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36. The season of the year1 was a little after the summer [p. 2101]solstice; the time of the day was approaching towards [2] noon; and his march had been performed amidst great quantities of dust, and the increasing heat [3] of the sun. Lassitude and thirst were already felt, and both would certainly be aggravated by mid-day coming on. He resolved, therefore, not to expose his men in that condition to an enemy, fresh and in full vigour; but so great was the ardour for battle in the minds of both parties, that the general [4] had occasion for as much art to elude the wishes of his own men, as those of the enemy. He urged the military tribunes to hasten [5] the forming of the troops, went himself round the ranks, and with exhortations inflamed their courage for the fight. At first, they called to him for the signal briskly; but afterwards, as the heat increased, their looks [6] became less lively, and their voices fainter, while many stood resting on their shields, or leaning on their javelins. He then, at length, openly ordered the foremost ranks to measure out the front of a camp, and store the baggage; on seeing which, some undisguisedly rejoiced [7] that he had not compelled them to fight when they were wearied with marching and with the scorching heat. Immediately about the general were the lieutenants-general, and the commanders of the foreign troops; among others Attalus, who, when they thought that the consul intended [8] to fight, (for even to them he did not disclose his intention of delaying,) had all approved the measure. On this sudden alteration of his plan, while the rest were silent, Nasica alone of them all ventured to advise the [9] consul, not to let slip from his hands an enemy, who, by shunning a battle, had baffled former commanders. “There was reason to fear,” he said, “that if he should march off [10] in the night, he would have to be pursued with extreme toil and danger, into the heart of Macedonia; and the troops must be led about, as under former generals, wandering through the glens and forests of the Macedonian mountains. He therefore earnestly recommended to attack the enemy while he had [11] him in an open plain, and not to lose the opportunity of obtaining a victory, which now presented itself.” The consul, not in the least offended at the frank advice of so illustrious a [12] youth, answered: “Nasica, I once thought as you do now; hereafter you will come to think as I do. By the many chances of war, I have learned when it is proper to fight, when to abstain from fighting. It would [p. 2102]not be right in me, at present, standing [13] at the head of the troops, to explain to you the causes that render it better to rest to-day. Ask my reasons some other time. At present you will acquiesce in the judgment of an old commander.” The [14] youth was silent, concluding that the consul certainly saw some objections to fighting, which did not appear to him.

1 The above has been introduced to supply the place of a passage which has been lost from the original text.

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  • Commentary references to this page (9):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.21
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.48
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.7
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 37.18
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 39.12
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 40.22
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 41.25
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 43.19
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.10
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (13):
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