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Title: Hannibal - Makers of History
Author: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hannibal - Makers of History" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

 Makers of History





 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
 eight hundred and forty-nine, by


 in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
 of New York.

 Copyright, 1876, by JACOB ABBOTT.


The author of this series has made it his special object to confine
himself very strictly, even in the most minute details which he
records, to historic truth. The narratives are not tales founded upon
history, but history itself, without any embellishment or any
deviations from the strict truth, so far as it can now be discovered
by an attentive examination of the annals written at the time when the
events themselves occurred. In writing the narratives, the author has
endeavored to avail himself of the best sources of information which
this country affords; and though, of course, there must be in these
volumes, as in all historical narratives, more or less of imperfection
and error, there is no intentional embellishment. Nothing is stated,
not even the most minute and apparently imaginary details, without
what was deemed good historical authority. The readers, therefore, may
rely upon the record as the truth, and nothing but the truth, so far
as an honest purpose and a careful examination have been effectual in
ascertaining it.


 Chapter                                                    Page

    I. THE FIRST PUNIC WAR                                    13

   II. HANNIBAL AT SAGUNTUM                                   33

  III. OPENING OF THE SECOND PUNIC WAR                        52

   IV. THE PASSAGE OF THE RHONE                               69

    V. HANNIBAL CROSSES THE ALPS                              90

   VI. HANNIBAL IN THE NORTH OF ITALY                        126

  VII. THE APENNINES                                         144

 VIII. THE DICTATOR FABIUS                                   163

   IX. THE BATTLE OF CANNÆ                                   185

    X. SCIPIO                                                205

   XI. HANNIBAL A FUGITIVE AND AN EXILE                      235

  XII. THE DESTRUCTION OF CARTHAGE                           262



 MAP                                             _Frontispiece._

 THE BATTLE IN THE RIVER                                      42

 THE ELEPHANTS CROSSING THE RHONE                             87

 HANNIBAL ON THE ALPS                                        111

 CROSSING THE MARSHES                                        161

 HASDRUBAL'S HEAD                                            227

 THE BURNING OF THE CARTHAGINIAN FLEET                       242

[Illustration: MAP]




B.C. 280-249

Hannibal.--Rome and Carthage.--Tyre.--Founding of Carthage.--Its
commercial spirit.--Gold and silver mines.--New Carthage.--Ships
and army.--Numidia.--Balearic Isles.--The sling.--The government
of Carthage.--The aristocracy.--Geographical relations of the
Carthaginian empire.--Rome and the Romans.--Their character.--Progress
of Carthage and Rome.--Origin of the first Punic war.--Rhegium and
Messina.--A perplexing question.--The Romans determine to build a
fleet.--Preparations.--Training the oarsmen.--The Roman fleet puts to
sea.--Grappling irons.--Courage and resolution of the Romans.--Success
of the Romans.--The rostral column.--Government of Rome.--The
consuls.--Story of Regulus.--He is made consul.--Regulus marches against
Carthage.--His difficulties.--Successes of Regulus.--Arrival of
Greeks.--The Romans put to flight.--Regulus a prisoner.--Regulus before
the Roman senate.--Result of his mission.--Death of Regulus.--Conclusion
of the war.

Hannibal was a Carthaginian general. He acquired his great distinction
as a warrior by his desperate contests with the Romans. Rome and
Carthage grew up together on opposite sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
For about a hundred years they waged against each other most dreadful
wars. There were three of these wars. Rome was successful in the end,
and Carthage was entirely destroyed.

There was no real cause for any disagreement between these two
nations. Their hostility to each other was mere rivalry and
spontaneous hate. They spoke a different language; they had a
different origin; and they lived on opposite sides of the same sea. So
they hated and devoured each other.

Those who have read the history of Alexander the Great, in this
series, will recollect the difficulty he experienced in besieging and
subduing Tyre, a great maritime city, situated about two miles from
the shore, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Carthage was
originally founded by a colony from this city of Tyre, and it soon
became a great commercial and maritime power like its mother. The
Carthaginians built ships, and with them explored all parts of the
Mediterranean Sea. They visited all the nations on these coasts,
purchased the commodities they had to sell, carried them to other
nations, and sold them at great advances. They soon began to grow rich
and powerful. They hired soldiers to fight their battles, and began to
take possession of the islands of the Mediterranean, and, in some
instances, of points on the main land. For example, in Spain: some of
their ships, going there, found that the natives had silver and gold,
which they obtained from veins of ore near the surface of the ground.
At first the Carthaginians obtained this gold and silver by selling
the natives commodities of various kinds, which they had procured in
other countries; paying, of course, to the producers only a very small
price compared with what they required the Spaniards to pay them.
Finally, they took possession of that part of Spain where the mines
were situated, and worked the mines themselves. They dug deeper; they
employed skillful engineers to make pumps to raise the water, which
always accumulates in mines, and prevents their being worked to any
great depth unless the miners have a considerable degree of scientific
and mechanical skill. They founded a city here, which they called New
Carthage--_Nova Carthago_. They fortified and garrisoned this city,
and made it the center of their operations in Spain. This city is
called Carthagena to this day.

Thus the Carthaginians did every thing by power of money. They
extended their operations in every direction, each new extension
bringing in new treasures, and increasing their means of extending
them more. They had, besides the merchant vessels which belonged to
private individuals, great ships of war belonging to the state. These
vessels were called galleys, and were rowed by oarsmen, tier above
tier, there being sometimes four and five banks of oars. They had
armies, too, drawn from different countries, in various troops,
according as different nations excelled in the different modes of
warfare. For instance, the Numidians, whose country extended in the
neighborhood of Carthage, on the African coast, were famous for their
horsemen. There were great plains in Numidia, and good grazing, and it
was, consequently, one of those countries in which horses and horsemen
naturally thrive. On the other hand, the natives of the Balearic
Isles, now called Majorca, Minorca, and Ivica, were famous for their
skill as slingers. So the Carthaginians, in making up their forces,
would hire bodies of cavalry in Numidia, and of slingers in the
Balearic Isles; and, for reasons analogous, they got excellent
infantry in Spain.

The tendency of the various nations to adopt and cultivate different
modes of warfare was far greater, in those ancient times, than now.
The Balearic Isles, in fact, received their name from the Greek word
_ballein_, which means to throw with a sling. The youth there were
trained to perfection in the use of this weapon from a very early age.
It is said that mothers used to practice the plan of putting the bread
for their boys' breakfast on the branches of trees, high above their
heads, and not allow them to have their food to eat until they could
bring it down with a stone thrown from a sling.

Thus the Carthaginian power became greatly extended. The whole
government, however, was exercised by a small body of wealthy and
aristocratic families at home. It was very much such a government as
that of England is at the present day, only the aristocracy of England
is based on ancient birth and landed property, whereas in Carthage it
depended on commercial greatness, combined, it is true, with
hereditary family distinction. The aristocracy of Carthage controlled
and governed every thing. None but its own sons could ordinarily
obtain office or power. The great mass of inhabitants were kept in a
state of servitude and vassalage. This state of things operated then,
as it does now in England, very unjustly and hardly for those who were
thus debased; but the result was--and in this respect the analogy with
England still holds good--that a very efficient and energetic
government was created. The government of an oligarchy makes sometimes
a very rich and powerful state, but a discontented and unhappy people.

Let the reader now turn to the map and find the place of Carthage upon
it. Let him imagine a great and rich city there, with piers, and
docks, and extensive warehouses for the commerce, and temples, and
public edifices of splendid architecture, for the religious and civil
service of the state, and elegant mansions and palaces for the
wealthy aristocracy, and walls and towers for the defense of the
whole. Let him then imagine a back country, extending for some hundred
miles into the interior of Africa, fertile and highly cultivated,
producing great stores of corn, and wine, and rich fruits of every
description. Let him then look at the islands of Sicily, of Corsica,
and Sardinia, and the Baleares, and conceive of them as rich and
prosperous countries, and all under the Carthaginian rule. Look, also,
at the coast of Spain; see, in imagination, the city of Carthagena,
with its fortifications, and its army, and the gold and silver mines,
with thousands and thousands of slaves toiling in them. Imagine fleets
of ships going continually along the shores of the Mediterranean, from
country to country, cruising back and forth to Tyre, to Cyprus, to
Egypt, to Sicily, to Spain, carrying corn, and flax, and purple dyes,
and spices, and perfumes, and precious stones, and ropes and sails for
ships, and gold and silver, and then periodically returning to
Carthage, to add the profits they had made to the vast treasures of
wealth already accumulated there. Let the reader imagine all this with
the map before him, so as to have a distinct conception of the
geographical relations of the localities, and he will have a pretty
correct idea of the Carthaginian power at the time it commenced its
dreadful conflicts with Rome.

Rome itself was very differently situated. Rome had been built by some
wanderers from Troy, and it grew, for a long time, silently and
slowly, by a sort of internal principle of life and energy. One region
after another of the Italian peninsula was merged in the Roman state.
They formed a population which was, in the main, stationary and
agricultural. They tilled the fields; they hunted the wild beasts;
they raised great flocks and herds. They seem to have been a race--a
sort of variety of the human species--possessed of a very refined and
superior organization, which, in its development, gave rise to a
character of firmness, energy, and force, both of body and mind, which
has justly excited the admiration of mankind. The Carthaginians had
sagacity--the Romans called it cunning--and activity, enterprise and
wealth. Their rivals, on the other hand, were characterized by genius,
courage, and strength, giving rise to a certain calm and indomitable
resolution and energy, which has since, in every age, been strongly
associated, in the minds of men, with the very word Roman.

The progress of nations was much more slow in ancient days than now,
and these two rival empires continued their gradual growth and
extension, each on its own side of the great sea which divided them,
for _five hundred years_, before they came into collision. At last,
however, the collision came. It originated in the following way:

By looking at the map, the reader will see that the island of Sicily
is separated from the main land by a narrow strait called the Strait
of Messina. This strait derives its name from the town of Messina,
which is situated upon it, on the Sicilian side. Opposite Messina, on
the Italian side, there was a town named Rhegium. Now it happened that
both these towns had been taken possession of by lawless bodies of
soldiery. The Romans came and delivered Rhegium, and punished the
soldiers who had seized it very severely. The Sicilian authorities
advanced to the deliverance of Messina. The troops there, finding
themselves thus threatened, sent to the Romans to say that if they,
the Romans, would come and protect them, they would deliver Messina
into their hands.

The question, what answer to give to this application, was brought
before the Roman senate, and caused them great perplexity. It seemed
very inconsistent to take sides with the rebels of Messina, when they
had punished so severely those of Rhegium. Still the Romans had been,
for a long time, becoming very jealous of the growth and extension of
the Carthaginian power. Here was an opportunity of meeting and
resisting it. The Sicilian authorities were about calling for direct
aid from Carthage to recover the city, and the affair would probably
result in establishing a large body of Carthaginian troops within
sight of the Italian shore, and at a point where it would be easy for
them to make hostile incursions into the Roman territories. In a word,
it was a case of what is called political necessity; that is to say, a
case in which the _interests_ of one of the parties in a contest were
so strong that all considerations of justice, consistency, and honor
are to be sacrificed to the promotion of them. Instances of this kind
of political necessity occur very frequently in the management of
public affairs in all ages of the world.

The contest for Messina was, after all, however, considered by the
Romans merely as a pretext, or rather as an occasion, for commencing
the struggle which they had long been desirous of entering upon. They
evinced their characteristic energy and greatness in the plan which
they adopted at the outset. They knew very well that the power of
Carthage rested mainly on her command of the seas, and that they could
not hope successfully to cope with her till they could meet and
conquer her on her own element. In the mean time, however, they had
not a single ship and not a single sailor, while the Mediterranean was
covered with Carthaginian ships and seamen. Not at all daunted by this
prodigious inequality, the Romans resolved to begin at once the work
of creating for themselves a naval power.

The preparations consumed some time; for the Romans had not only to
build the ships, they had first to learn how to build them. They took
their first lesson from a Carthaginian galley which was cast away in a
storm upon the coast of Italy. They seized this galley, collected
their carpenters to examine it, and set woodmen at work to fell trees
and collect materials for imitating it. The carpenters studied their
model very carefully, measured the dimensions of every part, and
observed the manner in which the various parts were connected and
secured together. The heavy shocks which vessels are exposed to from
the waves makes it necessary to secure great strength in the
construction of them; and, though the ships of the ancients were very
small and imperfect compared with the men-of-war of the present day,
still it is surprising that the Romans could succeed at all in such a
sudden and hasty attempt at building them.

They did, however, succeed. While the ships were building, officers
appointed for the purpose were training men, on shore, to the art of
rowing them. Benches, like the seats which the oarsman would occupy in
the ships, were arranged on the ground, and the intended seamen were
drilled every day in the movements and action of rowers. The result
was, that in a few months after the building of the ships was
commenced, the Romans had a fleet of one hundred galleys of five banks
of oars ready. They remained in harbor with them for some time, to
give the oarsmen the opportunity to see whether they could row on the
water as well as on the land, and then boldly put to sea to meet the

There was one part of the arrangements made by the Romans in preparing
their fleets which was strikingly characteristic of the determined
resolution which marked all their conduct. They constructed machines
containing grappling irons, which they mounted on the prows of their
vessels. These engines were so contrived, that the moment one of the
ships containing them should encounter a vessel of the enemy, the
grappling irons would fall upon the deck of the latter, and hold the
two firmly together, so as to prevent the possibility of either
escaping from the other. The idea that they themselves should have any
wish to withdraw from the encounter seemed entirely out of the
question. Their only fear was that the Carthaginian seamen would
employ their superior skill and experience in naval maneuvers in
making their escape. Mankind have always regarded the action of the
Romans, in this case, as one of the most striking examples of military
courage and resolution which the history of war has ever recorded. An
army of landsmen come down to the sea-shore, and, without scarcely
having ever seen a ship, undertake to build a fleet, and go out to
attack a power whose navies covered the sea, and made her the sole and
acknowledged mistress of it. They seize a wrecked galley of their
enemies for their model; they build a hundred vessels like it; they
practice maneuvers for a short time in port; and then go forth to
meet the fleets of their powerful enemy, with grappling machines to
hold them, fearing nothing but the possibility of their escape.

The result was as might have been expected. The Romans captured, sunk,
destroyed, or dispersed the Carthaginian fleet which was brought to
oppose them. They took the prows of the ships which they captured and
conveyed them to Rome, and built what is called a _rostral pillar_ of
them. A rostral pillar is a column ornamented with such beaks or
prows, which were, in the Roman language, called _rostra_. This column
was nearly destroyed by lightning about fifty years afterward, but it
was repaired and rebuilt again, and it stood then for many centuries,
a very striking and appropriate monument of this extraordinary naval
victory. The Roman commander in this case was the consul Duilius. The
rostral column was erected in honor of him. In digging among the ruins
of Rome, there was found what was supposed to be the remains of this
column, about three hundred years ago.

The Romans now prepared to carry the war into Africa itself. Of course
it was easy, after their victory over the Carthaginian fleet, to
transport troops across the sea to the Carthaginian shore. The Roman
commonwealth was governed at this time by a senate, who made the laws,
and by two supreme executive officers, called consuls. They thought it
was safer to have two chief magistrates than one, as each of the two
would naturally be a check upon the other. The result was, however,
that mutual jealousy involved them often in disputes and quarrels. It
is thought better, in modern times, to have but one chief magistrate
in the state, and to provide other modes to put a check upon any
disposition he might evince to abuse his powers.

The Roman consuls, in time of war, took command of the armies. The
name of the consul upon whom it devolved to carry on the war with the
Carthaginians, after this first great victory, was Regulus, and his
name has been celebrated in every age, on account of his extraordinary
adventures in this campaign, and his untimely fate. How far the story
is strictly true it is now impossible to ascertain, but the following
is the story, as the Roman historians relate it:

At the time when Regulus was elected consul he was a plain man, living
simply on his farm, maintaining himself by his own industry, and
evincing no ambition or pride. His fellow citizens, however, observed
those qualities of mind in him which they were accustomed to admire,
and made him consul. He left the city and took command of the army. He
enlarged the fleet to more than three hundred vessels. He put one
hundred and forty thousand men on board, and sailed for Africa. One or
two years had been spent in making these preparations, which time the
Carthaginians had improved in building new ships; so that, when the
Romans set sail, and were moving along the coast of Sicily, they soon
came in sight of a larger Carthaginian fleet assembled to oppose them.
Regulus advanced to the contest. The Carthaginian fleet was beaten as
before. The ships which were not captured or destroyed made their
escape in all directions, and Regulus went on, without further
opposition, and landed his forces on the Carthaginian shore. He
encamped as soon as he landed, and sent back word to the Roman senate
asking what was next to be done.

The senate, considering that the great difficulty and danger, viz.,
that of repulsing the Carthaginian fleet, was now past, ordered
Regulus to send home nearly all the ships and a very large part of the
army, and with the rest to commence his march toward Carthage.
Regulus obeyed: he sent home the troops which had been ordered home,
and with the rest began to advance upon the city.

Just at this time, however, news came out to him that the farmer who
had had the care of his land at home had died, and that his little
farm, on which rested his sole reliance for the support of his family,
was going to ruin. Regulus accordingly sent to the senate, asking them
to place some one else in command of the army, and to allow him to
resign his office, that he might go home and take care of his wife and
children. The senate sent back orders that he should go on with his
campaign, and promised to provide support for his family, and to see
that some one was appointed to take care of his land. This story is
thought to illustrate the extreme simplicity and plainness of all the
habits of life among the Romans in those days. It certainly does so,
if it is true. It is, however, very extraordinary, that a man who was
intrusted by such a commonwealth, with the command of a fleet of a
hundred and thirty vessels, and an army of a hundred and forty
thousand men, should have a family at home dependent for subsistence
on the hired cultivation of seven acres of land. Still, such is the

Regulus advanced toward Carthage, conquering as he came. The
Carthaginians were beaten in one field after another, and were
reduced, in fact, to the last extremity, when an occurrence took place
which turned the scale. This occurrence was the arrival of a large
body of troops from Greece, with a Grecian general at their head.
These were troops which the Carthaginians had hired to fight for them,
as was the case with the rest of their army. But these were _Greeks_,
and the Greeks were of the same race, and possessed the same
qualities, as the Romans. The newly-arrived Grecian general evinced at
once such military superiority, that the Carthaginians gave him the
supreme command. He marshaled the army, accordingly, for battle. He
had a hundred elephants in the van. They were trained to rush forward
and trample down the enemy. He had the Greek phalanx in the center,
which was a close, compact body of many thousand troops, bristling
with long, iron-pointed spears, with which the men pressed forward,
bearing every thing before them. Regulus was, in a word, ready to meet
Carthaginians, but he was not prepared to encounter Greeks. His army
was put to flight, and he was taken prisoner. Nothing could exceed
the excitement and exultation in the city when they saw Regulus and
five hundred other Roman soldiers, brought captive in. A few days
before, they had been in consternation at the imminent danger of his
coming in as a ruthless and vindictive conqueror.

The Roman senate were not discouraged by this disaster. They fitted
out new armies, and the war went on, Regulus being kept all the time
at Carthage as a close prisoner. At last the Carthaginians authorized
him to go to Rome as a sort of commissioner, to propose to the Romans
to exchange prisoners and to make peace. They exacted from him a
solemn promise that if he was unsuccessful he would return. The Romans
had taken many of the Carthaginians prisoners in their naval combats,
and held them captive at Rome. It is customary, in such cases, for the
belligerent nations to make an exchange, and restore the captives on
both sides to their friends and home. It was such an exchange of
prisoners as this which Regulus was to propose.

When Regulus reached Rome he refused to enter the city, but he
appeared before the senate without the walls, in a very humble garb
and with the most subdued and unassuming demeanor. He was no longer,
he said, a Roman officer, or even citizen, but a Carthaginian
prisoner, and he disavowed all right to direct, or even to counsel,
the Roman authorities in respect to the proper course to be pursued.
His opinion was, however, he said, that the Romans ought not to make
peace or to exchange prisoners. He himself and the other Roman
prisoners were old and infirm, and not worth the exchange; and,
moreover, they had no claim whatever on their country, as they could
only have been made prisoners in consequence of want of courage or
patriotism to die in their country's cause. He said that the
Carthaginians were tired of the war, and that their resources were
exhausted, and that the Romans ought to press forward in it with
renewed vigor, and leave himself and the other prisoners to their

The senate came very slowly and reluctantly to the conclusion to
follow this advice. They, however, all earnestly joined in attempting
to persuade Regulus that he was under no obligation to return to
Carthage. His promise, they said, was extorted by the circumstances of
the case, and was not binding. Regulus, however, insisted on keeping
his faith with his enemies. He sternly refused to see his family,
and, bidding the senate farewell, he returned to Carthage. The
Carthaginians, exasperated at his having himself interposed to prevent
the success of his mission, tortured him for some time in the most
cruel manner, and finally put him to death. One would think that he
ought to have counseled peace and an exchange of prisoners, and he
ought not to have refused to see his unhappy wife and children; but it
was certainly very noble in him to refuse to break his word.

The war continued for some time after this, until, at length, both
nations became weary of the contest, and peace was made. The following
is the treaty which was signed. It shows that the advantage, on the
whole, in this first Punic war, was on the part of the Romans:

     "There shall be peace between Rome and Carthage. The
     Carthaginians shall evacuate all Sicily. They shall not make
     war upon any allies of the Romans. They shall restore to the
     Romans, without ransom, all the prisoners which they have
     taken from them, and pay them within ten years three
     thousand two hundred talents of silver."

The war had continued twenty-four years.



B.C. 234-218

Parentage of Hannibal.--Character of Hamilcar.--Religious
ceremonies.--Hannibal's famous oath of enmity to Rome.--Hamilcar
in Spain.--Hasdrubal.--Death of Hamilcar.--Hannibal sent for to
Spain.--Opposition of Hanno.--Hannibal sets out for Spain.--Favorable
impression on the army.--Character of Hannibal.--He is elevated to
the supreme command.--The River Iberus.--Hannibal seeks a war with
the Romans.--Stratagem of Hannibal.--Fording the river.--Great
battle in the River Tagus.--Victory of Hannibal.--Saguntum.--Hannibal
attacks it.--Progress of the siege.--Hannibal wounded.--Hannibal
recovers.--The falarica.--Arrival of the Roman embassadors.--Hannibal's
policy.--Hannibal sends embassadors to Carthage.--The Roman
embassadors.--Parties in the Carthaginian senate.--Speech of
Hanno.--Hanno proposes to give up Hannibal.--Defense of Hannibal's
friends.--Hannibal triumphant.--Saguntum falls.

The name of Hannibal's father was Hamilcar. He was one of the leading
Carthaginian generals. He occupied a very prominent position, both on
account of his rank, and wealth, and high family connections at
Carthage, and also on account of the great military energy which he
displayed in the command of the armies abroad. He carried on the wars
which the Carthaginians waged in Africa and in Spain after the
conclusion of the war with the Romans, and he longed to commence
hostilities with the Romans again.

At one time, when Hannibal was about nine years of age, Hamilcar was
preparing to set off on an expedition into Spain, and, as was usual in
those days, he was celebrating the occasion with games, and
spectacles, and various religious ceremonies. It has been the custom
in all ages of the world, when nations go to war with each other, for
each side to take measures for propitiating the favor of Heaven.
Christian nations at the present day do it by prayers offered in each
country for the success of their own arms. Heathen nations do it by
sacrifices, libations, and offerings. Hamilcar had made arrangements
for such sacrifices, and the priests were offering them in the
presence of the whole assembled army.

Young Hannibal, then about nine years of age, was present. He was a
boy of great spirit and energy, and he entered with much enthusiasm
into the scene. He wanted to go to Spain himself with the army, and he
came to his father and began to urge his request. His father could not
consent to this. He was too young to endure the privations and
fatigues of such an enterprise. However, his father brought him to one
of the altars, in the presence of the other officers of the army, and
made him lay his hand upon the consecrated victim, and swear that, as
soon as he was old enough, and had it in his power, he would make war
upon the Romans. This was done, no doubt, in part to amuse young
Hannibal's mind, and to relieve his disappointment in not being able
to go to war at that time, by promising him a great and mighty enemy
to fight at some future day. Hannibal remembered it, and longed for
the time to come when he could go to war against the _Romans_.

Hamilcar bade his son farewell and embarked for Spain. He was at
liberty to extend his conquests there in all directions west of the
River Iberus, a river which the reader will find upon the map, flowing
southeast into the Mediterranean Sea. Its name, Iberus, has been
gradually changed, in modern times, to Ebro. By the treaty with the
Romans the Carthaginians were not to cross the Iberus. They were also
bound by the treaty not to molest the people of Saguntum, a city lying
between the Iberus and the Carthaginian dominions. Saguntum was in
alliance with the Romans and under their protection.

Hamilcar was, however, very restless and uneasy at being obliged thus
to refrain from hostilities with the Roman power. He began,
immediately after his arrival in Spain, to form plans for renewing the
war. He had under him, as his principal lieutenant, a young man who
had married his daughter. His name was Hasdrubal. With Hasdrubal's
aid, he went on extending his conquests in Spain, and strengthening
his position there, and gradually maturing his plans for renewing war
with the Romans, when at length he died. Hasdrubal succeeded him.
Hannibal was now, probably, about twenty-one or two years old, and
still in Carthage. Hasdrubal sent to the Carthaginian government a
request that Hannibal might receive an appointment in the army, and be
sent out to join him in Spain.

On the subject of complying with this request there was a great debate
in the Carthaginian senate. In all cases where questions of government
are controlled by _votes_, it has been found, in every age, that
_parties_ will always be formed, of which the two most prominent will
usually be nearly balanced one against the other. Thus, at this time,
though the Hamilcar family were in power, there was a very strong
party in Carthage in opposition to them. The leader of this party in
the senate, whose name was Hanno, made a very earnest speech against
sending Hannibal. He was too young, he said, to be of any service. He
would only learn the vices and follies of the camp, and thus become
corrupted and ruined. "Besides," said Hanno, "at this rate, the
command of our armies in Spain is getting to be a sort of hereditary
right. Hamilcar was not a king, that his authority should thus descend
first to his son-in-law and then to his son; for this plan of making
Hannibal," he said, "while yet scarcely arrived at manhood, a high
officer in the army, is only a stepping-stone to the putting of the
forces wholly under his orders, whenever, for any reason, Hasdrubal
shall cease to command them."

The Roman historian, through whose narrative we get our only account
of this debate, says that, though these were good reasons, yet
strength prevailed, as usual, over wisdom, in the decision of the
question. They voted to send Hannibal, and he set out to cross the sea
to Spain with a heart full of enthusiasm and joy.

A great deal of curiosity and interest was felt throughout the army to
see him on his arrival. The soldiers had been devotedly attached to
his father, and they were all ready to transfer this attachment at
once to the son, if he should prove worthy of it. It was very evident,
soon after he reached the camp, that he was going to prove himself
thus worthy. He entered at once into the duties of his position with a
degree of energy, patience, and self-denial which attracted universal
attention, and made him a universal favorite. He dressed plainly; he
assumed no airs; he sought for no pleasures or indulgences, nor
demanded any exemption from the dangers and privations which the
common soldiers had to endure. He ate plain food, and slept, often in
his military cloak, on the ground, in the midst of the soldiers on
guard; and in battle he was always foremost to press forward into the
contest, and the last to leave the ground when the time came for
repose. The Romans say that, in addition to these qualities, he was
inhuman and merciless when in open warfare with his foes, and cunning
and treacherous in every other mode of dealing with them. It is very
probable that he was so. Such traits of character were considered by
soldiers in those days, as they are now, virtues in themselves, though
vices in their enemies.

However this may be, Hannibal became a great and universal favorite in
the army. He went on for several years increasing his military
knowledge, and widening and extending his influence, when at length,
one day, Hasdrubal was suddenly killed by a ferocious native of the
country whom he had by some means offended. As soon as the first shock
of this occurrence was over, the leaders of the army went in pursuit
of Hannibal, whom they brought in triumph to the tent of Hasdrubal,
and instated him at once in the supreme command, with one consent and
in the midst of universal acclamations. As soon as news of this event
reached Carthage, the government there confirmed the act of the army,
and Hannibal thus found himself suddenly but securely invested with a
very high military command.

His eager and restless desire to try his strength with the Romans
received a new impulse by his finding that the power was now in his
hands. Still the two countries were at peace. They were bound by
solemn treaties to continue so. The River Iberus was the boundary
which separated the dominions of the two nations from each other in
Spain, the territory east of that boundary being under the Roman
power, and that on the west under that of the Carthaginians; except
that Saguntum, which was on the western side, was an ally of the
Romans, and the Carthaginians were bound by the treaty to leave it
independent and free.

Hannibal could not, therefore, cross the Iberus or attack Saguntum
without an open infraction of the treaty. He, however, immediately
began to move toward Saguntum and to attack the nations in the
immediate vicinity of it. If he wished to get into a war with the
Romans, this was the proper way to promote it; for, by advancing thus
into the immediate vicinity of the capital of their allies, there was
great probability that disputes would arise which would sooner or
later end in war.

The Romans say that Hannibal was cunning and treacherous, and he
certainly did display, on some occasions, a great degree of adroitness
in his stratagems. In one instance in these preliminary wars he gained
a victory over an immensely superior force in a very remarkable
manner. He was returning from an inroad upon some of the northern
provinces, laden and encumbered with spoil, when he learned that an
immense army, consisting, it was said, of a hundred thousand men, were
coming down upon his rear. There was a river at a short distance
before him. Hannibal pressed on and crossed the river by a ford, the
water being, perhaps, about three feet deep. He secreted a large body
of cavalry near the bank of the stream, and pushed on with the main
body of the army to some little distance from the river, so as to
produce the impression upon his pursuers that he was pressing forward
to make his escape.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE IN THE RIVER.]

The enemy, thinking that they had no time to lose, poured down in
great numbers into the stream from various points along the banks;
and, as soon as they had reached the middle of the current, and were
wading laboriously, half submerged, with their weapons held above
their heads, so as to present as little resistance as possible to the
water, the horsemen of Hannibal rushed in to meet and attack them. The
horsemen had, of course, greatly the advantage; for, though their
horses were in the water, they were themselves raised above it, and
their limbs were free, while their enemies were half submerged, and,
being encumbered by their arms and by one another, were nearly
helpless. They were immediately thrown into complete confusion, and
were overwhelmed and carried down by the current in great numbers.
Some of them succeeded in landing below, on Hannibal's side; but, in
the mean time, the main body of his army had returned, and was ready
to receive them, and they were trampled under foot by the elephants,
which it was the custom to employ, in those days, as a military force.
As soon as the river was cleared, Hannibal marched his own army across
it, and attacked what remained of the enemy on their own side. He
gained a complete victory, which was so great and decisive that he
secured by it possession of the whole country west of the Iberus,
except Saguntum, and Saguntum itself began to be seriously alarmed.

The Saguntines sent embassadors to Rome to ask the Romans to interpose
and protect them from the dangers which threatened them. These
embassadors made diligent efforts to reach Rome as soon as possible,
but they were too late. On some pretext or other, Hannibal contrived
to raise a dispute between the city and one of the neighboring tribes,
and then, taking sides with the tribe, he advanced to attack the city.
The Saguntines prepared for their defense, hoping soon to receive
succors from Rome. They strengthened and fortified their walls, while
Hannibal began to move forward great military engines for battering
them down.

Hannibal knew very well that by his hostilities against this city he
was commencing a contest with Rome itself, as Rome must necessarily
take part with her ally. In fact, there is no doubt that his design
was to bring on a general war between the two great nations. He began
with Saguntum for two reasons: first, it would not be safe for him to
cross the Iberus, and advance into the Roman territory, leaving so
wealthy and powerful a city in his rear; and then, in the second
place, it was easier for him to find pretexts for getting indirectly
into a quarrel with Saguntum, and throwing the odium of a declaration
of war on Rome, than to persuade the Carthaginian state to renounce
the peace and themselves commence hostilities. There was, as has been
already stated, a very strong party at Carthage opposed to Hannibal,
who would, of course, resist any measures tending to a war with Rome,
for they would consider such a war as opening a vast field for
gratifying Hannibal's ambition. The only way, therefore, was to
provoke a war by aggressions on the Roman allies, to be justified by
the best pretexts he could find.

Saguntum was a very wealthy and powerful city. It was situated about a
mile from the sea. The attack upon the place, and the defense of it by
the inhabitants, went on for some time with great vigor. In these
operations, Hannibal exposed himself to great danger. He approached,
at one time, so near the wall, in superintending the arrangements of
his soldiers and the planting of his engines, that a heavy javelin,
thrown from the parapet, struck him on the thigh. It pierced the
flesh, and inflicted so severe a wound that he fell immediately, and
was borne away by the soldiers. It was several days before he was free
from the danger incurred by the loss of blood and the fever which
follows such a wound. During all this time his army were in a great
state of excitement and anxiety, and suspended their active
operations. As soon, however, as Hannibal was found to be decidedly
convalescent, they resumed them again, and urged them onward with
greater energy than before.

