Rise of the second Punic war. Hannibal, contrary to treaty, passes the Iberus: besieges, and, after eight months, takes Saguntum. The Romans send an embassy to Carthage; declare war. Hannibal crosses the Pyrennees; makes his way through Gaul; with great fatigue passes the Alps; defeats the Romans at the river Ticinus, in a fight between the cavalry, in which P. Cornelius Scipio, being wounded, is saved by his son, afterwards Africanus. The Romans again defeated at the Trebia. Cneius Cornelius Scipio defeats the Carthaginian army in Spain, and makes Hanno, their general, prisoner.
I. To this division of my work, I may be allowed to prefix a remark, which most writers of history make in the beginning of their performance: that I am going to write of a war, the most memorable of all that were ever waged; that which the Carthaginians, under the conduct of Hannibal, maintained with the Roman people. For never did any other states and nations, of more potent strength and resources, engage in a contest of arms; nor did these same nations at any other period, possess so great a degree of power and strength. The arts of war also, practised by each party, were not unknown to the other; for they had already gained experience of them in the first Punic war; and so various was the fortune of this war, so great its vicissitudes, that the party, which proved in the end victorious, was, at times, brought the nearest to the brink of ruin. Besides, they exerted, in the dispute, almost a greater degree of rancour than of strength; the Romans being fired with indignation at a vanquished people presuming to take up arms against their conquerors: the Carthaginians, at the haughtiness and avarice, which they thought the others showed in their imperious exercise of the superiority which they had acquired. We are told that, when Hamilcar was about to march at the head of an army into Spain, after the conclusion of the war in Africa, and was offering sacrifices on the occasion, his son Hannibal, then about nine years of age, solicited him, with boyish fondness, to take him with him, whereupon, he brought him up to the altars, and compelled him to lay his hand on the consecrated victims, and swear, that as soon as it should be in his power, he would show himself an enemy to the Roman people. Being a man of high spirit, he was deeply chagrined at the loss of Sicily and Sardinia: for he considered Sicily as given up by his countrymen through too hasty despair of their affairs; and Sardinia as fraudulently snatched out of their hands by the Romans, during the commotions in Africa, with the additional insult of a farther tribute imposed on them.
II. His mind was filled with these vexatious reflections; and during the five years that he was employed in Africa, which followed soon after the late pacification with Rome; and likewise during nine years which he spent in extending the Carthaginian empire in Spain; his conduct was such, as afforded a demonstration that he meditated a more important war than any in which he was then engaged; and that, if he had lived some time longer, the Carthaginians would have carried their arms into Italy under the command of Hamilcar, instead of under that of Hannibal. The death of Hamilcar, which happened most seasonably for Rome, and the unripe age of Hannibal, occasioned the delay. During an interval of about eight years, between the demise of the father, and the succession of the son, the command was held by Hasdrubal; whom, it was said, Hamilcar had first chosen as a favourite, on account of his youthful beauty, and afterwards made him his son-in-law, on account of his eminent abilities; in consequence of which connection, being supported by the interest of the Barcine faction, which, among the army and the commons, was exceedingly powerful, he was invested with the command in chief, in opposition to the wishes of the nobles. He prosecuted his designs, more frequently by means of policy than of force; and augmented the Carthaginian power considerably, by forming connections with the petty princes; and through the friendship of their leaders, conciliating the regard of nations hitherto strangers. But peace proved no security to himself. One of the barbarians, in resentment of his master having been put to death, openly assassinated him, and being seized by the persons present, showed no kind of concern; nay, even while racked with tortures, as if his exultation, at having effected his purpose, had got the better of the pains, the expression of his countenance was such as carried the appearance of a smile. With this Hasdrubal, who possessed a surprising degree of skill in negotiation, and in attaching foreign nations to his government, the Romans renewed the treaty, on the terms, that the river Iberus should be the boundary of the two empires, and that the Saguntines, who lay between them, should retain their liberty.
III. There was no room to doubt that the suffrages of the commons, in appointing a successor to Hasdrubal, would follow the direction pointed out by the leading voice of the army, who had instantly carried young Hannibal to the head-quarters, and with one consent, and universal acclamations, saluted him general. This youth, when scarcely arrived at the age of manhood, Hasdrubal had invited by letter to come to him; and that affair had even been taken into deliberation in the senate, where the Barcine faction showed a desire, that Hannibal should be accustomed to military service, and succeed to the power of his father. Hanno, the leader of the other faction, said, “although what Hasdrubal demands, seems reasonable; nevertheless, I do not think that his request ought to be granted;” and when all turned their eyes on him, with surprise at this ambiguous declaration, he proceeded, “Hasdrubal thinks that he is justly entitled to demand, from the son, the bloom of youth, which he himself dedicated to the pleasures of Hannibal’s father. It would however be exceedingly improper in us, instead of a military education, to initiate our young men in the lewd practices of generals. Are we afraid lest too much time should pass, before the son of Hamilcar acquires notions of the unlimited authority, and the parade of his father’s sovereignty: or that after he had, like a king, bequeathed our armies, as hereditary property to his son-in-law, we should not soon enough become slaves to his son? I am of opinion that this youth should be kept at home, where he will be amenable to the laws, and to the magistrates; and that he should be taught to live on an equal footing with the rest of his countrymen; otherwise this spark, small as it is, may hereafter kindle a terrible conflagration.”
IV. A few, particularly those of the best understanding, concurred in opinion with Hanno; but, as it generally happens, the more numerous party prevailed over the more judicious. Hannibal was sent into Spain, and on his first arrival attracted the notice of the whole army. The veteran soldiers imagined that Hamilcar was restored to them from the dead, observing in him the same animated look, and penetrating eye; the same expression of countenance, and the same features. Then, such was his behaviour, and so conciliating, that, in a short time, the memory of his father was the least among their inducements to esteem him. Never man possessed a genius so admirably fitted to the discharge of offices so very opposite in their nature as obeying and commanding: so that it was not easy to discern whether he were more beloved by the general or by the soldiers. There was none to whom Hasdrubal rather wished to intrust the command in any case where courage and activity were required; nor did the soldiers ever feel a greater degree of confidence and boldness, under any other commander. With perfect intrepidity in facing danger, he possessed, in the midst of the greatest, perfect presence of mind. No degree of labour could either fatigue his body or break his spirit: heat and cold he endured with equal firmness: the quantity of his food and drink was limited by natural appetite, not by the pleasure of the palate. His seasons for sleeping and waking were not distinguished by the day, or by the night; whatever time he had to spare, after business was finished, that he gave to repose, which, however, he never courted, either by a soft bed, or a quiet retirement: he was often seen, covered with a cloak, lying on the ground in the midst of the soldiers on guard, and on the advanced posts. His dress had nothing particular in it, beyond that of others of the same rank; his horses, and his armour, he was always remarkably attentive to: and whether he acted among the horsemen, or the infantry, he was eminently the first of either, the foremost in advancing to the fight, the last who quitted the field of battle. These great virtues were counterbalanced in him by vices of equal magnitude; inhuman cruelty; perfidy beyond that of a Carthaginian; a total disregard of truth, and of every obligation deemed sacred; utterly devoid of all reverence for the gods, he paid no regard to an oath, no respect to religion. Endowed with such a disposition, a compound of virtues and vices, he served under the command of Hasdrubal for three years, during which he omitted no opportunity of improving himself in every particular, both of theory and practice, that could contribute to the forming of an accomplished general.
V. But, from the day on which he was declared chief, he acted as if Italy had been decreed to him as his province, and he had been commissioned to wage war with Rome. Thinking every kind of delay imprudent; lest, while he procrastinated, some unforeseen event might disconcert his design, as had been the case of his father Hamilcar, and afterwards of Hasdrubal, he determined to make war on the Saguntines. And, as an attack on them would certainly call forth the Roman arms, he first led his army into the territory of the Olcadians, a nation beyond the Iberus; which, though within the boundaries of the Carthaginians, was not under their dominion, in order that he might not seem to have aimed directly at the Saguntines, but to be drawn on into a war with them by a series of events, and by advancing progressively, after the conquest of the adjoining nations, from one place to the next contiguous. Here he took and plundered Althea, the capital of the nation, abounding in wealth; and this struck such terror into the smaller cities, that they submitted to his authority, and to the imposition of a tribute. He then led his army, flushed with a victory, and enriched with spoil, into winter-quarters, at New Carthage. Here, by a liberal distribution of the booty, and by discharging punctually the arrears of pay, he firmly secured the attachment, both of his own countrymen, and of the allies; and, at the opening of the spring, carried forward his arms against the Vaccæans, from whom he took, by storm, the cities Hermandica and Arbacala. Arbacala, by the bravery and number of its inhabitants, was enabled to make a long defence. Those who escaped from Hermandica, joining the exiles of the Olcadians, the nation subdued in the preceding summer, roused up the Carpetans to arms, and attacking Hannibal, as he was returning from the country of the Vaccæans, not far from the river Tagus, caused a good deal of disorder among his troops, encumbered, as they were, with spoil. Hannibal avoided fighting, and encamped on the bank; then, as soon as the enemy afforded him an opportunity, he crossed the river by a ford, and carried his rampart to such a distance from its edge, as to leave room for the enemy to pass over, resolving to attack them in their passage. He gave orders to his cavalry, that, as soon as they should see the troops advance into the water, they should fall upon them: his infantry he formed on the bank, with forty elephants in their front. The Carpetans, with the addition of the Olcadians and Vaccæans, were one hundred thousand in number, an army not to be overcome, if a fight were to take place in an open plain. These being naturally of an impetuous temper, and confiding in their numbers, believing also that the enemy’s retreat was owing to fear, and thinking that there was no obstruction to their gaining an immediate victory, but the river lying in their way, they raised the shout, and without orders, rushed from all parts into it, every one by the shortest way. At the same time a vast body of cavalry pushed from the opposite bank into the river, and the conflict began in the middle of the channel, where they fought upon very unequal terms: for in such a situation the infantry, not being secure of footing, and scarcely able to bear up against the stream, were liable to be borne down by any shock from the horse, though the rider were unarmed, and took no trouble; whereas a horseman, having his limbs at liberty, and his horse moving steadily, even through the midst of the eddies, could act either in close fight, or at a distance. Great numbers were swallowed up in the current; while several, whom the eddies of the river carried to the Carthaginian side, were trodden to death by the elephants. The hindmost, who could more safely retreat to their own bank, attempting to collect themselves into one body, from the various parts to which their terror and confusion had dispersed them, Hannibal, not to give them time to recover from their consternation, marched into the river with his infantry in close order, and obliged them to fly from the bank. Then, by ravaging their country, he reduced the Carpetans also, in a few days, to submission. And now, all parts of the country beyond the Iberus, except the territory of Saguntum, was under subjection to the Carthaginians.
Y.R.534. 218.VI. As yet there was no war with the Saguntines; but disputes, which seemed likely to be productive of war, were industriously fomented between them and their neighbours, particularly the Turdetans: and the cause of these latter being espoused by the same person, who first sowed the seeds of the contention, and plain proofs appearing, that not an amicable discussion of rights, but open force was the means intended to be used, the Saguntines despatched ambassadors to Rome, to implore assistance in the war, which evidently threatened them with immediate danger. The consuls at Rome, at that time were Publius Cornelius Scipio and Tiberius Sempronius Longus; who after having introduced the ambassadors to the senate, proposed, that the state of the public affairs should be taken into consideration. It was resolved, that ambassadors should be sent into Spain, to inspect the affairs of the allies; instructed, if they saw sufficient reason, to warn Hannibal not to molest the Saguntines, the confederates of the Roman people; and also to pass over into Africa, to represent, at Carthage, the complaints of these to the Romans. After this embassy had been decreed, and before it was despatched, news arrived, which no one had expected so soon, that Saguntum was besieged. The business was then laid entire before the senate, as if no resolution had yet passed. Some were of opinion, that the affair should be prosecuted with vigorous exertions, both by sea and land, and proposed, that Spain and Africa should be decreed as the provinces of the consuls: others wished to direct the whole force of their arms against Spain and Hannibal; while many thought that it would be imprudent to engage hastily in a matter of so great importance, and that they ought to wait for the return of the ambassadors from Spain. This opinion being deemed the safest, was adopted; and the ambassadors, Publius Valerius Flaccus and Quintus Bæbius Tamphilus, were on that account despatched, with the greater speed, to Saguntum, to Hannibal; and, in case of his refusing to desist from hostilities, from thence to Carthage, to insist on that general being delivered up, to atone for the infraction of the treaty.
VII. While the Romans were employed in these deliberations and preparatory measures, the siege of Saguntum was prosecuted with the utmost vigour. This city, by far the most wealthy of any beyond the Iberus, stood at the distance of about a mile from the sea; the inhabitants are said to have come originally from the island Zacynthus, and to have been joined by some of the Rutulian race from Ardea. They had grown up, in a very short time, to this high degree of opulence, by means of a profitable commerce, both by sea and land, aided by the increase of their numbers, and their religious observance of compacts, which they carried so far as to maintain the faith of all engagements inviolate, even should they tend to their own destruction. Hannibal marched into their territory in a hostile manner, and, after laying all the country waste, attacked their city on three different sides. There was an angle of the wall which stretched down into a vale, more level and open than the rest of the ground round the place: against this he resolved to carry on his approaches, by means of which the battering ram might be advanced up to the walls. But although the ground, at some distance, was commodious enough for the management of his machines, yet, when the works came to be applied to the purpose intended, it was found to be no way favourable to the design: for it was overlooked by a very large tower; and, as in that part danger was apprehended, the wall had been raised to a height beyond that of the rest. Besides, as the greatest share of fatigue and danger was expected there, it was defended with the greater vigour, by a band of chosen young men. These, at first with missile weapons, kept the enemy at a distance, nor suffered them to carry on any of their works in safety. In a little time, they not only annoyed them from the tower and the walls, but had the courage to sally out on the works and posts of the enemy; in which tumultuary engagements the Saguntines generally suffered not a greater loss of men than the Carthaginians. But Hannibal himself happening, as he approached the wall with too little caution, to be wounded severely in the forepart of the thigh with a heavy javelin, and falling in consequence of it, such consternation and dismay spread through all the troops around him, that they were very near deserting their posts.
VIII. For some days following, while the general’s wound was under cure, there was rather a blockade, than a siege. But although, during this time, there was a cessation of arms, there was no intermission of the preparations, either for attack or defence. Hostilities therefore commenced anew, with a greater degree of fury, and the machines began to be advanced, and the battering rams to be brought up, in a greater number of places, so that in some parts there was scarcely room for the works. The Carthaginian had great abundance of men, for it is credibly asserted that the number of his troops was not less than one hundred and fifty thousand: the townsmen were obliged to have recourse to various shifts, in order, with their small numbers, to execute every necessary measure, and to make defence in so many different places; nor were they equal to the task: for now the walls began to be battered with the rams; many parts of them were shattered; in one place, a large breach left the city quite exposed: Three towers, in one range, together with the whole extent of wall between them, tumbled down with a prodigious crash, and so great was the breach, that the Carthaginians looked on the town as already taken. On which, as if the wall had served equally for a covering to both parties, the two armies rushed to battle. Here was nothing like the disorderly kind of fight, which usually happens in the assault of towns, each party acting as opportunity offers advantage, but regular lines were formed, as if in the open plain, on the ground between the ruins of the walls and the buildings of the city, which stood at no great distance. Their courage was animated to the greatest height, on one side by hope; on the other by despair; the Carthaginian believing, that only a few more efforts were necessary to render him master of the place; the Saguntines forming, with their bodies, a bulwark to their native city, instead of its wall, of which it had been stripped; not one of them giving ground, lest he should make room for the enemy to enter by the space. The greater therefore the eagerness of the combatants, and the closer their ranks, the more wounds consequently were received, no weapon falling without taking place, either in their bodies or armour.
