But while he now urged his column forward, now ordered it to halt, for a long time little progress was being made and night was now at hand.
Scipio therefore recalled his men from battle, concentrated them and led them up a hill that was not indeed quite safe, especially [p. 475]
for a terrified column, but still was higher than the1
country around it.
There the infantry, surrounding the baggage and cavalry placed in the centre, at first kept off the charges of the Numidians without difficulty.
Then, when three generals arrived in full force with three regular armies, and it was evident that they would be unable by arms to defend an unfortified position, the general began to cast about and consider whether he could in some way surround it with an earthwork..
But the hill was so bare and rocky that neither could thickets be found for the cutting of stakes nor ground such that they could get turf or carry a trench in it or any other earthwork. And yet no spot was naturally so elevated or rugged as to make approach or ascent difficult for the enemy.
Everywhere the ground rose at a gentle slope. However, in order to interpose some semblance of an earthwork, they laid
up, as it were, to the usual height all around them, pack-saddles still tied to their loads, while, wherever the pack-saddles failed to make a barricade, they piled on top lighter baggage of every kind.
The Carthaginian armies, on arriving, very easily marched in column up the hill; but the strange appearance of the defences at first checked them in a certain amazement, while their commanders kept shouting from all sides, asking why they stood still and did not pull apart and scatter that pretence, hardly strong enough to delay women or children. The enemy, they said, was held captive, lurking behind his baggage. Such were the scornful taunts of the commanders.
But it was not easy to leap over or clear away
the baggage in front of them, nor to cut apart the mass of pack-saddles, buried under [p. 477]
the added loads.
But after they had cleared away2
the baggage in front of them with hooked poles and made a way for the armed men, and the same thing was being done in different places, the camp had by this time been captured from all sides.
Everywhere there was slaughter of the few by the many, of the panic-stricken by the victorious. A large part of the soldiers, however, after fleeing into the neighbouring forest, made their escape to Publius Scipio's camp, of which Tiberius Fonteius, his lieutenant, was commander.
As for Gnaeus Scipio, some relate that he was slain on the hill in the first onset of the enemy, others that with a few men he made his escape to a tower near the camp; that fire was lighted around this, and so, by burning the doors which they had been unable to force in any way, they captured the tower and all were slain in it along with the commander himself.
In the eighth year3
after his arrival in Spain Gnaeus Scipio was killed, on the twenty-ninth day after the death of his brother.
Grief for their deaths was not greater in Rome than throughout Spain; in fact among the citizens the destruction of armies and the loss of a province and the national disaster claimed a part in their sorrow, while all Spain mourned for the generals
themselves and missed them, Gnaeus more than Publius, because he had been longer in command and had earlier won their favour, and had given for the first time an example of Roman justice and self-control.