The weapons of warfare in those ancient days were entirely different
from those which are now employed, and there was one, described by an
ancient historian as used by the Saguntines at this siege, which might
almost come under the modern denomination of fire-arms. It was called
the _falarica_. It was a sort of javelin, consisting of a shaft of
wood, with a long point of iron. This point was said to be three feet
long. This javelin was to be thrown at the enemy either from the hand
of the soldier or by an engine. The leading peculiarity of it was,
however, that, near to the pointed end, there were wound around the
wooden shaft long bands of _tow_, which were saturated with pitch and
other combustibles, and this inflammable band was set on fire just
before the javelin was thrown. As the missile flew on its way, the
wind fanned the flames, and made them burn so fiercely, that when the
javelin struck the shield of the soldier opposing it, it could not be
pulled out, and the shield itself had to be thrown down and abandoned.

While the inhabitants of Saguntum were vainly endeavoring to defend
themselves against their terrible enemy by these and similar means,
their embassadors, not knowing that the city had been attacked, had
reached Rome, and had laid before the Roman senate their fears that
the city would be attacked, unless they adopted vigorous and immediate
measures to prevent it. The Romans resolved to send embassadors to
Hannibal to demand of him what his intentions were, and to warn him
against any acts of hostility against Saguntum. When these Roman
embassadors arrived on the coast, near to Saguntum, they found that
hostilities had commenced, and that the city was hotly besieged. They
were at a loss to know what to do.

It is better for a rebel not to hear an order which he is determined
beforehand not to obey. Hannibal, with an adroitness which the
Carthaginians called sagacity, and the Romans treachery and cunning,
determined not to see these messengers. He sent word to them, at the
shore, that they must not attempt to come to his camp, for the country
was in such a disturbed condition that it would not be safe for them
to land; and besides, he could not receive or attend to them, for he
was too much pressed with the urgency of his military works to have
any time to spare for debates and negotiations.

Hannibal knew that the embassadors, being thus repulsed, and having
found, too, that the war had broken out, and that Saguntum was
actually beset and besieged by Hannibal's armies, would proceed
immediately to Carthage to demand satisfaction there. He knew, also,
that Hanno and his party would very probably espouse the cause of the
Romans, and endeavor to arrest his designs. He accordingly sent his
own embassadors to Carthage, to exert an influence in his favor in the
Carthaginian senate, and endeavor to urge them to reject the claims of
the Romans, and allow the war between Rome and Carthage to break out

The Roman embassadors appeared at Carthage, and were admitted to an
audience before the senate. They stated their case, representing that
Hannibal had made war upon Saguntum in violation of the treaty, and
had refused even to receive the communication which had been sent him
by the Roman senate through them. They demanded that the Carthaginian
government should disavow his acts, and deliver him up to them, in
order that he might receive the punishment which his violation of the
treaty, and his aggressions upon an ally of the Romans, so justly

The party of Hannibal in the Carthaginian senate were, of course,
earnest to have these proposals rejected with scorn. The other side,
with Hanno at their head, maintained that they were reasonable
demands. Hanno, in a very energetic and powerful speech, told the
senate that he had warned them not to send Hannibal into Spain. He had
foreseen that such a hot and turbulent spirit as his would involve
them in inextricable difficulties with the Roman power. Hannibal had,
he said, plainly violated the treaty. He had invested and besieged
Saguntum, which they were solemnly bound not to molest, and they had
nothing to expect in return but that the Roman legions would soon be
investing and besieging their own city. In the mean time, the Romans,
he added, had been moderate and forbearing. They had brought nothing
to the charge of the Carthaginians. They accused nobody but Hannibal,
who, thus far, alone was guilty. The Carthaginians, by disavowing his
acts, could save themselves from the responsibility of them. He
urged, therefore, that an embassage of apology should be sent to Rome,
that Hannibal should be deposed and delivered up to the Romans, and
that ample restitution should be made to the Saguntines for the
injuries they had received.

On the other hand, the friends of Hannibal urged in the Carthaginian
senate their defense of the general. They reviewed the history of the
transactions in which the war had originated, and showed, or attempted
to show, that the Saguntines themselves commenced hostilities, and
that consequently they, and not Hannibal, were responsible for all
that followed; that, under those circumstances, the Romans ought not
to take their part, and if they did so, it proved that they preferred
the friendship of Saguntum to that of Carthage; and that it would be
cowardly and dishonorable in the extreme for them to deliver the
general whom they had placed in power, and who had shown himself so
worthy of their choice by his courage and energy, into the hands of
their ancient and implacable foes.

Thus Hannibal was waging at the same time two wars, one in the
Carthaginian senate, where the weapons were arguments and eloquence,
and the other under the walls of Saguntum, which was fought with
battering rains and fiery javelins. He conquered in both. The senate
decided to send the Roman embassadors home without acceding to their
demands, and the walls of Saguntum were battered down by Hannibal's
engines. The inhabitants refused all terms of compromise, and resisted
to the last, so that, when the victorious soldiery broke over the
prostrate walls, and poured into the city, it was given up to them to
plunder, and they killed and destroyed all that came in their way. The
disappointed embassadors returned to Rome with the news that Saguntum
had been taken and destroyed by Hannibal, and that the Carthaginians,
far from offering any satisfaction for the wrong, assumed the
responsibility of it themselves, and were preparing for war.

Thus Hannibal accomplished his purpose of opening the way for waging
war against the Roman power. He prepared to enter into the contest
with the utmost energy and zeal. The conflict that ensued lasted
seventeen years, and is known in history as the second Punic war. It
was one of the most dreadful struggles between rival and hostile
nations which the gloomy history of mankind exhibits to view. The
events that occurred will be described in the subsequent chapters.



B.C. 217

Fall of Hanno's party.--Power of Hannibal.--Desperate valor of the
Saguntines.--Hannibal's disposition of the spoils.--Hannibal chosen
one of the suffetes.--Nature of the office.--Great excitement at
Rome.--Fearful anticipations.--New embassy to Carthage.--Warm
debates.--Fruitless negotiations.--The embassadors return.--Reply of
the Volscians.--Council of Gauls.--Tumultuous scene.--Repulse of the
embassadors.--Hannibal's kindness to his soldiers.--He matures his
designs.--Hannibal's plan for the government of Spain in his
absence.--Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal.--He is left in charge of
Spain.--Preparations of the Romans.--Their plan for the war.--The
Roman fleet.--Drawing lots.--Religious ceremonies.--Hannibal's
march.--The Pyrenees.--Discontent in Hannibal's army.--Hannibal's
address.--The discontented sent home.--Hannibal's sagacity.--The
Pyrenees passed.

When the tide once turns in any nation in favor of war, it generally
rushes on with great impetuosity and force, and bears all before it.
It was so in Carthage in this instance. The party of Hanno were thrown
entirely into the minority and silenced, and the friends and partisans
of Hannibal carried not only the government, but the whole community
with them, and every body was eager for war. This was owing, in part,
to the natural contagiousness of the martial spirit, which, when felt
by one, catches easily, by sympathy, in the heart of another. It is a
fire which, when once it begins to burn, spreads in every direction,
and consumes all that comes in its way.

Besides, when Hannibal gained possession of Saguntum, he found immense
treasures there, which he employed, not to increase his own private
fortune, but to strengthen and confirm his civil and military power.
The Saguntines did every thing they could to prevent these treasures
from falling into his hands. They fought desperately to the last,
refused all terms of surrender, and they became so insanely desperate
in the end, that, according to the narrative of Livy, when they found
that the walls and towers of the city were falling in, and that all
hope of further defense was gone, they built an enormous fire in the
public streets, and heaped upon it all the treasures which they had
time to collect that fire could destroy, and then that many of the
principal inhabitants leaped into the flames themselves, in order that
their hated conquerors might lose their prisoners as well as their

Notwithstanding this, however, Hannibal obtained a vast amount of gold
and silver, both in the form of money and of plate, and also much
valuable merchandise, which the Saguntine merchants had accumulated in
their palaces and warehouses. He used all this property to strengthen
his own political and military position. He paid his soldiers all the
arrears due to them in full. He divided among them a large additional
amount as their share of the spoil. He sent rich trophies home to
Carthage, and presents, consisting of sums of money, and jewelry, and
gems, to his friends there, and to those whom he wished to make his
friends. The result of this munificence, and of the renown which his
victories in Spain had procured for him, was to raise him to the
highest pinnacle of influence and honor. The Carthaginians chose him
one of the _suffetes_.

The suffetes were the supreme executive officers of the Carthaginian
commonwealth. The government was, as has been remarked before, a sort
of aristocratic republic, and republics are always very cautious about
intrusting power, even executive power, to any one man. As Rome had
_two_ consuls, reigning jointly, and France, after her first
revolution, a Directory of _five_, so the Carthaginians chose annually
two _suffetes_, as they were called at Carthage, though the Roman
writers call them indiscriminately suffetes, consuls, and kings.
Hannibal was now advanced to this dignity; so that, in conjunction
with his colleague, he held the supreme civil authority at Carthage,
besides being invested with the command of the vast and victorious
army in Spain.

When news of these events--the siege and destruction of Saguntum, the
rejection of the demands of the Roman embassadors, and the vigorous
preparations making by the Carthaginians for war--reached Rome, the
whole city was thrown into consternation. The senate and the people
held tumultuous and disorderly assemblies, in which the events which
had occurred, and the course of proceeding which it was incumbent on
the Romans to take, were discussed with much excitement and clamor.
The Romans were, in fact, afraid of the Carthaginians. The campaigns
of Hannibal in Spain had impressed the people with a strong sense of
the remorseless and terrible energy of his character; they at once
concluded that his plans would be formed for marching into Italy, and
they even anticipated the danger of his bringing the war up to the
very gates of the city, so as to threaten _them_ with the destruction
which he had brought upon Saguntum. The event showed how justly they
appreciated his character.

Since the conclusion of the first Punic war, there had been peace
between the Romans and Carthaginians for about a quarter of a century.
During all this time both nations had been advancing in wealth and
power, but the Carthaginians had made much more rapid progress than
the Romans. The Romans had, indeed, been very successful at the onset
in the former war, but in the end the Carthaginians had proved
themselves their equal. They seemed, therefore, to dread now a fresh
encounter with these powerful foes, led on, as they were now to be, by
such a commander as Hannibal.

They determined, therefore, to send a second embassy to Carthage, with
a view of making one more effort to preserve peace before actually
commencing hostilities. They accordingly elected five men from among
the most influential citizens of the state--men of venerable age and
of great public consideration--and commissioned them to proceed to
Carthage and ask once more whether it was the deliberate and final
decision of the Carthaginian senate to avow and sustain the action of
Hannibal. This solemn embassage set sail. They arrived at Carthage.
They appeared before the senate. They argued their cause, but it was,
of course, to deaf and unwilling ears. The Carthaginian orators
replied to them, each side attempting to throw the blame of the
violation of the treaty on the other. It was a solemn hour, for the
peace of the world, the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, and the
continued happiness or the desolation and ruin of vast regions of
country, depended on the issue of the debate. Unhappily, the breach
was only widened by the discussion. "Very well," said the Roman
commissioners, at last, "we offer you peace or war, which do you
choose?" "Whichever you please," replied the Carthaginians; "decide
for yourselves." "War, then," said the Romans, "since it must be so."
The conference was broken up, and the embassadors returned to Rome.

They returned, however, by the way of Spain. Their object in doing
this was to negotiate with the various kingdoms and tribes in Spain
and in France, through which Hannibal would have to march in invading
Italy, and endeavor to induce them to take sides with the Romans. They
were too late, however, for Hannibal had contrived to extend and
establish his influence in all that region too strongly to be shaken;
so that, on one pretext or another, the Roman proposals were all
rejected. There was one powerful tribe, for example, called the
Volscians. The embassadors, in the presence of the great council of
the Volscians, made known to them the probability of war, and invited
them to ally themselves with the Romans. The Volscians rejected the
proposition with a sort of scorn. "We see," said they, "from the fate
of Saguntum, what is to be expected to result from an alliance with
the Romans. After leaving that city defenseless and alone in its
struggle against such terrible danger, it is in vain to ask other
nations to trust to your protection. If you wish for new allies, it
will be best for you to go where the story of Saguntum is not known."
This answer of the Volscians was applauded by the other nations of
Spain, as far as it was known, and the Roman embassadors, despairing
of success in that country, went on into Gaul, which is the name by
which the country now called France is known in ancient history.

On reaching a certain place which was a central point of influence and
power in Gaul, the Roman commissioners convened a great martial
council there. The spectacle presented by this assembly was very
imposing, for the warlike counselors came to the meeting armed
completely and in the most formidable manner, as if they were coming
to a battle instead of a consultation and debate. The venerable
embassadors laid the subject before them. They descanted largely on
the power and greatness of the Romans, and on the certainty that they
should conquer in the approaching contest, and they invited the Gauls
to espouse their cause, and to rise in arms and intercept Hannibal's
passage through their country, if he should attempt to effect one.

The assembly could hardly be induced to hear the embassadors through;
and, as soon as they had finished their address, the whole council
broke forth into cries of dissent and displeasure, and even into
shouts of derision. Order was at length restored, and the officers,
whose duty it was to express the sentiments of the assembly, gave for
their reply that the Gauls had never received any thing but violence
and injuries from Rome, or any thing but kindness and goodwill from
Carthage; and that they had no idea of being guilty of the folly of
bringing the impending storm of Hannibal's hostility upon their own
heads, merely for the sake of averting it from their ancient and
implacable foes. Thus the embassadors were every where repulsed. They
found no friendly disposition toward the Roman power till they had
crossed the Rhone.

Hannibal began now to form his plans, in a very deliberate and
cautious manner, for a march into Italy. He knew well that this was an
expedition of such magnitude and duration as to require beforehand the
most careful and well-considered arrangements, both for the forces
which were to go, and for the states and communities which were to
remain. The winter was coming on. His first measure was to dismiss a
large portion of his forces, that they might visit their homes. He
told them that he was intending some great designs for the ensuing
spring, which might take them to a great distance, and keep them for a
long time absent from Spain, and he would, accordingly, give them the
intervening time to visit their families and their homes, and to
arrange their affairs. This act of kind consideration and confidence
renewed the attachment of the soldiers to their commander, and they
returned to his camp in the spring not only with new strength and
vigor, but with redoubled attachment to the service in which they were

Hannibal, after sending home his soldiers, retired himself to New
Carthage, which, as will be seen by the map, is further west than
Saguntum, where he went into winter quarters, and devoted himself to
the maturing of his designs. Besides the necessary preparations for
his own march, he had to provide for the government of the countries
that he should leave. He devised various and ingenious plans to
prevent the danger of insurrections and rebellions while he was gone.
One was, to organize an army for Spain out of soldiers drawn from
_Africa_, while the troops which were to be employed to garrison
Carthage, and to sustain the government there, were taken from Spain.
By thus changing the troops of the two countries, each country was
controlled by a foreign soldiery, who were more likely to be faithful
in their obedience to their commanders, and less in danger of
sympathizing with the populations which they were respectively
employed to control, than if each had been retained in its own native

Hannibal knew very well that the various states and provinces of
Spain, which had refused to ally themselves with the Romans and
abandon him, had been led to do this through the influence of his
presents or the fear of his power, and that if, after he had
penetrated into Italy, he should meet with reverses, so as to diminish
very much their hope of deriving benefit from his favor or their fear
of his power, there would be great danger of defections and revolts.
As an additional security against this, he adopted the following
ingenious plan. He enlisted a body of troops from among all the
nations of Spain that were in alliance with him, selecting the young
men who were enlisted as much as possible from families of
consideration and influence, and this body of troops, when organized
and officered, he sent into Carthage, giving the nations and tribes
from which they were drawn to understand that he considered them not
only as soldiers serving in his armies, but as _hostages_, which he
should hold as security for the fidelity and obedience of the
countries from which they had come. The number of these soldiers was
four thousand.

Hannibal had a brother, whose name, as it happened, was the same as
that of his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal. It was to him that he committed
the government of Spain during his absence. The soldiers provided for
him were, as has been already stated, mainly drawn from Africa. In
addition to the foot soldiers, he provided him with a small body of
horse. He left with him, also, fourteen elephants. And as he thought
it not improbable that the Romans might, in some contingency during
his absence, make a descent upon the Spanish coast from the sea, he
built and equipped for him a small fleet of about sixty vessels, fifty
of which were of the first class. In modern times, the magnitude and
efficiency of a ship is estimated by the number of guns she will
carry; then, it was the number of banks of oars. Fifty of Hasdrubal's
ships were _quinqueremes_, as they were called, that is, they had five
banks of oars.

The Romans, on the other hand, did not neglect their own preparations.
Though reluctant to enter upon the war, they still prepared to engage
in it with their characteristic energy and ardor, when they found that
it could not be averted. They resolved on raising two powerful armies,
one for each of the consuls. The plan was, with one of these to
advance to meet Hannibal, and with the other to proceed to Sicily, and
from Sicily to the African coast, with a view of threatening the
Carthaginian capital. This plan, if successful, would compel the
Carthaginians to recall a part or the whole of Hannibal's army from
the intended invasion of Italy to defend their own African homes.

The force raised by the Romans amounted to about seventy thousand men.
About a third of these were Roman soldiers, and the remainder were
drawn from various nations dwelling in Italy and in the islands of the
Mediterranean Sea which were in alliance with the Romans. Of these
troops six thousand were cavalry. Of course, as the Romans intended
to cross into Africa, they needed a fleet. They built and equipped
one, which consisted of two hundred and twenty ships of the largest
class, that is, quinqueremes, besides a number of smaller and lighter
vessels for services requiring speed. There were vessels in use in
those times larger than the quinqueremes. Mention is occasionally made
of those which had six and even seven banks of oars. But these were
only employed as the flag-ships of commanders, and for other purposes
of ceremony and parade, as they were too unwieldy for efficient
service in action.

Lots were then drawn in a very solemn manner, according to the Roman
custom on such occasions, to decide on the assignment of these two
armies to the respective consuls. The one destined to meet Hannibal on
his way from Spain, fell to a consul named Cornelius Scipio. The name
of the other was Sempronius. It devolved on him, consequently, to take
charge of the expedition destined to Sicily and Africa. When all the
arrangements were thus made, the question was finally put, in a very
solemn and formal manner, to the Roman people for their final vote and
decision. "Do the Roman people decide and decree that war shall be
declared against the Carthaginians?" The decision was in the
affirmative. The war was then proclaimed with the usual imposing
ceremonies. Sacrifices and religious celebrations followed, to
propitiate the favor of the gods, and to inspire the soldiers with
that kind of courage and confidence which the superstitious, however
wicked, feel when they can imagine themselves under the protection of
heaven. These shows and spectacles being over, all things were ready.

In the mean time Hannibal was moving on, as the spring advanced,
toward the banks of the Iberus, that frontier stream, the crossing of
which made him an invader of what was, in some sense, Roman territory.
He boldly passed the stream, and moved forward along the coast of the
Mediterranean, gradually approaching the Pyrenees, which form the
boundary between France and Spain. His soldiers hitherto did not know
what his plans were. It is very little the custom _now_ for military
and naval commanders to communicate to their men much information
about their designs, and it was still less the custom then; and
besides, in those days, the common soldiers had no access to those
means of information by which news of every sort is now so
universally diffused. Thus, though all the officers of the army, and
well-informed citizens, both in Rome and Carthage, anticipated and
understood Hannibal's designs, his own soldiers, ignorant and
degraded, knew nothing except that they were to go on some distant and
dangerous service. They, very likely, had no idea whatever of Italy or
of Rome, or of the magnitude of the possessions, or of the power held
by the vast empire which they were going to invade.

When, however, after traveling day after day they came to the foot of
the Pyrenees, and found that they were really going to pass that
mighty chain of mountains, and for this purpose were actually entering
its wild and gloomy defiles, the courage of some of them failed, and
they began to murmur. The discontent and alarm were, in fact, so
great, that one corps, consisting of about three thousand men, left
the camp in a body, and moved back toward their homes. On inquiry,
Hannibal found that there were ten thousand more who were in a similar
state of feeling. His whole force consisted of over one hundred
thousand. And now what does the reader imagine that Hannibal would do
in such an emergency? Would he return in pursuit of these deserters,
to recapture and destroy them as a terror to the rest? or would he let
them go, and attempt by words of conciliation and encouragement to
confirm and save those that yet remained? He did neither. He called
together the ten thousand discontented troops that were still in his
camp, and told them that, since they were afraid to accompany his
army, or unwilling to do so, they might return. He wanted none in his
service who had not the courage and the fortitude to go on wherever he
might lead. He would not have the faint-hearted and the timid in his
army. They would only be a burden to load down and impede the courage
and energy of the rest. So saying, he gave orders for them to return,
and with the rest of the army, whose resolution and ardor were
redoubled by this occurrence, he moved on through the passes of the

This act of Hannibal, in permitting his discontented soldiers to
return, had all the effect of a deed of generosity in its influence
upon the minds of the soldiers who went on. We must not, however,
imagine that it was prompted by a spirit of generosity at all. It was
policy. A seeming generosity was, in this case, exactly what was
wanted to answer his ends. Hannibal was mercilessly cruel in all
cases where he imagined that severity was demanded. It requires great
sagacity sometimes in a commander to know when he must punish, and
when it is wisest to overlook and forgive. Hannibal, like Alexander
and Napoleon, possessed this sagacity in a very high degree; and it
was, doubtless, the exercise of that principle alone which prompted
his action on this occasion.

Thus Hannibal passed the Pyrenees. The next difficulty that he
anticipated was in crossing the River Rhone.



B.C. 217

Difficulties anticipated.--Reconnoitering party.--Some tribes
reduced.--Alarm of the Gauls.--The Alps.--Difficulty of their
passage.--Hannibal's message to the Gauls.--Success of his
policy.--Cornelius Scipio.--He embarks his army.--Both armies on
the Rhone.--Exploring party.--Feelings of the Gauls in respect
to Hannibal.--The Gauls beyond the river oppose Hannibal's
passage.--Preparations for crossing the river.--Boat
building.--Rafts.--The enemy look on in silence.--Difficulties of
crossing a river.--Hannibal's tactics.--His stratagem.--Detachment
under Hanno.--Success of Hanno.--The signal.--Passage of the
river.--Scene of confusion.--Attack of Hanno.--Flight of the
Gauls.--Transportation of the elephants.--Manner of doing it.--A
new plan.--Huge rafts.--The elephants got safely over.--The
reconnoitering parties.--The detachments meet.--A battle ensues.

Hannibal, after he had passed the Pyrenees, did not anticipate any new
difficulty till he should arrive at the Rhone. He knew very well that
that was a broad and rapid river, and that he must cross it near its
mouth, where the water was deep and the banks low; and, besides, it
was not impossible that the Romans who were coming to meet him, under
Cornelius Scipio, might have reached the Rhone before he should arrive
there, and be ready upon the banks to dispute his passage. He had sent
forward, therefore, a small detachment in advance, to reconnoiter the
country and select a route to the Rhone, and if they met with no
difficulties to arrest them there, they were to go on till they
reached the Alps, and explore the passages and defiles through which
his army could best cross those snow-covered mountains.

It seems that before he reached the Pyrenees--that is, while he was
upon the Spanish side of them, some of the tribes through whose
territories he had to pass undertook to resist him, and he,
consequently, had to attack them and reduce them by force; and then,
when he was ready to move on, he left a guard in the territories thus
conquered to keep them in subjection. Rumors of this reached Gaul. The
Gauls were alarmed for their own safety. They had not intended to
oppose Hannibal so long as they supposed that he only wished for a
safe passage through their country on his way to Italy; but now, when
they found, from what had occurred in Spain, that he was going to
conquer the countries he traversed as he passed along, they became
alarmed. They seized their arms, and assembled in haste at Ruscino,
and began to devise measures of defense. Ruscino was the same place as
that in which the Roman embassadors met the great council of the Gauls
on their return to Italy from Carthage.

While this great council, or, rather, assembly of armies, was
gathering at Ruscino, full of threats and anger, Hannibal was at
Illiberis, a town at the foot of the Pyrenean Mountains. He seems to
have had no fear that any opposition which the Gauls could bring to
bear against him would be successful, but he dreaded the delay. He
was extremely unwilling to spend the precious months of the early
summer in contending with such foes as they, when the road to Italy
was before him. Besides, the passes of the Alps, which are difficult
and laborious at any time, are utterly impracticable except in the
months of July and August. At all other seasons they are, or were in
those days, blocked up with impassable snows. In modern times roads
have been made, with galleries cut through the rock, and with the
exposed places protected by sloping roofs projecting from above, over
which storms sweep and avalanches slide without injury; so that now
the intercourse of ordinary travel between France and Italy, across
the Alps, is kept up, in some measure, all the year. In Hannibal's
time, however, the mountains could not be traversed except in the
summer months, and if it had not been that the result justified the
undertaking, it would have been considered an act of inexcusable
rashness and folly to attempt to cross with an army at all.

Hannibal had therefore no time to lose, and that circumstance made
this case one of those in which forbearance and a show of generosity
were called for, instead of defiance and force. He accordingly sent
messengers to the council at Ruscino to say, in a very complaisant and
affable manner, that he wished to see and confer with their princes in
person, and that, if they pleased, he would advance for this purpose
toward Ruscino; or they might, if they preferred, come on toward him
at Illiberis, where he would await their arrival. He invited them to
come freely into his camp, and said that he was ready, if they were
willing to receive him, to go into theirs, for he had come to Gaul as
a friend and an ally, and wanted nothing but a free passage through
their territory. He had made a resolution, he said, if the Gauls would
but allow him to keep it, that there should not be a single sword
drawn in his army till he got into Italy.

The alarm and the feelings of hostility which prevailed among the
Gauls were greatly allayed by this message. They put their camp in
motion, and went on to Illiberis. The princes and high officers of
their armies went to Hannibal's camp, and were received with the
highest marks of distinction and honor. They were loaded with
presents, and went away charmed with the affability, the wealth, and
the generosity of their visitor. Instead of opposing his progress,
they became the conductors and guides of his army. They took them
first to Ruscino, which was, as it were, their capital, and thence,
after a short delay, the army moved on without any further molestation
toward the Rhone.

In the mean time, the Roman consul Scipio, having embarked the troops
destined to meet Hannibal in sixty ships at the mouth of the Tiber,
set sail for the mouth of the Rhone. The men were crowded together in
the ships, as armies necessarily must be when transported by sea. They
could not go far out to sea, for, as they had no compass in those
days, there were no means of directing the course of navigation, in
case of storms or cloudy skies, except by the land. The ships
accordingly made their way slowly along the shore, sometimes by means
of sails and sometimes by oars, and, after suffering for some time the
hardships and privations incident to such a voyage--the sea-sickness
and the confinement of such swarming numbers in so narrow a space
bringing every species of discomfort in their train--the fleet entered
the mouth of the Rhone. The officers had no idea that Hannibal was
near. They had only heard of his having crossed the Iberus. They
imagined that he was still on the other side of the Pyrenees. They
entered the Rhone by the first branch they came to--for the Rhone,
like the Nile, divides near its mouth, and flows into the sea by
several separate channels--and sailed without concern up to
Marseilles, imagining that their enemy was still hundreds of miles
away, entangled, perhaps, among the defiles of the Pyrenees. Instead
of that, he was safely encamped upon the banks of the Rhone, a short
distance above them, quietly and coolly making his arrangements for
crossing it.

When Cornelius got his men upon the land, they were too much exhausted
by the sickness and misery they had endured upon the voyage to move on
to meet Hannibal without some days for rest and refreshment.
Cornelius, however, selected three hundred horsemen who were able to
move, and sent them up the river on an exploring expedition, to learn
the facts in respect to Hannibal, and to report them to him.
Dispatching them accordingly, he remained himself in his camp,
reorganizing and recruiting his army, and awaiting the return of the
party that he had sent to explore.

Although Hannibal had thus far met with no serious opposition in his
progress through Gaul it must not, on that account, be supposed that
the people, through whose territories he was passing, were really
friendly to his cause, or pleased with his presence among them. An
army is always a burden and a curse to any country that it enters,
even when its only object is to pass peacefully through. The Gauls
assumed a friendly attitude toward this dreaded invader and his horde
only because they thought that by so doing he would the sooner pass
and be gone. They were too weak, and had too few means of resistance
to attempt to stop him; and, as the next best thing that they could
do, resolved to render him every possible aid to hasten him on. This
continued to be the policy of the various tribes until he reached the
river. The people on the _further_ side of the river, however, thought
it was best for them to resist. They were nearer to the Roman
territories, and, consequently, somewhat more under Roman influence.
They feared the resentment of the Romans if they should, even
passively, render any co-operation to Hannibal in his designs; and, as
they had the broad and rapid river between them and their enemy, they
thought there was a reasonable prospect that, with its aid, they could
exclude him from their territories altogether.

Thus it happened that, when Hannibal came to the stream, the people on
one side were all eager to promote, while those on the other were
determined to prevent his passage, both parties being animated by the
same desire to free their country from such a pest as the presence of
an army of ninety thousand men; so that Hannibal stood at last upon
the banks of the river, with the people on _his_ side of the stream
waiting and ready to furnish all the boats and vessels that they could
command, and to render every aid in their power in the embarkation,
while those on the other were drawn up in battle array, rank behind
rank, glittering with weapons, marshaled so as to guard every place of
landing, and lining with pikes the whole extent of the shore, while
the peaks of their tents, in vast numbers, with banners among them
floating in the air, were to be seen in the distance behind them. All
this time, the three hundred horsemen which Cornelius had dispatched
were slowly and cautiously making their way up the river from the
Roman encampment below.

After contemplating the scene presented to his view at the river for
some time in silence, Hannibal commenced his preparations for crossing
the stream. He collected first all the boats of every kind which
could be obtained among the Gauls who lived along the bank of the
river. These, however, only served for a beginning, and so he next got
together all the workmen and all the tools which the country could
furnish, for several miles around, and went to work constructing more.
The Gauls of that region had a custom of making boats of the trunks of
large trees. The tree, being felled and cut to the proper length, was
hollowed out with hatchets and adzes, and then, being turned bottom
upward, the outside was shaped in such a manner as to make it glide
easily through the water. So convenient is this mode of making boats,
that it is practiced, in cases where sufficiently large trees are
found, to the present day. Such boats are now called canoes.

There were plenty of large trees on the banks of the Rhone. Hannibal's
soldiers watched the Gauls at their work, in making boats of them,
until they learned the art themselves. Some first assisted their new
allies in the easier portions of the operation, and then began to fell
large trees and make the boats themselves. Others, who had less skill
or more impetuosity chose not to wait for the slow process of
hollowing the wood, and they, accordingly, would fell the trees upon
the shore, cut the trunks of equal lengths, place them side by side in
the water, and bolt or bind them together so as to form a raft. The
form and fashion of their craft was of no consequence, they said, as
it was for one passage only. Any thing would answer, if it would only
float and bear its burden over.

In the mean time, the enemy upon the opposite shore looked on, but
they could do nothing to impede these operations. If they had had
artillery, such as is in use at the present day, they could have fired
across the river, and have blown the boats and rafts to pieces with
balls and shells as fast as the Gauls and Carthaginians could build
them. In fact, the workmen could not have built them under such a
cannonading; but the enemy, in this case, had nothing but spears, and
arrows, and stones, to be thrown either by the hand, or by engines far
too weak to send them with any effect across such a stream. They had
to look on quietly, therefore, and allow these great and formidable
preparations for an attack upon them to go on without interruption.
Their only hope was to overwhelm the army with their missiles, and
prevent their landing, when they should reach the bank at last in
their attempt to cross the stream.

If an army is crossing a river without any enemy to oppose them, a
moderate number of boats will serve, as a part of the army can be
transported at a time, and the whole gradually transferred from one
bank to the other by repeated trips of the same conveyances. But when
there is an enemy to encounter at the landing, it is necessary to
provide the means of carrying over a very large force at a time; for
if a small division were to go over first alone, it would only throw
itself, weak and defenseless, into the hands of the enemy. Hannibal,
therefore, waited until he had boats, rafts, and floats enough
constructed to carry over a force all together sufficiently numerous
and powerful to attack the enemy with a prospect of success.

