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The History of Rome; Books Nine to Twenty-Six by Titus Livius

Part 4 out of 10

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to Manlius with one Roman legion and five thousand of the allies,
enrolled in the late levy by the consul: who, without any contest, for
the enemy had retired through fear, arrived at Tanetum. At the same
time Publius Cornelius, a new legion having been levied in the room of
that which was sent with the praetor, setting out from the city with
sixty ships of war, by the coast of Etruria and Liguria, and then the
mountains of the Salyes, arrived at Marseilles, and pitched his camp
at the nearest mouth of the Rhone, (for the stream flows down to the
sea divided into several channels,) scarcely as yet well believing
that Hannibal had crossed the Pyrenaean mountains; whom when he
ascertained to be also meditating the passage of the Rhone, uncertain
in what place he might meet him, his soldiers not yet being
sufficiently recovered from the tossing of the sea, he sends forward,
in the mean time, three hundred chosen horses, with Massilian guides
and Gallic auxiliaries, to explore all the country, and observe the
enemy from a safe distance. Hannibal, the other states being pacified
by fear or bribes, had now come into the territory of the Volcae, a
powerful nation. They, indeed, dwell on both sides of the Rhone: but
doubting that the Carthaginian could be driven from the hither bank,
in order that they might have the river as a defence, having
transported almost all their effects across the Rhone, occupied in
arms the farther bank of the river. Hannibal, by means of presents,
persuades the other inhabitants of the river-side, and some even of
the Volcae themselves, whom their homes had detained, to collect from
every quarter and build ships; and they at the same time themselves
desired that the army should be transported, and their country
relieved, as soon as possible, from the vast multitude of men that
burthened it. A great number, therefore, of ships and boats rudely
formed for the neighbouring passages, were collected together; and the
Gauls, first beginning the plan, hollowed out some new ones from
single trees; and then the soldiers themselves, at once induced by the
plenty of materials and the easiness of the work, hastily formed
shapeless hulks, in which they could transport themselves and their
baggage, caring about nothing else, provided they could float and
contain their burthen.

27. And now, when all things were sufficiently prepared for crossing,
the enemy over against them occupying the whole bank, horse and foot,
deterred them. In order to dislodge them, Hannibal orders Hanno, the
son of Bomilcar, at the first watch of the night, to proceed with a
part of the forces, principally Spanish, one day's journey up the
river; and having crossed it where he might first be able, as secretly
as possible, to lead round his forces, that when the occasion required
he might attack the enemy in the rear. The Gauls, given him as guides
for the purpose, inform him that about twenty-five miles from thence,
the river spreading round a small island, broader where it was
divided, and therefore with a shallower channel, presented a passage.
At this place timber was quickly cut down and rafts formed, on which
men, horses, and other burthens might be conveyed over. The Spaniards,
without making any difficulty, having put their clothes in bags of
leather, and themselves leaning on their bucklers placed beneath them,
swam across the river. And the rest of the army, after passing on the
rafts joined together, and pitching their camp near the river, being
fatigued by the journey of the night and the labour of the work, are
refreshed by the rest of one day, their leader being anxious to
execute his design at a proper season. Setting out next day from this
place, they signify by raising a smoke that they had crossed, and were
not far distant; which when Hannibal understood, that he might not be
wanting on the opportunity, he gives the signal for passing. The
infantry already had the boats prepared and fitted; a line of ships
higher up transporting the horsemen for the most part near their
horses swimming beside them, in order to break the force of the
current, rendered the water smooth to the boats crossing below. A
great part of the horses were led across swimming, held by bridles
from the stern, except those which they put on board saddled and
bridled, in order that they might be ready to be used by the rider the
moment he disembarked on the strand.

28. The Gauls run down to the bank to meet them with various whoopings
and songs, according to their custom, shaking their shields above
their heads, and brandishing their weapons in their right hands,
although such a multitude of ships in front of them alarmed them,
together with the loud roaring of the river, and the mingled clamours
of the sailors and soldiers, both those who were striving to break
through the force of the current, and those who from the other bank
were encouraging their comrades on their passage. While sufficiently
dismayed by this tumult in front, more terrifying shouts from behind
assailed them, their camp having been taken by Hanno; presently he
himself came up, and a twofold terror encompassed them, both such a
multitude of armed men landing from the ships, and this unexpected
army pressing on their rear. When the Gauls, having made a prompt and
bold effort to force the enemy, were themselves repulsed, they break
through where a way seemed most open, and fly in consternation to
their villages around. Hannibal, now despising these tumultuary onsets
of the Gauls, having transported the rest of his forces at leisure,
pitches his camp. I believe that there were various plans for
transporting the elephants; at least there are various accounts of the
way in which it was done. Some relate, that after the elephants were
assembled together on the bank, the fiercest of them being provoked by
his keeper, pursued him as he swam across the water, to which he had
run for refuge, and drew after him the rest of the herd; the mere
force of the stream hurrying them to the other bank, when the bottom
had failed each, fearful of the depth. But there is more reason to
believe that they were conveyed across on rafts; which plan, as it
must have appeared the safer before execution, is after it the more
entitled to credit. They extended from the bank into the river one
raft two hundred feet long and fifty broad, which, fastened higher up
by several strong cables to the bank, that it might not be carried
down by the stream they covered, like a bridge, with earth thrown upon
it, so that the beasts might tread upon it without fear, as over solid
ground. Another raft equally broad and a hundred feet long, fit for
crossing the river, was joined to this first; and when the elephants,
driven along the stationary raft as along a road had passed, the
females leading the way, on to the smaller raft which was joined to
it, the lashings, by which it was slightly fastened, being immediately
let go, it was drawn by some light boats to the opposite side. The
first having been thus landed, the rest were then returned for and
carried across. They gave no signs of alarm whatever while they were
driven along as it were on a continuous bridge. The first fear was,
when, the raft being loosed from the rest, they were hurried into the
deep. Then pressing together, as those at the edges drew back from the
water, they produced some disorder, till mere terror, when they saw
water all around, produced quiet. Some, indeed, becoming infuriated,
fell into the river; but, steadied by their own weight, having thrown
off their riders, and seeking step by step the shallows, they escaped
to the shore.

29. Whilst the elephants were conveyed over, Hannibal, in the mean
time, had sent five hundred Numidian horsemen towards the camp of the
Romans, to observe where and how numerous their forces were, and what
they were designing. The three hundred Roman horsemen sent, as was
before said, from the mouth of the Rhone, meet this band of cavalry;
and a more furious engagement than could be expected from the number
of the combatants takes place. For, besides many wounds, the loss on
both sides was also nearly equal: and the flight and dismay of the
Numidians gave victory to the Romans, now exceedingly fatigued. There
fell of the conquerors one hundred and sixty, not all Romans, but
partly Gauls: of the vanquished more than two hundred. This
commencement, and at the same time omen of the war, as it portended to
the Romans a prosperous issue of the whole, so did it also the success
of a doubtful and by no means bloodless contest. When, after the
action had thus occurred, his own men returned to each general, Scipio
could adopt no fixed plan of proceeding, except that he should form
his measures from the plans and undertakings of the enemy: and
Hannibal, uncertain whether he should pursue the march he had
commenced into Italy, or fight with the Roman army which had first
presented itself, the arrival of ambassadors from the Boii, and of a
petty prince called Magalus, diverted from an immediate engagement;
who, declaring that they would be the guides of his journey and the
companions of his dangers, gave it as their opinion, that Italy ought
to be attacked with the entire force of the war, his strength having
been no where previously impaired. The troops indeed feared the enemy,
the remembrance of the former war not being yet obliterated; but much
more did they dread the immense journey and the Alps, a thing
formidable by report, particularly to the inexperienced.

30. Hannibal, therefore, when his own resolution was fixed to proceed
in his course and advance on Italy, having summoned an assembly, works
upon the minds of the soldiers in various ways, by reproof and
exhortation. He said, that "he wondered what sudden fear had seized
breasts ever before undismayed: that through so many years they had
made their campaigns with conquest; nor had departed from Spain before
all the nations and countries which two opposite seas embrace, were
subjected to the Carthaginians. That then, indignant that the Romans
demanded those, whosoever had besieged Saguntum, to be delivered up to
them, as on account of a crime, they had passed the Iberus to blot out
the name of the Romans, and to emancipate the world. That then the way
seemed long to no one, though they were pursuing it from the setting
to the rising of the sun. That now, when they saw by far the greater
part of their journey accomplished, the passes of the Pyrenees
surmounted, amid the most ferocious nations, the Rhone, that mighty
river, crossed, in spite of the opposition of so many thousand Gauls,
the fury of the river itself having been overcome, when they had the
Alps in sight, the other side of which was Italy, should they halt
through weariness at the very gates of the enemy, imagining the Alps
to be--what else than lofty mountains? That supposing them to be
higher than the summits of the Pyrenees, assuredly no part of the
earth reached the sky, nor was insurmountable by mankind. The Alps in
fact were inhabited and cultivated;--produced and supported living
beings. Were they passable by a few men and impassable to armies? That
those very ambassadors whom they saw before them had not crossed the
Alps borne aloft through the air on wings; neither were their
ancestors indeed natives of the soil, but settling in Italy from
foreign countries, had often as emigrants safely crossed these very
Alps in immense bodies, with their wives and children. To the armed
soldier, carrying nothing with him but the instruments of war, what in
reality was impervious or insurmountable? That Saguntum might be
taken, what dangers, what toils were for eight months undergone! Now,
when their aim was Rome, the capital of the world, could any thing
appear so dangerous or difficult as to delay their undertaking? That
the Gauls had formerly gained possession of that very country which
the Carthaginian despairs of being able to approach. That they must,
therefore, either yield in spirit and valour to that nation which they
had so often during those times overcome; or look forward, as the end
of their journey, to the plain which spreads between the Tiber and the
walls of Rome."

31. He orders them, roused by these exhortations, to refresh
themselves and prepare for the journey. Next day, proceeding upward
along the bank of the Rhone, he makes for the inland part of Gaul: not
because it was the more direct route to the Alps, but believing that
the farther he retired from the sea, the Romans would be less in his
way; with whom, before he arrived in Italy, he had no intention of
engaging. After four days' march he came to the Island: there the
streams of the Arar and the Rhone, flowing down from different
branches of the Alps, after embracing a pretty large tract of country,
flow into one. The name of the Island is given to the plains that lie
between them. The Allobroges dwell near, a nation even in those days
inferior to none in Gaul in power and fame. They were at that time at
variance. Two brothers were contending for the sovereignty. The elder,
named Brancus, who had before been king, was driven out by his younger
brother and a party of the younger men, who, inferior in right, had
more of power. When the decision of this quarrel was most opportunely
referred to Hannibal, being appointed arbitrator of the kingdom, he
restored the sovereignty to the elder, because such had been the
opinion of the senate and the chief men. In return for this service,
he was assisted with a supply of provisions, and plenty of all
necessaries, particularly clothing, which the Alps, notorious for
extreme cold, rendered necessary to be prepared. After composing the
dissensions of the Allobroges, when he now was proceeding to the Alps,
he directed his course thither, not by the straight road, but turned
to the left into the country of the Tricastini, thence by the extreme
boundary of the territory of the Vocontii he proceeded to the
Tricorii; his way not being any where obstructed till he came to the
river Druentia. This stream, also arising amid the Alps, is by far the
most difficult to pass of all the rivers in Gaul; for though it rolls
down an immense body of water, yet it does not admit of ships;
because, being restrained by no banks, and flowing in several and not
always the same channels, and continually forming new shallows and new
whirlpools, (on which account the passage is also uncertain to a
person on foot,) and rolling down besides gravelly stones, it affords
no firm or safe passage to those who enter it; and having been at that
time swollen by showers, it created great disorder among the soldiers
as they crossed, when, in addition to other difficulties, they were of
themselves confused by their own hurry and uncertain shouts.

32. Publius Cornelius the consul, about three days after Hannibal
moved from the bank of the Rhone, had come to the camp of the enemy,
with his army drawn up in square, intending to make no delay in
fighting: but when he saw the fortifications deserted, and that he
could not easily come up with them so far in advance before him, he
returned to the sea and his fleet, in order more easily and safely to
encounter Hannibal when descending from the Alps. But that Spain, the
province which he had obtained by lot, might not be destitute of Roman
auxiliaries, he sent his brother Cneius Scipio with the principal part
of his forces against Hasdrubal, not only to defend the old allies and
conciliate new, but also to drive Hasdrubal out of Spain. He himself,
with a very small force, returned to Genoa, intending to defend Italy
with the army which was around the Po. From the Druentia, by a road
that lay principally through plains, Hannibal arrived at the Alps
without molestation from the Gauls that inhabit those regions. Then,
though the scene had been previously anticipated from report, (by
which uncertainties are wont to be exaggerated,) yet the height of the
mountains when viewed so near, and the snows almost mingling with the
sky, the shapeless huts situated on the cliffs, the cattle and beasts
of burden withered by the cold, the men unshorn and wildly dressed,
all things, animate and inanimate, stiffened with frost, and other
objects more terrible to be seen than described, renewed their alarm.
To them, marching up the first acclivities, the mountaineers appeared
occupying the heights over head; who, if they had occupied the more
concealed valleys, might, by rushing out suddenly to the attack, have
occasioned great flight and havoc. Hannibal orders them to halt, and
having sent forward Gauls to view the ground, when he found there was
no passage that way, he pitches his camp in the widest valley he could
find, among places all rugged and precipitous. Then, having learned
from the same Gauls, when they had mixed in conversation with the
mountaineers, from whom they differed little in language and manners,
that the pass was only beset during the day, and that at night each
withdrew to his own dwelling, he advanced at the dawn to the heights,
as if designing openly and by day to force his way through the defile.
The day then being passed in feigning a different attempt from that
which was in preparation, when they had fortified the camp in the same
place where they had halted, as soon as he perceived that the
mountaineers had descended from the heights, and that the guards were
withdrawn, having lighted for show a greater number of fires than was
proportioned to the number that remained, and having left the baggage
in the camp, with the cavalry and the principal part of the infantry,
he himself with a party of light-armed, consisting of all the most
courageous of his troops, rapidly cleared the defile, and took post on
those very heights which the enemy had occupied.

33. At dawn of light the next day the camp broke up, and the rest of
the army began to move forward. The mountaineers, on a signal being
given, were now assembling from their forts to their usual station,
when they suddenly behold part of the enemy overhanging them from
above, in possession of their former position, and the others passing
along the road. Both these objects, presented at the same time to the
eye and the mind, made them stand motionless for a little while; but
when they afterwards saw the confusion in the pass, and that the
marching body was thrown into disorder by the tumult which itself
created, principally from the horses being terrified, thinking that
whatever terror they added would suffice for the destruction of the
enemy, they scramble along the dangerous rocks, as being accustomed
alike to pathless and circuitous ways. Then indeed the Carthaginians
were opposed at once by the enemy and by the difficulties of the
ground; and each striving to escape first from the danger, there was
more fighting among themselves than with their opponents. The horses
in particular created danger in the lines, which, being terrified by
the discordant clamours which the groves and re-echoing valleys
augmented, fell into confusion; and if by chance struck or wounded,
they were so dismayed that they occasioned a great loss both of men
and baggage of every description: and as the pass on both sides was
broken and precipitous, this tumult threw many down to an immense
depth, some even of the armed men; but the beasts of burden, with
their loads, were rolled down like the fall of some vast fabric.
Though these disasters were shocking to view, Hannibal however kept
his place for a little, and kept his men together, lest he might
augment the tumult and disorder; but afterwards, when he saw the line
broken, and that there was danger that he should bring over his army,
preserved to no purpose if deprived of their baggage, he hastened down
from the higher ground; and though he had routed the enemy by the
first onset alone, he at the same time increased the disorder in his
own army: but that tumult was composed in a moment, after the roads
were cleared by the flight of the mountaineers; and presently the
whole army was conducted through, not only without being disturbed,
but almost in silence. He then took a fortified place, which was the
capital of that district, and the little villages that lay around it,
and fed his army for three days with the corn and cattle he had taken;
and during these three days, as the soldiers were neither obstructed
by the mountaineers, who had been daunted by the first engagement, nor
yet much by the ground, he made considerable way.

34. He then came to another state, abounding, for a mountainous
country, with inhabitants; where he was nearly overcome, not by open
war, but by his own arts of treachery and ambuscade. Some old men,
governors of forts, came as deputies to the Carthaginian, professing,
"that having been warned by the useful example of the calamities of
others, they wished rather to experience the friendship than the
hostilities of the Carthaginians: they would, therefore, obediently
execute his commands, and begged that he would accept of a supply of
provisions, guides of his march, and hostages for the sincerity of
their promises." Hannibal, when he had answered them in a friendly
manner, thinking that they should neither be rashly trusted nor yet
rejected, lest if repulsed they might openly become enemies, having
received the hostages whom they proffered, and made use of the
provisions which they of their own accord brought down to the road,
follows their guides, by no means as among a people with whom he was
at peace, but with his line of march in close order. The elephants and
cavalry formed the van of the marching body; he himself, examining
every thing around, and intent on every circumstance, followed with
the choicest of the infantry. When they came into a narrower pass,
lying on one side beneath an overhanging eminence, the barbarians,
rising at once on all sides from their ambush, assail them in front
and rear, both at close quarters and from a distance, and roll down
huge stones on the army. The most numerous body of men pressed on the
rear; against whom the infantry, facing about and directing their
attack, made it very obvious, that had not the rear of the army been
well supported, a great loss must have been sustained in that pass.
Even as it was they came to the extremity of danger, and almost to
destruction: for while Hannibal hesitates to lead down his division
into the defile, because, though he himself was a protection to the
cavalry, lie had not in the same way left any aid to the infantry in
the rear; the mountaineers, charging obliquely, and on having broken
through the middle of the army, took possession of the road; and one
night was spent by Hannibal without his cavalry and baggage.

35. Next day, the barbarians running in to the attack between (the two
divisions) less vigorously, the forces were re-united, and the defile
passed, not without loss, but yet with a greater destruction of beasts
of burden than of men. From that time the mountaineers fell upon them
in smaller parties, more like an attack of robbers than war, sometimes
on the van, sometimes on the rear, according as the ground afforded
them advantage, or stragglers advancing or loitering gave them an
opportunity. Though the elephants were driven through steep and narrow
roads with great loss of time, yet wherever they went they rendered
the army safe from the enemy, because men unacquainted with such
animals were afraid of approaching too nearly. On the ninth day they
came to a summit of the Alps, chiefly through places trackless; and
after many mistakes of their way, which were caused either by the
treachery of the guides, or, when they were not trusted, by entering
valleys at random, on their own conjectures of the route. For two days
they remained encamped on the summit; and rest was given to the
soldiers, exhausted with toil and fighting: and several beasts of
burden, which had fallen down among the rocks, by following the track
of the army arrived at the camp. A fall of snow, it being now the
season of the setting of the constellation of the Pleiades, caused
great fear to the soldiers, already worn out with weariness of so many
hardships. On the standards being moved forward at daybreak, when the
army proceeded slowly over all places entirely blocked up with snow,
and languor and despair strongly appeared in the countenances of all,
Hannibal, having advanced before the standards, and ordered the
soldiers to halt on a certain eminence, whence there was a prospect
far and wide, points out to them Italy and the plains of the Po,
extending themselves beneath the Alpine mountains; and said "that they
were now surmounting not only the ramparts of Italy, but also of the
city of Rome; that the rest of the journey would be smooth and
down-hill; that after one, or, at most, a second battle, they would
have the citadel and capital of Italy in their power and possession."
The army then began to advance, the enemy now making no attempts
beyond petty thefts, as opportunity offered. But the journey proved
much more difficult than it had been in the ascent, as the declivity
of the Alps being generally shorter on the side of Italy is
consequently steeper; for nearly all the road was precipitous, narrow,
and slippery, so that neither those who made the least stumble could
prevent themselves from falling, nor, when fallen, remain in the same
place, but rolled, both men and beasts of burden, one upon another.

36. They then came to a rock much more narrow, and formed of such
perpendicular ledges, that a light-armed soldier, carefully making the
attempt, and clinging with his hands to the bushes and roots around,
could with difficulty lower himself down. The ground, even before very
steep by nature, had been broken by a recent falling away of the earth
into a precipice of nearly a thousand feet in depth. Here when the
cavalry had halted, as if at the end of their journey, it is announced
to Hannibal, wondering what obstructed the march that the rock was
impassable. Having then gone himself to view the place, it seemed
clear to him that he must lead his army round it, by however great a
circuit, through the pathless and untrodden regions around. But this
route also proved impracticable; for while the new snow of a moderate
depth remained on the old, which had not been removed, their footsteps
were planted with ease as they walked upon the new snow, which was
soft and not too deep; but when it was dissolved by the trampling of
so many men and beasts of burden, they then walked on the bare ice
below, and through the dirty fluid formed by the melting snow. Here
there was a wretched struggle, both on account of the slippery ice not
affording any hold to the step, and giving way beneath the foot more
readily by reason of the slope; and whether they assisted themselves
in rising by their hands or their knees, their supports themselves
giving way, they would stumble again; nor were there any stumps or
roots near; by pressing against which, one might with hand or foot
support himself; so that they only floundered on the smooth ice and
amid the melted snow. The beasts of burden sometimes also went into
this lower ice by merely treading upon it, at others they broke it
completely through, by the violence with which they struck in their
hoofs in their struggling, so that most of them, as if taken in a
trap, stuck in the hardened and deeply frozen ice.

37. At length, after the men and beasts of burden had been fatigued to
no purpose, the camp was pitched on the summit, the ground being
cleared for that purpose with great difficulty, so much snow was there
to be dug out and carried away. The soldiers being then set to make a
way down the cliff by which alone a passage could be effected, and it
being necessary that they should cut through the rocks, having felled
and lopped a number of large trees which grew around, they make a huge
pile of timber; and as soon as a strong wind fit for exciting the
flames arose, they set fire to it, and, pouring vinegar on the heated
stones, they render them soft and crumbling. They then open a way with
iron instruments through the rock thus heated by the fire, and soften
its declivities by gentle windings, so that not only the beasts of
burden, but also the elephants could be led down it. Four days were
spent about this rock, the beasts nearly perishing through hunger: for
the summits of the mountains are for the most part bare, and if there
is any pasture the snows bury it. The lower parts contain valleys, and
some sunny hills, and rivulets flowing beside woods, and scenes more
worthy of the abode of man. There the beasts of burden were sent out
to pasture, and rest given for three days to the men, fatigued with
forming the passage: they then descended into the plains, the country
and the dispositions of the inhabitants being now less rugged.

38. In this manner chiefly they came to Italy in the fifth month (as
some authors relate) after leaving New Carthage, having crossed the
Alps in fifteen days. What number of forces Hannibal had when he had
passed into Italy is by no means agreed upon by authors. Those who
state them at the highest, make mention of a hundred thousand foot and
twenty thousand horse; those who state them at the lowest, of twenty
thousand foot and six thousand horse. Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who
relates that he was made prisoner by Hannibal, would influence me most
as an authority, did he not confound the number by adding the Gauls
and Ligurians. Including these, (who, it is more probable, flocked to
him afterwards, and so some authors assert,) he says, that eighty
thousand foot and ten thousand horse were brought into Italy; and that
he had heard from Hannibal himself, that after crossing the Rhone he
had lost thirty-six thousand men, and an immense number of horses, and
other beasts of burden, among the Taurini, the next nation to the
Gauls, as he descended into Italy. As this circumstance is agreed on
by all, I am the more surprised that it should be doubtful by what
road he crossed the Alps; and that it should commonly be believed that
he passed over the Pennine mountain, and that thence [Footnote: from
Paenus, Carthaginian.] the name was given to that ridge of the Alps.
Coelius says, that he passed over the top of Mount Cremo; both which
passes would have brought him, not to the Taurini, but through the
Salasian mountaineers to the Libuan Gauls. Neither is it probable that
these roads into Gaul were then open, especially once those which,
lead to the Pennine mountain would have been unlocked up by nations
half German; nor by Hercules (if this argument has weight with any
one) do the Veragri, the inhabitants of this ridge, know of the name
being given to these mountains from the passage of the Carthaginians,
but from the divinity, whom the mountaineers style Penninus,
worshipped on the highest summit.

