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The History Of Rome, Book III by Theodor Mommsen

Part 3 out of 11

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is less obvious; for that neither the maritime supremacy of the Romans
nor their league with Massilia could have prevented a landing at
Genoa, is evident, and was shown by the sequel. Our authorities fail
to furnish us with several of the elements, on which a satisfactory
answer to this question would depend, and which cannot be supplied by
conjecture. Hannibal had to choose between two evils. Instead of
exposing himself to the unknown and less calculable contingencies of
a sea voyage and of naval war, it must have seemed to him the better
course to accept the assurances, which beyond doubt were seriously
meant, of the Boii and Insubres, and the more so that, even if the
army should land at Genoa, it would still have mountains to cross;
he could hardly know exactly, how much smaller are the difficulties
presented by the Apennines at Genoa than by the main chain of the
Alps. At any rate the route which he took was the primitive Celtic
route, by which many much larger hordes had crossed the Alps: the
ally and deliverer of the Celtic nation might without temerity
venture to traverse it.

Departure Of Hannibal

So Hannibal collected the troops, destined for the grand army, in
Cartagena at the beginning of the favourable season; there were 90,000
infantry and 12,000 cavalry, of whom about two-thirds were Africans
and a third Spaniards. The 37 elephants which they took with them
were probably destined rather to make an impression on the Gauls than
for serious warfare. Hannibal's infantry no longer needed, like that
led by Xanthippus, to shelter itself behind a screen of elephants, and
the general had too much sagacity to employ otherwise than sparingly
and with caution that two-edged weapon, which had as often occasioned
the defeat of its own as of the enemy's army. With this force the
general set out in the spring of 536 from Cartagena towards the Ebro.
He so far informed his soldiers as to the measures which he had taken,
particularly as to the connections he had entered into with the Celts
and the resources and object of the expedition, that even the common
soldier, whose military instincts lengthened war had developed, felt
the clear perception and the steady hand of his leader, and followed
him with implicit confidence to the unknown and distant land; and the
fervid address, in which he laid before them the position of their
country and the demands of the Romans, the slavery certainly reserved
for their dear native land, and the disgrace of the imputation that
they could surrender their beloved general and his staff, kindled a
soldierly and patriotic ardour in the hearts of all.

Position Of Rome
Their Uncertain Plans For War

The Roman state was in a plight, such as may occur even in firmly-
established and sagacious aristocracies. The Romans knew doubtless
what they wished to accomplish, and they took various steps; but
nothing was done rightly or at the right time. They might long ago
have been masters of the gates of the Alps and have settled matters
with the Celts; the latter were still formidable, and the former were
open. They might either have had friendship, with Carthage, had they
honourably kept the peace of 513, or, had they not been disposed for
peace, they might long ago have conquered Cartilage: the peace was
practically broken by the seizure of Sardinia, and they allowed the
power of Carthage to recover itself undisturbed for twenty years.
There was no great difficulty in maintaining peace with Macedonia; but
they had forfeited her friendship for a trifling gain. There must
have been a lack of some leading statesman to take a connected and
commanding view of the position of affairs; on all hands either too
little was done, or too much. Now the war began at a time and at a
place which they had allowed the enemy to determine; and, with all
their well-founded conviction of military superiority, they were
perplexed as to the object to be aimed at and the course to be
followed in their first operations. They had at their disposal more
than half a million of serviceable soldiers; the Roman cavalry alone
was less good, and relatively less numerous, than the Carthaginian,
the former constituting about a tenth, the latter an eighth, of the
whole number of troops taking the field. None of the states affected
by the war had any fleet corresponding to the Roman fleet of 220
quinqueremes, which had just returned from the Adriatic to the western
sea. The natural and proper application of this crushing superiority
of force was self-evident. It had been long settled that the war
ought to be opened with a landing in Africa. The subsequent turn
taken by events had compelled the Romans to embrace in their scheme
of the war a simultaneous landing in Spain, chiefly to prevent the
Spanish army from appearing before the walls of Carthage. In
accordance with this plan they ought above all, when the war had been
practically opened by Hannibal's attack on Saguntum in the beginning
of 535, to have thrown a Roman army into Spain before the town fell;
but they neglected the dictates of interest no less than of honour.
For eight months Saguntum held out in vain: when the town passed into
other hands, Rome had not even equipped her armament for landing in
Spain. The country, however, between the Ebro and the Pyrenees was
still free, and its tribes were not only the natural allies of the
Romans, but had also, like the Saguntines, received from Roman
emissaries promises of speedy assistance. Catalonia may be reached by
sea from Italy in not much longer time than from Cartagena by and: had
the Romans started, like the Phoenicians, in April, after the formal
declaration of war that had taken place in the interval, Hannibal
might have encountered the Roman legions on the line of the Ebro.

Hannibal On The Ebro

At length, certainly, the greater part of the army and of the fleet
was got ready for the expedition to Africa, and the second consul
Publius Cornelius Scipio was ordered to the Ebro; but he took time,
and when an insurrection broke out on the Po, he allowed the army that
was ready for embarkation to be employed there, and formed new legions
for the Spanish expedition. So although Hannibal encountered on the
Ebro very vehement resistance, it proceeded only from the natives;
and, as under existing circumstances time was still more precious to
him than the blood of his men, he surmounted the opposition after some
months with the loss of a fourth part of his army, and reached the
line of the Pyrenees. That the Spanish allies of Rome would be
sacrificed a second time by that delay might have been as certainly
foreseen, as the delay itself might have been easily avoided; but
probably even the expedition to Italy itself, which in the spring of
536 must not have been anticipated in Rome, would have been averted
by the timely appearance of the Romans in Spain. Hannibal had by no
means the intention of sacrificing his Spanish "kingdom," and throwing
himself like a desperado on Italy. The time which he had spent in
the siege of Saguntum and in the reduction of Catalonia, and the
considerable corps which he left behind for the occupation of the
newly-won territory between the Ebro and the Pyrenees, sufficiently
show that, had a Roman army disputed the possession of Spain with him,
he would not have been content to withdraw from it; and--which was the
main point--had the Romans been able to delay his departure from Spain
for but a few weeks, winter would have closed the passes of the Alps
before Hannibal reached them, and the African expedition would have
departed without hindrance for its destination.

Hannibal In Gaul
Scipio At Massilia
Passage Of The Rhone

Arrived at the Pyrenees, Hannibal sent home a portion of his troops;
a measure which he had resolved on from the first with the view of
showing to the soldiers how confident their general was of success,
and of checking the feeling that his enterprise was one of those from
which there is no return home. With an army of 50,000 infantry and
9000 cavalry, entirely veteran soldiers, he crossed the Pyrenees
without difficulty, and then took the coast route by Narbonne and
Nimes through the Celtic territory, which was opened to the army
partly by the connections previously formed, partly by Carthaginian
gold, partly by arms. It was not till it arrived in the end of July
at the Rhone opposite Avignon, that a serious resistance appeared to
await it. The consul Scipio, who on his voyage to Spain had landed at
Massilia (about the end of June), had there been informed that he had
come too late and that Hannibal had crossed not only the Ebro but the
Pyrenees. On receiving these accounts, which appear to have first
opened the eyes of the Romans to the course and the object of
Hannibal, the consul had temporarily given up his expedition to Spain,
and had resolved in connection with the Celtic tribes of that region,
who were under the influence of the Massiliots and thereby under that
of Rome, to receive the Phoenicians on the Rhone, and to obstruct
their passage of the river and their march into Italy. Fortunately
for Hannibal, opposite to the point at which he meant to cross, there
lay at the moment only the general levy of the Celts, while the consul
himself with his army of 22,000 infantry and 2000 horse was still in
Massilia, four days' march farther down the stream. The messengers of
the Gallic levy hastened to inform him. It was the object of Hannibal
to convey his army with its numerous cavalry and elephants across the
rapid stream under the eyes of the enemy, and before the arrival of
Scipio; and he possessed not a single boat. Immediately by his
directions all the boats belonging to the numerous navigators of
the Rhone in the neighbourhood were bought up at any price, and the
deficiency of boats was supplied by rafts made from felled trees;
and in fact the whole numerous army could be conveyed over in one day.
While this was being done, a strong division under Hanno, son of
Bomilcar, proceeded by forced marches up the stream till they reached
a suitable point for crossing, which they found undefended, situated
two short days' march above Avignon. Here they crossed the river on
hastily constructed rafts, with the view of then moving down on the
left bank and taking the Gauls, who were barring the passage of the
main army, in the rear. On the morning of the fifth day after they
had reached the Rhone, and of the third after Hanno's departure, the
smoke-signals of the division that had been detached rose up on the
opposite bank and gave to Hannibal the anxiously awaited summons for
the crossing. Just as the Gauls, seeing that the enemy's fleet of
boats began to move, were hastening to occupy the bank, their camp
behind them suddenly burst into flames. Surprised and divided, they
were unable either to withstand the attack or to resist the passage,
and they dispersed in hasty flight.

Scipio meanwhile held councils of war in Massilia as to the proper
mode of occupying the ferries of the Rhone, and was not induced to
move even by the urgent messages that came from the leaders of the
Celts. He distrusted their accounts, and he contented himself with
detaching a weak Roman cavalry division to reconnoitre on the left
bank of the Rhone. This detachment found the whole enemy's army
already transported to that bank, and occupied in bringing over the
elephants which alone remained on the right bank of the stream; and,
after it had warmly engaged some Carthaginian squadrons in the
district of Avignon, merely for the purpose of enabling it to complete
its reconnaissance--the first encounter of the Romans and Phoenicians
in this war--it hastily returned to report at head-quarters. Scipio
now started in the utmost haste with all his troops for Avignon; but,
when he arrived there, even the Carthaginian cavalry that had been
left behind to cover the passage of the elephants had already taken
its departure three days ago, and nothing remained for the consul but
to return with weary troops and little credit to Massilia, and to
revile the "cowardly flight" of the Punic leader. Thus the Romans had
for the third time through pure negligence abandoned their allies and
an important line of defence; and not only so, but by passing after
this first blunder from mistaken slackness to mistaken haste, and by
still attempting without any prospect of success to do what might have
been done with so much certainty a few days before, they let the real
means of repairing their error pass out of their hands. When once
Hannibal was in the Celtic territory on the Roman side of the Rhone,
he could no longer be prevented from reaching the Alps; but if Scipio
had at the first accounts proceeded with his whole army to Italy--the
Po might have been reached by way of Genoa in seven days--and had
united with his corps the weak divisions in the valley of the Po,
he might have at least prepared a formidable reception for the enemy.
But not only did he lose precious time in the march to Avignon, but,
capable as otherwise he was, he wanted either the political courage
or the military sagacity to change the destination of his corps as the
change of circumstances required. He sent the main body under his
brother Gnaeus to Spain, and returned himself with a few men to Pisae.

Hannibal's Passage Of The Alps

Hannibal, who after the passage of the Rhone had in a great assembly
of the army explained to his troops the object of his expedition, and
had brought forward the Celtic chief Magilus himself, who had arrived
from the valley of the Po, to address the army through an interpreter,
meanwhile continued his march to the passes of the Alps without
obstruction. Which of these passes he should choose, could not be
at once determined either by the shortness of the route or by the
disposition of the inhabitants, although he had no time to lose
either in circuitous routes or in combat. He had necessarily to
select a route which should be practicable for his baggage, his
numerous cavalry, and his elephants, and in which an army could
procure sufficient means of subsistence either by friendship or by
force; for, although Hannibal had made preparations to convey
provisions after him on beasts of burden, these could only meet for
a few days the wants of an army which still, notwithstanding its great
losses, amounted to nearly 50,000 men. Leaving out of view the coast
route, which Hannibal abstained from taking not because the Romans
barred it, but because it would have led him away from his
destination, there were only two routes of note leading across the
Alps from Gaul to Italy in ancient times:(3) the pass of the Cottian
Alps (Mont Genevre) leading into the territory of the Taurini (by Susa
or Fenestrelles to Turin), and that of the Graian Alps (the Little St.
Bernard) leading into the territory of the Salassi (to Aosta and
Ivrea). The former route is the shorter; but, after leaving the
valley of the Rhone, it passes by the impracticable and unfruitful
river-valleys of the Drac, the Romanche, and the upper Durance,
through a difficult and poor mountain country, and requires at least
a seven or eight days' mountain march. A military road was first
constructed there by Pompeius, to furnish a shorter communication
between the provinces of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.

