previous next

Hannibal's Troops Begin to Cross

When the fifth night came, however, the division
The crossing begun.
which had crossed first started before daybreak to march down the opposite bank of the river and attack the barbarians; while Hannibal, having his men in readiness, began to attempt the passage of the river. He had filled the wherries with the heavy-armed cavalry, and the canoes with the most active of his foot; and he now arranged that the wherries should cross higher up the stream, and the canoes below them, that the violence of the current might be broken by the former, and the canoes cross more safely. The plan for the horses was that they should swim at the stern of the wherries, one man on each side of the stern guiding three or four with leading reins: so that a considerable number of horses were brought over at once with the first detachment. When they saw what the enemy meant to do, the barbarians, without forming their ranks, poured out of their entrenchments in scattered groups, feeling no doubt of being able to stop the crossing of the Carthaginians with ease. As soon as Hannibal saw by the smoke, which was the signal agreed upon, that the advanced detachment on the other side was approaching, he ordered all to go on board, and the men in charge of the transports to push out against the stream. This was promptly done: and then began a most anxious and exciting scene. Cheer after cheer rose from the men who were working the boats, as they struggled to outstrip each other, and exerted themselves to the utmost to overcome the force of the current. On the edge of either bank stood the two armies: the one sharing in the struggles of their comrades by sympathy, and shouting encouragement to them as they went; while the barbarians in front of them yelled their war-cries and challenged them to battle. While this was going on the barbarians had abandoned their tents, which the Carthaginians on that side of the river suddenly and unexpectedly seized. Some of them proceeded to set fire to the camp, while the greater number went to attack the men who were standing ready to resist the passage. Surprised by this unlooked for event, some of the barbarians rushed off to save their tents, while others prepared to resist the attack of the enemy, and were now actually engaged. Seeing that everything was going as he had intended, Hannibal at once formed the first division as it disembarked: and after addressing some encouraging words to it, closed with the barbarians, who, having no time to form their ranks, and being taken by surprise, were quickly repulsed and put to flight.

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), RHO´DANUS
    • Smith's Bio, Hanno
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: