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The excitement and alarm in Rome were quite as great as they had been two years previously, when the Carthaginian camp was visible from the walls and gates of the City.  People could not make up their minds whether the consul's daring march was more to be lauded or censured, and it was evident that they would await the result before pronouncing for or against it-a most unfair way of judging. "The camp." they said, "is left, near an enemy like Hannibal, with no general, with an army from which its main strength, the flower of its soldiery, has been withdrawn.  Pretending to march into Lucania, the consul has taken the road to Picenum and Gaul, leaving the safety of his camp dependent upon the ignorance of the enemy as to what direction he and his division have taken.  What will happen if they find that out, if Hannibal with his whole army decides to start in pursuit of Nero with his 6000 men, or attacks the camp, left as it is to be plundered, without defence, without a general with full powers or one who can take the auspices?"  The former disasters in this war, the recollection of the two consuls killed the previous year, filled them with dread. "All those things," it was said, "happened when the enemy had only one commander and one army in Italy; now there are two distinct wars going on, two immense armies, and practically two Hannibals in Italy, for Hasdrubal too is a son of Hamilcar and is quite as able and energetic a commander as his brother.  He has been trained in war against Rome for many years in Spain, and distinguished himself by the double victory in which he annihilated two Roman armies and their illustrious captains.  In the rapidity of his march from Spain, and the way in which he has roused the tribes of Gaul to arms, he can boast of far greater success than even Hannibal himself, for he got [8??] together an army in those very districts in which his brother lost the greater part of his force by cold and hunger, the most miserable of all deaths."  Those who were acquainted with recent events in Spain went on to say that he would meet in Nero a general who was no stranger to him, for he was the general whom Hasdrubal, when intercepted in a narrow pass, had duped and baffled as though he were a child by making illusory proposals for peace.  In this way they exaggerated the strength of the enemy and depreciated their own, their fears made them look on the darkest side of everything.
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