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The propraetors in Spain agreed upon a common plan of operation; Albinus was to march through Lusitania against the Vaccaei, and if the Celtiberian war became more serious he was to return thither; Gracchus, meantime, was to penetrate to the further borders of Celtiberia. Making a nocturnal attack on the city of Munda, he took it at the first assault.  After taking hostages and placing a garrison to hold the place, he marched on, storming the forts and burning the crops, till he came to another city of exceptional strength called by the natives Certima.  He was already bringing up his engines against the walls when a deputation arrived from the town. Their words betrayed a primitive simplicity; they made no concealment of their intention to continue the struggle if they had the strength.  They requested permission to visit the Celtiberian camp and ask for help; if it were refused them they would take counsel among themselves. Gracchus gave them permission, and in a few days they returned, bringing with them ten more envoys. It was at the hour of noon, and the first request they made to the praetor was that he would order something to be given them to drink.  After emptying the cups they asked for more, and the bystanders burst into peals of laughter at such boorishness and utter want of manners. Then the oldest amongst them spoke: "We have been sent," he said, "by our nation to enquire on what it is that you rely in carrying your arms against us."  Gracchus told them that he relied upon his splendid army, and if they wanted to see it for themselves so that they might carry back a fuller account of it, he would give them the opportunity of doing so.  He then sent word to the military tribunes to order the whole of the force, horse and foot, to equip themselves completely and practice their maneuvers under arms.  After this exhibition the envoys were sent home, and they dissuaded their countrymen from sending any succour to the besieged city.  The townsmen kindled fires on their watch towers, but when they found that it was in vain, and that their only hope of assistance had failed them, they surrendered. A war indemnity of 2,400,000 sesterces was levied upon them.  They had also to give up forty youths who were in their cavalry and belonged to their noblest families, not under the name of hostages, for they were to serve in the Roman army, but as a matter of fact they were pledges of the fidelity of their countrymen.
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