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Quote of the day: Felix, who had for some time been govern
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 12: A new Carthaginian army is sent to Spain[206 BC]
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No action was fought with Hannibal this year, for after the blow which had fallen upon him and upon his country, he made no forward movement, nor did the Romans care to disturb him, such was their impression of the powers which that single general possessed, even while his cause was everywhere round him crumbling into ruin. I am inclined to think that he deserves our admiration more in adversity than in the time of his greatest successes. For thirteen years he had been carrying on war with varying fortune in an enemy's country far from home. His army was not made up of his own fellow-countrymen, it was a mixed assemblage of various nationalities who had nothing in common, neither laws nor customs, nor language, who differed in appearance, dress and arms, who were strangers to one another in their religious observances, who hardly recognised the same gods. And yet he had united them so closely together that no disturbance ever broke out, either amongst the soldiers themselves or against their commander, though very often money and supplies were lacking and it was through want of these that numerous incidents of a disgraceful character had occurred between the generals and their soldiers in the First Punic War. He had rested all his hopes of victory on Hasdrubal and his army, and after that army had been wiped out he withdrew into Bruttium and abandoned the rest of Italy to the Romans. Is it not a matter of surprise that no mutiny broke out in his camp? For in addition to all his other difficulties, there was no prospect of feeding his army except from the resources of Bruttium, and even if the whole of that country had been in cultivation it would have afforded but meagre support for so large an army. But as it was, a large part of the population had been diverted from the tillage of the soil by the war and by their traditional and innate love of brigandage. He received no assistance from home, for the government was mainly concerned about keeping their hold on Spain, just as though everything in Italy was going on successfully. The situation in Spain was in some respects similar, in others completely dissimilar to the state of affairs in Italy. It was similar in so far as the Carthaginians after their defeat and the loss of their general had been driven into the most distant parts of Spain to the shores of the ocean. It was dissimilar because the natural features of the country and the character of the inhabitants made Spain more fitted than Italy, more fitted, in fact, than any country in the world for the constant renewal of hostilities. Though it was the first province, at all events on the continent, into which the Romans made their way, it was, owing to this cause, the very last to be completely subjugated, and this only in our own days under the conduct and auspices of Augustus Caesar. Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, who, next to the Barcine family, was the greatest and most brilliant general that held command in this war, was encouraged by Mago to renew hostilities. He left Gades, and traversing Further Spain, raised a force of 50,000 and 4500 cavalry. As to the strength of his cavalry the authorities are generally agreed, but some writers assert that the infantry force which he led to Silpia amounted to 70,000 men. Near this city the two Carthaginian commanders encamped on a wide and open plain, determined to accept battle if offered.

Actions in Spain in 206 BC

Event: Actions in Spain in 206 BC