Book 28: The Final Conquest of Spain
[28.1]Though Hasdrubal's invasion had shifted the burden of war to Italy and brought corresponding relief to Spain, war was suddenly renewed in that country which was quite as formidable as the previous one. At the time of Hasdrubal's departure Spain was divided between Rome and Carthage as follows: Hasdrubal Gisgo had retreated to the ocean littoral near Gades, the Mediterranean coast-line and almost the whole of Eastern Spain was held by Scipio on behalf of Rome. A new general took Hasdrubal's place, named Hanno, who brought over a fresh army, and marched into Celtiberia, which lies between the Mediterranean and the ocean, and here he soon raised a very considerable army. Scipio sent M. Silanus against him with a force of not more than 10,000 infantry and 500 cavalry. Silanus marched with all the speed he could, but his progress was impeded by the bad state of the roads and by the narrow mountain passes, obstacles which are met with in most parts of Spain. In spite of these difficulties he outstripped not only any natives who might have carried tidings, but even any floating rumours of his advance, and with the assistance of some Celtiberian deserters who acted as guides he succeeded in finding the enemy. When he was about ten miles distant, he was informed by his guides that there were two camps near the road on which he was marching; the one on the left was occupied by the Celtiberians, a newly raised army about 9000 strong, the one on the right by the Carthaginians. The latter was carefully guarded by outposts, pickets and all the usual precautions against surprise; the Celtiberian camp was without any discipline, and all precautions were neglected as might be expected of barbarians and raw levies who felt all the less fear because they were in their own country. Silanus decided to attack that one first, and kept his men as much to the left as possible, so as not to be seen by the Carthaginian outposts. After sending on his scouts he advanced rapidly against the enemy.
[28.2]He was now about three miles away and none of the enemy had yet noticed his advance, the rocks and thickets which covered the whole of this hilly district concealed his movements. Before making his final advance, he ordered his men to halt in a valley where they were effectually hidden and take food. The scouting parties resumed and confirmed the statements of the deserters, on which the Romans, after placing the baggage in the centre and arming themselves for the combat, advanced in order of battle. The enemy caught sight of these when they were a mile distant and hurriedly prepared to meet them. As soon as Mago heard the shouting and confusion he galloped across from his camp to take command. There were in the Celtiberian army 4000 men with shields and 200 cavalry, making up a regular legion. These were his main strength and he stationed them in the front; the rest who were lightly armed he posted in reserve. In this formation he led them out of the camp, but they had hardly crossed the rampart when the Romans hurled their javelins at them. The Spaniards stooped to avoid them, and then sprang up to discharge their own, which the Romans who were in their usual close order received on their overlapping shields; then they closed up foot to foot and fought with their swords. The Celtiberians, accustomed to rapid evolutions, found their agility useless on the broken ground, but the Romans, who were used to stationary fighting, found no inconvenience from it beyond the fact that their ranks were sometimes broken when moving through narrow places or patches of brushwood. Then they had to fight singly or in pairs, as if they were fighting duels.
These very obstacles, however, by impeding the enemy's flight, gave them up, as though bound hand and foot, to the sword. Almost all the heavy infantry of the Celtiberians had fallen when the Carthaginian light infantry, who had now come from the other camp, shared their fate. Not more than 2000 infantry escaped; the cavalry, which had hardly taken any part in the battle, together with Mago also got away. The other general, Hanno, was taken prisoner, together with those who were the last to appear in the field when the battle was already lost. Mago, with almost the whole of his cavalry and his veteran infantry, joined Hasdrubal at Gades ten days after the battle. The Celtiberian levies dispersed amongst the neighbouring forests and so reached their homes. So far the war had not been a serious one, but there was all the material for a much greater conflagration had it been possible to induce the other tribes to join the Celtiberians in arms; that possibility was by this most timely victory destroyed. Scipio therefore eulogised Silanus in generous terms, and felt hopeful of bringing the war to a termination if he on his part acted with sufficient promptitude. He advanced, accordingly, into the remote corner of Spain where all the remaining strength of Carthage was concentrated under Hasdrubal. He happened at the time to be encamped in the district of Baetica for the purpose of securing the fidelity of his allies, but on Scipio's advance he suddenly moved away and in a march which closely resembled a flight retreated to Gades on the coast. Feeling, however, quite certain that as long as he kept his army together he would be the object of attack, he arranged, before he crossed over to Gades, for the whole of his force to be distributed amongst the various cities, so that they could defend the walls whilst the walls protected them.
[28.3]When Scipio became aware of this breaking up of the hostile forces, he saw that to carry his arms from city to city would involve a loss of time far greater than the results gained, and consequently marched back again. Not wishing, however, to leave that district in the enemy's hands, he sent his brother Lucius with 10,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry to attack the richest city in that part of the country; the natives call it Orongi. It is situated in the country of the Maessesses, one of the tribes of Southern Spain; the soil is fertile, and there are also silver mines. Hasdrubal had used it as his base from which to make his incursions on the inland tribes. Lucius Scipio encamped in the neighbourhood of the city, but before investing it, he sent men up to the gates to hold a parley with the townsmen and endeavour to persuade them to put the friendship rather than the strength of the Romans to the proof. As nothing in the shape of a peaceable answer was resumed, he surrounded the place with a double line of circumvallation and formed his army into three divisions, so that one division at a time could be in action while the other two were resting, and thus a continuous attack might be kept up. When the first division advanced to the storm there was a desperate fight; they had the utmost difficulty in approaching the walls and bringing up the scaling-ladders owing to the rain of missiles showered down upon them. Even when they had planted the ladders against the walls and began to mount them, they were thrust down by forks made for the purpose, iron hooks were let down upon others so that they were in danger of being dragged off the ladders and suspended in mid-air. Scipio saw that what made the struggle indecisive was simply the insufficient number of his men and that the defenders had the advantage because they were fighting from their walls. He withdrew the division which was engaged, and brought up the two others. In face of this fresh attack the defenders, worn out with meeting the former assault, retreated hastily from the walls, and the Carthaginian garrison, fearing that the city had been betrayed, left their various posts and formed into one body. This alarmed the townsmen, who dreaded lest the enemy when once inside the city should massacre every one, whether Carthaginian or Spaniard. They flung open one of the gates and burst out of the town, holding their shields in front of them in case missiles should be hurled on them from a distance, and showing their empty right hands to make it plain that they had thrown away their swords. Their action was misinterpreted either owing to the distance at which they were seen, or because treachery was suspected, and a fierce attack was made upon the flying crowd, who were cut down as though they were a hostile army. The Romans marched in through the open gate whilst other gates were demolished with axes and mallets, and as each cavalry man entered he galloped in accordance with instructions to the forum. The cavalry were supported by a detachment of triarii; the legionaries occupied the rest of the city. There was no plundering and, except in the case of armed resistance, no bloodshed. All the Carthaginians and about a thousand of the townsmen who had closed the gates were placed under guard, the town was handed over to the rest of the population and their property restored to them. About 2000 of the enemy fell in the assault upon the city; not more than 90 of the Romans.
[28.4]The capture of this city was a source of great gratification to those who had effected it, as it was also to the commander-in-chief and the rest of the army. The entry of the troops was a noteworthy sight owing to the immense number of prisoners who preceded them. Scipio bestowed the highest commendation on his brother, and declared that the capture of Orongis was as great an achievement as his own capture of New Carthage. The winter was now coming on, and as the season would not admit of his making an attempt on Gades or pursuing Hasdrubal's army, dispersed as it was throughout the province, Scipio brought his entire force back into Hither Spain. After dismissing the legions to their winter quarters, he sent his brother to Rome with Hanno and the other prisoners of high rank, and then retired to Tarraco. The Roman fleet under the command of the proconsul M. Valerius Laevinus sailed during the year to Africa, and committed widespread devastation round Utica and Carthage; plunder was carried off under the very walls of Utica and on the frontiers of Carthage. On their return to Sicily they fell in with a Carthaginian fleet of seventy vessels. Out of these seventeen were captured, four were sunk, the rest scattered in flight. The Roman army, victorious alike on land and sea, returned to Lilybaeum with an enormous amount of plunder of every kind. Now that the enemy's ships had been driven off and the sea rendered safe, large supplies of corn were conveyed to Rome.
[28.5]It was in the beginning of this summer that the proconsul P. Sulpicius and King Attalus who, as already stated, had wintered at Aegina, sailed for Lemnos with their combined fleets, the Roman vessels numbering twenty-five and the king's ships, thirty-five. In order to be in readiness to meet his enemies by land or sea, Philip went down to Demetrias on the coast and issued orders for his army to assemble at Larissa by a given day. When they heard of the king's arrival at Demetrias, deputations from all his allies visited him there. The Aetolians, emboldened by their alliance with Rome and the arrival of Attalus, were ravaging their neighbours' lands. Great alarm was created amongst the Acarnanians, the Boeotians and the inhabitants of Euboea, and the Achaeans had further cause for apprehension, for, in addition to their war with the Aetolians, they were threatened by Machanidas the tyrant of Lacedaemon, who had encamped not far from the Argive frontiers. The deputations informed the king of the state of things, and one and all begged him to render them assistance against the dangers which were threatening by land and sea. The condition of his own kingdom was far from tranquil; reports were brought to him announcing that Scerdilaedus and Pleuratus were again active and that Thracian tribes, especially the Maedi, were prepared to invade Macedonia as soon as the king was involved in a distant war. The Boeotians and the States in the interior of Greece reported that the Aetolians had closed the pass of Thermopylae at its narrowest part with a fosse and rampart to prevent him from carrying succour to the cities of his allies. Even a lethargic leader would have been roused to activity by all these disturbances round him. He dismissed the deputations with a definite promise that he would furnish assistance to them all as time and circumstances allowed. For the moment the most pressing care was the city of Peparethos, as King Attalus, who had sailed thither from Lemnos, was reported to be plundering and destroying all the country round. Philip sent a detachment to protect the place. He also sent Polyphantas with a small force into Boeotia, and Menippus, one of his generals, with 1000 peltasts to Chalcis. This force was supplemented by 500 Agrianians, in order that the whole of the island might be protected. Philip himself proceeded to Scotusa and ordered the Macedonian troops at Larissa to march there. Information was brought to him here that the national council of the Aetolians had been summoned to meet at Heraclea and that Attalus would be present to consult with them as to the conduct of the war. Philip accordingly proceeded thither by forced marches, but did not reach the place till the council was broken up. He destroyed the crops, however, which were almost ripe, especially round the gulf of the Aenianes, and then led his army back to Scotusa. Leaving the bulk of his forces there he returned to Demetrias with his household troops. With the view of meeting any movement on the part of the enemy, he sent men into Phocis, Euboea and Peparethos to select elevated positions on which beacon fires might be lighted, and himself fixed an observation post on Tisaeos, a peak of immense height. In this way he hoped to receive instant notice from the distant fires of any movement on the part of the enemy. The Roman general and Attalus sailed from Peparethos to Nicaea, and from there to the city of Oreus in Euboea. This is the first city in Euboea which you pass on your left hand as you leave the Gulf of Demetrias for Chalcis and the Euripus. It was arranged between Attalus and Sulpicius that the Romans should attack by sea and the king's troops by land.
[28.6]It was not till the fourth day after their arrival that they commenced the attack, the interval having been spent in secret conferences with Plator, whom Philip had made commandant of the garrison. The city has two citadels, one overlooking the sea, the other in the heart of the city. From the latter a subterranean passage leads down to the sea, and at one time terminated in a tower five stories high, which formed an imposing defence. Here a violent contest took place, for the tower was plentifully stored with missiles of every kind, and the engines and artillery had been brought up from the ships for use against the walls. Whilst every one's attention was engrossed by the struggle going on here, Plator admitted the Romans through the gate of the seaward citadel, and this was captured at once. Then the defenders, finding themselves forced back into the city, tried to gain the other citadel. Men who were posted here for the purpose closed the gates against them, and thus shut out from both citadels they were killed or made prisoners. The Macedonian garrison stood in a close phalanx under the wall of the citadel, neither attempting to flee nor taking an active part in the fighting. Plator persuaded Sulpicius to let them go and they were placed on board and landed at Demetrium in Phthiotis. Plator himself joined Attalus. Encouraged by his easy success at Oreus, Sulpicius sailed at once with his victorious fleet to Chalcis, but here the result by no means answered his expectations. The sea which is wide and open at each end of the Euripus contracts here into a narrow channel, which at first sight presents the appearance of a double harbour with two mouths opposite each other. But it would be difficult to find a more dangerous roadstead for a fleet. Sudden tempestuous winds sweep down from the lofty mountains on both sides, and the Euripus does not, as is commonly asserted, ebb and flow seven times a day at regular intervals, but its waters, driven haphazard like the wind first in one direction and then in another, rush along like a torrent down the side of a precipitous mountain, so that ships are never in quiet waters day or night. After Sulpicius had anchored his fleet in these treacherous waters, he found that the town was protected on the one side by the sea, and on the other, the land side, by very strong fortifications, whilst the strength of its garrison and the loyalty of the officers, so different from the duplicity and treason at Oreus, made it impregnable. After surveying the difficulties of his position, the Roman commander acted wisely in desisting from his rash enterprise, and without any further loss of time sailed away to Cynos in Locris, a place situated about a mile from the sea, which served as the emporium of the Opuntians.
[28.7]The beacon fires at Oreus had given Philip warning, but through the treachery of Plator they were lighted too late, and in any case Philip's inferiority in naval strength would have made it extremely difficult for him to reach the island. In consequence of this delay he made no effort for its relief, but he hastened to the relief of Chalcis as soon as he got the signal. Although this city is also situated on the island, it is separated from the mainland by such a narrow strait as to allow of its being connected by a bridge, and it is therefore more easy to approach it by land than by sea. Philip marched from Demetrias to Scotusa; he left that place at midnight, and after routing the Aetolians who were holding the pass of Thermopylae drove them in confusion to Heraclea. He finally reached Elatia in Phocis, having covered more than sixty miles in one day. Almost on the very same day the city of the Opuntians was taken and sacked by Attalus. Sulpicius had left the spoils to him, because Oreus had been sacked by the Romans a few days previously, when the king's troops were elsewhere. Whilst the Roman fleet was lying off Oreus, Attalus was busily occupied in extorting contributions from the principal citizens of Opus, utterly unaware of Philip's approach. So rapid was the Macedonian advance that had not some Cretans who had gone foraging further than usual caught sight of the hostile column in the distance, Attalus would have been completely surprised. As it was he fled, without stopping to arm, in wild disorder to his ships, and the men were actually pushing their vessels off when Philip appeared, and even from the water's edge created great alarm amongst the crews. Then he returned to Opus, storming at gods and men because the chance of a great success had been almost snatched out of his hands. He was just as furious with the Opuntians, for, though they might have held out till his arrival, no sooner did they see the enemy than they voluntarily surrendered.