IX. The Saguntines had a missile weapon called Falarica, with a shaft of fir, round, except towards the end, to which the iron was fastened: this part, which was square, as in a javelin, they bound about with tow and daubed with pitch; it had an iron head three feet long, so that it could pierce both armour and body together: but what rendered it most formidable, was, that being discharged with the middle part on fire, and the motion itself increasing greatly the violence of the flame, though it struck in the shield without penetrating to the body, it compelled the soldier to throw away his arms, and left him, without defence, against succeeding blows. Thus the contest long continued doubtful, and the Saguntines, finding that they succeeded in their defence beyond expectation, assumed new courage; while the Carthaginian, because he had not obtained a victory, deemed himself vanquished. On this, the townsmen suddenly raised a shout, pushed back the enemy among the ruins of the wall, drove them off from that ground, where they were embarrassed and confused, and, in fine, compelled them to fly in disorder to their camp.
X. In the mean time, an account was received, that ambassadors had arrived from Rome; on which Hannibal sent messengers to the sea-shore, to meet them, and to acquaint them, that it would not be safe for them to come to him, through the armed bands of so many savage nations; and, besides, that, in the present critical state of affairs, he had not leisure to listen to embassies. He saw clearly, that on being refused audience, they would proceed immediately to Carthage: he therefore despatched messengers and letters beforehand, to the leaders of the Barcine faction, charging them to prepare their friends to act with spirit, so that the other party should not be able to carry any point in favour of the Romans. Thus the embassy there proved equally vain and fruitless, excepting that the ambassadors were received and admitted to audience. Hanno alone, in opposition to the sentiments of the senate, argued for their complying with the terms of the treaty, and was heard with great attention, rather out of the respect paid to the dignity of his character, than from the approbation of the hearers. He said, that “he had formerly charged and forewarned them, as they regarded the gods, who were guarantees and witnesses of the treaties, not to send the son of Hamilcar to the army. That man’s shade,” said he, “cannot be quiet, nor any one descended from him; nor will treaties with Rome subsist, as long as one person of the Barcine blood and name exists. As if with intent to supply fuel to fire, ye sent to your armies a young man, burning with ambition for absolute power, to which he could see but one road, the exciting of wars, one after another, in order that he might live surrounded with arms and legions. You yourselves therefore have kindled this fire, with which ye are now scorched: your armies now invest Saguntum, a place which they are bound by treaty not to molest. In a short time the Roman legions will invest Carthage, under the guidance of those same deities, who enabled them, in the former war, to take vengeance for the breach of treaties. Are you strangers to that enemy, or to yourselves, or to the fortune attending both nations? When ambassadors came from allies, in favour of allies, your worthy general, disregarding the law of nations, refused them admittance into his camp. Nevertheless, after meeting a repulse, where ambassadors, even from enemies, are not refused access, they have come to you, requiring satisfaction in conformity to treaty. They charge no crime on the public, but demand the author of the transgression, the person answerable for the offence. The more moderation there appears in their proceedings, and the slower they are in beginning a warfare, so much the more unrelenting, I fear, will prove the fury of their resentment, when they do begin. Place before your eyes the islands Ægates and Eryx, the calamities which you underwent, on land and sea, during the space of twenty-four years; nor were your troops then led by this boy, but by his father Hamilcar, another Mars, as those men choose to call him. But at that time we had not, as we were bound by treaty, avoided interfering with Tarentum in Italy, as, at present, we do not avoid interfering with Saguntum. Wherefore gods and men united to conquer us, and the question which words could not determine, ‘ which of the nations had infringed the treaty?’ the issue of the war made known, as an equitable judge, giving victory to that side on which justice stood. Hannibal is now raising works and towers against Carthage; with his battering rams he is shaking the walls of Carthage. The ruins of Saguntum (oh! that I may prove a false prophet!) will fall on our heads: and the war commenced against the Saguntines must be maintained against the Romans. Some will say, shall we then deliver up Hannibal? I am sensible that, with respect to him, my authority is of little weight, on account of the enmity between me and his father. But as I rejoiced at the death of Hamilcar, for this reason, that had he lived, we should now have been embroiled in a war with the Romans, so do I hate and detest this youth as a fury and a firebrand kindling the like troubles at present. Nor is it my opinion, merely, that he ought to be delivered up, as an expiation for the infraction of the treaty, but that, if no one demanded him, he ought to be conveyed away to the remotest coasts, whence no accounts of him, nor even his name, should ever reach us, and where he would not be able to disturb the tranquillity of our state. I therefore move you to resolve, that ambassadors be sent instantly to Rome, to make apologies to the senate; others, to order Hannibal to withdraw the troops from Saguntum, and to deliver up Hannibal himself to the Romans, in conformity to the treaty; and that a third embassy be sent, to make restitution to the Saguntines.” When Hanno had ended his discourse, there was no occasion for any one to enter into a debate with him, so entirely were almost the whole body of the senate in the interest of Hannibal, and they blamed him as having spoken with greater acrimony than even Valerius Flaccus, the Roman ambassador. They then answered the Roman ambassadors, that “the war had been begun by the Saguntines, not by Hannibal; and that the Roman people acted unjustly and unwisely, if they preferred the interest of the Saguntines to that of the Carthaginians, their earliest allies.”
XI. While the Romans wasted time in sending embassies, Hannibal, finding his soldiers fatigued with fighting and labour, gave them a few days to rest, appointing parties to guard the machines and works. This interval he employed in reanimating his men, stimulating them at one time with resentment against the enemy, at another, with hope of rewards; but a declaration which he made in open assembly, that, on the capture of the city, the spoil should be given to the soldiers, inflamed them with such ardour, that, to all appearance, if the signal had been given immediately, no force could have withstood them. The Saguntines, as they had for some days enjoyed a respite from fighting, neither offering nor sustaining an attack, so they had never ceased, either by day or night, to labour hard in raising a new wall, in that part where the city had been left exposed by the fall of the old one. After this, the operations of the besiegers were carried on with much greater briskness than before; nor could the besieged well judge, whilst all places resounded with clamours of various kinds, to what side they should first send succour, or where it was most necessary. Hannibal attended in person, to encourage a party of his men who were bringing forward a moveable tower, which exceeded in height all the fortifications of the city. As soon as this had reached the proper distance, and had, by means of the engines for throwing darts and stones,* disposed in all its stories, cleared the ramparts of all who were to defend it, then Hannibal, seizing the opportunity, sent about five hundred Africans, with pick-axes, to undermine the wall at the bottom: which was not a difficult work, because the cement was not strengthened with lime, but the interstices filled up with clay, according to the ancient method of building: other parts of it, therefore, fell down, together with those to which the strokes were applied, and through these breaches several bands of soldiers made their way into the city. They, likewise, there took possession of an eminence, and collecting thither a number of engines for throwing darts and stones, surrounded it with a wall, in order that they might have a fortress within the city itself, a citadel, as it were, to command it. The Saguntines, on their part, raised an inner wall between that and the division of the city not yet taken. Both sides exerted themselves to the utmost, as well in forming their works as in fighting. But the Saguntines, while they raised defences for the inner parts, contracted, daily, the dimensions of the city. At the same time the scarcity of all things increased, in consequence of the long continuance of the siege, while their expectations of foreign aid diminished; the Romans, their only hope, being at so great a distance, and all the countries round being in the hands of the enemy. However, their sinking spirits were for a short time revived, by Hannibal setting out suddenly on an expedition against the Oretans and Carpetans. For these two nations, being exasperated by the severity used in lovying soldiers, had, by detaining the commissaries, afforded room to apprehend a revolt; but receiving an unexpected check, from the quick exertions of Hannibal, they laid aside the design of insurrection.
XII. In the mean time the vigour of the proceedings against Saguntum was not lessened; Maharbal, son of Himilco, whom Hannibal had left in the command, pushing forward the operations with such activity, that neither his countrymen, nor the enemy, perceived that the general was absent. He not only engaged the Saguntines several times with success, but, with three battering rams, demolished a considerable extent of the wall; and when Hannibal arrived, he showed him the whole ground covered with fresh ruins. The troops were therefore led instantly against the citadel, and after a furious engagement, in which great loss was suffered on both sides, part of the citadel was taken. Small as were the hopes of an accommodation, attempts were now made to bring it about by two persons, Alcon a Saguntine, and Alorcus a Spaniard. Alcon, thinking that he might effect something by submissive entreaties, went over to Hannibal by night, without the knowledge of the Saguntines; but, his piteous supplications making no impression, and the terms offered by his enemy being full of rigour, and such as might be expected from an enraged and not unsuccessful assailant, instead of an advocate, he became a deserter, affirming, that if any man were to mention to the Saguntines an accommodation on such conditions, it would cost him his life; — for it was required that they should make restitution to the Turdetans; should deliver up all their gold and silver; and, departing from the city with single garments, should fix their residence in whatever place the Carthaginian should order. When Alcon declared that his countrymen would never accept these conditions of peace, Alorcus, insisting, that when men’s bodily powers are subdued, their spirits are subdued along with them, undertook the office of mediator in the negociation. Now he was at this time a soldier in the service of Hannibal, but connected with the state of Saguntum in friendship and hospitality. Delivering up his sword to the enemy’s guards, he passed openly through the fortifications, and was conducted at his own desire to the prætor. A concourse of people of every kind having immediately assembled about the place, the senate, ordering the rest of the multitude to retire, give audience to Alorcus, who addressed them in this manner:
XIII. “If your countryman Alcon, after coming to the general to sue for peace, had returned to you with the offered terms, it would have been needless for me to have presented myself before you, as I would not appear in the character either of a deputy from Hannibal, or of a deserter. But since he has remained with your enemy, either through his own fault, or yours: through his own, if he counterfeited fear; through yours, if he who tells you truth, is to be punished: I have come to you, out of my regard to the ties of hospitality so long subsisting between us, in order that you should not be ignorant that there are certain conditions on which you may obtain both peace and safety. Now, that what I say is merely out of regard to your interest, and not from any other motive, this alone is sufficient proof: that, so long as you were able to maintain a defence by your own strength, or so long as you had hopes of succour from the Romans, I never once mentioned peace to you. Now, when you neither have any hopes from the Romans, nor can rely for defence either on your arms or walls, I bring you terms of peace, rather unavoidable than favourable. And there may be some chance of carrying these into effect, on this condition, that, as Hannibal dictates them, in the spirit of a conqueror, so you should listen to them with the spirit of men conquered; that you consider not what you part with as loss, for all things are the property of the victor, but whatever is left to you as a gift. The city, a great part of which is already demolished, and almost the whole of which he has in his possession, he takes from you: your lands he leaves to you, intending to assign a place where you may build a new town: all your gold and silver, both public and private property, he orders to be brought to him: your persons, with those of your wives and children he preserves inviolate, provided you are satisfied to quit Saguntum, without arms, and with single garments. These are the terms, which, as a victorious enemy, he enjoins: with these, grievous and afflicting as they are, your present circumstances counsel you to comply. I do not indeed despair but that, when the entire disposal of every thing is given up to him, he may remit somewhat of the severity of these articles. But even these, I think it advisable to endure, rather than to suffer yourselves to be slaughtered, and your wives and children seized, and dragged into slavery, before your eyes, according to the practice of war.”
XIV. The surrounding crowd, gradually approaching to hear this discourse, had formed an assembly of the people conjoined with the senate, when the men of principal distinction, withdrawing suddenly before any answer was given, collected all the gold and silver both from their private and public stores, into the Forum, threw it into a fire hastily kindled for the purpose, and then most of them cast themselves in headlong after it. While the dismay and confusion, which this occasioned, filled every part of the city, another uproar was heard from the citadel. A tower, after being battered for a long time, had fallen down, and a cohort of the Carthaginians, having forced their way through the breach, gave notice to their general, that the place was destitute of the usual guards and watches. Hannibal, judging that such an opportunity admitted no delay, assaulted the city with his whole force, and, instantly making himself master of it, gave orders that every person of adult age should be put to the sword: which cruel order was proved however, by the event, to have been in a manner induced by the conduct of the people; for how could mercy have been extended to any of those who, shutting themselves up with their wives and children, burned their houses over their heads; or who, bein arms, continued fighting, until stopped by death?
XV. In the town was found a vast quantity of spoil, notwithstanding that the greater part of the effects had been purposely injured by the owners; and that, during the carnage, the rage of the assailants had made hardly any distinction of age, although the prisoners were the property of the soldiers. Nevertheless it appears, that a large sum of money was brought into the treasury, out of the price of the goods exposed to sale, and likewise that a great deal of valuable furniture and apparel was sent to Carthage. Some writers have asserted, that Saguntum was taken in the eighth month from the beginning of the siege; that Hannibal then retired into winter quarters to New Carthage; and that, in the fifth month, after leaving Carthage, he arrived again in Italy. But if these accounts were true, it is impossible that Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius could have been the consuls, to whom, in the beginning of the siege, the ambassadors were sent from Saguntum; and who, during their office, fought with Hannibal; the one at the river Ticinus, and both, a considerable time after, at the Trebia. Either all these matters must have been transacted in less time, or Saguntum must have been taken, not first invested, in the beginning of that year wherein Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius were consuls. For the battle at the Trebia could not have happened so late as the year of Cn. Servilius and Caius Flaminius; because Caius Flaminius entered on the office of consul at Arimimum, having been elected thereto by Tiberius Sempronius, who, after the engagement at the Trebia, had gone home to Rome for the purpose of electing consuls; and, when the election was finished, returned into winter quarters to the army.
XVI. The ambassador’s returning from Carthage, brought information to Rome, that every thing tended to war; and, nearly at the same time, news was received of the destruction of Saguntum. Grief seized the senate, for the deplorable catastrophe of their allies, and shame for not having afforded them succour; rage against the Carthaginians, and such apprehensions for the public safety, as if the enemy were already at their gates; so that their minds being agitated by so many passions at once, their meetings were scenes of confusion and disorder, rather than of deliberation. For, “never,” they observed, “had an enemy, more enterprising and warlike, entered the field with them; and, at no other period had the Roman power been so unfit for great exertions, or so deficient in practice. As to the Sardinians, Corsicans, Istrians, and Illyrians, they had only roused the Roman arms, without affording them exercise; and with the Gauls the affair was really a tumult, rather than a war. The Carthaginians, another kind of foe, were crossing the Iberus; trained to arms during twenty-three years, in the most laborious service, among the nations of Spain; accustomed to conquer on every occasion; habituated to the command of a most able general; flushed with their late conquest of a very opulent city, and bringing with them many Spanish states; while the Gauls, ever glad of an opportunity of fighting, would doubtless be engaged in the expedition. War must then be waged against all the world, in the heart of Italy, and under the walls of Rome.”
XVII. The provinces had been already named for the consuls, but now they were ordered to cast lots. Spain fell to Cornelius; Africa, with Sicily, to Sempronius. For the service of the year, six legions were decreed, with such a number of the troops of the allies as the consuls should deem requisite, and a fleet as great as could be fitted out. Of Romans were enlisted twenty-four thousand foot, and one thousand eight hundred horse; of the allies, forty thousand foot, and four thousand four hundred horse. The fleet consisted of two hundred and twenty ships of five banks of oars, and twenty light gallies. The question was then proposed to the people, whether “they chose and ordered, that war should be declared against the people of Carthage?” This being determined on, a general supplication was performed in the city, and prayers offered to the gods, that the war which the Roman people had ordered might have a prosperous and happy issue. The forces were divided between the consuls in this manner: to Sempronius were assigned two legions, containing each four thousand foot and three hundred horse and of the allies sixteen thousand foot, and one thousand eight hundred horse, with one hundred and sixty ships of war, and twelve light gallies. With these land and sea forces, Tiberius Sempronius was sent to Sicily, with intention that he should cross over to Africa, in case the other consul should be able to prevent the Carthaginians from entering Italy. The army assigned to Cornelius was less numerous, because Lucius Manlius, a prætor, was also sent into Gaul with a considerable force. Of ships, particularly, Cornelius’s share was small: sixty quinqueremes only were given him, for it was not supposed either that the enemy would come by sea, or that he would exert himself on that element. Two Roman legions, with their regular proportion of cavalry, and, of the allies, fourteen thousand foot, and sixteen hundred horse were assigned to him. In this year, the province of Gaul, though not yet threatened with a Carthaginian war, had posted in it two Roman legions, and ten thousand confederate infantry, with one thousand confederate horsemen and six hundred Roman.
