Karchedon aids its allies,” Hannibal said pointedly. “Zakantha has moved against my allies, in my territory. I would be a faithless strategos indeed if I left my friends to their fate.”
“Rome will not tolerate it if you threaten one of her friends.”
There, finally. Plain words. He had half-hoped for them. Ten years of Roman interference in Iberia; they had put up with it. His father had reacted with smugness, his brother-in-law with diplomacy. Both had been men over forty; in the eyes of the Romans, equals in terms of age. Here he stood, barely twenty-seven, most of his staff twenty to thirty years younger than the toga-clad dignity on the other side of the room, and they obviously felt he would watch helplessly as they slowly wrested Iberia from his grasp.
Enough was enough. No more smugness, no more diplomacy. “And I will not tolerate it if you threaten mine.”
There was a drawn-out silence in the room, as both sides assessed the meaning of those words.
“You would risk Rome’s goodwill so easily?” Marcellus finally said.
Hannibal head Mago’s sharp intake of breath behind him.
“Rome’s goodwill?” the strategos repeated, very slowly. “Tell me, Marcellus, what exactly constitutes Rome’s goodwill? Is it the theft of foreign colonies, the continued interference in foreign territory, the execution of people supporting Karchedon, or the instigation of aggression against me under my very nose?”
Both Geminus and Rufus looked to be on the verge of angry words, but Marcellus stayed their retorts with a hand. “Are these the words of Hannibal, or of Carthago?” he asked, his mouth a thin hard line.
There’s the catch. As he very well knows. “In this case, the two are the same.”
Marcellus nodded. “Then Rome will hear the answer of Carthago.”
There's a longer text here. goldseven.wordpress.com/2013/0…
Disclaimer: More Punic bias.
I picked three men who might have belonged to the Roman delegation: As the spokesmen, Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, both consuls of previous years and likely to have been sent on such a mission, as well as Marcus Minucius Rufus, who would have been a praetor around that year. All three of them will die in the coming war.
I'd have loved to include Gaius Flaminius, but he was a censor in that year and busy building the Via Flaminia.