Meanwhile in Spain the consul was encamped not far from Emporiae.
Thither came from Bilistages, chieftain of the Ilergetes,1
three ambassadors, one of whom was his son, complaining that their strongholds were being besieged and that there was no hope of offering resistance unless the Roman sent aid; three thousand soldiers were sufficient, and if so great a force arrived, the enemy would not await them.
To this the consul replied that he was indeed moved both by their danger and their fear;
but he had by no means enough troops, since a great number of the enemy was close at hand and he expected every day to have to meet them in pitched battle (he had no idea how soon), to allow him safely to weaken himself by dividing his army.
When the ambassadors heard this, they wept and threw themselves at the consul's feet, and begged him not to abandon them in such a crisis:
where would they turn, rejected by the Romans? They had no allies, no other hope anywhere in the world.
They might have escaped the existing danger if they had been willing to violate their pledges and unite with the rest, but no threats and no prospects of danger had moved them, since they hoped to have a sufficient help and assistance in the Romans.
If this were not the case, and they were refused by the consul, they called gods and men to witness that unwilling and under compulsion, to avoid the fate which the [p. 449]
Saguntines suffered, they would join the rebellion2
and perish with the rest of the Spaniards rather than alone.