XVIII. These adjustments being made, they yet determined, previous to the taking up arms, to send Quintus Fabius, Marcus Livius, Lucius Amilius, Caius Licinius, and Quintus Bæbius, men venerable on account of their age, into Africa, as ambassadors, to require an explanation from the Carthaginians, whether Hannibal’s attack on Saguntum had been authorized by the state; and, in case they should acknowledge it, as it was expected they would, and defend that proceeding, then to declare war against the people of Carthage. When the Romans arrived at Carthage, and were introduced to an audience of the senate, Quintus Fabius, without enlarging on the subject, simply proposed the question, as stated in their instructions; on which one of the Carthaginians replied, “Romans, in your former embassy, ye were too precipitate, when you demanded that Hannibal should be delivered up, as attacking Saguntum of his own authority. But your present proceeding, though hitherto milder in words, is, in effect, more unreasonably severe. A charge was made against Hannibal, only when you required him to be delivered up: now, you endeavour to extort from us a confession of wrong committed, and at the same instant, as if we had already pleaded guilty, insist on reparation. For myself, I am of opinion that the question proper to be asked is, not whether Saguntum was attacked by public authority, or private, but whether justly or unjustly? For with respect to a subject of our government, whether acting under direction of the public, or not, the right of enquiry, and of punishing, is exclusively our own. The only point, then, that comes into discussion with you, is, whether the act was allowable according to treaty? Wherefore, since you chose that a distinction should be made, between what commanders do by public authority, and what of their own will, there is a treaty subsisting between us, concluded by your consul Lutatius, in which provision is made for the interest of the allies of both nations. But there is no clause in favour of the Saguntines; for they were not at the time in alliance with you. But then, in the treaty entered into with Hasdrubal, the Saguntines are expressly exempted from hostilities. In answer to which, I shall urge nothing but what I have learned from yourselves. For you asserted, that the treaty which your consul Caius Lutatius at first concluded with us, inasmuch as it had been concluded without either the approbation of the senate, or an order of the people, was not binding on you; and that for that reason, another treaty was ratified anew, under the sanction of public authority. Now, if your treaties do not bind you, unless sanctioned by your approbation and order, surely the treaty of Hasdrubal, under the same circumstances, cannot be binding on us. Cease therefore to talk of Saguntum, and the Iberus; and let your minds at length give birth to the burthen of which they are long in labour.” The Roman then, folding up a corner of his robe, said, “here we bring you peace, and war; take which you choose.” Which proposal they answered with an equal degree of peremptory heat, calling out, that “he should give whichever he chose.” He then threw open the fold again, and said that “he gave war;” they with one voice replied, that “they accepted it; and, with the same spirit with which they accepted it, would prosecute it.”
XIX. This mode of a direct demand, and declaration of war, was deemed suitable to the dignity of the Roman people, even before this time; but more particularly after the destruction of Saguntum, than to enter into a verbal disquisition concerning the construction of treaties. For, if the business were to be decided by argument, what similitude was there between the treaty of Hasdrubal, and the former treaty of Lutatius, which was altered? Since in the latter, there was an express clause inserted, that “it should be valid, provided the people should ratify it;” but in that of Hasdrubal, there was no such provision. Besides, this treaty was confirmed, in such a manner, by the silent approbation of so many years, during the remainder of his life, that even after the death of its author, no alteration was made in it; although, even were the former treaty adhered to, there was sufficient security provided for the Saguntines, by the exempting from hostilities the allies of both nations; there being no distinction made of those who then were, or of those who should afterwards become such. And, as it was evidently allowable to form new alliances, who could think it reasonable, either that persons should not be received into friendship on account of any degree of merit whatever; or, that people, once taken under protection, should not be defended? The only restriction implied was, that the allies of the Carthaginians should not be solicited to revolt, nor, revolting of their own accord, should be received. The Roman ambassadors, in pursuance of their instructions received at Rome, passed over from Carthage into Spain, in order to make application to the several states of that country, and either to engage their alliance, or at least dissuade them from joining the Carthaginians. They came, first, to the Bargusian, by whom being favourably received, because that people were dissatisfied with the Carthaginian government, they roused the spirits of many powers on the farther side of the Iberus, by the flattering prospect of a change in their circumstances. Thence they came to the Volscians, whose answer, which was reported with applause through every part of Spain, deterred the other states from joining in alliance with Rome. For thus the oldest member of their assembly replied, “Where is your sense of shame, Romans, when you require of us, that we should prefer your friendship to that of the Carthaginians? The Saguntines, who embraced it, have been abandoned by you: in which abandonment you, their allies, have shown greater cruelty, than the Carthaginians, their enemy, showed in destroying them. What I recommend is, that you seek connections where the fatal disaster of Saguntum is unknown. To the states of Spain, the ruins of that city will be both a melancholy, and a forcible warning, not to confide in the faith or alliance of Rome.” They were then ordered to depart immediately from the territories of the Volscians; nor did they afterwards meet, from any assembly in Spain, a more favourable reception; therefore, after making a circuit through all parts of that country, without effecting any thing, they passed over into Gaul.
XX. At Ruscino they encountered a new and terrifying spectacle; the people coming in arms to the assembly, for such is the custom of that country. After displaying, in magnificent terms, the renown and the valour of the Roman people, and the greatness of their empire, they requested that the Gauls would not grant a passage through their cities and territories to the Carthaginian, who was preparing to invade Italy. On which, we are told, such a laugh was raised, accompanied by a general outcry of displeasure, that the magistrates and the elder members of the assembly could, with difficulty, bring the younger men into order, so unreasonable, and so absurd did it appear, to require that the Gauls should not suffer the war to pass into Italy, but should draw it on themselves, and expose their own lands to devastation, instead of those of strangers. When the uproar was at length appeased, an answer was given to the ambassadors, that “the Gauls had never received either any kindness from the Romans, or ill treatment from the Carthaginians, that should induce them to take arms either in favour of the former, or in opposition to the latter. On the contrary, they had been informed, that their countrymen were expelled by the Roman people from the lands, and out of the limits of Italy, compelled to pay tribute, and subjected to indignities of every kind.” To the same application, they received the same answer, from the other assemblies in Gaul; nor did they meet any very friendly or peaceable reception until they arrived at Marseilles. There, in consequence of the diligent inquiries made by those faithful allies, they learned, that “the minds of the Gauls had been already prepossessed in favour of Hannibal. But that even he would find that nation not very tractable, so ferocious and ungovernable were their tempers, unless he frequently revived the attachment of their chiefs with gold, of which that people were remarkably greedy.” Having thus finished their progress through the states of Spain and Gaul, the ambassadors returned to Rome, shortly after the consuls had set out for their provinces, and found the passions of every man warmly excited by the prospect of the approaching war, for all accounts now agreed that the Carthaginians had passed the Iberus.
XXI. Hannibal, after taking Saguntum, had retired into winter quarters, at New Carthage; where, receiving information of all the transactions and resolutions which had passed at Rome, and at Carthage, and that he was not only the leader, but likewise the cause of the war, he determined no longer to defer his measures, and having distributed and sold off the remains of the plunder, he called together his Spanish troops, and spoke to this effect: “Fellow soldiers, as we have already established peace through all the states of Spain, we must either lay aside our arms, and disband our forces, or transfer the seat of war to other countries. For the way to make these nations flourish, with the blessings not only of peace, but of victory, is, for us to seek glory and spoil from others. Wherefore as we shall soon be called to service, at a distance from home, and as it is uncertain when you may see your families, and whatever is dear to you, if any choose to visit your friends, I now give you leave of absence. At the beginning of spring, I charge you to attend here, in order that, with the aid of the Gods, we may enter on a war, from which we shall reap abundance both of honour and riches.” This voluntary offer, of leave to revisit their homes, was highly pleasing to almost every one of them; for they already longed to see their friends, and foresaw a longer absence from them, likely to happen. This interval of rest renewed the powers of their minds and bodies, enabling them to encounter every hardship anew; for the fatigues they had already sustained, and those they were soon to undergo, appeared to be little thought of. At the beginning of spring they therefore assembled according to orders. Hannibal, after reviewing the auxiliaries of the several nations, went to Gades, where he fulfilled his vows to Hercules, and bound himself in new ones, in case his future operations should be crowned with success. Then dividing his attention, between the measures requisite for annoying the enemy, and those necessary for defence, lest, while he should be making his way to Italy by land, through Spain and Gaul, Africa should be naked and open to an attack of the Romans from Sicily, he resolved to provide for its security by sending thither a strong body of forces. In the room of these, he required a reinforcement to be sent to him from Africa, consisting chiefly of light armed spearmen. This he did with the view, that the Africans serving in Spain, and the Spaniards in Africa, where each would be better soldiers at a distance from home, they might be, as it were, mutual hostages for the good behaviour of each other. He sent into Africa, of infantry, thirteen thousand eight hundred and fifty targeteers, with eight hundred and seventy Balearick slingers; of cavalry, collected from many nations, one thousand two hundred. Part of these forces he ordered to garrison Carthage, the rest to be distributed through Africa. At the same time he ordered four thousand chosen young men, whom he had enlisted by means of commissaries sent among the several states, to be conducted to Carthage, both as an addition of strength and as hostages.
XXII. Judging also, that Spain ought not to be neglected, in which opinion he was not the less confirmed by having been acquainted with the tour made through it by the Roman ambassadors, for the purpose of engaging the friendship of the chiefs, he allotted that province to Hasdrubal his brother, a man of talents and activity; and he formed his strength mostly of the troops from Africa, giving him eleven thousand eight hundred and fifty African foot, with three hundred Ligurians, and five hundred Balearians. To these bodies of infantry, were added four hundred and fifty horsemen of the Liby-Phœnicians, a race composed of a mixture of Phœnicians with Africans; of Numidians and Mauritanians, who inhabit the coast of the ocean, to the number of one thousand eight hundred; a small band of the Hergetans, a Spanish nation, amounting to two hundred horsemen; and, that he might not be destitute of any kind of force, which might be useful in operations on land,from ten elephants. Also for the defence of the sea coast, because, as the Romans had been formerly victorious at sea, it was probable that they would now likewise exert themselves in the same line, a fleet was assigned him of fifty quinqueremes, two quadriremes, and five triremes; but, of these, only thirty-two quinqueremes, and the five triremes, were fully equipped and manned with rowers. From Gades he returned to Carthage, the winter quarters of the army. Then putting his troops in motion, he led them by the city of Etovissa to the Iberus, and the sea coast. Here, as is said, he saw, in his sleep, a youth of divine figure, who told him that he was sent by Jupiter to guide him into Italy, and bade him therefore to follow, and not turn his eyes to any side. Filled with terror, he followed at first without looking to either side, or behind; but afterwards, out of the curiosity natural to mankind, considering what that could be at which he was forbidden to look back, he could no longer restrain his eyes: he then saw behind him a serpent of immense size, moving along and felling all the bushes and trees in its way: and after it, followed a dark cloud with loud thundering in the air. On which, asking what was the nature of this great commotion, or what it portended, he was told that it meant the devastation of Italy; he was then ordered to proceed in his course, and not to enquire farther, but let the decrees of the destinies remain in obscurity.
XXIII. Overjoyed at this vision, he led his forces in three divisions over the Iberus, having sent forward emissaries to conciliate by presents the friendship of the Gauls, through whose country the army was to pass, and to explore the passes of the Alps. The number of forces, which he brought across the Iberus, was ninety thousand foot, and twelve thousand horse. He then reduced the Ilergetans, the Bargusians, the Ausetanians, and the province of Lacetania, which lay at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains. The government of all this tract he gave to Hanno, with intention to retain the command of the narrow passes, which lead from Spain into Gaul: and, to enable him to secure the possession of it, assigned him a body of forces, consisting of ten thousand foot and one thousand horse. When the army began to pass the defiles of the Pyrenees, and a rumour spread with greater certainty among the barbarians, that the war was intended against the Romans, three thousand of the Carpetan foot left him, and marched away, actuated, as clearly appeared, not so much by dread of the enemy, as of the great length of the march, and the insuperable difficulty of crossing the Alps. Hannibal, considering that to recall or detain them by force, might be attended with dangerous consequences, and wishing to avoid every thing that might irritate the ferocious tempers of the rest, sent home above ten thousand men, in whom he had discovered an equal aversion from the service, pretending that he had, in like manner, dismissed the Carpetans.
XXIV. Then, lest delay and idleness should inspire them with improper notions, he crossed the Pyrenees with the rest of his forces, and pitched his camp near the town of Illiberis. The Gauls had been told that his operations were directed against Italy; nevertheless, having been informed that the Spaniards on the other side of the Pyrenees had been reduced by force, and that a powerful guard was stationed in their country, they were so much alarmed for their liberty, that they hastily took arms, and several states formed a general meeting at Ruscino. When Hannibal was informed of this, dreading delay more than the power of the enemy, he despatched envoys to their petty princes, acquainting them, that he wished to confer with them in person, and proposing, that either they should come nearer to Illiberis, or that he would advance to Ruscino; that he would, with great pleasure, receive them in his camp, or, without hesitation, go himself to theirs: for he came into Gaul as a friend, not as an enemy; and meant not to draw a sword, if the Gauls would allow him to hold his resolution, until he arrived in Italy. This passed through messengers: but the Gauls immediately removed their camp to Illiberis, came without reluctance to the Carthaginian, and were so highly captivated by his presents, that, with great cheerfulness, they conducted his army, by the town of Ruscino, through their territories.
XXV. In Italy, at this time, nothing farther was known, than that Hannibal had passed the Iberus, intelligence of which had been brought to Rome by ambassadors from Marseilles; yet, as if he had already passed the Alps, the Boians engaging the concurrence of the Insubrians, began a revolt, their motive for which was not their ancient enmity towards the Roman people, but the offence which they lately conceived, at the establishment of the colonies on the Po, at Cremona, and Placentia, within the limits of the Gallic territories. For this reason, they hastily took arms, and, making an irruption into those very soils, caused such terror and confusion, that not only the country people, but even the Roman commissioners, who had come thither to distribute the lands, doubting their safety within the walls of Placentia, fled to Mutina. These were Caius Lutatius, Caius Servilius, and Titus Annius. There is no doubt about the name of Lutatius; but some annals, instead of Caius Servilius and Titus Annius, have Quintus Acilius, and Caius Herrennius; others, Publius Cornelius Asina, and Caius Papirius Maso. There is also an uncertainty, whether ambassadors, sent to expostulate with the Boians, suffered violence, or whether the ill treatment was offered to the commissioners who were measuring out the lands. While they were shut up in Mutina, and the besiegers, a people quite unskilled in the arts of attacking towns, and remarkably lazy with respect to all military operations, lay inactive round the walls, which they could not injure, a pretended treaty for an accommodation was set on foot, and the ambassadors being invited out to a conference by the chiefs of the Gauls, were, in violation, not only of the laws of nations, but of the faith pledged on the occasion, seized and put into confinement, the Gauls declaring, that they would not set them at liberty, unless their own hostages were returned to them. On hearing of this treatment of the ambassadors, and the danger which threatened Mutina and the garrison, Lucius Manlius the prætor, inflamed with resentment, led his army in a rapid march towards that city. The ground, on both sides of the road, was, at that time, covered with woods, and mostly uninhabited. Advancing into these places, without having examined the country, he fell into an ambush, and with much difficulty, after losing a great number of men, made his way into the open plains. Here he fortified a camp, which the Gauls not having resolution to attack, the soldiers recovered their spirits, though it was evident that their strength was greatly diminished: they then began their march anew, and, as long as their road lay through open grounds, the enemy never appeared; but falling on their rear, when the Romans again entered the woods, they threw all into fright and disorder, slew eight hundred soldiers, and carried off six standards. As soon as the troops had got clear of that difficult and troublesome pass, the Gauls ceased from their attempts, and the Romans from their fears, and the latter, afterwards, easily securing the safety of their march through the open country, proceeded to Tanetum, a small town on the Po. Here, by means of a temporary fortification, which they raised, the supply of provisions conveyed by the river, and the aid of the Brescian Gauls, they maintained their ground against the numerous forces of the enemy, though daily augmented.
