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The White Rock

Hannibal's army would now have certainly been utterly
Severe losses.
destroyed, had it not been for the fact that his fears were still on the alert, and that, having a prescience of what was to come, he had placed his baggage and cavalry in the van and his hoplites in the rear. These latter covered his line, and were able to stem the attack of the enemy, and accordingly the disaster was less than it would otherwise have been. As it was, however, a large number of beasts of burden and horses perished; for the advantage of the higher ground being with the enemy, the Gauls moved along the slopes parallel with the army below, and by rolling down boulders, or throwing stones, reduced the troops to a state of the utmost confusion and danger; so that Hannibal with half his force was obliged to pass the night near a certain white rock,1 which afforded them protection, separated from his horses and baggage which he was covering; until after a whole night's struggle they slowly and with difficulty emerged from the gorge.

Next morning the enemy had disappeared: and Hannibal, having effected a junction with his cavalry and baggage, led his men towards the head of the pass, without falling in again with any important muster of the natives, though he was harassed by some of them from time to time; who seized favourable opportunities, now on his van and now on his rear, of carrying off some of his baggage.

Arrives at the summit.
His best protection was his elephants; on whatever parts of the line they were placed the enemy never ventured to approach, being terrified at the unwonted appearance of the animals. The ninth day's march brought him to the head of the pass: and there he encamped for two days, partly to rest his men and partly to allow stragglers to come up. Whilst they were there, many of the horses who had taken fright and run away, and many of the beasts of burden that had got rid of their loads, unexpectedly appeared: they had followed the tracks of the army and now joined the camp.

1 περί τι λευκόπετρον, which, however, perhaps only means "bare rock," cf. 10, 30. But see Law's Alps of Hannibal, vol. i. p. 201 sq.

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