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Quote of the day: Civilis, however, was naturally politic
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 15: The battle of Ilipa. Hasdrubal defeated[206 BC]
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The struggle had now become a very one-sided one in all parts of the field. Not only were untrained Balearics and raw Spanish levies face to face with the Roman and Latin legionaries but as the day went on, the physical strength of Hasdrubal's army began to give way. Surprised by the sudden attack in the early morning they had been compelled to go into battle before they could strengthen themselves with food. It was with this view that Scipio had deliberately delayed the fight till late in the day, for it was not until the seventh hour that the attack began on the wings, and it was some time after that before the battle reached the centre, so that, what with the heat of the day, the fatigue of standing under arms, and the hunger and thirst from which they were suffering, they were worn out before they closed with the enemy. Thus exhausted they leaned on their shields as they stood. To complete their discomfiture the elephants, scared by the sudden onsets of the cavalry and the rapid movements of the light infantry, rushed from the wings into the centre of the line. Wearied and depressed, the enemy began to retreat, keeping their ranks however, just as if they had been ordered to retire. But when the victors saw that matters were going in their favour they made still more furious attacks in all parts of the field, which the enemy were almost powerless to withstand, though Hasdrubal tried to rally them and keep them from giving way by calling out that the hill in their rear would afford them a safe retreat if they would retire in good order. Their fears, however, got the better of their sense of shame, and when those nearest to the enemy gave way, their example was suddenly followed by all and there was a universal flight. Their first halt was on the lower slope of the hill, and as the Romans hesitated about mounting the hill, they began to re-form their ranks, but when they saw them steadily advancing they again fled and were driven back in disorder to their camp. The Romans were not far from the rampart and would have carried the camp in their onset had not the brilliant sunshine which often glows between heavy showers been succeeded by such a storm that the victors could hardly get back to their camp, and some were even deterred by superstitious fears from attempting anything further for the day. Although the night and the storm invited the Carthaginians, exhausted as they were by their toil and many of them by their wounds, to take the rest they so sorely needed, yet their fears and the danger they were in allowed them no respite. Fully expecting an attack on their camp as soon as it was light they strengthened their rampart with large stones collected from all the valleys round, hoping to find in their intrenchments the defence which their arms had failed to afford them. The desertion of their allies, however, decided them to seek safety in flight rather than risk another battle. The first to abandon them was Attenes, chief of the Turdetani; he went over with a considerable body of his countrymen, and this was followed by the surrender of two fortified towns with their garrisons to the Romans. For fear of the evil spreading and the spirit of disaffection becoming general, Hasdrubal shifted his camp the following night.

Actions in Spain in 206 BC

Event: Actions in Spain in 206 BC