39. Very opportunely for the commencement of his operations, a war had
broken out with the Taurini, the nearest nation, against the
Insubrians; but Hannibal could not put his troops under arms to assist
either party, as they very chiefly felt the disorders they had before
contracted, in remedying them; for ease after toil, plenty after want,
and attention to their persons after dirt and filth, had variously
affected their squalid and almost savage-looking bodies. This was the
reason that Publius Cornelius, the consul, when he had arrived at Pisa
with his fleet, hastened to the Po, though the troops he received from
Manlius and Atilius were raw and disheartened by their late disgraces,
in order that he might engage the enemy when not yet recruited. But
when the consul came to Placentia, Hannibal had already moved from his
quarters, and had taken by storm one city of the Taurini, the capital
of the nation, because they did not come willingly into his alliance;
and he would have gained over to him, not only from fear, but also
from inclination, the Gauls who dwell beside the Po, had not the
arrival of the consul suddenly checked them while watching for an
opportunity of revolt. Hannibal at the same time moved from the
Taurini, thinking that the Gauls, uncertain which side to choose,
would follow him if present among them. The armies were now almost in
sight of each other, and their leaders, though not at present
sufficiently acquainted, yet met each other with a certain feeling of
mutual admiration. For the name of Hannibal, even before the
destruction of Saguntum, was very celebrated among the Romans; and
Hannibal believed Scipio to be a superior man, from the very
circumstance of his having been specially chosen to act as commander
against himself. They had increased too their estimation of each
other; Scipio, because, being left behind in Gaul, he had met Hannibal
when he had crossed into Italy; Hannibal, by his daring attempt of
crossing the Alps and by its accomplishment. Scipio, however, was the
first to cross the Po, and having pitched his camp at the river
Ticinus, he delivered the following oration for the sake of
encouraging his soldiers before he led them out to form for battle:

40. "If, soldiers, I were leading out that army to battle which I had
with me in Gaul, I should have thought it superfluous to address you;
for of what use would it be to exhort either those horsemen who so
gloriously vanquished the cavalry of the enemy at the river Rhone, or
those legions with whom, pursuing this very enemy flying before us, I
obtained in lieu of victory, a confession of superiority, shown by his
retreat and refusal to fight? Now because that army, levied for the
province of Spain, maintains the war under my auspices [Footnote:
Because Spain was his proper province as consul.] and the command of
my brother Cneius Scipio, in the country where the senate and people
of Rome wished him to serve, and since I, that you might have a consul
for your leader against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, have offered
myself voluntarily for this contest, few words are required to be
addressed from a new commander to soldiers unacquainted with him. That
you may not be ignorant of the nature of the war nor of the enemy, you
have to fight, soldiers, with those whom in the former war you
conquered both by land and sea; from whom you have exacted tribute for
twenty years; from whom you hold Sicily and Sardinia, taken as the
prizes of victory. In the present contest, therefore, you and they
will have those feelings which are wont to belong to the victors and
the vanquished. Nor are they now about to fight because they are
daring, but because it is unavoidable; except you can believe that
they who declined the engagement when their forces were entire, should
have now gained more confidence when two-thirds of their infantry and
cavalry have been lost in the passage of the Alps, and when almost
greater numbers have perished than survive. Yes, they are few indeed,
(some may say,) but they are vigorous in mind and body; men whose
strength and power scarce any force may withstand. On the contrary,
they are but the resemblances, nay, are rather the shadows of men;
being worn out with hunger, cold, dirt, and filth, and bruised and
enfeebled among stones and rocks. Besides all this, their joints are
frost-bitten, their sinews stiffened with the snow, their limbs
withered up by the frost, their armour battered and shivered, their
horses lame and powerless. With such cavalry, with such infantry, you
have to fight: you will not have enemies in reality, but rather their
last remains. And I fear nothing more than that when you have fought
Hannibal, the Alps may appear to have conquered him. But perhaps it
was fitting that the gods themselves should, without any human aid,
commence and carry forward a war with a leader and a people that
violate the faith of treaties; and that we, who next to the gods have
been injured, should finish the contest thus commenced and nearly

41. "I do not fear lest any one should think that I say this
ostentatiously for the sake of encouraging you, while in my own mind I
am differently affected. I was at liberty to go with my army into
Spain, my own province, whither I had already set out; where I should
have had a brother as the bearer of my councils and my dangers, and
Hasdrubal, instead of Hannibal, for my antagonist, and without
question a less laborious war: nevertheless, as I sailed along the
coast of Gaul, having landed on hearing of this enemy, and having sent
forward the cavalry, I moved my camp to the Rhone. In a battle of
cavalry, with which part of my forces the opportunity of engaging was
afforded, I routed the enemy; and because I could not overtake by land
his army of infantry, which was rapidly hurried away, as if in flight,
having returned to the ships with all the speed I could, after
compassing such an extent of sea and land, I have met him at the foot
of the Alps. Whether do I appear, while declining the contest, to have
fallen in unexpectedly with this dreaded foe, or encounter him in his
track? to challenge him and drag him out to decide the contest? I am
anxious to try whether the earth has suddenly, in these twenty years,
sent forth a new race of Carthaginians, or whether these are the same
who fought at the islands Aegates, and whom you permitted to defeat
from Eryx, valued at eighteen denarii a head; and whether this
Hannibal be, as he himself gives out, the rival of the expeditions of
Hercules, or one left by his father the tributary and taxed subject
and slave of the Roman people; who, did not his guilt at Saguntum
drive him to frenzy, would certainly reflect, if not upon his
conquered country, at least on his family, and his father, and the
treaties written by the hand of Hamilcar; who, at the command of our
consul, withdrew the garrison from Eryx; who, indignant and grieving,
submitted to the harsh conditions imposed on the conquered
Carthaginians; who agreed to depart from Sicily, and pay tribute to
the Roman people. I would, therefore, have you fight, soldiers, not
only with that spirit with which you are wont to encounter other
enemies, but with a certain indignation and resentment, as if you saw
your slaves suddenly taking up arms against you. We might have killed
them when shut up in Eryx by hunger, the most dreadful of human
tortures; we might have carried over our victorious fleet to Africa,
and in a few days have destroyed Carthage without any opposition. We
granted pardon to their prayers; we released them from the blockade;
we made peace with them when conquered; and we afterwards considered
them under our protection when they were oppressed by the African war.
In return for these benefits, they come under the conduct of a furious
youth to attack our country. And I wish that the contest on your side
was for glory, and not for safety: it is not about the possession of
Sicily and Sardinia, concerning which the dispute was formerly, but
for Italy, that you must fight: nor is there another army behind,
which, if we should not conquer, can resist the enemy; nor are there
other Alps, during the passage of which fresh forces may be procured:
here, soldiers, we must make our stand, as if we fought before the
walls of Rome. Let every one consider that he defends with his arms
not only his own person, but his wife and young children: nor let him
only entertain domestic cares and anxieties, but at the same time let
him revolve in his mind, that the senate and people of Rome now
anxiously regard our efforts; and that according as our strength and
valour shall be, such henceforward will be the fortune of that city
and of the Roman empire."

42. Thus the consul addressed the Romans. Hannibal, thinking that his
soldiers ought to be roused by deeds rather than by words, having
drawn his army around for the spectacle, placed in their midst the
captive mountaineers in fetters; and after Gallic arms had been thrown
at their feet, he ordered the interpreter to ask, "whether any among
them, on condition of being released from chains, and receiving, if
victorious, armour and a horse, was willing to combat with the sword?"
When they all, to a man, demanded the combat and the sword, and lots
were cast into the urn for that purpose, each wished himself the
person whom fortune might select for the contest. As the lot of each
man came out, eager and exulting with joy amidst the congratulations
of his comrades, and dancing after the national custom, he hastily
snatched up the arms: but when they fought, such was the state of
feeling, not only among their companions in the same circumstances,
but among the spectators in general, that the fortune of those who
conquered was not praised more than that of those who died bravely.

43. When he had dismissed the soldiers, thus affected after viewing
several pairs of combatants, having then summoned an assembly, he is
said to have addressed them in these terms: "If, soldiers, you shall
by and by, in judging of your own fortune, preserve the same feelings
which you experienced a little before in the example of the fate of
others, we have already conquered; for neither was that merely a
spectacle, but as it were a certain representation of your condition.
And I know not whether fortune has not thrown around you still
stronger chains and more urgent necessities than around your captives.
On the right and left two seas enclose you, without your possessing a
single ship even for escape. The river Po around you, the Po larger
and more impetuous than the Rhone, the Alps behind, scarcely passed by
you when fresh and vigorous, hem you in. Here, soldiers, where you
have first met the enemy, you must conquer or die; and the same
fortune which has imposed the necessity of fighting, holds out to you,
if victorious, rewards, than which men are not wont to desire greater,
even from the immortal gods. If we were only about to recover by our
valour Sicily and Sardinia, wrested from our fathers, the recompence
would be sufficiently ample; but whatever, acquired and amassed by so
many triumphs, the Romans possess, all, with its masters themselves,
will become yours. To gain this rich reward, hasten, then, and seize
your arms with the favour of the gods. Long enough in pursuing cattle
among the desert mountains of Lusitania [Footnote: The ancient name
of Portugal.] and Celtiberia, you have seen no emolument from so many
toils and dangers: it is time to make rich and profitable campaigns,
and to gain the great reward of your labours, after having
accomplished such a length of journey over so many mountains and
rivers, and so many nations in arms. Here fortune has granted you the
termination of your labours; here she will bestow a reward worthy of
the service you have undergone. Nor, in proportion as the war is great
in name, ought you to consider that the victory will be difficult. A
despised enemy has often maintained a sanguinary contest, and renowned
states and kings been conquered by a very slight effort. For, setting
aside only the splendour of the Roman name, what remains in which they
can be compared to you? To pass over in silence your service for
twenty years, distinguished by such valour and success you have made
your way to this place from the pillars of Hercules, [Footnote:
Calpe, a mountain or rather rock in Spain, and Abyla in Africa, fabled
to have been placed by Hercules as marks of his most distant voyage,
are now well known as Gibraltar and Ceuta.] from the ocean, and the
remotest limits of the world advancing victorious through so many of
the fiercest nations of Gaul and Spain: you will fight with a raw
army, which this very summer was beaten, conquered, and surrounded by
the Gauls, as yet unknown to its general, and ignorant of him. Shall I
compare myself, almost born, and certainly bred in the tent of my
father, that most illustrious commander, myself the subjugator of
Spain and Gaul, the conqueror too not only of the Alpine nations, but
what is much more, of the Alps themselves, with this six months'
general, the deserter of his army? To whom, if any one, having taken
away their standards, should show to-day the Carthaginians and Romans,
I am sure that he would not know of which army he was consul. I do not
regard it, soldiers, as of small account, that there is not a man
among you before whose eyes I have not often achieved some military
exploit; and to whom, in like manner, I the spectator and witness of
his valour, could not recount his own gallant deeds, particularized by
time and place. With soldiers who have a thousand times received my
praises and gifts, I, who was the pupil of you all before I became
your commander, will march out in battle-array against those who are
unknown to and ignorant of each other."

44. "On whatever side I turn my eyes I see nothing but what is full of
courage and energy; a veteran infantry; calvary, both those with and
those without the bridle, composed of the most gallant nations, you
our most faithful and valiant allies, you Carthaginians, who are about
to fight as well for the sake of your country as from the justest
resentment. We are the assailants in the war, and descend into Italy
with hostile standards, about to engage so much more boldly and
bravely than the foe, as the confidence and courage of the assailant
are greater than those of him who is defensive. Besides suffering,
injury and indignity inflame and excite our minds: they first demanded
me your leader for punishment, and then all of you who had laid siege
to Saguntum; and had we been given up they would have visited us with
the severest tortures. That most cruel and haughty nation considers
every thing its own, and at its own disposal; it thinks it right that
it should regulate with whom we are to have war, with whom peace: it
circumscribes and shuts us up by the boundaries of mountains and
rivers, which we must not pass; and then does not adhere to those
boundaries which it appointed. Pass not the Iberus; have nothing to do
with the Saguntines. Saguntum is on the Iberus; you must not move a
step in any direction. Is it a small thing that you take away my most
ancient provinces Sicily and Sardinia? will you take Spain also? and
should I withdraw thence, you will cross over into Africa--will cross,
did I say? they have sent the two consuls of this year one to Africa,
the other to Spain: there is nothing left to us in any quarter, except
what we can assert to ourselves by arms. Those may be cowards and
dastards who have something to look back upon; whom, flying through
safe and unmolested roads, their own lands and their own country will
receive: there is a necessity for you to be brave; and since all
between victory and death is broken off from you by inevitable
despair, either to conquer, or, if fortune should waver, to meet death
rather in battle than flight. If this be well fixed and determined in
the minds of you all, I will repeat, you have already conquered: no
stronger incentive to victory has been given to man by the immortal

45. When the minds of the soldiers on both sides had been animated to
the contest by these exhortations, the Romans throw a bridge over the
Ticinus, and, for the sake of defending the bridge, erect a fort on
it. The Carthaginian, while the Romans were engaged in this work,
sends Maharbal with a squadron of five hundred Numidian horse, to lay
waste the territories of the allies of the Roman people. He orders
that the Gauls should be spared as much as possible, and the minds of
their chiefs be instigated to a revolt. When the bridge was finished,
the Roman army being led across into the territory of the Insubrians,
took up its station five miles from Victumviae. At this place Hannibal
lay encamped; and having quickly recalled Maharbal and the cavalry,
when he perceived that a battle was approaching, thinking that in
exhorting the soldiers enough could never be spoken or addressed by
way of admonition, he announces to them, when summoned to an assembly,
stated rewards, in expectation of which they might fight. He promised,
"that he would give them land in Italy, Africa, Spain, where each man
might choose, exempt from all burdens to the person who received it,
and to his children: if any one preferred money to land, he would
satisfy him in silver; if any of the allies wished to become citizens
of Carthage, he would grant them permission; if others chose rather to
return home, he would lend his endeavours that they should not wish
the situation of any one of their countrymen exchanged for their own."
To the slaves also who followed their masters he promised freedom, and
that he would give two slaves in place of each of them to their
masters. And that they might know that these promises were certain,
holding in his left hand a lamb, and in his right a flint, having
prayed to Jupiter and the other gods, that, if he was false to his
word, they would thus slay him as he slew the lamb; after the prayer
he broke the skull of the sheep with the stone. Then in truth all,
receiving as it were the gods as sureties, each for the fulfilment of
his own hopes, and thinking that the only delay in obtaining the
object of their wishes arose from their not yet being engaged, with
one mind and one voice demanded the battle.

