had been sent by Livius, the consul, throughout the camp that tribune should receive tribune, centurion centurion, horseman horseman, foot-soldier foot-soldier;2
for to enlarge the camp was not to the purpose, he said, lest the enemy should know of the arrival of the other consul.
And to crowd in larger numbers of men in cramped quarters was to prove easier, because Claudius' army had brought with it on its expedition hardly anything besides its arms.
But in the very course of the march the column had been enlarged by volunteers; for not only did old soldiers who had already completed their service offer themselves of their own motion, but also young men who had vied with each other in giving in their names and whom Claudius had enrolled whenever their physical appearance and sound condition seemed suitable for military service.
The other consul's camp was near Sena,3
and about five hundred paces away was Hasdrubal. Accordingly, as he was now approaching, Nero came to a halt under cover of the hills, in order not to enter the camp before night.
Silently they entered, each man being led to his tent by one of the same rank, and they were hospitably welcomed with great [p. 393]
general rejoicing. On the next day a council of war4
was held, at which Lucius Porcius Licinus, the praetor, was present.
His camp adjoined that of the consuls, and before their arrival he had baffled the enemy by all the arts of war, leading his army on high ground, while at one time he would occupy a narrow pass, to block their way, at another would make sudden attacks upon the column from the flank or the rear.5
And now he was present at the council.
The opinions of many inclined in the direction of postponing the time for battle, until Nero should refresh his troops, worn by the march and lack of sleep, and at the same time should take a few days to acquaint himself with the enemy.
But Nero began not merely to urge, but by all means also to implore them not to make his plan, which rapid movement had made safe, a reckless plan by delaying.
It was by a deception which would not last long, he said, that Hannibal, as though dazed, was not attacking his camp, left without its commander, and had not set his army in motion to pursue him; that before Hannibal should bestir himself, they could destroy Hasdrubal's army and return to Apulia.
Whoever by delaying gave the enemy time, was betraying the distant camp to Hannibal, at the same time opening the way into Gaul, so that unmolested he might join Hasdrubal whenever he pleased.
At once, he said, the signal must be given and they must go out into battle-line and take advantage of the deception of their enemies, both the distant and those near at hand, while the one army was unaware that it had to do with smaller numbers, and the other that it had to deal with larger and stronger forces.
Dismissing the council they raised [p. 395]
the signal for battle and forthwith went out into6