The route by the Little St. Bernard is somewhat longer; but after
crossing the first Alpine wall that forms the eastern boundary of
the Rhone valley, it keeps by the valley of the upper Isere, which
stretches from Grenoble by way of Chambery up to the very foot of the
Little St. Bernard or, in other words, of the chain of the higher
Alps, and is the broadest, most fertile and most populous of all the
Alpine valleys. Moreover, the pass of the Little St. Bernard, while
not the lowest of all the natural passes of the Alps, is by far the
easiest; although no artificial road was constructed there, an
Austrian corps with artillery crossed the Alps by that route in 1815.
And lastly this route, which only leads over two mountain ridges, has
been from the earliest times the great military route from the Celtic
to the Italian territory. The Carthaginian army had thus in fact no
choice. It was a fortunate coincidence, but not a motive influencing
the decision of Hannibal, that the Celtic tribes allied with him in
Italy inhabited the country up to the Little St. Bernard, while
the route by Mont Genevre would have brought him at first into the
territory of the Taurini, who were from ancient times at feud with
the Insubres.

So the Carthaginian army marched in the first instance up the Rhone
towards the valley of the upper Isere, not, as might be presumed, by
the nearest route up the left bank of the lower Isere from Valence to
Grenoble, but through the "island" of the Allobroges, the rich, and
even then thickly peopled, low ground, which is enclosed on the north
and west by the Rhone, on the south by the Isere, and on the east
by the Alps. The reason of this movement was, that the nearest route
would have led them through an impracticable and poor mountain-
country, while the "island" was level and extremely fertile, and was
separated by but a single mountain-wall from the valley of the upper
Isere. The march along the Rhone into, and across, the "island"
to the foot of the Alpine wall was accomplished in sixteen days: it
presented little difficulty, and in the "island" itself Hannibal
dexterously availed himself of a feud that had broken out between two
chieftains of the Allobroges to attach to his interests one of the
most important of the chiefs, who not only escorted the Carthaginians
through the whole plain, but also supplied them with provisions, and
furnished the soldiers with arms, clothing, and shoes. But the
expedition narrowly escaped destruction at the crossing of the first
Alpine chain, which rises precipitously like a wall, and over which
only a single available path leads (over the Mont du Chat, near the
hamlet Chevelu). The population of the Allobroges had strongly
occupied the pass. Hannibal learned the state of matters early enough
to avoid a surprise, and encamped at the foot, until after sunset the
Celts dispersed to the houses of the nearest town; he then seized the
pass in the night Thus the summit was gained; but on the extremely
steep path, which leads down from the summit to the lake of Bourget,
the mules and horses slipped and fell. The assaults, which at
suitable points were made by the Celts upon the army in march, were
very annoying, not so much of themselves as by reason of the turmoil
which they occasioned; and when Hannibal with his light troops threw
himself from above on the Allobroges, these were chased doubtless
without difficulty and with heavy loss down the mountain, but the
confusion, in the train especially, was further increased by the noise
of the combat. So, when after much loss he arrived in the plain,
Hannibal immediately attacked the nearest town, to chastise and
terrify the barbarians, and at the same time to repair as far as
possible his loss in sumpter animals and horses. After a day's repose
in the pleasant valley of Chambery the army continued its march up the
Isere, without being detained either by want of supplies or by attacks
so long as the valley continued broad and fertile. It was only when
on the fourth day they entered the territory of the Ceutrones (the
modern Tarantaise) where the valley gradually contracts, that they had
again greater occasion to be on their guard. The Ceutrones received
the army at the boundary of their country (somewhere about Conflans)
with branches and garlands, furnished cattle for slaughter, guides,
and hostages; and the Carthaginians marched through their territory
as through a friendly land. When, however, the troops had reached the
very foot of the Alps, at the point where the path leaves the Isere,
and winds by a narrow and difficult defile along the brook Reclus
up to the summit of the St. Bernard, all at once the militia of the
Ceutrones appeared partly in the rear of the army, partly on the
crests of the rocks enclosing the pass on the right and left, in
the hope of cutting off the train and baggage. But Hannibal, whose
unerring tact had seen in all those advances made by the Ceutrones
nothing but the design of procuring at once immunity for their
territory and a rich spoil, had in expectation of such an attack
sent forward the baggage and cavalry, and covered the march with all
his infantry. By this means he frustrated the design of the enemy,
although he could not prevent them from moving along the mountain
slopes parallel to the march of the infantry, and inflicting very
considerable loss by hurling or rolling down stones. At the "white
stone" (still called -la roche blanche-), a high isolated chalk cliff
standing at the foot of the St. Bernard and commanding the ascent to
it, Hannibal encamped with his infantry, to cover the march of the
horses and sumpter animals laboriously climbing upward throughout
the whole night; and amidst continual and very bloody conflicts he at
length on the following day reached the summit of the pass. There,
on the sheltered table-land which spreads to the extent of two and a
half miles round a little lake, the source of the Doria, he allowed
the army to rest. Despondency had begun to seize the minds of the
soldiers. The paths that were becoming ever more difficult, the
provisions failing, the marching through defiles exposed to the
constant attacks of foes whom they could not reach, the sorely thinned
ranks, the hopeless situation of the stragglers and the wounded, the
object which appeared chimerical to all save the enthusiastic leader
and his immediate staff--all these things began to tell even on the
African and Spanish veterans. But the confidence of the general
remained ever the same; numerous stragglers rejoined the ranks; the
friendly Gauls were near; the watershed was reached, and the view of
the descending path, so gladdening to the mountain-pilgrim, opened up:
after a brief repose they prepared with renewed courage for the last
and most difficult undertaking, --the downward march. In it the army
was not materially annoyed by the enemy; but the advanced season--it
was already the beginning of September--occasioned troubles in the
descent, equal to those which had been occasioned in the ascent by the
attacks of the adjoining tribes. On the steep and slippery mountain-
slope along the Doria, where the recently-fallen snow had concealed
and obliterated the paths, men and animals went astray and slipped,
and were precipitated into the chasms. In fact, towards the end of
the first day's march they reached a portion of the path about 200
paces in length, on which avalanches are constantly descending from
the precipices of the Cramont that overhang it, and where in cold
summers snow lies throughout the year. The infantry passed over;
but the horses and elephants were unable to cross the smooth masses
of ice, on which there lay but a thin covering of freshly-fallen snow,
and the general encamped above the difficult spot with the baggage,
the cavalry, and the elephants. On the following day the horsemen,
by zealous exertion in entrenching, prepared a path for horses and
beasts of burden; but it was not until after a further labour of three
days with constant reliefs, that the half-famished elephants could at
length be conducted over. In this way the whole army was after a
delay of four days once more united; and after a further three days'
march through the valley of the Doria, which was ever widening and
displaying greater fertility, and whose inhabitants the Salassi,
clients of the Insubres, hailed in the Carthaginians their allies
and deliverers, the army arrived about the middle of September in the
plain of Ivrea, where the exhausted troops were quartered in the
villages, that by good nourishment and a fortnight's repose they might
recruit from their unparalleled hardships. Had the Romans placed a
corps, as they might have done, of 30,000 men thoroughly fresh and
ready for action somewhere near Turin, and immediately forced on a
battle, the prospects of Hannibal's great plan would have been very
dubious; fortunately for him, once more, they were not where they
should have been, and they did not disturb the troops of the enemy
in the repose which was so greatly needed.(4)


The object was attained, but at a heavy cost. Of the 50,000
veteran infantry and the 9000 cavalry, which the army had numbered
at the crossing of the Pyrenees, more than half had been sacrificed
in the conflicts, the marches, and the passages of the rivers.
Hannibal now, according to his own statement, numbered not more
than 20,000 infantry--of whom three-fifths were Libyans and two-fifths
Spaniards--and 6000 cavalry, part of them doubtless dismounted: the
comparatively small loss of the latter proclaimed the excellence of
the Numidian cavalry no less than the consideration of the general
in making a sparing use of troops so select. A march of 526 miles or
about 33 moderate days' marching--the continuance and termination of
which were disturbed by no special misfortunes on a great scale that
could not be anticipated, but were, on the other hand, rendered
possible only by incalculable pieces of good fortune and still more
incalculable blunders of the enemy, and which yet not only cost such
sacrifices, but so fatigued and demoralized the army, that it needed
a prolonged rest in order to be again ready for action--is a military
operation of doubtful value, and it may be questioned whether Hannibal
himself regarded it as successful. Only in so speaking we may not
pronounce an absolute censure on the general: we see well the defects
of the plan of operations pursued by him, but we cannot determine
whether he was in a position to foresee them--his route lay through
an unknown land of barbarians--or whether any other plan, such as that
of taking the coast road or of embarking at Cartagena or at Carthage,
would have exposed him to fewer dangers. The cautious and masterly
execution of the plan in its details at any rate deserves our
admiration, and to whatever causes the result may have been due
--whether it was due mainly to the favour of fortune, or mainly to
the skill of the general--the grand idea of Hamilcar, that of taking
up the conflict with Rome in Italy, was now realized. It was his
genius that projected this expedition; and as the task of Stein and
Scharnhorst was more difficult and nobler than that of York and
Blucher, so the unerring tact of historical tradition has always dwelt
on the last link in the great chain of preparatory steps, the passage
of the Alps, with a greater admiration than on the battles of the
Trasimene lake and of the plain of Cannae.

Notes for Chapter IV

1. Our accounts as to these events are not only imperfect but one-
sided, for of course it was the version of the Carthaginian peace
party which was adopted by the Roman annalists. Even, however, in
our fragmentary and confused accounts (the most important are those of
Fabius, in Polyb. iii. 8; Appian. Hisp. 4; and Diodorus, xxv. p. 567)
the relations of the parties appear dearly enough. Of the vulgar
gossip by which its opponents sought to blacken the "revolutionary
combination" (--etaireia ton ponerotaton anthropon--) specimens may
be had in Nepos (Ham. 3), to which it will be difficult perhaps
to find a parallel.

2. The Barca family conclude the most important state treaties, and
the ratification of the governing board is a formality (Pol. iii. 21).
Rome enters her protest before them and before the senate (Pol. iii.
15). The position of the Barca family towards Carthage in many points
resembles that of the Princes of Orange towards the States-General.

3. It was not till the middle ages that the route by Mont Cenis became
a military road. The eastern passes, such as that over the Poenine
Alps or the Great St. Bernard--which, moreover, was only converted
into a military road by Caesar and Augustus--are, of course, in this
case out of the question.

4. The much-discussed questions of topography, connected with this
celebrated expedition, may be regarded as cleared up and substantially
solved by the masterly investigations of Messrs. Wickham and Cramer.
Respecting the chronological questions, which likewise present
difficulties, a few remarks may be exceptionally allowed to have
a place here.

When Hannibal reached the summit of the St. Bernard, "the peaks were
already beginning to be thickly covered with snow" (Pol. iii. 54),
snow lay on the route (Pol. iii. 55), perhaps for the most part snow
not freshly fallen, but proceeding from the fall of avalanches. At
the St. Bernard winter begins about Michaelmas, and the falling of
snow in September; when the Englishmen already mentioned crossed
the mountain at the end of August, they found almost no snow on
their road, but the slopes on both sides were covered with it.
Hannibal thus appears to have arrived at the pass in the beginning
of September; which is quite compatible with the statement that
he arrived there "when the winter was already approaching"
--for --sunaptein ten tes pleiados dusin-- (Pol. iii. 54) does
not mean anything more than this, least of all, the day of the
heliacal setting of the Pleiades (about 26th October); comp.
Ideler, Chronol. i. 241.

If Hannibal reached Italy nine days later, and therefore about the
middle of September, there is room for the events that occurred from
that time up to the battle of the Trebia towards the end of December
(--peri cheimerinas tropas--, Pol. iii. 72), and in particular for
the transporting of the army destined for Africa from Lilybaeum to
Placentia. This hypothesis further suits the statement that the
day of departure was announced at an assembly of the army --upo ten
earinen oran-- (Pol. iii. 34), and therefore towards the end of March,
and that the march lasted five (or, according to App. vii. 4, six)
months. If Hannibal was thus at the St. Bernard in the beginning of
September, he must have reached the Rhone at the beginning of August
--for he spent thirty days in making his way from the Rhone thither
--and in that case it is evident that Scipio, who embarked at
the beginning of summer (Pol. iii. 41) and so at latest by the
commencement of June, must have spent much time on the voyage or
remained for a considerable period in singular inaction at Massilia.

