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Scipio Outflanks the Enemy

Scipio with the three leading squadrons of cavalry from the right wing, preceded by the usual number of velites and three maniples (a combination of troops which the Romans call a cohort), and Lucius Marcius and Marcus Junius with a similar force from the left wing, turned the one to the left the other to the right, and advanced at a great speed in column upon the enemy, the troops in succession forming up and following in column as they wheeled. When these troops were within a short distance of the enemy,—the Iberians in the line direct being still a considerable distance behind, because they were advancing at a deliberate pace,—they came into contact with the two wings of the enemy simultaneously, the Roman forces being in column, according to Scipio's original plan. The movements subsequent to this, which resulted in the troops on the rear finding themselves in the same line as the troops in front, and engaged like them with the enemy, were exactly the converse of each other—taking the right and left wings in general, and the cavalry and infantry in particular. For the cavalry and velites on the right wing came into line on the right and tried to outflank the enemy, while the heavy infantry came into line on the left; but on the left wing the heavy infantry came into line by the right, the cavalry and velites by the left. The result of this movement was that, as far as the cavalry and light infantry were concerned, their right became their left. Scipio cared little for this, but was intent on something more important, namely, the outflanking of the enemy. For while a general ought to be quite alive to what is taking place, and rightly so, he ought to use whatever movements suit the circumstances.

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