Meanwhile Publius Manlius the praetor1
had taken over the veteran army from Quintus Minucius whom he had succeeded, and uniting with it the army, also made up of veterans, of Appius Claudius Nero from Farther Spain, set out for Turdetania.2
The Turdetani were considered the least warlike of all the Spaniards, yet, relying on their numbers, they went out to meet the Roman column.
The cavalry, sent against them, at once broke their line, and the infantry engagement was almost no battle at all; the veteran soldiers, well acquainted with the enemy and his manner of fighting, rendered the result certain.
Yet the war was not ended by that battle: the Turduli hired ten thousand Celtiberi and prepared to carry on the war with the weapons of strangers.
The consul meanwhile, alarmed by the rebellion of the Bergistani, and thinking that other states as well would follow their example if occasion offered, disarmed all the Spaniards on this side of the Ebro.
This action they took so hard that many committed suicide, a high-spirited people, who thought that life without arms was not worth living.
When this was reported to the consul, he ordered the senators of all the states summoned to his presence and addressed them thus: “It is not more to our interest than to yours that you should not rebel, inasmuch as this has always happened with greater misfortune to the Spaniards than trouble to the Roman army.
I think that there is only one way to prevent this —to arrange matters so that you will not be able to rebel. I wish to accomplish this in the gentlest possible manner.
Do you, then, aid me with your advice on this matter. I shall follow no counsel more gladly than that which you [p. 463]
yourselves shall give me.”
When they were silent, he3
said that he would give them a space of a few days for reflection.
When they were recalled, and had kept silent at the second council also, on one day he destroyed the walls of all the towns and proceeded against those who were not yet submissive, and as he passed through region after region, he accepted the surrender of all the neighbouring states.
Segestica alone, an important and rich city, he captured with sheds and mantlets.