1. The distance from the strait and town of Rhegium to Tarentum is more than two thousand stades;b.c. 209, Coss. Q. Fabius Maximus V. Q. Fulvius Flaccus IV. and that portion of the shore of Italy is entirely destitute of harbours, except those of Tarentum: I mean the coast facing the Sicilian sea, and verging towards Greece, which contains the most populous barbarian tribes as well as the most famous of the Greek cities. For the Bruttii, Lucani, some portions of the Daunii, the Cabalii, and several others, occupy this quarter of Italy. So again this coast is lined by the Greek cities of Rhegium, Caulon, Locri, Croton, Metapontum, and Thurii: so that voyagers from Sicily or from Greece to any one of these cities are compelled to drop anchor in the harbours of Tarentum; and the exchange and commerce with all who occupy this coast of Italy take place in this city. One may judge of the excellence of its situation from the prosperity attained by the people of Croton; who, though only possessing roadsteads suitable for the summer, and enjoying therefore but a short season of mercantile activity, still have acquired great wealth, entirely owing, it seems, to the favourable situation of their town and harbour, which yet cannot be compared with those of Tarentum. For, even at this day, Tarentum is in a most convenient position in respect to the harbours of the Adriatic, and was formerly still more so. Since, from the2 Iapygian promontory as far as Sipontum, every one coming from the other side and dropping anchor at Italy always crossed to Tarentum, and used that city for his mercantile transactions as an emporium; for the town of Brundisium had not yet been founded in these times.1Therefore Fabius regarded the recovery of it as of great importance, and, omitting everything else, turned his whole thoughts to this....
Read alsoThe First Punic War
The First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For nearly 20 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea and has been called "the longest and most severely contested war in history".
PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO AFRICANUS IN SPAIN, B.C. 210-206
2. Being about to narrate the exploits of Publius Scipio in Iberia, and in fact all the achievements in his life,A common mistake as to Scipio’s character. I think it necessary to direct my readers’ attention, to begin with, to his moral and mental qualities. For as he is perhaps the most illustrious man of any born before the present generation, everybody seeks to know what kind of man he was, and what advantages from natural ability or experience he enjoyed, to account for a career so crowded with brilliant achievement; and yet is compelled to remain in the dark, or to entertain false opinions, because those who write about him have not kept to the truth. The soundness of this assertion will be rendered evident in the course of my narrative to all who are capable of estimating the noblest and most gallant of his exploits. Now all other writers represent him as a man favoured by fortune, who succeeded in his undertakings contrary to rational expectation, and by the mere force of circumstances. They consider apparently such men to be, so to speak, more god-like and worthy of admiration, than those who act in every case by calculation. They do not seem to be aware of the distinction between credit for good fortune and credit for good conduct in the case of such men; and that the former may be assigned to any one however commonplace, while the latter belongs to those alone who act from prudent calculation and clear intelligence: and it is these last whom we should look upon as the most god-like and god-beloved.
Now it seems to me that in his character and views 3Publius was very like Lycurgus the legislator of the Lacedaemonians. For we must not suppose that itScipio’s use of religion compared with that of Lycurgus. was from superstition that Lycurgus continually consulted the Pythian priestess in the establishment of the Lacedaemonian constitution; nor that Publius depended on dreams and ominous words for his success in securing empire for his country. But as both saw that the majority of mankind cannot be got to accept contentedly what is new and strange, nor to face dangers with courage, without some hope of divine favour,—Lycurgus, by always supporting his own schemes by an oracular response from the Pythia, secured better acceptation and credit for his ideas; and Publius, by always in like manner instilling into the minds of the vulgar an opinion of his acting on some divine suggestion in the formation of his designs, caused those under his command to confront dangerous services with greater courage and cheerfulness. But that he invariably acted on calculation and with foresight, and that the successful issue of his plans was always in harmony with rational expectation, will be evident by what I am about to relate.
3. For that he was beneficent and high-minded is acknowledged; but that he was acute, sober-minded, and earnest in pursuit of his aims,Scipio’s first exploit, b.c. 218. no one will admit, except those who have lived with him, and contemplated his character, so to speak, in broad daylight. Of such Gaius Laelius was one. He took part in everything he did or said from boyhood to the day of his death; and he it was who convinced me of this truth: because what he said appeared to me to be likely in itself, and in harmony with the achievements of that great man. He told me that the first brilliant exploit of Publius was when his father fought the cavalry engagement with Hannibal near the Padus. He was then, as it seems, eighteen years old and on his first campaign. His father had given him a squadron of picked cavalry for his protection; but when in the course of the battle he saw his father surrounded by the enemy, with only two or three horsemen near him, and dangerously wounded, he first tried to cheer on his own squadron to go to his father’s assistance, but when he found4 them considerably cowed by the numbers of the enemy surrounding them, he appears to have plunged by himself with reckless courage into the midst of the enemy: whereupon, his comrades being forced to charge also, the enemy were overawed and divided their ranks to let them pass; and Publius the elder, being thus unexpectedly saved, was the first to address his son as his preserver in the hearing of the whole army.2 Having gained an acknowledged reputation for bravery by this exploit, he ever afterwards freely exposed himself to every sort of personal danger, whenever his country rested its hope of safety on him. And this is not the conduct of a general who trusts to luck, but of one who has a clear head.
4. Subsequently, when his elder brother Lucius was a candidate for the Aedileship, which is about the most honourable office open to a “young” man at Rome: it being the custom for two patricians to be appointed, and there being many candidates, for some time he did not venture to stand for the same office as his brother.Elected aedile, end of b.c. 217.But as the day of election drew near, judging from the demeanour of the people that his brother would easily obtain the office, and observing that his own popularity with the multitude was very great, he made up his mind that the only hope of his brother’s success was that they should combine their candidatures. He therefore resolved to act as follows: His mother was going round to the temples and sacrificing to the gods in behalf of his brother, and was altogether in a state of eager expectation as to the result. She was the only parent whose wishes he had to consult; for his father was then on his voyage to Iberia, having been appointed to command in the war there. He therefore said to her that he had seen the same dream twice: for he thought that he was coming home from the Forum after being elected Aedile with his brother, and that she met them at the door and threw her arms round them and kissed them. His mother with true womanly feeling exclaimed, “Oh, that I might see that day!” He replied, “Do you wish us to try?” Upon her assenting, under the idea that he would not venture, but was only jesting on the spur of the moment (for of course he was quite a young man), he 5begged her to prepare him at once a white toga, such as it is the custom for candidates for office to wear.
5. His mother thought no more about it: but Publius, having obtained a white toga, went to the Forum before his mother was awake. His boldness, as well as his previous popularity, secured him a brilliant reception from the people; and when he advanced to the spot assigned for candidates, and took his place by the side of his brother, the people not only invested him with the office, but his brother also for his sake; and both brothers returned home Aediles designate. The news having been suddenly brought to their mother, she rushed in the utmost delight to meet them at the door, and kissed the young men in an ecstasy of joy. Accordingly Publius was believed by all who had heard previously about his dream to have held commune with the gods, not merely in his sleep, but rather in a waking vision, and by day. But in point of fact there was no dream at all: Scipio was kind, open-handed, and courteous, and by these means had conciliated the favour of the multitude. But by a dexterous use of the occasion, both with the people and his mother, he obtained his purpose, and moreover got the reputation of acting under divine inspiration. For those persons, who, from dulness or want of experience, or idleness, can never take a clear view of the occasions or causes or connexion of events, are apt to give the gods and chance the credit for what is really effected by sagacity and far-seeing calculation. I have thought it worth while to say thus much, that my readers may not be misled by unfounded gossip to pass over this great man’s finest and most splendid qualities, I mean his wealth of resource and untiring diligence; which will become still more apparent when we come to recount his actual achievements.
6. Such was the man who now assembled the soldiers and exhorted them not to be dismayed by theSpeech of Publius Scipio to the soldiers in Spain, b.c. 210. disaster which had befallen them. “For,” said he, “Romans have never been beaten by Carthaginians in a trial of valour. It was the result of treachery on the part of the Celtiberians, and of rashness, the two commanders getting cut off from each other owing to their trust in the alliance of these men. But now6 these two disadvantages are on the side of the enemy: for they are encamped at a wide distance from each other; and by their tyrannical conduct to their allies have alienated them all, and made them hostile to themselves. The consequence is that some of them are already sending messages to us; while the rest, as soon as they dare, and see that we have crossed the river, will gladly join us; not so much because they have any affection for us, as because they are eager to punish the outrages of the Carthaginians. Most important of all is the fact that the enemy are at variance with each other, and will refuse to fight against us in a body, and by thus engaging in detail will be more easily dealt with by us.” Looking to these facts, therefore, he bade them cross the river with confidence, and undertook that he and the other officers would see to the next step to be taken. With these words he left his colleague,Scipio crosses the Ebro, and swoops down upon New Carthage.Marcus Silanus, with five hundred horse to guard the ford, and to protect the allies on the north of the river, while he himself began taking his army across, without revealing his design to any one. As a matter of fact he had resolved to do nothing of what he gave out publicly, and had made up his mind to make a rapid attack upon the town called Iberian Carthage. This may be looked upon as the first and strongest proof of the judgment which I lately passed upon him. He was now only in his twenty-seventh year: and yet he, in the first place, undertook to accomplish what the magnitude of the previous disasters had made the world look upon as completely hopeless; and, in the second place, having undertaken it, he left on one side the plain and obvious course, and conceived and carried out a plan which was a surprise to the enemy himself. This could only be the result of the closest calculation.