The Romans, as we have already remarked, say that Hannibal was
cunning. He certainly was not disposed, like Alexander, to trust in
his battles to simple superiority of bravery and force, but was always
contriving some stratagem to increase the chances of victory. He did
so in this case. He kept up for many days a prodigious parade and
bustle of building boats and rafts in sight of his enemy, as if his
sole reliance was on the multitude of men that he could pour across
the river at a single transportation, and he thus kept their
attention closely riveted upon these preparations. All this time,
however, he had another plan in course of execution. He had sent a
strong body of troops secretly up the river, with orders to make their
way stealthily through the forests, and cross the stream some few
miles above. This force was intended to move back from the river, as
soon as it should cross the stream, and come down upon the enemy in
the rear, so as to attack and harass them there at the same time that
Hannibal was crossing with the main body of the army. If they
succeeded in crossing the river safely, they were to build a fire in
the woods, on the other side, in order that the column of smoke which
should ascend from it might serve as a signal of their success to

This detachment was commanded by an officer named Hanno--of course a
very different man from Hannibal's great enemy of that name in
Carthage. Hanno set out in the night, moving back from the river, in
commencing his march, so as to be entirely out of sight from the Gauls
on the other side. He had some guides, belonging to the country, who
promised to show him a convenient place for crossing. The party went
up the river about twenty-five miles. Here they found a place where
the water spread to a greater width, and where the current was less
rapid, and the water not so deep. They got to this place in silence
and secrecy, their enemies below not having suspected any such design.
As they had, therefore, nobody to oppose them, they could cross much
more easily than the main army below. They made some rafts for
carrying over those of the men that could not swim, and such munitions
of war as would be injured by the wet. The rest of the men waded till
they reached the channel, and then swam, supporting themselves in part
by their bucklers, which they placed beneath their bodies in the
water. Thus they all crossed in safety. They paused a day, to dry
their clothes and to rest, and then moved cautiously down the river
until they were near enough to Hannibal's position to allow their
signal to be seen. The fire was then built, and they gazed with
exultation upon the column of smoke which ascended from it high into
the air.

Hannibal saw the signal, and now immediately prepared to cross with
his army. The horsemen embarked in boats, holding their horses by
lines, with a view of leading them into the water so that they might
swim in company with the boats. Other horses, bridled and accoutered,
were put into large flat-bottomed boats, to be taken across dry, in
order that they might be all ready for service at the instant of
landing. The most vigorous and efficient portion of the army were, of
course, selected for the first passage, while all those who, for any
cause, were weak or disabled, remained behind, with the stores and
munitions of war, to be transported afterward, when the first passage
should have been effected. All this time the enemy, on the opposite
shore, were getting their ranks in array, and making every thing ready
for a furious assault upon the invaders the moment they should
approach the land.

There was something like silence and order during the period while the
men were embarking and pushing out from the land, but as they advanced
into the current, the loud commands, and shouts, and outcries
increased more and more, and the rapidity of the current and of the
eddies by which the boats and rafts were hurried down the stream, or
whirled against each other, soon produced a terrific scene of tumult
and confusion. As soon as the first boats approached the land, the
Gauls assembled to oppose them rushed down upon them with showers of
missiles, and with those unearthly yells which barbarous warriors
always raise in going into battle, as a means both of exciting
themselves and of terrifying their enemy. Hannibal's officers urged
the boats on, and endeavored, with as much coolness and deliberation
as possible, to effect a landing. It is perhaps doubtful how the
contest would have ended, had it not been for the detachment under
Hanno, which now came suddenly into action. While the Gauls were in
the height of their excitement, in attempting to drive back the
Carthaginians from the bank, they were thunderstruck at hearing the
shouts and cries of an enemy behind them, and, on looking around, they
saw the troops of Hanno pouring down upon them from the thickets with
terrible impetuosity and force. It is very difficult for an army to
fight both in front and in the rear at the same time. The Gauls, after
a brief struggle, abandoned the attempt any longer to oppose
Hannibal's landing. They fled down the river and back into the
interior, leaving Hanno in secure possession of the bank while
Hannibal and his forces came up at their leisure out of the water,
finding friends instead of enemies to receive them.

The remainder of the army, together with the stores and munitions of
war, were next to be transported, and this was accomplished with
little difficulty now that there was no enemy to disturb their
operations. There was one part of the force, however, which occasioned
some trouble and delay. It was a body of elephants which formed a part
of the army. How to get these unwieldy animals across so broad and
rapid a river was a question of no little difficulty. There are
various accounts of the manner in which Hannibal accomplished the
object, from which it would seem that different methods were employed.
One mode was as follows: the keeper of the elephants selected one more
spirited and passionate in disposition than the rest, and contrived to
teaze and torment him so as to make him angry. The elephant advanced
toward his keeper with his trunk raised to take vengeance. The keeper
fled; the elephant pursued him, the other elephants of the herd
following, as is the habit of the animal on such occasions. The keeper
ran into the water as if to elude his pursuer, while the elephant and
a large part of the herd pressed on after him. The man swam into the
channel, and the elephants, before they could check themselves, found
that they were beyond their depth. Some swam on after the keeper, and
crossed the river, where they were easily secured. Others, terrified,
abandoned themselves to the current, and were floated down, struggling
helplessly as they went, until at last they grounded upon shallows or
points of land, whence they gained the shore again, some on one side
of the stream and some on the other.

This plan was thus only partially successful, and Hannibal devised a
more effectual method for the remainder of the troop. He built an
immensely large raft, floated it up to the shore, fastened it there
securely, and covered it with earth, turf, and bushes, so as to make
it resemble a projection of the land. He then caused a second raft to
be constructed of the same size, and this he brought up to the outer
edge of the other, fastened it there by a temporary connection, and
covered and concealed it as he had done the first. The first of these
rafts extended two hundred feet from the shore, and was fifty feet
broad. The other, that is, the outer one, was only a little smaller.
The soldiers then contrived to allure and drive the elephants over
these rafts to the outer one, the animals imagining that they had not
left the land. The two rafts were then disconnected from each other,
and the outer one began to move with its bulky passengers over the
water, towed by a number of boats which had previously been attached
to its outer edge.

As soon as the elephants perceived the motion, they were alarmed, and
began immediately to look anxiously this way and that, and to crowd
toward the edges of the raft which was conveying them away. They found
themselves hemmed in by water on every side, and were terrified and
thrown into confusion. Some were crowded off into the river, and were
drifted down till they landed below. The rest soon became calm, and
allowed themselves to be quietly ferried across the stream, when they
found that all hope of escape and resistance were equally vain.


In the mean time, while these events were occurring, the troop of
three hundred, which Scipio had sent up the river to see what tidings
he could learn of the Carthaginians, were slowly making their way
toward the point where Hannibal was crossing; and it happened that
Hannibal had sent down a troop of _five_ hundred, when he first
reached the river, to see if they could learn any tidings of the
Romans. Neither of the armies had any idea how near they were to
the other. The two detachments met suddenly and unexpectedly on the
way. They were sent to explore, and not to fight; but as they were
nearly equally matched, each was ambitious of the glory of capturing
the others and carrying them prisoners to their camp. They fought a
long and bloody battle. A great number were killed, and in about the
same proportion on either side. The Romans say _they_ conquered. We do
not know what the Carthaginians said, but as both parties retreated
from the field and went back to their respective camps, it is safe to
infer that neither could boast of a very decisive victory.



B.C. 217

The Alps.--Their sublimity and grandeur.--Perpetual cold in the
upper regions of the atmosphere.--Avalanches.--Their terrible
force.--The glaciers.--Motion of the ice.--Crevices and
chasms.--Situation of the Alps.--Roads over the Alps.--Sublime
scenery.--Beauty of the Alpine scenery.--Picturesque
scenery.--Hannibal determines to cross the Alps.--Hannibal's
speech to his army.--Its effects.--His army follows.--Scipio moves
after Hannibal.--Sad vestiges.--Perplexity of Scipio.--He sails back
to Italy.--Hannibal approaches the Alps.--A dangerous defile.--The
army encamps.--The mountaineers.--Hannibal's stratagem.--Its
success.--Astonishment of the mountaineers.--Terrible conflict in
the defile.--Attack of Hannibal.--The mountaineers defeated.--The
army pauses to refresh.--Scarcity of food.--Herds and flocks upon
the mountains.--Foraging parties.--Collecting cattle.--Progress of
the army.--Cantons.--An embassage.--Hostages.--Hannibal's
suspicions.--Treachery of the mountaineers.--They attack
Hannibal.--The elephants.--Hannibal's army divided.--Hannibal's
attack on the mountaineers.--They embarrass his march.--Hannibal's
indomitable perseverance.--He encamps.--Return of straggling
parties.--Dreary scenery of the summit.--Storms in the mountains.--A
dreary encampment.--Landmarks.--A snow storm.--The army resumes its
march.--Hannibal among the pioneers.--First sight of Italy.--Joy of
the army.--Hannibal's speech.--Fatigues of the march.--New
difficulties.--March over the glacier.--A formidable barrier.--Hannibal
cuts his way through the rocks.--The army in safety on the plains of

It is difficult for any one who has not actually seen such mountain
scenery as is presented by the Alps, to form any clear conception of
its magnificence and grandeur. Hannibal had never seen the Alps, but
the world was filled then, as now, with their fame.

Some of the leading features of sublimity and grandeur which these
mountains exhibit, result mainly from the perpetual cold which reigns
upon their summits. This is owing simply to their elevation. In every
part of the earth, as we ascend from the surface of the ground into
the atmosphere, it becomes, for some mysterious reason or other, more
and more cold as we rise, so that over our heads, wherever we are,
there reigns, at a distance of two or three miles above us, an intense
and perpetual cold. This is true not only in cool and temperate
latitudes, but also in the most torrid regions of the globe. If we
were to ascend in a balloon at Borneo at midday, when the burning sun
of the tropics was directly over our heads, to an elevation of five
or six miles, we should find that although we had been moving nearer
to the sun all the time, its rays would have lost, gradually, all
their power. They would fall upon us as brightly as ever, but their
heat would be gone. They would feel like moonbeams, and we should be
surrounded with an atmosphere as frosty as that of the icebergs of the
frigid zone.

It is from this region of perpetual cold that hail-stones descend upon
us in the midst of summer, and snow is continually forming and falling
there; but the light and fleecy flakes melt before they reach the
earth, so that, while the hail has such solidity and momentum that it
forces its way through, the snow dissolves, and falls upon us as a
cool and refreshing rain. Rain cools the air around us and the ground,
because it comes from cooler regions of the air above.

Now it happens that not only the summits, but extensive portions of
the upper declivities of the Alps, rise into the region of perpetual
winter. Of course, ice congeals continually there, and the snow which
forms falls to the ground as snow, and accumulates in vast and
permanent stores. The summit of Mount Blanc is covered with a bed of
snow of enormous thickness, which is almost as much a permanent
geological stratum of the mountain as the granite which lies beneath

Of course, during the winter months, the whole country of the Alps,
valley as well as hill, is covered with snow. In the spring the snow
melts in the valleys and plains, and higher up it becomes damp and
heavy with partial melting, and slides down the declivities in vast
avalanches, which sometimes are of such enormous magnitude, and
descend with such resistless force, as to bring down earth, rocks, and
even the trees of the forest in their train. On the higher
declivities, however, and over all the rounded summits, the snow still
clings to its place, yielding but very little to the feeble beams of
the sun, even in July.

There are vast ravines and valleys among the higher Alps where the
snow accumulates, being driven into them by winds and storms in the
winter, and sliding into them, in great avalanches, in the spring.
These vast depositories of snow become changed into ice below the
surface; for at the surface there is a continual melting, and the
water, flowing down through the mass, freezes below. Thus there are
valleys, or rather ravines, some of them two or three miles wide and
ten or fifteen miles long, filled with ice, transparent, solid, and
blue, hundreds of feet in depth. They are called _glaciers_. And what
is most astonishing in respect to these icy accumulations is that,
though the ice is perfectly compact and solid, the whole mass is found
to be continually in a state of slow motion down the valley in which
it lies, at the rate of about a foot in twenty-four hours. By standing
upon the surface and listening attentively, we hear, from time to
time, a grinding sound. The rocks which lie along the sides are
pulverized, and are continually moving against each other and falling;
and then, besides, which is a more direct and positive proof still of
the motion of the mass, a mark may be set up upon the ice, as has been
often done, and marks corresponding to it made upon the solid rocks on
each side of the valley, and by this means the fact of the motion, and
the exact rate of it, may be fully ascertained.

Thus these valleys are really and literally rivers of ice, rising
among the summits of the mountains, and flowing, slowly it is true,
but with a continuous and certain current, to a sort of mouth in some
great and open valley below. Here the streams which have flowed over
the surface above, and descended into the mass through countless
crevices and chasms, into which the traveler looks down with terror,
concentrate and issue from under the ice in a turbid torrent, which
comes out from a vast archway made by the falling in of masses which
the water has undermined. This lower end of the glacier sometimes
presents a perpendicular wall hundreds of feet in height; sometimes it
crowds down into the fertile valley, advancing in some unusually cold
summer into the cultivated country, where, as it slowly moves on, it
plows up the ground, carries away the orchards and fields, and even
drives the inhabitants from the villages which it threatens. If the
next summer proves warm, the terrible monster slowly draws back its
frigid head, and the inhabitants return to the ground it reluctantly
evacuates, and attempt to repair the damage it has done.

The Alps lie between France and Italy, and the great valleys and the
ranges of mountain land lie in such a direction that they must be
_crossed_ in order to pass from one country to the other. These ranges
are, however, not regular. They are traversed by innumerable chasms,
fissures, and ravines; in some places they rise in vast rounded
summits and swells, covered with fields of spotless snow; in others
they tower in lofty, needle-like peaks, which even the chamois can
not scale, and where scarcely a flake of snow can find a place of
rest. Around and among these peaks and summits, and through these
frightful defiles and chasms, the roads twist and turn, in a zigzag
and constantly ascending course, creeping along the most frightful
precipices, sometimes beneath them and sometimes on the brink,
penetrating the darkest and gloomiest defiles, skirting the most
impetuous and foaming torrents, and at last, perhaps, emerging upon
the surface of a glacier, to be lost in interminable fields of ice and
snow, where countless brooks run in glassy channels, and crevasses
yawn, ready to take advantage of any slip which may enable them to
take down the traveler into their bottomless abysses.

And yet, notwithstanding the awful desolation which reigns in the
upper regions of the Alps, the lower valleys, through which the
streams finally meander out into the open plains, and by which the
traveler gains access to the sublimer scenes of the upper mountains,
are inexpressibly verdant and beautiful. They are fertilized by the
deposits of continual inundations in the early spring, and the sun
beats down into them with a genial warmth in summer, which brings out
millions of flowers, of the most beautiful forms and colors, and
ripens rapidly the broadest and richest fields of grain. Cottages, of
every picturesque and beautiful form, tenanted by the cultivators, the
shepherds and the herdsmen, crown every little swell in the bottom of
the valley, and cling to the declivities of the mountains which rise
on either hand. Above them eternal forests of firs and pines wave,
feathering over the steepest and most rocky slopes with their somber
foliage. Still higher, gray precipices rise and spires and pinnacles,
far grander and more picturesque, if not so symmetrically formed, than
those constructed by man. Between these there is seen, here and there,
in the background, vast towering masses of white and dazzling snow,
which crown the summits of the loftier mountains beyond.

Hannibal's determination to carry an army into Italy by way of the
Alps, instead of transporting them by galleys over the sea, has always
been regarded as one of the greatest undertakings of ancient times. He
hesitated for some time whether he should go down the Rhone, and meet
and give battle to Scipio, or whether he should leave the Roman army
to its course, and proceed himself directly toward the Alps and
Italy. The officers and soldiers of the army, who had now learned
something of their destination and of their leader's plans, wanted to
go and meet the Romans. They dreaded the Alps. They were willing to
encounter a military foe, however formidable, for this was a danger
that they were accustomed to and could understand; but their
imaginations were appalled at the novel and awful images they formed
of falling down precipices of ragged rocks, or of gradually freezing,
and being buried half alive, during the process, in eternal snows.

Hannibal, when he found that his soldiers were afraid to proceed,
called the leading portions of his army together, and made them an
address. He remonstrated with them for yielding now to unworthy fears,
after having successfully met and triumphed over such dangers as they
had already incurred. "You have surmounted the Pyrenees," said he,
"you have crossed the Rhone. You are now actually in sight of the
Alps, which are the very gates of access to the country of the enemy.
What do you conceive the Alps to be? They are nothing but high
mountains, after all. Suppose they are higher than the Pyrenees, they
do not reach to the skies; and, since they do not, they can not be
insurmountable. They _are_ surmounted, in fact, every day; they are
even inhabited and cultivated, and travelers continually pass over
them to and fro. And what a single man can do, an army can do, for an
army is only a large number of single men. In fact, to a soldier, who
has nothing to carry with him but the implements of war, no way can be
too difficult to be surmounted by courage and energy."

After finishing his speech, Hannibal, finding his men reanimated and
encouraged by what he had said, ordered them to go to their tents and
refresh themselves, and prepare to march on the following day. They
made no further opposition to going on. Hannibal did not, however,
proceed at once directly toward the Alps. He did not know what the
plans of Scipio might be, who, it will be recollected, was below him,
on the Rhone, with the Roman army. He did not wish to waste his time
and his strength in a contest with Scipio in Gaul, but to press on and
get across the Alps into Italy as soon as possible. And so, fearing
lest Scipio should strike across the country, and intercept him if he
should attempt to go by the most direct route, he determined to move
northwardly, up the River Rhone, till he should get well into the
interior, with a view of reaching the Alps ultimately by a more
circuitous journey.

It was, in fact, the plan of Scipio to come up with Hannibal and
attack him as soon as possible; and, accordingly, as soon as his
horsemen, or, rather, those who were left alive after the battle had
returned and informed him that Hannibal and his army were near, he put
his camp in motion and moved rapidly up the river. He arrived at the
place where the Carthaginians had crossed a few days after they had
gone. The spot was in a terrible state of ruin and confusion. The
grass and herbage were trampled down for the circuit of a mile, and
all over the space were spots of black and smouldering remains, where
the camp-fires had been kindled. The tops and branches of trees lay
every where around, their leaves withering in the sun, and the groves
and forests were encumbered with limbs, and rejected trunks, and trees
felled and left where they lay. The shore was lined far down the
stream with ruins of boats and rafts, with weapons which had been lost
or abandoned, and with the bodies of those who had been drowned in the
passage, or killed in the contest on the shore. These and numerous
other vestiges remained but the army was gone.

There were, however, upon the ground groups of natives and other
visitors, who had come to look at the spot now destined to become so
memorable in history. From these men Scipio learned when and where
Hannibal had gone. He decided that it was useless to attempt to pursue
him. He was greatly perplexed to know what to do. In the casting of
lots, Spain had fallen to him, but now that the great enemy whom he
had come forth to meet had left Spain altogether, his only hope of
intercepting his progress was to sail back into Italy, and meet him as
he came down from the Alps into the great valley of the Po. Still, as
Spain had been assigned to him as his province, he could not well
entirely abandon it. He accordingly sent forward the largest part of
his army into Spain, to attack the forces that Hannibal had left
there, while he himself, with a smaller force, went down to the
sea-shore and sailed back to Italy again. He expected to find Roman
forces in the valley of the Po, with which he hoped to be strong
enough to meet Hannibal as he descended from the mountains, if he
should succeed in effecting a passage over them.

In the mean time Hannibal went on, drawing nearer and nearer to the
ranges of snowy summits which his soldiers had seen for many days in
their eastern horizon. These ranges were very resplendent and grand
when the sun went down in the west, for then it shone directly upon
them. As the army approached nearer and nearer to them, they gradually
withdrew from sight and disappeared, being concealed by intervening
summits less lofty, but nearer. As the soldiers went on, however, and
began to penetrate the valleys, and draw near to the awful chasms and
precipices among the mountains, and saw the turbid torrents descending
from them, their fears revived. It was, however, now too late to
retreat. They pressed forward, ascending continually, till their road
grew extremely precipitous and insecure, threading its way through
almost impassable defiles, with rugged cliffs overhanging them, and
snowy summits towering all around.

At last they came to a narrow defile through which they must
necessarily pass, but which was guarded by large bodies of armed men
assembled on the rocks and precipices above, ready to hurl stones and
weapons of every kind upon them if they should attempt to pass
through. The army halted. Hannibal ordered them to encamp where they
were, until he could consider what to do. In the course of the day he
learned that the mountaineers did not remain at their elevated posts
during the night, on account of the intense cold and exposure,
knowing, too, that it would be impossible for an army to traverse such
a pass as they were attempting to guard without daylight to guide
them, for the road, or rather pathway, which passes through these
defiles, follows generally the course of a mountain torrent, which
flows through a succession of frightful ravines and chasms, and often
passes along on a shelf or projection of the rock, hundreds and
sometimes thousands of feet from the bed of the stream, which foams
and roars far below. There could, of course, be no hope of passing
safely by such a route without the light of day.

The mountaineers, therefore, knowing that it was not necessary to
guard the pass at night--its own terrible danger being then a
sufficient protection--were accustomed to disperse in the evening, and
descend to regions where they could find shelter and repose, and to
return and renew their watch in the morning. When Hannibal learned
this, he determined to anticipate them in getting up upon the rocks
the next day, and, in order to prevent their entertaining any
suspicion of his design, he pretended to be making all the
arrangements for encamping for the night on the ground he had taken.
He accordingly pitched more tents, and built, toward evening, a great
many fires, and he began some preparations indicating that it was his
intention the next day to force his way through the pass. He moved
forward a strong detachment up to a point near the entrance to the
pass, and put them in a fortified position there, as if to have them
all ready to advance when the proper time should arrive on the
following day.

The mountaineers, seeing all these preparations going on, looked
forward to a conflict on the morrow, and, during the night, left their
positions as usual, to descend to places of shelter. The next morning,
however, when they began, at an early hour, to ascend to them again,
they were astonished to find all the lofty rocks, and cliffs, and
shelving projections which overhung the pass, covered with
Carthaginians. Hannibal had aroused a strong body of his men at the
earliest dawn, and led them up, by steep climbing, to the places which
the mountaineers had left, so as to be there before them. The
mountaineers paused, astonished, at this spectacle, and their
disappointment and rage were much increased on looking down into the
valley below, and seeing there the remainder of the Carthaginian army
quietly moving through the pass in a long train, safe apparently from
any molestation, since friends, and not enemies, were now in
possession of the cliffs above.

The mountaineers could not restrain their feelings of vexation and
anger, but immediately rushed down the declivities which they had in
part ascended, and attacked the army in the defile. An awful scene of
struggle and confusion ensued. Some were killed by weapons or by rocks
rolled down upon them. Others, contending together, and struggling
desperately in places of very narrow foothold, tumbled headlong down
the rugged rocks into the torrent below; and horses, laden with
baggage and stores, became frightened and unmanageable, and crowded
each other over the most frightful precipices. Hannibal, who was
above, on the higher rocks, looked down upon this scene for a time
with the greatest anxiety and terror. He did not dare to descend
himself and mingle in the affray, for fear of increasing the
confusion. He soon found, however, that it was absolutely necessary
for him to interpose, and he came down as rapidly as possible, his
detachment with him. They descended by oblique and zigzag paths,
wherever they could get footing among the rocks, and attacked the
mountaineers with great fury. The result was, as he had feared, a
great increase at first of the confusion and the slaughter. The horses
were more and more terrified by the fresh energy of the combat, and by
the resounding of louder shouts and cries, which were made doubly
terrific by the echoes and reverberations of the mountains. They
crowded against each other, and fell, horses and men together, in
masses, over the cliffs to the rugged rocks below, where they lay in
confusion, some dead, and others dying, writhing helplessly in agony,
or vainly endeavoring to crawl away.

The mountaineers were, however, conquered and driven away at last, and
the pass was left clear. The Carthaginian column was restored to
order. The horses that had not fallen were calmed and quieted. The
baggage which had been thrown down was gathered up, and the wounded
men were placed on litters, rudely constructed on the spot, that they
might be borne on to a place of safety. In a short time all were ready
to move on, and the march was accordingly recommenced. There was no
further difficulty. The column advanced in a quiet and orderly manner
until they had passed the defile. At the extremity of it they came to
a spacious fort belonging to the natives. Hannibal took possession of
this fort, and paused for a little time there to rest and refresh his

One of the greatest difficulties encountered by a general in
conducting an army through difficult and dangerous roads, is that of
providing food for them. An army can transport its own food only a
very little way. Men traveling over smooth roads can only carry
provisions for a few days, and where the roads are as difficult and
dangerous as the passes of the Alps, they can scarcely carry any. The
commander must, accordingly, find subsistence in the country through
which he is marching. Hannibal had, therefore, now not only to look
out for the safety of his men, but their food was exhausted, and he
must take immediate measures to secure a supply.

The lower slopes of lofty mountains afford usually abundant sustenance
for flocks and herds. The showers which are continually falling there,
and the moisture which comes down the sides of the mountains through
the ground keep the turf perpetually green, and sheep and cattle love
to pasture upon it; they climb to great heights, finding the herbage
finer and sweeter the higher they go. Thus the inhabitants of mountain
ranges are almost always shepherds and herdsmen. Grain can be raised
in the valleys below, but the slopes of the mountains, though they
produce grass to perfection, are too steep to be tilled.

As soon as Hannibal had got established in the fort, he sent around
small bodies of men to seize and drive in all the cattle and sheep
that they could find. These men were, of course, armed, in order that
they might be prepared to meet any resistance which they might
encounter. The mountaineers, however, did not attempt to resist them.
They felt that they were conquered, and they were accordingly
disheartened and discouraged. The only mode of saving their cattle
which was left to them, was to drive them as fast as they could into
concealed and inaccessible places. They attempted to do this, and
while Hannibal's parties were ranging up the valleys all around them,
examining every field, and barn, and sheepfold that they could find,
the wretched and despairing inhabitants were flying in all directions,
driving the cows and sheep, on which their whole hope of subsistence
depended, into the fastnesses of the mountains. They urged them into
wild thickets, and dark ravines and chasms, and over dangerous
glaciers, and up the steepest ascents, wherever there was the readiest
prospect of getting them out of the plunderer's way.

These attempts, however, to save their little property were but very
partially successful. Hannibal's marauding parties kept coming home,
one after another, with droves of sheep and cattle before them, some
larger and some smaller, but making up a vast amount in all. Hannibal
subsisted his men three days on the food thus procured for them. It
requires an enormous store to feed ninety or a hundred thousand men,
even for three days; besides, in all such cases as this, an army
always waste and destroy far more than they really consume.

During these three days the army was not stationary, but was moving
slowly on. The way, though still difficult and dangerous, was at least
open before them, as there was now no enemy to dispute their passage.
So they went on, rioting upon the abundant supplies they had obtained,
and rejoicing in the double victory they were gaining, over the
hostility of the people and the physical dangers and difficulties of
the way. The poor mountaineers returned to their cabins ruined and
desolate, for mountaineers who have lost their cows and their sheep
have lost their all.

The Alps are not all in Switzerland. Some of the most celebrated peaks
and ranges are in a neighboring state called Savoy. The whole country
is, in fact, divided into small states, called _cantons_ at the
present day, and similar political divisions seem to have existed in
the time of the Romans. In his march onward from the pass which has
been already described, Hannibal, accordingly, soon approached the
confines of another canton. As he was advancing slowly into it, with
the long train of his army winding up with him through the valleys, he
was met at the borders of this new state by an embassage sent from the
government of it. They brought with them fresh stores of provisions,
and a number of guides. They said that they had heard of the terrible
destruction which had come upon the other canton in consequence of
their effort to oppose his progress, and that they had no intention of
renewing so vain an attempt. They came, therefore, they said, to offer
Hannibal their friendship and their aid. They had brought guides to
show the army the best way over the mountains, and a present of
provisions; and to prove the sincerity of their professions they
offered Hannibal hostages. These hostages were young men and boys, the
sons of the principal inhabitants, whom they offered to deliver into
Hannibal's power, to be kept by him until he should see that they were
faithful and true in doing what they offered.

[Illustration: HANNIBAL ON THE ALPS.]

Hannibal was so accustomed to stratagem and treachery himself, that he
was at first very much at a loss to decide whether these offers and
professions were honest and sincere, or whether they were only made to
put him off his guard. He thought it possible that it was their design
to induce him to place himself under their direction, so that they
might lead him into some dangerous defile or labyrinth of rocks, from
which he could not extricate himself, and where they could attack and
destroy him. He, however, decided to return them a favorable answer,
but to watch them very carefully, and to proceed under their guidance
with the utmost caution and care. He accepted of the provisions they
offered, and took the hostages. These last he delivered into the
custody of a body of his soldiers and they marched on with the rest of
the army. Then, directing the new guides to lead the way, the army
moved on after them. The elephants went first, with a moderate force
for their protection preceding and accompanying them. Then came long
trains of horses and mules, loaded with military stores and baggage,
and finally the foot soldiers followed, marching irregularly in a long
column. The whole train must have extended many miles, and must have
appeared from any of the eminences around like an enormous serpent,
winding its way tortuously through the wild and desolate valleys.

Hannibal was right in his suspicions. The embassage was a stratagem.
The men who sent it had laid an ambuscade in a very narrow pass,
concealing their forces in thickets and in chasms, and in nooks and
corners among the rugged rocks, and when the guides had led the army
well into the danger, a sudden signal was given, and these concealed
enemies rushed down upon them in great numbers, breaking into their
ranks, and renewing the scene of terrible uproar, tumult, and
destruction which had been witnessed in the other defile. One would
have thought that the elephants, being so unwieldy and so helpless in
such a scene, would have been the first objects of attack. But it was
not so. The mountaineers were afraid of them. They had never seen
such animals before, and they felt for them a mysterious awe, not
knowing what terrible powers such enormous beasts might be expected to
wield. They kept away from them, therefore, and from the horsemen, and
poured down upon the head of the column of foot soldiers which
followed in the rear.

They were quite successful at the first onset. They broke through the
head of the column, and drove the rest back. The horses and elephants,
in the mean time, moved forward, bearing the baggage with them, so
that the two portions of the army were soon entirely separated.
Hannibal was behind, with the soldiers. The mountaineers made good
their position, and, as night came on, the contest ceased, for in such
wilds as these no one can move at all, except with the light of day.
The mountaineers, however, remained in their place, dividing the army,
and Hannibal continued, during the night, in a state of great suspense
and anxiety, with the elephants and the baggage separated from him and
apparently at the mercy of the enemy.

During the night he made vigorous preparations for attacking the
mountaineers the next day. As soon as the morning light appeared, he
made the attack, and he succeeded in driving the enemy away, so far,
at least, as to allow him to get his army together again. He then
began once more to move on. The mountaineers, however, hovered about
his way, and did all they could to molest and embarrass his march.
They concealed themselves in ambuscades, and attacked the
Carthaginians as they passed. They rolled stones down upon them, or
discharged spears and arrows from eminences above; and if any of
Hannibal's army became, from any reason, detached from the rest, they
would cut off their retreat, and then take them prisoners or destroy
them. Thus they gave Hannibal a great deal of trouble. They harassed
his march continually, without presenting at any point a force which
he could meet and encounter in battle. Of course, Hannibal could no
longer trust to his guides, and he was obliged to make his way as he
best could, sometimes right, but often wrong, and exposed to a
thousand difficulties and dangers, which those acquainted with the
country might have easily avoided. All this time the mountaineers were
continually attacking him, in bands like those of robbers, sometimes
in the van, and sometimes in the rear, wherever the nature of the
ground or the circumstances of the marching army afforded them an

Hannibal persevered, however, through all these discouragements,
protecting his men as far as it was in his power, but pressing
earnestly on, until in nine days he reached the summit. By the summit,
however, is not meant the summit of the mountains, but the summit of
the _pass_, that is, the highest point which it was necessary for him
to attain in going over. In all mountain ranges there are depressions,
which are in Switzerland called _necks_,[A] and the pathways and roads
over the ranges lie always in these. In America, such a depression in
a ridge of land, if well marked and decided, is called a _notch_.
Hannibal attained the highest point of the _col_, by which he was to
pass over, in nine days after the great battle. There were, however,
of course, lofty peaks and summits towering still far above him.

[Footnote A: The French word is _col_. Thus, there is the Col de
Balme, the Col de Géant, &c.]

He encamped here two days to rest and refresh his men. The enemy no
longer molested him. In fact, parties were continually coming into the
camp, of men and horses, that had got lost, or had been left in the
valleys below. They came in slowly, some wounded, others exhausted
and spent by fatigue and exposure. In some cases horses came in alone.
They were horses that had slipped or stumbled, and fallen among the
rocks, or had sunk down exhausted by their toil, and had thus been
left behind, and afterward, recovering their strength, had followed
on, led by a strange instinct to keep to the tracks which their
companions had made, and thus they rejoined the camp at last in

In fact, one great reason for Hannibal's delay at his encampment on or
near the summit of the pass, was to afford time for all the missing
men to join the army again, that had the power to do so. Had it not
been for this necessity, he would doubtless have descended some
distance, at least, to a more warm and sheltered position before
seeking repose. A more gloomy and desolate resting-place than the
summit of an Alpine pass can scarcely be found. The bare and barren
rocks are entirely destitute of vegetation, and they have lost,
besides, the sublime and picturesque forms which they assume further
below. They spread in vast, naked fields in every direction around the
spectator, rising in gentle ascents, bleak and dreary, the surface
whitened as if bleached by the perpetual rains. Storms are, in fact,
almost perpetual in these elevated regions. The vast cloud which, to
the eye of the shepherd in the valley below, seems only a fleecy cap,
resting serenely upon the summit, or slowly floating along the sides,
is really a driving mist, or cold and stormy rain, howling dismally
over interminable fields of broken rocks, as if angry that it can make
nothing grow upon them, with all its watering. Thus there are seldom
distant views to be obtained, and every thing near presents a scene of
simple dreariness and desolation.

Hannibal's soldiers thus found themselves in the midst of a dismal
scene in their lofty encampment. There is one special source of
danger, too, in such places as this, which the lower portions of the
mountains are less exposed to, and that is the entire obliteration of
the pathway by falls of snow. It seems almost absurd to speak of
pathway in such regions, where there is no turf to be worn, and the
boundless fields of rocks, ragged and hard, will take no trace of
footsteps. There are, however, generally some faint traces of way, and
where these fail entirely the track is sometimes indicated by small
piles of stones, placed at intervals along the line of route. An
unpracticed eye would scarcely distinguish these little landmarks, in
many cases, from accidental heaps of stones which lie every where
around. They, however, render a very essential service to the guides
and to the mountaineers, who have been accustomed to conduct their
steps by similar aids in other portions of the mountains.

But when snow begins to fall, all these and every other possible means
of distinguishing the way are soon entirely obliterated. The whole
surface of the ground, or, rather, of the rocks, is covered, and all
landmarks disappear. The little monuments become nothing but slight
inequalities in the surface of the snow, undistinguishable from a
thousand others. The air is thick and murky, and shuts off alike all
distant prospects, and the shape and conformation of the land that is
near; the bewildered traveler has not even the stars to guide him, as
there is nothing but dark, falling flakes, descending from an
impenetrable canopy of stormy clouds, to be seen in the sky.

Hannibal encountered a snow storm while on the summit of the pass, and
his army were very much terrified by it. It was now November. The army
had met with so many detentions and delays that their journey had been
protracted to a late period. It would be unsafe to attempt to wait
till this snow should melt again. As soon, therefore, as the storm
ended, and the clouds cleared away, so as to allow the men to see the
general features of the country around, the camp was broken up and the
army put in motion. The soldiers marched through the snow with great
anxiety and fear. Men went before to explore the way, and to guide the
rest by flags and banners which they bore. Those who went first made
paths, of course, for those who followed behind, as the snow was
trampled down by their footsteps. Notwithstanding these aids, however,
the army moved on very laboriously and with much fear.

At length, however, after descending a short distance, Hannibal,
perceiving that they must soon come in sight of the Italian valleys
and plains which lay beyond the Alps, went forward among the pioneers,
who had charge of the banners by which the movements of the army were
directed, and, as soon as the open country began to come into view, he
selected a spot where the widest prospect was presented, and halted
his army there to let them take a view of the beautiful country which
now lay before them. The Alps are very precipitous on the Italian
side. The descent is very sudden, from the cold and icy summits, to a
broad expanse of the most luxuriant and sunny plains. Upon these
plains, which were spread out in a most enchanting landscape at their
feet, Hannibal and his soldiers now looked down with exultation and
delight. Beautiful lakes, studded with still more beautiful islands,
reflected the beams of the sun. An endless succession of fields, in
sober autumnal colors, with the cottages of the laborers and stacks of
grain scattered here and there upon them, and rivers meandering
through verdant meadows, gave variety and enchantment to the view.

Hannibal made an address to his officers and men, congratulating them
on having arrived, at last, so near to a successful termination of
their toils. "The difficulties of the way," he said, "are at last
surmounted, and these mighty barriers that we have scaled are the
walls, not only of Italy, but of Rome itself. Since we have passed the
Alps, the Romans will have no protection against us remaining. It is
only one battle, when we get down upon the plains, or at most two, and
the great city itself will be entirely at our disposal."

The whole army were much animated and encouraged, both by the
prospect which presented itself to their view, and by the words of
Hannibal. They prepared for the descent, anticipating little
difficulty; but they found, on recommencing their march, that their
troubles were by no means over. The mountains are far steeper on the
Italian side than on the other, and it was extremely difficult to find
paths by which the elephants and the horses, and even the men, could
safely descend. They moved on for some time with great labor and
fatigue, until, at length, Hannibal, looking on before, found that the
head of the column had stopped, and the whole train behind was soon
jammed together, the ranks halting along the way in succession, as
they found their path blocked up by the halting of those before them.

Hannibal sent forward to ascertain the cause of the difficulty, and
found that the van of the army had reached a precipice down which it
was impossible to descend. It was necessary to make a circuit in hopes
of finding some practicable way of getting down. The guides and
pioneers went on, leading the army after them, and soon got upon a
glacier which lay in their way. There was fresh snow upon the surface,
covering the ice and concealing the _crevasses_, as they are
termed--that is, the great cracks and fissures which extend in the
glaciers down through the body of the ice. The army moved on,
trampling down the new snow, and making at first a good roadway by
their footsteps; but very soon the old ice and snow began to be
trampled _up_ by the hoofs of the horses and the heavy tread of such
vast multitudes of armed men. It softened to a great depth, and made
the work of toiling through it an enormous labor. Besides, the surface
of the ice and snow sloped steeply, and the men and beasts were
continually falling or sliding down, and getting swallowed up in
avalanches which their own weight set in motion, or in concealed
crevasses where they sank to rise no more.

They, however, made some progress, though slowly, and with great
danger. They at last got below the region of the snow, but here they
encountered new difficulties in the abruptness and ruggedness of the
rocks, and in the zigzag and tortuous direction of the way. At last
they came to a spot where their further progress appeared to be
entirely cut off by a large mass of rock, which it seemed necessary to
remove in order to widen the passage sufficiently to allow them to go
on. The Roman historian says that Hannibal removed these rocks by
building great fires upon them, and then pouring on vinegar, which
opened seams and fissures in them, by means of which the rocks could
be split and pried to pieces with wedges and crowbars. On reading this
account, the mind naturally pauses to consider the probability of its
being true. As they had no gunpowder in those days, they were
compelled to resort to some such method as the one above described for
removing rocks. There are some species of rock which are easily
cracked and broken by the action of fire. Others resist it. There
seems, however, to be no reason obvious why vinegar should materially
assist in the operation. Besides, we can not suppose that Hannibal
could have had, at such a time and place, any very large supply of
vinegar on hand. On the whole, it is probable that, if any such
operation was performed at all, it was on a very small scale, and the
results must have been very insignificant at the time, though the fact
has since been greatly celebrated in history.

In coming over the snow, and in descending the rocks immediately
below, the army, and especially the animals connected with it,
suffered a great deal from hunger. It was difficult to procure forage
for them of any kind. At length, however, as they continued their
descent, they came first into the region of forests, and soon after to
slopes of grassy fields descending into warm and fertile valleys. Here
the animals were allowed to stop and rest, and renew their strength by
abundance of food. The men rejoiced that their toils and dangers were
over, and, descending easily the remainder of the way, they encamped
at last safely on the plains of Italy.



B.C. 217

Miserable condition of the army.--Its great losses.--Feelings of
Hannibal's soldiers.--Plans of Scipio.--The armies approach each
other.--Feelings of Hannibal and Scipio.--Address of Scipio to the
Roman army.--Hannibal's ingenious method of introducing his
speech.--Curious combat.--Effect on the army.--Hannibal's speech
to his army.--His words of encouragement.--Hannibal's promises.--His
real feelings.--Hannibal's energy and decision.--His steady
resolution.--Hannibal's unfaltering courage.--Movements of
Scipio.--Scipio's bridge over the Po.--The army crosses the
river.--Hannibal's warlike operations.--He concentrates his
army.--Hannibal addresses his soldiers.--He promises them
lands.--Ratifying a promise.--Omens.--The battle.--The Romans
thrown into confusion.--Scipio wounded.--The Romans driven back
across the river.--The Romans destroy the bridge over the Ticinus.

When Hannibal's army found themselves on the plains of Italy, and sat
down quietly to repose, they felt the effects of their fatigues and
exposures far more sensibly than they had done under the excitement
which they naturally felt while actually upon the mountains. They
were, in fact, in a miserable condition. Hannibal told a Roman officer
whom he afterward took prisoner that more than thirty thousand
perished on the way in crossing the mountains; some in the battles
which were fought in the passes, and a greater number still, probably,
from exposure to fatigue and cold, and from falls among the rocks and
glaciers, and diseases produced by destitution and misery. The remnant
of the army which was left on reaching the plain were emaciated,
sickly, ragged, and spiritless; far more inclined to lie down and die,
than to go on and undertake the conquest of Italy and Rome.

After some days, however, they began to recruit. Although they had
been half starved among the mountains, they had now plenty of
wholesome food. They repaired their tattered garments and their broken
weapons. They talked with one another about the terrific scenes
through which they had been passing, and the dangers which they had
surmounted, and thus, gradually strengthening their impressions of the
greatness of the exploits they had performed, they began soon to
awaken in each other's breasts an ambition to go on and undertake the
accomplishment of other deeds of daring and glory.

We left Scipio with his army at the mouth of the Rhone, about to set
sail for Italy with a part of his force, while the rest of it was sent
on toward Spain. Scipio sailed along the coast by Genoa, and thence to
Pisa, where he landed. He stopped a little while to recruit his
soldiers after the voyage, and in the mean time sent orders to all the
Roman forces then in the north of Italy to join his standard. He hoped
in this way to collect a force strong enough to encounter Hannibal.
These arrangements being made, he marched to the northward as rapidly
as possible. He knew in what condition Hannibal's army had descended
from the Alps, and wished to attack them before they should have time
to recover from the effects of their privations and sufferings. He
reached the Po before he saw any thing of Hannibal.

Hannibal, in the mean time, was not idle. As soon as his men were in a
condition to move, he began to act upon the tribes that he found at
the foot of the mountains, offering his friendship to some, and
attacking others. He thus conquered those who attempted to resist him,
moving, all the time, gradually southward toward the Po. That river
has numerous branches, and among them is one named the Ticinus. It was
on the banks of this river that the two armies at last came together.

Both generals must have felt some degree of solicitude in respect to
the result of the contest which was about to take place. Scipio knew
very well Hannibal's terrible efficiency as a warrior, and he was
himself a general of great distinction, and a _Roman_, so that
Hannibal had no reason to anticipate a very easy victory. Whatever
doubts or fears, however, general officers may feel on the eve of an
engagement, it is always considered very necessary to conceal them
entirely from the men, and to animate and encourage the troops with a
most undoubting confidence that they will gain the victory.

Both Hannibal and Scipio, accordingly, made addresses to their
respective armies--at least so say the historians of those times--each
one expressing to his followers the certainty that the other side
would easily be beaten. The speech attributed to Scipio was somewhat
as follows:

"I wish to say a few words to you, soldiers, before we go into battle.
It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary. It certainly would not be
necessary if I had now under my command the same troops that I took
with me to the mouth of the Rhone. They knew the Carthaginians there,
and would not have feared them here. A body of our horsemen met and
attacked a larger body of theirs, and defeated them. We then advanced
with our whole force toward their encampment, in order to give them
battle. They, however, abandoned the ground and retreated before we
reached the spot, acknowledging, by their flight, their own fear and
our superiority. If you had been with us there, and had witnessed
these facts, there would have been no need that I should say any thing
to convince you now how easily you are going to defeat this
Carthaginian foe.

"We have had a war with this same nation before. We conquered them
then, both by land and sea; and when, finally, peace was made, we
required them to pay us tribute, and we continued to exact it from
them for twenty years. They are a conquered nation; and now this
miserable army has forced its way insanely over the Alps, just to
throw itself into our hands. They meet us reduced in numbers, and
exhausted in resources and strength. More than half of their army
perished in the mountains, and those that survive are weak,
dispirited, ragged, and diseased. And yet they are compelled to meet
us. If there was any chance for retreat, or any possible way for them
to avoid the necessity of a battle, they would avail themselves of it.
But there is not. They are hemmed in by the mountains, which are now,
to them, an impassable wall, for they have not strength to scale them
again. They are not real enemies; they are the mere remnants and
shadows of enemies. They are wholly disheartened and discouraged,
their strength and energy, both of soul and body, being spent and
gone, through the cold, the hunger, and the squalid misery they have
endured. Their joints are benumbed, their sinews stiffened, and their
forms emaciated. Their armor is shattered and broken, their horses are
lamed, and all their equipments worn out and ruined, so that really
what most I fear is that the world will refuse us the glory of the
victory, and say that it was the Alps that conquered Hannibal, and not
the Roman army.

"Easy as the victory is to be, however, we must remember that there is
a great deal at stake in the contest. It is not merely for glory that
we are now about to contend. If Hannibal conquers, he will march to
Rome, and our wives, our children, and all that we hold dear will be
at his mercy. Remember this, and go into the battle feeling that the
fate of Rome itself is depending upon the result."

An oration is attributed to Hannibal, too, on the occasion of this
battle. He showed, however, his characteristic ingenuity and spirit of
contrivance in the way in which he managed to attract strong attention
to what he was going to say, by the manner in which he introduced it.
He formed his army into a circle, as if to witness a spectacle. He
then brought in to the center of this circle a number of prisoners
that he had taken among the Alps--perhaps they were the hostages which
had been delivered to him, as related in the preceding chapter.
Whoever they were, however, whether hostages or captives taken in the
battles which had been fought in the defiles, Hannibal had brought
them with his army down into Italy, and now introducing them into the
center of the circle which the army formed, he threw down before them
such arms as they were accustomed to use in their native mountains,
and asked them whether they would be willing to take those weapons and
fight each other, on condition that each one who killed his antagonist
should be restored to his liberty, and have a horse and armor given
him, so that he could return home with honor. The barbarous monsters
said readily that they would, and seized the arms with the greatest
avidity. Two or three pairs of combatants were allowed to fight. One
of each pair was killed, and the other set at liberty according to the
promise of Hannibal. The combats excited the greatest interest, and
awakened the strongest enthusiasm among the soldiers who witnessed
them. When this effect had been sufficiently produced, the rest of the
prisoners were sent away, and Hannibal addressed the vast ring of
soldiery as follows:

"I have intended, soldiers, in what you have now seen, not merely to
amuse you, but to give you a picture of your own situation. You are
hemmed in on the right and left by two seas, and you have not so much
as a single ship upon either of them. Then there is the Po before you
and the Alps behind. The Po is a deeper, and more rapid and turbulent
river than the Rhone; and as for the Alps, it was with the utmost
difficulty that you passed over them when you were in full strength
and vigor; they are an insurmountable wall to you now. You are
therefore shut in, like our prisoners, on every side, and have no hope
of life and liberty but in battle and victory.

"The victory, however, will not be difficult. I see, wherever I look
among you, a spirit of determination and courage which I am sure will
make you conquerors. The troops which you are going to contend against
are mostly fresh recruits, that know nothing of the discipline of the
camp, and can never successfully confront such war-worn veterans as
you. You all know each other well, and me. I was, in fact, a pupil
with you for many years, before I took the command. But Scipio's
forces are strangers to one another and to him, and, consequently,
have no common bond of sympathy; and as for Scipio himself, his very
commission as a Roman general is only six months old.

"Think, too, what a splendid and prosperous career victory will open
before you. It will conduct you to Rome. It will make you masters of
one of the most powerful and wealthiest cities in the world. Thus far
you have fought your battles only for glory or for dominion; now, you
will have something more substantial to reward your success. There
will be great treasures to be divided among you if we conquer, but if
we are defeated we are lost. Hemmed in as we are on every side, there
is no place that we can reach by flight. There is, therefore, no such
alternative as flight left to us. We _must conquer_."

It is hardly probable that Hannibal could have really and honestly
felt all the confidence that he expressed in his harangues to his
soldiers. He must have had some fears. In fact, in all enterprises
undertaken by man, the indications of success, and the hopes based
upon them, will fluctuate from time to time, and cause his confidence
in the result to ebb and flow, so that bright anticipations of success
and triumph will alternate in his heart with feelings of
discouragement and despondency. This effect is experienced by all; by
the energetic and decided as well as by the timid and the faltering.
The former, however, never allow these fluctuations of hope and fear
to influence their action. They consider well the substantial grounds
for expecting success before commencing their undertaking, and then go
steadily forward, under all aspects of the sky--when it shines and
when it rains--till they reach the end. The inefficient and undecided
can act only under the stimulus of present hope. The end they aim at
must be visible before them all the time. If for a moment it passes
out of view, their motive is gone, and they can do no more, till, by
some change in circumstances, it comes in sight again.

Hannibal was energetic and decided. The time for him to consider
whether he would encounter the hostility of the Roman empire, aroused
to the highest possible degree, was when his army was drawn up upon
the banks of the Iberus, before they crossed it. The Iberus was his
Rubicon. That line once overstepped, there was to be no further
faltering. The difficulties which arose from time to time to throw a
cloud over his prospects, only seemed to stimulate him to fresh
energy, and to awaken a new, though still a calm and steady
resolution. It was so at the Pyrenees; it was so at the Rhone; it was
so among the Alps, where the difficulties and dangers would have
induced almost any other commander to have returned; and it was still
so, now that he found himself shut in on every hand by the stern
boundaries of Northern Italy, which he could not possibly hope again
to pass, and the whole disposable force of the Roman empire,
commanded, too, by one of _the consuls_, concentrated before him. The
imminent danger produced no faltering, and apparently no fear.

The armies were not yet in sight of each other. They were, in fact,
yet on opposite sides of the River Po. The Roman commander concluded
to march his troops across the river, and advance in search of
Hannibal, who was still at some miles' distance. After considering the
various means of crossing the stream, he decided finally on building a

Military commanders generally throw some sort of a bridge across a
stream of water lying in their way, if it is too deep to be easily
forded, unless, indeed, it is so wide and rapid as to make the
construction of the bridge difficult or impracticable. In this latter
case they cross as well as they can by means of boats and rafts, and
by swimming. The Po, though not a very large stream at this point, was
too deep to be forded, and Scipio accordingly built a bridge. The
soldiers cut down the trees which grew in the forests along the banks,
and after trimming off the tops and branches, they rolled the trunks
into the water. They placed these trunks side by side, with others,
laid transversely and pinned down, upon the top. Thus they formed
rafts, which they placed in a line across the stream, securing them
well to each other and to the banks. This made the foundation for the
bridge, and after this foundation was covered with other materials, so
as to make the upper surface a convenient roadway, the army were
conducted across it, and then a small detachment of soldiers were
stationed at each extremity of it as a guard.

Such a bridge as this answers a very good temporary purpose, and in
still water, as, for example, over narrow lakes or very sluggish
streams, where there is very little current, a floating structure of
this kind is sometimes built for permanent service. Such bridges will
not, however, stand on broad and rapid rivers liable to floods. The
pressure of the water alone, in such cases, would very much endanger
all the fastenings; and in cases where drift wood or ice is brought
down by the stream, the floating masses, not being able to pass under
the bridge, would accumulate above it, and would soon bear upon it
with so enormous a pressure that nothing could withstand its force.
The bridge would be broken away, and the whole accumulation--bridge,
drift-wood, and ice--would be borne irresistibly down the stream

Scipio's bridge, however, answered very well for his purpose. His army
passed over it in safety. When Hannibal heard of this, he knew that
the battle was at hand. Hannibal was himself at this time about five
miles distant. While Scipio was at work upon the bridge, Hannibal was
employed, mainly, as he had been all the time since his descent from
the mountains, in the subjugation of the various petty nations and
tribes north of the Po. Some of them were well disposed to join his
standard. Others were allies of the Romans, and wished to remain so.
He made treaties and sent help to the former, and dispatched
detachments of troops to intimidate and subdue the latter. When,
however, he learned that Scipio had crossed the river, he ordered all
these detachments to come immediately in, and he began to prepare in
earnest for the contest that was impending.

He called together an assembly of his soldiers, and announced to them
finally that the battle was now nigh. He renewed the words of
encouragement that he had spoken before, and in addition to what he
then said, he now promised the soldiers rewards in land in case they
proved victorious. "I will give you each a farm," said he, "wherever
you choose to have it, either in Africa, Italy, or Spain. If, instead
of the land, any of you shall prefer to receive rather an equivalent
in money, you shall have the reward in that form, and then you can
return home and live with your friends, as before the war, under
circumstances which will make you objects of envy to those who
remained behind. If any of you would like to live in Carthage, I will
have you made free citizens, so that you can live there in
independence and honor."

But what security would there be for the faithful fulfillment of these
promises? In modern times such security is given by bonds, with
pecuniary penalties, or by the deposit of titles to property in
responsible hands. In ancient days they managed differently. The
promiser bound himself by some solemn and formal mode of adjuration,
accompanied, in important cases, with certain ceremonies, which were
supposed to seal and confirm the obligation assumed. In this case
Hannibal brought a lamb in the presence of the assembled army. He held
it before them with his left hand, while with his right he grasped a
heavy stone. He then called aloud upon the gods, imploring them to
destroy him as he was about to slay the lamb, if he failed to perform
faithfully and fully the pledges that he had made. He then struck the
poor lamb a heavy blow with the stone. The animal fell dead at his
feet, and Hannibal was thenceforth bound, in the opinion of the army,
by a very solemn obligation indeed, to be faithful in fulfilling his

The soldiers were greatly animated and excited by these promises, and
were in haste to have the contest come on. The Roman soldiers, it
seems, were in a different mood of mind. Some circumstances had
occurred which they considered as bad omens, and they were very much
dispirited and depressed by them. It is astonishing that men should
ever allow their minds to be affected by such wholly accidental
occurrences as these were. One of them was this: a wolf came into
their camp, from one of the forests near, and after wounding several
men, made his escape again. The other was more trifling still. A swarm
of bees flew into the encampment, and lighted upon a tree just over
Scipio's tent. This was considered, for some reason or other, a sign
that some calamity was going to befall them, and the men were
accordingly intimidated and disheartened. They consequently looked
forward to the battle with uneasiness and anxiety, while the army of
Hannibal anticipated it with eagerness and pleasure.

The battle came on, at last, very suddenly, and at a moment when
neither party were expecting it. A large detachment of both armies
were advancing toward the position of the other, near the River
Ticinus, to reconnoiter, when they met, and the battle began. Hannibal
advanced with great impetuosity, and sent, at the same time, a
detachment around to attack his enemy in the rear. The Romans soon
began to fall into confusion; the horsemen and foot soldiers got
entangled together; the men were trampled upon by the horses, and the
horses were frightened by the men. In the midst of this scene, Scipio
received a wound. A consul was a dignitary of very high consideration.
He was, in fact, a sort of semi-king. The officers, and all the
soldiers, so fast as they heard that the consul was wounded, were
terrified and dismayed, and the Romans began to retreat. Scipio had a
young son, named also Scipio, who was then about twenty years of age.
He was fighting by the side of his father when he received his wound.
He protected his father, got him into the center of a compact body of
cavalry, and moved slowly off the ground, those in the rear facing
toward the enemy and beating them back, as they pressed on in pursuit
of them. In this way they reached their camp. Here they stopped for
the night. They had fortified the place, and, as night was coming on,
Hannibal thought it not prudent to press on and attack them there. He
waited for the morning. Scipio, however, himself wounded and his army
discouraged, thought it not prudent for him to wait till the morning.
At midnight he put his whole force in motion on a retreat. He kept the
camp-fires burning, and did every thing else in his power to prevent
the Carthaginians observing any indications of his departure. His army
marched secretly and silently till they reached the river. They
recrossed it by the bridge they had built, and then, cutting away the
fastenings by which the different rafts were held together, the
structure was at once destroyed, and the materials of which it was
composed floated away, a mere mass of ruins, down the stream. From
the Ticinus they floated, we may imagine, into the Po, and thence down
the Po into the Adriatic Sea, where they drifted about upon the waste
of waters till they were at last, one after another, driven by storms
upon the sandy shores.



B.C. 217

Hannibal pursues the Romans.--He takes some prisoners.--Revolt of
some Gauls from the Romans.--Hannibal crosses the river.--Dismay of
the Romans.--Sempronius recalled to Italy.--Sufferings of Scipio
from his wound.--He is joined by Sempronius.--The Roman commanders
disagree.--Skirmishes.--Sempronius eager for a battle.--Hannibal's
stratagem.--Details of Hannibal's scheme.--The ambuscade.--Two
thousand chosen men.--Hannibal's manner of choosing them.--Attack on
the Roman camp.--Success of Hannibal's stratagem.--Sempronius crosses
the river.--Impetuous attack of Hannibal.--Situation of the Roman
army.--Terrible conflict.--Utter defeat of the Romans.--Scene after
the battle.--Various battles of Hannibal.--Scarcity of food.--Valley
of the Arno.--Crossing the Apennines.--Terrific storm.--Death of the
elephants.--Hannibal's uneasiness.--He crosses the Apennines.--Perilous
march.--Hannibal's sickness.

As soon as Hannibal was apprised in the morning that Scipio and his
forces had left their ground, he pressed on after them, very earnest
to overtake them before they should reach the river. But he was too
late. The main body of the Roman army had got over. There was,
however, a detachment of a few hundred men, who had been left on
Hannibal's side of the river to guard the bridge until all the army
should have passed, and then to help in cutting it away. They had
accomplished this before Hannibal's arrival, but had not had time to
contrive any way to get across the river themselves. Hannibal took
them all prisoners.

The condition and prospects of both the Roman and Carthaginian cause
were entirely changed by this battle, and the retreat of Scipio across
the Po. All the nations of the north of Italy, who had been subjects
or allies of the Romans, now turned to Hannibal. They sent embassies
into his camp, offering him their friendship and alliance. In fact,
there was a large body of Gauls in the Roman camp, who were fighting
under Scipio at the battle of Ticinus, who deserted his standard
immediately afterward, and came over in a mass to Hannibal. They made
this revolt in the night, and, instead of stealing away secretly, they
raised a prodigious tumult, killed the guards, filled the encampment
with their shouts and outcries, and created for a time an awful scene
of terror.

Hannibal received them, but he was too sagacious to admit such a
treacherous horde into his army. He treated them with great
consideration and kindness, and dismissed them with presents, that
they might all go to their respective homes, charging them to exert
their influence in his favor among the tribes to which they severally

Hannibal's soldiers, too, were very much encouraged by the
commencement they had made. The army made immediate preparations for
crossing the river. Some of the soldiers built rafts, others went up
the stream in search of places to ford. Some swam across. They could
adopt these or any other modes in safety, for the Romans made no stand
on the opposite bank to oppose them, but moved rapidly on, as fast as
Scipio could be carried. His wounds began to inflame, and were
extremely painful.

In fact, the Romans were dismayed at the danger which now threatened
them. As soon as news of these events reached the city, the
authorities there sent a dispatch immediately to Sicily to recall the
other consul. His name was Sempronius. It will be recollected that,
when the lots were cast between him and Scipio, it fell to Scipio to
proceed to Spain, with a view to arresting Hannibal's march, while
Sempronius went to Sicily and Africa. The object of this movement was
to threaten and attack the Carthaginians at home, in order to distract
their attention and prevent their sending any fresh forces to aid
Hannibal, and, perhaps, even to compel them to recall him from Italy
to defend their own capital. But now that Hannibal had not only passed
the Alps, but had also crossed the Po, and was marching toward
Rome--Scipio himself disabled, and his army flying before him--they
were obliged at once to abandon the plan of threatening Carthage. They
sent with all dispatch an order to Sempronius to hasten home and
assist in the defense of Rome.

Sempronius was a man of a very prompt and impetuous character, with
great confidence in his own powers, and very ready for action. He came
immediately into Italy, recruited new soldiers for the army, put
himself at the head of his forces, and marched northward to join
Scipio in the valley of the Po. Scipio was suffering great pain from
his wounds, and could do but little toward directing the operations of
the army. He had slowly retreated before Hannibal, the fever and pain
of his wounds being greatly exasperated by the motion of traveling. In
this manner he arrived at the Trebia, a small stream flowing northward
into the Po. He crossed this stream, and finding that he could not go
any further, on account of the torturing pain to which it put him to
be moved, he halted his army, marked out an encampment, threw up
fortifications around it, and prepared to make a stand. To his great
relief, Sempronius soon came up and joined him here.

There were now two generals. Napoleon used to say that one bad
commander was better than two good ones, so essential is it to success
in all military operations to secure that promptness, and confidence,
and decision which can only exist where action is directed by one
single mind. Sempronius and Scipio disagreed as to the proper course
to be pursued. Sempronius wished to attack Hannibal immediately.
Scipio was in favor of delay. Sempronius attributed Scipio's
reluctance to give battle to the dejection of mind and discouragement
produced by his wound, or to a feeling of envy lest he, Sempronius,
should have the honor of conquering the Carthaginians, while he
himself was helpless in his tent. On the other hand, Scipio thought
Sempronius inconsiderate and reckless, and disposed to rush heedlessly
into a contest with a foe whose powers and resources he did not

In the mean time, while the two commanders were thus divided in
opinion, some skirmishes and small engagements took place between
detachments from the two armies, in which Sempronius thought that the
Romans had the advantage. This excited his enthusiasm more and more,
and he became extremely desirous to bring on a general battle. He
began to be quite out of patience with Scipio's caution and delay. The
soldiers, he said, were full of strength and courage, all eager for
the combat, and it was absurd to hold them back on account of the
feebleness of one sick man. "Besides," said he, "of what use can it be
to delay any longer? We are as ready to meet the Carthaginians now as
we shall ever be. There is no _third_ consul to come and help us; and
what a disgrace it is for us Romans, who in the former war led our
troops to the very gates of Carthage, to allow Hannibal to bear sway
over all the north of Italy, while we retreat gradually before him,
afraid to encounter now a force that we have always conquered before."

Hannibal was not long in learning, through his spies, that there was
this difference of opinion between the Roman generals, and that
Sempronius was full of a presumptuous sort of ardor, and he began to
think that he could contrive some plan to draw the latter out into
battle under circumstances in which he would have to act at a great
disadvantage. He did contrive such a plan. It succeeded admirably; and
the case was one of those numerous instances which occurred in the
history of Hannibal, of successful stratagem, which led the Romans to
say that his leading traits of character were treachery and cunning.

Hannibal's plan was, in a word, an attempt to draw the Roman army out
of its encampment on a dark, cold, and stormy night in December, and
get them into the river. This river was the Trebia. It flowed north
into the Po, between the Roman and Carthaginian camps. His scheme, in
detail, was to send a part of his army over the river to attack the
Romans in the night or very early in the morning. He hoped that by
this means Sempronius would be induced to come out of his camp to
attack the Carthaginians. The Carthaginians were then to fly and
recross the river, and Hannibal hoped that Sempronius would follow,
excited by the ardor of pursuit. Hannibal was then to have a strong
reserve of the army, that had remained all the time in warmth and
safety, to come out and attack the Romans with unimpaired strength and
vigor, while the Romans themselves would be benumbed by the cold and
wet, and disorganized by the confusion produced in crossing the

A part of Hannibal's reserve were to be placed in an ambuscade. There
were some meadows near the water, which were covered in many places
with tall grass and bushes. Hannibal went to examine the spot, and
found that this shrubbery was high enough for even horsemen to be
concealed in it. He determined to place a thousand foot soldiers and a
thousand horsemen here, the most efficient and courageous in the
army. He selected them in the following manner:

He called one of his lieutenant generals to the spot, explained
somewhat of his design to him, and then asked him to go and choose
from the cavalry and the infantry, a hundred each, the best soldiers
he could find. This two hundred were then assembled, and Hannibal,
after surveying them with looks of approbation and pleasure, said,
"Yes, you are the men I want, only, instead of two hundred, I need two
thousand. Go back to the army, and select and bring to me, each of
you, nine men like yourselves." It is easy to be imagined that the
soldiers were pleased with this commission, and that they executed it
faithfully. The whole force thus chosen was soon assembled, and
stationed in the thickets above described, where they lay in ambush
ready to attack the Romans after they should pass the river.

Hannibal also made arrangements for leaving a large part of his army
in his own camp, ready for battle, with orders that they should
partake of food and refreshments, and keep themselves warm by the
fires until they should be called upon. All things being thus ready,
he detached a body of horsemen to cross the river, and see if they
could provoke the Romans to come out of their camp and pursue them.

"Go," said Hannibal, to the commander of this detachment, "pass the
stream, advance to the Roman camp, assail the guards, and when the
army forms and comes out to attack you, retreat slowly before them
back across the river."

The detachment did as it was ordered to do. When they arrived at the
camp, which was soon after break of day--for it was a part of
Hannibal's plan to bring the Romans out before they should have had
time to breakfast--Sempronius, at the first alarm, called all the
soldiers to arms, supposing that the whole Carthaginian force was
attacking them. It was a cold and stormy morning, and the atmosphere
being filled with rain and snow, but little could be seen. Column
after column of horsemen and of infantry marched out of the camp. The
Carthaginians retreated. Sempronius was greatly excited at the idea of
so easily driving back the assailants, and, as they retreated, he
pressed on in pursuit of them. As Hannibal had anticipated, he became
so excited in the pursuit that he did not stop at the banks of the
river. The Carthaginian horsemen plunged into the stream in their
retreat, and the Romans, foot soldiers and horsemen together,
followed on. The stream was usually small, but it was now swelled by
the rain which had been falling all the night. The water was, of
course, intensely cold. The horsemen got through tolerably well, but
the foot soldiers were all thoroughly drenched and benumbed; and as
they had not taken any food that morning, and had come forth on a very
sudden call, and without any sufficient preparation, they felt the
effects of the exposure in the strongest degree. Still they pressed
on. They ascended the bank after crossing the river, and when they had
formed again there, and were moving forward in pursuit of their still
flying enemy, suddenly the whole force of Hannibal's reserves, strong
and vigorous, just from their tents and their fires, burst upon them.
They had scarcely recovered from the astonishment and the shock of
this unexpected onset, when the two thousand concealed in the
ambuscade came sallying forth in the storm, and assailed the Romans in
the rear with frightful shouts and outcries.

All these movements took place very rapidly. Only a very short period
elapsed from the time that the Roman army, officers and soldiers, were
quietly sleeping in their camp, or rising slowly to prepare for the
routine of an ordinary day, before they found themselves all drawn out
in battle array some miles from their encampment, and surrounded and
hemmed in by their foes. The events succeeded each other so rapidly as
to appear to the soldiers like a dream; but very soon their wet and
freezing clothes, their limbs benumbed and stiffened, the sleet which
was driving along the plain, the endless lines of Carthaginian
infantry, hemming them in on all sides, and the columns of horsemen
and of elephants charging upon them, convinced them that their
situation was one of dreadful reality. The calamity, too, which
threatened them was of vast extent, as well as imminent and terrible;
for, though the stratagem of Hannibal was very simple in its plan and
management, still he had executed it on a great scale, and had brought
out the whole Roman army. There were, it is said, about forty thousand
that crossed the river, and about an equal number in the Carthaginian
army to oppose them. Such a body of combatants covered, of course, a
large extent of ground, and the conflict that ensued was one of the
most terrible scenes of the many that Hannibal assisted in enacting.

The conflict continued for many hours, the Romans getting more and
more into confusion all the time. The elephants of the Carthaginians,
that is, the few that now remained, made great havoc in their ranks,
and finally, after a combat of some hours, the whole army was broken
up and fled, some portions in compact bodies, as their officers could
keep them together, and others in hopeless and inextricable confusion.
They made their way back to the river, which they reached at various
points up and down the stream. In the mean time, the continued rain
had swollen the waters still more, the low lands were overflowed, the
deep places concealed, and the broad expanse of water in the center of
the stream whirled in boiling and turbid eddies, whose surface was
roughened by the December breeze, and dotted every where with the
drops of rain still falling.

When the Roman army was thoroughly broken up and scattered, the
Carthaginians gave up the further prosecution of the contest. They
were too wet, cold, and exhausted themselves to feel any ardor in the
pursuit of their enemies. Vast numbers of the Romans, however,
attempted to recross the river, and were swept down and destroyed by
the merciless flood, whose force they had not strength enough
remaining to withstand. Other portions of the troops lay hid in
lurking-places to which they had retreated, until night came on, and
then they made rafts on which they contrived to float themselves back
across the stream. Hannibal's troops were too wet, and cold, and
exhausted to go out again into the storm, and so they were unmolested
in these attempts. Notwithstanding this, however, great numbers of
them were carried down the stream and lost.

It was now December, too late for Hannibal to attempt to advance much
further that season, and yet the way before him was open to the
Apennines, by the defeat of Sempronius, for neither he nor Scipio
could now hope to make another stand against him till they should
receive new re-enforcements from Rome. During the winter months
Hannibal had various battles and adventures, sometimes with portions
and detachments of the Roman army, and sometimes with the native
tribes. He was sometimes in great difficulty for want of food for his
army, until at length he bribed the governor of a castle, where a
Roman granary was kept, to deliver it up to him, and after that he was
well supplied.

The natives of the country were, however, not at all well disposed
toward him, and in the course of the winter they attempted to impede
his operations, and to harass his army by every means in their power.
Finding his situation uncomfortable, he moved on toward the south, and
at length determined that, inclement as the season was, he would cross
the Apennines.

By looking at the map of Italy, it will be seen that the great valley
of the Po extends across the whole north of Italy. The valley of the
Arno and of the Umbro lies south of it, separated from it by a part of
the Apennine chain. This southern valley was Etruria. Hannibal decided
to attempt to pass over the mountains into Etruria. He thought he
should find there a warmer climate, and inhabitants more well-disposed
toward him, besides being so much nearer Rome.

But, though Hannibal conquered the Alps, the Apennines conquered him.
A very violent storm arose just as he reached the most exposed place
among the mountains. It was intensely cold, and the wind blew the hail
and snow directly into the faces of the troops, so that it was
impossible for them to proceed. They halted and turned their backs to
the storm, but the wind increased more and more, and was attended with
terrific thunder and lightning, which filled the soldiers with alarm,
as they were at such an altitude as to be themselves enveloped in the
clouds from which the peals and flashes were emitted. Unwilling to
retreat, Hannibal ordered the army to encamp on the spot, in the best
shelter they could find. They attempted, accordingly, to pitch their
tents, but it was impossible to secure them. The wind increased to a
hurricane. The tent poles were unmanageable, and the canvas was
carried away from its fastenings, and sometimes split or blown into
rags by its flapping in the wind. The poor elephants, that is, all
that were left of them from previous battles and exposures, sunk down
under this intense cold and died. One only remained alive.

Hannibal ordered a retreat, and the army went back into the valley of
the Po. But Hannibal was ill at ease here. The natives of the country
were very weary of his presence. His army consumed their food, ravaged
their country, and destroyed all their peace and happiness. Hannibal
suspected them of a design to poison him or assassinate him in some
other way. He was continually watching and taking precautions against
these attempts. He had a great many different dresses made to be used
as disguises, and false hair of different colors and fashion, so that
he could alter his appearance at pleasure. This was to prevent any spy
or assassin who might come into his camp from identifying him by any
description of his dress and appearance. Still, notwithstanding these
precautions, he was ill at ease, and at the very earliest practicable
period in the spring he made a new attempt to cross the mountains, and
was now successful.

On descending the southern declivities of the Apennines he learned
that a new Roman army, under a new consul, was advancing toward him
from the south. He was eager to meet this force, and was preparing to
press forward at once by the nearest way. He found, however, that this
would lead him across the lower part of the valley of the Arno, which
was here very broad, and, though usually passable, was now overflowed
in consequence of the swelling of the waters of the river by the
melting of the snows upon the mountains. The whole country was now, in
fact, a vast expanse of marshes and fens.

Still, Hannibal concluded to cross it, and, in the attempt, he
involved his army in difficulties and dangers as great, almost, as he
had encountered upon the Alps. The waters were rising continually;
they filled all the channels and spread over extended plains. They
were so turbid, too, that every thing beneath the surface was
concealed, and the soldiers wading in them were continually sinking
into deep and sudden channels and into bogs of mire, where many were
lost. They were all exhausted and worn out by the wet and cold, and
the long continuance of their exposure to it. They were four days and
three nights in this situation, as their progress was, of course,
extremely slow. The men, during all this time, had scarcely any sleep,
and in some places the only way by which they could get any repose was
to lay their arms and their baggage in the standing water, so as to
build, by this means, a sort of couch or platform on which they could
lie. Hannibal himself was sick too. He was attacked with a violent
inflammation of the eyes, and the sight of one of them was in the end
destroyed. He was not, however, so much exposed as the other officers;
for there was one elephant left of all those that had commenced the
march in Spain, and Hannibal rode this elephant during the four days'
march through the water. There were guides and attendants to precede
him, for the purpose of finding a safe and practicable road, and by
their aid, with the help of the animal's sagacity, he got safely




B.C. 216

Alarm at Rome.--The consul Flaminius.--Another stratagem.--Confidence
of Flaminius.--Complete rout of the Romans.--Effects of the
battle.--Panic of the Romans.--Their superstitious fears.--Omens and
bad signs.--Curious transformations.--Their influence.--Importance
attached to these stories.--Feverish excitement at Rome.--News of the
battle.--Gatherings of the people.--Arrival of stragglers.--Appointment
of a dictator.--Fabius.--Measures of Fabius.--Religious
ceremonies.--Minucius.--Supreme authority of a dictator.--Proclamation
of Fabius.--Progress of Hannibal.--Policy of Fabius.--He declines
fighting.--Hannibal's danger.--Stratagem of the fiery
oxen.--Unpopularity of Fabius.--Hannibal's sagacity.--Plots against
Fabius.--He goes to Rome.--Minucius risks a battle.--Speech of
Fabius.--Fabius returns to the army.--He is deprived of the supreme
power.--Division of power.--Ambuscade of Hannibal.--Hannibal's
success.--Fabius comes to the rescue.--Speech of Minucius.--The Roman
army again united.--Character of Fabius.--His integrity.

In the mean time, while Hannibal was thus rapidly making his way
toward the gates of Rome, the people of the city became more and more
alarmed, until at last a general feeling of terror pervaded all the
ranks of society. Citizens and soldiers were struck with one common
dread. They had raised a new army and put it under the command of a
new consul, for the terms of service of the others had expired.
Flaminius was the name of this new commander, and he was moving
northward at the head of his forces at the time that Hannibal was
conducting his troops with so much labor and difficulty through the
meadows and morasses of the Arno.

This army was, however, no more successful than its predecessors had
been. Hannibal contrived to entrap Flaminius by a stratagem, as he had
entrapped Sempronius before. There is in the eastern part of Etruria,
near the mountains, a lake called Lake Thrasymene. It happened that
this lake extended so near to the base of the mountains as to leave
only a narrow passage between--a passage but little wider than was
necessary for a road. Hannibal contrived to station a detachment of
his troops in ambuscade at the foot of the mountains, and others on
the declivities above, and then in some way or other to entice
Flaminius and his army through the defile. Flaminius was, like
Sempronius, ardent, self-confident, and vain. He despised the power of
Hannibal, and thought that his success hitherto had been owing to the
inefficiency or indecision of his predecessors. For his part, his only
anxiety was to encounter him, for he was sure of an easy victory. He
advanced, therefore, boldly and without concern into the pass of
Thrasymene, when he learned that Hannibal was encamped beyond it.

Hannibal had established an encampment openly on some elevated ground
beyond the pass, and as Flaminius and his troops came into the
narrowest part of the defile, they saw this encampment at a distance
before them, with a broad plain beyond the pass intervening. They
supposed that the whole force of the enemy was there, not dreaming of
the presence of the strong detachments which were hid on the slopes of
the mountains above them, and were looking down upon them at that
very moment from behind rocks and bushes. When, therefore, the Romans
had got through the pass, they spread out upon the plain beyond it,
and were advancing to the camp, when suddenly the secreted troops
burst forth from their ambuscade, and, pouring down the mountains,
took complete possession of the pass, and attacked the Romans in the
rear, while Hannibal attacked them in the van. Another long, and
desperate, and bloody contest ensued. The Romans were beaten at every
point, and, as they were hemmed in between the lake, the mountain, and
the pass, they could not retreat; the army was, accordingly, almost
wholly cut to pieces. Flaminius himself was killed.

The news of this battle spread every where, and produced the strongest
sensation. Hannibal sent dispatches to Carthage announcing what he
considered his final victory over the great foe, and the news was
received with the greatest rejoicings. At Rome, on the other hand, the
news produced a dreadful shock of disappointment and terror. It seemed
as if the last hope of resisting the progress of their terrible enemy
was gone, and that they had nothing now to do but to sink down in
despair, and await the hour when his columns should come pouring in
through the gates of the city.

The people of Rome were, in fact, prepared for a panic, for their
fears had been increasing and gathering strength for some time. They
were very superstitious in those ancient days in respect to signs and
omens. A thousand trifling occurrences, which would, at the present
day, be considered of no consequence whatever, were then considered
bad signs, auguring terrible calamities; and, on occasions like these,
when calamities seemed to be impending, every thing was noticed, and
circumstances which would not have been regarded at all at ordinary
times, were reported from one to another, the stories being
exaggerated as they spread, until the imaginations of the people were
filled with mysterious but invincible fears. So universal was the
belief in these prodigies and omens, that they were sometimes formally
reported to the senate, committees were appointed to inquire into
them, and solemn sacrifices were offered to "expiate them," as it was
termed, that is, to avert the displeasure of the gods, which the omens
were supposed to foreshadow and portend.

A very curious list of these omens was reported to the senate during
the winter and spring in which Hannibal was advancing toward Rome. An
ox from the cattle-market had got into a house, and, losing his way,
had climbed up into the third story, and, being frightened by the
noise and uproar of those who followed him, ran out of a window and
fell down to the ground. A light appeared in the sky in the form of
ships. A temple was struck with lightning. A spear in the hand of a
statue of Juno, a celebrated goddess, shook, one day, of itself.
Apparitions of men in white garments were seen in a certain place. A
wolf came into a camp, and snatched the sword of a soldier on guard
out of his hands, and ran away with it. The sun one day looked smaller
than usual. Two moons were seen together in the sky. This was in the
daytime, and one of the moons was doubtless a halo or a white cloud.
Stones fell out of the sky at a place called Picenum. This was one of
the most dreadful of all the omens, though it is now known to be a
common occurrence.

These omens were all, doubtless, real occurrences, more or less
remarkable, it is true, but, of course, entirely unmeaning in respect
to their being indications of impending calamities. There were other
things reported to the senate which must have originated almost wholly
in the imaginations and fears of the observers. Two shields, it was
said, in a certain camp, sweated blood. Some people were reaping, and
bloody ears of grain fell into the basket. This, of course, must have
been wholly imaginary, unless, indeed, one of the reapers had cut his
fingers with the sickle. Some streams and fountains became bloody;
and, finally, in one place in the country, some goats turned into
sheep. A hen, also, became a cock, and a cock changed to a hen.

Such ridiculous stories would not be worthy of a moment's attention
now, were it not for the degree of importance attached to them then.
They were formally reported to the Roman senate, the witnesses who
asserted that they had seen them were called in and examined, and a
solemn debate was held on the question what should be done to avert
the supernatural influences of evil which the omens expressed. The
senate decided to have three days of expiation and sacrifice, during
which the whole people of Rome devoted themselves to the religious
observances which they thought calculated to appease the wrath of
Heaven. They made various offerings and gifts to the different gods,
among which one was a golden thunderbolt of fifty pounds' weight,
manufactured for Jupiter, whom they considered the thunderer.

All these things took place before the battle at Lake Thrasymene, so
that the whole community were in a very feverish state of excitement
and anxiety before the news from Flaminius arrived. When these tidings
at last came, they threw the whole city into utter consternation. Of
course, the messenger went directly to the senate-house to report to
the government, but the story that such news had arrived soon spread
about the city, and the whole population crowded into the streets and
public squares, all eagerly asking for the tidings. An enormous throng
assembled before the senate-house calling for information. A public
officer appeared at last, and said to them in a loud voice, "We have
been defeated in a great battle." He would say no more. Still rumors
spread from one to another, until it was generally known throughout
the city that Hannibal had conquered the Roman army again in a great
battle, that great numbers of the soldiers had fallen or been taken
prisoners, and that the consul himself was slain.

The night was passed in great anxiety and terror, and the next day,
and for several of the succeeding days, the people gathered in great
numbers around the gates, inquiring eagerly for news of every one that
came in from the country. Pretty soon scattered soldiers and small
bodies of troops began to arrive, bringing with them information of
the battle, each one having a different tale to tell, according to his
own individual experience in the scene. Whenever these men arrived,
the people of the city, and especially the women who had husbands or
sons in the army, crowded around them, overwhelming them with
questions, and making them tell their tale again and again, as if the
intolerable suspense and anxiety of the hearers could not be
satisfied. The intelligence was such as in general to confirm and
increase the fears of those who listened to it; but sometimes, when it
made known the safety of a husband or a son, it produced as much
relief and rejoicing as it did in other cases terror and despair. That
maternal love was as strong an impulse in those rough days as it is in
the more refined and cultivated periods of the present age, is evinced
by the fact that two of these Roman mothers, on seeing their sons
coming suddenly into their presence, alive and well, when they had
heard that they had fallen in battle, were killed at once by the
shock of surprise and joy, as if by a blow.

In seasons of great and imminent danger to the commonwealth, it was
the custom of the Romans to appoint what they called a dictator, that
is, a supreme executive, who was clothed with absolute and unlimited
powers; and it devolved on him to save the state from the threatened
ruin by the most prompt and energetic action. This case was obviously
one of the emergencies requiring such a measure. There was no time for
deliberations and debates; for deliberations and debates, in periods
of such excitement and danger, become disputes, and end in tumult and
uproar. Hannibal was at the head of a victorious army, ravaging the
country which he had already conquered, and with no obstacle between
him and the city itself. It was an emergency calling for the
appointment of a dictator. The people made choice of a man of great
reputation for experience and wisdom, named Fabius, and placed the
whole power of the state in his hands. All other authority was
suspended, and every thing was subjected to his sway. The whole city,
with the life and property of every inhabitant, was placed at his
disposal; the army and the fleets were also under his command, even
the consuls being subject to his orders.

Fabius accepted the vast responsibility which his election imposed
upon him, and immediately began to take the necessary measures. He
first made arrangements for performing solemn religious ceremonies, to
expiate the omens and propitiate the gods. He brought out all the
people in great convocations, and made them take vows, in the most
formal and imposing manner, promising offerings and celebrations in
honor of the various gods, at some future time, in case these
divinities would avert the threatening danger. It is doubtful,
however, whether Fabius, in doing these things, really believed that
they had any actual efficiency, or whether he resorted to them as a
means of calming and quieting the minds of the people, and producing
that composure and confidence which always results from a hope of the
favor of Heaven. If this last was his object, his conduct was
eminently wise.

Fabius, also, immediately ordered a large levy of troops to be made.
His second in command, called his _master of horse_, was directed to
make this levy, and to assemble the troops at a place called Tibur, a
few miles east of the city. There was always a master of horse
appointed to attend upon and second a dictator. The name of this
officer in the case of Fabius was Minucius. Minucius was as ardent,
prompt, and impetuous, as Fabius was cool, prudent, and calculating.
He levied the troops and brought them to their place of rendezvous.
Fabius went out to take the command of them. One of the consuls was
coming to join him, with a body of troops which he had under his
command. Fabius sent word to him that he must come without any of the
insignia of his authority, as all his authority, semi-regal as it was
in ordinary times, was superseded and overruled in the presence of a
dictator. A consul was accustomed to move in great state on all
occasions. He was preceded by twelve men, bearing badges and insignia,
to impress the army and the people with a sense of the greatness of
his dignity. To see, therefore, a consul divested of all these marks
of his power, and coming into the dictator's presence as any other
officer would come before an acknowledged superior, made the army of
Fabius feel a very strong sense of the greatness of their new
commander's dignity and power.

Fabius then issued a proclamation, which he sent by proper messengers
into all the region of country around Rome, especially to that part
toward the territory which was in possession of Hannibal. In this
proclamation he ordered all the people to abandon the country and the
towns which were not strongly fortified, and to seek shelter in the
castles, and forts, and fortified cities. They were commanded, also,
to lay waste the country which they should leave, and destroy all the
property, and especially all the provisions, which they could not take
to their places of refuge. This being done, Fabius placed himself at
the head of the forces which he had got together, and moved on,
cautiously and with great circumspection, in search of his enemy.

In the mean time, Hannibal had crossed over to the eastern side of
Italy, and had passed down, conquering and ravaging the country as he
went, until he got considerably south of Rome. He seems to have
thought it not quite prudent to advance to the actual attack of the
city, after the battle of Lake Thrasymene; for the vast population of
Rome was sufficient, if rendered desperate by his actually threatening
the capture and pillage of the city, to overwhelm his army entirely.
So he moved to the eastward, and advanced on that side until he had
passed the city, and thus it happened that Fabius had to march to the
southward and eastward in order to meet him. The two armies came in
sight of each other quite on the eastern side of Italy, very near the
shores of the Adriatic Sea.

The policy which Fabius resolved to adopt was, not to give Hannibal
battle, but to watch him, and wear his army out by fatigue and delays.
He kept, therefore, near him, but always posted his army on
advantageous ground, which all the defiance and provocations of
Hannibal could not induce him to leave. When Hannibal moved, which he
was soon compelled to do to procure provisions, Fabius would move too,
but only to post and intrench himself in some place of security as
before. Hannibal did every thing in his power to bring Fabius to
battle, but all his efforts were unavailing.

In fact, he himself was at one time in imminent danger. He had got
drawn, by Fabius's good management, into a place where he was
surrounded by mountains, upon which Fabius had posted his troops, and
there was only one defile which offered any egress, and this, too,
Fabius had strongly guarded. Hannibal resorted to his usual resource,
cunning and stratagem, for means of escape. He collected a herd of
oxen. He tied fagots across their horns, filling the fagots with
pitch, so as to make them highly combustible. In the night on which he
was going to attempt to pass the defile, he ordered his army to be
ready to march through, and then had the oxen driven up the hills
around on the further side of the Roman detachment which was guarding
the pass. The fagots were then lighted on the horns of the oxen. They
ran about, frightened and infuriated by the fire, which burned their
horns to the quick, and blinded them with the sparks which fell from
it. The leaves and branches of the forests were set on fire. A great
commotion was thus made, and the guards, seeing the moving lights and
hearing the tumult, supposed that the Carthaginian army were upon the
heights, and were coming down to attack them. They turned out in great
hurry and confusion to meet the imaginary foe, leaving the pass
unguarded, and, while they were pursuing the bonfires on the oxens'
heads into all sorts of dangerous and impracticable places, Hannibal
quietly marched his army through the defile and reached a place of

Although Fabius kept Hannibal employed and prevented his approaching
the city, still there soon began to be felt a considerable degree of
dissatisfaction that he did not act more decidedly. Minucius was
continually urging him to give Hannibal battle, and, not being able to
induce him to do so, he was continually expressing his discontent and
displeasure. The army sympathized with Minucius. He wrote home to Rome
too, complaining bitterly of the dictator's inefficiency. Hannibal
learned all this by means of his spies, and other sources of
information, which so good a contriver as he has always at command.
Hannibal was, of course, very much pleased to hear of these
dissensions, and of the unpopularity of Fabius. He considered such an
enemy as he--so prudent, cautious, and watchful--as a far more
dangerous foe than such bold and impetuous commanders as Flaminius and
Minucius, whom he could always entice into difficulty, and then easily

Hannibal thought he would render Minucius a little help in making
Fabius unpopular. He found out from some Roman deserters that the
dictator possessed a valuable farm in the country, and he sent a
detachment of his troops there, with orders to plunder and destroy
the property all around it, but to leave the farm of Fabius untouched
and in safety. The object was to give to the enemies of Fabius at Rome
occasion to say that there was secretly a good understanding between
him and Hannibal, and that he was kept back from acting boldly in
defense of his country by some corrupt bargain which he had
traitorously made with the enemy.

These plans succeeded. Discontent and dissatisfaction spread rapidly,
both in the camp and in the city. At Rome they made an urgent demand
upon Fabius to return, ostensibly because they wished him to take part
in some great religious ceremonies, but really to remove him from the
camp, and give Minucius an opportunity to attack Hannibal. They also
wished to devise some method, if possible, of depriving him of his
power. He had been appointed for six months, and the time had not yet
nearly expired: but they wished to shorten, or, if they could not
shorten, to limit and diminish his power.

Fabius went to Rome, leaving the army under the orders of Minucius,
but commanding him positively not to give Hannibal battle, nor expose
his troops to any danger, but to pursue steadily the same policy
which he himself had followed. He had, however, been in Rome only a
short time before tidings came that Minucius had fought a battle and
gained a victory. There were boastful and ostentatious letters from
Minucius to the Roman senate, lauding the exploit which he had

Fabius examined carefully the accounts. He compared one thing with
another, and satisfied himself of what afterward proved to be the
truth, that Minucius had gained no victory at all. He had lost five or
six thousand men, and Hannibal had lost no more, and Fabius showed
that no advantage had been gained. He urged upon the senate the
importance of adhering to the line of policy he had pursued, and the
danger of risking every thing, as Minucius had done, on the fortunes
of a single battle. Besides, he said, Minucius had disobeyed his
orders, which were distinct and positive, and he deserved to be

In saying these things Fabius irritated and exasperated his enemies
more than ever. "Here is a man," said they, "who will not only not
fight the enemies whom he is sent against himself, but he will not
allow any body else to fight them. Even at this distance, when his
second in command has obtained a victory, he will not admit it, and
endeavors to curtail the advantages of it. He wishes to protract the
war, that he may the longer continue to enjoy the supreme and
unlimited authority with which we have intrusted him."

The hostility to Fabius at last reached such a pitch, that it was
proposed in an assembly of the people to make Minucius his equal in
command. Fabius, having finished the business which called him to
Rome, did not wait to attend to the discussion of this question, but
left the city, and was proceeding on his way to join the army again,
when he was overtaken with a messenger bearing a letter informing him
that the decree had passed, and that he must thenceforth consider
Minucius as his colleague and equal. Minucius was, of course,
extremely elated at this result. "Now," said he, "we will see if
something can not be done."

The first question was, however, to decide on what principle and in
what way they should share their power. "We can not both command at
once," said Minucius. "Let us exercise the power in alternation, each
one being in authority for a day, or a week, or a month, or any other
period that you prefer."

"No," replied Fabius, "we will not divide the time, we will divide the
men. There are four legions. You shall take two of them, and the other
two shall be mine. I can thus, perhaps, save half the army from the
dangers in which I fear your impetuosity will plunge all whom you have
under your command."

This plan was adopted. The army was divided, and each portion went,
under its own leader, to its separate encampment. The result was one
of the most curious and extraordinary occurrences that is recorded in
the history of nations. Hannibal, who was well informed of all these
transactions, immediately felt that Minucius was in his power. He knew
that he was so eager for battle that it would be easy to entice him
into it, under almost any circumstances that he himself might choose
to arrange. Accordingly, he watched his opportunity when there was a
good place for an ambuscade near Minucius's camp, and lodged five
thousand men in it in such a manner that they were concealed by rocks
and other obstructions to the view. There was a hill between this
ground and the camp of Minucius. When the ambuscade was ready,
Hannibal sent up a small force to take possession of the top of the
hill, anticipating that Minucius would at once send up a stronger
force to drive them away. He did so. Hannibal then sent up more as a
re-enforcement. Minucius, whose spirit and pride were now aroused,
sent up more still, and thus, by degrees, Hannibal drew out his
enemy's whole force, and then, ordering his own troops to retreat
before them, the Romans were drawn on, down the hill, till they were
surrounded by the ambuscade. These hidden troops then came pouring out
upon them, and in a short time the Romans were thrown into utter
confusion, flying in all directions before their enemies, and entirely
at their mercy.

All would have been irretrievably lost had it not been for the
interposition of Fabius. He received intelligence of the danger at his
own camp, and marched out at once with all his force, and arrived upon
the ground so opportunely, and acted so efficiently, that he at once
completely changed the fortune of the day. He saved Minucius and his
half of the army from utter destruction. The Carthaginians retreated
in their turn, Hannibal being entirely overwhelmed with disappointment
and vexation at being thus deprived of his prey. History relates that
Minucius had the candor and good sense, after this, to acknowledge
his error, and yield to the guidance and direction of Fabius. He
called his part of the army together when they reached their camp, and
addressed them thus: "Fellow-soldiers, I have often heard it said that
the wisest men are those who possess wisdom and sagacity themselves,
and, next to them, those who know how to perceive and are willing to
be guided by the wisdom and sagacity of others; while they are fools
who do not know how to conduct themselves, and will not be guided by
those who do. We will not belong to this last class; and since it is
proved that we are not entitled to rank with the first, let us join
the second. We will march to the camp of Fabius, and join our camp
with his, as before. We owe to him, and also to all his portion of the
army, our eternal gratitude for the nobleness of spirit which he
manifested in coming to our deliverance, when he might so justly have
left us to ourselves."

The two legions repaired, accordingly, to the camp of Fabius, and a
complete and permanent reconciliation took place between the two
divisions of the army. Fabius rose very high in the general esteem by
this transaction. The term of his dictatorship, however, expired soon
after this, and as the danger from Hannibal was now less imminent,
the office was not renewed, but consuls were chosen as before.

The character of Fabius has been regarded with the highest admiration
by all mankind. He evinced a very noble spirit in all that he did. One
of his last acts was a very striking proof of this. He had bargained
with Hannibal to pay a certain sum of money as ransom for a number of
prisoners which had fallen into his hands, and whom Hannibal, on the
faith of that promise, had released. Fabius believed that the Romans
would readily ratify the treaty and pay the amount; but they demurred,
being displeased, or pretending to be displeased, because Fabius had
not consulted them before making the arrangement. Fabius, in order to
preserve his own and his country's faith unsullied, sold his farm to
raise the money. He did thus most certainly protect and vindicate his
own honor, but he can hardly be said to have saved that of the people
of Rome.



B.C. 215

Interest excited by the battle of Cannæ.--Various military
operations.--State of the public mind at Rome.--The plebeians
and patricians.--The consuls Æmilius and Varro.--A new army
raised.--Self-confidence of Varro.--Caution of Æmilius.--Views of
Æmilius.--Counsel of Fabius.--Conversation between Fabius and
Æmilius.--Resolution of Æmilius.--The consuls join the army.--Situation
of Hannibal.--Scarcity of food.--Sufferings of Hannibal's
troops.--Defeat of a foraging party.--Hannibal's pretended abandonment
of his camp.--Mission of Statilius.--The stratagem discovered.--Chagrin
of Hannibal and the Romans.--Apulia.--Hannibal marches into
Apulia.--The Romans follow him.--The new encampments.--Dissensions
between the consuls.--Flight of the inhabitants.--Maneuvers.--The
battle of Cannæ.--Another stratagem.--Defeat of the Romans.--Æmilius
wounded.--Death of Æmilius.--Escape of Varro.--Condition of the
battle-field.--The wounded and dying.--The Roman and Carthaginian
soldier.--Immense plunder.

The battle of Cannæ was the last great battle fought by Hannibal in
Italy. This conflict has been greatly celebrated in history, not only
for its magnitude, and the terrible desperation with which it was
fought, but also on account of the strong dramatic interest which the
circumstances attending it are fitted to excite. This interest is
perhaps, however, quite as much due to the peculiar skill of the
ancient historian who narrates the story, as to the events themselves
which he records.

It was about a year after the close of the dictatorship of Fabius that
this battle was fought. That interval had been spent by the Roman
consuls who were in office during that time in various military
operations, which did not, however, lead to any decisive results. In
the mean time, there were great uneasiness, discontent, and
dissatisfaction at Rome. To have such a dangerous and terrible foe, at
the head of forty thousand men, infesting the vicinage of their city,
ravaging the territories of their friends and allies, and threatening
continually to attack the city itself, was a continual source of
anxiety and vexation. It mortified the Roman pride, too, to find that
the greatest armies they could raise, and the ablest generals they
could choose and commission, proved wholly unable to cope with the
foe. The most sagacious of them, in fact, had felt it necessary to
decline the contest with him altogether.

This state of things produced a great deal of ill humor in the city.
Party spirit ran very high; tumultuous assemblies were held; disputes
and contentions prevailed, and mutual criminations and recriminations
without end. There were two great parties formed: that of the middling
classes on one side, and the aristocracy on the other. The former were
called the Plebeians, the latter the Patricians. The division between
these two classes was very great and very strongly marked. There was,
in consequence of it, infinite difficulty in the election of consuls.
At last the consuls were chosen, one from each party. The name of the
patrician was Paulus Æmilius. The name of the plebeian was Varro. They
were inducted into office, and were thus put jointly into possession
of a vast power, to wield which with any efficiency and success would
seem to require union and harmony in those who held it, and yet
Æmilius and Varro were inveterate and implacable political foes. It
was often so in the Roman government. The consulship was a
double-headed monster, which spent half its strength in bitter
contests waged between its members.

The Romans determined now to make an effectual effort to rid
themselves of their foe. They raised an enormous army. It consisted of
eight legions. The Roman legion was an army of itself. It contained
ordinarily four thousand foot soldiers, and a troop of three hundred
horsemen. It was very unusual to have more than two or three legions
in the field at a time. The Romans, however, on this occasion,
increased the number of the legions, and also augmented their size, so
that they contained, each, five thousand infantry and four hundred
cavalry. They were determined to make a great and last effort to
defend their city, and save the commonwealth from ruin. Æmilius and
Varro prepared to take command of this great force, with very strong
determinations to make it the means of Hannibal's destruction.

The characters of the two commanders, however, as well as their
political connections, were very dissimilar, and they soon began to
manifest a very different spirit, and to assume a very different air
and bearing, each from the other. Æmilius was a friend of Fabius, and
approved of his policy. Varro was for greater promptness and decision.
He made great promises, and spoke with the utmost confidence of being
able to annihilate Hannibal at a blow. He condemned the policy of
Fabius in attempting to wear out the enemy by delays. He said it was a
plan of the aristocratic party to protract the war, in order to put
themselves in high offices, and perpetuate their importance and
influence. The war might have been ended long ago, he said; and he
would promise the people that he would now end it, without fail, the
very day that he came in sight of Hannibal.

