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Hannibal Addresses His Men

Being thus master of the passage of the river, and
The crossing completed.
victorious over those who opposed him, the first care of the Carthaginian leader was to bring his whole army across. This being expeditiously accomplished, he pitched his camp for that night by the river-side, and on the morrow, when he was told that the Roman fleet was anchored off the mouths of the river, he detached five hundred Numidian horsemen to reconnoitre the enemy and find out their position, their numbers, and what they were going to do; and at the same time selected suitable men to manage the passage of the elephants. These arrangements made, he summoned a meeting of his army and introduced Magilus and the other chiefs who had come to him from the valley of the Padus, and caused them to declare to the whole army, by means of an interpreter, the resolutions passed by their tribes.
Message from friendly Gauls.
The points which were the strongest encouragement to the army were, first, the actual appearance of envoys inviting them to come, and promising to take part in the war with Rome; secondly, the confidence inspired by their promise of guiding them by a route where they would be abundantly supplied with necessaries, and which would lead them with speed and safety into Italy; and lastly, the fertility and vast extent of the country to which they were going, and the friendly feelings of the men with whose assistance they were about to fight the armies of Rome.

Such was the substance of the speeches of the Celts. When they had withdrawn, Hannibal himself rose, and after reminding the soldiers of what they had already achieved, and pointing out that, though they had under his counsel and advice engaged in many perilous and dangerous enterprises, they had never failed in one, he bade them "not lose courage now that the most serious part of their undertaking was accomplished. The Rhone was crossed: they had seen with their own eyes the display of goodwill and zeal of their allies. Let this convince them that they should leave the rest to him with confidence; and while obeying his orders show themselves men of courage and worthy of their former deeds." These words being received with shouts of approval, and other manifestations of great enthusiasm, on the part of the soldiers, Hannibal dismissed the assembly with words of praise to the men and a prayer to the gods on their behalf; after giving out an order that they should refresh themselves, and make all their preparations with despatch, as the advance must begin on the morrow.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NUMI´DIA
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