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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVI Chapter 43: Scipio encourages his soldiers.[210 BC]
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Having completed the other requisite works, he [Note 1] drew up his ships in the harbour, that he might exhibit to the enemy the appearance of a blockade by sea also; he then went round the fleet, and having warned the commanders of the ships to be particularly careful in keeping the night-watches, because an enemy, when besieged, usually tried every effort and in every quarter at first, he returned into his camp; and in order to explain to his soldiers the reason why he had adopted the plan of commencing the war with the siege of a city, in preference to any other, and also by exhortations to inspire them with hopes of making themselves masters of it, he summoned them to an assembly, and thus addressed them: "Soldiers, if any one among you suppose that you have been brought here to attack a single city, that man takes a more exact account of your present labour than of its profitable result from it. For you will in truth attack the walls of a single city, but in that single city you will have made yourselves masters of all Spain. Here are the hostages of all her most distinguished kings and states; and as soon as you shall have gained possession of these, they will immediately deliver into your hands everything which is now subject to the Carthaginians. Here is the whole of the enemy's treasure, without which they cannot carry on the war, as they are keeping mercenary troops, and which will be most serviceable to us in conciliating the affections of the barbarians. Here are their engines, their arms, their tackle, and every requisite in war; which will at once supply you, and leave the enemy destitute. Besides, we shall gain possession of a city, not only of the greatest beauty and wealth, but also most convenient as having an excellent harbour, by means of which we may be supplied with every requisite for carrying on the war both by sea and land. Great as are the advantages we shall thus gain, we shall deprive our enemies of much greater. This is their citadel, their granary, their treasury, their magazine, their receptacle for everything. Hence there is a direct passage into Africa; this is the only station for a fleet between the Pyrenees and Gades; this gives to Africa the command of all Spain. But as I perceive you are arrayed and marshalled, let us pass on to the assault of New Carthage, with our whole strength, and with undaunted courage." Upon this, they all with, one accord cried out that it should be done; and he led them to Carthage, and ordered that the assault should be made both by sea and land. |
Note 1: he = Scipio
Event: Actions in Spain in 210 BC.