In the beginning of the year in which these1
events occurred, Sextus Digitius, praetor in Hither Spain,2
fought battles, numerous rather than memorable, with the tribes which had, in great numbers, revolted after the departure of Marcus Cato,3
and most of these engagements were so unfortunate
in result that he turned over to his successor barely half as many soldiers as he had received.
Nor is there any doubt that all Spain would have taken courage to rebel had not the other praetor, Publius Cornelius Scipio, the son of Gnaeus,4
fought many successful battles beyond the Ebro and so intimidated the natives that not less than fifty towns surrendered to him.
These were Scipio's achievements as praetor;
when he was propraetor he fell upon the Lusitani as they were returning home after plundering the farther province, laden with much spoil, while they were still on the march, and from the third hour of the day to the eighth maintained an indecisive action.
He was unequal in number of [p. 5]
troops, superior in all else; for with his troops in a5
compact body he had clashed with a column long drawn out and hindered by the great
number of its pack-animals, and he fought with fresh troops against an enemy worn out by a long march.
For they had set out during the third watch; three daylight hours had been added to their night march, and the battle had followed at once upon the labour of the journey, with no time given for repose. Accordingly, only at the outset of the fight did they retain some energy of mind and body, and at first they had thrown the Romans into confusion; later the battle became gradually more even.
At this crisis the propraetor vowed games to Jupiter6
if he should rout and slaughter the enemy.
At length the Romans pressed on with greater vigour and the Lusitani gave way and finally fled; and while the victors pursued the fleeing foe, about twelve thousand of the enemy were killed, five
hundred forty were taken prisoners, almost all cavalry, and one hundred thirty-four standards were captured. From the Roman army seventy-three were lost.
The battle was fought not far from the city of Ilipa;7