XXVI. When news of this sudden insurrection arrived at Rome, and the senate understood, that, besides the Carthaginian war, they had another to maintain with the Gauls, they ordered Caius Atilius, a prætor, to march to the relief of Manlius with one Roman legion, and five thousand allied troops, inlisted by the consul in the late levy; with these he arrived at Tanetum without any interruption, for the enemy through fear, had retired at his approach. At the same time Publius Cornelius, having raised a new legion, in the room of that which had been sent with the prætor, set out from the city with sixty ships of war; and coasting along Etruria, Liguria, and the Salyan mountains, he arrived at Marseilles, and pitched his camp on the nearest mouth of the Rhone, for that river, dividing itself, flows into the sea through several channels scarcely believing, yet, that Hannibal had passed the Pyrenean mountains. But when he learned that he was, even then, employed in preparations for passing the Rhone, being unable to determine in what place he might meet him, and his men being not yet sufficiently recovered from the fatigue of the voyage, he despatched three hundred chosen horsemen, guided by some Massilians and auxiliary Gauls, to gain information of every particular, and to take a view of the enemy, without danger. Hannibal procuring, either by threats or presents, an unmolested passage through the other provinces, had arrived at the country of the Volcæ, a powerful state. These possessed territories on both sides of the Rhone, but, doubting their ability to repel the Carthaginian from the country on the hither side, in order to avail themselves of the river as a defence, they had transported almost all their effects beyond it, and were ready in arms to defend the opposite bank. Hannibal, by means of presents, prevailed on the inhabitants of the other districts contiguous to the river, and even on those of that very state, who staid in their own habitations, to collect ships from every quarter, and to build others; themselves being desirous that his army should be transported, and their country freed, as speedily as might be, from the burthen of such a multitude of men. A vast number of vessels therefore were brought together, and of boats rudely constructed for the purpose of short passages. Others were formed by hollowing single trees, the Gauls first showing the way; and afterwards the soldiers themselves, encouraged by the plenty of timber, and likewise by the easiness of the work, hastily formed clumsy hulks to transport themselves and their effects, regardless of every other circumstance, provided they would but float, and contain a burthen.
XXVII. And now, when all preparatory measures for effecting their passage were completed, the enemy, on the farther side, threatened them with a violent opposition, covering the whole bank with horse and foot. But, in order to remove these out of his way, Hannibal ordered Hanno, son of Bomilcar, to set out by night, at the first watch, with a body of forces composed mostly of Spaniards, to march up the river to the distance of one day’s journey, and then crossing it, as secretly as possible, to lead round his detachment with all expedition, that he might fall on the rear of the enemy when so required. The Gauls, who were given him as guides on the occasion, informed him that, at the distance of about twenty-five miles above that place, the river spreading round a small island, showed the passage, where it divided itself, broader, and the channel consequently shallower. At this place, felling timber with the utmost haste, they formed rafts for carrying over the men, horses, and other weighty matters. As to the Spaniards, they took no trouble about any means of conveyance, but thrusting their clothes into leathern bags, and resting their bodies on their bucklers placed under them, swam over the river. The rest of the troops, having also passed over on the rafts joined together, they encamped near the river, and being fatigued by the march during the night, and by the labour of the work, refreshed themselves with rest for one day, while their leader was earnestly studying how to execute the design in proper season. Next day, having marched from thence, they made a signal, by raising a smoke, that they had effected their passage, and were not far distant; which being perceived by Hannibal, he gave the signal for his troops to pass the river. The infantry had the boats equipped and in readiness, and a line of larger vessels, with the horsemen, most of whom had their horses smimming near them, crossed higher up the river, in order to break the force of the current, and thereby render the water smooth for the boats passing below. The horses, for the most part, were led after the sterns by collars, those only excepted which had been put on board the ships bridled and accoutred, in order that the riders, on their landing, might have them ready for instant use.
XXVIII. The Gauls ran down to the bank to meet them, with various kinds of cries and songs, according to their custom, tossing their shields above their heads, and with their right hands brandishing their javelins, notwithstanding the terrible appearance of such a vast number of ships, together with the loud roaring of the river, and the confused clamours of the mariners and soldiers, both of those who were struggling to force their way through the violent current, and of those who from the opposite bank encouraged their friends on their passage. While they saw sufficient cause of terror on their front, a more terrifying shout assailed them from behind, where their camp was taken by Hanno. Presently he came up; so that they were encompassed by dangers; such a vast number of soldiers being brought by the ships, and another army quite unexpectedly pressing on their rear. The Gauls finding that, instead of being the assailants as they had intended, they were even driven from their own ground, made off hastily through the clearest opening that they could find, and in the utmost confusion dispersed to their several towns. Hannibal now looked with contempt on the boisterous menaces of this people, and bringing over the rest of his forces at leisure, encamped on the spot. Various plans, I should suppose, were projected for conveying the elephants across the river, at least the accounts transmitted of the manner in which it was performed are various. Some relate, that being brought all together to the river side, the fiercest among them was provoked to anger by his keeper, who pursued him by swimming as he fled into the water: that this drew down the rest of the herd; and that each, as soon as he lost the bottom, was by the mere force of the stream hurried to the opposite bank. But it is more generally agreed, that they were carried over on rafts; and as this must have appeared the safer method, it is now more easy to believe, that the business was so effected. One raft, of two hundred feet in length and fifty in breadth, was extended from the bank into the river, the upper part of it being firmly fastened to the shore with several strong cables, to prevent its being carried down with the stream, and this was covered with a layer of earth, like a bridge, in order that the beasts might, without fear, walk on it as on solid ground. Another raft of equal breadth, and one hundred feet long, was fastened to this, and when the elephants, being driven over the fixed raft as on a road, the females going foremost, passed over to the smaller one which was joined to it, then the ropes with which this latter had been slightly tied were instantly loosed, and it was towed away by several light vessels to the other bank. When the first were thus landed, it was brought back for the rest. As long as they were driven, as it were, on a bridge connected with the land, they showed no signs of fear: they first began to be frightened when, the raft being set loose, they were separated from the rest, and dragged into the deep: then pressing close on one another, as those on the outside drew back from the water, they occasioned a good deal of disorder; but terrified by seeing the water on every side of them, they soon became quiet. Some, indeed, becoming outrageous, tumbled into the river, but their own weight rendering them steady, though their riders were thrown off, they cautiously searched out the shallow parts, and came safe to land.
XXIX. While thus employed in transporting the elephants, Hannibal had despatched five hundred Numidian horsemen towards the camp of the Romans, to discover where they lay, what were their numbers, and, if possible, what their designs. This detachment of cavalry was met by the three hundred Roman horse, sent, as mentioned above, from the mouth of the Rhone. A battle ensued, more furious than common, between such small numbers: for, besides many wounds, there was a great loss of lives, nearly equal on both sides, and it was not until the Romans were thoroughly fatigued, that the dismay and flight of the Numidians yielded them the victory. On the side of the conquerors fell one hundred and sixty, not all Romans however, some of them being Gauls; and of the vanquished more than two hundred. As this prelude, and omen likewise, of the war, portended to the Romans a favourable issue on the whole, so did it a victory not unbloody, nor to be purchased without a dangerous struggle. After this action, the parties returned to their respective commanders. On the one hand, Scipio could form no determination, farther than to regulate his measures by the designs and proceedings of the enemy; and, on the other, Hannibal was in doubt, whether he should continue his march into Italy without intermission, or come to an engagement with the first Roman army that threw itself in his way. However, from the thoughts of an immediate engagement he was diverted by the arrival of ambassadors from the Boians, and of a chieftain called Magalus, who, assuring him that they would be his guides on the march, and companions in the dangers, recommended him to reserve the first essay of his entire force for the attack of Italy, and not, previously, to hazard any diminution of his strength. His troops feared indeed, the enemy, for the memory of the former war was not yet obliterated; but much more did they dread the extreme difficulty of the march, and the passage of the Alps, a matter exceedingly formidable, at least by report, and to people unacquainted with those mountains.
XXX. Hannibal, therefore, as soon as he had determined to proceed forward, and direct his operations against Italy, called an assembly of the soldiers, and endeavoured, by the different methods of reproof and exhortation, to mould their minds to his purpose. “He wondered,” he said, “what sudden terror could have taken possession of breasts hitherto always undaunted. During such a number of years in which they carried arms, they were constantly victorious; nor had left Spain until all the nations and countries comprehended between the two opposite seas were under subjection to Carthage. Then, seized with indignation at the Roman people demanding that every person, concerned in the siege of Saguntum, should be delivered into their hands as criminals, they had passed the Iberus, resolved to exterminate the Roman race, and to set the world at liberty. No one, at that time, thought the march too long, though they were to continue it from the setting place of the sun to that of its rising. Now, when they saw by far the greater part of the journey accomplished, after conquering the obstructions of the Pyrenean forests, in the midst of the fiercest nations; after effecting their passage over so great a river as the Rhone, in the face of so many thousands of Gauls opposing them; nay, when they had the Alps within view, the other side of which was a part of Italy, just in the gates of their enemy’s country, they grew weary and halted. — Was it that they conceived the Alps to be any thing more than high mountains? Suppose them higher than the summits of the Pyrenees: surely no part of the earth reached to the heaven, nor was of a height insuperable by mankind. These eminences in reality were inhabited, cultivated, produced and supported animals. Were they passable by small parties, and impassable by armies? Those very ambassadors, before their eyes, had not been carried aloft on wings over the Alps. Neither had their ancestors been natives of the soil, but settlers, who came from other countries into Italy, and who crossed with safety those same hills, often in vast bodies, with their wives and children, as other colonies emigrate. To a soldier carrying nothing with him but the implements of war, what could be impassable or insuperable? In order to gain possession of Saguntum, what toils, what dangers, did they not undergo, for the space of eight months? Now, when their object was Rome, the capital of the world, what difficulty or danger should be deemed capable of retarding the enterprize? The Gauls formerly made themselves masters of those very places which the Carthaginians despaired of approaching. Either, therefore, they must yield the superiority in spirit and courage to that nation, which, during a short time past, they had so frequently overcome; or they must look for the termination of their march, in the field lying between the Tiber and the walls of Rome.”
XXXI. When, by these exhortations, he had reanimated their courage, he ordered them to take refreshment, and prepare for a march. On the following day, he proceeded upwards along the bank of the Rhone, directing his route towards the interior parts of Gaul; not because that was the more direct road to the Alps, but because he thought that the farther he withdrew from the sea, the less probability there would be of his meeting with the Romans, with whom he did not intend to come to battle, until he should have arrived in Italy. After a march of four days, he came to the Island. Here the rivers Isara and Rhone, which run down from different parts of the Alps, after encompassing a pretty large tract of ground, unite their streams, and the plain enclosed between them is called the Island. The adjacent country is inhabited by the Allobroges, a nation, even in those times, inferior to none in Gaul in power and reputation, but at that juncture weakened by discord. Two brothers disputed the sovereignty. The elder, who had been invested with the government, by name Brancus, was dispossessed by the younger brother, and a combination of the younger men; on which side, though there was less justice, there was more strength. Most opportunely, the parties in this dissension referred their pretensions to the judgment of Hannibal, who being appointed arbitrator of the disputed sovereignty, gave a decision agreeable to the sense of the senate, and of the principal men of the state: that the government should be restored to the elder. In requital of which favour, he was assisted with a supply of provisions, and plenty of all kind of necessaries, particularly of clothing, which the terrible accounts of the cold of the higher regions made it necessary to provide. After settling the disputes of the Allobroges, though now bent on proceeding to the Alps, he took not the direct road thither, but turned to the left into the country of the Tricastines; thence, through the extreme boundaries of the Vocontian territory, he advanced into that of the Tricorians, meeting no obstruction until he came to the river Druentia. This also, deriving its source from the Alps, is, of all the rivers in Gaul, the most difficult to pass; for, though conveying a vast body of water, it admits not the use of ships; because, being confined by no banks, it flows in several, and not always the same channels, continually forming new shallows, and new whirlpools, so that a person is in danger of missing his way; and besides, rolling down loose gritty stones, the footing is unsteady. Happening too, at that time, to be swelled by rains, it caused the utmost disorder among the troops on their passage, and which was much increased by their own hurry and confused clamours.
XXXII. In about three days after Hannibal’s moving from the bank of the Rhone, the consul Publius Cornelius had come with his forces, in order of battle, to the camp of the enemy, intending to fight them without delay. But finding the fortifications abandoned, and concluding that, as they had got the start of him so far, it would be difficult to overtake them, he marched back to the sea, where his ships lay; for he judged that he might thus with greater ease and safety meet Hannibal on his descent from the Alps. However, not to leave Spain, the province which the lots had assigned to his care, destitute of the aid of Roman troops, he sent his brother Cneius Scipio, with the greater part of his forces, against Hasdrubal, with the expectation not merely of protecting old allies, and acquiring new, but of driving him out of Spain. He himself, with a very small force, repaired to Genoa, proposing, with the army which was stationed on the Po, to provide for the security of Italy. From the Druentia, Hannibal, passing through a tract in general level, without any molestation from the Gauls inhabiting those regions, arrived at the Alps. And now, notwithstanding that the men had already conceived notions of the scene from report, which, in cases capable of misrepresentation, generally goes beyond the truth, yet the present view exhibited such objects as renewed all their terrors; the height of the mountains, the snows almost touching the sky, the wretched huts standing on the cliffs, the cattle and beasts shivering with the cold, the people squalid and in uncouth dress, all things, in short, animate and inanimate, stiffened with frost, besides other circumstances more shocking to the sight than can be represented in words. As they marched up the first acclivities, they beheld the eminences which hung over them covered with parties of the mountaineers, who, if they had posted themselves in the vallies out of view, and, rushing out suddenly, had made an unexpected attack, must have occasioned the most terrible havoc and dismay. Hannibal commanded the troops to halt, and having discovered from some Gauls, whom he sent forward to examine the ground, that there was no passage on that side, encamped in the widest valley which he could find, where the whole circuit around consisted of rocks and precipices. Then, having gained intelligence by means of the same Gauls, (who differed not much from the others in language or manners, and who had entered into conversation with them,) that the pass was blocked up only by day, and that, at night, they separated to their several dwellings, he advanced at the first dawn to the eminences, as if with the design of forcing his way through the pass. This feint he carried on through the whole day, his men at the same time fortifying a camp in the spot where they were drawn up. As soon as he understood that the mountaineers had retired from the heights, and withdrawn their guards, he made, for a show, a greater number of fires than was proportioned to the troops who remained in the camp, and, leaving behind the baggage, with the cavalry and the greatest part of the infantry, he himself with a light-armed band, composed of the most daring men in the army, pushed rapidly through the pass, and took post on those very eminences of which the enemy had been in possession.