7. The fact is that he had made minute inquiries, before leaving Rome, both about the treason of the Celtiberians, and the separation of the two Roman armies;Scipio’s careful inquiries as to the state of things in Spain. and had inferred that his father’s disaster was entirely attributable to these. He had not therefore shared the popular terror of the Carthaginians, nor allowed himself to be overcome by the general panic.7 And when he subsequently heard that the allies of Rome north of the Ebro were remaining loyal, while the Carthaginian commanders were quarrelling with each other, and maltreating the natives subject to them, he began to feel very cheerful about his expedition, not from a blind confidence in Fortune, but from deliberate calculation. Accordingly, when he arrived in Iberia, he learnt, by questioning everybody and making inquiries about the enemy from every one, that the forces of the Carthaginians were divided into three. Mago, he was informed, was lingering west of the pillars of Hercules among the Conii; Hasdrubal, the son of Gesco, in Lusitania, near the mouth of the Tagus; while the other Hasdrubal was besieging a certain city of the Caspetani; and none of the three were less than ten days’ march from the New Town. Now he calculated that, if he decided to give the enemy battle, it would be risking too much to do so against all three at once, because his predecessors had been beaten, and because the enemy would vastly out-number him; if, on the other hand, he were to march rapidly to engage one of the three, and should then find himself surrounded—which might happen by the one attacked retreating, and the others coming up to his relief,—he dreaded a disaster like that of his uncle Gnaeus and his father Publius.
8. He therefore rejected that idea altogether: but being informed that New Carthage was the most important source of supplies to the enemy andHe determines to attempt New Carthage. of damage to the Romans in the present war, he had taken the trouble to make minute inquiries about it during the winter from those who were well informed. He learnt that it was nearly the only town in Iberia which possessed a harbour suitable for a fleet and naval force; that it lay very conveniently for the Carthaginians to make the sea passage from Libya; that they in fact had the bulk of their money and war material in it, as well as their hostages from the whole of Iberia; that, most important of all, the number of fighting men garrisoning the citadel only amounted to a thousand,—because no one would ever suppose that, while the Carthaginians commanded nearly the whole of Iberia, any one would conceive the idea of assaulting this8 town; that the other inhabitants were exceedingly numerous, but all consisted of craftsmen, mechanics, and fisher-folk, as far as possible removed from any knowledge of warfare. All this he regarded as being fatal to the town, in case of the sudden appearance of an enemy. Nor did he moreover fail to acquaint himself with the topography of New Carthage, or the nature of its defences, or the lie of the lagoon: but by means of certain fishermen who had worked there he had ascertained that the lagoon was quite shallow and fordable at most points; and that, generally speaking, the water ebbed every day towards evening sufficiently to secure this. These considerations convinced him that, if he could accomplish his purpose, he would not only damage his opponents, but gain a considerable advantage for himself; and that, if on the other hand he failed in effecting it, he would yet be able to secure the safety of his men owing to his command of the sea, provided he had once made his camp secure,—and this was easy, because of the wide dispersion of the enemy’s forces. He had therefore, during his residence in winter quarters, devoted himself to preparing for this operation to the exclusion of every other: and in spite of the magnitude of the idea which he had conceived, and in spite of his youth, he concealed it from all except Gaius Laelius, until he had himself decided to reveal it.
9. But although historians agree in attributing these calculations to him; yet, when they come to narrate their issue, they somehow or another attribute the success obtained not to the man and his foresight, but to the gods and to Fortune, and that, in spite of all probability, and the evidence of those who lived with him; and in spite of the fact that Publius himself in a letter addressed to Philip has distinctly set forth that it was upon the deliberate calculations, which I have just set forth, that he undertook the Iberian campaign generally, and the assault upon New Carthage in particular.
However that may be, at the time specified he gave secret instructions to Gaius Laelius, Gaius Laelius proceeds to New Carthage with the fleet,
Scipio by land. b.c. 209.who was in command of the fleet, and who, as I have said, was the only man in the secret, to sail to this town; while he himself marched his army at a rapid9 pace in the same direction. His force consisted of twenty-five thousand infantry and two thousand five hundred cavalry; and arriving at New Carthage on the seventh day he pitched his camp on the north of the town;3 defended its rear by a double trench and rampart stretching from sea to sea,4 while on the side facing the town he made absolutely no defences, for the nature of the ground made him sufficiently secure.
But as I am now about to describe the assault and capture of the town, I think I must explain to my readers the lie of the surrounding country, and the position of the town itself.
10. It stands about half-way down the coast of Iberia in a gulf which faces south-west, running aboutDescription of New Carthage. twenty stades inland, and about ten stades broad at its entrance. The whole gulf is made a harbour by the fact that an island5 lies at its mouth and thus makes the entrance channels on each side of it exceedingly narrow. It breaks the force of the waves also, and the whole gulf has thus smooth water, except when south-west winds setting down the two channels raise a surf: with all other winds it is perfectly calm, from being so nearly landlocked. In the recess of the gulf a mountain juts out in the form of a chersonese, and it is on this mountain that the city stands, surrounded by the sea on the east and south, and on the west by a lagoon extending so far northward that the remaining space to the sea on the other side, to connect it with the continent, is not more than two stades. The city itself has a deep depression in its centre, presenting on its south side a level approach from the sea; while the rest of it is hemmed in by hills, two of them mountainous and rough, three others much lower, but rocky and difficult of ascent; the largest of which lies on the east of the town running10 out into the sea, on which stands a temple of Asclepius. Exactly opposite this lies the western mountain in a closely-corresponding position, on which a palace had been erected at great cost, which it is said was built by Hasdrubal when he was aiming at establishing royal power. The remaining three lesser elevations bound it on the north, of which the westernmost is called the hill of Hephaestus, the next to it that of Aletes,—who is believed to have attained divine honours from having been the discoverer of the silver mines,—and the third is called the hill of Cronus. The lagoon has been connected with the adjoining sea artificially for the sake of the maritime folk; and over the channel thus cut between it and the sea a bridge has been built, for beasts of burden and carts to bring in provisions from the country.
11. Such is the nature of this city’s situation. The side of the Roman camp which faced the city therefore was secured, without any artificial means, by the lagoon and the sea. The neck of land lying between these two, and connecting the city with the continent, Scipio did not fence off with a stockade, although it abutted on the middle of his camp,—either for the sake of making an impression upon the enemy, or by way of suiting the arrangement to his own design,—that he might have nothing to hamper the free egress and return of his troops to and from the camp. The circuit of the city wall was not more than twenty stades formerly,— though I am aware that it has been stated at forty stades; but this is false, as I know from personal inspection and not from mere report,—and in our day it has been still farther contracted.
The fleet arrived to the hour, and Publius then thought it time to summon a meeting of his men andScipio discloses his intention of assaulting New Carthage. to encourage them to the undertaking by the use of the same arguments by which he had convinced himself, and which I have just now detailed. He pointed out to them that the plan was practicable; and briefly summing up the blow which their success would be to their enemies, and the advantage it would be to themselves, he ended by promising crowns of gold to those who first mounted the walls, and the usual rewards to those who11 displayed conspicuous gallantry. And finally he declared that “Poseidon had appeared to him in his sleep, and originally suggested his plan to him; and had promised to give him such signal aid in the actual hour of battle that his assistance should be made manifest to all.” The skilful mixture in this speech of accurate calculation with promises of gold crowns, and a reference to Divine Providence, created a great impression and enthusiasm in the minds of the young soldiers.
12. Next morning he stationed ships supplied with missiles of every sort, all along the seaboard, under the command ofThe assault.Gaius Laelius; and having told off two thousand of his strongest men to accompany the ladder-carriers, he begun the assault about the third hour. The commandant of the town, Mago, divided his garrison of a thousand men into two companies; half he left upon the citadel, and the rest he stationed upon the eastern hill. Of the other inhabitants he accoutred about two thousand of the strongest men with such arms as there were in the city, and stationed them at the gate leading to the isthmus and the enemy’s camp: the rest he ordered to assist to the best of their power at all points in the wall.A sally of the defenders As soon as the bugles of Publius sounded the moment of the assault, Mago caused those whom he had armed to sally from the gate, feeling confident that he should create a panic among the assailants and entirely baffle their design. These men vigorously attacked those of the Roman army who were drawn up opposite the isthmus, and a sharp engagement took place accompanied by loud cries of encouragement on both sides: the Romans in the camp cheering on their men, and the people in the city theirs. But the contest was an unequal one in the respect of the facility of bringing up reserves. The Carthaginians had all to come out by one gate, and had nearly two stades to march before they got on the ground; whereas the Romans had their supports close at hand and able to come out over a wide area; for Publius had purposely stationed his men close to the camp in order to induce the enemy to come out as far as possible: being quite aware that if he succeeded in destroying these, who were so to speak the sharp edge of the urban12 population, universal consternation would be the result, and no more of those in the town would haverepulsed. the courage to come out of the gate. The contest however for a certain time was undecided, for it was between picked men on both sides; but finally the Carthaginians were overpowered by the superior weight of their opponents, owing to the constant reinforcements from the camp, and turned to flight. A large number of them fell in the actual engagement, and during the retreat; but the greater number were trampled to death by each other as they crowded through the gate. The city people were thrown into such a panic by these events, that even those who were guarding the walls fled. The Romans very nearly succeeded in forcing their way in through the gates with the fugitives; and of course fixed their scaling-ladders against the wall in perfect security.
13. Meanwhile Publius, though throwing himself heartily into the struggle, yet took all possible precautions to protect his life. He had three men with him carrying large shields, which they held in such a position as to completely protect him from the side of the wall; and accordingly he went along the lines, or mounted on elevated ground, and contributed greatly to the success of the day. For he was enabled to see all that was going on, and at the same time, by being himself in view of all, inspired great zeal in the hearts of the combatants. The result was that nothing was omitted which could contribute to the success of the battle; but any help he saw to be at any moment required was rapidly and thoroughly supplied.
