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Quote of the day: Arminius in his infatuation and ignoranc
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 17: Scipio wins allies in Spain[209 BC]
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Publius Scipio had spent the whole winter in winning over the various Spanish tribes, either by bribes or by restoring those of their countrymen who had been taken as hostages or prisoners. At the commencement of summer Edesco, a famous Spanish chieftain, came to visit him. His wife and children were in the hands of the Romans, but that was not the only reason why he came. He was influenced by the change which Fortune apparently was bringing about over the whole of Spain in favour of Rome as against Carthage. The same motive actuated Indibilis and Mandonius, who were beyond question the most powerful chiefs in Spain. They abandoned Hasdrubal, with the whole of their contingent, and withdrew to the hills above his camp and keeping along the ridge of mountains made their way safely to the Roman head-quarters. When Hasdrubal saw that the enemy were receiving such accessions of strength whilst his own forces were shrinking in equal proportion, he realised that unless he made some bold move, the wastage would continue, so he made up his mind to seize the first opportunity of fighting. Scipio was still more anxious for a battle; his confidence had grown with success, and he was unwilling to wait till the hostile armies had formed a junction, preferring to engage each separately rather than all united. In case, however, he might have to fight with their combined armies, he had augmented his strength by a somewhat ingenious method. As the whole of the Spanish coast was now clear of the enemy's ships, he had no further use for his own fleet, and after beaching the vessels at Tarraco he brought up the crews to reinforce his land army. Of arms and armament he had more than enough, what with those taken in the capture of New Carthage, and those which the large body of artisans had fabricated for him subsequently. Laelius, in whose absence he would not undertake anything of importance, had now returned from Rome, so in the early days of spring he left Tarraco with his composite army and marched straight for the enemy. The country through which he passed was everywhere peaceful; each tribe as he approached gave him a friendly reception and escorted him to their frontiers. On his route he was met by Indibilis and Mandonius. The former, speaking for himself and his companion, addressed Scipio in grave and dignified language, very unlike the rough and heedless speech of barbarians. Instead of claiming credit for having seized the first opportunity of going over to the side of Rome he rather pleaded that he had no alternative. He was quite aware, he said, that the name of deserter was an object of loathing to the old friends and of suspicion to the new ones, nor did he find fault with this way of looking at it as long as the twofold odium attached not merely to the name but to the motive. Then after dwelling on the services they had both rendered to the Carthaginian generals and the rapacity and insolence which the latter had exhibited and the innumerable wrongs inflicted on them and their fellow-countrymen, he continued: "Hitherto we have been associated with them so far as our bodily presence is concerned, but our hearts and minds have long been where we believe justice and right are cherished. Now we come as suppliants to the gods who cannot permit violence and injustice, and we implore you, Scipio, not to regard our change of sides, as either a crime or a merit; put us to the test from this day forward, and as you find us, so judge and appraise our conduct." The Roman general replied that this was just what he intended to do; he should not regard as desertersmen who did not consider an alliance binding where no law, human or divine, was respected. Thereupon their wives and children were brought out and restored to them amid tears of joy. For that day they were the guests of the Romans, on the morrow a definite treaty of alliance was concluded, and they were sent off to bring up their troops. On their return they shared the Roman camp and acted as guides until they reached the enemy.

Actions in Spain in 209 BC

Event: Actions in Spain in 209 BC