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Hannibal Marches Southward

While he was in these winter quarters also he practised a ruse truly Punic. Being apprehensive that from the fickleness of their character, and the newness of the tie between himself and them, the Celts might lay plots against his life, he caused a number of wigs to be made for him, suited in appearance to men of various ages; and these he constantly varied, changing at the same time his clothes also to harmonise with the particular wig which he wore. He thus made it hard to recognise him, not only for those who met him suddenly, but even for his intimates. But seeing that the Celts were discontented at the lengthened continuance of the war within their borders, and were in a state of restless hurry to invade the enemy's territory,—on the pretence of hatred for Rome, but in reality from love of booty,—he determined to break up his camp as soon as possible, and satisfy the desires of his army. Accordingly as soon as the change of season set in, by questioning those who were reputed to know the country best, he ascertained that the other roads leading into Etruria were long and well known to the enemy, but that the one which led through the marshes was short, and would bring them upon Flaminius as a surprise.1 This was what suited his peculiar genius, and he therefore decided to take this route. But when the report was spread in his army that the general was going to lead them through some marshes, every soldier felt alarmed at the idea of the quagmires and deep sloughs which they would find on this march.

1 "He crossed the Apennines, not by the ordinary road to Lucca, descending the valley of the Macra, but, as it appears, by a straighter line down the valley of the Auser or Serchio."—ARNOLD.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.48
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