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As his successor was somewhat late in reaching Spain, Fulvius Flaccus led out his army from winter quarters and began to devastate the more distant parts of Celtiberia, where the inhabitants had not come in to surrender.  By this action he irritated the natives more than he intimidated them, and secretly collecting a force they beset the Manlian Pass, through which they were tolerably certain that the Romans would march.  Gracchus had instructed his colleague, L. Postumius Albinus, who was on his way to Further Spain, to inform Q. Fulvius that he was to bring his army to Tarraco, where he intended to disband the old soldiers, incorporate the reinforcements into the various corps and reorganise the whole army.  Fulvius was also informed of the date of his successor's arrival which was close at hand.  This information compelled Flaccus to abandon his projected operations and withdraw his army hastily from Celtiberia. The barbarians, ignorant of the true reason, and imagining that he had become aware of their rising and secret gathering in arms and was afraid of them, invested the pass all the more closely. When the Roman column entered the pass, the enemy rushed down upon it from both sides.  As soon as Flaccus saw this, he allayed the first symptoms of tumult in the column by giving the order through the centurions for every [7??] man to stand where he was and get his weapons ready.  The packs of the baggage animals were piled up in one place, and partly by his own exertions, partly through his officers, he got the whole force into such fighting order as the time and place required.  He reminded his men that they had to deal with those who had twice made their submission and who were impelled by treachery, not by true courage. His soldiers, he told them, would have returned home without distinguishing themselves; the enemy had given them the chance of a glorious and memorable homecoming. They would carry in triumph through Rome swords reddened with the slaughter of their foes and spoils dripping with their blood.  Time did not allow him to say more; the enemy were upon them and fighting was already begun at the outermost points. Then the two lines closed.
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