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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 45: Claudius Nero speaks to his soldiers and marches on[207 BC]
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When Nero had placed a sufficient distance between himself and the enemy to make it safe for him to reveal his design, he made a brief address to his men. "No commander," he said, "has ever formed a project apparently more risky but really less so than mine. I am leading you to certain victory. My colleague did not enter upon this campaign until he had obtained from the senate such a force of infantry and cavalry as he deemed sufficient, a force indeed more numerous and better equipped than if he were advancing against Hannibal himself. However small the addition you are now making to it, it will be enough to turn the scale. When once the news spreads on the battle-field and I will take care that it does not spread sooner that a second consul has arrived with a second army, it will make victory no longer doubtful. Rumour decides battles; slight impulses sway men's hopes and fears; if we are successful you yourselves will reap almost all the glory of it, for it is always the last weight added that has the credit of turning the balance. You see for yourselves what admiring and enthusiastic crowds welcome you as you march along." And indeed they did advance amidst vows and prayers and blessings from the lines of men and women who were gathered everywhere out of the fields and homesteads. They were called the defenders of the republic, the vindicators of the City and sovereignty of Rome; upon their swords and strong right hands depended all security and liberty for the people and their children. The bystanders prayed to all the gods and goddesses to grant them a safe and prosperous march, a successful battle and an early victory over their foes. As they were now following them with anxious hearts, so they prayed that they might fulfil the vows which they were making when they went forth with joy to meet them flushed with the pride of victory. Then they invited the soldiers to take what they had brought for them, each begging and entreating them to take from his hands rather than from any one else's what would be of use to them and their draught animals, and loading them with presents of all sorts. The soldiers showed the utmost moderation and refused to accept anything that was not absolutely necessary. They did not interrupt their march or leave the ranks or even halt to take food; day and night they went steadily on, hardly allowing themselves the rest which nature demanded. The consul sent messages in advance to announce his coming to his colleague, and to enquire whether it would be better to come secretly or openly, by night or by day, and also whether they were to occupy the same camp or separate ones. It was thought better that he should come by night.

Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC

Event: Battle of Metaurus, 207 BC

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