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Three days after Hannibal had left the banks of the Rhone, P. Cornelius Scipio arrived at the deserted camp with his army in battle order, ready to engage at once.  When, however, he saw the abandoned lines and realised that it would be no easy matter to overtake his opponent after he had got such a long start, he returned to his ships. He considered that the easier and safer course would be to meet Hannibal as he came down from the Alps.  Spain was the province allotted to him, and to prevent its being entirely denuded of Roman troops he sent his brother Cneius Scipio with the greater part of his army to act against Hasdrubal, not only to keep the [4??] old allies and win new ones, but to drive Hasdrubal out of Spain.  He himself sailed for Genoa with a very small force, intending to defend Italy with the army lying in the valley of the Po. From the Durance Hannibal's route lay mostly through open level country, and he reached the Alps without meeting with any opposition from the Gauls who inhabited the district.  But the sight of the Alps revived the terrors in the minds of his men.  Although rumour, which generally magnifies untried dangers, had filled them with gloomy forebodings, the nearer view proved much more fearful. The height of the mountains now so close, the snow which was almost lost in the sky, the wretched huts perched on the rocks, the flocks and herds shrivelled and stunted with the cold, the men wild and unkempt, everything animate and inanimate stiff with frost, together with other sights dreadful beyond description-all helped to increase their alarm.  As the head of the column began to climb the nearest slopes, the natives appeared on the heights above; had they concealed themselves in the ravines and then rushed down they would have caused frightful panic and bloodshed.  Hannibal called a halt and sent on some Gauls to examine the ground, and when he learnt that advance was impossible in that direction he formed his camp in the widest part of the valley that he could find; everywhere around the ground was broken and precipitous.  The Gauls who had been sent to reconnoitre got into conversation with the natives, as there was little difference between their speech or their manners, and they brought back word to Hannibal that the pass was only occupied in the daytime, at nightfall the natives all dispersed to their homes. Accordingly, at early dawn he began the ascent as though determined to force the pass in broad daylight, and spent the day in movements designed to conceal his real intentions and in fortifying the camp on the spot where they had halted.  As soon as he observed that the natives had left the heights and were no longer watching his movements, he gave orders, with the [12??] view of deceiving the enemy, for a large number of fires to be lighted, larger in fact than would be required by those remaining in camp.  Then, leaving the baggage with the cavalry and the greater part of the infantry in camp, he himself with a specially selected body of troops in light marching order rapidly moved out of the defile and occupied the heights which the enemy had held.
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