But though the leaders of the escalade had begun mounting the walls with great spirit, they foundDifficulties of the escalade. the operation accompanied by some danger: not so much from the number of the defenders, as from the height of the walls. The defenders accordingly plucked up courage considerably when they saw the distress of the assailants: for some of the ladders were breaking under the weight of the numbers which, owing to their length, were on them at the same time; while on others the first to mount turned giddy owing to their great height, and without requiring much resistance from the defenders threw themselves from13 the ladders: and when beams, or anything of that sort, were hurled upon them from the battlements, they were swept off en masse and fell to the ground. In spite however of these difficulties nothing could check the zeal and fury of the Roman attack; but as the first fell their place was always taken at once by the next in order. And now, as the day was far advanced, and the soldiers were worn out with fatigue, Scipio sounded a recall for the assaulting party.
14. The men in the town were accordingly in high spirits at having, as they thought, repulsed the assault.Towards evening Scipio renews the assault on the gate, to distract attention from his attack by way of the lagoon. But Scipio, who was conscious that the time was now approaching for the ebb of the lagoon, had five hundred men stationed ready by its edge with ladders; and meanwhile massed some fresh soldiers upon the gate and isthmus, and, after urging them to undertake the work, furnished them with a larger number of ladders than before: so that the wall was almost covered with men scaling it. When the signal for attack was sounded, and the men placed their ladders against the wall, and began ascending at every point, the excitement and consternation inside the walls was extreme; for when they thought themselves released from the threatened danger, they saw it beginning all over again by another assault. Besides, their missiles were beginning to fall short; and the number of men they had lost greatly disheartened them. Still, though they were in great distress, they continued the defence as well as they could.
Just when the struggle at the ladders was at its hottest the ebb of the tide began. The water began gradually to leave the edges of the lagoon,Scipio crosses the lagoon and gets his men upon the wall. and the current ran with such violence, and in such a mass through its channel into the adjoining sea, that to those who were unprepared for the sight it appeared incredible. Being provided with guides, Scipio at once ordered his men, who had been stationed ready for this service, to step in and to fear nothing. His was a nature especially fitted to inspire courage and sympathy with his own feelings. So now the men at once obeyed him, and when the army saw them racing each other across the marsh, it14 could not but suppose that the movement was a kind of heaven-sent inspiration. This reminded them of the reference Scipio had made to Poseidon, and the promises contained in his harangue: and their enthusiasm rose to such a height that they locked their shields above their heads, and, charging up to the gate, they began trying to hew their way through the panels of the doors with their axes and hatchets.
Meanwhile the party which had crossed the marsh had approached the wall. They found the battlements unguarded: and therefore, not only fixed their ladders against the wall, but actually mounted and took it without striking a blow; for the attention of the garrison was distracted to other points, especially to the isthmus and the gate leading to it, and they never expected that the enemy were likely to attack on the side of the lagoon: besides, and above all, there was such disorderly shouting, and such a scene of confusion within the wall, that they could neither hear nor see to any purpose.
15. As soon as they found themselves in possession of the wall, the Romans began making their way along the top of it,The city entered and given up to the sword.hurling off such of the enemy as they met, the nature of their arms being especially suited for an operation of that sort. But when they arrived at the gate they descended and began cutting through the bolts, while those without began forcing their way in, and those who were mounting the walls in the direction of the isthmus, beginning by this time to get the better of their opponents, were getting a footing on the battlements. Thus the walls were finally in possession of the enemy: and the troops, which entered by the gate, carried the eastern hill and drove off the garrison occupying it.
When Scipio thought that a sufficient number of troops had entered the town, he gave leave to the larger number of them to attack those in it, according to the Roman custom, with directions to kill everything they met, and to spare nothing; and not to begin looting until they got the order to do so. The object of this is, I suppose, to strike terror. Accordingly, one may often see in towns captured by the Romans, not only human beings who have been put to the sword, but even dogs cloven down the middle, and the limbs15 of other animals hewn off. On this occasion the amount of such slaughter was exceedingly great, because of the numbers included in the city.
Scipio himself with about a thousand men now pressed on towards the citadel. When he arrived there,Mago surrenders the citadel. Mago at first thought of resistance; but afterwards, when he was satisfied that the city was completely in the power of the enemy, he sent to demand a promise of his life, and then surrendered. This being concluded, the signal was given to stop the slaughter: whereupon the soldiers left off slaying,Sack of the city.and turned to plunder. When night fell those of the soldiers to whom this duty had been assigned remained in the camp, while Scipio with his thousand men bivouacked in the citadel; and summoning the rest from the dwelling-houses by means of the Tribunes, he ordered them to collect all their booty into the market-place by maniples, and to take up their quarters for the night by these several heaps. He then summoned the light-armed from the camp, and stationed them upon the eastern hill.
Thus did the Romans become masters of Carthage in Iberia.
16. Next morning the baggage of those who had served in the Carthaginian ranks, as well as the property of the city-folk and the craftsmen,The Roman customs in the distribution of booty. having been collected together in the market-place, the Tribunes divided it according to the Roman custom among their several legions. Now the Roman method of procedure in the capture of cities is the following: Sometimes certain soldiers taken from each maniple are told off for this duty, their numbers depending on the size of the city; sometimes maniples are told off in turn for it: but there are never more than half the whole number assigned to the work. The rest remain in their own ranks in reserve, sometimes outside, at others inside the city, for taking such precautions as may be from time to time necessary. Sometimes, though rarely, four legions are massed together; but generally speaking the whole force is divided into two legions of Romans and two of allies. This being settled, all who are16 told off for plundering carry all they get, each to his own legion; and when this booty has been sold, the Tribunes distribute the proceeds among all equally, including not only those who were thus held in reserve, but even those who were guarding the tents, or were invalided, or had been sent away anywhere on any service.See 6, 33. But I have spoken fully before, when discussing the Roman constitution, on the subject of the distribution of booty, showing how no one is excluded from a share in it, in accordance with the oath which all take upon first joining the camp. I may now add that the arrangement whereby the Roman army is thus divided, half being engaged in gathering booty and half remaining drawn up in reserve, precludes all danger of a general catastrophe arising from personal rivalry in greed. For as both parties feel absolute confidence in the fair dealing of each in respect to the booty,—the reserves no less than the plunderers,—no one leaves the ranks, which has been the most frequent cause of disaster in the case of other armies.
17. For, as the majority of mankind encounter miseries and embrace dangers for the sake of gain, it is plain that when such opportunity is presented to them as this, the men in the reserve or in the camp would be with difficulty induced to abstain from taking advantage of it; because the usual idea is that everything belongs to the man who actually takes it: and though a general or king may be careful to order all booty to be brought into the common stock, yet everybody considers that what he can conceal is his own. The result is that, while the ruck of the army cannot be prevented from eagerly devoting themselves to plunder, they often run the risk of a complete overthrow: and it has often in fact happened that after a successful movement, such as the carrying of an entrenched camp or the capture of a city, the victorious army has, from no other cause but this, been not only ejected but even utterly defeated. Therefore there is nothing about which leaders ought to exercise more care or foresight, than that, on such an occasion, all may have an absolutely equal prospect of sharing in the booty.
Thus on the present occasion, while the Tribunes were busied in the distribution of the spoil; the Roman commander17 caused the prisoners, who numbered little short of ten thousand, to be assembled;Scipio’s treatment of the prisoners. The citizens are dismissed to their homes. and having first ordered them to be divided into two groups, one containing the citizens and their wives and children, the other the craftsmen, he exhorted the first of these to be loyal to the Romans, and to remember the favour which they were now receiving, and allowed them all to depart to their own houses. With tears of joy at this unexpected preservation, they bowed in reverence to Scipio and dispersed.The skilled slaves are promised their freedom at the end of the war. He then told the craftsmen that they were for the present public slaves of Rome, but that, if they showed themselves loyal and zealous in their several crafts, he promised than their freedom, as soon as the war with the Carthaginians had been brought to a successful issue. He then bade them go get their names enrolled in the office of the Quaestor, and appointed a Roman overseer for every thirty of them, their whole number being about two thousand. Some are drafted into the navy.From the remaining captives he selected the strongest, those who were in the prime of youth and physical vigour, and assigned them to serve on board ship: and having thus increased the number of his naval allies by one half, he manned the ships taken from the enemy as well as his own; so that the number of men on board each vessel were now little short of double what it was before. For the captured ships numbered eighteen, his original fleet thirty-five. These men he also promised their freedom, if they showed themselves loyal and zealous, as soon as they had conquered the Carthaginians. By this treatment of the captives he inspired the citizens with warm feelings of loyalty and fidelity, and the handicraftsmen with great readiness to serve, from the hope held out to them of recovering their freedom.
18. He next took Mago and the Carthaginians with him separately, consisting of one memberMago is entrusted to Lachus. of the Council of ancients and fifteen of the Senate.6 These he put under the charge of Gaius Laelius, with orders that he should take due care of them. He next 18summoned the hostages, who numbered more than three hundred. Such of them as were childrenThe hostages. he called to him one by one, and stroking their heads told them not to be afraid, for in a few days they would see their parents. The others also he exhorted to be of good cheer, and to write word to their relations in their several cities, first, that they were safe and well; and, secondly, that the Romans were minded to restore them all unharmed to their homes, if only their relations adopted the Roman alliance. With these words, having already selected from the spoils such articles as were fitting for his purpose, he presented each with what was suitable to their sex and age: the girls with ear-rings and bracelets, the young men with daggers and swords.The women. Among the captive women was the wife of Mandonius, brother of Andobalus king of the Ilergētes. This woman fell at his feet and besought him with tears to protect their honour better than the Carthaginians had done. Touched by her distress Scipio asked her in what respect she and the other women were left unprovided. She was a lady of advanced years and of a certain majestic dignity of appearance: and upon her meeting his question by perfect silence, he summoned the men who had been appointed to take charge of the women; and when they reported that they had supplied them with all necessaries in abundance, and when the woman again clasped his knees and repeated the same request, Scipio felt still more embarrassed; and, conceiving the idea that their guardians had neglected them, and were now making a false report, he bade the women fear nothing, for that he would appoint different men to see to their interests, and secure that they were not left in want of anything. Then after a brief hesitation the woman said, “You mistake my meaning, General, if you think that we are asking you for food.” Scipio then at length began to understand what she wished to convey; and seeing under his eyes the youthful beauty of the daughters of Andobalus, and of many of the other nobles, he could not 19refrain from tears, while the aged lady indicated in a few words the danger in which they were. He showed at once that he understood her words: and taking her by the hand, he bade her and the others also be of good cheer, for that he would watch over them as he would over his own sisters and daughters, and would accordingly put men in charge of them on whom he could rely.
