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Seeing how the step which they had taken so impetuously now filled them with anxiety, Scipio called the voters together and spoke to them about his age and the command which they had entrusted to him, and the war which he had to conduct.  He spoke in such lofty and glowing words that he evoked their enthusiasm once more, and inspired them with more hopeful confidence than is usually called out by faith in men's promises or by reasonable anticipations of success.  Scipio won people's admiration not only by the sterling qualities which he possessed, but also by his cleverness in displaying them, a cleverness which he had developed from early youth.  In his public life he generally spoke and acted as though he were guided either by visions of the night or by some divine inspiration, whether it was that he was really open to superstitious influences or that he claimed oracular sanction for his commands and counsels in order to secure prompt adoption.  He sought to create this impression on men's minds from the beginning, from the day when he assumed the toga virilis, for he never undertook any important business, either public or private, without first going to the Capitol, where he sat for some time in the temple in privacy and alone.  This custom, which he kept up all through his life, gave rise to a widespread belief, whether designedly upon his part or not, that he was of divine origin, and the story was told of him [7??] which was commonly related of Alexander-a story as silly as it was fabulous-that he was begotten by an enormous serpent which had been often seen in his mother's bedroom, but on any one's approach, suddenly uncoiled itself and disappeared.  The belief in these marvels was never scoffed at by him; on the contrary, it was strengthened by deliberate policy on his part in refusing to deny or to admit that anything of the kind ever occurred.  There were many other traits in this young man's character, some of which were genuine, others the result of studied acting, which created a greater admiration for him than usually falls to the lot of man. It was the confidence with which he had in this way inspired his fellow-citizens that led them to entrust to him, young as he was, a task of enormous difficulty, and a command which involved the gravest responsibilities.  The force which he had formed out of the old army in Spain, and that which sailed from Puteoli with C. Nero, were further reinforced by 10,000 infantry and 1000 cavalry. M. Junius Silanus was appointed as his second in command.  Setting sail from the mouth of the Tiber with a fleet of thirty vessels, all quinqueremes, he coasted along the Etruscan shore, crossed the Gulf of Gaul, and after rounding the Pyrenaean Promontory brought up at Emporiae, a Greek city, founded by settlers from Phocaea.  Here he disembarked his troops and proceeded overland to Tarraco, leaving orders for his fleet to follow his movements. At Tarraco he was met by deputations which had been sent from all the friendly tribes as soon as they knew of his coming.  The vessels were hauled ashore, and the four Massilian triremes which had acted as convoy were sent home.  The deputations informed Scipio of the unsettlement amongst their tribes due to the varying fortunes of the war. He replied in a bold and assured tone, full of self-confidence, but no expression savouring of presumption or arrogance escaped him, everything he said was marked by perfect dignity and sincerity.
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