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Scipio Crosses the Po

Publius then broke up his camp, and marched through the
Scipio retires to Placentia on the right bank of the Po.
plains to the bridge over the Padus, in haste to get his legions across before the enemy came up. He saw that the level country where he was then was favourable to the enemy with his superiority in cavalry. He was himself disabled by a wound;1 and he decided that it was necessary to shift his quarters to a place of safety.
Hannibal crosses the Po higher up and follows Scipio to Placentia.
For a time Hannibal imagined that Scipio would give him battle with his infantry also: but when he saw that he had abandoned his camp, he went in pursuit of him as far as the bridge over the Ticinus; but finding that the greater part of the timbers of this bridge had been torn away, while the men who guarded the bridge were left still on his side of the river, he took them prisoners to the number of about six hundred; and being informed that the main army was far on its way, he wheeled round and again ascended the Padus in search of a spot in it which admitted of being easily bridged. After two days' march he halted and constructed a bridge over the river by means of boats. He committed the task of bringing over the army to Hasdrubal;2 while he himself crossed at once, and busied himself in receiving the ambassadors who arrived from the neighbouring districts. For no sooner had he gained the advantage in the cavalry engagement, than all the Celts in the vicinity hastened to fulfil their original engagement by avowing themselves his friends, supplying him with provisions, and joining the Carthaginian forces. After giving these men a cordial reception, and getting his own army across the Padus, he began to march back again down stream, with an earnest desire of giving the enemy battle. Publius, too, had crossed the river and was now encamped under the walls of the Roman colony Placentia. There he made no sign of any intention to move; for he was engaged in trying to heal his own wound and those of his men, and considered that he had a secure base of operations where he was. A two days' march from the place where he had crossed the Padus brought Hannibal to the neighbourhood of the enemy; and on the third day he drew out his army for battle in full view of his opponents: but as no one came out to attack. he pitched his camp about fifty stades from them.

1 His life, according to one story, was saved by his son, the famous Scipio Africanus (10, 3); according to another, by a Ligurian slave (Livy, 21, 46).

2 Livy says "to Mago," Hannibal's younger brother (21, 47). This Hasdrubal is called in ch. 93 "captain of pioneers."

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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 46
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 47
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