Chapter V

The War Under Hannibal To The Battle Of Cannae

Hannibal And The Italian Celts

The appearance of the Carthaginian army on the Roman side of the Alps
changed all at once the situation of affairs, and disconcerted the
Roman plan of war. Of the two principal armies of the Romans, one had
landed in Spain and was already engaged with the enemy there: it was
no longer possible to recall it. The second, which was destined
for Africa under the command of the consul Tiberius Sempronius, was
fortunately still in Sicily: in this instance Roman delay for once
proved useful. Of the two Carthaginian squadrons destined for Italy
and Sicily, the first was dispersed by a storm, and some of its
vessels were captured by the Syracusans near Messana; the second had
endeavoured in vain to surprise Lilybaeum, and had thereafter been
defeated in a naval engagement off that port. But the continuance of
the enemy's squadrons in the Italian waters was so inconvenient, that
the consul determined, before crossing to Africa, to occupy the small
islands around Sicily, and to drive away the Carthaginian fleet
operating against Italy. The summer passed away in the conquest of
Melita, in the chase after the enemy's squadron, which he expected
to find at the Lipari islands while it had made a descent near Vibo
(Monteleone) and pillaged the Bruttian coast, and, lastly, in gaining
information as to a suitable spot for landing on the coast of Africa;
so that the army and fleet were still at Lilybaeum, when orders
arrived from the senate that they should return with all possible
speed for the defence of their homes.

In this way, while the two great Roman armies, each in itself equal
in numbers to that of Hannibal, remained at a great distance from the
valley of the Po, the Romans were quite unprepared for an attack in
that quarter. No doubt a Roman army was there, in consequence of
an insurrection that had broken out among the Celts even before the
arrival of the Carthaginian army. The founding of the two Roman
strongholds of Placentia and Cremona, each of which received 6000
colonists, and more especially the preparations for the founding of
Mutina in the territory of the Boii, had already in the spring of 536
driven the Boii to revolt before the time concerted with Hannibal;
and the Insubres had immediately joined them. The colonists already
settled in the territory of Mutina, suddenly attacked, took refuge in
the town. The praetor Lucius Manlius, who held the chief command at
Ariminum, hastened with his single legion to relieve the blockaded
colonists; but he was surprised in the woods, and no course was left
to him after sustaining great loss but to establish himself upon a
hill and to submit to a siege there on the part of the Boii, till
a second legion sent from Rome under the praetor Lucius Atilius
succeeded in relieving army and town, and in suppressing for the
moment the Gaulish insurrection. This premature rising of the Boii
on the one hand, by delaying the departure of Scipio for Spain,
essentially promoted the plans of Hannibal; on the other hand, but
for its occurrence he would have found the valley of the Po entirely
unoccupied, except the fortresses. But the Roman corps, whose two
severely thinned legions did not number 20,000 soldiers, had enough
to do to keep the Celts in check, and did not think of occupying the
passes of the Alps. The Romans only learned that the passes were
threatened, when in August the consul Publius Scipio returned without
his army from Massilia to Italy, and perhaps even then they gave
little heed to the matter, because, forsooth, the foolhardy attempt
would be frustrated by the Alps alone. Thus at the decisive hour and
on the decisive spot there was not even a Roman outpost. Hannibal had
full time to rest his army, to capture after a three days' siege the
capital of the Taurini which closed its gates against him, and to
induce or terrify into alliance with him all the Ligurian and Celtic
communities in the upper basin of the Po, before Scipio, who had
taken the command in the Po valley, encountered him.

Scipio In The Valley Of The Po
Conflict On The Ticino
The Armies At Placentia

Scipio, who, with an army considerably smaller and very weak in
cavalry, had the difficult task of preventing the advance of the
superior force of the enemy and of repressing the movements of
insurrection which everywhere were spreading among the Celts, had
crossed the Po presumably at Placentia, and marched up the river to
meet the enemy, while Hannibal after the capture of Turin marched
downwards to relieve the Insubres and Boii. In the plain between
the Ticino and the Sesia, not far from Vercelli, the Roman cavalry,
which had advanced with the light infantry to make a reconnaissance
in force, encountered the Punic cavalry sent out for the like purpose,
both led by the generals in person. Scipio accepted battle when
offered, notwithstanding the superiority of the enemy; but his light
infantry, which was placed in front of the cavalry, dispersed before
the charge of the heavy cavalry of the enemy, and while the latter
engaged the masses of the Roman horsemen in front, the light Numidian
cavalry, after having pushed aside the broken ranks of the enemy's
infantry, took the Roman horsemen in flank and rear. This decided
the combat. The loss of the Romans was very considerable. The consul
himself, who made up as a soldier for his deficiencies as a general,
received a dangerous wound, and owed his safety entirely to the
devotion of his son of seventeen, who, courageously dashing into the
ranks of the enemy, compelled his squadron to follow him and rescued
his father. Scipio, enlightened by this combat as to the strength of
the enemy, saw the error which he had committed in posting himself,
with a weaker army, in the plain with his back to the river, and
resolved to return to the right bank of the Po under the eyes of his
antagonist. As the operations became contracted into a narrower space
and his illusions regarding Roman invincibility departed, he recovered
the use of his considerable military talents, which the adventurous
boldness of his youthful opponent's plans had for a moment paralyzed.
While Hannibal was preparing for a pitched battle, Scipio by a rapidly
projected and steadily executed march succeeded in reaching the right
bank of the river which in an evil hour he had abandoned, and broke
down the bridge over the Po behind his army; the Roman detachment of
600 men charged to cover the process of destruction were, however,
intercepted and made prisoners. But as the upper course of the river
was in the hands of Hannibal, he could not be prevented from marching
up the stream, crossing on a bridge of boats, and in a few days
confronting the Roman army on the right bank. The latter had taken
a position in the plain in front of Placentia; but the mutiny of a
Celtic division in the Roman camp, and the Gallic insurrection
breaking out afresh all around, compelled the consul to evacuate the
plain and to post himself on the hills behind the Trebia. This was
accomplished without notable loss, because the Numidian horsemen sent
in pursuit lost their time in plundering, and setting fire to, the
abandoned camp. In this strong position, with his left wing resting
on the Apennines, his right on the Po and the fortress of Placentia,
and covered in front by the Trebia--no inconsiderable stream at that
season--Scipio was unable to save the rich stores of Clastidium
(Casteggio) from which in this position he was cut off by the army of
the enemy; nor was he able to avert the insurrectionary movement on
the part of almost all the Gallic cantons, excepting the Cenomani who
were friendly to Rome; but he completely checked the progress of
Hannibal, and compelled him to pitch his camp opposite to that of
the Romans. Moreover, the position taken up by Scipio, and the
circumstance of the Cenomani threatening the borders of the Insubres,
hindered the main body of the Gallic insurgents from directly joining
the enemy, and gave to the second Roman army, which meanwhile had
arrived at Ariminum from Lilybaeum, the opportunity of reaching
Placentia through the midst of the insurgent country without material
hindrance, and of uniting itself with the army of the Po.

Battle On The Trebia

Scipio had thus solved his difficult task completely and brilliantly.
The Roman army, now close on 40,000 strong, and though not a match for
its antagonist in cavalry, at least equal in infantry, had simply to
remain in its existing position, in order to compel the enemy either
to attempt in the winter season the passage of the river and an attack
upon the camp, or to suspend his advance and to test the fickle temper
of the Gauls by the burden of winter quarters. Clear, however, as
this was, it was no less clear that it was now December, and that
under the course proposed the victory might perhaps be gained by Rome,
but would not be gained by the consul Tiberius Sempronius, who held
the sole command in consequence of Scipio's wound, and whose year of
office expired in a few months. Hannibal knew the man, and neglected
no means of alluring him to fight. The Celtic villages that had
remained faithful to the Romans were cruelly laid waste, and, when
this brought on a conflict between the cavalry, Hannibal allowed his
opponents to boast of the victory. Soon thereafter on a raw rainy
day a general engagement came on, unlocked for by the Romans. From
the earliest hour of the morning the Roman light troops had been
skirmishing with the light cavalry of the enemy; the latter slowly
retreated, and the Romans eagerly pursued it through the deeply
swollen Trebia to follow up the advantage which they had gained.
Suddenly the cavalry halted; the Roman vanguard found itself face to
face with the army of Hannibal drawn up for battle on a field chosen
by himself; it was lost, unless the main body should cross the stream
with all speed to its support. Hungry, weary, and wet, the Romans
came on and hastened to form in order of battle, the cavalry, as
usual, on the wings, the infantry in the centre. The light troops,
who formed the vanguard on both sides, began the combat: but the
Romans had already almost exhausted their missiles against the
cavalry, and immediately gave way. In like manner the cavalry gave
way on the wings, hard pressed by the elephants in front, and
outflanked right and left by the far more numerous Carthaginian horse.
But the Roman infantry proved itself worthy of its name: at the
beginning of the battle it fought with very decided superiority
against the infantry of the enemy, and even when the repulse of the
Roman horse allowed the enemy's cavalry and light-armed troops to turn
their attacks against the Roman infantry, the latter, although ceasing
to advance, obstinately maintained its ground. At this stage a select
Carthaginian band of 1000 infantry, and as many horsemen, under the
leadership of Mago, Hannibal's youngest brother, suddenly emerged from
an ambush in the rear of the Roman army, and fell upon the densely
entangled masses. The wings of the army and the rear ranks of the
Roman centre were broken up and scattered by this attack, while the
first division, 10,000 men strong, in compact array broke through the
Carthaginian line, and made a passage for itself obliquely through the
midst of the enemy, inflicting great loss on the opposing infantry and
more especially on the Gallic insurgents. This brave body, pursued
but feebly, thus reached Placentia. The remaining mass was for the
most part slaughtered by the elephants and light troops of the enemy
in attempting to cross the river: only part of the cavalry and some
divisions of infantry were able, by wading through the river, to gain
the camp whither the Carthaginians did not follow them, and thus they
too reached Placentia.(1) Few battles confer more honour on the Roman
soldier than this on the Trebia, and few at the same time furnish
graver impeachment of the general in command; although the candid
judge will not forget that a commandership in chief expiring on a
definite day was an unmilitary institution, and that figs cannot be
reaped from thistles. The victory came to be costly even to the
victors. Although the loss in the battle fell chiefly on the Celtic
insurgents, yet a multitude of the veteran soldiers of Hannibal died
afterwards from diseases engendered by that raw and wet winter day,
and all the elephants perished except one.

Hannibal Master Of Northern Italy

The effect of this first victory of the invading army was, that the
national insurrection now spread and assumed shape without hindrance
throughout the Celtic territory. The remains of the Roman army of
the Po threw themselves into the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona:
completely cut off from home, they were obliged to procure their
supplies by way of the river. The consul Tiberius Sempronius only
escaped, as if by miracle, from being taken prisoner, when with a
weak escort of cavalry he went to Rome on account of the elections.
Hannibal, who would not hazard the health of his troops by further
marches at that inclement season, bivouacked for the winter where he
was; and, as a serious attempt on the larger fortresses would have
led to no result, contented himself with annoying the enemy by attacks
on the river port of Placentia and other minor Roman positions. He
employed himself mainly in organizing the Gallic insurrection: more
than 60,000 foot soldiers and 4000 horsemen from the Celts are said
to have joined his army.

Military And Political Position Of Hannibal

No extraordinary exertions were made in Rome for the campaign of 537.
The senate thought, and not unreasonably, that, despite the lost
battle, their position was by no means fraught with serious danger.
Besides the coast garrisons, which were despatched to Sardinia,
Sicily, and Tarentum, and the reinforcements which were sent to Spain,
the two new consuls Gaius Flaminius and Gnaeus Servilius obtained
only as many men as were necessary to restore the four legions to
their full complement; additions were made to the strength of the
cavalry alone. The consuls had to protect the northern frontier, and
stationed themselves accordingly on the two highways which led from
Rome to the north, the western of which at that lime terminated at
Arretium, and the eastern at Ariminum; Gaius Flaminius occupied the
former, Gnaeus Servilius the latter. There they ordered the troops
from the fortresses on the Po to join them, probably by water, and
awaited the commencement of the favourable season, when they proposed
to occupy in the defensive the passes of the Apennines, and then,
taking up the offensive, to descend into the valley of the Po and
effect a junction somewhere near Placentia. But Hannibal by no means
intended to defend the valley of the Po. He knew Rome better perhaps
than the Romans knew it themselves, and was very well aware how
decidedly he was the weaker and continued to be so notwithstanding the
brilliant battle on the Trebia; he knew too that his ultimate object,
the humiliation of Rome, was not to be wrung from the unbending Roman
pride either by terror or by surprise, but could only be gained by
the actual subjugation of the haughty city. It was clearly apparent
that the Italian federation was in political solidity and in military
resources infinitely superior to an adversary, who received only
precarious and irregular support from home, and who in Italy was
dependent for primary aid solely on the vacillating and capricious
nation of the Celts; and that the Phoenician foot soldier was,
notwithstanding all the pains taken by Hannibal, far inferior in
point of tactics to the legionary, had been completely proved by
the defensive movements of Scipio and the brilliant retreat of the
defeated infantry on the Trebia. From this conviction flowed the two
fundamental principles which determined Hannibal's whole method of
operations in Italy--viz., that the war should be carried on, in
somewhat adventurous fashion, with constant changes in the plan and
in the theatre of operations; and that its favourable issue could
only be looked for as the result of political and not of military
successes--of the gradual loosening and final breaking up of the
Italian federation. That mode of carrying on the war was necessary,
because the single element which Hannibal had to throw into the scale
against so many disadvantages--his military genius--only told with
its full weight, when he constantly foiled his opponents by unexpected
combinations; he was undone, if the war became stationary. That aim
was the aim dictated to him by right policy, because, mighty conqueror
though he was in battle, he saw very clearly that on each occasion he
vanquished the generals and not the city, and that after each new
battle the Romans remained just as superior to the Carthaginians as
he was personally superior to the Roman commanders. That Hannibal
even at the height of his fortune never deceived himself on this
point, is worthier of admiration than his most admired battles.

