The troops being landed, the Romans marked out their camp on the nearest rising grounds.
By this time, not only the parts bordering on the sea were filled with consternation and alarm, first in consequence of the fleet being seen, and [p. 1269]
afterwards from the bustle of landing, but they had extended to the cities also.
For not only multitudes of men, mixed with crowds of women and children, had filled up all the roads in every direction, but the rustics also drove away their cattle before them, so that you would say that Africa was being suddenly deserted.
In the cities, indeed, they occasioned much greater terror than they felt themselves. At Carthage, particularly, the tumult was almost as great as if it had been captured.
For since the time of Marcus Atilius Regulus and Lucius Manlius, which was almost fifty years ago, the Carthaginians had seen no Roman armament, with the exception of fleets sent for plundering, from which troops had made descents upon the lands bordering on the sea,
and after carrying away every thing which chance threw in their way, had always returned to their ships before their noise had collected the peasantry. For this reason the hurry and consternation in the city was, on the present occasion, the greater.
And, by Hercules, they had neither an efficient army at home, nor a general, whom they could oppose to their enemy. Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, was by far the first man in their state in respect of birth, fame, opulence, and, at that time, also by reason of an affinity with the king.
But they recollected that he had been routed in several battles and driven out of Spain by this very Scipio; and that therefore, as a general, he was no more a match for the general of the enemy than their tumultuary army was for that of the Romans.
Therefore they shouted to arms, as if Scipio were coming immediately to attack the city; the gates were hastily closed, armed men placed upon the walls, guards and outposts stationed in different places, and the following night was spent in watching.
The next day, five hundred horsemen, sent to the coast to reconnoitre and interrupt the enemy while landing, fell in with the advanced guards of the Romans;
for by this time Scipio, having sent his fleet to Utica, had proceeded a short distance from the sea, and occupied the nearest heights. He had also placed outposts of cavalry in proper situations, and sent troops through the country to plunder.