While the thoughts of all were concentrated1
on the Macedonian war and fearful of nothing less at the moment, news came of an uprising in Gaul.
The Insubres, the Cenomani, and the Boi had roused the Celines, the Ilvates and the other Ligustini, and these tribes, under the leadership of Hamilcar the Carthaginian, who had remained in that region, a survivor of Hasdrubal's army, had attacked Placentia.2
After plundering the city and burning most of it in their fury, they had left barely two thousand men alive among the flames and ruins, and then had crossed the Po and gone to destroy Cremona.
The news of the disaster to the neighbouring city gave the colonists time to close the gates and man the walls, so that, in spite of these measures, a siege began before the town was assaulted and before they could send messengers to the Roman praetor.
Lucius Furius Purpurio was then governor of the province, and had discharged the rest of his army by order of the senate, retaining only five thousand of the allies and the Latin confederacy; with these troops he was encamped in the vicinity of Ariminum, in the part of the province nearest Rome.
He thereupon sent a message to the senate, telling in what confusion the province was: one of the two colonies which had escaped the mighty storm of the Punic war had been captured and sacked by the enemy, the other was besieged;
his own army would be too weak to assist the colonists in their need, unless the senate wishes to deliver five thousand allies to be butchered by forty thousand enemies —for so many were in arms —and the minds of the enemy, already puffed up by the destruction of a Roman colony, to be further encouraged by the slaughter of so many of his own men. [p. 33]