19. His next business was to pay over to the Quaestors such public money of the Carthaginians as had been captured.The money. It amounted to more than six hundred talents, so that when this was added to the four hundred which he had brought with him from Rome, he found himself in possession of more than one thousand talents.
It was on this occasion that some young Romans fell in with a girl surpassing all the other women in bloom and beauty;Scipio’s continence.and seeing that Scipio was fond of the society of women, they brought her to him, and, placing her before him, said that they desired to present the damsel to him. He was struck with admiration for her beauty, and replied that, if he had been in a private position, he could have received no present that would have given him greater pleasure; but as general it was the last in the world which he could receive. He meant to convey, I presume, by this ambiguous answer that, in hours of rest and idleness, such things are the most delightful enjoyments and pastimes for young men; whereas in times of activity they are hindrances physically and mentally. However that may be, he thanked the young men; but called the girl’s father, and handing her over at once to him, told him to bestow her in marriage on whichever of the citizens he chose. By this display of continence and self-control he gained the warm respect of his men.
Having made these arrangements, and handed over the rest of the captives to the Tribunes,Laelius sent to Rome with the news. b.c. 209. he despatched Gaius Laelius on board a quinquereme to Rome, with the Carthaginian prisoners and the noblest of the others, to announce at home what had taken place. For as the prevailing feeling at Rome was one of despair of success in Iberia, he felt certain that on this news their spirits20 would revive, and that they would make much more strenuous efforts to support him.
20. Scipio himself stayed a certain time in New Carthage and assiduously practised his fleet;Preparations for an advance. and drew up the following scheme for his military Tribunes for training their men. The first day he ordered the men to go at the double for thirty stades in their full arms; and on the second all of them to rub down, clean, and thoroughly examine their whole equipments; on the third to rest and do nothing; on the fourth to have a sham fight, some with wooden swords covered with leather and with a button at the end, others with javelins also buttoned at the end; on the fifth the same march at the double as on the first. That there might be no lack of weapons for the practises, or for the real fighting, he took the greatest pains with the handicraftsmen. He had, as I have already stated, appointed overseers over them in regular divisions to secure that this was done; but he also personally inspected them every day, and saw that they were severally supplied with what was necessary. Thus while the legions were practising and training in the vicinity of the town, and the fleet manoeuvring and rowing in the sea, and the city people sharpening weapons or forging arms or working in wood, every one in short busily employed in making armour, the whole place must have presented the appearance of what Xenophon called “a workshop of war.”Xen. Hellen. 3, 4, 17: Aegsil. 1, 26. When he thought all these works were sufficiently advanced for the requirements of the service, he secured the town by posting garrisons and repairing the walls, and got both his army and navy on the move, directing his advance upon Tarraco, and taking the hostages with him....
PHILOPOEMEN OF MEGALOPOLIS
21. Euryleon, the Strategus of the Achaeans, was a man of timid character, and quite unsuited for serviceEuryleon Achaean Strategus, b.c. 210-209. in the field.
But as my history has now arrived at a point at which the achievements of Philopoemen begin, I think it only21 proper that, as I have attempted to describe the habits and characters of the other men of eminence with whom we have had to deal, I should do the same for him. It is strangely inconsistent in historians to record in elaborate detail the founding of cities, stating when and how and by whom they were established, and even the circumstances and difficulties which accompanied the transaction, and yet to pass over in complete silence the characteristics and aims of the men by whom the whole thing was done, though these in fact are the points of the greatest value. For as one feels more roused to emulation and imitation by men that have life, than by buildings that have none, it is natural that the history of the former should have a greater educational value. If I had not therefore already composed a separate account of him, clearly setting forth who he was, his origin, and his policy as a young man, it would have been necessary to have given an account now of each of these particulars. But since I have done this in a work in three books, unconnected with my present history, detailing the circumstances of his childhood and his most famous achievements, it is clear that in my present narrative my proper course will be to remove anything like details from my account of his youthful characteristics and aims; while I am careful to adddetails to the story of the achievements of his manhood, which in that treatise were only stated summarily. I shall thus preserve the proper features of both works. The former being in the nature of a panegyric demanded an account of his actions, put briefly and in a style deliberately intended to enhance their merits; my present work, which is history, and therefore absolutely uncommitted to praise or blame, requires only a true statement, which puts the facts clearly, and traces the policy which dictated the several actions.
22. Philopoemen, then, to begin with, was of good birth, descended from one of the noblest families in Arcadia.Birth, parentage, and education of Philopoemen, b. b.c. 252. He was also educated under that most distinguished Mantinean, Cleander, who had been his father’s friend before, and happened at that time to be in exile. When he came to man’s estate he attached himself to Ecdemus and Demophanes, who were by birth natives of Megalopolis, but who having been exiled by the22 tyrant, and having associated with the philosopher Arcesilaus during their exile, not only set their own country free by entering into an intrigue against Aristodemus the tyrant, but also helped in conjunction with Aratus to put down Nicocles, the tyrant of Sicyon. On another occasion also, on the invitation of the people of Cyrene, they stood forward as their champions and preserved their freedom for them. Such were the men with whom he passed his early life; and he at once began to show a superiority to his contemporaries, by his power of enduring hardships in hunting, and by his acts of daring in war. He was moreover careful in his manner of life, and moderate in the outward show which he maintained; for he had imbibed from these men the conviction, that it was impossible for a man to take the lead in public business with honour who neglected his own private affairs; nor again to abstain from embezzling public money if he lived beyond his private income.
Being then appointed Hipparch by the Achaean league at this time, and finding the squadrons inElected Hipparch, b.c. 210. Cp. Plut. Phil. 7, συχνὸς χρόνος after the battle of Sallasia, b.c.222. a state of utter demoralisation, and the men thoroughly dispirited, he not only restored them to a better state than they were, but in a short time made them even superior to the enemy’s cavalry, by bringing them all to adopt habits of real training and genuine emulation. The fact is that most of those who hold this office of Hipparch, either, from being without any genius themselves for cavalry tactics, do not venture to enforce necessary orders upon others; or, because they are aiming at being elected Strategus, try all through their year of office to attach the young men to themselves and to secure their favour in the coming election: and accordingly never administer necessary reprimands, which are the salvation of the public interests, but hush up all transgressions, and, for the sake of gaining an insignificant popularity, do great damage to those who trust them. Sometimes again, commanders, though neither feeble nor corrupt, do more damage to the soldiers by intemperate zeal than the negligent ones, and this is still oftener the case with regard to the cavalry....
23. Now the movements which he undertook to teach the23 horsemen as being universally applicable to cavalry warfare were these.The cavalry tactics of Philopoemen, b.c. 210-209.7 In the first place each separate horse was to be practised in wheeling first to the left and then to the right, and also to face right-about; and in the next place they were to be taught to wheel in squadrons, face-about, and by a treble movement to face-about right-turn. Next they were to learn to throw out flying columns of single or double companies at full speed from both wings or from the centre; and then to pull up and fall in again into troops, or squadrons, or regiments: next to deploy into line on both wings, either by filling up the intervals in the line or by a lateral movement on the rear. Simply to form an oblique line, he said, required no practice, for it was exactly the same order as that taken up on a march. After this they were to practice charging the enemy and retreating by every kind of movement, until they were able to advance at an alarming pace; provided only that they kept together, both line and column, and preserved the proper intervals between the squadrons: for nothing is more dangerous and unserviceable than cavalry that have broken up their squadrons, and attempt to engage in this state.
After giving these instructions both to the people and their magistrates, he went on a round of inspection through the towns, and inquired, first, whether the men obeyed the words of command; and, secondly, whether the officers in the several towns knew how to give them clearly and properly: for he held that the first thing requisite was technical knowledge on the part of the commanders of each company.
24. When he had thus made the proper preliminary preparations, he mustered the cavalry from the various cities into one place, and set about perfecting their evolutions under his own command, and personally directed the whole drill. He did not ride in front of the army, as generals nowadays do, from the notion that this is the proper position for 24a commander. For what can be less scientific or more dangerous than for a commander to be seen by all his men, and yet not to see one of them? In such manoeuvres a Hipparch should make a display not of mere military dignity, but of the skill and ability of an officer, appearing at one time in the front, at another on the rear, and at another in the centre. This is what he did, riding along the lines, and personally seeing to all the men, giving them directions when they were at a loss what to do, and correcting at once every mistake that was being made. Such mistakes, however, were trifling and rare, owing to the previous care bestowed on every individual and company. Demetrius of Phalerum has, as far as words go, given expression to the same idea: “As in the case of building, if you lay each single brick rightly, and if proper care is taken in placing each successive course, all will be well; so in an army, accuracy in the arrangement of each soldier and each company makes the whole strong....”
A fragment of a speech of some Macedonian orator as to the Aetolians making an alliance with Rome.