46. By no means so great an alacrity prevailed among the Romans, who,
in addition to other causes, were also alarmed by recent prodigies;
for both a wolf had entered the camp, and having torn those who met
him, had escaped unhurt; and a swarm of bees had settled on a tree
overhanging the general's tent. After these prodigies were expiated,
Scipio having set out with his cavalry and light-armed spearmen
towards the camp of the enemy, to observe from a near point their
forces, how numerous, and of what description they were, falls in with
Hannibal, who had himself also advanced with his cavalry to explore
the circumjacent country: neither at first perceived the other, but
the dust arising from the trampling of so many men and horses soon
gave the signal of approaching enemies. Both armies halted, and were
preparing themselves for battle. Scipio places his spearmen and Gallic
cavalry in front; the Romans and what force of allies he had with him,
in reserve. Hannibal receives the horsemen who rode with the rein in
the centre, and strengthens his wings with Numidians. When the shout
was scarcely raised, the spearmen fled among the reserve to the second
line: there was then a contest of the cavalry, for some time doubtful;
but afterwards, on account of the foot soldiers, who were
intermingled, causing confusion among the horses, many of the riders
falling off from their horses, or leaping down where they saw their
friends surrounded and hard pressed, the battle for the most part came
to be fought on foot; until the Numidians, who were in the wings,
having made a small circuit, showed themselves on the rear. That alarm
dismayed the Romans, and the wound of the consul, and the danger to
his life, warded off by the interposition of his son, then just
arriving at the age of puberty, augmented their fears. This youth will
be found to be the same to whom the glory of finishing this war
belongs, and to whom the name of Africanus was given, on account of
his splendid victory over Hannibal and the Carthaginians. The flight,
however, of the spearmen, whom the Numidians attacked first, was the
most disorderly. The rest of the cavalry, in a close body, protecting,
not only with their arms, but also with their bodies, the consul, whom
they had received into the midst of them, brought him back to the camp
without any where giving way in disorder or precipitation. Coelius
attributes the honour of saving the consul to a slave, by nation a
Ligurian. I indeed should rather wish that the account about the son
was true, which also most authors have transmitted, and the report of
which has generally obtained credit.

47. This was the first battle with Hannibal; from which it clearly
appeared that the Carthaginian was superior in cavalry; and on that
account, that open plains, such as lie between the Po and the Alps,
were not suited to the Romans for carrying on the war. On the
following night, therefore, the soldiers being ordered to prepare
their baggage in silence, the camp broke up from the Ticinus, and they
hastened to the Po, in order that the rafts by which the consul had
formed a bridge over the river, being not yet loosened, he might lead
his forces across without disturbance or pursuit of the enemy. They
arrived at Placentia before Hannibal had ascertained that they had set
out from the Ticinus. He took, however, six hundred of those who
loitered on the farther bank, who were slowly unfastening the raft;
but he was not able to pass the bridge, as the whole raft floated down
the stream as soon as the ends were unfastened. Coelius relates that
Mago, with the cavalry and Spanish infantry, immediately swam the
river; and that Hannibal himself led the army across by fords higher
up the Po, the elephants being opposed to the stream in a line to
break the force of the current. These accounts can scarcely gain
credit with those who are acquainted with that river; for it is
neither probable that the cavalry could bear up against the great
violence of the stream, without losing their arms or horses, even
supposing that inflated bags of leather had transported all the
Spaniards; and the fords of the Po, by which an army encumbered with
baggage could pass, must have been sought by a circuit of many days'
march. Those authors are more credited by me, who relate that in the
course of two days a place was with difficulty found fit for forming a
bridge of rafts across the river, and that by this way the light-armed
Spanish cavalry was sent forward with Mago. Whilst Hannibal, delaying
beside the river to give audience to the embassies of the Gauls,
conveys over the heavy-armed forces of infantry, in the mean time
Mago and the cavalry proceed towards the enemy at Placentia one day's
journey after crossing the river. Hannibal, a few days after,
fortified his camp six miles from Placentia, and on the following day,
having drawn up his line of battle in sight of the enemy, gave them an
opportunity of fighting.

48. On the following night a slaughter was made in the Roman camp by
the auxiliary Gauls, which appeared greater from the tumult than it
proved in reality. Two thousand infantry and two hundred horse, having
killed the guards at the gates, desert to Hannibal; whom the
Carthaginians having addressed kindly, and excited by the hope of
great rewards, sent each to several states to gain over the minds of
their countrymen. Scipio, thinking that that slaughter was a signal
for the revolt of all the Gauls, and that, contaminated with the guilt
of that affair, they would rush to arms as if a frenzy had been sent
among them, though he was still suffering severely from his wound, yet
setting out for the river Trebia at the fourth watch of the following
night with his army in silence, he removes his camp to higher ground
and hills more embarrassing to the cavalry. He escaped observation
less than at the Ticinus: and Hannibal, having despatched first the
Numidians and then all the cavalry, would have thrown the rear at
least into great confusion, had not the Numidians, through anxiety for
booty, turned aside into the deserted Roman camp. There whilst,
closely examining every part of the camp, they waste time, with no
sufficient reward for the delay, the enemy escaped out of their hands;
and when they saw the Romans already across the Trebia, and measuring
out their camp, they kill a few of the loiterers intercepted on that
side of the river. Scipio being unable to endure any longer the
irritation of his wound, caused by the roughness of the road, and
thinking that he ought to wait for his colleague, (for he had now
heard that he was recalled from Sicily,) fortified a space of chosen
ground, which, adjoining the river, seemed safest for a stationary
camp. When Hannibal had encamped not far from thence, being as much
elated with the victory of his cavalry, as anxious on account of the
scarcity which every day assailed him more severely, marching as he
did through the territory of the enemy, and supplies being no where
provided, he sends to the village of Clastidium, where the Romans had
collected a great stock of corn. There, whilst they were preparing for
an assault, a hope of the town being betrayed to them was held out:
Dasius, a Brundusian, the governor of the garrison, having been
corrupted for four hundred pieces of gold, (no great bribe truly,)
Clastidium is surrendered to Hannibal. It served as a granary for the
Carthaginians while they lay at the Trebia. No cruelty was used
towards the prisoners of the surrendered garrison, in order that a
character for clemency might be acquired at the commencement of his

49. While the war by land was at a stand beside the Trebia, in the
mean time operations went on by land and sea around Sicily and the
islands adjacent to Italy, both under Sempronius the consul, and
before his arrival. Twenty quinqueremes, with a thousand armed men,
having been sent by the Carthaginians to lay waste the coast of Italy,
nine reached the Liparae, eight the island of Vulcan, and three the
tide drove into the strait. On these being seen from Messana, twelve
ships sent out by Hiero king of Syracuse, who then happened to be at
Messana, waiting for the Roman consul, brought back into the port of
Messana the ships taken without any resistance. It was discovered from
the prisoners that, besides the twenty ships, to which fleet they
belonged, and which had been despatched against Italy, thirty-five
other quinqueremes were directing their course to Sicily, in order to
gain over their ancient allies: that their main object was to gain
possession of Lilybaeum, and they believed that that fleet had been
driven to the islands Aegates by the same storm by which they
themselves had been dispersed. The king writes these tidings,
according as they had been received, to Marcus Aemilius the praetor,
whose province Sicily was, and advises him to occupy Lilybaeum with a
strong garrison. Immediately the lieutenants, generals, and tribunes,
with the praetor, were despatched to the different states, in order
that they might keep their men on vigilant guard; above all things it
was commanded, that Lilybaeum should be secured: an edict having been
put forth that, in addition to such warlike preparations, the crews
should carry down to their ships dressed provisions for ten days, so
that no one when the signal was given might delay in embarking; and
that those who were stationed along the whole coast should look out
from their watch-towers for the approaching fleet of the enemy. The
Carthaginians, therefore, though they had purposely slackened the
course of their ships, so that they might reach Lilybaeum just before
daybreak, were descried before their arrival, because both the moon
shone all night, and they came with their sails set up. Immediately
the signal was given from the watch-towers, and the summons to arms
was shouted through the town, and they embarked in the ships: part of
the soldiers were left on the walls and at the stations of the gates,
and part went on board the fleet. The Carthaginians, because they
perceived that they would not have to do with an unprepared enemy,
kept back from the harbour till daylight, that interval being spent in
taking down their rigging and getting ready the fleet for action. When
the light appeared, they withdrew their fleet into the open sea, that
there might be room for the battle, and that the ships of the enemy
might have a free egress from the harbour. Nor did the Romans decline
the conflict, being emboldened both by the recollection of the
exploits they had performed near that very spot, and by the numbers
and valour of their soldiers.

50. When they had advanced into the open sea, the Romans wished to
come to close fight, and to make a trial of strength hand to hand. The
Carthaginians, on the contrary, eluded them, and sought to maintain
the fight by art, not by force, and to make it a battle of ships
rather than of men and arms: for though they had their fleet
abundantly supplied with mariners, yet it was deficient in soldiers;
and when a ship was grappled, a very unequal number of armed men
fought on board of it. When this was observed, their numbers increased
the courage of the Romans, and their inferiority of force diminished
that of the others. Seven Carthaginian ships were immediately
surrounded; the rest took to flight: one thousand seven hundred
soldiers and mariners were captured in the ships, and among them were
three noble Carthaginians. The Roman fleet returned without loss to
the harbour, only one ship being pierced, and even that also brought
back into port. After this engagement, before those at Messana were
aware of its occurrence, Titus Sempronius the consul arrived at
Messana. As he entered the strait, king Hiero led out a fleet fully
equipped to meet him; and having passed from the royal ship into that
of the general, he congratulated him on having arrived safe with his
army and fleet, and prayed that his expedition to Sicily might be
prosperous and successful. He then laid before him the state of the
island and the designs of the Carthaginians, and promised that with
the same spirit with which he had in his youth assisted the Romans
during the former war, he would now assist them in his old age; that
he would gratuitously furnish supplies of corn and clothing to the
legions and naval crews of the consul; adding, that great danger
threatened Lilybaeum and the maritime states, and that a change of
affairs would be acceptable to some of them. For these reasons it
appeared to the consul that he ought to make no delay, but to repair
to Lilybaeum with his fleet. The king and the royal squadron set out
along with him, and on their passage they heard that a battle had been
fought at Lilybaeum, and that the enemy's ships had been scattered and

51. The consul having dismissed Hiero with the royal fleet, and left
the praetor to defend the coast of Sicily, passed over himself from
Lilybaeum to the island Melita, which was held in possession by the
Carthaginians. On his arrival, Hamilcar, the son of Gisgo, the
commander of the garrison, with little less than two thousand
soldiers, together with the town and the island, are delivered up to
him: thence, after a few days, he returned to Lilybaeum, and the
prisoners taken, both by the consul and the praetor, excepting those
illustrious for their rank, were publicly sold. When the consul
considered that Sicily was sufficiently safe on that side, he crossed
over to the islands of Vulcan, because there was a report that the
Carthaginian fleet was stationed there: but not one of the enemy was
discovered about those islands. They had already, as it happened,
passed over to ravage the coast of Italy, and having laid waste the
territory of Vibo, were also threatening the city. The descent made by
the enemy on the Vibonensian territory is announced to the consul as
he was returning to Sicily: and letters were delivered to him which
had been sent by the senate, about the passage of Hannibal into Italy,
commanding him as soon as possible to bring assistance to his
colleague. Perplexed with having so many anxieties at once, he
immediately sent his army, embarked in the fleet, by the upper sea to
Ariminum; he assigned the defence of the territory of Vibo, and the
sea-coast of Italy, to Sextus Pomponius, his lieutenant-general, with
twenty-five ships of war: he made up a fleet of fifty ships for Marcus
Aemilius the praetor; and he himself, after the affairs of Sicily were
settled, sailing close along the coast of Italy with ten ships,
arrived at Ariminum, whence, setting out with his army for the river
Trebia, he joined his colleague.

52. Both the consuls and all the strength of Rome being now opposed to
Hannibal, made it sufficiently obvious that the Roman empire could
either be defended by those forces, or that there was no other hope
left. Yet the one consul being dispirited by the battle of the cavalry
and his own wound, wished operations to be deferred: the other having
his spirits unsubdued, and being therefore the more impetuous,
admitted no delay. The tract of country between the Trebia and the Po
was then inhabited by the Gauls, who, in this contest of two very
powerful states, by a doubtful neutrality, were evidently looking
forward to the favour of the conqueror. The Romans submitted to this
conduct of the Gauls with tolerable satisfaction, provided they did
not take any active part at all; but the Carthaginian bore it with
great discontent, giving out that he had come invited by the Gauls to
set them at liberty. On account of that resentment, and in order that
he might at the same time maintain his troops from the plunder, he
ordered two thousand foot and a thousand horse, chiefly Numidians,
with some Gauls intermixed, to lay waste all the country
straightforward as far as the banks of the Po. The Gauls, being in
want of assistance, though they had up to this time kept their
inclinations doubtful, are forced by the authors of the injury to turn
to some who would be their supporters; and having sent ambassadors to
the consul, they implore the aid of the Romans in behalf of a country
which was suffering for the too great fidelity of its inhabitants to
the Romans. Neither the cause nor the time of pleading it was
satisfactory to Cornelius; and the nation was suspected by him, both
on account of many treacherous actions, and though others might have
been forgotten through length of time, on account of the recent
perfidy of the Boii. Sempronius, on the contrary, thought that it
would be the strongest tie upon the fidelity of the allies, if those
were defended who first required support. Then, while his colleague
hesitated, he sends his own cavalry, with about a thousand spearmen on
foot in their company, to protect the Gallic territory beyond the
Trebia. These, when they had unexpectedly attacked the enemy while
scattered and disordered, and for the most part encumbered with booty,
caused great terror, slaughter, and flight, even as far as the camp
and outposts of the enemy; whence being repulsed by the numbers that
poured out, they again renewed the fight with the assistance of their
own party. Then pursuing and retreating in doubtful battle, though
they left it at last equal, yet the fame of the victory was more with
the Romans than the enemy.