Hannibal Crosses The Apennines

It was these motives, and not the entreaties of the Gauls that he
should spare their country--which would not have influenced him--that
induced Hannibal now to forsake, as it were, his newly acquired basis
of operations against Italy, and to transfer the scene of war to Italy
itself. Before doing so he gave orders that all the prisoners should
be brought before him. He ordered the Romans to be separated and
loaded with chains as slaves--the statement that Hannibal put to death
all the Romans capable of bearing arms, who here and elsewhere fell
into his hands, is beyond doubt at least strongly exaggerated. On the
other hand, all the Italian allies were released without ransom, and
charged to report at home that Hannibal waged war not against Italy,
but against Rome; that he promised to every Italian community the
restoration of its ancient independence and its ancient boundaries;
and that the deliverer was about to follow those whom he had set free,
bringing release and revenge. In fact, when the winter ended, he
started from the valley of the Po to search for a route through
the difficult defiles of the Apennines. Gaius Flaminius, with the
Etruscan army, was still for the moment at Arezzo, intending to move
from that point towards Lucca in order to protect the vale of the Arno
and the passes of the Apennines, so soon as the season should allow.
But Hannibal anticipated him. The passage of the Apennines was
accomplished without much difficulty, at a point as far west as
possible or, in other words, as distant as possible from the enemy;
but the marshy low grounds between the Serchio and the Arno were so
flooded by the melting of the snow and the spring rains, that the army
had to march four days in water, without finding any other dry spot
for resting by night than was supplied by piling the baggage or by
the sumpter animals that had fallen. The troops underwent unutterable
sufferings, particularly the Gallic infantry, which marched behind the
Carthaginians along tracks already rendered impassable: they murmured
loudly and would undoubtedly have dispersed to a man, had not the
Carthaginian cavalry under Mago, which brought up the rear, rendered
flight impossible. The horses, assailed by a distemper in their
hoofs, fell in heaps; various diseases decimated the soldiers;
Hannibal himself lost an eye in consequence of ophthalmia.


But the object was attained. Hannibal encamped at Fiesole, while
Gaius Flaminius was still waiting at Arezzo until the roads should
become passable that he might blockade them. After the Roman
defensive position had thus been turned, the best course for the
consul, who might perhaps have been strong enough to defend the
mountain passes but certainly was unable now to face Hannibal in the
open field, would have been to wait till the second army, which had
now become completely superfluous at Ariminum, should arrive. He
himself, however, judged otherwise. He was a political party leader,
raised to distinction by his efforts to limit the power of the senate;
indignant at the government in consequence of the aristocratic
intrigues concocted against him during his consulship; carried away,
through a doubtless justifiable opposition to their beaten track of
partisanship, into a scornful defiance of tradition and custom;
intoxicated at once by blind love of the common people and equally
bitter hatred of the party of the nobles; and, in addition to all
this, possessed with the fixed idea that he was a military genius.
His campaign against the Insubres of 531, which to unprejudiced
judges only showed that good! soldiers often repair the errors
of bad generals,(2) was regarded by him and by his adherents as an
irrefragable proof that the Romans had only to put Gaius Flaminius at
the head of the army in order to make a speedy end of Hannibal. Talk
of this sort had procured for him his second consulship, and hopes of
this sort had now brought to his camp so great a multitude of unarmed
followers eager for spoil, that their number, according to the
assurance of sober historians, exceeded that of the legionaries.
Hannibal based his plan in part on this circumstance. So far from
attacking him, he marched past him, and caused the country all around
to be pillaged by the Celts who thoroughly understood plundering,
and by his numerous cavalry. The complaints and indignation of the
multitude which had to submit to be plundered under the eyes of the
hero who had promised to enrich them, and the protestation of the
enemy that they did not believe him possessed of either the power
or the resolution to undertake anything before the arrival of his
colleague, could not but induce such a man to display his genius
for strategy, and to give a sharp lesson to his inconsiderate
and haughty foe.

Battle On The Trasimene Lake

No plan was ever more successful. In haste, the consul followed the
line of march of the enemy, who passed by Arezzo and moved slowly
through the rich valley of the Chiana towards Perugia. He overtook
him in the district of Cortona, where Hannibal, accurately informed
of his antagonist's march, had had full time to select his field of
battle--a narrow defile between two steep mountain walls, closed at
its outlet by a high hill, and at its entrance by the Trasimene lake.
With the flower of his infantry he barred the outlet; the light troops
and the cavalry placed themselves in concealment on either side. The
Roman columns advanced without hesitation into the unoccupied pass;
the thick morning mist concealed from them the position of the enemy.
As the head of the Roman line approached the hill, Hannibal gave the
signal for battle; the cavalry, advancing behind the heights, closed
the entrance of the pass, and at the same time the mist rolling away
revealed the Phoenician arms everywhere along the crests on the right
and left. There was no battle; it was a mere rout. Those that
remained outside of the defile were driven by the cavalry into the
lake. The main body was annihilated in the pass itself almost without
resistance, and most of them, including the consul himself, were cut
down in the order of march. The head of the Roman column, formed of
6000 infantry, cut their way through the infantry of the enemy, and
proved once more the irresistible might of the legions; but, cut off
from the rest of the army and without knowledge of its fate, they
marched on at random, were surrounded on the following day, on a
hill which they had occupied, by a corps of Carthaginian cavalry,
and--as the capitulation, which promised them a free retreat, was
rejected by Hannibal--were all treated as prisoners of war. 15,000
Romans had fallen, and as many were captured; in other words, the
army was annihilated. The slight Carthaginian loss--1500 men--again
fell mainly upon the Gauls.(3) And, as if this were not enough,
immediately after the battle on the Trasimene lake, the cavalry of
the army of Ariminum under Gaius Centenius, 4000 strong, which Gnaeus
Servilius had sent forward for the temporary support of his colleague
while he himself advanced by slow marches, was likewise surrounded by
the Phoenician army, and partly slain, partly made prisoners. All
Etruria was lost, and Hannibal might without hindrance march on Rome.
The Romans prepared themselves for the worst; they broke down the
bridges over the Tiber, and nominated Quintus Fabius Maximus dictator
to repair the walls and conduct the defence, for which an army of
reserve was formed. At the same time two new legions were summoned
under arms in the room of those annihilated, and the fleet, which
might become of importance in the event of a siege, was put in order.

Hannibal On The East Coast
Reorganization Of The Carthaginian Army

But Hannibal was more farsighted than king Pyrrhus. He did not march
on Rome; nor even against Gnaeus Servilius, an able general, who had
with the help of the fortresses on the northern road preserved his
army hitherto uninjured, and would perhaps have kept his antagonist
at bay. Once more a movement occurred which was quite unexpected.
Hannibal marched past the fortress of Spoletium, which he attempted in
vain to surprise, through Umbria, fearfully devastated the territory
of Picenum which was covered all over with Roman farmhouses, and
halted on the shores of the Adriatic. The men and horses of his
army had not yet recovered from the painful effects of their spring
campaign; here he rested for a considerable time to allow his army to
recruit its strength in a pleasant district and at a fine season of
the year, and to reorganize his Libyan infantry after the Roman mode,
the means for which were furnished to him by the mass of Roman arms
among the spoil. From this point, moreover, he resumed his long-
interrupted communication with his native land, sending his messages
of victory by water to Carthage. At length, when his army was
sufficiently restored and had been adequately exercised in the use
of the new arms, he broke up and marched slowly along the coast into
southern Italy.

War In Lower Italy

He had calculated correctly, when he chose this time for remodelling
his infantry. The surprise of his antagonists, who were in constant
expectation of an attack on the capital, allowed him at least four
weeks of undisturbed leisure for the execution of the unprecedentedly
bold experiment of changing completely his military system in the
heart of a hostile country and with an army still comparatively small,
and of attempting to oppose African legions to the invincible legions
of Italy. But his hope that the confederacy would now begin to break
up was not fulfilled. In this respect the Etruscans, who had carried
on their last wars of independence mainly with Gallic mercenaries,
were of less moment; the flower of the confederacy, particularly
in a military point of view, consisted--next to the Latins--of the
Sabellian communities, and with good reason Hannibal had now come into
their neighbourhood. But one town after another closed its gates; not
a single Italian community entered into alliance with the Phoenicians.
This was a great, in fact an all-important, gain for the Romans.
Nevertheless it was felt in the capital that it would be imprudent to
put the fidelity of their allies to such a test, without a Roman army
to keep the field. The dictator Quintus Fabius combined the two
supplementary legions formed in Rome with the army of Ariminum,
and when Hannibal marched past the Roman fortress of Luceria towards
Arpi, the Roman standards appeared on his right flank at Aeca.
Their leader, however, pursued a course different from that of his
predecessors. Quintus Fabius was a man advanced in years, of a
deliberation and firmness, which to not a few seemed procrastination
and obstinacy. Zealous in his reverence for the good old times, for
the political omnipotence of the senate, and for the command of the
burgomasters, he looked to a methodical prosecution of the war as
--next to sacrifices and prayers--the means of saving the state.
A political antagonist of Gaius Flaminius, and summoned to the head of
affairs in virtue of the reaction against his foolish war-demagogism,
Fabius departed for the camp just as firmly resolved to avoid a
pitched battle at any price, as his predecessor had been determined at
any price to fight one; he was without doubt convinced that the first
elements of strategy would forbid Hannibal to advance so long as the
Roman army confronted him intact, and that accordingly it would not be
difficult to weaken by petty conflicts and gradually to starve out the
enemy's army, dependent as it was on foraging for its supplies.

March To Capua And Back To Apulia
War In Apulia

Hannibal, well served by his spies in Rome and in the Roman army,
immediately learned how matters stood, and, as usual, adjusted the
plan of his campaign in accordance with the individual character of
the opposing leader. Passing the Roman army, he marched over the
Apennines into the heart of Italy towards Beneventum, took the open
town of Telesia on the boundary between Samnium and Campania, and
thence turned against Capua, which as the most important of all the
Italian cities dependent on Rome, and the only one standing in some
measure on a footing of equality with it, had for that very reason
felt more severely than any other community the oppression of the
Roman government. He had formed connections there, which led him to
hope that the Campanians might revolt from the Roman alliance; but in
this hope he was disappointed. So, retracing his steps, he took the
road to Apulia. During all this march of the Carthaginian army the
dictator had followed along the heights, and had condemned his
soldiers to the melancholy task of looking on with arms in their
hands, while the Numidian cavalry plundered the faithful allies far
and wide, and the villages over all the plain rose in flames. At
length he opened up to the exasperated Roman army the eagerly-coveted
opportunity of attacking the enemy. When Hannibal had begun his
retreat, Fabius intercepted his route near Casilinum (the modern
Capua), by strongly garrisoning that town on the left bank of the
Volturnus and occupying the heights that crowned the right bank with
his main army, while a division of 4000 men encamped on the road
itself that led along by the river. But Hannibal ordered his light-
armed troops to climb the heights which rose immediately alongside
of the road, and to drive before them a number of oxen with lighted
faggots on their horns, so that it seemed as if the Carthaginian army
were thus marching off during the night by torchlight. The Roman
division, which barred the road, imagining that they were evaded and
that further covering of the road was superfluous, marched by a side
movement to the same heights. Along the road thus left free Hannibal
then retreated with the bulk of his army, without encountering the
enemy; next morning he without difficulty, but with severe loss to
the Romans, disengaged and recalled his light troops. Hannibal then
continued his march unopposed in a north-easterly direction; and
by a widely-circuitous route, after traversing and laying under
contribution the lands of the Hirpinians, Campanians, Samnites,
Paelignians, and Frentanians without resistance, he arrived with rich
booty and a full chest once more in the region of Luceria, just as
the harvest there was about to begin. Nowhere in his extensive march
had he met with active opposition, but nowhere had he found allies.
Clearly perceiving that no course remained for him but to take up
winter quarters in the open field, he began the difficult operation
of collecting the winter supplies requisite for the army, by means of
its own agency, from the fields of the enemy. For this purpose he
had selected the broad and mostly flat district of northern Apulia,
which furnished grain and grass in abundance, and which could be
completely commanded by his excellent cavalry. An entrenched camp
was constructed at Gerunium, twenty-five miles to the north of
Luceria. Two-thirds of the army were daily despatched from it to
bring in the stores, while Hannibal with the remainder took up a
position to protect the camp and the detachments sent out.

