previous next

Death of Hasdrubal

MY reason for prefixing a table of contents to each book, rather than a preface, is not because I do not recognise the usefulness of a preface in arresting attention and rousing interest, and also giving facilities for finding any passage that is wanted, but because I find prefaces viewed, though from many inadequate reasons, with contempt and neglect. I therefore had recourse to a table of contents throughout my history, except the first six books, arranged according to Olympiads, as being as effective, or even more so, than a preface, and at the same time as less subject to the objection of being out of place, for it is closely connected with the subject-matter. In the first six books I wrote prefaces, because I thought a mere table of contents less suitable. . . .

After the battle at Baecula, Hasdrubal made good his passage over the Western Pyrenees, and thence through the Cevennes, B.C. 208. In the spring of B.C. 207 he crossed the Alps and descended into Italy, crossed the Po, and besieged Placentia. Thence he sent a letter to his brother Hannibal announcing that he would march southward by Ariminum and meet him in Umbria. The letter fell into the hands of the Consul Nero, who was at Venusia, and who immediately made a forced march northward, joined his colleague at Sena, and the next day attacked Hasdrubal. See above, 10, 39; Livy, 27, 39-49.

Much easier and shorter was Hasdrubal's journey into Italy. . . .1

Never at any other time had Rome been in a greater state of excitement and terrified expectation of the result. . . .2

None of these arrangements satisfied Hasdrubal. But

Battle of the Metaurus. B. C. 207. Coss, C. Claudius Nero, M. Livius Salinator II.
circumstances no longer admitted of delay. He saw the enemy drawn out in battle array and advancing; and he was obliged to get the Iberians and the Gauls who were serving with him into line. He therefore stationed his ten elephants on the front, increased the depth of his lines, and so had his whole army covering a somewhat small ground. He took up a position himself in the centre of the line, immediately behind the elephants, and commenced an advance upon the Roman left, with a full resolution that in this battle he must either conquer or die. Livius advanced to meet the enemy with proud confidence, and having come to close quarters with him was fighting with great gallantry, Meanwhile Claudius, who was stationed on the right wing, found himself unable to advance and outflank the enemy, owing to the rough ground in front of him, relying on which Hasdrubal had directed his advance upon the Roman left: and being embarrassed by his inability to strike a blow, he promptly decided what the circumstances pointed out as the tactics to pursue. He withdrew his men from the right wing, and marched them on the rear of the field of battle; and, after passing the left of the Roman line, fell upon the flank of the Carthaginians who were fighting near the elephants. Up to this point the victory had been doubtful; for both sides fought with desperation, the Romans believing that all would be over with them if they failed, and the Iberians and Carthaginians holding exactly the same conviction for themselves. Moreover the elephants were being of disservice to both sides alike; for finding themselves between two forces, and exposed to a crossfire of javelins, they kept throwing both the Carthaginian and Roman lines into confusion. But as soon as Claudius fell upon the rear of the enemy the battle ceased to be equal: for the Iberians found themselves attacked on front and rear at once, which resulted in the greater part of them being cut down on the ground. Six of the elephants were killed with the men on them, four forced their way through the lines and were afterwards captured, having been abandoned by their Indian drivers.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Italy (Italy) (2)
Venusia (Italy) (1)
Umbria (Italy) (1)
Siena (Italy) (1)
Rome (Italy) (1)
Placentia (Italy) (1)
Cevennes (France) (1)
Ariminum (Italy) (1)
Alps (New Mexico, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
207 BC (2)
208 BC (1)
hide References (7 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: