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Quote of the day: Lucius Vitellius, infamous as he was, ha
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 52: Preliminary actions.[218 BC]
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Both the consuls and all the strength of Rome being now opposed to Hannibal, made it sufficiently obvious that the Roman empire could either be defended by those forces, or that there was no other hope left. Yet the one consul being dispirited by the battle of the cavalry and his own wound, wished operations to be deferred: the other having his spirits unsubdued, and being therefore the more impetuous, admitted no delay. The tract of country between the Trebia and the Po was then inhabited by the Gauls, who, in this contest of two very powerful states, by a doubtful neutrality, were evidently looking forward to the favour of the conqueror. The Romans submitted to this conduct of the Gauls with tolerable satisfaction, provided they did not take any active part at all; but the Carthaginian bore it with great discontent, giving out that he had come invited by the Gauls to set them at liberty. On account of that resentment, and in order that he might at the same time maintain his troops from the plunder, he ordered two thousand foot and a thousand horse, chiefly Numidians, with some Gauls intermixed, to lay waste all the country straightforward as far as the banks of the Po. The Gauls, being in want of assistance, though they had up to this time kept their inclinations doubtful, are forced by the authors of the injury to turn to some who would be their supporters; and having sent ambassadors to the consul, they implore the aid of the Romans in behalf of a country which was suffering for the too great fidelity of its inhabitants to the Romans. Neither the cause nor the time of pleading it was satisfactory to Cornelius; and the nation was suspected by him, both on account of many treacherous actions, and though others might have been forgotten through length of time, on account of the recent perfidy of the Boii. Sempronius, on the contrary, thought that it would be the strongest tie upon the fidelity of the allies, if those were defended who first required support. Then, while his colleague hesitated, he sends his own cavalry, with about a thousand spearmen on foot in their company, to protect the Gallic territory beyond the Trebia. These, when they had unexpectedly attacked the enemy while scattered and disordered, and for the most part encumbered with booty, caused great terror, slaughter, and flight, even as far as the camp and outposts of the enemy; whence being repulsed by the numbers that poured out, they again renewed the fight with the assistance of their own party. Then pursuing and retreating in doubtful battle, though they left it at last equal, yet the fame of the victory was more with the Romans than the enemy.

Event: Hannibal in North Italy. Battle of Ticinus and Trebia