XXXIII. At the first dawn of the next day, the rest of the army began to march forward. By this time the mountaineers, on a signal given, were coming together out of their fortresses to their usual station; when, on a sudden, they perceived a part of the enemy over their heads in possession of their own strong post, and the rest passing along the road. Both these circumstances striking them at once, they were for some time incapable of thought, or of turning their eyes to any other object. Afterwards, when they observed the confusion in the pass, and that the body of the enemy was disordered on their march, by the hurry among themselves, and particularly by the unruliness of the affrighted horses, it was imagined that, to augment in any degree the terror under which they already laboured, were effectually to destroy them: they therefore ran down the rocks in an oblique direction through pathless and circuitous ways, which habitual practice rendered easy to them: and now the Carthaginians had to contend, at once, with the Gauls and the disadvantage of the ground; and there was a greater struggle among themselves than with the enemy, for every one strove to get first out of danger. But the greatest disorder was occasioned by the horses, which, affrighted at the dissonant clamours, multiplied by the echoes from the woods and vallies, became nearly unmanageable; and when they happened to receive a stroke or a wound, grew so unruly as to overthrow numbers of men, and heaps of baggage of all sorts; and as there were abrupt precipices on each side of the pass, their violence cast down many to an immense depth, so that the fall of such great masses produced a dreadful effect. Although these were shocking sights to Hannibal, yet he kept his place for a while, and restrained the troops that were with him, lest he should encrease the tumult and confusion. Afterwards, seeing the line of the army broken, and that there was danger of their being wholly deprived of their baggage, in which case the effecting of their passage would answer no purpose, he hastened down from the higher ground; and while, by the mere rapidity of his motion, he dispersed the forces of the enemy, he at the same time increased the confusion among his own. But this, when the roads were cleared by the flight of the mountaineers, was instantly remedied, and the whole army was soon brought through the pass not only without disturbance, but almost without noise. He then seized a fort, which was the capital of that district, and several villages that lay round it, and fed his army for three days with cattle taken from the fugitives. During these three days, as he was not incommoded by the mountaineers, nor much by the nature of the ground, he made a considerable progress in his march.
XXXIV. He then reached the territory of another state, which was thickly inhabited for a mountainous country: there, he was very near suffering a defeat, not by open force, but by his own arts, treachery and ambush. Some men of advanced age, governors of their forts, came to the Carthaginian as ambassadors, with humble representations, that “as the calamities of others had afforded them a profitable lesson, they wished to make trial of the friendship, rather than of the strength, of the Carthaginians. That they were, therefore, resolved to yield obedience to all his commands, and requested him to accept of provisions and guides on his march, and hostages to ensure the performance of their engagements.” Hannibal neither hastily crediting, nor yet slighting their offers, lest, if rejected, they might declare openly against him, after returning a favourable answer, accepted the hostages, and made use of the provision which they had, of their own accord, brought to the road; but followed the guides, not as through a friendly country, but with the strictest order in his march. The elephants and cavalry composed the van, and he himself followed with the main body of the infantry, carefully inspecting every particular. On their coming into a road narrower than the rest, confined, on one side, by an impending hill, the barbarians rising upon all sides from places where they had lain concealed, assailed them in front and rear, in close and in distant fight, rolling down also huge rocks on the troops. The most numerous body pressed on the rear. There, the main force of infantry was ready to oppose them; but had not that been very strong, it must undoubtedly, in such a difficult pass, have suffered very great loss; even as the case stood, it was brought to the extremity of danger, and almost to destruction. For whilst Hannibal hesitated to lead down his horsemen into the narrow road, though he had left no kind of support at the back of the infantry, the mountaineers, rushing across and breaking through between the two divisions of the army, took possession of the pass, and Hannibal spent one night separated from his cavalry and baggage.
XXXV. Next day, the barbarians having relaxed the violence of their attacks in the centre, the troops were re-united, and carried through the defile, but not without loss; the destruction, however, was greater among the beasts of burthen than among the men. Thenceforward, the mountaineers made their attacks in smaller parties, more like robbers than an army; at one time, on the van; at another, on the rear; just as the ground happened to afford them an advantage, or as stragglers advancing before the rest, or staying behind, gave them an opportunity. As the driving the elephants through the narrow roads, even with all the haste that could be made, occasioned much loss of time, so wherever they went, they effectually secured the troops from the enemy, who being unaccustomed to such creatures, dared not to come near them. On the ninth day the army completed the ascent to the summit of the Alps, mostly through pathless tracts and wrong roads, into which they had been led, either by the treachery of their guides, or, when these were not trusted, rashly, on the strength of their own conjectures, following the courses of the vallies. On the summit they remained encamped two days, in order to refresh the soldiers, who were spent with toil and fighting; and, in this time, several of the beasts, which had fallen among the rocks, following the tracts of the army, came into the camp. Tired as the troops were, of straggling so long with hardships, they found their terrors very much increased by a fall of snow, this being the season of the setting of the constellation of the Pleiades* . The troops were put in motion with the first light; and as they marched slowly over ground which was entirely covered with snow, dejection and despair being strongly marked in every face, Hannibal went forward before the standards, and ordering the soldiers to halt on a projecting eminence from which there was a wide-extended prospect, made them take a view of Italy, and of the plains about the Po, stretching along the foot of the mountains; then told them, that “they were now sealing the walls, not only of Italy, but of the city of Rome. That all the rest would be plain and smooth, and after one, or, at most, a second battle, they would have the bulwark and capital of Italy in their power and disposal.” The army then began to advance, the enemy now desisting from any farther attempts on them, except by trifling parties for pillaging, as opportunity offered. But the way was much more difficult than it had been in the ascent; the declivity, on the Italian side of the Alps, being, in most places, shorter, and consequently more perpendicular; while the whole way was narrow and slippery, so that the soldiers could not prevent their feet from sliding, nor if they made the least false step, could they, on falling, stop themselves in the place; and thus men and beasts tumbled promiscuously over one another.
XXXVI. They then came to a ridge much narrower than the others, and composed of rock so upright, that a light-armed soldier, making the trial, could with much difficulty, by laying hold of bushes and roots, which appeared here and there, accomplish the descent. In this place the precipice, originally great, had, by a late falling away of the earth, been increased to the depth of at least one thousand feet. Here the cavalry stopped, as if at the end of their journey, and Hannibal, wondering what could be the cause of the troops halting, was told that the cliff was impassable. Then going up himself to view the place, it seemed clear to him that he must lead his army in a circuit, though ever so great, and through tracts never trodden before. That way, however, was found to be impracticable. The old snow, indeed, had become hard, and being covered with the new of a moderate depth, the men found good footing as they walked through it; but when that was dissolved by the treading of so many men and beasts, they then trod on the naked ice below. Here they were much impeded, because the foot could take no hold on the smooth ice, and was besides the more apt to slip, on account of the declivity of the ground; and whether they attempted to rise, either by the aid of hands or knees, these slipping, they fell again; add to this, that there were neither stumps nor roots within reach, on which they could lean for support; so that they wallowed in the melted snow on one entire surface of slippery ice. This the cattle sometimes penetrated as soon as their feet reached the lower bed, and sometimes, when they lost their footing, by striking more strongly with their hoofs in striving to keep themselves up, they broke it entirely through; so that the greatest part of them, as if caught in traps, stuck fast in the hard and deep ice.
XXXVII. At length, after men and beasts were heartily fatigued to no purpose, they fixed a camp on the summit, having with very great difficulty cleared even the ground which that required, so great was the quantity of snow to be dug and carried off. The soldiers were then employed to make a way down the steep, through which alone it was possible to effect a passage; and, as it was necessary to break the mass, they felled and lopped a number of huge trees which stood near, which they raised into a vast pile, and as soon as a smart wind arose, to forward the kindling of it, set it on fire, and then, when the stone was violently heated, made it crumble to pieces by pouring on vinegar. When the rock was thus disjointed, by the power of the heat, they opened a way through it with iron instruments, and inclined the descents in such a manner, that not only the beasts of burthen, but even the elephants, could be brought down. Four days were spent about this rock, during which the cattle were nearly destroyed by hunger, for the summits are, for the most part, bare, and whatever little pasture there might have been, was covered by the snow. In the lower parts are vallies and some hills, which enjoying the benefit of the sun, with rivulets at the side of the woods, are better suited to become the residence of human beings. There the horses were sent out to pasture, and the men, fatigued with their labour on the road, allowed to rest for three days. They then descended into the plains, where the climate, and likewise the temper of the inhabitants, were of a still milder cast.
XXXVIII. In this manner, as nearly as can be ascertained, they accomplished their passage into Italy, in the fifth month, according to some authors, after leaving New Carthage, having spent fifteen days in crossing the Alps. As to what number of forces Hannibal had when he arrived in Italy, writers by no means agree. Those who state them at the highest, make them amount to one hundred thousand foot, and twenty thousand horse; while those who state them at the lowest, say twenty thousand foot, and six of horse. The authority of Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who writes that he was taken prisoner by Hannibal, would have the greatest weight with me, did he not confound the number, by adding the Gauls and Ligurians. He says that, including these, (who it is more probable however flocked to him afterwards, and so some writers assert,) there were brought into Italy eighty thousand foot, and ten thousand horse; and that he heard from Hannibal himself, that from the time of his passing the Rhone, he had lost thirty-six thousand men, together with a vast number of horses, and other beasts of burthen, before he left the country of the Taurinians, the next nation to the Gauls, as he went down into Italy. That he came through this state, is agreed on by all; I am therefore the more surprised at its remaining doubtful by what road he crossed the Alps; and that the opinion should commonly prevail, that he passed over the Pennine hill, and that from thence that summit of these mountains got its name. Cœlius says, that he passed over the hill of Cremo. Either of these passes would have led him not into the territory of the Taurinians, but through that of the mountaineers, called Salassians, to the Libuan Gauls. Nor is it probable, that those roads into hither Gaul should, at that time, have been open; those, especially, which lead to the Pennine hill, would have been blocked up by nations half German. And besides, if the assertions of the inhabitants be admitted as an argument of any weight, it must be allowed, that the Veragrians, the inhabitants of that very hill, deny that the name was given to these mountains from any passage of the Carthaginians, and allege that it was so named from a person, called by the mountaineers Penninus, worshipped as a divinity on the highest top.
XXXIX. Hannibal had now a favourable opportunity for commencing his operations; the Taurinians, the nation lying nearest in his way, being at war with the Insubrians. But he could not put his forces under arms to assist either party, because they now felt most sensibly, while endeavouring to remedy them, the maladies which they had before contracted. For rest after toil, plenty after scarcity, and care of their persons after a course of filth and nastiness, produced little effect in the various disorders of those whose bodies were grown squalid and filthy to a degree of brutality. This consideration induced the consul Publius Cornelius, as soon as he arrived with the fleet at Pisæ, though the army which he received from Manlius and Atilius was composed of raw troops, and dispirited by their late disgraces, to hasten to the Po, in order that he might engage the enemy before he should recover his vigour. But by the time the consul came to Placentia, Hannibal had moved from his post, and had taken by storm a city of the Taurinians, the metropolis of the nation, because it had refused an offer of his friendship; and he would have drawn over to his side, either by their fears or inclinations, all the Gauls dwelling near the Po, had not the sudden arrival of Cornelius, when they were watching for an occasion of revolting, put a stop to their measures. Hannibal likewise advanced towards them from the country of the Taurinians, in expectation that, as they had not yet resolved what party they would join, his presence might determine them in his favour. The armies were now almost within view of each other, and the leaders, though not yet thoroughly acquainted, brought with them a degree of mutual admiration: for the name of Hannibal, even before the destruction of Saguntum, was highly famed among the Romans; and the very circumstance of Scipio having been particularly chosen for the command, supposed him a person of extraordinary merit. They were exalted still higher in each other’s opinion; Scipio, by the celerity with which, though left behind in Gaul, he had met Hannibal at his coming down into Italy: Hannibal, by having not only formed, but executed, the daring design of passing over the Alps. Scipio, however, first crossed the Po, and removed his camp to the river Ticinus; where, wishing to encourage his soldiers before he led them out to battle, he addressed them in a speech to this effect.
XL. “Soldiers, if I were marching to battle at the head of the army which I had with me in Gaul, I should have thought it needless to use any words to you: for why exhort either those horsemen, who, without difficulty, defeated the enemy’s cavalry at the river Rhone; or those legions, with whom I pursued this same enemy, and obtained, by their refusing to fight, and actually flying before us, an acknowledgment of victory? in the present state of things, as that army, which was enlisted for the province of Spain, is employed with my brother Cneius Scipio, under my auspices, in the place where it was the will of the senate and people of Rome, that it should be employed; and that I, in order that you might have a consul to lead you against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, have taken a voluntary part in this contest; as a new commander, I think it requisite to speak a few words to soldiers who are new to me. Now, that you should not be unacquainted either with the nature of the war, or with the enemy, know, soldiers, that you are to fight against men whom, in the former war, you conquered both on land and sea; from whom you have exacted tribute, for twenty years past; from whom you took, and still hold, Sicily and Sardinia, the prizes of your victory. In the present dispute, consequently, the spirit of the parties will be — yours, that of conquerors; theirs, that of men conquered. Nor is it confidence, but necessity, which now prompts them to fight: unless you suppose, that those who avoided fighting, when their force was entire, have acquired greater confidence after the loss of two-thirds of their infantry and cavalry, in the passage over the Alps; after greater numbers have perished than survive. But it may be said, they are few indeed, but vigorous in mind and body, having a power and strength no force can withstand. On the contrary, they are but the resemblance, mere shadows of men, rendered lifeless by hunger, cold, filth, and nastiness; battered and disabled among the rocks and precipices. Add to this, their joints benumbed, their sinews stiffened, their limbs shrivelled by the frost, their armour shattered and broken, their horses lamed and enfeebled. Such is the infantry, such the cavalry, with whom you are to fight. You will have to deal, not with enemies, but the remains of enemies. And nothing do I fear more, than, lest, before you come to a battle, the Alps may appear to have conquered Hannibal. But perhaps it was right that it should be so; that, against a nation and commander, guilty of a breach of treaties, the Gods themselves should commence the war, and break the force of the enemy; and that we who, next to the gods, were the party injured, should then take it up, and carry it on to a conclusion.
XLI. “In what I say on this head, I am not afraid of being suspected of ostentatious boasting, for the purpose of encouraging you, while my real sentiments are different. I might have proceeded with my army into Spain, my own province, to which I had gone part of the way; where I should have had my brother to assist me in council, and to share the danger; and, instead of Hannibal, I should have had Hasdrubal to contend with; and, certainly, a less difficult war to manage. Nevertheless, as I sailed along the coast of Gaul, having heard of the approach of this enemy, I landed, sent forward my cavalry, and moved my camp to the Rhone. In a battle, fought by the cavalry, the only part of my forces which had an opportunity of fighting, the enemy was routed; and because I could not, on land, overtake their body of infantry, which was carried away with all the rapidity of flight, I returned to my ships, and with the utmost expedition that I could make, through such a long circuit by sea and land, I have met him at the foot of the Alps. Now, whether do I appear to have fallen in unawares with this formidable foe, while I wished to decline a contest with him, or to have designedly thrown myself in the way of his route, to challenge and force him to a trial of strength? I feel a strong desire to try whether, in these twenty years past, the earth has all at once produced a new breed of Carthaginians; or whether they are the same with those who fought at the islands Ægates, whom you ransomed at Eryx at a valuation of eighteen denari* a head; and whether this Hannibal be, as he represents himself, another Hercules, equally renowned for his expeditions; or one left by his father, a subject, a tributary, and slave to the Roman people; who, if he were not struck with madness, as a punishment for the guilt of his behaviour at Saguntum, would reflect, if not on the conquest of his country, at least on the acts of his own family; on his father, on the treaties written by the hand of Hamilcar; who, in obedience to the commands of our consul, withdrew his forces from Eryx; who, agitated with extreme sorrow, accepted the burthensome conditions imposed on the conquered Carthaginians, and signed an engagement to evacuate Sicily, and to pay tribute to the Roman people. Wherefore, soldiers, I wish that you may fight, not only with the same spirit which you usually show against other foes, but with a degree of resentment and indignation, as if you saw your own slaves suddenly taking arms against you. We might have kept them shut up at Eryx, until they perished with hunger, the severest suffering that man can undergo; we might have carried over our victorious fleet to Africa; and, in the space of a few days, without opposition, have demolished Carthage. At their supplications, we granted pardon: we gave them liberty to depart from the place where we held them confined; after conquering them, we made peace with them; afterwards, when they were distressed by a war in Africa, we considered them as entitled to our protection. In return for these favours, they follow the lead of a hot-brained youth, and come to invade our country. I wish, that on our side, this contest was merely for glory, and not for safety. We are not to fight about the possession of Sicily and Sardinia, the subjects of the former dispute, but in defence of Italy; neither is there another army behind us, which, if we fail to conquer, might withstand the enemy; nor are there other Alps, during his passage over which new forces might be procured. Here, soldiers, we must make a stand, as if we were fighting under the walls of Rome. Let every one persuade himself that he is protecting, with his arms, not only his own person, but his wife, and his infant children. Nor let him consider, solely, his own domestic concerns, but frequently reflect, that the senate and people of Rome look for safety at our hands; that our strength and our courage are now to determine, what will henceforth be the condition of that city and of the Roman empire.”