Fabius And Minucius

The master of the horse, Marcus Minucius, who held temporary command
in the Roman camp during the absence of the dictator, deemed this a
suitable opportunity for approaching the enemy more closely, and
formed a camp in the territory of the Larinates; where on the one hand
by his mere presence he checked the sending out of detachments and
thereby hindered the provisioning of the enemy's army, and on the
other hand, in a series of successful conflicts in which his troops
encountered isolated Phoenician divisions and even Hannibal himself,
drove the enemy from their advanced positions and compelled them to
concentrate themselves at Gerunium. On the news of these successes,
which of course lost nothing in the telling, the storm broke, forth
in the capital against Quintus Fabius. It was not altogether
unwarranted. Prudent as it was on the part of Rome to abide by the
defensive and to expect success mainly from the cutting off of the
enemy's means of subsistence, there was yet something strange in a
system of defence and of starving out, under which the enemy had laid
waste all central Italy without opposition beneath the eyes of a Roman
army of equal numbers, and had provisioned themselves sufficiently for
the winter by an organized method of foraging on the greatest scale.
Publius Scipio, when he commanded on the Po, had not adopted this view
of a defensive attitude, and the attempt of his successor to imitate
him at Casilinum had failed in such a way as to afford a copious fund
of ridicule to the scoffers of the city. It was wonderful that the
Italian communities had not wavered, when Hannibal so palpably showed
them the superiority of the Phoenicians and the nullity of Roman aid;
but how long could they be expected to bear the burden of a double
war, and to allow themselves to be plundered under the very eyes of
the Roman troops and of their own contingents? Finally, it could not
be alleged that the condition of the Roman army compelled the general
to adopt this mode of warfare. It was composed, as regarded its core,
of the capable legions of Ariminum, and, by their side, of militia
called out, most of whom were likewise accustomed to service; and, far
from being discouraged by the last defeats, it was indignant at the
but little honourable task which its general, "Hannibal's lackey,"
assigned to it, and it demanded with a loud voice to be led against
the enemy. In the assemblies of the people the most violent
invectives were directed against the obstinate old man. His political
opponents, with the former praetor Gaius Terentius Varro at their
head, laid hold of the quarrel--for the understanding of which we must
not forget that the dictator was practically nominated by the senate,
and the office was regarded as the palladium of the conservative
party--and, in concert with the discontented soldiers and the
possessors of the plundered estates, they carried an unconstitutional
and absurd resolution of the people conferring the dictatorship, which
was destined to obviate the evils of a divided command in times of
danger, on Marcus Minucius,(4) who had hitherto been the lieutenant
of Quintus Fabius, in the same way as on Fabius himself. Thus the
Roman army, after its hazardous division into two separate corps had
just been appropriately obviated, was once more divided; and not only
so, but the two sections were placed under leaders who notoriously
followed quite opposite plans of war. Quintus Fabius of course
adhered more than ever to his methodical inaction; Marcus Minucius,
compelled to justify in the field of battle his title of dictator,
made a hasty attack with inadequate forces, and would have been
annihilated had not his colleague averted greater misfortune by the
seasonable interposition of a fresh corps. This last turn of matters
justified in some measure the system of passive resistance. But in
reality Hannibal had completely attained in this campaign all that
arms could attain: not a single material operation had been frustrated
either by his impetuous or by his deliberate opponent; and his
foraging, though not unattended with difficulty, had yet been in the
main so successful that the army passed the winter without complaint
in the camp at Gerunium. It was not the Cunctator that saved Rome,
but the compact structure of its confederacy and, not less perhaps,
the national hatred with which the Phoenician hero was regarded on
the part of Occidentals.

New War-like Preparations In Rome
Paullus And Varro

Despite all its misfortunes, Roman pride stood no less unshaken than
the Roman symmachy. The donations which were offered by king Hiero of
Syracuse and the Greek cities in Italy for the next campaign--the war
affected the latter less severely than the other Italian allies of
Rome, for they sent no contingents to the land army--were declined
with thanks; the chieftains of Illyria were informed that they could
not be allowed to neglect payment of their tribute; and even the
king of Macedonia was once more summoned to surrender Demetrius of
Pharos. The majority of the senate, notwithstanding the semblance
of legitimation which recent events had given to the Fabian system
of delay, had firmly resolved to depart from a mode of war that was
slowly but certainly ruining the state; if the popular dictator had
failed in his more energetic method of warfare, they laid the blame
of the failure, and not without reason, on the fact that they had
adopted a half-measure and had given him too few troops. This error
they determined to avoid and to equip an army, such as Rome had never
sent out before--eight legions, each raised a fifth above the normal
strength, and a corresponding number of allies--enough to crush an
opponent who was not half so strong. Besides this, a legion under
the praetor Lucius Postumius was destined for the valley of the Po,
in order, if possible, to draw off the Celts serving in the army of
Hannibal to their homes. These resolutions were judicious; everything
depended on their coming to an equally judicious decision respecting
the supreme command. The stiff carriage of Quintus Fabius, and
the attacks of the demagogues which it provoked, had rendered the
dictatorship and the senate generally more unpopular than ever:
amongst the people, not without the connivance of their leaders,
the foolish report circulated that the senate was intentionally
prolonging the war. As, therefore, the nomination of a dictator was
not to be thought of, the senate attempted to procure the election of
suitable consuls; but this only had the effect of thoroughly rousing
suspicion and obstinacy. With difficulty the senate carried one of
its candidates, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who had with judgment
conducted the Illyrian war in 535;(5) an immense majority of the
citizens assigned to him as colleague the candidate of the popular
party, Gaius Terentius Varro, an incapable man, who was known only by
his bitter opposition to the senate and more especially as the main
author of the proposal to elect Marcus Minucius co-dictator, and who
was recommended to the multitude solely by his humble birth and his
coarse effrontery.

Battle At Cannae

While these preparations for the next campaign were being made in
Rome, the war had already recommenced in Apulia. As soon as the
season allowed him to leave his winter quarters, Hannibal, determining
as usual the course of the war and assuming the offensive, set out
from Gerunium in a southerly direction, and marching past Luceria
crossed the Aufidus and took the citadel of Cannae (between Canosa
and Barletta) which commanded the plain of Canusium, and had hitherto
served the Romans as their chief magazine. The Roman army which,
since Fabius had conformably to the constitution resigned his
dictatorship in the middle of autumn, was now commanded by Gnaeus
Servilius and Marcus Regulus, first as consuls then as proconsuls,
had been unable to avert a loss which they could not but feel. On
military as well as on political grounds, it became more than ever
necessary to arrest the progress of Hannibal by a pitched battle.
With definite orders to this effect from the senate, accordingly, the
two new commanders-in-chief, Paullus and Varro, arrived in Apulia in
the beginning of the summer of 538. With the four new legions and a
corresponding contingent of Italians which they brought up, the Roman
army rose to 80,000 infantry, half burgesses, half allies, and 6000
cavalry, of whom one-third were burgesses and two-thirds allies;
whereas Hannibal's army numbered 10,000 cavalry, but only about 40,000
infantry. Hannibal wished nothing so much as a battle, not merely for
the general reasons which we have explained above, but specially
because the wide Apulian plain allowed him to develop the whole
superiority of his cavalry, and because the providing supplies for
his numerous army would soon, in spite of that excellent cavalry, be
rendered very difficult by the proximity of an enemy twice as strong
and resting on a chain of fortresses. The leaders of the Roman forces
also had, as we have said, made up their minds on the general question
of giving battle, and approached the enemy with that view; but the
more sagacious of them saw the position of Hannibal, and were disposed
accordingly to wait in the first instance and simply to station
themselves in the vicinity of the enemy, so as to compel him to retire
and accept battle on a ground less favourable to him. Hannibal
encamped at Cannae on the right bank of the Aufidus. Paullus pitched
his camp on both banks of the stream, so that the main force came to
be stationed on the left bank, but a strong corps took up a position
on the right immediately opposite to the enemy, in order to impede his
supplies and perhaps also to threaten Cannae. Hannibal, to whom it
was all-important to strike a speedy blow, crossed the stream with the
bulk of his troops, and offered battle on the left bank, which Paullus
did not accept. But such military pedantry was disapproved by the
democratic consul--so much had been said about men taking the field
not to stand guard, but to use their swords--and he gave orders
accordingly to attack the enemy, wherever and whenever they found him.
According to the old custom foolishly retained, the decisive voice in
the council of war alternated between the commanders-in-chief day by
day; it was necessary therefore on the following day to submit, and
to let the hero of the pavement have his way. On the left bank,
where the wide plain offered full scope to the superior cavalry of
the enemy, certainly even he would not fight; but he determined to
unite the whole Roman forces on the right bank, and there, taking up
a position between the Carthaginian camp and Cannae and seriously
threatening the latter, to offer battle. A division of 10,000 men
was left behind in the principal Roman camp, charged to capture the
Carthaginian encampment during the conflict and thus to intercept the
retreat of the enemy's army across the river. The bulk of the Roman
army, at early dawn on the and August according to the unconnected,
perhaps in tune according to the correct, calendar, crossed the river
which at this season was shallow and did not materially hamper the
movements of the troops, and took up a position in line near the
smaller Roman camp to the westward of Cannae. The Carthaginian army
followed and likewise crossed the stream, on which rested the right
Roman as well as the left Carthaginian wing. The Roman cavalry was
stationed on the wings: the weaker portion consisting of burgesses,
led by Paullus, on the right next the river; the stronger consisting
of the allies, led by Varro, on the left towards the plain. In the
centre was stationed the infantry in unusually deep files, under the
command of the consul of the previous year Gnaeus Servilius. Opposite
to this centre Hannibal arranged his infantry in the form of a
crescent, so that the Celtic and Iberian troops in their national
armour formed the advanced centre, and the Libyans, armed after the
Roman fashion, formed the drawn-back wings on either side. On the
side next the river the whole heavy cavalry under Hasdrubal was
stationed, on the side towards the plain the light Numidian horse.
After a short skirmish between the light troops the whole line was
soon engaged. Where the light cavalry of the Carthaginians fought
against the heavy cavalry of Varro, the conflict was prolonged,
amidst constant charges of the Numidians, without decisive result.
In the centre, on the other hand, the legions completely overthrew
the Spanish and Gallic troops that first encountered them; eagerly the
victors pressed on and followed up their advantage. But meanwhile, on
the right wing, fortune had turned against the Romans. Hannibal had
merely sought to occupy the left cavalry wing of the enemy, that he
might bring Hasdrubal with the whole regular cavalry to bear against
the weaker right and to overthrow it first. After a brave resistance,
the Roman horse gave way, and those that were not cut down were chased
up the river and scattered in the plain; Paullus, wounded, rode to the
centre to turn or, if not, to share the fate of the legions. These,
in order the better to follow up the victory over the advanced
infantry of the enemy, had changed their front disposition into a
column of attack, which, in the shape of a wedge, penetrated the
enemy's centre. In this position they were warmly assailed on both
sides by the Libyan infantry wheeling inward upon them right and left,
and a portion of them were compelled to halt in order to defend
themselves against the flank attack; by this means their advance was
checked, and the mass of infantry, which was already too closely
crowded, now had no longer room to develop itself at all. Meanwhile
Hasdrubal, after having completed the defeat of the wing of Paullus,
had collected and arranged his cavalry anew and led them behind the
enemy's centre against the wing of Varro. His Italian cavalry,
already sufficiently occupied with the Numidians, was rapidly
scattered before the double attack, and Hasdrubal, leaving the
pursuit of the fugitives to the Numidians, arranged his squadrons
for the third time, to lead them against the rear of the Roman
infantry. This last charge proved decisive. Flight was not possible,
and quarter was not given. Never, perhaps, was an army of such size
annihilated on the field of battle so completely, and with so little
loss to its antagonist, as was the Roman army at Cannae. Hannibal
had lost not quite 6000 men, and two-thirds of that loss fell upon
the Celts, who sustained the first shock of the legions. On the other
hand, of the 76,000 Romans who had taken their places in the line of
battle 70,000 covered the field, amongst whom were the consul Lucius
Paullus, the proconsul Gnaeus Servilius, two-thirds of the staff-
officers, and eighty men of senatorial rank. The consul Gaius Varro
was saved solely by his quick resolution and his good steed, reached
Venusia, and was not ashamed to survive. The garrison also of the
Roman camp, 10,000 strong, were for the most part made prisoners of
war; only a few thousand men, partly of these troops, partly of the
line, escaped to Canusium. Nay, as if in this year an end was to
be made with Rome altogether, before its close the legion sent to
Gaul fell into an ambush, and was, with its general Lucius Postumius
who was nominated as consul for the next year, totally destroyed
by the Gauls.

