|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 46: Claudius Nero arrives in the camp of Marcus Livius[207 BC]
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The consul Livius had issued a secret order by means of the tessera that the tribunes should take in the tribunes who were coming; the centurions, the centurions; the cavalry, their mounted comrades; and the legionaries, the infantry. It was not desirable to extend the camp, his object was to keep the enemy in ignorance of the other consul's arrival. The crowding together of a larger number of men in the restricted space afforded by the tents was rendered all the easier because Claudius' army, in their hurried march, had brought hardly anything with them except their arms. On the march, however, their numbers had been augmented by volunteers, partly old soldiers who had served their time and partly young men who were anxious to join. Claudius enlisted those whose appearance and strength seemed to qualify them for service. Livius' camp was in the neighbourhood of Sena, and Hasdrubal was about half a mile distant. When he found that he was nearing the place, the consul halted where he was screened by the mountains, so as not to enter the camp before night. Then the men entered in silence and were conducted to the tents, each by a man of his own rank, where they received the warmest of welcomes and most hospitable entertainment. Next day a council of war was held, at which the praetor Lucius Porcius Licinius was present. His camp was now contiguous with that of the consuls; before their arrival he had adopted every possible device to baffle the Carthaginian by marching along the heights and seizing the passes, so as to check his advance, and also by harassing his columns whilst on the march. Many of those present at the council were in favour of postponing battle in order that Nero might recruit his troops worn out with the length of the march and want of sleep, and also might have a few days for getting to know his enemy. Nero tried to dissuade them from this course, and earnestly implored them not to endanger the success of his plan after he had made it perfectly safe by the rapidity of his march. Hannibal's activity, he argued, was so to speak paralysed by a mistake which he would not be long in rectifying; he had neither attacked the camp in the absence of its commander, nor had he made up his mind to follow him on his march. Before he moved, it was possible to destroy Hasdrubal's army and march back into Apulia. "To give the enemy time by putting off the engagement would be to betray their camp in Apulia to Hannibal and give him a clear road into Gaul, so that he would be able to form a junction with Hasdrubal when and where he pleased. The signal for action must be given at once, and we must march on to the field and profit by the mistakes which both our enemies are making, the distant one and the one close at hand. That one does not know that he has to deal with a smaller army than he supposes, this one is not aware that he has to meet a larger and stronger one than he imagines." As soon as the council broke up, the red ensign was displayed and the army at once took the field.
Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC
Event: Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC