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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 36: Hasdrubal in Gaul. Appointments.[208 BC]
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Hasdrubal's appearance in Italy was looked forward to with daily increasing anxiety. The first news came from the Massilians, who reported that he had passed into Gaul, and that there was widespread excitement amongst the natives owing to a rumour that he had brought a large amount of gold for the payment of auxiliary troops. The Massilian envoys were accompanied on their return by Sextus Antistius and Marcus Raecius, who were sent to make further investigations. These reported that they had sent emissaries, accompanied by some Massilians who had friends amongst the Gaulish chieftains, to gain information and that they had definitely ascertained that Hasdrubal intended to cross the Alps the next spring with an enormous army. The only thing that kept him from advancing at once was that the Alps were insurmountable in winter. Publius Aelius Paetus was appointed and consecrated augur in place of Marcus Marcellus, and Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella was consecrated King of Sacrifices" in place of Marcus Marcius, who had been dead for two years. The lustrum was closed by the censors Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus. The census returns gave the number of citizens as 137,108, a considerably smaller number than the one before the beginning of the war. For the first time since Hannibal had invadedItaly the comitium is stated to have been covered over and the Roman Games were celebrated for one day by the curule aediles Quintus Metellus and Gaius Servilius. The Plebeian Games also were celebrated for two days by the plebeian aediles Gaius Mamilius and Marcus Caecilius Metellus. They also gave three statues to the temple of Ceres, and a banquet was held in honour of Jupiter on the occasion of the Games. The consuls then entered upon office; Gaius Claudius Nero for the first time, Marcus Livius for the second. As they had balloted for their provinces they ordered the praetors to ballot for theirs. The urban jurisdiction fell to Gaius Hostilius, and the jurisdiction over aliens was also committed to him in order that three praetors might be available for foreign service. Aulus Hostilius was allotted to Sardinia, Gaius Mamilius to Sicily and Lucius Porcius to Gaul. The total military strength amounted to twenty-three legions and were thus distributed: each of the consuls had two; four were in Spain; each of the three praetors had two in Sardinia, Sicily and Gaul respectively; Gaius Terentius had two in Etruria; Quintus Fulvius had two in Bruttium; Quintus Claudius had two in the neighbourhood of Tarentum and the Sallentine district; Gaius Hostilius Tubulus had one at Capua; and two were raised in the City for home defence. The people appointed the military tribunes for the first four legions; the consuls commissioned the rest.
March of Hasdrubal to Italy, 208 BC