|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 20: Treachery is punished: Iliturgi and Castulo[206 BC]
Return to index
Its capture was effected by some African deserters who were serving with the Romans. Whilst the attention of the townsmen was directed to defending the positions which appeared to be in danger and the assailants were mounting their ladders wherever they could approach the walls, these men noticed that the highest part of the city, which was protected by precipitous cliffs, was left unfortified and undefended. These Africans, men of light make and through constant training extremely agile, were furnished with iron hooks, and where the projections of the cliff gave them a footing they climbed it, when they came to a place where it was too steep or too smooth they fixed the hooks in at moderate intervals and used them as steps, those in front pulling up those behind, and those below pushing up those above them. In this way, they managed to reach the top, and no sooner had they done so than they ran down with loud shouts into the city which the Romans had already captured. And now the hatred and resentment which had prompted the attack on the city showed itself. No one thought of making prisoners or securing plunder though everything was at the mercy of the spoilers; the scene was one of indiscriminate butchery, non-combatants together with those in arms, women equally with men were all alike massacred; the ruthless savagery extended even to the slaughter of infants. Then they flung lighted brands on the houses and what the fire could not consume was completely demolished. So bent were they upon obliterating every vestige of the city, and blotting out all record of their foes. From there Scipio marched to Castulo. This place was being defended by natives from the surrounding towns and also by the remains of the Carthaginian army who had gathered there after their flight. But Scipio's approach had been preceded by the news of the fall of Iliturgi, and this spread dismay and despair everywhere. The interests of the Carthaginians and of the Spaniards were quite distinct, each party consulted for its own safety without regard to the other, and what was at first mutual suspicion soon led to an open rupture between them. Cerdubelus openly advised the Spaniards to surrender, Himilco, the Carthaginian commander, counselled resistance. Cerdubelus came to a secret understanding with the Roman general, and betrayed the city and the Carthaginians into his hands. More clemency was shown in this victory; the town was not so deeply involved in guilt and the voluntary surrender went far to soften any feelings of resentment.
Actions in Spain in 206 BC
Event: Actions in Spain in 206 BC