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Treachery of the Gauls

Here he pitched a camp and remained a day, and started again. For the next three days he accomplished a certain amount of his journey without accident. But on the fourth he again found himself in serious danger. For the dwellers along his route, having concerted a plan of treachery, met him with branches and garlands, which among nearly all the natives are signs of friendship, as the herald's staff is among the Greeks. Hannibal was cautious about accepting such assurances, and took great pains to discover what their real intention and purpose were. The Gauls however professed to be fully aware of the capture of the town, and the destruction of those who had attempted to do him wrong; and explained that those events had induced them to come, because they wished neither to inflict nor receive any damage; and finally promised to give him hostages. For a long while Hannibal hesitated and refused to trust their speeches. But at length coming to the conclusion that, if he accepted what was offered, he would perhaps render the men before him less mischievous and implacable; but that, if he rejected them, he must expect undisguised hostility from them, he acceded to their request, and feigned to accept their offer of friendship. The barbarians handed over the hostages, supplied him liberally with cattle, and in fact put themselves unreservedly into his hands; so that for a time Hannibal's suspicions were allayed, and he employed them as guides for the next difficulty that had to be passed. They guided the army for two days: and then these tribes collected their numbers, and keeping close up with the a certain difficult and precipitous gorge.

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