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The Gauls Attack the Baggage Train

When day broke the natives saw what had taken place,
The Gauls harass the army.
and at first desisted from their attempts; but presently the sight of the immense string of beasts of burden, and of the cavalry, slowly and painfully making the ascent, tempted them to attack the advancing line. Accordingly they fell upon it at many points at once; and the Carthaginians sustained severe losses, not so much at the hands of the enemy, as from the dangerous nature of the ground, which proved especially fatal to the horses and beasts of burden. For as the ascent was not only narrow and rough, but flanked also with precipices, at every movement which tended to throw the line into disorder, large numbers of the beasts of burden were hurled down the precipices with their loads on their backs. And what added more than anything else to this sort of confusion were the wounded horses; for, maddened by their wounds, they either turned round and ran into the advancing beasts of burden, or, rushing furiously forward, dashed aside everything that came in their way on the narrow path, and so threw the whole line into disorder. Hannibal saw what was taking place, and knowing that, even if they escaped this attack, they could never survive the loss of all their baggage, he took with him the men who had seized the strongholds during the night and went to the relief of the advancing line. Having the advantage of charging the enemy from the higher ground he inflicted a severe loss upon them, but suffered also as severe a one in his own army; for the commotion in the line now grew worse, and in both directions at once—thanks to the shouting and struggling of these combatants: and it was not until he had killed the greater number of the Allobroges, and forced the rest to fly to their own land, that the remainder of the beasts of burden and the horses got slowly, and with difficulty, over the dangerous ground. Hannibal himself rallied as many as he could after the fight, and assaulted the town from which the enemy had sallied; and finding it almost deserted, because its inhabitants had been all tempted out by the hope of booty, he got possession of it: from which he obtained many advantages for the future as well as for the present. The immediate gain consisted of a large number of horses and beasts of burden, and men taken with them; and for future use he got a supply of corn and cattle sufficient for two or three days: but the most important result of all was the terror inspired in the next tribes, which prevented any one of those who lived near the ascent from lightly venturing to meddle with him again.

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