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: That he wondered how any general, before
Display Latin text
History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 21: Hannibal prepares for war[218 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
Hannibal, after the taking of Saguntum, had retired to New Carthage into winter quarters; and there, having heard what had been done and decreed at Rome and Carthage, and that he was not only the leader, but also the cause of the war, after having divided and sold the remains of the plunder, thinking there ought to be no longer delay, he calls together and thus addresses his soldiers of the Spanish race: "I believe, tribes, that even you yourselves perceive that, all the tribes of Spain having been reduced to peace, we must either conclude our campaigns and disband our armies, or transfer the war into other regions: for thus these nations will flourish amid the blessings not only of peace, but also of victory, if we seek from other countries spoils and renown. Since, therefore, a campaign far from home soon awaits you, and it is uncertain when you shall again see your homes, and all that is there dear to you, if any one of you wishes to visit his friends, I grant him leave of absence. I give you orders to be here at the beginning of spring, that, with the good assistance of the gods, we may enter on a war which will prove one of great glory and spoil." This power of visiting their homes, voluntarily offered, was acceptable to almost all, already longing to see their friends, and foreseeing in future a still longer absence Repose through the whole season of winter, between toils already undergone and those that were soon to be endured, repaired the vigour of their bodies and minds to encounter all difficulties afresh. At the beginning of spring they assembled according to command. Hannibal, when he had reviewed the auxiliaries of all the nations, having gone to Gades, performs his vows to Hercules; and binds himself by new vows, provided his other projects should have a prosperous issue. Then dividing his care at the same time between the offensive and defensive operations of the war, lest while he was advancing on Italy by a land journey through Spain and Gaul, Africa should be unprotected and exposed to the Romans from Sicily, he resolved to strengthen it with a powerful force. For this purpose he requested a reinforcement from Africa, chiefly of light-armed spearmen, in order that the Africans might serve in Spain, and the Spaniards in Africa, each likely to be a better soldier at a distance from home, as if bound by mutual pledges. He sent into Africa thirteen thousand eight hundred and fifty targetteers, eight hundred and seventy Balearic slingers, and one thousand two hundred horsemen, composed of various nations. He orders these forces partly to be used as a garrison for Carthage and partly to be distributed through Africa: at the same time having sent commissaries into the different states, he orders four thousand chosen youth whom they had levied to be conducted to Carthage, both as a garrison and as hostages.

Event: Hannibal prepares for war