|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 56: The Romans beaten.[218 BC]
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|Hannibal ordered the elephants, thus thrown into disorder, and almost driven by their terror against their own party, to be led away from the centre of the line to its extremity against the auxiliary Gauls on the left wing. In an instant they occasioned unequivocal flight; and a new alarm was added to the Romans when they saw their auxiliaries routed. About ten thousand men, therefore, as they now were fighting in a circle, the others being unable to escape, broke through the middle of the line of the Africans, which was supported by the Gallicauxiliaries, with immense slaughter of the enemy: and since they neither could return to the camp, being shut out by the river, nor, on account of the heavy rain, satisfactorily determine in what part they should assist their friends, they proceeded by the direct road to Placentia. After this several irruptions were made in all directions; and those who sought the river were either swallowed up in its eddies, or whilst they hesitated to enter it were cut off by the enemy. Some, who had been scattered abroad through the country in their flight, by following the traces of the retreating army, arrived at Placentia; others, the fear of the enemy inspired with boldness to enter the river, having crossed it, reached the camp. The rain mixed with snow, and the intolerable severity of the cold, destroyed many men and beasts of burden, and almost all the elephants. The river Trebia was the termination of the Carthaginians' pursuit of the enemy; and they returned to the camp so benumbed with cold, that they could scarcely feel joy for the victory. On the following night, therefore, though the guard of the camp and the principal part of the soldiers that remained passed the Trebia on rafts, they either did not perceive it, on account of the beating of the rain, or being unable to bestir themselves, through their fatigue and wounds, pretended that they did not perceive it; and the Carthaginians remaining quiet, the army was silently led by the consul Scipio to Placentia, thence transported across the Po to Cremona, lest one colony should be too much burdened by the winter quarters of two armies.