In descending the mountain, the men suffered inexpressible fatigue, besides the frequent falling of the cattle and their loads, so that, before they had advanced quite four miles, they began to think that their most eligible plan would be to return, if they could, by the way they had come.
The elephants caused almost as much confusion among the troops as an enemy could; for, when they came to impassable steeps, they threw off their riders, and set up such a hideous roar, as spread terror through all, especially among the horses, until a method [p. 2062]
was contrived for bringing them down.
They fastened in the earth, in the line of descent, some way from the top, two long, strong posts, distant from each other a little more
than the breadth of the animal, on which were fastened beams thirty feet long, so as to form a kind of bridge, and covered it with earth;
after a little intermediate space, a second and similar bridge was formed; then a third bridge, with several others one after another, where the rocks were precipitous.
The elephant walked forward on solid footing upon the bridge; but, before he came to the end, the posts underneath were cut, and the bridge falling, obliged him to slide down gently to the beginning of the next bridge, which some of them performed standing, others on their haunches.
When they arrived at the level of another bridge, they were again carried down, by its falling in like manner; and so on until they came to more level ground. The Romans advanced that day scarcely more than seven miles; and even of this journey little was performed on foot.
Their method of proceeding in general was rolling themselves down, together with their arms and other encumbrances, with every kind of discomfort; insomuch, that even their commander, who led them such a march, did not deny, but that the whole army might have been cut off by a small party.
During the night, they arrived at a small plain; but, as it was hemmed in on every side, there was no opportunity of discover- ing whether it was a position of danger or not. However, as they had, beyond their expectation, at length found good footing, they judged it necessary to wait, during the next day, in that deep valley for Popilius, and the forces left behind with him;
who, though the enemy gave them no disturbance from any quarter, suffered severely from the difficulties of the ground, — as if they had been harassed by an enemy.
These having joined the main body, the whole proceeded, on the third day, through a pass called by the natives Callipeuce.
On the fourth day they marched down through places equally trackless, but more cleverly in consequence of their experience, and with more comfortable hopes, as they saw no enemy any where, and as they were coming nearer to the sea, into the plains, where they pitched their camp of infantry between Heracleum and Libethrus, the greater part being posted on hills, the rest occupying a valley and part of the plain where
the cavalry encamped. [p. 2063]