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Quote of the day: To keep his soldiers free from sloth, he
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 25: Scipio recovers[206 BC]
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They were every hour expecting fresh details of Scipio's death, and even news of his funeral. None came however and the idle rumours by degrees died away. Then they began to look for those who started the report, but each in turn kept out of the way, preferring to be thought credulous rather than suspected of inventing such a story. Abandoned by their followers, the ringleaders [Note 1] looked with dread upon the insignia they had assumed, and fully expected that in return for this idle show of power they would draw down upon themselves the weight of the true and legitimate authority. While the mutiny was thus at a standstill, definite information was brought that Scipio was alive and this was soon followed by the further intelligence that his health was restored. This intelligence was brought by a party of seven military tribunes, whom Scipio had sent to Sucro. At first their presence was strongly resented, but the quiet talks they had with those they happened to know had a calming effect; they visited the soldiers in their tents, and chatted with the groups which gathered round the tribunals or in front of the head-quarters tent. They made no reference to the treason the soldiers had been guilty of but only questioned them as to the causes of the sudden outbreak. They were told in reply that the men did not get their pay punctually, nor their due share of credit for the part they had played in the campaign. It was by their courage, they asserted, that the Roman name was preserved and the province saved for the republic after the destruction of the two armies and their commanders, at the time when the Iliturgans committed their foul crime. And though they had received the just recompense for their treason, no one had been found to reward the Roman soldiers for their meritorious services. In reply to these and similar complaints the tribunes told the men that their requests were reasonable and they would lay them before the general. They were glad that these were nothing worse or harder to set right, and the men might rest assured that Publius Scipio, after the favour the gods had shown him, and, indeed, the whole State, would show their gratitude.Scipio was experienced in war, but unfamiliar with the storms of internal disturbances. Two things made him anxious, the possibility of the army exceeding all measure in its insubordination, or of his inflicting punishments which would be excessive. For the present he decided to go on as he had begun, and handle the matter gently. Collectors were sent among the tributary states so that the soldiers might hope to receive their pay soon. An order was shortly after issued for them to assemble at New Carthage for that purpose; they might go in a body or successively in single detachments as they preferred. The unrest was already dying down when the sudden cessation of hostilities on the part of the revolted Spaniards completely stopped it. When Mandonius and Indibilis heard that Scipio was still alive, they gave up their enterprise and retired within their frontiers, and the mutineers could no longer find anyone either amongst their own countrymen or amongst the natives who would associate himself with their mad scheme. After carefully considering every possible plan they saw that the only way of escaping the consequences of their evil counsels, and that not a very hopeful way, was to submit themselves either to the just displeasure of their general or to his clemency, which they were not without hopes of experiencing. They argued that he had ever pardoned the enemies of his country after armed conflict, whereas during their mutiny not a wound had been received or a drop of blood shed, it had been free from all cruelty and did not deserve a cruel punishment. So ready are men with reasons when they wish to palliate their own misconduct. There was considerable hesitation as to whether they should go to receive their pay separately cohort by cohort, or all together. The latter course seemed the safer and they decided upon it.

Actions in Spain in 206 BC

Note 1: among the ringleaders: Gaius Albius and Gaius Atrius

Event: Actions in Spain in 206 BC