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The Cattle With the Burning Fagots

Fabius hoped when the Carthaginians came thither, and encamped on the plain immediately under the foot of the hill, that he would be able to snatch away their plunder without any risk to himself; and, most of all, might even put an end to the whole war by means of the excellent situation for an attack in which he now was.
Hannibal eludes him.
He was accordingly wholly intent on forming plans for this purpose, anxiously considering in what direction and in what manner he should avail himself of the advantages of the ground, and which of his men were to be the first to attack the enemy. Whilst his enemies were making these preparations for the next day, Hannibal, guessing the truth, took care to give them no time or leisure for executing their design; but summoning Hasdrubal, the captain of his pioneers, ordered him, with all speed, to make as many fagots of dry wood of all sorts as possible, and selecting two thousand of the strongest of the working oxen from the booty, to collect them outside the camp. When this was done, he summoned the pioneers, and pointed out to them a certain ridge lying between the camp and the gorge by which he meant to march. To this ridge they were to drive the oxen, when the order was given, as actively and energetically as they could, until they came to the top. Having given these instructions, he bade them take their supper and go to rest betimes. Towards the end of the third watch of the night he led the pioneers out of the camp, and ordered them to tie the fagots to the horns of the oxen. The men being numerous, this did not take long to do; and he then ordered them to set the fagots all alight, and to drive the oxen off and force them to mount the ridge; and placing his light-armed troops behind them he ordered them to assist the drivers up to a certain distance: but, as soon as the beasts had got well started, to take open order and pass them at the double, and, with as much noise as possible, make for the top of the ridge; that, if they found any of the enemy there, they might close with and attack them at once. At the same time he himself led the main army towards the narrow gorge of the pass,—his heavy-armed men in front, next to them the cavalry, then the booty, and the Iberians and Celts bringing up the rear.

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