After this discourse Masinissa departed. Laelius, the next day, sailed from Hippo with his ships loaded with booty, and returning to Sicily, delivered to Scipio the injunctions of Masinissa.
About the same time the ships which were sent from Carthage to Mago touched at the country between the Albingaunian Ligurians and Genoa. Mago happened to be lying here with his fleet at this time.
After hearing the message of the ambassadors, directing him to collect as great a number of troops as possible, he immediately held a council of the Gauls and Ligurians, for a great number of both those nations were there.
He said that he was sent to restore them to liberty, and, as they themselves might see, succours were sent him from home; but that it depended upon them with how great forces and how large an army the war for that purpose was to be carried on.
That the Romans had two armies in the field, one in Gaul and another in Etruria. That he was well informed that Spurius Lucretius would form a junction with Marcus Livius, and that they on their part must arm many thousands, in order to cope with two Roman generals and two armies.
The Gauls replied, that they had the strongest possible inclination to this, but as the Romans had one army within their borders, and another in the neighbouring country of Etruria, almost within sight, if it should be known that they had supported the Carthaginians with auxiliaries, those would immediately invade their territories on both sides with determined hostility. They requested that he would ask of the Gauls such aids as they could afford in a covert manner.
The purposes of the Ligurians, they said, were unrestrained, because the Roman troops were at a distance from their lands and cities; that it was fair that they should arm their youth and take upon themselves a portion of the war.
The Ligurians did not dissent; they only requested the space of two months to make their levies. Having [p. 1239]
dismissed the Gauls, Mago in the mean time secretly hired soldiers through their country. Provisions also of every description were sent to him privately by the Gallic states.
Marcus Livius led his army of volunteer slaves out of Etruria into Gaul, and having joined Lucretius, prepared to meet Mago in case he should move from Liguria nearer to the city; but intending, if the Carthaginian should keep himself quiet under the angle formed by the Alps, to remain himself also in the same quarter, near Ariminum. for the protection of Italy.