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When the consul had kept up appearances long enough he recalled the soldiers from the ships, and as the season for active operations was now approaching, he fixed his camp at a distance of three miles from Emporiae.  From this position he sent his men into the enemy's fields in quest of plunder, first in one quarter and then in another as occasion served, leaving only a small guard in the camp.  They generally started at night in order to cover as great a distance from the camp as possible and also to take the enemy by surprise. This kind of thing was a training for the new levies and led to the capture of numerous prisoners, till the enemy no longer ventured outside the defences of their forts.  When he had thoroughly tested the temper of his own men and that of the enemy he ordered the military tribunes and prefects of the allies, as well as all the cavalry and centurions, to appear on parade and addressed them as follows:  "You have often wished for the time when you might have an opportunity of displaying your courage; that time has now come.  So far your operations have resembled those of marauders rather than of warriors, now you shall join issue with the enemy in a regular battle. Henceforth you will be allowed, instead of ravaging fields, to drain cities of their wealth.  When the Carthaginian commanders and armies were in Spain, our fathers had not a single soldier here, and yet they insisted upon a clause being added to the treaty fixing the Ebro as the boundary of their dominion.  Now, when a consul, two praetors and three Roman armies are occupying Spain, and not a single Carthaginian has been seen in this province for the last ten years, our dominion on this side of the Ebro has been lost to us.  It is your duty to win this back by your arms and courage and to compel a nation, which starts a war in a spirit of recklessness rather than of steady determination, to submit once more to the yoke which it has cast off."  After these words of encouragement he announced that he should lead them that night against the enemy's camp. They were then dismissed to take food and rest.
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