After settling matters at Opus, he went on to Thronium. Attalus had sailed to Oreus, but on learning that Prusias, the king of Bithynia, had violated the frontiers of his dominions he dropped all his projects in Greece, including the Aetolian war, and sailed to Asia. Sulpicius took his fleet back to Aegina, whence he had started in the beginning of spring. Philip captured Thronium with no more difficulty than Attalus had experienced at Opus. The population of this city consisted of refugees from Thebes in Phthiotis. When the place was captured by Philip, they escaped and put themselves under the protection of the Aetolians, who assigned for their abode a city which had been ruined and abandoned in the previous war with Philip. After his capture of Thronium he advanced to the capture of Tithronon and Drymiae, small unimportant towns in Doris. Ultimately he reached Elatia, where it was arranged that the embassies from Ptolemy and the Rhodians should meet him. Here they were discussing the question of bringing the Aetolian war to a close - the ambassadors had been present at the recent council of the Romans and Aetolians at Heraclea - when news was brought that Machanidas had decided to attack the Eleans in the midst of their preparations for the Olympic Games. Philip thought it his duty to prevent this, and accordingly dismissed the ambassadors after assuring them that he was responsible for the war and would place no obstacles in the way of peace, provided its terms were fair and honourable. He then set off with his army in light marching order, and passed through Boeotia to Megara, and from there he descended to Corinth. Here he collected supplies, and then advanced towards Phlius and Pheneos. When he had reached Heraea he heard that Machanidas, alarmed at his rapid approach, had made a hurried return to Lacedaemon. On receiving this intelligence he repaired to Aegium, in order to be present at the meeting of the Achaean League; he also expected to find there the Carthaginian fleet, which he had sent for in the hope of doing something by sea. The Carthaginians had left that place a few days previously for Oxeae and then, when they heard that Attalus and the Romans had left Oreus, they sought shelter in the harbours of Acarnania, fearing lest if they were attacked within the strait of Rhium, the neck of the Gulf of Corinth, they should be overpowered.
[28.8]Philip was extremely disappointed and vexed at finding that in spite of his rapid movements he was always too late to do anything, and that Fortune mocked his energy and activity by snatching away every opportunity from before his eyes. However, he concealed his disappointment in the presence of the council, and spoke in a very confident tone. Appealing to gods and men he declared that at no time or place had he ever failed to go with all possible speed wherever the clash of hostile arms was heard. It would be difficult, he continued, to estimate whether the enemy's anxiety to flee or his own eagerness to fight played the greater part in the war. In this way Attalus got away from Opus, and Sulpicius from Chalcis, and now Machanidas had slipped out of his hands. But flight did not always mean victory, and it was impossible to regard as serious a war in which when once you have come into touch with the enemy, you have conquered. The most important thing was the enemy's own admission that they were no match for him, and in a short time he would win a decisive victory, the enemy would find the result of the battle no better than they had anticipated. His allies were delighted with his speech. He then made over Heraea and Triphylia to the Achaeans, and on their bringing forward satisfactory evidence that Aliphera in Megalopolis had formed part of their territory, he restored that place also to them. Subsequently with some vessels furnished by the Achaeans - three quadriremes and as many biremes - he sailed to Anticyra. He had previously sent into the Gulf of Corinth seven quinqueremes and more than twenty light vessels, intending to strengthen the Carthaginian fleet, and with these he proceeded to Eruthrae in Aetolia near Eupalium, where he disembarked. The Aetolians were aware of his landing, for all the men who were in the fields or in the neighbouring forts of Potidania or Apollonia fled to the woods and the mountains; their flocks and herds which they were unable in their haste to drive away Philip secured and placed on board. The whole of the plunder was despatched in charge of Nicias the praetor of the Achaeans to Aegium; Philip, sending his army overland through Boeotia, went himself to Corinth, and from there to Cenchreae. Here he re-embarked, and sailing past the coast of Attica, round the headland of Sunium and almost through the hostile fleets, arrived at Chalcis. In his address to the citizens he spoke in the highest terms of their loyalty and courage in refusing to be moved by either threats or promises, and he urged them, in case they were attacked, to show the same determination to be true to their ally if they thought their own position preferable to that of Opus or Oreus. From Chalcis he sailed to Oreus, where he entrusted the administration and defence of the city to those magnates who had fled on the capture of the place rather than betray it to the Romans. Then he returned to Demetrias, the place from which he had started to render assistance to his allies. He now proceeded to lay down the keels of 100 war-ships at Cassandrea, and a large number of shipwrights were assembled for their construction. As matters were now quiet in Greece, owing to the departure of Attalus and the effective assistance which Philip had given to his allies in their difficulties, he returned to Macedonia to commence operations against the Maedi.
[28.9]Just at the close of this summer Quintus Fabius, the son of Maximus, who was on the staff of the consul M. Livius, came to Rome to inform the senate that the consul considered L. Porcius and his legions sufficient for the defence of Gaul, in which case he, Livius, and his consular army might be safely withdrawn. The senate recalled not only Livius, but his colleague as well, but the instructions given to each differed. M. Livius was ordered to bring his troops back, but Nero's legions were to remain in their province, confronting Hannibal. The consuls had been in correspondence with each other and had agreed that as they had been of the same mind in their conduct of public affairs, so, though coming from opposite directions, they should approach the City at the same time. Whichever should be the first to reach Praeneste was to wait there for his colleague, and, as it happened, they both arrived there on the same day. After despatching a summons for the senate to meet at the temple of Bellona in three days' time they went on together towards the City. The whole population turned out to meet them with shouts of welcome, and each tried to grasp the consuls' hands; congratulations and thanks were showered upon them for having, by their efforts, rendered the commonwealth safe. When the senate was assembled they followed the precedent set by all victorious generals and laid before the House a report of their military operations. Then they made request that in recognition of their energetic and successful conduct of public affairs special honours should be rendered to the gods and they, the consuls, should be allowed to enter the City in triumph The senators passed a decree that their request should be granted out of gratitude to the gods in the first place, and then, next to the gods, out of gratitude to the consuls. A solemn thanksgiving was decreed on their behalf, and each of them was allowed to enjoy a triumph.
As they had been in perfect agreement as to the management of their campaign, they decided that they would not have separate triumphs, and the following arrangement was made: As the victory had been won in the province assigned to Livius, and as it had fallen to him to take the auspices on the day of battle, and further, as his army had been brought back to Rome, whilst Nero's army was unable to leave its province, it was decided that Livius should ride in the chariot at the head of his soldiers, and C. Claudius Nero alone on horseback. The triumph thus shared between them enhanced the glory of both, but especially of the one who allowed his comrade to surpass him in honour as much as he himself surpassed him in merit. "That horseman," men said to one another, "traversed Italy from end to end in six days, and at the very time when Hannibal believed him to be confronting him in Apulia he was fighting a pitched battle with Hasdrubal in Gaul. So one consul had checked the advance of two generals, two great captains from the opposite corners of Italy, by opposing his strategy to the one and meeting the other in person. The mere name of Nero had sufficed to keep Hannibal quiet in his camp, and as to Hasdrubal, what brought about his defeat and destruction but Nero's arrival in the field? The one consul may ride in a chariot with as many horses as he pleases, the real triumph belongs to the other who is borne on horseback through the City; even if he went on foot Nero's renown would never die, whether through the glory he acquired in war, or the contempt he showed for it in his triumph." These and similar remarks from the spectators followed Nero till he reached the Capitol. The money they brought into the treasury amounted to 300,000 sesterces and 80,000 of bronze coinage. M. Livius' largesse to his soldiers amounted to fifty-six ases per man, and C. Nero promised to give the same amount to his men as soon as he rejoined his army. It is remarked that in their jests and songs the soldiers on that day celebrated the name of C. Claudius Nero more frequently than that of their own consul; and that the members of the equestrian order were full of praises for L. Veturius and Q. Caecilius, and urged the plebs to make them consuls for the coming year. The consuls added considerably to the weight of this recommendation when on the morrow they informed the Assembly with what courage and fidelity the two officers had served them.
[28.10]The time was approaching for the elections and it was decided that they should be conducted by a Dictator. C. Claudius Nero named his colleague M. Livius as Dictator, and he nominated Q. Caecilius as his Master of the Horse. L. Veturius and Q. Caecilius were both elected consuls. Then came the election of praetors; those appointed were C. Servilius, M. Caecilius Metellus, Tiberius Claudius Asellus and Q. Mamilius Turrinus, who was a plebeian aedile at the time. When the elections were over, the Dictator laid down his office and after disbanding his army went on a mission to Etruria. He had been commissioned by the senate to hold an enquiry as to which cantons in Etruria had entertained the design of deserting to Hasdrubal as soon as he appeared, and also which of them had assisted him with supplies, or men, or in any other way. Such were the events of the year at home and abroad. The Roman Games were celebrated in full on three successive days by the curule aediles, Cnaeus Servilius Caepio and Servilius Cornelius Lentulus; similarly the Plebeian Games were celebrated by the plebeian aediles, M. Pomponius Matho and Q. Mamilius Turrinus. It was now the thirteenth year of the Punic War. Both the consuls, L. Veturius Philo and Q. Caecilius Metellus, had the same province - Bruttium - assigned to them, that they might jointly carry on operations against Hannibal. The praetors balloted for their provinces. M. Caecilius Metellus obtained the City jurisdiction; Q. Mamilius, that over aliens. Sicily fell to C. Servilius, and Sardinia to Ti. Claudius.
The armies were distributed as follows: One of the consuls took over Nero's army; the other, that which Q. Claudius had commanded; each consisted of two legions. M. Livius, who was acting as proconsul for the year, took over from C. Terentius the two legions of volunteer slaves in Etruria. It was also decreed that Q. Mamilius, to whom the jurisdiction over aliens had been allotted, should transfer his judicial business to his colleague, and hold Gaul with the army which L. Porcius had commanded as propraetor; he was also instructed to ravage the fields of those Gauls who had gone over to the Carthaginians on the arrival of Hasdrubal. C. Servilius was to protect Sicily, as C. Mamilius had done, with the two legions of the survivors of Cannae. The old army in Sardinia, under A. Hostilius, was recalled, and the consuls enrolled a new legion which Tiberius Claudius was to take with him to the island. A year's extension of command was granted to Q. Claudius, that he might remain in charge at Tarentum, and to C. Hostilius Tubero, that he might continue to act at Capua. M. Valerius, who had been charged with the defence of the Sicilian seaboard, was ordered to hand over thirty ships to the praetor' C. Servilius, and return to Rome with the rest of his fleet.
[28.11]In the anxiety caused by the strain of such a serious war when men referred every occurrence, fortunate or the reverse, to the direct action of the gods, numerous portents were announced. At Tarracina the temple of Jupiter, at Satricum that of Mater Matuta were struck by lightning. At the latter place quite as much alarm was created by the appearance of two snakes which glided straight through the doors into the temple of Jupiter. From Antium it was reported that the ears of corn seemed to those who were reaping them to be covered with blood. At Caere a pig had been farrowed with two heads, and a lamb yeaned which was both male and female. Two suns were said to have been seen at Alba, and at Fregellae it had become light during the night. In the precinct of Rome an ox was said to have spoken; the altar of Neptune in the Circus Flaminius was asserted to have been bathed in perspiration, and the temples of Ceres, Salus and Quirinus were all struck by lightning. The consuls received orders to expiate the portents by sacrificing full-grown victims and to appoint a day of solemn intercession. These measures were carried out in accordance with the senatorial resolution. What was a much more terrifying experience than all the portents reported from the country or seen in the City, was the extinction of the fire in the temple of Vesta. The vestal who was in charge of the fire that night was severely flogged by order of P. Licinius, the Pontifex Maximus. Though this was no portent sent by the gods, but merely the result of human carelessness, it was decided to sacrifice full-grown victims and hold a service of solemn supplication in the temple of Vestal.
Before the consuls left for the seat of war, they were advised by the senate "to see to it that the plebeians were reinstated on their holdings. Through the goodness of the gods the burden of war had now been shifted from the City of Rome and from Latium, and men could dwell in the country parts without fear, it was by no means fitting that they should be more concerned for the cultivation of Sicily than for that of Italy." The people found it, however, anything but an easy matter. The small holders had been carried off by the war, there was hardly any servile labour available, the cattle had been driven off as plunder, and the homesteads had been either stripped or burnt. Still, at the authoritative behest of the consuls a considerable number did return to their farms. What led to the senate taking up this question was the presence of deputations from Placentia and Cremona, who came to complain of the invasion and wasting of their country by their neighbours, the Gauls. A large proportion of their settlers, they said, had disappeared, their cities were almost without inhabitants, and the countryside was a deserted wilderness. The praetor Mamilius was charged with the defence of these colonies; the consuls, acting on a resolution of the senate, published an edict requiring all those who were citizens of Cremona and Placentia to return to their homes before a certain day. At last, towards the beginning of spring, they left for the seat of war. The consul Q. Caecilius took over the army from C. Nero, and L. Veturius, the one which Q. Claudius had commanded, and this he brought up to its full strength with the fresh levies which he had raised. They led their armies into the district of Consentia, and ravaged it in all directions. As they were returning laden with plunder they were attacked in a narrow pass by a force of Bruttians and Numidian javelin-men, and not only the plunder but the troops themselves were in danger. There was, however, more alarm and confusion than real fighting. The plunder was sent forward and the legions succeeded in getting into a position free from danger. They advanced into Lucania, and the whole of the district returned to its allegiance to Rome without offering any resistance.
[28.12]No action was fought with Hannibal this year, for after the blow which had fallen upon him and upon his country, he made no forward movement, nor did the Romans care to disturb him, such was their impression of the powers which that single general possessed, even while his cause was everywhere round him crumbling into ruin. I am inclined to think that he deserves our admiration more in adversity than in the time of his greatest successes. For thirteen years he had been carrying on war with varying fortune in an enemy's country far from home. His army was not made up of his own fellow-countrymen, it was a mixed assemblage of various nationalities who had nothing in common, neither laws nor customs, nor language, who differed in appearance, dress and arms, who were strangers to one another in their religious observances, who hardly recognised the same gods. And yet he had united them so closely together that no disturbance ever broke out, either amongst the soldiers themselves or against their commander, though very often money and supplies were lacking and it was through want of these that numerous incidents of a disgraceful character had occurred between the generals and their soldiers in the First Punic War. He had rested all his hopes of victory on Hasdrubal and his army, and after that army had been wiped out he withdrew into Bruttium and abandoned the rest of Italy to the Romans. Is it not a matter of surprise that no mutiny broke out in his camp? For in addition to all his other difficulties, there was no prospect of feeding his army except from the resources of Bruttium, and even if the whole of that country had been in cultivation it would have afforded but meager support for so large an army. But as it was, a large part of the population had been diverted from the tillage of the soil by the war and by their traditional and innate love of brigandage. He received no assistance from home, for the government was mainly concerned about keeping their hold on Spain, just as though everything in Italy was going on successfully.
The situation in Spain was in some respects similar, in others completely dissimilar to the state of affairs in Italy. It was similar in so far as the Carthaginians after their defeat and the loss of their general had been driven into the most distant parts of Spain to the shores of the ocean. It was dissimilar because the natural features of the country and the character of the inhabitants made Spain more fitted than Italy, more fitted, in fact, than any country in the world for the constant renewal of hostilities. Though it was the first province, at all events on the continent, into which the Romans made their way, it was, owing to this cause, the very last to be completely subjugated, and this only in our own days under the conduct and auspices of Augustus Caesar. Hasdrubal Gisgo, who, next to the Barcine family, was the greatest and most brilliant general that held command in this war, was encouraged by Mago to renew hostilities. He left Gades, and traversing Further Spain, raised a force of 50,000 infantry and 4500 cavalry. As to the strength of his cavalry the authorities are generally agreed, but some writers assert that the infantry force which he led to Silpia amounted to 70,000 men. Near this city the two Carthaginian commanders encamped on a wide and open plain, determined to accept battle if offered.
[28.13]When intelligence was brought to Scipio of the muster of this large army, he did not consider that he could meet it with his Roman legions unless he employed his native auxiliaries to give at all events the appearance of greater strength. At the same time he felt that he ought not to depend too much upon them, for if they changed sides it might lead to the same disaster as that which had overtaken his father and his uncle. Culchas, whose authority extended over twenty-eight towns, had promised to raise a force of infantry and cavalry during the winter, and Silanus was sent to bring them up. Then breaking up his quarters at Tarraco, Scipio marched down to Castulo, picking up small contingents furnished by the friendly tribes which lay on his line of march. There Silanus joined him with 3000 infantry and 500 cavalry. His entire army, Romans and allied contingents, infantry and cavalry, amounted now to 55,000 men. With this force he advanced to meet the enemy and took up his position near Baecula. Whilst his men were entrenching their camp they were attacked by Mago and Masinissa with the whole of their cavalry and would have been thrown into great disorder had not Scipio made a charge with a body of horse which he had placed in concealment behind a hill. These speedily routed those of the assailants who had ridden close up to the lines and were actually attacking the entrenching parties; with the others, however, who kept their ranks and were advancing in steady order the conflict was more sustained, and for a considerable time remained undecided. But when the cohorts of light infantry came in from the outposts, and the men at work on the intrenchments had seized their arms and, fresh for action, were in ever increasing numbers relieving their wearied comrades until a considerable body of armed men were hastening from the camp to do battle, the Carthaginians and Numidians retreated. At first they retired in order though hurriedly and kept their ranks, but when the Romans pressed their attacks home and resistance was no longer possible, they broke and fled as best they could. Though this action did much to raise the spirits of the Romans and depress those of the enemy, there were for several days incessant skirmishes between the cavalry and light infantry on both sides.
[28.14]After the strength of each side had been sufficiently tested in these encounters Hasdrubal led out his army to battle, on which the Romans did the same. Each army remained standing in front of its camp, neither caring to begin the fight. Towards sunset the two armies, first the Carthaginian and then the Roman, marched back to camp. This went on for some days; the Carthaginians were always the first to get into line and the first to receive the order to retire when they were tired out with standing. No forward movement took place on either side, no missile was discharged, no battle-shout raised. The Romans were posted in the centre on the one side, the Carthaginians in the centre of the other; the flanks on both armies were composed of Spanish troops. In front of the Carthaginian line were the elephants which looked in the distance like towers. It was generally supposed in both camps that they would fight in the order in which they had been standing, and that the main battle would be between the Romans and Carthaginians in the centre, the principals in the war and fairly matched in courage and in arms. When Scipio found that this was assumed as a matter of course, he carefully altered his dispositions for the day on which he intended to fight. The previous evening he sent a tessera through the camp ordering the men to take their breakfast and see that their horses were fed before daybreak, the cavalry were at the same time to be fully armed with their horses ready, bitted and saddled. Day had scarcely broken when he sent the whole of his cavalry with the light infantry against the Carthaginian outposts, and at once followed them up with the heavy infantry of the legions under his personal command. Contrary to universal expectation he had made his wings the strongest part of his army by posting the Roman troops there, the auxiliaries occupied the centre.
The shouts of the cavalry roused Hasdrubal and he rushed out of his tent. When he saw the melee in front of the rampart and the disordered state of his men, and in the distance the glittering standards of the legions and the whole plain covered with the enemy, he at once sent the whole of his mounted force against the hostile cavalry. He then led his infantry out of the camp, and formed his battle line without any change in the existing order. The cavalry fight had now been going on for some time without either side gaining the advantage. Nor could any decision be arrived at, for as each side was in turn driven back they retreated into safety amongst their infantry. But when the main bodies were within half a mile of each other, Scipio recalled his cavalry and ordered them to pass to the rear of the infantry, whose ranks opened out to give them passage, he then formed them into two divisions, and posted one as a support behind each of the wings. Then when the moment for executing his maneuver arrived he ordered the Spaniards in the centre to make a slow advance, and sent word to Silanus and Marcius that they were to extend to the left as they had seen him extend to the right, and engage the enemy with their light cavalry and infantry before the centers had time to close. Each wing was thus lengthened by three infantry cohorts and three troops of horse, besides velites, and in this formation they advanced against the enemy at a run, the others following en echelon. The line curved inwards towards the centre because of the slower advance of the Spaniards. The wings were already engaged whilst the Carthaginians and African veterans, the main strength of their army, had not yet had the chance of discharging a single missile. They did not dare to leave their place in the line and help their comrades for fear of leaving the centre open to the advance of the enemy. The wings were being pressed by a double attack, the cavalry and light infantry had wheeled round and were making a flank charge, whilst the cohorts were pressing their front in order to sever them from their centre.
[28.15]The struggle had now become a very one-sided one in all parts of the field. Not only were untrained Balearics and raw Spanish levies face to face with the Roman and Latin legionaries but as the day went on, the physical strength of Hasdrubal's army began to give way. Surprised by the sudden attack in the early morning they had been compelled to go into battle before they could strengthen themselves with food. It was with this view that Scipio had deliberately delayed the fight till late in the day, for it was not until the seventh hour that the attack began on the wings, and it was some time after that before the battle reached the centre, so that, what with the heat of the day, the fatigue of standing under arms, and the hunger and thirst from which they were suffering, they were worn out before they closed with the enemy. Thus exhausted they leaned on their shields as they stood. To complete their discomfiture the elephants, scared by the sudden onsets of the cavalry and the rapid movements of the light infantry, rushed from the wings into the centre of the line. Wearied and depressed, the enemy began to retreat, keeping their ranks however, just as if they had been ordered to retire. But when the victors saw that matters were going in their favour they made still more furious attacks in all parts of the field, which the enemy were almost powerless to withstand, though Hasdrubal tried to rally them and keep them from giving way by calling out that the hill in their rear would afford them a safe retreat if they would retire in good order. Their fears, however, got the better of their sense of shame, and when those nearest to the enemy gave way, their example was suddenly followed by all and there was a universal flight. Their first halt was on the lower slope of the hill, and as the Romans hesitated about mounting the hill, they began to re-form their ranks, but when they saw them steadily advancing they again fled and were driven back in disorder to their camp. The Romans were not far from the rampart and would have carried the camp in their onset had not the brilliant sunshine which often glows between heavy showers been succeeded by such a storm that the victors could hardly get back to their camp, and some were even deterred by superstitious fears from attempting anything further for the day. Although the night and the storm invited the Carthaginians, exhausted as they were by their toil and many of them by their wounds, to take the rest they so sorely needed, yet their fears and the danger they were in allowed them no respite. Fully expecting an attack on their camp as soon as it was light they strengthened their rampart with large stones collected from all the valleys round, hoping to find in their intrenchments the defence which their arms had failed to afford them. The desertion of their allies, however, decided them to seek safety in flight rather than risk another battle. The first to abandon them was Attenes, chief of the Turdetani; he went over with a considerable body of his countrymen, and this was followed by the surrender of two fortified towns with their garrisons to the Romans. For fear of the evil spreading and the spirit of disaffection becoming general, Hasdrubal shifted his camp the following night.
[28.16]When the outposts brought intelligence of the enemy's departure Scipio sent on his cavalry and followed with his entire army. Such was the rapidity of the pursuit that had they followed in Hasdrubal's direct track they must have caught him up. But, acting on the advice of their guides, they took a shorter route to the river Baetis, so that they might be able to attack him if he attempted its passage. Finding the river closed to him, Hasdrubal turned his course towards the ocean, and his hurried march, which in its haste and confusion looked like a flight gave him a considerable start on the Roman legions. Their cavalry and light infantry harassed and retarded him by attacking him in flank and rear, and whilst he was continually forced to halt to repel first the cavalry and then infantry skirmishers, the legions came up. Now it was no longer a battle but sheer butchery, until the general himself set the example of flight and escaped to the nearest hills with some 6000 men, many of them without arms. The rest were killed or made prisoners. The Carthaginians hastily improvised an intrenched camp on the highest point of the hills, and as the Romans found it useless to attempt the precipitous ascent, they had no difficulty in making themselves safe. But a bare and sterile height was hardly a place in which to stand even a few days' siege, and there were numerous desertions. At last Hasdrubal sent for ships - he was not far from the sea - and fled in the night, leaving his army to its fate. As soon as Scipio heard of his flight he left Silanus to keep up the investment of the Carthaginian camp with 10,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, whilst he himself with the rest of his force returned to Tarraco. During his seventy days' march to this place, he took steps to ascertain the attitude of the various chiefs and tribes towards Rome, so that they might be recompensed as they deserved. After his departure Masinissa came to a secret understanding with Silanus, and crossed over with a small following to Africa, to induce his people to support him in his new policy. The reasons which determined him on this sudden change were not evident at the time, but the loyalty which he subsequently displayed throughout his long life to its close proved beyond question that his motives at the beginning were carefully weighed. After Mago had sailed to Gades in the ships which Hasdrubal had sent back for him, the rest of the army abandoned by their generals broke up, some deserting to the Romans, others dispersing amongst the neighbouring tribes. No body of troops remained worth consideration either for numbers or fighting strength. Such, in the main, was the way in which under the conduct and auspices of Publius Scipio the Carthaginians were expelled from Spain, fourteen years from the commencement of the war, and five years after Scipio assumed supreme command. Not long after Mago's departure Silanus joined Scipio at Tarraco, and reported that the war was at an end.
[28.17]Lucius Scipio was sent to Rome in charge of numerous prisoners of high rank to announce the subjugation of Spain. Everybody else welcomed this brilliant success with feelings of delight and exultation, but the one man who had achieved it and whose thirst for solid and lasting renown was insatiable looked upon his conquest of Spain as only a small instalment of what his lofty ambition led him to hope for. Already he was looking to Africa and the great city of Carthage as destined to crown his glory and immortalise his name. This was the goal before him and he thought it best to prepare the way to it by gaining over the kings and tribes in Africa. He began by approaching Syphax, king of the Masaesulians, a tribe of Moorish nationality. They lived opposite that part of the Spanish coast where New Carthage lies. At that time there existed a treaty of alliance between their king and Carthage, but Scipio did not imagine that Syphax would regard the sanctity of treaties more scrupulously than they are generally regarded by barbarians whose fidelity depends upon the caprices of fortune. Accordingly he sent C. Laelius to him with presents to win him over. The barbarian was delighted with the presents, and, as he saw that the cause of Rome was everywhere successful, whilst the Carthaginians had failed in Italy and entirely disappeared from Spain, he consented to become friendly to Rome, but insisted that the mutual ratification of the treaty should take place in the presence of the Roman general. All that Laelius could obtain from the king was a safe-conduct, and with that he returned to Scipio. In furtherance of his designs on Africa it was of supreme importance for him to secure Syphax; he was the most powerful of the native princes, and had even attempted hostilities against Carthage; moreover, his frontiers were only separated from Spain by a narrow strait.
Scipio thought it worth while running considerable risk in order to accomplish his end, and as it could not be effected in any other way, he made arrangements for visiting Syphax. Leaving the defence of Spain in the hands of L. Marcius at Tarraco and M. Silanus at New Carthage, to which latter place he had proceeded by forced marches from Tarraco, he sailed across to Africa accompanied by C. Laelius. He only took two quinqueremes, and as the sea was calm most of the passage was made by rowing, though a light breeze occasionally assisted them. It so happened that Hasdrubal after his expulsion from Spain entered the harbour at the same time. He had brought his seven triremes to anchor and was preparing to land when the two quinqueremes were sighted. No one entertained the smallest doubt that they belonged to the enemy and could easily be overpowered by superior numbers before they gained the harbour. The efforts of the soldiers and sailors, however, to get their arms ready and the ships into trim amidst much noise and confusion were rendered futile by a freshening breeze from the sea, which filled the sails of the quinqueremes and carried them into port before the Carthaginians could get up their anchors. As they were now in the king's harbour, no one ventured to make any further attempt to molest them. So Hasdrubal, who was the first to land. and Scipio and Laelius, who disembarked soon afterwards, all made their way to the king.
[28.18]Syphax regarded it as an exceptional honour - as indeed it was - for the captains of the two most powerful nations of their time to come to him seeking his friendship and alliance. He invited them both to be his guests, and as Fortune had willed that they should be under the same roof and at the same hearth he tried to induce them to confer together with the view of removing all causes of quarrel. Scipio declined on the ground that he had no personal quarrel with the Carthaginian and he was powerless to discuss affairs of State without the orders of the senate. The king was anxious that it should not seem as if one of his guests was excluded from his table, and he did his utmost to persuade Scipio to be present. He raised no objection, and they both dined with the king, and at his particular request occupied the same couch. Such was Scipio's charm of manner and innate tact in dealing with everybody that he completely won over not only Syphax, who as a barbarian was unaccustomed to Roman manners, but even his deadly enemy. Hasdrubal openly avowed that "he admired Scipio more now that he had made his personal acquaintance than after his military successes, and he had no doubt that Syphax and his kingdom were already at the disposal of Rome, such skill did the Roman possess in winning men. The question for the Carthaginians was not how Spain had been lost, but how Africa was to be retained. It was not from a love of travel or a passion for sailing along pleasant shores that a great Roman commander had quitted his newly subjugated province and his armies and crossed over with two vessels to Africa, the land of his enemies, and trusted himself to the untried honour of a king. His real motive was the hope of becoming master of Africa; this project he had long been pondering over; he openly complained that 'Scipio was not conducting war in Africa as Hannibal was in Italy."' After the treaty with Syphax was concluded Scipio set sail from Africa and, after a four days' passage in which he was buffeted by changeable and mostly stormy winds, reached the harbour of New Carthage.
[28.19]Spain was now quiet as far as war with Carthage was concerned, but it was quite evident that some communities conscious of wrong-doing were kept quiet more by their fears than by any feeling of loyalty to Rome. Amongst these Iliturgi and Castulo were foremost in importance and foremost in guilt. As long as Roman arms were successful Castulo remained true to her alliance; after the Scipios and their armies were destroyed they revolted to Carthage. Iliturgi had gone further, for the inhabitants had betrayed and put to death those who had sought refuge with them after those disasters, thus aggravating their treason by crime. To take action against these cities immediately on his arrival in Spain, whilst the issue was still undecided, might have been justifiable but hardly wise. Now, however, that matters were settled, it was felt that the hour of punishment had arrived. Scipio sent orders to L. Marcius to take a third part of his force to Castulo and at once invest the place, and with the remainder he himself marched to Iliturgi where he arrived after a five days' march. The gates were closed and every preparation had been made to repel an assault; the townsmen were quite conscious of the punishment they deserved, and any formal declaration of war was, therefore, unnecessary. Scipio made this the subject of his address to his soldiers. "The Spaniards," he said, "by closing their gates have shown how well they deserve the punishment which they fear. We must treat them with much greater severity than we treated the Carthaginians; with the latter we contend for glory and dominion, with hardly any feeling of anger, but from the former we have to exact the penalty for cruelty, treachery and murder. The time has come for you to avenge the atrocious massacre of your fellow-soldiers and the treachery meditated against yourselves had you been carried there in your flight. You will make it clear for all time by this awful example that no one must ever consider a Roman citizen or a Roman soldier a fit subject for ill-treatment, whatever his condition may be."
Roused by their general's words the men began to prepare for the assault, storming parties were picked out of all the maniples and supplied with ladders, and the army was formed into two divisions, one being placed under the command of Laelius, so that the town might be attacked from opposite sides and a twofold terror created. The defenders were stimulated to a determined and prolonged resistance not by their general or their chiefs but by the fear which came from a consciousness of guilt. With their past crime in mind they warned each other that the enemy was seeking not victory so much as vengeance. The question was not how to escape from death but where to meet it, whether, sword in hand, on the battlefield where the fortune of war often raises up the vanquished and flings the victor to the ground, or amidst the ashes of their city before the eyes of their captive wives and children after being torn with the lash and subjected to shameful and horrible tortures. With this prospect before them every man who could carry arms took his part in the fighting, and even the women and children working beyond their strength supplied missiles to the combatants, and carried stones up to the walls for those who were strengthening the defences. Not only was their liberty at stake - that motive only inspires the brave - but they had before their eyes the very extremity of torture and a shameful death. As they looked at each other and saw that each was trying to outdo all the rest in toil and danger, their courage was fired, and they offered such a furious resistance that the army which had conquered Spain was again and again repulsed from the walls of one solitary city, and fell back in confusion after a contest which brought it no honour. Scipio was afraid that the futile efforts of his troops might raise the enemies' courage and depress his own men, and he decided to take his part in the fighting and his share of the danger. Reproaching his soldiers for their cowardice he ordered the ladders to be brought up and threatened to mount himself if the rest hung back. He had already reached the foot of the wall and was in imminent danger when shouts arose on all sides from the soldiers who were anxious for their commander's safety, and the ladders were at once planted against the wall. Laelius now delivered his attack from the other side of the town. This broke the back of the resistance; the walls were cleared of their defenders and seized by the Romans, and in the tumult the citadel also was captured on that side where it was considered impregnable.
[28.20]Its capture was effected by some African deserters who were serving with the Romans. Whilst the attention of the townsmen was directed to defending the positions which appeared to be in danger and the assailants were mounting their ladders wherever they could approach the walls, these men noticed that the highest part of the city, which was protected by precipitous cliffs, was left unfortified and undefended. These Africans, men of light make and through constant training extremely agile, were furnished with iron hooks, and where the projections of the cliff gave them a footing they climbed it, when they came to a place where it was too steep or too smooth they fixed the hooks in at moderate intervals and used them as steps, those in front pulling up those behind, and those below pushing up those above them. In this way, they managed to reach the top, and no sooner had they done so than they ran down with loud shouts into the city which the Romans had already captured. And now the hatred and resentment which had prompted the attack on the city showed itself. No one thought of making prisoners or securing plunder though everything was at the mercy of the spoilers; the scene was one of indiscriminate butchery, non-combatants together with those in arms, women equally with men were all alike massacred; the ruthless savagery extended even to the slaughter of infants. Then they flung lighted brands on the houses and what the fire could not consume was completely demolished. So bent were they upon obliterating every vestige of the city, and blotting out all record of their foes. From there Scipio marched to Castulo. This place was being defended by natives from the surrounding towns and also by the remains of the Carthaginian army who had gathered there after their flight. But Scipio's approach had been preceded by the news of the fall of Iliturgi, and this spread dismay and despair everywhere. The interests of the Carthaginians and of the Spaniards were quite distinct, each party consulted for its own safety without regard to the other, and what was at first mutual suspicion soon led to an open rupture between them. Cerdubelus openly advised the Spaniards to surrender, Himilco, the Carthaginian commander, counselled resistance. Cerdubelus came to a secret understanding with the Roman general, and betrayed the city and the Carthaginians into his hands. More clemency was shown in this victory; the town was not so deeply involved in guilt and the voluntary surrender went far to soften any feelings of resentment.
[28.21]After this Marcius was sent to reduce to submission any tribes that had not yet been subjugated. Scipio returned to New Carthage to discharge his vows and to exhibit the gladiatorial spectacle which he had prepared in honour of the memory of his father and his uncle. The gladiators on this occasion were not drawn from the class from which the trainers usually take them - slaves and men who sell their blood - but were all volunteers and gave their services gratuitously. Some had been sent by their chiefs to give an exhibition of the instinctive courage of their race, others professed their willingness to fight out of compliment to their general, others again were drawn by a spirit of rivalry to challenge one another to single combat. There were several who had outstanding quarrels with one another and who agreed to seize this opportunity of deciding them by the sword on the agreed condition that the vanquished was to be at the disposal of the victor. It was not only obscure individuals who were doing this. Two distinguished members of the native nobility, Corbis and Orsua, first cousins to each other, who were disputing the primacy of a city called Ibes gave out that they intended to settle their dispute with the sword. Corbis was the elder of the two, but Orsua's father had been the last to hold that dignity, having succeeded his brother. Scipio wanted them to discuss the question calmly and peaceably, but as they had refused to do so at the request of their own relations, they told him that they would not accept the arbitrament of any one, whether god or man except Mars, and to him alone would they appeal. The elder relied upon his strength, the younger on his youth; they both preferred to fight to the death rather than that one should be subject to the commands of the other. They presented a striking spectacle to the army and an equally striking proof of the mischief which the passion for power works amongst men. The elder cousin by his familiarity with arms and his dexterity easily prevailed over the rough untrained strength of the younger. The gladiatorial contests were followed by funeral games with all the pomp which the resources of the province and the camp could furnish.
[28.22]Meantime Scipio's lieutenants were by no means inactive. Marcius crossed the Baetis, called by the natives the Certis, and received the surrender of two cities without striking a blow. Astapa was a city which had always been on the side of Carthage. But it was not this that created a strong feeling of resentment so much as its extraordinary hatred against the Romans, far more than was justified by the necessities of war. Neither the situation nor the fortifications of the city were such as to inspire its inhabitants with confidence, but their love of brigandage induced them to make raids on the territories of their neighbours who were allies of Rome. In these excursions they made a practice of capturing any Roman soldiers or camp sutlers or traders whom they came across. As it was dangerous to travel in small parties, large companies used to travel together and one of these whilst crossing the frontier was surprised by the brigands who were lying in ambush, and all were killed. When the Roman army advanced to attack the place, the inhabitants, fully aware of the chastisement which their crime merited, felt quite certain that the enemy were too much incensed to allow of any hope of safety in surrender. Despairing of protection either in their walls or their arms, they resolved upon a deed equally cruel and horrible to themselves and to those who belonged to them. Collecting the more valuable of their possessions they piled them up into a heap in a selected place in their forum. On this pile they ordered their wives and children to take their seats and then heaped round them a quantity of wood, on the top of which they threw dead brushwood. Fifty armed men were told off to guard their possessions and the persons of those who were dearer than their possessions, and the following instructions were given them: "Remain on guard as long as the battle is doubtful, but if you see that is going against us, and the city is on the point of being captured, you know that those whom you see going into action will never return alive, and we implore you by all the gods celestial and infernal in the name of liberty, liberty which will end in either an honourable death or a dishonourable servitude, that you leave nothing on which a savage enemy can vent his rage. Fire and sword are in your hands. Better that faithful and loving hands should make away with what is doomed to die than that the enemy should add mockery and scorn to murder. "These admonitions were followed by a dire curse on any one who was turned from his purpose by hope of life or by softheartedness.
Then they flung open the gates and burst out in a tumultuous charge. There was no advanced post strong enough to check them, for the last thing to be feared was that the besieged would venture outside their walls. One or two troops of horse and some light infantry were sent against them from the camp, and a fierce irregular fight ensued in which the troopers who had been first to come into collision with the enemy were routed, and this created a panic amongst the light infantry. The attack would have been pushed even to the foot of the rampart if the pick of the legions had not made the most of the few minutes allowed them for getting into line. As it was, there was at first some wavering amongst the front ranks, for the enemy, blinded by rage, rushed with mad recklessness upon wounds and death. Then the veterans who came up in support, unshaken by the frantic onset, cut down the front ranks and stayed the advance of those behind. When in their turn they tried to force the enemy back they found that not a man would give ground, they were all resolved to die where they stood. On this the Romans extended their lines, which their superiority in numbers enabled them to do easily, until they outflanked the enemy, who fighting in a compact body were killed to a man.
[28.23]The wholesale slaughter was at any rate the work of an exasperated soldiery who met their armed foes in the shock of open battle. But a much more horrible butchery took place in the city, where a weak and defenceless crowd of women and children were massacred by their own people, and their still writhing bodies flung on to the lighted pile which was again almost extinguished by the streams of blood. And last of all the men themselves, exhausted by the pitiful slaughter of those dear to them, flung themselves arms and all into the midst of the flames. All had perished by the time the Romans came on the scene. At first they stood horror-struck at such a fearful sight, then, seeing the melted gold and silver flowing amongst the other articles which made up the heap, the greediness common to human nature impelled them to try and snatch what they could out of the fire. Some were caught by the flames, others were scorched by the heated air, for those in front could not retreat owing to the crowd pressing on behind. Thus Astapa was destroyed without yielding any plunder to the soldiers. After accepting the surrender of the remaining cities in that district Marcius led his victorious army back to Scipio at New Carthage. Just at this time some deserters came from Gades and promised to deliver up the city with its Carthaginian garrison and the commandant and also the ships in the harbour. After his flight Mago had taken up his quarters in that city, and with the help of the ships which he had assembled he had got together a considerable force, partly from the opposite coast of Africa and partly through the agency of Hanno from the Spanish tribes round. After guarantees of good faith had been given on both sides, Scipio sent Marcius with the cohorts of light infantry and Laelius with seven triremes and one quinquereme to conduct joint operations against the place by sea and land.
[28.24]Scipio was overtaken by a serious illness, which rumour, however, made still more serious, as each man from the innate love of exaggeration added some fresh detail to what he had already heard. The whole of Spain, especially the remoter parts, was much agitated at the news, and it was easy to judge what an amount of trouble would have been caused by his actual death from seeing what storms arose from the groundless rumour of it. Friendly states did not preserve their fidelity, the army did not remain loyal. Mandonius and Indibilis had made up their minds, that after the expulsion of the Carthaginians the sovereignty of Spain would pass to them. When they found that their hopes were frustrated they called out their countrymen, the Lacetani, and raised a force amongst the Celtiberians with which they ravaged the country of the Suessitanians and the Sedetanians, who were allies of Rome. A disturbance of a different kind, an act of madness on the part of the Romans themselves, occurred in the camp at Sucro. It was held by a force of 8000 men who were stationed there to protect the tribes on this side the Ebro. The vague rumours about their commander's life were not however the primary cause of their movement. A long period of inactivity had, as usual, demoralised them, and they chafed against the restraints of peace after being accustomed to live on the plunder captured from the enemy. At first their discontent was confined to murmurs amongst themselves. "If there is war going on in the province," they said, "what are we doing here amongst a peaceable population? If the war is at an end why are we not taken back to Rome? "Then they demanded their arrears of pay with an insolence quite inconsistent with military discipline or the respect which soldiers should show towards their officers. The men at the outposts insulted the tribunes as they went their rounds of inspection, and some went off during the night to plunder the peaceable inhabitants in the neighbourhood, till at last they used to quit their standards in broad daylight without leave. They did everything just as their caprice and fancy dictated, no attention was paid to rules or discipline or to the orders of their officers. One thing alone helped to keep up the outward aspect of a Roman camp and that was the hope which the men entertained that the tribunes would become infected with their madness and take part in their mutiny. In this hope they allowed them to administer justice from their tribunals, they went to them for the watchword and the orders of the day, and relieved guard at the proper intervals. Thus after depriving them of any real authority they kept up the appearance of obedience, whilst they were actually their own commanders. When they found that the tribunes censured and reprobated their proceedings and endeavoured to repress them, and openly declared that they would have nothing to do with their insensate folly, they broke out into open mutiny. They drove the tribunes from their official seats, and then out of the camp, and amidst universal acclamation placed the supreme command in the hands of the chief ringleaders of the mutiny, two common soldiers whose names were C. Albius of Cales and C. Atrius, an Umbrian. These men were by no means content to wear the insignia of the military tribunes, they had the audacity to affect those of the chief magistrates, the fasces and the axes. It never occurred to them that those symbols which they had carried before them to strike fear into others were impending over their own backs and necks. The false belief that Scipio was dead blinded them; they felt certain that the spread of this report would kindle the flames of war throughout the whole of Spain. In the general turmoil they imagined that they would be able to levy contributions on the allies of Rome and plunder the cities round them, and when crime and outrage were being committed everywhere, what they had done would not be noticed in the universal confusion.
[28.25]They were every hour expecting fresh details of Scipio's death, and even news of his funeral. None came however and the idle rumours by degrees died away. Then they began to look for those who started the report, but each in turn kept out of the way, preferring to be thought credulous rather than suspected of inventing such a story. Abandoned by their followers, the ringleaders looked with dread upon the insignia they had assumed, and fully expected that in return for this idle show of power they would draw down upon themselves the weight of the true and legitimate authority. While the mutiny was thus at a standstill, definite information was brought that Scipio was alive and this was soon followed by the further intelligence that his health was restored. This intelligence was brought by a party of seven military tribunes, whom Scipio had sent to Sucro. At first their presence was strongly resented, but the quiet talks they had with those they happened to know had a calming effect; they visited the soldiers in their tents, and chatted with the groups which gathered round the tribunals or in front of the headquarters tent. They made no reference to the treason the soldiers had been guilty of, but only questioned them as to the causes of the sudden outbreak. They were told in reply that the men did not get their pay punctually, nor their due share of credit for the part they had played in the campaign. It was by their courage, they asserted, that the Roman name was preserved and the province saved for the republic after the destruction of the two armies and their commanders, at the time when the Iliturgans committed their foul crime. And though they had received the just recompense for their treason, no one had been found to reward the Roman soldiers for their meritorious services.
In reply to these and similar complaints the tribunes told the men that their requests were reasonable and they would lay them before the general. They were glad that these were nothing worse or harder to set right, and the men might rest assured that P. Scipio, after the favour the gods had shown him, and, indeed, the whole State, would show their gratitude. Scipio was experienced in war, but unfamiliar with the storms of internal disturbances. Two things made him anxious, the possibility of the army exceeding all measure in its insubordination, or of his inflicting punishments which would be excessive. For the present he decided to go on as he had begun, and handle the matter gently. Collectors were sent among the tributary states so that the soldiers might hope to receive their pay soon. An order was shortly after issued for them to assemble at New Carthage for that purpose; they might go in a body or successively in single detachments as they preferred. The unrest was already dying down when the sudden cessation of hostilities on the part of the revolted Spaniards completely stopped it. When Mandonius and Indibilis heard that Scipio was still alive, they gave up their enterprise and retired within their frontiers, and the mutineers could no longer find any one either amongst their own countrymen or amongst the natives who would associate himself with their mad scheme. After carefully considering every possible plan they saw that the only way of escaping the consequences of their evil counsels, and that not a very hopeful way, was to submit themselves either to the just displeasure of their general or to his clemency, which they were not without hopes of experiencing. They argued that he had ever pardoned the enemies of his country after armed conflict, whereas during their mutiny not a wound had been received or a drop of blood shed, it had been free from all cruelty and did not deserve a cruel punishment. So ready are men with reasons when they wish to palliate their own misconduct. There was considerable hesitation as to whether they should go to receive their pay separately cohort by cohort. or all together. The latter course seemed the safer and they decided upon it.
[28.26]Whilst they were discussing these points a council of war was being held over them in New Carthage. The members were divided; some thought it sufficient to proceed only against the ringleaders, who did not number more than five-and-thirty; others regarded it as an act of high treason rather than a mutiny and held that such a bad example could only be dealt with by the punishment of the many who were implicated. The more merciful view, that punishment should only fall on those with whom the mischief originated, finally prevailed; for the troops generally a severe reprimand was considered sufficient. On the breaking up of the council the army stationed in Carthage was informed that an expedition was to be made against Mandonius and Indibilis, and that rations were to be prepared for several days in advance. The object was to make it appear that this was the business for which the council had been held. The seven tribunes who had been sent to Sucro to quell the mutiny now returned in advance of the troops, and each handed in the names of five ringleaders. Suitable men had been told off to meet the culprits with smiles and pleasant words, and invite them to their houses, and when they had drunk themselves into a state of stupor place them in fetters. When the men were now not far from New Carthage they were informed by people who met them that the whole of the army at Carthage were starting on the morrow with M. Silanus against the Lacetanians. This news did not completely dispel the secret fears which haunted their minds, still they were greatly rejoiced to hear it, as they imagined that now that their commander would be alone, they would have him in their power, instead of their being in his.
The sun was setting when they entered the city, and they found the other army making all preparations for their march. It had been arranged beforehand how they were to be received, they were told that their commander was glad that they had arrived when they did, just before the other army left. They then dispersed for food and rest, and the ringleaders were conducted by the men selected for the purpose to their houses, where they were entertained, and where the tribunes arrested and manacled them without any disturbance. At the fourth watch the baggage train of the army began to move for its pretended march; at daybreak the standards went forward, but the whole army was halted as soon as it reached the gate, and guards were posted round all the gates to prevent any one from leaving the city. The newly arrived troops were then summoned to an assembly, and they ran into the forum and crowded threateningly round their general's tribunal, expecting to intimidate him by their shouts. At the moment when he ascended his tribunal the troops who had marched back from the gate and were fully armed surrounded the unarmed crowd. Now their rebellious spirit was completely cowed, and, as they afterwards admitted, the thing that they were most afraid of was the colour and vigour of their chief whom they expected to see looking weak and ill, and the expression in his face such as they had never witnessed before, not even in the heat of battle. For some time he sat in silence, until he received information that the ringleaders had been brought down to the forum and everything was in readiness.
[28.27]After the usher had obtained silence he made the following speech: "I never supposed that I should want words in which to address my army, not that I ever trained myself to speak rather than to act, but that having lived a camp life from boyhood I have learnt to understand the soldier's character. As to what I am to say to you now, words and ideas alike fail me; I do not even know by what title I am to address you. Am I to call you Roman citizens - you who have revolted against your country? Can I call you soldiers when you have renounced the authority and auspices of your general, and broken the solemn obligations of your military oath? Your appearance, your features, your dress, your demeanour I recognise as those of my fellow-countrymen, but I see that your actions, your language, your designs, your spirit and temper are those of your country's foes. What difference is there between your hopes and aims and those of the Ilergetes and the Lacetanians? And yet they chose men of kingly rank, Mandonius and Indibilis, to lead them in their madness, whilst you delegated the auspices and the supreme command to Atrius, an Umbrian, and Albius, a man from Cales. Do tell me, soldiers, that you did not all join in that or approve of its being done. I will gladly believe that only a few were guilty of such insensate folly, if you assure me that this is so. For the crime is of such a nature that had it involved the whole army it could only have been expiated by a frightful sacrifice.
"It is painful for me to speak thus, opening up, as it were, wounds, but unless they are handled and probed they cannot be healed. After the expulsion of the Carthaginians from Spain I did not believe that there were anywhere people who wished me dead, such had been my conduct towards friends and enemies alike. And yet, alas so greatly was I mistaken that even in my own army the report of my death was not only credited but eagerly looked for. I would not for a moment wish to lay this to the charge of you all, for if I thought that the whole of my army wished for my death, I would die here before your eyes. My life would have no attraction for me if it were hateful to my fellow-countrymen and my soldiers. But every multitude is like the sea which left to itself is naturally motionless, till winds and gales excite it. So it is with calm and storms amongst you, the cause and origin of your madness is to be found in your ringleaders, who infected you with their frenzy. For you do not seem even now to be aware to what lengths of folly you have gone or what criminal recklessness you have been guilty of towards me, towards your country, your parents and your children, towards the gods who were witnesses of your military oath, towards the auspices under which your served, towards the traditions of the army and the discipline of our ancestors, towards the majesty inherent in supreme authority. About myself I prefer to be silent; you may have lent a thoughtless rather than a willing ear to the report of my death; I may be a man whose rule might be naturally expected to prove irksome to his army. But your country - what has it deserved of you that you should make common cause with Mandonius and Indibilis for its betrayal? What have the Roman people done that you should deprive the tribunes whom they elected of their authority, and bestow it on private individuals? And not content with having such men for tribunes you, a Roman army, have transferred the fasces of your commander to men who never possessed a single slave to be at their command! The headquarters tent was occupied by an Albius and an Atrius; at their doors the trumpet sounded; to them you went for orders; they were seated on P. Scipio's tribunal; the lictor was in attendance and cleared the way before them; in front of them the axes and fasces were borne! When there is a shower of stones, or buildings are struck by lightning, or animals produce monstrous offspring, you consider these things as portents. We have here a portent which no victims, no intercessions can expiate but the blood of those who have dared such an awful crime.
[28.28]"Though no crime is dictated by rational motives, I should still like to know what was in your mind, what was your intention, so far as such wickedness admitted of any. Years ago a legion which was sent to garrison Regium murdered the principal men of the place and kept possession of that wealthy city for ten years. For this crime the entire legion of 4000 men were beheaded at Rome in the Forum. But they did not choose for their leader an Umbrian who was little more than a camp-follower, an Atrius whose very name is an evil omen. They followed D. Vibellius, a military tribune. Nor did they join hands with Pyrrhus, or with the Samnites and Lucanians, the enemies of Rome, but you communicated your plans to Mandonius and Indibilis and prepared to join them in arms. They were content to do as the Campanians did when they wrested Capua from the Tuscans, its old inhabitants, or as the Mamertines did when they seized Messana in Sicily; they intended to make Regium their future home without any idea of attacking Rome or the allies of Rome. Did you intend to make Sucro your permanent abode? If, after subjugating Spain, I had gone away and left you here you would have rightly complained to gods and men that you had not returned to your wives and children. But you may have banished from your minds all thought of them, as you have in the case of your country and in my own case. I want to trace the course which your criminal project would have taken, though stopping short of the extreme of madness. As long as I was alive and retained intact the army with which in one day I captured New Carthage and defeated and routed four Carthaginian armies, would you really have wrested the province of Spain from the hands of Rome, you, a force of some 8000 men, every one of you of less account at all events than the Albius and Atrius whom you made your masters?
"I put aside and ignore my own honour and reputation, and assume that I was in no way injured by your too easily crediting the story of my death. But what then? Supposing I had died, would the commonwealth have died with me, would the sovereignty of Rome have shared my fate? No, Jupiter Optimus Maximus would never have allowed a City built for eternity, built under the auspices and sanction of the gods, to be as short-lived as this fragile mortal body of mine. C. Flaminius, Aemilius Paulus, Sempronius Gracchus, Postumius Albinus, M. Marcellus, T. Quinctius Crispinus, Cnaeus Fulvius, and my own relations, the two Scipios, all of them distinguished generals, have been carried off in this single war, and yet Rome lives on and will live on though a thousand more should perish through sickness or the sword. Would then the republic have been interred in my solitary grave? Why even you yourselves, after the defeat and death of my father and my uncle, chose Septimus Marcius to lead you against the Carthaginians, flushed as they were with their recent victory. I am speaking as though Spain would have been left without a general; but would not the sovereignty of the empire have been amply vindicated by M. Silanus, who came into the province invested with the same power and authority as I myself with my brother Lucius and C. Laelius as his lieutenants? Can any comparison be made between their army and you, between their rank and experience and those of the men you have chosen, between the cause for which they are fighting and the one which you have taken up? And if you were superior to them all would you bear arms in company with the Carthaginians against your country, against your fellow-citizens? What injury have they done to you?"
[28.29]"Coriolanus was once driven to make war on his country by an iniquitous sentence which condemned him to dishonoured and forlorn exile, but his affection as a son recalled him from the crime which he was meditating as a citizen. What have you suffered to call out this bitter hostility? Did you proclaim war against your country, did you desert the people of Rome in favour of the Ilergetes, did you trample underfoot all law, human and divine, simply because your pay was a few days in arrear owing to your general's illness? There is no doubt about it, soldiers, you were seized with madness; the bodily illness from which I suffered was not one whit more severe than the mental malady which overtook you. I shrink with horror from dwelling upon the credit men gave to rumours, the hopes they entertained, the ambitious schemes they formed. Let all be forgotten, if possible, or if not that, let silence at least draw a veil over all. I admit that my words have appeared stern and unfeeling to you, but how much more unfeeling, think you, has your conduct been than anything I have said? You imagine that it is right and proper for me to tolerate your actions, and yet you have not patience to hear them mentioned. Bad as they are however, I will not reproach you with them any longer; I only wish you may forget them as easily as I shall. As for the army as a body, if you sincerely repent of your wrongdoing you give me satisfaction enough and more than enough. Albius of Cales and Atrius of Umbria with the other ringleaders in this detestable mutiny will expiate their crime with their blood. The sight of their punishment ought to give you satisfaction rather than pain, if indeed you have recovered your sanity, for their designs would have proved more mischievous and destructive to you than to any one else." He had hardly finished speaking when, at a preconcerted signal, the eyes and ears of his audience were assailed by everything which could terrify and appal. The army which was on guard all round the assembly clashed their swords against their shields, and the voice of the usher was heard calling over the names of those who had been sentenced in the council or war. These were stripped to the waist and conducted into the middle of the assembly; all the apparatus of punishment was at once brought out; they were tied to the stake, scourged and finally beheaded. The spectators were so benumbed by terror that no voice was raised against the severity of the punishment, not even a groan was heard. Then the bodies were all dragged away, and after the place was cleansed, the soldiers were summoned each by name to take the oath of obedience to P. Scipio before the military tribunes. Then they each received the pay due to them. Such was the end and issue of the mutiny which started amongst the soldiers at Sucro.
[28.30]Hanno, Mago's lieutenant, had been despatched during this time, with a small body of Africans to hire troops among the Spanish tribes, and succeeded in raising 4000 men. Soon afterwards, his camp was captured by L. Marcius, most of his men were killed in the assault, some during their flight by the pursuing cavalry; Hanno himself escaped with a handful of his men. Whilst this was going on at the Baetis Laelius sailed westward and brought up at Carteia, a city situated on that part of the coast where the Straits begin to widen into the ocean. Some men had come into the Roman camp with a voluntary offer to surrender the city of Gades, but the plot was discovered before it was ripe. All the conspirators were arrested and Mago handed them over to the custody of Adherbal for conveyance to Carthage. Adherbal placed them on board a quinquereme which was sent on in advance as it was a slower vessel than the eight triremes with which he followed shortly after The quinquereme was just entering the Straits when Laelius sailed out of the harbour of Carteia in another quinquereme followed by seven triremes. He bore straight down upon Adherbal, feeling quite sure that the quinquereme could not be brought round, as it was caught by the current sweeping through the channel.
Surprised by this unsuspected attack, the Carthaginian general hesitated for a few moments whether to follow his quinquereme or turn his prows against the enemy. This hesitation put it out of his power to decline the contest, for they were now within range of one another's missiles, and the enemy were pressing on him on all sides. The strength of the tide prevented them from steering their ships as they wished. There was no semblance of a naval battle, no freedom of action, no room for tactics or maneuvers. The tidal currents completely dominated the action and carried the ships against their own side and against the enemy indiscriminately, in spite of all the efforts of the rowers. You might see a ship which was endeavouring to escape carried stem foremost against the victors, whilst the one pursuing it, if it got into an opposing current, was swept back as though it were the one in flight. And when they were actually engaged and one ship was making for another in order to ram it, it would swerve from its course and receive a side-blow from the other's beak, whilst the one which was coming broadside on would suddenly be swung round and present its prow. So the varying struggle of the triremes went on, directed and controlled by Chance. The Roman quinquereme answered the helm better, either because its weight made it steadier, or because it had more banks of oars to cut through the waves. It sank two triremes, and sweeping rapidly past a third sheared off all the oars on one side, and it would have disabled the rest if Adherbal had not got clear away with the remaining five, and crowding all sail reached Africa.
[28.31]After his victory Laelius returned to Carteia where he learnt what had been going on at Gades, how the plot had been discovered and the conspirators sent to Carthage. As the purpose for which he had come was thus frustrated he sent word to L. Marcius, saying that if they did not wish to waste their time by sitting before Gades, they ought both to rejoin their commander-in-chief. Marcius quite agreed, and they both returned in a few days to New Carthage. On their departure Mago breathed more freely after having been threatened by the double danger from land and sea, and on receiving intelligence of the renewal of hostilities by the Ilergetes, he once more entertained hopes of reconquering Spain. Messengers were despatched to Carthage, to lay before the senate a highly coloured account of the mutiny in the Roman camp and the defection of the allies of Rome, and at the same time strongly urge that assistance should be sent to him in order that he might win back the heritage left him by his ancestors, the sovereignty of Spain. Mandonius and Indibilis had retired for some time within their borders and were quietly waiting till they knew what was decided with regard to the mutiny. They felt no doubt that if Scipio pardoned the offence of his own fellow-countrymen, he would exercise clemency towards them also. But when the severity of the punishment became generally known they were convinced that equal measure would be meted out to them, and so they decided to resume hostilities. They summoned their tribesmen once more to arms, and called out the auxiliaries who had joined them before, and with a force of 20,000 infantry and 2500 cavalry they crossed their frontiers and marched to their old camping ground in Sedetania.
[28.32]By his punctual payment of arrears to all alike, the guilty as well as the innocent, and by his affable tone and bearing towards every one, Scipio soon regained the affection of his soldiers. Before he broke up his quarters at New Carthage, he called his troops together and after denouncing at some length the treachery of the two chiefs in recommencing war went on to say that the temper in which he was going to avenge that crime was very different from the spirit in which he had recently healed the fault of his misled fellow-citizens. Then he felt as if he were tearing his own vitals, when with groans and tears he expiated either the thoughtlessness or the guilt of 8000 men at the cost of thirty lives. Now it was in a cheerful and confident spirit that he was marching to the destruction of the Ilergetes. They were not natives of the same soil with him, nor was there any treaty bond between them; the only bond was that of honour and friendship, and that they had themselves broken by their crime. When he looked at his own army he saw that they were all either Roman citizens or Latin allies, but what affected him most was the fact that there was hardly a single soldier amongst them who had not been brought from Italy, either by his uncle Cnaeus Scipio, who was the first Roman general to come into that province, or by his father or else by himself. They were all of them accustomed to the name and auspices of the Scipios, and he wanted to take them back with him to their country to enjoy a well-earned triumph. Should he become a candidate for the consulship he hoped that they would support him, as the honour conferred on him would belong to them all. As to the expedition in front of them the man who regarded it as a war must have forgotten all that he had hitherto done. Mago, who had fled with a few ships to an island surrounded by an ocean; beyond the limits of the world of men, was, he assured them, more of a concern to him than the Ilergetes were, for a Carthaginian general and a Carthaginian garrison, however small, were still there, but here there were only brigands and brigand chiefs. They may be strong enough to plunder their neighbours' fields and burn their houses and carry off their flocks and herds but they have no courage for a pitched battle and an open field; when they have to fight they will trust more to their swiftness for flight than to their weapons. It was not, therefore, because he saw that there was any danger from them, or any prospect of serious war that he was marching to crush the Ilergetes before his departure from the province, but because such a criminal revolt must not go unpunished, and also because it must not be said that a single enemy has been left behind in a province which by such courage and good fortune has been reduced to submission. "Follow me then," he said, in conclusion, "with the kind help of heaven, not to make war - for you have to do with an enemy who is no match for you - but to inflict punishment upon men steeped in crime."
[28.33]The men were then dismissed with orders to make their preparations for the next day's departure. Ten days after leaving New Carthage he reached the Ebro, and within four days of his passage of the river he came within view of the enemy. In front of his camp there was a level stretch of ground shut in on either side by mountains. Scipio ordered some cattle taken mostly from the enemy's fields to be driven towards the hostile camp in order to rouse the savagery of the barbarians. Laelius was instructed to remain with his cavalry in concealment behind a projecting mountain spur, and when the light infantry who went to guard the cattle had drawn the enemy into a skirmish he was to charge from his hiding-place. The battle soon began, the Spaniards on catching sight of the cattle rushed out to secure them, and the skirmishers attacked them while occupied with their plunder. At first the two sides harassed one another with missiles, then they discharged light darts, which are more likely to provoke than to decide a battle, and at last they drew their swords. It would have been a steady hand-to-hand fight if the cavalry had not come up. They not only made a frontal attack, riding down all in their way, but some galloped round the foot of the mountain so as to cut off the retreat of the enemy. There was more slaughter than usually occurs in skirmishes of this kind, and the barbarians were infuriated rather than disheartened at their want of success.
In order, therefore, to show that they were not defeated, they marched out to battle the next morning at daybreak. There was not room for them all in the narrow valley, described above; two divisions of their infantry and the whole of their cavalry occupied the plain and the rest of their infantry were posted on the slope of a hill. Scipio saw that the confined space would give him an advantage. Fighting on a narrow front was more adapted to Roman than to Spanish tactics, and as the enemy had brought his line into a position where he could not employ all his strength, Scipio adopted a novel stratagem. As there was no room for him to outflank the enemy with his own cavalry, and as the enemy's cavalry which was massed with the infantry would be useless where it was, he gave Laelius orders to make a detour along the hills, escaping observation as far as possible, and keep the cavalry action distinct from the infantry battle. Scipio led the whole of his infantry against the enemy with a front of four cohorts, as it was impossible to extend further. He did not lose a moment in beginning the fight, for he hoped that in the heat of battle his cavalry might execute their maneuver unnoticed. Nor were the enemy aware of their movements till they heard the sounds of battle in their rear. So two separate contests were going on through the whole length of the valley, one between the infantry and the other between the cavalry, and the narrow width of the valley prevented the two armies from assisting each other or acting in concert. The Spanish infantry, who had gone into action trusting to the support of their cavalry, were cut to pieces and the cavalry, unable to stand the attack of the Roman infantry after their own had all fallen, and taken in rear by Laelius and his cavalry, closed up and for a time stood their ground and kept up their resistance, but at last all were killed to a man. Not a single combatant out of the cavalry and infantry which fought in the valley remained alive. The third division which had been standing on the mountain side, looking on in safety instead of participating in the fight, had room and time enough to make good their retreat. Amongst them were the two chieftains, who escaped in the confusion before the entire army was surrounded.
[28.34]The Spanish camp was captured the same day and in addition to the rest of the booty 3000 prisoners were secured. As many as 2000 Romans and allies fell in the battle; the wounded amounted to more than 3000. The victory would not have been so costly had the battle been fought in a wider plain where flight would have been easier. Indibilis laid aside all idea of continuing the war, and thought that the safest course, considering his hopeless position, would be to throw himself on Scipio's well-known clemency and honour. He sent his brother Mandonius to him. Throwing himself on his knees before the victor he put everything down to the fatal frenzy of the time, which like some pestilential contagion had infected not only the Ilergetes and Lacetanians but even a Roman army with madness. He declared that he and his brother and the rest of their countrymen were in such a condition that they would, if he thought it right, give back their lives to the same P. Scipio from whom they had received them, or, if they were spared a second time, they would devote the whole of their lives to the one man to whom they owed them. Previously they had trusted to the strength of their cause and had not made trial of his clemency, now that their cause was hopeless they put all their trust in their conqueror's mercy. It was the traditional practice of the Romans, in the case of a conquered nation with whom no friendly relations had previously existed either through treaty or community of rights and laws, not to accept their submission or allow any terms of peace until all their possessions sacred and profane had been surrendered, hostages given, their arms taken away and garrisons placed in their cities. In the present instance however, Scipio, after sternly reprimanding Mandonius and the absent Indibilis at considerable length, said that their lives were justly forfeited by their crime, but that through his own kindness and that of the Roman people, they would be spared. He would not, however, demand hostages, since these were only a security for those who feared a fresh outbreak of hostilities, nor would he take away their arms, he would leave their minds at rest. But if they revolted it was not unoffending hostages but they themselves who would feel the weight of his arm; he would inflict punishment not upon a defenceless but upon an armed foe. He would leave it to them whether they preferred the favour or the wrath of Rome; they had experience of both. So Mandonius was dismissed, the only condition imposed upon him being a pecuniary indemnity sufficient to furnish the pay which was owing to the troops. After sending Marcius on in advance into Southern Spain, Scipio stayed where he was for a few days until the Ilergetes paid over the indemnity and then, setting out with a light-armed force, overtook Marcius who was already nearing the ocean.
[28.35]The negotiations which had been begun with Masinissa were delayed for various reasons. He wanted in any case to meet Scipio personally and to grasp his hand in confirmation of the league between them, and this was the reason why Scipio undertook at that time such a long and out-of-the-way journey. Masinissa was at Gades, and on being informed by Marcius that Scipio was coming, he represented to Mago that his horses were getting out of condition through being confined in so small an island, and were causing a general scarcity from which all alike suffered, whilst his cavalry were becoming enervated through inaction. He persuaded the Carthaginian commander to allow him to cross to the mainland for the purpose of plundering the adjacent country. When he had landed he sent three Numidian chieftains to Scipio to fix the time and place of the interview. Two were to be detained by Scipio as hostages, the third was to be sent back to conduct Masinissa to the place that had been decided upon. They came to the conference, each with a small escort. From what he had heard of his achievements the Numidian had already conceived a great admiration for the Roman commander and had pictured him in imagination as a man of grand and imposing presence. But when he saw him he felt a deeper veneration for him. The majesty, natural to Scipio, was heightened by his flowing hair and the simplicity of his general appearance, which was devoid of all adornment and decoration, and in the highest degree manly and soldierly. He was at the most vigorous time of life, and his recovery from his recent illness had given him a freshness and clearness of complexion which renewed the bloom of youth.
Almost speechless with astonishment at this his first meeting with him, the Numidian began by thanking him for having sent his nephew home. From that moment, he declared, he had looked for such an opportunity as this of expressing his gratitude, and now that one was offered him by the kindness of heaven he would not let it slip. He was desirous of rendering such service to Scipio and to Rome that no one of foreign birth might ever be found to have afforded more zealous assistance. This had long been his wish, but Spain was a strange and unknown land to him, and he had been unable to carry out his purpose there; it would, however, be easy to do it in the land of his birth, where he had been brought up in the expectation of succeeding to his father's throne. If the Romans sent Scipio as their general into Africa, he felt pretty certain that the time of Carthage would be very short. Scipio watched him and listened to him with great pleasure. He knew that Masinissa was the master-spirit in all the enemy's cavalry, and the youth's whole bearing showed high courage. After they had pledged their faith to each other, Scipio returned to Tarraco. Masinissa was allowed by the Romans to carry off plunder from the adjacent fields, in order that he might not be thought to have sailed across to the mainland without sufficient cause. After this he returned to Gades.
[28.36]Mago's hopes had been raised by the mutiny in the Roman camp and the revolt of Indibilis. Now he despaired of effecting anything in Spain and made preparations for his departure. Whilst he was so employed a despatch came from the Carthaginian senate ordering him to take the fleet which he had at Gades over to Italy, and after raising as large a force as possible of Gauls and Ligurians in that country to form a junction with Hannibal and not allow the war which had been begun with so much energy and even more success to drag on lifelessly. Money was brought to him from Carthage for the purpose, and he also requisitioned as much as he could from the people in Gades. Not only their public treasury but even their temples were plundered, and they were all compelled to contribute their private stores of gold and silver. Sailing along the Spanish coast, he landed a force not far from New Carthage, and plundered the nearest fields, after which he brought up his fleet at the city. During the day he kept his men on board, and did not disembark them till night. He then took them to that part of the city wall where the Romans had effected the capture of the place; thinking that the city was held by a weak garrison and that there would be a movement amongst some of the townsmen who hoped for a change of masters. The country people, however, who were fleeing from their fields had brought news of the depredations and approach of the enemy. His fleet had also been seen during the day, and it was obvious that they would not have taken their station before the city without some special reason. An armed force was accordingly drawn up outside the gate which faced the sea. The enemy approached the walls in disorder, soldiers and seamen were mixed together, and there was much more noise and tumult than fighting strength. Suddenly the gate was thrown open and the Romans burst out with a cheer; the enemy were thrown into confusion, turned their backs at the very first discharge of missiles and were pursued with heavy loss down to the shore. If the ships had not been brought up close to the beach and so afforded a means of escape, not a single fugitive would have survived. On the ships, too, there was hurry and confusion; the crews drew up the ladders, lest the enemy should clamber on board with their comrades, and cut the cables and hawsers so as not to lose time in weighing anchor. Many who tried to swim to the ships could not see in the darkness what direction to take or what dangers to avoid, and perished miserably. The next day, after the fleet had regained the ocean, it was discovered that 800 men had been killed between the wall and the shore and as many as 2000 arms of different kinds picked up.
[28.37]On his return to Gades, Mago found the gates closed against him, so he anchored off Cimbii, a place not far from Gades, and sent envoys to lodge a complaint against the gates being closed to him, an ally and a friend. They excused themselves by saying that it was done by a gathering of the townsmen who were incensed at some acts of pillage committed by the soldiers during the embarkation. He invited their sufetes - the title of their supreme magistrate - together with the city treasurer to a conference, and when they were come he ordered them to be scourged and crucified. From there he sailed to Pityusa, an island about a hundred miles distant from the mainland, which had at the time a Phoenician population. Here the fleet naturally met with a friendly reception, and not only were supplies furnished on a generous scale but he received reinforcements for his fleet in the shape of arms and men. Thus encouraged, the Carthaginian sailed on to the Balearic Isles, a voyage of about fifty miles. There are two islands so called; the larger one was better supplied with arms and contained a more numerous population; it also possessed a harbour where Mago thought he could conveniently shelter his fleet for the winter, as the autumn was now closing. But his fleet met with quite as hostile a reception as if the island had been inhabited by Romans. The sling which the Balearics make most use of today was at that time their sole weapon, and no nation comes near them in the skill with which they handle it. When the Carthaginians tried to approach the land such a shower of stones fell upon them like a violent hailstorm that they did not venture inside the harbour. Putting out once more to sea they approached the smaller island, which possessed a fertile soil, but fewer resources in men and arms. Here they landed and encamped in a strong position commanding the harbour, from which they became masters of the island without meeting any resistance. They raised a force of 2000 auxiliaries which they sent to Carthage and then beached their ships for the winter. After Mago's departure Gades surrendered to the Romans.
