Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: He was looked up to with reverence for h
Display Latin text
History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 33: Hannibal crossed the Alps: the first days.[218 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
At dawn of light the next day the camp broke up, and the rest of the army began to move forward. The mountaineers, on a signal being given, were now assembling from their forts to their usual station, when they suddenly behold part of the enemy overhanging them from above, in possession of their former position, and the others passing along the road. Both these objects, presented at the same time to the eye and the mind, made them stand motionless for a little while; but when they afterwards saw the confusion in the pass, and that the marching body was thrown into disorder by the tumult which itself created, principally from the horses being terrified, thinking that whatever terror they added would suffice for the destruction of the enemy, they scramble along the dangerous rocks, as being accustomed alike to pathless and circuitous ways. Then indeed the Carthaginians were opposed at once by the enemy and by the difficulties of the ground; and each striving to escape first from the danger, there was more fighting among themselves than with their opponents. The horses in particular created danger in the lines, which, being terrified by the discordant clamours which the groves and re-echoing valleys augmented, fell into confusion; and if by chance struck or wounded, they were so dismayed that they occasioned a great loss both of men and baggage of every description: and as the pass on both sides was broken and precipitous, this tumult threw many down to an immense depth, some even of the armedmen; but the beasts of burden, with their loads, were rolled down like the fall of some vast fabric. Though these disasters were shocking to view, Hannibal however kept his place for a little, and kept his men together, lest he might augment the tumult and disorder; but afterwards, when he saw the line broken, and that there was danger that he should bring over his army, preserved to no purpose if deprived of their baggage, he hastened down from the higher ground; and though he had routed the enemy by the first onset alone, he at the same time increased the disorder in his own army: but that tumult was composed in a moment, after the roads were cleared by the flight of the mountaineers; and presently the whole army was conducted through, not only without being disturbed, but almost in silence. He then took a fortified place, which was the capital of that district, and the little villages that lay around it, and fed his army for three days with the corn and cattle he had taken; and during these three days, as the soldiers were neither obstructed by the mountaineers, who had been daunted by the first engagement, nor yet much by the ground, he made considerable way.

Event: Hannibal crosses the Alps