« FöregåendeFortsätt »
by that means, to attach the inhabitants more firmly to the Carthaginian interest. He himself was charged with this commission. But he carried them to the Romans, who afterwards delivered them to their relations, and, by so acceptable a present, acquired their amity.
The battle of Cannae. "The next spring, C. Terentius Varro, and L. Emilius Paulus, were chosen consuls at Rome. In this campaign, which was the third of the second Punic war, the Romans did what had never been practised before, viz. to compose the army of eight legions, each consisting of five thousand men, exclusive of the allies : for, as we have already observed, the Romans never raised but four legions, each of which consisted of about four thousand foot and three hundred horse.* They never, except on the most important occasions, made them consist of five thousand of the one, and four hundred of the other. As for the troops of the allies, their infantry was equal to that of the legions, but they had three times as many horse. Each of the consuls had commonly half the troops of the allies, with two legions, in order for them to act separately ; and all these forces were very seldom used at the same time, and in the same expedition. Here the Romans had not only four, but eight legions, so important did the affair appear to them. The senate even thought fit, that the two consuls of the foregoing year, Servilius and Attilius, should serve in the army as proconsuls ; but
w A. M. 3789. A. Rom. 533. Polyb. 1. üi. p. 255-268. Liv. 1. xxii. n. 34-54.
* Polybius supposes only two hundred horse in each legion ; but J. Lipsius thinks that this is a mistake either of the author or transcriber. VOL. I.
the latter could not go into the field by reason of his great age.
Varro, at his setting out from Rome, had declared openly, that he would fall
enemy first opportunity, and put an end to the war ; adding, that it would never be terminated so long as men of the character of Fabius should be at the head of the Roman armies. An advantage which he gained over the Carthaginians, of whom near seventeen hundred were killed, greatly increased his boldness and arto. gance. As for Hannibal, he considered this loss as a real advantage ; being persuaded that it would serve as a bait to the consul's rashness, and prompt him on to a battle, which he wanted extremely. It was afterwards known that Hannibal was reduced to such a scarcity of provisions that he could not possibly have subsisted ten days longer. The Spaniards were already meditating to leave him. So that there would have been an end of Hannibal and his
if his good fortune had not thrown a Varro in his way. .
Both armies having often removed from place to place, came in sight of each other near Cannae, a little town in Apulia, situated on the river Aufidus. As Hannibal was encamped in a level open country, and his cavalry much superior to that of the Romans, Emil. ius did not think proper to engage in such a place. He was for drawing the enemy into an irregular spot, where the infantry might have the greatest share in the action : but his colleague, who was wholly unexperienced, was of a contrary opinion. Such is the inconveniency of a divided command ; jealousy, a disparity of tempers, or a diversity of views, seldom failing to create a dissension, between the two generals.
The troops on each side were for some time contented with slight skirmishes : but at last, one day when Varro had the command, for the two consuls took it by turns, preparations were made on both sides for battle. Emilius had not been consulted ; yet, though he extremely disapproved the conduct of his colleague, as it was not in his power to prevent it, he seconded him to the utmost.
Hannibal, after having made his soldiers observe, that, being superior in cavalry, they could not possibly have pitched upon a better spot for fighting had it been left to their choice, said, “ Return, then, thanks to the gods for having brought the enemy hither, that you may triumph over them; and thank me also, for having reduced the Romans, to a necessity of coming to an engagement. After three great victories, won succes. sively, is not the remembrance of your own actions sufficient to inspire you with courage ? By the former battles yod are become masters of the open country, but this will put you in possession of all the cities, and I presume to say it, of all the riches and power of the Romans. It is not words that we want, but action. I trust in the gods, that you shall soon see my promises verified."
The two armies were very unequal in number. That of the Romans, including the allies, amounted to eighty thousand foot, and a little above six thousand horse ; and that of the Carthaginians consisted but of forty thousand foot, all well disciplined, and of ten thousand horse. Emilius commanded the right wing of the Romans, Varro the left, and Servilius, one of the consuls of the last year, was posted in the centre. Hanpibal, who had the art of taking all advantages, had posted himself so as the wind Vulturnus,' which rises at certain stated times, should blow directly in the faces of the Romans during the fight, and cover them with dust; then keeping the river Aufidus on his left, and posting his cavalry on the wings, he formed his main body of the Spanish and Gallic infantry, which he posted in the centre, with half the African heavy armed foot on their right, and half on their left, on the same line with the cavalry. His army being thus drawn
he self at the head of the Spanish and Gallic infantry; and having drawn them out of the line, advanced to begin the battle, rounding his front as he advanced nearer the enemy; and extending his flanks in the shape of a half moon, in order that he might leave no interval between his main body and the rest of the line, which consisted of the heavy armed infantry, who had not moved from
The fight soon began, and the Roman legions that were in the wings, seeing their centre warmly attacked, advanced to charge the enemy in flank. Hannibal's main body, after a brave resistance, finding themselves furiously attacked on all sides, gave way, being overpowered by numbers, and retired through the interval they had left in the centre of the line. The Romans hav. ing pursued them thither with eager confusion, the two wings of the African infantry, which was fresh, well armed, and in good order, wheeled about on a sudden towards that void space in which the Romans, who were already fatigued, had thrown themselves in disorder; and attacked them vigorously on both sides, with
Y A violent burning wind, blowing south south east, which, in this flat and sandy country, raised clouds of hot dust, and blinded and choaked the Romans.
out allowing them time to recover themselves, or leaving them ground to draw up. In the mean time the two wings of the cavalry, having defeated those of the Romans, which were much inferior to them, and in order to pursue the broken and scattered squadrons, having left only as many forces as were necessary to keep them from rallying, advanced and charged the rear of the Roman infantry, which being surrounded at once on every side by the enemy's horse and foot, was all cut to pieces, after having fought with unparalleled bravery. Emilius, being covered with wounds he had received in the fight, was afterwards killed by a body of the enemy to whom he was not known; and with him two questors, twenty one military tribunes, many who had been either consuls or pretors, Servilius, one of the last year's consuls, Minucius, the late general of the horse to Fabius, and eighty senators. Above seventy thousand men fell in this battle ; . and the Carthaginians, so great was their fury," did not give over the slaughter, till Hannibal, in the very heat of it, called out to them several times,
stop, soldiers ; spare the vanquished.” Ten thousand men, who had been left to guard the camp, surrendered themselves prisoners of war after the battle. Varro the consul retired to Venusia, with only seventy horse ; and about four thousand men escaped into the neighbouring cities. Thus Hannibal remained master of the field, he being chiefly indebted for this, as well as for his former victories, to the superiority of his cav. alry over that of the Romans. He lost four thousand
Livy lessens very much the number of the slain, making them amount but to about forty three thousand, But Polybius ought rather to be be. lieved.
Duo maximi exercitus cæsi ad hostium satietatem, donec Annibal di. ceret militi suo : Parce ferro. Flor. 1. i. c. 6.