As for Æmilius, he assumed a very different tone. He was surprised, he
said, that any man could pretend to decide before he had even left the
city, and while he was, of course, entirely ignorant, both of the
condition of their own army, and of the position, and designs, and
strength of the enemy, how soon and under what circumstances it would
be wise to give him battle. Plans must be formed in adaptation to
circumstances, as circumstances can not be made to alter to suit
plans. He believed that they should succeed in the encounter with
Hannibal, but he thought that their only hope of success must be based
on the exercise of prudence, caution, and sagacity; he was sure that
rashness and folly could only lead in future, as they had always done
in the past, to discomfiture and ruin.

It is said that Fabius, the former dictator, conversed with Æmilius
before his departure for the army, and gave him such counsel as his
age and experience, and his knowledge of the character and operations
of Hannibal, suggested to his mind. "If you had a colleague like
yourself," said he, "I would not offer you any advice; you would not
need it. Or, if you were yourself like your colleague, vain,
self-conceited, and presumptuous, then I would be silent; counsel
would be thrown away upon you. But as it is, while you have great
judgment and sagacity to guide you, you are to be placed in a
situation of extreme difficulty and peril. If I am not mistaken, the
greatest difficulty you will have to encounter will not be the open
enemy you are going to meet upon the field. You will find, I think,
that Varro will give you quite as much trouble as Hannibal. He will be
presumptuous, reckless, and headstrong. He will inspire all the rash
and ardent young men in the army with his own enthusiastic folly, and
we shall be very fortunate if we do not yet see the terrible and
bloody scenes of Lake Thrasymene acted again. I am sure that the true
policy for us to adopt is the one which I marked out. That is always
the proper course for the invaded to pursue with invaders, where there
is the least doubt of the success of a battle. We grow strong while
Hannibal grows continually weaker by delay. He can only prosper so
long as he can fight battles and perform brilliant exploits. If we
deprive him of this power, his strength will be continually wasting
away, and the spirit and courage of his men waning. He has now scarce
a third part of the army which he had when he crossed the Iberus, and
nothing can save this remnant from destruction if we are wise."

Æmilius said, in reply to this, that he went into the contest with
very little of encouragement or hope. If Fabius had found it so
difficult to withstand the turbulent influences of his master of
horse, who was his subordinate officer, and, as such, under his
command, how could _he_ expect to restrain his colleague, who was
entitled, by his office, to full equality with him. But,
notwithstanding the difficulties which he foresaw, he was going to do
his duty, and abide by the result; and if the result should be
unfavorable, he should seek for death in the conflict, for death by
Carthaginian spears was a far lighter evil, in his view, than the
displeasure and censures of his countrymen.

The consuls departed from Rome to join the army, Æmilius attended by a
moderate number of men of rank and station, and Varro by a much larger
train, though it was formed of people of the lower classes of society.
The army was organized, and the arrangements of the encampments
perfected. One ceremony was that of administering an oath to the
soldiers, as was usual in the Roman armies at the commencement of a
campaign. They were made to swear that they would not desert the army,
that they would never abandon the post at which they were stationed in
fear or in flight, nor leave the ranks except for the purpose of
taking up or recovering a weapon, striking an enemy, or protecting a
friend. These and other arrangements being completed, the army was
ready for the field. The consuls made a different arrangement in
respect to the division of their power from that adopted by Fabius and
Minucius. It was agreed between them that they would exercise their
common authority alternately, each for a day.

In the mean time, Hannibal began to find himself reduced to great
difficulty in obtaining provisions for his men. The policy of Fabius
had been so far successful as to place him in a very embarrassing
situation, and one growing more and more embarrassing every day. He
could obtain no food except what he got by plunder, and there was now
very little opportunity for that, as the inhabitants of the country
had carried off all the grain and deposited it in strongly-fortified
towns; and though Hannibal had great confidence in his power to cope
with the Roman army in a regular battle on an open field, he had not
strength sufficient to reduce citadels or attack fortified camps. His
stock of provisions had become, therefore, more and more nearly
exhausted, until now he had a supply for only ten days, and he saw no
possible mode of increasing it.

His great object was, therefore, to bring on a battle. Varro was ready
and willing to give him battle, but Æmilius, or, to call him by his
name in full, Paulus Æmilius, which is the appellation by which he is
more frequently known, was very desirous to persevere in the Fabian
policy till the ten days had expired, after which he knew that
Hannibal must be reduced to extreme distress, and might have to
surrender at once to save his army from actual famine. In fact, it was
said that the troops were on such short allowance as to produce great
discontent, and that a large body of Spaniards were preparing to
desert and go over together to the Roman camp.

Things were in this state, when, one day, Hannibal sent out a party
from his camp to procure food, and Æmilius, who happened to hold the
command that day, sent out a strong force to intercept them. He was
successful. The Carthaginian detachment was routed. Nearly two
thousand men were killed, and the rest fled, by any roads they could
find, back to Hannibal's camp. Varro was very eager to follow them
there, but Æmilius ordered his men to halt. He was afraid of some
trick or treachery on the part of Hannibal, and was disposed to be
satisfied with the victory he had already won.

This little success, however, only inflamed Varro's ardor for a
battle, and produced a general enthusiasm in the Roman army; and, a
day or two afterward, a circumstance occurred which raised this
excitement to the highest pitch. Some reconnoiterers, who had been
stationed within sight of Hannibal's camp to watch the motions and
indications there, sent in word to the consuls that the Carthaginian
guards around their encampment had all suddenly disappeared, and that
a very extraordinary and unusual silence reigned within. Parties of
the Roman soldiers went up gradually and cautiously to the
Carthaginian lines, and soon found that the camp was deserted, though
the fires were still burning and the tents remained. This
intelligence, of course, put the whole Roman army into a fever of
excitement and agitation. They crowded around the consuls' pavilions,
and clamorously insisted on being led on to take possession of the
camp, and to pursue the enemy. "He has fled," they said, "and with
such precipitation that he has left the tents standing and his fires
still burning. Lead us on in pursuit of him."

Varro was as much excited as the rest. He was eager for action.
Æmilius hesitated. He made particular inquiries. He said they ought
to proceed with caution. Finally, he called up a certain prudent and
sagacious officer, named Statilius, and ordered him to take a small
body of horsemen, ride over to the Carthaginian camp, ascertain the
facts exactly, and report the result. Statilius did so. When he
reached the lines he ordered his troops to halt, and took with him two
horsemen on whose courage and strength he could rely, and rode in. The
three horsemen rode around the camp and examined every thing with a
view of ascertaining whether Hannibal had really abandoned his
position and fled, or whether some stratagem was intended.

When he came back he reported to the army that, in his opinion, the
desertion of the camp was not real, but a trick to draw the Romans
into some difficulty. The fires were the largest on the side toward
the Romans, which indicated that they were built to deceive. He saw
money, too, and other valuables strewed about upon the ground, which
appeared to him much more like a bait set in a trap, than like
property abandoned by fugitives as incumbrances to flight. Varro was
not convinced; and the army, hearing of the money, were excited to a
greater eagerness for plunder. They could hardly be restrained. Just
then, however, two slaves that had been taken prisoners by the
Carthaginians some time before, came into the Roman camp. They told
the consuls that the whole Carthaginian force was hid in ambush very
near, waiting for the Romans to enter their encampment, when they were
going to surround them and cut them to pieces. In the bustle and
movement attendant on this plan, the slaves had escaped. Of course,
the Roman army were now satisfied. They returned, chagrined and
disappointed, to their own quarters, and Hannibal, still more
chagrined and disappointed, returned to his.

He soon found, however, that he could not remain any longer where he
was. His provisions were exhausted, and he could obtain no more. The
Romans would not come out of their encampment to give him battle on
equal terms, and they were too strongly intrenched to be attacked
where they were. He determined, therefore, to evacuate that part of
the country, and move, by a sudden march, into Apulia.

Apulia was on the eastern side of Italy. The River Aufidus runs
through it, having a town named Cannæ near its mouth. The region of
the Aufidus was a warm and sunny valley, which was now waving with
ripening grain. Being further south than the place where he had been,
and more exposed to the influence of the sun, Hannibal thought that
the crops would be sooner ripe, and that, at least, he should have a
new field to plunder.

He accordingly decided now to leave his camp in earnest, and move into
Apulia. He made the same arrangements as before, when his departure
was a mere pretense. He left tents pitched and fires burning, but
marched his army off the ground by night and secretly, so that the
Romans did not perceive his departure; and the next day, when they saw
the appearances of silence and solitude about the camp, they suspected
another deception, and made no move themselves. At length, however,
intelligence came that the long columns of Hannibal's army had been
seen already far to the eastward, and moving on as fast as possible,
with all their baggage. The Romans, after much debate and uncertainty,
resolved to follow. The eagles of the Apennines looked down upon the
two great moving masses, creeping slowly along through the forests and
valleys, like swarms of insects, one following the other, led on by a
strange but strong attraction, drawing them toward each other when at
a distance but kept asunder by a still stronger repulsion when near.

The Roman army came up with that of Hannibal on the River Aufidus,
near Cannæ, and the two vast encampments were formed with all the
noise and excitement attendant on the movements of two great armies
posting themselves on the eve of a battle, in the neighborhood of each
other. In the Roman camp, the confusion was greatly aggravated by the
angry disputes which immediately arose between the consuls and their
respective adherents as to the course to be pursued. Varro insisted on
giving the Carthaginians immediate battle. Æmilius refused. Varro said
that he must protest against continuing any longer these inexcusable
delays, and insist on a battle. He could not consent to be responsible
any further for allowing Italy to lie at the mercy of such a scourge.
Æmilius replied, that if Varro did precipitate a battle, he himself
protested against his rashness, and could not be, in any degree,
responsible for the result. The various officers took sides, some with
one consul and some with the other, but most with Varro. The
dissension filled the camp with excitement, agitation, and ill will.

In the mean time, the inhabitants of the country into which these two
vast hordes of ferocious, though restrained and organized combatants,
had made such a sudden irruption, were flying as fast as they could
from the awful scene which they expected was to ensue. They carried
from their villages and cabins what little property could be saved,
and took the women and children away to retreats and fastnesses,
wherever they imagined they could find temporary concealment or
protection. The news of the movement of the two armies spread
throughout the country, carried by hundreds of refugees and
messengers, and all Italy, looking on with suspense and anxiety,
awaited the result.

The armies maneuvered for a day or two, Varro, during his term of
command, making arrangements to promote and favor an action, and
Æmilius, on the following day, doing every thing in his power to
prevent it. In the end, Varro succeeded. The lines were formed and the
battle must be begun. Æmilius gave up the contest now, and while he
protested earnestly against the course which Varro pursued, he
prepared to do all in his power to prevent a defeat, since there was
no longer a possibility of avoiding a collision.

The battle began, and the reader must imagine the scene, since no pen
can describe it. Fifty thousand men on one side and eighty thousand on
the other, at work hard and steadily, for six hours, killing each
other by every possible means of destruction--stabs, blows, struggles,
outcries, shouts of anger and defiance, and screams of terror and
agony, all mingled together, in one general din, which covered the
whole country for an extent of many miles, all together constituted a
scene of horror of which none but those who have witnessed great
battles can form any adequate idea.

It seems as if Hannibal could do nothing without stratagem. In the
early part of this conflict he sent a large body of his troops over to
the Romans as deserters. They threw down their spears and bucklers, as
they reached the Roman lines, in token of surrender. The Romans
received them, opened a passage for them through into the rear, and
ordered them to remain there. As they were apparently unarmed, they
left only a very small guard to keep them in custody. The men had,
however, daggers concealed about their dress, and, watching a
favorable moment, in the midst of the battle, they sprang to their
feet, drew out their weapons, broke away from their guard, and
attacked the Romans in the rear at a moment when they were so pressed
by the enemy in front that they could scarcely maintain their ground.

It was evident before many hours that the Roman forces were every
where yielding. From slowly and reluctantly yielding they soon began
to fly. In the flight, the weak and the wounded were trampled under
foot by the throng who were pressing on behind them, or were
dispatched by wanton blows from enemies as they passed in pursuit of
those who were still able to fly. In the midst of this scene, a Roman
officer named Lentulus, as he was riding away, saw before him at the
road-side another officer wounded, sitting upon a stone, faint and
bleeding. He stopped when he reached him, and found that it was the
consul Æmilius. He had been wounded in the head with a sling, and his
strength was almost gone. Lentulus offered him his horse, and urged
him to take it and fly. Æmilius declined the offer. He said it was too
late for his life to be saved, and that, besides, he had no wish to
save it. "Go on, therefore, yourself," said he, "as fast as you can.
Make the best of your way to Rome. Tell the authorities there, from
me, that all is lost, and they must do whatever they can themselves
for the defense of the city. Make all the speed you can, or Hannibal
will be at the gates before you."

Æmilius sent also a message to Fabius, declaring to him that it was
not his fault that a battle had been risked with Hannibal. He had done
all in his power, he said, to prevent it, and had adhered to the
policy which Fabius had recommended to the last. Lentulus having
received these messages, and perceiving that the Carthaginians were
close upon him in pursuit, rode away, leaving the consul to his fate.
The Carthaginians came on, and, on seeing the wounded man, they thrust
their spears into his body, one after another, as they passed, until
his limbs ceased to quiver. As for the other consul, Varro, he escaped
with his life. Attended by about seventy horsemen, he made his way to
a fortified town not very remote from the battle-field, where he
halted with his horsemen, and determined that he would attempt to
rally there the remains of the army.

The Carthaginians, when they found the victory complete, abandoned the
pursuit of the enemy, returned to their camp, spent some hours in
feasting and rejoicing, and then laid down to sleep. They were, of
course, well exhausted by the intense exertions of the day. On the
field where the battle had been fought, the wounded lay all night
mingled with the dead, filling the air with cries and groans, and
writhing in their agony.

Early the next morning the Carthaginians came back to the field
to plunder the dead bodies of the Romans. The whole field presented
a most shocking spectacle to the view. The bodies of horses and men
lay mingled in dreadful confusion, as they had fallen, some dead,
others still alive, the men moaning, crying for water, and feebly
struggling from time to time to disentangle themselves from the
heaps of carcasses under which they were buried. The deadly and
inextinguishable hate which the Carthaginians felt for their foes not
having been appeased by the slaughter of forty thousand of them, they
beat down and stabbed these wretched lingerers wherever they found
them, as a sort of morning pastime after the severer labors of the
preceding day. This slaughter, however, could hardly be considered a
cruelty to the wretched victims of it, for many of them bared their
breasts to their assailants, and begged for the blow which was to put
an end to their pain. In exploring the field, one Carthaginian soldier
was found still alive, but imprisoned by the dead body of his Roman
enemy lying upon him. The Carthaginian's face and ears were shockingly
mangled. The Roman, having fallen upon him when both were mortally
wounded, had continued the combat with his teeth when he could no
longer use his weapon, and had died at last, binding down his
exhausted enemy with his own dead body.

The Carthaginians secured a vast amount of plunder. The Roman army was
full of officers and soldiers from the aristocratic ranks of society,
and their arms and their dress were very valuable. The Carthaginians
obtained some bushels of gold rings from their fingers, which Hannibal
sent to Carthage as a trophy of his victory.



B.C. 215-201

Reason of Hannibal's success.--The Scipios.--Fragments of the
Roman army.--Scipio elected commander.--Scipio's energy.--Case of
Metellus.--Metellus yields.--Consternation at Rome.--The senate
adjourns.--Hannibal refuses to march to Rome.--Hannibal makes his
head-quarters at Capua.--Hannibal sends Mago to Carthage.--Mago's
speech.--The bag of rings.--Debate in the Carthaginian senate.--The
speech of Hanno in the Carthaginian senate.--Progress of the
war.--Enervation of Hannibal's army.--Decline of the Carthaginian
power.--Marcellus.--Success of the Romans.--Siege of Capua.--Hannibal's
attack on the Roman camp.--He marches to Rome.--Preparations for a
battle.--Prevented by storms.--Sales at auction.--Hasdrubal crosses the
Alps.--Livius and Nero.--Division of the provinces.--The intercepted
letters.--Nero's perplexity.--Laws of military discipline.--Their
strictness and severity.--Danger of violating discipline.--An
illustration.--Plan of Nero.--A night march.--Livius and Nero attack
Hasdrubal.--Hasdrubal orders a retreat.--Butchery of Hasdrubal's
army.--Hasdrubal's death.--Progress of the Roman arms.--Successes of
Scipio.--Scipio in Africa.--Carthage threatened.--A truce.--Hannibal
recalled.--Hannibal raises a new army.--The Romans capture his
spies.--Negotiations.--Interview between Hannibal and Scipio.--The
last battle.--Defeat of the Carthaginians.

The true reason why Hannibal could not be arrested in his triumphant
career seems not to have been because the Romans did not pursue the
right kind of policy toward him, but because, thus far, they had no
general who was his equal. Whoever was sent against him soon proved to
be his inferior. Hannibal could out-maneuver them all in stratagem,
and could conquer them on the field. There was, however, now destined
to appear a man capable of coping with Hannibal. It was young Scipio,
the one who saved the life of his father at the battle of Ticinus.
This Scipio, though the son of Hannibal's first great antagonist of
that name, is commonly called, in history, the elder Scipio; for there
was another of his name after him, who was greatly celebrated for his
wars against the Carthaginians in Africa. These last two received from
the Roman people the surname of Africanus, in honor of their African
victories, and the one who now comes upon the stage was called Scipio
Africanus the elder, or sometimes simply the elder Scipio. The deeds
of the Scipio who attempted to stop Hannibal at the Rhone and upon the
Po were so wholly eclipsed by his son, and by the other Scipio who
followed him, that the former is left out of view and forgotten in
designating and distinguishing the others.

Our present Scipio first appears upon the stage, in the exercise of
military command, after the battle of Cannæ. He was a subordinate
officer and on the day following the battle he found himself at a
place called Canusium, which was at a short distance from Cannæ, on
the way toward Rome, with a number of other officers of his own rank,
and with broken masses and detachments of the army coming in from time
to time, faint, exhausted, and in despair. The rumor was that both
consuls were killed. These fragments of the army had, therefore, no
one to command them. The officers met together, and unanimously agreed
to make Scipio their commander in the emergency, until some superior
officer should arrive, or they should get orders from Rome.

An incident here occurred which showed, in a striking point of view,
the boldness and energy of the young Scipio's character. At the very
meeting in which he was placed in command, and when they were
overwhelmed with perplexity and care, an officer came in, and reported
that in another part of the camp there was an assembly of officers and
young men of rank, headed by a certain Metellus, who had decided to
give up the cause of their country in despair, and that they were
making arrangements to proceed immediately to the sea-coast, obtain
ships, and sail away to seek a new home in some foreign lands,
considering their cause in Italy as utterly lost and ruined. The
officer proposed that they should call a council and deliberate what
was best to do.

"Deliberate!" said Scipio; "this is not a case for deliberation, but
for action. Draw your swords and follow me." So saying, he pressed
forward at the head of the party to the quarters of Metellus. They
marched boldly into the apartment where he and his friends were in
consultation. Scipio held up his sword, and in a very solemn manner
pronounced an oath, binding himself not to abandon his country in this
the hour of her distress, nor to allow any other Roman citizen to
abandon her. If he should be guilty of such treason, he called upon
Jupiter, by the most dreadful imprecations, to destroy him utterly,
house, family, fortune, soul, and body.

"And now, Metellus, I call upon you," said he, "and all who are with
you, to take the same oath. You must do it, otherwise you have got to
defend yourselves against these swords of ours, as well as those of
the Carthaginians." Metellus and his party yielded. Nor was it wholly
to fear that they yielded. It was to the influence of hope quite as
much as to that of fear. The courage, the energy, and the martial
ardor which Scipio's conduct evinced awakened a similar spirit in
them, and made them hope again that possibly their country might yet
be saved.

The news of the awful defeat and destruction of the Roman army flew
swiftly to Rome, and produced universal consternation. The whole city
was in an uproar. There were soldiers in the army from almost every
family, so that every woman and child throughout the city was
distracted by the double agitation of inconsolable grief at the death
of their husband or their father, slain in the battle, and of terrible
fear that Hannibal and his raging followers were about to burst in
through the gates of the city to murder them. The streets of the city,
and especially the Forum, were thronged with vast crowds of men,
women, and children, who filled the air with loud lamentations, and
with cries of terror and despair.

The magistrates were not able to restore order. The senate actually
adjourned, that the members of it might go about the city, and use
their influence and their power to produce silence at least, if they
could not restore composure. The streets were finally cleared. The
women and children were ordered to remain at home. Armed patrols were
put on guard to prevent tumultuous assemblies forming. Men were sent
off on horseback on the road to Canusium and Cannæ, to get more
accurate intelligence, and then the senate assembled again, and began
to consider, with as much of calmness as they could command, what was
to be done.

The panic at Rome was, however, in some measure, a false alarm, for
Hannibal, contrary to the expectation of all Italy, did not go to
Rome. His generals urged him very strongly to do so. Nothing could
prevent, they said, his gaining immediate possession of the city. But
Hannibal refused to do this. Rome was strongly fortified, and had an
immense population. His army, too, was much weakened by the battle of
Cannæ, and he seems to have thought it most prudent not to attempt
the reduction of Rome until he should have received re-enforcements
from home. It was now so late in the season that he could not expect
such re-enforcements immediately, and he accordingly determined to
select some place more accessible than Rome and make it his
head-quarters for the winter. He decided in favor of Capua, which was
a large and powerful city one or two hundred miles southeast of Rome.

Hannibal, in fact, conceived the design of retaining possession of
Italy and of making Capua the capital of the country, leaving Rome to
itself, to decline, as under such circumstances it inevitably must, to
the rank of a second city. Perhaps he was tired of the fatigues and
hazards of war, and having narrowly escaped ruin before the battle of
Cannæ, he now resolved that he would not rashly incur any new dangers.
It was a great question with him whether he should go forward to Rome,
or attempt to build up a new capital of his own at Capua. The question
which of these two he ought to have done was a matter of great debate
then, and it has been discussed a great deal by military men in every
age since his day. Right or wrong, Hannibal decided to establish his
own capital at Capua, and to leave Rome, for the present, undisturbed.

He, however, sent immediately to Carthage for re-enforcements. The
messenger whom he sent was one of his generals named Mago. Mago made
the best of his way to Carthage with his tidings of victory and his
bushel of rings, collected, as has been already said, from the field
of Cannæ. The city of Carthage was greatly excited by the news which
he brought. The friends and patrons of Hannibal were elated with
enthusiasm and pride, and they taunted and reproached his enemies with
the opposition to him they had manifested when he was originally
appointed to the command of the army of Spain.

Mago met the Carthaginian senate, and in a very spirited and eloquent
speech he told them how many glorious battles Hannibal had fought, and
how many victories he had won. He had contended with the greatest
generals that the Romans could bring against him, and had conquered
them all. He had slain, he said, in all, over two hundred thousand
men. All Italy was now subject to his power; Capua was his capital,
and Rome had fallen. He concluded by saying that Hannibal was in need
of considerable additional supplies of men, and money, and provisions,
which he did not doubt the Carthaginians would send without any
unnecessary delay. He then produced before the senate the great bag of
rings which he had brought, and poured them upon the pavement of the
senate-house as a trophy of the victories which he had been

This would, perhaps, have all been very well for Hannibal if his
friends had been contented to have left the case where Mago left it;
but some of them could not resist the temptation of taunting his
enemies, and especially Hanno, who, as will be recollected, originally
opposed his being sent to Spain. They turned to him, and asked him
triumphantly what he thought now of his factious opposition to so
brave a warrior. Hanno rose. The senate looked toward him and were
profoundly silent, wondering what he would have to reply. Hanno, with
an air of perfect ease and composure, spoke somewhat as follows:

"I should have said nothing, but should have allowed the senate to
take what action they pleased on Mago's proposition if I had not been
particularly addressed. As it is, I will say that I think now just as
I always have thought. We are plunged into a most costly and most
useless war, and are, as I conceive, no nearer the end of it now than
ever, notwithstanding all these boasted successes. The emptiness of
them is clearly shown by the inconsistency of Hannibal's pretensions
as to what he has done, with the demands that he makes in respect to
what he wishes us to do. He says he has conquered all his enemies, and
yet he wants us to send him more soldiers. He has reduced all
Italy--the most fertile country in the world--to subjection, and
reigns over it at Capua, and yet he calls upon us for corn. And then,
to crown all, he sends us bushels of gold rings as a specimen of the
riches he has obtained by plunder, and accompanies the offering with a
demand for new supplies of money. In my opinion, his success is all
illusive and hollow. There seems to be nothing substantial in his
situation except his necessities, and the heavy burdens upon the state
which these necessities impose."

Notwithstanding Hanno's sarcasms, the Carthaginians resolved to
sustain Hannibal, and to send him the supplies that he needed. They
were, however, long in reaching him. Various difficulties and delays
occurred. The Romans, though they could not dispossess Hannibal from
his position in Italy, raised armies in different countries, and waged
extended wars with the Carthaginians and their allies, in various
parts of the world, both by sea and land.

The result was, that Hannibal remained fifteen or sixteen years in
Italy, engaged, during all this time, in a lingering struggle with the
Roman power, without ever being able to accomplish any decisive
measures. During this period he was sometimes successful and
victorious, and sometimes he was very hard pressed by his enemies. It
is said that his army was very much enervated and enfeebled by the
comforts and luxuries they enjoyed at Capua. Capua was a very rich and
beautiful city, and the inhabitants of it had opened their gates to
Hannibal of their own accord, preferring, as they said, his alliance
to that of the Romans. The officers--as the officers of an army almost
always do, when they find themselves established in a rich and
powerful city, after the fatigues of a long and honorable
campaign--gave themselves up to festivities and rejoicing, to games,
shows, and entertainments of every kind, which they soon learned
infinitely to prefer to the toil and danger of marches and battles.

Whatever may have been the cause, there is no question about the fact
that, from the time Hannibal and his army got possession of their
comfortable quarters in Capua, the Carthaginian power began gradually
to decline. As Hannibal determined to make that city the Italian
capital instead of Rome, he, of course, when established there, felt
in some degree settled and at home, and was less interested than he
had been in plans for attacking the ancient capital. Still, the war
went on; many battles were fought, many cities were besieged, the
Roman power gaining ground all the time, though not, however, by any
very decisive victories.

In these contests there appeared, at length, a new Roman general named
Marcellus, and, either on account of his possessing a bolder and more
active temperament, or else in consequence of the change in the
relative strength of the two contending powers, he pursued a more
aggressive policy than Fabius had thought it prudent to attempt.
Marcellus was, however, cautious and wary in his enterprises, and he
laid his plans with so much sagacity and skill that he was almost
always successful. The Romans applauded very highly his activity and
ardor, without, however, forgetting their obligations to Fabius for
his caution and defensive reserve. They said that Marcellus was the
_sword_ of their commonwealth, as Fabius had been its _shield_.

The Romans continued to prosecute this sort of warfare, being more and
more successful the longer they continued it, until, at last, they
advanced to the very walls of Capua, and threatened it with a siege.
Hannibal's intrenchments and fortifications were too strong for them
to attempt to carry the city by a sudden assault, nor were the Romans
even powerful enough to invest the place entirely, so as completely to
shut their enemies in. They, however, encamped with a large army in
the neighborhood, and assumed so threatening an attitude as to keep
Hannibal's forces within in a state of continual alarm. And, besides
the alarm, it was very humiliating and mortifying to Carthaginian
pride to find the very seat of their power, as it were, shut up and
overawed by an enemy over whom they had been triumphing themselves so
short a time before, by a continued series of victories.

Hannibal was not himself in Capua at the time that the Romans came to
attack it. He marched, however, immediately to its relief, and
attacking the Romans in his turn, endeavored to compel them to _raise
the siege_, as it is technically termed, and retire. They had,
however, so intrenched themselves in the positions that they had
taken, and the assaults with which he encountered them had lost so
much of their former force, that he could accomplish nothing decisive.
He then left the ground with his army, and marched himself toward
Rome. He encamped in the vicinity of the city, and threatened to
attack it; but the walls, and castles, and towers with which Rome, as
well as Capua, was defended, were too formidable, and the preparations
for defense too complete, to make it prudent for him really to assail
the city. His object was to alarm the Romans, and compel them to
withdraw their forces from his capital that they might defend their

There was, in fact, some degree of alarm awakened, and in the
discussions which took place among the Roman authorities, the
withdrawal of their troops from Capua was proposed; but this proposal
was overruled; even Fabius was against it. Hannibal was no longer to
be feared. They ordered back a small detachment from Capua, and added
to it such forces as they could raise within the city, and then
advanced to give Hannibal battle. The preparations were all made, it
is said, for an engagement, but a violent storm came on, so violent as
to drive the combatants back to their respective camps. This happened,
the great Roman historian gravely says, two or three times in
succession; the weather immediately becoming serene again, each time,
as soon as the respective generals had withdrawn their troops from the
intended fight. Something like this may perhaps have occurred, though
the fact doubtless was that both parties were afraid, each of the
other, and were disposed to avail themselves of any excuse to postpone
a decisive conflict. There was a time when Hannibal had not been
deterred from attacking the Romans even by the most tempestuous

Thus, though Hannibal did, in fact, in the end, get to the walls of
Rome, he did nothing but threaten when he was there, and his
encampment near the city can only be considered as a bravado. His
presence seems to have excited very little apprehension within the
city. The Romans had, in fact, before this time, lost their terror of
the Carthaginian arms. To show their contempt of Hannibal, they sold,
at public auction the land on which he was encamped, while he was
upon it besieging the city, and it brought the usual price. The
bidders were, perhaps, influenced somewhat by a patriotic spirit, and
by a desire to taunt Hannibal with an expression of their opinion that
his occupation of the land would be a very temporary encumbrance.
Hannibal, to revenge himself for this taunt, put up for sale at
auction, in his own camp, the shops of one of the principal streets of
Rome, and they were bought by his officers with great spirit. It
showed that a great change had taken place in the nature of the
contest between Carthage and Rome, to find these vast powers, which
were a few years before grappling each other with such destructive and
terrible fury on the Po and at Cannæ, now satisfying their declining
animosity with such squibbing as this.

When the other modes by which Hannibal attempted to obtain
re-enforcements failed, he made an attempt to have a second army
brought over the Alps under the command of his brother Hasdrubal. It
was a large army, and in their march they experienced the same
difficulties, though in a much lighter degree, that Hannibal had
himself encountered. And yet, of the whole mighty mass which set out
from Spain, nothing reached Hannibal except his brother's _head_. The
circumstances of the unfortunate termination of Hasdrubal's attempt
were as follows:

When Hasdrubal descended from the Alps, rejoicing in the successful
manner in which he had surmounted those formidable barriers, he
imagined that all his difficulties were over. He dispatched couriers
to his brother Hannibal, informing him that he had scaled the
mountains, and that he was coming on as rapidly as possible to his

The two consuls in office at this time were named, the one Nero, and
the other Livius. To each of these, as was usual with the Roman
consuls, was assigned a particular province, and a certain portion of
the army to defend it, and the laws enjoined it upon them very
strictly not to leave their respective provinces, on any pretext
whatever, without authority from the Roman Legislature. In this
instance Livius had been assigned to the northern part of Italy, and
Nero to the southern. It devolved upon Livius, therefore, to meet and
give battle to Hasdrubal on his descent from the Alps, and to Nero to
remain in the vicinity of Hannibal, to thwart his plans, oppose his
progress, and, if possible, conquer and destroy him, while his
colleague prevented his receiving the expected re-enforcements from

Things being in this state, the couriers whom Hasdrubal sent with his
letters had the vigilance of both consuls to elude before they could
deliver them into Hannibal's hands. They did succeed in passing
Livius, but they were intercepted by Nero. The patrols who seized
these messengers brought them to Nero's tent. Nero opened and read the
letters. All Hasdrubal's plans and arrangements were detailed in them
very fully, so that Nero perceived that, if he were at once to proceed
to the northward with a strong force, he could render his colleague
such aid as, with the knowledge of Hasdrubal's plans, which he had
obtained from the letters, would probably enable them to defeat him;
whereas, if he were to leave Livius in ignorance and alone, he feared
that Hasdrubal would be successful in breaking his way through, and in
ultimately effecting his junction with Hannibal. Under these
circumstances, he was, of course, very earnestly desirous of going
northward to render the necessary aid, but he was strictly forbidden
by law to leave his own province to enter that of his colleague
without an authority from Rome, which there was not now time to

The laws of military discipline are very strict and imperious, and in
theory they are never to be disobeyed. Officers and soldiers, of all
ranks and gradations, must obey the orders which they receive from the
authority above them, without looking at the consequences, or
deviating from the line marked out on any pretext whatever. It is, in
fact, the very essence of military subordination and efficiency, that
a command, once given, suspends all exercise of judgment or discretion
on the part of the one to whom it is addressed; and a good general or
a good government would prefer generally that harm should be done by a
strict obedience to commands, rather than a benefit secured by an
unauthorized deviation from them. It is a good principle, not only in
war, but in all those cases in social life where men have to act in
concert, and yet wish to secure efficiency in action.