[28.38]Such is the record of Scipio's command in Spain. After handing over the charge of the province to the proconsuls L. Lentulus and L. Manlius Acidinus, he set sail with ten ships for Rome. On his arrival a meeting of the senate was held at the temple of Bellona, at which he gave a report of all he had done in Spain, how many pitched battles he had fought, how many towns he had captured, and what tribes he had brought under the dominion of Rome. He asserted that when he arrived in Spain he found four Carthaginian armies opposed to him; when he. left, there was not a single Carthaginian in the country. He was not without hope that a triumph might be accorded to him for his services; he did not, however, press his demand for one, as it was quite understood that no one had up to that time enjoyed a triumph who was not invested with a magistracy. After the senate had been dismissed, he made his entry into the City and had borne before him 14,342 pounds of silver and a great quantity of silver coins, all of which he, deposited in the treasury. L. Veturius Philo now proceeded to hold the consular elections, and all the centuries voted amidst much enthusiasm for Scipio. Publius Licinius Crassus, the Pontifex Maximus, was elected as his colleague. It is recorded that a larger number of voters took part in that election than at any other time during the war. They had come from all parts, not only to give their votes, but also to get sight of Scipio; they flocked in crowds round his house, and at the Capitol when he sacrificed the hecatomb which he had vowed to Jupiter in Spain. They assured themselves that as C. Lutatius had brought the First Punic War to a close, so Scipio would terminate this one, and as he had driven the Carthaginians out of Spain, so he would drive them out of Italy. They were marking out Africa as his province just as though the war in Italy was at an end. Then followed the election of praetors. Two of those elected - Spurius Lucretius and Cnaeus Octavius - were plebeian aediles at the time; the others - Cnaeus Servilius Caepio and L. Aemilius Papus - were not holding any office. It was in the fourteenth year of the Second Punic War (B.C. 205) that P. Cornelius Scipio and P. Licinius Crassus entered on their consulship. In the assignment of the consular provinces Scipio with his colleague's consent took Sicily without recourse to the ballot, because Crassus, as Pontifex Maximus, was prevented by his sacred duties from leaving Italy; he therefore took Bruttium. The praetors then balloted for their provinces. The City jurisdiction fell to Cnaeus Servilius; Spurius Lucretius received Ariminum, as the province of Gaul was then called; Sicily fell to L. Aemilius and Sardinia to Cnaeus Octavius.
[28.39]The senate held a session in the Capitol. A resolution was passed on the motion of P. Scipio that he should celebrate the Games which he had vowed during the mutiny and defray the cost out of the money which he had brought into the treasury. Then he introduced a deputation from Saguntum, the senior member of which addressed the House in the following terms: "Although there is no form of suffering, senators, which we have not endured in order to keep our faith with you to the last, still the kindness which you and your generals have shown to us has made us forget our misery. For us you have undertaken war and for fourteen years have carried it on with such determination that often you have brought yourselves and often reduced the Carthaginians to the last extremities. Though you had in the heart of Italy such a terrible war and such an enemy as Hannibal, you nevertheless sent a consul with his army to Spain to collect, as it were, the remains of our wreckage. From the day that the two Scipios, Publius and C. Cornelius, came into the province they never at any moment failed to do good to us and injury to our enemies. First of all, they restored our city to us, and sent men all over Spain to find out those of us who had been sold into slavery and set them free. When our fortunes, from being utterly miserable, had become almost enviable, your two generals Publius and C. Cornelius met with their deaths, a loss which we felt even more bitterly than you. It seemed at the time as though we had been brought back from distant exile to our old home only to see for the second time our own ruin and our country's destruction. It did not require a Carthaginian general or army to effect our annihilation, the Turduli, our inveterate enemies who had been the cause of our former collapse, would have been quite able to extinguish us. And just when we had lost all hope, you suddenly sent P. Scipio, whom we are more fortunate than all our fellow-citizens in seeing here today. We shall carry back to our people the news that we have seen, as your consul-elect, the one man in whom we placed all our hopes of safety. City after city has been taken by him from your enemies throughout Spain, and in every instance he picked out the Saguntines from the mass of prisoners and sent them home. And lastly the Turdetani, such deadly enemies to us that had their strength remained unimpaired Saguntum must have fallen, even they have been brought so low by his arms that they are no longer to be feared by us, nor, if I may dare to say so, by our posterity. The tribe in whose favour Hannibal destroyed Saguntum have had their own city destroyed before our eyes. We take tribute from their land, but it is not the profit, but the revenge that we enjoy most.
"For these blessings, the greatest that we could hope for or ask heaven to grant, the senate and people of Saguntum have sent this deputation to convey their grateful thanks. We are at the same time to convey their congratulations to you on having been so successful these last years in Spain and Italy that you have subjugated the one country by the might of your arms, not only as far as the Ebro, but even to its most distant shores which the ocean bounds, whilst in the other you have left the Carthaginian nothing outside the rampart of his camp. To the great Guardian of your stronghold in the Capitol, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, we are bidden not only to render thanks for these boons, but also, if you allow us, to offer and carry to him in the Capitol this gift of a golden crown, as a memorial of your victories. We pray that you will sanction this and further, if it seem good to you, that you will ratify and confirm for all time the advantages which your generals have conferred upon us." The senate replied to the effect that the destruction and restoration of Saguntum would both alike be a proof to all the world of the faith which each side had kept to the other. Their generals had acted wisely and properly and in accordance with the wishes of the senate in restoring Saguntum and rescuing its citizens from slavery, and all other acts of kindness which they had performed were such as the senate wished to have done. They accorded permission to the envoys to place their gift in the Capitol. Free quarters and hospitality were provided for them at the cost of the State, and orders were given for each to be presented with a sum of not less than 10,000 ases. The other deputations were then admitted to an audience of the senate. The Saguntines also asked to be allowed to make a tour through Italy as far as they could with safety, and guides were furnished them and letters sent to the different towns requesting them to give the Spaniards a hospitable reception
[28.40]The next question before the senate concerned the raising of troops and the distribution of the various commands. There was a rumour that Africa was to form a new province and be allotted to Scipio without having recourse to the ballot. Scipio himself, no longer contented with a moderate share of glory, was telling people that he had been returned as consul not simply to carry on the war but to bring it to an end, and the only way of doing that was for him to take an army over to Africa. In the event of the senate's opposition he asserted openly that he would carry his proposal by the authority of the people. The project was most distasteful to the leaders of the senate, and as the rest of the senators, afraid of becoming unpopular, refused to speak out, Q. Fabius Maximus was asked for his opinion. This he gave in the following speech: "I am quite aware, senators, that many of you regard the question before us today as already decided, and consider that any one who discusses the destination of Africa as though it were still an open question is wasting words. I do not quite understand, however, how Africa can have been definitely assigned as the province of our gallant and energetic consul, when neither the senate nor the people have decided that it shall be included amongst the provinces for the year. If it has been so assigned then I think the consul is quite wrong in inviting a sham discussion upon a measure that has been decided upon; he is not only stultifying the senate as a body, but each individual senator who is called upon in turn for his opinion.
"In expressing my dissent from those who think that we ought at once to invade Africa, I am quite conscious that I expose myself to two imputations. For one thing my action will be set down to my cautious nature. Young men may call it timidity and indolence if they please, as long as we have no cause to regret that though the counsels of others have seemed at first sight more attractive, experience shows that mine are better. The other charge against me will be that I am actuated by motives of malevolence and envy against the ever-growing glory of our most gallant consul. If my past life, my character, my dictatorship and five consulships, the glory I have acquired as a citizen and as a soldier, a glory so great as to produce surfeit rather than a desire for more - if these do not shield me from this imputation at least let my age free me from it. What rivalry can exist between myself and a man who is not even as old as my son? When I was Dictator, in the full maturity of my powers and engaged in most important operations my authority was by an unheard-of innovation divided with the Master of the Horse. Yet no one ever heard a word of protest from me either in the senate or in the Assembly, even when he was pursuing me with abuse. It was through my actions rather than my words that I wished the man whom others considered my equal to be compelled to admit his inferiority to me. And am I, who have received all the honours that the State can confer, to enter into competition with one who is in the full flower of his youth? And simply that if Africa is refused to him, it may be granted to me, tired as I am not only of public business but of life itself? No, I must live and die with the glory that I have won. I have prevented Hannibal from conquering in order that he might be conquered by those of you who are in the full vigour of your powers."
[28.41]"It is but fair, Publius Cornelius, that whilst in my own case I have never preferred my own reputation to the interests of the State, you should pardon me for not regarding even your glory as more important than the welfare of the commonwealth. I admit that if there were no war in Italy or only an enemy from whose defeat no glory was to be gained, then the man who would keep you in Italy though acting in the public interest might appear to be depriving you of the chance of winning glory in a foreign war. But as our enemy Hannibal has been holding Italy for fourteen years with an undefeated army, you will surely not despise the glory of expelling from Italy during your consulship the enemy who has been the cause of so many defeats, so many deaths, and of leaving it on record that it is you who have terminated this war, as C. Lutatius has the lasting glory of bringing the First Punic War to a close? Unless, indeed, Hasdrubal was a finer general than Hannibal, or the last war a more serious one than this one, or the victory which closed it a greater and more brilliant one than this will be, should it fall to our lot to conquer whilst you are consul. Would you rather have drawn Hamilcar away from Drepana and Eryx, than expel Hannibal and his Carthaginians from Italy? Even though you should cling to the glory you have acquired more than to what you hope for, you will not pride yourself upon having delivered Spain from war rather than Italy. Hannibal is not yet such an enemy that the man who prefers to fight against another foe would not be thought to fear rather than to despise him. Why do you not gird yourself to this task? Why do you not march straight from here to where Hannibal is and carry the war thither instead of taking a roundabout course in the hope that when you have crossed over into Africa he will follow you? You are anxious to win the crowning glory of bringing the Punic War to an end; your natural course will be to defend your own country before you go to attack the enemy's. Let there be peace in Italy before there is war in Africa; let our own fears be banished before we make others tremble. If both objects can be achieved under your generalship and auspices, then when you have conquered Hannibal here, go on and capture Carthage. If one of the two victories must be left for your successors, the former is the greater and more glorious one and will necessarily lead to the latter. As matters now are, the public exchequer is unable to support two armies in Italy and also in Africa, we have nothing left from which to equip a fleet and furnish it with supplies, and over and above all this who can fail to see what great dangers would be incurred? P. Licinius, let us suppose, is conducting the campaign in Italy and P. Scipio one in Africa. Well, supposing - may all the gods avert the omen which I shudder at the mention of! but what has happened may happen again - supposing, I say, that Hannibal wins a victory and marches on Rome, are we to wait till then before recalling you from Africa, as we recalled Q. Fulvius from Capua? What, if even in Africa the fortunes of war prove equally favourable for both sides? Take warning from the fate of your own house, your father and uncle destroyed with their armies within a month of each other in the country where they had raised the name of Rome and the glory of your family high among the nations through their successful operations by land and sea. The daylight would fail me if I attempted to enumerate the kings and captains who by their rash invasion of their enemy's territory have brought the most crushing defeat on themselves and their armies. Athens, a city most sensible and wise, listened to the advice of a young man of high birth and equally high ability, and sent a great fleet to Sicily before it had disposed of the war at home, and in one naval battle the flourishing republic was, for ever ruined."
[28.42]"I will not take instances from distant lands and remote times. This very Africa we are speaking about and the fate of Atilius Regulus form a conspicuous example of the fickleness of fortune. "When you, Scipio, have a view of Africa from the sea will not your conquest of Spain seem mere child's play? What resemblance is there between them? You began by coasting along the shores of Italy and Gaul over a sea free from any hostile fleet, and you brought up at Emporiae, a friendly city. After disembarking your troops you led them through a perfectly safe country to Tarraco, to the friends and allies of Rome, and from Tarraco your route led through the midst of Roman garrisons. Round the Ebro lay the armies of your father and your uncle, whose courage had been raised by defeat and who were burning to avenge the loss of their commanders. Their leader was, it is true, irregularly chosen by the vote of the soldiery to meet the emergency, but had he belonged to an ennobled family and been duly appointed he would have rivalled distinguished generals in his mastery of the art of war. Then you were able to attack New Carthage without the slightest interruption; not one out of the three Carthaginian armies attempted to defend their allies. The rest of your operations, though I am far from depreciating them, are not to be compared with a war in Africa. There no harbour is open to our fleet, no district which will receive us peaceably, no city in alliance with us, no king friendly to us, no spot which we can use as a base of operations. Wherever you turn your eyes, you see hostility and menace.
"Do you put your trust in Syphax and his Numidians? Be satisfied with having trusted them once. Rashness does not always succeed and duplicity prepares the way for confidence through trifles, so that when the occasion calls for it, it may succeed in securing some great advantage. Your father and your uncle were not defeated until the treachery of their Celtiberian auxiliaries left them victims to the enemy. You yourself were not exposed to anything like the danger from the Carthaginian commanders, Mago and Hasdrubal, that you were from Indibilis and Mandonius after you had accepted their alliance. Can you trust the Numidians after the experience you have had of the disloyalty of your own troops? Syphax and Masinissa would both prefer that they rather than the Carthaginians should be the leading powers in Africa, but failing that, they would rather have the Carthaginians than any one else. At this moment mutual rivalry and numberless grounds of complaint are embittering them against one another, because external dangers are far distant; but once let them see the arms of Rome and a foreign army, and they will hasten side by side to extinguish, as it were, a conflagration which threatens them both. Those Carthaginians defended Spain in a very different way from that in which they would defend their country's walls, the temples of their gods, their hearths and homes, when their trembling wives will follow them and their little children cling to them as they march out to battle. What, moreover, if, feeling quite assured of the united support of Africa, the fidelity of their royal allies and the strength of their walls, and seeing that you and your army are no longer here to protect Italy, the Carthaginians should send over a fresh army from Africa, or order Mago, who, we understand, has left the Balearic Isles and is sailing along the Ligurian coast, to form a junction with Hannibal? Surely we should be in the same state of alarm as we were at the appearance in Italy of Hasdrubal, after you had allowed him to slip through your hands - you, who are going to blockade not Carthage only but the whole of Africa with your army! You will say that you defeated him. Then I regret all the more, both on your account and on behalf of the republic, that you allowed him after his defeat to invade Italy.
