The consul, because he had foreseen, as a result of reflection, that the fighting would not be done hand to hand but by making attacks from a distance, had prepared a vast quantity of javelins, skirmishers' spears, arrows, bullets and stones
of moderate size which could be thrown from slings, and equipped with this supply of missiles he led the army towards the Olympus mountain and encamped about five miles away.
The next day, taking Attalus and four hundred cavalry, he set out to survey the character of the mountain and the situation of the Gallic camp, but the cavalry of the enemy, in double his number, rushing out of the camp put him to flight; a few [p. 69]
were killed in the flight, a larger number wounded.1
The third day he proceeded with his entire force to reconnoitre the ground, and, because no one of the enemy came out beyond the fortifications, he rode in safety around the mountain, and observed that on the southern side the hills were covered with earth and sloped gently up to a certain point, that
on the north there were steep and almost perpendicular cliffs, and that although almost everything else was impassable there were three roads, one in the centre of the mountain, where it was covered with soil, two difficult, on the side of the winter rising of the sun and of its summer setting.2
Having inspected them, he encamped that day at the very base; the following day, having offered sacrifice and obtained favourable omens from the first victims,3
he divided the army into three columns and began the advance against the enemy.
He himself, with the largest part of the forces, made the ascent where the mountain offered the most gradual slope; he directed his brother Lucius Manlius to move forward on the side of the winter rising, as far as the terrain permitted and as he could go in safety;
if any dangerous and steep places confronted him he was not to contend against the unfavourable character of the ground or struggle with insuperable obstacles, but to turn aside crosswise over the mountain towards the consul and join his column; his orders to Gaius Helvius, commanding the third contingent, were to go slowly around the base of the mountain and then climb up on the side of the summer setting.
The auxiliaries of Attalus he also divided into three sections, and ordered the young man himself to attend him.
The cavalry with the [p. 71]
elephants he left in the plain close to the hills; his4
orders to the prefects were to observe alertly what went on in every quarter and to render assistance wherever the situation should demand it.5