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Tiberius Sempronius Plans to Attack

Excited and overjoyed at this success Tiberius was
Sempronius resolves to give battle.
all eagerness for a general engagement. Now, it was in his power to administer the war for the present as he chose, owing to the ill-health of Publius Scipio; yet wishing to have his colleague's opinion in support of his own, he consulted him on this subject. Publius however took quite an opposite view of the situation. He thought his legions would be all the better for a winter under arms; and that the fidelity of the fickle Celts would never stand the test of want of success and enforced inactivity on the part of the Carthaginians: they would be certain, he thought, to turn against them once more. Besides, when he had recovered from his wound, he hoped to be able to do good service to his country himself. With these arguments he tried to dissuade Tiberius from his design. The latter felt that every one of these arguments were true and sound; but, urged on by ambition and a blind confidence in his fortune, he was eager to have the credit of the decisive action to himself, before Scipio should be able to be present at the battle, or the next Consuls arrive to take over the command; for the time for that to take place was now approaching. As therefore he selected the time for the engagement from personal considerations, rather than with a view to the actual circumstances of the case, he was bound to make a signal failure.

Hannibal took much the same view of the case as Scipio, and was therefore, unlike him, eager for a battle; because, in the first place, he wished to avail himself of the enthusiasm of the Celts before it had at all gone off: in the second place, he wished to engage the Roman legions while the soldiers in them were raw recruits without practice in war: and, in the third place, because he wished to fight the battle while Scipio was still unfit for service: but most of all because he wanted to be doing something and not to let the time slip by fruitlessly; for when a general leads his troops into a foreign country, and attempts what looks like a desperate undertaking, the one chance for him is to keep the hopes of his allies alive by continually striking some fresh blow.

Such were Hannibal's feelings when he knew of the intended attack of Tiberius.

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