Scipio Defeats Andobales
Scipio then dismissed the assembly, but on the next
Scipio marches to the Ebro, crosses it, and in fourteen days is in the presence of the enemy.
day got his troops on the march, and having
reached the Ebro
in ten days and crossed it,
on the fourth day after that pitched his
camp near that of the enemy, with a valley between his own and the enemy's lines. Next
day he turned some cattle that had accompanied his army into this valley, after giving Caius Laelius
instructions to have the cavalry ready, and some of the tribunes to prepare the velites. The Iberians having at once
made an onslaught upon the cattle, he despatched some of
the velites against them.
These two forces became engaged,
and reinforcements being sent to either party
from time to time, a severe infantry skirmishing
took place in the valley. The proper moment for attack being now come, Caius Laelius, having the cavalry prepared as
directed, charged the skirmishers of the enemy, getting between
them and the high ground, so that the greater number of
them were scattered about the valley and killed by the cavalry.
This event roused the barbarians to a furious desire to engage,
that they might not appear to be entirely reduced to despair
by their previous defeat; and accordingly by daybreak next
day they drew out their whole army for battle. Scipio was
quite ready to give them battle; but when he saw that the
Iberians had come down into the valley in an imprudent
manner, and were stationing, not only their cavalry, but their
infantry also on the level ground, he waited for a time, because
he wished as many of the enemy as possible to take up a
position like that. He felt confidence in his cavalry, and still
more in his infantry; because, in such deliberate and hand-tohand battles as this, his men were vastly superior to the Iberians
both in themselves and in their arms.