25. “The case is just like that of the disposition of the various kinds of troops on the field of battle.Alliance between Aetolians and Rome against Philip, negotiated by Scopas and Dorimachus,b.c. 211. See Livy, 26, 24. The light-armed and most active men bear the brunt of the danger, are the first to be engaged and the first to perish, while the phalanx and the heavy-armed generally carry off the glory. So in this case, the Aetolians, and such of the Peloponnesians as are in alliance with them, are put in the post of danger; while the Romans, like the phalanx, remain in reserve. And if the former meet with disaster and perish, the Romans will retire unharmed from the struggle; while if they are victorious, which Heaven forbid! the Romans will get not only them but the rest of the Greeks also into their power....”8
26. After finishing the celebration of the Nemean games, King Philip of Macedon returned to Argos and laid aside his crown and purple robe,King Philip’s conduct at Argos after presiding at the Nemean games, b.c. 208. See Livy, 27, 30, 31. with the view of making a display of democratic equality and good nature. But the more democratic the dress which he wore, the more absolute and royal were the privileges which he claimed. He was not now content with seducing unmarried women, or even with intriguing with married women, but assumed the right of sending authoritatively for any woman whose appearance struck him; and offered violence to those who did not at once obey, by leading a band of revellers to their houses; and, summoning their sons or their husbands, he trumped up false pretexts for menacing them. In fact his conduct was exceedingly outrageous and lawless. But though this abuse of his privileges as a guest was exceedingly annoying to many of the Achaeans, and especially to the orderly part of them, the wars that threatened them on every side compelled them to show a patience under it uncongenial to their character....
None of his predecessors had better qualifications for sovereignty, or more important defects, than this same Philip. And it appears to me that the good qualities were innate, while the defects grew upon him as he advanced in years, as happens to some horses as they grow old. Such remarks I do not, following some other historians, confine to prefaces; but when the course of my narrative suggests it, I state my opinion of kings and eminent men, thinking that most convenient for writer and reader alike....
War between Antiochus the Great (III.) and Arsaces III., King of the Parthians. b.c. 212-205. See above 8, 25.
27. In regard to extent of territory Media is the most considerable of the kingdoms in Asia, as also in respect of26 the number and excellent qualities of its men, and not less so of its horses. For, in fact, it supplies nearly all Asia with these animals,Description of Media, and of the palace at Ecbatana. the royal studs being entrusted to the Medes because of the rich pastures in their country.9 To protect it from the neighbouring barbarians a ring of Greek cities was built round it by the orders of Alexander. The chief exception to this is Ecbatana, which stands on the north of Media, in the district of Asia bordering on the Maeotis and Euxine. It was originally the royal city of the Medes, and vastly superior to the other cities in wealth and the splendour of its buildings. It is situated on the skirts of Mount Orontes, and is without walls, though containing an artificially formed citadel fortified to an astonishing strength. Beneath this stands the palace, which it is in some degree difficult to describe in detail, or to pass over in complete silence. To those authors whose aim is to produce astonishment, and who are accustomed to deal in exaggeration and picturesque writing, this city offers the best possible subject; but to those who, like myself, are cautious when approaching descriptions which go beyond ordinary notions, it presents much difficulty and embarrassment. However, as regards size, the palace covers ground the circuit of which is nearly seven stades; and by the costliness of the structure in its several parts it testifies to the wealth of its original builders: for all its woodwork being cedar or cypress not a single plank was left uncovered; beams and fretwork in the ceilings, and columns in the arcades and peristyle, were overlaid with plates of silver or gold, while all the tiles were of silver. Most of these had been stripped off during the invasion of Alexander and the Macedonians, and the rest in the reigns of Antigonus and Seleucus Nicanor. However, even at the time of Antiochus’s arrival, the temple of Aena10 still had its columns covered with gold, and a considerable number of silver tiles had been piled up in it, and some few gold bricks and a good many silver ones were still remaining. It was 27from these that the coinage bearing the king’s impress was collected and struck, amounting to little less than four thousand talents....
28. Arsaces expected that Antiochus would come as far as this district (of Media), but that he wouldThe nature of the desert between Media and Parthia. not venture to proceed across the adjoining desert with so large a force, if for no other reason, yet from the scarcity of water. For in this tract of country there is no water appearing on the surface, though there are many subterranean channels which have well-shafts sunk to them, at spots in the desert unknown to persons unacquainted with the district. A true account of these channels has been preserved among the natives to the effect that, during the Persian ascendency, they granted the enjoyment of the profits of the land to the inhabitants of some of the waterless districts for five generations, on condition of their bringing fresh water in; and that, there being many large streams flowing down Mount Taurus, these people at infinite toil and expense constructed these underground channels through a long tract of country, in such a way, that the very people who now use the water are ignorant of the sources from which the channels are originally supplied.
When, however, Arsaces saw that Antiochus was determined to attempt to cross the desert, he endeavoured at once to choke up and spoil the wells.Antiochus prepares to cross it: Arsaces orders the wells to be choked. But King Antiochus, upon this being reported to him, despatched Nicomedes with a thousand horse; who found that Arsaces had retired with his main army, but came upon some of his cavalry in the act of choking up the shafts which went down into the underground channels. They promptly attacked these men, and, having routed and forced them to fly, returned back again to Antiochus.Antiochus arrives at Hecatompylos. The king, having thus accomplished the journey across the desert, arrived before the city Hecatompylos, which is situated in the centre of Parthia, and derives its name from the fact that the roads which lead to all the surrounding districts converge there.
29. Having rested his army at this place, and having convinced himself that, had Arsaces been able to give him28 battle, he would not have abandoned his own country, nor have sought a ground more favourable to his own armyAntiochus determines to follow Arsaces into Hyrcania. for fighting him than the district round Hecatompylos; he concluded that, since he had done so, it stood to reason that he had entirely changed his mind. He therefore decided to advance into Hyrcania. But having arrived at Tagae, he learnt from the natives that the country he had to cross, until he reached the ridges of Mount Labus sloping down into Hyrcania, was exceedingly rough and difficult, and that large numbers of barbarians were stationed at the narrowest points. He therefore resolved to divide his light-armed troops into companies, and distribute their officers among them, giving them directions as to the route they were severally to take. He did the same with the pioneers, whose business it was to make the positions occupied by the light-armed possible of approach for the phalanx and beasts of burden. Having made these arrangements, he entrusted the first division to Diogenes, strengthening him with bowmen and slingers and some mountaineers skilled in throwing javelines and stones, and who, without keeping any regular order, were always ready to skirmish at a moment’s notice, and in any direction, and rendered the most effective assistance at the narrow passes. Next to these he ordered a company of about two thousand Cretans armed with shields to advance, under the command of Polyxenidas of Rhodes. The rear was to be brought up by companies armed with breastplate and shield, and commanded by Nicomedes of Cos, and Nicolaus the Aetolian.
30. But as they advanced, the ruggedness of the ground and the narrowness of the passes were found to far exceed the king’s expectations.The ascent of Mount Labus. The length of the ascent was altogether about three hundred stades; and a great part had to be made up the bed of a winter torrent of great depth, into which numerous rocks and trees had been hurled by natural causes from the overhanging precipices, and made a passage up it difficult, to say nothing of the obstacles which the barbarians had helped to construct expressly to impede them. These latter had felled a large number of trees and piled up heaps of huge rocks; and had29 besides occupied all along the gully the high points, which were at once convenient for attack and capable of covering themselves; so that, if it had not been for one glaring error on their part, Antiochus would have found the attempt beyond his powers, and would have desisted from it. The error was this. They assumed that the whole army would be obliged to march the entire way up the gully, and they accordingly occupied the points of vantage. But they did not perceive this fact, that, though the phalanx and the baggage could not possibly go by any other route than the one they supposed, there was yet nothing to make it impossible for the light-armed and active troops to accomplish the ascent of the bare rocks. Consequently, as soon as Diogenes had come upon the first outpost of the enemy, he and his men began climbing out of the gully, and the affair at once took a different aspect. For no sooner had they come to close quarters, than, acting on the suggestion of the moment, Diogenes avoided the engagement by ascending the mountains that flanked the enemy’s position, and so got above him; and by pouring down volleys of darts and stones he seriously harassed the barbarians. Their most deadly weapons however proved to be the slings, which could carry a great distance; and when by these means they had dislodged the first outpost and occupied their position, an opportunity was secured for the pioneers to clear the way and level it, without being exposed to danger. Owing to the number of hands the work went on rapidly; and meanwhile the slingers, bowmen, and javelin-men advanced in skirmishing order along the higher ground, every now and then reforming and seizing on strong points of vantage; while the men with shields formed a reserve, marching in order and at a regular pace along the side of the gully itself. The barbarians thereupon abandoned their positions, and, ascending the mountain, mustered in full force on the summit.
31. Thus Antiochus effected this ascent without loss, but slowly and painfully,The battle on the summit of Mount Labus. for it was not until the eighth day that his army made the summit of Labus. The barbarians being mustered there, and resolved to dispute his passage, a severe engagement took place, in which the barbarians were eventually dislodged, and30 by the following manoeuvre. As long as they were engaged face to face with the phalanx, they kept well together and fought desperately; but before daybreak the light-armed troops had made a wide circuit, and seized some high ground on the rear of the enemy, and as soon as the barbarians perceived this they fled in a panic. King Antiochus exerted himself actively to prevent a pursuit, and caused a recall to be sounded, because he wished his men to make the descent into Hyrcania, without scattering, and in close order.He reaches Tambrax. He accomplished his object: reached Tambrax, an unwalled city of great size and containing a royal palace, and there encamped. Most of the natives fled from the battle-field, and its immediate neighbourhood,Capture of Sirynx. into a city called Sirynx, which was not far from Tambrax, and from its secure and convenient situation was considered as the capital of Hyrcania. Antiochus therefore determined to carry this town by assault; and having accordingly advanced thither, and pitched his camp under its walls, he commenced the assault. The operation consisted chiefly of mining under pent-houses. For the city was defended by three trenches, thirty cubits broad and fifteen deep, with a double vallum on the edge of each; and behind these there was a strong wall. Frequent struggles took place at the works, in which neither side were strong enough to carry off their killed and wounded: for these hand-to-hand battles took place, not above ground only, but underground also in the mines. However, owing to the numbers employed and the activity of the king, it was not long before the trenches were choked up and the walls were undermined and fell. Upon this the barbarians, giving up all as lost, put to death such Greeks as were in the town; and having plundered all that was most worth taking, made off under cover of night. When the king saw this, he despatched Hyperbasus with the mercenaries; upon whose approach the barbarians threw down their booty and fled back again into the city; and when they found the peltasts pouring in energetically through the breach in the walls they gave up in despair and surrendered.
THE HANNIBALIAN WAR
32. The Consuls, wishing to reconnoitre the slope of the hill towards the enemy’s camp, ordered their main force to remain in position;b.c. 208. Coss. M. Claudius Marcellus, T. Quinctius Crispinus. The two Consuls were encamped within three miles of each other, between Venusia and Bantia, Hannibal had been at Lacinium in Bruttii, but had advanced into Apulia. Livy, 27, 25-27. while they themselves with two troops of cavalry, their lictors, and about thirty velites advanced to make the reconnaisance. Now some Numidians, who were accustomed to lie in ambush for those who came on skirmishes, or any other services from the Roman camp, happened, as it chanced, to have ensconced themselves at the foot of the hill. Being informed by their look-out man that a body of men was coming over the brow of the hill above them, they rose from their place of concealment, ascended the hill by a side road, and got between the Consuls and their camp. At the very first charge they killed Claudius and some others, and having wounded the rest, forced them to fly in different directions down the sides of the hill. Though the men in camp saw what was happening they were unable to come to Death of the Consul M. Claudius Marcellus.the relief of their endangered comrades; for while they were still shouting out to get ready, and before they had recovered from the first shock of their surprise, while some were putting the bridles on their horses and others donning their armour, the affair was all over. The son of Claudius, though wounded, narrowly escaped with his life.
Thus fell Marcus Marcellus from an act of incautiousness unworthy of a general. I am continually compelled in the course of my history to draw the attention of my readers to occurrences of this sort; for I perceive that it is this, more than anything else connected with the science of tactics, that ruins commanders. And yet the blunder is a very obvious one. For what is the use of a commander or general, who has not learnt that the leader ought to keep as far as possible aloof from those minor operations, in which the whole fortune of the campaign is not involved? Or of one who does not know that,32 even if circumstances should at times force them to engage in such subordinate movements, the commanders-in-chief should not expose themselves to danger until a large number of their company have fallen?Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.For, as the proverb has it, the experiment should be made “on the worthless Carian”11 not on the general. For to say “I shouldn’t have thought it,”—“Who would have expected it?” seems to me the clearest proof of strategical incompetence and dulness.
33. And so, though Hannibal’s claims to be reckoned a great general are manifold, there is none more conspicuous than this, that though engaged for a great length of time in an enemy’s country, and though he experienced a great variety of fortune, he again and again inflicted a disaster on his opponents in minor encounters, but never suffered one himself, in spite of the number and severity of the contests which he conducted: and the reason, we may suppose was, that he took great care of his personal safety. And very properly so: for if the leader escapes uninjured and safe, though a decisive defeat may have been sustained, fortune offers many opportunities for retrieving disasters; but if he has fallen, the pilot as it were of the ship, even should fortune give the victory to the army, no real advantage is gained; because all the hopes of the soldiers depend upon their leaders. So much for those who fall into such errors from foolish vanity, childish parade, An incident in the attempt of Hannibal to enter Salapia, under cover of a letter sealed by the ring of the dead Consul Marcus. Livy, 27, 28.ignorance, or contempt. For it is ever one or the other of these that is at the bottom of such disasters....
They suddenly let down the portcullis, which they had raised somewhat by pulleys, and thus closed up the gateway. Then they took the men and crucified them before the walls....
SCIPIO IN SPAIN
34. In Iberia Publius Scipio took up his winter quarters at Tarraco, as I have already stated;Winter of b.c. 209-208. See supra. ch. 20. The adhesion of Edeco, prince of the Edetani. and secured the fidelity and affection of the Iberians, to begin with, by the restoration of the hostages to their respective families. He found a voluntary supporter of his measures in the person of Edeco, the prince of the Edetani; who no sooner heard that New Carthage had been taken, and that Scipio had got his wife and children into his hands, than, concluding that the Iberians would change sides, he resolved to take the lead in the movement: conceiving that, by acting thus, he would best be able to get back his wife and children, and at the same time have the credit of joining the Romans by deliberate choice, and not under compulsion. And so it turned out. For as soon as the armies were dismissed to their winter quarters, he came to Tarraco, accompanied by his kinsfolk and friends; and there being admitted to an interview with Scipio, he said that “he thanked the gods heartily that he was the first of the native princes to come to him; for whereas the others were still sending ambassadors to the Carthaginians and looking to them for support,—even while stretching out their hands to the Romans,—he was come there to offer not only himself, but his friends and kinsfolk also, to the protection of Rome. If therefore he should have the honour to be regarded by him as a friend and ally, he would be able to render him important service both in the present and the future. For as soon as the Iberians saw that he had been admitted to Scipio’s friendship, and had obtained what he asked, they would all come in with a similar object, hoping to have their relatives restored, and to enjoy the alliance of Rome. Their affection being secured for the future by receiving such a mark of honour and benevolence, he would have in them sincere and ready coadjutors in all his future undertakings. He therefore asked to have his wife and children restored to him, and to be allowed to return home an acknowledged friend of Rome; in order that he might have a reasonable pretext34 for showing, to the best of his power, his own and his friends’ affection for Scipio himself and for the Roman cause.”
35. When Edeco had finished his speech, Scipio, who had been ready to gratify him from the first,Edeco is followed by other tribes. b.c. 209-8. and took the same view as to the policy of the proceeding, delivered him his wife and children, and granted the friendship which he asked. More than this, his subtle intellect made an extraordinary impression on the Iberian in the course of the interview; and having held out splendid hopes to all his companions for the future, he allowed him to return to his own country. This affair having rapidly got wind, all the tribes living north of the Ebro, such as had not done so before, joined the Romans with one consent.
Thus so far everything was going well with Scipio. After the departure of these people, he broke up his naval force, seeing that there was nothing to resist him at sea; and selecting the best of the crews, he distributed them among the maniples, and thus augmented his land forces.
But Andobales and Mandonius, the most powerful princes of the day in Iberia, and believed to beAndobales and Mandonius abandon Hasdrubal. the most sincerely devoted to the Carthaginians, had long been secretly discontented and on the look-out for an opportunity: ever since Hasdrubal, under a pretence of having a doubt of their loyalty, had demanded a large sum of money, and their wives and daughters as hostages, as I have already narrated.12 And thinking that a convenient opportunity had now come, they got together their own forces, and, quitting the Carthaginian camp under cover of night, occupied a position sufficiently strong to secure their safety. Upon this, most of the other Iberians also abandoned Hasdrubal: having long been annoyed at the overbearing conduct of the Carthaginians, and now seizing the first opportunity to manifest their feelings.
36. This has often happened to people before. For though, as I have many times remarked, success in a campaign and victory over one’s enemies are great things, it requires much greater skill and caution to use such successes well. Accordingly,35 you will find that those who have gained victories are many times more numerous than those who have made good use of them. The Carthaginians at this crisis are an instance in point. After conquering the Roman armies, and slaying both the generals, Publius and Gnaeus Scipio, imagining that Iberia was their own without dispute, they began treating the natives tyrannically; and accordingly found enemies in their subjects instead of allies and friends. And they were quite rightly served, for imagining that the conduct necessary for keeping power was something different from that necessary for obtaining it; and for failing to understand that they keep empire best, who best maintain the same principles in virtue of which they gained it. And yet it is obvious enough, and has been again and again demonstrated, that men gain power by beneficent actions, and by holding out hopes of advantage to those with whom they are dealing; but that, as soon as they have got what they wanted, and begin to act wickedly and rule despotically, it is but natural that, as their rulers have changed, the feelings of the subjects should change too. So it was with the Carthaginians.
37. Surrounded by such difficulties Hasdrubal was agitated by many conflicting emotions and anxieties. He was vexed by the desertion of Andobales; vexed by the opposition and feud between himself and the other commanders; and greatly alarmed as to the arrival of Scipio, expecting that he would immediately bring his forces to attack him. Perceiving therefore that he was being abandoned by the Iberians, and that they were joining the Romans with one accord, he decided upon the following plan of action. He resolved that he must collect the best force he could, and give the enemy battle: if fortune declared in his favour he could then consider his next step in safety, but if the battle turned out unfavourably for him, he would retreat with those that survived into Gaul; and collecting from that country as many of the natives as he could, would go to Italy, and take his share in the same fortune as his brother Hannibal.
While Hasdrubal was arriving at this resolution, Publius Scipio was rejoined by Gaius Laelius; and, being informed by him of the orders of the Senate,Early in b.c. 208, Scipio moves southward to attack Hasdrubal in the valley of the Baetis. Livy, 27, 18-19. he36 collected his forces from their winter quarters and began his advance: the Iberians joining him on the march with great promptness and hearty enthusiasm. Andobales had long been in communication with Scipio: and, on the latter approaching the district in which he was entrenched, he left his camp with his friends and came to Scipio. In this interview he entered upon a defence of himself in regard to his former friendship with the Carthaginians, and spoke of the services he had done them, and the fidelity which he had shown to them. He then went on to narrate the injustice and tyranny which he had experienced at their hands; and demanded that Scipio himself should be the judge of his pleas. If he were shown to be making ungrounded complaints against the Carthaginians, he might justly conclude him incapable of keeping faith with the Romans either: but if, on a review of these numerous acts of injustice he were proved to have had no other course than to desert the Carthaginians, Scipio might confidently expect that, if he now elected to join the Romans, he would be firm in his loyalty to them.
38. Andobales added many more arguments before finishing his speech; and when he had done,Andobales joins Scipio. Scipio answered by saying that “he quite believed what he had said; and that he had the strongest reason for knowing about the insolent conduct of the Carthaginians, both from their treatment of the other Iberians, and conspicuously from their licentious behaviour to their wives and daughters, whom he had found occupying the position, not of hostages, but of captives and slaves; and to whom he had preserved such inviolable honour as could scarcely have been equalled by their very fathers themselves.” And upon Andobales and his companions acknowledging that they were quite aware of this, and falling at his feet and calling him king, all present expressed approval. Whereupon Scipio with emotion bade them “fear nothing, for they would experience nothing but kindness at the hands of the Romans.” He at once handed over his daughters to Andobales; and next day made the treaty with him, the chief provision of which was that he should follow the Roman commanders and obey their37 commands. This being settled, he returned to his camp; brought over his army to Scipio; and, having joined camps with the Romans, advanced with them against Hasdrubal.
Now the Carthaginian general was encamped at Baecula, in the district of Castulo, not far from the silver mines.Hasdrubal changes his position to one of superior strength. But when he learnt the approach of the Romans, he shifted his quarters; and his rear being secured by a river, and having a stretch of table-land in front of his entrenchment of sufficient extent for his troops to manœuvre, and bounded by a steep descent sufficiently deep for security, he stayed quietly in position: always taking care to post pickets on the brow of the descent. As soon as he came within distance, Scipio arrives.Scipio was eager to give him battle, but was baffled by the strength of the enemy’s position. After waiting two days, however, he became anxious, lest by the arrival of Mago and Hasdrubal, son of Gesco, he should find himself surrounded by hostile forces: he therefore determined to venture on an attack and make trial of the enemy.
39. His whole army having been got ready for battle, he confined the main body within his camp,Scipio successfully assaults Hasdrubal’s position. but sent out the velites and some picked men of the infantry with orders to assault the brow of the hill and attack the enemy’s pickets. His orders were carried out with great spirit. At first the Carthaginian commander watched what was happening without stirring: but when he saw that, owing to the fury of the Roman attack, his men were being hard pressed, he led out his army and drew them up along the brow of the hill, trusting to the strength of the position. Meanwhile Scipio despatched all his light-armed troops with orders to support the advanced guard: and the rest of his army being ready for action, he took half of them under his own command, and going round the brow of the hill to the enemy’s left, began assaulting the Carthaginians; while he entrusted the other half to Laelius, with orders to make a similar attack on the right of the enemy. While this was going on, Hasdrubal was still engaged in getting his troops out of camp: for hitherto he had been waiting, because he trusted in the strength of the position, and felt confident that38 the enemy would never venture to attempt it. The attack, therefore, took him by surprise, before he was able to get his men on to the ground. As the Romans were now assaulting the two wings of the position which the enemy had not yet occupied, they not only mounted the brow of the hill in safety, but actually advanced to the attack while their opponents were still in all the confusion and bustle of falling in. Accordingly they killed some of them on their exposed flank; while others, who were actually in the act of falling in, they forced to turn and flee.Hasdrubal retreats, and makes the Pyrenees. Seeing his army giving way and retreating, Hasdrubal reverted to his preconceived plan; and determining not to stake his all upon this one desperate hazard, he secured his money and his elephants, collected as many of his flying soldiers as he could, and commenced a retreat towards the Tagus, with a view of reaching the passes of the Pyrenees and the Gauls in that neighbourhood.
Scipio did not think it advisable to pursue Hasdrubal at once, for fear of being attacked by the other Carthaginian generals; but he gave up the enemy’s camp to his men to pillage.
40. Next morning he collected the prisoners, amounting to ten thousand foot and more than two thousand horse, and busied himself in making arrangements about them. All the Iberians of that district, who were in alliance at that time with the Carthaginians, came in and submitted to the Roman obedience, and in addressing Scipio called him “king.”Scipio’s self-restraint.The first to do this and to bow the knee before him had been Edeco, and the next Andobales. On these occasions Scipio had passed the word over without remark; but after the battle, when all alike addressed him by that title, his attention was drawn to it; and he therefore summoned the Iberians to a meeting, and told them that “he quite wished to be called a man of royal liberality by them all, and to be so in the truest sense, but that he had no wish to be a ‘king,’ nor to be called one by any one; they should address him as general.”
Even at this early period of his career, an observer might have remarked the loftiness of Scipio’s character. He was39 still quite young. His good fortune had been so persistent, that all who came under his rule were led naturally to think and speak of him as a king. Yet he did not lose his self-control; but deprecated this popular impulse and this show of dignity. But this same loftiness of character was still more admirable in the closing scenes of his life, when, in addition to his achievements in Iberia, he crushed the Carthaginians; reduced the largest and fairest districts of Libya, from the Altars of Philaenus to the Pillars of Hercules, under the power of his country; conquered Asia and the kings of Syria; made the best and largest part of the world subject to Rome; and in doing so had numerous opportunities of acquiring regal sway, in whatever parts of the world suited his purpose or wish. For such achievements were enough to have kindled pride, not merely in any human breast, but even, if I may say so without irreverence, in that of a god. But Scipio’s greatness of soul was so superior to the common standard of mankind, that he again and again rejected what Fortune had put within his grasp, that prize beyond which men’s boldest prayers do not go—the power of a king: and he steadily preferred his country and his duty to that royalty, which men gaze at with such admiration and envy.
Scipio next proceeded to select from the captives the native Iberians, and all these he dismissed to their homes without ransom; and bidding Andobales select three hundred of the horses,Scipio occupies the position evacuated by the Carthaginians. he distributed the remainder among those who had none. For the rest, he at once occupied the entrenchment of the Carthaginians, owing to its excellent situation; and there he remained himself, waiting to see the movements of the other Carthaginian generals;Winter of b.c. 208-207. while he detached a body of men to the passes of the Pyrenees to keep a look-out for Hasdrubal. After this, as it was getting late in season, he retired with his army to Tarraco being bent on wintering there....
AFFAIRS IN GREECE
41. The Aetolians had recently become greatly encouraged by the arrival of the Romans and King Attalus:King Philip undertakes to aid the Achaean league, and other Greek states, against a threatened attack of the Aetolians in alliance with Rome, b.c. 208. Cp. Livy, 27, 30. See above Bk. 9, ch. 28-42. and accordingly began menacing every one, and threatening all with an attack by land, while Attalus and Publius Sulpicius did the same by sea. Wherefore Achaean legates arrived at the court of King Philip entreating his help: for it was not the Aetolians alone of whom they were standing in dread, but Machanidas also, as he was encamped with his army on the frontier of Argos. The Boeotians also, in fear of the enemy’s fleet, were demanding a leader and help from the king. Most urgent of all, however, were the Euboeans in their entreaties to him to take some precaution against the enemy. A similar appeal was being made by the Acarnanians; and there was an embassy even from the Epirotes. News had arrived that both Scerdilaidas and Pleuratus were leading out their armies: and, over and above this, that the Thracian tribes on the frontier of Macedonia, especially the Maedi, were planning to invade Macedonia, if the king were induced to stir from his realm however short a distance. Moreover the Aetolians were already securing the pass of Thermopylae with trenches and stockades and a formidable garrison, satisfied that they would thus shut out Philip, and entirely prevent him from coming to the assistance of his allies south of the pass. It appears to me that a crisis of this sort is well worth the observation and attention of my readers; for it affords a trial and test of the vigour of the leader affected. As in the hunting-field the wild animals never show their full courage and strength until surrounded and brought to bay,—so it is with leaders. And no more conspicuous instance could be found than this of Philip. He dismissed the various embassies, promising each that he would do his best: and then devoted his attention to the war which surrounded him on all sides, watching to see in what direction, and against which enemy, he had best direct his first attack.
42. Just then intelligence reached him that Attalus had crossed the sea and, dropping anchor at Peparethos, had occupied the island. He therefore despatched a body of men to the islanders to garrison their city; and at the same time despatched Polyphontes with an adequate force into Phocis and Boeotia; and Menippus, with a thousand peltasts and five hundred Agrianes to Chalcis and the rest of Euboea; while he himself advanced to Scotusa, and sent word at the same time to the Macedonians to meet him at that town. But when he learnt that Attalus had sailed into the port of Nicaea, and that the leaders of the Aetolians were collecting at Heraclea, with the purpose of holding a conference together on the immediate steps to be taken, he started with his army from Scotusa, eager to hurry thither and break up their meeting. He arrived too late to interrupt the conference: but he destroyed or carried off the corn belonging to the people along the Aenianian gulf, and then returned. After this he left his army in Scotusa once more; and, with the light-armed troops and the royal guard, went to Demetrias, and there remained, waiting to see what the enemy would attempt. To secure that he should be kept perfectly acquainted with all their movements, he sent messengers to the Peparethii, and to his troops in Phocis and Euboea, and ordered them to telegraph to him everything which happened, by means of fire signals directed to Mount Tisaeum, which is a mountain of Thessaly conveniently situated for commanding a view of those places.
43. The method of signalling by fire, which is of the highest utility in the operations of war, has never before been clearly expounded;Fire signals. and I think I shall be doing a service if I do not pass it over, but give an account of it adequate to its importance. Now that opportuneness is of the utmost moment in all undertakings, and pre-eminently so in those of war, no one doubts; and of all the things which contribute to enable us to hit the proper time nothing is more efficacious than fire signals. For they convey intelligence sometimes of what has just happened, sometimes of what is actually going on; and by paying proper attention to them one can get this information at three or four days’ journey off, and even more: so that it continually happens that the help42 required may be unexpectedly given, thanks to a message conveyed by fire signals. Now, formerly, as the art of signalling by fire was confined to a single method, it proved in very many cases unserviceable to those employing it. For as it was necessary to employ certain definite signals which had been agreed upon, and as possible occurrences are unlimited, the greater number of them were beyond the competence of the fire signals to convey. To take the present instance: it was possible by means of the signals agreed upon to send the information that a fleet had arrived at Oreus or Peparethos or Chalcis; but it was impossible to express that “certain citizens had gone over to the enemy,” or “were betraying the town,” or that “a massacre had taken place,” or any of those things which often occur, but which cannot be all anticipated. Yet it is precisely the unexpected occurrences which demand instant consideration and succour. All such things then were naturally beyond the competence of fire signalling, inasmuch as it was impossible to adopt an arbitrary sign for things which it was impossible to anticipate.
