But having made but little progress for a long time, in consequence of his making his troops sometimes advance and at others halt, and night now
drawing on, Scipio recalled his troops from the battle, and collecting them, withdrew to a certain eminence, not very safe, indeed, particularly for dispirited troops, but higher than any of the surrounding places.
There, at first, his infantry, drawn up around his baggage and cavalry, which were placed in their centre, had no difficulty in repelling the attacks of the charging Numidians;
but afterwards, when three generals with three regular armies marched up in one entire body, and it was evident that his men would not be able to do much by arms in defending the [p. 1007]
position without fortifications, the general began to look about, and consider whether he could by any means throw a rampart around;
but the hill was so bare, and the soil so rough, that neither could a bush be found for cutting a palisado, nor earth for making a mound, nor the requisites for making a trench or any other work;
nor was the place naturally steep or abrupt enough to render the approach and ascent difficult to the enemy, as it rose on every side with a gentle acclivity.
However, that they might raise up against them some semblance of a rampart, they placed around them the panniers tied to the burdens, building them up as it were to the usual height, and when there was a deficiency of panniers for raising it, they presented against the enemy a heap of baggage of every kind. The Carthaginian armies coming up, very easily marched up the eminence, but were stopped by the novel appearance of the fortification, as by something miraculous, when their leaders called out from all sides, asking “what they stopped at?
and why they did not tear down and demolish that mockery, which was scarcely strong enough to impede the progress of women and children;
that the enemy, who were skulking behind their baggage, were, in fact, captured and in their hands.” Such were the contemptuous reproofs of their leaders.
But it was not an easy task either to leap over or remove the burdens raised up against them, or to cut through the panniers, closely packed together and covered completely with baggage.
When the removal of the burdens had opened a way to the troops, who were detained by them for a long time, and the same had been done in several quarters, the camp was now captured on all sides;
the Romans were cut to pieces on all hands, the few by the many, the dispirited by the victorious. A great number of the men, however, having fled for refuge into the neighbouring woods, effected their escape to the camp of Publius Scipio, which Titus Fonteius commanded.
Some authors relate that Cneius Scipio was slain on the eminence on the first assault of the enemy; others that he escaped with a few attendants to a castle near the camp; this, they say, was surrounded with fire, by which means the doors which they could not force were consumed; that it was thus taken, and all within, together with the general himself, put to death.
Cneius Scipio was slain in the eighth year after his arrival in Spain, and on the twenty-ninth day after the death [p. 1008]
of his brother. At Rome the grief occasioned by their death was not more intense than that which was felt throughout Spain.
The sorrow of the citizens, however, was partly distracted by the loss of the armies, the alienation of the province, and the public disaster;
while in Spain they mourned and regretted the generals themselves; Cneius, however, the more, because he had been longer in command of them, had first engaged their affections, and first exhibited a specimen of Roman justice and forbearance.