53. But to no one did it appear more important and just than to the
consul himself. He was transported with joy "that he had conquered
with that part of the forces with which the other consul had been
defeated; that the spirits of the soldiers were restored and revived;
that there was no one, except his colleague, who would wish an
engagement delayed; and that he, suffering more from disease of mind
than body, shuddered, through recollection of his wound, at arms and
battle. But others ought not to sink into decrepitude together with a
sick man. For why should there be any longer protraction or waste of
time? What third consul, what other army did they wait for? The camp
of the Carthaginians was in Italy, and almost in sight of the city. It
was not Sicily and Sardinia, which had been taken from them when
vanquished, nor Spain on this side of the Iberus, that was their
object, but that the Romans should be driven from the land of their
fathers, and the soil in which they were born. How deeply," he
continued, "would our fathers groan, who were wont to wage war around
the walls of Carthage, if they should see us their offspring, two
consuls and two consular armies, trembling within our camps in the
heart of Italy, while a Carthaginian had made himself master of all
the country between the Alps and the Apennine!" Such discourses did he
hold while sitting beside his sick colleague, and also at the
head-quarters, almost in the manner of an harangue. The approaching
period of the elections also stimulated him, lest the war should be
protracted till the new consuls were chosen, and the opportunity of
turning all the glory to himself, while his colleague lay sick. He
orders the soldiers, therefore, Cornelius in vain attempting to
dissuade him, to get ready for an immediate engagement. Hannibal, as
he saw what conduct would be best for the enemy, had scarce at first
any hope that the consuls would do any thing rashly or imprudently,
but when he discovered that the disposition of the one, first known
from report, and afterwards from experience, was ardent and impetuous,
and believed that it had been rendered still more impetuous by the
successful engagement with his predatory troops, he did not doubt that
an opportunity of action was near at hand. He was anxious and watchful
not to omit this opportunity, while the troops of the enemy were raw,
while his wound rendered the better of the two commanders useless, and
while the spirits of the Gauls were fresh; of whom he knew that a
great number would follow him with the greater reluctance the farther
they were drawn away from home. When, for these and similar reasons,
he hoped that an engagement was near and desired to make the attack
himself, if there should be any delay; and when the Gauls, who were
the safer spies to ascertain what he wished, as they served in both
camps, had brought intelligence that the Romans were prepared for
battle, the Carthaginian began to look about for a place for an

54. Between the armies was a rivulet, bordered on each side with very
high banks, and covered around with marshy plants, and with the
brushwood and brambles with which uncultivated places are generally
overspread; and when, riding around it, he had, with his own eyes,
thoroughly reconnoitred a place which was sufficient to afford a
covert even for cavalry, he said to Mago his brother: "This will be
the place which you must occupy. Choose out of all the infantry and
cavalry a hundred men of each, with whom come to me at the first
watch. Now is the time to refresh their bodies." The council was thus
dismissed, and in a little time Mago came forward with his chosen men.
"I see," said Hannibal, "the strength of the men; but that you may be
strong not only in resolution, but also in number, pick out each from
the troops and companies nine men like yourselves: Mago will show you
the place where you are to lie in ambush. You will have an enemy who
is blind to these arts of war." A thousand horse and a thousand foot,
under the command of Mago, having been thus sent off, Hannibal orders
the Numidian cavalry to ride up, after crossing the river Trebia by
break of day, to the gates of the enemy, and to draw them out to a
battle by discharging their javelins at the guards; and then, when the
fight was commenced, by retiring slowly to decoy them across the
river. These instructions were given to the Numidians: to the other
leaders of the infantry and cavalry it was commanded that they should
order all their men to dine; and then, under arms and with their
horses equipped, to await the signal. Sempronius, eager for the
contest, led out, on the first tumult raised by the Numidians, all the
cavalry, being full of confidence in that part of the forces; then six
thousand infantry, and lastly all his army, to the place already
determined in his plan. It happened to be the winter season and a
snowy day, in the region which lies between the Alps and the Apennine,
and excessively cold by the proximity of rivers and marshes: besides,
there was no heat in the bodies of the men and horses thus hastily led
out without having first taken food, or employed any means to keep off
the cold; and the nearer they approached to the blasts from the river,
a keener degree of cold blew upon them. But when, in pursuit of the
flying Numidians, they entered the water, (and it was swollen by rain
in the night as high as their breasts,) then in truth the bodies of
all, on landing, were so benumbed, that they were scarcely able to
hold their arms; and as the day advanced they began to grow faint,
both from fatigue and hunger.

55. In the mean time the soldiers of Hannibal, fires having been
kindled before the tents, and oil sent through the companies to soften
their limbs, and their food having been taken at leisure, as soon as
it was announced that the enemy had passed the river, seized their
arms with vigour of mind and body, and advanced to the battle.
Hannibal placed before the standards the Baliares and the light-armed
troops, to the amount of nearly eight thousand men; then the
heavier-armed infantry, the chief of his power and strength: on the
wings he posted ten thousand horse, and on their extremities stationed
the elephants divided into two parts. The consul placed on the flanks
of his infantry the cavalry, recalled by the signal for retreat, as in
their irregular pursuit of the enemy they were checked, while
unprepared, by the Numidians suddenly turning upon them. There were of
infantry eighteen thousand Romans, twenty thousand allies of the Latin
name, besides the auxiliary forces of the Cenomani, the only Gallic
nation that had remained faithful: with these forces they engaged the
enemy. The battle was commenced by the Baliares; whom when the legions
resisted with superior force, the light-armed troops were hastily
drawn off to the wings; which movement caused the Roman cavalry to be
immediately overpowered: for when their four thousand already with
difficulty withstood by themselves ten thousand of the enemy, the
wearied, against men for the most part fresh, they were overwhelmed in
addition by a cloud as it were of javelins, discharged by the
Baliares; and the elephants besides, which held a prominent position
at the extremities of the wings, (the horses being greatly terrified
not only at their appearance, but their unusual smell,) occasioned
flight to a wide extent. The battle between the infantry was equal
rather in courage than strength; for the Carthaginian brought the
latter entire to the action, having a little before refreshed
themselves, while, on the contrary, the bodies of the Romans,
suffering from fasting and fatigue, and stiff with cold, were quite
benumbed. They would have made a stand, however, by dint of courage,
if they had only had to fight with the infantry. But both the
Baliares, having beaten off the cavalry, poured darts on their flanks,
and the elephants had already penetrated to the centre of the line of
the infantry; while Mago and the Numidians, as soon as the army had
passed their place of ambush without observing them, starting up on
their rear, occasioned great disorder and alarm. Nevertheless, amid so
many surrounding dangers, the line for some time remained unbroken,
and, most contrary to the expectation of all, against the elephants.
These the light infantry, posted for the purpose, turned back by
throwing their spears; and following them up when turned, pierced them
under the tail, where they received the wounds in the softest skin.

56. Hannibal ordered the elephants, thus thrown into disorder, and
almost driven by their terror against their own party, to be led away
from the centre of the line to its extremity against the auxiliary
Gauls on the left wing. In an instant they occasioned unequivocal
flight; and a new alarm was added to the Romans when they saw their
auxiliaries routed. About ten thousand men, therefore, as they now
were fighting in a circle, the others being unable to escape, broke
through the middle of the line of the Africans, which was supported by
the Gallic auxiliaries, with immense slaughter of the enemy: and since
they neither could return to the camp, being shut out by the river,
nor, on account of the heavy rain, satisfactorily determine in what
part they should assist their friends, they proceeded by the direct
road to Placentia. After this several irruptions were made in all
directions; and those who sought the river were either swallowed up in
its eddies, or whilst they hesitated to enter it were cut off by the
enemy. Some, who had been scattered abroad through the country in
their flight, by following the traces of the retreating army, arrived
at Placentia; others, the fear of the enemy inspired with boldness to
enter the river, having crossed it, reached the camp. The rain mixed
with snow, and the intolerable severity of the cold, destroyed many
men and beasts of burden, and almost all the elephants. The river
Trebia was the termination of the Carthaginians' pursuit of the enemy;
and they returned to the camp so benumbed with cold, that they could
scarcely feel joy for the victory. On the following night, therefore,
though the guard of the camp and the principal part of the soldiers
that remained passed the Trebia on rafts, they either did not perceive
it, on account of the beating of the rain, or being unable to bestir
themselves, through their fatigue and wounds, pretended that they did
not perceive it; and the Carthaginians remaining quiet, the army was
silently led by the consul Scipio to Placentia, thence transported
across the Po to Cremona, lest one colony should be too much burdened
by the winter quarters of two armies.

57. Such terror on account of this disaster was carried to Rome, that
they believed that the enemy was already approaching the city with
hostile standards, and that they had neither hope nor aid by which
they might repel his attack from the gates and walls. One consul
having been defeated at the Ticinus, the other having been recalled
from Sicily, and now both consuls and their two consular armies having
been vanquished, what other commanders, what other legions were there
to be sent for? The consul Sempronius came to them whilst thus
dismayed, having passed at great risk through the cavalry of the
enemy, scattered in every direction in search of plunder, with
courage, rather than with any plan or hope of escaping, or of making
resistance if he should not escape it. Having held the assembly for
the election of the consuls, the only thing which was particularly
wanting at present, he returned to the winter quarters. Cneius
Servilius and Caius Flaminius were elected consuls. But not even the
winter quarters of the Romans were undisturbed, the Numidian horse
ranging at large, and where the ground was impracticable for these,
the Celtiberians and Lusitanians. All supplies, therefore, from every
quarter, were cut off, except such as the ships conveyed by the Po.
There was a magazine near Placentia, both fortified with great care
and secured by a strong garrison. In the hope of taking this fort,
Hannibal having set out with the cavalry and the light-armed horse,
and having attacked it by night, as he rested his main hope of
effecting his enterprise on keeping it concealed, did not escape the
notice of the guards. Such a clamour was immediately raised, that it
was heard even at Placentia. The consul; therefore, came up with the
cavalry about daybreak, having commanded the legions to follow in a
square band. In the mean time an engagement of cavalry commenced, in
which the enemy being dismayed because Hannibal retired wounded from
the fight, the fortress was admirably defended. After this, having
taken rest for a few days, and before his wound was hardly as yet
sufficiently healed, he sets out to lay siege to Victumviae. This
magazine had been fortified by the Romans in the Gallic war;
afterwards a mixture of inhabitants from the neighbouring states
around had made the place populous; and at this time the terror
created by the devastation of the enemy had driven together to it
numbers from the country. A multitude of this description, excited by
the report of the brave defence of the fortress near Placentia, having
snatched up their arms, went out to meet Hannibal. They engaged on the
road rather like armies in order of march than in line of battle; and
since on the one side there was nothing but a disorderly crowd, and on
the other a general confident in his soldiers, and soldiers in their
general, as many as thirty-five thousand men were routed by a few. On
the following day, a surrender having been made, they received a
garrison within their walls; and being ordered to deliver up their
arms, as soon as they had obeyed the command, a signal is suddenly
given to the victors to pillage the city, as if it had been taken by
storm; nor was any outrage, which in such cases is wont to appear to
writers worthy of relation, left unperpetrated; such a specimen of
every kind of lust, barbarity, and inhuman insolence was exhibited
towards that unhappy people. Such were the expeditions of Hannibal
during the winter.