44. Aeneas, therefore, the writer of the treatise on tactics, wished to correct this defect, and did in fact make some improvement;The improvement introduced by Aeneas Tacticus. but his invention still fell very far short of what was wanted, as the following passage from his treatise will show.13 “Let those who wish,” he says, “to communicate any matter of pressing importance to each other by fire-signals prepare two earthenware vessels of exactly equal size both as to diameter and depth. Let the depth be three cubits, the diameter one. Then prepare corks of a little shorter diameter than that of the vessels: and in the middle of these corks fix rods divided into equal portions of three fingers’ breadth, and let each of these portions be marked with a clearly distinguishable line: and in each let there be written one of the most obvious and universal of those events which occur in war; for instance in the first ‘cavalry have entered the country,’ in the second ‘hoplites,’ in the third ‘light-armed,’ in the next 43‘infantry and cavalry,’ in another ‘ships,’ in another ‘corn,’ and so on, until all the portions have written on them the events which may reasonably be expected to occur in the particular war. Then carefully pierce both the vessels in such a way that the taps shall be exactly equal and carry off the same amount of water. Fill the vessels with water and lay the corks with their rods upon its surface, and set both taps running together. This being done, it is evident that if there is perfect equality in every respect between them, both corks will sink exactly in proportion as the water runs away, and both rods will disappear to the same extent into the vessels. When they have been tested, and the rate of the discharge of water has been found to be exactly equal in both, then the vessels should be taken respectively to the two places from which the two parties intend to watch for fire signals. As soon as any one of those eventualities which are inscribed upon the rods takes place, raise a lighted torch, and wait until the signal is answered by a torch from the others: this being raised, both parties are to set the taps running together. When the cork and rod on the signalling side has sunk low enough to bring the ring containing the words which give the desired information on a level with the rim of the vessel, a torch is to be raised again. Those on the receiving side are then at once to stop the tap, and to look at the words in the ring of the rod which is on a level with the rim of their vessel. This will be the same as that on the signalling side, assuming everything to be done at the same speed on both sides.”
45. Now this method, though introducing a certain improvement in the system of fire signalling,The drawbacks to this method. is still wanting in definiteness: for it is evident that it is neither possible to anticipate, or, if you could anticipate, to write upon the rod every possible thing that may happen: and therefore, when anything unexpected in the chapter of accidents does occur, it is plainly impossible to communicate it by this method. Besides, even such statements as are written on the rods are quite indefinite; for the number of cavalry or infantry that have come, or the particular point in the territory which they have entered, the number of ships, or the amount of corn, cannot be expressed. For44 what cannot be known before it happens cannot have an arrangement made for expressing it. And this is the important point. For how is one to take proper measures for relief without knowing the number or direction of the enemy? Or how can the party to be relieved feel confidence or the reverse, or indeed have any conception at all of the situation, if it does not know how many ships or how much corn have been despatched by the allies?
But the last method which was hit upon by Cleoxenus and Democlitus, and further elaborated by myself,The improved method of Cleoxenus and Democlitus. is above all things definite, and made capable of indicating clearly whatever is needed at the moment; but in its working it requires attention and more than ordinarily close observation. It is as follows: Divide the alphabet into five groups of five letters each (of course the last group will be one letter short, but this will not interfere with the working of the system). The parties about to signal to each other must then prepare five tablets each, on which the several groups of letters must be written. They must then agree that the party signalling shall first raise two torches, and wait until the other raises two also. The object of this is to let each other know that they are attending. These torches having been lowered, the signalling party raises first torches on the left to indicate which of the tablets he means: for instance, one if he means the first, two if he means the second, and so on. He next raises torches on the right showing in a similar manner by their number which of the letters in the tablet he wishes to indicate to the recipient.
46. This matter being agreed upon, the two parties must go to their respective points of observation; and each must have, to begin with, a stenoscope with two funnels, to enable him to distinguish through one the right, through the other the left position of the signaller opposite him. Near this stenoscope the tablets must be fixed, and both points, to the right and to the left, must be defended by a fence ten feet long and about the height of a man, in order to make it clear on which side the torches are raised, and to hide them entirely when they are lowered. These preparations completed on both sides, when a man wishes, for instance, to send the45message “Some of our soldiers to the number of a hundred have deserted to the enemy,”—the first thing to do is to select words that may give the same information with the fewest letters, for instance, “A hundred Cretans have deserted,” for thus the number of letters is diminished by more than a half and the same information is given. This sentence having been written on a tablet will be transmitted by five signals thus: The first letter is κ, this comes in the second group of letters and therefore on the second tablet; the signaller therefore must raise two torches on the left to show the recipient that he must look at the second tablet; then he will raise five on the right, because κ is the fifth letter in the group,14 which the recipient must thereupon write on his tablet. Then the signaller must raise four torches on the left, for ρ is in that group, and two on the right, because it is the second in the fourth group, and the recipient will write ρ on his tablet: and so on for the other letters.
47. Now everything that happens can be definitely imparted by means of this invention; but the number of torches employed is large, because each letter has to be indicated by two series of them: still, if proper preparations are made, the thing can be adequately carried out. But whichever method is employed, those who use it must practise beforehand, in order that when the actual occasion for putting it in use arises they may be able to give each other the information without any hitch. For there are plenty of instances to show what a wide difference there is between the way an operation is carried out by men who hear of it for the first time, and by men who have become habituated to it. Many things which were considered not only difficult, but impossible at first, are, after an interval of time and practice, performed with the greatest ease. I could give many illustrations of the truth of this remark, but the clearest may be found in the art of reading. Put side by side 46a man who has never learnt his letters, though otherwise acute, and a child who has acquired the habit, and give the latter a book, and bid him read it: the former will clearly not be induced to believe that the reader has first to attend to the look of each of the letters, secondly to their sound-value, and thirdly to their combinations with others, each of which operation requires a certain time. Therefore when he sees the boy, without a pause for thought, reading off seven or five lines at a breath, he will not easily be induced to believe that he has not read the book before; and certainly not, if he is able also to observe the appropriate enunciation, the proper separations of the words, and the correct use of the rough and smooth breathings. The moral is, not to give up any useful accomplishment on account of its apparent difficulties, but to persevere till it becomes a matter of habit, which is the way mankind have obtained all good things. And especially is this right when the matters in question are such as are often of decisive importance to our safety.
I was led to say this much in connexion with my former assertion that “all the arts had made such progress in our age that most of them were reduced in a manner to exact sciences.” And therefore this too is a point in which history properly written is of the highest utility....
ANTIOCHUS IN PARTHIA, B.C. 209-5. See ch. 31.
48. The Apasiacae live between the rivers Oxus and Tanais, the former of which falls into the Hyrcanian Sea,The entrance of the Nomad Scythians into Hyrcania. the latter into the Palus Maeotis.15 Both are large enough to be navigable; and it seems surprising how the Nomads managed to come by land into Hyrcania along with their horses. Two accounts are given of this affair, one of them probable, the other very surprising yet not impossible. The Oxus rises in the Caucasus, and being much augmented by tributaries in Bactria, it rushes through the level plain with a violent and turbid stream. When it reaches the desert it dashes its 47stream against some precipitous rocks with a force raised to such tremendous proportions by the mass of its waters, and the declivity down which it has descended, that it leaps from the rocks to the plain below leaving an interval of more than a stade between the rock and its falls. It is through this space that they say the Apasiacae went on foot with their horses into Hyrcania, under the fall, and keeping close to the rock. The other account is more probable on the face of it. It is said that, as the basin of the river has extensive flats into which it descends with violence, the force of the stream makes hollows in them, and opens chasms into which the water descends deep below the surface, and so is carried on for a short way, and then reappears: and that the barbarians, being well acquainted with the facts, make their way on horseback, over the space thus left dry, into Hyrcania....
49. News being brought that Euthydemus16 with his force was at Tapuria, and that a body of ten thousandBattle on the river Arius between Antiochus and the Bactrians. horsemen were keeping guard at the passage of the river Arius, he decided to abandon the siege and attack these last. The river was three days’ march away. For two days therefore he marched at a moderate speed; but on the third, after dinner, he gave orders for the rest of his army to start next day at daybreak; while he himself, with the cavalry and light-armed troops and ten thousand peltasts, started in the night and pushed on at a great rate. For he was informed that the cavalry of the enemy kept guard by day on the bank of the river, but at night retired to a city more than twenty stades off. Having completed therefore the rest of the way under cover of night, the plains being excellent for riding, he got the greater part of his army across the river by daybreak, before the enemy came back. When their scouts told them what had happened, the horsemen of the Bactrians hastened to the rescue, and fell in with their opponents while on the march. Seeing that he must stand the first charge of the enemy, the king summoned the two thousand horsemen who were accustomed to fight round his own person; and issuing orders that the rest were to form their companies and squadrons, and take up their 48usual order on the ground on which they already were, he advanced with the two thousand cavalry, and met the charge of the advanced guard of the Bactrians. In this engagement Antiochus is reputed to have shown the greatest gallantry of any of his men. There was heavy loss on both sides: the king’s men conquered the first squadron, but when a second and a third charged, they began to be hard pressed and to suffer seriously. At that juncture, most of the cavalry being by this time on the ground, Panaetolus ordered a general advance; relieved the king and his squadrons; and, upon the Bactrians charging in loose order, forced them to turn and fly in confusion. They never drew rein before the charge of Panaetolus, until they rejoined Euthydemus, with a loss of more than half their number. The king’s cavalry on the contrary retired, after killing large numbers and taking a great many prisoners, and bivouacked by the side of the river. In this action the king had a horse killed under him, and lost some of his teeth by a blow on the mouth; and his whole bearing obtained him a reputation for bravery of the highest description. After this battle Euthydemus retreated in dismay with his army to the city of Zariaspa in Bactria....