And yet there are cases of exception--cases where the necessity is so
urgent, or the advantages to be derived are so great; where the
interests involved are so momentous, and the success so sure, that a
commander concludes to disobey and take the responsibility. The
responsibility is, however, very great, and the danger in assuming it
extreme. He who incurs it makes himself liable to the severest
penalties, from which nothing but clear proof of the most imperious
necessity, and, in addition to it, the most triumphant success, can
save him. There is somewhere in English history a story of a naval
commander, in the service of an English queen, who disobeyed the
orders of his superiors at one time, in a case of great emergency at
sea, and gained by so doing a very important victory. Immediately
afterward he placed himself under arrest, and went into port as a
prisoner accused of crime instead of a commander triumphing in his
victory. He surrendered himself to the queen's officers of justice,
and sent word to the queen herself that he knew very well that death
was the penalty for his offense, but that he was willing to sacrifice
his life _in any way_ in the service of her majesty. He was pardoned!

Nero, after much anxious deliberation, concluded that the emergency in
which he found himself placed was one requiring him to take the
responsibility of disobedience. He did not, however, dare to go
northward with all his forces, for that would be to leave southern
Italy wholly at the mercy of Hannibal. He selected, therefore, from
his whole force, which consisted of forty thousand men, seven or
eight thousand of the most efficient and trustworthy; the men on whom
he could most securely rely, both in respect to their ability to bear
the fatigues of a rapid march, and the courage and energy with which
they would meet Hasdrubal's forces in battle at the end of it. He was,
at the time when Hasdrubal's letters were intercepted, occupying a
spacious and well-situated camp. This he enlarged and strengthened, so
that Hannibal might not suspect that he intended any diminution of the
forces within. All this was done very promptly, so that, in a few
hours after he received the intelligence on which he was acting, he
was drawing off secretly, at night, a column of six or eight thousand
men, none of whom knew at all where they were going.

He proceeded as rapidly as possible to the northward, and, when he
arrived in the northern province, he contrived to get into the camp of
Livius as secretly as he had got out from his own. Thus, of the two
armies, the one where an accession of force was required was greatly
strengthened at the expense of the other, without either of the
Carthaginian generals having suspected the change.

Livius was rejoiced to get so opportune a re-enforcement. He
recommended that the troops should all remain quietly in camp for a
short time, until the newly-arrived troops could rest and recruit
themselves a little after their rapid and fatiguing march; but Nero
opposed this plan, and recommended an immediate battle. He knew the
character of the men that he had brought, and he was, besides,
unwilling to risk the dangers which might arise in his own camp, in
southern Italy, by too long an absence from it. It was decided,
accordingly, to attack Hasdrubal at once, and the signal for battle
was given.

It is not improbable that Hasdrubal would have been beaten by Livius
alone, but the additional force which Nero had brought made the Romans
altogether too strong for him. Besides, from his position in the front
of the battle, he perceived, from some indications that his watchful
eye observed, that a part of the troops attacking him were from the
southward; and he inferred from this that Hannibal had been defeated,
and that, in consequence of this, the whole united force of the Roman
army was arrayed against him. He was disheartened and discouraged, and
soon ordered a retreat. He was pursued by the various divisions of the
Roman army, and the retreating columns of the Carthaginians were soon
thrown into complete confusion. They became entangled among rivers and
lakes; and the guides who had undertaken to conduct the army, finding
that all was lost, abandoned them and fled, anxious only to save their
own lives. The Carthaginians were soon pent up in a position where
they could not defend themselves, and from which they could not
escape. The Romans showed them no mercy, but went on killing their
wretched and despairing victims until the whole army was almost
totally destroyed. They cut off Hasdrubal's head, and Nero sat out the
very night after the battle to return with it in triumph to his own
encampment. When he arrived, he sent a troop of horse to throw the
head over into Hannibal's camp, a ghastly and horrid trophy of his

Hannibal was overwhelmed with disappointment and sorrow at the loss of
his army, bringing with it, as it did, the destruction of all his
hopes. "My fate is sealed," said he; "all is lost. I shall send no
more news of victory to Carthage. In losing Hasdrubal my last hope is

[Illustration: HASDRUBAL'S HEAD.]

While Hannibal was in this condition in Italy, the Roman armies, aided
by their allies, were gaining gradually against the Carthaginians in
various parts of the world, under the different generals who had been
placed in command by the Roman senate. The news of these victories
came continually home to Italy, and encouraged and animated the
Romans, while Hannibal and his army, as well as the people who were in
alliance with him, were disheartened and depressed by them. Scipio was
one of these generals commanding in foreign lands. His province was
Spain. The news which came home from his army became more and more
exciting, as he advanced from conquest to conquest, until it seemed
that the whole country was going to be reduced to subjection. He
overcame one Carthaginian general after another until he reached New
Carthage, which he besieged and conquered, and the Roman authority was
established fully over the whole land.

Scipio then returned in triumph to Rome. The people received him with
acclamations. At the next election they chose him consul. On the
allotment of provinces, Sicily fell to him, with power to cross into
Africa if he pleased. It devolved on the other consul to carry on the
war in Italy more directly against Hannibal. Scipio levied his army,
equipped his fleet, and sailed for Sicily.

The first thing that he did on his arrival in his province was to
project an expedition into Africa itself. He could not, as he wished,
face Hannibal directly, by marching his troops into the south of
Italy, for this was the work allotted to his colleague. He could,
however, make an incursion into Africa, and even threaten Carthage
itself, and this, with the boldness and ardor which marked his
character, he resolved to do.

He was triumphantly successful in all his plans. His army, imbibing
the spirit of enthusiasm which animated their commander, and confident
of success, went on, as his forces in Spain had done, from victory to
victory. They conquered cities, they overran provinces, they defeated
and drove back all the armies which the Carthaginians could bring
against them, and finally they awakened in the streets and dwellings
of Carthage the same panic and consternation which Hannibal's
victorious progress had produced in Rome.

The Carthaginians being now, in their turn, reduced to despair, sent
embassadors to Scipio to beg for peace, and to ask on what terms he
would grant it and withdraw from the country. Scipio replied that _he_
could not make peace. It rested with the Roman senate, whose servant
he was. He specified, however, certain terms which he was willing to
have proposed to the senate, and, if the Carthaginians would agree to
them, he would grant them a _truce_, that is, a temporary suspension
of hostilities, until the answer of the Roman senate could be

The Carthaginians agreed to the terms. They were very onerous. The
Romans say that they did not really mean to abide by them, but acceded
for the moment in order to gain time to send for Hannibal. They had
great confidence in his resources and military power, and thought
that, if he were in Africa, he could save them. At the same time,
therefore, that they sent their embassadors to Rome with their
propositions for peace, they dispatched expresses to Hannibal,
ordering him to embark his troops as soon as possible, and, abandoning
Italy, to hasten home, to save, if it was not already too late, his
native city from destruction.

When Hannibal received these messages, he was overwhelmed with
disappointment and sorrow. He spent hours in extreme agitation,
sometimes in a moody silence, interrupted now and then by groans of
despair, and sometimes uttering loud and angry curses, prompted by the
exasperation of his feelings. He, however, could not resist. He made
the best of his way to Carthage. The Roman senate, at the same time,
instead of deciding on the question of peace or war, which Scipio had
submitted to them, referred the question back to him. They sent
commissioners to Scipio, authorizing him to act for them, and to
decide himself alone whether the war should be continued or closed,
and if to be closed, on what conditions.

Hannibal raised a large force at Carthage, joining with it such
remains of former armies as had been left after Scipio's battles, and
he went forth at the head of these troops to meet his enemy. He
marched five days, going, perhaps, seventy-five or one hundred miles
from Carthage, when he found himself approaching Scipio's camp. He
sent out spies to reconnoiter. The patrols of Scipio's army seized
these spies and brought them to the general's tent, as they supposed,
for execution. Instead of punishing them, Scipio ordered them to be
led around his camp, and to be allowed to see every thing they
desired. He then dismissed them, that they might return to Hannibal
with the information they had obtained.

Of course, the report which they brought in respect to the strength
and resources of Scipio's army was very formidable to Hannibal. He
thought it best to make an attempt to negotiate a peace rather than to
risk a battle, and he accordingly sent word to Scipio requesting a
personal interview. Scipio acceded to this request, and a place was
appointed for the meeting between the two encampments. To this spot
the two generals repaired at the proper time, with great pomp and
parade, and with many attendants. They were the two greatest generals
of the age in which they lived, having been engaged for fifteen or
twenty years in performing, at the head of vast armies, exploits which
had filled the world with their fame. Their fields of action had,
however, been widely distant, and they met personally now for the
first time. When introduced into each other's presence, they stood for
some time in silence, gazing upon and examining one another with
intense interest and curiosity, but not speaking a word.

At length, however, the negotiation was opened. Hannibal made Scipio
proposals for peace. They were very favorable to the Romans, but
Scipio was not satisfied with them. He demanded still greater
sacrifices than Hannibal was willing to make. The result, after a long
and fruitless negotiation, was, that each general returned to his
camp and prepared for battle.

In military campaigns, it is generally easy for those who have been
conquering to go on to conquer: so much depends upon the expectations
with which the contending armies go into battle. Scipio and his troops
expected to conquer. The Carthaginians expected to be beaten. The
result corresponded. At the close of the day on which the battle was
fought, forty thousand Carthaginians were dead and dying upon the
ground, as many more were prisoners in the Roman camp, and the rest,
in broken masses, were flying from the field in confusion and terror,
on all the roads which led to Carthage. Hannibal arrived at the city
with the rest, went to the senate, announced his defeat, and said that
he could do no more. "The fortune which once attended me," said he,
"is lost forever, and nothing is left to us but to make peace with our
enemies on any terms that they may think fit to impose."



B.C. 200-182

Hannibal's conquests.--Peaceful pursuits.--The danger of a spirit of
ambition and conquest.--Gradual progress of Scipio's victories.--Severe
conditions of peace exacted by Scipio.--Debates in the Carthaginian
senate.--Terms of peace complied with.--Surrender of the elephants and
ships.--Scipio burns the Carthaginian fleet.--Feelings of the
spectators.--Scipio sails to Rome.--His reception.--Hannibal's position
and standing at Carthage.--Orders from Rome.--Hannibal's
mortification.--Syria and Phoenicia.--King Antiochus.--Hannibal's
intrigues with Antiochus.--Embassy from Rome.--Flight of
Hannibal.--Island of Cercina.--Stratagem of Hannibal.--He sails for
Syria.--Excitement at Carthage.--Hannibal safe at Ephesus.--Carthaginian
deputies.--The change of fortune.--Hannibal's unconquerable spirit.--His
new plans.--Hannibal sends a secret messenger to Carthage.--The
placards.--Excitement produced by them.--Roman commissioners.--Supposed
interview of Hannibal and Scipio.--Hannibal's opinion of Alexander and
Pyrrhus.--Anecdotes.--Hannibal's efforts prove vain.--Antiochus agrees
to give him up.--Hannibal's treasures.--His plan for securing
them.--Hannibal's unhappy condition.--The potion of poison.--Hannibal
fails in his attempt to escape.--He poisons himself.

Hannibal's life was like an April day. Its brightest glory was in the
morning. The setting of his sun was darkened by clouds and showers.
Although for fifteen years the Roman people could find no general
capable of maintaining the field against him, Scipio conquered him at
last, and all his brilliant conquests ended, as Hanno had predicted,
only in placing his country in a far worse condition than before.

In fact, as long as the Carthaginians confined their energies to
useful industry, and to the pursuits of commerce and peace, they were
prosperous, and they increased in wealth, and influence, and honor
every year. Their ships went every where, and were every where
welcome. All the shores of the Mediterranean were visited by their
merchants, and the comforts and the happiness of many nations and
tribes were promoted by the very means which they took to swell their
own riches and fame. All might have gone on so for centuries longer,
had not military heroes arisen with appetites for a more piquant sort
of glory. Hannibal's father was one of the foremost of these. He began
by conquests in Spain and encroachments on the Roman jurisdiction. He
inculcated the same feelings of ambition and hate in Hannibal's mind
which burned in his own. For many years, the policy which they led
their countrymen to pursue was successful. From being useful and
welcome visitors to all the world, they became the masters and the
curse of a part of it. So long as Hannibal remained superior to any
Roman general that could be brought against him, he went on
conquering. But at last Scipio arose, greater than Hannibal. The tide
was then turned, and all the vast conquests of half a century were
wrested away by the same violence, bloodshed, and misery with which
they had been acquired.

We have described the exploits of Hannibal, in making these conquests,
in detail, while those of Scipio, in wresting them away, have been
passed over very briefly, as this is intended as a history of
Hannibal, and not of Scipio. Still Scipio's conquests were made by
slow degrees, and they consumed a long period of time. He was but
about eighteen years of age at the battle of Cannæ, soon after which
his campaigns began, and he was thirty when he was made consul, just
before his going into Africa. He was thus fifteen or eighteen years in
taking down the vast superstructure of power which Hannibal had
raised, working in regions away from Hannibal and Carthage during all
this time, as if leaving the great general and the great city for the
last. He was, however, so successful in what he did, that when, at
length, he advanced to the attack of Carthage, every thing else was
gone. The Carthaginian power had become a mere hollow shell, empty and
vain, which required only one great final blow to effect its absolute
demolition. In fact, so far spent and gone were all the Carthaginian
resources, that the great city had to summon the great general to its
aid the moment it was threatened, and Scipio destroyed them both

And yet Scipio did not proceed so far as literally and actually to
destroy them. He spared Hannibal's life, and he allowed the city to
stand; but the terms and conditions of peace which he exacted were
such as to put an absolute and perpetual end to Carthaginian dominion.
By these conditions, the Carthaginian state was allowed to continue
free and independent, and even to retain the government of such
territories in _Africa_ as they possessed before the war; but all
their foreign possessions were taken away; and even in respect to
Africa, their jurisdiction was limited and curtailed by very hard
restrictions. Their whole navy was to be given to the Romans except
ten small ships of three banks of oars, which Scipio thought the
government would need for the purposes of civil administration. These
they were allowed to retain. Scipio did not say what he should do with
the remainder of the fleet: it was to be unconditionally surrendered
to him. Their elephants of war were also to be all given up, and they
were to be bound not to train any more. They were not to appear at all
as a military power in any other quarter of the world but Africa, and
they were not to make war in Africa except by previously making known
the occasion for it to the Roman people, and obtaining their
permission. They were also to pay to the Romans a very large annual
tribute for fifty years.

There was great distress and perplexity in the Carthaginian councils
while they were debating these cruel terms. Hannibal was in favor of
accepting them. Others opposed. They thought it would be better still
to continue the struggle, hopeless as it was, than to submit to terms
so ignominious and fatal.

Hannibal was present at these debates, but he found himself now in a
very different position from that which he had been occupying for
thirty years as a victorious general at the head of his army. He had
been accustomed there to control and direct every thing. In his
councils of war, no one spoke but at his invitation, and no opinion
was expressed but such as he was willing to hear. In the Carthaginian
senate, however, he found the case very different. There, opinions
were freely expressed, as in a debate among equals, Hannibal taking
his place among the rest, and counting only as one. And yet the spirit
of authority and command which he had been so long accustomed to
exercise, lingered still, and made him very impatient and uneasy under
contradiction. In fact, as one of the speakers in the senate was
rising to animadvert upon and oppose Hannibal's views, he undertook to
pull him down and silence him by force. This proceeding awakened
immediately such expressions of dissatisfaction and displeasure in the
assembly as to show him very clearly that the time for such
domineering was gone. He had, however, the good sense to express the
regret he soon felt at having so far forgotten the duties of his new
position, and to make an ample apology.


The Carthaginians decided at length to accede to Scipio's terms of
peace. The first instalment of the tribute was paid. The elephants
and the ships were surrendered. After a few days, Scipio announced
his determination not to take the ships away with him, but to
destroy them there. Perhaps this was because he thought the ships
would be of little value to the Romans, on account of the difficulty
of manning them. Ships, of course, are useless without seamen, and
many nations in modern times, who could easily build a navy, are
debarred from doing it, because their population does not furnish
sailors in sufficient numbers to man and navigate it. It was
probably, in part, on this account that Scipio decided not to take
the Carthaginian ships away, and perhaps he also wanted to show to
Carthage and to the world that his object in taking possession of
the national property of his foes was not to enrich his own country
by plunder, but only to deprive ambitious soldiers of the power
to compromise any longer the peace and happiness of mankind by
expeditions for conquest and power. However this may be, Scipio
determined to destroy the Carthaginian fleet, and not to convey
it away.

On a given day, therefore, he ordered all the galleys to be got
together in the bay opposite to the city of Carthage, and to be
burned. There were five hundred of them, so that they constituted a
large fleet, and covered a large expanse of the water. A vast
concourse of people assembled upon the shores to witness the grand
conflagration. The emotion which such a spectacle was of itself
calculated to excite was greatly heightened by the deep but stifled
feelings of resentment and hate which agitated every Carthaginian
breast. The Romans, too, as they gazed upon the scene from their
encampment on the shore, were agitated as well, though with different
emotions. Their faces beamed with an expression of exultation and
triumph as they saw the vast masses of flame and columns of smoke
ascending from the sea, proclaiming the total and irretrievable ruin
of Carthaginian pride and power.

Having thus fully accomplished his work, Scipio set sail for Rome. All
Italy had been filled with the fame of his exploits in thus
destroying the ascendency of Hannibal. The city of Rome had now
nothing more to fear from its great enemy. He was shut up, disarmed,
and helpless, in his own native state, and the terror which his
presence in Italy had inspired had passed forever away. The whole
population of Rome, remembering the awful scenes of consternation and
terror which the city had so often endured, regarded Scipio as a great
deliverer. They were eager to receive and welcome him on his arrival.
When the time came and he approached the city, vast throngs went out
to meet him. The authorities formed civic processions to welcome him.
They brought crowns, and garlands, and flowers, and hailed his
approach with loud and prolonged acclamations of triumph and joy. They
gave him the name of Africanus, in honor of his victories. This was a
new honor--giving to a conqueror the name of the country that he had
subdued; it was invented specially as Scipio's reward, the deliverer
who had saved the empire from the greatest and most terrible danger by
which it had ever been assailed.

Hannibal, though fallen, retained still in Carthage some portion of
his former power. The glory of his past exploits still invested his
character with a sort of halo, which made him an object of general
regard, and he still had great and powerful friends. He was elevated
to high office, and exerted himself to regulate and improve the
internal affairs of the state. In these efforts he was not, however,
very successful. The historians say that the objects which he aimed to
accomplish were good, and that the measures for effecting them were,
in themselves, judicious; but, accustomed as he was to the
authoritative and arbitrary action of a military commander in camp, he
found it hard to practice that caution and forbearance, and that
deference for the opinion of others, which are so essential as means
of influencing men in the management of the civil affairs of a
commonwealth. He made a great many enemies, who did every thing in
their power, by plots and intrigues, as well as by open hostility, to
accomplish his ruin.

His pride, too, was extremely mortified and humbled by an occurrence
which took place very soon after Scipio's return to Rome. There was
some occasion of war with a neighboring African tribe, and Hannibal
headed some forces which were raised in the city for the purpose, and
went out to prosecute it. The Romans, who took care to have agents in
Carthage to keep them acquainted with all that occurred, heard of
this, and sent word to Carthage to warn the Carthaginians that this
was contrary to the treaty, and could not be allowed. The government,
not willing to incur the risk of another visit from Scipio, sent
orders to Hannibal to abandon the war and return to the city. Hannibal
was compelled to submit; but after having been accustomed, as he had
been, for many years, to bid defiance to all the armies and fleets
which Roman power could, with their utmost exertion, bring against
him, it must have been very hard for such a spirit as his to find
itself stopped and conquered now by a word. All the force they could
command against him, even at the very gates of their own city, was
once impotent and vain. Now, a mere message and threat, coming across
the distant sea, seeks him out in the remote deserts of Africa, and in
a moment deprives him of all his power.

Years passed away, and Hannibal, though compelled outwardly to submit
to his fate, was restless and ill at ease. His scheming spirit,
spurred on now by the double stimulus of resentment and ambition, was
always busy, vainly endeavoring to discover some plan by which he
might again renew the struggle with his ancient foe.

It will be recollected that Carthage was originally a commercial
colony from Tyre, a city on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean
Sea. The countries of Syria and Phoenicia were in the vicinity of
Tyre. They were powerful commercial communities, and they had always
retained very friendly relations with the Carthaginian commonwealth.
Ships passed continually to and fro, and always, in case of calamities
or disasters threatening one of these regions, the inhabitants
naturally looked to the other for refuge and protection, Carthage
looking upon Phoenicia as its mother, and Phoenicia regarding
Carthage as her child. Now there was, at this time, a very powerful
monarch on the throne in Syria and Phoenicia, named Antiochus. His
capital was Damascus. He was wealthy and powerful, and was involved in
some difficulties with the Romans. Their conquests, gradually
extending eastward, had approached the confines of Antiochus's realms,
and the two nations were on the brink of war.

Things being in this state, the enemies of Hannibal at Carthage sent
information to the Roman senate that he was negotiating and plotting
with Antiochus to combine the Syrian and Carthaginian forces against
them, and thus plunge the world into another general war. The Romans
accordingly determined to send an embassage to the Carthaginian
government, and to demand that Hannibal should be deposed from his
office, and given up to them a prisoner, in order that he might be
tried on this charge.

These commissioners came, accordingly, to Carthage, keeping, however,
the object of their mission a profound secret, since they knew very
well that, if Hannibal should suspect it, he would make his escape
before the Carthaginian senate could decide upon the question of
surrendering him. Hannibal was, however, too wary for them. He
contrived to learn their object, and immediately resolved on making
his escape. He knew that his enemies in Carthage were numerous and
powerful, and that the animosity against him was growing stronger and
stronger. He did not dare, therefore, to trust to the result of the
discussion in the senate, but determined to fly.

He had a small castle or tower on the coast, about one hundred and
fifty miles southeast of Carthage. He sent there by an express,
ordering a vessel to be ready to take him to sea. He also made
arrangements to have horsemen ready at one of the gates of the city at
nightfall. During the day he appeared freely in the public streets,
walking with an unconcerned air, as if his mind was at ease, and
giving to the Roman embassadors, who were watching his movements, the
impression that he was not meditating an escape. Toward the close of
the day, however, after walking leisurely home, he immediately made
preparations for his journey. As soon as it was dark he went to the
gate of the city, mounted the horse which was provided for him, and
fled across the country to his castle. Here he found the vessel ready
which he had ordered. He embarked, and put to sea.

There is a small island called Cercina at a little distance from the
coast. Hannibal reached this island on the same day that he left his
tower. There was a harbor here, where merchant ships were accustomed
to come in. He found several Phoenician vessels in the port, some
bound to Carthage. Hannibal's arrival produced a strong sensation
here, and, to account for his appearance among them, he said he was
going on an embassy from the Carthaginian government to Tyre.

He was now afraid that some of these vessels that were about setting
sail for Carthage might carry the news back of his having being seen
at Cercina, and, to prevent this, he contrived, with his
characteristic cunning, the following plan. He sent around to all the
ship-masters in the port, inviting them to a great entertainment which
he was to give, and asked, at the same time, that they would lend him
the main-sails of their ships, to make a great awning with, to shelter
the guests from the dews of the night. The ship-masters, eager to
witness and enjoy the convivial scene which Hannibal's proposal
promised them, accepted the invitation, and ordered their main-sails
to be taken down. Of course, this confined all their vessels to port.
In the evening, the company assembled under the vast tent, made by the
main-sails, on the shore. Hannibal met them, and remained with them
for a time. In the course of the night, however, when they were all in
the midst of their carousing, he stole away, embarked on board a ship,
and set sail, and, before the ship-masters could awake from the deep
and prolonged slumbers which followed their wine, and rig their
main-sails to the masts again, Hannibal was far out of reach on his
way to Syria.

In the mean time, there was a great excitement produced at Carthage
by the news which spread every where over the city, the day after his
departure, that he was not to be found. Great crowds assembled before
his house. Wild and strange rumors circulated in explanation of his
disappearance, but they were contradictory and impossible, and only
added to the universal excitement. This excitement continued until the
vessels at last arrived from Cercina, and made the truth known.
Hannibal was himself, however, by this time, safe beyond the reach of
all possible pursuit. He was sailing prosperously, so far as outward
circumstances were concerned, but dejected and wretched in heart,
toward Tyre. He landed there in safety, and was kindly received. In a
few days he went into the interior, and, after various wanderings,
reached Ephesus, where he found Antiochus, the Syrian king.

As soon as the escape of Hannibal was made known at Carthage, the
people of the city immediately began to fear that the Romans would
consider them responsible for it, and that they should thus incur a
renewal of Roman hostility. In order to avert this danger, they
immediately sent a deputation to Rome, to make known the fact of
Hannibal's flight, and to express the regret they felt on account of
it, in hopes thus to save themselves from the displeasure of their
formidable foes. It may at first view seem very ungenerous and
ungrateful in the Carthaginians to abandon their general in this
manner, in the hour of his misfortune and calamity, and to take part
against him with enemies whose displeasure he had incurred only in
their service and in executing their will. And this conduct of the
Carthaginians would have to be considered as not only ungenerous, but
extremely inconsistent, if it had been the same individuals that acted
in the two cases. But it was not. The men and the influences which now
opposed Hannibal's projects and plans had opposed them always and from
the beginning; only, so long as he went on successfully and well, they
were in the minority, and Hannibal's adherents and friends controlled
all the public action of the city. But, now that the bitter fruits of
his ambition and of his totally unjustifiable encroachments on the
Roman territories and Roman rights began to be realized, the party of
his friends was overturned, the power reverted to the hands of those
who had always opposed him, and in trying to keep him down when he was
once fallen, their action, whether politically right or wrong, was
consistent with itself, and can not be considered as at all subjecting
them to the charge of ingratitude or treachery.

One might have supposed that all Hannibal's hopes and expectations of
ever again coping with his great Roman enemy would have been now
effectually and finally destroyed, and that henceforth he would have
given up his active hostility and would have contented himself with
seeking some refuge where he could spend the remainder of his days in
peace, satisfied with securing, after such dangers and escapes, his
own personal protection from the vengeance of his enemies. But it is
hard to quell and subdue such indomitable perseverance and energy as
his. He was very little inclined yet to submit to his fate. As soon as
he found himself at the court of Antiochus, he began to form new plans
for making war against Rome. He proposed to the Syrian monarch to
raise a naval force and put it under his charge. He said that if
Antiochus would give him a hundred ships and ten or twelve thousand
men, he would take the command of the expedition in person, and he did
not doubt that he should be able to recover his lost ground, and once
more humble his ancient and formidable enemy. He would go first, he
said, with his force to Carthage, to get the co-operation and aid of
his countrymen there in his new plans. Then he would make a descent
upon Italy, and he had no doubt that he should soon regain the
ascendency there which he had formerly held.

Hannibal's design of going first to Carthage with his Syrian army was
doubtless induced by his desire to put down the party of his enemies
there, and to restore the power to his adherents and partisans. In
order to prepare the way the more effectually for this, he sent a
secret messenger to Carthage, while his negotiations with Antiochus
were going on, to make known to his friends there the new hopes which
he began to cherish, and the new designs which he had formed. He knew
that his enemies in Carthage would be watching very carefully for any
such communication; he therefore wrote no letters, and committed
nothing to paper which, on being discovered, might betray him. He
explained, however, all his plans very fully to his messenger, and
gave him minute and careful instructions as to his manner of
communicating them.

The Carthaginian authorities were indeed watching very vigilantly, and
intelligence was brought to them, by their spies, of the arrival of
this stranger. They immediately took measures for arresting him. The
messenger, who was himself as vigilant as they, got intelligence of
this in his secret lurking-place in the city, and determined
immediately to fly. He, however, first prepared some papers and
placards, which he posted up in public places, in which he proclaimed
that Hannibal was far from considering himself finally conquered; that
he was, on the contrary, forming new plans for putting down his
enemies in Carthage, resuming his former ascendency there, and
carrying fire and sword again into the Roman territories; and, in the
mean time, he urged the friends of Hannibal in Carthage to remain
faithful and true to his cause.

The messenger, after posting his placards, fled from the city in the
night, and went back to Hannibal. Of course, the occurrence produced
considerable excitement in the city. It aroused the anger and
resentment of Hannibal's enemies, and awakened new encouragement and
hope in the hearts of his friends. Further than this, however, it led
to no immediate results. The power of the party which was opposed to
Hannibal was too firmly established at Carthage to be very easily
shaken. They sent information to Rome of the coming of Hannibal's
emissary to Carthage, and of the result of his mission, and then every
thing went on as before.

In the mean time, the Romans, when they learned where Hannibal had
gone, sent two or three commissioners there to confer with the Syrian
government in respect to their intentions and plans, and watch the
movements of Hannibal. It was said that Scipio himself was joined to
this embassy, and that he actually met Hannibal at Ephesus, and had
several personal interviews and conversations with him there. Some
ancient historian gives a particular account of one of these
interviews, in which the conversation turned, as it naturally would do
between two such distinguished commanders, on military greatness and
glory. Scipio asked Hannibal whom he considered the greatest military
hero that had ever lived. Hannibal gave the palm to Alexander the
Great, because he had penetrated, with comparatively a very small
number of Macedonian troops, into such remote regions, conquered such
vast armies, and brought so boundless an empire under his sway. Scipio
then asked him who he was inclined to place next to Alexander. He said
Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus was a Grecian, who crossed the Adriatic Sea, and
made war, with great success, against the Romans. Hannibal said that
he gave the second rank to Pyrrhus because he systematized and
perfected the art of war, and also because he had the power of
awakening a feeling of personal attachment to himself on the part of
all his soldiers, and even of the inhabitants of the countries that he
conquered, beyond any other general that ever lived. Scipio then asked
Hannibal who came next in order, and he replied that he should give
the third rank to himself. "And if," added he, "I had conquered
Scipio, I should consider myself as standing above Alexander, Pyrrhus,
and all the generals that the world ever produced."

Various other anecdotes are related of Hannibal during the time of his
first appearance in Syria, all indicating the very high degree of
estimation in which he was held, and the curiosity and interest that
were every where felt to see him. On one occasion, it happened that a
vain and self-conceited orator, who knew little of war but from his
own theoretic speculations, was haranguing an assembly where Hannibal
was present, being greatly pleased with the opportunity of displaying
his powers before so distinguished an auditor. When the discourse was
finished, they asked Hannibal what he thought of it. "I have heard,"
said he, in reply, "many old dotards in the course of my life, but
this is, verily, the greatest dotard of them all."

Hannibal failed, notwithstanding all his perseverance, in obtaining
the means to attack the Romans again. He was unwearied in his efforts,
but, though the king sometimes encouraged his hopes, nothing was ever
done. He remained in this part of the world for ten years, striving
continually to accomplish his aims, but every year he found himself
farther from the attainment of them than ever. The hour of his good
fortune and of his prosperity were obviously gone. His plans all
failed, his influence declined, his name and renown were fast passing
away. At last, after long and fruitless contests with the Romans,
Antiochus made a treaty of peace with them, and, among the articles of
this treaty, was one agreeing to give up Hannibal into their power.

Hannibal resolved to fly. The place of refuge which he chose was the
island of Crete. He found that he could not long remain here. He had,
however, brought with him a large amount of treasure, and when about
leaving Crete again, he was uneasy about this treasure, as he had
some reason to fear that the Cretans were intending to seize it. He
must contrive, then, some stratagem to enable him to get this gold
away. The plan he adopted was this:

He filled a number of earthen jars with lead, covering the tops of
them with gold and silver. These he carried, with great appearance of
caution and solicitude, to the Temple of Diana, a very sacred edifice,
and deposited them there, under very special guardianship of the
Cretans, to whom, as he said, he intrusted all his treasures. They
received their false deposit with many promises to keep it safely, and
then Hannibal went away with his real gold cast in the center of
hollow statues of brass, which he carried with him, without suspicion,
as objects of art of very little value.

Hannibal fled from kingdom to kingdom, and from province to province,
until life became a miserable burden. The determined hostility of the
Roman senate followed him every where, harassing him with continual
anxiety and fear, and destroying all hope of comfort and peace. His
mind was a prey to bitter recollections of the past, and still more
dreadful forebodings for the future. He had spent all the morning of
his life in inflicting the most terrible injuries on the objects of
his implacable animosity and hate, although they had never injured
him, and now, in the evening of his days, it became his destiny to
feel the pressure of the same terror and suffering inflicted upon
_him_. The hostility which he had to fear was equally merciless with
that which he had exercised; perhaps it was made still more intense by
being mingled with what they who felt it probably considered a just
resentment and revenge.

When at length Hannibal found that the Romans were hemming him in more
and more closely, and that the danger increased of his falling at last
into their power, he had a potion of poison prepared, and kept it
always in readiness, determined to die by his own hand rather than to
submit to be given up to his enemies. The time for taking the poison
at last arrived. The wretched fugitive was then in Bithynia, a kingdom
of Asia Minor. The King of Bithynia sheltered him for a time, but at
length agreed to give him up to the Romans. Hannibal learning this,
prepared for flight. But he found, on attempting his escape, that all
the modes of exit from the palace which he occupied, even the secret
ones which he had expressly contrived to aid his flight, were taken
possession of and guarded. Escape was, therefore, no longer possible,
and Hannibal went to his apartment and sent for the poison. He was now
an old man, nearly seventy years of age, and he was worn down and
exhausted by his protracted anxieties and sufferings. He was glad to
die. He drank the poison, and in a few hours ceased to breathe.



