Directly after this conversation Laelius sent Masinissa away, and on the following day he weighed anchor at Hippo, his ships booty-laden, and sailing back to Sicily delivered Masinissa's messages to Scipio.
About the same time the ships which had been sent to Mago from Carthage came into port between Ligurian Albingaunum and Genua.1
In that region, as it happened, Mago had his fleet at the time. On hearing the words of the envoys, who urged him to get together the largest possible armies, he at once held a council of Gauls and Ligurians; for great numbers of both nations were present.
And he told [p. 227]
them that he had been sent to restore their liberty,2
and that forces were being sent to him from home, as they themselves saw; but with what resources, with how large an army that war was to be waged depended upon themselves.
There were two Roman armies, he said, one in Gaul,3
the other in Etruria. He was sure that Spurius Lucretius would unite with Marcus Livius;4
that many thousands must be armed for resistance to two generals, two Roman armies.
The Gauls said that they were entirely willing to do so, but that since they had almost before their eyes one Roman camp within their borders and another in the neighbouring land of Etruria, if it should become known that they had aided the Carthaginian by furnishing auxiliaries, forthwith hostile armies would invade their territory from both directions. From Gauls he should require such support as could be given in secret.
Ligurians were free to act, they said, since Roman camps were far from their land and their cities; it was right that they
should arm their young men and take their proper share in the war.
The Ligurians did not refuse, but simply asked for two months' time to hold levies. Meanwhile Mago by sending men secretly through their territory hired Gauls as soldiers. Supplies also of every kind were coming to him in secret from the Gallic nations.
Marcus Livius led his army of slave-volunteers over from Etruria into Gaul and, having united with Lucretius, prepared to confront Mago, should he move out of Liguria towards the city;5
but should the [p. 229]
Carthaginian quietly remain in a distant region6
foot of the Alps, he too would remain where he was, near Ariminum, for the defence of Italy.