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Quote of the day: It had been the ancient policy of the fo
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 24: Scipio ill; the Romans in Sucro revolt[206 BC]
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Scipio was overtaken by a serious illness, which rumour, however, made still more serious, as each man from the innate love of exaggeration added some fresh detail to what he had already heard. The whole of Spain, especially the remoter parts, was much agitated at the news, and it was easy to judge what an amount of trouble would have been caused by his actual death from seeing what storms arose from the groundless rumour of it. Friendly states did not preserve their fidelity, the army did not remain loyal. Mandonius and Indibilis had made up their minds, that after the expulsion of the Carthaginians the sovereignty of Spain would pass to them. When they found that their hopes were frustrated they called out their countrymen, the Lacetani, and raised a force amongst the Celtiberians with which they ravaged the country of the Suessitanians and the Sedetanians, who were allies of Rome. A disturbance of a different kind, an act of madness on the part of the Romans themselves, occurred in the camp at Sucro. It was held by a force of 8000 who were stationed there to protect the tribes on this side the Ebro. The vague rumours about their commander's life were not however the primary cause of their movement. A long period of inactivity had, as usual, demoralised them, and they chafed against the restraints of peace after being accustomed to live on the plunder captured from the enemy. At first their discontent was confined to murmurs amongst themselves. "If there is war going on in the province," they said, "what are we doing here amongst a peaceable population? If the war is at an end why are we not taken back to Rome? "Then they demanded their arrears of pay with an insolence quite inconsistent with military discipline or the respect which soldiers should show towards their officers. The men at the outposts insulted the tribunes as they went their rounds of inspection, and some went off during the night to plunder the peaceable inhabitants in the neighbourhood, till at last they used to quit their standards in broad daylight without leave. They did everything just as their caprice and fancy dictated, no attention was paid to rules or discipline or to the orders of their officers. One thing alone helped to keep up the outward aspect of a Roman camp and that was the hope which the men entertained that the tribunes would become infected with their madness and take part in their mutiny. In this hope they allowed them to administer justice from their tribunals, they went to them for the watchword and the orders of the day, and relieved guard at the proper intervals. Thus after depriving them of any real authority they kept up the appearance of obedience, whilst they were actually their own commanders. When they found that the tribunes censured and reprobated their proceedings and endeavoured to repress them, and openly declared that they would have nothing to do with their insensate folly, they broke out into open mutiny. They drove the tribunes from their official seats, and then out of the camp, and amidst universal acclamation placed the supreme command in the hands of the chief ringleaders of the mutiny, two common soldiers whose names were Gaius Albius of Cales and Gaius Atrius, an Umbrian. These men were by no means content to wear the insignia of the military tribunes, they had the audacity to affect those of the chief magistrates, the fasces and the axes. It never occurred to them that those symbols which they had carried before them to strike fear into others were impending over their own backs and necks. The false belief that Scipio was dead blinded them; they felt certain that the spread of this report would kindle the flames of war throughout the whole of Spain. In the general turmoil they imagined that they would be able to levy contributions on the allies of Rome and plunder the cities round them, and when crime and outrage were being committed everywhere, what they had done would not be noticed in the universal confusion.

Actions in Spain in 206 BC

Event: Actions in Spain in 206 BC