The Celtiberi who had been hired by the enemy, as has been said before, made the war in Turdetania more difficult for the praetor Publius [p. 465]
Manlius. Therefore the consul, summoned by a1
message from the praetor, led his legions there.
When he arrived, the Celtiberi and the Turdetani were in separate camps. With the Turdetani the Romans immediately began to skirmish, attacking their outguards, and they always came off victorious, no matter how rashly they had attacked.
The consul ordered some of the military tribunes to go to confer with the Celtiberi and to offer them their choice of three proposals:
first, if they wished to come over to the Roman side and receive twice the pay they had agreed to accept from the Turdetani;
second, if they wished to go home after receiving a public pledge that the fact of their having joined the enemies of Rome should not cause them any damage;
third, if battle was their desire under any conditions, that they should name a time and place for an armed settlement with him. The Celtiberi asked for time to consider the proposals.
A council was held, at which the Turdetani crowded in, causing great excitement; for that reason a decision was impossible.
Although it was uncertain whether their relation with the Celtiberi was one of war or peace, the Romans, nevertheless, just as if it were a time of peace, were bringing provisions from the farms and strongholds, often going in squads of ten into their fortifications under private truces, as if the right of trade had been officially recognized.
When the consul failed to draw the enemy out to battle, he first sent certain light-armed cohorts out to ravage the fields of a region hitherto unattacked, then, hearing that the baggage and equipment
of the Celtiberi was all at Saguntla, he proceeded to attack that town.
When he found that nothing would [p. 467]
provoke them to battle, he paid2
not only his own3
soldiers but those of the praetor and with seven cohorts (the rest being left in the praetor's camp) returned to the Ebro.