Spendius and his men then led out from the camp Gesco and the other prisoners, in all about seven hundred. Taking them a short distance away, they first of all cut off their hands, 12 beginning with Gesco, that very Gesco whom a short time previously they had selected from all the Carthaginians, proclaiming him their benefactor and referring the points in dispute to him. 13 After cutting off the hands they cut off the wretched men's other extremities too, and after thus mutilating them and breaking their legs, threw them still alive into a trench.
81 1 The Carthaginians, when news came of this unhappy event, could take no action, but their indignation was extreme, and in the heat of it they sent messengers to Hamilcar and their other general Hanno imploring them to come and avenge the unfortunate victims. 2 To the assassins they sent heralds begging that the bodies might be given up to them. 3 Not only was this request refused but the messengers were told to send neither herald nor envoy again, as any who came would meet with the same punishment that had just befallen Gesco. 4 With regard to treatment of prisoners in the future, the mutineers passed a resolution and engaged each other to torture and kill every Carthaginian and send back to the capital with his hands cut off every ally of Carthage, and this practice they continued to observe carefully. 5 No one looking at this would have any hesitation in saying that not only do men's bodies and certain of the ulcers and tumours afflicting them become so to speak savage and brutalized and quite incurable, but that this is true in a much higher degree of their souls. 6 In the case of ulcers, if we treat them, they are sometimes inflamed by the treatment itself and spread more rapidly, while again if we neglect them they continue, in virtue of their own nature, to eat into the flesh and never rest until they have utterly destroyed the tissues beneath. 7 Similarly such malignant lividities and putrid ulcers often grow in the human soul, that no beast becomes at the end more wicked or cruel than man. 8 In the case of men in such a state, if we treat the disease by pardon and kindness, they think we are scheming to betray them or deceive them, and become more mistrustful and hostile to their would‑be benefactors, 9 but if, on the contrary, we attempt to cure the evil by retaliation they work up their passions to outrival ours, until there is nothing so abominable or so atrocious that they will not consent to do it, imagining all the while that they are displaying a fine courage.10 Thus at the end they are utterly brutalized and no longer can be called human beings. Of such a condition the origin and most potent cause lies in bad manners and customs and wrong training from childhood, but there are several contributory ones, the chief of which is habitual violence and unscrupulousness on the part of those in authority over them. 11 All these conditions were present in this mercenary force as a whole and especially in their chiefs.