During these transactions and preparations in Italy, the war in Spain was prosecuted with no less vigour; but hitherto more favourably to the Romans.
The two generals had divided their troops, so that Cneius acted by land, and Publius by sea. Hasdrubal, general of the Carthaginians, sufficiently trusting to neither branch of his forces, kept himself at a distance from the enemy, secured by the intervening space and the strength of his fortifications, until, after much solicitation, four thousand foot and five hundred horse were sent him out of Africa as a reinforcement.
At length, inspired with fresh hopes, he moved nearer the enemy; and himself also ordered a fleet to be equipped and prepared for the protection of the islands and sea-coasts.
In the very onset of renewing the war, he was greatly embarrassed by the desertion of the captains of his ships, who had ceased to entertain a sincere attachment towards the general and the Carthaginian cause, ever since they were severely reprimanded for abandoning the fleet in a cowardly manner at the Iberus. These deserters had raised an insurrection among the Tartessians, and at their instigation some cities had revolted; they had even taken one by force.
The war was now turned from the Romans into that country, which he entered in a hostile.
manner, and resolved to attack Galbus, a distinguished general of the Tartessians, who with a powerful army kept close within his camp, before the walls of a city which had been captured but a few days before. Accordingly, he sent his light-armed troops in advance to provoke the enemy to battle, and part of his infantry to ravage the country throughout in every direction, and to cut off stragglers.
There was a skirmish before the camp, at the same time that many were killed and put to flight in the fields.
But having by different routes [p. 867]
returned to their camp, they so quickly shook off all fear, that they had courage not only to defend their lines, but challenge the enemy to fight. They sallied out, therefore, in a body from the camp, dancing according to their custom. Their sudden boldness terrified the enemy, who a little before had been the assailants.
Hasdrubal therefore drew off his troops to a tolerably steep eminence, and secured further by having a river between it and the enemy.
Here the parties of light-armed troops which had been sent in advance, and the horse which had been dispersed about, he called in to join him. But not thinking himself sufficiently secured by the eminence or the river, he fortified his camp completely with a rampart.
While thus fearing and feared alternately, several skirmishes occurred, in which the Numidian cavalry were not so good as the Spanish, nor the Moorish darters so good as the Spanish targetteers, who equalled them in swiftness, but were superior to them in strength and courage.