The consul, when enough of a show had [p. 451]
been given to keep up appearances, ordered the1
soldiers to disembark; and he himself, since now the time of the year was drawing near when active operations could be carried on, established a winter camp three miles from Emporiae.
Thence as occasion offered, now in this direction and now in that, leaving small guards at the camp, he led the soldiers into the enemy's country to seek plunder.
They usually set out at night, so as to march as far as possible from the camp and to take the enemy off their guard. By this means2
he hardened his recruits and captured a great number of the enemy; no longer did they venture to go outside the fortifications of their stations.
When he had in this way sufficiently tested the tempers of his own men and the enemy, he called into conference the tribunes and prefects and all the cavalry and centurions.
“The time,” he said, “which you have often longed for is at hand, when you will have the opportunity of making display of your courage. So far you have fought more like guerillas than like soldiers; now, foe facing foe, you will meet in regular battle.
Henceforth you will be able, not to pillage country districts, but to drain the wealth of cities.
Our fathers, when the Carthaginians had both generals and armies in Spain, and they themselves had not a single soldier here, still demanded that it be stated in the treaty that the Ebro river should be the boundary of their empire;3
now, when there are two praetors, a consul, and three Roman armies stationed in Spain, and for nearly ten years no Carthaginian has been in these provinces, our empire on this side of the Ebro has been lost.
This it is your task to recover [p. 453]
with your arms and your daring, and to compel this4
nation, which is rather in rebellion rashly than warring with steadiness of purpose, to accept again the yoke which it has thrown off.”
After encouraging them in about this fashion, he announced that he would lead them against the enemy's camp that night, and so dismissed them to seek rest.