A great war broke out that summer in Nearer Spain.1
The Celtiberians had mobilized about thirty-five thousand men, a greater number, almost, than ever before. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus was governor of this province.
Because he had heard that the Celtiberians were arming their young men, he too had brought in from the allies as many auxiliaries as possible, but by no means equalled the enemy in number of men.
In the beginning of spring he led [p. 95]
the army into Carpetania and fixed his camp near the2
town of Aebura, leaving a small garrison in the town.
A few days later the Celtiberians encamped about two miles away, at the foot of a hill. When the Roman praetor became aware of their arrival, he sent his brother Marcus Fulvius with two troops of allied cavalry to reconnoitre toward the camp of the enemy, with orders to approach as closely as possible to the rampart so as to ascertain how large the camp was; he was to avoid a battle and to withdraw if he saw the hostile cavalry coming out.
He acted just as he was ordered. For several days there was no movement beyond the fact that these two troops showed themselves and were then withdrawn when the enemy's cavalry had rushed out of the camp.
Finally the Celtiberians, leaving the camp with their entire force of infantry and cavalry, took their position in a straight line about half-way across the plain which was between the two camps. The plain was entirely flat and suitable for fighting.
There the Spaniards stood waiting for the enemy. The Roman kept his men within the rampart. For four days in succession they on their side held their line in formation on the same ground; the Romans, on their side, made no move.
Then the Celtiberians rested in camp, because they had no opportunity to fight: only the cavalry rode out to the out-guards, so as to be ready if any move should be made by the enemy.
Both armies went to the rear of their camps for forage and wood, neither interfering with the other.