Consequences Of The Battle Of Cannae
Prevention Of Reinforcements From Spain

This unexampled success appeared at length to mature the great
political combination, for the sake of which Hannibal had come to
Italy. He had, no doubt, based his plan primarily upon his army; but
with accurate knowledge of the power opposed to him he designed that
army to be merely the vanguard, in support of which the powers of the
west and east were gradually to unite their forces, so as to prepare
destruction for the proud city. That support however, which seemed
the most secure, namely the sending of reinforcements from Spain, had
been frustrated by the boldness and firmness of the Roman general sent
thither, Gnaeus Scipio. After Hannibal's passage of the Rhone Scipio
had sailed for Emporiae, and had made himself master first of the
coast between the Pyrenees and the Ebro, and then, after conquering
Hanno, of the interior also (536). In the following year (537) he had
completely defeated the Carthaginian fleet at the mouth of the Ebro,
and after his brother Publius, the brave defender of the valley of
the Po, had joined him with a reinforcement of 8000 men, he had even
crossed the Ebro, and advanced as far as Saguntum. Hasdrubal had
indeed in the succeeding year (538), after obtaining reinforcements
from Africa, made an attempt in accordance with his brother's orders
to conduct an army over the Pyrenees; but the Scipios opposed his
passage of the Ebro, and totally defeated him, nearly at the same
time that Hannibal conquered at Cannae. The powerful tribe of the
Celtiberians and numerous other Spanish tribes had joined the Scipios;
they commanded the sea, the passes of the Pyrenees, and, by means of
the trusty Massiliots, the Gallic coast also. Now therefore support
to Hannibal was less than ever to be looked for from Spain.

Reinforcements From Spain

On the part of Carthage as much had hitherto been done in support
of her general in Italy as could be expected. Phoenician squadrons
threatened the coasts of Italy and of the Roman islands and guarded
Africa from a Roman landing, and there the matter ended. More
substantial assistance was prevented not so much by the uncertainty
as to where Hannibal was to be found and the want of a port of
disembarkation in Italy, as by the fact that for many years the
Spanish army had been accustomed to be self-sustaining, and above
all by the murmurs of the peace party. Hannibal severely felt the
consequences of this unpardonable inaction; in spite of all his saving
of his money and of the soldiers whom he had brought with him, his
chests were gradually emptied, the pay fell into arrear, and the ranks
of his veterans began to thin. But now the news of the victory of
Cannae reduced even the factious opposition at home to silence. The
Carthaginian senate resolved to place at the disposal of the general
considerable assistance in money and men, partly from Africa, partly
from Spain, including 4000 Numidian horse and 40 elephants, and to
prosecute the war with energy in Spain as well as in Italy.

Alliance Between Carthage And Macedonia

The long-discussed offensive alliance between Carthage and Macedonia
had been delayed, first by the sudden death of Antigonus, and then by
the indecision of his successor Philip and the unseasonable war waged
by him and his Hellenic allies against the Aetolians (534-537). It
was only now, after the battle of Cannae, that Demetrius of Pharos
found Philip disposed to listen to his proposal to cede to Macedonia
his Illyrian possessions--which it was necessary, no doubt, to wrest
in the first place from the Romans--and it was only now that the court
of Pella came to terms with Carthage. Macedonia undertook to land an
invading army on the east coast of Italy, in return for which she
received an assurance that the Roman possessions in Epirus should
be restored to her.

Alliance Between Carthage And Syracuse

In Sicily king Hiero had during the years of peace maintained a policy
of neutrality, so far as he could do so with safety, and he had shown
a disposition to accommodate the Carthaginians during the perilous
crises after the peace with Rome, particularly by sending supplies of
corn. There is no doubt that he saw with the utmost regret a renewed
breach between Carthage and Rome; but he had no power to avert it, and
when it occurred he adhered with well-calculated fidelity to Rome.
But soon afterwards (in the autumn of 538) death removed the old man
after a reign of fifty-four years. The grandson and successor of the
prudent veteran, the young and incapable Hieronymus, entered at once
into negotiations with the Carthaginian diplomatists; and, as they
made no difficulty in consenting to secure to him by treaty, first,
Sicily as far as the old Carthagino-Sicilian frontier, and then, when
he rose in the arrogance of his demands, the possession even of the
whole island, he entered into alliance with Carthage, and ordered
the Syracusan fleet to unite with the Carthaginian which had come
to threaten Syracuse. The position of the Roman fleet at Lilybaeum,
which already had to deal with a second Carthaginian squadron
stationed near the Aegates, became all at once very critical, while at
the same time the force that was in readiness at Rome for embarkation
to Sicily had, in consequence of the defeat at Cannae, to be diverted
to other and more urgent objects.

Capua And Most Of The Communities Of Lower Italy Pass Over To Hannibal

Above all came the decisive fact, that now at length the fabric of the
Roman confederacy began to be unhinged, after it had survived unshaken
the shocks of two severe years of war. There passed over to the side
of Hannibal Arpi in Apulia, and Uzentum in Messapia, two old towns
which had been greatly injured by the Roman colonies of Luceria and
Brundisium; all the towns of the Bruttii--who took the lead--with the
exception of the Petelini and the Consentini who had to be besieged
before yielding; the greater portion of the Lucanians; the Picentes
transplanted into the region of Salernum; the Hirpini; the Samnites
with the exception of the Pentri; lastly and chiefly, Capua the
second city of Italy, which was able to bring into the field 30,000
infantry and 4000 horse, and whose secession determined that of
the neighbouring towns Atella and Caiatia. The aristocratic party,
indeed, attached by many ties to the interest of Rome everywhere,
and more especially in Capua, very earnestly opposed this change of
sides, and the obstinate internal conflicts which arose regarding it
diminished not a little the advantage which Hannibal derived from
these accessions. He found himself obliged, for instance, to have one
of the leaders of the aristocratic party in Capua, Decius Magius, who
even after the entrance of the Phoenicians obstinately contended for
the Roman alliance, seized and conveyed to Carthage; thus furnishing
a demonstration, very inconvenient for himself, of the small value of
the liberty and sovereignty which had just been solemnly assured to
the Campanians by the Carthaginian general. On the other hand, the
south Italian Greeks adhered to the Roman alliance--a result to which
the Roman garrisons no doubt contributed, but which was still more due
to the very decided dislike of the Hellenes towards the Phoenicians
themselves and towards their new Lucanian and Bruttian allies, and
their attachment on the other hand to Rome, which had zealously
embraced every opportunity of manifesting its Hellenism, and had
exhibited towards the Greeks in Italy an unwonted gentleness. Thus
the Campanian Greeks, particularly Neapolis, courageously withstood
the attack of Hannibal in person: in Magna Graecia Rhegium, Thurii,
Metapontum, and Tarentum did the same notwithstanding their very
perilous position. Croton and Locri on the other hand were partly
carried by storm, partly forced to capitulate, by the united
Phoenicians and Bruttians; and the citizens of Croton were conducted
to Locri, while Bruttian colonists occupied that important naval
station. The Latin colonies in southern Italy, such as Brundisium,
Venusia, Paesturn, Cosa, and Cales, of course maintained unshaken
fidelity to Rome. They were the strongholds by which the conquerors
held in check a foreign land, settled on the soil of the surrounding
population, and at feud with their neighbours; they, too, would be the
first to be affected, if Hannibal should keep his word and restore to
every Italian community its ancient boundaries. This was likewise
the case with all central Italy, the earliest seat of the Roman rule,
where Latin manners and language already everywhere preponderated, and
the people felt themselves to be the comrades rather than the subjects
of their rulers. The opponents of Hannibal in the Carthaginian senate
did not fail to appeal to the fact that not one Roman citizen or one
Latin community had cast itself into the arms of Carthage. This
groundwork of the Roman power could only be broken up, like the
Cyclopean walls, stone by stone.

Attitude Of The Romans

Such were the consequences of the day of Cannae, in which the flower
of the soldiers and officers of the confederacy, a seventh of the
whole number of Italians capable of bearing arms, perished. It was
a cruel but righteous punishment for the grave political errors with
which not merely some foolish or miserable individuals, but the Roman
people themselves, were justly chargeable. A constitution adapted for
a small country town was no longer suitable for a great power; it was
simply impossible that the question as to the leadership of the armies
of the city in such a war should be left year after year to be decided
by the Pandora's box of the balloting-urn. As a fundamental revision
of the constitution, if practicable at all, could not at least be
undertaken now, the practical superintendence of the war, and in
particular the bestowal and prolongation of the command, should have
been at once left to the only authority which was in a position to
undertake it--the senate--and there should have been reserved for the
comitia the mere formality of confirmation. The brilliant successes
of the Scipios in the difficult arena of Spanish warfare showed what
might in this way be achieved. But political demagogism, which was
already gnawing at the aristocratic foundations of the constitution,
had seized on the management of the Italian war. The absurd
accusation, that the nobles were conspiring with the enemy without,
had made an impression on the "people." The saviours to whom
political superstition looked for deliverance, Gaius Flaminius and
Gaius Varro, both "new men" and friends of the people of the purest
dye, had accordingly been empowered by the multitude itself to execute
the plans of operations which, amidst the approbation of that
multitude, they had unfolded in the Forum; and the results were the
battles on the Trasimene lake and at Cannae. Duty required that the
senate, which now of course understood its task better than when it
recalled half the army of Regulus from Africa, should take into its
hands the management of affairs, and should oppose such mischievous
proceedings; but when the first of those two defeats had for the
moment placed the rudder in its hands, it too had hardly acted in a
manner unbiassed by the interests of party. Little as Quintus Fabius
may be compared with these Roman Cleons, he had yet conducted the war
not as a mere military leader, but had adhered to his rigid attitude
of defence specially as the political opponent of Gaius Flaminius; and
in the treatment of the quarrel with his subordinate, had done what he
could to exasperate at a time when unity was needed. The consequence
was, first, that the most important instrument which the wisdom of
their ancestors had placed in the hands of the senate just for such
cases--the dictatorship--broke down in his hands; and, secondly--at
least indirectly--the battle of Cannae. But the headlong fall of the
Roman power was owing not to the fault of Quintus Fabius or Gaius
Varro, but to the distrust between the government and the governed--to
the variance between the senate and the burgesses. If the deliverance
and revival of the state were still possible, the work had to begin at
home with the re-establishment of unity and of confidence. To have
perceived this and, what is of more importance, to have done it,
and done it with an abstinence from all recriminations however just,
constitutes the glorious and imperishable honour of the Roman senate.
When Varro--alone of all the generals who had command in the battle
--returned to Rome, and the Roman senators met him at the gate and
thanked him that he had not despaired of the salvation of his country,
this was no empty phraseology veiling the disaster under sounding
words, nor was it bitter mockery over a poor wretch; it was the
conclusion of peace between the government and the governed. In
presence of the gravity of the time and the gravity of such an appeal,
the chattering of demagogues was silent; henceforth the only thought
of the Romans was how they might be able jointly to avert the common
peril. Quintus Fabius, whose tenacious courage at this decisive
moment was of more service to the state than all his feats of war,
and the other senators of note took the lead in every movement, and
restored to the citizens confidence in themselves and in the future.
The senate preserved its firm and unbending attitude, while messengers
from all sides hastened to Rome to report the loss of battles, the
secession of allies, the capture of posts and magazines, and to ask
reinforcements for the valley of the Po and for Sicily at a time
when Italy was abandoned and Rome was almost without a garrison.
Assemblages of the multitude at the gates were forbidden; onlookers
and women were sent to their houses; the time of mourning for the
fallen was restricted to thirty days that the service of the gods of
joy, from which those clad in mourning attire were excluded, might
not be too long interrupted--for so great was the number of the
fallen, that there was scarcely a family which had not to lament its
dead. Meanwhile the remnant saved from the field of battle had been
assembled by two able military tribunes, Appius Claudius and Publius
Scipio the younger, at Canusium. The latter managed, by his lofty
spirit and by the brandished swords of his faithful comrades, to
change the views of those genteel young lords who, in indolent despair
of the salvation of their country, were thinking of escape beyond the
sea. The consul Gaius Varro joined them with a handful of men; about
two legions were gradually collected there; the senate gave orders
that they should be reorganized and reduced to serve in disgrace and
without pay. The incapable general was on a suitable pretext recalled
to Rome; the praetor Marcus Claudius Marcellus, experienced in the
Gallic wars, who had been destined to depart for Sicily with the fleet
from Ostia, assumed the chief command. The utmost exertions were made
to organize an army capable of taking the field. The Latins were
summoned to render aid in the common peril. Rome itself set the
example, and called to arms all the men above boyhood, armed the
debtor-serfs and criminals, and even incorporated in the army eight
thousand slaves purchased by the state. As there was a want of arms,
they took the old spoils from the temples, and everywhere set the
workshops and artisans in action. The senate was completed, not as
timid patriots urged, from the Latins, but from the Roman burgesses
who had the best title. Hannibal offered a release of captives at the
expense of the Roman treasury; it was declined, and the Carthaginian
envoy who had arrived with the deputation of captives was not admitted
into the city: nothing should look as if the senate thought of peace.
Not only were the allies to be prevented from believing that Rome was
disposed to enter into negotiations, but even the meanest citizen was
to be made to understand that for him as for all there was no peace,
and that safety lay only in victory.

