This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
On their return to their camps, the commanders-in-chief each issued an order of the day to their troops. "They were to get their arms ready and brace up their courage for a final and decisive struggle;  if success attended them they would be victors not for a day only but for all time; they would know before the next day closed whether Rome or Carthage was to give laws to the nations. For not Africa and Italy only-the whole world will be the prize of victory.  Great as is the prize, the peril in case of defeat will be as great.  "For no escape lay open to the Romans in a strange and unknown land; and Carthage was making her last effort, if that failed, her destruction was imminent. On the morrow they went out to battle-the two most brilliant generals and the two strongest armies that the two most powerful nations possessed-to crown on that day the many honours they had won, or for ever lose them.  The soldiers were filled with alternate hopes and fears as they gazed at their own and then at the opposing lines and measured their comparative strength with the eye rather than the mind, cheerful and despondent in turn.  The encouragement which they could not give to themselves their generals gave them in their exhortations. The Carthaginian reminded his men of their sixteen years' successes on Italian soil, of all the Roman generals who had fallen and all the armies that had been destroyed, and as he came to each soldier who had distinguished himself in any battle, he recounted his gallant deeds.  Scipio recalled the conquest of Spain and the recent battles in Africa and showed up the enemies' confession of weakness, since their fears compelled them to sue for [8??] peace and their innate faithlessness prevented them from abiding by it.  He turned to his own purpose the conference with Hannibal, which being private allowed free scope for invention. He drew an omen and declared that the gods had vouchsafed the same auspices to them as those under which their fathers fought at the Aegates.  The end of the war and of their labours, he assured them, had come; the spoils of Carthage were in their hands, and the return home to their wives and children and household gods.  He spoke with uplifted head and a face so radiant that you might suppose he had already won the victory.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.