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Quote of the day: At last, after well-merited commendation
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 20: Hasdrubal goes to Italy; Marcellus accused.[209 BC]
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A council of war was then held. Some of those present urged the immediate pursuit of Hasdrubal, but Scipio thought it hazardous in case Mago and the other Hasdrubal should join forces with him. He contented himself with sending a division to occupy the passes of the Pyrenees, and spent the remainder of the summer in receiving the submission of the Spanish tribes. A few days after the battle of Baecula, when Scipio had descended from the pass of Castulo on his return to Tarraco, the two Carthaginian generals, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo and Mago, came from Further Spain to join forces with Hasdrubal. They were too late to prevent his defeat, but their arrival was very timely in enabling them to concert measures for the prosecution of the war. When they came to compare notes as to the feeling in the different provinces, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo considered that as the distant coast of Spain between Gades and the ocean still knew nothing of the Romans, it was so far faithful to Carthage. The other Hasdrubal and Mago were agreed as to the influence which Scipio's generous treatment had had upon the feelings of all states and individuals alike, and they were convinced that the desertions could not be checked until all the Spanish soldiery had either been removed to the furthest corners of Spain or transported into Gaul. They decided therefore, without waiting for the sanction of the senate, that Hasdrubal must proceed to Italy, the focus of the war where the decisive conflict would be fought. In this way he would remove all the Spanish soldiers out of Spain far beyond the spell of Scipio's name. His army, weakened as it was by desertions and by the losses in the recent disastrous battle, had to be brought up to its full strength. Mago was to hand over his own army to Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and cross over to the Balearic Isles with an ample supply of money to hire mercenaries among the islanders. Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo was to make his way into the interior of Lusitania and avoid any collision with the Romans. A force of 3000 selected from all their cavalry, was to be made up for Masinissa, with which he was to traverse Western Spain, ready to assist the friendly tribes and carry devastation amongst the towns and territory of those who were hostile. After drawing up this plan of operations the three generals separated to carry out their several tasks. This was the course of events during the year in Spain. Scipio's reputation was rising day by day in Rome. Fabius too, though he had taken Tarentum by treachery rather than by valour, added to his prestige by its capture. Fulvius' laurels were fading. Marcellus was even the object of general censure, owing to the defeat which he had suffered and still more because he had quartered his army in Venusia in the height of the summer whilst Hannibal was marching where he pleased in Italy. He had an enemy in the person of Gaius Publicius Bibulus, a tribune of the plebs. Immediately after Marcellus met with his defeat, this man blackened his character and stirred up a bitter feeling against him by the harangues which he was constantly delivering to the plebs, and now he was actually working to get him deprived of his command. Claudius' friends obtained permission for him to leave his second in command at Venusia, and come home to clear himself of the charges brought against him, and they also prevented any attempt to deprive him of his command in his absence. It so happened that when Marcellus reached Rome to avert the threatened disgrace, Fulvius also arrived to conduct the elections.

Actions in Spain in 209 BC

Event: Actions in Spain in 209 BC