Notes For Chapter V

1. Polybius's account of the battle on the Trebia is quite clear. If
Placentia lay on the right bank of the Trebia where it falls into the
Po, and if the battle was fought on the left bank, while the Roman
encampment was pitched upon the right--both of which points have been
disputed, but are nevertheless indisputable--the Roman soldiers must
certainly have passed the Trebia in order to gain Placentia as well
as to gain the camp. But those who crossed to the camp must have made
their way through the disorganized portions of their own army and
through the corps of the enemy that had gone round to their rear,
and must then have crossed the river almost in hand-to-hand combat
with the enemy. On the other hand the passage near Placentia was
accomplished after the pursuit had slackened; the corps was several
miles distant from the field of battle, and had arrived within reach
of a Roman fortress; it may even have been the case, although it
cannot be proved, that a bridge led over the Trebia at that point,
and that the -tete de pont- on the other bank was occupied by the
garrison of Placentia. It is evident that the first passage was
just as difficult as the second was easy, and therefore with good
reason Polybius, military judge as he was, merely says of the corps
of 10,000, that in close columns it cut its way to Placentia (iii. 74,
6), without mentioning the passage of the river which in this case
was unattended with difficulty.

The erroneousness of the view of Livy, which transfers the Phoenician
camp to the right, the Roman to the left bank of the Trebia, has
lately been repeatedly pointed out. We may only further mention,
that the site of Clastidium, near the modern Casteggio, has now been
established by inscriptions (Orelli-Henzen, 5117).

2. III. III. The Celts Attacked In Their Own Land

3. The date of the battle, 23rd June according to the uncorrected
calendar, must, according to the rectified calendar, fall somewhere
in April, since Quintus Fabius resigned his dictatorship, after six
months, in the middle of autumn (Lav. xxii. 31, 7; 32, i), and must
therefore have entered upon it about the beginning of May. The
confusion of the calendar (p. 117) in Rome was even at this period
very great.

4. The inscription of the gift devoted by the new dictator on account
of his victory at Gerunium to Hercules Victor-- -Hercolei sacrom M.
Minuci(us) C. f. dictator vovit- --was found in the year 1862 at Rome,
near S. Lorenzo.

5. III. III. Northern Italy

Chapter VI

The War Under Hannibal From Cannae To Zama

The Crisis

The aim of Hannibal in his expedition to Italy had been to break up
the Italian confederacy: after three campaigns that aim had been
attained, so far as it was at all attainable. It was clear that the
Greek and Latin or Latinized communities of Italy, since they had not
been shaken in their allegiance by the day of Cannae, would not yield
to terror, but only to force; and the desperate courage with which
even in Southern Italy isolated little country towns, such as the
Bruttian Petelia, maintained their forlorn defence against the
Phoenicians, showed very plainly what awaited them among the Marsians
and Latins. If Hannibal had expected to accomplish more in this way
and to be able to lead even the Latins against Rome, these hopes had
proved vain. But it appears as if even in other respects the Italian
coalition had by no means produced the results which Hannibal hoped
for. Capua had at once stipulated that Hannibal should not have the
right to call Campanian citizens compulsorily to arms; the citizens
had not forgotten how Pyrrhus had acted in Tarentum, and they
foolishly imagined that they should be able to withdraw at once from
the Roman and from the Phoenician rule. Samnium and Luceria were no
longer what they had been, when king Pyrrhus had thought of marching
into Rome at the head of the Sabellian youth.

Not only did the chain of Roman fortresses everywhere cut the nerves
and sinews of the land, but the Roman rule, continued for many years,
had rendered the inhabitants unused to arms--they furnished only a
moderate contingent to the Roman armies--had appeased their ancient
hatred, and had gained over a number of individuals everywhere to the
interest of the ruling community. They joined the conqueror of the
Romans, indeed, after the cause of Rome seemed fairly lost, but they
felt that the question was no longer one of liberty; it was simply
the exchange of an Italian for a Phoenician master, and it was not
enthusiasm, but despair that threw the Sabellian communities into
the arms of the victor. Under such circumstances the war in Italy
flagged. Hannibal, who commanded the southern part of the peninsula
as far up as the Volturnus and Garganus, and who could not simply
abandon these lands again as he had abandoned that of the Celts, had
now likewise a frontier to protect, which could not be left uncovered
with impunity; and for the purpose of defending the districts that he
had gained against the fortresses which everywhere defied him and the
armies advancing from the north, and at the same time of resuming the
difficult offensive against central Italy, his forces--an army of
about 40,000 men, without reckoning the Italian contingents--were far
from sufficient.


Above all, he found that other antagonists were opposed to him.
Taught by fearful experience, the Romans adopted a more judicious
system of conducting the war, placed none but experienced officers
at the head of their armies, and left them, at least where it was
necessary, for a longer period in command. These generals neither
looked down on the enemy's movements from the mountains, nor did they
throw themselves on their adversary wherever they found him; but,
keeping the true mean between inaction and precipitation, they took up
their positions in entrenched camps under the walls of fortresses, and
accepted battle where victory would lead to results and defeat would
not be destruction. The soul of this new mode of warfare was Marcus
Claudius Marcellus. With true instinct, after the disastrous day of
Cannae, the senate and people had turned their eyes to this brave and
experienced officer, and entrusted him at once with the actual supreme
command. He had received his training in the troublesome warfare
against Hamilcar in Sicily, and had given brilliant evidence of his
talents as a leader as well as of his personal valour in the last
campaigns against the Celts. Although far above fifty, he still
glowed with all the ardour of the most youthful soldier, and only a
few years before this he had, as general, cut down the mounted general
of the enemy(1)--the first and only Roman consul who achieved that
feat of arms. His life was consecrated to the two divinities, to
whom he erected the splendid double temple at the Capene Gate--to
Honour and to Valour; and, while the merit of rescuing Rome from this
extremity of danger belonged to no single individual, but pertained to
the Roman citizens collectively and pre-eminently to the senate, yet
no single man contributed more towards the success of the common
enterprise than Marcus Marcellus.

Hannibal Proceeds To Campania

From the field of battle Hannibal had turned his steps to Campania, He
knew Rome better than the simpletons, who in ancient and modern times
have fancied that he might have terminated the struggle by a march on
the enemy's capital. Modern warfare, it is true, decides a war on the
field of battle; but in ancient times, when the system of attacking
fortresses was far less developed than the system of defence, the most
complete success in the field was on numberless occasions neutralized
by the resistance of the walls of the capitals. The council and
citizens of Carthage were not at all to be compared to the senate
and people of Rome; the peril of Carthage after the first campaign of
Regulus was infinitely more urgent than that of Rome after the battle
of Cannae; yet Carthage had made a stand and been completely
victorious. With what colour could it be expected that Rome would now
deliver her keys to the victor, or even accept an equitable peace?
Instead therefore of sacrificing practicable and important successes
for the sake of such empty demonstrations, or losing time in the
besieging of the two thousand Roman fugitives enclosed within the
walls of Canusium, Hannibal had immediately proceeded to Capua before
the Romans could throw in a garrison, and by his advance had induced
this second city of Italy after long hesitation to join him. He might
hope that, in possession of Capua, he would be able to seize one of
the Campanian ports, where he might disembark the reinforcements which
his great victories had wrung from the opposition at home.

Renewal Of The War In Campania
The War In Apulia

When the Romans learned whither Hannibal had gone, they also left
Apulia, where only a weak division was retained, and collected
their remaining forces on the right bank of the Volturnus. With
the two legions saved from Cannae Marcus Marcellus marched to Teanum
Sidicinum, where he was joined by such troops as were at the moment
disposable from Rome and Ostia, and advanced--while the dictator
Marcus Junius slowly followed with the main army which had been
hastily formed--as far as the Volturnus at Casilinum, with a view if
possible to save Capua. That city he found already in the power of
the enemy; but on the other hand the attempts of the enemy on Neapolis
had been thwarted by the courageous resistance of the citizens, and
the Romans were still in good time to throw a garrison into that
important port. With equal fidelity the two other large coast towns,
Cumae and Nuceria, adhered to Rome. In Nola the struggle between
the popular and senatorial parties as to whether they should attach
themselves to the Carthaginians or to the Romans, was still undecided.
Informed that the former were gaining the superiority, Marcellus
crossed the river at Caiatia, and marching along the heights of
Suessula so as to evade the enemy's army, he reached Nola in
sufficient time to hold it against the foes without and within.
In a sally he even repulsed Hannibal in person with considerable loss;
a success which, as the first defeat sustained by Hannibal, was of far
more importance from its moral effect than from its material results.
In Campania indeed, Nuceria, Acerrae, and, after an obstinate siege
prolonged into the following year (539), Casilinum also, the key
of the Volturnus, were conquered by Hannibal, and the severest
punishments were inflicted on the senates of these towns which had
adhered to Rome. But terror is a bad weapon of proselytism; the
Romans succeeded, with comparatively trifling loss, in surmounting the
perilous moment of their first weakness. The war in Campania came to
a standstill; then winter came on, and Hannibal took up his quarters
in Capua, the luxury of which was by no means fraught with benefit to
his troops who for three years had not been under a roof. In the next
year (539) the war acquired another aspect. The tried general Marcus
Marcellus, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who had distinguished himself
in the campaign of the previous year as master of the horse to the
dictator, and the veteran Quintus Fabius Maximus, took--Marcellus as
proconsul, the two others as consuls--the command of the three Roman
armies which were destined to surround Capua and Hannibal; Marcellus
resting on Nola and Suessula, Maximus taking a position on the right
bank of the Volturnus near Cales, and Gracchus on the coast near
Liternum, covering Neapolis and Cumae. The Campanians, who marched
to Hamae three miles from Cumae with a view to surprise the Cumaeans,
were thoroughly defeated by Gracchus; Hannibal, who had appeared
before Cumae to wipe out the stain, was himself worsted in a combat,
and when the pitched battle offered by him was declined, retreated
in ill humour to Capua. While the Romans in Campania thus not only
maintained what they possessed, but also recovered Compulteria and
other smaller places, loud complaints were heard from the eastern
allies of Hannibal. A Roman army under the praetor Marcus Valerius
had taken position at Luceria, partly that it might, in connection
with the Roman fleet, watch the east coast and the movements of the
Macedonians; partly that it might, in connection with the army of
Nola, levy contributions on the revolted Samnites, Lucanians, and
Hirpini. To give relief to these, Hannibal turned first against his
most active opponent, Marcus Marcellus; but the latter achieved under
the walls of Nola no inconsiderable victory over the Phoenician army,
and it was obliged to depart, without having cleared off the stain,
from Campania for Arpi, in order at length to check the progress of
the enemy's army in Apulia. Tiberius Gracchus followed it with his
corps, while the two other Roman armies in Campania made arrangements
to proceed next spring to the attack of Capua.

Hannibal Reduced To The Defensive
His Prospects As To Reinforcements

The clear vision of Hannibal had not been dazzled by his victories.
It became every day more evident that he was not thus gaining his
object Those rapid marches, that adventurous shifting of the war to
and fro, to which Hannibal was mainly indebted for his successes,
were at an end; the enemy had become wiser; further enterprises were
rendered almost impossible by the inevitable necessity of defending
what had been gained. The offensive was not to be thought of; the
defensive was difficult, and threatened every year to become more so.
He could not conceal from himself that the second half of his great
task, the subjugation of the Latins and the conquest of Rome, could
not be accomplished with his own forces and those of his Italian
allies alone. Its accomplishment depended on the council at Carthage,
on the head-quarters at Cartagena, on the courts of Pella and of
Syracuse. If all the energies of Africa, Spain, Sicily, and Macedonia
should now be exerted in common against the common enemy; if Lower
Italy should become the great rendezvous for the armies and fleets of
the west, south, and east; he might hope successfully to finish what
the vanguard under his leadership had so brilliantly begun. The most
natural and easy course would have been to send to him adequate
support from home; and the Carthaginian state, which had remained
almost untouched by the war and had been brought from deep decline so
near to complete victory by a small band of resolute patriots acting
of their own accord and at their own risk, could beyond doubt have
done this. That it would have been possible for a Phoenician fleet
of any desired strength to effect a landing at Locri or Croton,
especially as long as the port of Syracuse remained open to the
Carthaginians and the fleet at Brundisium was kept in check by
Macedonia, is shown by the unopposed disembarkation at Locri of 4000
Africans, whom Bomilcar about this time brought over from Carthage to
Hannibal, and still more by Hannibal's undisturbed embarkation, when
all had been already lost. But after the first impression of the
victory of Cannae had died away, the peace party in Carthage, which
was at all times ready to purchase the downfall of its political
opponents at the expense of its country, and which found faithful
allies in the shortsightedness and indolence of the citizens, refused
the entreaties of the general for more decided support with the half-
simple, half-malicious reply, that he in fact needed no help inasmuch
as he was really victor; and thus contributed not much less than
the Roman senate to save Rome. Hannibal, reared in the camp and a
stranger to the machinery of civic factions, found no popular leader
on whose support he could rely, such as his father had found in
Hasdrubal; and he was obliged to seek abroad the means of saving
his native country--means which itself possessed in rich abundance
at home.

For this purpose he might, at least with more prospect of success,
reckon on the leaders of the Spanish patriot army, on the connections
which he had formed in Syracuse, and on the intervention of Philip.
Everything depended on bringing new forces into the Italian field of
war against Rome from Spain, Syracuse, or Macedonia; and for the
attainment or for the prevention of this object wars were carried
on in Spain, Sicily, and Greece. All of these were but means to an
end, and historians have often erred in accounting them of greater
importance. So far as the Romans were concerned, they were
essentially defensive wars, the proper objects of which were to hold
the passes of the Pyrenees, to detain the Macedonian army in Greece,
to defend Messana and to bar the communication between Italy and
Sicily. Of course this defensive warfare was, wherever it was
possible, waged by offensive methods; and, should circumstances be
favourable, it might develop into the dislodging of the Phoenicians
from Spain and Sicily, and into the dissolution of Hannibal's
alliances with Syracuse and with Philip. The Italian war in itself
fell for the time being into the shade, and resolved itself into
conflicts about fortresses and razzias, which had no decisive effect
on the main issue. Nevertheless, so long as the Phoenicians retained
the offensive at all, Italy always remained the central aim of
operations; and all efforts were directed towards, as all interest
centred in, the doing away, or perpetuating, of Hannibal's isolation
in southern Italy.

The Sending Of Reinforcements Temporarily Frustrated

Had it been possible, immediately after the battle of Cannae, to bring
into play all the resources on which Hannibal thought that he might
reckon, he might have been tolerably certain of success. But the
position of Hasdrubal at that time in Spain after the battle on the
Ebro was so critical, that the supplies of money and men, which the
victory of Cannae had roused the Carthaginian citizens to furnish,
were for the most part expended on Spain, without producing much
improvement in the position of affairs there. The Scipios transferred
the theatre of war in the following campaign (539) from the Ebro to
the Guadalquivir; and in Andalusia, in the very centre of the proper
Carthaginian territory, they achieved at Illiturgi and Intibili two
brilliant victories. In Sardinia communications entered into with
the natives led the Carthaginians to hope that they should be able
to master the island, which would have been of importance as an
intermediate station between Spain and Italy. But Titus Manlius
Torquatus, who was sent with a Roman army to Sardinia, completely
destroyed the Carthaginian landing force, and reassured to the Romans
the undisputed possession of the island (539). The legions from
Cannae sent to Sicily held their ground in the north and east of
the island with courage and success against the Carthaginians and
Hieronymus; the latter met his death towards the end of 539 by the
hand of an assassin. Even in the case of Macedonia the ratification
of the alliance was delayed, principally because the Macedonian envoys
sent to Hannibal were captured on their homeward journey by the Roman
vessels of war. Thus the dreaded invasion of the east coast was
temporarily suspended; and the Romans gained time to secure the very
important station of Brundisium first by their fleet and then by the
land army which before the arrival of Gracchus was employed for the
protection of Apulia, and even to make preparations for an invasion of
Macedonia in the event of war being declared. While in Italy the war
thus came to a stand, out of Italy nothing was done on the part of
Carthage to accelerate the movement of new armies or fleets towards
the seat of war. The Romans, again, had everywhere with the greatest
energy put themselves in a state of defence, and in that defensive
attitude had fought for the most part with good results wherever the
genius of Hannibal was absent. Thereupon the short-lived patriotism,
which the victory of Cannae had awakened in Carthage, evaporated; the
not inconsiderable forces which had been organized there were, either
through factious opposition or merely through unskilful attempts
to conciliate the different opinions expressed in the council, so
frittered away that they were nowhere of any real service, and but a
very small portion arrived at the spot where they would have been most
useful. At the close of 539 the reflecting Roman statesman might
assure himself that the urgency of the danger was past, and that the
resistance so heroically begun had but to persevere in its exertions
at all points in order to achieve its object.

War In Sicily
Siege Of Syracuse

First of all the war in Sicily came to an end. It had formed no part
of Hannibal's original plan to excite a war on the island; but partly
through accident, chiefly through the boyish vanity of the imprudent
Hieronymus, a land war had broken out there, which--doubtless because
Hannibal had not planned it--the Carthaginian council look up with
especial zeal. After Hieronymus was killed at the close of 539, it
seemed more than doubtful whether the citizens would persevere in
the policy which he had pursued. If any city had reason to adhere
to Rome, that city was Syracuse; for the victory of the Carthaginians
over the Romans could not but give to the former, at any rate, the
sovereignty of all Sicily, and no one could seriously believe that
the promises made by Carthage to the Syracusans would be really kept.
Partly induced by this consideration, partly terrified by the
threatening preparations of the Romans--who made every effort to
bring once more under their complete control that important island,
the bridge between Italy and Africa, and now for the campaign of 540
sent their best general, Marcus Marcellus, to Sicily--the Syracusan
citizens showed a disposition to obtain oblivion of the past by a
timely return to the Roman alliance. But, amidst the dreadful
confusion in the city--which after the death of Hieronymus was
agitated alternately by endeavours to re-establish the ancient freedom
of the people and by the -coups de main- of the numerous pretenders to
the vacant throne, while the captains of the foreign mercenary troops
were the real masters of the place--Hannibal's dexterous emissaries,
Hippocrates and Epicydes, found opportunity to frustrate the projects
of peace. They stirred up the multitude in the name of liberty;
descriptions, exaggerated beyond measure, of the fearful punishment
that the Romans were said to have inflicted on the Leontines, who had
just been re-conquered, awakened doubts even among the better portion
of the citizens whether it was not too late to restore their old
relations with Rome; while the numerous Roman deserters among the
mercenaries, mostly runaway rowers from the fleet, were easily
persuaded that a peace on the part of the citizens with Rome would
be their death-warrant. So the chief magistrates were put to death,
the armistice was broken, and Hippocrates and Epicydes undertook
the government of the city. No course was left to the consul except
to undertake a siege; but the skilful conduct of the defence,
in which the Syracusan engineer Archimedes, celebrated as a learned
mathematician, especially distinguished himself, compelled the Romans
after besieging the city for eight months to convert the siege into
a blockade by sea and land.

Carthaginian Expedition To Sicily
The Carthaginian Troops Destroyed
Conquest Of Syracuse

In the meanwhile Carthage, which hitherto had only supported the
Syracusans with her fleets, on receiving news of their renewed rising
in arms against the Romans had despatched a strong land army under
Himilco to Sicily, which landed without interruption at Heraclea Minoa
and immediately occupied the important town of Agrigentum. To effect
a junction with Himilco, the bold and able Hippocrates marched forth
from Syracuse with an army: the position of Marcellus between the
garrison of Syracuse and the two hostile armies began to be critical.
With the help of some reinforcements, however, which arrived from
Italy, he maintained his position in the island and continued the
blockade of Syracuse. On the other hand, the greater portion of the
small inland towns were driven to the armies of the Carthaginians not
so much by the armies of the enemy, as by the fearful severity of the
Roman proceedings in the island, more especially the slaughter of the
citizens of Enna, suspected of a design to revolt, by the Roman
garrison which was stationed there. In 542 the besiegers of Syracuse
during a festival in the city succeeded in scaling a portion of the
extensive outer walls that had been deserted by the guard, and in
penetrating into the suburbs which stretched from the "island" and
the city proper on the shore (Achradina) towards the interior. The
fortress of Euryalus, which, situated at the extreme western end of
the suburbs, protected these and the principal road leading from the
interior to Syracuse, was thus cut off and fell not long afterwards.
When the siege of the city thus began to assume a turn favourable
to the Romans, the two armies under Himilco and Hippocrates advanced
to its relief, and attempted a simultaneous attack on the Roman
positions, combined with an attempt at landing on the part of the
Carthaginian fleet and a sally of the Syracusan garrison; but the
attack was repulsed on all sides, and the two relieving armies were
obliged to content themselves with encamping before the city, in the
low marshy grounds along the Anapus, which in the height of summer and
autumn engender pestilences fatal to those that tarry in them. These
pestilences had often saved the city, oftener even than the valour of
its citizens; in the times of the first Dionysius, two Phoenician
armies in the act of besieging the city had been in this way destroyed
under its very walls. Now fate turned the special defence of the city
into the means of its destruction; while the army of Marcellus
quartered in the suburbs suffered but little, fevers desolated the
Phoenician and Syracusan bivouacs. Hippocrates died; Himilco and
most of the Africans died also; the survivors of the two armies,
mostly native Siceli, dispersed into the neighbouring cities. The
Carthaginians made a further attempt to save the city from the sea
side; but the admiral Bomilcar withdrew, when the Roman fleet offered
him battle. Epicydes himself, who commanded in the city, now
abandoned it as lost, and made his escape to Agrigentum. Syracuse
would gladly have surrendered to the Romans; negotiations had already
begun. But for the second time they were thwarted by the deserters:
in another mutiny of the soldiers the chief magistrates and a number
of respectable citizens were slain, and the government and the defence
of the city were entrusted by the foreign troops to their captains.
Marcellus now entered into a negotiation with one of these, which gave
into his hands one of the two portions of the city that were still
free, the "island"; upon which the citizens voluntarily opened to
him the gates of Achradina also (in the autumn of 542). If mercy
was to be shown in any case, it might, even according to the far
from laudable principles of Roman public law as to the treatment
of perfidious communities, have been extended to this city, which
manifestly had not been at liberty to act for itself, and which had
repeatedly made the most earnest attempts to get rid of the tyranny
of the foreign soldiers. Nevertheless, not only did Marcellus stain
his military honour by permitting a general pillage of the wealthy
mercantile city, in the course of which Archimedes and many other
citizens were put to death, but the Roman senate lent a deaf ear to
the complaints which the Syracusans afterwards presented regarding the
celebrated general, and neither returned to individuals their pillaged
property nor restored to the city its freedom. Syracuse and the towns
that had been previously dependent on it were classed among the
communities tributary to Rome--Tauromenium and Neetum alone obtained
the same privileges as Messana, while the territory of Leontini became
Roman domain and its former proprietors Roman lessees--and no
Syracusan citizen was henceforth allowed to reside in the "island,"
the portion of the city that commanded the harbour.

Guerilla War In Sicily
Agrigentum Occupied By The Romans
Sicily Tranquillized

Sicily thus appeared lost to the Carthaginians; but the genius of
Hannibal exercised even from a distance its influence there. He
despatched to the Carthaginian army, which remained at. Agrigentum
in perplexity and inaction under Hanno and Epicydes, a Libyan cavalry
officer Muttines, who took the command of the Numidian cavalry, and
with his flying squadrons, fanning into an open flame the bitter
hatred which the despotic rule of the Romans had excited over all the
island, commenced a guerilla warfare on the most extensive scale and
with the happiest results; so that he even, when the Carthaginian and
Roman armies met on the river Himera, sustained some conflicts with
Marcellus himself successfully. The relations, however, which
prevailed between Hannibal and the Carthaginian council, were here
repeated on a small scale. The general appointed by the council
pursued with jealous envy the officer sent by Hannibal, and insisted
upon giving battle to the proconsul without Muttines and the
Numidians. The wish of Hanno was carried out, and he was completely
beaten. Muttines was not induced to deviate from his course; he
maintained himself in the interior of the country, occupied several
small towns, and was enabled by the not inconsiderable reinforcements
which joined him from Carthage gradually to extend his operations.
His successes were so brilliant, that at length the commander-in-
chief, who could not otherwise prevent the cavalry officer from
eclipsing him, deprived him summarily of the command of the light
cavalry, and entrusted it to his own son. The Numidian, who had
now for two years preserved the island for his Phoenician masters,
had the measure of his patience exhausted by this treatment. He and
his horsemen who refused to follow the younger Hanno entered into

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