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Polybius, Histories, book 3, Hannibal Attacks the Vaccaei (search)
Hannibal Attacks the Vaccaei Next summer he set out on another expedition against the Vaccaei, in which he took Salmantica by B. C. 220 Hannibal attacks the Vaccaei. assault, but only succeeded in storming Arbucala, owing to the size of the town and the number and valour of its inhabitants, after a laborious siege. After this he suddenly found himself in a position of very great danger on his return march: being set upon by the Carpesii, the strongest tribe in those parts, who were joined also by neighbouring tribes, incited principally by refugees of the Olcades, but roused also to great wrath by those who escaped from Salmantica. If the Carthaginians had been compelled to give these people regular battle, there can be no doubt that they would have been defeated: but as it was, Hannibal, with admirable skill and caution, slowly retreated until he had put the Tagus between himself and the enemy; and thus giving battle at the crossing of the stream, supported by it and the elephants, o