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The Battle of Zama Begins

All arrangements for the battle being complete, and
A stampede of the elephants.
the two opposing forces of Numidian cavalry having been for some time engaged in skirmishing attacks upon each other, Hannibal gave the word to the men on the elephants to charge the enemy. But as they heard the horns and trumpets braying all round them, some of the elephants became unmanageable and rushed back upon the Numidian contingents of the Carthaginian army; and this enabled Massanissa with great speed to deprive the Carthaginian left wing of its cavalry support. The rest of the elephants charged the Roman velites in the spaces between the maniples of the line, and while inflicting much damage on the enemy suffered severely themselves; until, becoming frightened, some of them ran away down the vacant spaces, the Romans letting them pass harmlessly along, according to Scipio's orders, while others ran away to the right under a shower of darts from the cavalry, until they were finally driven clear off the field.
Flight of the Carthaginian cavalry.
It was just at the moment of this stampede of the elephants, that Laelius forced the Carthaginian cavalry into headlong flight, and along with Massanissa pressed them with a vigorous pursuit. While this was going on, the opposing lines of heavy infantry were advancing to meet others with deliberate step and proud confidence, except Hannibal's "army of Italy," which remained in its original position. When they came within distance the Roman soldiers charged the enemy, shouting as usual their war-cry, and clashing their swords against their shields: while the Carthaginian mercenaries uttered a strange confusion of cries, the effect of which was indescribable, for, in the words of the poet,1 the “"voice of all was not one —
nor one their cry:
But manifold their speech as was their race."

1 Homer, Iliad, 4, 437.

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