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Quote of the day: It is a disagreeable task in the case of
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 39: Hasdrubal in North-Italy[207 BC]
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The excitement and alarm in Rome were heightened by a despatch from Lucius Porcius, the propraetor commanding in Gaul. He announced that Hasdrubal had left his winter quarters and was actually crossing the Alps. He was to be joined by a force of 8000 raised and equipped amongst the Ligurians, unless a Roman army were sent into Liguria to occupy the attention of the Gauls. Porcius added that he would himself advance as far as he safely could with such a weak army. The receipt of this despatch made the consuls hurry on the enlistment, and on its completion they left for their provinces at an earlier date than they had fixed. Their intention was that each of them should keep his enemy in his own province and not allow the brothers to unite or concentrate their forces. They were materially assisted by a miscalculation which Hannibal made. He quite expected his brother to cross the Alps during the summer, but remembering his own experience in the passage first of the Rhone and then of the Alps, and how for five months he had had to carry on an exhausting struggle against man and against nature, he had no idea that Hasdrubal's passage would be as easy and rapid as it really was. Owing to this mistake he was too late in moving out of his winter quarters. Hasdrubal, however, had a more expeditious march and met with fewer difficulties than either he or anyone else expected. Not only did the Arverni and the other Gallic and Alpine tribes give him a friendly reception, but they followed his standard. He was, moreover, marching mainly over roads made by his brother where before there were none, and as the Alps had now been traversed to and fro for twelve years he found the natives less savage. Previously they had never visited strange lands nor been accustomed to seeing strangers in their own country; they had held no intercourse with the rest of the world. Not knowing at first the destination of the Carthaginian general, they imagined that he wanted their rocks and strongholds and intended to carry off their men and cattle as plunder. Then when they heard about the Punic War with which Italy had been alight for twelve years, they quite understood that the Alps were only a passage from one country to another, and that the struggle lay between two mighty cities, separated by a vast stretch of sea and land, which were contending for power and dominion. This was the reason why the Alps lay open to Hasdrubal. But whatever advantage he gained by the rapidity of his march was forfeited by the time he wasted at Placentia, where he commenced a fruitless investment instead of attempting a direct assault. Lying as it did in flat open country he thought that the town would be taken without difficulty, and that the capture of such an important colony would deter the others from offering any resistance. Not only was his own advance hampered by this investment, but he also retarded Hannibal's movements, who, on learning of his brother's unexpectedly rapid march, had quitted his winter quarters, for Hannibal knew what a slow business sieges usually are and had not forgotten his own unsuccessful attempt on that very colony after his victory at the Trebia.

March of Hasdrubal to Italy, 207 BC

Event: March of Hasdrubal to Italy, 207 BC