"Allow us to ascribe all that has gone happily for you and for the dominion of Rome to your wise counsels, and all misfortunes to the uncertain chances of war - the more talent and courage you claim for yourself the more will your native country and all Italy desire to keep such a doughty defender at home. Even you cannot disguise the fact that where Hannibal is, there is the centre and mainstay of the war, for you are giving out that the one reason for your going to Africa is to draw Hannibal there. Whether there then or here, you still have Hannibal to deal with. And will you, I should like to know, be in a stronger position in Africa, single-handed, than here with your own army and your colleague's acting together? What a difference that makes is shown by the recent instance of the consuls Claudius and Livius. Where, pray, is Hannibal more likely to be supplied with men and arms? In the most remote corner of Bruttium where he has so long been vainly asking for reinforcements from home, or in the country round Carthage and on the soil of Africa which is entirely occupied by his allies? What an extraordinary idea that is of yours to fight where your forces are reduced by one-half and those of the enemy largely augmented, rather than in a country where with two armies you would engage only one, and that, too, exhausted by so many battles, and such long and burdensome service. Just think how different your plan is from your father's. On his election as consul he proceeded to Spain, then left his province and returned to Italy in order to meet Hannibal on his descent from the Alps; you are preparing to leave Italy while Hannibal is actually here, not in the interest of the republic but because you think it a grand and glorious thing to do. Just in the same way you, a general of the Roman people, left your province and your army without any legal authority, without any instructions from the senate, and entrusted to a couple of ships the fortunes of the State and the majesty of the empire which were for the time bound up with your own safety. I hold the view that P. Cornelius Scipio was elected consul not for his own private ends, but for us and the commonwealth, and that armies are raised to guard this city and the soil of Italy, and not for consuls to transport to any part of the world they please in the arrogant style of kings and despots."
[28.43]This speech of Fabius, so appropriate to the circumstances under which it was delivered, and backed up by the weight of his character and his long-established reputation for prudence, produced a great effect upon most of those present, especially upon the seniors. Seeing that the majority approved of the sage counsels of age in preference to the impetuous temper of youth, Scipio is reported to have made the following reply: "Senators, at the beginning of his speech, Q. Fabius admitted that what he had to say might lay him under a suspicion of jealousy. Personally, I should not dare to accuse so great a man of that weakness, but either through the inadequacy of his defence or the impossibility of making a successful one, he has utterly failed to clear himself of the charge. For in his anxiety to dispel the suspicion, he spoke about his distinctions and his reputation in such exaggerated terms as to give the impression that I was in danger of finding a rival in the lowest of the Romans, not in him who, because he stands above all others - a position which I frankly confess I am striving to attain, denies the possibility of any rivalry between us. He has represented himself as an old man full of honours, and me as a youth not even as old as his son, as if the passion for glory did not extend beyond the span of human life and find its chief satisfaction in the memory of future generations. I am quite certain that it is the lot of all great men to compare themselves not with their contemporaries alone, but also with the illustrious of all ages. I admit, Quintus Fabius, that I am desirous not only of equalling your renown but - forgive my saying so - of surpassing it, if I can. Let not your feeling towards me, or mine towards my juniors, be such that we would prevent any of our fellow-citizens from reaching our level. That would not only injure the victims of our envy, it would be a loss to the State, and almost to the human race.
"The speaker dwelt upon the danger to which I should be exposed if I landed in Africa, showing apparently solicitude not only for the commonwealth and its army but even for me. What has led to this sudden anxiety on my account? When my father and my uncle were killed and their armies all but annihilated; when Spain was lost; when four Carthaginian armies and their generals were holding the whole country down by the terror of their arms; when you were looking for a man to take the supreme command in that war and no one appeared, no one came forward to offer himself but me; when the Roman people conferred the supreme command on me before I had reached my twenty-fifth year - why did no one then say anything about my age, the strength of the enemy, the difficulties of the campaign or the recent disaster which had overtaken my father and my uncle? Has some calamity occurred recently in Africa greater than the one which happened then in Spain? Are there larger armies and better and more numerous commanders in Africa now than there were then in Spain? Was I then at a riper age for undertaking a great war than I am today? Is Spain a more convenient field for operations against the Carthaginians than Africa? Now that I have scattered four Carthaginian armies in flight, reduced so many cities by force or fear, and subjugated every part down to the shores of the ocean, petty kings and savage tribes alike; now that I have reconquered the whole of Spain so completely that no vestige of war anywhere remains, it is an easy task to make light of my services, as easy, in fact, as it will be, when I have returned victorious from Africa, to make light of those very difficulties which are now painted in such dark colours in order to keep me here.
"Fabius says that no part of Africa is accessible, that there are no harbours open to us. He tells us that M. Atilius Regulus was made prisoner in Africa, as though he had met with misfortune as soon as he landed. He forgets that that very commander, unfortunate as he was afterwards, did find some harbours in Africa open to him, and for the first twelve months won some brilliant victories, and as far as the Carthaginian generals were concerned, remained undefeated to the last. You will not, therefore, deter me by quoting that instance. Even if that disaster had occurred in this war instead of in the last one, quite recently and not forty years ago - even then why should I be prevented from invading Africa because Regulus was made prisoner any more than I was prevented from going to Spain after the two Scipios were killed? I should be sorry to believe that Xanthippus, the Lacedaemonian, was born to be a greater blessing to Carthage than I am to be to my country, and my confidence is strengthened by seeing what tremendous issues depend upon one man's courage. We have had to listen even to stories about the Athenians, how they neglected the war at their doors in order to go to Sicily. Well, since you are at leisure to tell us tales about Greece why do you not mention Agathocles, king of Syracuse, who after Sicily had long been wasted by the flames of the Punic War sailed across to this same Africa and turned the tide of war back to the country from which it had started?"
[28.44]"Put what need is there of instances drawn from other lands and other times to remind us how much depends upon taking the aggressive and removing danger from ourselves by making it recoil upon others? It makes all the difference in the world whether you are devastating the territory of another nation or seeing your own destroyed by fire and sword. It shows more courage to attack than to repel attacks. Then again, the unknown always inspires terror, but when you have entered your enemy's country you have a nearer view of his strength and weakness. Hannibal never hoped that so many communities would go over to him after Cannae; how much less could the Carthaginians, faithless allies, harsh and tyrannical masters as they are, count upon the firmness and stability of their African empire! So far, even when deserted by our allies, we stood in our own strength, the soldiery of Rome. The Carthaginians have no citizen army, their soldiers are all mercenaries, ready to change sides on the smallest provocation. If only nothing stops me, you will hear that I have landed, that Africa is wrapped in the flames of war, that Hannibal is tearing himself away from Italy, that Carthage is besieged - all at one stroke. You may look for more cheerful and more frequent news from Africa than you received from Spain. Everything inspires me with hope - the Fortune which waits on Rome, the gods who witnessed the treaty which the enemy has broken, the two princes Syphax and Masinissa, whose fidelity I shall so far trust as to protect myself from any perfidy they may attempt. Many advantages which at this distance are not apparent will be disclosed as the war goes on. A man proves his capacity for leadership by seizing every opportunity that presents itself, and making every contingency subserve his plans. I shall have the adversary whom you, Q. Fabius assign to me - Hannibal - but I would rather draw him away than that he should keep me here; I would compel him to fight in his own country, and Carthage shall be the prize of victory rather than the half-ruined strongholds of Bruttium.
"And now as to any injury that may befall the republic during my voyage or whilst I am disembarking my men on the shores of Africa or during my advance on Carthage. As the consul, P. Licinius, is also Pontifex Maximus, and cannot be absent from his sacred duties, it is impossible for him to ballot for so distant a province. Would it not be almost an insult to say that he cannot accomplish the task, after Hannibal's power has been shaken and almost shattered, which you, Q. Fabius, were able to accomplish when Hannibal in the hour of victory was flying about in every part of Italy? And even if the war should not be brought to a more speedy termination by the plan which I suggest, the dignity of Rome and her prestige amongst foreign kings and nations would surely require us to show that we possess sufficient courage not only to defend Italy but to carry our arms even as far as Africa. We must not let the idea get abroad that no Roman general durst do what Hannibal has done, or that whilst in the First Punic War, when the struggle was for Sicily, Africa was frequently attacked by our fleets and armies, in this war, when the struggle is for Italy, Africa is left in peace. Let Italy, which has been so long harassed, have some rest at last; let Africa take its turn of fire and ruin; let a Roman camp threaten the gates of Carthage rather than that we should see the enemy's lines from our walls. Let Africa be the seat of war henceforth; let us roll back there all the terror and the flight, all the wasting of our lands and the defection of our allies, all the other miseries of war which have been assailing us for the last fourteen years. Enough has been said as to the republic and the present war and the allocation of provinces. It would be a long and uninteresting discussion if I were to follow the example of Q. Fabius, and as he has depreciated my services in Spain, so I were to pour ridicule on his glory and extol my own. I will do neither the one nor the other, senators, and if, young as I am, I cannot have the advantage over an old man in anything else, I will at least prove his superior in moderation and restraint of language. My life and my conduct of affairs have been such that I am quite content to accept in silence the judgment which you have spontaneously formed."
[28.45]Scipio was listened to with impatience, for it was generally believed that if he did not succeed in inducing the senate to decree that Africa should be his province, he would at once bring the question before the Assembly. So Q. Fabius, who had held four consulships, challenged Scipio to say openly before the senate whether he left the decision as to the provinces in their hands, and was prepared to abide by it, or whether he was going to refer it to the people. Scipio replied that he should act as he thought best in the interests of the State. On this Fabius observed: "It was not because I did not know what you would say or how you would act that I made my request, for you openly avow that you are sounding the House rather than consulting it, and that if we do not at once assign you the province which you want, you have a resolution ready to put to the Assembly." (Then, turning to the tribunes) "I demand of you, tribunes of the plebs, that you support me in my refusal to vote, for even if the decision is in my favour the consul is not going to recognise it." Then a discussion arose between the consul and the tribunes, he asserting that there was no just ground for their intervening and supporting a senator in his refusal to vote, when called upon to do so. The tribunes gave their decision in the following terms: "If the consul submits to the senate the allocation of the provinces their decision shall be binding and final, and we will not allow any reference to the people. If he does not so submit it, we shall support any senator in his refusal to vote when called upon to do so." The consul asked for a day's grace in order to consult his colleague. The following day he submitted the matter to the decision of the senate. The decree made respecting the provinces was that one consul should take Sicily and the thirty warships which C. Servilius had had the previous year, permission being granted him to sail to Africa, if he thought such a course would be in the interests of the State; the other consul was to take Bruttium and the operations against Hannibal, with either the army which had served under L. Veturius, or the one which Q. Caecilius had commanded. These two were to ballot and arrange which of them was to act in Bruttium with the two legions which the consul would not require, and the one to whom that field should fall was to have his command extended for a year. With the exception of the consuls and praetors, all who were to take charge of armies and provinces had their commands extended for a year. It fell to Q. Caecilius to act with the consul against Hannibal in Bruttium.
Scipio exhibited the Games amidst the applause of a large and enthusiastic crowd of spectators. M. Pomponius Matho and Q. Catius were sent on a mission to Delphi to carry thither the offering made from the plunder of Hasdrubal's camp. It was a golden crown of 200 pounds' weight, and there were facsimiles of the pieces of spoil made in silver weighing in the aggregate 1000 pounds. Scipio did not succeed in obtaining permission to levy troops and indeed he did not press the point, but he was allowed to enlist volunteers. As he had stated that his fleet would not be a charge on the State he was given liberty to accept any materials contributed by the allies for the construction of his ships. The cantons of Etruria were the first to promise assistance, each according to its means. Caere contributed corn and provisions of all kinds for the crews; Populonia, iron; Tarquinii, cloth for the sails; Volaterrae, timber for the hulls and corn; Arretium, 3000 shields and as many helmets, whilst they were ready to supply as many as 50,000 darts, javelins and long spears. They also offered to furnish all the axes, spades, sickles, gabions and hand-mills required for forty warships as well as 120,000 pecks of wheat and provision for the sailing-masters and the rowers on the voyage. Perusia, Clusium and Russellae sent pine-wood for the timbers of the ships and a large quantity of corn. The Umbrian communities as well as the inhabitants of Nursia, Reate and Amiternum and the whole of the Sabine country promised to furnish men. Numerous contingents from the Marsi, the Paeligni and the Marrucini volunteered to serve on board the fleet. Camerinum, a city leagued on a basis of equal rights with Rome, sent a cohort of six hundred men-at-arms. The keels of thirty ships - twenty quinqueremes and ten quadriremes - were laid down, and Scipio pressed on the work so rapidly that forty-five days after the timber had been brought from the forests, the ships were launched with their tackle and armament complete.
[28.46]Scipio sailed to Sicily with 7000 volunteers on board his thirty warships, and P. Licinius proceeded to Bruttium. Of the two consular armies stationed there he selected the one which the former consul L. Veturius had commanded. He allowed Metellus to keep the legions he was in command of, as he thought he would do better with men accustomed to his leadership. The praetors also departed for their several provinces. As money was needed for the war the quaestors received instructions to sell that part of the Capuan territory which extends from the Fossa Graeca to the coast, and evidence was asked for of any cases where land had been appropriated by a citizen of Capua, that it might be included in the Roman stateland. The informer was to receive a gratuity of ten per cent. of the value of the land. The City praetor, Cnaeus Servilius, was also to see that the citizens of Capua were residing where the senate had given them permission to reside, and any who were living elsewhere were to be punished. During the summer Mago who had been wintering in Minorca embarked with a force of 12,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry, and set sail for Italy with about thirty warships and a large number of transports. The coast was quite unguarded and he surprised and captured Genua. From there he went on to the Ligurian coast on the chance of rousing the Gauls. One of their tribes - the Ingauni - were at the time engaged in a war with the Epanterii, an Alpine tribe. After storing his plunder in Savo and leaving ten vessels as guardships, Mago sent the remainder of his ships to Carthage to protect the coast, as it was rumoured that Scipio intended to invade Africa, and then he formed an alliance with the Ingauni, from whom he expected more support than from the mountaineers, and commenced to attack the latter. His army grew in numbers every day; the Gauls, drawn by the spell of his name, flocked to him from all parts. The movement became known in Rome through a despatch from Spurius Lucretius, and the senate were filled with the gravest apprehensions. It seemed as though the joy with which they heard of the destruction of Hasdrubal and his army two years before would be completely stultified by the outbreak of a fresh war in the same quarter, quite as serious as the former one, the only difference being in the commander. They sent orders to the proconsul M. Livius to move the army of Etruria up to Ariminum, and the City praetor, Cnaeus Servilius, was empowered, in case he thought it advisable, to order the City legions to be employed elsewhere and give the command to the man whom he thought most capable. M. Valerius Laevinus led these legions to Arretium. About this time Cnaeus Octavius who was commanding in Sardinia captured as many as eighty Carthaginian transports in the neighbourhood. According to Coelius' account they were loaded with corn and supplies for Hannibal; Valerius, however, says that they were carrying the plunder from Etruria and the Ligurian and Epanterian prisoners to Carthage. Hardly anything worth recording took place in Bruttium this year. A pestilence attacked the Romans and the Carthaginians and was equally fatal to both, but in addition to the epidemic, the Carthaginians were suffering from scarcity of food. Hannibal spent the summer near the temple of Juno Lacinia, where he built and dedicated an altar with a long inscription recording his exploits in Phoenician and also in Greek.
End of Book 28
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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