58. For a short time after, while the cold continued intolerable, rest
was given to the soldiers; and having set out from his winter quarters
on the first and uncertain indications of spring, he leads them into
Etruria, intending to gain that nation to his side, like the Gauls and
Ligurians, either by force or favour. As he was crossing the
Apennines, so furious a storm attacked him, that it almost surpassed
the horrors of the Alps. When the rain and wind together were driven
directly against their faces, they at first halted, because their arms
must either be cast away, or striving to advance against the storm
they were whirled round by the hurricane, and dashed to the ground:
afterwards, when it now stopped their breath, nor suffered them to
respire, they sat down for a little, with their backs to the wind.
Then indeed the sky resounded with loud thunder, and the lightnings
flashed between its terrific peals; all, bereft of sight and hearing,
stood torpid with fear. At length, when the rain had spent itself, and
the fury of the wind was on that account the more increased, it seemed
necessary to pitch the camp in that very place where they had been
overtaken by the storm. But this was the beginning of their labours,
as it were, afresh; for neither could they spread out nor fix any
tent, nor did that which perchance had been put up remain, the wind
tearing through and sweeping every thing away: and soon after, when
the water raised aloft by the wind had been frozen above the cold
summits of the mountains, it poured down such a torrent of snowy hail,
that the men, casting away every thing, fell down upon their faces,
rather buried under than sheltered by their coverings; and so extreme
an intensity of cold succeeded, that when each wished to raise and
lift himself from that wretched heap of men and beasts of burden, he
was for a long time unable, because their sinews being stiffened by
the cold, they had great difficulty in bending their joints.
Afterwards, when, by continually moving themselves to and fro, they
succeeded in recovering the power of motion, and regained their
spirits, and fires began to be kindled in a few places, every helpless
man had recourse to the aid of others. They remained as if blockaded
for two days in that place. Many men and beasts of burden, and also
seven elephants, of those which had remained from the battle fought at
the Trebia, were destroyed.

59. Having descended from the Apennines, he moved his camp back
towards Placentia, and having proceeded as far as ten miles, took up
his station. On the following day he leads out twelve thousand
infantry and five thousand cavalry against the enemy. Nor did
Sempronius the consul (for he had now returned from Rome) decline the
engagement; and during that day three miles intervened between the two
camps. On the following day they fought with amazing courage and
various success. At the first onset the Roman power was so superior,
that they not only conquered the enemy in the regular battle, but
pursued them when driven back quite into their camp, and soon after
also assaulted it. Hannibal, having stationed a few to defend the
rampart and the gates, and having admitted the rest in close array
into the middle of the camp orders them to watch attentively the
signal for sallying out. It was now about the ninth hour of the day
when the Roman, having fatigued his soldiers to no purpose, after
there was no hope of gaining possession of the camp, gave the signal
for retreat; which when Hannibal heard, and saw that the attack was
slackened, and that they were retreating from the camp, instantly
having sent out the cavalry on the right and left against the enemy,
he himself in the middle with the main force of the infantry rushed
out from the camp. Seldom has there been a combat more furious, and
few would have been more remarkable for the loss on both sides, if the
day had suffered it to continue for a longer time. Night broke off the
battle when raging most from the determined spirit of the combatants.
The conflict therefore was more severe than the slaughter: and as it
was pretty much a drawn battle, they separated with equal loss. On
neither side fell more than six hundred infantry, and half that number
of cavalry. But the loss of the Romans was more severe than
proportionate to the number that fell, because several of equestrian
rank, and five tribunes of the soldiers, and three prefects of the
allies were slain. After this battle Hannibal retired to the territory
of the Ligurians, and Sempronius to Luca. Two Roman quaestors, Caius
Fulvius and Lucius Lucretius, who had been treacherously intercepted,
with two military tribunes and five of the equestrian order, mostly
sons of senators, are delivered up to Hannibal when coming among the
Ligurians, in order that he might feel more convinced that the peace
and alliance with them would be binding.

60. While these things are transacting in Italy, Cneius Cornelius
Scipio having been sent into Spain with a fleet and army, when,
setting out from the mouth of the Rhone, and sailing past the
Pyrenaean mountains, he had moored his fleet at Emporiae, having there
landed his army, and beginning with the Lacetani, he brought the whole
coast, as far as the river Iberus, under the Roman dominion, partly by
renewing the old, and partly by forming new alliances. The reputation
for clemency, acquired by these means, had influence not only with the
maritime states, but now also with the more savage tribes in the
inland and mountainous districts; nor was peace only effected with
them, but also an alliance of arms, and several fine cohorts of
auxiliaries were levied from their numbers. The country on this side
of the Iberus was the province of Hanno, whom Hannibal had left to
defend that region. He, therefore, judging that he ought to make
opposition, before every thing was alienated from him, having pitched
his camp in sight of the enemy, led out his forces in battle-array;
nor did it appear to the Roman, that the engagement ought to be
deferred, as he knew that he must fight with Hanno and Hasdrubal, and
wished rather to contend against each of them separately, than against
both together. The conflict did not prove one of great difficulty; six
thousand of the enemy were slain, and two thousand made prisoners,
together with the guard of the camp; for both the camp was stormed,
and the general himself, with several of the chief officers, taken;
and Scissis, a town near the camp, was also carried by assault. But
the spoil of this town consisted of things of small value, such as the
household furniture used by barbarians and slaves that were worth
little. The camp enriched the soldiers; almost all the valuable
effects, not only of that army which was conquered, but of that which
was serving with Hannibal in Italy, having been left on this side the
Pyrenees, that the baggage might not be cumbrous to those who conveyed

61. Before any certain news of this disaster arrived, Hasdrubal,
having passed the Iberus with eight thousand foot and a thousand
horse, intending to meet the Romans on their first approach, after he
heard of the ruin of their affairs at Scissis, and the loss of the
camp, turned his route towards the sea. Not far from Tarraco, having
despatched his cavalry in various directions, he drove to their ships,
with great slaughter, and greater route, the soldiers belonging to the
fleet and the mariners, while scattered and wandering through the
fields (for it is usually the case that success produces negligence),
but not daring to remain longer in that quarter, lest he should be
surprised by Scipio, he withdrew to the other side of the Iberus. And
Scipio, having quickly brought up his army on the report of fresh
enemies, after punishing a few captains of ships and leaving a
moderate garrison at Tarraco, returned with his fleet to Emporiae. He
had scarcely departed, when Hasdrubal came up, and having instigated
to a revolt the state of the Ilergetes, which had given hostages to
Scipio, he lays waste, with the youth of that very people, the lands
of the faithful allies of the Romans. Scipio being thereupon roused
from his winter quarters, Hasdrubal again retires from in all the
country on this side the Iberus. Scipio, when with a hostile army he
had invaded the state of the Ilergetes, forsaken by the author of
their revolt, and having driven them all into Athanagia, which was the
capital of that nation laid siege to the city; and within a few days,
having imposed the delivery of more hostages than before, and also
fined the Ilergetes in a sum of money, he received them back into his
authority and dominion. He then proceeded against the Ausetani near
the Iberus, who were also the allies of the Carthaginians; and having
laid siege to their city, he cut off by an ambuscade the Lacetani,
while bringing assistance by night to their neighbours, having
attacked them at a small distance from the city, as they were
designing to enter it. As many as twelve thousand were slain; the
rest, nearly all without their arms, escaped home, by dispersing
through the country in every direction. Nor did any thing else but the
winter, which was unfavourable to the besiegers, secure the besieged.
The blockade continued for thirty days, during which the snow scarce
ever lay less deep than four feet; and it had covered to such a degree
the sheds and mantelets of the Romans, that it alone served as a
defence when fire was frequently thrown on them by the enemy. At last,
when Amusitus, their leader, had fled to Hasdrubal, they are
surrendered, on condition of paying twenty talents of silver. They
then returned into winter quarters at Tarraco.

62. At Rome during this winter many prodigies either occurred about the
city, or, as usually happens when the minds of men are once inclined
to superstition, many were reported and readily believed; among which
it was said that an infant of good family, only six months old, had
called out "Io triumphe" in the herb market: that in the cattle market
an ox had of his own accord ascended to the third story, and that
thence, being frightened by the noise of the inhabitants, had flung
himself down; that the appearance of ships had been brightly visible
in the sky, and that the temple of Hope in the herb market had been
struck by lightning; that the spear at Lanuvium had shaken itself;
that a crow had flown down into the temple of Juno and alighted on the
very couch; that in the territory of Amiternum figures resembling men
dressed in white raiment had been seen in several places at a
distance, but had not come close to any one; that in Picenum it had
rained stones; that at Caere the tablets for divination had been
lessened in size; and that in Gaul a wolf had snatched out the sword
from the scabbard of a soldier on guard, and carried it off. On
account of the other prodigies the decemvirs were ordered to consult
the books; but on account of its having rained stones in Picenum the
festival of nine days was proclaimed, and almost all the state was
occupied in expiating the rest, from time to time. First of all the
city was purified, and victims of the greater kind were sacrificed to
those gods to whom they were directed to be offered; and a gift of
forty pounds' weight of gold was carried to the temple of Juno at
Lanuvium; and the matrons dedicated a brazen statue to Juno on the
Aventine; and a lectisternium was ordered at Caere, where the tablets
for divination had diminished; and a supplication to Fortune at
Algidum; at Rome also a lectisternium was ordered to Youth, and a
supplication at the temple of Hercules, first by individuals named and
afterwards by the whole people at all the shrines; five greater
victims were offered to Genius; and Caius Atilius Serranus the praetor
was ordered to make certain vows if the republic should remain in the
same state for ten years. These things, thus expiated and vowed
according to the Sibylline books, relieved, in a great degree, the
public mind from superstitious fears.

63. Flaminius, one of the consuls elect, to whom the legions which
were wintering at Placentia had fallen by lot, sent an edict and
letter to the consul, desiring that those forces should be ready in
camp at Ariminum on the ides of March. He had a design to enter on the
consulship in his province, recollecting his old contests with the
fathers, which he had waged with them when tribune of the people, and
afterwards when consul, first about his election to the office, which
was annulled, and then about a triumph. He was also odious to the
fathers on account of a new law which Quintus Claudius, tribune of the
people, had carried against the senate, Caius Flaminius alone of that
body assisting him, that no senator, or he who had been father of a
senator, should possess a ship fit for sea service, containing more
than three hundred amphorae. This size was considered sufficient for
conveying the produce of their lands: all traffic appeared unbecoming
a senator. This contest, maintained with the warmest opposition,
procured the hatred of the nobility to Flaminius, the advocate of the
law; but the favour of the people, and afterwards a second consulship.
For these reasons, thinking that they would detain him in the city by
falsifying the auspices, by the delay of the Latin festival, and other
hinderances to which a consul was liable, he pretended a journey, and,
while yet in a private capacity, departed secretly to his province.
This proceeding, when it was made public, excited new and additional
anger in the senators, who were before irritated against him. They
said, "That Caius Flaminius waged war not only with the senate, but
now with the immortal gods; that having been formerly made consul
without the proper auspices, he had disobeyed both gods and men
recalling him from the very field of battle; and now, through
consciousness of their having been dishonoured, had shunned the
Capitol and the customary offering of vows, that he might not on the
day of entering his office approach the temple of Jupiter, the best
and greatest of gods; he might not see and consult the senate, himself
hated by it, as it was hateful to him alone; that he might not
proclaim the Latin festival, or perform on the Alban mount the
customary rights to Jupiter Latiaris; that he might not, under the
direction of the auspices, go up to the Capitol to recite his vows,
and thence, attended by the lictors, proceed to his province in the
garb of a general; but that he had set off, like some camp boy,
without his insignia, without the lictors, in secrecy and stealth,
just as if he had been quitting his country to go into banishment; as
if forsooth he would enter his office more consistently with the
dignity of the consul at Ariminum than Rome, and assume the robe of
office in a public inn better than before his own household gods."--it
was unanimously resolved that he, should be recalled and brought back,
and be constrained to perform in person every duty to gods and men
before he went to the army and the province. Quintus Terentius and
Marcus Antistius having set out on this embassy, (for it was decreed
that ambassadors should be sent,) prevailed with him in no degree more
than the letter sent by the senate in his former consulship. A few
days after he entered on his office, and as he was sacrificing a calf,
after being struck, having broken away from the hands of the
ministers, sprinkled several of the bystanders with its blood. Flight
and disorder ensued, to a still greater degree at a distance among
those who were ignorant what was the cause of the alarm. This
circumstance was regarded by most persons as an omen of great terror.
Having then received two legions from Sempronius, the consul of the
former year, and two from Caius Atilius, the praetor, the army began
to be led into Etruria, through the passes of the Apennines.


