Aemilius, after publishing, in a general assembly, his orders for these regulations, added a speech of similar purport to that which he had made in the city, that “it was the business of the commander alone to consider what was proper to be done, sometimes singly, sometimes in conjunction with those whom he should call to council;
and that such as were not called, ought not to pronounce their opinions either in public or in private. That it was a soldier's business to attend to these three things, —his body, that he may keep it in perfect strength and agility; his arms, in good order; and his provisions ready, in case of a sudden order; and to understand, that all other matters relating to him are under the care of the immortal gods and his captain.
That in any army, where the soldiers formed plans, and that the chief was drawn, first one way, then another, by the rumours of the multitude, nothing was successful.
For his part,” he declared, that “he would take care, as was the duty of a general, to afford them occasion of acting with success. On their part, they were to make no inquiries whatever as to what was about to take place; but, when the signal was given, to discharge the duty of a soldier.”
After these precepts, he dismissed the assembly, while the veterans themselves acknowledged, that on that day, for the first time, they had, like recruits, been taught the business of a soldier. Nor did they, by such [p. 2096]
expressions only, demonstrate with what perfect conviction they had listened to the consul's discourse; but the practical effect of it was immediate.
In the whole camp, not one person was to be seen idle; some were sharpening their weapons; others scouring their helmets and cheek-pieces, their shields and breastplates; some fitted their armour to their bodies, and tested the agility of their limbs under it; some brandished their spears, others flourished their swords, and tried the points; so that it could be easily perceived that their intention was, whenever they should come to battle, to finish the war at once, either by a splendid victory or a memorable death.
On the other side, when Perseus saw that, in consequence of the arrival of the consul, and of the opening of the spring, all was motion and bustle among the Romans, as in a new war;
and that the camp had been removed from Phila and pitched on the opposite bank, and that the Roman general employed himself busily, sometimes in going round and examining all his works, doubtless looking out for a place to pass the river; ... 1