Setting out from Tarraco, he visited the states of his allies and the winter quarters of his army; and bestowed the highest commendations upon the soldiers, because, though they had received two such disastrous blows in succession,
they had retained possession of the province, and not allowing the enemy to reap any advantage from their successes, had excluded them entirely from the territory on this side of the Iberus, and honourably protected their allies.
Marcius he kept with him, and treated him with such respect, that it was perfectly evident there was nothing he feared less than lest any one should stand in the way of his own glory.
Silanus then took the place of Nero, and the fresh troops were led into winter quarters. Scipio having in good time visited every place where his presence was necessary, and completed every thing which was to be done, returned to Tarraco.
The reputation of Scipio among his enemies was not inferior to that which he enjoyed among his allies and countrymen. They felt also a kind of presentiment of what was to come, which occasioned the greater apprehension, the less they could account for their fears, which had arisen without any cause.
They had retired to their winter quarters in different directions. Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, had gone quite to the ocean and Gades; Mago into the midland parts chiefly above the forest of Castulo; Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, wintered in the neighbourhood of Saguntum, close upon the Iberus.
At the close of the summer in which Capua was recovered and Scipio entered Spain, a Carthaginian fleet, which had been fetched from Sicily to Tarentum, to cut off the supplies [p. 1045]
of the Roman garrison in the citadel of that place, had blocked up all the approaches to the citadel from the sea;
but by lying there too long, they caused a greater scarcity of provisions to their friends than to their enemies.
For so much corn could not be brought in for the townsmen, along the coasts which were friendly to them, and through the ports which were kept open through the protection afforded by the Carthaginian fleet, as the fleet itself consumed, which had on board a crowd made up of every description of persons.
So that the garrison of the citadel, which was small in number, could be supported from the stock they had previously laid in without importing any, while that which they imported was not sufficient for the supply of the Tarentines and the fleet.
At length the fleet was sent away with greater satisfaction than it was received. The scarcity of provisions, however, was not much relieved by it; because when the protection by sea was removed corn could not be brought in.