B.C. 146-145

Destruction.--The third Punic war.--Chronological table of the
Punic wars.--Character of the Punic wars.--Intervals between
them.--Animosities and dissensions.--Numidia.--Numidian
horsemen.--Masinissa.--Parties at Rome and Carthage.--Their
differences.--Masinissa prepares for war.--Hasdrubal.--Carthage
declares war.--Parallel between Hannibal and Hasdrubal.--Battle with
Masinissa.--Defeat of the Carthaginians.--The younger Scipio.--A
spectator of the battle.--Negotiations for peace.--Scipio
made umpire.--Hasdrubal surrenders.--Terms imposed by
Masinissa.--Carthaginian embassy to Rome.--Their mission
fruitless.--Another embassy.--The Romans declare war.--Negotiations
for peace.--The Romans demand hostages.--Cruelty of the hostage
system.--Return of the embassadors.--Consternation in Carthage.--Its
deplorable condition.--Selecting the hostages.--The hour of
parting.--The parting scene.--Grief and despair.--Advance of the
Roman army.--Surrender of Utica.--Demands of the Romans.--The
Carthaginians comply.--The Romans demand all the munitions of
war.--Their great number.--Brutal demands of the Romans.--Carthage
to be destroyed.--Desperation of the people.--Preparations for
defense.--Hasdrubal.--Destruction of the Roman fleet.--Horrors
of the siege.--Heroic valor of the Carthaginians.--Battering
engines.--Attempt to destroy them.--The city stormed.--A desperate
struggle.--The people retreat to the citadel.--The city
fired.--Hasdrubal's wife.--Hasdrubal surrenders.--The citadel
fired.--Resentment and despair of Hasdrubal's wife.--Carthage
destroyed.--Its present condition.--War and commerce.--Antagonistic
principles.--Hannibal's greatness as a military hero.

The consequences of Hannibal's reckless ambition, and of his wholly
unjustifiable aggression on Roman rights to gratify it, did not end
with his own personal ruin. The flame which he had kindled continued
to burn until at last it accomplished the entire and irretrievable
destruction of Carthage. This was effected in a third and final war
between the Carthaginians and the Romans, which is known in history as
the third Punic war. With a narrative of the events of this war,
ending, as it did, in the total destruction of the city, we shall
close this history of Hannibal.

It will be recollected that the war which Hannibal himself waged
against Rome was the second in the series, the contest in which
Regulus figured so prominently having been the first. The one whose
history is now to be given is the third. The reader will distinctly
understand the chronological relations of these contests by the
following table:


 | Date |                                      |             |
 | B.C. |             Events.                  | Punic Wars. |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |  264 | War commenced in Sicily            } |             |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  262 | Naval battles in the Mediterranean } |      I.     |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  249 | Regulus sent prisoner to Rome      } |  24 years.  |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  241 | Peace concluded                    } |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |          Peace for 24 years.         |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |  217 | Hannibal attacks Saguntum          } |             |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  218 | Crosses the Alps                   } |     II.     |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  216 | Battle of Cannæ                    } |  17 years.  |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  205 | Is conquered by Scipio             } |             |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  200 | Peace concluded                    } |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |          Peace for 52 years          |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |      |                                      |             |
 |  148 | War declared                       } |     III.    |
 |      |                                    } |             |
 |  145 | Carthage destroyed                 } |   3 years.  |

These three Punic wars extended, as the table shows, over a period of
more than a hundred years. Each successive contest in the series was
shorter, but more violent and desperate than its predecessor, while
the intervals of peace were longer. Thus the first Punic war continued
for twenty-four years, the second about seventeen, and the third only
three or four. The interval, too, between the first and second was
twenty-four years, while between the second and third there was a sort
of peace for about fifty years. These differences were caused, indeed,
in some degree, by the accidental circumstances on which the
successive ruptures depended, but they were not entirely owing to that
cause. The longer these belligerent relations between the two
countries continued, and the more they both experienced the awful
effects and consequences of their quarrels, the less disposed they
were to renew such dreadful struggles, and yet, when they did renew
them they engaged in them with redoubled energy of determination and
fresh intensity of hate. Thus the wars followed each other at greater
intervals, but the conflicts, when they came, though shorter in
duration, were more and more desperate and merciless in character.

We have said that, after the close of the second Punic war, there was
a sort of peace for about fifty years. Of course, during this time,
one generation after another of public men arose, both in Rome and
Carthage, each successive group, on both sides, inheriting the
suppressed animosity and hatred which had been cherished by their
predecessors. Of course, as long as Hannibal had lived, and had
continued his plots and schemes in Syria, he was the means of keeping
up a continual irritation among the people of Rome against the
Carthaginian name. It is true that the government at Carthage
disavowed his acts, and professed to be wholly opposed to his designs;
but then it was, of course, very well known at Rome that this was only
because they thought he was not able to execute them. They had no
confidence whatever in Carthaginian faith or honesty, and, of course,
there could be no real harmony or stable peace.

There arose gradually, also, another source of dissension. By
referring to the map, the reader will perceive that there lies, to the
westward of Carthage, a country called Numidia. This country was a
hundred miles or more in breadth, and extended back several hundred
miles into the interior. It was a very rich and fertile region, and
contained many powerful and wealthy cities. The inhabitants were
warlike, too, and were particularly celebrated for their cavalry. The
ancient historians say that they used to ride their horses into the
field without saddles, and often without bridles, guiding and
controlling them by their voices, and keeping their seats securely by
the exercise of great personal strength and consummate skill. These
Numidian horsemen are often alluded to in the narratives of Hannibal's
campaigns, and, in fact, in all the military histories of the times.

Among the kings who reigned in Numidia was one who had taken sides
with the Romans in the second Punic war. His name was Masinissa. He
became involved in some struggle for power with a neighboring monarch
named Syphax, and while he, that is, Masinissa, had allied himself to
the Romans, Syphax had joined the Carthaginians, each chieftain
hoping, by this means, to gain assistance from his allies in
conquering the other. Masinissa's patrons proved to be the strongest,
and at the end of the second Punic war, when the conditions of peace
were made, Masinissa's dominions were enlarged, and the undisturbed
possession of them confirmed to him, the Carthaginians being bound by
express stipulations not to molest him in any way.

In commonwealths like those of Rome and Carthage, there will always be
two great parties struggling against each other for the possession of
power. Each wishes to avail itself of every opportunity to oppose and
thwart the other, and they consequently almost always take different
sides in all the great questions of public policy that arise. There
were two such parties at Rome, and they disagreed in respect to the
course which should be pursued in regard to Carthage, one being
generally in favor of peace, the other perpetually calling for war. In
the same manner there was at Carthage a similar dissension, the one
side in the contest being desirous to propitiate the Romans and avoid
collisions with them, while the other party were very restless and
uneasy under the pressure of the Roman power upon them, and were
endeavoring continually to foment feelings of hostility against their
ancient enemies, as if they wished that war should break out again.
The latter party were not strong enough to bring the Carthaginian
state into an open rupture with Rome itself, but they succeeded at
last in getting their government involved in a dispute with Masinissa,
and in leading out an army to give him battle.

Fifty years had passed away, as has already been remarked, since the
close of Hannibal's war. During this time, Scipio--that is, the Scipio
who conquered Hannibal--had disappeared from the stage. Masinissa
himself was very far advanced in life, being over eighty years of age.
He, however, still retained the strength and energy which had
characterized him in his prime. He drew together an immense army, and
mounting, like his soldiers, bare-back upon his horse, he rode from
rank to rank, gave the necessary commands, and matured the
arrangements for battle.

The name of the Carthaginian general on this occasion was Hasdrubal.
This was a very common name at Carthage, especially among the friends
and family of Hannibal. The bearer of it, in this case, may possibly
have received it from his parents in commemoration of the brother of
Hannibal, who lost his head in descending into Italy from the Alps,
inasmuch as during the fifty years of peace which had elapsed, there
was ample time for a child born after that event to grow up to full
maturity. At any rate, the new Hasdrubal inherited the inveterate
hatred to Rome which characterized his namesake, and he and his party
had contrived to gain a temporary ascendency in Carthage, and they
availed themselves of their brief possession of power to renew,
indirectly at least, the contest with Rome. They sent the rival
leaders into banishment, raised an army, and Hasdrubal himself taking
the command of it, they went forth in great force to encounter

It was in a way very similar to this that Hannibal had commenced his
war with Rome, by seeking first a quarrel with a Roman ally. Hannibal,
it is true, had commenced his aggressions at Saguntum, in Spain.
Hasdrubal begins in Numidia, in Africa, but, with the exception of the
difference of geographical locality, all seems the same, and Hasdrubal
very probably supposed that he was about to enter himself upon the
same glorious career which had immortalized his great ancestor's name.

There was another analogy between the two cases, viz., that both
Hannibal and Hasdrubal had strong parties opposed to them in Carthage
in the incipient stages of their undertakings. In the present
instance, the opposition had been violently suppressed, and the
leaders of it sent into banishment; but still the elements remained,
ready, in case of any disaster to Hasdrubal's arms, or any other
occurrence tending to diminish his power, to rise at once and put him
down. Hasdrubal had therefore a double enemy to contend against: one
before him, on the battle-field, and the other, perhaps still more
formidable, in the city behind him.

The parallel, however, ends here. Hannibal conquered at Saguntum, but
Hasdrubal was entirely defeated in the battle in Numidia. The battle
was fought long and desperately on both sides, but the Carthaginians
were obliged to yield, and they retreated at length in confusion to
seek shelter in their camp. The battle was witnessed by a Roman
officer who stood upon a neighboring hill, and looked down upon the
scene with intense interest all the day. It was Scipio--the younger
Scipio--who became afterward the principal actor in the terrible
scenes which were enacted in the war which followed. He was then a
distinguished officer in the Roman army, and was on duty in Spain. His
commanding general there had sent him to Africa to procure some
elephants from Masinissa for the use of the army. He came to Numidia,
accordingly, for this purpose, and as the battle between Masinissa and
Hasdrubal came on while he was there, he remained to witness it.

This second Scipio was not, by blood, any relative of the other, but
he had been adopted by the elder Scipio's son, and thus received his
name; so that he was, by adoption, a grandson. He was, even at this
time, a man of high consideration among all who knew him, for his
great energy and efficiency of character, as well as for his sound
judgment and practical good sense. He occupied a very singular
position at the time of this battle, such as very few great commanders
have ever been placed in; for, as he himself was attached to a Roman
army in Spain, having been sent merely as a military messenger to
Numidia, he was a neutral in this contest, and could not, properly,
take part on either side. He had, accordingly, only to take his place
upon the hill, and look down upon the awful scene as upon a spectacle
arranged for his special gratification. He speaks of it as if he were
highly gratified with the opportunity he enjoyed, saying that only two
such cases had ever occurred before, where a general could look down,
in such a way, upon a great battle-field, and witness the whole
progress of the fight, himself a cool and disinterested spectator. He
was greatly excited by the scene and he speaks particularly of the
appearance of the veteran Masinissa, then eighty-four years old, who
rode all day from rank to rank, on a wild and impetuous charger,
without a saddle, to give his orders to his men, and to encourage and
animate them by his voice and his example.

Hasdrubal retreated with his forces to his camp as soon as the battle
was over, and intrenched himself there, while Masinissa advanced with
his army, surrounded the encampment, and hemmed the imprisoned
fugitives in. Finding himself in extreme and imminent danger,
Hasdrubal sent to Masinissa to open negotiations for peace, and he
proposed that Scipio should act as a sort of umpire or mediator
between the two parties, to arrange the terms. Scipio was not likely
to be a very impartial umpire; but still, his interposition would
afford him, as Hasdrubal thought, some protection against any
excessive and extreme exorbitancy on the part of his conqueror. The
plan, however, did not succeed. Even Scipio's terms were found by
Hasdrubal to be inadmissible. He required that the Carthaginians
should accord to Masinissa a certain extension of territory. Hasdrubal
was willing to assent to this. They were to pay him, also, a large sum
of money. He agreed, also to this. They were, moreover, to allow
Hasdrubal's banished opponents to return to Carthage. This, by putting
the party opposed to Hasdrubal once more into power in Carthage, would
have been followed by his own fall and ruin; he could not consent to
it. He remained, therefore, shut up in his camp, and Scipio, giving up
the hope of effecting an accommodation, took the elephants which had
been provided for him, and returned across the Mediterranean to Spain.

Soon after this, Hasdrubal's army, worn out with hunger and misery in
their camp, compelled him to surrender on Masinissa's own terms. The
men were allowed to go free, but most of them perished on the way to
Carthage. Hasdrubal himself succeeded in reaching some place of
safety, but the influence of his party was destroyed by the disastrous
result of his enterprise, and his exiled enemies being recalled in
accordance with the treaty of surrender, the opposing party were
immediately restored to power.

Under these new councils, the first measure of the Carthaginians was
to impeach Hasdrubal on a charge of treason, for having involved his
country in these difficulties, and the next was to send a solemn
embassy to Rome, to acknowledge the fault of which their nation had
been guilty, to offer to surrender Hasdrubal into their hands, as the
principal author of the deed, and to ask what further satisfaction the
Romans demanded.

In the mean time, before these messengers arrived, the Romans had been
deliberating what to do. The strongest party were in favor of urging
on the quarrel with Carthage and declaring war. They had not, however,
come to any positive decision. They received the deputation,
therefore, very coolly, and made them no direct reply. As to the
satisfaction which the Carthaginians ought to render to the Romans for
having made war upon their ally contrary to the solemn covenants of
the treaty, they said that that was a question for the Carthaginians
themselves to consider. They had nothing at present to say upon the
subject. The deputies returned to Carthage with this reply, which, of
course, produced great uneasiness and anxiety.

The Carthaginians were more and more desirous now to do every thing in
their power to avert the threatened danger of Roman hostility. They
sent a new embassy to Rome, with still more humble professions than
before. The embassy set sail from Carthage with very little hope,
however, of accomplishing the object of their mission. They were
authorized, nevertheless, to make the most unlimited concessions, and
to submit to any conditions whatever to avert the calamity of another

But the Romans had been furnished with a pretext for commencing
hostilities again, and there was a very strong party among them now
who were determined to avail themselves of this opportunity to
extinguish entirely the Carthaginian power. War had, accordingly, been
declared by the Roman senate very soon after the first embassy had
returned, a fleet and army had been raised and equipped, and the
expedition had sailed. When, therefore, the embassy arrived in Rome,
they found that the war, which it was the object of their mission to
avert, had been declared.

The Romans, however, gave them audience. The embassadors expressed
their willingness to submit to any terms that the senate might propose
for arresting the war. The senate replied that they were willing to
make a treaty with the Carthaginians, on condition that the latter
were to surrender themselves entirely to the Roman power, and bind
themselves to obey such orders as the consuls, on their arrival in
Africa with the army, should issue; the Romans, on their part,
guarantying that they should continue in the enjoyment of their
liberty, of their territorial possessions, and of their laws. As
proof, however, of the Carthaginian honesty of purpose in making the
treaty, and security for their future submission, they were required
to give up to the Romans three hundred hostages. These hostages were
to be young persons from the first families in Carthage, the sons of
the men who were most prominent in society there, and whose influence
might be supposed to control the action of the nation.

The embassadors could not but consider these as very onerous terms.
They did not know what orders the consuls would give them on their
arrival in Africa, and they were required to put the commonwealth
wholly into their power. Besides, in the guarantee which the Romans
offered them, their _territories_ and their _laws_ were to be
protected, but nothing was said of their cities, their ships, or their
arms and munitions of war. The agreement there, if executed, would put
the Carthaginian commonwealth wholly at the mercy of their masters, in
respect to all those things which were in those days most valuable to
a nation as elements of power. Still, the embassadors had been
instructed to make peace with the Romans on any terms, and they
accordingly acceded to these, though with great reluctance. They were
especially averse to the agreement in respect to the hostages.

This system, which prevailed universally in ancient times, of having
the government of one nation surrender the children of the most
distinguished citizens to that of another, as security for the
fulfillment of its treaty stipulations, was a very cruel hardship to
those who had to suffer the separation; but it would seem that there
was no other security strong enough to hold such lawless powers as
governments were in those days, to their word. Stern and rough as the
men of those warlike nations often were, mothers were the same then as
now, and they suffered quite as keenly in seeing their children sent
away from them, to pine in a foreign land, in hopeless exile, for many
years; in danger, too, continually, of the most cruel treatment, and
even of death itself, to revenge some alleged governmental wrong.

Of course, the embassadors knew, when they returned to Carthage with
these terms, that they were bringing heavy tidings. The news, in fact,
when it came, threw the community into the most extreme distress. It
is said that the whole city was filled with cries and lamentations.
The mothers, who felt that they were about to be bereaved, beat their
breasts, and tore their hair, and manifested by every other sign their
extreme and unmitigated woe. They begged and entreated their husbands
and fathers not to consent to such cruel and intolerable conditions.
They could not, and they would not give up their children.

The husbands and the fathers, however, felt compelled to resist all
these entreaties. They could not now undertake to resist the Roman
will. Their army had been well-nigh destroyed in the battle with
Masinissa; their city was consequently defenseless, and the Roman
fleet had already reached its African port, and the troops were
landed. There was no possible way, it appeared, of saving themselves
and their city from absolute destruction, but entire submission to the
terms which their stern conquerors had imposed upon them.

The hostages were required to be sent, within thirty days, to the
island of Sicily, to a port on the western extremity of the island,
called Lilybæum. Lilybæum was the port in Sicily nearest to Carthage,
being perhaps at a distance of a hundred miles across the waters of
the Mediterranean Sea. A Roman escort was to be ready to receive them
there and conduct them to Rome. Although thirty days were allowed to
the Carthaginians to select and send forward the hostages, they
determined not to avail themselves of this offered delay, but to send
the unhappy children forward at once, that they might testify to the
Roman senate, by this their promptness, that they were very earnestly
desirous to propitiate their favor.

The children were accordingly designated, one from each of the leading
families in the city, and three hundred in all. The reader must
imagine the heart-rending scenes of suffering which must have
desolated these three hundred families and homes, when the stern and
inexorable edict came to each of them that one loved member of the
household must be selected to go. And when, at last, the hour arrived
for their departure, and they assembled upon the pier, the picture was
one of intense and unmingled suffering. The poor exiles stood
bewildered with terror and grief, about to part with all that they
ever held dear--their parents, their brothers and sisters, and their
native land--to go they knew not whither, under the care of
iron-hearted soldiers, who seemed to know no feelings of tenderness or
compassion for their woes. Their disconsolate mothers wept and groaned
aloud, clasping the loved ones who were about to be torn forever from
them in their arms, in a delirium of maternal affection and
irrepressible grief; their brothers and sisters, and their youthful
friends stood by, some almost frantic with emotions which they did not
attempt to suppress, others mute and motionless in their sorrow,
shedding bitter tears of anguish, or gazing wildly on the scene with
looks of despair; while the fathers, whose stern duty it was to pass
through this scene unmoved, walked to and fro restlessly, in deep but
silent distress, spoke in broken and incoherent words to one another,
and finally aided, by a mixture of persuasion and gentle force, in
drawing the children away from their mothers' arms, and getting them
on board the vessels which were to convey them away. The vessels made
sail, and passed off slowly from the shore. The mothers watched them
till they could no longer be seen, and then returned, disconsolate and
wretched, to their homes; and then the grief and agitation of this
parting scene was succeeded by the anxious suspense which now
pervaded the whole city to learn what new dangers and indignities
they were to suffer from the approaching Roman army, which they knew
must now be well on its way.

The Roman army landed at Utica. Utica was a large city to the north of
Carthage, not far from it, and upon the same bay. When the people of
Utica found that another serious collision was to take place between
Rome and Carthage, they had foreseen what would probably be the end of
the contest, and they had decided that, in order to save themselves
from the ruin which was plainly impending over the sister city, they
must abandon her to her fate, and make common cause with Rome. They
had, accordingly, sent deputies to the Roman senate, offering to
surrender Utica to their power. The Romans had accepted the
submission, and had made this city, in consequence, the port of
debarkation for their army.

As soon as the news arrived at Carthage that the Roman army had landed
at Utica, the people sent deputies to inquire what were the orders of
the consuls, for it will be recollected they had bound themselves by
the treaty to obey the orders which the consuls were to bring. They
found, when they arrived there, that the bay was covered with the
Roman shipping. There were fifty vessels of war, of three banks of
oars each, and a vast number of transports besides. There was, too, in
the camp upon the shore, a force of eighty thousand foot soldiers and
four thousand horse, all armed and equipped in the most perfect

The deputies were convinced that this was a force which it was in vain
for their countrymen to think of resisting. They asked, trembling, for
the consuls' orders. The consuls informed them that the orders of the
Roman senate were, first, that the Carthaginians should furnish them
with a supply of corn for the subsistence of their troops. The
deputies went back to Carthage with the demand.

The Carthaginians resolved to comply. They were bound by their treaty
and by the hostages they had given, as well as intimidated by the
presence of the Roman force. They furnished the corn.

The consuls, soon after this, made another demand of the
Carthaginians. It was, that they should surrender to them all their
vessels of war. They were more unwilling to comply with this
requisition than with the other; but they assented at last. They hoped
that the demands of their enemies would stop here, and that,
satisfied with having weakened them thus far, they would go away and
leave them; they could then build new ships again when better times
should return.

But the Romans were not satisfied yet. They sent a third order, that
the Carthaginians should deliver up all their arms, military stores,
and warlike machines of every kind, by sending them into the Roman
camp. The Carthaginians were rendered almost desperate by this
requisition. Many were determined that they would not submit to it,
but would resist at all hazards. Others despaired of all possibility
of resisting now, and gave up all as lost; while the three hundred
families from which the hostages had gone, trembled for the safety of
the captive children, and urged compliance with the demand. The
advocates for submission finally gained the day. The arms were
collected, and carried in an immensely long train of wagons to the
Roman camp. There were two hundred thousand complete suits of armor,
with darts and javelins without number, and two thousand military
engines for hurling beams of wood and stones. Thus Carthage was

All these demands, however unreasonable and cruel as the
Carthaginians deemed them, were only preliminary to the great final
determination, the announcement of which the consuls had reserved for
the end. When the arms had all been delivered, the consuls announced
to their now defenseless victims that the Roman senate had come to the
determination that Carthage was to be destroyed. They gave orders,
accordingly, that the inhabitants should all leave the city, which, as
soon as it should be thus vacated, was to be burned. They might take
with them such property as they could carry; and they were at liberty
to build, in lieu of this their fortified sea-port, an inland town,
not less than ten miles' distance from the sea, only it must have no
walls or fortifications of any kind. As soon as the inhabitants were
gone, Carthage, the consuls said, was to be destroyed.

The announcement of this entirely unparalleled and intolerable
requisition threw the whole city into a phrensy of desperation. They
could not, and would not submit to this. The entreaties and
remonstrances of the friends of the hostages were all silenced or
overborne in the burst of indignation and anger which arose from the
whole city. The gates were closed. The pavements of the streets were
torn up, and buildings demolished to obtain stones, which were
carried up upon the ramparts to serve instead of weapons. The slaves
were all liberated, and stationed on the walls to aid in the defense.
Every body that could work at a forge was employed in fabricating
swords, spear-heads, pikes, and such other weapons as could be formed
with the greatest facility and dispatch. They used all the iron and
brass that could be obtained, and then melted down vases and statues
of the precious metals, and tipped their spears with an inferior
pointing of silver and gold. In the same manner, when the supplies of
flax and hempen twine for cordage for their bows failed, the beautiful
sisters and mothers of the hostages cut off their long hair, and
twisted and braided it into cords to be used as bow-strings for
propelling the arrows which their husbands and brothers made. In a
word, the wretched Carthaginians had been pushed beyond the last limit
of human endurance, and had aroused themselves to a hopeless
resistance in a sort of phrensy of despair.

The reader will recollect that, after the battle with Masinissa,
Hasdrubal lost all his influence in Carthage, and was, to all
appearance, hopelessly ruined. He had not, however, then given up the
struggle. He had contrived to assemble the remnant of his army in the
neighborhood of Carthage. His forces had been gradually increasing
during these transactions, as those who were opposed to these
concessions to the Romans naturally gathered around him. He was now in
his camp, not far from the city, at the head of twenty thousand men.
Finding themselves in so desperate an emergency, the Carthaginians
sent to him to come to their succor. He very gladly obeyed the
summons. He sent around to all the territories still subject to
Carthage, and gathered fresh troops, and collected supplies of arms
and of food. He advanced to the relief of the city. He compelled the
Romans, who were equally astonished at the resistance they met with
from within the walls, and at this formidable onset from without, to
retire a little, and intrench themselves in their camp, in order to
secure their own safety. He sent supplies of food into the city. He
also contrived to fit up, secretly, a great many fire-ships in the
harbor, and, setting them in flames, let them drift down upon the
Roman fleet, which was anchored in supposed security in the bay. The
plan was so skillfully managed that the Roman ships were almost all
destroyed. Thus the face of affairs was changed. The Romans found
themselves disappointed for the present of their prey. They confined
themselves to their encampment, and sent home to the Roman senate for
new re-enforcements and supplies.

In a word, the Romans found that, instead of having only to effect,
unresisted, the simple destruction of a city, they were involved in
what would, perhaps, prove a serious and a protracted war. The war
did, in fact, continue for two or three years--a horrible war, almost
of extermination, on both sides. Scipio came with the Roman army, at
first as a subordinate officer; but his bravery, his sagacity, and the
success of some of his almost romantic exploits, soon made him an
object of universal regard. At one time, a detachment of the army,
which he succeeded in releasing from a situation of great peril in
which they had been placed, testified their gratitude by platting a
crown of _grass_, and placing it upon his brow with great ceremony and
loud acclamations.

The Carthaginians did every thing in the prosecution of this war that
the most desperate valor could do; but Scipio's cool, steady, and
well-calculated plans made irresistible progress, and hemmed them in
at last, within narrower and narrower limits, by a steadily-increasing
pressure, from which they found it impossible to break away.

Scipio had erected a sort of mole or pier upon the water near the
city, on which he had erected many large and powerful engines to
assault the walls. One night a large company of Carthaginians took
torches, not lighted, in their hands, together with some sort of
apparatus for striking fire, and partly by wading and partly by
swimming, they made their way through the water of the harbor toward
these machines. When they were sufficiently near, they struck their
lights and set their torches on fire. The Roman soldiers who had been
stationed to guard the machines were seized with terror at seeing all
these flashing fires burst out suddenly over the surface of the water,
and fled in dismay. The Carthaginians set the abandoned engines on
fire, and then, throwing their now useless torches into the flames,
plunged into the water again, and swam back in safety. But all this
desperate bravery did very little good. Scipio quietly repaired the
engines, and the siege went on as before.

But we can not describe in detail all the particulars of this
protracted and terrible struggle. We must pass on to the closing
scene, which as related by the historians of the day, is an almost
incredible series of horrors. After an immense number had been killed
in the assaults which had been made upon the city, besides the
thousands and thousands which had died of famine, and of the exposures
and hardships incident to such a siege, the army of Scipio succeeded
in breaking their way through the gates, and gaining admission to the
city. Some of the inhabitants were now disposed to contend no longer,
but to cast themselves at the mercy of the conqueror. Others, furious
in their despair, were determined to fight to the last, not willing to
give up the pleasure of killing all they could of their hated enemies,
even to save their lives. They fought, therefore, from street to
street, retreating gradually as the Romans advanced, till they found
refuge in the citadel. One band of Scipio's soldiers mounted to the
tops of the houses, the roofs being flat, and fought their way there,
while another column advanced in the same manner in the streets below.
No imagination can conceive the uproar and din of such an assault upon
a populous city--a horrid mingling of the vociferated commands of the
officers, and of the shouts of the advancing and victorious
assailants, with the screams of terror from affrighted women and
children, and dreadful groans and imprecations from men dying maddened
with unsatisfied revenge, and biting the dust in an agony of pain.

The more determined of the combatants, with Hasdrubal at their head,
took possession of the citadel, which was a quarter of the city
situated upon an eminence, and strongly fortified. Scipio advanced to
the walls of this fortification, and set that part of the city on fire
which lay nearest to it. The fire burned for six days, and opened a
large area, which afforded the Roman troops room to act. When the
troops were brought up to the area thus left vacant by the fire, and
the people within the citadel saw that their condition was hopeless,
there arose, as there always does in such cases, the desperate
struggle within the walls whether to persist in resistance or to
surrender in despair. There was an immense mass, not far from sixty
thousand, half women and children, who were determined on going out to
surrender themselves to Scipio's mercy, and beg for their lives.
Hasdrubal's wife, leading her two children by her side, earnestly
entreated her husband to allow her to go with them. But he refused.
There was a body of deserters from the Roman camp in the citadel, who,
having no possible hope of escaping destruction except by desperate
resistance to the last, Hasdrubal supposed would never yield. He
committed his wife and children, therefore, to their charge, and these
deserters, seeking refuge in a great temple within the citadel, bore
the frantic mother with them to share their fate.

Hasdrubal's determination, however, to resist the Romans to the last,
soon after this gave way, and he determined to surrender. He is
accused of the most atrocious treachery in attempting thus to save
himself, after excluding his wife and children from all possibility of
escaping destruction. But the confusion and din of such a scene, the
suddenness and violence with which the events succeed each other, and
the tumultuous and uncontrollable mental agitation to which they give
rise, deprive a man who is called to act in it of all sense and
reason, and exonerate him, almost as much, from moral responsibility
for what he does, as if he were insane. At any rate, Hasdrubal, after
shutting up his wife and children with a furious gang of desperadoes
who could not possibly surrender, surrendered himself, perhaps hoping
that he might save them after all.

The Carthaginian soldiers, following Hasdrubal's example, opened the
gates of the citadel, and let the conqueror in. The deserters were now
made absolutely desperate by their danger, and some of them, more
furious than the rest, preferring to die by their own hands rather
than to give their hated enemies the pleasure of killing them, set the
building in which they were shut up in on fire. The miserable inmates
ran to and fro, half suffocated by the smoke and scorched by the
flames. Many of them reached the roof. Hasdrubal's wife and children
were among the number. She looked down from this elevation, the
volumes of smoke and flame rolling up around her, and saw her husband
standing below with the Roman general--perhaps looking, in
consternation, for his wife and children, amid this scene of horror.
The sight of the husband and father in a position of safety made the
wife and mother perfectly furious with resentment and anger. "Wretch!"
she screamed, in a voice which raised itself above the universal din,
"is it thus you seek to save your own life while you sacrifice ours? I
can not reach you in your own person, but I kill you hereby in the
persons of your children." So saying, she stabbed her affrighted sons
with a dagger, and hurled them down, struggling all the time against
their insane mother's phrensy, into the nearest opening from which
flames were ascending, and then leaped in after them herself to share
their awful doom.

The Romans, when they had gained possession of the city, took most
effectual measures for its complete destruction. The inhabitants were
scattered into the surrounding country, and the whole territory was
converted into a Roman province. Some attempts were afterward made to
rebuild the city, and it was for a long time a place of some resort,
as men lingered mournfully there in huts that they built among the
ruins. It, however, was gradually forsaken, the stones crumbled and
decayed, vegetation regained possession of the soil, and now there is
nothing whatever to mark the spot where the city lay.

       *       *       *       *       *

War and commerce are the two great antagonistic principles which
struggle for the mastery of the human race, the function of the one
being to preserve, and that of the other to destroy. Commerce causes
cities to be built and fields to be cultivated, and diffuses comfort
and plenty, and all the blessings of industry and peace. It carries
organization and order every where; it protects property and life; it
disarms pestilence, and it prohibits famine. War, on the other hand,
_destroys_. It disorganizes the social state. It ruins cities,
depopulates fields, condemns men to idleness and want, and the only
remedy it knows for the evils which it brings upon man is to shorten
the miseries of its victims by giving pestilence and famine the most
ample commission to destroy their lives. Thus war is the great enemy,
while commerce is the great friend of humanity. They are antagonistic
principles, contending continually for the mastery among all the
organizations of men.

When Hannibal appeared upon the stage, he found his country engaged
peacefully and prosperously in exchanging the productions of the
various countries of the then known world, and promoting every where
the comfort and happiness of mankind. He contrived to turn all these
energies into the new current of military aggression, conquest, and
war. He perfectly succeeded. We certainly have in his person and
history all the marks and characteristics of a great military hero. He
gained the most splendid victories, devastated many lands,
embarrassed and stopped the commercial intercourse which was carrying
the comforts of life to so many thousand homes, and spread, instead of
them, every where, privation, want, and terror, with pestilence and
famine in their train. He kept the country of his enemies in a state
of incessant anxiety, suffering, and alarm for many years, and
overwhelmed his own native land, in the end, in absolute and
irresistible ruin. In a word, he was one of the greatest military
heroes that the world has ever known.

                         THE END.

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