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Speech of Publius Scipio to the Soldiers

Such was the man who now assembled the soldiers and
Speech of Publius Scipio to the soldiers in Spain, B. C. 210.
exhorted them not to be dismayed by the disaster which had befallen them. "For," said he, "Romans have never been beaten by Carthaginians in a trial of valour. It was the result of treachery on the part of the Celtiberians, and of rashness, the two commanders getting cut off from each other owing to their trust in the alliance of these men. But now these two disadvantages are on the side of the enemy: for they are encamped at a wide distance from each other; and by their tyrannical conduct to their allies have alienated them all, and made them hostile to themselves. The consequence is that some of them are already sending messages to us; while the rest, as soon as they dare, and see that we have crossed the river, will gladly join us; not so much because they have any affection for us, as because they are eager to punish the outrages of the Carthaginians. Most important of all is the fact that the enemy are at variance with each other, and will refuse to fight against us in a body, and by thus engaging in detail will be more easily dealt with by us." Looking to these facts, therefore, he bade them cross the river with confidence, and undertook that he and the other officers would see to the next step to be taken.
Scipio crosses the Ebro, and swoops down upon New Carthage.
With these words he left his colleague, Marcus Silanus, with five hundred horse to guard the ford, and to protect the allies on the north of the river, while he himself began taking his army across, without revealing his design to any one. As a matter of fact he had resolved to do nothing of what he gave out publicly, and had made up his mind to make a rapid attack upon the town called Iberian Carthage. This may be looked upon as the first and strongest proof of the judgment which I lately passed upon him. He was now only in his twenty-seventh year: and yet he, in the first place, undertook to accomplish what the magnitude of the previous disasters had made the world look upon as completely hopeless; and, in the second place, having undertaken it, he left on one side the plain and obvious course, and conceived and carried out a plan which was a surprise to the enemy himself. This could only be the result of the closest calculation.

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