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Hannibal Contacts the Celts

Though Hannibal had taken every precaution for the security of Libya and Iberia, he yet waited for the messengers whom he expected to arrive from the Celts. He had thoroughly acquainted himself with the fertility and populousness of the districts at the foot of the Alps and in the valley of the Padus, as well as with the warlike courage of the men; but most important of all, with their hostile feelings to Rome derived from the previous war, which I described in my last book, with the express purpose of enabling my readers to follow my narrative. He therefore reckoned very much on the chance of their co-operation; and was careful to send messages to the chiefs of the Celts, whether dwelling actually on the Alps or on the Italian side of them, with unlimited promises; because he believed that he would be able to confine the war against Rome to Italy, if he could make his way through the intervening difficulties to these parts, and avail himself of the active alliance of the Celts. When his messengers returned with a report that the Celts were ready to help him and all eagerness for his approach; and that the passage of the Alps, though laborious and difficult, was not, however, impossible, he collected his forces from their winter quarters at the approach of spring. Just before receiving this report he had learnt the circumstances attending the Roman embassy at Carthage. Encouraged by the assurance thus given him, that he would be supported by the' popular sentiment at home, he no longer disguised from his army that the object of the forthcoming campaign was Rome; and tried to inspire them with courage for the undertaking. He explained to them how the Romans had demanded the surrender of himself and all the officers of the army: and pointed out the fertility of the country to which they were going, and the good-will and active alliance which the Celts were prepared to offer them. When the crowd of soldiers showed an enthusiastic readiness to accompany him, he dismissed the assembly, after thanking them, and naming the day on which he intended to march.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), IBE´RUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PYRENAEI MONTES
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