_Hannibal, after an uninterrupted march of four days and three
nights, arrives in Etruria, through the marshes, in which he lost an
eye. Caius Flaminius, the consul, an inconsiderate man, having gone
forth in opposition to the omens, dug up the standards which could not
otherwise be raised, and been thrown from his horse immediately after
he had mounted, is insnared by Hannibal, and cut off by his army near
the Thrasimene lake. Three thousand who had escaped are placed in
chains by Hannibal, in violation of pledges given. Distress occasioned
in Rome by the intelligence. The Sibylline books consulted, and a
sacred spring decreed. Fabius Maximus sent as dictator against
Hannibal, whom he frustrates by caution and delay. Marcus Minucius,
the master of the horse, a rash and impetuous man, inveighs against
the caution of Fabius, and obtains an equality of command with him.
The army is divided between them, and Minucius engaging Hannibal in an
unfavourable position, is reduced to the extremity of danger, and is
rescued by the dictator, and places himself under his authority.
Hannibal, after ravaging Campania, is shut up by Fabius in a valley
near the town of Casilinum, but escapes by night, putting to flight
the Romans on guard by oxen with lighted faggots attached to their
horns. Hannibal attempts to excite a suspicion of the fidelity of
Fabius by sparing his farm while ravaging with fire the whole country
around it. Aemilius Paulus and Terentius Varro are routed at Cannae,
and forty thousand men slain, among whom were Paulus the consul,
eighty senators, and thirty who had served the office of consul,
praetor, or edile. A design projected by some noble youths of quitting
Italy in despair after this calamity, is intrepidly quashed by Publius
Cornelius Scipio, a military tribune, afterwards surnamed Africanus.
Successes in Spain, eight thousand slaves are enlisted by the Romans,
they refuse to ransom the captives, they go out in a body to meet
Varro, and thank him for not having despaired of the commonwealth._

* * * * *

1. Spring was now at hand, when Hannibal quitted his winter quarters,
having both attempted in vain to cross the Apennines, from the
intolerable cold, and having remained with great danger and alarm. The
Gauls, whom the hope of plunder and spoil had collected, when, instead
of being themselves engaged in carrying and driving away booty from
the lands of others, they saw their own lands made the seat of war and
burdened by the wintering of the armies of both forces, turned their
hatred back again from the Romans to Hannibal; and though plots were
frequently concerted against him by their chieftains, he was preserved
by the treachery they manifested towards each other; disclosing their
conspiracy with the same inconstancy with which they had conspired;
and by changing sometimes his dress, at other times the fashion of his
hair, he protected himself from treachery by deception. However, this
fear was the cause of his more speedily quitting his winter quarters.
Meanwhile Cneius Servilius, the consul, entered upon his office at
Rome, on the ides of March. There, when he had consulted the senate on
the state of the republic in general, the indignation against
Flaminius was rekindled. They said "that they had created indeed two
consuls, that they had but one; for what regular authority had the
other, or what auspices? That their magistrates took these with them
from home, from the tutelar deities of themselves and the state, after
the celebration of the Latin holidays; the sacrifice upon the mountain
being completed, and the vows duly offered up in the Capitol: that
neither could an unofficial individual take the auspices, nor could
one who had gone from home without them, take them new, and for the
first time, in a foreign soil." Prodigies announced from many places
at the same time, augmented the terror: in Sicily, that several darts
belonging to the soldiers had taken fire; and in Sardinia, that the
staff of a horseman, who was going his rounds upon a wall, took fire
as he held it in his hand; that the shores had blazed with frequent
fires; that two shields had sweated blood at Praeneste; that redhot
stones had fallen from the heavens at Arpi; that shields were seen in
the heavens, and the sun fighting with the moon, at Capena; that two
moons rose in the day-time; that the waters of Caere had flowed mixed
with blood; and that even the fountain of Hercules had flowed
sprinkled with spots of blood. In the territory of Antium, that bloody
ears of corn had fallen into the basket as they were reaping. At
Falerii, that the heavens appeared cleft as if with a great chasm;
and, that where it had opened, a vast light had shone forth; that the
prophetic tablets had spontaneously become less; and that one had
fallen out thus inscribed, "Mars shakes his spear." During the same
time, that the statue of Mars at Rome, on the Appian way, had sweated
at the sight of images of wolves. At Capua that there had been the
appearance of the heavens being on fire, and of the moon as falling
amidst rain. After these, credence was given to prodigies of less
magnitude: that the goats of certain persons had borne wool; that a
hen had changed herself into a cock; and a cock into a hen: these
things having been laid before the senate as reported, the authors
being conducted into the senate-house, the consul took the sense of
the fathers on religious affairs. It was decreed that those prodigies
should be expiated, partly with full-grown, partly with sucking
victims; and that a supplication should be made at every shrine for
the space of three days; that the other things should be done
accordingly as the gods should declare in their oracles to be
agreeable to their will when the decemviri had examined the books. By
the advice of the decemviri it was decreed, first, that a golden
thunderbolt of fifty pounds' weight should be made as an offering to
Jupiter; that offerings of silver should be presented to Juno and
Minerva; that sacrifices of full-grown victims should be offered to
Juno Regina on the Aventine; and to Juno Sospita at Lanuvium; that the
matrons, contributing as much money as might be convenient to each,
should carry it to the Aventine, as a present to Juno Regina; and that
a lectisternium should be celebrated. Moreover, that the very
freed-women should, according to their means, contribute money from
which a present might be made to Feronia. When these things were done,
the decemviri sacrificed with the larger victims in the forum at
Ardea. Lastly, it being now the month of December, a sacrifice was
made at the temple of Saturn at Rome, and a lectisternium ordered, in
which senators prepared the couch and a public banquet. Proclamation
was made through the city, that the Saturnalia should be kept for a
day and a night; and the people were commanded to account that day as
a holiday, and observe it for ever.

2. While the consul employs himself at Rome in appeasing the gods and
holding the levy, Hannibal, setting out from his winter quarters,
because it was reported that the consul Flaminius had now arrived at
Arretium, although a longer but more commodious route was pointed out
to him, takes the nearer road through a marsh where the Arno had, more
than usual, overflowed its banks. He ordered the Spaniards and
Africans (in these lay the strength of his veteran army) to lead,
their own baggage being intermixed with them, lest, being compelled to
halt any where, they should want what might be necessary for their
use: the Gauls he ordered to go next, that they might form the middle
of the marching body; the cavalry to march in the rear: next, Mago
with the light-armed Numidians to keep the army together, particularly
coercing the Gauls, if, fatigued with exertion and the length of the
march, as that nation is wanting in vigour for such exertions, they
should fall away or halt. The van still followed the standards
wherever the guides did but lead them, through the exceeding deep and
almost fathomless eddies of the river, nearly swallowed up in mud, and
plunging themselves in. The Gauls could neither support themselves
when fallen, nor raise themselves from the eddies. Nor did they
sustain their bodies with spirit, nor their minds with hope; some
scarce dragging on their wearied limbs; others dying where they had
once fallen, their spirits being subdued with fatigue, among the
beasts which themselves also lay prostrate in every place. But chiefly
watching wore them out, endured now for four days and three nights.
When, the water covering every place, not a dry spot could be found
where they might stretch their weary bodies, they laid themselves down
upon their baggage, thrown in heaps into the waters. Piles of beasts,
which lay every where through the whole route, afforded a necessary
bed for temporary repose to those seeking any place which was not
under water. Hannibal himself, riding on the only remaining elephant,
to be the higher from the water, contracted a disorder in his eyes, at
first from the unwholesomeness of the vernal air, which is attended
with transitions from heat to cold; and at length from watching,
nocturnal damps, the marshy atmosphere disordering his head, and
because he had neither opportunity nor leisure for remedies, loses one
of them.

3. Many men and cattle having been lost thus wretchedly, when at
length he had emerged from the marshes, he pitched his camp as soon as
he could on dry ground. And here he received information, through the
scouts sent in advance, that the Roman army was round the walls of
Arretium. Next the plans and temper of the consul, the situation of
the country, the roads, the sources from which provisions might be
obtained, and whatever else it was useful to know; all these things he
ascertained by the most diligent inquiry. The country was among the
most fertile of Italy, the plain of Etruria, between Faesulae and
Arretium, abundant in its supply of corn, cattle, and every other
requisite. The consul was haughty from his former consulship, and felt
no proper degree of reverence not only for the laws and the majesty of
the fathers, but even for the gods. This temerity, inherent in his
nature, fortune had fostered by a career of prosperity and success in
civil and military affairs. Thus it was sufficiently evident that,
heedless of gods and men, he would act in all cases with presumption
and precipitation; and, that he might fall the more readily into the
errors natural to him, the Carthaginian begins to fret and irritate
him; and leaving the enemy on his left, he takes the road to Faesulae,
and marching through the centre of Etruria, with intent to plunder, he
exhibits to the consul, in the distance, the greatest devastation he
could with fires and slaughters. Flaminius, who would not have rested
even if the enemy had remained quiet; then, indeed, when he saw the
property of the allies driven and carried away almost before his eyes,
considering that it reflected disgrace upon him that the Carthaginian
now roaming at large through the heart of Italy, and marching without
resistance to storm the very walls of Rome, though every other person
in the council advised safe rather than showy measures, urging that he
should wait for his colleague, in order that, joining their armies,
they might carry on the war with united courage and counsels; and
that, meanwhile, the enemy should be prevented from his unrestrained
freedom in plundering by the cavalry and the light-armed auxiliaries;
in a fury hurried out of the council, and at once gave out the signal
for marching and for battle. "Nay, rather," says he, "let him be
before the walls of Arretium, for here is our country, here our
household gods. Let Hannibal, slipping through our fingers, waste
Italy through and through; and, ravaging and burning every thing, let
him arrive at the walls of Rome; let us move hence till the fathers
shall have summoned Flaminius from Arretium, as they did Camillus of
old from Veii." While reproaching them thus, and in the act of
ordering the standards to be speedily pulled up, when he had mounted
upon his horse, the animal fell suddenly, and threw the unseated
consul over his head. All the bystanders being alarmed at this as an
unhappy omen in the commencement of the affair, in addition word is
brought, that the standard could not be pulled up, though, the
standard-bearer strove with all his force. Flaminius, turning to the
messenger, says, "Do you bring, too, letters from the senate,
forbidding me to act. Go, tell them to dig up the standard, if,
through fear, their hands are so benumbed that they cannot pluck it
up." Then the army began to march; the chief officers, besides that
they dissented from the plan, being terrified by the twofold prodigy;
while the soldiery in general were elated by the confidence of their
leader, since they regarded merely the hope he entertained, and not
the reasons of the hope.

4. Hannibal lays waste the country between the city Cortona and the
lake Trasimenus, with all the devastation of war, the more to
exasperate the enemy to revenge the injuries inflicted on his allies.
They had now reached a place formed by nature for an ambuscade, where
the Trasimenus comes nearest to the mountains of Cortona. A very
narrow passage only intervenes, as though room enough just for that
purpose had been left designedly; after that a somewhat wider plain
opens itself, and then some hills rise up. On these he pitches his
camp, in full view, where he himself with his Spaniards and Africans
only might be posted. The Baliares and his other light troops he leads
round the mountains; his cavalry he posts at the very entrance of the
defile, some eminences conveniently concealing them; in order that
when the Romans had entered, the cavalry advancing, every place might
be enclosed by the lake and the mountains. Flaminius, passing the
defiles before it was quite daylight, without reconnoitering, though
he had arrived at the lake the preceding day at sunset, when the
troops began to be spread into the wider plain, saw that part only of
the enemy which was opposite to him; the ambuscade in his rear and
overhead escaped his notice. And when the Carthaginian had his enemy
enclosed by the lake and mountains, and surrounded by his troops, he
gives the signal to all to make a simultaneous charge; and each
running down the nearest way, the suddenness and unexpectedness of the
event was increased to the Romans by a mist rising from the lake,
which had settled thicker on the plain than on the mountains; and thus
the troops of the enemy ran down from the various eminences,
sufficiently well discerning each other, and therefore with the
greater regularity. A shout being raised on all sides, the Roman found
himself surrounded before he could well see the enemy; and the attack
on the front and flank had commenced ere his line could be well
formed, his arms prepared for action, or his swords unsheathed.

5. The consul, while all were panic-struck, himself sufficiently
undaunted though in so perilous a case, marshals, as well as the time
and place permitted, the lines which were thrown into confusion by
each man's turning himself towards the various shouts; and wherever he
could approach or be heard exhorts them, and bids them stand and
fight: for that they could not escape thence by vows and prayers to
the gods but by exertion and valour; that a way was sometimes opened
by the sword through the midst of marshalled armies, and that
generally the less the fear the less the danger. However, from the
noise and tumult, neither his advice nor command could be caught; and
so far were the soldiers from knowing their own standards, and ranks,
and position, that they had scarce sufficient courage to take up arms
and make them ready for battle; and certain of them were surprised
before they could prepare them, being burdened rather than protected
by them; while in so great darkness there was more use of ears than of
eyes. They turned their faces and eyes in every direction towards the
groans of the wounded, the sounds of blows upon the body or arms, and
the mingled clamours of the menacing and the affrighted. Some, as they
were making their escape, were stopped, having encountered a body of
men engaged in fight; and bands of fugitives returning to the battle,
diverted others. After charges had been attempted unsuccessfully in
every direction, and on their flanks the mountains and the lake, on
the front and rear the lines of the enemy enclosed them, when it was
evident that there was no hope of safety but in the right hand and the
sword; then each man became to himself a leader, and encourager to
action; and an entirely new contest arose, not a regular line, with
principes, hastati, and triarii; nor of such a sort as that the
vanguard should fight before the standards, and the rest of the troops
behind them; nor such that each soldier should be in his own legion,
cohort, or company: chance collects them into bands; and each man's
own will assigned to him his post, whether to fight in front or rear;
and so great was the ardour of the conflict, so intent were their
minds upon the battle, that not one of the combatants felt an
earthquake which threw down large portions of many of the cities of
Italy, turned rivers from their rapid courses, carried the sea up into
rivers, and levelled mountains with a tremendous crash.

6. The battle was continued near three hours, and in every quarter
with fierceness; around the consul, however, it was still hotter and
more determined. Both the strongest of the troops, and himself too,
promptly brought assistance wherever he perceived his men hard pressed
and distressed. But, distinguished by his armour, the enemy attacked
him with the utmost vigour, while his countrymen defended him; until
an Insubrian horseman, named Ducarius, knowing him also by his face,
says to his countrymen, "Lo, this is the consul who slew our legions
and laid waste our fields and city. Now will I offer this victim to
the shades of my countrymen, miserably slain;" and putting spurs to
his horse, he rushes through a very dense body of the enemy; and first
slaying his armour-bearer, who had opposed himself to his attack as he
approached, ran the consul through with his lance; the triarii,
opposing their shields, kept him off when seeking to despoil him. Then
first the flight of a great number began; and now neither the lake nor
the mountains obstructed their hurried retreat; they run through all
places, confined and precipitous, as though they were blind; and arms
and men are tumbled one upon another. A great many, when there
remained no more space to run, advancing into the water through the
first shallows of the lake, plunge in, as far as they could stand
above it with their heads and shoulders. Some there were whom
inconsiderate fear induced to try to escape even by swimming; but as
that attempt was inordinate and hopeless, they were either overwhelmed
in the deep water, their courage failing, or, wearied to no purpose,
made their way back, with extreme difficulty, to the shallows; and
there were cut up on all hands by the cavalry of the enemy, which had
entered the water. Near upon six thousand of the foremost body having
gallantly forced their way through the opposing enemy, entirely
unacquainted with what was occurring in their rear, escaped from the
defile; and having halted on a certain rising ground, and hearing only
the shouting and clashing of arms, they could not know nor discern, by
reason of the mist, what was the fortune of the battle. At length, the
affair being decided, when the mist, dispelled by the increasing heat
of the sun, had cleared the atmosphere, then, in the clear light, the
mountains and plains showed their ruin and the Roman army miserably
destroyed; and thus, lest, being descried at a distance, the cavalry
should be sent against them, hastily snatching up their standards,
they hurried away with all possible expedition. On the following day,
when in addition to their extreme sufferings in other respects, famine
also was at hand, Maharbal, who had followed them during the night
with the whole body of cavalry, pledging his honour that he would let
them depart with single garments, if they would deliver up their arms,
they surrendered themselves; which promise was kept by Hannibal with
Punic fidelity, and he threw them all into chains.

7. This is the celebrated battle at the Trasimenus, and recorded among
the few disasters of the Roman people. Fifteen thousand Romans were
slain in the battle. Ten thousand, who had been scattered in the
flight through all Etruria, returned to the city by different roads.
One thousand five hundred of the enemy perished in the battle; many on
both sides died afterwards of their wounds. The carnage on both sides
is related, by some authors, to have been many times greater. I,
besides that I would relate nothing drawn from a worthless source, to
which the minds of historians generally incline too much, have as my
chief authority Fabius, who was contemporary with the events of this
war. Such of the captives as belonged to the Latin confederacy being
dismissed without ransom, and the Romans thrown into chains, Hannibal
ordered the bodies of his own men to be gathered from the heaps of the
enemy, and buried: the body of Flaminius too, which was searched for
with great diligence for burial, he could not find. On the first
intelligence of this defeat at Rome, a concourse of the people,
dismayed and terrified, took place in the forum. The matrons,
wandering through the streets, ask all they meet, what sudden disaster
was reported? what was the fate of the army? And when the multitude,
like a full assembly, having directed their course to the comitium and
senate-house, were calling upon the magistrates, at length, a little
before sunset, Marcus Pomponius, the praetor, declares, "We have been
defeated in a great battle;" and though nothing more definite was
heard from him, yet, full of the rumours which they had caught one
from another, they carry back to their homes intelligence, that the
consul, with a great part of his troops, was slain; that a few only
survived, and these either widely dispersed in flight through Etruria,
or else captured by the enemy. As many as had been the calamities of
the vanquished army, into so many anxieties were the minds of those
distracted whose relations had served under Flaminius, and who were
uninformed of what had been the fate of their friends, nor does any
one know certainly what he should either hope or fear. During the next
and several successive days, a greater number of women almost than men
stood at the gates, waiting either for some one of their friends or
for intelligence of them, surrounding and earnestly interrogating
those they met: nor could they be torn away from those they knew
especially, until they had regularly inquired into every thing. Then
as they retired from the informants you might discern their various
expressions of countenance according as intelligence, pleasing or sad,
was announced to each; and those who congratulated or condoled on
their return home. The joy and grief of the women were especially
manifested. They report that one, suddenly meeting her son, who had
returned safe, expired at the very door before his face--that another,
who sat grieving at her house at the falsely reported death of her
son, became a corpse, from excessive joy, at the first sight of him on
his return. The praetors detained the senators in the house for
several days from sunrise to sunset, deliberating under whose conduct
and by what forces, the victorious Carthaginians could be opposed.

8. Before their plans were sufficiently determined another unexpected
defeat is reported: four thousand horse, sent under the conduct of C.
Centenius, propraetor, by Servilius to his colleague, were cut off by
Hannibal in Umbria, to which place, on hearing of the battle at
Trasimenus, they had turned their course. The report of this event
variously affected the people. Some, having their minds preoccupied
with heavier grief, considered the recent loss of cavalry trifling, in
comparison with their former losses; others did not estimate what had
occurred by itself, but considered that, as in a body already
labouring under disease, a slight cause would be felt more violently
than a more powerful one in a robust constitution, so whatever adverse
event befell the state in its then sickly and impaired condition,
ought to be estimated, not by the magnitude of the event itself, but
with reference to its exhausted strength, which could endure nothing
that could oppress it. The state therefore took refuge in a remedy for
a long time before neither wanted nor employed, the appointment of a
dictator, and because the consul was absent, by whom alone it appeared
he could be nominated, and because neither message nor letter could
easily be sent to him through the country occupied by Punic troops,
and because the people could not appoint a dictator, which had never
been done to that day, the people created Quintus Fabius Maximus pro
dictator, and Marcus Minucius Rufus master of the horse. To them the
senate assigned the task of strengthening the walls and towers of the
city, of placing guards in such quarters as seemed good, and breaking
down the bridges of the river, considering that they must now fight at
home in defence of their city, since they were unable to protect

9. Hannibal, marching directly through Umbria, arrived at Spoletum,
thence, having completely devastated the adjoining country, and
commenced an assault upon the city, having been repulsed with great
loss and conjecturing from the strength of this one colony, which had
been not very successfully attacked, what was the size of the city of
Rome, turned aside into the territory of Picenum, which abounded not
only with every species of grain, but was stored with booty, which his
rapacious and needy troops eagerly seized. There he continued encamped
for several days, and his soldiers were refreshed, who had been
enfeebled by winter marches and marshy ground, and with a battle more
successful in its result than light or easy. When sufficient time for
rest had been granted for soldiers delighting more in plunder and
devastation than ease and repose, setting out, he lays waste the
territories of Pretutia and Hadria, then of the Marsi, the Marrucini,
and the Peligni, and the contiguous region of Apulia around Arpi and
Luceria. Cneius Servilius, the consul, having fought some slight
battles with the Gauls, and taken one inconsiderable town, when he
heard of the defeat of his colleague and the army, alarmed now for the
walls of the capital, marched towards the city, that he might not be
absent at so extreme a crisis. Quintus Fabius Maximus, a second time
dictator, assembled the senate the very day he entered on his office;
and commencing with what related to the gods, after he had distinctly
proved to the fathers, that Caius Flaminius had erred more from
neglect of the ceremonies and auspices than from temerity and want of
judgment, and that the gods themselves should be consulted as to what
were the expiations of their anger, he obtained a resolution that the
decemviri should be ordered to inspect the Sibylline books, which is
rarely decreed, except when some horrid prodigies were announced.
Having inspected the prophetic books, they reported, that the vow
which was made to Mars on account of this war, not having been
regularly fulfilled, must be performed afresh and more fully; that the
great games must be vowed to Jupiter, temples to Venus Erycina and
Mens; that a supplication and lectisternium must be made, and a sacred
spring vowed, if the war should proceed favourably and the state
continue the condition it was in before the war. Since the management
of the war would occupy Fabius, the senate orders Marcus Aemilius, the
praetor, to see that all these things are done in good time, according
to the directions of the college of pontiffs.

10. These decrees of the senate having been passed, Lucius Cornelius
Lentulus, pontifex maximus, the college of praetors consulting with
him, gives his opinion that, first of all, the people should be
consulted respecting a sacred spring: that it could not be without the
order of the people. The people having been asked according to this
form: Do ye will and order that this thing should be performed in this
manner? If the republic of the Roman people, the Quirites, shall be
safe and preserved as I wish it may, from these wars for the next five
years, (the war which is between the Roman people and the
Carthaginian, and the wars which are with the Cisalpine Gauls), the
Roman people, the Quirites, shall present whatsoever the spring shall
produce from herds of swine, sheep, goats, oxen and which shall not
have been consecrated, to be sacrificed to Jupiter, from the day which
the senate and people shall appoint. Let him who shall make an
offering do it when he please, and in what manner he please; in
whatsoever manner he does it, let it be considered duly done. If that
which ought to be sacrificed die, let it be unconsecrated, and let no
guilt attach; if any one unwittingly wound or kill it, let it be no
injury to him; if any one shall steal it, let no guilt attach to the
people or to him from whom it was stolen; if any one shall unwittingly
offer it on a forbidden day, let it be esteemed duly offered; also
whether by night or day, whether slave or free-man perform it. If the
senate and people shall order it to be offered sooner than any person
shall offer it, let the people being acquitted of it be free. On the
same account great games were vowed, at an expense of three hundred
and thirty-three thousand three hundred and thirty-three _asses_
and a third; moreover, it was decreed that sacrifice should be done to
Jupiter with three hundred oxen, to many other deities with white oxen
and the other victims. The vows being duly made, a supplication was
proclaimed; and not only the inhabitants of the city went with their
wives and children, but such of the rustics also as, possessing any
property themselves, were interested in the welfare of the state. Then
a lectisternium was celebrated for three days, the decemviri for
sacred things superintending. Six couches were seen, for Jupiter and
Juno one, for Neptune and Minerva another, for Mars and Venus a third,
for Apollo and Diana a fourth, for Vulcan and Vesta a fifth, for
Mercury and Ceres a sixth. Then temples were vowed. To Venus Erycina,
Quintus Fabius Maximus vowed a temple; for so it was delivered from
the prophetic books, that he should vow it who held the highest
authority in the state. Titus Otacilius, the praetor vowed a temple to

11. Divine things having been thus performed, the dictator then put
the question of the war and the state; with what, and how many legions
the fathers were of opinion that the victorious enemy should be
opposed. It was decreed that he should receive the army from Cneius
Servilius, the consul: that he should levy, moreover, from the
citizens and allies as many horse and foot as seemed good; that he
should transact and perform every thing else as he considered for the
good of the state. Fabius said he would add two legions to the army of
Servilius. These were levied by the master of the horse, and were
appointed by Fabius to meet him at Tibur on a certain day. And then
having issued proclamation that those whose towns or castles were
unfortified should quit them and assemble in places of security; that
all the inhabitants of that tract through which Hannibal was about to
march, should remove from the country, having first burnt their
buildings and spoiled their fruits, that there might not be a supply
of any thing; he himself set out on the Flaminian road to meet the
consul and his army; and when he saw in the distance the marching body
on the Tiber, near Ocriculum, and the consul with the cavalry
advancing to him, he sent a beadle to acquaint the consul that he must
meet the dictator without the lictors. When he had obeyed his command,
and their meeting had exhibited a striking display of the majesty of
the dictatorship before the citizens and allies, who, from its
antiquity, had now almost forgotten that authority; a letter arrived
from the city, stating that the ships of burden, conveying provisions
from Ostia into Spain to the army, had been captured by the
Carthaginian fleet off the port of Cossa. The consul, therefore, was
immediately ordered to proceed to Ostia, and, having manned the ships
at Rome or Ostia with soldiers and sailors, to pursue the enemy, and
protect the coasts of Italy. Great numbers of men were levied at Rome,
sons of freed-men even, who had children, and were of the military
age, had taken the oath. Of these troops levied in the city, such as
were under thirty-five were put on board ships, the rest were left to
protect the city.

12. The dictator, having received the troops of the consul from
Fulvius Flaccus, his lieutenant-general, marching through the Sabine
territory, arrived at Tibur on the day which he had appointed the
new-raised troops to assemble. Thence he went to Praeneste, and
cutting across the country, came out in the Latin way, whence he led
his troops towards the enemy, reconnoitering the road with the utmost
diligence; not intending to expose himself to hazard any where, except
as far as necessity compelled him. The day he first pitched his camp
in sight of the enemy, not far from Arpi, the Carthaginian, without
delay, led out his troops, and forming his line gave an opportunity of
fighting: but when he found all still with the enemy, and his camp
free from tumult and disorder, he returned to his camp, saying indeed
tauntingly, "That even the spirit of the Romans, inherited from Mars,
was at length subdued; that they were warred down and had manifestly
given up all claim to valour and renown:" but burning inwardly with
stifled vexation because he would have to encounter a general by no

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