When that day came, three companies of nineteen members presented themselves to take the contracts.
And their demands were two: one, that they should be exempt from military duty so long as they were in that public service, the other, that the cargoes which they shipped should be at the risk of the state, so far as concerned the violence of enemies and of storms.
Both demands being obtained, they contracted, and the state was carried on by private funds. Such character and such love of country pervaded all the classes virtually without [p. 167]
As all the supplies were magnanimously1
contracted for, so they were delivered with great fidelity, and nothing was furnished to the soldiers less generously than if they were being maintained, as formerly, out of an ample treasury.
When these supplies arrived, the town of Iliturgi,2
because of its revolt to the Romans, was being besieged by Hasdrubal and Mago and Hannibal, the son of Bomilcar.
Between these three camps of the enemy the Scipios made their way into a city of their allies with great effort and great loss to those that opposed them.
And they brought grain, of which it had no supply, and encouraged the townspeople to defend their walls with the same spirit with which they had seen the Roman army fighting for them.
Then they led their troops to an attack upon the largest camp, which Hasdrubal commanded. To it also came the other two generals and two armies of the Carthaginians, seeing that the whole issue was at stake there.
Accordingly a sally from the camp opened the battle. Sixty thousand of the enemy were in the battle that day, about sixteen thousand on the Roman side.
Yet so far was the victory from being uncertain that
the Romans slew more than their own number, captured more than three thousand men, a little less than a thousand horses, fifty-nine military standards, seven elephants, five having been slain in battle. And they took the three camps that day.
The siege of Iliturgi having been raised, the Carthaginian armies were led over to attack Intibili,3
while their forces were recruited from a province which, more than any [p. 169]
other, was eager for war, if only there was booty or4
pay, and at that time was well supplied with young men.
A second time there was a battle in regular line, with the same result for each side. Over thirteen thousand of the enemy were slain, over two thousand captured, with forty-two standards and nine elephants.
Then indeed nearly all the peoples of Spain revolted to the Romans, and there were much greater achievements that summer in Spain than in Italy.