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When the infantry lines closed, the Carthaginians were exposed on both flanks, owing to the flight of the cavalry, and were losing both confidence and strength. Other circumstances, too, seemingly trivial in themselves but of considerable importance in battle, gave the Romans an advantage. Their cheers formed one united shout and were therefore fuller and more intimidating; those of the enemy, uttered in many languages, were only dissonant cries.  The Romans kept their foothold as they fought and pressed the enemy by the sheer weight of their arms and bodies; on the other side there was much more agility and nimbleness of foot than actual fighting strength.  As a consequence, the Romans made the enemy give ground in their very first charge, then pushing them back with their shields and elbows and moving forward on to the ground from which they had dislodged them, they made a considerable advance as though meeting with no resistance.  When those in the rear became aware of the forward movement they too pressed on those in front thereby considerably increasing the weight of the thrust.  This retirement on the part of the enemy's auxiliaries was not checked by the Africans and Carthaginians who formed the second line. In fact, so far were they from supporting them that they too fell back, fearing lest the enemy, after overcoming the obstinate resistance of the first line.  should reach them. On this the auxiliaries suddenly broke and turned tail; some took refuge within the second line, others, not allowed to do so, began to cut down those who refused to admit them after refusing to support them.  There were now two battles going on, the Carthaginians had to fight with the enemy, and at the same time with their own troops.  Still, they would not admit these maddened fugitives within their ranks, they closed up and drove them to the wings and out beyond the fighting ground, fearing lest their fresh and unweakened lines should be demoralised by the intrusion of panic-struck and wounded men.  The ground where the auxiliaries had been stationed had become blocked with such heaps of bodies and arms that it was almost more difficult to cross it than it had been to make way through the masses of the enemy.  The hastati who formed the first line followed up the enemy, each man advancing as best he could over the heaps of bodies and arms and the slippery bloodstained ground until the standards and maniples were all in confusion. Even the standards of the principes began to sway to and fro when they saw how irregular the line in front had become.  As soon as Scipio observed this he ordered the call to be sounded for the hastati to retire, and after withdrawing the wounded to the rear he brought up the principes and triarii to the wings, in order that the hastati in the centre might be supported and protected on both flanks.  Thus the battle began entirely afresh, as the Romans had at last got to their real enemies, who were a match for them in their arms, their experience and their military reputation, and who had as much to hope for and to fear as themselves.  The Romans, however, had the superiority in numbers and in confidence, since their cavalry had already routed the elephants and they were fighting with the enemy's second line after defeating his first.
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