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Quote of the day: He was a man of loose character, but of
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 48: The battle of the Metaurus[207 BC]
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Nero with the whole of the cavalry was the first to come up, then Porcius followed with the light infantry. They began to harass their wearied enemy by repeated charges on all sides, until Hasdrubal stopped a march which began to resemble a flight, and decided to form camp on a hill which commanded the river. At this juncture Livius appeared with the heavy infantry, not in order of march, but deployed and armed for immediate battle. All their forces were now massed together, and the line was formed; Claudius Nero taking command of the right wing,Livius of the left, while the centre was assigned to the praetor. When Hasdrubal saw that he must give up all idea of entrenching himself and prepare to fight, he stationed the elephants in the front, the Gauls near them on the left to oppose Claudius, not so much because he trusted them as because he hoped they would frighten the enemy, while on the right, where he commanded in person, he posted the Spaniards in whom as veteran troops he placed most confidence. The Ligurians were stationed in the centre behind the elephants. His formation was greater in depth than length and the Gauls were covered by a hill which extended across their front. That part of the line which Hasdrubal and his Spaniards held engaged the Roman left; the whole of the Roman right was shut out from the fighting, the hill in front prevented them from making either a frontal or a flank attack. The struggle between Livius and Hasdrubal was a fierce one, and both sides lost heavily. Here were the two captains, the greater part of the Roman infantry and cavalry, the Spaniards who were veteran soldiers and used to the Roman methods of fighting, and also the Ligurians, a people hardened by warfare. To this part of the field the elephants too had been driven, and at their first onset they threw the front ranks into confusion and forced the standards to give way. Then as the fighting became hotter and the noise and shouting more furious, it became impossible to control them, they rushed about between the two armies as though they did not know to which side they belonged, just like ships drifting rudderless. Nero made fruitless efforts to scale the hill in front of him, calling out repeatedly to his men, "Why have we made so long a march at such break-neck speed? "When he found it impossible to reach the enemy in that direction, he detached some cohorts from his right wing where he saw that they were more likely to stand on guard than to take any part in the fighting, led them past the rear of his division and to the surprise of his own men as much as of the enemy commenced an attack upon the enemy's flank. So rapidly was this maneuver executed, that almost as soon as they showed themselves on the flank, they were attacking the rear of the enemy. Thus attacked on every side, front, flank and rear, Spaniards and Ligurians alike were simply massacred where they stood. At last the carnage reached the Gauls. Here there was very little fighting, for a great many had fallen out during the night and were lying asleep everywhere in the fields, and those who were still with the standards were worn out by the long march and want of sleep, and being quite unable to stand fatigue could hardly sustain the weight of their armour. It was now mid-day, and the heat and thirst made them gasp for breath, until they were cut down or made prisoners without offering any resistance.

Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC

Event: Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC