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Polybius, Histories, book 3, Hannibal Reaches the Plains (search)
Hannibal Reaches the Plains So Hannibal mustered his forces and continued the descent; and on the third day after passing the precipitous path just described he reached the plains. From the beginning of his march he had lost many men by the hands of the enemy, and in crossing rivers, and many more on the precipices and dangerous passes of the Alps; and not only men in this last way, but horses and beasts of burden in still greater numbers. The whole march from New Carthage had occupied five months, the actual passage of the Alps fifteen days; and he now boldly entered the valley of the Padus, and the territory of the Insubres, with such of his army as survived, consisting of twelve thousand Libyans and eight thousand Iberians, and not more than six thousand cavalry in all, as he himself distinctly states on the column erected on the promontory of Lacinium to record the numbers. At the same time, as I have before stated, Publius having left his legions under the command of his brother
Polybius, Histories, book 10, Why New Carthage is a Desirable Target (search)
ecause no one would ever suppose that, while the Carthaginians commanded nearly the whole of Iberia, any one would conceive the idea of assaulting this town; that the other inhabitants were exceedingly numerous, but all consisted of craftsmen, mechanics, and fisher-folk, as far as possible removed from any knowledge of warfare. All this he regarded as being fatal to the town, in case of the sudden appearance of an enemy. Nor did he moreover fail to acquaint himself with the topography of New Carthage, or the nature of its defences, or the lie of the lagoon: but by means of certain fishermen who had worked there he had ascertained that the lagoon was quite shallow and fordable at most points; and that, generally speaking, the water ebbed every day towards evening sufficiently to secure this. These considerations convinced him that, if he could accomplish his purpose, he would not only damage his opponents, but gain a considerable advantage for himself; and that, if on the other hand he
Polybius, Histories, book 10, Laelius and Scipio Proceed to New Carthage (search)
Laelius and Scipio Proceed to New Carthage But although historians agree in attributing these calculations to him; yet, when they come to narrate their issue, they somehow or another attribute the success obtained not to the man and his foresight, but to the gods and to Fortune, and that, in spite of all probability, and the evidence of those who lived with him; and in spite of the fact that Publius himself in a letter addressed to Philip has distinctly set forth that it was upon the deliberate calculations, which I have just set forth, that he undertook the Iberian campaign generally, and the assault upon New Carthage in particular. However that may be, at the time specified he gave secretGaius Laelius proceeds to New Carthage with the fleet, instructions to Gaius Laelius, who was in command of the fleet, and who, as I have said, was the only man in the secret, to sail to this town; while he himself marched his army at a rapid pace in the same direction. Scipio by land. B.C. 209. Hi
Polybius, Histories, book 10, Topography of Carthagena (search)
Topography of Carthagena It stands about half-way down the coast of Iberia in Description of New Carthage. a gulf which faces south-west, running about twenty stades inland, and about ten stades broad at its entrance. The whole gulf is made a harbour by the fact that an islandEscombrera (*skombrari/a). I must refer my readers to Mr. Strachan-Davidson's appendix on The Site of the Spanish Carthage for a discussion of these details. See above 2, 13; Livy, 26, 42. lies at its mouth and thus makes the entrance channels on each side of it exceedingly narrow. It breaks the force of the waves also, and the whole gulf has thus smooth water, except when south-west winds setting down the two channels raise a surf: with all other winds it is perfectly calm, from being so nearly landlocked. In the recess of the gulf a mountain juts out in the form of a chersonese, and it is on this mountain that the city stands, surrounded by the sea on the east and south, and on the west by a lagoon extending so
Polybius, Histories, book 10, Scipio Briefs His Troops (search)
gement to his own design, —that he might have nothing to hamper the free egress and return of his troops to and from the camp. The circuit of the city wall was not more than twenty stades formerly,— though I am aware that it has been stated at forty stades; but this is false, as I know from personal inspection and not from mere report,—and in our day it has been still farther contracted. The fleet arrived to the hour, and Publius then thought itScipio discloses his intention of assaulting New Carthage. time to summon a meeting of his men and to encourage them to the undertaking by the use of the same arguments by which he had convinced himself, and which I have just now detailed. He pointed out to them that the plan was practicable; and briefly summing up the blow which their success would be to their enemies, and the advantage it would be to themselves, he ended by promising crowns of gold to those who first mounted the walls, and the usual rewards to those who displayed conspicuous <