XLII. Thus, on the side of the Romans, was the consul employed. Hannibal, choosing to rouse the courage of his soldiers by the exhibition of facts before he made use of words, formed his troops in a circle, and then placed in the middle the prisoners taken on the mountains, bound in fetters; when, such arms as are used by the Gauls being thrown at their feet, he ordered an interpreter to ask, whether any of them were willing, on the condition of being released from bonds — and, in case of proving victorious, of receiving each a horse and armour — to hazard his life in a combat? They all, to a man, called for arms and the combat; and when lots were cast, to single out the parties, every one wished himself to be the fortunate person who should be chosen for the trial: while he on whom it had fallen, dancing according to their custom, eagerly snatched up the arms, full of spirit, and exulting with joy, his companions congratulating him on his good fortune. While they were fighting, such were the sensations excited in the breasts, not only of their comrades, but of the spectators in general, that the fate of those who died bravely, was deemed not less happy than that of the successful combatants.
XLIII. The minds of his men being thus affected by the sight of several pairs of combatants, he dismissed the remainder; and then, summoning an assembly, addressed them, it is said, in the following manner: “If, soldiers, you form a judgment of your own circumstances, on the same principles which actuated you just now, on the exhibition of a case wherein others were concerned, we are conquerors. For that spectacle was not intended as a gratification to you, but a picture, in some sort, of your own situation. Indeed, I know not whether fortune has not imposed on you still stronger bonds, and a more powerful necessity, for using arms than on your prisoners. You are inclosed, on the right and left, by two seas, without so much as even a single ship to aid an escape: hemmed in on the front by the Po, a river larger and more violent than the Rhone; and behind by the Alps, which in your full strength and vigour you passed, not without the utmost difficulty. Here, soldiers, where you have first met the enemy, you must conquer or die: and the same fortune which compels you to fight, holds out to you prizes of victory; greater than which, men seldom wish for at the hands of the immortal gods. Were we, by our bravery, to recover only Sicily and Sardinia, ravished from our fathers, these would be a very ample recompense. But whatever the Romans have acquired and amassed, in consequence of their numerous triumphs, the whole of this, together with the owners, is to become your property. Animated then, by the prospect of so rich a spoil, take arms, with the favour of the gods. You have been, hitherto, employed in the pursuit of cattle, through the waste mountains of Lusitania and Celtiberia, without any prospect of emolument from so many toils and dangers. It is now time to make profitable and rich campaigns; and that, after measuring such a length of way, through so many mountains and rivers, and so many armed nations, you be at last abundantly rewarded for your labour. Here fortune has fixed the period of your toils; here, on your finishing your course of service, will she give you ample retribution. And do not imagine the victory to be as difficult, as the character of the war is important. Often has a despised enemy maintained a bloody contest, and renowned nations and kings been vanquished by exertions of very moderate force. For, setting aside singly the present splendour of the Roman name, in what one particular are they to be compared with you? Not to mention your service, for the last twenty years, performed with so great bravery, and so great success, you have effected a march to this place from the pillars of Hercules, from the ocean, and the remotest limits of the world; opening your way, with your victorious arms, through so many of the fiercest nations of Spain and Gaul. You will now fight with an army of raw troops, who, during this very summer, were beaten, routed, and besieged by the Gauls; who, as yet, neither know, nor are known by, their commanders. Ought I, if not born, at least educated, in the very tent of that most illustrious general my father; I who have subdued both Spain and Gaul; the conqueror, likewise, not only of the Alpine tribes, but what is much more, of the Alps themselves; ought I to put myself in comparison with such a commander as theirs? a general of six months standing, who ran away from his own army; to whom, if any one, taking away the ensigns from both, should show this day the Carthaginians, and the Romans, I am confident that he would not know of which army he was consul. On my part, soldiers, I esteem it a circumstance of no trivial import, that there is not one of you who has not often been an eye-witness of my performing some military exploit; and to whom, on the other hand, I cannot, as having been a spectator and witness of his bravery, recount his own honourable acts, with the marks of time and place. At the head of troops whom I have a thousand times honoured with praises and presents, I, who have been a pupil to you all, before I became your commander, shall enter the field against men unknowing and unknown to each other.
XLIV. “On whatever side I turn my eyes, I see spirit and firmness; a veteran body of infantry, cavalry composed of the most gallant nations; you our most brave and faithful allies, and you, Carthaginians, ready to fight in the cause of your country, and at the same time with the justest resentment. We are the assailants in the war, and are carrying an invasion into Italy; we shall fight therefore with so much the greater boldness and courage, as he who makes the attack has ever more confidence and spirit, than he who stands on the defensive. Besides, we are inflamed and stimulated by reflections on past sufferings, by injuries and indignities: for, first, they insisted, that I, your leader, should be delivered up to punishment, with every one concerned in the siege of Saguntum. Had we been put into their hands, there is no degree of torture which they would not have made us suffer. That nation, so unbounded are its cruelty and arrogance, would have the whole world at its disposal; thinks it has a right to impose regulations on us, and to prescribe with whom we are to have peace, with whom war; circumscribes, and shuts us up within boundaries of mountains and rivers, which we must not pass; yet observes not itself the limits which it establishes. You must not pass the Iberus; you must not meddle with the Saguntines: Saguntum is on our side of the Iberus; you must not stir a foot. Is it not enough that you take Sicily and Sardinia, provinces which have been mine from the earliest times? Will you take Spain also? when I shall have retired thence, you will pass over into Africa. Will pass, did I say! of the two consuls of the present year they have sent one to Africa, the other to Spain. There is nothing left to us any where, unless we make good our claim by arms. They may be timid and dastardly, who can look for refuge behind them, who can fly through safe and quiet roads, and be received into their own territories and their own lands. For your part, necessity obliges you to be brave; and, since every mean between victory and death is sunk out of reach, you must resolve to conquer, or should fortune be unfavourable, to meet death in battle rather than in flight. If this determination be firmly fixed in every one of your breasts, I affirm again, you are conquerors. The immortal gods never gave to man a more invigorating incentive to conquest.”
XLV. The courage of the soldiers on both sides being animated to the contest by these exhortations, the Romans threw a bridge over the Ticinus, and erected a fort on it for its security. While they were employed in this work, the Carthaginian sent Maharbal, with a squadron of five hundred Numidian horse, to ravage the lands of the allies of the Roman people. He ordered him to spare the Gauls, as much as possible, and to endeavour, by persuasion, to bring over their chiefs to his side. When the bridge was finished, the Roman army marched over into the country of the Insubrians, and sat down at the distance of five miles from Victumviæ. At this place lay Hannibal’s camp, who, perceiving the approach of a battle, hastily recalled Maharbal and the horsemen, and thinking that he could never apply too many arguments and encouragements to inspirit his soldiers, called them to an assembly, with promises of several kinds of rewards to be conferred on them, that the certain hope of these might animate their exertions in the fight. “He would give them land,” he told them, “in Italy, Africa, or Spain, wherever they should choose; exempt from all charges, to the person who should receive it, and to his children. Should any prefer money to land, he would give him an equivalent in silver. To such of the allies, as wished to become citizens of Carthage, that privilege should be granted. With regard to those who chose rather to return to their native homes, he would take care that they should not have cause to wish for an exchange of situation with any one of their countrymen.” To the slaves also who attended their masters he promised liberty, engaging to give the owners two slaves, in the room of each of these. Then, to give them full security for the performance of all this, holding in his left hand a lamb, and in his right a flint stone, he prayed to Jupiter and the rest of the gods, that if he did not fulfil these engagements, they would slay him, in like manner as he slew that lamb; and after this imprecation, he broke the animal’s head with the stone. This had such an effect, that all the soldiers, as if they had now received the surety of the gods for the ratification of their hopes, and thinking that nothing delayed the enjoyment of their wishes, but the battle not being begun, with one mind, and one voice, demanded the fight.
XLVI. Nothing like the same alacrity appeared among the Romans, who, besides other matters, were dispirited by some late prodigies. A wolf had entered the camp, and after tearing such as he met, made his escape unhurt. A swarm of bees also had pitched on a tree, which hung over the general’s tent. After expiating these prodigies, Scipio, at the head of his cavalry, and light spearmen, set out toward the camp of the enemy, in order to discover, by a near view of their forces, how great and of what kind they were; and was met by Hannibal, who had likewise advanced with his cavalry to reconnoitre the adjacent grounds. For some time neither party descried the other. Afterwards the dust, being raised in thicker clouds by the moving of so many men and horses, gave notice of approaching enemies, both detachments halted, and made ready for battle. Scipio placed his spearmen and Gallic cavalry in front, keeping the Romans and the body of allies which accompanied him, as a reserve. Hannibal drew the bridled cavalry into the centre, strengthening his wings with the Numidians. The shout was scarcely raised, before the spearmen fled to the second line; then the battle was maintained by the cavalry, for a considerable time with doubtful success, but afterwards, in consequence of the confusion caused among the horses, by the footmen being intermixed with them, many of the riders fell from their seats, and others, on seeing their friends surrounded and distressed, dismounted to assist them; so that the fight was now carried on mostly on foot, until the Numidians, posted on the wings, taking a small compass, showed themselves on the rear. This terrified and dismayed the Romans, whose fears were augmented by a wound received by the consul, who was rescued from farther danger by the speedy intervention of his son, just arrived at the age of maturity. This is the same youth, who is afterwards to enjoy the renown of terminating this war, and to receive the title of Africanus, on account of his glorious victory over Hannibal and the Carthaginians. However, very few fled precipitately, except the spearmen, on whom the Numidians made the first charge. The rest formed a compact body of cavalry; who, taking the consul into their centre, and covering him, not only with arms, but with their bodies, without any disorder or precipitation in their retreat, brought him back to the camp. Cœlius attributes the honour of saving the consul to a slave, by nation a Ligurian: but I rather wish the account to be true which gives it to his son; and so the fact is represented by most authors, and generally believed.
XLVII. Such was the first battle with Hannibal, in which it manifestly appeared that the Carthaginian was superior in cavalry; and, consequently, that open plains, such as those between the Po and the Alps, were unfavourable to the Romans in their operations. Wherefore the consul, on the night following, ordering his men to prepare in silence for a march, decamped from the Ticinus, and hastened to the Po, in order that, before the rafts should be loosened, of which he had formed the bridge over that river, he might carry over his forces without tumult or interruption from the enemy’s pursuit. They got as far as Placentia, before Hannibal received any certain information of their departure from the Ticinus. Nevertheless, he made prisoners six hundred men, who delayed on the hither bank, spending too much time in unbinding the raft. He could not pass over the bridge, because, as soon as the extremities were untied, the whole collection of rafts floated down with the current. Cœlius relates, that Mago, with the cavalry, and the Spanish infantry, immediately swam over the river; and that Hannibal himself led over the rest of the army, through fords somewhat higher up, forming the elephants in a line, above them, to break the force of the current. These accounts can hardly gain credit with people acquainted with the river Po: for it is not credible, that the cavalry could stem such a violent current, without losing their arms and horses, even allowing that all the Spaniards were conveyed over on leathern bags inflated; besides, that it would have cost a circuit of many days march to find fords in the Po, through which an army, heavily encumbered with baggage, could make a passage. Those authors seem to me more worthy of credit, who relate, that, with difficulty, after two days search, a place was found where a bridge of rafts could be constructed; and that, over this, the cavalry and light-armed Spaniards were sent forwards under Mago. While Hannibal, who waited on the same side of the river to give audience to embassies from the Gauls, was bringing over the heavy troops, Mago and his horsemen, in one day’s march after passing the river, came up with the enemy at Placentia. In a few days after, Hannibal fortified a camp within six miles of Placentia, and next day, drawing up his forces in the enemy’s view, offered them battle.
XLVIII. On the night following, there was a violent outrage committed in the Roman camp, by the auxiliary Gauls; which, however, was attended with greater tumult, than loss of lives. A number of them, amounting to two thousand foot and two hundred horse, killing the guards at the gates, deserted to Hannibal. The Carthaginian received them with expressions of much kindness, and after animating their zeal by prospects of vast rewards, dismissed them to their respective states, to engage the rest of their countrymen in his interest. Scipio, apprehending that this outrage was a signal for a general revolt of the Gauls; and that, infected with the same treacherous spirit, they would run like madmen to arms, though still very ill of his wound, marched away in silence, at the fourth watch of the following night, toward the river Trebia, and removed his camp to higher grounds, and hills less advantageous to the operations of cavalry. His departure was not so secret as at the Ticinus; Hannibal, therefore, sending on first the Numidians, afterwards all his cavalry, would have caused great disorder, at least in the rear of the army, had not the Numidians, out of their greediness for plunder, turned aside into the forsaken camp of the Romans. While searching narrowly every part of it, without finding any prize to compensate for the loss of time, they let the enemy slip out of their hands. Afterwards, coming within sight of the Romans, when they had already passed the Trebia, and were pitching their camp, they cut off a few, who loitered behind the rest on that side of the river. Scipio, unable to endure any longer the pain of his wound, which was exasperated by the rough motion in travelling, and at the same time judging it prudent to wait for his colleague, (for he had by this time heard that he was recalled from Sicily,) chose a spot near the river, which seemed the safest for a fixed station, and there fortified his camp. Hannibal took post at a small distance; and though he felt much joy at the success of his cavalry, yet finding no less cause of anxiety in the scarcity of necessaries, daily increasing as he marched through an enemy’s country without magazines prepared, he sent a detachment to the small town of Clastidium, where the Romans had collected a large store of corn. Here, while the troops were preparing for an assault, a prospect offered of the town being betrayed to them, and accordingly the commander of the garrison, one Dasius, a Brundusian, for a bribe of no great amount, only four hundred pieces of gold*, surrendered Clastidium to Hannibal. This served the Carthaginians as a granary, while they lay encamped on the Trebia. The prisoners, who fell into his hands on the surrender of the garrison, he treated without severity, being desirous that, at the commencement of his proceedings, a good opinion should be conceived of his clemency.
XLIX. While the operations of the land-forces on the Trebia were at a stand, much was effected by land and sea, in and round Sicily, and the other islands adjacent to Italy, both by Sempronius the consul, and before his arrival. Of twenty quinqueremes, sent by the Carthaginians with one thousand soldiers, to ravage the coast of Italy, nine arrived at Liparæ, eight at the island of Vulcan, and three were driven by the current into the streight. As soon as these were seen from Messana, twelve ships were despatched by Hiero, King of Syracuse, who happened to be then in that city waiting for the Roman consul, and these took them without opposition, and brought them into port to Messana. From the prisoners it was discovered that, besides the fleet of twenty ships to which they belonged, and which had been sent against Italy, another of thirty-five quinqueremes was on its way to Sicily, to rouse their ancient allies in their cause; that their principal object was the getting possession of Lilybæum, and it was the opinion of the prisoners that the same storm by which they had been dispersed, had driven the other fleet to the islands Ægates. This intelligence, just as he received it, the King despatched in a letter to Marcus Æmilius, the prætor, whose province Sicily was, and cautioned him to secure Lilybæum with a strong garrison. Immediately the lieutenants-general and tribunes, who were with the prætor, were sent off to the several states, with orders to keep their men attentive and alert in guarding their posts; and that, above all things, Lilybæum should be effectually secured. A proclamation was also published, that besides every warlike preparation, the mariners* should bring on board the ships provisions for ten days ready dressed, so that no one should have any delay to prevent his embarking the moment the signal should be given; and that, through the whole extent of the coast, those stationed at the watch-towers should be vigilant in looking out for the approach of the enemy’s fleet. In consequence of these precautions, notwithstanding that the Carthaginians purposely slackened the course of their ships, designing to reach Lilybæum a little before day, they were observed on their approach; for the moon shone through the whole night, and they came with their sails aloft: in the same instant the signal was made on the watch-towers, the alarm given in the town, and the men embarked in the ships; one-half of the soldiers mounted guard on the walls and at the gates, the other were on board the fleet. On the other hand, the Carthaginians perceiving that preparations were made for their reception, remained until day-break at the mouth of their harbour, employing the intermediate time in taking down their rigging, and fitting their ships for action. When day appeared, they drew back their fleet into the open sea, in order that they might have room for fighting, and give the enemy’s ships free egress from the harbour. Nor did the Romans decline an engagement, being emboldened by the recollection of their former successes near that very spot, and by confidence in the number and bravery of their men.
