When the day arrived, three companies, of nineteen persons, came forward to enter into the contract; but they made two requests:
one was, that they should be exempt from military service while employed in that revenue business; the second was, that the state should bear all losses of the goods they shipped, which might arise either from the attacks of the enemy or from storms.
Having obtained both their requests, they entered into the contract, and the affairs of the state were conducted by private funds. This character and love of country uniformly pervaded all ranks.
As all the engagements were entered into with magnanimity, so were they fulfilled with the strictest fidelity; and the supplies were furnished in the same manner as formerly, from an abundant treasury.
At the time when these supplies arrived, the town of Illiturgi was being besieged by Hasdrubal, Mago, and Hamilcar the son of Bomilcar, on account of its having gone over to the Romans.
Between these three camps of the enemy, the Scipios effected an entrance into the town of their allies, after a violent contest and great slaughter of their opponents, and introduced some corn, of which there was a scarcity;
and after exhorting the townsmen to defend their walls with the same spirit which they had seen displayed by the Roman army fighting in their behalf, led on their troops to attack the largest of the camps, in which Hasdrubal had [p. 895]
To this camp the two other generals of the Carthaginians with their armies came, seeing that the great business was to be done there.
They therefore sallied from the camp and fought. Of the enemy engaged there were sixty thousand; of the Romans about sixteen;
the victory, however, was so decisive, that the Romans slew more than their own number of the
enemy, and captured more than three thousand, with nearly a thousand horses and fifty-nine military standards, five elephants having been slain in the battle. They made themselves masters of the three camps on that day.
The siege of Illiturgi having been raised, the Carthaginian armies were led away to the siege of Intibili; the forces having been recruited out of that province, which was, above all others, fond of war, provided there was any plunder or pay to be obtained, and at that time had an abundance of young men.
A second regular engagement took place, attended with the same fortune to both parties; in which above three thousand of the enemy were slain, more than two thousand captured, together with forty-two standards and nine elephants.
Then, indeed, almost all the people of Spain came over to the Romans, and the achievements in Spain during that summer were much more important than those in Italy.