In the dusk of evening the Carthaginians broke camp in silence, driving on the cattle a little way before the standards.
When they reached the foothills and the narrow roads, the signal was immediately given to set fire to the horns and drive the herd up the mountain. And their very-fear, as the flames at once shot up from their heads, and the heat, that soon penetrated to the quick at the base of their horns, made the cattle as wild as though they had gone crazy.
As they suddenly rushed this way and that, all the bushes far and near seemed to be burning, as if the woods and mountains had been set on fire; and when they shook their heads, they only fanned the blaze and made it: look as if men were running about in all directions.
When the troops who had been posted to hold the pass caught sight of certain-fires on the mountain-tops above them, they thought that they were surrounded and forsook their station. Where the fewest flames were [p. 259]
flashing —for this seemed the safest way —they made1
for the summits of the ridges, but nevertheless fell in with some of the cattle which had strayed from their herds.
And at first, when they saw them afar, breathing fire, as they supposed, they were dazed by the wonder of it, and stood stock still;
but afterwards, perceiving it to be a trick devised by men, they concluded that it was an ambush and took to their heels in greater confusion than before. They also ran into some light-armed soldiers of the enemy; the darkness, however, by equalizing their fears, kept both sides there till daylight without either beginning the battle.
In the meanwhile Hannibal had conveyed his entire army through the pass — surprising some of his enemies in the pass itself —and had pitched his camp in the district of Allifae.