L. When they got into the open sea, the Romans showed a desire of coming up with the enemy, and trying their strength with them in close fight. The Carthaginians, on the contrary, wished to elude their attacks, to effect the business by skill, not by force, and to make it a contest of ships, not of men or arms: for there was on board their fleet an abundance of mariners, but a scarcity of soldiers, and when a ship was grappled, their number of fighting men to defend it was by no means equal to that of the enemy. This circumstance being discovered, the Romans assumed additional courage from the fulness of their numbers; and while the others were dispirited by their deficiency in that respect, seven Carthaginian ships were quickly surrounded, and the rest betook themselves to flight. In the captured ships, there were of soldiers and mariners one thousand seven hundred, among whom were three Carthaginian nobles. The Roman fleet without loss returned into the harbour, one ship only being bulged, and even that brought into port. Very soon after this battle, before those who were at Messana had heard of it, Tiberius Sempronius, the consul, came to that city. On his entering the streight, King Hiero, with a fleet completely equipped, sailed to meet him, and going from the royal galley on board that of the consul, congratulated him on his safe arrival with his ships and army. After praying for a successful and happy issue to his expedition into Sicily, he represented to him the state of the island and the attempt lately made by the Carthaginians, assuring him that, as he had, in the early part of his life, supported the Roman people in the former war, so would he now, advanced as he was in years, support them still with the same degree of spirit; that he would, at his own expense, furnish the consul’s legions, and the crews of his ships, with corn and clothing; and then, acquainting him that Lilybæum and all the maritime states were exposed to imminent danger, he informed him that there were many to whom a revolution would be highly agreeable. For these reasons the consul judged that he ought, without making any delay, to sail on directly to Lilybæum, whither he was accompanied by the King and his fleet. On their passage, they received the news of the fight of Lilybæum, of the discomfiture of the enemy, and the capture of their ships.
LI. From Lilybæum, the consul, after dismissing King Hiero with his fleet, and leaving the prætor to defend the coast of Sicily, sailed over to the island of Melita, which was in the possession of the Carthaginians. Immediately on his arrival, Hamilcar, son of Gisgo, commander of the garrison, and somewhat less than two thousand soldiers, together with the town and the island, were surrendered into his hands. From thence he returned in a few days to Lilybæum, where all the prisoners taken by the consul, and by the prætor, except those who were of distinguished birth, were sold by public auction. When the consul thought that side of Sicily sufficiently secured, he sailed over to the islands of Vulcan, because there was a report that the Carthaginian fleet lay there; but he met with none at those islands, for it happened that they had already passed over to ravage the coast of Italy, and, after laying waste the territory of Vibo, were now threatening that city. When he was on his return to Sicily, he was informed of the descent made by the enemy on the territory of Vibo. Letters were, at the same time, delivered to him from the senate, containing an account of Hannibal’s having entered Italy, and, also, orders to come to the support of his colleague with all possible expedition. So many objects demanding his attention at once, he instantly embarked his troops, and sent them by the upper sea to Ariminum; appointed Sextus Pomponius lieutenant-general, with twenty ships of war, to defend the territory of Vibo and the sea-coast of Italy; made up a fleet of fifty sail for the prætor Marcus Æmilius; and, after settling the affairs of Sicily, sailed himself with ten ships along the coast of Italy to Ariminum, from whence he marched his army to the river Trebia, and formed a junction with his colleague.
LII. And now, both the consuls and the whole of the Roman strength being opposed to Hannibal, afforded sufficient reason to suppose either that the Roman empire would be effectually protected by that force, or that there would be no room for any farther hopes. Nevertheless, Scipio, dispirited by the event of the battle between the cavalry, and by his own wound, wished to defer coming to action; while Sempronius, whose spirit had vet met no check, and who, therefore, possessed the greater confidence, was impatient of any delay. The lands between the Trebia and the Po were at that time inhabited by Gauls, who, during this struggle between two such potent nations, showed no partiality to either party, evidently intending to court the favour of the conqueror. With this conduct the Romans were well satisfied, provided they kept themselves entirely quiet; but the Carthaginian was highly displeased, giving out that he had come thither on an invitation from the Gauls, to set them at liberty. In order to gratify his resentment on that account, and at the same time to maintain his troops with plunder, he ordered two thousand foot and one thousand horse, mostly Numidians, with some Gauls intermixed, to ravage the whole country, from thence onward to the banks of the Po. The Gauls, destitute of support, though they had hitherto kept their inclinations doubtful, being now compelled by necessity, declared against the authors of their sufferings in favour of those who were to avenge them; and sent ambassadors to the consul to implore the aid of the Romans for a country which was suffering severely, in consequence of the too faithful attachment of its inhabitants to the people of Rome. Scipio approved not either of the cause or of the season for undertaking it; for he doubted the sincerity of that people, both on account of many instances of treacherous behaviour, and particularly, though the others through length of time might have been forgotten, on account of the recent perfidy of the Boians. Sempronius, on the contrary, was of opinion, that it would be the strongest tie on the fidelity of the allies, to let them see that the first who stood in need of aid had found protection. He then, while his colleague hesitated, despatched his own cavalry, joined by one thousand foot, mostly light spearmen, over the Trebia, to protect the lands of the Gauls. These falling unexpectedly on the enemy, while they were straggling in disorder, and most of them loaded with spoil, caused great consternation, slew many, and drove the rest flying before them to their camp. Though repulsed by the multitude which sallied out, yet, as soon as the rest of their party came up, they again renewed the fight. Success afterwards remained doubtful; sometimes they retreated, sometimes pursued; but though, at last, the advantages were equal on both sides, yet the honour of the victory was more generally attributed to the Romans.
LIII. But to no one did it appear more important and complete, than to the consul himself. He was transported with joy, at having obtained a victory with that part of the troops, which, under his associate, had been defeated. “The spirits of the soldiers,” he said, “were now revived; nor was there any one, except his colleague, who wished a delay of action. He, more disordered in mind than in body, and reflecting on his wound, shuddered at the thoughts of fighting and of arms. But others ought not to sink into feebleness along with a sick man. For to what purpose was farther delay, or waste of time? What third consul or what other army was to be waited for? The Carthaginians were encamped in Italy, almost within sight of the city. Their designs did not aim at Sicily and Sardinia, which were taken from them, nor at the parts of Spain on this side of the Iberus, but at the expulsion of the Romans from the land of their fathers, from the soil in which they were born. What sighs would it draw from these,” said he, “who were accustomed to carry war to the very walls of Carthage, if they were to see us, their offspring, at the head of consular armies, skulking within our camp in the heart of Italy; and a Carthaginian possessed of the dominion over the whole extent of country between the Alps and the Apennine?” In this manner did he argue, sitting with his colleague, and also at the head quarters, as if he were haranguing an assembly. He was, besides, incited to expeditious measures by the approach of the time of the elections, for he feared lest the war should be protracted until the new consuls came into office; wishing, likewise, to secure the present opportunity, and while his colleague was indisposed, of engrossing to himself the whole of the glory. For these reasons, while Scipio remonstrated in vain, he issued orders to the soldiers to be ready for battle at a short warning. Hannibal, plainly perceiving what line of conduct would be more advantageous to the enemy, scarcely entertained any distant hope that the consuls would enter on any action without caution and foresight: but understanding, first from report, and afterwards from experience, that the temper of one of them was fiery and presumptuous, and supposing his presumption augmented by the success of the battle with the plundering party, he then made little doubt but that he should soon have an opportunity of coming to action — an occasion which he was earnestly solicitous to improve, while the troops of the enemy were raw, while the more able of their commanders was, by his wound, rendered incapable of exertion, and while the Gauls were disposed to act with vigour; for he well knew that these, whose number was very great, would follow him with the less zeal, in proportion as they were drawn away to a greater distance from home. Thus wishing for a speedy engagement, he intended, should any delay be given, to use every means to bring it about. The Gauls, whom he employed as spies, (because they were the better fitted for it, especially as men of that nation served in both camps,) brought intelligence that the Romans were prepared for battle; on which, the Carthaginian began to look about for a place where he might form an ambuscade.
LIV. In the middle, between the camps, ran a rivulet, whose banks were uncommonly steep; the adjacent ground was covered with such herbs as grow in marshes, with bushes and brambles, which usually overspread uncultivated ground. On examining the place himself, and finding it to be capable of concealing even horsemen, he said to Mago, his brother, “This is the spot which you must occupy. Choose out from the whole number of horse and foot a hundred men of each, and come with them to me at the first watch. It is now time to take refreshment.” Thus, the attending officers were dismissed. In some little time Mago came with his chosen band, and Hannibal said, “I see you are very able men; but that you may be strong, not only in spirit, but in number, let each of you choose nine like yourselves out of the troops and companies; Mago will shew you the place where you are to lie in wait. You will have to deal with an enemy who is blind with respect to these stratagems of war.” Having thus sent off this detachment of one thousand horse and one thousand foot under Mago, Hannibal ordered the Numidian cavalry to cross the river Trebia at the first light; to ride up to the enemy’s gates, and, discharging their weapons against their men on guard, to draw them out to battle, and then, as soon as the fight should be commenced, to retreat leisurely, and by that means draw them on to the other side of the river. These were his orders to the Numidians. To the other officers, both of cavalry and infantry, he gave directions to cause their men to take refreshment; and then, under arms, and with their horses accoutered, to wait the signal. On the alarm first given by the Numidians, Sempronius, eager for action, led out, first, all the cavalry, being full of confidence in that part of his force; then six thousand foot, and at last the whole body of infantry, to the ground previously fixed upon in the plan which he had adopted. It was then winter, and the weather snowy, in those places which lie between the Alps and the Apennine, and the cold was rendered exceedingly intense by the proximity of rivers and marshes. Besides this, both men and horses being drawn out in a hurry, without having first taken food, or used any precaution to guard against the intemperature of the air, were quite chilled, and as they approached the river, the more piercing were the blasts which assailed them. But having, in pursuit of the flying Numidians, entered the river, which by rain in the night was swelled so high as to reach their breasts, their bodies, on coming out, were all so perfectly benumbed, that they were scarcely capable of holding their arms, and, as the day advanced, they also grew faint through hunger.
LV. Meanwhile Hannibal’s soldiers had fires made before their tents; oil was distributed to every company to lubricate their joints, and they had at leisure refreshed themselves with food. As soon, therefore, as intelligence was brought, that the enemy had passed the river, they took arms with sprightly vigour both of mind and body, and thus advanced to battle. Hannibal placed in the van the Balearians and light-armed troops, amounting to about eight thousand; and, in a second line, his heavier-armed infantry, the main power and strength of his army. The flanks he covered with ten thousand cavalry, and dividing the elephants, placed half of them on the extremity of each wing. The consul seeing his cavalry, who pressed the pursuit with disorderly haste, taken at a disadvantage by the Numidians, suddenly turning upon them, recalled them by the signal for retreat, and posted them on the flanks of the foot. His army consisted of eighteen thousand Romans, twenty thousand of the allies and Latine confederates, beside the auxiliary troops of the Cenomanians, the only Gallic state that continued faithful to their cause. This was the force employed in that engagement. The battle was begun by the Balearians, who being too powerfully opposed by the legions, the light-armed troops were hastily drawn off to the wings; which circumstance proved the cause of the Roman cavalry being quickly overpowered: for being in number but four thousand, they had before been hardly able to maintain their ground against ten thousand; especially as they were fatigued, and the others mostly fresh; but now they were overwhelmed under a cloud as it were of javelins thrown by the Balearians. Besides this, the elephants advancing on the extremities of the wings, so terrified the horses, as to occasion a general rout. The fight between the infantry was maintained by an equality of spirit rather than of strength: for, with respect to the latter, the Carthaginians had brought theirs fresh into the battle, invigorated by food; the Romans, on the contrary, were enfeebled by fasting and fatigue, and their limbs stiffened and benumbed with cold. They would, notwithstanding, have maintained their ground by dint of courage, had the conflict rested solely between them and the infantry. But the Balearians, after the discomfiture of the cavalry, poured darts on their flanks, and the elephants had now made their way to the centre of the line of the infantry; while Mago, with his Numidians, as soon as the army had passed by their lurking place without observing them, started up at once, and caused dreadful confusion and terror in the rear.
LVI. Encompassed by so many perils, the line, notwithstanding, stood for a long time unbroken, even (which was most surprising to all) by the attack of the elephants. The light infantry, stationed for that purpose, plying these briskly with iron javelins, made them turn back; and then, following them behind, darted their weapons into them, under the tails, in which part, the skin being softest, it is easy to wound them. When they were by these means put into disorder, and ready to vent their fury on their own party, Hannibal ordered them to be driven away from the centre towards the extremity of the left wing, against the auxiliary Gauls. These they instantly put to open flight, which spread new terror among the Romans. They were now obliged to fight in the form of a circle; when about ten thousand of them, having no other means of escape, forced their way, with great slaughter, through the centre of the African line, which was composed of the Gallic auxiliaries; and, as they could neither return to their camp, from which they were shut out by the river, nor, by reason of the heavy rain, discover in what part they could assist their friends, they proceeded straight to Placentia. After this, several similar irruptions were made from all quarters, and those who pushed towards the river were either drowned in the eddies, or, hesitating to enter the water, were cut off. Some, who, in their flight, dispersed themselves over the country, falling in with the tracks of the body of troops which had retreated, followed them to Placentia; others, from their fears of the enemy, assumed boldness to attempt the stream, and, accomplishing their passage, arrived at the camp. The rain, mixed with snow, and the intolerable severity of the cold, destroyed great numbers of men and horses, and almost all the elephants. The Carthaginians continued the pursuit no farther than the river Trebia, and returned to their camp so benumbed with the cold, as to be scarcely capable of feeling joy for the victory; insomuch that though, during the following night, the guard of the Roman camp, and a great part at least of their soldiers, passed the Trebia on rafts, the Carthaginians either perceived nothing of the matter through the noise made by the rain, or being, by weariness and wounds, disabled to move, pretended that they did not perceive it; and the enemy lying quiet, the consul Scipio led the troops in silence to Placentia, and thence across the Po to Cremona, lest the two armies, wintering in one colony, should be too great a burthen.
LVII. The news of this disaster caused such consternation in Rome, that people supposed the enemy would come directly to attack the city; and they could see no hope nor aid to enable them to repel an assault from the walls and gates. One consul had been defeated at the Ticinus, the other recalled from Sicily; and now that both the consuls, and two consular armies, had been defeated, what other commanders, what other legions were there whom they could call to their support? While they were possessed by such desponding fears, the consul Sempronius arrived; for though the enemy’s cavalry were scattered over the whole face of the country in search of plunder, yet he had passed through the midst of them with the utmost hazard, and with a greater degree of boldness than of prudence, or of hope, either of escaping notice, or of being able to make resistance in case he were discovered. After holding the election of consuls, the only business which rendered his presence particularly necessary at the time, he returned to his winter-quarters. The consuls elected were Cneius Servilius and Caius Flaminius. Even in their winter-quarters the Romans were not allowed to rest, the Numidian cavalry spreading themselves round on every side; the Celtiberians and Lusitanians doing the same, where the ground was too difficult for the horse; so that no provisions of any kind could be brought in, except what were conveyed on the Po in ships. There was, near Placentia, a magazine fortified with strong works, and supplied with a numerous garrison. In hopes of gaining possession of this strong hold, Hannibal marched at the head of his cavalry and light infantry; and judging that the success of the enterprize would depend, principally, on the design being kept secret, made the attack by night; but he did not escape the vigilance of the guards, as a shout was instantly raised so loud that it was heard even at Placentia. In consequence of this, the consul came to the spot before day with his cavalry, having ordered the legions to follow in order of battle.* Meanwhile, the action began between the cavalry, in which Hannibal, being wounded, and retiring from the fight, his men became dispirited; and the defence of the fortress was effectually maintained. After this, taking but a few days to rest, and scarcely allowing time for his wound to be thoroughly healed, he set out to lay siege to Victumviæ. This had been fortified by the Romans for a magazine, in the time of the Gallic war. Afterward, numbers of people, from all the neighbouring states, fixing their residence round it, made it a populous place, and at this juncture, fear of the enemy’s depredations had driven into it the greater part of the country people. The multitude, thus composed, being excited to a warmth of courage by the report of the gallant defence made by the garrison near Placentia, snatched up arms, and marched out to meet Hannibal. The parties engaged on the road, in the order of march rather than of battle, and as there was, on one side, nothing more than a disorderly crowd, on the other a leader confident of his soldiers, and a soldiery confident of their leader, a number, not less than thirty-five thousand, was routed by a small party. Next day they capitulated, and received a garrison within their walls. They were then ordered to deliver up their arms, with which they had no sooner complied, than a signal was suddenly given to the conquerors to sack the city, as if taken by storm. Nor have writers, in cases of the like nature, mentioned any one calamity which was not suffered on this occasion: every outrage, which lust, cruelty, and inhuman insolence could dictate, being practised on those wretched people. Such were Hannibal’s enterprizes during the winter.
LVIII. After this he gave rest to his troops, but not for any great length of time, only while the cold was intolerable. Upon the first, and even uncertain appearances of spring, he left his winter-quarters, and marched towards Etruria, determined, either by force or persuasion, to prevail on that nation to join him, as he had already managed the Gauls and Ligurians. As he was attempting to cross the Apennine, he was encountered by a storm so furious, that its effects almost equalled in severity the disasters of the Alps. The rain, which was attended with a high wind, being driven directly into the men’s faces, they at first halted, because they must either have cast away their arms, or, if they persisted to struggle forward, would be whirled round by the hurricane, and thrown on the ground. Afterwards, scarcely able to respire, they turned their backs to the wind, and for awhile sat down. But now, the whole atmosphere resounded with loud thunder, and lightnings flashed between the tremendous peals, by which all were stunned, and reduced, by terror, nearly to a state of insensibility. At length the violence of the rain abating, and the fury of the wind increasing, the more necessary it was judged to pitch their camp on the very spot, where they had been surprised by the tempest. But this was, in a manner, beginning their toils anew. For neither could they well spread their canvass, nor fix the poles; and such tents as they did get raised, they could not keep standing, the wind tearing and sweeping off every thing in its way. And soon after, the water, being raised aloft by the force of the wind, and congealed by the cold which prevailed above the summits of the mountains, came down in such a torrent of snowy hail, that the men, giving over all their endeavours, threw themselves flat on their faces, buried under, rather than protected by, their coverings. This was followed by cold so intense, that when they wished to rise from among the wretched crowd of prostrated men and cattle, they were for a long time unable to effect it, their sinews being so stiffly frozen that they were scarcely able to bend their joints. In some time, when, after many efforts, they at length regained the power of motion, and recovered some degree of spirits, and when fires began to be kindled in a few places, every one who was unable to assist himself had recourse to the aid of others. Two days they remained in that spot, as if pent up by an enemy. Great numbers of men and cattle perished, and likewise seven of the elephants, which had survived the battle at the Trebia.
LIX. Descending therefore from the Apennine, he directed his route back towards Placentia; and, having marched ten miles, pitched his camp. Next day he led out against the enemy twelve thousand foot, and five thousand horse. Nor did the consul Sempronius (for he had by this time returned from Rome) decline a battle; and, during that day, the armies lay encamped within three miles of each other. On the following, they fought with the greatest bravery, and with variable success. At the first onset, the superiority was so great on the side of the Romans, that they not only had the better in the fight, but drove the enemy from their ground, pursued them to their camp, and presently attacked the camp itself. Hannibal, after posting a few to defend the rampart and gates, collected the rest in close order, in the middle of the camp, ordering them to watch attentively the signal for sallying forth. It was now near the ninth hour of the day, when the Roman, having fatigued his troops without effect, and seeing no prospect of success, gave the signal for retreat. As soon as Hannibal perceived that they slackened their efforts, and were retiring from the camp, he instantly sent out his cavalry against them, on the right and left; and he himself, at the head of the main body of infantry, rushed out in the middle. Seldom has there been a fight more desperate, and never, perhaps, one more remarkable for the loss on both sides than this would have been, had the day-light allowed it to continue; but night put a stop to the battle, while its fury was at the highest. The numbers slain, therefore, were not great, in proportion to the violence of the conflict; and as both parties had met nearly equal success, so they separated with equal loss. On neither side fell more than six hundred foot, and half that number of horse. But the loss of the Romans was more considerable in regard of the quality, than of the number of their slain; for among the killed were several of equestrain rank, five military tribunes, and three præfects of the allies. Immediately after this battle, Hannibal removed into Liguria; Sempronius, to Luca. On Hannibal’s arrival among the Ligurians, that people, in order to convince him of their sincerity in the treaty of peace and alliance which they had concluded, delivered into his hands two Roman quæstors, Caius Fulvius and Lucius Lucretius, with two military tribunes, and five persons of equestrian rank, mostly the sons of senators, all of whom they had seized in a treacherous manner.
LX. While these transactions passed in Italy, Cneius Cornelius Scipio, who was sent with the fleet and army into Spain, after his departure from the mouth of the Rhone, sailing round the Pyrenean mountains, put into Emporiæ, where he disembarked his army; and beginning with the Lacetans, partly by renewing old treaties, partly by forming new ones, he brought under the dominion of the Romans the whole coast, as far as the river Iberus. The reputation of clemency, which he acquired by these means, had the most powerful effect, not only on the maritime states, but on the more barbarous nations in the interior and mountainous parts; insomuch that, besides agreeing to terms of peace, they concluded also an alliance with him, and several strong cohorts of auxiliaries were raised among them. The country on this side the Iberus was the province of Hanno, whom Hannibal had left behind for the defence of that tract. Seeing, therefore, a necessity, before the whole country should join the enemy, of exerting himself to obviate that evil, he encamped his forces within sight of them, and offered them battle; this offer the Roman did not hesitate to accept; for, knowing that he must fight Hanno and Hasdrubal, he was better pleased to engage each of them separately, than to have to deal with both together. Nor was the dispute very strongly contested. Six thousand of the enemy were slain, and two thousand taken, besides the guard of the camp, for that also was stormed, and the general himself, and many principal officers, made prisoners. The town of Scissis too, which stood not far from the camp, fell into the hands of the conquerors. The spoil of this town consisted of articles of trifling value; the furniture was mean, suiting barbarians, and the slaves of little price. But the camp amply enriched the soldiers with the effects, not only of the army just now conquerors, but likewise with those of the army serving under Hannibal, who, to avoid being encumbered on their march with heavy baggage, had left almost all their valuable substance on that side of the Pyrenees.
LXI. Hasdrubal, before any certain account of this disaster reached him, had crossed the Iberus with eight thousand foot and one thousand horse, intending to meet the Romans at their first arrival; as soon as he was informed of the ruin of affairs at Scissis, and the loss of the camp, he turned his route towards the sea. Not far from Tarraco, meeting the soldiers belonging to the fleet, and the mariners scattered and straggling through the country, among whom success, as is usual, had begotten negligence, he detached his cavalry in several parties against them, and with great slaughter and greater affright drove them to their ships. But not daring to continue longer in that quarter, lest he might be surprised by Scipio, he withdrew to the other side of the Iberus. On the other hand, Scipio, on hearing of this new enemy, hastened to the spot with all expedition, and, after punishing a few of the commanders of ships, and leaving a small garrison at Tarraco, returned with the fleet to Emporiæ. Scarcely had he departed, when Hasdrubal arrived, and having prevailed on the state of the Ilergetans, which had given hostages to Scipio to change sides, he, with the young men of that state, ravaged the lands of those who adhered with fidelity to their alliance with the Romans. Afterwards, on finding that Scipio was roused thereby from his winter-quarters, he again entirely evacuated the country on this side of the Iberus. Scipio, leading his army to take vengeance on the Ilergetans, thus abandoned by the author of their revolt, and driving them all into Athanagia, invested the city, which was the capital of the state. In the space of a few days he reduced them to entire submission and obedience, compelled them to give a greater number of hostages than before, and also to pay a sum of money as a fine. From thence he proceeded against the Ausetanians near the Iberus, who had likewise joined in a league with the Carthaginians. After he had invested their city, the Lacetans attempted by night to bring succour to their neighbours; but he surprised them by an ambuscade, when they were close to the city and just about to enter; twelve thousand of them were slain, and the rest, mostly without their arms, dispersing up and down through the country, fled to their homes by different ways. Neither would the besieged have been able to make a defence, but for the severity of the winter, which obstructed the operations of the besiegers. The siege lasted thirty days, during which the snow lay seldom less than four feet deep, and it had covered over the machines and engines of the Romans, in such a manner, as that of itself alone it proved a sufficient defence against the fires which were often thrown on them by the enemy. At last, Hamusitus their chieftain, having fled away to Hasdrubal, they capitulated on the terms of paying twenty talents of silver.* The army then returned into winter-quarters at Tarraco.
LXII. During this winter, at Rome, and in its vicinity, many prodigies either happened, or, as is not unusual when people’s minds have once taken a turn towards superstition, many were reported and credulously admitted. Among others, it was said, that an infant of a reputable family, and only six months old, had, in the herb-market, called out, “Io, Triumphe;” that, in the cattle-market, an ox had, of his own accord, mounted up to the third story of a house, whence, being affrighted by the noise and bustle of the inhabitants, he threw himself down; that a light had appeared in the sky in the form of ships; that the temple of Hope, in the herb-market, was struck by lightning; that, at Lanuvium, the spear of Juno had shaken of itself; and that a crow had flown into the temple of Juno and pitched on the very couch; that, in the district of Amiternum, in many places, apparitions of men in white garments had been seen at a distance, but had not come close to any body; that in Picenum, a shower of stones had fallen; at Cære, the divining tickets were diminished in size; in Gaul, a wolf snatched the sword of a soldier on guard out of the scabbard, and ran away with it. With respect to the other prodigies, the decemvirs were commanded to consult the books: but on account of the shower of stones in Picenum, the nine days’ festival was ordered to be celebrated, and the expiating of the rest, one after another, was almost the sole occupation of the state. In the first place was performed a purification of the city; victims, of the greater kinds, were offered to such gods as were pointed out by directions. An offering of forty pounds weight of gold was carried to the temple of Juno at Lanuvium, and the matrons dedicated a brazen statue to Juno on the Aventine. A Lectisternium was ordered at Cære, where the divining tickets were diminished; also a supplication to Fortune at Algidum. At Rome, likewise, a Lectisternium was ordered in honour of the goddess Youth, and a supplication to be performed, by individuals, at the temple of Hercules, and then, by the whole body of the people, at all the several shrines. To Genius five of the greater victims were offered; and the prætor Caius Atilius Serranus was ordered to vow certain performances, in case the commonwealth should continue for ten years in its present state. These expiations and vows being performed, in conformity to the directions of the Sibylline books, people’s minds were, in a good measure, relieved from the burthen of religious apprehensions.
LXIII. Flaminius, one of the consuls elect, to whom had fallen by lot the legions which wintered at Placentia, sent an edict and letter to the consul, desiring that those troops should be ready in camp at Ariminum on the ides of March. His design was to enter on the office of consul in his province: for he remembered his old disputes with the patricians, the contests in which he had engaged with them when tribune of the commons, and afterwards, when consul, first about the consulship, his election to which they wanted to annul, and then about a triumph. He was besides hated by the patricians on account of a new law, prejudicial to the senators, introduced by Caius Claudius a plebeian tribune, to which Caius Flaminius alone, of all the patricians, had given his support — that no senator, or son of a senator, should be owner of a ship fit for sea-voyages, which contained more than three hundred amphoras* . This size was thought sufficient for conveying the produce of their farms, and every kind of traffic was deemed unbecoming a senator. This business had been contested with the utmost degree of heat, and had procured to Flaminius, the advocate for the law, great hatred among the nobility, but as great popularity among the commons, and, in consequence of this, a second consulship. For these reasons, suspecting that they would, by falsifying the auspices, by the delay of celebrating the Latine festival, and other impediments to which a consul was liable, detain him in the city, he pretended a journey, and, while yet in a private capacity, went secretly into the province. This step, when it became known, added fresh resentment to the animosity which, before this, possessed the breasts of the senators; they exclaimed, that “Caius Flaminius now waged war, not only with the senate, but with the immortal gods. That formerly having been made consul under propitious auspices, though gods and men united in recalling him when ready to give battle, he had refused obedience; and now, conscious of having treated them with disrespect, had fled to avoid the Capitol, and the customary offering of vows; unwilling, on the day of his entering into office, to approach the temple of Jupiter supremely good and great; to see and consult the senate, to whom he knew that he was odious; and that he was the only person by whom they were hated; that he had failed to proclaim the Latine festival, and to perform on the Alban mount the customary sacrifices to Jupiter Latiaris; to go up to the Capitol, under the direction of auspices, in order to offer vows, and thence to proceed to his province in the habit of a commander, and attended by lictors. Instead of which, he had gone off, without badges of authority, without lictors, like a soldier’s servant, privately and by stealth: just as if he were quitting his country to go into exile; supposing, no doubt, that he might assume his office in a manner more suitable to the dignity of supreme magistrate at Ariminum, than at Rome, and put on the consular robe in a public inn better than in his own dwelling.” They resolved, unanimously, that he should be recalled; that his return should be insisted upon; and that he should be compelled to perform, in person, all duties both to gods and men, before he went to his province. On this embassy (for it was resolved that ambassadors should be sent) went Quintus Terentius and Marcus Antistius, whose arguments had no more weight with him than had the letter sent to him by the senate in his former consulate. In a few days after, he entered on his office, and as he was offering a sacrifice on the occasion, a calf, after receiving a stroke, made its escape out of the hands of those who officiated at the sacrifice, and sprinkled many of the by-standers with its blood. The confusion and disorder was great, but still greater among those at a distance, who knew not the cause of the disturbance. This was generally interpreted as an omen of dreadful import. Then, after receiving two legions from Sempronius, the consul of the former year, and two from the prætor, Caius Atilius began his march towards Etruria, through the passes of the Apennines.
* The ballista was an engine for throwing large stones; catapulta, a smaller one for throwing the falarica, and other large kinds of javelins, the scorpio was a still smaller one, for throwing darts of lesser size.
* The beginning of November.
* 11s. 7d.
* 25l. 16s. 8d.
* Socii navales. These words sometimes, as here, mean merely the mariners, such as the rowers, and others whose business it is to navigate the ship: at other times, they mean the soldiers, who served regularly on board the fleet, as those corps who, with us, are distinguished by the name of ‘ Marines.’
* Agmen quadratum, signifies not a regular line of battle, but the troops marching in the same order in which they were formed in the field of battle, the Velites in front, and then the Hastati, Principes, and Triarii, in their order.
* About ten tons.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:10