Τhe state of matters in Spain on the time of Hannibal’s arrival to Italy

During this time Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, who, as I said, had been left by his brother Publius in command of the naval forces, sailing from the mouths of the Rhone with his whole fleet to the place in Spain called Emporium, and starting from there made a series of landings, reducing by siege the towns on the coast as far as the Ebro, which refused his advances, but bestowing favours on those which accepted them and taking all possible precautions for their safety.

Map of the western Mediterranean and Carthaginian control of Iberia at its greatest extent, 217 BC

Map of the western Mediterranean and Carthaginian control of Iberia at its greatest extent, 217 BC

After securing all the sea-board places which had submitted to him he advanced with his whole army into the interior, having now got together also a considerable force of Iberian allies. He won over some of the towns on the line of his march and subdued others, and when the Carthaginians who had been left to guard this district under the command of Hanno encamped opposite to him near a city called Cissa, Gnaeus defeated them in a pitched battle, possessing himself of a large amount of valuable booty all the heavy baggage of the army that had set out for Italy having been left under their charge securing the alliance of all the tribes north of the Ebro and taking prisoners the Carthaginian general Hanno and the Iberian general Andobales. The latter was despot of all central Iberia and a strenuous supporter of the Carthaginians.

Hasdrubal soon got news of the disaster and crossing the Ebro came to the rescue. Learning that the crews of the Roman ships had been left behind and were off their guard and unduly confident owing to the success of the land forces, he took with him about eight thousand infantry and a thousand cavalry from his own force, and finding the men from the ships scattered over the country, killed a large number of them and compelled the remainder to take refuge on board their vessels. He then retreated, and recrossing the Ebro busied himself with fortifying and garrisoning the places south of the Ebro, passing the winter in New Carthage. Gnaeus, on rejoining the fleet, inflicted the customary penalty on those responsible for what had happened, and now uniting his land and sea forces went into winter quarters at Tarraco. By dividing the booty in equal shares among his soldiers he made them very well disposed to him and ready to do their best in the future.

Such was the state of matters in Spain.

(Source: Polybius, The Histories, Vol.II, Book III, Loeb Classical Library)

Roman wall at Empúries

Roman wall at Empúries (Emporium)

Research-Selection for NovoScriptorium: Anastasius Philoponus

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